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"I can hear yer belly growling," he grinned. "You should have eaten the rabbit last night!"

Emma closed her eyes and quietly thanked God for her breakfast. Then she devoured the food until she could eat no more.

After their meal was over, Josiah got to his feet. "I'm going buffalo hunting," he announced. The man grabbed his rifle and went to one of the horses grazing nearby.

Emma wanted to ask what he was going to do with her while he was hunting, but she remained silent. He knew her concerns about ammunition and remaining by herself, and she guessed he had already decided her fate.

Josiah saddled the fresh mount and led it back to camp. "Emma," he called to her, "let's go."

"You're taking me with you?" Emma immediately brightened.

"Why?" asked Josiah in feigned shock. "Did you want to stay here? I can leave you with some of the leftover meat--" he stopped short, as Emma eagerly mounted his pony. "Then I reckon you're coming," he muttered with half a smile.

As their horse trotted to the hunting grounds, Josiah slipped his arm about Emma's waist.

The buffalo were where they had left them earlier, grazing in the warm sunshine and unaware of the cold wind that chilled Emma to the bone. The animals seemed ignorant of their presence as Josiah wheeled his horse around to the back of the herd. He studied the direction of the wind, made note of the terrain, and then deposited Emma beside some nearby trees so she could watch.

"If the buffalo start running," he cautioned, "make sure you don't git in their way, and stay right where I put you. Hide behind that yonder tree. Them dumb animals will trample anything in their path."

"I'll be careful," Emma assured him.

Josiah checked his rifle one last time and then turned his horse toward the outside edge of the grazing herd. Upon finding a fat cow, Josiah reined in his horse and surveyed the land. The ground here was fairly flat, and if he had to run the herd, this was a good place to give chase.

Slowly dropping from his saddle, Josiah bellied against the ground until he felt the unmistakable spines of the prickly pear cactus piercing through his buckskins. Ignoring the discomfort, the hunter kept his attention on the female cow before him. The cow's mate was grazing beside her, and for a moment, Josiah's mind wandered back to Emma. He cast a quick glance at the trees and grinned when he saw her intently watching with squinted eyes.

The cow moved, calling Josiah's attention back to the hunt. He fired at the area behind the cow's neck, and her bull huffed in surprise as she dropped to the ground. The bull snorted, and raised his great head to eye Josiah.

Josiah ignored the stunned bull and immediately reloaded his Hawken. He carefully selected another cow, and slowly formed into a crouch. Steadily raising the barrel, Josiah braced the stock against his shoulder. With careful timing, he squeezed the trigger. The cow staggered, and a nearby bull lowered his massive head to charge Josiah!

Leaping onto the back of his horse, Josiah dodged the bull with a taunting laugh.

Alarm quickly spread through the herd, and the air filled with the thunder of stampeding hooves!

Dust rose from the ground, as Josiah poured a measure of powder down the muzzle of his gun. A lead ball, followed by a hard strike of the butt on the pommel of his saddle, and he again took aim. A puff of smoke and another large cow dropped, ploughing into the earth.

Emma gasped as Josiah reloaded his rifle and then thrust his pony into the rushing wave of buffalo!
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