- Hey, people! You can start reading here, or you can begin the story with Transformer, the original book. I honestly don't care.
- So, this book focuses on Waterheart's kits- born in the Epilogue of the last book, Peace or Pandemonium?.
- This story takes place in the old forest, so... yeah. Nothing new.
- Anyway, have fun reading! Forests are life
Prologue- The Strange Children
- John cut his way through the forest with his body, shrugging the branches and shrubs in his way aside.
- He came to a small clearing surrounded by a thin layer of branches, naturally shielding what was inside from his view.
- Pushing his way in, he saw a small pile of leaves - and three laughing children. One had black hair - almost like a raven - and another had light brown hair that reminded John of a hawk. The third boy had dark gray hair - like a crow.
- The gray-haired boy pushed the brown-haired boy into the pile of leaves.
- Almost instantly, the black-haired boy pointed at a bush that moved. The gray-haired boy moved away as the brown-haired boy stood up and shook all of the leaves off of him. A black cat appeared and the boys dipped their heads respectfully at it. The cat pointed with their tail and walked away, the three boys following her.
- What does this mean? John asked himself. But he didn't stop to think about it. He turned around and walked back through the forest, hoping to be home before dinner was served.
- I followed my mother as she led me back through the woods towards the ThunderClan camp. Our playtime was over.
- Next to me, my brother, Crowkit, whined, "Waterheart, why can't we play longer?"
- My mother replied without turning. "Because. You need sleep."
- "I don't!" Hawkkit mewed reproachfully.
- "Yes, you do!" I mewed.
- My brothers turned to look at me. "You're no fun," Crowkit mewed.
- "Yeah, Ravenkit," Hawkkit mewed. "You can take your nap while me and Crowkit explore."
- "But-" I stuttered. "That's not fair!" I whined.
- "Kits," Waterheart snarled, "you have a privilege that no other Clan kits get to enjoy. You get to leave the camp as kits without getting in trouble. Every other kit does. Please stop arguing, for your own sake."
- We were silent the rest of the way back home, until we reached the ravine leading down to the ThunderClan camp. Then I mewed, "I'll race you to the den!"
- My littermates stared at me in surprise, and then raced me down the hill, through the tunnel, and into the den.
- "I win," Hawkkit crowed. "I win, I win!"
- "You're fast, Hawkkit!" I panted.
- Crowkit nodded his agreement, and curled up in his nest. "I'm tired," he mumbled.
- "Well, I'm not," Hawkkit mewed loudly. "Come on, Ravenkit! Let's go play hunting!"
- Of course, we could all hunt for real, but it was more fun pretending. Hawkkit followed me as I raced out, but he beat me to the pile and grabbed a mouse.
- I bounced on my paws and mewed, "Throw it! Throw it!"
- Hawkkit did. The mouse flew high into the air... landing on Gorsestar, ThunderClan's leader.
- Oh, StarClan! I thought as I rushed over.
- Gorsestar turned and saw me as I rushed over. I was relieved to see that he was purring. "Is this yours?" he asked.
- I nodded.
- "Where's Crowkit?" Gorsestar asked, looking around.
- "He's asleep," I squeaked.
- "Waterheart took you out again, didn't she?" Gorsestar asked me.
- I was suddenly scared for my mother. I sat, refusing to say anything.
- Gorsestar twitched his whiskers at me. "It's okay, I let her."
- "Wait- you know?" I asked.
- "I do, Ravenkit," Gorsestar confirmed. "But it was a huge secret, and I don't blame her from hiding it."
- I glanced around. "Why not?"
- "Because. There's lots of reasons for a cat to hide something like that."
- "But now every cat knows, right?"
- Gorsestar nodded.
- "I can do it, too." I instantly regretted saying it.
- Gorsestar looked surprised. "I wondered why Waterheart took you out so much."
- "She says it's because she wants us to get used to it."
- "Ravenkit!" an accusing voice sounded. "Why aren't you in the nursery with Hawkkit and Crowkit?"
- I felt my fur growing hot as I waved my tail goodbye at Gorsestar and padded over to my mother.
- "We were worried about you!"
- "I was talking to Gorsestar!" I spat at her. "ThunderClan's leader! I can't get in trouble for that!"
- "Well, you are," Waterheart mewed. "Come on," she mewed, ushering me along.
- Did I make a mistake? I asked myself. But I knew I didn't. I just had to prove it.
- "Now creep forward."
- I watched as Snaketail, a warrior, crept forward, demonstrating the hunting technique to catch a mouse. (A/N- Snake-eye's warrior name, as described before in the last book, was changed from Snake-eye to Snaketail, after being bitten on the tail by a snake.)
- I crept forward, too, not knowing how to tell him I already knew how.
- "Good job!" Snaketail purred, straightening up.
- I watched as Crowpaw stared reproachfully at me and crept forward, under the careful watch of his mentor, Bearface.
- I watched as Bearface scampered forward and nudged Crowpaw's right flank to correct his balance.
- Purring, I turned back to Snaketail, who seemed lost in his thoughts. He was staring anxiously in the direction of the ThunderClan camp.
- "Snaketail?" I asked.
- The white cat turned, blinking as he realized he was still training his apprentice. "Sorry, Barktail just learned that she was going to have kits."
- I purred. "That's great."
- "Her brothers are so angry."
- Redfang and Blackheart, Barktail's brothers, had mooned over Waterheart until she mated with Runningfoot. Then they had grown angry and hostile, and nobody liked them.
- "That's no surprise," I mewed, replying to Snaketail's statement.
- Just then, Bearface padded over to us, with Crowpaw following him.
- "I challenge our apprentices to a fight," Bearface snarled.
- Snaketail glanced at me before turning to Bearface. "Ravenpaw will win."
- Crowpaw looked smug. He had three days of warrior training. I had one day of experience.
- "Fine," I snarled. I wasn't scared. Crowpaw would be nice.
- The mentors backed up as me and Crowpaw prepared to fight.
- Suddenly my littermate leaped at me, his claws sheathed. His dark gray pelt flashed in the sunlight.
- I dropped to the ground and kicked out hard. Crowpaw was thrown away as I got up, covered in dust.
- Next Crowpaw tried to dart past me; I reached out with a paw and dragged it along his flank.
- My littermate hissed. He didn't like losing, especially to me. I was the weakest of the litter in the beginning, and my littermates thought it should stay that way.
- Not in my life.
- Crowpaw leaped at me one more time. I threw myself to the ground, watching him sail over me.
- Crowpaw landed and turned to stare at me. I stared back.
- Snaketail and Bearface came forward and looked at us. "I guess we know who won," Bearface meowed loudly. "Good try, Crowpaw."
- My brother stared at me, hissed, and walked away.
- Bearface lashed his tail. "You won't win next time," he hissed, and he followed his apprentice.
- Snaketail looked at me. "You did great!" he yowled. "I didn't even teach you that, and when you threw Crowpaw, I was astonished. I've never seen that in battle before."
- I felt my pelt growing hot. "Thanks, Snaketail," I mumbled.
- Snaketail looked at me again. "If you're tired, we can take a break. I don't mind."
- "I'm not tired," I mewed loudly. "I want to train more."
- My mentor nodded, and settled into a battle position. "Try and get past me," he told me.
- And life in ThunderClan resumed.
- I walked back to camp after a long day of warrior training. Snaketail was beside me. His white pelt glowed in the faint sunlight.
- Entering the camp, I saw my littermates together with fresh-kill. Hawkpaw looked happy, he was describing something to Crowpaw. Crowpaw didn't seem to be listening.
- I padded over with a squirrel. "Hi," I mewed.
- "Hi, Ravenpaw!" Hawkpaw mewed. "I killed a squirrel today. First try," he added, with his mouth full of mouse.
- Crowpaw didn't say anything to me. He stood up. "Bellyache," he grunted. He pushed inside the den.
- Hawkpaw looked at me. "What's wrong with him?"
- "I beat him today."
- Hawkpaw blinked. "What?"
- "In warrior training," I explained. "After my one day of training, and his three, Bearface challenged me to fight with Crowpaw. I won, easily, and now Crowpaw's angry."
- Hawkpaw blinked again. "You beat Crowpaw... easily?" he asked.
- "Thanks," I mewed sarcastically.
- Just then, another apprentice, Grasspaw, came over. "Hi," she mewed. "Can I sit?" she asked, gesturing to where Crowpaw had been sitting.
- Hawkpaw shrugged; I nodded.
- Glaring at Hawkpaw, Grasspaw sat down next to me. She seemed unusually close, and I inched away. I saw Hawkpaw's eyes flash.
- Grasspaw looked at Hawkpaw. "Catch anything today?" she asked.
- "A squirrel!" Hawkpaw mewed proudly. "On my first try," he added with a glance at me.
- "I can hunt, too," I told him.
- Hawkpaw glared at me, his green eyes telling me to be quiet. "We've had the same amount of training."
- Grasspaw looked confused.
- "It's nothing," I told her. "Calm down."
- Grasspaw's green eyes flashed. "Okay."
- Does she think something? I asked myself. I changed the subject. "Barktail is going to have kits."
- Grasspaw purred. "I can't wait until I have kits."
- I looked at her. "Why?"
- "Because kits are adorable. They're cute, and they're too young to be mean." Grasspaw scuffed her paws on the hard earth. "I would love kits."
- Hawkpaw blinked at me. I stared from him to Grasspaw. What were they thinking?
- I looked at Grasspaw's white pelt and rust-colored paws. A question flashed through my head.
- Hawkpaw flicked his tail. "I'm hungry. I'm going to get some more fresh-kill. I'll be back."
- I nodded. When my littermate padded away, I saw my chance.
- "Who was your father?" I asked Grasspaw.
- She stared at me. "Goldfoot," she mewed.
- I gasped. "Birdheart- and Goldfoot?"
- The she-cat nodded. "It's not really a big deal."
- "Goldfoot was banned!" I whispered furiously. "What if another cat finds out?"
- "What's so bad about Goldfoot?" Grasspaw asked. She looked confused.
- My mother had told me tales of her life, before us. "Goldfoot tried to drown Waterheart!"
- The she-cat hissed. "That's not a reason to hate him."
- I snarled back. "It is, Grasspaw. Don't you understand?"
- "No," Grasspaw mewed. "There's no reason why I should."
- I thought of Birdheart's other kit- Sunpaw. He had been named after the kit that perished when RiverClan attacked during my mother's warrior vigil.
- Or taken, at least.
- Now Sunkit- now Sunfoot, after his father, was a warrior of RiverClan. His orange pelt stood out from the other RiverClan warriors'- they were all white, gray, and black. And one was blue-gray.
- Nobody in ThunderClan noticed he was gone until a time Waterheart was out of the camp. Nobody had mentioned it to her.
- Now Sunpaw- Birdheart's kit- was training to be a warrior. He had orange feet, like Grasspaw, but the rest of him was brown. It had never been seen in the Clans before.
- "Sunpaw knows, too," I mewed out loud.
- Grasspaw, who was still sitting with me, replied. "Obviously. He's my littermate."
- Neither of us mentioned the third.
I crept forward, the leaves littering the ground barely brushing against my fur.
I glanced around at my surroundings, holding the package well above the ground. I transformed into a child, looking about 14 years old.
I walked forward, now holding the package in my hand. My clothes were where they were supposed to be - a sweatshirt, t-shirt, jeans. They were too small.
I put them on and continued my journey.
I entered the store, the bell ringing loud and clear.
I glanced at the blue sweatshirt with a logo on it- I couldn't read what it said.
I looked for the sale rack. I needed these clothes. I needed them.
The jeans that fit me were $20. But I had $2.56.
"Excuse me," I said to the woman behind the desk. "These are expensive."
She laughed. "Kid, these are a deal."
What's a deal? I asked in my head. But I didn't dare say it out loud. Waterheart had taught us well in this category.
"I only have this," I said, holding out the bag of change. "How am I supposed to buy clothes?"
The woman stared at me. "Who are you?"
I almost said, "Ravenpaw," but I stopped myself. "Um..."
"You don't know your name?" the woman asked.
"It's, um, Raven."
"I named myself. After a bird."
"Are you homeless?" the woman asked.
I didn't know what that meant, but I nodded, hoping it would give me sympathy.
It did. "Oh, you poor child," the woman said. She got up. "Here, do these fit you? Yes. Take them. For free. And this shirt. Isn't it cool? And, oh, this sweatshirt. It's blue. Do you like blue? After all, your eyes are blue." The woman stopped talking, staring at me.
I stood there, with an armful of clothes. "What now?" I asked.
"Change," the woman directed me.
I put on the new clothes in a small room with a bench and a mirror. The woman called it a "dressing room". The humans had a special room just to dress in?
I stared at myself in the mirror. My black hair was wild. I flattened it with a hand. My blue eyes reflected back at me in the mirror. I blinked, and my reflection blinked back.
- I sat up. I stared at my paws, which stood out in the light of day.
- I was a cat again, and I was having trouble liking it.
- The only light was the one in the sky- the full moon. The light shone between the four trees surrounding me.
- I was at the Gathering beside Hawkpaw. Crowpaw was at the camp.
- Waterheart approached us. "Don't talk to warriors. Just apprentices," she added. "And say little."
- I nodded, and Hawkpaw's eyes flashed before he followed.
- The first cat from another Clan I saw was a she-cat, from ShadowClan. She had a beautiful orange-brown pelt.
- Snaketail was talking to her.
- I padded up to my mentor. "Hi, Snaketail."
- "Hi, Ravenpaw!" Snaketail mewed. He turned to the ShadowClan cat. "This is the apprentice I was telling you about. Ravenpaw."
- The she-cat hissed. "Is this one of Waterheart's kits?"
- "One of three," Snaketail replied. Turning to me, he mewed, "Ravenpaw, this is Rustlefoot. My sister."
- "I like your name," I commented.
- Rustlefoot looked at me. "I do, too."
- Snaketail looked at me. "What do you hope your warrior name will be?" he asked.
- "Something with..." I thought of something. "Raven... Ravenwing."
- Rustlefoot rolled her eyes. "Apprentice dreams. You're probably going to get something like Ravenfur. Boring."
- "What was your dream name?" Snaketail asked.
- "I didn't bother," Rustlefoot replied.
- I sighed, seeing my mother talking to a gray cat from a different Clan. "I've got to go," I mewed. I padded away, the siblings staring at me as I headed towards my mother.
- Waterheart purred as I approached. "Mistheart, this is Ravenpaw. One of my kits."
- "He looks like you," Mistheart commented.
- "He's the only one," Waterheart replied. "Hawkpaw got a brown pelt, and Crowpaw got a gray one. I have no idea why, though."
- Runningfoot's pelt was brown. Waterheart's was black.
- Mistheart looked at me. "He even has your blue eyes. Like a pool of water."
- Waterheart blinked. "How are your kits?"
- "Fishpaw is fine. So is Graypaw. But I'm starting to see that Stonepaw is getting angry with his mentor."
- "Who is his mentor?" Waterheart asked.
- "Treestar himself," Mistheart replied. "I'm so proud."
- I blinked. Why would a leader mentor a cat? They have better things to do.
- Just then, the RiverClan leader, Treestar, yowled to start the meeting. The cats in the clearing were quiet as he spoke. "Nothing is new in RiverClan," the brown leader mewed. "Life is RiverClan is well."
- Next, it was Gorsestar's turn to speak. Stepping forward, he mewed, "We have three new apprentices- Crowpaw, Ravenpaw, and Hawkpaw."
- There were mews all around as cats congratulated us.
- "Nothing else is-"
- Birdheart was there, panting, at the top of the hill. I remembered that she hadn't been chosen to go to the Gathering.
- "Birdheart!" Gorsestar snarled. "Go back to camp!"
- "Not without you! We need you!" Birdheart screeched. "Come on!"
- Gorsestar made a decision. "We must go," he yowled. "ThunderClan! To me!" He jumped off the Great Rock and led us to the camp.
- From a distance, I could hear the screeches of a fight.
- And then I heard barking.
- Our camp was being attacked by dogs.
- I bounded into the camp. ThunderClan was fighting fiercely, but it wasn't enough.
- Waterheart was the first cat from the Gathering to approach a dog. Screeching in anger, she ran towards the dog nearest to her and leaped on it, saving Bearface from another cut.
- The rest of us followed us. I rushed over to where Crowpaw was fighting a dog - all on his own - and leaped on it, followed closely by Hawkpaw.
- Crowpaw glared at me before rushing in again. He clawed the dog along the side before rushing off to help defend the nursery.
- Hawkpaw screeched in terror as the dog we were fighting leaped towards him, growling.
- With a yowl of fury, I leaped on the dog. The dog attempted to fight back, but I continued to move away from its attacks, but attacking it.
- Hawkpaw looked astonished, and then joined in the fight.
- Brackenclaw, Waterheart's father, joined in the fight, as well.
- He stopped me, panting, as I moved in to attack the angry creature again. "You're flying, Ravenpaw! Not really, but... you're almost like a bird."
- I gasped for breath; Brackenclaw jumped on the dog.
- Now it was three against one as I jumped in, too. We fought and the dog whined in agony.
- The dog howled as I clawed its face, and i ran out of the camp, smashing the barrier surrounding it.
- One dog, many to go.
- I separated from my kin as we raced in to help other warriors with their fights.
- Cinderstripe was attempting to fight a dog by herself, avoiding the blows that the dog sent at her.
- "Cinderstripe!" I yowled. "What are you doing?"
- "Fighting for my Clan!" the medicine cat replied.
- With a pang I realized she didn't have an apprentice. She would have to stay safe.
- I leaped on the dog, not bothering to size it up. I was instantly thrown aside as the dog turned on Cinderstripe again.
- "No!" I yowled, jumping again.
- I clawed the dog.
- The dog turned on me, growling, and lept forward.
- "No!" a voice screeched. A body flew in front of me, deflecting the dog.
- The dog brought its claw down on the cat, and howled. Instantly the dogs stopped fighting and barreled across the clearing, tearing down the barrier as they retreated.
- I looked at the cat that had saved me.
- It was Cinderstripe.
- And she was dead.
End of Book 1
- The next book will be called First Flight.