Paw steps echoed around the cave, breaking the silence. The cave roof was arched and the walls shimmered with water. The ground was glowing with snow coloured sand that was as soft as feathers. Four cats followed the twisting white pathway onward. They soon came to a halt. The pathway sloped upwards and the roof caved in, leaving a space just big enough for a small cat to wriggle through. Blinding silver light sliced through the gap and lit up the four cats. One by one they crawled through the small space. The cave walls stretched up farther than the highest tree and there was no roof so that the stars shone down on the cats. This space was an exact circle with a pool of clear liquid in the centre. Smooth stones were scattered around the outside of the pool and wildflowers grew in between the gaps. It was a magical place. The cats gathered around the pool, staring inside it. Even though the liquid was clear they couldn’t see the bottom, it went down further than the cave walls went up.
“I guess this is it,” mewed a beautiful silver tabby. She reached down to the pool and stuck a claw in, and then recoiled as if it had bit her. “This is definitely the place.” The snow white tom that was sitting beside her nodded and he too quickly stuck his claw in the liquid.
“Yes,” he meowed. “I think I’m going to miss it.” The ginger she-cat opposite spat in disgust.
“Miss it?” she choked. “Think of how much pain and suffering this thing has caused us!” She stuck her whole paw into the pool and then pulled it back up so quickly that she sent liquid flying up into the air. The she-cat turned away, her neck fur prickling and looking slightly embarrassed. Last of all the golden tabby tom nodded and dipped his head to show the star-shaped white mark on his forehead. His claw skimmed the water, only just touching it. The other three cats dipped their heads to show that they too had the star shaped marks. Then the golden tom stood up and stepped back, showing a glowing blue stone. It was perfectly round and shimmered and sparkled with rainbow colours. “The Moon Stone,” he murmured. “Must never be found again.” The other three murmured in agreement.
“The Moon Stone that has been around since the Earth was made is now to be put back in its home. We hope that if it is ever to be found again that it is found by someone who is not looking for power. The Moon Stone, the most powerful object ever made, will now be put back in the Crystal Pool.”
All four cats whispered the words before putting their claws on it. Almost instantly their claws turned the blue colour of the stone. The stone, that had just moments ago been burning hot, was now as icy cold as the Crystal Pool. All four cats pushed it along with their paws and watched as it sank down into the Crystal Pool. For a moment the liquid was still but then it turned blue and steam came off of it. Very soon the liquid swirled in huge circles, slopping water over the sides. The four cats stepped back.“It’s done,” mewed the silver tabby triumphantly.
“The Moon Stone has been returned.”
Chapter One, A Silver Dove
Dreamkit felt the sun beat down on her cream fur. She rolled over, just catching the leaf that had fallen from the tree above her. Her claws slashed through the leaf, cutting it into two pieces. As she looked up to see if there were anymore falling leaves, her eyes were drawn to something that was glinting in the late afternoon sunshine. Dreamkit scrabbled quickly and silently to her paws. Crouching to the ground, her hind legs quivering, she leaped onto the trunk of the tree. Dreamkit pulled herself up onto the lowest branch and tilted her head upwards. It was still there, shining in the sunlight. Dreamkit went up onto her hind paws and heaved herself onto the next branch. Because she was still just little and the branches were widely spaced out, it took a while to reach the third branch. She had to make absolutely no noise now. Not if she wanted to catch it. Dreamkit crawled along her branch and clawed her way up the trunk to the fourth branch.The dove was just inches from her now. Dreamkit paused before crawling onto the branch. Her legs felt like water and quivered wildly. This branch was as thin as a twig, she was lucky she was so light. Dreamkit gulped in a deep breath before spring forwards.That’s when she felt a horrible feeling in her stomach. The dove let out an alarm call and in a flurry of feathers it flew away just as Dreamkit landed. The branch trembled wildly and then there was a sickening snap! and the branch disappeared from beneath her paws. Everything happened so fast Dreamkit didn’t have time to call out for help. Her stomach was doing back flips and she tumbled, faster and faster, downwards. All at once Dreamkit knew there was no hope. No hope until her claws fastened themselves onto the last branch
Dreamkit, her heart still beating so hard she thought it might explode, lowered herself down to the ground. She turned around to see Sweetstar sitting by the thick and usually leafy bushes that surrounded the camp. Dreamkit gulped. Sweetstar had seen her climb a tree. The forbidden tree. No cat under the age of seven moons was supposed to climb it. Now Dreamkit had found out why
.“Dreamkit what did you think you were doing?” Sweetstar demanded, her cream fur rising along her spine. “Kits are forbidden to climb these trees. They’re way too dangerous.” Dreamkit lowered her eyes to the ground.
“There was a dove up there,” she meowed. “I thought I could catch it.” Sweetstar flicked her ears.
“A dove?” she meowed impatiently. “I seriously doubt that.” Dreamkit nodded and flicked her tail to the stump where the fourth branch had been.
“It was silver and shiny,” she meowed. “And I would have caught it if the branch didn’t snap.” Sweetstar flicked her ears.
“You know,” she mewed. “You’re very good at telling stories. Maybe you could tell them to the elders or the other kits. I’m sure they would enjoy them.” Dreamkit opened her mouth and then closed it. Telling stories! That was so...“I am not telling stories,” Dreamkit hissed indignantly.
“There really was a silver dove!” Sweetstar nodded, not at all convinced. Dreamkit gave her a look through narrowed blue eyes. They stared at each other for a while, neither of them blinking or breaking their gaze. Finally Sweetstar got to her paws and padded back into the camp. Dreamkit watched until she was out of sight before following.
The sand felt hot beneath her paws. The sound of rushing water was quite soothing. Dreamkit padded towards the entrance to the caves. But she had decided she wasn’t going to go to the nursery. She going to go somewhere exciting, somewhere truly magical. A place were only medicine cat and leaders went. But before she could get further than a few paw steps Honeykit and Nettlekit appeared from around the corner. Nettlekit smiled lazily while Honeykit brushed past Dreamkit and left. Dreamkit looked up into Nettlekit’s eyes. She was amazed by them. They were an ordinary deep brown colour but somehow she could see inside them. She could stare right into their depths and see what Nettlekit was seeing.
“Hey,” Nettlekit mewed, flicking his tail tip. Dreamkit smiled.
“Hi,” she mewed softly.
“So,” Nettlekit meowed. “Are you excited about the apprentice ceremony?” Apprentice ceremony? Dreamkit gasped. Of course! Their apprentice ceremony was tomorrow. Nettlekit and Honeykit were both just a day older than her so they would be made apprentices at the same time.
“I can’t wait,” Dreamkit mewed. “I’ll finally be able to explore instead of being stuck in camp.” Nettlekit nodded.
“I hope I get a decent mentor,” he meowed. “I really do not want Rubyheart.” Dreamkit purred, remembering the scene last night.
Rubyheart, Bramblethorn, Hailstorm and Applepaw had been on a patrol along the SeaClan border. The whole of DreamClan had heard Rubyheart’s shrieks of agony from camp and had thought there was a border scrap. Sweetstar had organized warriors to go down and help and everything. But when they had got there it had turned out that Rubyheart had just stepped on a sharp stone. Sweetstar had been annoyed – obviously – and Rubyheart had had to clean out the elder’s den.
“Yes,” Dreamkit mewed. “I’d rather not have her.” She sat down on the white sand floor. “I’d like Bramblethorn.” Nettlekit flicked his tail, obviously surprised, and sat down beside her.
“I thought he’d be a bit too rough for you,” he meowed. “I mean look at Hailstorm. He’s really fit and really good in battle.” Dreamkit’s blue eyes glittered and her claws unsheathed.
“Too rough, huh?” she meowed. “I bet I could beat you.”
“No way,” Nettlekit protested. “I’m a tom.” Dreamkit smiled.
“Afraid a she-cat’s going to beat you?” she challenged. Dreamkit crouched down, trying to make herself look as small and weak as possible. She made her eyes as round as full-moons. It proved to be very convincing. Nettlekit stood tall, puffing out his golden chest fur, his dark brown eyes glowing.
“Don’t get too upset when you lose,” he meowed, leaping forwards. Dreamkit dodged to the side, quick and nimble as a fox. They stared at each other for a moment, blue eyes meeting brown, both trying to read each other’s minds. Dreamkit moved first, plunging forwards and knocking him to the ground, pinning him there.
“Beaten by a she-cat,” she mewed triumphantly. Nettlekit growled, leaping upwards. Dreamkit hit the ground hard but as he towered over her she raked his belly fur with sheathed claws. She managed to drive him backwards against the cave wall and scrabble to her paws. Dreamkit lunged forwards.
“Ha!” she cried. “Pinned you again!”
“Fine,” Nettlekit purred. “You win.” Dreamkit shifted, allowing him to get to his paws and shake sand from his fur. They sat side by side, panting for a while.
“So now do you think Bramblethorn could be my mentor?” Dreamkit asked. Nettlekit smiled mischievously
.“Maybe...” Dreamkit narrowed her eyes.
“Definitely,” Nettlekit admitted. “Do you think I could be Snowstorm’s?” It was Dreamkit’s turn to smile. Nettlekit cuffed her playfully around the ear
.“Of course,” she mewed. “Snowstorm would be lucky to get you.” Nettlekit raised his eyes to meet hers.
“Really?” he asked.
“Really,” she assured him. “Now I think we should get some sleep before tomorrow.”
Dreamkit woke at dawn. She was fizzing with excitement. Today was the day she would finally be an apprentice. In the dim light of the cave she could just make out Wishkit’s glowing eyes. Her brother was just as excited as she was. In the dim light of the cave she could just make out Wishkit’s glowing eyes. Her brother was just as excited as she was. They were both silently waiting from the words. Sweetstar had already gone. Any minute now...
“All cat’s old enough to catch their own prey gather around FlatRock!” yowled Sweetstar. A wide smile spread across Dreamkit’s face and she leaped to her paws. Wishkit was soon behind her and then Hopekit. Nettlekit and Honeykit leaped forwards after.
Dreamkit burst into the clearing and leaped across to the small crowd of already gathered cats. She sat down beside Bramblethorn and Icepool. Dreamkit was aware of him glancing down at her every few moments. I hope he’s my mentor!
“Today is a good day for DreamClan,” Sweetstar began once every cat had settled. “Five kits have reached six moons. Dreamkit, Wishkit, Hopekit, Nettlekit and Honeykit would you like to step up here?” Dreamkit felt her stomach flutter with butterflies. She suddenly felt very self-conscious. Icepool nudged her forwards. Standing up in front of the Clan wasn’t nearly as exciting as she had expecting. She hated the fact that all eyes were on her.
“Icepool,” Sweetstar meowed. “You will mentor Honeypaw. I hope you will pass on everything Rustyheart taught you.” Dreamkit watched Honeypaw and Icepool touch noses, sick with nervous excitement.
Snowstorm became Nettlepaw’s mentor, Whitewhisker Hopepaw’s and Sleetfur Wishpaw’s. Soon it was only Dreamkit left.
“Bramblethorn,” Sweetstar mewed. Dreamkit felt her heart skip a beat. “You will mentor Dreampaw. I know you will teach her all you know. But I must warn you, Dreampaw’s one for breaking the rules.” Dreampaw felt her fur rise in embarrassment and her claws itched to sink into Sweetstar’s fur. That was mean! Bramblethorn’s nose touched hers. She felt his breath hot on her cheek.
“Keep your fur on,” he murmured. “It was only a joke.”
Chapter Two, A Peculiar Bird
Dreampaw felt the damp, lush green grass beneath her paws. The sun beat down on her thickening cream coat. It was a relief to get into the shade of the trees. “We’ll stay in the forest for now,” Bramblethorn told her. “And when the sun goes down a bit I’ll take you to the Gathering place and the shore.” Dreampaw nodded, glad. She loved to be under the shade of the trees, to hear the crunch of the dead leaves every time she moved.They crept further and further into the forest until they came to a small clearing. “Right,” Bramblethorn began. “First things first, I want you to close your eyes.” Dreampaw glanced at him before gently closing her eyes. What was this for? “Now, I want you to look around your surroundings.” Dreampaw’s eyes opened. “How can I look around when my eyes are closed?” she asked. Bramblethorn’s whiskers twitched. “Scent the air and listen,” he told her. Dreampaw did as she was told, lightly closing her eyes and smelling the air. To her surprise she found it easy. Dreampaw was able to make out her surroundings without seeing them. Bramble bushes surrounded them, hiding them from anything coming their way. Huge trees were all around them, their branches towering over them and sheltering them from wind and rain. Dreampaw could smell dry leaves and insects and soil and sand. She could smell water and damp moss, the strong smell of wild flowers and healing herbs. There was a yew tree nearby. Dreampaw knew their berries were probably the most poisonous berries ever. To the Clans yew berries were known as deathberries because even one could kill you.An interesting smell wafted towards her. It was a familiar smell, a smell she had smelt just yesterday. Sure enough, as Dreampaw opened her eyes, a shiny silver dove was sitting on one of the thin branches. It was the same bird she had seen yesterday and it was staring right at her. Dreampaw held its blue gaze. She knew it wasn’t any ordinary bird; if it was it would have moved. “That’s a peculiar bird,” Bramblethorn mused, waking Dreampaw from her thoughts. “I’m sure the elders will enjoy it.”�No! I can’t catch that! Dreampaw looked up at Bramblethorn and then towards the silver dove. “Really?” she asked. “What if it makes them ill? I mean I’ve never seen a silver dove before.” Bramblethorn’s green eyes narrowed slightly. “A dove’s not going to make them ill,” he meowed. “Even if it is silver.” Dreampaw wanted to snap a twig to scare it off. She didn’t know why, all she knew was that that bird was special and it shouldn’t be caught. A sudden idea struck her. “Should I try and get it then?” she asked. “If you think its fine to eat?” Bramblethorn nodded encouragingly. “Sure,” he mewed. “Go ahead. Show me what you can do.” Dreampaw stalked forwards, quick and silent. Once she reached the base of the yew tree she leaped up, never stopping until she reached the first branch. It wobbled and swayed but she knew it would take more to snap it. Dreampaw reared up onto her hind legs, her claws clutching to the branched above and pushed with all her weight. The branch bent, trembled and snapped. The crack! sent the dove flying up into the air and Dreampaw hanging from a very thin branch. “Hold on,” Bramblethorn cried. Dreampaw didn’t need him. She tried to pull herself upwards but to her horror felt her claws slip. Soon she was tumbling through the air – again.
(To be continued...)