This is the second book in the Wishspirit Series!
"My name is Spiritpaw," he whispered gently, his voice echoing through my ears, as I stared at him, more than a little confused.
"You have a Clan name," I noted gently.
He nodded, "Yes," he claimed, "We have much to talk about, and plenty of time to talk about it so I see absolutely no reason to rush."
I nodded gently, glancing at the two young kits who stood excitedly glancing at the new cat with wide curious eyes. I couldn't help feeling exactly like them.
"I think it would be a good idea to do some hunting," he claimed, "No point in telling stories on an empty stomach," his eyes glittered like the stars and he resembled someone I couldn't recognize.
I shrugged, gently, "Let's not head towards the Clan though," I claimed, gently, "Let's go hunt by the lake instead. I am afraid of how they will react if we get close to their camp."
He nodded, but his eyes were shady, "You will have to head back their soon, Wishpaw, and when you do, it will be much less pleasant than last time."
I let his words go for the meanwhile, deciding I would get back to him on that later, as we gently paddled away from the den where the kits had fallen back into a deep sleep.
"So you want to hunt around the lake?" he asked me and I nodded.
"If you don't mind," I whispered, still not entirely used to being able to express myself to freely, with words and sounds. It felt so free.
We gently begin to paddle towards the lake together, not speaking a single word, our silence encasing us, as I slowly began to become aware of what was actually happening.
I was meeting the eyes.
The eyes weren't good though, they were supposed to belong to an evil cat who wanted to hurt me, who was stalking me and following me because they hated me.
They should not belong to a kind cat like this.
Alarms began to go off in my head as I realized something.
Maybe he wasn't the kind cat he claimed to be.
Because I have learned, that in my world, nothing was ever as it seemed.
An "apprentice" could just as easily be a predator, looking for the proper opportunity to kill me or the kits while we were out hunting.
My throat tightened as we continued to walk and I kept my gaze glued onto the strange black tom, trying my hardest not to glare in suspicion.
His eyes glowed, even from an angle where they were hard to detect, and I failed to make out the plethora of feelings burrowed into them.
He finally stopped walking and sniffed the air for a moment, "We can start hunting now," he claimed, and gently paddled in one direction, while indicating for me to head the other way.
I gently began to paddle with slow steps until I was sure that he was a far amount away from where we had split up and rushing back to the den where I had left the kits, my heart pounding quickly, one thought repeating over and over again in my head.
I can't trust him.
Sure, he hadn't done anything to prove I couldn't. But he hadn't done anything to prove that I could either, and he was a very strange cat.
Strange usually wasn't a good thing.
Just look at my world for a moment, and you might understand exactly why strange bothered me and scared me the way that it did.
My paws slammed against the ground, my heart was trying to burst out of my chest, and my mind was beating me up for being so naive.
As I finally reached the den, my paws brought me to a stop. They two kits were curled up next to each other, twitching a little, and I realized their dreams must be dark at the moment.
No one could blame them.
Especially after they just saw their mother die.
I swallowed a lump of guilt and betrayal. I still had yet to find out why they had been with their mother, and how long they had been meeting her but I figured I wouldn't be pleased with what I found out.
It hardly seemed possible.
I gently poked them both, with my clear white paws, and within moments they had jumped to their paws, glancing around with deep worry and fear.
I felt a pang of affection for the young kits, who were just one moon old, as they realized that it was just me, and a look of relief entered their eyes.
I wasn't like a mother to them, but more of an older sibling, someone to watch over them and make sure that they had a better life than the Clan could offer.
And they probably understood that better than ever at the moment.
They had just seen a member of their Clan slaughter their mother.
I gently flicked my tail at them, at they seemed to understand what I was saying, without needing to make much of a commotion. They quickly lined up behind me, as I led them away from the den we had been living in from a fair amount of time and to a new, unknown one.
One where the eyes couldn't find us.
The sun was gently setting behind us, as I carried ferns in my jaw, the kits scrambling after me, their eyes wide with excitement while I tried to build a new den.
I did feel a little guilty leaving Spiritpaw behind like that, as I soon realized when I kept sniffing the air that no cat was following us, and he had not been planning to steal the kits while I was out hunting.
But I didn't regret what I had done.
He could still be waiting to hurt the kits, or me. He had been following me for as long as I could possibly remember, and he had haunted my life for so long.
It wasn't done before I had set up the den, which was patchy, but not too much different than the one we had left behind near the large tree.
As soon as I was done the kits attacked the nests I had set up for them, rolling around while purring at each other. I soon realized that they were talking and felt a small bloom of pride.
"You seem to have helped raise them quite well," a voice behind me purred and I whirled around in horror to find Spiritpaw grinning at me, several pieces of prey, which eh must have carried in his jaw, dropped before me feet.
"Hey," I squeaked feeling a little nervous.
"I thought you would have realized by now that you can't escape me," his eyes glittered a little and I felt my heartbeat increasing, before he gave me a kind blink, "Let's talk, Wishpaw. I can understand your concern and I need to clear up some important facts about your life."
I gave the kits a soft glance, as they had now turned to stare at the two of us.
I let out a soft sigh, "Alright."
"My mother was a Clan cat," Spiritpaw claimed gently, "And she somehow escaped from the Clan, deciding that it wasn't worth the peaceful memories of the place."
"Peaceful memories?" I ask, slightly confused.
"SpiritClan wasn't always the dark, pointless place it is right now," his eyes shone gently, "My mother would tell me tales of how great it had once been. Feeding the elders, kits and queens first, friendly competitions between apprentices, all the ceremonies where cats would just about burst in pride."
"SpiritClan," I gently whispered, rolling the name on my tongue. I looked at him gently, asking a question with my eyes and he nodded.
"I was named Nightkit at first for my pelt," he whispered, "And I do remember your birth. You barely survived it after your mother made countless prayers to StarClan. It wasn't a moon later when he became leader and everything fell apart. As soon as it did, my mother didn't hesitate to leave. She raised me around the lake we were just hunting by. Once I was old enough to become an apprentice she changed my name to Spiritpaw in order to honor the noble and once spirited clan that had fell."
"I see," I whispered gently.
We were silent for several long moments before I asked.
"Why have you been following me?"
"A received a prophecy," he claimed, "By a strange cat from StarClan. She almost reminded me of you the slightest bit. Anyways, she mentioned you, and I was quick to realize that. I decided that it would be wise to follow you, and see who you were as well as what destiny might want from us. I received it when I was just two months old, so that's why I might be a little familiar."
"Why didn't you show your face?" I asked gently, "When I tried to see who you were?"
"I didn't think it would be a good idea," he confessed, "You were still a kit and the thought of a prophecy could be a good reason to deeply scare you."
"I received a prophecy," I whispered, "Not too long ago, actually. It was about kits, eyes, black meeting white and a deep, dark path."
"It was about us," his eyes glittered for a moment.
"Do you know what we are supposed to do?" I gently squeaked, "Are we supposed to fight some grand battle? Or kill Sagestar or something?"
"As much as I would like to," his eyes shone for a moment, "I do not think that is the case. When I spoke to Wishspirit in my dreams she mentioned that we had to uncover the truth."
"Which truth?" I asked him, feeling a little fed up with how nothing seemed to make sense and so many pieces of the puzzle were still missing and out of place.
"I don't know," he sighed, "I am not much more informed than you."
I gently bit into the mouse to hide how flustered I felt at the mysteriousness of it all, and trying to let my mind take a break the relishing the juicy taste.
Once I has swallowed I turned back to him, "Can you hear others talking as well?" I asked, "Or are you deaf like me?"
"You're deaf?" his green eyes squinted with confusion, "But how do you hear what I am saying? And how do you speak back to me?"
"I don't know," I whispered, "You are the first cat I have ever heard and the first cat I have ever talked to. I'm still not really used to it."
"That's strange," he whispered gently.
You're strange, I wanted to retort, although I decided against it.
He was probably aware.
"The kits are very healthy," he noted, "I think they have a much better life here than the Clan had to offer them," his voice is a little cautious and I realize that no matter how much it may hurt me, there is a question I need to ask and an answer I need to get.
"How long have they been seeing Brambleberry?" I asked.
"Brambleberry?" he looked puzzled.
"Their mother," I claimed, surprised that he didn't know her name.
"You mean Hazeltail?" his eyes glittered, "The one who gave birth to the kits you have been watching over for the past moon."
I remembered with a strange feeling that I hadn't really been addressing cats by their real names inside my mind. Rather, with names I had made up for them.
"Yeah I guess," I whispered, "I don't really know her real name," my mind began to replay all the cats I had known, trying to decide which ones I wanted to know the names to and I was quick to come up with my top three, "What is the leader's name?" I asked him.
"Sagestar," he replied calmly.
"Then I named him correctly..." I trail off slowly, but confused and a little awed with the probability that such would happen at the same time.
"And the kits?" I indicated towards them with my tail.
"The black and white one was named Hopekit," he claimed, "And the tortoiseshell was named Dreamkit. And it's not hard to guess how they got those names."
"Hopekit and Dreamkit," I gently rolled their names on my tongue, "They are wonderful names for the kittens," I gently purred and Spiritpaw smiled.
"So do you want to know why they were meeting Hazeltail?" he asked me gently.
I was suddenly brought out of the slightly sweetened world that knowing the names of the kittens had brought to me, sitting silently for a few moments.
"The kits didn't really get lost," Spiritpaw whispered gently, "Hazeltail guided them out into the woods, following your scent. When she felt she was close enough for you to see the kits, she quickly turned around and ran back to camp."
"Why?" I asked gently.
"She was thinking the same things that you thought when you took them in, and the same things that my mother had thought when she took me away from camp."
"She wanted a better future for them," I gently whispered, "One that she knew Sagestar and the Clan wouldn't be able to give them."
I found myself admiring the she-cat for being able to make such a sacrifice and felt a large pang of relief that she had approved of, even had been hoping for, the choice that I made to take her kits in as opposed to returning them back to SpiritClan.
"Yes," he nodded, "But, like any mother would, she wondered about the state of her kits, and she would come and check up on them every time you went hunting."
I nodded, able to understand why the queen would choose to do that.
"Eventually, however, they began to follow her back, and she would have to scare them back to your old den. As I watched her I could tell she was doubting her choice to come see them while you were gone."
"But she loved them too much to stop. And one time, the kits followed her back to camp, despite her struggled to send them back. Unfortunately, during her absence, however, Sagestar was eating whatever prey the Clan could find, and you know how angry he gets when cats don't how up to that."
"I discovered that the hard way," I claimed.
"It's funny that you think of it to be the hard way," he pointed out, "Now you have two wonderful kits to watch over, and you have put behind a terrible leader and a ruined Clan. Hazeltail had to face death, knowing her kits would watch her and face the nightmares of it for their whole lives."
I gently glance at the kits, who are both string at me and Spiritpaw as we talk, their eyes wide, as I realize that they can hear us, although I can't hear them when they ask Spiritpaw a question.
However, I can hear Spiritpaw's reply.
"No," he whispered to them gently, "This isn't over yet."
"What isn't over?" I ask him cautiously.
"Everything," he whispers gently.
When I woke my eyes Spiritpaw was gone, and the kits were playing right in front of our laughing about something I couldn't hear.
I was getting a little used to speaking and hearing what one other cat was saying, but sometimes I felt a little disappointed when I remembered that I couldn't hear anything else.
"Hey, Wishpaw," I looked up to see Spiritpaw carrying something large in his jaws and quickly realized that it was a body. Hazeltail's body.
The kits turned away from their game and towards their mother's lifeless body, their eyes watering the slightest bit, tears threatening to come out.
I gave them long, sympathetic glances before turning back to Spiritpaw a little angry with him for his bold and reckless choice.
"Why did you bring it here?" I asked harshly.
"I couldn't leave it to rot," he whispered gently, "I figured we could have a proper vigil like the one my mother told me they used to do in the Clans."
I wasn't sure what to make of it so I just sighed.
He gently placed the cold body on the floor and I was able to actually survey the dead Brambl-Hazeltail for the first time.
There were scars and cuts all over her pelt, one of her eyes seemed incredibly swollen and I could make out a twisted paw. A pair of teeth on her neck marked her quick death, but it was obvious they had put her through a lot of pain before deciding to finish her off.
"Poor kits," I gently whispered as I realized that they must have watched her being put through all the pain and misery. I wondered if they knew they were partly responsible.
I prayed to StarClan that they didn't.
"It's a miracle they escaped untouched, though," Spiritpaw gently whispered, "Unlike their mother. They must have been really intent on hurting her. I know Sagestar can have a horrible temper and is not one to mess with but I didn't think he would have wanted this."
"It is strange," I agreed.
Nothing seemed to go without having that word accompany it.
"So what did you do today?" I asked him, a little eager to change the subject, as the kits bounded up to their dead mother and placed their noses against her flank.
"I got her body," he indicated with his tail towards the kits, who were both gently crying now, sending soft daggers through my heart.
"That's it?" I tipped my head to the side.
"Yeah," he shrugged, "It was harder than you might have thought. I didn't want to get caught by any cats after they saw me attacking them the other day."
I nodded gently, "I'll go hunt then," I claimed, "I'll be back with some prey in a little while to joint the three of you," I was a little reluctant to be leaving the kits along with him, but he had been helping me out for the last five sunrises and I had been quick to trust him.
It seemed that all he needed was a chance to prove himself.
He dipped his head at me, before flicking his tail, indicating that I was free to go and I took the cue, gladly, not wanting to stick around to watch the poor young kits grieving over their mother.
The grass was wet as my paws gently touched it, and I figured it had rained over night, and I must not have heard it, because, well... I don't hear anything.
Except for Spiritpaw.
And I still don't understand why that is the case. A part of me it is sure that it as something to do with StarClan, but I see no gain towards them for allowing me to hear and speak with just one cat, and a cat I have not known my whole entire life.
Although it appeared he knew me.
Over the past few days I had found myself trying to search for any memories as a kit of the black tom, and his deep green eyes but I couldn't find any of them.
The first time I remember seeing his eyes was when I was around three moons old.
And Sagestar was already leader by then.
I am holding several mice in my jaws when I gently paddle back to our den. The sun is still up and Spiritpaw claimed that they had decided not to start the vigil until the moon came up.
And no one could ever know when that would be.
"Well," I meowed, gently, stretching my jaws, "I am going to have a small nap, wake me up if anything happens," Spiritpaw nodded as I lowered the prey onto the ground and pushed it towards him.
The kits' eyes widened in delight and they began to rush towards the food, and Hopepaw ran into Dreampaw, bowling her over. Dreampaw quickly whirled around and began to bat at her with her paws, eyes shinning playfully, as they fought over the largest mouse I had brought.
I gently rolled my eyes, before catching Spiritpaw's eyes.
We were both silent for a moment, before he nodded, indicating that it was safe for me to fall asleep and that he would watch over the kits.
Once again, a flicker of unease surged through me, but I quickly pushed it back, reminding myself that I probably could trust Spiritpaw.
And if I couldn't, it wouldn't matter anyways.
He had made it obvious that there would be no escaping him.
I sighed, as I gently paddled over to my nest, a large bundle of moss, which was slightly messy and out of order, as I figured that the kits must have played in it.
I gently laid down over it, curling up and trying to block out the rest of the world, and my curious but confused thoughts as I fell into a deep sleep.
I gently blinked my eyes open, forcing them to take in the massive amounts of light that reached it as I stood across a starry forest.
For a moment I took in the cat who was standing across me.
"Wishspirit," I whispered gently.
"Welcome back," the black and white she-cat purred gently, her black eyes glittering under the light of the sun as she stared at me with a deep smile, that made me truly believe she was happy with the life she was living and where she was living it.
I wondered if I would ever be able to smile like that.
"I have a lot of questions," I gently whispered, letting my paws brush against the soft grass of StarClan's deep, green and lush forest.
"Of course you do," her smile was genuine and for a moment I felt like a kit all over again, with the whole Clan giving me their deep sympathetic smiles that I had lost my mother when I was only half a moon old.
I shut my eyes tightly, realizing now was not the time for those memories.
I had questions to ask and answers to get.
"Who is Spiritpaw?" I ask her, immediately, trying to force my eyes away from her sympathetic gaze, "And how can I hear what he says?"
"He is a part of your destiny," she whispered gently.
"How?" I demanded, "I want answers, Wishspirit, not more questions to keep me from falling asleep every night because I am so busy thinking about them."
"If I told you your destiny that would change it," she whispered gently.
"But aren't you changing my destiny," I countered, "By telling me that I have a destiny and that he is a part of it. Won't I act differently because I know that?"
"But knowing it is a part of your destiny," her eyes twinkled with wild amusement although I wasn't the slightest bit amused.
"That doesn't make sense," I huffed.
"It doesn't have to," he replied, her eyes no longer twinkling, but now dead serious, and slightly moral at the same time, "It just has to happen."
"In time it will all make sense," she assured me, "The last prophecy I gave you came true, and now I have another one for you to hold deep to your heart."
I nodded, although I had already decided not to get too excited next time the StarClan cat welcomed me to her home to supposedly "help" me figuring things out.
"But not for now," she caught me by surprise by how brisk her tone was, and I wondered if she had suddenly realized something, "You will be told in a time soon to come."
"How soon?" I asked her gently.
"One important task must be completed first," she gently whispered, her eyes still glittering like always, "Before you can be forced to brave one of your greatest fears."
"I can't tell you," she replied, "Or it might change the course of how things will play out. Instead, I won't keep you waiting and I will allow you to wake up in order to find out what is actually going on."
"But I still have so many questions," I whispered gently.
"Of course you do," she replied, "But those questions are not for me to answer. They are for you to answer and in time you will come up with the appropriate ones as experience teaches you many things you may have never imagined to be true before.
"Wouldn't it be easier if you just told me?" I questioned her.
"The easy thing isn't always the right thing..." she gently whispered, and her eyes widened for a split moment, "Well, I guess I just told you the prophecy, even if it may have been unintentional," but the look in her eyes told me that it wasn't.
"That's a... prophecy?" I questioned her.
"A prophecy is anything that may give us an insight into the future. An insight which will predict or hint at something, and make it easier to face by doing so."
I am terribly confused.
But all I say is, "Oh."
She smiled, "Don't forget it, Wishpaw. But now, I must let you wake up again and face something rather surprising. However, it will only be the start of a chain of even more shocking events. And I will warn you now that you will not like most of them."
Before I can further question her I feel her world gently slipping away from me, as mine begins to replace it.
"Spiritpaw?" I whisper, making out the dark pelt of the young tom who stands before me. But he isn't facing me, rather he appears to be looking in the other direction.
I push myself to my paws, and realize that he is looking at another cat.
She is a coal gray she-cat, with amber eyes. Somehow, she has an uncanny resemblance to the tom that she is facing although she looks years older.
I was about to ask Spiritpaw who she was, when he spoke to the stranger, his voice croaking with surprise, betrayal, guilt and pain.
She replied to him, and although I could not hear the cat's answer I could tell what it was by the shocked expression on the face of Spiritpaw- whom I now understood was her son- as they stood in silence for a few moments.
I felt a small bundle of fur running into me and gently turned around to find the two kittens starring at me with wide eyes as to ask who they cat across from them was.
"My mother," Spiritpaw replied, turning around to face the three of us for a moment, and I was hardly willing to believe that he had broke contact.
Dreamkit squeaked and he shook his head, "No she is not dead, as you can see right now."
The kit mumbled something softly and I didn't need to be a genius to guess that her answer had been the very simple "oh" which I know I had been using a lot lately.
Because it was what you said when you weren't sure what the right thing to say was, although you knew that something had to be said.
Spiritpaw turned back to face his mother, their eyes in almost a sort of lock-down. Although they didn't have similar pelt or eye colors the shape of their face and body was so similar one would easily be able to tell that they were related.
Finally, his mother opens her mouth and begins to whisper something gently.
"I don't care," Spiritpaw mumbled and longed to be able to hear what they were saying, hating my disability more than I ever had before at the moment.
She opened her jaw again, trying to speak with her son, convince him about something, or possibly ask for an apology by the look on her face.
But Spiritpaw wasn't bought.
"I don't care what you say!" he literally yowled at her, and the two kits jumped back in surprise. I gently curled my tail around them protectively, to assure them that they were safe more than anything else.
Although things seemed tense I didn't sense any threats at the moment.
His mother began to speak again, but this time Spiritpaw wasn't listening. He turned around to exchange a glance with me and I shrugged, indicating I had no idea what was going on.
His mother appeared to be pleading now, but Spiritpaw must have been really mad at her for something that she had done in the past because his eyes glittered furiously for a moment, before he turned his head away.
When his mother continued to speak he must have snapped, because he just walked away from her, dashing off into the woods behind our den.
"Spiritpaw!" I called after him, taking a few quick steps before stopping.
His mother turned to me her eyes wide, and I couldn't detect what message her gaze was trying to send to send to me so I just shrugged.
She stood silently for a moment, before sighing and paddling away, leaving me to wonder what had happened between the two that had caused this separation.
I watched quietly as Dreamkit jumped onto Hopekit, who let out a little squeal before rolling rolling around with her sister, laughing happily.
Was that Spiritpaw before he left the Clan?
I find my thoughts traveling back to the conversation I had with Spiritpaw when we first met about his past and who he was.
"My mother would tell me tales of how great it had once been. Feeding the elders, kits and queens first, friendly competitions between apprentices, all the ceremonies where cats would just about burst in pride.'"
"My mother was a Clan cat, and she somehow escaped from the Clan, deciding that it wasn't worth the peaceful memories of the place."
He hadn't mentioned his mother much but when he did, he certainly hadn't criticized her. If anything, I had detected some gratitude that she had been strong enough to make a sacrifice for her.
"What isn't he telling me?" I felt my pelt itching uncomfortably with curiosity and a slight bit of anxiety. I probably would have been searching for him at the moment, however it was not an option to leave the two kits behind and attempting to take them with me would be impossible.
My only choice was to wait.
I felt a light weight dropping onto my back and looked up to see Hopekit, pulling herself up my body, which has been curled out before our den.
I helped her getting back to my paws before turning my head away, back to the woods where I was anxiously waiting for a black pelt to appear to me.
But it didn't seem like he would be coming for a while so I eventually decided it would be best to drift off and get some sleep at the moment.
But Spiritpaw would have a lot of explaining to do when he returned.
And I wasn't about to let him off on any of it.
"Wishpaw?" I felt a black paw gently poking my shoulder, and I blinked my eyes open to find a pair of green ones staring at me apologetically.
"Finally," I mumbled, realizing that the sun had sent and the moon was shinning brightly. It probably didn't say that much but I knew at least a fair amount of time had passed.
"Sorry," he whispered, "It's just... My mother and I have some harsh history, that I really wasn't ready to face. I don't think I ever will be able to," he confessed with a shrug.
"You can tell me," I assured his gently, pulling myself up to my paws, so that I was level with him, "I won't judge you for whatever happened."
He shook his head softly.
"It's not that I don't trust you," he claimed, "I just want to put that event behind me, as well as the memories of my mother, and speaking about it won't help."
"Are you sure?" I asked him gently.
"Yes," he nodded gently, "I'm sorry, Wishpaw. I know she won't be returning."
I nodded gently, although I felt a dark feeling pricking my pelt. Spiritpaw obviously hadn't settled matters with his strange mother, and as much as he tried to hide it, it seemed like it was something that deeply disturbed him and would continue to do so for the rest of his life.
But I knew better than to argue, so I gently sighed.
When I forced my eyes open to the sight of Hopekit and Dreamkit rolling around, grinning wildly as they played I felt a small bloom of hope growing in my heart.
Perhaps they could learn to get over the loss of their mother.
I wondered if it was a little delusional of me, but watching them laugh so gently, in a way I knew I could never do filled me up with hope I couldn't control.
"You look happy," Spiritpaw observed beside me.
"I'm happy for the kits," I whispered gently.
He nodded slowly, "I have a feeling these kits are more than they let on. They were mentioned in the prophecy that I received."
I noted the use of the word "the", and not "a".
Which meant he had only got one, even though I had two, the second of which was even shorter, more confusing, and less in depth than the other one.
The easy choice isn't always the best one.
Didn't I already know that? Hadn't I proved it by taking in the kits, by caring for them, by risking the fact that they would probably understand what a horrible world they lived in soon.
And Spiritpaw would probably know it too.
I hadn't lived his life, but it certainly didn't seem like an easy one. My mind was still buzzing with the memories of his mother, who he had yet to explain to me about.
If he ever did, which I personally doubted.
"I'm sorry," he whispered again, almost reading my thoughts, "I want to tell you, but I really don't see a need for such matters."
"Sometimes is helps to tell someone else," I whispered gently, "It may have the opposite effect of what you fear it will. You know I won't judge you or your mother for anything that happened in the past. It is something I really want to put behind myself."
"Telling tales of it won't help," he gently grunted.
"You can't know that," I urged him, feeling like I was close to getting the story out of him. The past several sunrises had all been rather dull, except for the appearance of his mother which was short lived and a story could always be rather exciting.
He sighed loudly and I felt myself cheering loudly on the inside.
"I'm going out to hunt," he claimed, and suddenly, it all deflated again,as I fought back a large load of frustration towards the young tom.
How bad could it really be?
She figured he was just exaggerating the effect of whatever his mother had done to him was. With a sigh she nodded her head, "Good luck," she whispered.
"Thanks," his reply was brisk.
"Thanks," I purred, as I gratefully took a mouse from Spiritpaw. He didn't reply to me, just met his eyes with mine and I was stunned for a small moment, before turning back to my prey.
Is he still mad at me for that?
I gently bit into it, as the two kits came running up to Spiritpaw to take the large rabbit from him. His whiskers twitched gently as he handed it over and they began to dig in.
I sighed, turning away sharply, trying not to feel guilty or at a loss. Ever since I had met him, Spiritpaw had become the most important cat in my life. I could hear him, I could speak to him and he had lived in the days where the Clan was glorified.
And while trying to rat a story out of him, it had appeared that I lost him.
The mouse had lost its taste in my mouth, feeling just like a deep chewy substance as I watched him withdraw into the corner of the den where he sat down, staring at the exit, not doing anything.
Is he thinking about his mother?
Or is he regretting ever deciding to meet me?
The thought was a little overwhelming and I quickly swallowed my mouse, before excusing myself, "I'm going on a walk," I whispered.
Spiritpaw didn't reply to me, but flicked his tail as to indicate that he heard. With a loud sigh, I pulled myself up to my paws, waved my tail gently at the kits, and let the soft grass envelope my feet as I sucked in the chilly air of the passing leaf-bare.
I sucked in a deep breath, my heart gently twirling under my pelt, until a hopeful thought struck me so fast, and I smiled vaguely.
Maybe he was upset with his mother and not me, I realized, Perhaps seeing her, made him remember something dark so he decided to hide off from the rest of us because of it.
My thoughts were whirling fiercely now, but I calmed them down quickly and gently took in several deep breaths, as I realized that Spiritpaw couldn't remain upset forever.
I had just asked him to share a story.
And maybe he wasn't the one who was overreacting, but rather, I was.
He had made it clear that the memories were not some that he wished to discuss, bring up, or ever remember again. So it would be natural for him to get a little defensive when I asked him to. And then a little violated and frustrated when I didn't drop it.
With a loud sigh of relief, I took another soft step, deciding that I would take my walk to the lake.
I gently gazed into my reflection, finding myself met by a shimmering white pelt and eyes as blue as the sea. I smiled gently into the lake, as it rippled furiously while I felt a small gust of wind gently smacking against my ears. I suppressed a shiver.
Everything seemed to have changed since Spiritpaw actually introduced himself to me. I no longer had to spend my nights worrying about the kits, or spend the whole day hunting, since there was someone to share the duties with. I wasn't completely occupied with the kits, and now had someone who could communicate with them. And who could communicate with me as well.
Which was pleasant.
It really was, but now that what had been the mean struggle of my life was resolved everything seemed a bit empty. A bit pointless.
I had given myself pride in fixing the life of two young cats, making it better than it ever could be, and spending all of my time and energy on them. But now it wasn't all of my time and my energy they consumed.
And it felt like a waste not to do anything with the extra time that I had.
Suddenly, there was this new gap inside of me, this gap of pointlessness, when you realize that you are wasting something, or feel pointless.
Within a few months the kits wouldn't be relying on my anymore. I wouldn't have to take care of them, we would all watch out for each other.
But what would I make of my life when that happened.
"Hello, kitten," A small voice behind me rumbled causing me to whirl around, as I realized it wasn't Spiritpaw speaking to me, while I could still hear what they were saying.
I was very surprised, however, when I found that I was facing his mother.
"Hi," I squeaked shrilly, stuttering for a few moments, not sure how to explain that I actually knew what she was saying when her son was the only other cat I had heard speak before.
Which was strange, considering that when she was talking to Spiritpaw before I had only heard what Spiritpaw was saying, but nothing from her, except for a moving jaw.
I felt small butterflies of hope begin to float in my stomach.
Had I gained the ability to hear?
"I wouldn't get too hopeful," she gently purred and I quickly snapped my head back in her direction as her eyes twinkled wildly with amusement.
"What?" I chirped.
"You have not regained your hearing," their was sympathy but harshness in the gaze of what had once been a queen as she faced me gently.
"How do you know?" I stared at her blankly for several long moments and the she-cat purred graciously.
"I am not who you think I am," her whiskers twitched softly.
"Wishspirit..." I gently whispered, squinting one eye, "But what are you doing in the body of Spiritpaw's mother?" I cocked my head gently to the side.
"I have powers you don't know of," Wishspirit claimed from the body of Spiritpaw's mother, "And this is one of them. One day, perhaps, when you join us you shall do it too."
"When will that be?"
"Whenever I meet you, all you can ever do is pester me with questions," her eyes sparkled, and I thought I could see the deep white shimmering stars inside of them, even from a different body.
I sighed, "I'm sorry," I whispered, "There is just so much I have yet to understand about my life, which doesn't make sense, or won't, at least, until someone explains."
"I know," she smiled, "And so, I have finally come here today, to give you answers as opposed to more questions. What you see may arise some questions but these questions are not a matter or what happened or how they happened, young Wishpaw. They are a matter of how you will deal with them."
"Really?" I starred at her with deep wide eyes.
"Yes," she nodded, "You may thank Spiritpaw for it, however. Since he refuses to tell you what actually happened between himself and his mother I have been left with no choice but to show you myself."
"Show me?' I questioned her.
"Yes," she nodded, as she gently paddled up to me and placed her tailtip on my shoulder, "It will be a harsh memory for you to watch, but one that you probably will want to see. It has made up a large part of who Spiritpaw is today," her eyes glittered.
"Alright," I nodded, but before I could continue to thank her, she gently lowered her amber eyes, to meet my blue ones for long, drawn out moments.
"Wait," she claimed, and sucked in a deep breath.
I waited, my heart beating fiercely as I waited for some sort of confession or warning, possibly another prophecy but none came.
"You have to give something for everything you get," she whispered.
"What?" I stared at her blankly.
"I can't just show you one of Spiritpaw's secrets, Wishpaw. Knowledge is power and can be worth more than you imagine. So before you steal some of Spiritpaw's you have to make an agreement. When I show you this small memory of his past, what drove him away from his mother, you are agreeing to allow me to show him a short clip from your past in return. Knowledge for knowledge. A memory for a memory. A secret for a secret.
"But I don't have any secrets," I claimed gently.
"You'd be surprised," she whispered.
You'd be surprised...
You'd be surprised...
You'd be surprised...
But I didn't have any secrets. There was nothing I could think of, in my whole twelve moons of living that Spiritpaw was unaware of, and possessed any significance.
I had nothing to hide.
I was just a poor kit, who miraculously made it to apprentice and survived under the hardships brought by Sagestar for as long as she could manage before she was kicked out of the clan for not watching the leader eat.
It isn't really an exciting story.
Yet, it seems there is something in there which I skipped. Something which could be deep and dark. Something about me which Spiritpaw will know.
I hesitate for a few moments.
But what you don't know can't really hurt you.
"That's fine," I nodded.
I saw relief gently washing over her face and she nodded at me, her gray pelt rippling gently as she walked closer towards the edge of the lake, before plunging into it.
She flicked her tail indicating for me to follow and I hesitated at the sight of water for a moment, before shutting my eyes together and gently paddling across the lake.
I gasped lightly as her head displeasure under the water, and began to rush towards her, hoping to help her out, but before I could, I felt a strong force pulling me down as well, and I began to thrash desperately trying to save myself from whatever was tugging me.
I felt myself choking on the water, as my eyes began to get hazy and I coughed several times, still struggling to keep myself up.
Don't fight it... I head a soft voice whisper in my ear, Just let go...
Recognizing Wishspirit's voice I let go, shut my eyes and began to take soft and easy breaths as I stopped struggling and felt myself being dragged under the lake.
When I could see again, I was siting in front of the lake again, looking down at my reflection, with Wishspirit, in the form of Spiritpaw's mother sitting not too far off.
"Wishspirit!" I called to her, but she didn't respond. She didn't even turn her head, or acknowledge me, almost as if she hadn't heard.
"Wishspirit!" I called again, louder this time.
"I'm right here," A gentle voice whispered from behind me and I whirled around to find Wishspirit, in her usual black and white pelt that she always wore in StarClan.
"Wait..." I paused for a moment, my thoughts slowly beginning to confuse me, "If you are Wishspirit, then does that mean she is..." I trailed off as I looked to the cat whom I had thought was the mysterious StarClan cat, as she looked down peacefully at the lake.
"That's Grayheat," Wishspirit gently whispered to me, "And she is Spiritpaw's mother. The one who you met just yesterday and whose body I used to speak with you."
"So then this is..."
"A vision of the past," Wishspirit smiled at me gently, "You can't really saw or do anything here, in your form, for you are nothing more than a spirit. You can hear all, but speak none that will be heard by anyone other than a spirit. You can pass through trees and walk over rivers."
"I'm invincible," I whispered with a new thrilling sense itching up my body.
"You aren't real," Wishspirit corrected.
"Oh," I shrugged, trying not to let on how that had suddenly ruined the whole excitement that came with walking over rivers. It wasn't much different than a dream.
Except it had actually happened at one point in time.
I watched as Grayheat gently turned away from the water, and began to paddle away. Wishspirit nodded towards me, indicating that I should follow her.
I didn't need to be told twice, and I was soon sprinting after the she-cat, trying to catch up to her, as she worked her way through the familair woods.
"This place doesn't seem all that different," I noted.
"It was after the w-" Wishspirit seemed to catch herself, "It was after Sagestar took over SpiritClan."
"What were you going to say?" I asked her.
"Nothing," she responded, looking down at her paws, "I just tripped on my tongue."
I wasn't stupid enough to fall for that one.
But I wasn't stupid enough to keep pushing her on about it either.
So I sighed and continued to follow Grayheat through the forest. According to Wishspirit, she would give me all the answers soon.
But every time she said it I began to extend how long "soon" was.
I gently slowed down as Graybreeze stopped and took a soft turn, around a tree, sniffing in gently for a few moments before twitching her whiskers.
"You can come out, Spiritpaw," she claimed, "I scented you."
"Darn," a whimpered as he jumped out the other side of the tree. He didn't look to different that Spiritpaw, the same pelt and eyes, just a smaller body.
She purred affectionatly, "You need to do a better job of hiding your scent."
Spiritpaw was opening his jaw to reply when he was suddenly cut off by another cat, who was standing a few inches behind Grayheat.
"As should you, Grayheat," it snarled.
The queen whipped around to face the cat who addressed them, as another one slowly stepped out from behind him, with soft eyes but a menacing grin.
"Redscar," she hissed fiercely, before turning to the younger cat, "Bramblestrike."
"What are you doing on the territory of the Clan you ran away from?" the larger one demanded.
"I didn't know Sagestar bothered to patrol," Grayheat retorted but I could see fear creeping up her gaze as she stood protectively before her son.
"Should it matter?" the smaller one asked.
"It shouldn't," she claimed, her eyes shinning with a rage unlike any I had ever seen before, "But it does. Because of what you have made of the Clan. You have stripped all meaning of honor and dignity from us, when you let Sagestar lead you towards this Clan."
Bramblestrike snarled and slipped out his claws, as did Redscar. Grayheat reacted by imitating them and there were several long moments of tense silence.
The the Clan cats jumped. Spiritpaw squeaked in surprise and hid behind his mother, who tried to hold both off at once but was quickly bowled over.
"You take the kit!" Redscar yowled.
I watched in horror as Bramblestike jumped off the mother and began to make a move for the young apprentice, wanting to jump in and help Spiritpaw, but knowing that I could be of no use.
This was only a battle I could watch.
"No!" Grayheat shrieked, batting at Redscar, and trying to throw him over. However, the grip of the tom was strong and he refused to let go.
Until, Grayheart pulled out her teeth, and raked them across his neck, leaving a long trail of blood. I felt a long silence for a moment.
And then Redscar collpsed onto the ground blood leaking from him.
Bramblestirke gasped, before jumping up to his paws and quickly dashing away, realizing that Grayheat was not a cat to mess with when angry.
Grayheat was panting heavily as she turned to Spiritpaw. There was a guilty look, that clung to her face harshly, and he gazed at her softly.
"Are you okay?" she asked him.
For the first time I found myself actually looking at Spiritpaw who was gazing at the dead body in horror. He certainly didn't look okay.
"You killed a cat..." he whispered, "For me."
"There isn't anything I would do for you," she assured him.
"How do you expect me to feel good about anything after this?" the look on his face wasn't gratitude; it was rage. And I could almost understand it, "How am I supposed to go to bed at night, knowing a cat was killed because of me? How could you ruin the rest of my life like this?"
Grayheat seemed surprised, "I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Apologies can't bring back Redscar!" Spiritpaw responded, tears now blinding his eyes, as he whirled around and furiously stomped off, away from his mother.
The sad look on her face helped me to realize that she thought he would have to return to her eventually, realizing she had no other choice.
But I knew better.
I felt water building its way into my lunges and coughed as I pushed my body up, head first and my muzzle met the air, which it greeted with wild joy, breathing wildly.
For a moment I was silent as I panted heavily until I realized that I was back in the lake, back in the present, and back in reality.
I gently paddled towards the edge of the water, pushing my way through the water forcefully, as I panted heavily until I reached the shore where I pulled myself up.
"That's what happened?" I whirled around to see Grayheat-Wishspirit- staring at me a little expectantly while I slowly shuffled my paws.
"Spiritpaw never returned, did he?" I whispered gently.
Wishpsirit shook her head sadly, "I'm afraid not," she claimed.
For several long moments we were both silent, breathing gently as my lungs still tried to return to normal, the only sound available was Wishspirit's gently breathing.
Finally I broke the tender silence, "Are you going to show Spiritpaw something now?" I asked her softly, my voice trying not to crack.
She nodded, her head gracefully moving up and down.
"I'm sorry," she claimed, "But you made an agreement."
I nodded, knowing she spoke the truth.
"You should probably return before Spiritpaw begins to worry about you," Wishspirit whispered tenderly, her eyes soft as I nodded to her.
Before I could turn around, however, to return to him, he seemed to find me.
"Wishpaw!" I heard him calling as I gently turned around.
"It's time for me to go," Wishspirit whispered before bounding away quickly, leaving me to gently wave at her with my tail as she disappeared into the woods.
"What were you doing with her?" Spiritpaw demanded quickly, as he approached, the kind look that had been in his eyes moments ago completely lost.
"We were just chatting," I replied, trying to remain calm, and keep my fur down as his harsh glare remained focused on me for long moments.
"I thought you were deaf," he questioned harshly.
"But that was Wishspirit," I whispered to him, "I can understand what she says, otherwise I would never have received the prophecies."
He didn't even question the plural in "prophecies".
"What do you mean?" his glare was now a very furious look, "That wasn't Wishspirit, that was my mother!"
I felt stupid as I gently laughed, finally able to understand why he looked to frustrated, "That was actually Wishspirit," she claimed, "But she had to take Grayheat's body so that she could speak with me."
"I'm not stupid, Wishpaw," Spiritpaw claimed, "And I'm certainly not dumb enough to believe that.
"But it's true..." I felt myself stammering.
Spiritpaw sighed loudly, before turning around and furiously pacing away, his footsteps loud and I sighed gently, still wondering why he was so touchy about his mother.
She had killed a cat to save him.
It wasn't all that bad.
Spiritpaw was getting harder and harder to understand by the day. I gently found my thoughts drifting back to the kits, as I realized that they had been left at the den...
I felt myself breaking into a run back to the den, as I realized what kind of trouble they could have got in while I left them there alone.
After what felt like several long hours, but might have been minutes I reached the den, looking in order and untouched. But when I could see no kits inside my heartbeat quickened.
My thoughts were whirling but before I could even think of what to do, I felt two small bundles of fur rolling into me and whirled around to find the kits.
I gently laughed in relief, as I licked them on the forehead and led them inside the den. A part of me almost expected SpiritClan warriors to jump out at us any moment as they had to Grayheat.
Fortunately, they didn't.
I was woken up the next morning by Spiritpaw, who had brought prey as considerably as always. I purred with gratitude before I remembered how he had ran away the previous day, calling me a liar, and possibly doubting that I was ever even deaf in the first place.
"Are you still mad?" I gently asked him.
He sighed loudly, "No Wishpaw, I am not mad. Wishspirit came to speak to me as well through a different body, but she explined how she had temporarily used Grayheat."
"Okay, good," I purred.
"This isn't a time to be purring," he cut me off.
"Why?" I gently tilted my head, "What happened?" I felt my heartbeat quickening quickly, "Did she tell you the things that she told me."
"No," he shook his head gently, "But I have to tell you the things that she told me. Because, Wishpaw, I'm afraid they are important."
"Does it concern me?" I asked, feeling a stiff feeling creeping up me.
"Yes," he nodded, his eyes grave, "It concerns us all. Everything in this world. But you the most."
We were silent for long moments as I gently bit into my prey. The kits were eating right by us, obviously not aware that I was about to be told something large.
Something which would change my life forever.
And maybe I hadn't completely realized it either. I knew it was big, it concerned many things, me included, and that it wasn't good.
But I wasn't prepared for what was coming.
"What's the question you ask yourself the most in life?" Spiritpaw prompted gently, turning his head up from his prey with sincere eyes.
"What does this have to do with a-"
"Just answer," he urged me, "You will see soon enough. I can't throw it all at you so suddenly or it will be too much weight at once."
I shrugged gently, and let my mind take over, drive me back in memories and try to help me realize what question floated the most in my head.
It didn't take too long.
"What's wrong with this place," I stated, possibly a little too frankly.
He nodded, "I think I learned the answer," he whispered softly, his eyes glimmering a little too ominously for my taste as we gently sat together.
"Really?" I whispered, "All of it?"
"There is one reason," he claimed, "Which is the cause for all the other reasons. I'm afraid it is not a reason you will like too much, though."
"Sagestar?" I guessed.
He flinched noticeably.
"Uhhh..." I trailed off, completely out of guesses, "Is it even a living that is the cause of this?" I whispered gently, "Or is it an event?"
"Both," he replied, pausing for a moment, "An event which led to the birth of a cat. It wasn't the birth, but rather the thread of the event that caused everything to crumple."
"What?" I paused, "You're confusing me."
"I'm sorry," he sighed, "I'm trying to find a way to tell you a part of this without bringing it all at you at once, because..." he slowly trailed off.
"You have to tell me one way or another," I tried to reason.
"Alright," he finally sighed, "Try to imagine what I am about to tell you."
I nodded gently.
"So it's a dark, stormy night, clouds are hanging deeply in the sky as rain pours viciously from them, threatening to drown all of those below. Beneath them, a ginger tabby she-cat with eyes as blue and bright as the sky is paddling through the forest, under the trees and rushing to camp.
"As she reaches camp, several cats come out to help escorting her in. She has a large, swollen belly indicating that kits are on their way sooner or later.
"This Clan is a good one, a Clan that will care for the sick and the wounded, help the elders and the queens and teach their cat to live as a team. One for all, all for one.
"But even in such a place, where everything seems so sweet and wonderful, thing can go terribly wrong. And a queen can be terribly disturbed.
"The queen pushes her way into the nursery, where she is greeted by another cat, the medicine cat, who examines her closely, fretting over her health for long minutes, before letting her sleep. She has an easy sleep filled with pleasant dreams about her kit.
"The next day is disastrous. When she wakes up the queen is having many spasms in her stomach. A sign that the kit is coming. A medicine cat arrives and leads her through a procedure that she is obviously very experienced with, and has done many times before.
"The mother makes it out fine. The kit, however, does not. Even after it is forcefully licked and fed several light herbs it struggles to breath, struggles to drink its mothers milk, and struggles to live.
"The mother doesn't feel fine, however well her health may be. The kit was something she was greatly anticipating. Especially after her mate died just after it became clear she was expecting and the new she-kit was the only available memory of him.
"And so she prayed to StarClan. The kit didn't die within the first night, but it was obviously struggling to survive and the Clan didn't think it stood much of a chance.
"But the queen clutched hope dearly, and made so many wishes each day, hoping that perhaps one, just one would reach the skies and they might accept it.
"And after ten long sunrises, they finally did.
"The kit was healthy, and continued to live an easy life, with a simple inconvenient disorder that hardly anyone was able to notice.
"The mother, however, died a few sunrises after it became clear that the kit would survive."
He looked at me a little expectantly.
"That's it?" I asked, "I don't get how that relates to anything..."
"It relates to everything," Spiritpaw urged me, "The mother died because she wished that her kit would live instead of her. She wished it so many times, over and over and over that StarClan finally had no choice but to accept the incredibly desperate wish. The one that survived."
"I get that," I nodded gently, "But how does it relate to this world."
"Because," he sighed gently, and I could tell he was on a cautious mode again, trying not to reveal everything at once because of the damage it could do.
Better to slowly bend my back, and deform it, than to snap it.
"That wish was never meant to be accepted," Spiritpaw claimed, "That kit was never meant to survive. It was not what destiny had planned out for the world."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because," he claimed, "When one thing is askew, it can set something else off, and that can change something else, which could cause to the change of something else," he droned on.
"So everything is this way," I indicated towards the forest with my tail, before pointing at camp, "Because a single kit survived."
"No," he frowned, gently, "It is not because the kit survived. The kit is not to blame itself for this. It is because the kit was not meant to survive."
I was silent for a moment as thoughts came rushing into my head, whirling a too violently for me to control and I wondered if Spiritpaw should have just dumped it all on me at once.
I didn't see myself recovering from this as possible.
"Do you know who that kit was?" he asked, gazing at me like he understood exactly everything that had just reached me so suddenly.