The reek of black powder stung her nose and clung to the back of her throat. The cough jerked out of her, and she clapped a hand to her mouth as if she could stifle it after the fact.
With a thud muffled by padding, the gun lowered. A face appeared through layers of wool and linen, brows arched in question.
She choked back another cough, eyes burning, and shook her head. She was fine. It was nothing.
Fathomless brown eyes gazed at her for another long heartbeat, then he nodded and turned back to his work.
Standing on her toes, she peered over his head. It was as much to do her job as it was to escape the sharp odour of gun powder.
The snowy expanse was untouched save for the delicate tracks of the creatures they stalked. He hadn’t hit anything.
Fine black grains streamed from the tip of the horn into the waiting maw of the barrel. She watched it disappear, like the tiny wriggling worms frantically consumed by the baby robins in their tree. Ugly bald heads poking up over the rim of the makeshift nest—she had watched them for hours.
A grunt to get her attention, then they stood from their hideout and crunched through the snow, to follow the tracks of their prey.