An important deal going exactly to plan from beginning to end? In Spice and Wolf? Surely not. However, for the majority of this episode "just as planned" seems to be the phrase du jour for a change.
The episode kicks off of course with Lawrence and Fruhl's meeting to do the deal which was laid out last episode, complete with Horo (acting as demurely as possible) on-hand as insurance. Despite the big numbers on offer financially, this meeting goes surprisingly smoothly, with a deal agreed and only a slight reduction in the price the pair were aiming for in the first place.
After this meeting, and with the atmosphere feeling at least somewhat relaxed, Fruhl spills the beans about her own life and upbringing, as well as what drives her as a merchant. But is it all true? Horo teases Lawrence briefly for not asking her just that question, but for now we really can't be sure; if nothing else, the true purpose of those supposed religious icons Fruhl used to sell the church is very much in doubt.
All of this pales into relative insignificance however compared to the bombshell that Horo drops following the meeting, with the suggestion that perhaps the time has come for herself and Lawrence to part company. This also leads to her explaining exactly what it is that she's scared of - Essentially, it's the thought of the wonderful relationship that they currently share fading with the ravages of time rather than that of her simply outliving Lawrence. Naturally, Lawrence is far from happy at the idea of their journey ending here (although typical merchant that he is he refers to it in terms of his "contract" with her over and above anything else), but the strength of this pair's relationship and how it's grown recently really shines through in what happens after - No long periods of angst, awkward silences or despair, they simply go straight back to how things were, with the usual teasing quips and sharp retorts throughout. That alone, you could argue, is enough to prove Horo's concerns as unfounded - How could she (or indeed, how could we) ever get bored of this?
Even without its big, fat cliffhanger ending this was an excellent episode as per usual - Fruhl's character is an interesting one in its own right as an even sharper and more cunning merchant than Lawrence, one who you can never quite pin down the true face of, with Horo and Lawrence's interactions with one another require no further discussion - We're all well used to the joys and crises of their relationship as we continue to love and thrive on the rollercoaster of emotion with which it presents us.
Personally, it would probably be foolish and selfish of me to hope that the journeys which Spice and Wolf takes us never end - As we know, anime series can't just keep getting better just like real relationships. However, as of right now I can't imagine a point where I could ever get bored of this, it's simply too magnificent in its own unique and special way.