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Warriors of the Lake - Falling Apart

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This is the sequel to Warriors of the Lake- The Four Powers. If you haven't read that yet, read it first! It's got some valuable information in it! Look at my user page for information about the story!

Chapter 1

Thunderpaw leaped. He felt the warm body of a mouse between his paws, and he bit down quickly to kill it, so the mouse wouldn't make a sound.
Brushpath mewed, "Good job! it won't be long until you become a warrior!"
Thunderpaw felt a surge of pride flow through him. Even though Brushpath almost always complimented him, he always liked to hear it. "Thank you," he mewed.
Brushpath dipped her head. "You know," she mewed, "I got trained by Foreststar himself."
"Really?" Thunderpaw mewed, surprised. "You never told me that."
"Your father is a great cat," Brushpath mewed. "I wish I could bear his kits."
Thunderpaw blinked. "Okay," he mewed. "Great."
"But your mother, Olivepelt, got to him first." Brushpath sat down. "She's lucky."
Thunderpaw sighed. "It's okay, Brushpath."
Brushpath looked away. "It's about time we get back to camp," she whispered. "You can go ahead."
Thunderpaw blinked. "Okay," he mewed quietly. He walked ahead of her, but close enough to listen to her mutter under her breath.
The two cats arrived at the camp. They were un-noticed by their Clan mates, who were sharing tongues.
The only cat who noticed them was Foreststar, who was talking to Creampaw, the medicine cat apprentice. Foreststar looked up and nodded politely to the two cats before resuming. Thunderpaw heard him ask, "Are you sure, Creampaw?"
Thunderpaw turned away. He hoped it wasn't anything bad.
His sister, Bouncepaw, ran up to him. "Hi, Thunderpaw!" she mewed happily. "Why are you so sad?"
"No reason," Thunderpaw whispered.
"Hey, I just realized something!" Bouncepaw exclaimed.
Thunderpaw sighed. "What, Bouncepaw?" he asked politely.
"Your name is Thunderpaw, and you live in ThunderClan!" Bouncepaw announced.
The cats around the pair stared. Waterfoot, the deputy, mewed, "Obviously, mouse-brain."
Bouncepaw hissed and walked away.
Thunderpaw's brother, Stickpaw, emerged from the apprentices' den. "What was that all about?"
Thunderpaw's other brother, Treepaw, was right behind him. "Bouncepaw almost never gets mad," he mewed, astonished.
"I'm just tired, okay?" Thunderpaw pushed his way past his brothers and into the den. "I want to sleep," he muttered.
Treepaw's eyes widened. "Okay, then," he mewed. "Be like that." He stalked off to the fresh-kill pile.
Stickpaw stayed where he was. "What's the matter, Thunderpaw?" he asked.
"I just wonder if our warrior ceremony will ever come," Thunderpaw sighed.
"Me, too." Stickpaw paced around the den, ducking inside and outside every once in a while. "I wonder if I'll ever be known as something other than Stickpaw."
Thunderpaw sat up. "Maybe we can ask Foreststar how he thinks we're doing," he suggested.
Stickpaw shook his head. "Our father doesn't want to be bothered with, 'When will be be warriors, Foreststar?'"
Thunderpaw blinked. "You're right," he sighed.
"What are you two talking about?" Volepaw, Creampaw's brother, stuck his head in the den.
"Becoming warriors, finally," Thunderpaw told him.
"My ceremony's tomorrow," Volepaw told them. "I like being an apprentice, though. I won't have any good friends as a warrior."
"We can still be friends, we just won't see each other so much.," Stickpaw mewed.
Volepaw dipped his head. "You're right."
Thunderpaw was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. "Listen, I'm tired," he mewed. "I'm going to sleep now."
"But it's only sunhigh!" Stickpaw protested. "How are you tired already?"
But Thunderpaw didn't answer. He had already drifted off into a deep sleep...

Chapter 2

Riverpaw walked to the RiverClan camp, where her mother, Birdstar, was waiting. Riverpaw had moss that she needed for her den, and Birdstar obviously wasn't going to sleep on nasty, dirty moss. Riverpaw's brother, Reedpaw, had a similar load of moss on one side. Her other brother, Fishpaw, was carrying prey that her mother had requested.
"Birdstar needs more kits," Reedpaw grumbled.
"She has one- Willowpaw," Riverpaw pointed out. "Willowpaw's just sick."
"Every cat knows she's not," Fishpaw began, "but no cat can tell her if she has aches in her belly or is tired or not. All Mooneye can do is deal with it."
Riverpaw sighed. "I still think she should help."
"I wonder what Mosspaw thinks of her," Reedpaw wondered aloud.
Mosspaw was the new medicine cat apprentice, apprenticed only yesterday. She seemed very excited about finally being able to do something for RiverClan, instead of playing with her siblings, Streampaw and Weedpaw.
"She's probably fed up with being a medicine cat," Fishpaw replied. "I would be."
"But what if Willowpaw really is sick?" Riverpaw asked.
"If she is sick, it's because Mooneye gave her too many herbs." Reedpaw set down the ball of moss he was carrying so he could get a better hold of it. "I mean, she complains all the time during training. I've seen her at it. And she always manages to find a way out of talking to Birdstar."
Fishpaw nodded in agreement. "She needs to eat something bad for her, so she likes training more."
"Maybe she just isn't fit to be a Clan cat," Riverpaw suggested.
All three cats were quiet. Every Clan cat had heard of the ThunderClan cat, Ravenpaw, and how he had left the Clans because he was afraid that another cat, Tigerstar, would murder him because he knew a horrible secret. No other Clan but ThunderClan knew what the secret was, however, and they were too proud to let any other Clan know.
"Willowpaw is good at fighting, though," Fishpaw countered.
"And, she would never betray RiverClan for her own needs," Reedpaw added.
Riverpaw and Fishpaw stared at Reedpaw. "You really think that?" Riverpaw asked.
Reedpaw lowered his head. "No," he mumbled. "I don't."
"Let's get back to camp," Riverpaw mewed.
"Because I'm waiting for you?" Birdstar asked behind them.
Fishpaw jumped. "No, because it was g-getting l-late," he stammered to his mother.
Riverpaw lowered her belly to the ground and backed away from her mother, dropping the moss. She could feel the cool grass beneath her, and she longed to lay down on it.
"I don't appreciate you three talking about my daughter like that," Birdstar snarled. "It's not her fault she has problems with her health."
"She's a burden to RiverClan!" Fishpaw retorted. "I don't see why we can't just tell her to live with it!
"Willowpaw can't," Birdstar growled. "She doesn't want to."
"Fishpaw, be quiet," Reedpaw hissed. "Birdstar is your mother and your Clan leader, just let her do what she wants to do."
"Why should I?" Fishpaw hissed back.
"Because all of her decisions are made for the good of the Clan," Riverpaw hissed.
"Who asked you?" Fishpaw snarled quietly. He obviously didn't want Birdstar to hear this argument, even though he was always the first cat to speak up against his mother.
Riverpaw didn't answer Fishpaw's question.
Birdstar suddenly was looming over the three siblings, growling angrily. "How dare you talk about me like that!" she snarled.
She had overheard.

Chapter 3

Shadowpaw yowled in anger, and leaped into battle. His black pelt bristled as he swiped a paw at his Clan mate and sister, Greenpaw.
He was battling his sister in battle training. He had been training long and hard for this moment. I'm going to beat her once and for all! he encouraged himself.
Shadowpaw's mentor, Trailstar, was standing a short distance away, flicking his tail proudly. His brother, Oakpelt, who was also Greenpaw's mentor, was standing next to him, snarling. The ShadowClan deputy's fur was bristling along his spine.
Shadowpaw was suddenly pinned down to the ground; he could see his sister leaning down to bite him...
The black apprentice let himself go limp. He knew how dangerous it was, but he knew Greenpaw hadn't learned this move, so it was his only chance.
Greenpaw purred with satisfaction as she felt her brother go limp. She kept on leaning down...
Now! Shadowpaw told himself. He pushed up with all the power that his legs could muster. Greenpaw was thrown away, skidding to a stop right in front of Oakpelt.
Shadowpaw stood up and gazed at the three cats near him. Only Trailstar was looking at him; Oakpelt was furiously hissing in Greenpaw's ear. Greepaw had a defiant look on her face, and she sat down at couple of tail-lengths away from her mentor so he couldn't claw her unless he moved closer to her.
Trailstar padded over to Shadowpaw. "Good job," he mewed. "I'm sure that Greenpaw won't be falling for that for a while."
Shadowpaw imagined his sister, as a warrior, standing, tense, over a dead warrior, waiting for them to strike. He twitched his whiskers in amusement.
Oakpelt and Greenpaw were suddenly beside the two cats. "Good fighting," Greenpaw mewed, pushing her nose into Shadowpaw's fur. "I guess you two get to choose our fresh-kill."
Shadowpaw nodded. "I guess we do," he agreed.
Oakpelt and Trailstar were traveling just behind the two apprentices. They seemed to be arguing quietly about something. Shadowpaw heard his mentor hiss angrily, "I'm Clan leader, and it's final!" Shadowpaw flinched. He wondered what could be so important for the two brothers to argue about.
Greenpaw had heard, too. "Meet me in the apprentices den," she hissed in Shadowpaw's ear.
Shadowpaw quickly covered up her message by meowing, "I can't believe I finally beat you!"
Greenpaw looked like she understood Shadowpaw's intentions, because she nodded quickly to him, not meeting his eyes. Glancing at him, she mewed, "It was luck, Shadowpaw. Don't expect it again."
"Oh yeah?" Shadowpaw hissed playfully. "Well, take this!" He leaped on his sister once more, claws sheathed.
Greenpaw hissed with amusement. "Hey!" she mewed. "I know you didn't expect this, but..." She rolled over, taking Shadowpaw with her, and she batted his ears. "There!"
"Okay, you two," Trailstar mewed from somewhere close to Shadowpaw's head. "It's time to break it up, now. Shadowpaw's already won."
Oakpelt hissed angrily as Greenpaw got off of her brother. "Why did you get off of him?" he asked.
"We were just play-fighting," Greenpaw mewed desperately. "I wasn't trying to claim my title, okay?"
"You should have," Oakpelt growled, and he walked away, weaving between the trees like a snake.
"What's his problem?" Greenpaw asked quietly.
"I've beaten him again." Trailstar sat down on the leaves scattered across the ground. "I've beaten him at being leader of ShadowClan..." Trailstar trailed off.
"But that's not your fault," Shadowpaw mewed.
"I've always been better than him," Trailstar continued, ignoring his son. "I was an apprentice a quarter-moon before him, even though he's older than me, and, in the battle before we became warriors, I wasn't hurt to the point that I was a limp sack of fur. I even had a better warrior name than him. I was part of one of the largest prophecies in the histories of the Clans, and now I'm Clan leader."
"Wow," Greenpaw whispered.
"What was your warrior name?" Shadowpaw asked.
"My warrior name was..." Trailstar suddenly trailed off. "I can't remember!" he exclaimed.
Greenpaw's eyes widened in surprise. "But you've been called by it! A lot!"
Trailstar lowered his head in shame. "I know," he whispered. "But I don't know."
He sounds so sad, but I can't do anything to help him, Shadowpaw told himself.
"Let's get back to camp," Greenpaw whispered in Shadowpaw's ear. "I'm sure Trailstar is just tired."
Shadowpaw nodded. "Okay," he agreed. "Lead the way, and I'll walk next to Trailstar."
Trailstar suddenly stood up. "I hear something," he hissed.
Shadowpaw inhaled. He knew almost every scent of every cat in his Clan, but this wasn't a ShadowClan scent. This was a WindClan scent.
"Come out!" Greenpaw hissed. Her fur was bristling along her spine and her back was arched. She dropped down into a crouch, ready to pounce.
The WindClan scent came closer. Shadowpaw could tell that the cat was just behind the bracken in front of him. "Come out!" he echoed.
The bushes rustled as the cat emerged. A brown cat was coming out of the bracken. Shadowpaw knew who it was, and he was faintly embarrassed that he had defended his Clan so fiercely against one harmless cat.
The cat emerging from the bracken was the WindClan medicine cat apprentice, Windpaw.

Chapter 4

Windpaw stared at the three cats waiting to attack her. She didn't know any of them, except for Trailstar, but she knew from experience not to underestimate an enemy warrior. She arched her back, trying to make herself look bigger. But it was no use. She was the smallest cat in her litter.
Trailstar straightened up from where he had been poised, ready to jump. "Hi, Windpaw," he mewed. "How are you?"
Windpaw managed to whisper, "Fine," but she wasn't.
The black cat in front of her straightened up, too. "Hi," he mewed, "I'm Shadowpaw. I've seen you before, but I don't think you've met me."
Now that Shadowpaw had introduced himself, Windpaw remembered him. She had talked to him at her first Gathering, but briefly.
The other apprentice, who had Shadowpaw's green eyes, was already standing. "I'm Greenpaw," she mewed. "Sorry they're so aggressive."
Windpaw purred with amusement. "It's okay. I've got two toms for brothers."
Greenpaw's ears pricked forward. "You mean Rabbitpaw and Rushpaw?"
Windpaw nodded.
"You're Harestar's daughter, then!" Greenpaw sounded excited. "I'm Trailstar's daughter."
Shadowpaw scuffled the ground with his claws. "I'm her brother."
Is he trying to impress me? Windpaw asked herself. She ignored Shadowpaw and turned to his father. "Falconswoop sent me for some yarrow. She told me to go around the lake, but ThunderClan didn't have any."
"Isn't there any on your territory?" Trailstar asked.
Windpaw shook her head. "None at all. We think we used it all when some kit ate deathberries. There's a supply near our camp," she explained. "It's not any cat's fault they look so juicy."
"I'm not sure if Milkpool has any yarrow for you to borrow," Trailstar mewed. "But you can come with us, anyway."
Windpaw nodded. "Okay."
The four cats set off through ShadowClan territory. More than once, Windpaw jumped back, hissing, as she touched the marshy land by accident. They're making me go the long way on purpose, then, Windpaw realized.
Suddenly, an overwhelming scent of ShadowClan cats slammed Windpaw in the face. Blah, she told herself. Why can't they smell better?
Shadowpaw saw Windpaw's nose wrinkled in disgust and mewed, "I think you smell the same way."
Windpaw blinked and mewed sarcastically, "That's exactly what I wanted to hear."
Shadowpaw didn't hear the sarcasm, and he mewed, "Really?"
Windpaw blinked and hissed in exasperation. "No."
Shadowpaw hissed back and ran forward to travel beside his father.
Just then, Windpaw saw a plant- yarrow! She yowled, "Trailstar! I found yarrow!"
"Pick some and bring it to Milkpool," Trailstar called back. "She'll probably let you use it."
Greenpaw slowed to let Windpaw catch up. "Why do you need the yarrow anyway?" she asked.
"No reason, just to be prepared," Windpaw muttered from behind her yarrow. "After that kit, we don't want to take any chances."
Greenpaw nodded.
Trailstar ducked under a bush and crawled through, followed by Shadowpaw.
Windpaw paused by the bush.
Greenpaw beckoned politely with her tail. "Go ahead," she mewed. "It's our camp."
Windpaw nodded and crawled through.
The ShadowClan camp was bustling. Shadowpaw and Trailstar looked surprised, while Greenpaw looked around and shot off to the nursery.
A milky-white she-cat padded up to Trailstar. "Dawnflame's kits are safe," she mewed.
"She had them?" Trailstar looked surprised. "I must go see them."
"Not while Greenpaw's in there!" The she-cat held out her tail to stop Trailstar from racing off, too. "Only one extra cat in there at a time. There's already Badgerkit, Ryekit, Applekit, Eaglekit, and Volekit. And the three new kits," she added.
"What are their names?" Trailstar asked.
"Dawnfire hasn't decided yet," the she-cat replied. She looked around at the three other cats with the Clan leader. Her gaze stopped on Windpaw as she mewed, "Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Windpaw," the visitor stammered. "I'm WindClan's medicine cat apprentice," she explained.
The she-cat's gaze softened. "I'm Milkpool," she mewed. "Do you need anything?"
"Yarrow," Windpaw requested. She had dropped the yarrow while Trailstar was asking about the kits; now she prodded it with a forepaw. "I found this in your territory," she mewed. "May I keep it? It'll be much faster."
"Of course," Milkpool mewed. "Come back anytime if you need any more." The young cat padded over to her. "I'll be happy to help. I heard about that kit- is he okay?"
"Windpaw nodded. "But it was scary. I thought he wasn't going to make it."
"Falconswoop always manages to pull off the impossible," Milkpool murmured. "Well, you should go now," she mewed loudly.
"I'll give you an escort," Trailstar mewed. "Shadowpaw, will you take her?"
"I'm only an apprentice, Trailstar!" Shadowpaw protested.
"You're almost a warrior," Trailstar retorted.
Shadowpaw sighed. "Fine," he mewed. "I won't be getting out of this one. Let's go."
The two cats left the camp quickly and Windpaw was soon heading back home.

Chapter 5

Thunderpaw woke to Cloudstorm yowling, "Thunderpaw!"
Thunderpaw scampered out of the den, flanked by his brothers and sister, and asked, "What?"
"I need you to go with Creampaw." Cloudstorm paced around Thunderpaw. "She needs somebody to help her get..."
Creampaw, who was standing to the side, filled in Cloudstorm. "Yarrow. And Juniper."
"Okay," Thunderpaw mewed. "Can I go hunting, too?"
"Creampaw needs to practice that," Mintpelt, the medicine cat, informed them. "I wouldn't mind a bit of hunting. But don't stop to eat it," she added. "We need the Juniper!"
"Go on, then!" Cloudstorm mewed.
"No, don't leave." Thunderpaw turned his father walking towards them.
"I need to talk to you, Thunderpaw," Foreststar mewed.
Thunderpaw blinked. He had never had a one-on-one talk with his father before. It had always been him competing with his siblings to impress the Clan leader.
"Okay," Thunderpaw stammered.
Foreststar led Thunderpaw to the fresh-kill pile. "Do you want anything?" he asked.
"A mouse?" Thunderpaw suggested.
Foreststar bent down and picked up a mouse. Instead of holding it out for Thunderpaw to get, he mewed something from behind it. "Catch!"
The mouse was flung high in the air...
Thunderpaw realized at the last possible moment that it was going to land on Waterfoot, who looked annoyed.
The apprentice raced forward and seized the mouse from the air.
"What are you doing?" Waterfoot hissed.
"Nothing," Thunderpaw stammered.
He turned back to his father.
Foreststar's whiskers were twitching with amusement.
Thunderpaw couldn't help but twitch his, too. Foreststar was a kit at heart, sometimes.
Waterfoot stomped over to the pair. "I don't appreciate that, Thunderpaw," he hissed. "I don't need apprentices like you getting in-"
"It's my fault, Waterfoot," Foreststar mewed. "I don't think you should talk to my son like that."
Waterfoot's tail twitched angrily. He glared at Thunderpaw, and stomped past him.
"Waterfoot has a lot to do," Foreststar mewed quietly. "Don't let him get to you."
Thunderpaw nodded slowly. "Okay," he whispered quietly.
"Foreststar!" a voice called.
Foreststar stood to face the cat, with Thunderpaw at his side. "Yes?"
"We found a badger set on our territory!" Cloudstorm called.
Foreststar turned to face Thunderpaw. "I'm sorry," he mewed, "I need to take care of this."
Thunderpaw nodded, and Foreststar bounded over to the patrol.
Thunderpaw lowered his head. He wished that spending time with his father didn't leave him so sad at the end.

Chapter 6

Riverpaw pawed away the last bits of the moss, relieved that she was finally finished with her task. She turned back to the den, where Reedpaw and Fishpaw were reluctantly rubbing mouse bile over the elders' pelts.
"You're only supposed to do the parts with ticks," Riverpaw told them.
The two brothers stopped.
Reedpaw sighed. "I knew I was doing something wrong."
"I copied him," Fishpaw accused. "Why didn't you do it right?"
"I'm sorry," Reedpaw told the elder. "Do you mind?"
The elder shook his head. "I'm tired," he mewed. "I'm going to take a nap."
Reedpaw blinked in surprise and stepped back. Fishpaw glared at his brother.
"Keep at it, Fishpaw," Riverpaw mewed. "Reedpaw can help me with the moss," she added.
Her brother obediently picked up a wad, but before Riverpaw could, Willowpaw bounced over.
"Hi!" she mewed happily.
"Hi, Willowpaw," Fishpaw grumbled.
"Hi!" Willowpaw said happily. "Birdstar said she wants me to go hunting. I can't wait!"
"With who?" Reedpaw asked, dropping his wad.
"You three!" Willowpaw mewed. "You get to teach me!"
Fishpaw, Reedpaw, and Riverpaw exchanged looks. "Um," Riverpaw began. "Can we talk for a moment?"
"Sure!" Willowpaw mewed. "I'll be waiting by the entrance!"
Reedpaw nodded politely to her as Riverpaw walked closer to him. Fishpaw joined them a heartbeat later.
"Why are we teaching her?" Reedpaw whispered angrily.
Riverpaw flicked her tail. She was trying to stay calm, but it wasn't easy. "I don't know, but we have to follow Birdstar's orders."
"Birdstar did this on purpose," Fishpaw snarled. "She knows we don't like her. She's going to-"
"Be quiet!" Reedpaw hissed.
Fishpaw lowered his voice. "She's going to start complaining as soon as we leave the camp."
Riverpaw looked at him. "Well, we'll just see. We'll give her a very short lesson, a couple of tries, and then we'll head back. Okay?"
Her brothers nodded reluctantly.
"Come on," Riverpaw encouraged. "Before we get in trouble."
They followed her across the clearing to Willowpaw, who was bouncing on her paws. "Are you ready?" Riverpaw asked.
"Am I ever!" Willowpaw meowed loudly. "Lets go, let's go!"
And as she left, Riverpaw realized that Birdstar was not in the camp.

Chapter 7

Shadowpaw stepped forward, the wind in his face.
His paw slowly moved towards the water, the fish swimming unknowingly beneath his paw. Wouldn't Trailstar be impressed if he caught fish for the Clan?
He unsheathed his claws as he moved his paw towards the fish.
It swam away.
"Mouse dung!" Shadowpaw hissed. He splashed the water in frustration. To his surprise, a fish landed on the bank.
Quickly, Shadowpaw bit it, killing it. Yes, he thought.
"What are you doing?" a familiar voice asked.
"I caught a fish!" Shadowpaw mewed proudly.
Trailstar purred. "Good job, Shadowpaw."
Shadowpaw felt the familiar feeling of warmth that he got whenever his father praised him. A ripple passed through his spine as he thought of Greenpaw. I hope she's doing as well!
Suddenly, another apprentice burst through the bushes. "Hi, Shadowpaw!"
Oakheart's son, Littlepaw. "Hi," Shadowpaw mewed happily.
"Nice fish!" Littlepaw commented. "Where did you get it?"
"The lake," Shadowpaw replied.
"Great!" Littlepaw exclaimed.
Shadowpaw nodded, feeling aware that Trailstar was near.
Littlepaw looked at him. "You should be a warrior soon," he said.
Shadowpaw nodded. "I guess."
Trailstar didn't pick up. He flicked his tail, and led the two apprentices back to the camp.


When they arrived, ShadowClan noticed his fish right away. "Good job, Shadowpaw!" Milkpool mewed.
Oakheart and Greenpaw nodded in agreement, their tails flicking.
Trailstar didn't say anything, but he headed to his den.
"Oh, a fish!" a voice squeaked. Shadowpaw's grasp on the fish tightened as he felt a tug on the fish.
"No," Shadowpaw mewed. "This is mine, Sharpkit."
Sharpkit lowered his head. "Can I have a bite?"
Shadowpaw sighed. "Fine."
Sharpkit squealed in delight as Shadowpaw lowered his fish onto the dusty ground.
Shadowpaw took the first bite.
Sharpkit followed eagerly. He chewed, and spat out the meat in disgust. "This is gross!" he spat.
"I like it," Shadowpaw mewed.
Sharpkit hissed in disgust and stomped away.
Shadowpaw purred, and finished his fish.

Chapter 8

"Now put the cobwebs... there," Falconswoop instructed.
Windpaw did as she was instructed, shivering in the cold morning air.
"Now spread them out."
Windpaw spread the cobwebs out over Fastfleet's wound, feeling him relax beneath his paws. "Don't move!"
When she finished, Windpaw stepped back. "There," she mewed.
Fastfleet stood up. "Thanks, Windpaw. At least this time you didn't start freaking out," he added, purring.
"It was my first day!" Windpaw protested.
She was interrupted by Harestar. "Come on, didn't you hear me? I called a Clan meeting!" he called.
Fastfleet and Windpaw looked at each other and quickly walked to the rest of the Clan.
"It's your brothers," Shortwhisker whispered.
"Rushpaw, Rabbitpaw, do you promise to follow the warrior code and serve your Clan, even if it costs you your life?" Harestar asked.
"We do," the two apprentices mewed.
"Then from now on, Rabbitpaw, you will be known as Rabbitclaw. Rushpaw, you will be known as Rushfur."
Windpaw felt a surge of pride as the Clan cheered for her littermates. Harestar nuzzled each of the new warriors, and mewed, "Now they will sit vigil, following the tradition that our ancestors have made."
Rushfur and Rabbitclaw nodded and sat in the center of the camp.
Windpaw flicked her tail at them as she walked by, not daring to talk.
A yowl of pain suddenly sounded from outside the camp.
Featherclaw! Windpaw realized. She watched as the light brown she-cat hobbled into the camp... covered in thistles.
"Come here, Featherclaw!" Windpaw called.
The warrior did as she was told, groaning in pain.
Windpaw grasped the first one she could find, and pulled.
Featherclaw screeched in pain.
Windpaw pulled back. "Sorry," she whispered. "But I have to get them out!"
Featherclaw sighed. "Pull out another one, then."
Windpaw did, and Featherclaw leaped back, hissing.
"Sorry!" Windpaw whispered.
Harestar bounded over. "Windpaw, it hurts her. But you have to get them out, so keep pulling!"
Windpaw nodded, and grasped another thorn. This is going to take forever, she thought.
But she knew that the next night was the Gathering, where she could see her friends again.

Chapter 9

Thunderpaw lashed his tail angrily as he realized that Waterfoot was ignoring him. I didn't do anything! It was Foreststar! he thought angrily.
Once again, Waterfoot walked by without acknowledging Thunderpaw, and walked straight to his apprentice, Bouncepaw.
"Brushpath has invited us to go hunting with her," he mewed to her.
Thunderpaw blinked. Why wasn't I-
His thoughts were interrupted as Brushpath bounded over. "We're going hunting with Bouncepaw and Waterfoot. Let's go!"
Thunderpaw caught up to Bouncepaw as she left the camp. "Waterfoot isn't talking to me," he murmured in her ear. "Do you know why?"
Bouncepaw shook her head in reply. "He hasn't mentioned anything," she murmured back.
Thunderpaw nodded and caught up to Brushpath and Waterfoot, squeezing between them. "Hi!"
"Hi," Brushpath replied.
"There's a Gathering tonight," Waterfoot mewed. "You might want to make sure you stay out of trouble."
"Foreststar threw the stupid mouse-"
"Don't talk to me like that," Waterfoot snarled. "I'm the Clan deputy."
"And I'm your leader's son!" Thunderpaw shot back.
Brushpath looked nervous. "Can you two stop arguing? You're scaring all the prey."
Waterfoot ignored her. "I don't think Foreststar will value an apprentice over his deputy!"
"Really?" Thunderpaw asked. "Last time I checked, he was an apprentice longer then he was deputy. You told me that yourself."
Waterfoot hissed. Before he could say anything, a body shoved their way between the two arguing cats.
"Stop arguing!" Bouncepaw hissed from between them. "Can't you see you're going to drive the Clan apart?"
Thunderpaw and Waterfoot glanced at one another, and Thunderpaw saw Waterfoot get the fighting gleam in his eye - Thunderpaw had only seen it during a border patrol, when they had caught ShadowClan across the border.
Brushpath saw it, too. Hissing, she drove herself between Bouncepaw and Thunderpaw, protecting Thunderpaw from Waterfoot's wrath.
"Don't you dare do anything to him," Brushpath threatened, "or I'll do the same to you."
Waterfoot spat in her face. "Foreststar will ban you!"
"I was his apprentice!" Brushpath spat. "He can't ban me!"
"He doesn't have the heart, you mean," Waterfoot growled. He sped up, leaving the other three cats behind.
Suddenly, Thunderpaw heard a rustle in the bushes. He unsheathed his claws and drew himself protectively in front of his mentor and sister. "Who's there?" he asked.
Foreststar emerged, looking hurt and confused. Too late, his scent wafted into Thunderpaw's nose.
Bouncepaw and Brushpath didn't look at their leader, but Thunderpaw looked his father straight in the eye.
"I'm not a threat," Foreststar mumbled. "I'm your leader."
"It's okay," Thunderpaw mewed. "I didn't smell you."
Foreststar relaxed. "Oh. Work on it," he added.
Thunderpaw looked at Bouncepaw and Brushpath. He calms down easily, he thought.
"Anyway," Foreststar continued, "I heard arguing. Is everything okay?"
Bouncepaw and Brushpath looked at the ground, and Thunderpaw answered for them again. "Nothing's wrong, Foreststar, just a disagreement."
Foreststar nodded, but there was something in his eyes. "You can all come to the Gathering tonight," he mewed.
"Thanks, Foreststar," Thunderpaw mewed.
And as the gray cat walked away, Thunderpaw knew that he had made a mistake.

Chapter 10

Sitting by the river, Riverpaw flicked her tail as Reedpaw tried once more to catch a fish.
"Reedpaw, let me do it," Riverpaw sighed.
Willowpaw stopped Riverpaw with her tail. "When are you going to teach me?" she asked.
"Now," Fishpaw snarled. "Sit by the edge," he commanded.
Willowpaw looked hurt. "Why don't you want to teach me?" she asked her littermates.
Reedpaw answered. "We're apprentices, why should we teach a cat if we're not fully trained?"
"I see you playing with the kits," Willowpaw mewed. "You teach them how to hunt fish in the pool."
"They're not allowed out of the camp," Reedpaw explained, "and they're not going to remember, anyway. They have no way to practice!"
Willowpaw suddenly stiffened. "There's somebody coming!"
Riverpaw smelled an unfamiliar scent, one of WindClan.
"There's two scents," Reedpaw whispered. "One's RiverClan, and the other is WindClan.'
Riverpaw inhaled. She now smelled her mother's scent, and the strange WindClan one.
The leaves rustled, and out came Birdstar with a strange cat.
"That's Trenchfoot!" Reedpaw whispered. "Jaywing told me about him."
Riverpaw knew the story. He had been exiled from WindClan for calling she-cats worthless. Riverpaw felt surge of anger she felt when she had heard the story when she was a kit.
She noticed that her brothers had moved protectively in front of Willowpaw. She followed suit, coming in front of them.
Trenchfoot and Birdstar hadn't noticed them yet. Riverpaw watched Birdstar purr and lick the top of Trenchfoot's head.
"Hi!" she heard a voice call from behind her. Reedpaw.
Trenchfoot and Birdstar froze. Their eyes widened as they saw the littermates, and they quickly moved apart.
"Too late for that," Riverpaw growled. "Trenchfoot is an exiled WindClan cat!" she mewed loudly. "Why is he here?"
"And it looks like you two are in love," Reedpaw added behind her. "You mated with Jaywing!"
Fishpaw stepped forward. "Do you care about him anymore?"
Birdstar growled. "It isn't your problem who I mate!"
"It is when our leader is mating a exiled WindClan cat!" Fishpaw spat.
Trenchfoot lashed his tail. "We're not mating," he snarled.
"Not yet," Willowpaw whispered.
"We aren't!" Trenchfoot snarled. "Your mother is letting me join RiverClan."
Fishpaw opened his mouth to say something, but Riverpaw slapped her tail over his mouth. "Don't," she warned.
"What will Harestar say?" Reedpaw asked, stepping forward. "Your old friend."
"Harerush is leader now?" Trenchfoot spat. "That piece of fox dung is making all of WindClan into stupid badgers."
Riverpaw blinked. She had never heard that insult before.
"It is final," Birdstar hissed. "Trenchfoot is joining RiverClan."

Chapter 11

Shadowpaw trailed behind Greenpaw and Trailstar, the rest of his Clan behind him. This is going to be my last Gathering as an apprentice, he thought.
As they reached the log, Shadowpaw smelled the scent of WindClan, and he thought of Windpaw. She was beautiful...
He shook away the thought. She was a medicine cat of a different Clan. And there were she-cats in ShadowClan.
As he crossed the log, he heard a yowl from the clearing. "ShadowClan is here!"
He recognized the voice to be Jaywing's, Birdstar's mate.
As Shadowpaw landed, he smelled ThunderClan approaching the log, but did not turn to look before he landed on the wet sand.
Thunderpaw was leading the way across the log, followed by Treepaw, Stickpaw, and Bouncepaw. Foreststar and the rest of the Clan followed.
"Hi, Thunderpaw," Shadowpaw mewed as he landed.
"Hi," Thunderpaw mewed. "Should we go find Windpaw?"
Shadowpaw nodded, and he followed Thunderpaw to where Windpaw was, sitting near Creampaw, the other medicine cat apprentice. Creampaw was about to become a full medicine cat, but Windpaw had to wait a moon or two until she received the same.
"Hi, Windpaw," Shadowpaw mewed, sitting down next to her.
Creampaw stared at him. "You do know..." she began.
"That medicine cats can't mate, and it's against the warrior code to mate a cat not in your Clan?" Shadowpaw finished. "Yeah, I know."
Creampaw's shoulders relaxed just as Shadowpaw smelled RiverClan approaching. He noticed Harestar stiffen, but he didn't know why.
"Hi," Riverpaw mewed as she approached the other cats.
"I've got to go," Creampaw suddenly mewed.
No cat protested as she stood up and walked away.
Riverpaw sat in her place. "The Gathering will be interesting tonight," she commented.
"Why?" Shadowpaw asked, but before Riverpaw could reply, Harestar called the Gathering.
"We have Gathered here tonight under a full moon," he called. "Let there be truce."
"Not likely," Shadowpaw heard Riverpaw mutter.
What was wrong? Shadowpaw asked himself. But he didn't dare say anything out loud, as Trailstar was speaking.
"We have three new apprentices," he began. "Sharp-paw, Firepaw, and Bigpaw."
Shadowpaw looked for his Clan mates, but didn't see them amongst the crowd before he turned his attention back to the leaders.
"Life in ShadowClan is good," Trailstar finished.
"It won't be for long," Riverpaw muttered.
Shadowpaw gasped. "What are you talking about?" he whispered.
"RiverClan has nothing against ShadowClan," Riverpaw began, "and why should we? It's the... you'll see," she finished.
Harestar was next. As he spoke, Shadowpaw noticed his voice was tense. "We have two new warriors, my own sons, Rushfur and Rabbitclaw."
Shadowpaw noticed the warriors looking proud, but tired.
Foreststar was next. "Prey is running," he began. "We have a new warrior, Voleclaw."
Thunderpaw looked jealous as there were more murmurs of congratulations. Every cat knew something was wrong, and they were anxious to find out.
Finally, it was Birdstar's turn. Her voice was strong as she mewed, "I am happy to announce we have a new Clan mate," she began.
Riverpaw tensed beside Shadowpaw. "Something's about to happen," she whispered anxiously.
Birdstar continued over the whispers of the cats. "Our new Clan mate is Trenchfoot," she mewed.
And Shadowpaw watched as Harestar hissed, unsheathed his claws, and knocked Birdstar out of the tree.

Chapter 12

Windpaw gasped from her place next to Thunderpaw. "What?"
She smelled a strange, yet familiar scent become stronger, and she jumped back as she realized Trenchfoot was coming to Birdstar's aid.
She chased after him, with her friends following her, even Riverpaw.
Thunderpaw reached Trenchfoot first. Hissing, he leaped onto him, clawing and biting.
Shadowpaw and Riverpaw got there within heartbeats, with Windpaw trailing just behind.
The other cats had frozen in astonishment at this sight, then they began to fight among themselves, fights breaking out all over the clearing.
But what really scared Windpaw was the fact that fights were breaking out within Clan mates. She saw Foreststar and Lightheart- Foreststar's mate- fighting.
And all was lost as she felt a cat scratch her back.


She awoke to the sounds of distant fighting, with Creampaw standing over her.
"What happened?" she murmured.
"Trenchfoot clawed you," she replied, rolling Windpaw over. "Shadowpaw was furious."
Windpaw felt a shiver run through her as she thought of him.
Windpaw felt something on her back. "What are you putting on it?" she asked.
Creampaw did not reply, but she continued working.
Windpaw was desperate to know what was being applied to her wound, she she asked again. "What is going on my wound?"
"Cobwebs," Creampaw replied.
"Where am I?" Windpaw asked.
"You're on RiverClan territory, and I'm using their herbs to treat you."
"How am I here?" Windpaw asked.
"Riverpaw's brothers helped me, they swam across with you on their backs."
Yet another question entered Windpaw's head, and she asked it. "Why are you using RiverClan's herbs?"
Creampaw tensed. "They were closest."
"What did Birdstar say?" Windpaw demanded, standing up.
"Birdwing," Creampaw corrected her.
Windpaw felt a shiver run through her. "What?"
"The leaders... are no longer leaders. They gave up their names."
"So..."
"There are no cats with star on the end of their names," Creampaw mewed.
"Why?" Windpaw demanded.
"The Clans broke apart," Creampaw replied. "There are no more Clans. It's every cat for themselves now."

Chapter 13

All Thunderpaw wanted to do was wail like a kit. There were no more Clans, no more traditions that the cats had been following for countless seasons. He was just a cat now, a rogue.
He had decided to keep his Clan name to remind him of what he had lived for.
He stood next to Riverpaw and Shadowpaw. They were both looking nervous about living life on their own, and Thunderpaw was, too. What if he died with no cat to say goodbye?
"I hope Windpaw is okay," Shadowpaw murmured.
"She's in good hands," Thunderpaw replied. "Creampaw is a great medicine cat. Or, she would of been..."
"We never even became warriors!" Riverpaw wailed.
Thunderpaw realized the horrible truth- he would never feel the the thrill of the name he would have forever, with the whole Clan watching.
"Come on," Shadowpaw murmured, "let's go see Windpaw."
Riverpaw and Thunderpaw followed Shadowpaw across the log.
But Shadowpaw gasped as they approached the beach. There, on the horizon, were two figures, and both of them were standing.
Thunderpaw raced after Shadowpaw up the slope, watching as he asked questions in awe.
"Thank you, Creampaw," Thunderpaw murmured. "You don't know how much I appreciate this."


The four cats sat by the river, enjoying the fish Riverpaw had caught for them, and the one rabbit that Windpaw had suddenly smelled as she was settling down to eat.
"What should we do?" Thunderpaw asked.
There was no reply as the other three cats ate, occasionally stretching out their necks to take a bite of rabbit.
Thunderpaw suddenly felt uncomfortable with what he was about to say. What if the other cats didn't agree?
There must of been something showing on his face, because he suddenly found that Windpaw, Shadowpaw, and Riverpaw were all staring at him.
Thunderpaw sighed. "I have an idea," he mewed.
"What is it?" Riverpaw asked.
"We stay together. We can hunt no matter where we are, and we'll be able to fight if we have to," Thunderpaw mewed. "It's only an idea," he quickly added.
Shadowpaw replied first. "That's a good idea," he mewed. "And we're all friends," he added. "Right?"
Windpaw nodded, but there was something in her eyes as she looked at Shadowpaw.
Riverpaw thought for a moment. "What about our siblings?"
"I don't know," Thunderpaw confessed. "But I think we should try to keep every cat by the lake-"
"Which isn't going to happen," Shadowpaw interrupted. "We can't control cats."
"I think cats will stay here naturally," Riverpaw soothed. "It's where they grew up, I don't think they're going to leave it for a long time."
"And, we can do something about this," Windpaw added.
"What do you mean?" Shadowpaw asked.
"There may not be any more Clans around the lake," Windpaw began.
Thunderpaw was confused.
Windpaw continued, "There's still StarClan."

Chapter 14

I can't believe I'm doing this, Riverpaw thought as she stood at the top of the hill.
"It's going to be okay," Windpaw whispered. "I promise."
She led the way down the hill, avoiding a rabbit hole in the middle of the path.
Riverpaw was the last one to arrive at the bottom. She crouched by the Moonpool, staring into its depths. Is that really where StarClan is? she asked herself.
"Drink the water," Windpaw commanded, breaking the silence.
Riverpaw hesitantly did, and sleep suddenly came over her.


"Hello," a voice mewed.
Riverpaw opened her eyes. She was in the RiverClan camp, surrounded by strange cats.
She noticed the light at their feet, the stars in their pelts. She noticed how they stood strong, and well-fed, and they looked happy.
"Hi," Riverpaw whispered.
"It's okay," one soothed. "I was scared when I first met StarClan, as well."
"Enough talk," one began. "I am Riverstar."
"R-really?" Riverpaw stammered. She had heard about Riverstar, the first leader of RiverClan. The Clan was named after him.
"It's okay," Riverstar soothed. "I'm here to help you with RiverClan's problems... and the other Clans', as well."
Riverpaw suspected that the leader didn't care much for the other Clans.
Another cat stepped forward, a delicate-looking tortoiseshell she-cat. "I am Dapplepelt," she mewed, "the first medicine cat of RiverClan."
Riverpaw gasped. "Really?" she asked.
Dapplepelt nodded. "I saved a litter of kits from a flood," she mewed dreamily.
"What do you want me to do?" Riverpaw asked.
"I want you to, with Thunderpaw, Windpaw, and Shadowpaw, bring RiverClan together again," Riverstar mewed. "You will have great honor here, along with the other three, if you do so. You will be remembered like me, and Thunderstar, Shadowstar, and Windstar. Every Clan will remember you and your friends."
"I don't care about cats remembering me," Riverpaw growled. "I just want to get my warrior name."
Riverstar looked at her for a moment. "Your name will be your reward."
Riverpaw nodded. Now she had to save the Clans, before it was permanent.
"We must go now," Dapplepelt whispered, and Riverpaw could hear every word clearly, as if she was right next to her.
Riverpaw nodded.
"And," Riverstar added, "work quickly."
And as Riverpaw nodded, she knew something horrible may happen.

Chapter 15

As Shadowpaw opened his eyes, he noticed he was the first one awake.
Riverpaw grunted in her sleep, and then flinched. Shadowpaw didn't know what was happening, and she could tell the other cats if she wanted to.
Windpaw woke up. Yawning, she stood and purred.
Shadowpaw stood, too. "Hi," he purred.
"Shadowpaw, we can't do this," Windpaw whispered. "You know we can't."
"I don't care," Shadowpaw whispered back.
Windpaw lowered her head. "Have you ever heard of Leafpool and Crowfeather?"
"No," Shadowpaw replied.
"Leafpool was from ThunderClan, and Crowfeather was of WindClan," Windpaw explained. "They fell in love, and met in secret. They had three kits, and one went bad after they found out who their parents were. Leafpool was forced to become a warrior, and Crowfeather never spoke to her again."
Shadowpaw gasped.
"At least," Windpaw continued, "that's what I heard."
Shadowpaw stared at her. "Is this made-up?"
Windpaw shook her head as Thunderpaw awoke, stretching his legs. "How do you do this all the time?" he grumbled.
Windpaw shrugged.
Riverpaw grunted again in her sleep and Shadowpaw looked at her. A shiver went through her body as she stood up. She looked stressed.
"What's the matter?" Windpaw asked.
"We have to save the Clans. Fast." Riverpaw stared at them. "We have to."


Shadowpaw pulled himself up the hill to the cat's makeshift den. Thunderpaw and Windpaw were out hunting, and Shadowpaw felt jealous.
"What's the matter, Shadowpaw?" Riverpaw asked, as she came back from the river. "No fish," she added.
Shadowpaw had trouble getting to ThunderClan territory from the Moonpool. His coat, although short, absorbed all the water that came into contact with it. Riverpaw had no problem crossing, and neither did Windpaw. Thunderpaw used the stepping stones, after waiting behind.
Shadowpaw felt uncomfortable, and he hoped the feeling would go away.
"What if we can't save the Clans?" Riverpaw asked.
"I don't want to think about that," Shadowpaw grumbled.
A thought flashed through his head- Greenpaw. What was she doing? Shadowpaw hoped she was in ShadowClan territory, where she could find friends and hunt. Maybe she made a group like mine, Shadowpaw thought.
"I think we should stay here," Riverpaw began. "It's dry here."
"We can find ThunderClan's camp," Shadowpaw added happily.
"I don't think so-"
"We're back!" Thunderpaw called.
Windpaw was carrying all of the prey, four mice, hanging by their tails.
"That's it?" Shadowpaw asked.
"Right now, ThunderClan territory could be serving half the cats around the lake. We didn't want to take too much," Thunderpaw explained.
Shadowpaw rolled his eyes. "There's a whole lake to hunt around, and lots of fish!"
Riverpaw nodded.
"Whatever," Thunderpaw mewed, dismissing the argument. "Let's eat!"
Windpaw set down the prey, and Shadowpaw made sure to take the biggest one.

Chapter 16

Windpaw jerked awake at a noise. A stick snapping in the woods.
She stood, and crept over Shadowpaw.
"Who's there?" she whispered.
A cat emerged, and Windpaw couldn't tell who it was. It was dark.
The strange cat stared at her for a second, then started towards her.
Windpaw, screeching, leaped on it.
It thrashed underneath her claws, then yowled, "I don't want to hurt you!"
By then, Thunderpaw, Shadowpaw, and Riverpaw had awaken, they were yowling for Windpaw to get off the cat.
Hissing, Windpaw was thrown off.
The cat looked exhausted. "Why did you do that?"
Windpaw felt a pang of guilt. "Here, Thunderpaw, where's your camp?"
"What do you need?" Thunderpaw asked, getting ready to run off.
"Cobwebs, and thyme," Windpaw mewed.
Thunderpaw ran off, weaving through the trees.
"I'm sorry," Windpaw mewed to the strange cat.
"It's okay," it mewed gruffly.
"Are you okay?" Shadowpaw asked.
The cat nodded. "Can I sleep here? I didn't know you were here until I saw her," the cat explained, pointing their tail at Windpaw.
"Windpaw's going to heal you," Riverpaw told them. "And you can get something to eat."
The cat nodded, and Shadowpaw offered to catch something for them.
Within heartbeats he had a mouse, and he set it in front of them, and the cat pulled back. "What's this?"
"A mouse," Riverpaw explained gently.
"I like my food better," the cat mewed.
"Are you a kittypet?" Shadowpaw accused.
"I used to be, then my Twolegs left me..." the cat mewed.
Thunderpaw crashed through the bushes. "Thank StarClan Mintpelt was there, otherwise I wouldn't of known what thyme looked like."
Windpaw purred as she collected the thyme from Thunderpaw and began chewing.
"Do you want to stay with us?" Thunderpaw asked the cat.
"I don't know..." the cat began. "I heard it's dangerous here, with the Clan cats."
Windpaw winced as she applied the thyme to the cat's cuts. "I need cobwebs!" she told Thunderpaw.
"Why are you wincing?" the cat asked Windpaw.
"There aren't exactly..." Windpaw began, not knowing how to explain.
"There are no more Clans," Shadowpaw said gruffly. "They broke up because of a Gathering."
"What?" the cat asked, sighing when the juice of the thyme seeped into their pelt.
"It looks like we have to explain," Thunderpaw mewed. "Come on," he added to the cat. "We have room. Stay with us, and we'll teach you to hunt and fight."
"Okay," the cat mewed.
And they followed the cats into the den.

Chapter 17

After the cats finished explaining everything about the Clans, the sun began to rise. After a while Thunderpaw could see that the strange cat was a ginger tabby.
"What's your name?" Thunderpaw asked.
The tabby looked at the cats. "I'm a tom," he began, "and my name is Sun."
"Sun," Riverpaw repeated.
Sun scuffed his paws in the dirt, looking nervous. "I would like to see how this all turns out," he mewed. "Can I stay with you?"
"Of course," Thunderpaw mewed, while Shadowpaw yowled, "Yes!"
All the cats stared at Shadowpaw.
"Sorry," Shadowpaw whispered.
Sun turned back to Thunderpaw. "I assume you're the leader, then?"
Thunderpaw felt all the eyes on him. "I don't know," he mewed after a heartbeat. "If you want me to be, I guess I will-"
"I do," Riverpaw mewed.
"That would be good," Windpaw mewed.
Shadowpaw's eyes flashed. "Fine," he grumbled.
"Okay then," Thunderpaw mewed, "I guess I'm leader."
Sun purred. "Good, you seem like the leader type."
Shadowpaw growled, deep in his throat.
Sun didn't notice, or care. "What about Windpaw?" he mewed, with obvious affection, as if he had forgotten what had happened the night before.
"Windpaw can't mate," Shadowpaw grumbled. "She's a medicine cat apprentice."
Sun gave Shadowpaw a peeved look. "How would you know that?"
"We've been traveling together," Shadowpaw mewed. "We've known each other for a long time."
Sun blinked. "Well, she'll have to break the rules for me," he whispered. "Besides, there are no rules anymore, from what I've heard."
Shadowpaw hissed, and leaped on Sun.
"Stop!" Windpaw yowled. "You'll reopen his wounds."
Riverpaw just stared at the action, then at Thunderpaw. He realized he was supposed to do something.
"Stop," Thunderpaw growled in Shadowpaw's ear. "Or else."
Shadowpaw instantly got off of Sun, but he was growling.
Sun looked angry.
"Windpaw's mine," Shadowpaw growled.
Windpaw looked scared, and suddenly she began to back out of the den.
"Where are you going?" Riverpaw mewed.
"To save the cat that's yowling 'help!'" Windpaw mewed.
And Windpaw took off through the trees, and Thunderpaw had no choice but to follow her.

Chapter 18

Riverpaw stared in disbelief as Thunderpaw took off after Windpaw. She began to follow, but stopped when she realized that she didn't know where Thunderpaw went.
"I hear someone!" Sun cried. He ran off, too, and Riverpaw followed him.
"I'll stay here," Shadowpaw growled.
"Come on!" Riverpaw yowled.
She heard Shadowpaw begin to run.
Following Sun, she weaved through the trees until she heard a cat yowling and screeching in pain.
She skidded to a stop as she saw Thunderpaw looking terrified, searching the forest for some cat.
"Come on!" he yowled.
Riverpaw followed first, with Sun and Shadowpaw right behind her.
She rushed out into a clearing that had a hard ground and stone walls high around it. There was a cat yowling for help inside a den.
Windpaw was there, and no other cat besides a cloudy white queen with blue eyes.
"That's Foreststar's sister," Thunderpaw explained quickly.
Foreststar's sister was in obvious pain, and Riverpaw felt bad that she didn't have it.
"What are you doing?" Sun yowled. Riverpaw realized that she had been frozen in thought, and the other four were getting to work.
"Sorry," Riverpaw whispered. She ran towards the nursery, where the problem was clear: Foreststar's sister was having kits.
Riverpaw gasped.
"What's wrong?" Shadowpaw asked.
"She's having kits," Riverpaw whispered.
"I know," Shadowpaw hissed. "Stop stating the obvious and get all the herbs you can find!"
Riverpaw looked around the dens until she found one filled with leaves, and she grabbed a large pile of one and hurried back to the queen.
Windpaw looked up and gave a sigh of relief. "Thank you," she breathed. "I don't know how you know, but that's what I need. I think."
Foreststar's sister didn't hear.
"Okay," Windpaw commanded. "Breathe out."
The queen did so, and Windpaw put her hand on the white cat's belly. "Three," she announced.
The queen didn't seem to hear. She breathed in and out, screeched in pain, and something tumbled out.
"There's one," Windpaw mewed. "Thunderpaw," she commanded, "nip open the sack and lick."
Thunderpaw did so, and a second sack tumbled into existence. Sun dived forward and did what Thunderpaw was doing.
The final one tumbled out, and the queen gave a sigh of relief. Windpaw licked the last kit, and between licks, she mewed, "This one is a tom."
She checked the other two, the three cats caring for the kits switching places so no kit would be ignored. "This one is a she-cat," Windpaw mewed, "and this one is another tom."
The queen sighed. "Thank you."
"No problem," Windpaw mewed graciously.
"Do you need anything, Skycloud?" Thunderpaw asked.
"No," Skycloud replied. "What's your name?" she asked Windpaw.
"Windpaw."
"You're only an apprentice? You should be a full medicine cat by now."
"It was coming," Windpaw explained. "But..."
Skycloud nodded.
"What will you name them?" Shadowpaw asked.
First, Skycloud pointed at a ginger tabby she-cat. "This is Squirrel," Skycloud mewed.
Thunderpaw gave a gasp of disbelief. "Why not Squirrelkit?"
"There are no more Clans," the queen replied.
Thunderpaw lowered his head.
Skycloud pointed to the next kit, a white she-cat. "Snow," she mewed.
The tom was a ginger tabby with white spots. "This is Bracken," Skycloud mewed.
Thunderpaw sighed. "Okay, do what you wish. But the Clans will reunite."
But Riverpaw wasn't so sure.

Chapter 19

"We should probably go tell my father about this," Thunderpaw meowed.
Shadowpaw looked up from the vole he was eating and mewed, "Then we'll have to split up."
"Okay, then," Thunderpaw mewed, "why would you think that?"
"Skycloud can't take care of herself and the kits yet, and Windpaw needs to stay here if there's any problem," Shadowpaw explained. "And what if she needs a helper?"
Thunderpaw nodded."I agree. Riverpaw will stay here, and you'll come with me."
Shadowpaw growled. "I wanted to stay!"
"Well, you, and Sun are coming, whether you like it or not." Thunderpaw stood up, shaking off his pelt.
Shadowpaw felt a surge of anger run through him. Why am I letting him control me like this?
"Shadowpaw," Thunderpaw mewed, "please. If we do this right, we can begin ThunderClan again, and then I promise we'll rebuild ShadowClan."
Shadowpaw sighed. "Okay, I'll go for the Clans."
"Good," Thunderpaw replied. "Sun!" he called, "come here, please."
The ginger tabby came, his tail flicking in interest. "What do you want?"
"You and Shadowpaw are coming with me. We're telling my father about Skycloud."
"Does Shadowpaw have to come?" Sun growled.
"Yes," Thunderpaw replied. "Let's go."
Shadowpaw followed Sun and Thunderpaw out of the old ThunderClan camp, leaving Riverpaw and Windpaw behind.


Smelling a ThunderClan cat, Shadowpaw hissed, "Stop."
Thunderpaw halted and inhaled. "It's Bouncepaw."
Shadowpaw looked around, lashing his tail as he saw Thunderpaw's annoying littermate.
"Bouncepaw!" Thunderpaw yowled.
"Bounce," the she-cat corrected. "There are no more Clans."
Thunderpaw didn't look surprised.
"I'm here with Stick and Tree," Bounce added. "And Forest."
At this Thunderpaw's eyes clouded. "Foreststar didn't keep his name? Or Stickpaw and Treepaw?"
Bounce shook her head.
"Give it up, Thunderpaw," Shadowpaw mumbled.
Thunderpaw didn't hear, but Sun did. He nodded quietly.
"Come on, Thunder," Bounce mewed.
"Thunderpaw," he corrected. "Please."
Bounce looked annoyed. "Give it up."
"No," Thunderpaw insisted. "The Clans will reunite. I'm sure of it."
Bounce shook her head in obvious pain. "Come with me, Stick, Tree, and Forest probably want to see you."
Thunderpaw nodded and beckoned to Sun and Shadow. "Let's go try and rebuild the Clans."

Chapter 20

Windpaw stared at Squirrel and Bracken.
They were play-fighting, while Skycloud's third kit, Snow, was sleeping.
Riverpaw appeared behind Windpaw. "Should we do something?"
Windpaw shrugged. "What is there to do?"
"Insult Shadowpaw."
Windpaw gasped. "You don't like him?"
"He's mean."
"Well, that's not your problem!" Windpaw pointed out.
"It is, if I'll be traveling with him."
Windpaw nodded.
Windpaw heard Skycloud calling her, and she glanced at Riverpaw. "I'll be back."
Riverpaw nodded and Windpaw went to the queen, who looked tired. "Could you get Squirrel and Bracken in here?"
"Sure." Windpaw turned and left the nursery, but not before Skycloud called her back.
"Yes?"
"Where's my brother?" Skycloud's eyes were desperate.
Her brother...? Windpaw had no idea who Skycloud's brother was.
"Thunderpaw, Shadowpaw and Sun went to get him," Riverpaw mewed behind her.
Windpaw nodded. "Squirrel, Bracken," she called, "time to come back."
two kits scampered into the nursery, banging into their mother's belly.
"I beat you," Bracken cooed, "just admit it."
"Never!" Squirrel shot back, and she leaped on Bracken once more.
"Sush, you two!" Skycloud mewed. "Snow's still asleep."
Bracken and Squirrel obeyed quickly.
Windpaw purred. "I'm going hunting. Do you want anything?"
"Not right now. But I'm sure these three are hungry."
Snow slept on, but the other two kits leaped up. "Fresh-kill!" they crowed.
Windpaw purred. "Okay, I'll get some for you. Will you three be okay here?"
Skycloud nodded.
"I'll go," Riverpaw mewed. "I need to stretch my legs."
"Go ahead," Skycloud purred.
"Thunderpaw and Shadowpaw will be back soon," Riverpaw promised.
Windpaw nodded, although she had no idea.
Skycloud nodded, and Squirrel leaped on top of Bracken.
"I'll be back soon," Windpaw nodded.
Riverpaw looked at Windpaw. "Wait- what if some cat comes?"
"They won't," Windpaw reassured her. "They'll smell us, or think that there's already a lot of cats here."
"That's what a lot of cats like."
"Well, Skycloud can defend herself, can't she?" Windpaw pointed out, looking at Skycloud.
"If I have to," Skycloud murmured.
"See? Let's go." Windpaw led Riverpaw out of ThunderClan's old camp, now just a place.
The Clans would have to come together soon.

Chapter 21

Forest, Bounce, Stick, and Tree were sheltered in a makeshift den, much bigger than where Thunderpaw had sheltered before he had gone to ThunderClan's camp.
Bounce led Thunderpaw inside, and he heard three cats gasp. "Thunderpaw?"
Thunderpaw looked at them. Tree and Stick had pressed against each other, trying to stay warm. It was getting colder, and Thunderpaw could feel the wind blow by his short fur. He was jealous of Shadowpaw's thick pelt.
"Thunder!" Forest stood up and crossed the mossy floor. "I'm glad you joined us."
"Thunderpaw," he corrected. "And not for long, I have to get back."
Forest looked confused.
"For a lot of reasons, actually," Thunderpaw added. "And I need your help."


The cats were now settled together; Sun and Shadowpaw were on either side of Thunderpaw. Forest sat nearby, listening intently, and Thunderpaw's littermates were huddled with him.
"First, I would like to ask why you didn't keep your Clan names," Thunderpaw mewed.
Forest looked uneasy. "After I realized the Clans were nothing, I just made myself Forest."
Thunderpaw nodded thoughtfully. "Skycloud kept hers."
"Good for her," Forest muttered.
"And if ThunderClan had kept together, we would've had three new members," Thunderpaw added. "Skycloud's kits."
Forest gasped. "Really? What are their names?"
"Bracken, Snow, and Squirrel."
Forest purred.
"I also wanted to say that we're trying to rebuild the Clans," Thunderpaw mewed. "I was wondering, since you're the leader..."
"You think if I joined, every other cat would follow suit?" Forest guessed.
"They're probably just waiting for your signal. They grew up in a Clan."
Forest's eyes hardened. "So what?"
"I would like a Clan name." Sun now stepped forward. "I think it would be nice to live in a Clan."
"Then call yourself Sun-something!" Forest exclaimed. "Why do you have to tell me?"
"I want to train, as Sunpaw." Sun was staring into Forest's eyes. "I want to earn my warrior name and sit my vigil. And I know that Thunderpaw and Shadowpaw want their warrior names, too."
"So do we..." Tree protested.
"You, too." Sun nodded in his direction.
Forest looked torn. "If I form ThunderClan," he began, "will I have to help with the other Clans?"
"If it means making ThunderClan as strong as possible," Thunderpaw replied.
Shadowpaw looked angry. "Some leader. And all the other leaders are your friends, Trailstar told us stories of the prophecy."
Forest hissed at him. "So? And his name's Trail now."
"Trailspine," he hissed. "If you're going to deny my son help, at least get my name right."
Thunderpaw turned and saw ShadowClan's old leader standing in the entrance to the makeshift den.

Chapter 22

Riverpaw didn't know what to do. Hunting in ThunderClan territory was impossible, the squirrels would always run away...
"Hunt fish," Windpaw suggested after a while.
Riverpaw felt a surge of gratitude. "That's the best thing I've heard all day."
"Where's the river?" Windpaw asked dubiously.
Riverpaw inhaled the scent around her and wrinkled her nose at ThunderClan's stale scent still hanging around her. "I think it's that way."
"We'll find a river, either way," Windpaw comforted her as they began to set off. "And, if we find the one near WindClan territory, it'll be easier for me to hunt, too."
Riverpaw nodded.


At the end of the hunt, both cats had caught prey, enough to surprise Shadowpaw, Thunderpaw, and Sun when they got back.
"I wish Sun and Shadowpaw didn't fight over me," Windpaw sighed, dragging a single claw on the dusty ThunderClan floor.
Riverpaw dropped her prey where Windpaw had, and replied, "I wish toms would fight over me."
Windpaw snorted. "Thunderpaw brought them both, did you see? So they wouldn't fight over me."
Riverpaw sighed. She doesn't know how lucky she is, she thought.
She didn't say anything.


Skycloud was out in the clearing, where Riverpaw and Thunderpaw were sitting, waiting.
"I've decided to change my name," Skycloud whispered to Riverpaw. "I want to be Sky."
Thunderpaw gasped. "No, Skycloud!" He caught himself and murmured, "Sorry, Sky."
Riverpaw felt horrible. The Clans were spiraling towards a faliure..."
Unless her secret came out soon. But when would she get the chance?
Windpaw broke into her dream. "Riverpaw!"
"What?" Riverpaw asked sleepily.
"You were twitching," Windpaw meowed. "It got really scary so I woke you up."
Riverpaw stared at her paws. I have to tell some cat my secret!
Windpaw looked at her. "Is something wrong?"
Riverpaw had to say something...
It would save all of them if she did.
She had to say something...
Something...
"Nothing's wrong," she told Windpaw.
She let her eyes look happy, and she hated the lie.

Chapter 23

"Father!" Shadowpaw cried.
He hadn't seen Trailspine in the longest time...
Greenpaw bounded in behind Trailspine.
"Greenpaw!" Shadowpaw purred. He wanted her to stay with him, he had never realized how much he missed her.
After her came Harestar.
And Birdstar.
Willowpaw, Reedpaw, Fishpaw, Rabbitpaw, and Rushpaw, came in, too.
"Full crowd," Thunderpaw muttered in Shadowpaw's ear.
Sun looked around, astonished. "I've got to go get Riverpaw and Windpaw!" he told Thunderpaw.
Thunderpaw nodded. "Shadowpaw, stay here."
Shadowpaw felt his heart fall as Sun ran off.
Forest looked around at them all. "Big crowd," he meowed loudly, making Thunderpaw purr.
Shadowpaw realized, Like father, like son!
Trailspine bowed his head. "Bird, Harerush."
They must have met before, Shadowpaw realized. Without me!
Bird looked on. "Willow, Reed, Fish, why don't you say hello to the other cats?"
Riverpaw's siblings had been sitting quietly while Rabbitpaw and Rushpaw had been meowing greetings.
"Hi," Willow muttered. She stared at Shadowpaw. "Have you seen Riverpaw? We've been looking for her everywhere!"
At that very moment, Sun padded in with Riverpaw and Windpaw.
Willow leaped on her sister. "Riverpaw!" she cried. "I've missed you!"
Riverpaw pulled away and sat next to Shadowpaw and Thunderpaw.
Willow retreated sadly to her mother and brothers.
Shadowpaw murmured to Riverpaw, "I would at least look happy to see her..."
Riverpaw shook her head. "Not here, not now."
Shadowpaw noticed Reed and Fish staring at Riverpaw with an unreadable emotion in their eyes.
He wondered, What will come next?

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