- This is the sequel to Hatching, so if you haven't read that read it first! Please?
- And also this is set in the old forest.
- This entire series is the sequel series to Transformer. If you haven't read that, read it first, before you even attempt to read this!
- Anyway, if you're all caught up, have fun reading! Forests are life
- I yowled in disbelief as I stared at Cinderstripe's body.
- The rest of ThunderClan came running.
- Gorsestar saw it first. "No!" he screeched. "Cinderstripe!"
- The Clan gasped.
- "Why did she have to die?" Gorsestar wailed.
- "She saved me!" I yowled. "The dog leaped at me-"
- "Why didn't you save her, then?" Gorsestar spat.
- "The dog was too fast!" I spat back. "And I'm only an apprentice!"
- "Stop," Waterheart hissed. "Ravenpaw did nothing wrong."
- Gorsestar hissed back, but Waterheart continued.
- "Cinderstripe chose her own death, by defending him."
- I blinked in sudden gratitude. I knew what Cinderstripe had done, but this was the first time I had really thought about it.
- Hawkpaw approached me and nuzzled my flank. "You fought well today."
- "So did you," I replied.
- Hawkpaw purred and quickly stopped as Crowpaw approached.
- "Ravenpaw could have saved himself," he yowled over the voices in the crowd. "Because he's a great fighter."
- "What's your problem?" I spat.
- "What's yours?" the gray apprentice spat back.
- "I don't have one!" I hissed. "You've been angry at every cat since the day I fought you in the training hollow! So what? I beat you!" My voice rose to a yowl as I added, "Get over it! It doesn't make a difference, Crowpaw! You can always learn!"
- Every cat stopped talking as Crowpaw unsheathed his claws.
- "Crowpaw," I hissed, "what are you doing?"
- "I'm fighting you again," Crowpaw snarled, "for real."
- I hissed and leaped away. "We're brothers!"
- "So?" Crowpaw spat.
- "Stop!" Hawkpaw screeched. "Crowpaw, Ravenpaw did nothing wrong. It's training, for StarClan's sake! If you don't like losing, then maybe you shouldn't be a warrior."
- Hawkpaw looked away from me as he spoke. I wondered what he was thinking.
- Crowpaw hissed and weaved through the crowd to be at the front.
- Suddenly I heard Bearface mutter beside me, "Cinderstripe had no apprentice! Who will be the medicine cat now?"
- But one cat had the answer.
- "I volunteer to be the medicine cat of ThunderClan," Crowpaw announced.
- Hawkpaw and I stared at each other before racing to our brother. "You can't go!" Hawkpaw breathed. "Not while you're training."
- "I have to," Crowpaw mumbled back. "It'll only be until tomorrow, and then I'm coming back."
- I sighed. "Well, try and make it back before tomorrow."
- The gray apprentice nodded solemnly. "I'll try."
- Crowpaw was going away to ShadowClan to fetch Leafclaw, the ShadowClan medicine cat. He had been informed by StarClan, according to Gorsestar, that his sister was dead, and he was to report to ThunderClan when the new apprentice came to him. His apprentice was a full medicine cat now, and ShadowClan could spare him.
- Crowpaw sighed. "I just wish that Cinderstripe hadn't died."
- "You're doing it for the good of the Clan," I encouraged. "You'll be a great medicine cat."
- "Not when my destiny is to be a warrior!" Crowpaw replied.
- Hawkpaw sighed. "I just wish that Cinderstripe had an apprentice."
- Crowpaw nodded.
- "Maybe you can train to be a warrior, too!" I burst out.
- Crowpaw stared at me. "What's the point?" he asked.
- I sighed. "It was just an idea," I mumbled.
- "A bad one," Crowpaw muttered. He raised his voice. "I'm going to go now."
- We all said goodbye, and Crowpaw left.
A gray cat appeared in front of me.
"Cinderstripe?" I asked, astonished. "You look... different."
The cat snorted. "How different?" they asked.
"You look younger," I explained. "Stronger. Happier."
The cat nodded. "In a way, I am."
Cinderstripe had stars in her fur. Her long gray fur was shiny and sleek, like a well-fed cat. Her muscles flexed as she moved even the slightest. And she had a large scar.
Cinderstripe looked at me, and the scar. "From saving you," she explained.
I sighed. "I'm sorry," I whispered. "If I hadn't-"
"You did nothing wrong." Cinderstripe mewed, interrupting me. "In a way, I also saved Hawkpaw and Crowpaw."
"How?" I asked.
"Their grief from losing you. You don't realize it, but they respect you. You would be a loss to ThunderClan.
"And, Crowpaw's anger at you. You saved him, and he has no regrets." Cinderstripe finished happily.
I stared at my paws. "If I had never beaten him, he would still be a warrior. He would still be happy, and in a way, none of this would of happened."
"You're not here to talk about this," a voice snarled from the shadows. "You're here to tell him."
A brown cat, looking like an apprentice, stepped out from where he had spoken. "Hurry up, Cinderstripe," he snarled.
"Who are you?" I asked.
The cat stared at me. "Your mother's friend," he replied. "My name is Smoothpaw."
I gasped. "So it's true?"
The brown cat nodded. "ThunderClan captured me and I escaped, but drowned in the river on my way home to WindClan."
I grunted. "What do you have to tell me?"
Smoothpaw and Cinderstripe looked at each other. "Well..." Cinderstripe began.
"After you were born, I told your mother about the prophecy about you and your littermates," Smoothpaw explained. "I promised her to tell the cat that it was about them when a huge loss, yet a larger gain, occured. I meant this."
"Your death was...?" I trailed off in a question.
"I didn't know," Cinderstripe told me. "I didn't know that it was me, the loss. I didn't know who it was."
"It's me," I mewed, thinking out loud. "It's me, and you're going to tell me the prophecy."
The two StarClan cats nodded.
A voice suddenly came from Smoothpaw's mouth, but it wasn't his.
The prophecy was spoken. He will not take off until his threat has been exterminated.
And I knew who it was.
- Crowpaw crouched, his tail flicking.
- He was just outside the ShadowClan camp, hoping a patrol would come out soon.
- What's the point of this? Crowpaw snarled inside his head. I'm a medicine cat now.
- "Not in front of us," a voice said.
- Crowpaw whirled around. "Who are you?" he spat. "And how did you know what I was thinking?"
- A brown cat with stars in their fur blinked. "Calm down," it hissed. "I'm Smoothpaw, from StarClan."
- Crowpaw blinked. "You're Smoothpaw?"
- The brown cat nodded. "Yes."
- "What do you want?" Crowpaw asked, his tone softening.
- "Well, I'm going to guide you as you become a medicine cat," Smoothpaw explained. "I never became one. I was close, though. I was captured before..."
- Crowpaw sighed. "Fine," he murmured. "You can do what you want, but don't expect me to listen to you."
- "Well, your first lesson is to not be so rude. No cat will respect you if you're rude."
- "I've got an excuse to be rude!" Crowpaw hissed. "I gave up being a warrior for this." He flicked his tail to his surroundings.
- Smoothpaw hissed. "Some cat is coming." Suddenly he was gone.
- And Crowpaw faced ShadowClan alone.
- Hawkpaw blinked his eyes open at a twitch in the nest next to his.
- Stop it, Crowpaw! he thought, annoyed.
- He felt his fur grow warm as he remembered that Crowpaw was away for the night. Ravenpaw was sleeping next to him, now. He was twitching in his sleep as he was dreaming.
- Strange, Hawkpaw thought as he fell asleep again.
There were yowls of terror as the ShadowClan cats entered the camp, spreading out to face the individual cats.
Waterheart screeched in terror. "Kits! Come here!"
We obeyed, and I was the last to her, attempting to see outside, where I could hear the sounds of fighting.
Birdheart was with her kits, too. Grasskit, Sunkit, and Sparrowkit.
I remembered Sparrowkit and how he played with me, while Grasskit and Sunkit always played with Hawkkit and Crowkit.
We remained by our mother's side for most of the battle. Until one ShadowClan cat yowled, "Clawtooth! The nursery!"
A jet-black cat appeared in the entrance. His claws and teeth were covered in blood. His expression hardened as all the cats in the nursery turned to him.
I instinctively rushed forward, out of Waterheart's reach. She screeched in terror, but I didn't bother to turn back.
I positioned myself in the entrance, in front of Clawtooth. "It's against the warrior code to harm kits," I growled.
Clawtooth pushed me aside, and I tumbled across the nursery, skidding to a stop. I heard a screech - was it in here, or out there? I couldn't tell.
But I soon had my answer. I looked up into Clawtooth's face, and he growled, "You'll never forget me."
And then came ShadowClan's yowl of retreat. Clawtooth rushed out of the nursery, sending moss flying.
I turned towards Birdheart. And I saw blood.
She's hurt! I thought, rushing over.
But it wasn't Birdheart.
It was Sparrowkit.
He was dead.
- I gasped as I sat up, sending my nest flying all over the den. I was out of the den in a heartbeat, rushing to the nursery...
- Barktail was in it, with a swollen belly.
- And as I remembered that it was a memory, I sat and licked my chest fur.
- I would always be too late.
- Hawkpaw's eyes hardened when I told him about my dream. "I remember that day," he mewed. "I hate him."
- "Me, too."
- "I can't help but remember... how he shoved you..." Hawkpaw trailed off, giving me a troubled look. "You have to kill him."
- "I don't kill," I growled.
- "That's because you haven't," Hawkpaw retorted.
- "I'd remember Sparrowkit,"I growled.
- Hawkpaw sighed. "Birdheart is taking me out to work on my hunting crouch. She invited you and Snaketail."
- I shook my head. "I don't want to come," I mumbled. "Go ahead."
- The brown apprentice nodded, and ran over to Birdheart, who was waiting by the warrior's den.
- Brackenclaw, ThunderClan's deputy and Waterheart's father, approached me. "What's the matter, Ravenpaw?"
- I sighed. "Just a dream..."
- Brackenclaw blinked. "What about?" he prompted, sitting down next to me. His golden-brown bur rippled with the breeze that blew by, and I wondered how Waterheart got her black fur.
- "It was about that attack on ThunderClan camp... when I was a kit."
- Brackenclaw nodded. "That was quite a surprise," he agreed. "Thank StarClan we only lost one cat - Sparrowkit."
- I lowered my head.
- "You saw it, didn't you?" Brackenclaw asked suddenly.
- I nodded, looking into his eyes. They looked troubled, but they also sparked with happiness, somehow.
- "You look happy," I mewed.
- "I just met with my mate, Blackpelt, in StarClan."
- I now knew where Waterheart's black fur came from.
- "What did she look like?"
- "She was jet-black, with light blue eyes... like the moon, somehow." Brackenclaw purred, remembering his mate. "But she was killed in a border fight, right before... Waterkit disappeared."
- "How did she get back?" I asked.
- "I captured her, as an enemy. With that other apprentice, Smoothpaw. By then, he was calling her - just - Water."
- "They were friends."
- Brackenclaw nodded. "At least, that's what they looked like."
- I purred.
- "But I talked to Gorsestar, and I made him accept Waterheart again, with Smoothpaw."
- "How?" I asked.
- "I threatened to leave the Clan."
- I nodded. "Waterheart says you were a great warrior, then."
- Brackenclaw shuffled his feet. "And... well... we were littermates."
- "Mudstar, Gorsestar, and Brackenclaw," I mewed. "Strange, you aren't leader."
- Brackenclaw hissed. "Don't remind me."
- I blinked. "Sorry."
- Waterheart approached us. "Hi," she mewed happily. "Crowpaw's coming home soon."
- "With Leafclaw," I added.
- "Going to Leafclaw is how I met Snaketail," Waterheart informed me. "I haven't seen him since, except at Gatherings, and I never talked to him there."
- "Why not?" I asked.
- Waterheart glanced at me. "No reason."
- Just then a yowl of "Crowpaw!" interrupted our conversation.
- Crowpaw was standing by the tunnel, with a cat, who was obviously Leafclaw, behind him.
- "Hi, Crowpaw," I purred.
- Crowpaw looked at me. "Hi."
- "Hi, Crowpaw," I mumbled.
- Leafclaw looked at me. "Waterheart, you look young."
- I purred. "No, I'm Ravenpaw. Waterheart's over there."
- Leafclaw looked over to her. "Oh," he mewed. "Who's the cat she's sitting with?"
- "Our deputy, Brackenclaw. He's Waterheart's father," Hawkpaw explained.
- "I'll show you the medicine clearing," Crowpaw mewed to Leafclaw.
- Crowpaw led the way to the medicine den, while Leafclaw followed. Hawkpaw and I stayed behind.
- "I don't trust him," Hawkpaw growled. "I feel like something's about to happen."
- I touched him on the shoulder with my tail. "Leafclaw is outside normal Clan boundaries."
- Hawkpaw didn't look comforted. "I just suspect something..."
- I inhaled. Nothing smelled wrong. I could smell the faint scent of prey from the forest, and the ThunderClan cats around us.
- "There's nothing wrong," I mewed.
- Hawkpaw just stared at the medicine den before he walked away.
- A quarter-moon had passed. Leafclaw was beginning to settle in, and Hawkpaw was beginning to become uneasy.
- "Any day now," he mewed darkly.
- "Hawkpaw, nothing's wrong," I spat.
- Suddenly, Gorsestar jumped up. "ThunderClan, to me!" he yowled.
- And the horrible scent of ShadowClan hit my nose.
- I ran to Gorsestar, hissing and growling, as ShadowClan charged straight through the tunnel.
- Gorsestar tackled Bigstar, and the fight began.
- An apprentice rushed at me, and I fought back. I let my claws scrape her neck, killing her instantly.
- I left her, searching for the only cat that I wanted to fight.
- Instead, Rustlefoot screeched and raced towards me.
- I ducked as she jumped, feeling her jump over my head.
- Rustlefoot grunted as she landed.
- She spun around and attacked me, but I stepped to one side and let her run by.
- Rustlefoot was definitely angry now. I could see it all over her.
- She tried one more time, racing straight at me, but I jumped and landed on her.
- Rustlefoot let her breath out with a gasp.
- Then I saw him, fighting Runningfoot.
- I raced over. "He's mine," I snarled at Runningfoot, then I leaped on the enemy.
- Clawtooth's legs buckled with my sudden weight, then he regained his balance and fought back.
- "You'll die," Clawtooth growled.
- I grunted in reply as I clawed him across the face.
- Clawtooth screeched in pain and retaliated; I felt his claws scrape my belly.
- I didn't cry out in pain. Stay strong, I told myself as I got off of Clawtooth, regaining my breath as I stared him down. Stay strong for the Clan.
- I heard a screech across the clearing, and I realized that Waterheart was now locked in a battle with Bigstar.
- "Go help her," I spat at Runningfoot, who was staring at me in disbelief.
- Runningfoot obeyed.
- "You're good- for an apprentice," Clawtooth growled. "Did you get extra training or something, little kit?"
- "No," I spat.
- "Do you have a good mentor?" Clawtooth asked. "I must know your secret, so I can destroy it."
- "Never!" I screeched, and I leaped at him.
- We fought, and I eventually gained the advantage.
- Clawtooth struggled out from underneath me, spitting in disgust.
- "I'm too good for you, little apprentice," Clawtooth spat. "But I'm better than him," he added, spinning around as Gorsestar ran by.
- Clawtooth clawed Gorsestar in the throat, causing him to collapse and skid across the clearing.
- "Gorsestar!" Brackenclaw screeched. "No!"
- Gorsestar lay in one place, breathing heavily as blood gushed out of his mouth, nose and throat.
- "No," I mumubled. "No!"
- Gorsestar suddenly gasped, and lay still.
- He was dead.
End of Book 2
The next book will be called Taking Off.