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Chapter One

"From now on, until you obtain your warrior name, you will be Skypaw. Train, and fight for your clan well," meowed Badgerstar. The cats of IceClan cheered out her name with happiness. My pelt itched to yowl out "Hurry up! I've waited six moons already!", but the excitement of becoming an apprentice along with my sisters, Skypaw, and Leafpaw, held me back. I nearly popped when Badgerstar beckoned me to the Red Rock with a twitch of his tail. I quickly padded up to my leader and smiled with pride. He gave me a gentle lick on top of my head, and touched noses with me before he yowled to the clan "From this day until you receive your warrior name, you shall be Pixiepaw. Your mentor shall be Lavenderstripe. Learn the code and the ways of the clan". Lavenderstripe looked at me with purity and love in her eyes. She slowly bent her neck and touched noses with me. The meeting almost broke apart when Badgerstar had stated firmly "I have not finished. I have grave news. Tanglefire's apprentice, Applepaw, has died from greencough." Sadness swelled in my throat as I turned my head torwards Tanglefire, the IceClan medicine cat, as she bowed torward Applepaws motionless body. A look of grief clouded her green eyes. I looked up to Lavenderstripe, knowing she will grieve the most, considering that he was her son. I gently licked her paw, and stared up her with sympathy in my eyes. "Thank you Pixiepaw," she meowed hoarsely. "But, fortunately, Tanglefire has taken on a new apprentice, Fuzzypaw," Badgerstar mewed. I looked at the young orange tom, he looked at his paws in embarrassment. Lavenderstripe nudged me with her paw and asked "Do you want to learn the territory first, or start hunting?". Joy prickled my pelt as I quickly said "Hunting!". She mrrowed in laughter as I bouced up and down excitedly. "Please let me in!," I heard a small meow coming from the medicine cat den. I turned my head to see Hawkbreath, Lavenderstripes' mate blocking the entrance to the medicine cat den. "You don't deserve to be a medicine cat apprentice! You replacement!," he growled, baring his yellow teeth at Fuzzypaw. Fuzzypaw trembled in fear, dropping yarrow everywhere. Badgerstar padded up to the scene, his face serious and angry. "What do you think you are doing Hawkbreath? You are about to attack a medicine cat apprentice!," Badgerstar growled as he put himself between the two cats. "Get away this instant, or do I have to make you clean the elders den?," he shrieked, the fur on his neck rising. Hawkbreath just stood there, hatred for the apprentice burning in his amber eyes. He twirled around and stalked away, heading for the warriors den. He turned his head to me, I saw something glimmer in his eyes. Hatred and revenge.

Chapter Two

"Pixiepaw, do you want to hunt or are you going to stand there all day?," Lavenderstripes mew came from across the clearing. I shook my head, emptying my mind of everything I just witnessed. As I trotted through the clearing, a recognizable call sounded from the other side of the clearing. "Hi Pixiepaw! Are you excited about being an apprentice?," asked Lionpaw, a golden tom with a large scar across his right eye from a fox attack. He smiled at me, his eyes sparkling with nothing but happiness. "Oh, yeah! I felt like that ceremony was going to keep going until sunfall! So, how are you recovering from that scratch?, " I asked as I gazed at him. "Oh, yeah, its okay, I still need to go to Tanglefire everyday so she can put rose petal poultice on it to stop it from getting an infection... but wet fur is better then an infected wound!," he said optimistically. "Almost everybody in the Clan likes him. He is always so fun to be around!," I thought. "So, do you want to enjoy some fresh-kill later?," he hollered across the clearing. "Oh, I'd be more then happy!," said an unfamiliar voice. I looked over my shoulder to see Cheetahpaw strolling over to Lionpaw, her tail in the air. Anger bubbled inside of me as she looked over her shoulder and snickered deviously. "I was actually talking to Pixiepaw...," Lionpaw mewed as Cheetahpaw attempted to touch noses with him. I sighed with relief. "Uh, well, I can come with you guys right?," Cheetahpaw asked. "Uh, I guess so.," Lionpaw looked passed Cheetahpaw to me and said "In two hours!". "Pixiepaw! Hurry up!," Lavenderstripe meowed angrily. "Yeah, two hours! I gotta go or else Lavenderstripe will rip my fur off!," I called over my shoulder as I ran across the clearing.

Chapter Three

Determination burned my pelt as I stalked a vole that was obliviously chewing on a sunflower seed. I slowly lifted a paw in the air but before I could put it down, a triumphant mew split through the forest. "Woo-hoo!!!!". The vole dashed away torward its hole. "Mouse dung!," I yowled in frustration. "Oh, I'm sorry, did I do that?," asked Cheetahpaw mockingly as she leaped out of the bushes with a squirrel in her mouth. "Yes, you did," Lavenderstripe meowed, clearly upset at Cheetahpaw for her out burst. "Well, I better go back to camp and show this squirrel to Lionpaw, he will want it much more then any pathetic mouse," she bragged, as she headed for the vine tunnels. I looked at my paws in embarrassment. "I guess she is right... Lionpaw won't want my mouse," I said sadly. "Oh, don't listen her. She is just seeking attention from others," Lavenderstripe mewed gently as she touched my shoulder with her tail. "Yeah, from Lionpaw mostly," the fur on my neck began to rise. "Oh, do I sense some competition here?," my mentor laughed happily. "Well, don't worry, she is doing it the wrong way. You'll understand some day," Lavenderstipe said reassuringly. "That is always your catch phrase. 'You'll understand someday'", I thought. I picked up my mouse and headed for camp. As I walked past the vines from our entrance, I saw Lionpaw across the clearing telling some thing to Cheetahpaw. As I got closer, I heard him say "But shouldn't we wait for Pixiepaw? We promised we'd all eat some fresh-kill together". "Well, if she is late, that is her own fault!," I heard Cheetahpaw mew irritably. I grasped my mouse in my teeth, as I trotted to the fresh-kill pile. "It's about time you got here! Gosh, we all would've gone hungry if you took any longer hunting!," Cheetahpaw said rudely. Lionpaw quickly jumped to my defense. "Hey, give her a break! It's her first day! I bet you took a long time hunting on your first day too!". Cheetahpaw stood there bewildered for a minute before saying "Hey, like my squirrel? I caught it just for you!," she said to Lionpaw. I just sat there, expecting him to take the plump squirrel in his teeth when he meowed "No thanks, I'm not that hungry for squirrel, I'll have Pixiepaws mouse". Cheetahpaws face fell and snatched her squirrel in her mouth and began to tear at it viciously. I just gulped down a few bites of vole when Leopardmask, a light gold she-cat, approached the three apprentices. "Cheetahpaw, did you feed the elders before you took that piece of fresh-kill?," she demanded angrily. "I-I thought I could eat first! I was hungry, and the elders don't do anything useful around here, so why should they get hungry?," Cheetahpaw stuttered nervously. "It's apart of the warrior code! So, since you did not act responsible, you are to check the elders for ticks for three sunrises!," Leopardmask hissed. Lionpaw and I just sat there in astonishment. Cheetahpaw sat up and hissed at her mentor with anger in her eyes. Lionpaw turned his gaze torwards me, and said "Mmmm... This is a delicious mouse! Great catch on your first day!," Lionpaw mewed happily. He sat up and began to groom himself. I did the same, and soon it was nightfall. I was about to pad torwards the apprentice den when he leaned forward and rubbed his head to my pelt. "Good night," he purred smoothly. He walked away, leaving me speechless, and a little bit dizzy. I looked across the clearing to see Cheetahpaw glaring me with narrowed eyes.

Chapter Four

It was a cold night, and I slowly padded to the apprentice den, my muscles sore from hunting. As I sat myself down on the soft moss next to Lionpaw, I was about to doze off when a paw prodded me in the rib. I wearily looked up to see Cheetahpaw staring at me. "Get out of my spot, you piece of mousedung!," she hissed through gritted teeth. I sat up and gave myself a quick grooming before Cheetahpaw pushed me roughly to the side. I stood there, my expression sad. Cheetahpaw tined her tail with Lionpaws tail. Once I finally found a dry spot, I felt a pelt brush against mine. I shot my head up to see that Lionpaw had moved next to me! I purred with delight as he warmed my cold fur. I looked at Cheetahpaw, she hissed with anger and hatred. I lowered my head in fear that the apprentice would leap at me at any moment. It wasn't long before I was sleeping peacefully, my breathing steady. I woke up to find myself in a strange clearing. The wind was blowing though my fur as I began to investigate the area. I soon heard a group of cats talking to each other. I strained to hear what they said. Then I saw four cats huddled together. "We have to wait. She just became an apprentice," said a large black tom with white spots on his pelt. "I demand we tell her, it won't be long until it needs to be fulfilled!," hissed a white she cat with green eyes. "What needs to be fulfilled?," I wondered. "I agree with Blizzardpelt, She just became an apprentice," mewed a light brown she cat with purple eyes. The tom called Blizzardpelt turned his head to the one cat who hadn't said anything. "What is your opinion Redsun?," asked Blizzardpelt. The cat Redsun ears twitched before he mewed "We have a visitor," waving his tail in my direction. The white she cat flattened her ears and hissed. Blizzardpelt turned his head to me and said "Come here right now."

Chapter Five

I froze as the four mysterious cats turned their heads to me. "Come here now," growled Blizzardpelt. I slowly slid into the clearing, my brown fur standing on end. The cat known as Redsun watched me with narrowed eyes. "What are you doing here?," asked a brown she cat. "Well, I'm trying to figure that out!," I hissed angrily. "Who are you cats?," I asked, my anger easing away. "I am Blizzardpelt," introduced the big black tom. "I'm Frostgrass," the white she cat said rudely. "I'm Siningeyes," said the brown she cat with purple eyes. "I'm your grandmother," she added, her voice smooth as honey. My eyes widened with surprise. "My grandmother?," I thought. I turned my head to the remaining cat. He looked down at the grass. Blizzardpelt sighed in irritation. "And this is Redsun," Blizzardpelt mewed, annoyed. "Where are we?," I asked looking around at the strange plants and scents. "This is Whispering Hills. It is a place for StarClan cats to talk secretly," replied Frostgrass. I was about to ask another question when all of the cats faded, the reek of blood filled my nostrils as the grassy floor beneath me vanished completely and I began to fall. I screeched for help, but nothing came out except air. I landed on something wet and sticky. Lifting my head, I yowled in fear as I saw that the substance was blood. It was plastered to my fur, I screeched as I drowned in a pool of scarlet red water. My chest burned for air, but as I sank deeper, a cat appeared in front me. I soon realized the cat was Redsun, the quiet cat. "Evil eyes prey on a helpless clan, blood shall be spilled, and the end comes near," he mewed solemnly. I jerked awake as Lionpaw licked my ears rapidly. "Wake up! Wake up! Please!," I heard him cry out worriedly. My eyes drooped sleepily. "She's awake!," he announced. I looked around to find myself in the dark medicine cat den. Tanglefire pushed through a crowd of cats. "Move over! Medicine cat coming through!," Tanglefire growled irritably. She held fire lilly leaves in her jaws. "What happened?," I asked weakly. My body ached from head to tail. "You stopped breathing in your sleep. You were screaming the word 'blood' repeatedly," Lionpaw replied. "My kit!". I recognized the sweet voice of my mother, Oceantail. She shoved other cats out of the way. She leaned over my small body whispering "Pixiepaw! Are you alright?". She licked my fur with relief in her eyes. Tanglefire approached me quickly, grasping herbs in her teeth. "Here. Swallow this," she mewed softly. "Fuzzypaw, go to the warriors den and fetch Hawkbreath. Tell him to get me some more fire lilly leaves," she hollered to her apprentice. "Oh, o-okay," Fuzzypaw stammered fearfully. He padded out of the cave, heading torward the warrior cats den. "Get some rest. I'll ask Lionpaw to watch guard on you," Tanglefire mewed sweetly. Lionpaw trotted into the den, his expression relieved. He walked up to me, carefully licking my head. I stifled a weak purr as I slowly drifted into a deep sleep. "...The end comes near...," I heard the misty words echo in my mind.

Chapter Six

"Pixiepaw! Wake up you stupid furball!," a voice rang in my ears as a slowly woke up from a deep sleep. My head ached as I lazily lifted my head. My eyes widened in surprise to see Cheetahpaw standing before me with a mouse in her jaws. "Are you going to stare at me all day, or are you going to speak?," she asked in a snobby voice. I shook my head, snapping out of my state of shock. "S-Sorry," I stuttered. Cheetahpaw rolled her eyes. "I, uh, brought you a mouse. Just eat it, don't look at it. Ok?," she mewed quickly. I just looked on, my expression still unreadable. I weakly sniffed at the mouse, but hunger knawed at my belly, urging me to take a bite. I leaned forward cautiously to take a bite, but before I could sink my teeth in to the prey, Lionpaw burst into the cave, his blue eyes filled with worry and anger. "Cheetahpaw! You almost fed Pixiepaw that mouse! You know it had maggots feasting in it!," he hissed furiously at Cheetahpaw as he pushed the maggot infested mouse out of the cave. "Oh! My dear! I'm SO sorry! I didn't realize you meant THAT mouse, I thought you meant the one outside of the cave entrance!," she mewed in a tone of fake worry. I narrowed my eyes angrily as she smirked. "Get out! You know she needs her rest!," Lionpaw mewed to Cheetahpaw. Cheetahpaw padded out of the cave, her tail in the air. "Actually Lionpaw, Pixiepaw needs to get out, and get some fresh air, she can visit her mother in the nursery, check in on her sisters and the other apprentices, and maybe say hello to Badgerstar, he has been looking very lonely since Icefeather died. He needs the attention," mewed Tanglefire as she approached the two cats. "Okay Tanglefire," replied Lionpaw. My eyes lit up at the thought of leaving the dark and depressing cave. "Okay, here, I'll help you stand up," said Lionpaw as he walked torward me. I shakily stood up, my fur ruffled by the moss nest. I leaned on Lionpaws golden fur, his pelt against mine. I staggered out of the cave, the sunlight shining in my eyes. "Where do you want to go first?," Lionpaw asked as he gently nudged me. I snapped my head up, the urge to dash torwards the apprentice den made me blurt out "The apprentices den!". Lionpaw stifled a mrrow of laughter as we made our way across the clearing. "Hey! Give me that piece of moss! It's mine!," I heard the familiar high pitched mew of my sister Skypaw. She was in the den, chasing Leafpaw playfully. "You'll have to catch me for it!," I heard my other sister Leafpaw reply under a mouthful of wet moss. I looked farther into the den to see the familiar amber eyes of Elkpaw, a senior apprentice, watching Leafpaw trot around with the moss dangling from her jaws with admiration and passion in his eyes. "Hi Pixiepaw!," the voice of my sister shattered my thoughts. I looked up and saw my sisters padding torwards me, smiles spread across their faces. "We miss you so much! The den is so cold without you helping to warm it up!," Skypaw exclaimed. "I know! When I woke up, I thought it was snowing because it was so cold!," Leafpaw added. "Yeah, it's not so warm in the medicine cat cave either...," I replied happily. The conversation continued until Lionpaw mewed "We better get going, Tanglefire wanted Pixiepaw to stretch her legs, and I don't think I can operate as a stand for much longer!". I laughed before I said goodbye to my littermates. I turned to my right and saw Hawkbreath staring at Fuzzypaw, his eyes burning. He turned his gaze out me, and he mumbled something underneath his breath before padding away to join a hunting patrol. As we got closer to the nursery, cries of hungry kits indicated that everyone was awake. "Momma! I wanna get out of here! It is so boring in here! I want to become an apprentice like Pixiepaw!," I heard the highpitched mew of Rock-kit. As I entered the nursery, the scent of milk immediately filled my nostrils. I leaned on Lionpaw before having to dogde an army of curious kits. Questions like "How are you?" and "Whats it like being an apprentice?" filled my mind before one question made me stop in my tracks. "Ooh, are you and Lionpaw in looove?," asked the familiar inquisitive voice of Daisykit. Her eyes sparkled joyfully. Lionpaws eyes widened at the question, and my fur began to prickle in embarrassment. "Daisykit! Don't be so rude! Come here!," said Dawnsplash, and cream coloured queen. "Mom!!!," whined Daisykit. "Hello Pixiepaw, how are you feeling?," my mothers mew came from the end of the nursery. "Hi, Mom, I'm okay, I can be better...," I replied weakly. Her eyes were filled with concern. "I'm fine! Really Mom!," I mewed. She just blinked her eyes slowly. "I'm sorry. I'm just very upset that you have sleep paralysis," she replied, her eyes clouding with sadness. I managed to lean forward to lick my mother over her ear lovingly. She did the same and looked over to Lionpaw, and mewed "Thank you very much Lionpaw. If you weren't there to revive Pixiepaw, I don't know what would've happened," she said. My belly rumbled from hunger, and apparently it was loud enough for Lionpaw to hear. "Oceantail, we're gonna get some fresh-kill and eat with Badgerstar, you know how he is now that Icefeather is gone," he mewed calmly. His warmth wreathed around me like a blanket of protection. She did nothing but nod her head respectfully.

Chapter Seven

Nightfall approached as Pixiepaw and Lionpaw sluggishly padded torwards the medicine cat den, Lionpaws feet feeling as if they would fall off at any moment... "Did you notice that Badgerstar kept staring at me? He sorta creeped me out...," I mewed sleepily, my eyes drooping. "Yeah, he kept looking over to you whenever I said something... I hope he's well...," Lionpaw yawned. I nudged him as Tanglefire trotted torwards us. "Thank you Lionpaw. You must be exhausted. You can sleep in tomorrow, and if Mousepath has an issue with that, tell him to bring it up with me," Tanglefire mewed cheerfully. I nodded to Lionpaw before gently rubbing on his pelt in thanks. He purred back, his beautiful blue eyes shining. I staggered torward my moss bed, I my eyes dull with exhaustion. As I positioned myself in my moss bed, I noticed Fuzzypaw trembling in his own bed. I leaned over and gently poked him with my paw. His head shot up quickly, his eyes crazed and filled with fear. I backed away, my brown fur on end. "Fuzzypaw! Are you okay?," I whispered to the frightened apprentice. He turned his head to me, and said "I-I'm fine..." before snapping his head to the warriors den. I craned my neck to see what he was staring at, but before I could ask, Fuzzypaw smacked his tail to my mouth to silence me. Fuzzypaw slowly removed his tail from my mouth and mewed "Be very quiet... follow me". I struggled to get myself together before Fuzzypaw grasped my scruff and stood me up. "Thanks," I whispered. He rolled his eyes before quietly padding out of the den. I cocked my head sideways, wondering what the apprentice was up to. As I slowly made my way to the entrance, but an air spliting screech erupted from the nursery. I ran to the nursery to find a huddle of queens and warriors circling something. I managed to make my way through the crowd to see the body of a cat. I felt the world begin to crumble around me as I recognized the beautiful, sweet gray fur of my mother, spattered with scarlet red blood. Her eyes stared lifelessy into the roof of cave. I looked around to see many eyes of queens eyeing Fuzzypaw suspiciously, as Fuzzypaw was covered in blood, his eyes frozen on the dead queen. "You! You did this!!," I heard the shriek of my father, Stealthleap. He leaped at the apprentice, his sharp claws unsheathed and ready to kill the small apprentice. But Sandshadow, the deputy, pinned my father down before he could injure Fuzzypaw. I stared at my mother, feeling a cold emptiness in my heart.

Chapter Eight

I could hear my blood pulsing through my veins as I looked past the nursery bushes to see a trail of bloody paw marks on the fresh soil. I feebly sniffed at the substence, my nose wrinkling at the pungeant scent of LeafClan. Stealthleap sat beside my mothers' corpse with his head hanging low. I looked to my right and saw Fuzzypaw standing far in the corner of the nursery. His usually fluffly and vibrant fur was now dull, and looked ungroomed. His eyes drooped, and his breathing was quick and steady. "He probably needs the most comfort now" I thought to myself. I tiptoed towards the apprentice, sitting next to him. I noticed he was mumbling to himself in a quiet, sober tone. "I didn't do it... I didn't do it. It wasn't me...," his voice was hushed and grim. I gently leaned onto him, his cold fur sent shivers down my spine. I began to groom his dingy fur. Trying to calm the frightened apprentice, I forced a purr to rumble out of my throat. He turned his head toward me, and smiled his crooked smile. "Thanks...," he said calmly. I continued to groom the un-nerved apprentice when a familiar stinging pain shot through my dainty body. I held in a screech of anguish, the pain increasing by the minute. Fuzzypaw immediately noticed my reaction and jumped into action. "Tanglefire! Quick! Pixiepaw is paralyzed!," he yowled across the clearing, getting the attention of the clan. Tanglefire leaped into the medicine cat den and came bounding out with herbs grasped within her teeth. I lay on the floor, my tail puffed up, and my muscles stiff. The medicine cat leaned over me and squirted the juice of assorted flowers into my gaping mouth. I gasped at the agony, more shots of pain flowing through my body. That's when my body couldn't fight back much longer. My eyes snapped shut, and darkness swirled around me until the only sound I could hear was my own heartbeat.

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