A collab between Ferret and Kode.

Prologue (Ferret)

The moor; oh, how he relished it’s beauty. How he relished it’s springy, golden blades of grass. How he relished running across the heather, the wind brushing his side like a cat’s tail, his muscles bunching and stretching.

And now he was simply going to leave all he knew behind.

Leaving this wonderful place . . . it was going to leave a hole in his heart. A hole in the shape of the moor.

He didn’t want to leave, of course. No one did. But with ThunderClan’s recent threats, what else could they do? If they stayed, WindClan would be destroyed. Every cat within it, and then the Clan itself. And he was not going to tolerate such a thing.

So now they were leaving.

They had decided long ago that they would check the old forest territory. Surely the Twolegs would have left by now, and taken their monsters with them? They had no idea where the place their ancestors thrived, of course, but they were sure StarClan would guide their paws.

If StarClan even approved of their decision.

And now, as he led what was left of WindClan made their way across the moor, breaking the silence and stillness of the night, worries and possibilities he hadn’t thought about before began to whirl through his mind.

What if they couldn’t survive the journey?

What if StarClan abandoned them because of their choice?

What if they were searching for nothing, and would only find the remains of the first moor?

He forced his doubts to the back of his mind with a shake of his head. He couldn’t think that way, not when he was about to determine the fate of WindClan. Not when he had to have all hope possible.

And yet, he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop wondering if this was right. He couldn’t stop wondering if he was going to lead WindClan to their destruction. No matter what ThunderClan started, he would end it somehow. And he wondered if he would do that by shredding WindClan apart.

He knew he needed to keep his pride, but he slightly agreed with the other Clans; WindClan was the weakest.

That didn’t seem like much motivation for ThunderClan to destroy them and risk the lives of their own, so he knew there must be some other reason. But the ThunderClan leader had simply said that they were too weak. And he couldn’t bring himself to believe him.

He felt like he was swimming in a lake of stress and anxiety, and was relieved when his thoughts were broken as a she-cat quickened her pace and separated from the small group of cats following him, and rushed up to his side.

“Should we really be doing this?”

He didn’t know how to answer her; he didn’t even know himself. He was silent for a few heartbeats, and just continued walking, but soon replied. “It’s our only chance.”

“Surely if ThunderClan is able to destroy us this journey can? There are cliffs, hawks, wolves, and so much more out there. If a group of cats can do it, they definitely can.” Her gaze flashed with frustration.

He flicked his tail stubbornly. “It’s our only chance.” he repeated, raising his voice a bit.

She said nothing more, just furrowed her brow and doubled back to the others. He sighed. Couldn’t she see, or was she blind? Not only would this protect them from ThunderClan - they would have a home all to them selves. Sure, there would be some rogues and kittypets, but no rival Clans. No border skirmishes. No stolen prey. It would be calm.

Even if it wouldn’t be the same.

He still couldn‘t be as confident as he seemed, especially when the Twolegplace came into view. They would have to cross through if they wanted to get to the mountains, and then go through them to the other side, where the old forest would be, if the Twolegs hadn’t destroyed it completely.

He slowed down as they neared the Twolegplace, and raised his tail as a signal to halt. There was a scuffling for paws before everything was silent.

He turned around. Eyes glistened in the moonlight as they stared back at him. He looked past the cats, though, and gazed at the moor one last time. He gazed at his past life one last time. His kithood, his apprenticeship, his journey to becoming WindClan’s leader. All would be left behind. Maybe one of the other Clans would take over to territory. Maybe they’d make it into a gathering place, or even a battleground. Who knew? It didn’t matter, anyway; all that mattered now was that they found a new home, and safely.

”Cats of WindClan,” he twitched his whiskers blandly as he spoke to his Clanmates . . . his family. “Tonight is most likely the last time you’ll ever see this place until you join StarClan. As you know, ThunderClan has decided to try and destroy us, due to our . . . weakness.” He spat out the last word as if it was a piece of crow-food. “And now we must leave. This is our only chance to survive. I will miss this place, and I hope you will as well.” He bowed his head and closed his eyes. ”Take your last looks before we leave.” Some cats murmured with agreement, while others yowled goodbye to the moor. This was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

StarClan, please be with us on the journey. Please.

———

It took seven sunrises. Seven sunrises of fear, hope, and prayer to StarClan. But they made it. They made it to the old territories.

The journey was not easy. StarClan, no. Prey was plentiful, of course, but not everyone had made it. An apprentice was carried off by a hawk, and a warrior fell off the cliff. Otherwise, there were no casualties, and most of WindClan had done it.

When they approached the first moor, he could sense the tension within his Clan. Their tails were stiff, whiskers twitched with excitement, and anxiety wafted off of their bodies like the scent of nectar from a flourishing flower.

They hadn’t expected it to be perfect, of course.

The ground was littered with stumps of trees that must have towered above long, long ago, and there was not a single living tree in sight. They could see the moor from ThunderClan’s first territory. Although, there was no Twolegs, no monsters, so that was more on the good side. Much, much more.

It was good to feel the moor’s long grass underpaw again. It was not the same of their usual home, but it was a moor. A beautiful, large expanse of grass stretched across the ground, yet smaller than a speck in the world itself.

Yet no matter how much they searched the moor, there was no camp.

So they would have to make it themselves.

At the moment, everyone was contributing. Even the few elders helped drag pieces of shrubs to make dens. There were no kits, no queens at the moment, so they would all help.

As he stopped for a moment and watched his working Clan, his chest welled up with a mixture of emotions.

It would be hard, but they could do it.

WindClan would survive.

Chapter One (Kode)

Silksharp arched her back regally, stretching out all her early-morning stiffness. The air carried a faint smell of herbs - she was sure that Birdglee had been experimenting again.

After being driven out of their home many generations before, the old clans, ThunderClan, RiverClan, and Shadowclan, were nothing but a fading memory, a forgotten remnant of their past - Silksharp was almost positive she was the last to remember their names, and only because her mother had been a storyteller.

She passed Spoolsplit as she padded out of the warrior’s den, the senior warrior was teaching some kits the “art” of crouching. Silksharp snorted; Spoolsplit would fit right in with the tale-telling elders.

“Looking good,” She called to the kits, who giggled and otherwise ignored her.

Silksharp approached the camp’s entrance gaily, waving her tail cheerily at the two guards on duty - not that there was ever anything to guard from.

“Hello, Silksharp,” The first guard, Toadsoft, greeted her quietly.

“Hello!” She purred back. She strode out through the entrance and surveyed the moors around. There were no signs of life on the moor, save the occasional rustle of the high grass, betraying the locations of unwary rabbits.

Silksharp knew that Glasscalm would be leading a patrol through the grasses as soon as the sun was fully up; the dawn light was usually not enough to see camouflaged rabbits with, especially in chill-season.

She licked her jaws hungrily, it had been almost a day since she’d eaten.

With a resigned sigh, she set off in the opposite direction from the rabbit's location, instead heading towards the large river that roared through their territory. Splintersweet had sworn that she had smelled cats on the nearly-drowned stepping stones that allowed them to cross the river, and Silksharp wanted to check it out.

The water thundered past Silksharp as she slowly trekked her way uphill, making leisurely progress towards the river’s peak.

As she was walking, she allowed her usually-disciplined mind to wander, and her thoughts centered around food. Plump rabbit, juicy hare, sweet vole…

Her stomach grumbled pleadingly, and she regretfully shut her mind off from the temptation.

Silksharp stopped as she heard a faint sound. It sounded like... but no, it couldn't be.

She twitched her ears, straining them as far as they could go - it sure seemed like those piteous wails were real...

She narrowed her eyes, scanning the river for the stepping stones. They were almost directly to her left - she would have missed them if not for the cries.

On the one closest to the opposite shore, she saw two kits flailing around, shoulder-deep in the rushing water.

As she watched, one of the kits went under, and she didn’t see it come up until she spotted it a few fur-tufts upwards. The kit was fighting the current, but it was futile, and it was quickly tiring.

Silksharp plunged herself into the water, because even though she couldn’t swim, she couldn’t let those kits die, either.

She paddled through the murky water and pulled the one kit still on the stone closer to her with her forepaw, clamping her jaws around the young kit's scruff.

Another wail pierced the air, this time cut off half-way. Silksharp swam over to where she had last seen the kit, and just barely saw a dark silhouette sinking through the water, slowly fading into the darkness.

She lowered down her haunches and scooped up the kit with her hind leg, pushing it up to the surface. It didn't move, and she mournfully licked it, finally dragging the two kits onto land.

This was still WindClan territory, but it seemed no one had been there in a while; scents were faint, stale, or otherwise gone. The first kit, the one who was still breathing, closed its eyes and slowly went to sleep, its breath even.

Silksharp directed her attention to the other kit. Its breathing was shallow, and she could see the kit slowly tensing up. Without seeing any other options, she pressed down with her two front paws on the kit's chest.

The result was instantaneous: water gushed out of the kit’s mouth, and it began to cough, it’s blue eyes fluttering open. Warmth settled in Silksharp’s heart, and she let out a cracked purr. The kit looked up at her curiously, seemingly undaunted by its near-death experience. 

She lowered her head, about to pick it up and place it by it’s sibling, when she caught a whiff of a faint smell. 

She sniffed again. 

It was vaguely familiar, as if it was something she should know but didn’t, something that, for some reason, triggered a warning in Silksharp’s mind. 

She stared down at the kits piteously. She couldn't leave them here, only a monster would do that. But that smell...

Silksharp sighed, and picked up the kits. If she didn't know that smell, Birdglee would. And if even Birdglee didn't know it, then it was nothing to worry about, right?

Comforted by her new philosophy, she began the trip home.

Chapter Two (Ferret)

“Rose! Iris! Hurry up!”

Rose shifted in the nest she shared with her sister uneasily as their names were called. “We’re coming...” She rolled to her belly and prodded Iris with a forepaw. “Wake up, we gotta go do our duties.”

Iris was laying on her back, eyes closed. They shot open at Rose’s words. “I was awake...just pretending to be asleep so we could rest a bit longer.”

“Just get up, lazybones!” Rose heaved herself to her paws and flicked Iris’s nose with her tail tip before stumbling out of the apprentice den with a yawn. As soon as she was outside unexpected sunlight shone into her eyes, and she screwed them shut against the harsh rays. After blinking a few times to adjust to the change of atmosphere she saw two cats sitting in front of her; a she-cat washing her flank and a tom glaring at Rose, his tail twitching irritably.

“You took your time, Rose.” he grunted.

“Cricketstorm...calm down! She was just waking up.” The she-cat looked up.

“You’re too kind to them, Petalsoft.” The tom, Cricketstorm, turned his head. “You need to be harder!”

Petalsoft sighed, and at the same time Iris appeared out of the den, blinking blearily. “Okay, I’m ready, I guess.

“Finally!” Cricketstorm jumped to his paws and, tail high, headed over to the camp entrance. Rose and Iris exchanged an amused glance before following, and heard Petalsoft get up behind them to bring up the rear.

. . .

“So, what are we going to do today?” Cricketstorm and Petalsoft weren’t necessarily mentors for Rose and Iris; the whole Clan took turns training them.

“Well . . . both of you are terrible at fighting, so that’s what we’re going to do.” Cricketstorm replied. Petalsoft shoved him roughly, but he ignored it and continued walking through the moor.

They stopped at the foot of hill, where the ground was slightly even and flat. As soon as they halted Cricketstorm sat down and curled his tail around his paws, and Petalsoft did the same.

“What do we do, then?” Rose looked at them eagerly.

“Practice fighting.”

“But we . . .” Rose clawed the ground. Cricketstorm was so frustrating! “Tell us what moves to use! And how!”

“Okay . . . how about the shoulder drop?” Cricketstorm got up and nodded to Petalsoft. “I’ll use it on her, and then you two try it.” Petalsoft nodded back, and rose to her paws. Cricketstorm circled until he was directly behind her, and then leaped onto her back without warning. Before Petalsoft could do anything, he grabbed her shoulders with his his forepaws and locked them against the ground. Then, claws still sheathed, he churned her back with his hindlegs, and she could do nothing but struggle beneath him. Finally, after a few moments, he let go and got off. Petalsoft heaved herself to her paws and shook out her pelt.

“Wow!” Iris’s jaw hung open. “That was awesome!” Her light gray pelt rippled with excitement.

Rose rolled her eyes. “It was okay,” she mewed. “But let’s go ahead and do it ourselves. I’ll go first.” She crosses the grass and stationed herself behind her sister, and focused on Iris’s spine. She wiggled her haunches, and lunged forward.

“No, no, don’t wiggle your haunches!” she heard Cricketstorm yowl, but she ignored it and landed squarely on her sister’s back. Iris squeaked with surprise as she reached forward and slammed her fore paws on her shoulders, thrusting them forward into the ground. Her legs buckled beneath her and she collapsed beneath Rose’s weight.

“Okay, you did it! Can you get off now?” Iris sneezed out dust.

Rose slowly slipped off of her. “Terrible at fighting, huh?” she muttered to herself, as Iris struggled to her feet.

“Now it’s my turn!”

“Okay, let’s do it.”

. . .

By the time they finished practicing, the sun was slowly making it’s way down the sky. Cricketstorm led the other cats back to camp, and told them to get some fresh-kill. Rose chose a rabbit to share with Iris, and they decided to eat in the clearing with their Clanmates.

“You did really good at training today,” Iris announced, chewing a big piece of rabbit. “Me on the other paw . . . I sucked!”

Rose snorted with amusement and swallowed her share. “Especially on that duck and headbutt. You ought to work on that.”

“Yeah.” Iris smiled. “We’ll be the greatest warriors ever!”

“Who can be better than-“ Rose broke off and coughed. Specks of blood flew out of her jaws, and she drew back with surprise, but Iris didn’t seem to notice it.

“Are you okay?” Her eyes shone with worry, though, for the coughing itself.

“I’m fine, just . . . choked on the rabbit a bit.” Rose forced a purr. “And I need to practice chewing!”

“Yeah!” Iris laughed. “Guess we all have our struggles!” She gulped down some more of the prey.

Rose scanned the clearing silently. Am I okay? I’m sure I am . . .

Chapter Three (Kode)

Rose’s condition was deteriorating quickly. If she had been sick before, now she was positively dying. Every so often, she would cough and wheeze, occasionally spilling blood with the fits.

The second time had been the worst, though, when she had collapsed during training, her eyes rolled up in her head, struggling for breath. Luckily, only Flurryfierce had been around (the trainer for the day), and she blamed it on a poor sleep schedule. 

“Are you okay?” Iris asked, nudging her out of her macabre thoughts. Rose started, looking around. “Wha-Oh. Yeah, I’m fine.” She murmured, resting her head on her sister’s shoulder. 

Iris still looked concerned. “Are you sure? Because I’m sure Frostglow could take a look at-”

“I’m fine.” Rose said, a little too sharply. 

Iris flinched, and Rose’s expression softened. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? But you’re so fussy-It’s as if I have two moms!” She exclaimed. Iris purred, relieved that Rose seemed to have regained her sense of humor. 

“What’s this I hear about two mothers?” Silksharp, their silver-furred mother, asked playfully, padding over to the two jovial she-cats. 

“Nothing, Silksharp. I was just teasing Iris,” Rose explained. Iris giggled, blinking up at the she-cat who had taken them in after saving their lives. 

“She’s annoyed that we don’t have a real mother, and so she’s taking it on herself to be that motherly figure.” Rose quipped, sticking her nose in the air snootily.

Iris gasped playfully. “EXCUSE ME? Are you explaining me?” Iris demanded, batting Rose with a pale gray paw. “Maaaaaaaaaybe…” Iris snickered. “Why? Are you going to do something about it?”

Silksharp chuckled, scooping Iris and Rose closer to her. “I may not be your birth mother, but I am your real mother.” Silksharp purred. “We know, Silksharp.” Iris snuggled closer to the quicksilver feline. “Yeah! We’re only members of WindClan because of you!” Rose added.

Silksharp’s shoulders tensed, and her ears flattened. “About that. You’re barely more than kits, and I don’t wish to just drop you on this, but… you’re no longer members of WindClan. Nor am I, nor is Toadsoft, Glasscalm, or… Or Petalred.” Rose stared at her. “What do you mean? Are - are we being exiled?” She demanded in terror.

“No, no, nothing like that.” Silksharp reassured her adoptive kits. “Well, you know how WindClan is very, very big. Last moon, the warriors of the clan decided to… well, decided to split into four clans. WindClan is now BreezeClan, BlowClan, PuffClan, and WindClan.” She explained, her dark blue eyes glimmering with worry. 

“What are we?” Iris asked softly, looking up at Silksharp. “Are we BreezeClan?” Silksharp smiled softly at Iris and Rose. “And why four clans? Why not two?” Rose challenged, her peachy-brown fur sticking up like brambles. 

“One at a time, one at a time. I’ll start with Rose’s question, since it’s the easiest to answer.” Silksharp mewed. “When the warriors decided to split, we were originally going to part in two, but we couldn’t agree on a name. I sided with BlowClan, as did your father. That’s where we’re going.” 

Rose glanced around; it seemed what Silksharp was saying was the truth. There were small clusters of felines muttering, casting suspicious looks at the other gathered former WindClan cats. 

“I-I think I’m going to be sick,” She said weakly, her stomach heaving. 

Before anyone could stop her, she darted off, angling towards the exit to the camp. She knew she was sick, she wasn’t fine- Something was terribly wrong with her. 

Tears were blurring her vision and she let them fall. Just when she finally thought she had a home, a place where she belonged, it was ripped out from under her paws. 

Rose ran until she couldn’t run anymore, and she stood, gasping, in a small clearing in a pine forest. It was dark, as the tall, thick trees blocked out most of the light. Rose had no problem with the dark. 

As she was about to turn back to the camp and apologize for running, a wave of nausea crashed over her. 

Her vision split in double, everything turned an odd tinge of yellow, and seemed to be flipping upside down. It seemed everything she’d ever eaten and breathed and seen and looked at and thought about was trying to force itself out of her stomach. 

Her jaw seemed to unhinge, and blood flowed freely, staining her paws and pooling by her paws. Rose felt better, but only slightly. 

She squeezed her eyes shut, a new migraine threatening to sicken her again. She opened her eyes after a moment, and saw that the blood wasn’t as bad as she’d thought. It was only a few faint speckles of dried blood on the dark green grass, a couple drops on her paws. 

Great, she thought unhappily, now she was delirious. 

Shivers ripped through her frame as she hared back to the WindClan camp. She couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong, they would only worry.

As she ran, she inwardly revised her plan. She would tell Frostglow, because if she didn’t, Frostglow would find out, and she’d reveal it to the whole clan, most likely. But if she went to Frostglow in confidentiality, there was no way she’d reveal the sickness.

There was a small comfort, knowing that by sundown, someone else would know her secret, until she remembered that Frostglow wasn’t going with them to BlowClan, but to PuffClan. 

Panic flared though her, but she quickly calmed down as she reached the WindClan camp. The felines had formed groups depending on which clan they were going to, and Frostglow was standing with Toadsoft, inspecting a scratch on his flank. 

She let out a small sigh of relief as she slowed, barely managing to avoid crashing into Iris as she hurried into the cluster of felines. “Rose!” Iris hissed at her, bristling. “Where were you?! We were so worried!” 

Rose flinched. “I-I’m sorry, I wasn’t feeling well. But I’m better now.” She murmured. Iris sighed, her expression softening. “Okay, but don’t do that again.” Iris muttered, sticking her pink tongue out at her sister. “Yes, Oh Mighty One.” Rose said, mocking her sister. Iris stuck her tongue out at Rose. “Hush, now,” Silksharp chided. “It’s time for the split.”

Chapter Four (Ferret)

Rose’s paws suddenly seemed heavy. She’d lived here for so long. How did they expect her to let go of her home, so easily? She gulped and puffed our her chest, trying not to betray her anxieties. “Where will we be going, then?” Wonders rushed through her mind like a fast-flowing stream and she couldn’t resist blurting out. “Who will lead each Clan? And, Frostglow is the only medicine cat! How will everyone heal their wounds? And how will they tend to the sick? What-”

“Rose,” Silksharp blinked warmly. “It’ll be alright.” She rested her tail on the younger she-cat’s shoulders for a moment before turning and padding over to Glasscalm, probably to talk about the splitting.

“This is so nervewrecking, and exciting, and-“ Iris brushed against Rose’s side, her pelt bristling with mingled feelings. “So many emotions!”

“Yeah . . .” Rose murmured, though all she could feel was worry.

Iris seemed to sense it. “As long as we have each other,” she declared. “We’ll be okay!” Her eyes shone with affection and she rubbed her jaw along Rose’s cheek. “Remember that, alright?”

Rose purred. “Okay, Mom.”

Iris groaned, though her whiskers twitched with amusement. “Not again! It’s getting old already, you daft fur ball.”

“Rose! Iris! Hurry up!” called Silksharp‘s voice. The two sisters looked up with surprise; they hadn’t notice that the leaving cats were headed to the entrance of the camp.

“Coming!” they chimed simultaneously, running over to the now-BlowClan cats. A small black-and-white tom, whom Rose didn’t recognize, nodded and led the group through the exit tunnel, and out into the moor.

Rose quickened her pace until she was beside Silksharp, and stared curiously at her and Iris’s foster mother. “Okay, seriously! Where are we going?”

Silksharp’s tail curled up. “It’s a long story, but there are four territories around here, including WindClan. There was once trees, but they’ve . . . been eaten by monsters. So, it’s kind of like a moor, just different.” She then raised her voice and called to the black-and-white tom. “Hey, Rockshy! Which territory is going to be our’s?”

The tom, that Rose now knew as Rockshy, jumped a bit as if startled. “Hawkstar said that BlowClan would take the old ThunderClan territory . . .” he mewed rather nervously. Hawkstar had been the WindClan leader, Andy he mention of his name made Rose wonder once again who would lead their new Clan, BlowClan. “So that’s where we’re going. I know the way, since I led a patrol there once . . .”

“There‘s your answer, then!” Silksharp turned back to Rose.

“What’s ThunderClan?” Iris appeared at Rose’s side, her eyes wide with curiosity. “I thought there was only WindClan - until now, of course.”

“Guess it’s time for that long story.“ Silksharp purred fondly. “Alright, I guess it’s good to have something on our minds while we travel over to Thund-I mean, BlowClan territory.

“Now, I don’t know how they all began, but there was once five Clans, excluding StarClan. ThunderClan, RiverClan, ShadowClan, SkyClan, and, of course, WindClan. They lived side by side, in their own territories and homes, rather peacefully - except for the occasional border skirmish.

“But then one day ThunderClan decided that WindClan was too . . . weak, compared to the other Clans. Yes, WindClan’s members were smaller and skinnier, but not weak. Anyways, ThunderClan began to threaten the current WindClan cats, and eventually even attacked, killing one or two of them.

“The WindClan leader at the time decided that they would have to leave the other Clans for the sake of his own. So, one night, they left, heading to where we lived. He had no idea where it was, either, but StarClan must have guided his paws, because he made it, and so did his Clan. Then they started building the WindClan we know today, and from then on we lived happily, until we overpopulated, I guess. And now we’re splitting.” She tilted her head. “Hm, guess it wasn’t too long a story!”

“Wow...” Iris’s eyes were huge. “ThunderClan must be really mean!”

“Obviously they are.” Rose snorted. “Turns out they’re dumb, too!”

“I wonder what the other Clans did when they found out WindClan was missing.”

“No time for wondering,” Rockshy’s voice rang out around them. “Welcome to your new home, everyone. We’re here, at BlowClan’s home.”

Chapter Five (Kode)

As much as Rose hated to admit it, the ThunderClan camp- former ThunderClan camp, she reminded herself-was definitely nicer than WindClan’s camp. 

Much nicer. 

The dens were three times the size, though the nests were musty with disuse. Rockshy, who had been elected leader of BlowClan, explained which den was which and for what purpose they served.

When Silksharp asked what the walls around the camp were made of, Rockshy called it “treestuff”. 

“This is the apprentices’ den,” Rockshy announced, gesturing with his tail to the large den. 

There was a large hole in the roof where it had caved in, but Iris and Rose, BlowClan’s only apprentices, scooted around the fallen treestuff and chose side-by-side nests at the back of the den. 

Rose discovered that when she dragged her nest upwards, a small trove of treasures was revealed. There were a few pretty rocks, and a large pale gray feather- a dove’s feather, Iris said. 

Iris found a tuft of silver tabby fur, a few tiny white feathers, and a shriveled husk that the siblings assumed had once been a fern.

"Who do you think used these nests?" Iris asked, echoing Rose's thoughts. "I'm not sure." Rose mewed.

"But I'm sure whoever they were were sisters, because toms"- she wrinkled her nose -"don't keep trinkets, and only sisters would have their nests this close." She added, seeing Iris's crestfallen look.

Her gray sister perked up. "Yeah, I bet! I wonder if we can find out their names!" "I don't think so," Silksharp purred, startling the two sisters. She seemed to appear out of nowhere, sometimes.

"This was many, many moons ago - my own grandmother was born in the old territories, around the lake I told you about. They lived here even earlier- maybe seven lifetimes before." Silksharp explained.

"Oh." Iris looked disappointed, but she quickly cheered up. "Then I guess it'll be a mystery!" She squealed. Rose snickered. Iris sometimes acted like her mother, but other times she was just as much a kit as Rose was.

"Yep." Rose agreed. "Hey, let's go explore the dens and maybe bother Rockshy!" She suggested. "Yeah!" Iris bounded after Rose.

Silksharp was left alone in the apprentices' den, surrounded by ghosts only she could see, ghosts that only saw her.

"Was this your den?" Silksharp asked thin air. Her blue eyes glazed over, and she spoke in a voice that was not her own.

"It was mine, once... The woods were mine, too." The voice she spoke in was male, and it seemed they were having a conversation.

"But twolegs drove us out, chopped down our trees." The voice snarled. "Avenge us. Avenge me." Silksharp snapped back to attention. She glanced around one more time, bewildered, and padded out of the den.

Only Rose, who had stopped to scratch an itch, heard the exchange between ghost and feline, and it left her with shivers up her spine and hackles raised higher than they'd ever been.

Chapter Six (Ferret)

Rose couldn’t suppress giggling as Rockshy padded into the den that he and the other warriors shared, oblivious to her and Iris as they watched nearby. The two sisters had slipped a frog into his nest shortly after the odd event that happened with Silksharp and were now anxious to see his reaction when he found the slimy creature in his bedding . . . or even better, sat on it.

What happened earlier suddenly drifted into Rose’s mind. It was so odd, seeing her foster mother’s gaze cloud and her speak in an unknown tom’s voice. I wonder what that was about . . . was she possessed? That would be terrifying! No, I’m sure it was something else . . . something that’s probably still scary. But she was instantly distracted from her confusion as a yowl split the air, and Rockshy darted back out of the den, his pelt bushed out.

“What? Is something wrong?” An anxious face poked out of the den.

“No! There‘s a frog in my nest!”

“For StarClan’s sake, it’s just a frog!”

Rose purred with amusement, and Iris burst into laughter. Rockshy’s head snapped towards them, and the shock in his gaze faded into relief. “Oh . . . you put it there, didn’t you?”

“Maybe,” Iris turned to Rose and winked, her ears still reddened. “That was a great idea.”

“Yeah . . .” She forced her peachy-brown fur to lie flat. She needed to worry on more important things than Silksharp . . . right? “Let’s go see if we can explore the territory!”

“Alone, you can’t.” Rockshy appeared beside the two she-cats, looking faintly embarrassed. “Silksharp and I will go with you, and maybe we can practice hunting in the new environment as well.”

And that made Rose think about it even more. “Sounds great,” she said, a little louder than she intended. “Let’s get ready, then!”

While Rockshy turned away to go fetch Silksharp, Rose and Iris stretched. “This is going to be so cool!” Iris chirped, extending her pale gray-furred forelimbs out gracefully. “Another great idea!“

“It’ll be kind of strange, after being so used to the moor,” Rose agreed, her tail quivering as she arched her back. “But so far, I do like this better than WindClan’s camp.”

“Yeah, it’s real nice!” Iris’s blue eyes sparkled. “And to think we are some of the first members of BlowClan! I bet we’ll be remembered forever!”

“Mouse-brain,” Rose mused, giving her a friendly nudge. “We’d have to do something real great for that.”

“I bet we will!” Iris retorted, puffing out her chest. “Maybe we’ll . . . save everyone from . . .” Her tail twitched. “Something!”

Her companion laughed. “Whatever you say . . . Mom.”

“I said to stop that!” Iris bowled into her, thrusting her into the ground. Rose squirmed under her sister’s grip, but couldn’t seem to be free.

“Okay, you win.” She went limp.

“Now, don’t call me ‘Mom’ ever again!”

“I wo-” Rose broke off as bile suddenly rose in her throat. She grimaced as she spat out flecks of blood, though thankfully not as much as last time. Before anymore could come out she swallowed, wincing as a sour taste settled over her tongue.

“Blood?!” Iris’s eyes flashed from excitement to panic. “You must be very ill!”

“No, I’m fine!” Rose insisted, flattening her ears. “I just . . . there was a thorn in that rabbit from earlier! And it cut my tongue!”

“But that was so long ago. It would have stopped bleeding by now!”

“Well, it didn’t.” Rose looked up distractedly as Rockshy and Silksharp padded up to them. “Okay, can we go now?” she asked brightly, eager to change the subject.

“Yeah,” Silksharp nodded, her gaze slightly darkened. “Let’s go check out this territory.”

Rose rolled to her belly and sprang up to her paws, her tail waving enthusiastically. Iris got up and brightened a bit, though she cast Rose a worried glance. She ignored it and angled her ears to the camp exit. Remember . . . there’s more important things to worry about!

Chapter Seven (Kode)

"What's this I hear from Iris about a thorn in a rabbit you ate?" Frostglow asked, stepping in front of Rose as the small she-cat tried to make her way back into the apprentice's den.

With a hiss, Rose sent a scathing glare Iris's way. Her sister looked apologetic before ducking into the den out of sight.

"Nothing, Frostglow." Rose lied, then, remembering that Flostglow might be the only feline around that could help her, sighed. "Um, I think I'm sick. I lied about the thorn-"

"Lying isn't a condition, you know." Frostglow said disapprovingly.

Rose rolled her eyes. "I know that. But I've been coughing up blood for some time now, and I've been feeling weak."

All condescension vanished from Frostglow's face. "Coughing blood... weak... Hmm..." She muttered, looking around nervously. "Any other symptoms?" She asked.

"Uh, yeah. I vomited blood once," She recalled. "And then I got delusional, because it looked like a flood, but when I blinked, it was just a few drops." Rose realized she was rambling and shut her mouth.

Frostglow flattened her ears. "Follow me." The silvery-white she-cat stormed to her den, Rose had to hurry to catch up.

"What's wrong?" She asked. "What's going on?" Frostglow didn't answer. "Eat these," She said briskly, shoving a purple root towards Rose.

She ate it, even though it was sour, she swallowed it without complaint.

Frostglow was scanning the rock niches for something. With a triumphant "a-ha" noise, she pulled a small green leaf out of one of the crevices, sniffed it, and pushed it towards Rose.

Rose ate that, too, but she was starting to get mad- what wasn't Frostglow telling her? What was going on?

Frostglow, still searching for something, spoke. "Don't tell anyone about this. Not your sister, or your mother, or your father or Rockshy. Nobody." She turned, speaking with such authority that Rose flinched.

"I- Okay..." She mumbled, shuffling her paws. Frostglow's expression softened. "Don't worry, it's nothing too serious, nothing a few herbs can't fix." As she said this, her tail twitched the way Iris's did when she lied.

Rose's mouth went dry, and she coughed up some more blood. Frostglow frowned. "Maybe more than a few," She said, her tail twitching again.

Unease marched up Rose's pelt, and her eyes brimmed with tears. Frostglow was lying. Rose was sick. Really, really sick.

Chapter Eight (Ferret)

The next day, Rose woke with a start. She knew that she had dreamed, but she couldn’t quite remember what. She narrowed her eyes as she struggled to imagine what she saw.

Then she remembered.

She remembered seeing cats fighting. Cats hissing and spitting with rage. And she remembered that their pelts were frosty with starlight...

Rose broke out of her thoughts as Iris shifted in the nest beside her. Frostglow had told her sister that Rose just had a little cough, and that she was going to be fine. But Rose knew that was not the case, and couldn’t believe that the medicine cat was lying to them. But why? Did she have a vision or something that said not to tell anyone? Or is she just . . . hiding it, for no reason?

Paws tingling with apprehension, Rose decided that she needed some fresh air and rose to her paws, careful not to wake her sister. She gave herself a quick grooming before stretching and padding outside, screwing he’s eyes at the harsh sunlight. The only cat out at the moment was Rockshy, whom was pacing the clearing restlessly. Rose was curious as to why, but she ignored him and hoped he wouldn’t notice as she headed over to the thorn tunnel and slipped through. Luck was on her side, since she didn’t hear him call after her or anything. He must have been wrapped up in his own thoughts.

Tail and spirits a little higher, Rose trotted through her new territory. Her mind drifted back to the dream, and she began to wonder what it was about. “Were those . . . StarClan cats?” she murmured aloud. “And they were fighting . . .”

A rabbit darted past her, breathing heavily for somereason as it ran. Rose instinctively sprang after it, her whiskers twitching with excitement. She focused on the fluffy white tail bobbing ahead of her, and as the hunter and prey passed a huge tree stump, she pounced.

The rabbit let out a strangled squeal as it was squished, and sneezed out blood suddenly. Rose‘s pelt began to bristle as she leaned down and nipped its spine. The rabbit coughed out a bit more of the red liquid before going still, eyes dulling with death.

Rose took a step back. Was that rabbit sick? Like her? It’s probably not a good idea to eat it. She pawed the ground and scooped out some dirt to make a hole for the rabbit. Then she nudged it in, and covered it with more grit with a few scrapes.

“Rose! There you are!”

Rose whipped around to see Silksharp standing a little farther away from her. Her foster mother raced forward and touched noses with Rose, her tail twitching to and fro. “Rose! What are you doing out here all alone?”

“I just . . . thought I’d hunt!”

“I appreciate the thought,” Silksharp flicked her ears. “But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous! We still aren’t very used to the territory, and there are creatures that we don’t know much about! Come on, let’s go back to camp.”

“I - okay . . .” Rose followed her back in the direction she came, her tail drooping slightly.

. . .

Back at the camp, a few large bugs were flying around angrily, sometimes swooping down unexpectedly. Rose watched as Silksharp tilted her head with confusion and darted over to Iris, who’s head poked out of the apprentice den nervously.

“What happened? What are all these bugs?”

“Rockshy and some of the others were checking out one of the dens that we hadn’t explored yet,” Iris shook out her pelt. “And he accidentally stepped on a huge wasp nest! Now he’s been stung, and there are wasps everywhere!”

Silksharp sighed. “Well, no need to hide. Come out, and let’s see if we can do something about these stupid bugs. And try not to get stung!”

Chapter Nine (Kode)

"R-Rockshy? Are you okay?" Rose asked softly, poking her head into the medicine den.

Rockshy was barely recognizable, two large lumps swelling his right eye shut. His fur was oozing, lumps the size of rabbit heads covering his body.

"Hello, Rose. Iris." He greeted the two, speaking seemingly with difficulty. He tried to swallow, and winced.

Iris stepped closer. "I'm so sorry, Rockshy! Do they hurt?"

Rockshy waited for a moment. "I-Truthfully, yes, but Frostglow's been treating them." He gestured to the deep green, oily leaves that covered most of his stings.

"Good to hear," Rose purred, keeping her distance. She wasn't sure if her disease was contagious, but in Rockshy's weakened state, she wasn't eager to find out.

"Rose, can we talk? I want to make sure your... cough is getting better." Frostglow said, eyeing her significantly.

Rose nodded hurriedly. "Oh, yes, o-of course." Her paws were shaking with nerves, but she hurried over to the medicine cat's side.

Frostglow sniffed at her mouth, then her throat and paws. "You seem fine." She sounded unsure. "When was the last time it, y'know, happened?"

"A few hours ago, before I came in to see Rockshy." Rose replied truthfully.

"Hmm." Frostglow looked concerned. "I would've thought... but no, I'm sure it's nothing." She shook her head. "Here, eat these." She pushed the same bitter purple root towards Rose, who obliged.

"Next time it happens, you come straight to me, okay?" Frostglow frowned at her.

Rose nodded, eyes wide. "Yes, Frostglow."

"G-Good. Now, make sure that if you feel sick, you get away from other felines. You don't want to spread it."

Rose's eyes widened in alarm; her fur began to bristle. "S-Spread it?"

"We don't know if it's contagious. Make sure none of your cough-blood gets near Iris, or your mother, or anyone. If they notice it, excuse it, or distract them."

"Okay. What happens if they get near it?"

Frostglow's expression was unnerving. "Let's just say you won't be the only one with an incurable disease."

"Wait, what?! Incurable?" Rose stared at Frostglow in horror.

"Uh, er, nothing, nothing." Frostglow looked distracted.

Rose's paws sweated with agitation, and she stifled a sob, running out of the medicine den. She was aware of Iris calling her name after her.

She ran until her lungs burned with fire and her muscles were pulled and sore. Cheast heaving, she collasped on the ground, her surroundings not registering in her mind until a few minutes had passed.

She was in a vast expanse of hills, like the moors, but not quite. They were flatter, greener, with taller grasses and large breezes that blew across the field like the puffs of breath of a superior being.

"Wh-Where am I?" She breathed, winded. Her lungs were still burning, her throat ached for water. She stumbled to her paws. "Maybe I can find my way to the river..."

When she opened her jaws to scent the air, she despaired; the only scent of water in the air was stale, from the rain barely two nights ago. She sighed unhappily.

"Just go back, dearest one. Looking for the water will bring you suffering. You will only come closer to death." The voice, and the feline issuing it, seemed to come from thin air.

"Wha- Who are you?!" Rose yelped, startled.

"I'm your mother, dearest child." The feline said, in a soothing tone. Rose tried to concentrate on her, but it seemed as if she was made from vapor. As Rose watched, her appearance changed from slim to bulky, sleek-furred to long-furred, while still looking glamourous. "Your real mother," She amended.

"How? What's your name?"

"My name is Arrow, dear. And I'm dead."

Chapter Ten (Ferret)

Rose staggered backwards, her whiskers twitching with shock. “You’re my mother . . . and you’re dead . . .” She blinked dumbly at Arrow. “How?”

The ghostly she-cat smiled softly. “Hush, little one. Those things are not to be worried about now.” She whisked her wispy tail. “You need to go back now.”

“No, I’ve got time! Just tell me . . .” She trailed off as her surroundings began to whirl together, making her head spin. Her mother began to fade with the environment, after meowing two words.

“Don’t worry.”

Everything was now dark, but Rose was aware that she was lying on the ground, and the scents of wood tickled her nose. She opened her eyes, and found herself stretched out between a few tree stumps. She expected some cat to be with her, or be in the medicine den, but she was right where she collapsed, alone. Am I still in BlowClan territory?

She struggled to her paws, wincing as she realized how dizzy she was. Why did Arrow come to me? And is she really my mother? She shook out her pelt and looked around as her senses began to return, including the dryness in her throat. Out of the corner of her eye something gleamed, and she turned toward it, relief washing through her as she spotted a fast-flowing stream. The young she-cat darted over to it and crouched down, about to drink when she coughed. It racked her body violently, and a spray of blood escaped her jaws. Why am I like this? she thought fearfully, choking back a sob as she dipped her muzzle into the water and lapped at it quickly. The coolness ran down her throat, and it comforted her slightly, though her mind was whirling with confusion and anxiety.

I just need to get back to camp.

Rose whipped around and sniffed the air. She was, indeed, still in BlowClan territory. She caught her scent trail and padded along it, trying to smooth her pelt as it bristled. I’m fine. Frostglow is just worried, since that’s her duty. A little coughing won’t do anything. Although her fur ripples a bit more easily, there was the nagging thought that it was absolutely the opposite.

. . .

It was already dusk when she made it back to the thorn tunnel. It didn’t seem like anyone had gone looking for her, since there was no cat scents in the area.

Rose slipped through the entrance, causing it to rustle, which alerted Iris, whom was laying down nearby the fresh-kill pile. Her head snapped up and jerked towards her sister. “Rose!” she sang, jumping to her paws and racing across the clearing over to her. “There you are! Where did you go? Why did you go? Did you see anything cool? Are you okay? Did you maybe meet any of our old Clanmates? Did-”

“Iris!” Silksharp appeared beside her foster daughters, her voice stern though her eyes gleamed with amusement. “Hush!”

“Okay,” Iris still stared at Rose. “Can you tell me something?”

“I, uh, just needed some fresh air.”

“You say that EVERY time, and you had just been out hunting! Come on!”

“Well it’s true.” Rose’s pelt prickled with frustration. “Now, I’m tired, so I’m going to sleep, okay?”

Iris blinked. “But we always share prey before we do that!”

“Just let me rest, I’m exhausted!” Rose growled and brushed past them, headed straight over to the apprentice den. She felt her sister and adoptive mother’s gazed burning on her pelt, but she ignored them and shoved through the moss overhanging of the den and slumped into her nest heavily. She clawed at the bedding for a few moments, pondering. Then, as she heard Iris’s high voice from outside, nestled deeper into the bracken and closed her eyes. It wasn’t hard to fall asleep.

Chapter Eleven (Kode)

"R-Rose?" Iris meowed, her voice wobbling.

Rose lifted her head, blinking. "What is it?" She tried to keep her voice pleasant.

Iris twitched her whiskers up, pleased that . "Are you okay? You seemed a little off."

"Yes, I'm fine." Rose meowed. "I'm sorry for blowing up at you earlier. I went running, and I really was tired."

Iris still looked a bit concerned, her eyes brimming with worry. "Are you sure? Did it have anything to do with what Frostglow said?"

Rose shook her head. "No, of course not; I was just itching for some excitement. After the wasps and Rockshy and everything, I just wanted to go on patrol or something." She lied.

Iris looked convinced. "Yes, of course." She meowed, sitting down next to Rose. "But next time, wait for me, okay?" Iris said, nudging Rose. "It's so boring, here in camp!"

"Yeah, alright, Oh Great Leader." Rose said, with exaggerated reverence. She stuck out her paw in a haughty, yet respectful, gesture. "I will listen to your every command, because you are in charge of BlowClan."

"What's this I ear about Iris being leader of BlowClan?" Rocksky meowed, squeezing into the apprentice's den. "You're not trying to overthrow me, are you?" He asked with a wink. "I certainly hope not."

Iris let out a mreow of laughter. "No, Rockshy, of course not."

Rose smiled, twitching her whiskers up at him in a friendly gesture.

"Have you seen Toadsoft?" Rockshy asked the two she-cats, twitching his whiskers amicably.

"Yes, near the fresh-kiil pile," Iris meowed, dipping her head respectfully.

"Thank you," Rockshy purred, turning and popping out of the den.

"Iris!" Rose gasped, agape. Iris stared at her, feigning innocence.

"You like Rockshy!" Rose proclaimed, raking her claws on the ground of the den.

Iris's eartips turned red. "Wha- No!" She gasped, floundering.

Rose giggled aloud, and Iris's eartips brightened to a holly shade.

"Well, maybe." Iris looked abashed, tucking her paws under her long-furred chest. "He's not that much older, just eight moons or so." She quipped.

Rose snorted. "You know how old he is?" She meowed in disbelief.

Iris poked her with her gray tail. "Oh, shove off. Everyone does. He's the clan leader, for StarClan's sake."

"I didn't know," Rose meowed earnestly.

Iris flattened her ears. "Seriously?" She let out a small groan, leaning her head on Rose's shoulder.

"It's okay," Rose meowed. "I have an idea."

Iris sat up, flattening her ears again. "No, no, no, no, no. Whatever you're thinking, stop thinking it."

Rose grinned broadly. "You know I can't."

"Stooooop," Iris groaned, burying her face in her paws. "How would you even do it, anyways?" She inquired, despite herself.

Rose chuckled quietly, her claws sliding out apprehensively. "Oh, I have my ways."

Chapter Twelve (Ferret)

“Remember . . . remember what I said?”

Silksharp flattened her ears at the voice. She was out in the territory, by herself, near the border with their old home.

A shining shape glistened at the edge of her vision, and she turned around to see a faint, ghostly cat. The same one that spoke to her about a moon ago. She couldn’t make out his pelt, since it was nearly completely translucent, but he had distinct amber eyes that glowed ever so slightly, giving him an even more eerie look than just the wispy form of a tom.

He was staring at her now, eyes narrowed.  “Well?”

“You want me to avenge you, r-right.” Silksharp lifted a paw hesitantly. She felt as if she knew this cat - or, spirit - but just couldn’t remember. “Listen, I don’t - I don’t even know you. And why do you want a random cat to do this - revenge thing?”

“Oh, you do know me.” the tom purred. “Remember? I-“ He broke off as the sound of pawsteps crunching over leaves rang through the two cats’ ears. Silksharp whipped around, spine arched, but relaxed as she recognized two familiar cats.

“Oh! Cricketstorm, Glasscalm! What are you doing here?” she greeted her former Clanmates, casting a sideways glance to where the tom was before. He was gone, as if it was all a hallucination.

“We just wanted to visit everyone.” Glasscalm dipped her head warmly. “BlowClan’s our last stop. Can you take us to camp?” She paused for a moment, then added, “It’s good to see you, Silksharp.”

“It’s good to see you, too.” Silksharp mewed distractedly. “And of course I’ll bring you to camp! Everyone will be happy to see you!” She lifted her tail and turned back to the direction she came. amber eyes burned in her mind . . . “Follow me!”

Twisting her ear slightly to make sure that Cricketstorm and Glasscalm were behind her, Silksharp walked along the path she came. She looked at her former Clanmates every now and then, and was amused to see their amazement at the forest.

. . .

When they reached the camp, she stepped back and signaled with her tail to the thorn tunnel. “Go in, I’ll be right behind you.”

Cricketstorm nodded and brushed past her confidently, strolling into the camp as if he lived there. Glasscalm chuckled softly before following him in. Silksharp padded after them, frustrated that she still couldn’t get the ghostly tom out of her head.

A few cats were hanging out around the clearing, and their ears perked as Cricketstorm and Glasscalm entered.

“Hey there!” Frostglow’s head poked out of the medicine den as if she was expecting them. She blinked happily and stepped out.

“How are you getting along in your Clans?” Rockshy got up from where he was speaking to Toadsoft.

“Great.” Cricketstorm lifted his chin.

“How about y’all?” Glasscalm looked around the camp. “It looks like you’re settling in well!”

“We sure are.”

“Cricketstorm! Glasscalm!” A flash of gray fur darted out of the apprentice den and bounded up to the newcomers.

“Hello, Iris.” Glasscalm purred.

Rose crept out of the den more slowly, seemingly a bit wary. “Oh, hi.” she mewed bluntly. Her gaze suddenly turned to Silksharp, shimmering with suspicion.

Confused, Silksharp looked away and began making her way to the fresh-kill pile. “Well . . . you two want prey? I’m sure you’re hungry.” Rose’s eyes still burned into her pelt. Unease fluttered in her belly. What’s wrong with her?

Chapter Thirteen (Kode)

"Rose, are you okay?" Iris meowed, poking Rose's flank. Rose snapped back to attention. "Oh, yeah. Sorry."

Cricketstorm and Glasscalm nodded at her, talking quietly with Rockshy. "So, what do we do about this Rockshy incident?" Rose teased. Iris rolled her eyes. "What incident? There's nothing going on here!" She meowed earnestly, flattening her ears.

"Oh, right." Rose meowed sarcastically. Her eyes darted to Silksharp, as if magnetized.

The silver she-cat was standing still, not one hair on her pelt stirring. Her mouth was slightly parted, her tongue hanging from her jaws. Only her eyes seemed to have any light in them.

"Be right back," Rose meowed. At these words, Silksharp gave a small shudder of her tail and went back to normal.

Rose padded over to Silksharp, who focused on her with glassy-looking eyes.

"Oh, hello, Rose," She meowed pleasantly, licking her jaws. She arched her back in a stretch. "Lovely day, isn't it?" She purred.

Rose cut to the chase. "Enough. I know what you're doing. I know what you are."

Silksharp blinked, perplexed. "What do you mean? I'm a BlowClan cat, just like you! Although I am a warrior," She meowed.

Rose narrowed her eyes. "I know what you can do." She growled. Her claws slid out slowly.

The fur on Silksharp's spine popped up warily, forming a ridge of fur along her spine.

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Silksharp meowed, though her ears were flat and she was unsheathing her claws herself.

"Don't try that with me," Rose snarled, arcing her back. "I'm not stupid. I'm not a kit," She sneered, flattening her ears.

Silksharp glared at Rose for a moment. "What do you know, Rose? You're becoming quite the inconvenience, you know."

The voice was not her own.

Rose's blood turned to ice, frothing with a chill. "I know that you can talk to ghosts, Silksharp. And I know that ghosts can talk to you."

The spirit possessing Silksharp's body let out a small hum. "Yes, that's true. Is that all?"

"No. I know you want revenge. At what cost?" Rose growled.

"Now, now, Rose, don't be rude," The ghost chided. "After all, you possess the same gifts."

Chapter Fourteen (Ferret)

Rose stiffened, her fur sticking up like needles. To betray her confusion - and a bit of fear - she raised her voice. “Are you going to answer my question, or continue to stall?” A few cats glanced at her with a questioning look, but soon returned to their own conversations.

“Oh, there isn’t any costs.”

“Then why can’t you just do it yourself, huh?” Rose narrowed her eyes.

The feline that had temporarily taken over Silksharp’s body snorted. “Idiot. Ghosts aren’t as powerful as you’d think.”

“Tell me, then, how are you possessing my mother?” the other hissed. My mother . . . “I mean, how are you possessing Silksharp, if you aren’t powerful?”

“I said I wasn’t as powerful as you’d think, not that I wasn’t powerful at all.”

“Then you can definitely get this revenge of yours!” Rose’s voice rose to a yowl. She felt a sudden stab of pain in her chest, and her vision blurred ever-so-slightly. She took a step back, flattening her ears.

“Rose?” Iris’s scent wreathed around her, and she turned her head to her side where her sister was standing - but she only looked like a gray bush. “Are you alright?”

“You don’t have to ask that all the time.”

“Did you and Silksharp get into an argument?” Everything cleared, and Rose saw Iris cast a nervous glance at their foster mother. “You were - er - yelling.”

“I’m. Fine.” Rose wrinkled her muzzle and glared at Silksharp, whom had returned to normal by now and was blinking.

“Rose! Iris! Did you hear me?” Rockshy padded over them, his eyes betraying curiosity. “I asked if you’d like to patrol with me, Cricketstorm and Glasscalm. I thought I’d show them around.”

Would I?” Iris’s eyes gleamed, then her ears reddened. “I mean . . . yeah, I’d love to!”

“I’m going to stay behind.” Rose mewed. “Have fun, Iris.”

“I will!” Her sister whispered, before turning back to Rockshy. “Let’s go!” Then she glanced over her shoulder at Rose. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“It was just a stupid disagreement. Now go.”

Iris lifted her tail and trotted after Rockshy, whom was padding over to Cricketstorm and Glasscalm.

Rose whipped back to Silksharp, jaws parted and ready to deliver a sharp retort, but the silver she-cat was already slowly walking away to the warrior’s den, her tail drooping.

Rose sighed, and lifted a paw to go into the the apprentice’s den when she felt another pang in her ribs, although it was fiercer than before. She gasped as a familiar feeling rose in her throat - but instead of the usual tingle, it burned. Panic sparking in her paws, the she-cat quickly loped into her and Iris’s den. She hopped into her nest and buried her muzzle in her paws.

She began to ponder.

To ponder about the ghost, about her sister, about Silksharp, and most of all, about her illness. As she did so, she retched more blood than she ever had before.


. . .


Rose was grooming herself, licking flecks of blood off of her paws when Iris walked into the den, and slumped into her nest with a sigh that had a happy note to it.

Rose tucked her reddened paws under her chest and blinked at her sister. “So?”

“So what?” Iris’s tail curled.

“How’d it go? With Rockshy?”

“Oh, I can’t hide it from you anymore!” Iris’s voice dropped to a dramatic whisper. “I really like him!”

“Yeah . . . I could tell. What happened on the patrol?”

“Well, first of all - he could have chosen any cat to come along, and he chose me!” Iris’s eyes glowed. “And get this - once our pelts brushed!”

Rose bit her tongue to hold back laughter. “I think that’s normal, Iris.”

“No, it was-“ Iris closed her eyes. “Special. Not only is he the leader - he’s handsome, and he’s-“

“Okay, I get it!” Rose giggled, giving her a playful shove. “Now shut your big mouth, quit gossiping about your crush and let’s go to sleep!”

“Okay, good idea.” Iris snuggled against her. “Hey, maybe I’ll dream about Rockshy . . .”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Alright. Goodnight, Iris.” And to think of how much she wanted it hidden before! Someone’s have a good day.

Now, should . . . should I tell Frostglow about what happened?

Chapter Fifteen (Kode)


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