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Check out Allegiances for more info on the characters. Enjoy!

Blurb:

Meet Lighting Stripe, Thunderstar’s daughter. She tries to find her place in the new and rising clans—but the challenges of the unfolding Warrior Code and evil threats can destroy ThunderClan, and all the other clans too.

Lightning Stripe, with the help of her friends, is the only one who can save the clans. Will she do it in time?

One

I've always kind-of been an outsider.

I awaken in the small apprentice den. Everyone was gone, not daring to wake me. I heaved myself up onto my paws. I head outside.

"There you are, Lightning Stripe."

My mentor, Leaf, padded up to me. I flicked my tail in greeting, smiling. Excitement welled up in me, despite the tiredness of lack of sleep. Hazel Burrow was mooning about catching 6 pieces of prey almost all night last night. I hate that cat, no offense.

"What are we doing today?" I asked.

"Training...." He muttered, almost to himself. He turned around. "Sorry, Lightning Stripe, I’ve got to go."

"Oh...okay."

Leaf turns and makes a run to the High Rock.

I shake my head. What could be more important than training your apprentice? I wonder silently.

Hmm. Maybe I could go hunting in the mean time. That wouldn’t hurt, would it? Although I’m usually punished for most of my good actions. I sighed, trotting towards the entrance of camp. I exit with a nod to Kind Spirit, who’s guarding the entrance.

I’m hunting now. I see a squirrel, and I silently track it through the bushes. It stops to eat a nut. I dash behind a bush, eyeing the brown animal as sinks it’s teeth into the hard nut. I’m hesitant to take it’s life, because it was so peaceful.

I wish I had it’s peace. I pray for it as I strike the squirrel down. I pick the carcass up and hide it under a willow tree. I continue onwards.

Well, I almost continued onwards. I stop, because someone calls my name.

"Lightning Stripe...."

I turn around fast; my heart starts pounding. There was no one, though, that I could see around me. Just a dead squirrel and willow trees. "Who’s there?!"

"Lightning Stripe...." It only echoes again.

I hiss, slowly padding towards the direction of the sound. I look around at the scenery, to see if it showed signs of anyone being here. I taste the air. Still, nothing.

"Lightning Stripe..." I run towards the noise. I run so fast and so unfocused, I crash into something. Pain sears my forehead.

A tree. I crashed into a tree. I stumbled back, trying to grasp my surroundings. It felt like the world just tilted before me.

There were howls of laughter. I knew immediately who they were.

Hazel Burrow and Feather Ear. Feather Ear, my own sister! I grow angrily at them, but I lose my balance. I fall, and in the distance, I could see blurred shapes of their faces and bodies; they were laughing and howling and hooting. They strolled away, happy as can be.

I honestly didn’t know how to feel. Should I feel sad? angry? Lonely? It was a mix.

Although there was something unfamiliar; a pair of expectant eyes stared at me. They blinked, and they were gone. I probably was hallucinating.

It was a long time until I went back to camp.


Two

The sky reflected my emotions. It was gloomy, like me.

Leaf calls for me. I get out of my cold, hard nest, awaiting the duties he was going to ask for me to do. The tom, my mentor, hasn’t been himself recently.

Sleek Fur, my brother, is sleeping silently. I have no clue where Feather Ear and Hazel Burrow went, nor do I care.

I come out of the den. Leaf is waiting for me. But....he seems anxious. His tail is fluffed up and the fur on his neck was rising. He doesn’t seem to notice me.

"Hello, Leaf? You called?"

Leaf jumps, immediately alarmed. He realizes it was me, and he relaxes, but annoyed. “Lightning Stripe! That is not how you treat your mentor, sneaking up like that!” Leaf sighs. He mutters something I couldn’t catch.

"But...I didn’t...." I sigh. It’s not like he would care anyway. "W-what did you call me for?"

"Training. For real." He turns. "Meet me at the sandy hollow in 2 minutes."

He disappears into the warriors’ den. I pad to the tunnel, confused. Why was my usually calm and fierce mentor anxious and nervous? It wasn’t like him.

I find myself in th sandy hollow soon enough. Like the last two times, Leaf wasn’t there. I wasn’t sure if he could some at all. He acted so.....busy. I missed the old Leaf.

I sat down in the sand. The hollow was deep and dark. It was also slightly damp because of the repeat of the weather.

Something moved.

I turned around, growling. Even though the movement alarmed me, I wasn’t going to fall for Hazel Burrow’s tricks again.

"Hazel Burrow, I know it’s you!" I yelled.

The bushes rustle. A cat steps out.

"Who’s Hazel Burrow?"

It wasn’t anyone I’ve ever seen before.

She—apparently—was a dark gray, almost black, she-cat with lighter gray flecks. She had deep turquoise eyes and gray whiskers. She was about as old as me, maybe a little bit older.

I suppressed a gasp. Those eyes—when I crashed into that tree, I saw those eyes!

"Um..h-hello," I stammered.

"Hi.." She sniffed around, apperently curious. "This place is strange. I’ve never seen anything like it."

"Uh....It’s called the sandy hollow," I murmured.

"Cool! I don’t suppose you live here, right?" She gazed at me.

"N-no," I shifted awkwardly. "I—I live near by."

She nodded, a spew of emotions flowing in her eyes. She suddenly straitened. "Oh! I didn’t mean to scare you....I’m Nymphadora. Who are you?"

Okay...she was by far the nicest loner I have ever met. "I’m L-Lightning Stripe."

Nymphadora nodded.

"Hey...can I call you Nymph?" I mentally chuckled at the nickname, but it works for a long name.

"Um...okay?" Nymph laughed, and so did I.

Nymph kept looking around. "So...how did you get here?" I asked, curious.

"It’s....a long story." Nymph’s eyes were full of emotion. A sad emotion, I bet. She fumbled around with twigs and looked behind bushes. Okay, I thought, I won’t push it.

"W—what are you doing?" I raised my eyebrows.

"Oh," Nymph replied sheepishly, turning to look at me, "I’m...just making my nest here....i-if you don’t mind."

Oh no, I thought. "U-uh....my clan trains here." How will the clan react if they find Nymphadora?

"What’s a clan?" Nymph wondered. "I’m sorry if I seem rude, but....I dont know a lot about this area."

I nodded. "I understand. I’ll explain it to you, and you can tell me about how you got here. Deal?"

Nymph grinned excitedly. "Deal."

Three

She was a runaway.

Nymph was a runaway. She ran from her abusive home. She had a hard life as a kit, from what she told me. I felt bad for her, and Nymph said it was fine, that she put it behind her a long time ago. If she was as old as me, that must have been hard to witness that.

I'd rather not describe it.

Anyways, I told her about the 'clans' and how the group of cats came from the mountains. I also told her about the unfolding warrior code. Nymphadora seemed interested in that. Not gonna lie, I'm interested in the code as well. We honestly did get along well. We were both interested in fighting, hunting, and the forest itself.

A call interrupts our conversation.

"Lightning Stripe, I'm here!"

It was Leaf.

Nymphadora frowned. "Who's that?"

I shook my head. "No time to explain. Hide, fast!"

"Okay...." Nymph scrambled around a bramble bush, perplexed. "What do I do now?"

"Um...just stay there. Someone's coming."

"No." There was a fierce look in Nymph's eyes. I was a little taken aback; Nymph left the bush and stood next to me. "I am not afraid of these clan cats. From what you described, they seem nice!"

I was surprised by her boldness. "Oh...okay..."

Leaf came around the corner and into the sandy hollow. When he saw Nymph, he jumped, hissing.

"What are you doing, trespassing on our territory?!" Leaf growled. Nymph looked afraid but brave at the same time.

She blinked. "I was just making a friend."

My mentor growled. I, on the other hand, was surprised by her bravery, and the fact that she called me A friend. Huh, I think I like being a friend.

"A friend?" He spat. Nymph nodded fiercely.

StarClan help us....I prayed.

Leaf crouched into an attacking stance, brushing the pale brown sand with his fur. "GET OUT OF OUR TERRITORY!" Even that scream shocked me; he is friends with a rogue. Since when was he so hostile?

"Leaf, she's not--"

He cut me off. "These cats are a threat to all the clans! Get out!!" He leaped on Nymphadora.

Well, almost.

The moments were a blur. There was yowling and screeching, I don't know from where. There was also this energy coursing through me, lighting up my veins. The next thing I know was that Nymph wasn't attacked by Leaf.

I intercepted him.

Jumping off, I glanced at Nymphadora; she who was staring at me as if I had three eyes. She was shocked. Leaf was shocked.

What did I do?

Leaf broke the awkward silence. "Go, loner. You are lucky I didn't attack you."

Nymph nodded hastily, glancing at me worriedly. Before I could say anything, she disappeared into the bushes, almost running away.

My first real friend was gone.

Leaf muttered something. Funny how I almost forgot he was there. Leaf seemed way beyond mad. He also seemed shocked, too.

I tried to reason with my mentor. "Leaf, I'm--"

"Go to camp, Lightning Stripe," He growled, cutting me off, "and stay there. I'm going to discuss what happened with Thunderstar."

I nodded shakily. I honestly didn't care what he was going to do; I just wanted to leave. I quickly padded out of the sandy hollow. My thoughts were mixed. One reoccurring thought was that I wanted to find Nymph again.

Badly. I mean, she has been the first cat to actually want to be my friend.

As I padded back to camp, I realized something. Actually, it was more of accepting something:

Leaf had changed; for better or worse.

Four

"Lightning Stripe, focus!"

Leaf was finally mentoring me, along with Hazel Burrow. That flea-pelted tom would always snort whenever I'd complete a move; "I could do better," He would always say.

Leaf knocked me off my paws. We were practicing the duck and swipe movement for offense. I wasn't paying attention (as Leaf noticed) because I kept thinking of Nymph. This is where I met her, four sunrises ago.

As my face hit the sand, Hazel Burrow exploded in laughter.

I growled at him, standing up, although a smile was edging at the corner of my mouth. I knew exactly what to do with the dung-ridden tom.

"Ambush!!" I yowled, leaping on him. He was off guard, and so I quickly pinned him down on the sand, and some of it got stuck in his mouth. Hazel Burrow wheezed and coughed. "T-that's n-not f-fair!"

"A warrior must always be on guard," I recited, glancing at Hazel Burrow and my mentor.

Leaf was glaring at me. Surprised, I jumped off of Hazel Burrow; he scrambled up and went into a defensive stance, hissing at me.

"I was only--"

"That's enough for today," growled Leaf, cutting me off. "Go to your dens and get rest. Now." And he stalked away.

Hazel Burrow was about to protest, but I clamped my tail tip over his mouth. "Leaf hasn't been in a very good mood," I hissed. "Be quiet and follow his orders."

Hazel Burrow rolled his eyes but followed me out. Finally, he decided to be smart, I thought bitterly.

We headed back to camp silently. On our way down to the ravine, though, I spotted something suspicious. Hearing pawsteps and movements, I turned around—facing the north side of the ravine—and opened my mouth.

“What in the name of StarClan are you doing, idiot?” Hazel Burrow questioned, but I ignored him. I kept my mouth open, and the smell soon reached it.

It was a slightly familiar smell, although I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. It was something tangy, but something bland, like the wet smell undergrowth. The smell was definitely mixed, but in contrast definitely familiar—it was as if the blandness covered the tangy smell.

“What the...” I murmured, climbing slowly up the ravine. The smell got stronger, and it was very fresh.

“You know what? I’m going to leave you to your madness,” Hazel Burrow muttered, “and head back to camp by myself.”

I whipped my head around, glaring at him in mid-crouch. “You aren’t going anywhere,” I snapped, “until you help me figure this out.”

Hazel Burrow returned the glare. But surprisingly, he followed me; cursing under his breath, of course. I pretended not to hear his insults, though I was ready to rip his fur off. Not now, I have a problem on my paws...

Heading up the ravine, I saw something I never expected to see.

RiverClan?” I stifle a gasp—I don’t want them to know we are here. I could tell it was them by their wet fur, they are the only cats brave enough to get wet!! A small patrol of RiverClan warriors were examining our terrain.

What the heck is RiverClan doing on our territory?

I turned and saw Hazel Burrow looking towards the patrol with the same confusion and surprise.

“What should we do? Should we go get help, or should we stay here and find out more?” I whispered to him.

He rolled his eyes in mid-crouch. “Stupid mouse brain,” he growled, “of course we get help!”

I almost whispered a snappy reply to Hazel Burrow, but that was when we were ambushed.

It all went by so fast.

I heard hisses, and the next moment I heard Hazel Burrow scream, and then sharp claws were on my back—while hot, sticky liquid ran down my fur. Blood.

That realization of blood triggered something, I don’t know what. It was like a rush of adrenaline bubbling up in me, but I had no time to pay anymore attention to my emotions.

I rolled over, quickly making a small gray tom lose balance. In that short moment of weakness I was able to swipe at his exposed belly and rake him across his chest. The gray tom stumbled backward, finally letting go of me.

In the heat of the small battle, I couldn’t find Hazel Burrow. I quickly dashed away from a black she-cat who was trying to leap on me. My wounds from the gray tom stung as I raced behind a juniper bush.

We’re going to lose this battle, I thought. Just me and Hazel Burrow against five RiverClan warriors?!

That’s when I saw Hazel Burrow.

He had a few of bleeding wounds on his back. Fresh blood was rushing out of him, and he was lying on the ground. A brown RiverClan warrior stood over him, ready to finish him off.

As much as I hated him, I had to do something. I couldn’t let him die.

“Don’t you dare!!” I yowled through gritted teeth, leaping from the bush. I leaped onto the brown warrior, surprising him and knocking him off guard. He fell easily.

Or did he?

As soon as he fell, he whipped around to me and launched on top of me, about to execute the death bite.

The realization of death must have triggered it.

A gold light flashed before my eyes. I could hear faint yowling and screeching, but I couldn't tell from where. All I could feel was my blood rushing...

It stopped.

The RiverClan patrol were trembling with fear, cowering in front of me. They had fresh wounds all over their body, and their eyes were wild with fear.

“Retreat!!” The gray tom screeched, and the patrol raced into the bushes and far away from ThunderClan.

After they left, I turned—shocked—to Hazel Burrow. He was gaping at me, looking at me in the weirdest way. We were both gasping for breath.

“Wha—what’s wrong?” I asked, puzzled. I looked around. “What happened?” And why did the RiverClan patrol decide to leave so quickly? Did Hazel Burrow attack them? How did they even get those fresh wounds?

“You...you don’t remember it?” Hazel Burrow whispered slowly. Then, he tried to smirk—as if he was trying to seem smarter by “knowing something I didn’t”—but he failed. He was truly shocked.

“No...I don’t.” I flicked my tail, motioning for him to tell me. “What happened?” To be honest, though, I didn’t trust what he was going to say. He’s Hazel Burrow.

Hazel Burrow just looked down, shaking his head. “Later,” he whispered.

That got me a bit ticked off. “Tell me,” I growled, “now.”

Hazel Burrow sighed, glancing back up at me. “Fine,” He answered. “You...attacked them...” He looked down again.

What?! How?! How could I even do that?! I don’t believe him.

Hazel Burrow suddenly was able to sneer. “I’m going to tell ThunderClan you’re a weird Dark Forest cat with medicine cat powers!”

I gasped, and then fury swept through me. I leaped on him, pinning him down quickly. His wounds brought him down easily. For me—for some reason—my wounds didn’t sting. What the heck?! But I didn’t show my confusion.

“Don’t even try,” I hissed in his ear. “If I have this...thing—or, power—I don’t think you would want to mess with me.”

That was one of the first times I felt confident to stand up to Hazel Burrow.

“Ow...ow...okay, fine!” Hazel Burrow spat. I jumped off him, glaring at him.

Hazel Burrow ducked away from my gaze. Was he afraid of me?

“Oh, by the way,” I snapped at him, suddenly remembering this, “I distracted the RiverClan warrior that was attacking you. Then according to you, I attacked them, and drove them away. I saved your life.” I was growling at him by the time I finished the sentence. I saved Hazel Burrow’s life, and I didn’t even get a thank you?!

There was a long, awkward silence. Finally, Hazel Burrow spoke, looking straight into my eyes. “You shouldn’t have saved my life.”

What?” I almost stumbled backward.

He looked at me calmly. “You shouldn’t have.”

“Well, I did,” I replied angrily. “And you should be very thankful.”

Another silence. Then Hazel burrow nodded slowly, again looking into my eyes.

“Maybe...maybe I am thankful.”

Without saying another word, he turned, and began to walk back to camp.

I slowly followed him, not knowing what to say.

Five

I was sitting in the medicine cat den, waiting as the poultice worked on me. Cloud Spots was shuffling around the den, looking for more herbs. Sadly, Hazel Burrow was right next to me.

It was a couple hours since the attack, almost twilight. Moon-high, and the gathering, would be sooner or later.

He still hasn’t said a word since the attack.

The word already spread around ThunderClan. Owl Eyes was talking to my father, Thunderstar, about the matter right now. Cats were probably planning to confront RiverClan at the next gathering, or even plan a revenge attack right now. Everybody outside was anxious, Hazel Burrow and I could both tell. What they didn’t know, though, is that I apparently stopped them. I still don’t remember it.Could it have been that rush of adrenaline? That golden flash of light before my eyes?

Cloud Spots sighed, coming out from the storage room of herbs. “Alright Hazel Burrow. You can go, I think your poultice is dried. Just stay in the apprentice den for the most part, and take it easy.”

To my shock, he shook his head. “I’d rather wait...for Lightning Stripe.”

“Wait. What?” I realized I said that out loud right after I spoke.

“I mean...that’s the least I can do since you save my life,” Hazel Burrow muttured sheepishly.

I frowned, but l let him stay. I was kind of suspicious about his “new behavior”....

~~

“Everycat, come for a clan meeting!”

I heard my father’s voice outside the apprentice den. It’s been about two hours, which means the gathering would be very soon, and I was able to rest in the apprentice den. Hazel Burrow was in the medicine cat den again, and I realized (with annoyance) that he still hasn’t told me what specifically happened during the bloody skirmish with RiverClan.

It sounds like my dad wants a clan meeting. So I stood up, stretched, and hobbled outside to see the anxious clan gathered before the high rock. My wounds, surprisingly, didn;t hurt at all, they just felt like a heavy weight on top of me. I was stiff, but not in pain.

I catch a glimpse of Hazel Burrow entering the camp with Cloud Spots and Gooseberry right before I sit down. Feather Ear was sitting next to me. My mother, who gave a concerned-but-affectionate lick on the head, sat on my other side.

I began to listen to what Thunderstar had to say.

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