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Firewind and Sleepysky's second collab!

Credit to XxDeathstarYTxX for the first part of the Prologue!

Other Collabs By Sky And Windy!

Squirreltail's Darkness - Squirreltail's book

Allegiances

ThunderClan

Leader: Featherstar -

Deputy: Brackenslash - Pale brown tabby tom.

Medicine Cat: Otterwhisker - Long-haired dark brown tom with long whiskers.

Apprentice, Troutpaw

Warriors:

Sandfleck - A sleek pale ginger tom

Swallowsky - Ash gray she-cat

Tanglefoot - Black tom with a twisted back right leg and a left nicked ear.

Apprentice, Mintpaw

Applefrost - Yellow tabby tom

Apprentice, Larkpaw

Hawkflight - Pale brown she-cat.

Spottedtail - Reddish tom with a white spotted tail.

Apprentice, Skypaw

Apprentices:

Troutpaw - Blue-gray she-cat with a stumpy tail.

Skypaw - White she-cat with gray splotches.

Mintpaw - Black she-cat.

Larkpaw - Pale brown tom with a nicked right ear.

Queens:

Birchstorm - Fluffy cream she-cat. (Expecting Spottedtail's kits)

Kits:

N/A

Elders:

N/A

RiverClan

Leader: Spottedstar - Ginger tom with black splotches.

Deputy: Wolfblaze - Silver she-cat with darker stripes.

Apprentice, Littlepaw

Medicine Cat: Mistycloud - Tawny tom with a long tail.

Apprentice, Twigpaw

Warriors:

Halfshine - Cream tom with a black tail.

Sunpetal - Silver she-cat with white paws.

Ferretfrost - Pale brown she-cat.

Bumbletooth - Brown-and-gold tabby she-cat.

Apprentice, Badgerpaw

Rabbitnose - White tom with pale gray patches.

Apprentices:

Twigpaw - Golden-brown tom.

Badgerpaw - Black-and-white tom with a huge scar on his left shoulder.

Littlepaw - Small brown tom with a long tail.

Queens:

Vineblaze - Golden-and-tawny she-cat. (Expecting Rabbitnose's kits)

Lilybreeze - White she-cat with cream colored paws and tail tip. (Mother of Echostar's kit; Briarkit)

Kits:

Briarkit - Black-and-golden tom.

Elders:

N/A

WindClan

Leader: Ashstar - Ash gray she-cat with black spots.

Deputy: N/A

Medicine Cat: N/A

Warriors:

N/A

Apprentices:

N/A

Queens:

N/A

Kits:

N/A

Elders:

N/A

ShadowClan

Leader: Echostar - White tom with gray ears and a black-and-gray striped tail.

Deputy: Furzeshade - Fluffy tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat.

Medicine Cat: Bravebelly - a pale gray tabby she-cat.

Warriors:

Loudbreeze - Golden striped tabby she-cat.

Blackflame - Pitch black she-cat with red-brown flecks.

Stalkspring - Black she-cat with green eyes.

Featherwing - Pale gray tom.

Apprentices:

Frostpaw - Long-haired frosty white tom with spiky fur.

Mistypaw - Blue-gray tom with unusually long claws.

Queens:

Whorlflower - Golden she-cat. (Mother of Echostar's kit; Reedkit)

Kits:

Reedkit - Red-brown tom.

Elders:

N/A

Prologue

Brackenkit had always had it hard for him.

His sister, Talonkit, had been taken by a hawk.

Ever since then, Brackenkit had been less happy.

He'd been angry with lots of cats, but he did know that it was not their fault.

Brackenkit stood up. He was outside the nursery.

Narrowing his eyes, he scanned the blue sky for hawks.

Come and find me, hawk! He thought angrily.

Just as he was about to turn around, the screech of a hawk echoed through his ears.

Brackenkit ran in a circle as the hawk shot at him.

Fear whirled in his mind.

Then he noticed the one leg.

This was Talonkit's killer.

Brackenkit bit onto the hawk's other leg, then darted away.

He jumped at the bird's throat, biting and raking it.

The hawk screeched in rage, but Brackenkit didn't care.

He dug his claws deeper into the hawk's throat.

The hawk suddenly went limp.

Brackenkit bit hard onto the hawk's throat and then tore it out.

He let out a purr of satisfaction.

He'd avenged Talonkit!

And protected his clan!

I'll protect my Clan, no matter what. I'll stay loyal until my last breath. Brackenkit promised.

He would be a great warrior, even maybe a great leader one day!

***

Brackenslash raced through the forest, panting.

It's great, racing through the forest. Everything is going to be fine, if I just get to Fern. If Fern is here, everything will be fine.

Branches and twigs clawed at his face, his face, scratched up.

Almost there, her den is just there...

Brackenslash skidded to halt at the entwined bracken and bramble den, three tail-lengths away from the edge of ThunderClan territory.

Fern's sweet smell filled his nostrils.

She's still here!

Brackenslash thought, relived that Fern was still there.

He entered her den and called, "Fern?"

"Yes?" She answered.

"Thank StarClan you're still here!" Brackenslash mewed, "I almost thought that you'd left."

"I'd never leave you." "I'm going to join ThunderClan." Fern purred, her face smiling.

"That's great!" Brackenslash purred back.

Fern nodded.

"Let's go!" She meowed, racing towards the ThunderClan camp.

Chapter One

"Fern has decided to join ThunderClan?" Featherstar meowed.

"Yes, Featherstar." Brackenslash bowed.

"Then I shall make Fern a warrior right now." Featherstar flicked his tail dismissively, and leaped out of the leader's den and on to the Highbranch.

"All cats old enough to catch their own prey, gather beneath the Highbranch!" Featherstar yowled, catching the attention of some ThunderClan cats.

As soon as the ThunderClan cats had settled, Featherstar started, "Today, Fern has chosen to join us, once and for all. She will become a warrior right away this isntant."

Shocked gasps rose from the camp.

"She should become a apprentice!" An annoying voice yowled from the crowd.

Brackenslash sighed.

It was Applefrost, his arch-enemy.

"Fern has been a loyal cat and has helped ThunderClan out of hard times for moons. Fern's already a warrior." Brackenslash told the other cats.

Featherstar nodded.

"So, Fern from now on, by the powers of StarClan, you will be known as Fernwind!"

"Fernwind! Fernwind! Fernwind!" The cats from the crowd cheered, all but Applefrost.

Fernwind was purring, happy to join ThunderClan at last.

Brackenslash purred as well.

"This Clan meeting is now over!" Featherstar yowled.

Brackenslash approached Applefrost.

"You didn't have to say that Fernwind should start training as an apprentice. She's already a warrior!" He meowed.

Applefrost had hated Brackenslash since they were kits.

It seemed so surprising that Applefrost was his littermate.

He thinks I stole all of Hawkflight's love. That's not true. She loves both of us just the same.

He just hates me.

Applefrost hated Fernwin too, for liking Brackenslash.

"She's just a rogue, trying to kill our cats!" Applefrost hissed in rage.

"She's not! Don't you remember when there was a fire, she led us to safety? If it wasn't for her, we might all be dead!" Brackneslash lifted his hackles.

"We would have found a different way to escape!" Appefrost retorted, his neck fur bristling.

The two toms were at the verge of a fight.

But just then, a yellow tabby with red splotches of fur blocked the two tom from shredding each other apart.

It was Fernwind!

She was facing Applefrost, fur bristling.

"Applefrost, stop picking fights with other cats! For StarClan's sake, I've never seen such a mouse-brain!"

Applefrost dipped his head and ran towards the warriors' den, clearly embarrased.

The cats who had been watching the quarrel were now doing their daily things.

"Fernwind, thank you for stopping the fight. I was mouse-brained to try to fight him. I'm a deputy! I can't do that!" Brackenslash mewed.

"That's okay. You didn't do anything wrong. It was Applefrost who picked a fight on you." Fernwind reassured him.

Brackenslash dipped his head,

Flicking his tail somewhat violently.

The two stood there in silence,

Until Birchstorm stumbled over to the fresh-kill pile.

The she-cat's belly was extremely swollen.

Birchstorm must be close to giving birth to her kits...

Brackenslash thought to himself while Fernwind leaned close to him,

"Who's that? And why is her belly swollen?"

The new warrior asks, the tom replying;

"That's Birchstorm, a queen. She's expecting Spottedtail's kits."

"Oh." Fernwind nodded.

"Are we going to have kits like them?" He asked.

"No. I'd like to focus on my warrior duties. We both should. Having kits would be tiring." Fernwind mewed, making sure Birchstorm wouldn't hear her words.

"I agree."

Brackenslash nodded.

Chapter Two

The next day, Brackenslash woke up and yawned.

It was early in the morning and no cat was awake except Brackenslash.

Brackenslash decided to watch the camp for any danger.

There might be ShadowClan warriors lurking around!

Brackenslash stepped out of the warriors' den to see that Hawkflight was guarding the entrance that morning.

I should talk to her about Applefrost, He thought.

He approached her and slid his tail down his mother's back soothingly.

"Hello, Brackenslash. I sense that you want to tell me something."

Hawkflight meowed calmly.

"Yes, Hawkflight, Applefrost been always hostile towards me. I think it's because he thinks that you don't love him." Brackenslash admitted truthfully.

"I knew that. But you must know that I give the same amount of love to both of you. Since Applefrost still thinks he's not getting any love, that means he's turning to the dark side." Hawkflight responded even more calmly.

Brackenslash nodded, and then dipped his head in respect for his mother.

He sat next to the she-cat, gazing up at the dawn sky.

Thoughts about Fernwind and Applefrost ran across his mind,

Hawkflight noticing.

"You seem occupied with uneasy thoughts." The warrior stood, "Come, we shall walk through the forest to get your mind off it."

Brackenslash stood while his mother padded off.

He reluctantly followed, his tail swinging from side to side.

That might cheer me up though! He thought.

They padded through the bracken lined entrance and entered the forest.

The forest was filled with life, birds, mice nibbling at seeds, and so on.

The bird song was soothing and peaceful.

I'm glad this is my home.

The forest was always kind to ThunderClan.

It gave protection, prey, and hope.

Happiness.

"The forest make you calmer, doesn't it?" Hawkflight asked.

Brackenslash nodded, "Yes, it does."

"You should leave Applefrost alone. Since he doesn't understand that he's loved." Hawkflight meowed.

"Okay." Brackenslash agreed, sweeping tail on the forest floor, scattering leaves.

Hawkflight is so wise!

It was right to tell her.

Brackenslash thought.

"We should head back to camp." Hawkflight padded towards the ThunderClan camp.

Brackenslash followed.

Some cats were awake by the time that the two arrived,

Tanglefoot, a trusted warrior in ThunderClan trotted over with his apprentice, Mintpaw.

"Welcome back, you two." The tom with a twisted back leg purred,

His apprentice nodding.

"Thank you, Tanglefoot." Hawkflight mewed, "I see you were taking Mintpaw to go train... Well, don't let us get in your way." She scooted her son and herself out of the duo's path.

The black tom dipped his head respectfully and padded out of the clan's camp, Mintpaw following.

"It's crazy, isn't it?" Brackenslash turned towards Hawkflight,

Her tail flicking dismissively.

"What are you referring to?" She questioned.

Brackenslash glanced into the bracken entrance, seeing the mentor-apprentice duo hobble out of sight.

"Tanglefoot was once my apprentice, now he's teaching the skills I taught him onto Mintpaw..." He explained,

Hawkflight humming. "I see. Well, that's our tradition. We mentor cats who then go on to mentor more youth."

Brackenslash nodded.

"Well, we should go our separate ways now." Hawkflight announced.

"Okay, see you later."

Brackenslash went to assign the patrols for the day.

Chapter Three

It wasn't an out-of-place day for ThunderClan.

The forest was gleaming with life,

And the cats were all too busy with chatting with each other.

Brackenslash head out into the woods with Fernwind, Tanglefoot and Spottedtail.

The gentle morning breeze raced through their coats as they made it to the rapid river separating them and RiverClan.

A pale brown she-cat trotted in front of them, taking notice of the rival cats.

Brackenslash dipped his head as he explained why the four of them were there,

"We don't mean any harm." The deputy began, the she-cat arching her back.

It was a moment of silence, until the rival clan cat spoke up, "Tell me why you're here."

Fernwind chimed in, "It's about the gathering. It's this Moonhigh. Please, go tell your leader."

Brackenslash glanced over at Tanglefoot, who was lost in thought.

The tom had a feeling that Tanglefoot was mesmerized by the she-cat,

But shook it off.

Don't assume too quickly now.

But Tanglefoot kept stealing glances at the she-cat, then looking down at the ground.

So he's feeling guilty.

That's good.

He knows how wrong that is, what he's doing.

That'll make him stop liking the she-cat.

Brackenslash thought.

"Okay. But get off our territory now." The she-cat growled, then plunged into the freezing river, then racing toward their hidden camp.

Brackenslash led the patrol off of the RiverClan territory.

During the walk back to their camp, Brackenslash kept glancing back at Tanglefoot,

Who was struggling to catch up with the three.

"Brackenslash?" Spottedtail's voice whispered, "Why are you glancing at Tanglefoot? Did he irritate you?"

The deputy shook his head, sighing.

"No, not that. He's just... Breaking the warrior code is all... With being in love with that RiverClan she-cat..." He explained,

Spottedtail chuckling a bit. "Did you just figure that out? It was pretty obvious that he likes her. I mean... He would sneak off when he patrolling our borders just to watch her."

"That... Seems creepy." Fernwind intervened, Brackenslash nodding.

"Yeah, it is creepy once you actually look into it..." The tom warrior mumbled, the four of the entering their clan's camp.

"Ah, hello Spottedtail!" Birchstorm rubbed against her mate, Spottedtail becoming instantly happy.

"She seems a little clingy, don't you think?" Fernwind glanced over at the ThunderClan deputy.

"Birchstorm... She has attachment issues." Brackenslash sighed as Tanglefoot hopped beside them.

"Otterwhisker told me that my kits are coming soon!" The queen purred,

Spottedtail seemed excited as well.

Brackenslash couldn't help but feel joy for the two.

It was a moment of silence,

Until Featherstar called a meeting from Highrock.

Immediately, every cat dashed over, besides Tanglefoot who stumbled over.

"This Moonhigh, Otterwhisker and Troutpaw shall travel to Moonpool. Troutpaw shall receive their medicine cat name."

The leader arched their back, Troutpaw and Otterwhisker stepping forward.

"Otterwhisker, Troutpaw, in case you two run into troubles on the way, you shall pick up to three cats to assist you on your journey."

Featherstar meowed, Troutpaw and her mentor turning towards the gathered cats.

Multiple cats puffed out their chest, hoping to be picked.

"Go ahead and chose three cats, Troutpaw." The medicine cat purred, his apprentice scanning the cats.

"Brackenslash. Applefrost. Larkpaw." The apprentice squinted, all three of the cats standing.

"Wonderful choices." Featherstar dipped their head, "Remember you three, you have to travel at Moonhigh."

"Also, Larkpaw." ThunderClan's leader called out, a young apprentice with a nicked ear stepping forward.

"You will be held back on your warrior ceremony if you go. Are you sure?" Featherstar asks, Larkpaw nodding.

"Yes, I am sure. I must assist my Clanmates at all costs." The tom purred.

Multiple voices of praise rose up from the crowd, Larkpaw scratching the back of his head with his paw.

Larkpaw will become a great warrior, seeing that he's that loyal to his Clan. Brackenslash thought.

Chapter Four

It was Moonhigh, and it was time to head out for the Moonpool.

Cats were congratulating Troutpaw, Troutpaw being modest.

"You should head out." Featherstar meowed.

"Yes, Featherstar." Brackenslash dipped his head.

"Let's go." Brackenslash led the way out of the bracken lined camp entrance.

The two apprentices, bounced up and down with excitement, and Otterwhisker grinned.

Brackenslash couldn't help but smile too at the sight of the happy apprentices.

Beside him, Applefrost was looking down at them with scorn.

"Stop bouncing, you tiny kits!" Applefrost snarled.

Troutpaw and Larkpaw's faces fell down, their faces turning red.

"Stop ruining the apprentices' cheer. Young cats like them need time to burn off their energy." Otterwhisker mewed.

Applefrost was bitter all the way to the Moonpool.

When the five cats arrived at the Moonpool, Brackenslash and Larkpaw gazed at the Moonpool with awe.

The Moonpool reflected the beautiful stars in its surface.

It was absolutely awestrucking.

"What's that good about this stupid pool? It's just a pool." Applefrost meowed bitterly.

"It's an important pool, Applefrost." Brackenslash hissed, "It allows us to connect with StarClan."

"Agreed." Troutpaw chimed in, walking over to the pool.

The deputy hadn't seen an apprentice as mature as Troutpaw.

He was honestly surprised by the way she acted.

Troutpaw was calm, understanding, and soothing.

The perfect traits for a good medicine cat.

A tawny tom with a long tail approached them.

"Ah, hello." He greeted, kindly.

"Ugh..." Applefrost scoffed, "RiverClan..."

A small, golden-brown tom apprentice emerged from behind the tawny cat.

Their emerald green eyes scanned Brackenslash and the rest, clearly anxious.

"Are you having your medicine cat apprentice earn their full medicine cat name?" They ask.

"Yes, we are." Brackenslash meows, "What about you? Why are you here?"

"I'm earning my medicine cat name too." The apprentice squeaked,

Troutpaw nodding a little.

"What a coincidence." The blue-gray she-cat purred, "Come along, we shall earn our names together."

"Troutpaw!" Applefrost hisses, "This is mouse-brained RiverClan!"

"Hey now." Otterwhisker chimes in, "Mistycloud, I apologize for the way that this warrior is acting."

"Yes, we are sorry." Brackenslash apologizes as the unknown apprentice trots next to the ThunderClan medicine cat apprentice.

"Troutpaw, do you promise to uphold the medicine cat code, and help any cat in need, no matter what Clan?" Otterwhisker asked.

"I do." Troutpaw meowed solemnly.

"Then from now on, by the powers of StarClan, you shall be known as Troutstem. We honor your calm, kind, and wise personality." Otterwhisker mewed.

Brackenslash arched his back, happy for the she-cat.

"Twigpaw," The RiverClan cat known as Mistycloud began, "Do you promise to uphold the medicine cat code, and help any cat in need, no matter what Clan?"

Unlike Troutstem, they took a moment to respond.

"We don't have all moon!" Applefrost rolls his eyes, Larkpaw intervening.

"Hey, Applefrost! Be nice!" The apprentice puffed out his chest,

Troutstem glanced back at the two, "Quit it. Both of you."

Larkpaw nodded, shutting his muzzle.

"Continuing on," Mistycloud purred, "Twigpaw, from this moment on, StarClan gifts you the name-"

"Twigback!" Larkpaw chimes in, almost every cat looking over at him. "Heh... Sorry..." He apologized, shifting his paws awkwardly.

Mistycloud sighed, "Yes. StarClan gifts you the name Twigback. Er- This apprentice does, at least."

"Unfortunately, since the ThunderClan apprentice named you Twigback, that shall be your name unless StarClan gives us a sign that they disagree with their decision."

Brackenslash flattened his ears.

This apprentice had their medicine cat name ceremony ruined...

The pale deputy thought,

All because of Larkpaw's outburst... I'm sorry, young one.

Twigback nodded, but there were tears glistening in his eyes.

Then Twigback ran for the RiverClan camp by himself.

"Er...I got to go!" Mistcloud meowed akwardly, then chasing after Twigback.

"I feel terrible." Larkpaw meowed.

"I didn't mean to do that." Larkpaw added.

"Could we ask Featherstar if Twigback could come to my warrior ceremony and name me in return?" Larkpaw wondered.

"We'll propose that idea to them." Otterwhisker meowed.

Applefrost went over at hissed at Larkpaw, "You mouse-brain! Keep your muzzle shut for once!"

It was then that Brackenslash truly realized how toxic his littermate was.

"I give the same amount of attention to the both of you."

Hawkflight's words purred in his mind.

He couldn't help but feel somewhat bad for Applefrost.

This was a huge miscommunication after all.

Chapter Five

"Hey, at least you didn't name her Twigwhiskers or Twigleg. Twigback is better." Troutstem tried to comfort Larkpaw.

Larkpaw nodded quietly.

The five cats arrived at camp in silence, Applefrost scrunching his face like usual.

"Ah, welcome back." Hawkflight greeted,

Applefrost trotting past the warrior.

The she-cat sighed, "What's wrong with Applefrost now?"

"He's... A little angry." Otterwhisker meowed, "However, you shouldn't worry. He'll get over it."

Hawkflight nodded, as a quiet mew made it's way into the conversation.

"That sounds like a kit's meow..." Brackenslash mumbled,

"Ah, yes, about that..." Hawkflight purred, Spottedtail trotting over with a cream tom-kit in his mouth.

"Birchstorm gave birth?" Troutstem asked, her head low.

"Yes," Brackenslash's mother sighed, "She didn't make it, though.."

Brackenslash's eyes widened in pain and horror.

He dipped his head and mewed, "She was a honorable warrior. She would have been a good mother."

Hawkflight nodded. "Yes, indeed."

He was shocked.

It was just so sad.

Spottedtail and Birchstorm were really looking forward to taking care of the kits together...

"I'm sincerely sorry about your loss." Otterwhisker meowed,

Brackenslash nodding.

He felt pity for the warrior.

"StarClan will take good care of her." Spottedtail mumbled,

"She will live on through Fringekit."

"Yes." All the cats except Applefrost dipped their heads.

Then Troutstem meowed quietly.

"If only my ceremony was tomorrow. Birchstorm went to StarClan because of me! If the medicine cats were there, Birchstorm would have lived!"

Otterwhisker shook his head. "No, Troutstem. StarClan chooses each cats' destiny. I think they thought that it was time for Birchstorm to join them."

Troutstem sighed, "I know, but it just seems like Birchstorm's death is all because of me."

Brackenslash stepped up. "Troutstem, it wasn't your fault. Birchstorm's death was a accident, a tragedy. But Birchstorm will be in StarClan, watching over us."

Troutstem nodded. "Okay."

Applefrost for once had sorrow in his face.

Brackenslash took a quick glance at Applefrost.

This was almost the first time that Applefrost had shown signs of sadness.

Maybe Applefrost isn't as evil as we thought.

Brackenslash thought.

Featherstar yowled, "It is time for the vigil of the honorable warrior Birchstorm! All cats who want to sit vigil may stand beside her body."

Spottedtail, Troutstem, Otterwhisker, (Surprisingly) Applefrost, and Brackenslash headed for where Birchstorm's body lay to pay her their last respects.

Birchstorm's parents, Sandfleck and Swallowsky had tears in their eyes as they watched their daughter.

Every cat was so sad, Birchstorm was one of the most kind and friendly cats in the Clan.

It was hard to express the emotion with words they felt.

The loyal, sad, and sorrowful feeling you feel when you lose a honorable Clanmate.

Brackenslash flattened his ears,

Mourning the loss of the she-cat.

Tears dripped from his eyes like a leaky faucet,

Remembering how she'd cheer up any cat when they were sad,

And that she tried her best to befriend Applefrost, even though it wasn't very effective.

"Birchstorm, we welcome you to StarClan with love." Featherstar sighed, trotting over to the cream body.

Troustem spoke.

"May StarClan light your path, Birchstorm. May you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter where you sleep."

It was the traditional words medicine cats meowed at vigils.

Cats nodded, tears rolling down their cheeks.

Even more surprisingly, Applefrost had tears coming out from his eyes.

Brackenslash was shocked.

"Sandfleck and Swallowsky shall bury the corpse." The leader meowed.

Swallowsky nodded and trotted closer to the she-cat, pressing her nose against it.

Chapter Six

It had been a few moons since Birchstorm's passing.

Most of the cats have accepted her fate,

But poor Spottedtail never moved past it.

He became apathetic, depressed, and overall sad.

Brackenslash felt pity for the warrior.

He knew what it was like to lose a loved one, after all.

The deputy stalked over to the warrior, who was sadly watching his kit play with some moss rolled up like a ball.

After a moment of silence, Brackenslash spoke up,

"Are you willing to go on a hunting patrol with me, Swallowsky and Sandfleck?"

Spottedtail flicked his tail softly, his ears flattening against his head.

"Yeah, sure." The two parents of Birchstorm stood up.

"Spottedtail, want to come with us? Troutstem could take care of the kits." Brackenslash meowed hopefully.

Spottedtail silently shook his head.

"Okay." Brackenslash mewed. "See you later."

The three cats entered the forest through the bracken lined camp entrance.

It was silence,

Brackenslash lost in thought.

The crunching of leaves snapped him out of them,

Alerting him of the possible dangers.

"What was that..?" Sandfleck asks, dropping down to a crouching position.

Green eyes shined vibrantly,

Brackenslash immediately realizing who it was.

"Wolfblaze, this is ThunderClan territory!"

"Intruders! Lurking in our territory!" Swallowsky snarled softly.

Brackenslash signaled for them to duck down with his tabby tail.

The three cats were hiding under the undergrowth, only the tips of the tails and fur showing.

Wolfblaze, who was RiverClan deputy at the time, stumbled closer.

The she-cat's silver coat shined bright as a small brown tom with a long tail followed.

"Mouse-brains RiverClan..." Swallowsky hissed, digging her claws into the ground.

"I smell them." Wolfblaze trotted closer, "They're near, Littlepaw."

Wolfblaze was directly in front of them,

Sandfleck sweating profusely.

Brackenslash remained calm,

Unsheathing his claws.

Brackenslash stepped out into the clearing.

"Hello Wolfblaze. May I inquire what you and your apprentice are doing on ThunderClan territory?"

Brackenslash stared straight at his fellow deputy.

Wolfblaze looked nervous.

"I-Er We were hunting when Littlepaw got so excited that he accidentally barged into ThunderClan territory." She mewed.

"Lies!" Sandfleck hissed from behind.

Swallowsky nodded in agreement.

Brackenslash narrowed his eyes,

Flicking his tail somewhat violently.

"You were spying." Sandfleck assumed,

Wolfblaze hissing in return,

"No, I wasn't, fish-brain. I told you that we-"

Swallowsky leaped onto the she-cat,

Surprising the ThunderClan deputy.

Wolfblaze was squashed under Swallowsky, squirming vigorously.

Swallowsky clawed Wolfblaze's belly strongly.

Wolfblaze snarled.

The she-cat kicked Swallowsky's belly with her hind legs.

Swallowsky was thrown backwards, landing with a thud.

Wolfblaze got back up on her paws.

The two she-cats stood, their eyes flashing with hostility.

Wolfblaze snarled.

"Fine. We'll leave. Let's go Littlepaw!"

The apprentice followed the silver she-cat as she turned and headed towards RiverClan territory.

"They better not show their whiskers on our territory!" Swallowsky growled, Sandfleck nodding.

Brackenslash agreed,

Glancing back at the direction of the camp.

"We should go back to camp and report this to Featherstar." Brackenslash mewed.

Sandfleck and Swallowsky let out meows of agreement.

They headed for the ThunderClan camp in silence.

Brackenslash kept having thoughts that Applefrost might not be that bad after all.

Maybe Applefrost is beginning to become nicer.

He thought.

He also thought about how Applefrost had shown tears at Birchstorm's vigil.

I should go talk to him when I have time.

He thought, his tail swaying curiously.

The four cats finally arrived at the ThunderClan camp and pushed past the loose branches of the bramble lined entrance.

Most of the cats were out hunting and patrolling.

"Well, I'll go report to Featherstar." Brackenslash mewed.

The other two cats nodded, and then went to the warriors' den.

Brackenslash padded towards Featherstar's den.

Chapter Seven

Brackenslash poked his head out of the ferns covering the entrance of the den.

Featherstar was thinking quietly.

"Featherstar." Brackenslash meowed quietly.

"Hm?" Featherstar lifted his head.

"I have something to report."

"What is it?" Featherstar's ears twitched curiously.

"We spotted two RiverClan cats in the middle of ThunderClan territory." Brackenslash meowed.

"That fox dung RiverClan! Did you chase them out?" Featherstar's neck fur bristled at the word 'RiverClan'.

"Yes, Swallowsky beat Wolfblaze in battle and Wolfblaze and her apprentice Littlepaw ran off back to their territory." Brackenslash bowed.

"Send out a border patrol and tell them to make sure those two really got off our territory and then to check if there are any other RiverClan cats." Featherstar commanded.

"Yes, Featherstar." Brackenslash nodded.

Then Brackenslash went out back to the camp clearing.

He called Tanglefoot, Larkpaw, and Hawkflight.

"You three will go on a border patrol." Brackenslash mewed, "We just chased out some RiverClan cats. You need to make sure that there's no RiverClan cats on our territory."

Larkpaw's eyes sparkled with excitement at the thought of doing something important for his Clan.

Hawkflight and Tanglefoot, two of the cats who he trusted most, nodded in understanding.

"We'll search the whole territory." The black warrior said, flicking his tail.

"Let's go."

The three cats headed for the bracken lined entrance.

Brackenslash watched them, proud that ThunderClan was strong as any Clan even after the destruction the fire before had caused.

As the three cats disappeared from sight, Brackenslash went to the warriors' den and fell asleep.

Brackenslash woke to Fernwind prodding his flank.

"Wake up!" She hissed.

"What is it?" He asked drowsily.

"Our border patrol just spotted a fox!" She answered.

Brackenslash's eyes widened.

"Just one?" He confirmed.

"Yes." Fernwind replied.

Brackenslash nodded.

"Fernwind, can you go tell Featherstar about the fox and that I'll lead a patrol to chase the fox out?" Barckenslash asked.

"Okay." Fernwind agreed.

She ran off across the camp and to the leader's den.

Brackenslash got up from his nest and padded into the camp clearing.

Some cats were on edge,

Worried about the fox on their clan's territory.

Brackenslash flattened his ears,

Flicking his tail.

He trotted over to a group of cats,

One being Applefrost.

The deputy remembered how upset his littermate was at the vigil,

No. Now's not the time.

He reminded himself.

"Spottedtail, Swallowsky, Applefrost." His voice softened when he called out Applefrost's name,

"There has been a fox spotted on our territory. I trust you three to drive it out."

Spottedtail and Swallowsky dipped their heads.

Applefrost didn't, he stared straight at Brackenslash.

Applefrost's eyes were soft, not sharp like usual.

And his tail was relaxed and he looked calm.

Brackenslash liked this Applefrost.

The calm and kind one.

Not the impatient and angry one.

His brother nodded, and led the patrol out of camp.

I hope they come back safely... Brackenslash thought.

He stood there, lost in thought.

He thought about Applefrost, Hawkflight, Birchstorm, Fringekit...

He hadn't realized the danger that was coming to the clan.

I can't just help but think that something bad will happen...

Brackenslash thought anxiously.

What if something does happen?

Something bad...

Chapter Eight

It was sunset, and cats were eating fresh kill and sharing tongues.

Brackenslash wished he could do those things.

And most of all, he wanted to talk with his brother.

Then, he heard panicked yowls coming closer to the camp.

The cats' ears perked up in surprise.

Oh no...

Brackenslash smelled the sharp tang of blood.

Spottedtail and Swallowsky rushed into the camp, holding a cat that was bleeding from wounds all over their body.

The cat was Applefrost.

The two cats set Applefrost down on the camp clearing, close to the medicine cat den.

Troutstem and Otterwhisker rushed over to Applefrost's side.

Applefrost was choking up blood violently, screeching in pain and agony.

Applefrost struggled for breath.

Brackenslash raced over to his brother as well.

"What happened?" Otterwhisker asked, cleaning Applefrost's wounds and putting cobwebs on it.

"The fox was about to kill me...but then Applefrost leaped onto the fox's back and...Applefrost saved me." Spottedtail mewed softly.

Brackenslash was shocked to say the least,

Applefrost tried to save Spottedtail?

Applefrost coughed violently,

Struggling to cling onto life.

Every cat gathered around him,

Which put pressure on the medicine cats,

More specifically Troutstem.

Brackenslash took notice and announced,

"Give them space, everybody!"

The cats stepped back.

Brackenslash stayed by Applefrost's side.

Applefrost whispered something.

Brackenslash pricked his ears and lowered his head closer to his brother.

"I'm sorry..."

His brother whispered.

"I truly love you... and I've been horrible to you since Talonkit's death...I blamed you for her death, blamed you for taking up all of mother's love; even when I knew it wasn't true..,I hope you can forgive me...Since I'm going to StarClan now..."

Tears streamed down Brackenslash's face, dropping down onto the soft dirt.

"No...Applefrost, don't go..." Brackenslash wailed quietly.

"No, Brackenslash...I'm going...I can see our father...Gingerstripe wait for me..." Applefrost mewed weakly.

"Please forgive me..."

"I forgive you. I truly love you too..." Brackenslash touched his nose with Applefrost's wet nose.

Applefrost's tabby yellow pelt was becoming paler.

He cough out some more red blood.

"Goodbye.." Applefrost said, so quietly that only Brackenslash could hear.

"Goodbye." Brackenslash mewed, dipping his head towards his dying brother.

Applefrost's eyes got aimless and a yellow tabby spirit with stars in his pelt appeared from the bloody body.

The spirit dipped his head at Brackenslash and padded over to a ginger tabby tom sitting next to a bush.

Father... He thought.

He was young when his father went to travel with StarClan, but he still remembered his scent and his appearance...

The two cats nodded at Brackenslash and they disappeared into the light.

"He's dead..." Brackenslash muttered quietly.

The two medicine cats nodded sadly.

Fernwind took notice,

And sadly dipped her head.

"He shall reunite with Birchstorm..."

Tanglefoot whispered to the deputy.

"May StarClan light his path." Featherstar announced,

Cold tears dripping down both Hawkflight and Brackenslash's eyes.

Chapter Nine

Brackenslash, Hawkflight, and Spottedtail were digging out a hole to bury Applefrost in.

The vigil last night had lots of tears, the cats knowing that Applefrost wasn't evil.

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