|Fire, water, wind, lightning, and ice|
|Preceded by: |
|Dismay and betrayal||Succeded by: |
The Rescue Quest
I would like to say that the Nightclan is different than the other clans in this story, and would like to list them to avoid further confusion.
*This Nightclan has nothing related to any other series.
*This Nightclan is a slightly strict hierarchy system, which accounts for the jealousy of Coralpaw.
*Medicine cats in Nightclan can have kits, and the role of the medicine cat is passed to one of the kits.
*The leader’s post is hereditary, the deputy being chosen only when there are no she kits, or if the kits do not wish to be leader. Then the leader trains the to-be leader him/herself, becoming that kit’s mentor.(Always the she kit is chosen. If there are more than one, the one with magic is chosen)(Only one she kit of the litter has magic)
*The only way to rank up is if their mates have a high position.
*She cats have higher ranks than toms.
*The ranks are Sky, Bird, and Mouse. (The leader, mate, and kits are the Skies)
◇The word ’apprentices’ will be used from now on instead of ’paws’ due to minor confusions.
”Are you sure?” An orange tom asked the black she cat. ”Of couse I’m sure. You’ll have a new plaything, won’t you?” The she cat snapped. ”Alright then, but I won’t be held responsible for the consequences.” ”Don’t worry. It’ll work, and when I become the leader, you’ll be repaid well” The black cat hissed, and slipped away into the forest, leaving the tom and some other cats behind. ”Claw, you’ll really do what the clannie asked?” A brown and white tom asked the orange cat. ”Of couse I will, Tree. We’ll have a new plaything, won’t we?”
Tree cowered under Claw’s harsh glare. ”I hope she can fight well, or I’ll be bored” Another gray tabby snarled, and the group of cats’ faces twisted with malice.
”Are you sure?” A black she cat looked at the blue gray tabby. ”Yes. I choose to stay in Spellclan, and be the best warrior I can be.” Jaypaw mewed, and Maplepaw and Ravenpaw looked at him with dismay. ”Really?” They asked. Jaypaw nodded.
”I won’t forget you!” Jaypaw called out as Maplepaw and Ravenpaw left Spellclan and followed Nightstar. They padded away, and the two sisters answered with a wave of their tails, and vanished into the darkness.
I woke to find my sister’s face glaring down at me. ”Why?” I mewed, seeing nothing but disgust in the face above her. ”Nightstar says you need to have battle training while I get to stay here and take care of all the nests in this clan” Snarled Coralpaw, and I was taken aback by my sister’s harshness. I sometimes wished for the days when they were kits, before the river of hatred had sprung between us, and Coralpaw was a friend. Coralpaw had seemed to hate me ever since they learned that I was to be the next leader.
Sighing, I picked myself up to meet Nightstar, who was her mother as well, who was waiting impatiently. ”Moonpaw, leaders should never be lazy” Nightstar scolded gently, then nosed me gently to the apprentice training clearing, where Sootpaw, Ravenpaw, Maplepaw and Pinepaw were training. ”Ravenpaw! Can you show Moonpaw that hunting crouch?” Nightstar called out, and Ravenpaw bounded over. One of the highest ranking apprentices along with Maplepaw, second only to me and my sister. Coalpaw was a Bird, along with Twilightpaw and Thistlepaw. Pinepaw and Sootpaw were the Mouses. But that didn’t stop me from being friends with them, while Coralpaw only hung out with the Skies and Birds.
”Hey, guys! Do you want to go hunting?” I yowled, and the group of cats, including Moonpaw, sprang apart.
”Why would we want to go with you?” Coalpaw snarled, and Coralpaw hissed ”How dare you talk to us like that, Mouse.” I felt myface fall, and started to pad away. Moonpaw glared at Coralpaw, and she stared coolly back.
”Wait! I’ll go with you!” Moonpaw called out, and ran to me. My face lit up with a grin, and my heart lurched. Shaking to clear my head, I padded out after her, trying to ignore the stares from the other cats that seemed to burn into my pelt. ’It’s not her fault she was born a Sky’ I thought, and lashed my tail once when Coralpaw mewed tauntingly ”I thought you had more dignity, Moonpaw. The shame of being seen with a Mouse!”
”Ignore her” I whispered, and Moonpaw unwillingly flattened her pelt.
Okay, I admit, Sootpaw is cute. But he’s a Mouse. And I’m a Sky. The difference is too big, and I’m not sure the clan will like it much. But we can be friends, can’t we?
Coming back to camp with fresh kill, I turned around, and gave him a smile. ”You were great at hunting” I said, and he blushed, turning his face away. ”YoutooMoonpaw” He mumbled, and raced away.
I turned to see Coralpaw practically wrapped around Coalpaw. They seem to be inseperable these days, and it makes me sick to see them.
”Hanging with your boyfriend? I’m disappointed, Moonpaw. Really, a Mouse?” Coralpaw sneered, and I snapped ”We’re not going out. We were out hunting, helping the clan. And I suppose the clan was grateful by the way you managed to catch no prey” Coralpaw just smirked, and padded away with Coalpaw. I carefully took a mouse, and padded over to where Twilightpaw and Ravenpaw were eating. ”Want to share?” I offered, and they gave a purr.
I picked up a vole, and went over to Pinepaw and Maplepaw.
”Hi, Sootpaw” Maplepaw chirped, and I nodded.
I could hear bits and snippets of conversation from the group Moonpaw was with. ”Moonpaw, it’s going to be my first Gathering! I’m so excited!” Twilightpaw mewed excitedly. I saw Moonpaw purr, and mewed something I couldn’t catch.
I jerked when Pinepaw asked me something. ”What was that?” I asked.
Pinepaw rolled his eyes. ”I asked if you know where Ravenpaw is” He said, and I purred ”She’s out hunting”
”Great!” Pinepaw exclaimed as he raced out. Ravenpaw and Pinepaw are the best of friends. Maplepaw sighed, her one blue eye fluttering.
I was about to ask her what was wrong when I felt myself being thrown backwards. I looked up to see three faces taunting me.
”Well, well, if it isn’t the sooty Mouse” Coralpaw hissed, and the other cats, Coalpaw, and Thistlepaw laughed. ”Let’s see how well you can fight!” Coalpaw slashed at me with barely sheathed claws, and I tried to retaliate, but was knocked off balance by Thistlepaw, and the two were on me at once.
I watched in horror as I saw Coalpaw and Thistlepaw beat Sootpaw, and Coralpaw just watched, occasionally taunting.
Anger swept through me, and I leapt in, screeching ”Stop!”
The two sprang away from Sootpaw at once, and he staggered to his paws. ”What are you doing!” I shrieked, rage burning in me, and I turned on Coralpaw, who was watching with an air of amusement.
”Moonpaw, hon, why don’t you stop being a bother?” Coralpaw smirked. ”When you start being nice” I spat, and turned to look at Sootpaw, who was battered.
”Are you okay?” I asked, concerned. When he turned to look at me, I was startled to see rage blazing in his eyes.
”Leave me alone! I didn’t need your help!” Sootpaw snarled, and bounded out of camp.
”See, honey, he doesn’t care for you, so stop being silly” Coralpaw mewed, fake concern in her voice.
”I’m not interested”
”Save your breath”
”I said I’m sorry”
”What? I helped you, and you get angry at me!” Moonpaw hissed angrily, and I backed away. I really didn’t know why I had been so angry, but maybe I did. My pride was hurt, and I had released the anger on the wrong cat.
And now Moonpaw was furious at me, even after a quarter moon had passed. ”Look, I was a mousebrain for yelling at you. I’m really sorry” I pleaded. Probably for the hundredth time.
Moonpaw narrowed her eyes, and her tone was pitiless as she said one last time, ”No”
”Please” I begged, and Moonpaw turned her back on me, and stomped out of the entrance. Thistlepaw just came in then, and smirked ”Looks like you’ve angered the next leader of Nightclan”
”Shut up, Thistlepaw” I mewed wearily, and before falling asleep, I saw Coralpaw look out after Moonpaw, her eyes slitted.
’I can’t forgive him’ I thought angrily. The things I had to suffer because of him!
Four days of teasing and tauting by Coralpaw. I had done so much for him the past moons, just because I felt sorry for him of Coralpaw’s taunts, and he is ANGRY at me? Ridiculous!
Fuming, I stalked over by the seashore to collect my thoughts. I was soon at my favorite spot, the place where it is shaded by weeping willows.
Sitting there, I watched the sunset, the sky turning to fire against the sky. Entranced, I gazed at it until it began to fade. Then, I heard a cat mew beside me. Turning around, I expected Sootpaw to be there, but there was no one.
Then the mew came again, and this time, I heard it clearly.
’A bell on the moon will wake the mouse’
Confused, I blinked my gold eyes, and got no answer. ’What does it mean?’ I thought, puzzled. Then, I shook my head.
Prophecies and omens were only received by medicine cats, and I for one, was no medicine cat.
When I came back to camp, Sootpaw immediately came over to me, and said in a tight voice ”We need to talk”
I sat across from Moonpaw, and her eyes were narrowed warily. I felt a flash of pain as I remembered we weren’t always like this. Arguing, but never holding grudges. Friends. But why was this time different?
As I turned over things in my head, Moonpaw began to speak. ”Well? I help you, and you’re angry?” Her mew was icily calm.
Hearing those words suddenly made anger bubble over in me, something I hadn’t intended.
I stood, bristling, and snarled ”You’re still angry about that? I apologize, and you don’t even accept! I make one mistake, and you’re mad at me for days? I can make mistakes, too! Just like any other cat! And why are you so angry? I don’t understand! We weren’t like this!”
Moonpaw’s eyes grew wider and wider, filling with tears. For a moment, I faltered. Then she shook her head, scattering the tears on the ground. She stood, and fluffed her fur out, eyes flashing with hurt, pain, and anger, and screeched,
”It’s not just that! I...” She started to say, but stopped herself.
”You what?” I growled lowly. ”You what!” I growled again, much louder. Moonpaw slid her claws out, working them into the ground. Then she spat something that I thought she’d never say.
”You don’t understand. Why should you? You’re just a Mouse!”
As soon as I spat those words, I wanted to take them back, but it was too late. The damage was done. All the anger left me as Sootpaw’s eyes widened, and when he spoke, his mew was cold and hard.
”I’d never thought you’d say that, Moonpaw. I thought you were different from Coralpaw, but I was wrong. You’re just like her.”
Then he padded away, and I felt like a hole was opening in my heart.
’Why was I so angry? Why did I say that? Why am I so upset by him? Why? Why..?’ The questions swirled in me, and formed into a ball of pain that settled in my chest.
And worse of all, I knew the answers to all those questions.
I had been angry at Sootpaw for being angry at me, but there was more.
I had been furious with myself for not doing better, the stress of coping with the knowledge of being the next leader, rage at my sister and her ”friends” for being so mean, confusion of why my sister was so spiteful towards me, when she had everything she wanted, had all burst out of me, on the wrong cat.
And now it was too late.
The truth was, I knew the answers to all of my questions. All but one.
’Why was I so upset by him?’
I had been the one begging forgiveness, now our places were switched. How ironic.
I padded over to Pinepaw, and mewed ”I have to go on a border patrol with Slateclaw. Want to come?”
Pinepaw nodded, and followed me out of camp. I saw him flinch out of the corner of my eye as he saw Moonpaw pad uncertaintly towards me, only to stop when I ignored her.
”Sootpaw, the tension between you two is becoming unbearable. Can’t you apologize first? After all, you rank lower than her” Thistlepaw commented snidely, two days later, as I came back from the dawn patrol.
I brushed past him, settling in my nest. Coralpaw made her way out of the den, practically molded against Coalpaw.
”Sootpaw, dear, you know you’ll give in sooner or later. It should be interesting, seeing you grovel. Or maybe Moonpaw will. She simply has no pride, nor dignity” Coralpaw purred, her tone sickly sweet. I tried to keep the tide of anger down.
Strangely, I felt angry at her for being rude to Moonpaw rather than me.
I shook the pitying thought out, and filled them with thoughts of the Gathering. Coralpaw and Moonpaw will always go, even if they did something bad. Me being a Mouse, I rarely went. If I went this time, it would be my second.
Tomorrow would be the Gathering. I wanted to go, but I probably won’t. A Bird like Ravenpaw or Maplepaw would probably be chosen. I lifted my head to see Moonpaw padding out of the leader’s den.
I padded out, and sat at the clearing. Tomorrow would be the Gathering, and I was anxious to see if Nightstar would accept my suggestion. She should, seeing that she isn’t as strict about ranks than most cats.
I saw my father, Pantherpelt, step out with Nightstar. He’s the deputy of Nightclan, and I’m to follow after him.
”All the cats who can catch their own prey, gather for a clan meeting!” Nightstar yowled, and when most of the cats did, she meowed ”The cats who will go to the Gathering are Hollyfoot, Shadowpelt, Snowfoot, and Ambergaze. The apprentices are Coralpaw, Moonpaw, Maplepaw, Twilightpaw, and...” I saw Sootpaw rest his head on his paws.
His eyes widened with shock, and yowls of protest broke out from Coralpaw, Coalpaw, and a few other warriors. ”He’s just a Mouse!” Coalpaw hissed, and others nodded their heads in agreement.
”I don’t understand, Nightstar. Why did you choose him?” Stormcloud asked. The storm of protest grew louder, and Sootpaw seemed to freeze as they glared at him.
”Enough!” Caterwauled Pantherpelt, and the cats, still gumbling, fell silent.
I could hardly believe that Nightstar chose me. I was still in a shocked state when Nightstar stood up.
”You may be confused why, but the reason is simple. I have decided to give every cat, a chance to go to the Gathering more than just once. Even a Mouse. So Lilyshade, Darkwater, and Pinepaw will go to the next Gathering.”
Then she leaped down from the Highledge, signaling the Gathering over. As I still sat there, Coralpaw, Coalpaw, and Thistlepaw all gave me a resentful glance, and disappeared into the apprentices den.
I saw Moonpaw sneak a look at me, turning her head when I met her eyes. I frowned, confused. Why does she look so triumphant? Could she have... No. Not possible. I shook my head, and bounded out after a hunting patrol.
”We’re finally at Merging Trees!” Twilightpaw yowled with excitement besides me. We had finally arrived at the Gathering, and my ears were already ringing from the times Twilightpaw had screeched with excitement.
”Right” I muttered, and quickly looked backwards, were Sootpaw was looking as if this was a dream. He saw me looking, and scowled. I turned my face away, hurt that he hasn’t forgiven me yet.
It had been me who convinced Nightstar to let Sootpaw come in this Gathering. It took a lot of persuading, but it had paid off. And hopefully, Sootpaw might forgive me sometime.
But wait. Why did I so badly want his warm friendship again when I had so many other friends? Why am I so anxious to please a cat lower than me, when it should be the other way around?
They formed a picture that was too uneasy for me to acknowledge it. I was beginning to....to...
As much as I wished it wasn’t, it was starting to be true.
I was starting to think of him... as more than a friend.
And in Nightclan, it was rare. Rare to the point of forbidden. That much rare.
I rushed out onto the soft, sandy clearing to see some of the other apprentices from other clans. They didn’t have ranks like Nightclan, so they treated me equally.
”Hi, Sootpaw! It’s been, like, forever since I saw you!” Ashpaw bounded over, with a couple of Waterclan, Charmclan, and Spellclan apprentices.
I was soon surrounded in a babble of mews, and I felt happy.
”Sootpaw! Did you know that Fawnpaw likes Ripplepaw? It’s so cute!” Blazepaw purred, her white wings tucked neatly on her back. I purred, and let myself into the familiar routine of exchanging news.
I heard Moonpaw chatting with some other cats, and she soon bounded over to us. And was immediately greeted by the Charmclan apprentices. I heard her call one of them Butterflypaw, and another Seapaw. Purring, she brought Seapaw over to Quailpaw.
”Hey, they say you are the strongest Water controller in your clan. Seapaw over here has the element of water. Do you want to find out who’s stronger?”
A few moments later, Seapaw put one paw on top of the defeated Quailpaw, and was proclaimed the winner. And then, Goldpaw came with a she cat he called Birdpaw. I saw her eyes dart around nervously, as if she wasn’t used to so many cats at once. I saw her stiffen when she saw Quailpaw, and struggled to get away, and did I see a slight blush from Quailpaw?
Something was definately strange between those two.
I felt my face burn when I remembered last night.
Moonpaw stood laughing with the other apprentices when she saw Sootpaw was inside the same group as her. She flinched, and quickly turned away. Sootpaw gave her a hard stare, and walked away pointedly from her. Butterflypaw, the one she was talking to, gave a knowing mmrow, and mewed softly ”You like him, don’t you?”
’You like him, don’t you?’
I was snapped out of my thoughts by Coralpaw who was prodding me with a paw.
”What?” I snapped. ”Come with me” She said simply. Tipping my head, I followed her to the edge of the territory, and sat down. ”Why did you bring me here?” I asked.
Coralpaw didn’t seem to hear me, looking far out, onto the Twolegplace. The grass in front of us moved, and in the distance, I saw a young female Twoleg heading towards the moving grass, paws outstretched.
”Coralpaw! We need to go!” I hissed, ready to run, but she was blocking my way out. ”Coralpaw! What are you doing!” I screeched. The Twoleg got closer, and something burst out of the grasses, pinning me down, and Coralpaw ran out of the way.
I saw they were kittypets, but they were strong.
”Coralpaw!” I yowled, and she looked at me coldly.
”You’ll make a good kittypet, Moonpaw” She whispered, a snarl that seemed to sear the air as she spat my name. and I was suddenly lifted into the air by the Twoleg, who was shrieking something. As I was carried away, I saw Coralpaw sitting calmly, watching me, and I saw a black tom run out of the trees, to look with horror at me. Sootpaw.
All the anger I had vanished as I ran out to see Moonpaw being carried away by the Twoleg. The Twoleg then got into the belly of a monster, and it roared, and sped away.
”What are you doing! We need to save her!” I screeched, and was about to run after her when Coralpaw ran in front of me.
By the time I got around her, it was too late. The monster was already a speck in the distance.
”Sootpaw, dear, if you dare tell what I did to anyone, I’ll make my, ah, associates make her life miserable. So if you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay quiet” Coralpaw then fixed me on the spot with her blue eyes, which were ice cold.
”Blackmailing me? Why? How could you let your own littermate be caught by a Twoleg?” I choked out, and I saw a shadow cross her face, but it was gone quickly.
”Because, the leadership of Nightclan was supposed to be mine! But Moonpaw had to open her stupid gold eyes! I wish she’d never been born!” Coralpaw shrieked, and ran away.
I quickly tried to trace Moonpaw’s scent, but I realized my attempts were futile. I would need friends to help me. And I knew exactly who to ask.
I woke up in a bright Twoleg nest, covered with a strange white pelt. A huge orange face loomed over me, and I flinched.
”Scared already, Clannie? What’s your name?” Snicked the cat. ”Moonpaw” I mewed. I got up to my paws, and quickly survyed the situation. I was surrounded by three toms, and I saw a tortoiseshell queen looking at me fearfully, her kits curled against her. ”What’s your’s?” I said, trying to keep the fear out of my mew. ”I’m Claw, this is Tree, and this is Stone. And the queen over there is Misty, and the kits are Aurora, Vapor, and Seal” Claw purred. ”Why am I here?” I asked and the tom named Stone smirked ”Why don’t we show you”
And they leaped on me at once. I tried to fight them off, but it was three to one. It was a losing battle.
”She isn’t even a decent fighter” Tree remarked disappointed, me splayed out on the other side of the strange den they called a ’room’, bruised and battered.
Misty slowly made her way over to me, her gaze sympathetic. ”I’m sorry” She mewed softly, and started lapping at my pelt gently, soothing the pains. I closed my eyes, and darkness washed over me.
”Quick! We need to look for her!” a black tom with white paws led a group of cats from different clans. I recognized them as Sootpaw, Blazepaw, Seapaw, Birdpaw and Goldpaw. They were heading out for the trail I had been taken.