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With all this, Josiah had another more pressing problem. If Emma ever told any white people of how he had taken her to wife, Josiah guessed he would quickly find himself hanging at the end of a rope. The mountain man tried to convince himself that what he had done was perfectly harmless. So he had suggested to the Blackfoot that he wanted a wife. He had. But Emma owed him as much, after all, he had saved her life.

Josiah glanced back at the horse trailing his, and wondered how Emma was going to treat him when he tussled her that night.

They hadn't been in the saddle for very long, before it was time to find a place to make camp for the night. They had left the Blackfoots' campsite late that same day, and Josiah had been anxious to get some space between them and the slain Indians. Dead humans attracted all the wrong kind of wildlife, especially bears.

"How's yer leg feeling?" asked Josiah, helping Emma down from her horse.

Emma found a large rock nearby and sat down. After being jostled by the horse, it felt good to hold still.

Without asking if he could, Josiah strode toward her and promptly lifted her dress and petticoats to check the handkerchief. Emma flinched as he did this, though it wasn't out of pain; Josiah was like a confident bear that knew he could do whatever he wanted.

"It's doing good," he pronounced, letting down her dress. "Tomorrow morning, we're getting a mite more distance between us and the Blackfoots' camp, and then I'm going hunting."

"You're leaving me?" Emma asked in alarm.

Concealing his pleasure at her distress, Josiah shrugged. "I'll be back by sundown. I wanna hunt buffalo, afore we reach the lodge. Winter's coming on, and I don't hanker chewing hides and tree bark just to keep my belly full."

At this, Emma's ears perked up. "Lodge? What lodge?"

Quietly, Josiah regarded her for a few moments before answering. He could see she was happy with the thought of having something over her head, and realized it had likely been some time since she had had that luxury. "My Pa's cabin is through the Yellowstone, in Blackfoot country," he explained.

"Your Pa?"

"He's dead," shrugged Josiah, as if it mattered little to him. "Unlikely any white men will be bothering us, 'cause they'll be at winter quarters until springtime. Besides, few is crazy enough to go very far into Blackfoot territory, for they hold their scalps too dear."

Upon hearing this, Emma looked extremely hesitant. "I'm fond of mine as well," she confessed.

Josiah laughed. "Your scalp would like mighty fine in some warrior's lodge! Yeller hair ain't common in these parts!"

Instead of shrinking back as Josiah half expected her to, Emma straightened her shoulders and began gathering wood for their campfire. She saw nothing to laugh about, but since she wasn't the one in control, all she could do was follow.

After Emma had gathered enough wood, Josiah took flint and steel and lit themselves a fire. He pulled out the last of the elk meat from the Blackfoot camp and started cooking it on a rock beside the open flame.
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