It was after dinner that Tall Elk, Running Brook, and Masami took
their walk. They walked along the river that gave sustenance to the
Comanche, providing them with life-giving water. It was also along
this same river that destiny arrived at their teepee door. That destiny was now self-fulfilling as the two warriors contemplated the future.
“How many of my warriors will you need to travel with you?” Asked
“I will need just three,” Said Masami.
“These traders of children are many, and they are dangerous.”
“I want to take Running Brook and her two Braves that met me
outside the town. The three of them think as one. If I can have them
by my side, it will increase our chances of success.”
Masmai thought the two Braves harkened to the demands of
Running Brook never showing disgust or contempt. The Braves
were used to taking instruction from Running Brook, which
portended victory to Masami. Men who could take orders from a
woman were rare in her line of business, and she would welcome
Running Brook agreed with Masami’s choice. Over the years, her
relationship with the two Braves, Spotted Dog and Dark Cloud, had
blossomed over the years. The trio worked harmoniously together,
and she knew she could count on the two men until death. Besides,
Running Brook knew Spotted Dog was impressed with the Mujer Amarilla, the Yellow Woman.
Before dawn pierced the darkness the following day, four comrades
rode toward Waco from outside Austin, Texas. Time was already
against them as they rode for the Bandidos several weeks ahead of the pursuers. Could they arrive in time before the children were sold and transported elsewhere? The thought was on
everyone’s mind as they thundered toward Waco. Running Brook
voiced her opinion that the wagon would travel much slower.
Along their path, Masami saw many Indians in the distance. The
Indians usually signaled their allegiance to the group as fellow
Comanches. Some Indians who traveled closer to the band let out
whoops and yell. It was now common knowledge that the Japanese
Bounty Huntress had befriended the mighty Comanche.
The night began to appear, and Running Brook welcomed the
decision to hunker down for the evening. She produced rabbit meat
and maize for their dining. Dark Cloud took the first watch as the
women made their beddings. Spotted Dog sat across from them as
he studied his latest fascination; Masami Ko.
Running Brook whispered to Masami that she had an admirer.
Masami replied, “I’ve known from the outset that he has an eye for
me, but I’m afraid that my heart is for another.”
“Don’t worry about him, my friend. You’re not his only interest,”
chuckled Running Brook.
The rescue band was in their saddles four hours later, closing the
gap to Waco, Texas. Running Brook wanted to make the trip in five
days or less. She relentlessly drove the band with a mother’s
purpose. No one complained. Everyone knew what was at risk.
The dust cloud that trailed them signaled their coming.
Once, the band of four ran across the trail of several Apache. Friend
and foe chanced to meet several hours later. Instead of
confrontation, one lone Apache approached Running Brook and
informed her that the wagon had already passed them. He stated
that the wagon had been in Waco for at least one moon. Hearts
sank at the revelation, but they trudged on. What the hopeless
needed was hope. If there was a Waco, then there were the
Masami and her friends camped on the prairie outside of Waco on
the evening of the fifth day. It was decided that Masami would go
into the city to determine the children’s whereabouts. Running Brook and the two Braves would await her findings.
As Masami rode into Waco, she captured the attention of the
onlookers. Whispers began to circulate as someone cried out, “It’s
that woman bounty hunter. Somebody is in trouble!” It was later
reported that several wanted men left Waco that very night.
Criminal-mindedness does not mean stupid!
Masami decided to take a room in the hotel for the night. She
thought she might be able to have a conversation with someone
knowledgeable of the going on in the town.
After checking into the hotel, Masami decided to venture into the
nearest saloon. Walking through the swinging saloon doors of the
watering hole, she saw a couple of familiar faces that graced a
wanted poster. Their luck would hold for the night as far as she was
Warding off the advances of an intoxicated few, she bellied up to the bar.
“What’ll you have? Said the bartender.
“Whatever won’t kill me in my tracks,” She said.
She was poured a shot, and as she lifted her glass for a first sip, she spied a Pinkerton agent she was familiar with.
She said to the bartender, “Let me have the bottle.”
The barkeep gave her the bottle as she began to work her way over
to the agent.
“Work or pleasure?” She asked the agent.
Noticing that Masami was a friendly, the agent replied, “I’m waiting
on those two to leave the saloon.”
Acknowledging that she understood his drift, she sat down across
Before Masami could completely sit down, a hand grabbed her by
her upper left arm. With her glass and bottle already on the table, Masami whipped her left arm up and over the assailant’s arm.
She brought her arm up under his arm and jerked him upward.
To counter the pressure being applied to his arm, her assailant rose
to his tiptoes as a Karate chop to the side of his neck rendered him
A momentary hush fell over the place after witnessing the event.
Within seconds the raucous behavior renewed itself within the
The bartender spoke to a couple of men to have the unlucky man
removed from the saloon and deposited onto the street.
With his departure, Masami sat down and lifted her eyebrows at the
“They never learn, do they? What brings you to this hellhole,
She refills the Pinkerton agent’s glass and pours herself another
“I’m going to leave those two rogues for you. I need information on a wagon that might have passed through here carrying Indian
“The Marshall booted that bunch out of here about two weeks ago.
They were situated about a mile out of town near the gorge. He
didn’t cater to what that rift-raft was peddling. Even though they
were Indian children, there has to be a line drawn,” said the agent.
“Any idea where they may be at the moment?” Asked Masami.
Agent Bret “Bulldog” O’Harley said, “See that fella over there by the
bar with his pistol handles turned to the front? He’s one of that
bunch. Last week he shot a fella dead right here in this very saloon.
Marshall called it self-defense.”
Without another word, Masami rose and walked over to the bar.
Men stepped aside at her coming. Arriving at her intended
destination, she told the barkeep to pour the man a drink. Flipping a silver dollar onto the counter prompted the barkeep to splash a drink into the man’s shot glass. The recipient of Masami’s charity nodded to her as he lifted his glass to drink.
Before the wayward gentleman could finish downing his drink, he
realized his feet had been swept out from under him as he fell and
hit his head on the bar. A small gash appeared on his forehead as
he toppled onto the barroom floor.
As the second hush dropped on the crowd, some left the saloon in
favor of safer surroundings on the street. And of those who
remained, they stood in awe of the lady with the long ponytail.
Grabbing the man by his vest and shirt collar, Masami dragged the
ruffian out the swinging doors as many celebrated her departure.