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With every step, Emma felt her strength slowly evaporate. Her empty stomach growled from hunger, and she found herself wondering how much further she could walk. She kept putting one foot in front of the other, until she was perspiring heavily.

Struggling to catch up to Josiah, Emma panted hard before she spoke. "I'm afraid I'm getting wet from perspiration."

Josiah came to a complete halt, his face gravely serious. "Why didn't you tell me, sooner?"

"I wasn't aware of it until now."

Josiah quickly scanned the valley, and then pointed his chin to a cluster of rocks and trees. "We'll take shelter there."

When they arrived at the trees, Josiah made a lean-to, and then ordered Emma inside to dry off. After shedding her snowshoes and garments, Emma put back on the capote so she wouldn't freeze while her body cooled down. Mary crawled inside, looking almost as energetic as Josiah. Emma groaned within herself. Didn't they ever get tired?

Outside one end of the lean-to, Josiah found a dry place to sit down and keep watch. His Hawken rested in the crook of his arm, and his eyes kept alert to any signs of danger. "You doing all right in there, Emma?" he asked over his shoulder.

"Yes, thank you."

"I'm thinking now's a good time fer some lunch." A large hand reached inside to tap Emma's shoulder, and then pass her some dried buffalo.

"I'm not hungry," Emma said, giving her share of the food to Mary.

"Give it back to her, Mary." Concern sounded in Josiah's voice. "You hardly touched breakfast, Emma. You need to eat."

"I don't think I can keep down any food, Josiah."

"You said you'd eat more today, remember? Yer eating that jerky, Emma."

"I can't!"

"Yes, you are, if I have to shove it down yer gullet."

Shocked by Josiah's forceful words, Emma gazed at him numbly.

Taking off his fur cap, Josiah thrust it onto the ground with a loud sigh. He looked up at Emma, and she could see the worry in his eyes. "Emma, if you don't eat, you won't have any strength. You must eat."

Nodding, Emma accepted the jerky from Mary. Her teeth clamped down on the hard food, and she tore off a small bite. Almost at once, Emma felt her stomach turn. She struggled to swallow. The nausea becoming too much, Emma scrambled to her feet, brushing past Josiah on her way out. Emma fell to her knees beside some rocks, and vomited.
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