Well, taking many of your excellent suggestions... I hope I've improved this... FYI there is only one girl in the hunting party (Pacifica) - she's there with her father (her mother DN approve of her appetite for hunting) ...
Oh, and Rick, I forgot to mention ... when I was first writing the scene, I actually googled "what does a horse smell like", (seriously!) and grass was part of the descriptions given. However, I changed it to hay in this version, thinking it more likely in a stable than grass...
Do the dashes work better than slashes?
No doubt an editor will still have a go at it... but I think it's tighter, and thank you all for the suggestions... I've included the entire scene this time, probably should have done that before to make it clear Milo could sense the boar's thoughts...
Milo allowed a small sensing to cast out past the milling group. There were so many emotions, it was hard to filter them… so he blocked them and sought beyond them. It wasn’t the hunters he was searching for.
Maxim and Palmer flirted outrageously with Pacifica. Her mother would have been incensed, but her father, riding beside the King and deep in a discussion on horse breeding and the lineage of their respective mounts, didn’t notice.
The party drifted apart, the King and his Yoemen pushing past the beaters, Pacifica, the Prince’s friends, and the younger hunters’ loitering farther back, down the trail. Milo let his horse have her head, and she eagerly followed the lead horses.
Pushing his senses farther, he felt the brush of something inhuman off to one side and slightly behind him. There was anger; scorching, distressed, and infuriated by the clamor of dogs and men. Something hidden, and watchful, growing enraged.
It was hard to pinpoint… not there… wait, perhaps there… then suddenly he knew. Milo spun his horse around as the young man who’d been staring at him earlier, poked half-heartedly into a thicket.
“WARE!” He shouted.
It was already too late.
Maddened by the noise and confusion, and disturbed by this final insult, a huge wild boar burst from the underbrush, swinging his formidable tusks. By luck it was too close to gore the beater, but sliced his arm as it knocked him roughly to the ground, where he lay stunned and bleeding.
For Milo, action slowed to crystal clarity. The sunlight intensified; the splash of blood from the beater’s cut hung vivid in the air; the smells of damp dog, perspiring men, musky boar, and the comforting hay-saddle leather-sweat odor of his horse grew more distinct. For a heartbeat all was locked and still… then battle erupted with the beast’s bellow of defiance.
The guards and nobles at the rear rushed in front of Pacifica, protecting the girl and blocking the swine’s mad dash down the trail, away from the beaters, and the King’s party beyond them. Their horses reared, and hounds suddenly broke onto the path, baying loudly and throwing themselves at the charging brute with sharp, shrill cries.
It turned angrily away from their outcry. Tossing its head, the enraged boar threw one dog over its shoulder, before stampeding back the way it had come. The dog’s high pitched yelp cut off as it slammed to the ground, and lay silent, while the remaining dogs harried the beast, nipping at its heels.
The young beater was getting to his feet, shaking his head and holding his injured arm. He swayed, looking at the ground, dazed and unaware of the returning danger.
Milo and his mare were already moving. The Prince held the horse’s mind. Perfectly attuned to each other, they raced down the path, directly at the rampaging boar.
Voices cried out from in front and behind, as collision seemed inevitable. Milo grabbed the beater’s arm. As the boar dipped its head to gore, his horse veered onto the grassy verge, just off the trail and he jerked the youth up, heaving him over the boar’s back as it stabbed upwards. The beast passed so close, the Prince felt the stiff hairs of its hide scratch against his boot.
The beater gave a bellow of pain as the swine’s tusk caught his thigh, opening a deep slice. Milo released him and he fell to the ground. Whimpering with pain, he scrambled to clamber up the nearest tree, ignoring the blood oozing from his wounds.
The young Prince reached out as he passed one of the huntsmen. The man’s spear leapt into his hand as Milo's horse spun around, and he urged her into a gallop.
This time the King’s guards faced the fleeing beast, shouting, spears at the ready. Blocked from escape once again, the boar turned, and came charging back at the Prince.
He heard his father’s cry above the other’s shouts, but dared not shift his concentration from the approaching encounter. Closer… Milo felt the mare’s terror, barely held at bay by her faith in him... Closer… Sweat lathered her flanks, but she never wavered.
At the last possible instant he signaled her to swerve aside, as he stabbed downward with the spear, piercing the boar’s eye and stabbing into its brain. Caught in the boar’s skull, the spear wrenched out of his hand, almost unseating the Prince. Grabbing hold of her mane, he pulled himself back into the saddle.
Momentum carried the fierce beast forward a few yards, scattering the Yoemen. It slowed to a halt, swayed, realized it was dead, and fell over on its side.
Around him, men broke into wild cheers. Milo flushed with pleasure as his father rode closer to clasp his arm.
“It appears my son has done us the honor of catching the centerpiece for his sixteenth Feasting Day celebration.” King Alaric shouted. The men cheered again. All but the Master of the Hounds, who knelt mournfully beside his fallen dog.