Once Magua disappears into the woods with Cora, and the sun has passed several hours on its course toward evening, Uncas raises a war-cry against Magua and the Hurons, and the temporary truce between the Mingos and the Mohicans, here enacted with the “exchange” of Cora, is now over, meaning that the band may again attack Magua and attempt to wrest Cora from his control. Uncas, Heyward, and Hawkeye gather their weapons, and Heyward places Alice safely among the Delaware women in the village. Uncas, Heyward, and Hawkeye then walk out into the woods, en route to the Huron village nearby.
An interesting, small lesson in native justice. Tamenund’s decision applies only to Magua’s and Cora’s immediate departure from the Delaware village—once Magua has returned to the Huron encampment, Uncas and the others are free to attempt to wrest Cora back from Magua. These rules, though seemingly difficult to follow for the white settlers, are part of a complex native legal system, based primarily on unwritten tradition and the fact that Delaware justice does not extend beyond Delaware land.
Heyward and Hawkeye believe they see a Huron in the forest, but it is only David, who has wandered away into the no-man’s-land between the two villages. Hawkeye asks David for all he knows regarding the location of the Hurons, and David says that they are nearby in the woods, that Magua has taken Cora back into the Huron village and placed her in the cavern formerly occupied by Alice, and that the Hurons are now preparing again for battle with the band and any allied native warriors, including Uncas. Uncas, Heyward, Hawkeye, and a large group of attendant Delaware warriors press on toward the Huron village in their attempt to rescue Cora.
Preparations for the final battle. Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook appear to recognize that whatever the outcome of this fight will be, it will be the determinant of Cora’s fate. If the band manages to recapture her from Magua and to kill him, then Cora will be forever free—and if they fail, then Cora will, in fact, live the rest of her life as Magua’s wife. Heyward, too, is prepared to fight for Alice’s sister’s freedom, at whatever the cost.