Though Reuben had plenty of vices, from a love of alcohol to a fondness for loose women (especially tight loose women), he did have a few strengths. One of these was patience. Hunting required it, tracking required it... hell, most anything worth doing was worth waiting for. The difference here was that Reuben had already seen each of these things pay off: tracking gave him his quarry, hunting gave him food for a week or so. He hadn't had any luck at it himself, but by all reports, gold panning could pay off beautifully if you had the patience.
Waiting for a spite-filled girl to get her makeup ready and her panties straightened was far from any of these. Reuben had little interest in waiting as long as that, and felt that he'd been plenty clear with his instructions. Dawn, he'd said. Well. It was a good stretch past dawn now, and no sign of the girl.
He couldn't claim to be surprised. Maybe he'd hoped that the girl would be more than she'd seemed, but if he was perfectly straightforward with himself, the girl's soft hands and youthful face had been enough to set his opinion from the start. She'd seemed like more for a moment, but that moment had passed.
That was fine. He had prepared for such an eventuality. With a grunt of effort, he swung up onto the paint mare, muttering "Well, Poppy. Looks like this is it for us in this town. Can't say I'll miss it terribly, though there's something to be said about a soft bed and a cold drink." He looked forlornly at the slim flask at his belt. "We'll just have to be careful with our usin' of what supplies we've got. C'mon, now. Off y'go."
The mare wasn't as young as she had once been, but she was no tired, plodding beast, either. Before long, nothing but dust and sun remained behind them. Reuben bounced lightly in the saddle, shotgun sheathed at his left, in a saddle-holster. It was a quiet trail, for a main one out of town. Oddly quiet, though he supposed that there wasn't much reason for anyone to leave home this time of the day. Hell, he would have left sooner if he hadn't wasted his time waiting on the young woman.
He shook his head, dismissing the youth from his mind. It had seemed like a promising path for him to tread again, but oh, well. Life goes on; perhaps it was best if Luckshot stayed dead.
As Poppy trod slowly over the well-worn trail, Reuben began to feel his suspicious rising again. It was faint, but off to the sides of the path, and marked into the dirt itself, were the faint traces of someone having passed in the last few hours. It was light enough that most would have missed it, but then, Reuben had never been blessed with a lack of observance. He cursed quietly as he turned Poppy slightly away from the main trail, following the faint sub-trail. Either the girl had decided to test him, or she had changed her mind about having him work with her. Either way, he'd be following her trail. It wouldn't do to set up the precedent that the famed Luckshot missed trails, especially those of people he'd encountered before.
The trail itself grew a bit easier to track once he picked up on his target's quirks. It was like the tells you find as an experienced gambler, just faint enough to escape an inexperienced gaze, and keyed to the individual. After a few miles, he could have picked out this trail as belonging to the target even among a dozen others. Hopefully it led him to the girl, though if it didn't... well. That would be yet another adventure.
By his estimate, Reuben had only left a few hours after Kate, maybe even less than that. Even so, catching up wasn't easy, and every sign pointed to the fact that the girl rode at a surprisingly capable pace. Hours passed swiftly, and the sun rose to its zenith, then began to creep slowly across the sky. Poppy kept doggedly onward, her pace never slacking, and Reuben found himself reaching for his canteen more and more.
Finally, a faint plume of dust was visible. It grew, bit by bit, slowly in the center of Reuben's field of vision, and with a soft "Yah!" to Poppy, he rode toward it. The plume resolved into a silhouetted figure the closer he rode, and eventually, his suspicions were confirmed. As sure as he was fed up with the sun, the figure ahead of him was Abigail Kate Clementine, The insufferable young woman herself. With a pat on Poppy's shoulder, he slowed her just a hair, then rode quietly to the young woman's side.
"So. I see you decided to leave on your own terms." By now he was neck-and-neck with his supposed partner. "I thought you wanted company on this mission of yours." He had been drinking from his canteen all day, but as a sign of his view of his potential employer, he instead reached for his flask, unscrewing the tin cap with his thumb, and then taking a healthy swig from the thin bottle. "We ought to clarify something, 'fore you go and get me killed because you figured it was easier than telling me about some bastard waiting behind some door later on." He pocketed his flask once more.
"You're paying me to help you find retribution. You hired me, instead of some sad fucker in that inn. Your options were plentiful enough, but you chose me, drunk, washed-up has-been or no. I'm not clear on how much you know about me, but I'm sure someone, at some time, has told you something of my reputation. I worked alone for fifteen years. Fifteen years. Before that, I had a partner, but she wasn't dumb enough to do things without running it by me first. Now, if you want to act on instinct or somethin' like that, be my guest. But don't go riding off without me because you couldn't be bothered to take a moment to find me."
He went silent for a long moment, realizing he'd been talking for much longer than he usually did. He took a breath, then continued, to his actual point. "I saw someone, this morning. At dawn, when I was readyin' Poppy here. Didn't get a look at his face, but he was wearin' black, or something damn close. Can't say I recognized him, but he looked like bad news. If that means anything to you, you'd best tell me. I hope I've made that clear enough for you."