Battle Against Time: Prologue
It was late leaf-fall. All of the leaves on the trees had just about fallen, covering the ground with a light maple brown. All around, cats where out doing their duties. The kits where in the nursery with their mothers, the apprentices where out with their mentors, the warriors who weren't mentors where eating fresh-kill, the medicine cat was doing her usual duties, and the leader, Slatestar, was in her den with the deputy Redfur. Everything was great in TimberClan. With no other Clans to be rivals with, there was no problems, other than the occasional fresh-kill shortage and sicknesses in leaf-bare. And, with living by a swamp and a river, there was always enough natural resources to go around.
"Hey, how did training go today?" A small brownish-red she-cat asked to a smaller black she-cat.
"Eh, it could've been better, you know? I hate it when my mentor asks me to demonstrate moves for the group. And then when I can't get them right, it's always bad." The black cat mewed back.
"Then. . ." The small black cat was interrupted by a dark brown she-cat.
"Hi guys!" The cat meowed.
"Hi Nightpaw." The black cat mewed happily.
"Hey." The brownish-red cat mewed.
"So, Pinepaw, are you going to the river with us today after we get out of here?" Nightpaw asked the brown-red cat.
"Yes, only if Hollypaw is going!"
The black cat turned around and slapped Pinepaw with her tail.
"Of course I'm going you furball! I go everyday!"
"Hey. . . Where's Owlpaw?" Nightpaw asked.
"She said she would meet us at the river." Hollypaw meowed to Nightpaw.
"Great! Well, we don't wanna be late! Lets go!"
Down by the river sat a group of apprentices, even small rogues the Clan is friends with.
A huge gray she-cat stood up and yowled.
"I know you guys are getting exited for the half-a-moon break that is coming up, but that doesn't mean you get to run around like stupid furballs."
"Yes, Graytail." The group mewed together.
Hollypaw leaned over to Pinepaw. "Still thinking about him?" Hollypaw said with a snicker.
Pinepaw turned away.
"Yeah. . I am actually. Just shut up Hollypaw!!" Pinepaw cuffed her playfully over the ear.
"I'm trying my best to help ya out here, Pine. He's a hard case to break open, being a kittypet and all that." Hollypaw pointed out.
"I wish he could come to the river with us." Pinepaw mewed sadly.
"Ha! He'd be a hoot! Graytail would be like "Frostpaw, get off of that!, Don't say that" every time she'd breathe!"
"Yeah. . . she would."
The river meet was just about over. Most of the other cats had gone back to their Clan, except for Pinepaw and Hollypaw. They where always the last ones to leave.
Pinepaw was overlooking the river. It was so cold that parts of the shallow water had begun to freeze. All around the river was frogs, leaping for shelter. Pinepaw longed to leap after one, but her sadness glued her to her paws.
Pinepaw started to shiver, letting the bitter-cold air consume her small body. She was then sunk into her sad, lonely thoughts, where the true heart of winter lay.
She ignored the worried voice that filled her mind. All she knew was she was stuck in this rut... this cold, bitter rut.
She snapped out of it. She realized the worried voice wasn't coming from her head, but from her best friend, Hollypaw.
Pinepaw felt a jolt of realization. "I- I'm sorry, Hollypaw. How long were you trying to talk to me? I kinda spaced out, I guess. . ."
Hollypaw stood in front of her, confused.
"Not that long. . . But that was kinda scary, Pine. Do you do that often? You know, space out?..." Hollypaw asked gingerly, but warily.
Pinepaw didn't know what to say.
"I've gotta go, Hollypaw! I'll see you at dawn okay?" Pinepaw streaked down into the forest before Hollypaw could answer.
Hollypaw still stood, watching the dust from where Pinepaw ran still floating in the air.
She took a deep breath and sat down by an icy puddle.
It's Frostpaw. . . She's in love with Frostpaw. Why? I mean, I've told her before that I was with him. But, he doesn't seem to be that interested... And do I actually want a future with this cat? No. I don't. But does Pinepaw... Obviously. I have a bad feeling about this... StarClan... What happens next? I don't even think Frostapw knows Pinepaw exists... Ugh.
"Did you actually think I was just gonna leave you out in the cold? Lets go. . ."
It was Pinepaw.
She came back. . .
Hollypaw got up and raced back to the camp with Pinepaw.
We are in this together, Pine.
Everything was quiet. Not a cat was stirring. It was still dark all around. Pinepaw lay peacefully in her nest, tucked away bracing the cold.
Pinepaw wasn't awake, but somehow she was aware of what was going on.
She felt her body sink, sink into a hole, deep with anxiety and sadness.
She opened her eyes. All around her was a snow-ridden ground with metal stuff all around. She glanced behind her, seeing a Twoleg nest in the near distance. She wanted to explore the nest.
As Pinepaw went to walk, she slipped on the snow. This isn't snow... It's way too slippery... Ice? White ice...
As she got her paws together, she walked, more carefully, over to the nest. No Twolegs seem to be here right now. . .
There was an opening at the side of the nest. Carefully, she walked through the opening, and into the warm nest.
This is nice...
"Pinepaw! Wake up!"
Pinepaw felt a sharp pain in her side.
Pinepaw opened her eyes. It was easy, since it was still dark out.
It was Hollypaw.
"Pinepaw, it's time to start training soon!" Hollypaw's exited mew annoyed Pinepaw, so she got up so she would stop mewling.
Hollypaw was blocking Pinepaw at the exit to the den. Her hindquarters was shaking back and forth in excitement.
"Woah, Holly... Why are you so happy?" Pinepaw asked, her annoyance leaving.
Hollypaw looked stunned.
"Don't you know?! After training, there is practice!"
Pinepaw was confused. "Practice for what?"
"Uh, Herbs of course!"
"Herbs? Isn't that something a medicine cat does?" Pinepaw asked.
"Well, yes, but this is different! This is where a group of cats take different herbs and figure out how to do cool stuff with them!" Hollypaw yowled.
"Uh, that makes no sense..."
"Okay, you know how when those loud twolegs bang that stuff and yowl? Same thing! Except you do it with selected herbs! And this activity is called "Herbs"!" Hollypaw mewled and mewled.
"Oh, well, tell me more, Hollypaw. We need to get to our mentors before we get into trouble." Pinepaw meowed to her friend.
Pinepaw and Hollypaw entered the forest. Hollypaw was still rambling about Herbs.
"So... what cats are in Herbs?" Pinepaw asked carefully.
"Well, Nightpaw, Ashpaw, Frostpaw. . ."
"I'm joining." PInepaw stopped walking and faced her friend right in her blue eyes.
"That's right. After training bring me to the mentor who runs the program. I am joining." Pinepaw said while walking away.
"It's Frostpaw isn't it?" Hollypaw mewled in a whisper.
"It is. Meet me at the river like usual after training and bring me with you to practice, okay? I've gotta go, and you do too! Bye!"
Pinepaw streaked into the forest.
Pinepaw had finished training. She had gathered her fresh-kill and herbs and was heading for the river where Hollypaw would be waiting.
As Pinepaw walked down the familiar path, she dropped some of her catmint.
"Hey! Pinepaw! Do you need some help there?" Nightpaw had walked up from the river and happened to catch Pinepaw.
"Oh, hi Nightpaw. Um, sure... Thanks." Pinepaw mewled to her friend.
Nightpaw picked up Pinepaw's catmint with her mouth.
Nightpaw mewled through catmint. "So where are you headed?
"The river. I'm going to meet Hollypaw." Pinepaw mewled quietly.
Nightpaw shot her head at Pinepaw.
"So am I! I'm going to Herbs with her after we meet up at the river." Nightpaw squeaked.
"Yeah, I'm going to Herbs too." Pinepaw casually meowed.
Nightpaw stopped walking. "What? You're coming with us?"
Nightpaw nodded her head and continued to walk.
Pinepaw's paws kept dragging the dirt as she walked onwards toward the river. As she and her lazy paws kept dragging, a young, white tom cat with blue eyes called after her.
"Pinepaw? Hi!" The white tom cat mewed, falling in step with her.
"Oh. . . Hi Icepaw." Pinepaw mewed shyly.
"Where ya off to?" Icepaw persisted.
"Oh? Well... I have to go... Talk later, Pinepaw?" Icepaw mewed quickly.
"Yeah." Pinepaw quietly.
"Great!" Icepaw rubbed against Pinepaw as he left.
Today, the river was frozen over. Like usual, the cats where practicing their battle moves. Pinepaw and Nightpaw had just entered the tunnel that leads onto the shore.
Hollypaw came running up in a storm.
"GUYS! YAY! LET'S GO, IT'S ABOUT TO START!" Hollypaw exploded out of the clearing with the others following.
I'm sorry, but, I'm starting a new, less-cringey story. :)