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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by Forestpaw13.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
Responses, comments & other feedback should be made on the comments section below.


Standards Series
Preceded by:
Breaking the Rules
Fighting for Freedom Succeded by:
Freedom at Last

Prologue

A black tom sat in the middle of a clearing, tail flicking back and forth. He was planning.
A gray she-cat watched from the shadows, knowing what was to happen when the decision was made. The black cat didn't know she was there, nor did she need to hide in the shadows.
But she did, and she watched as the black tom stared at his paws, seeming alone and vulnerable for what seemed like many sunrises.
Two more cats slipped from the shadows on the other side of the clearing- a ginger tom and a reddish she-cat- and the gray she-cat gasped as she realized that the black tom had more help than it seemed.
"Who are you?" the black tom growled as the cats entered.
The ginger tom stepped forward. "My name is Lion," he announced, "and this is Rowan." He gestured to the reddish she-cat as he spoke.
Rowan stepped forward. "We go where our leader, Fang, goes. We fight at his command. We are his army," she announced.
Lion nodded, pride gleaming in his eyes.
The black tom stood and glared at the two Army cats. "You are with Fang?" he asked slowly.
Rowan nodded.
The tom sat with a huff. "Then I can't use your help. Fang favors my enemy."
Lion had been about to beckon Rowan out of the clearing when the black tom spoke. Now, he froze. "You dislike Freestep?"
"Very much, yes," the black tom agreed.
The gray she-cat was standing now, watching the cats grow from enemies to friends, as their greatest enemy was shown. Her full allegiance was to Freestep, and she would do anything for him.
"What are you doing?" Rowan asked, a new gleam in her eye. "I'd love to help."
The black tom's eyes widened. "I'm planning his death," he mewed.
Lion's eyes gleamed. "We can help with that." He moved across the clearing towards Rowan and pressed himself against her in a show of dominance.
Rowan licked Lion's ear. "We'd be happy to," she purred. "Anything for the death of Freestep."
The black tom's eyes flared at Rowan's declaration and he mewed, "My name is Smokefoot."
"Hello, Smokefoot," the Army cats chorused.
"I hate Freestep," Smokefoot delcared. "I want to feel his flesh tear beneath my claws. I want him to earn what he deserves, that mangy, flesh-eating fleabag. He shouldn't live. He's weak, and shouldn't be a member of ThunderClan. We have to be strong to defeat ShadowClan."
Lion's eyes were wide with astonishment, and Rowan looked impressed, but covered it with licking Lion's ear and inching closer to him.
The gray she-cat pricked her ears as Smokefoot added, "The three of us, we're going to kill him. A quarter-moon from now."
The Army cats nodded and stood. "We're on lookout," Rowan explained. "We have to report back to Fang."
"And I must return to my Clan," Smokefoot replied, turning. "Meet me here in a quarter-moon. We are going to tear the dignity out of the new deputy once and for all."
The gray she cat gasped. I have to warn him! she thought.
She spun on her paws and padded towards the camp.

Chapter 1

Freestep desperately wanted to see just as well as any other cat.
"Thorntail..." Freestep began shakily. "Why... why don't you lead the hunting patrol? Choose your cats," he added. "And Smokefoot, you can lead the border patrol."
He felt Smokefoot's glare burn into his pelt.
"Do it, Smokefoot, you know I'm the deputy now," Freestep growled.
Smokefoot sighed and began to call names out.
Freestep felt satisfaction wash over him. He finally, finally could control the black warrior, at least until the time came for the fight.
He felt as Smokefoot invited Mouseclaw on the border patrol with him, and began to leave.
"Smokefoot," Freestep called, "bring at least two more cats."
Smokefoot glared across the clearing. Just the same, Freestep could feel the warrior's gaze burning into his fur.
"Fine," Smokefoot relented after a few heartbeats. He called two more warriors to his side and swept out of the camp.
Freestep sighed with relief and looked around. His father had usually put him on a patrol, and now that Dapplepaw was gone...
He was alone.
He felt Amberfire watching from a distance, her love swirling around her in a tornado of emotions.
"I don't like you the way you like me," Freestep murmured to himself. "Leave me alone, for StarClan's sake."
Amberfire's ears pricked, and sadness swelled from her.
Freestep's eyes widened. "No," he whispered. "I didn't mean it that way..."
But Amberfire was stomping across the clearing towards him. She stopped, slashed a claw across Freestep's face, and ran out of camp.
Freestep ran after her. "Amberfire, wait!" he called.
Amberfire skidded to a stop beneath the Sky Oak, and Freestep's vision opened as she spun around.
"You hate me, I know it!" Amberfire yowled, unsheathing her claws.
"Amberfire, I've never liked you like that," Freestep protested. "But we can be friends, can't we?"
"You used me," Amberfire continued, spitting, padding closer to Freestep.
"No," Freestep protested. "The cat I love loves me back in the exact same way."
This made Amberfire bare her teeth. "Who?"
The fire, Freestep thought. He didn't dare answer the she-cat.
"Who?" Amberfire demanded again, coming closer.
Freestep flinched. "A RiverClan cat," he lied.
Amberfire's voice was softer. "Who?" she asked.
"She's dead," Freestep lied.
"No RiverClan cats have died in a long time, Freestep, not since I was born."
Freestep sighed. "It's a ThunderClan cat," he admitted. "And she loves another cat. It's okay."
Amberfire creeped closer, then moved to sit next to Freestep. "What is her name?" she asked.
"Her name is..."
Amberfire leaned against him, wrapping her tail around him.
Freestep stiffened. "No, Amberfire," he whispered. "No, I don't... I don't like you."
Amberfire didn't budge.
Freestep snapped away and raced for his life, for his love, back to camp.

Chapter 2

Freestep fell asleep, aware that Amberfire was sleeping extremely close to him, a little bit too close for his taste.
But he could see Yellowfang.
The gray she-cat shivered as she saw him. "Congratulations," she told him.
"For what?" Freestep asked.
"You're deputy, aren't you?" Yellowfang's voice was tinged with annoyance, suddenly. "Never mind," she added. "I saw something last night."
"What?" Freestep asked dubiously.
"Smokefoot. He was planning," Yellowfang mewed darkly.
Freestep snorted. "Planning what? My death?"
Yellowfang nodded, her eyes dark. "I know you know about the prophecy, Freestep, but you're in danger. Two other cats are helping him."
"What two cats?"
"Two cats from Fang's army. Their names are Lion and Rowan."
Freestep stiffened. "He has help?"
Yellowfang nodded.
"From Fang's cats?"
Yellowfang nodded again. "Yes, and they're attacking in a quarter-moon."
The dream began to fade suddenly, and a shadow loomed over Yellowfang.
"Freedom will be choked by smoke, and the fires of fighting will be put out..."
The cat Freestep loved the most appeared and faded...
The dream faded away and Freestep was in blackness.
He wrenched himself away from Amberfire and padded out to the clearing.
He instantly sensed the presence of three cats just outside the camp. All fully-grown, and one Freestep could recognize as sinister.
Smokefoot was training two cats to fight.
Shivers passed through Freestep and he imagined being attacked by three cats at once. The two other cats felt strong and well-developed. Their muscles had years of training serving their leader.
And strangely, Fang had not made it seem as if he fought battles, or made his Army fight them for him.
This daunted Freestep enough to make him creep forward to face Smokefoot.
And then Freestep stopped short. Fang doesn't train his cats! He doesn't want to be overthrown!
This fact swirled through Freestep's head, but he shook it off. Smokefoot was more important now.
He creeped out of camp, and right beside the bramble wall, just outside the camp, Smokefoot was directing a cat to jump on another.
Freestep walked until he was sure he could be seen.
Suddenly Smokefoot stiffened as he looked up. "It's him."
The two other cats broke apart from a fierce fight and looked up. They bared their teeth and retreated to stand on either side of Smokefoot, whose claws were digging into the earth.
"What's he doing, spying?" Smokefoot purred, sounding hostile.
"Looks like it," one of the other cats agreed.
"Be quiet, Lion," Smokefoot mewed curtly.
Freestep realized that the two cats were Lion and Rowan.
Smokefoot nodded to the other cat- whose name Freestep presumed as Rowan. Rowan took a flying step forward and tackled Freestep, pinning him down easily and quickly.
"Just like I taught her," Smokefoot purred coldly, taking a step forward.
"You don't know what you're doing, Smokefoot," Freestep hissed, struggling under Rowan's grip.
"I'm killing you tonight," Smokefoot whispered.
"When I die, I can visit Ravenheart in his dreams and tell him who killed me," Freestep reminded him.
Smokefoot tensed, and Rowan did, too, wondering what her leader was to say.
"Get off of him," Smokefoot commanded. Rowan obeyed instantly, allowing Freestep to stand and shake dust and debris off his pelt.
Smokefoot stepped forward threateningly. "Prepare, Freestep. I'll attack you in a moon, in the center of camp. Let's let the cats around us decide our destiny- to fight or hate each other for eternity."
"We would hate each other for eternity no matter what," Freestep snarled back.
"I don't think so," Smokefoot purred coldly, letting an emotion as old as a lifetime from him.
Freestep nodded. "Fine. A moon, the center of camp."
Smokefoot nodded, raised his paw, and sliced them across Freestep's face. He turned away.
Freestep just hissed and went back to camp.
"These two cats will be with me," Smokefoot called. "I hope you can fight three cats."

Chapter 3

"Are you sure?" Smokefoot asked in a high-pitched voice.
The cat hissed. "Don't you dare ask me if I'm sure. I'm always sure."
Smokefoot nodded nervously. "He's smart, Tigerstar. I'm not sure if I can defeat him."
"Just kill Reedstar," Tigerstar told him. "And get to the Moonpool before him. StarClan won't know the difference."
Smokefoot held himself from asking if he was sure.
"Go," Tigerstar hissed scathingly. "You're almost not worth helping."
Smokefoot bit back a heated reply and opened his eyes to blinding sunlight.
He felt Mouseclaw sleeping beside him and purred with delight. He loved her, he would do anything for her.
Except spare her brother.
He stood up and shook his pelt off. He didn't really want to go out to the clearing and face Freestep, but his loyalty to his Clan made him.
"Brambletail, you lead the hunting patrol," Freestep was saying. "With Amberfire and Blazepaw," he added.
The three cats nodded importantly and padded out.
Freestep glared at Smokefoot, his eyes piercing. Smokefoot glared back, trying to control the fear. He's blind!
He turned back towards the warriors den, sending a glare back at Freestep, although he was sure he couldn't see it, and saw Mouseclaw padding out.
Her coat shone in the sun, and Smokefoot wanted to float towards her, like a bird could.
Mouseclaw looked groggy, but didn't hesitate to ask, "Want to go hunting?"
Smokefoot nodded, fighting a yawn.
Mouseclaw led him out of the camp, and Smokefoot bit back a complaint as he realized where they were going.
A cliff over the lake.
Mouseclaw sat and stared at the water, and Smokefoot sat beside her.
"I know you hate my brother," Mouseclaw began.
Smokefoot didn't want to talk about this now. He pressed his side to hers.
Mouseclaw pulled away quickly, glaring. "I don't want to be your mate if you hate my brother. He's blind, for StarClan's sake!"
"Why is he deputy, then?" Smokefoot challenged, anger surging.
"Because he's capable."
"He isn't capable!" Smokefoot hissed.
Mouseclaw leaned towards him. "He is, mouse-brain. Don't hurt him."
She turned to storm away, but Smokefoot was too quick. He unleashed a claw and pulled her back to him.
"Stay here," he commanded, staring into her eyes.

Chapter 4

Freestep sensed a disturbance.
He tensed.
It was drawing closer, and now he could sense two figures.
His eyesight opened suddenly, and Yellowfang's voice whispered, "I know you don't want to see this, Freestep, but you have to."
Freestep shivered as Smokefoot appeared tail-first, head bowed.
Jaws pulling a body.
Freestep gasped in pain as the cat he loved the most was dragged to the center of the clearing and dropped.
Smokefoot looked up. "I found her dead by the lake. She looked murdered." He looked challengingly around the clearing, as if daring a cat to ask if he saw the murderer, but when no cat did, he retreated from the body and went to the warrior's den.
Freestep padded forward to stare at Mouseclaw's already-too-cold body.


"You killed my sister!" Freestep screeched.
Smokefoot's eyes glowed with anger and sadness. "I did," he whispered, "and I'm sorry."
"Sorry doesn't catch prey!" Freestep spat back.
Smokefoot's eyes began to glow menacingly.
Freestep's eyes widened in shock as light began to come from them and burn his paws and it hurt and oh StarClan what was going to happen and he couldn't escape and his eyes shot open to find himself in the warriors' den like usual...
He shivered in the cold night air and Amberfire pressed her body close to his. Freestep pulled away and stood up, telling himself he could take a nap later.
Amberfire padded out after him.
Freestep turned his muzzle toward her. "Go back to sleep."
"You're cold."
"I don't like you, Amberfire," Freestep breathed. "The only cat I love is my sister."
"She's dead," Amberfire cried.
"Go find another cat," Freestep whispered. "I'm not the one."
Amberfire's pain satisfied Freestep for some reason, and for good measure, he padded away, back to the den.
He chose a new nest, further in the back, ignoring the scent of his sister coming from the moss, or that this nest was closer to Smokefoot.
He just wanted to sleep.
He closed his eyes, and drifted away.

Chapter 5

Freestep watched his vision open and the darkness become shapes, and above his head, he could see the moon shine.
He was padding next to Reedstar, whose tail was guiding Freestep. Freestep knew he didn't need it, but no cat knew about his allegiance to Yellowfang.
Freestep inhaled the murky scent of RiverClan. They were journeying through ShadowClan territory tonight, for the sake of new scenery for the other cats. But, Freestep thought, we only trek once a moon.
That didn't matter tonight. Freestep's mind was set on proving himself to the other Clans if he needed to.
If the deputy is blind, then the other Clans will rise to take advantage of us. Watch them!
They arrived at the log just as WindClan were arriving. Their cats were much louder, and much faster.
As his cats crossed the log, Gorsestar, the leader, waited to talk with Reedstar.
"Freestep, hello," Gorsestar mewed. "A patrol told me that you were made deputy? They said that your Clan didn't seem too happy about it," he added, directing his words at Reedstar again.
"A couple of cats aren't," Freestep agreed, looking at his paws.
"But it's not up to them to decide," Reedstar pointed out.
Freestep noticed how young and frail he looked compared to the other leader.
"My Clan has crossed," Gorsestar murmured. "I'll see you in the tree. Let's pray to StarClan that nobody challenges this young cat."
Reedstar nodded as Gorsestar turned away.
"You first," Reedstar told Freestep as Gorsestar mounted the log.
Freestep padded forward and watched Gorsestar cross. He noticed the care he took when he stepped forward.
Freestep wasn't going to take that approach. He waited until Gorsestar disappeared into the undergrowth, then he scrambled up onto the log and raced across.
He flung himself towards the pebbly shore when he slipped and hit the water with a gasp.
"Freestep!" he heard Thorntail yowl.
His head was engulfed in water, but he moved his paws towards the shore, anyway.
He wasn't moving. He wasn't making any progress.
Suddenly, a cat grabbed his scruff and pulled him towards the shore.
He was dropped on the shore, and he opened his eyes. Smokefoot was standing above him.
Freestep coughed, water spilling from his mouth.
Smokefoot leaned down and murmured, "I want to kill you. I'm just making myself wait, so I'm happier when you die." Freestep heard him pad away and another cat land on the shore.
"Freestep!" Thorntail mewed loudly. "Is everything okay?"
Freestep coughed, nodded, and stood. "Let's go," he mumbled. "There's a Gathering I have to attend."


"He's blind!"
"He fell in the lake!"
"He's too young!"
"Has he even mentored an apprentice?"
Freestep lowered his head as the insults flew into his ears.
"He mentored Dapplepaw," Reedstar yowled, silencing the cats. "And his blindness only makes him work harder."
Freestep noticed Dapplepaw was sitting unusually close to Cedarpaw, and he held the urge to hiss.
"How did Brackenheart die?"
The question made Freestep's eyes burn, and he turned to answer himself.
"Weedfur killed him."

Chapter 6

Freestep knew that Amberfire wasn't actually going to give up on him, but he was relieved that she was across the clearing.
Thorntail was questioning her as Freestep was dividing the patrols.
In the end, he, Thorntail, Reedstar, Amberfire, and Jaggedfang were the only cats in camp.
Thorntail padded over to Freestep. "Did you really do that to Amberfire?" he growled.
Freestep shrugged. "I don't like her, Thorntail, why should I bother to pretend I do? It would break her heart more."
Thorntail sighed heavily, but didn't argue, signing to Freestep that he agreed.
Freestep knew that Jaggedfang was trying to comfort Amberfire now, and to his surprise, Amberfire leaned on Jaggedfang and buried her head in his shoulder.
Jaggedfang's surprise radiated towards Freestep, but he didn't mention anything to Thorntail.
"Do you realize who you are?" Thorntail asked suddenly, causing Freestep to jump.
"I'm the next leader of ThunderClan," Freestep murmured.
Thorntail's eyes widened dramatically. "What...?" he whispered.
Freestep nodded, feeling embarrassed. "There's a prophecy and everything."
Thorntail's voice was hushed. "You never told me?"
"I thought you knew," Freestep protested quietly, with a sidelong look at Jaggedfang and Amberfire. He knew he couldn't see them, but it was natural.
Thorntail growled and walked out of camp. Freestep followed a bit faster, catching up to his former mentor just outside the tunnel.
"What else haven't you told me?" Thorntail growled.
"I can... I can see," Freestep replied slowly. As Thorntail's eyes widened, he continued, "I can see, you know, through my paws. And sometimes StarClan lets me see, like at Gatherings or in fights." He said this all nervously, stumbling across a couple of key words.
"Is that how you defeated Smokefoot when you were apprentices?" Thorntail asked, daunted.
"StarClan helped me see," Freestep replied.
Thorntail didn't seem angry anymore.
"And there's a prophecy," Freestep reminded him.
Thorntail tipped his head.
"Freedom will be choked by smoke, and the fires of fighting will be put out," Freestep quoted.
"There's no cat named fire in ThunderClan," Thorntail mewed dubiously.
Freestep gulped. "The fire was my sister..."


Smokefoot purred. He had gotten away from the patrol, claiming he needed to report something to Freestep.
Report a rogue.
To be more specific, one of the two rogues in front of him.
"I want you to distract Freestep for me tonight," Smokefoot instructed Rowan and Lion.
Lion and Rowan nodded. "Where will you be?" Rowan asked.
"Taking over," Smokefoot whispered.

Chapter 7

Smokefoot pushed his way into the camp at twilight, hoping Freestep's intentions were to stay in camp.
Indeed, Freestep was receiving a report from an incoming patrol- apparently a fox was roaming around, but was now laying injured near the Twoleg nest.
Smokefoot smirked at him, knowing Freestep couldn't see.
He sat down and waited.
He watched Amberfire come into the camp, purring with Jaggedfang next to her. He watched Freestep give the day's reports to Reedstar, and receive tips for the next day of telling cats where to go.
Finally, the moon rose. Every single cat was asleep except Freestep, who was sitting in the clearing, staring around. He appeared to be talking to some cat, but who? Freestep wasn't great enough to have an invisible cat to talk to.
But he appeared to be.
Freestep's golden eyes flashed at Smokefoot, and he stood up and began to parade towards him.
Smokefoot jerked his tail at Freestep.
Two cats burst from their hiding spots and leaped at Freestep, knocking him over in an easy blow.
Smokefoot stared at the fight, then ran towards Reedstar's den.


Freestep struggled beneath the two Army cats for a while before he managed to kick one off. Rowan flew across the clearing and landed outside the elder's den, breathing heavily.
Now it was Freestep against Lion, who was much bigger.
Lion managed to claw Freestep's shoulder, and Freestep retaliated with a blow to the face.
Lion screeched in pain, so loud that Freestep was surprised that every ThunderClan cat didn't wake up.
Rowan gasped in surprise and threw herself at Freestep, but as she landed on his shoulders, he threw her off and clawed her belly, looking for Smokefoot.
He was leaving the leader's den.
Dear StarClan, he was leaving the leader's den.
He was running to the Moonpool.
Freestep bounded towards the leader's den and stopped in the entrance with a gasp and a cry: Reedstar was dead.
He raced after Smokefoot, and he was sure Smokefoot was already halfway to the river.
But he ran faster than he had ever had in his life.
Weaving through trees, he could barely see Smokefoot's figure, going just as fast as Freestep was.
Smokefoot was first to the Moonpool, and he glared once at Freestep before jamming his face into the water.
Freestep gasped as he realized what he was doing.
And he had won.

Chapter 8

Smokefoot put his nose into the pool, satisfied that Freestep knew he had lost.
He appeared instantly at a rocky pool, identical to the one that he was laying at.
"Smokefoot," a cat mewed warmly.
Smokefoot looked into Tigerstar's happy-looking face.
"You've won," Tigerstar cooed.
Smokefoot nodded. "But I must go to StarClan to receive my nine lives."


Freestep noticed Yellowfang standing beside him, beckoning him towards the magical-looking pool.
Freestep obeyed Yellowfang's orders hesitantly. "Can multiple cats go through a leader ceremony?" he asked.
"Only one of you will be, and StarClan has already made their decision," Yellowfang replied.


Tigerstar was leading Smokefoot to the border. Smokefoot's heart was pounding.
"Here," Tigerstar mewed, stopping near a source of light. "I'm not sure how StarClan live in that light, it's much easier on the eyes if you stay here."
He was beckoning Smokefoot back.
"We can give you your nine lives, Smokefoot," Tigerstar whispered.
Smokefoot nodded. Better than facing StarClan for what he did.


Freestep dipped his nose into the pool.
He was in a mossy clearing, unlike what he had seen before.
"Freestep, Smokefoot is already here," a cat murmured. "And he's receiving his nine lives."
There it was, a smirk.


Smokefoot gasped as he felt cold.
"Don't worry," Tigerstar called, "that's just your soul being sucked out of you."
Smokefoot couldn't help but shiver as he realized the pain that came with no soul.
"Okay, are you ready?" Tigerstar asked, leading some cats into the clearing they were in.
Smokefoot nodded. "Let's get this over with."


"Tigerstar is giving Smokefoot his nine lives," a cat suddenly whispered.
The ranks of StarClan yowled so loud, Freestep had to cower.
"He'll pay," a pretty tortoiseshell yowled.
A ginger tom yowled halt. "We can't go there, remember? We'll be attacked."
"Firestar," the pretty tortoiseshell protested, batting her eyes.
"No, we're StarClan," Firestar said stubbornly. "We'll figure out an idea. A cat doesn't belong in the Dark Forest before they die."
"I have an idea," Yellowfang whispered.


Smokefoot flinched as Tigerstar pressed his nose to his.
Nothing happened.
Tigerstar stood back. "Hey, you're taking it well," he mewed.

Chapter 9

"Go back to camp," Yellowfang mewed gently to Freestep.
Freestep nodded.
He felt a claw jabbing him.
He woke up to see nobody. Smokefoot was still asleep, and Freestep wondered briefly what was happening.
He trudged his way back to camp, tail dragging. The sun was rising, cats would be waking any moment now.
When they couldn't find Freestep, they would go to Reedstar, and they would find him dead.
This thought made Freestep slow to a stop. "It's not me!" he yowled to the sky.
There was no answer, and Freestep flattened his ears and stalked on.
As he arrived on the ThunderClan, he smelled an approaching patrol.
"Freestep!" he heard Jaggedfang yowl. "We divided up patrols by ourselves."
Freestep nodded.
"And... did you go to..."
Freestep nodded.
"Are you Freestar?"
Freestep shook his head. "Smokefoot, as far as I know, is becoming Smokestar."
The gasps from the patrol made Freestep dig his claws into the ground.
"He wasn't deputy!" Jaggedfang protested.
Freestep shrugged. "He got there before me, StarClan decided to make him deputy. Is that a problem?" He could feel the anger swirling inside him, and it took all of his control not to take it out on the cats around him.
Jaggedfang bared his teeth but said nothing, and beckoned the patrol onward.
Freestep followed, not ready to return to the camp. But he felt weak and exhausted, and every once in a while he could feel Jaggedfang's worried gaze boring into him.


The voice had already rang across the stone hollow, startling the cats.
It had been Thorntail.
Reedstar's body has been dragged from his den, and now the ThunderClan cats were sitting around it, mourning.
Smokefoot still hadn't returned.
"Go to the Moonpool again, Freestep," Thorntail urged Freestep. "If Smokefoot still hasn't come back, then something's wrong."
Freestep nodded. Something must be wrong, or he was waiting until moonhigh to make an appearance and choose his deputy.
"I'll go," he decided. "I might as well."
Thorntail purred. "See you, then." Freestep caught his thought- hopefully.
Freestep nodded at Thorntail and padded to Ravenheart, who was obviously grieving for Reedstar much more than the other cats.
Ravenheart looked up.
"I need a medicine cat to take me to the Moonpool," Freestep mumbled.
Ravenheart stood instantly and padded out of camp, leaving Freestep stunned.
He followed Ravenheart all the way to the Moonpool.
Smokefoot was still there, Freestep sensed instantly.
Ravenheart padded confidently to Smokefoot and prodded him.
"He has no heartbeat," Freestep told him, glad that his abilities were beating Ravenheart's.
Ravenheart backed away from the body. "Something's seriously wrong," he whispered. "Go to StarClan."
Freestep obeyed.
As soon as Yellowfang appeared, flanked by other cats, he asked, "What happened to Smokefoot?"
Yellowfang took a deep breath before replying.
"We took his soul."

Chapter 10

Freestep yowled in terror as Yellowfang's words sunk in. "You- you what?"
Yellowfang nodded, satisfied. "We knew he wasn't deputy, but Tigerstar wasn't stopped."
"The Dark Forest tried to give him lives?" Freestep asked dubiously.
Yellowfang nodded, glancing to the ranks of StarClan. "Let's get started."
She came forward to Freestep. "I give you your first life," she began proudly."Along with the gift of guidance. May you guide your Clan through troubles."
Freestep felt the pain of guiding an apprentice through their young lives, making them do things they didn't want to do. He realized how difficult this would be, but relished the pain of his first life.
Yellowfang stepped back, allowing Freestep to endure the rest of the ceremony.


Smokefoot screeched in pain. The pain of the loss of his soul was long gone, but now the coldness was turning to painful numbness.
Tigerstar looked on in scorn. "It's your fault that you got this punishment."
"You forced me to," Smokefoot growled, wincing in pain.
Tigerstar just purred. "You could have backed down anytime, little one."
Smokefoot rose to his feet. "No, I couldn't! You forced me to! You're a bully, Tigerstar, and there's a reason you got sent here. I killed the love of my life because of you."
"You killed the love of your life because you lost control, Smokefoot."
"You influenced me!" Smokefoot retorted.
Tigerstar shrugged. "So what if I did? You let yourself."
Smokefoot yowled in pain again as another surge of pain jolted him.
Tigerstar purred coldly, exactly like Smokefoot had.
"Freestep is a noble cat! You made me hate him, you made me kill him. You used me, Tigerstar, and I don't like that. You took my life away!"
"Be quiet, Eaglewing."
The familiarity of the name jolted Smokefoot. "What did you call me?"
"Eaglewing. That's your name, right?"
Smokefoot shook his head. "Not anymore."
"Eaglewing, it was. You were best friends with the hero Rushclaw."
The truth of this was too much for Smokefoot. "No," he growled. "I'm Smokefoot now, I was Eaglewing in my past life. I'm going to live up to what you did to me."
"Whatever you say."


Freestep watched as Mouseclaw retreated.
Only one life left.

Yeah, well, I'm done. Hope you enjoyed, PLEASE leave feedback on the talk page and praise on the series page! Gracias! Freedomin the forest

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