It was on one of these rambles, as they were laughing and chatting about things in general that there was an occurrence which changed Olivia’s life even more than it had been; they heard suddenly a loud retort from a gun as they passed by a small coppice.
“What was that?” Carole asked.
“It sounded like a gun shot,” Jeremy suggested.
Almost immediately, a large black stallion whinnied and galloped from the coppice; he was rider less though he possessed a saddle and they all realized something was amiss.
Vijay was immediately on alert, “You stay here; I’ll go check,” he told them. He jumped from his mount and snuck cautiously into the coppice, using trees as his shield as he went further inside; he heard the whine of an arrow close by and the soft sound as it hit its mark. There was not the sound of an animal thudding to the ground but Vijay’s experienced ears detected instead the human moan of someone in pain; he heard the crunch of the hunter’s feet going towards the moaning sound and then a loud crunch.
Just at that moment the group of young people, who had grown tired of waiting, decided to see for themselves from whence the shot came since there had been no more; they left their horses outside the coppice and trampled loudly through the snow amid giggling and laughter.
Olivia, taking the leadership role, was first on the scene, “Vijay―” she began but stopped speaking as he waved her behind him.
Whoever the assailant was had disappeared amid the trees at the first sound of voices. Vijay walked quickly now to where he perceived the arrow to have gone and saw a man laid on the ground; Olivia was right behind him, “What happened?” she asked Vijay.
“It looks as if he’s been shot by arrows,” Vijay was now bending over the man to assess whether or not he was alive.
After a few minutes Vijay spoke, “He still lives but he was hit with two arrows and it looks like a rock hit him on his head.”