|Destiny of the Clans Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Smoke Mountains||Succeded by: |
Hollyfrost moved forwards. Frost crunched under her paws an icy wind ruffled her fur the wrong way. It was getting colder. The branches of the trees were bare and leafless. They had stayed by Horseplace for several days and would have stayed longer except Seedwhisker had decided it would be dangerous to stay at one place for too long.
“Hey,” meowed a voice. Hollyfrost turned, flicking her ears. It was newly named Bramblethorn. His green eyes were soft as they bore into hers.
“What?” Hollyfrost meowed, walking forwards.
“I was just...” Bramblethorn trailed off. “I mean you’re my sister. What were Snowkit and Jadekit like?” Hollyfrost stopped in her tracks and turned to face him.
“Snowpaw was a DeathClan cat but when we got to the stone hollow she wasn’t there,” her voice was quiet and trembling. “I haven’t seen her in ages. I don’t even know who this Jadekit is.” Bramblethorn looked slightly taken aback.
“Sorry...” he meowed. “Jadekit is our sister by the way. She seems to have disappeared just as I did. I wonder if she’s back in Fox Town Village where I grew up. Or maybe a fox got her and Rowena didn’t tell anyone... Or maybe she’s up in the Smoke Mountains! There’s said to be cats that live up there!” Hollyfrost tipped her head to one side. Smoke Mountains? Fox Town Village?
“Fox Town Village is an abandoned twoleg town that’s infested with foxes and the occasional dog,” Bramblethorn explained. “Smoke Mountains is right up there. Every full moon there is smoke at the very top.” Bramblethorn was pointing with his tail to the top of the mountain that they were climbing. Seedwhisker had decided that it would be best to see what was on the other side. Hollyfrost stared up at the mountain peak wonderingly.
“When I was little Runningfox used to tell me stories about The Great Journey,” she mewed. “Centuries ago, the Clans used to live in another forest but when it was destroyed they had to find another home. They say they found a group of cats called The Tribe of Rushing Water up in these mountains.” Bramblethorn nodded enthusiastically.
“I bet they are the same cats!” he meowed. “I hope we meet them!” Hollyfrost shrugged. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to meet these mountain cats. They sounded... Well...
But different can be good. I mean you wouldn’t want to only eat mice. You’d like to have a squirrel or a rabbit once in a while.
Hollyfrost turned her attention back to the steep, winding path. It was hard not to trip so she needed to concentrate. Her fur puffed out in an attempt to keep the wind out and her claws dug into the crumbly ground as she moved forwards. Hollyfrost had only moved a few paces when Jay caught up with her. Larkkit and Marshkit were at either side of her and one of Appleseed’s tiny newborns hung from her jaws. Hollyfrost couldn’t help staring at the tiny kitten. It was so sweet! A bundle ginger tabby fur.
“Hello,” Jay mewed. “This is Tigerkit.” Hollyfrost snapped her gaze from the cute tabby and looked up at Jay. “Do you want to carry her? I’m tired out.”
“Sure,” Hollyfrost replied and she took Tigerkit from Jay. She was surprisingly light and swayed in the wind. “Have you ever heard of Fox Town Village or Smoke Mountains?” Jay nodded.
“Fox Town Village is where I used to live,” she mewed. “We could see Smoke Mountains out of the windows of the top rooms. Why?” Hollyfrost shrugged.
“I was just wondering,” she mewed. “It’s every full moon there’s smoke right?”
“Yes,” Jay replied. “Maybe it’s their own kind of Gathering...” Jay’s voice suddenly trailed off and her head snapped up so her eyes met with Hollyfrost’s. They were suddenly sparkling with the same enthusiasm as Bramblethorn’s. “Do you think they know about Gatherings? Do you think they’re trying to send us a message? Or if they want us to come to the mountains?” Hollyfrost knew Jay was right as soon as she said it. The Tribe cats were trying to tell them that they wanted them to come to the mountains! She gave Tigerkit back to Jay and her pace quickened until she was almost running. Suddenly she wanted to get to the top just as much as Bramblethorn or Jay. She was happier than she had been ages as she leaped up the mountain path. It was nice to feel the wind in her fur, even if it was a bit cold. It was nice to feel the rocky ground beneath her paws, even if the stones could be a bit sharp. But most of all it was nice to be free. Out in the open and up so high, it made Hollyfrost think of eagles gliding through the air. Careless and free.
“I wonder what it would be like to fly!” Hollyfrost mewed out loud.
Hollyfrost froze and turned around. It was a voice she hadn’t heard in a while. But it was still as beautiful as ever. “Any cat would have thought you were a kit,” Robinsong purred. “The way you act.” Hollyfrost couldn’t help purring as well as she pressed against his side. His dark ginger fur mixed with her pale. She was somehow reminded of the time after the battle when she had sat outside the Moonpool clearing with him. Even though that should have been a dreadful moment it was the happiest moment of her life.
“I’m sorry,” Hollyfrost whispered. Robinsong’s ear twitched.
“For what?” he asked. Hollyfrost sighed as their tails twined.
“For being so grumpy,” she meowed. “I haven’t seen you in ages.” Robinsong shrugged and backed away a few paces.
“It doesn’t matter,” he mewed. “What matters is getting to some place that is safe.”
“I guess you’re right,” Hollyfrost meowed. But as they began to walk again, she wasn’t quite sure that he had forgiven her.
There was just something about him that seemed sad and upset even though he was purring. Hollyfrost sighed, suddenly exhausted. She could barely move one paw in front of the other. Robinsong let her lean against his side as they moved further up the mountain path. They travelled in silence the rest of the bitterly cold afternoon. Soon the things that Hollyfrost had found nice just moments ago seemed horrible and sore and icy cold.