When Mintyheart woke, the sun was just starting to poke up from the horizon. I need a good run. The silver and black tom thought. He was just about to step out of the warriors den when he heard a soft whisper. "Where are you going?" Turning back he saw Spiceheart's eyes glowing in the dark den. "Just out for a run. Maybe grab a mouse. Do you want to meet me in the training hollow with Palepaw and Foxpaw?"
"Sure. I'll be there when the sun touches the tops of the trees." She mewed and rested her chin back on her nest.
Mintyheart's paws kicked up leaves as he raced out of camp. Remembering what Blazingstar said last night he avoided the border with Shadeclan and ran to the stream that bordered his territory and Meadowclan's. Slowing down to a jog he continued up stream. After some time he halted and decided to work on making his paws as silent a possible. After a few passes he was sure he was doing fine. I know I'll be on soft pine needles in Shadeclan's territory He thought, but I want to be prepared. Gathering a bunch of leaves into a pile he began padding across them. A few times the leaves would slightly rustle and he's let out a hiss, but even these little rustles wouldn't alert a mouse.
The sun was almost at the tree line, and after a few noiseless passes he was about to head to the training hollow but he heard a sound from the pebbles near the stream. Looking across he saw the slender body of Featherstep making his way across a fallen log. Featherstep padded across but stopped at the edge of the log, "Can I place a paw on Forestclan territory or will I get my pelt torn off?" He purred.
Mintyheart tasted the air, no other cats nearby. He still felt on edge but nodded and padded toward the brown tom. There was still worry in his eyes. "Mintyheart," he mewed "I need to talk to you."
"I know," was all Mintyheart said. Yet neither of them spoke. Mintyheart couldn't put into words what emotions and feelings were telling him as they swirled around in his chest. Eventually Featherstep hopped across the small stream and sat next to Mintyheart. Their pelts occasionally brushing they watched the last of the sun rise.
"So you go into battle soon?" piped Featherstep.
"Yes," replied Mintyheart, not wanting to look at the tom beside him.
"Oh. Well, be sure to eat those fox-hearts up!" and he butted his head against Mintyheart, knocking him over.
"Hey!" Mintyheart purred. And he sprung at Featherstep and the two of them wrestled for a bit.
Back at camp, Blazingstar was sharing tongues with Spiceheart. "So, Mintyheart and I are going to take Palepaw and Foxpaw training. Do you want to come?" she squeaked. Blazingstar looked up from his vole, whiskers twitching. He wasn't the only one that found the way Spiceheart talked sometimes amusing. "Sure. I'd like to see how they are coming. Bluefrost!" he called to his deputy. "Could you go out with Winterstorm, Sunstone, Echopaw, and Shimmerpaw and see how they are shaping up. I'm going with the other apprentices and their mentors." Bluefrost nodded his head.
"Great! I'll go wake Foxpaw! I'm sure she'll be excited!" and Spiceheart bounced off.
But not as excited as you..., thought Blazingstar.
Mintyheart padded quickly into camp. I can't do this anymore He thought to himself. I've been sneaking out of camp to meet another warrior, and a tom. It's not right. Guilt made his stomach turn. But I enjoy his company...no. It doesn't matter. What I feel doesn't matter, only my loyalty to my clan matters. He knew he'd have to stop seeing Featherstep soon, but didn't know what to tell the cat. He'd done nothing wrong, but be born in the wrong clan...and as a tom. But it doesn't matter. It will never work, ever. I just need to get over it. He shook his head as he padded along. Yes, I'll tell him after the battle.
"Where have you been?" Spiceheart called cheerfully as Mintyheart entered the camp.
"Out for a run. Are we going to take the apprentices out?"
"Yes! And Blazingstar is coming with us." She squeaked. "I was just going to get Foxpaw. I'll wake up Palepaw for you while I'm there!"
Blazingstar turned to Mintyheart, "Is everything okay?" He meowed worriedly.
"Yes, I'm fine." Mintyheart lied.
"Okay." Although Mintyheart knew this wasn't the end of his friends questioning. They'd known each other to long to keep secrets for too long.
The five cats padded through the forest, Mintyheart was in the lead with Blazingstar bringing up the rear. He turned sharply from the Meadowclan boarder and started heading in the direction of Shadeclan. "I thought we'd head to that open patch up ahead." Blazingstar nodded.
"What are going to be doing today?" Foxpaw mewed excitedly.
"Battle training," Spiceheart mewed coolly.
"Is there going to a battle soon?" The ginger she-cat mewed.
"Shadeclan is going to attack our camp, aren't they?" Palepaw meowed hopelessly as his eyes grew wide.
"Never. We are going to attack their camp in the dead of night and show those flea-bags what we're made of." Mintyheart growled.
Palepaw looked disbelieving at his mentor and quickly turned to Blazingstar to see if he'd repairman Mintyheart for his crazy ideas, but no comfort was found. "We attack tonight. I want to make sure you both are ready."
"I'm ready!" Foxpaw mewed and jumped to her feet. Her fur was fluffed out and she looked twice her size. Without warning Spiceheart leapt at Foxpaw knocking her to the ground, but Foxpaw quickly wiggled out of her mentor's paws and through her long legs. The two she-cats kept at this as Blazingstar watched them. Both were conscious of his gleaming stare.
Mintyheart padded softly over to Palepaw. "Do you want me to try to attack you?" The slouched over tom meowed timidly.
"No," Mintyheart purred, "I'm going to attack you!" And with that he lightly sprung at his apprentice, landing square on his shoulders. "Palepaw," Mintyheart mewed gently, "You are suppose to at least try to get away." Palepaw looked up at his mentor. Mintyheart sighed, "Palepaw, I've seen you avoid your sisters when they attack you, just do that."
Palepaw looked down, "Yea, but they don't have their claws sheathed...and you're my mentor, so you won't really hurt me..."
Mintyheart cocked his head to one side, "Oh I won't will I?"
Mintyheart lunged at the pale tom, whose eyes were twice their normal size, but his claws landed in the soft dirt below. Spinning he tried again, but Palepaw slipped out of reach. Faking right, he jumped left, but Palepaw quickly switched his direction and Mintyheart just grazed his whiskers.
"See! I knew you had it in you!" Mintyheart praised as he rose on his back feet at the little tom, who waited a moment till Mintyheart was dropping down, to spring to the right, away from his mentors swinging claws. Mintyheart turned his back to Palepaw and sprung in the air, twisting at the last moment to land on Palepaw's back, knocking him to the ground and causing the air to leave his lungs. "Palepaw, you're doing wonderfully!" He mewed as he helped Palepaw to his paws. Palepaw's eyes sparkled as Mintyheart praised him.
"You did do a great job." Blazingstar's mew rang out from the side of the clearing. "Mintyheart was really trying to get you but you stayed just out of his paw reach."
Palepaw beamed at his leader's praise. "Mintyheart." He mewed confidently, "How would I avoid at cat who jumped on me like you just did?"
Mintyheart looked over at Blazingstar and the two toms let out a little purr. "We'll show you."
Blazingstar mewed to his friend. "After all, you and I invented that move. I'll attack you, okay Mintyheart?" Blazingstar turned his back and leapt into the air, spinning and landing on Mintyheart's back. But just before he did, Mintyheart crouched down and as soon as he felt Blazingstar's paws, push up against the ground, sending his leader back into the air, belly exposed and paws flailing.
"Wow!" Foxpaw mewed from across the clearing. Mintyheart padded over and nudged Blazingstar as he got to his paws. "Nice job, now I'll try it with..." Blazingstar's meow stopped abruptly as the loud screech of a thrush rang through the forest, then was cut off.
Spiceheart turned to the two toms, "That's not normal..."
"I'll go check it out Blazingstar," Mintyheart offered, "if you want to teach Spiceheart and Foxpaw that move and run through it with Palepaw. It will give me a chance to work on my stalking skills for tonight." Blazingstar nodded and Mintyheart disappeared into a thick patch of ferns.
"Are you ready Palepaw?" Blazingstar mewed as he turned is back on the young cat.
Mintyheart padded soundlessly to where he last heard the bird's cry was last heard. He was aware that he was edging closer to the border with Shadeclan, so he stayed as hidden as possible. The up ahead he saw a shadow move. Creeping closer he saw a sleek jet black tom weaving among the sparsely placed ferns with a vole hanging limp in his mouth. As he watched the tom as he padded along and stopped at a pile of prey, left the vole and padded back into the forest. Once he was sure that the black tom was gone he padded forward to the pile. There were 3 mice, 2 voles, a thrush, a squirrel, and a young rabbit. Mintyheart stared at the prey at his paws, I can't believe Shadeclan has the nerve to hunt this much prey and leave it out here. I will enjoy ripping them apart tonight. Then another idea crossed the silver tom's mind, This is Forestclan prey so it should be in our bellies, not our enemies. Picking up the three mice he dashed back to where his clanmates were training.
"Okay now you're just showing off" Blazingstar mewed playfully, "You were only gone a few moments."
Mintyheart dropped the mice, "A Shadeclan cat is hunting in our boarders. I knew it would be unwise to confront him with the battle tonight, so..." He paused "I just took back what is ours."
"Nice job Mintyheart!" Blazingstar mewed. "Which cats were there?"
"I didn't recognize him. Black tom. My size and build."
"Humm... I don't think I'd know either." Blazingstar mewed
"Is it okay if I go back and get the rest? He seems to be alone." Mintyheart questioned.
"Go ahead. We can use the prey. Spiceheart and I will work the apprentices until you get back." Blazingstar mewed.
Mintyheart nodded and padded off. When he got back to the pile the black cat was gone but another thrush was on the pile. Mintyheart grabbed some prey and headed back and did this till only the squirrel remained. As he picked it up he heard the bush stir and the tom emerged. Mintyheart let out a low growl, grabbed the squirrel and ran, knowing that a fight would be bad for the attack tonight. The black tom was right on his tail, but Mintyheart knew these woods like the back of his paw.
"I hunted that prey!" The unknown tom called.
"Yeah, well this is Forestclan prey. Why don't you stay in your territory?"
"You stole it!" He accused.
"I stole it!?" Mintyheart screeched. "You took it from our territory!" Mintyheart was almost to the clearing where is clanmates were. I can't believe he is coming this far into Forestclan territory.
As the two toms raced along the path, Spiceheart's lanky shape came into view. She looked up,
"It looks like Mintyheart has a shadow." She mewed to Blazingstar. The black tom, looking ahead and seeing he was greatly outnumbered, whispered just loud enough for Mintyheart to hear,
"I will find you!" and dashed off into the undergrowth.
Mintyheart jogged over to his clanmates panting around the squirrel is his mouth. "This was the last piece." His clanmates purred in amusement. The trained till the sun was high and then headed back to camp. Mintyheart went to check on Maplefur and bring her the plumpest vole. Spiceheart told Foxpaw and Palepaw to rest until dusk. They each grabbed some prey and headed towards Shimmerpaw and Echopaw who were dozing in the sunlight. Spiceheart followed Blazingstar with a rabbit that they could share. Hours past and the camp was peaceful with most of its members relaxing in the sunlight. The sun was still over the trees when Mintyheart stirred and got up from the nursery. Blinking his eyes awake in the fading sunlight he padded towards the camp's entrance. "I'll be right back. Just going out for a run." he called out to Winterstorm who nodded.
His pure black coat blended perfectly with the tree bark he leaned against. His trap was set, all he had to do was to put it into action. He climbed higher to get a better look at the surrounding forest. His claws dug in perfectly and his paws knew automatically where to go, he was born to climb. After some time his golden eyes fell on the silver and black tom he'd been waiting for. He yowled loudly and the silver tom stopped, crouched down, and began stalking in his direction. Perfect. He thought and climbed down the tree to a lower branch where he had wrapped a rope around a large broken branch. The other end of the rope was a loop hidden under some leaves below him. The silver cat was right below him, but not quiet in the right spot. Twitching his tail he waited, then when his silver paw was over the loop, he pushed the log out of the tree, tightening the loop around the silver and black tom's leg and sending him up into the air.
Mintyheart let out a surprised yowl as he flew up into the air. Hanging upside down from his back, leg he flailed helplessly as the black tom from earlier in the day, padded towards him. "In Starclan's name, GET ME DOWN FROM HERE!" Mintyheart yowled at the sleek tom who was now circling him.
"Starclan?" The tom mewed with a hint of wonder in his voice.
"I will rip you limb from limb you mangy flea-bag of a of a warrior!"
"Oh will you now?" His golden eyes sparkled. "In order to that you'd have to have all four paws on the ground, don't you think?" He mewed amused at the still struggling tom.
Mintyheart continued to struggle for some time before going still and turning his head to face his capture-er. "What do you want?" He breathed.
"The prey you stole from me." The black tom mewed coolly.
"You caught it here. On my clan's territory. All I did was take back what was rightfully ours!" Mintyheart hissed, his eyes not leaving the other tom's eyes.
"Clan...oh, you're a clan cat. A warrior, correct?" He mewed, with a new spark of interest gleaming in his eyes.
"Yes. I'm a warrior of Forestclan. So are you a loner or something. Because there is no way a kittypet could hunt as well as you do." Realizing he had complemented this stealing cat, he let out a hiss.
"I live with a few other cats in a barn. That way." He flicked his tail towards Shadeclan's territory.
"No wonder, you're still half kittypet. You're too much of a coward to fight me so you had to string me up like this in order to even speak with me."
"Well it's the best way I could think of to come face to face with such a handsome and impressive warrior as yourself." He brushed his sleek black tail over Mintyheart's nose. "You know the only reason I came out her was to get some food for my sister, her friend and their 5 kits."
"Oh aren't you charming." Mintyheart growled.
"I have a name you know. It's Boo."
"Don't care, Charming suits you." Mintyheart mewed stubbornly.
The black tom let out a sign. "Do you want down?"
"YES!" Mintyheart mewed.
"Well then give me back the prey you stole!"
"It's in my clanmates bellies." Mintyheart retorted.
"Well I guess you'll be up there awhile. Because, I'm not letting you down till you promise to bring it all back."
Mintyheart let out a huff and silence fell between them. The sun was almost set when Mintyheart spoke. "I need to get back to my clan tonight. We are going into a battle with another clan and I have to be with them. Please, let me down." His blue eyes sparkled in the dying sunlight.
"Will you bring me back the prey?"
"Yes, just not tonight. I need time to hunt it all and still provide for my clanmates. They can't know I'm doing this so I can't bring it to you all at once. Over the next few days I can get it back to you."
Looking deeply into the silver cat's deep blue eyes he nodded, went to the rope and bit through it. Mintyheart fell back to the ground and landed awkwardly on his paws. "What if I ran off right now?" Mintyheart asked the shadowed tom.
"You're right." Mintyheart mewed and twitched his whiskers. "I'm not at coward." He padded towards the black tom, who held his ground. "What if I ripped out your throat right here and ended this quite quickly." He was nose to nose with the tom now. Both cat's eyes locked.
"You wouldn't" The coal cat answered
"You don't know that, now do you, Charming."
"Yes I do. You are loyal to your clanmates but you are also fair. You know I didn't mean any harm to them and was only trying to help out my friends and their kits. I also know you have a gentle heart under your strong muscles. You are a rare find, such power, yet such control." He purred "Your loyalty and heart will not let you forget the promise you made. Warrior or loner, you're a good cat."
Mintyheart took a step back. "How do you know all that?"
"It's in your eyes."
Mintyheart hissed. He hated being analyzed but there was something about this cat that felt safe and honest. "I'll bring you the first payback tomorrow at sun-high." He mewed as he turned his back on the loner. "Don't be late, Charming."
Mintyheart padded into camp and there were warriors passing everywhere.
"That was a long run." Winterstorm's mew surprised him from behind.
"Ummm...yeah. I fell asleep by the river." Mintyheart lied.
Peppernose padded swiftly over to Blazingstar. "I had a dream. It's an odd dream and I'm not sure of the meaning yet, but you should know."
As Blazingstar nodded Echopaw, Shimmerpaw, and Foxpaw padded along mewing to each other.
"I just had the weirdest dream." Echopaw meowed.
"What was it?" Foxpaw asked.
"I don't think it was anything, it's was kind of dumb really."
"Oh just tell us." Shimmerpaw insisted.
"Fine. I was out by the sunning rocks when I rounded the corner and there was a dead fox right in front of me." Echopaw mewed to her friends.
"That is weird." Foxpaw mewed and the three dashed away.
"What was your dream?" Blazingstar asked.
Peppernose flattened his ears and glared at Echopaw. "That."
"Interesting..." Blazingstar mewed softly. "We must go." Blazingstar's mew rang out, "I want every cat to split into the groups they were assigned. My group over here, Bluefrost's group by the warriors den, Peppernose and Echopaw by the medicine cat's den, and the cats who are guarding the camp by the nursery." The clan divided and then looked expectantly at Blazingstar. "Good. Now everyone, stay in your groups and follow me." He led them through the moonless forest to a little stream which banks had a dark wet mud. "Now, I want every light pelted cat to roll in the mud. It will hide your pelts as well as your sent. Everyone else roll in the grass over there to mask your sent."
"You look lovely." Winterstorm mewed to Mintyheart.
"Wow, Winterstorm! I didn't even recognize you!"
Blazingstar, who was covered in a coat of mud, flicked his tail and his warriors followed him. Upon reaching the boarder the Forestclan cats crossed, without even a sniff. Every cat padded along confidently, knowing how important this battle was. Although every cat hated being so exposed without their normal forest covering to stalk though. Two-thirds of way to the camp, Blazingstar halted. "We are almost there." He padded along swiftly again, sticking to the shadows. At the top a small hill he halted again. Looking across the open dip in the earth to the hill on the other side they could see one cat sitting outside a larger clump of trees and brush. Blazingstar nodded and Mintyheart padded forward. "Good luck my friend. And my Starclan lead your claws." Mintyheart twitched his whiskers thankfully and stalked off.
His paws fell silently over the earth as he glided towards the camp and its guard. As he approached he recognized the guard as Pinefall. Perfect Mintyheart thought. He changed is direction so that he'd approach Pinefall from is back left side. Mintyheart's belly fur just touched the ground as he stalked the brown tom like prey. When he was less than 5 fox-lengths away he went into his hunters crouch, bunched up his haunches, and dashed forward, leaping at Pinefall's shoulder and knocking his to the ground hard. In one motion he sat on the brown cat's chest pinning is front legs down and pushing is own sheathed paws into the soft part of his neck. Pinefall's eyes were wide as he struggled to free himself of Mintyheart's grasp but his efforts were in vain. He's mouth soundlessly called the alarm but it was no use. After mouthing Mintyheart's name, his eyes flickered then closed. Mintyheart loosened his grip and the Shadeclan warrior fell to his side. Mintyheart leaned towards the tom's chest to check his breathing, regular, as if he's asleep. Mintyheart purred to himself. Standing, he padded forward, shot his tail into the air and lashed it. Looking into the valley he saw Blazingstar, Adderfang, Skypool, Palepaw, and Foxpaw padding towards him. "Nice job." Skypool whispered and Blazingstar rested his tail on Mintyheart back. Palepaw took his place at his mentor's side, beaming with pride. Blazingstar lead the way into camp. It was empty, and the only sound was the deep breathing of sleeping cats. Blazingstar twitched his tail and his warriors and apprentices fanned out. Each heading to a side of the camp and disappearing into the shadows. Blazingstar was the last to hide, making sure each cat wasn't seen. The silence lasted only a few moments. The camp was brought to life as Bluefrost lead Winterstorm, Icecloud, Sunstone, and Shimmerpaw yowling fiercely into the camp.
The only sign of anxiety was in the form of a twitching tail from Peppernose. Echopaw, on the other hand, paced back and forth.
"Sit still and be quiet," hissed Peppernose.
Echopaw spun around and snarled, "How can you just sit there when our clanmates are in danger! You're so - so - ugh!"
For once, he understood the young she-cat, for he too was once young and felt the blood pumping through his veins, and knowing that he was unable to do anything yet feel the pull of battle.
"I review all the herbs I know and what they do."
"I don't know any herbs!"
"Then review your battle moves."
"I don't know many of those!"
"So teach me some herbs!"
"But I'm dying!"
"Really. What are you dying from?"
"Then you'll need some marigold."
"Which one is that?"
Bluefrost's yowl resonated throughout the clearing, challenging the ShadeClan warriors to face him in battle. As the warriors slumbered out of their dens, misfortune shined down upon the first ones out for they felt the wrath of Bluefrost first. He leapt onto Ashfoot first. He sank his teeth into her shoulder, and thrashed her around while taking care not to rip his own teeth out. After a few moments, the tide of battle forced Bluefrost to let go.
Fogeyes leapt onto a rock and began yowling, "This is the might and wrath of ForestClan? Only a handful of warriors! HA! We'll kill you all!"
Bluefrost let out a second yowl in which his hiding clanmates surfaced. Before the ShadeClan cats could work out what was happening their forces were matched. Bluefrost jumped in a large arc over some apprentices and pulled Fogeyes down to the floor, and the two deputies met in combat.
Palepaw crouched down as Bluefrost leapt over him to take down the other deputy. He then felt his ear throb as another apprentice slashed it open.
"You don't have time to what your precious deputy get sliced to ribbons," the black one growled.
"Well, come on! Attack us!" the larger gray one spat.
"Aw, look at him, Badgerpaw! He doesn't know any battle moves!"
"What has your mentor been teaching you? How to eat dirt?!" Badgerpaw then took a swipe at Palepaw.
"M-my m-m-mentor is de b-bravest warr-or-"
"Cats stutter when their lying!"
"I knew it, Spiderpaw! He doesn't have a mentor!"
"Yeah! That's right! ForestClan is so short on warriors that they don't even train apprentices and send them into battle without any skills!" With that and with a roar, Spiderpaw and Badgerpaw both sprang at Palepaw. Up against a rock, Palepaw had nowhere to go, except up. He did a sort of corkscrew over the backs of his adversaries and surprisingly landed on his feet while the others landed face first in the dust. Palepaw then skidded away to find Mintyheart.
Winterstorm battled the slippery she-cat Nightwhisper.
"Come on, Loserstorm. That all you got?"
"Ah, you are as charming as you are as deadly, as I remember."
"You trying to crack a joke?"
"No, not at all. Just reminiscing."
"Well, you should be worried, cuz you don't got no time to make jokes."
"I'll get worried once your beauty matches your prowess, for your sake. Your skills would have
to decline so much to match your beauty."
Nightwhisper's head jerked back. That made her pause, trying to figure out what Winterstorm had just said.
"And if it matched your intelligence, why, then I would be ever so inclined to advise you to never reproduce. You wouldn't want to infect all of ShadeClan." And with that, he launched himself at her and took her down.
Icecloud quickly sized up the gray and white tom in front of him. He knew that Crawlfoot was one of the younger warriors of Shadeclan, which in a battle he normally avoided and fought more senior warriors, but this wasn't a normal battle. Every cat counted and a Forestclan victory depended on a swift defeat of every cat in Shadeclan, in which they were outnumbered. Icecloud dodged the tom's first attack with ease and countered with one of his own, in which Crawlfoot was not as lucky. Your inexperience will be your weakness Icecloud thought as he swiftly attacked again.
Sunstone, whose job it was to guard the entrance and make sure no cat escaped into the woods, let out a low growl as Snakeheart padded her way. "Mangy tom." she spat as he approached the entrance. "Pinefall?" He mewed to the cat lying in the dirt. Letting her belly fur brush the ground, the golden brown she-cat sprung at the unknowing tom, ranking her claws along his shoulder. Shocked Snakeheart swung around and slashed at Sunstone's face, missing her eye by a whisker. Leaping, Sunstone locked her fangs deep into the tom' shoulder till he forced her to let go as he bit down one her tail, yanking her off. Blood dripping into the black dirt the two cats sprang at each other again, eyes blazing.
Badgerpaw rolled around on the ground, claws and jaws locked with Shimmerpaw. Kicking her hind legs into his soft belly fur, Shimmerpaw freed herself from his grip. Rising to her paws she jumped swiftly aside out of his paws reach. Realizing she was cornered at the side of the camp, she swung her head looking for a way out. The larger grey tom padded forward, twitching his whiskers he added, "Enjoy being a kit in Starclan, because that's how you will die under my paw." Out of the corner of her eye Shimmerpaw spotted a pine tree a length from her. Racing towards it she climbed up, with the Badgerpaw following her. Remembering a move Winterstorm taught her two sunrises ago; she let go of the tree, twisted, and landed with claws extended on the toms back. He fell under the force of her fall, knocking the breath from his chest. Coughing he tried to stand but fell again as his body failed him. Ranking her claws along his side, blood splattered her cream pelt. Pinning down the tom, she leaned close to his ear, "You just got your pelt beat by a kit." She whispered. "Now run to your den like the sniveling kit you are." Letting her grip lessening she ranked her claws along his back and he pelted to the apprentice's den. She paused a moment to make sure he wouldn't come back out. Dumb tom. Turning she heard her mentor's mew. "Nice job Shimmerpaw. Do it again." Turning she saw Tawnypaw pelting across the clearing, hissing, she pelted after her.
Palepaw wove through the fighting cats and was aware of Ringpaw hard on his paws. Dashing towards a flash of silver, he found Mintyheart locked in battle with Cedarheart. Palepaw stood, frantic as Ringpaw approached. Mintyheart, seeing his frozen apprentice, jumped nimbly over the brown tom's back leaving him swinging his head, wondering where the little silver tom went. Mintyheart locked his eyes with his apprentice, "Listen to me." Mintyheart began in a calm and confident voice. "You can do this. Ringpaw doesn't stand a chance….."
"He'll tear me to sh-rrreds Mintyheart! I can't do-ooo this!"
"Yes you can. I believe in you. In fact I'd be honored to fight alongside you. You get my back I'll get yours, okay?"
Palepaw's eyes grew wide, but he nodded. I can't let Mintyheart down. He thought. He's a good mentor. He can't help it he got a mouse for an apprentice. Mintyheart turned to face Cedarheart and rested his tail on Palepaw's side. He launched himself at Cedarheart but stayed close enough to Palepaw to reach him in a heartbeat. Digging his claws into Cedarheart's back, he checked on Palepaw, and couldn't help but purr watching Ringpaw leap every which way but always missing his target. Cedarheart rolled knocking Mintyheart from his back and into the dust with a thud. Leaping up Mintyheart just missed getting crushed under the larger tom's weight. Minutes passed but still the tom's clawed at each other with heightened intensity, both covered in blood that oozed from fresh scratches.
Ringpaw had slowed and was panting heavily as Palepaw dashed around him, always out of reach. "Show him what your claws feel like" Mintyheart mewed between strikes. "You've tried him out." Palepaw nodded and rushed forward, striking the tom on his ear. Amazement filled Palepaw as he realized the blood on his claws was not his own. Ringpaw let out a hiss and jumped for Palepaw but fell short, giving Palepaw time to strike again.
Blazingstar passed near Miststar's den. Why won't she come out and fight. Stop being a coward He thought. Looking out he saw his clanmates battling fiercely. "Come out Miststar. Stop hiding like a kittypet and defend your clan." Hearing nothing he let out a frustrated hiss. I need to help my clan. We are greatly outnumbered and every claw counts. In the battle he saw Bluefrost digging his claws into Fogeyes and in the heart of battle he didn't notice Darkstripe ready to attack him. Blazingstar leaped at the brown tom knocking him off his feet. Bluefrost looked over, nodded his thanks, and reared up at Fogeyes again. Letting Darkstripe get to his paws, Blazingstar crouched down waiting for the tom to attack him, and as planned, he did. As the brown tom flew through the air Blazingstar sprung at his hindquarters, knocking him to the ground with his belly fur exposed. Blazingstar quickly ranked his claws in his soft belly fur and sprang back, avoiding his claws. Yowling, Darkstripe launched at the Forestclan leader but Blazingstar jumped neatly out of his way, tripping him with his tail as he passed by. Blazingstar spun around ready to attack but saw that the Shadeclan warrior wasn't on his paws yet and waited to attack. "They don't fight by the warrior code." Bluefrost called seeing Blazingstar.
"But we do." Blazingstar mewed back. Bluefrost nodded as he attacked Fogeyes again. Once Darkstripe was on his paws, Blazingstar locked his jaws into the brown tom's shoulder. Freeing himself from the black and white leader's grip, Darkstripe hissed, "Let's see how good of a leader you are when you're blind." Leaping forward he slashed his claws towards Blazingstar's golden eyes. Blazingstar turned his head to protect his eyes but the brown warrior's claws landed just above his eyes digging deep and causing blood to pool around his eyes, forcing him to close his eyes. Bluefrost was right. Blazingstar though. But Forestclan will remain true to Starclan. Listening closely Blazingstar located Darkstripe preparing to attack. Darkstripe sprang at him from behind. Blindly Blazingstar fell to the ground countering the warrior's attack by using his own momentum to fling him to the ground, pinning him down he ranked his claws along the tom's flank. Blood started following from the scratches Blazingstar inflicted. Loosening his grip, he looked where he assumed the warrior would be. Darkstripe's sides heaved, looking up at Blazingstar he mewed, "Just kill me and get it over with."
"You won't be sent to Starclan from my claws." Blazingstar spat. "Now go to Tangleberry and get your wounds looked at." Growling Darkstripe hauled himself away to Tangleberry, who took him into her den and dashed to get to some herbs. Blazingstar wiped the blood from his eyes. Opening them, he found that he could only see clearly with one eye. The scratch over his eye had caused it to swell shut, blocking his sight. Turning his head he saw Bluefrost padding forward. "Are you okay?" He questioned.
"I'm fine." Blazingstar mewed.
"Can you see?" Bluefrost looked closer at his leader's eye.
"It's only swollen. Where did Fogeyes go?"
"He disappeared after I threw him off my back and into the clearing. You should see Peppernose."
A slight tone of worry in Bluefrost's mew.
"I'll be fine." Blazingstar purred. "Now, why don't you show these flea bags what Forestclan is made of."
Nodding the toms turned. Bluefrost pelted after a flick of gray at the on the other side of the camp. Fogeyes He thought. Blazingstar looked towards Miststar's den and saw her head poke out. She quickly padded along the out skirts of the camp. Hissing, he padded after her.
Skypool limped towards where Peppernose and Echopaw were. Echopaw pelted out to her mother and helped her back to Peppernose. "My claw got ripped." Skypool mewed softly.
"And her shoulder is bleeding badly." Echopaw mewed, seeing the torn fur. She automatically started licking the wound clean as Peppernose worked on Skypool's claw. Once the bleeding stopped, he chewed up some herbs, sending a tangy smell into the air. "Cover her wound with this." He instructed Echopaw without looking at the dappled apprentice. Doing as she was told, Skypool couldn't help but purr. Look at my kits. She thought proudly. Birchstripe would be so proud too. "Am I as good as new?" She asked.
"No. So take it easy." Peppernose warned in a low growl. "Don't open it again."
Turning, she flicked Echopaw under the chin with her tail and purred. Pelting back into the heat of battle, she saw Adderfang battering at Cherrytail without mercy, with the she-cat doing her best to block his attacks. That tom's got some build up aggression. She thought to herself. Turning she saw that Foxpaw was locked in a heated battle with Spiderpaw. She prayed at the blood on her pelt was all from the gray tom and not her daughter. A loud screech made Skypool's fur claw as Ashfoot pelted towards her. Her gray pelt fluffed out as the she-cat grew closer they sized each other up. Fangs and claws out, the two cats locked onto each other, battling for leverage.
Mintyheart's sides were heaving as he watched the large brown and white tom bound away, slipping past Sunstone and disappearing into the forest. Looking over, he purred as Palepaw continued to run circles around Ringpaw, jumping in to give him a nip or scratch whenever he felt brave enough. Out of nowhere Mintyheart collapsed under the weight of a heavy cat. Wiggling himself free he got to his paws. Shadowstripe. With one swing Mintyheart was thrown to the dirt by the brown tom. Pain shot in Mintyheart's lungs as he took in a breath. Peppernose is going to be so pissed if I broke a rib. Springing high into the air Mintyheart managed to inflict a deep cut down the Shadeclan warrior's flank, sending blood splattering into the dry dirt. Yowling, Shadowstripe griped Mintyheart's back leg with his teeth and flung him against a nearby tree. For a moment Mintyheart didn't move, then his breath returned as he saw the brown tom padding towards him. To slow to recover in time, Shadowstripe dug his fangs deep into the side of Mintyheart's neck and shook him viciously. Mintyheart's vision began to blur as his body was thrown from side to side. Splashpelt. I'm ready to join you in Starclan. I hope you're proud of your kit. A sweet smell filled his nose, but it was not his mother's scent. Suddenly the pressure was off him and his vision started to return. Picking his head up he saw Shadowstripe clawing helplessly at his back trying to throw off a black tom, who was ripping clumps of his brown pelt out. Unable to move Mintyheart watched as his rescuer slid to the side of huge tom and kicked his back feet with such force that the brown tom's flank opened to reveal soft pink tissue. Without a pause the black cat jumped at Shadowstripe, ranking his claws over his ears and followed by griping the brown cat in his jaws, flinging his head side to side, tearing his pelt, and slinging the tom into the dirt where he laid, crumbled like a leave. Padding quickly over Mintyheart, the black tom's golden eyes betrayed his worry. "Charming?" Mintyheart mewed, unable to hide his shock.
"I said I'd always find you." The black tom mewed softly. Flicking his tail over Mintyheart's ears he turned and disappeared in the underbrush surrounding the Shadeclan camp.
Bluefrost pelted after Fogeyes, who had disappeared earlier, and dug his claws into his hindquarters. Fogeyes yowled in protest, kicking Bluefrost in the chest and freeing himself. Bluefrost, unbuttered by the pale gray tom's attempts, landed squarely on the opposing deputy. Just as Bluefrost was preparing to rank is claws into the tom's exposed belly fur, he heard a high pitched squeak as a kit was hurled in front of his claws. Landing awkwardly in order to avoid the dark brown kit below his claws, Bluefrost looked up at Fogeyes who stood in front of him whiskers twitching. Bluefrost couldn't believe his eyes. Fogeyes has thrown a moon old kit at him in order to avoid a screech. "I pray to Starclan you never lead Shadeclan." Bluefrost hissed. Smirking, Fogeyes leaped for Bluefrost. The little kit squealed as the deputy's claws landing a mouse-length away. Confused by the task of fighting around a kit, Bluefrost received a strong blow on his flank from Fogeyes' claws. Bluefrost was suddenly aware of another cat at his side. Looking over he saw the ginger and white pelt of Skypool. Slithering in, she quickly picked up the wailing kit. Bluefrost nodded his gratitude at the mothering she-cat and turned his claws once again on Fogeyes.
Skypool carried the tiny kit gently in her jaws. Padding over to the nursery she could hear the wails of a queen. Once she was spotted, Larksong padded out. "Timberkit!" She mewed breathlessly.
"Fogeyes had him." Skypool mewed. "Battle is no place for a kit." She mewed warmly.
Larksong picked up the tiny kit. "Thank you." She mewed sincerely and padded back into the nursery.
"Go back to camp." Peppernose mewed to Adderfang. "Your injuries are too much for me to treat here and if you go back out some cat will have to carry you back." He hissed.
Nodding he padded off and disappeared through the camp's entrance. Mintyheart padded up, blood patches coving up his silver pelt. "Give me some poppy seeds." He mewed.
"I will do no such thing." Peppernose spat. "I'm the medicine cat so you'll get what I give you. Besides, poppy seeds will make you sleepy."
"Well give me whatever you suggest then and let me get back out there." Mintyheart mewed impatiently. Peppernose's response was nothing up a humph as he dug though his herbs.
"Could you give him traveling herbs?" Echopaw asked as she placed cobwebs on Mintyheart's neck bit.
"Yeah!" Mintyheart exclaimed. "All I need is some extra energy and I can get back out there." He mewed flicking his tail from side to side.
Peppernose circled Mintyheart looking at his injuries. "I will give you traveling herbs. But you are not going back out there. You will go straight back to camp. Wait for me in my den." He mewed coolly as he sniffed Mintyheart's sore rib.
Mintyheart let out a low growl but nodded. Echopaw went to were Peppernose told her the traveling herbs were and grabbed a packet. Placing it beside Mintyheart he gobbled it up as if it was a juicy mouse. "Don't those taste bad?" Echopaw asked the silver tom.
Mintyheart nodded. "Thanks Peppernose. I'll see you in camp."
As he padded out of the makeshift medicine cat den, Echopaw watched him go. "He's not heading towards the tunnel." She mewed to Peppernose.
"I knew he wouldn't" Peppernose hissed. "Dumb young warriors think they're invincible."
"Do you want me to…." Just them Echopaw's eyes fell on two cats coming towards them. One
was Winterstorm and he was leading a smaller orange cat, who kept stumbling. "Foxpaw." Echopaw breathed before dashing out into the battle.
Peppernose, seeing the little apprentice stumble, turned quickly to get herbs.
Foxpaw stumbled and fell as Echopaw reached her sister. "What happened?!" She wailed bending down to sniff her injuries.
"She was fighting with Spiderpaw." Winterstorm mewed softly.
"Echopaw." The words barley left the ginger she-cat's mouth and she started coughing.
"Shhhh." Echopaw soothed. "Peppernose is coming. He's going to make it all better." She began licking her sister blood stained pelt franticly. Foxpaw's body convulsed and she let out a pitiful mew. Peppernose padded up along the little she-cat, flicking his tail for the other's to give him room. Winterstorm took a step back and kept a lookout for danger, but Echopaw didn't move. After Peppernose gave her a quick sniff he looked up. "There's nothing I can do." He mewed. "It's in Starclan's paws, not ours."
Echopaw's head shot up as Foxpaw's body was taken over by another shutter. "DO SOMETHING!" She wailed at Peppernose.
"There's nothing at can do." He mewed and looked up to the stars.
Foxpaw began coughing again but this time red liquid began draining from her mouth. Echopaw leapt at Peppernose, knocking him back a step before turning back to her sister, "What do you mean you can't do anything! You're our medicine cat! Save her!" She turned and began chewing up some herbs.
"There's nothing to do." Peppernose mewed. "Her rib is broken and it's stabbed her lung. No herbs will help."
Echopaw turned back to her sister, licking the top of her head as another wave of contractions overtook her body. "Foxpaw! Foxpaw!" Echopaw mewed. "Stay with me! Please! I can't lose you."
Foxpaw looked up into her sister's eyes. "You will never lose me." The words barley a whisper, "I will never leave you." Closing her eyes, Foxpaw took in one last breath and released her spirit to Starclan.
"NO!" Echopaw wailed like a kit. "No please! Starclan don't take her! We were supposed to be warriors together, share adventure and battles! Our kits were supposed to play together and after we served our clan for countless moons, we were going to live out our days telling stories in the elder's den." Her mew drowned out by sorrow. Pushing her nose deep into her sister's fur she wailed. "This isn't how it was supposed to be!"
"Why don't you face me and defend your clan?" Blazingstar accused.
"Oh. I was just looking for you." The Shadeclan leader mewed.
"Well you found me." Blazingstar paused a moment then rushed forward and attacked. Miststar ducked away, but his claws still met her ear and tore it. Hissing she swung back around and missed his tail by a heartbeat. Springing into the air Blazingstar landed on the side of the she-cat and knocked her to the ground. She is much frailer then I thought. Miststar must be close to her last life. No wonder she wasn't quick to dash out of her den. With this newly gained knowledge Blazingstar paused, giving the elderly she-cat timeto recover and get her wits around her. Hissing she struck out and landing a blow to the top of his head. "What happened to your eye? Are my warriors too much for a great leader like yourself to handle?" She teased.
"Your warriors don't fight by the code, if that's what you mean." Slipping his paw quickly under the grey she-cat he tripped her and sent her neatly stumbling to the ground.
"Stop toying with me." She spat as Blazingstar waited for her to recover. "I know this isn't how you really fight. Why are you holding back?"
Blazingstar looked deep into her eyes, "Because no cat should be disrespected in battle. Battle isn't about how much injury each clan can inflict, but what lies behind that battle and fuels its fire."
The two leaders stood facing each other, understanding slowly replacing the hate in Miststar's eyes. Blazingstar took a paw step forward but was knocked to the ground as Fogeyes leapt at him from his blind side. As he landed his head hit a large flat stone in the hollow causing him to lose consciousness. Fogeyes stood over the black and white tom's body for a moment. Looking over his shoulder he saw the surprise in his leader's face. Across the clearing he saw Bluefrost pelting towards him with Mintyheart hard on his paws. Bending down he grabbed Blazingstar's neck with his fangs and began to shake him viciously. A stream of blood quickly flowed from his neck and his body was shaken by spasms. Dropping the leader's body he pelted off as Bluefrost arrived.
"Blazingstar?" Bluefrost mewed looking up after where Fogeyes went. Looking into the clearing he yowled for Peppernose.
Mintyheart padded up to Bluefrost's side. "Rip his pelt off, Bluefrost." Mintyheart growled. "I'll help Peppernose."
Bluefrost pelted after the gray tom, revenge fueling his pawsteps. A low growl sounded behind Mintyheart. Turning, he saw Miststar. Letting out a fierce hiss he lunged her way, but she leapt out of reach and disappeared within the brush.
Peppernose arrived, quickly sniffing Blazingstar. "He's losing a life." The black tom mewed, looking worried as he saw the stream of blood flowing from his leader's neck. "We need cobwebs." He mewed to Mintyheart. "If I don't stop the bleeding he'll lose more than one life."
Mintyheart pelted off across the clearing, hurrying back with bundle of spider web is his jaws. Peppernose press the bundle into his leader's wound, sending up a silent plea to Starclan.
When Blazingstar opened his eyes he wasn't in the Shadeclan camp. He could hear the sounds of battle but they were muffled. Looking around he realized he was in Starclan's territory. Glancing below his paws he saw the battle and his limp body with Peppernose and Mintyheart beside it. Suppressing a shiver he turned as four cats with star light in their paws padded towards him. Taking his eyes off the battle below him Blazingstar gazed at the cats before him. His mother, Sundancer, padded forward touching her kit's nose. Purring he felt a flick of a tail on his side, turning he saw his sister, Nightpaw. The apprentice he lost in battle under Patchstar's leadership, Owlpaw, padded forward with a gleam in his eye. Flicking the tom over the head he almost forgot where he was. Behind these cats was a ginger tom, Lionstar, who was leader before Patchstar. Blazingstar had only met the old leader once, when he received his nine lives from Starclan. Suddenly, Blazingstar looked down, aware of the battle once more. He looked with panic at the starry cats in front of him, "I need to go back!" Blazingstar mewed "My clan needs me."
"Indeed they do." Lionstar mewed. "But you need to lose a life first."
"Then take it." Blazingstar mewed impatiently. "I need to get back down there." Pain rattled his limp body as well as his spirit in Starclan. After the pain subsided he looked back at the glowing cats. "Can I return?"
"Yes." Sundancer mewed, licking the top of his head as she did when he was a kit. Part of him longed to stay in Starclan, with so many he loved and lost. But a stronger part of him pulled him back to his clanmates below. Licking her on the shoulder he closed his eyes. Pain returned as he returned to his body. Mintyheart and Peppernose looked down at him. "There he is." Mintyheart mewed happily flicking his friend over the head with his tail.
"What's the damage?" Blazingstar mewed softly, feeling the pain in his neck and side.
"He ripped your throat out pretty good." Peppernose mewed coolly. "I put cobwebs over it but that won't stop the bleeding enough if you move around too much."
Bluefrost threw Fogeyes to the ground. "I want to speak with you, Blazingstar." Fogeyes began to slip away.
"I'll take care of that scum for you, Bluefrost," Mintyheart purred. "At least until you're done speaking with Blazingstar."
Bluefrost nodded and padded over to his leader. "You lost a life didn't you?"
Blazingstar nodded. "How is that battle going?"
"Surprisingly well." Bluefrost mewed. "Are warriors are tried but I think we might have the advantage."
"Great." Blazingstar stood.
"Blazingstar. You're hurt. I think you should avoid battle for now."
"I'm fine." Bluefrost didn't look convinced. "I'm not sitting the rest of this battle out. I lead my clan here and I will lead them back to camp. I lost one life but I will gladly lose all nine if it meant to success of Forestclan."
Bluefrost looked deeply into his leader's glittering eyes, "Understood. Miststar went around the clearing that way." Bluefrost meowed, flicking his tail in the direction that the gray she-cat went. Blazingstar padded around the camp as Bluefrost return to Mintyheart who had recently pinned Fogeyes down and ranked his claws over his back. Looking around the camp he saw that only Icecloud, Mintyheart, Palepaw, Icecloud, and Bluefrost were still fighting with Shadeclan warriors. Winterstorm, Skypool, and Echopaw were in a tight circle. Sunstone, Shimmerpaw and Adderfang must have been sent back to the camp by Peppernose. And the battles that were still going on seemed to be mostly in Forestclan's favor. Suddenly a gray figure crossed the clearing. Pelting after it, Blazingstar could feel his sides aching. Slashing his claws against the she-cat's body he swung her to the ground. Getting to her paws she batted at his head but missed. Blazingstar dung his claws into her shoulder and pulled her onto the ground. Looming over her placed his paw on her shoulder not allowing her to get up. "This battle is over." Blazingstar mewed flatly. The wound on his neck slowing starting to bleed again.
"What are your terms?" She breathed.
"Call off your warriors. Keep your boarder where it belongs and never cross it. If you break these terms I'll have my warriors claw your clan's pelt off." He removed his paw and let her stand.
Knowing her weakness and that she was defeated, Miststar nodded. "Agreed. Shadeclan retreat."
All around the battle stopped and the cats looked towards their bleeding leaders.
Bowing her head to Blazingstar she limped towards her den, but Blazingstar fell into place beside her, catching her on his shoulder as she stumbled.
Miststar let out a low growl at Blazingstar's help but knowing that she would fall without him, didn't shoo him away. As she entered her den she couldn't hide the weariness in her eyes. Bowing his head slightly to the elderly leader, Blazingstar padded out into the clearing where yowls of triumph greeted him. Raising his tail he gathered his battered but pound warriors. A ginger pelt caught his eyes, padded quickly over he saw the limb body of Foxpaw in the dirt. Skypool had her face into her daughter's pelt and Echopaw was staring blankly muttering to herself. Winterstorm had his tail draped over Skypool and Shimmerpaw was at his side, sadness welling up in her blue eyes.
Blazingstar's heart ached as he looked down at the little apprentice. Why Starclan? She was so young. Please welcome her into your paws. Bluefrost padded up to his side, turning to him he murmured, "Lead the patrol home. Icecloud and I will carry Foxpaw back to the camp."
Bluefrost nodded and swept his tail gathering his clanmates, leading them at a brisk jog towards camp. Blazingstar slid under the little she-cat's body with Icecloud and rose to his paws. Together they padded toward camp.
Mintyheart fell into step with Palepaw, glancing down at his apprentice. "You fought well." He mewed in the little tom's ear. Palepaw had a few scratches on his pelt but hardly any compared to the other apprentices. He's good at avoiding Mintyheart mewed to himself. "I'm very proud of you." Palepaw's eyes gleamed at his mentor's praise, but Mintyheart could see the weariness in his paws.
As they entered camp Maplefur let a fierce hiss until she realized it was the returning Forestclan cats and not a Shadeclan patrol waiting to tear open her unborn kits. Padding forward her eyes grew at the amount of injury that each clan member suffered. Finding Mintyheart her worry subsided, only to be replaced when her eyes fell on the wound on his neck. "What happened?" She breathed, rushing forward.
"I'm fine. Some dumb flea ball thought he'd send me to Starclan but I couldn't miss the birth of the kits." He mewed softly as he touched her ear with his nose.
"You need to see Peppernose. Right now!"
"I will once I know you are settled in your nest. I'll tell you about the battle."
"Did we win?" Panic flickered in her eyes.
"Yes." Mintyheart mewed proud fully. Maplefur slipped into the nursery and Mintyheart followed. Before he entered he looked back at the camp. Peppernose had just arrived and headed for his den to get ready for all the injuries he would be faced with soon. Wounded warriors filed in and plopped down in the camp, waiting for Peppernose to give them the signal. Palepaw and Shimmerpaw sat in the middle of the clearing waiting for their littermate to arrive. Echopaw entered and headed straight for her den at a brisk run. Skypool padded towards Shimmerpaw and Palepaw and licked the tops of their heads, comforting them as well as her. Blazingstar and Icecloud were then last to enter, with Foxpaw draped across their backs. From Mintyheart's side a yowl rang out. Spinning his head he saw Spiceheart padding forward.
"Who was that?" Maplefur meowed.
"I'll be right back." Turning, Mintyheart jogged towards the center of the camp.
"Wha-what? Foxpaw! Foxpaw! Get up! What!" screeched Spiceheart. She nosed her young apprentice, willing her body to turn warm and to laugh, full of life. She turned on Peppernose, "do something!" she spat. At least Peppernose had the decency to lower his eyes, all the while Echopaw was glaring at him, while he said, "she's dead. You call yourself a medicine cat?! And you!" she turned on Echopaw. "You were supposed to help him! Why in Starclan weren't you by her side? You're sisters!" The pain showed on Echopaw's face.
"Spiceheart-" started Winterstorm. She snapped her neck over to where Winterstorm stood by Skypool. Completely disregarding Winterstorm, she lashed out at Skypool: "You were supposed to be my replacement! You were supposed to watch out for her! She's YOUR daughter -" Skypool's whole body was trembling.
"Spiceheart!" Winterstorm growled. "It's no one's fault. Not yours, not Echopaw's, not Skypool's-"
"Oh, no, you're wrong, Winterstorm." She spun around, a few tail-lengths from Blazingstar. "It's your fault," she whispered to her leader. Blazingstar's eyes were clouded with sadness. "You ordered me to stay in camp, to protect what? A few cats already on their way to StarClan and a crazy queen! And you ordered a cat that was made an apprentice not even a moon ago to go into battle! She was basically a kit! You're a worse leader than Patchstar! No - you're not even a leader! A leader would never send in a cat that young and that inexperienced. Nor would a leader leave me behind to protect nothing! And there was like no chance of anything happening here anyways! Foxpaw's death is all your fault!" she wailed, and then sprang at Blazingstar, claws extended, a wail in her throat, and the most insane, obsessed, and deadly look on her face.
Instead of landing on a stunned Blazingstar, she was knocked aside by a miraculously fast Bluefrost. Half of Bluefrost's pelt was off of him, and the rest of it was more red than blue, with one of his eyes swollen shut. Spiceheart landed on her side and rolled to her feet, spitting and hissing something furious. The two stared each other off, both growling. Then Spiceheart glanced at her clanmates and saw that most of them were looking at her apprehensively. She yowled and ran off into the woods.
"Thank you, Bluefrost," spoke Blazingstar softly, glancing at the dried blood that coated his deputy. He flicked his tail at Peppernose to look at Bluefrost first as the latter collapsed out of exhaustion onto the dirt. Blazingstar then started walking after Spiceheart, trying to pick up her scent.
"Whoa there..." Mintyheart stopped Blazingstar. The two friends looked at each other and Mintyheart saw that Blazingstar was torn up about Foxpaw's death and Spiceheart's words and reaction. "You really think it's a good idea to go chasing down a she-cat who wants to rip you to shreds?" Mintyheart shook his head.
"I can't just leave her wandering around the forest!"
"Let me go. I know her better than you. She's not just dealing with Foxpaw's death; Juniperpaw's dying all over for her right now."
"Don't worry. I'll bring her back." Blazingstar grunted in reply, and turned back to mourn and heal with his clanmates.