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From his hiding spot behind some trees, Josiah was prepared to rush the young Indian from behind. His plan was interrupted, however, when the older Blackfoot unexpectedly roused from his sleep and started talking with the other in guarded whispers.

Josiah was silently scolding himself for getting such a late start on things, when he suddenly heard footsteps close to his hiding spot. Realizing that his presence was about to be discovered, Josiah quickly dropped his pants and started relieving himself. Just then, a face peered at him through the bushes. "Howdy," Josiah nodded to the Blackfoot.

The Indian grunted and went to inform his companion that the mountain man was already awake.

When Josiah had finished, the older of the two Blackfoot approached him with a rifle, while the younger stood at his side, equally armed. "Woman bleed?" he asked.

Josiah hesitated, recognizing the guarded stance of both men. "Woman was virgin," he nodded.

"No want whiskey back?" the older Indian laughed without smiling.

Josiah was sizing them up, and knew he had guessed correctly. They were not going to let him leave this camp alive. "No want whiskey back," he shook his head. "Woman was virgin," then he added in English, "and I aim to keep her." Josiah pointed his rifle in the direction of his horse. "Want more whiskey?" he asked in Blackfoot.

Instead of the eager looks they had given him the night before when the subject of liquor had been broached, the two Blackfoot remained unchanged. By their lack of enthusiasm, Josiah knew he was in for a fight.

"I git whiskey," he nodded to them. With measured even strides, Josiah turned his back to his enemy and started for his horse. As he tightly gripped the sturdy rifle in his hand, Josiah was glad he had double-checked the priming on his Hawken before leaving the buffalo robe that morning. One on his left, and one on his right. Josiah didn't like the odds. He reckoned he could get off one shot before they both unloaded their weapons into him, but he could only take one man. That still left the other to deal with. If only he could make it to his horse in time to get his pistol.

The small hairs on the back of Josiah's neck suddenly stood on end. Josiah could sense imminent danger hanging in the air, and he braced himself.

A loud crack sounded, and Josiah felt a biting pain in his shoulder. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the telltale puff of smoke that told him which Indian had fired. Grinning broadly, Josiah rapidly spun around and raised his Hawken at the older Indian who had yet to fire his weapon. Without a moment's hesitation, Josiah squeezed the trigger and the man staggered backward, his rifle discharging into the air as he dropped to the ground. Then Josiah unsheathed his Bowie knife and let out a bloodcurdling war cry.

Stunned by the mountain man's nerve and not having enough time to reload his weapon, the young Indian dropped his rifle and grabbed the knife at his side. He didn't have any time, before Josiah was upon him.

Peering from around her tree, Emma timidly checked to see who was winning. One Indian was already dead, while another lay at Josiah's feet, his legs still thrashing about. Emma's blurry vision was unclear, but when she squinted, she could see Josiah's hand take hold of the dying man by his hair, and deftly move something across his scalp.

As Josiah tore away his trophy, he heard the terrified screams of a woman. Alarmed, he checked the empty campsite for an enemy he had missed. When he realized there was no one, Josiah looked back at the tree to Emma. She was standing there, her eyes wide and staring, her face filled with horror.

Josiah took a step toward her and she fled into the trees.
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