"Frostpaw, what do you think?" Pinefrost sat beside his beloved mate as they stared into the pool. "Will she make it out?"
The white she-cat sighed. "I do not know. She is strong, but she's been influenced by him for so long now. You remember what she did to you."
"Yeah, I'll never forgive her for what she's done, but if she's willing to change her mind, maybe we can give her another chance.." Pinefrost closed his eyes.
Frostpaw leaned against him. "She sided with him a long time ago. Maybe there's no way we can change her destiny."
"There's always a way."
"Shadowfire, remember what I said to you." Snakestar growled softly. "Protecting ThunderClan at all costs is the most important. You must not love, you must not care. You must protect our Clan with your heart. Am I understood?"
Shadowfire lowered her gaze. Snakestar curled his lip, remembering the weak Shinestar that had fell under his paws. That had been moons ago, but now, Snakestar was on his last life. He couldn't risk losing it now.
His daughter was obiedant, and never disappointed him. Unlike that disgraceful son of his, Pinefrost. They had succeeded in breaking him moons ago, but he refused to side with Shadowfire and his own father. The worst part was, when they invaded WindClan, Paleflutter had escaped, but at least he managed to kill Pinefrost.
Shadowfire had become an inane creature. She didn't care for her Clan truly, but she did do whatever Snakestar ordered her to do. She didn't have her own commands, she did whatever she was told to do.
A few seasons ago, Shadowfire had been a fledging, but she had been a good apprentice. She loved her brother, and she was grateful to have an affable friend like Frostpaw. But she changed, changed into this empty figure of a cat.
"Come, Shadowfire." Snakestar purred. "Walk with me."
She got up, and followed Snakestar out. "Yes, Snakestar?" Shadowfire's yellow eyes watched her father, but there wasn't much in her. Her desire for revenge was gone, and Snakestar did not approve of that.
"Where's your desire for revenge? Paleflutter is not gone yet. She has merely escaped our grasp. Why do you look so empty?" Snakestar's menacing eyes pierced her.
Shadowfire bowed her head. "Is it really worth it?"
"Never doubt the sweetness of revenge!"
Shadowfire flinched away. "Of course..." She dipped her head, but the fire did no return to her gaze. Snakestar was fed up with her daughter.
"Either you learn your lesson now, or I'll beat it into you slowly." His malevolent tone dug Shadowfire out. A flame kindled in her eyes, and she lifted her chin, glaring at her father.
Her father called her a shallow she-cat. He accused her of loving a tom. He was a cruel, and ignorant tom that she hated. She was so gullible back when she was an apprentice. She shouldn't have ever listened to what Snakestar said.
She was sitting in her capacious den, feeling lonely. Normally she would sit next to Hawkflight, but Snakestar was beginning to threaten her.
She didn't even have a brother or a friend to talk to anymore. She had assisted their killing. She had killed them in a way. Shadowfire had help down Pinepaw when he tried to save Frostpaw. But then he had fled to WindClan. And even then, when they went for Paleflutter, who fled, she had stood back while Snakestar tore the life out of her own brother.
Was she this heartless?
What had happened to the fastidious she-cat who tried to become the best warrior she could? The influence from her father must have been strong...
Shadowfire remembered the meeting with her own mother. She had despied her and drove her away. The anger in Shadowfire began to grow, until she couldn't see past her own revenge. Instead of becoming the good she-cat she was supposed to become, she turned to the darkness and started to plot with her father.
Now that Paleflutter was pretty much gone and Shadowfire had nothing left, she realized that she was wrong to side with her father. Now all she had left was Hawkflight, and even he was in danger now.
Hawkflight poked his head in. His luminous green eyes met hers. "Snakestar wants to speak with you. Report to his den immediately." As the tom began to back out, Shadowfire picked herself up. She didn't want to go to Snakestar. She didn't want to show her other side anymore.
But she still padded out and went to her father's den.
His golden eyes were watching her carefully. "You're here." He mewed curtly. "I have an assignment for you. As a deputy, it is your duty to ensure that the Clan is safe. Well there's been reports about a pale colored she-cat pressing against our borders." He looked at her knowingly, as if expecting a reaction. If Shadowfire was still seething in rage, she would have eagerly accepted the assignment. But she didn't want to anymore.
"What's wrong?" He snapped. "Where's your love for revenge. That is everything. You must get revenge on your mother for what she's done."
Shadowfire resisted the urge to tell him that he was crazy. Instead, she only bowed her head. "Fine, I'll go look for her."
"Not only shall you look for her." Snakestar hissed. "But you'll deliver her to me. Am I understood?" He waited for an answer, but Shadowfire hesitated. "You better be successful soon, Shadowfire. If you fail to bring her to me, then Hawkflight dies."
She straightened. "Good, that's better. Now you'll go out everyday, and report to me what you find. When I say you must capture her, you must return that day with Paleflutter. Alright?"
Shadowfire stumbled out, and Hawkflight was waiting for her. "Care to hunt with me?" Her heart fluttered excitedly as she stared at the tom. He doesn't know what I used to be like.
"Sure." She started to say, but Snakestar shoved the tom violently aside. "Stop messing, Shadowfire, get on it." He turned to Hawkflight and spat. "What are you doing, just standing there? Get moving!" Shadowfire winced as Snakestar smacked Hawkflight back.
Shadowfire hurried out, hoping that Hawkflight would not try to follow her. As much as she loved him, she couldn't risk him being killed by Snakestar. It would hurt too much.
Sniffing the air quickly, Shadowfire followed whatever scent she could find. She was obviously expected to find something before she returned at nightfall. Hurrying towards the border that did not have a Clan behind it, Shadowfire searched for signs of her mother.
There. A bone was sitting nearby, and a hastily scraped hole was half dug. Paleflutter must have been disturbed as she was burying the remains of her prey. Why was Paleflutter so close though?
As Shadowfire searched, she hastily rustled back the leaves. Suddenly, she froze. She saw a faint outline of a cat standing nearby. Her breath nearly stopped, and Shadowfire stared at the tom that she had once gazed upon.
She stood, gaping at the sight. But at the mention of his name, the spirit disappeared. "Are you watching me, Pinefrost?" She whispered. "I'm sorry for what I've done. I made a mistake..."
But even she knew that that wasn't enough to bring back Pinefrost. Her brother was gone, because she had stood back and allowed Snakestar to kill him. But then she peered harder at where Pinefrost was standing. Beside him was a faint outline of a white she-cat. "Frostpaw?"
They were gone now, but Shadowfire sat back and thought about it. Were they warning her? Or we they telling her that she was a piece of dung that shouldn't deserve to go to StarClan. Which she was.
By the end of the day, Shadowfire had found no signs of Paleflutter. Her only evidence was the half-dug hole and the bone. But the scent wasn't too clear.
Trodding back to camp, Hawkflight greeted her. "Shadowfire! Where have you been all day?" His worried green gaze made her relax.
"Snakestar wanted me to inspect a few areas. To make sure no rogues were crossing over." Shadowfire muttered. Hawkflight sighed.
"I want to spend more time with you. We never get to talk anymore." His breath stirred by her ear, and she leaned against him. Oh how she yearned for the chance to live happily with Hawkflight. But she couldn't, not with Snakestar in the way.
Hawkflight glanced at her. "Will you join me on a hunting trip?"
Surprising herself, Shadowfire mewed. "Sure."
They padded out, side by side. Shadowfire enjoyed having Hawkflight beside her. She purred as he sat down beside her near the stream. "Don't you just wish we could stay like this forever?" Hawkflight murmured, his yellow eyes resting on their reflection.
He smirked at the sound of her tone. "For what seemed like a family meeting, you don't seem pleased." He raised an eyebrow.
Shadowfire laughed. "Ha. Amazing meetings we have here. No, I never liked my meetings with my father, especially when I was an apprentice." Her eyes clouded at the memory of her childhood days with Pinefrost and Frostpaw.
Hawkflight watched her closely. "Is there something you want to share?"
"Not really." Shadowfire mewed abruptly, then apologized. "Sorry, but it's a bit personal. Snakestar isn't the kindest father you can have."
Shadowfire sighed. "Oh, why are we discussing horrible things like this? We should be doing something useful like hunting, or-"
Hawkflight leaned over, his tail curling with hers. "Stop. We should just be a romantic couple."
She purred in relief and leaned against him. "Sometimes, I dream that we can just run off, away from ThunderClan and live a normal life."
"If only that was possible."
"Shadowfire, you're late." Snakestar snapped.
Shadowfire bristled. "I was out hunting for the entire day, and I also patrolled the borders, in case Paleflutter was nearby. I have all the reason to be late! I-"
"You were also spending the day with Hawkflight." Shadowfire paled. Snakestar continued. "You know what I said about love. It's unacceptable. The others can do it because their weak and useless. But I cannot afford to allow you to try such a thing. Love will break you, just as it broke poor Pinefrost." Shadowfire bared her teeth.
"Don't bring my brother into this."
Snakestar laughed bitterly. "You would think that you would be more obedient. Don't you understand that I'm just trying to make you a perfect deputy?"
"A perfect deputy." She spat, "Wouldn't that mean they would crave for leadership and threaten your position?"
"Ha, a perfect deputy that would obey my every rule and command. One that would not hesitate to kill when necessary. I think you know the rest." Snakestar mewed.
Shadowfire snorted. "Just stay away from Hawkflight. A perfect deputy and a perfect leader can have a mate and love. You had a mate!"
"But that doesn't mean I loved her."
Shadowfire sniffed around the area, searching for any signs of Paleflutter. Snakestar had been unsatsified with her earlier finds and sent her out again.
She missed Hawkflight already. Snakestar had warned her to stay away from the brown tom. He even threatened to kill him if she got too attached. As if he controls me life. She thought mutinously. Hawkflight was the perfect tom in her life. How could she just abandon him?
One day... Shadowfire thought, One day I'll defeat Snakestar and live the life I want.
The brambles caused Shadowfire to decelerate. She growled in frustration as she stomped through them, little cutes welling on her paws.
Sniffing the air for more scents, Shadowfire spotted leftovers of of a rabbit scattered near a bush. Skittering near it with a look of disgust, Shadowfire knew this was Paleflutter.
Then she saw digging marks and pawprints padding off somewhere else. Is she trying to get herself caught? Shadowfire thought.
The pawprints led deeper into the woods, and Shadowfire sighed. As much as she hated her mother, she no longer wanted her dead. She only made a mistake, but she could have tried harder to save Pinefrost and Shadowfire.
"Shadowfire?" She whirled around, expecting to see a pale she-cat staring at her in utter shock. She expected to see a skinny she-cat who was her mother. Instead... Shadowfire saw a brown tom that was just staring at her. "What are you doing here?"
The black she-cat sighed. "You shouldn't be here, Hawkflight. You know Snakestar doesn't want us together." He only shrugged.
"I don't care what he says or thinks or wants. I want to be with you, and I know you do too. Nothing can keep us apart."
She purred. "You're so loyal, Hawkflight."
Hawkflight only curled his tail around her and mewed. "I swear, I would rather die than live without you." Shadowfire glanced into his warm green eyes and whispered.
"I would too."
Shadowfire relished the moment before finally pulling away. "I have to keep searching, Hawkflight. I need to at least find something that will please Snakestar."
Hawkflight released her. "What exactly are you searching for? You're standing in a small part of the forest that ThunderClan doesn't even own."
"It's none of your business, Hawkflight." Shadowfire sighed. "Please don't ask."
The brown tom only glanced steadily back at her. "I just want to make sure you're safe, Shadowfire. You shouldn't have to commit yourself to Snakestar when he's such a tyrant."
"You know I have to." Shadowfire whispered. "It's my only choice."
"There must me more to you then this."
When Shadowfire got back to camp, Snakestar beckoned for her to join him in his den. "Did you find anything new?" He growled.
Shadowfire nodded reluctantly. "There were more leftover prey and pawprints leading to the end of the forest. It's as though Paleflutter wants to be found."
Snakestar sighed in anticipation. "Soon, we shall have our revenge, Shadowfire. If Paleflutter wants to lead us to her, then let her. I want to find out where she hides so we can plan a thorough attack." His malevolent eyes glittered with hatred.
Our revenge? Shadowfire thought, I'm not going for that anymore, Snakestar. Paleflutter is my mother, and even if I hate her, I can't just kill her!
Snakestar paced his den. "You did well today, and you avoided Hawkflight. I want you to go out tomorrow, but try to pinpoint her location."
"You're turning into a fine deputy."
"ShadowClan have been crossing the border!" The outburst from Willowfur jerked Shadowfire awake. She peered out, knowing she had to deal with this with Snakestar.
She quickly gave herself a lick on the chest and huried outside. Cats were bunching around Willowfur and her patrol, asking and shouting for answers.
"Were they just marking the borders?"
"Did they stench up the forest?"
"Why would they attack us now?"
"What is happening?"
"Silence!" Roared Snakestar. "Be quiet you little mice. Stop asking squabbering for a moment and listen to me. Shadowfire shall take one patrol down as a decoy. Ask as many questions before attacking. Try to get answers from them. I shall take another patrol to ensure we win this battle."
Shadowfire nodded. "Willowfur, Cloudspots, Hawkflight, Shinefur, and Fawnlight come with me!" She whipped around and hurried outside.
Willowfur drew ahead, leading the way to the border. When they drew near, Shadowfire could hear the murmuring and snickers of the ShadowClan cats.
"Do you think ThunderClan will come?"
"Perhaps they are too scared."
"I'm sure they'll come soon enough."
Shadowfire burst out of the undergrowth, glaring at the leader of the patrol. "How dare you cross our borderline? Why are you here?"
The leader of the patrol glared steadily back. "We have every right to be here, ThunderClan scum. We shouldn't have to ask for permission to mark our own borders." She sneered.
Hawkflight stared back. "You're trespassing, Dawnbright. If you step off our land, maybe we'll let you go." Shadowfire admired how he spoke like a deputy. If only he was deputy, or even leader.
Dawnbright laughed. "You're territory? Why should I listen to you?" She laughed and her pale green eyes were sparkling with hatred. "ThunderClan thinks they're too strong. Allow me to show you what ShadowClan is made of."
She lunged at Shadowfire and the black she-cat rolled aside. Hawkflight was buried under a mound of fur, and Cloudspots grunted as he was knocked back. "Come on, Shadowfire, fight back!" Dawnbright sneered. "Aren't you supposed to be the mighty deputy?"
Gritting her teeth, Shadowfire swept her leg under the ShadowClan cat's legs and the she-cat flipped over. "Oof..." She muttered as she landed hard. Shadowfire gripped the pale she-cat and snarled. "You'll watch your tongue, Dawnbright. ShadowClan is no better than ThunderClan."
Her patrol was still losing though. There was a yowl, and more cats poured into the clearing. ShadowClan cats... Shadowfire thought grimly. She prepared herself for the assualt, but ThunderClan cats began to pour into battle area, flooding the ShadowClan cats.
While Shadowfire was distracted, Dawnbright lunged for her belly, crashing into her. Shadowfire yowled in pain and reeled back.
Dawnbright laughed softly as her claws sank into flesh. Shadowfire shrieked in pain as she writhed uncomfortable. The ShadowClan she-cat only purred softly. "That will teach you not to mock ShadowClan, young cat."
Shadowfire lay limp, her body light and her head was throbbing. Was this it? Was she going to die in the midst of the battle, not able to confess to Hawkflight that she loved him?
"Shadowfire's hurt!" She heard someone yowl. "Get her back to camp to be treated!"
Then everything seemed to fade into black and Shadowfire drifted off into a light, but fitful sleep.
Shadowfire's head drooped as she heard the sickening footsteps of a cat. She didn't want company and her head throbbed too much to even talk.
When she finally looked up, Hawkflight was standing in front of her. His green eyes were worried and his tail was swishing slowly. "Are you alright?" He mewed, looking as though the world had collapsed on her. She nodded, but didn't speak.
Hawkflight settled next to Shadowfire, his tail curled on top on hers. "You look worried, are you alright?"
Shadowfire sighed. "I'm fine, Hawkflight. It's just... Oh never mind, you shouldn't even ask, nevertheless know what's going on."
But the tom would not rest until he got his answers. Hawkflight scooted closer to Shadowfire. "Please, Shadowfire. I want to help you, protect you. I need to know what's going on."
The black she-cat gritted her teeth. "I'm worried about how I lost so easily to Dawnbright." She muttered sheepishly.
"I know that's not it, Shadowfire."
Shadowfire closed her yellow eyes. "You don't understand, Hawkflight. You have to get off my case. Snakestar will kill you if he finds out that you know what he's planning." Oops, she had already said too much. "Forget I said that." She sighed. "You shouldn't even be here right now."
Hawkflight glared at her. "You should know by now that I don't care what I'm allowed to do and what I'm not allowed to do. I'm concerned about you and you look like you would rather just leave me!"
The black she-cat didn't respond for a moment, and she kept her eyes closed. Hawkflight continued to stare at her, his green eyes narrowed. "Well?"
"What can I do?" Shadowfire hissed. "I love you, I do, but Snakestar has plans for me and you. There's no way we can be together for now, not until I finish what I have to."
"What is that?"
Shadowfire's chest heaved. "Hawkflight, you're treading into dangerous land. You have to stop asking! If you truly care about me, maybe you would just be relaxing around me and not asking me questions I can't even answer!"
Hawkflight's green eyes flashed. "If you truly loved me, you would tell me so we can handle this together." He hissed back.
Her wounds flared open as she tried to flinch away. "We're talking about Snakestar here, Hawkflight." She rasped. "Doesn't that say enough?"
"Oh Shadowfire," Hawkflight whispered as he turned to walk away on her. "Can't you see that you have more than one path to walk?"
"I'd rather live then die." She hissed back. "There is no other choice!"
But Hawkflight continued to walk out, leaving Shadowfire alone. Do I really have another choice? Snakestar would kill Hawkflight, then he would kill me. I guess we would be in peace together in StarClan, but I can't leave everyone to suffer under Snakestar's cruel rule.
What can I do?
Pinepaw was stretched out in front of her, his eyes wide and horrified. "Frostpaw, no!" He shrieked, struggling to get free from Shadowpaw.
The black apprentice held him down, her claws digging into his shoulders. "This is your fate, Pinepaw, if we break you, maybe you'll see the truth."
"You won't get away with this, Snakeheart!" Pinepaw and growled. "Someone will find a way to punish you, whoever that is!"
"Oh really?" Snakeheart laughed. "Well nobody with know how Frostpaw died. We can say it's a tragic accident, we can say she ran off. There are many ways we can do this, Pinepaw. There's no way anyone would know."
Shadowpaw glared down at her brother. "Unless you're such a coward that you tell them."
Pinepaw stared at her. "Shadowpaw! How could you side with a traitor like Snakeheart? We should be trying to fight against him, not side with him!"
She only stared coldly at him. "I want revenge. Paleflutter was such a coward that she abandoned us to another cat. We were nothing to her, and I want to show her what it feels like to be nothing."
Pinepaw only shook his head sadly. "There's more to life than that."
Then Snakeheart growled. "Enough talking, it's time for Frostpaw to die." He hissed as Frostpaw shrieked and Pinepaw wailed. Shadowpaw watched grimly as the white she-cat stared at Pinepaw with her kind, glowing eyes.
"I love you, Pinepaw..."
The brown apprentice roared in anger, flinging Shadowpaw back. She groaned as she smashed into a tree and watched Pinepaw flee. "One day, Snakeheart. One day someone will get you back!" Then he charged off into WindClan, where Shadowpaw would have no access to him.
Shadowfire woke up shivering. It was always the same now, either watching Pinefrost die or watching Frostpaw die. The dreams were reminding her what she had become. Shivering, Shadowfire slipped back into an uneasy sleep.
"Shadowfire, take the outside as we sweep into WindClan camp!" The black she-cat nodded, her eyes glowing. "Paleflutter should be in here somewhere, and so should Pinefrost."
The black she-cat's eye darted back and forth, then spotted Pinefrost. "There, Snakeheart!"
The ThunderClan deputy purred. "It's time we show Pinefrost what revenge really means. Get him, Shadowfire."
Snakeheart batted off the fighting WindClan cats, snarling as they tried to get past him. "Stay back, puny kitties!" He hissed.
Shadowfire covered for him as they advanced forward, towards the fighting Pinefrost. Then Snakeheart grabbed Pinefrost, his eyes filled with hatred. "You'll regreat running away, kit."
Pinefrost only stared back grimly. "Do what you want, Snakestar, but at least I get to see Frostpaw again." Shadowfire didn't move, and stared as Snakeheart drove his claws down, killing Pinefrost instantly.
"Where's Paleflutter." He hissed.
Shadowfire glanced around. She forgot that this was her chance to get her revenge. But seeing her brother die in front of her felt wrong. Is this the path I want? She thought.
"She's not in here anymore." Shadowfire mewed.
"We'll find her one day." Snakeheart growled menacingly. "One day..."
Shadowfire woke up screaming. She panted as she laid wide awake. She hated her dreams, she knew what she did wrong, but she felt as though Pinefrost and Frostpaw were reminding her of her sins. What can I do to change them?
Then she remembered the looks in both of them. Frostpaw had the sincere look of love as she stared at Pinepaw in her last moments of her life. And Pinefrost had the look of love. Something they couldn't be separated by. I was so foolish to believe that killing them would be good revenge.
Why can't I ever make a right choice?
Shadowfire sighed as she padded out into the open, her paws unsteady. She still had a few scars and she was still limping. Treading through the bramble bushes once more, Shadowfire scented Paleflutter. She was somewhere nearby.
The black she-cat limped through, her mouth open for scents. It was obvious Paleflutter had been here before, but Shadowfire didn't know where she was now.
The trees were swaying today in the rushing wind, and Shadowfire shivered violently. "Paleflutter?" She whispered softly.
Gasping, Shadowfire turned around, a little too hard on her bad leg, and winced. "Paleflutter, you're really here!" There was no real warmth in her daughter's voice, but there was no real hatred.
"Of course I'm here, I couldn't just leave my last daughter out with Snakestar alone." The pale she-cat appeared to be skinny, not as well-fed as she would be in the Clans. "How are you doing?" She mewed plainly. Shadowfire only bowed her head.
"I'm... I'm doing fine."
Paleflutter eyed her over. "You'll become a strong leader one day, Shadowfire. I'm proud that you're so strong now."
"Even though I once planned to kill you?"
Paleflutter smiled wryly. "Even that. You may have plotted to do such evil things, but you're learning. Things are coming back to you, and you know what's right and wrong. You're just a bit off."
"What do you mean?"
The pale she-cat began to groom her fur. "Something's have to be chosen, not seen. You're just blundering blindly through along Snakestar's orders because you're too scared to rebel against him. One day, he'll do something to break you, and there will be nothing you can do."
Shadowfire stared at her mother. "What do you mean?"
The conversation was getting more and more sinister. But unlike last time, it wasn't filled with hatred and anger, only sadness. "You love a tom don't you?" Paleflutter asked.
Shadowfire nodded, but didn't bother to ask how she knew. "Yes, Hawkflight."
"Hawkflight... He's a wonderful tom is he not?" Paleflutter's eyes narrowed. "Snakestar knows you love him. That means if you step off the line now, it'll be too late. You should have rebelled earlier on in your life, and then Snakestar would have nothing against you. You have a choice, you know? Snakestar can't control everything you do."
"He has ways." Shadowfire mewed grimly. "I have no other choice!"
Paleflutter sighed. "You're so stubborn, Shadowfire. Snakestar isn't your commander, and he can't tell you what to do. You are the caption of your soul, Shadowfire. Sometimes, you just have to risk something just to have it your way. I would have rather ran away than allow myself to be killed."
"You abandoned us." Shadowfire spat. "You left us at the hands of Snakestar. Now what am I supposed to do?"
The pale she-cat closed her luminous eyes. "Oh, Shadowfire... If I had not left, would you have become what you have? What would your life be like without the excitement of chasing me? Snakestar would take out his hatred on you and Pinefrost. He doesn't love you. He's using you."
Shadowfire didn't reply, her heart beating. "I don't know what to do." She mewed brokenly. Paleflutter didn't offer any form of reassurement.
"You'll know when the time is right."
"Where is she?" Snakestar howled. "Take me to her, Shadowfire. Today will be the day we get our final revenge!" Shadowfire wasn't very excited to go.
She led the way, trekking across the stream and into the bramble bushes. Snakestar followed close behind, knowing he had to find out where the pale she-cat was.
Shadowfire slowed down, her pace frustrating Snakestar. 'Hurry up, Shadowfire. You must know where she is!" His yellow eyes glowed with impatience.
"She isn't here where I found her." Shadowfire snapped back. "I'm trying to find her." Snakestar fell silent, his snake-like eyes darting back and forth, until he spotted a pale she-cat emerging from the bushes. Shadowfire froze, as if she didn't want to see her.
"Snakestar." Paleflutter mewed coolly. "What brings you to my home?"
Snakestar hissed greedily. "You've excaped me for too long, Paleflutter. Today shall be the day I show you what's right and what's wrong. Isn't it sickening that your own daughter betrayed you?" His smirk grew wider as Paleflutter's eyes flickered over to Shadowfire.
The black she-cat bowed her head as Paleflutter spoke. "Shadowfire has her own plans, Snakestar. She knows what to do. I trust that she brought you here today to get your revenge."
"You don't mind that at all?" Snakestar taunted. "You're about to die you shallow she-cat."
Paleflutter's eyes softened. "I don't care what you do, Snakestar. My life was devoted to ensuring that my kits were safe and sound. My life is practically over anyways."
Snakestar snorted. "You inane she-cat, are you saying you're surrendering?"
"Yes." There was no hesitation in Paleflutter's voice. Shadowfire swallowed a gasp, not wanting to have Snakestar turn on her.
Snakestar's eyes glittered. "I would have never thought you were such a coward, Paleflutter. To think that you were actually my mate."
"You're more of a coward than I am, Snakestar. You let your minions do all your work and you never do a thing." Paleflutter's brusque manner surprised Shadowfire.
Snakestar curled his tail, his eyes flashing. "You'll eat back those words when I'm done with you, Paleflutter. I'll show you what it means to be a coward."
He lunged forward, knocking her back. Paleflutter fell back, and Snakestar hissed, as if he expected Paleflutter to fight back. Instead, Paleflutter succumbed to Snakestar, not even lifting a paw to defend herself.
Shadowfire's paws urged her forward, but she couldn't move. Eyes wide with shock and horror, she watched as Snakestar beat Paleflutter back, snarling. "You were a coward when you ran. If you were brave and strong, you should have fought back. Now you can't even defend yourself!"
When it seemed as though Snakestar was winning the battle, a shadowy figure stepped out, knocking Snakestar back. Shadowfire gasped, her eyes glued to the scene. Pinefrost held Snakestar down, his yellow eyes glowing. "You won't get her today, Snakestar."
The spirit of StarClan easily defeated Snakestar as Paleflutter picked herself up. She gave Pinefrost a bewildered but thankful glance, then fled off into the faraway trees. Snakestar hissed in anger, but when Pinefrost dissolved and returned to StarClan, it was too late for Snakestar to do a thing.
"That son of mine is useless! Always siding with the others." Snakestar muttered, his claws itching sink into a cat's flesh.
Shadowfire only sat silently off to the side, thinking about Pinefrost. He had come down from StarClan to save Paleflutter. If Shadowfire was in a position like that, would Pinefrost save her?
Who knows... I hope I can make the right decision soon.
Shadowfire stretched, her body still sore from trampling through brambles and bushes to lead Snakestar to Paleflutter. Hawkflight was looking grumpy when she returned, so she decided to avoid him. Now, he was outside waiting for her.
Hawkflight greeted Shadowfire with a cold expression and led her to a small clearing where they wouldn't disturbed.
"Do you really love me?"
"Of course." Shadowfire replied, her eyes wide. "I always did, Hawkflight." The brown tom only sighed and stared at her.
"How many times have you showed that, Shadowfire? You're becoming an insolent she-cat, not even bothering to tell me what's going on. You just leave me hanging sometimes, and I don't like it." Anger and frustration erased all signs of Hawkflight's kind disposition.
Shadowfire stared back at him, shock plain on her face. "What are you talking about, Hawkflight? Isn't it obvious that I love you? You're more than everything to me."
"You never spend time with me anymore." His voice dropped into a whisper. "You're so distant, and you won't even bother to come by to talk to me. All you ever do is 'patrol that border' or whatever Snakestar's been telling you to do."
The black she-cat hissed. "I'm trying my best, Hawkflight! If you weren't so selfish and always urging me to come to you, Snakestar wouldn't be so suspicious!"
Hawkflight's green eyes flashed. "Oh? So it's all my fault now." He spat back. "Shadowfire, haven't you ever thought for yourself for once?"
"What do you mean? You should know that I just want the best for both of us and I can't right now because I'm dealing with Snakestar!" Shadowfire retorted.
Hawkflight laughed. "Ha, you can't even think for yourself. Snakestar's a guile cat, don't be tricked by his cunning ways!" Hawkflight hissed.
Shadowfire glared at the tom. "What do you know about my father? He may be cunning, but that doesn't mean I can avoid him. Who knows what he will do to you?"
"If you care, you would visit me more, no matter the consequences. Instead, you fear for your future and your future kits so you avoid me as much as possible!" Hawkflight exclaimed.
Shadowfire sighed. "Why don't you understand? Snakestar will kill you if I try to love you. I'm trying to protect you!"
"You have a choice, you know? It's not all about following Snakestar. It's about choosing your own destiny. He can't stop you from doing what you can do!" Hawkflight growled. "Just think for yourself for once, Shadowfire."
When Shadowfire didn't respond, Hawkflight continued on. "Don't you remember being together? The happiness that flowed in both of us. We were both happy."
The black she-cat lowered her head. "What am I supposed to do? I'm chained down to life by my father and my birth. What can I do?"
"Don't you realized you don't have to follow your father in everything? You're trapping yourself in this dark prison, but you don't have to be in there!" Hawkflight whispered.
"Why don't you think for yourself?" Shadowfire spat back. "I'm stuck with my father, and I have to deal with him first. Why can't you understand?"
"It's over, Shadowfire, it's over. If you can't figure this out, I don't know what can help you." Hawkflight mewed, his eyes shadowed. "This is your path now."
Then he turned and fled.
"Hawkflight!" Shadowfire shouted. "Hawkflight, come back!" She pounded through the ferns and brambles, her heart beating like never before. Adrenaline pumped through her blood, her eyes wide with horror. Something about this situation made Shadowfire nervous and desperate.
The trees whizzed past Shadowfire as she zoomed on. Hawkflight was a blur ahead of her, staying at the same pace she was keeping.
The birds were chirping and calling as if they were alerting their friends about the chase. Everything seem to stop.
She skidded to a halt, her paws slipping over the smooth moss. She landed in a clumsy way on her side, then attempted to scramble up. When she looked up, she gasped at the sight.
Snakestar was standing on top of Hawkflight, who was panting like a mad dog. "Interesting, I tell you to stay away from him and he ends up fleeing from you."
Shadowfire hissed at her father. "Leave him alone!" She ignored the pang in her heart when she remembered Hawkflight's last words. "It's over, Shadowfire. It's over."
Hawkflight wouldn't meet her gaze. His greeze eyes were dull and his tail was flopped on the ground. He wasn't resisting at all. Then a jolt of shock and pain flashed through Shadowfire. Moons ago... someone else was in that same position, limp and under Snakestar's paws.
Frostpaw... She stared at Snakestar, knowingly. He's doing the same thing, trapping his target, and his enemy trapped under another one's claws. But this time, I'm holding myself in. Hawkflight was right, I was a full, letting Snakestar control my life.
Last time, it had been Pinepaw under her paws, struggling while Frostpaw lay limp. Now it was Shadowfire struggling against herself as Hawkflight lay weak and useless under Snakestar's paws. "Not so strong now huh, Shadowfire?" Snakestar taunted.
"Remember Pinefrost's words?" Shadowfire shot back. "'Someone's going to make you pay, I don't know who, but someone will'. He's right, Snakestar. If you kill him, you'll pay."
Snakestar snorted. "Hmph, suddenly the protective she-cat aren't you? Hawkflight was a fool to try to warn you. He's going to pay the consequences."
"No." Shadowfire hissed back. "I won't let you."
Snakestar's eyes glittered in a horrible way. "What can you do to stop me?" He smirked, his yellow eyes slitted and full of menace. Shadowfire shuddered, squeezing her own eyes shut.
Her father stared at her cruelly. "You, Shadowfire, you were supposed to be the daughter I needed, the strongest warrior who would obey my every rule. But when Frostpaw and Pinepaw started to falter, you started to falter with them. I knew this day would come, so I started a plan."
Her heart sank, something was going to happen, and she wouldn't like it. Snakestar's snake like eyes watched her carefully.
"I wasn't trying to break Pinefrost the day I killed Frostpaw. I was trying to break you." Shadowfire froze. Her paws slipped a bit, but she managed to regain her balance.
Snakestar breathed in. "Yes, you. Why else would I kill Pinefrost? I don't care what happens to him, he's a worthless object anyways. I wanted you to suffer, to try to change you into a heartless murderur. I guess that failed, I'll have to take it another way."
"No, don't do it." Shadowfire snapped. "You'll never have my loyalty if you do it."
"Would I have it if I didn't?" He mewed pointedly. "I didn't think so. It's better this way, Shadowfire. This way you won't be worried about another tom."
Shadowfire took it all in. Hawkflight's eyes, his beautiful green eyes. They were staring right at her, and he was mouthing the words she had always wish he would say. "I love you..." But as Snakestar's claws came down, Shadowfire screwed her eyes shut, not willing to see him die.
Snakestar's laugh echoed through out the forest, and Shadowfire wailed to the stars. Why was StarClan so cruel? Hadn't she proved that she's not like Snakestar?
Knowing that she couldn't live with her father anymore, Shadowfire whipped around and fled for the opposite trees, away from ThunderClan, away from her dying love, away from her father, away from her life.
I'm so sorry, Hawkflight, I've let you down.
Shadowfire sat by the stream, her back to the forest she had left behind. She knew Snakestar was probably after her, but she was depressed. The fact that Hawkfligt was dead left Shadowfire completely despondent. She stared at her reflection, seeing the lonely face of a black she-cat. Is that even me?
Sighing, she heaved herself up, knowing she had to keep running. There was no turning back, Snakestar would want her dead now.
Lowering her head, she wished that she was in StarClan with the rest of her friends. Pinefrost... I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to let you die in the way you did. I was mad and angry for no reason. I acted without thinking.
She stared at the star that seemed to resemble him, then moved on to the next.
Paleflutter, I know you're not in the stars, but you're somewhere in this world. Are you watching the stars like I am, thinking about our family that has died at the hands of Snakestar? I'm sorry that I didn't do enough to protect you, and I thought you were abandoning us.
She stared intently at the star that was pure white. She knew who this was.
Frostpaw, I'm sorry that I let Snakestar kill you, knowing that I wanted to have Pinefrost's heart broken. It was my first fatal mistake, and it cost your life. You should have had a chance to become a warrior like I did, living among the trees with me. You were my best friend, and I let you down.
Then the last star that resembled her love, her tom.
Hawkflight, I'm sorry that I didn't understand what you were trying to tell me. You tried to warn me about Snakestar, but I never realized that. I should have trusted you and let you guide me along.
Tears sprung to her eyes as she stared up at the night sky, knowing that her mistakes would follow her forever. Her friends and family were dead, and now she was stuck here, alone and desperate.
Shinestar? Do you remember that day you were dying of greencough when Snakeheart broke in, saying that you had to go meet WindClan's leader? You foolishly believed him and he killed you out there, saying the green cough took your final life.
Shadowfire sighed again, but she could now hear pounding footsteps. "Shadowfire, you better not be hiding or running away, it'll only be worse for you. Give yourself up!"
As if I would. Shadowfire thought bitterly. There was no way in StarClan would she let Snakestar take her alive. She would rather die than be at the paws of her own father.
Pumping her legs, she rushed towards the mountains, knowing she could lose him there. He wouldn't follow her would he? He had a Clan to take care of.
But she knew in her heart that she couldn't keep running away. Her words to Hawkflight came back to her. "I need to get rid of Snakestar first. I can't live my own life until I'm done with my job."
Whirling around, her breath caught in her chest, Shadowfire slammed into the charging Snakestar. He grunted in surprise, but easily recovered his balance. "Shadowfire..."
"Now you're a coward too, Shadowfire." Snakestar hissed. "You ran away at the worst time possible. You won't survive this."
She snorted. "I can do what I want, father. You should care more about your Clan than individuals. You act like getting Paleflutter is the most important thing in the world! You-"
"Finding her is the most important thing." He snarled. "She had to pay for what she had done. She left me as an outcast of WindClan, leaving me to become a rogue. Nobody does that to me and gets away with it. And nobody tries to infiltrate my plans and gets away with it."
"Paleflutter got away."
"She was lucky! But you won't be so lucky..." Snakestar hissed. "I'll always get what I want. Paleflutter won't escape me for long. But you first."
He lunged for her, his claws outstretched. Shadowfire dodged, her tail whipping out like a flag behind her. Her claws dug into ground to give her a grip, then she spun around and charged Snakestar. He snapped back then flashed out a paw, causing Shadowfire to trip and fall.
His paw came down, but she easily shoved him off and kicking him hard in his stomach. Snakestar may be cunning and witty, but he always had another do his dirty work, and then he would finish the job. Snakestar wasn't used to fighting.
Shadowfire's head knocked backwards as Snakestar struck out with his paw. She groaned, sinking to the ground. When Snakestar advanced, Shadowfire struggled to stand up.
Anger and desperation impelled Shadowfire to fight back against Snakestar. She fought back with blows, knocking the brown tom back.
Memories of her fallen friends revived her. As she continued to claw at him, she muttered. "This one is for Frostpaw."
She raked her claws down his flank. "This one is for Pinefrost."
"This one is for Hawkflight." She hissed, shoving him into the stream that was next to them. He rose, spluttering, but enraged. He lunged for Shadowfire, who staggered under his weight.
They went back down, and the fight dragged on.
"I'll never allow you to live after this." Snakestar growled, his eyes blazing.
Shadowfire snorted. "You really think I would let you kill me? I know you're on your last life, which means I can end this all now."
"Could you really?" Snakestar taunted. "How brave are you to kill your own father?"
It seemed like an interminable battle until Shadowfire knocked Snakestar down. "You are the one dying today, Snakestar." She hissed into his ear, raising her paw.
He gritted his teeth. "You wouldn't do it. Not in a million years would you be brave enough to slaughter your own father."
Then I brought my claws down.
Shadowfire nervously stepped alongside Mintleaf, who was looking slightly less nervous. "Are you sure they'll accept me?"
"Yes, I'm sure." Mintleaf mewed. "You've gotten rid of Snakestar, the tyrant that has been uling ThunderClan for moons now. StarClan would have to honor you for that."
Shadowfire shrugged. "Let's just get this over with."
She padded unsteadily down the path, her fur rising in fear. Mintleaf was leading now, showing the way down the path to the Moonpool. Shadowfire stepped up to it, then bent down as instructed to drink from it.
Slipping into a silent dream, she opened her eyes, and saw darkness. Fear gripped her heart as she panted, unsure where she was. Is StarClan rejecting me?
But then stars burst open and the clearing was filled with light as the StarClan warriors padded down beside her. "Welcome, Shadowfire." They mewed in unison.
The first cat to step up delighted her. "Paleflutter! You're here in StarClan?" Her mother dipped her head. "It was a harsh leaf-bare, but I'm here now."
"With this life, I give you a mother's love. Use it well to protect your Clan as if they were your own children." Pain like fire coursed through Shadowfire, and she stiffened. This was how Paleflutter felt when her kits were taken from her.
Pinefrost stepped up. "You've been a brave she-cat, Shadowfire, and I'm proud of your choices." She dipped her head to him.
"With this life, I give you strength. Use it when you need to do the right thing and the most dangerous." Shadowfire stared into his eyes, feeling slow strength seeping into her.
"Wait." She mewed softly to Pinefrost, who was turning away. He looked back. "I'm sorry I let Snakestar kill you and Frostpaw."
Frostpaw was next. The white she-cat purred. "I know you must think that it's your fault that I died, but I should have tried harder to stay with Pinepaw. I was a foolish she-cat, thinking I could do it on my own. It wasn't all your fault, Shadowfire."
She didn't know what to say. "With this life, I give you sincerity. Do everything with a sincere heart." A soothing feeling overcame her, and she basked in it.
Next was Hawkflight. Shadowfire stared at him with her yellow eyes, her gaze sad. "With this life, I give you wisdom. Use it when you don't know which one is the right path." He was telling me something.
"Hawkflight." My voice caught.
His gaze stared at me intensely. "I should have listened to you when I had a chance, but I didn't. I'm so sorry..."
"No, I'm sorry I didn't try any harder to help you."
The rest of her ceremony went well, and Shadowfire looked up proudly and the StarClan's ranks. They all cheered for her and her new name.
Omg that was fun to write. I swear, this is the last one. There isn't a sequel to this cause there's nothing to write. Nothing to come after.
I loved writing this, it was certainly fun. Yeah it was short but y'know what, I liked it xD
Please comment if you liked this, and sign the fans below if you loved it!
OH AND DID I MENTION THAT THIS WAS THE FIRST STORY THAT WAS GOOD AND WASN'T TRAGIC AND SAD? XD
Wait... a story by Fiery... that wasn't completely tragic? WHAT SORCERY IS THIS? (nah kidding, it was awesome XD) Oh I May Be On The Side Of The Angels, But Don't Think For One Second That I Am One Of Them
Awww! This is so awesome! I love the ending (except Hawkflight dying *cries*)!
AMAZING!!!!!! I hoped u could make another story, but it won' happen. ^^(