- 1 To:
- 2 Erin Hunter
- 3 My real-life Gingerheart
- 4 My real-life Foxkit
- 5 Prologue
- 6 Chapter 1
- 7 Chapter 2
- 8 Chapter 3
- 9 Chapter 4
- 10 Chapter 5
- 11 Chapter 6
- 12 Chapter 7
- 13 Chapter 8
- 14 Chapter 9
- 15 Chapter 10
- 16 Chapter 11
- 17 Look for the next book in the series,
- 18 Warriors A Merged World: The Suspected Warrior
- 19 About the Author
My real-life Gingerheart
My real-life Foxkit
Leader: Bramblestar—dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Deputy: Lionblaze—golden tabby tom with amber eyes
Medicine Cat: Jayfeather—gray tabby tom with blind blue eyes
Warriors: Brackenfur—golden brown tabby tom
Cloudtail—long-haired white tom with blue eyes
Brightheart—white she-cat with ginger patches
Thornclaw—golden brown tabby tom
Spiderleg—long-limbed black tom with brown underbelly and amber eyes
Birchfall—light brown tabby tom
Whitewing—white she-cat with green eyes
Cinderheart—gray tabby she-cat
Dovewing—pale gray she-cat with blue eyes
Rosepetal—dark cream she-cat
Briarlight—dark brown she-cat with sky blue eyes, paralyzed in her hindquarters
Bumblestripe—very pale gray tom with black stripes
Leafpool—light brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes
Fernsong—yellow tabby tom
Sorrelstripe—dark brown she-cat
Stormcloud—gray tabby tom
Snowbush—white, fluffy tom
Ambermoon—pale ginger she-cat
Lilyheart—small, dark tabby she-cat with white patches and blue eyes
Sparkheart—orange tabby she-cat
Alderclaw—dark ginger tom with amber eyes
Firepelt—flame-colored tom with green eyes
Bramblethorn—dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Gingerheart—ginger she-cat with white belly
Apprentices: Furrypelt—long-haired ginger and white she-cat with blue eyes
Honeypaw—white she-cat with yellow splotches
Queens: Daisy—cream long-furred cat from the horseplace
Ivypool—silver-and-white tabby she-cat with blue eyes (mother of Bumblestripe’s kits: Sunkit, a yellow tabby she-kit, Brightkit, a neon yellow tom-kit, and Cloudkit, a pure-white tom-kit)
Elders: Purdy—plump tabby former loner with a gray muzzle
Sandstorm—pale ginger she-cat with green eyes
Graystripe—long-haired gray tom
Millie—striped gray tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Leader: Rowanstar—ginger tom
Deputy: Crowfrost—black-and-white tom
Medicine Cat: Littlecloud—very small tabby tom
Warriors: Tawnypelt—tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes
Owlclaw—light brown tabby tom
Scorchfur—dark gray tom
Tigerheart—dark brown tabby tom
Spikefur—dark brown tom with tufty fur on his head
Snowbird—pure white she-cat
Cloverfoot—gray tabby she-cat
Sparrowtail—large tabby tom
Mistcloud—spiky-furred, pale gray she-cat
Wasptail—yellow tabby she-cat with green eyes
Queens: Grassheart—pale brown tabby she-cat
Pinenose—black she-cat (mother to Spikefur’s kits: Birchkit, a beige tom-kit, Lionkit, a yellow she-kit with amber eyes, Puddlekit, a brown tom with white splotches, and Slatekit, a sleek, gray tom-kit)
Elders: Ratscar—brown tom with long scar across his back
Oakfur—small brown tom
Kinkfur—tabby she-cat, with long fur that sticks out at all angles
Leader: Onestar—brown tabby tom
Deputy: Harespring—brown-and-white tom
Medicine Cat: Kestrelflight—mottled gray tom
Warriors: Crowfeather—dark gray tom
Gorsetail—very pale gray-and-white tom with blue eyes
Weaselfur—ginger tom with white paws
Leaftail—dark tabby tom with amber eyes
Emberfoot—gray tom with two dark paws
Breezepelt—black tom with amber eyes
Sedgewhisker—light brown tabby she-cat
Featherpelt—gray tabby she-cat
Oatclaw—pale brown tabby tom
Hootwhisker—dark gray tom
Queens: Heathertail—light brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes (mother to Breezepelt’s kits: Smokekit, a gray she-kit, and Brindlekit, a mottled brown she-kit)
Elders: Whitetail—small white she-cat
Leader: Mistystar—gray she-cat with blue eyes
Deputy: Reedwhisker—black tom
Medicine Cat: Mothwing—dappled golden she-cat
Warriors: Mintfur—dark gray tabby tom
Minnowtail—dark gray she-cat
Mallownose—light brown tabby tom
Duskfur—brown tabby she-cat
Heronwing—dark gray-and-black tom
Curlfeather—pale brown she-cat
Podlight—gray and white tom
Lizardtail—light brown tom
Owlnose—brown tabby tom
Queens: Icewing—white she-cat with blue eyes (mother to Mintfur’s kits: Nightkit, a pure black she-kit, and Breezekit, a light brown tabby tom- kit)
Lakeheart—gray tabby she-cat (mother of Poppykit, a pretty brown she-kit)
Elders: Mosspelt—tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes
Cats Outside of Clans
Smoky—muscular gray-and-white tom who lives in a barn at the horseplace
Coriander—tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat who lives with Smoky
Silky—cream she-cat who lives in the nest nextdoor to Smoky, mother of Furrypelt
A flame-colored tom wandered around a starry forest. He was looking for someone. One she-cat in particular. “Bluestar?” He called. No answer.
He wandered farther, his green eyes scanning the undergrowth for blue-gray fur. He sniffed. It was her scent! “Bluestar?” he called again.
“Firestar?” came the reply. He wandered towards where the reply came from.
“There you are!” he exclaimed, spotting the blue-gray she-cat behind a bush.
“What do you want?” Bluestar asked.
“I wanted to talk about the vision I saw in the puddle.”
“You mean the kittypet knowing more about our world and the Twoleg world than us?”
“Yeah,” the tom replied. “Let me just say: not what I was expecting.”
“Agreed,” Bluestar mewed. “I mean, a Twoleg cat? That doesn’t even make any sense!”
“Well, Cinderpelt came back a second time, so…”
“But a Twoleg becoming a cat is so bizzare…” Bluestar mewed.
“And there were two of them!” the tom added. “Her sister, Gingerpaw.”
“Firestar, did you want to talk about anything else?” Spottedleaf asked.
“Well, there is one more thing—“
“Firestar!” a voice called from behind them.
“Squirrelflight!” Spottedleaf complained.
“Oh, sorry, am I interrupting?” Squirrelflight asked.
“No, I’m never too busy for my daughter.” Firestar meowed. “What is it?”
“I’m worried about my kits.” Squirrelflight meowed. “Firepaw and Bramblepaw are still apprentices, and Sparkheart and Alderclaw are barely warriors! Will they be okay?”
“They still have their father,” Firestar pointed out. “Besides, all the other warriors are there for them, too, especially Furrypaw and Gingerpaw.”
“I’m just not sure how they’re going to cope without a mother,” Squirrelflight meowed anxiously. “I never had to go without my mother.”
“I never knew my mother,” Firestar meowed. “And I’ve always been fine.”
“That’s different, you never knew your mother, so you were never dragging around that weight of sadness from not being with her,” Squirrelflight meowed. “But my kits have had a mother all their life. What if they’re too sad to focus on their warrior duties?”
“They have each other,” Firestar soothed. “And I’m sure Furrypaw and Gingerpaw will always keep them happy with that singing of theirs!”
“You’re sure?” Squirrelflight asked.
“Positive.” Firestar replied. “Run along now.”
Squirrelflight turned and ran into the undergrowth.
“You were saying?” Bluestar asked impatiently.
“Oh, right,” Firestar remembered. “We were talking about Furrypaw and Gingerpaw—“
“Yeah?” Bluestar mewed impatiently.
Firestar repeated the words of a prophecy he’d been given: “There will come another, one who should never have come.”
Furrypaw stood up and stretched from her nest. She saw Jayfeather sorting herbs. “Do I need to get any herbs?” she asked.
“Nope, you’ve gotten quite enough for me these last few days.” He replied.
“Does anyone need an extra cat for patrol?”
“No, we have quite enough warriors.”
“Does the fresh-kill pile need to be restocked?”
“No, it’s pretty full and there’s a hunting patrol out.”
Furrypaw sighed. Ever since the battle, she’d gone back to just being a medicine cat apprentice. After training double as a warrior and a medicine cat, life had seemed rather dull. She wondered when she’d get her full name. Probably the next half-moon, considering Leafkit Larkkit and Honeykit would get their apprentice names today, meaning Firepaw Bramblepaw and Gingerpaw would become warriors today. Plus it was the full moon. There was a lot of exciting stuff happening, but not right now. It was still early-morning, and the ceremonies would happen at sunhigh. She needed something to do.
“Does the elders’ den need cleaning?” Furrypaw asked.
“I think Firepaw just took care of that.” Jayfeather replied.
“Bramblepaw and Gingerpaw just did that.”
“Are Firepaw or Gingerpaw free?” Furrypaw asked hopefully.
“I think they both went on patrol.” Jayfeather mewed.
“Seriously?” Furrypaw groaned. “There’s nothing to do!”
“Why don’t you play with Leafkit Larkkit and Honeykit?” Jayfeather suggested. “They seem restless since their ceremony is at sunhigh. Give them something to do until then.”
Furrypaw sighed and walked out of the medicine den and into the nursery. She found Leafkit Larkkit and Honeykit leaping on top of each other—and Lilyheart. Larkkit barreled Honeykit into Sunkit, squishing her. Honeykit jumped up. “Is she okay?” she asked anxiously.
Ivypool quickly checked on her kit. “She’s fine,” she determined. “But why don’t you three play outside? It seems Furrypaw wants to play with you.” She glanced up at Furrypaw.
“Okay!” Larkkit squeaked, running out of the nursery with his sisters on his paws. Furrypaw ducked out of the nursery and jumped aside as the three kits charged out.
“You guys wanna play tag?” Furrypaw asked.
“What’s tag?” Leafkit asked. Seriously? Don’t these kits know anything? Furrypaw thought.
“Tag is where there’s one cat who’s ‘it’, and they have to tap another cat, or touch them in some way. Then they’re it. You don’t want to be it, so you have to outrun the tagger. Who wants to be it first?”
“I do! I do!” The three kits squealed all at once.
Furrypaw started pointing at each kit with her tail-tip. “Eeny meeny miney mo, catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers let him go. Meeny miney mo. Which one will be it first it’s you!” Furrypaw’s tail stopped on Honeykit. “You’re it!” She called to Honeykit. She, Leafkit and Larkkit charged away from her.
Honeykit raced towards Leafkit, so Leafkit picked up the pace, but could not outrun her sister. Honeykit slapped her back with her tail, and Leafkit was it. Larkkit noticed this and steered away from her. Furrypaw ran towards the dirtplace. Leafkit was a little behind her. Furrypaw jerked left and ran towards the other end of camp. Leafkit followed her exact trail. Don’t they understand that if she’d cut left earlier she could’ve caught up with me? Furrypaw wondered. Kits, they don’t know the tricks. It had taken Furrypaw a while to figure it out as a Twoleg, so she could see why the kits were having trouble.
She slowed down to give the kits a fair fight. Leafkit tagged her and sprinted away. Furrypaw ran towards Larkkit, since he was the only one who hadn’t been tagged. Larkkit realized he was being followed, and tried to use the same trick Furrypaw had, however, Furrypaw was ready for it. Larkkit jerked right, but Furrypaw jerked right with him, instead of waiting to turn at the spot he had. She charged forward, coming in at Larkkit from the side. She touched him and raced off. He sighed and looked to tag on of his sisters.
“Furrypaw!” someone called from the thorn barrier. Furrypaw looked up to see Gingerpaw returning from patrol. Thank goodness! Furrypaw thought.
“You kits keep playing, okay?” Furrypaw called to the three kits chasing each other.
“Larkkit, I tagged you,” Leafkit mewed.
“I didn’t feel it.” Larkkit argued.
“Well, I did tag you.” Leafkit meowed.
“No, you didn’t,” Larkkit replied.
“Yes I did.”
“No you didn’t!” Larkkit yowled. Leafkit jumped on top of her brother and they started play-fighting. Honeykit joined in.
“Let’s go,” Furrypaw mewed, nudging Gingerpaw back towards the thorn barrier. She nodded and they pushed their way through.
“Wanna sing more Frozen?” Furrypaw asked when they were in a private spot in the woods.
“Sure, but, which song?” Gingerpaw asked.
“Do you know the outtake Life’s Too Short?” Furrypaw asked.
“I think I might’ve heard it on YouTube,” Gingerpaw replied. “Could you go over the lyrics?”
Furrypaw nodded and repeated all the lyrics. When they were finished, she meowed, “I’m Elsa, you’re Anna.”
“Got it,” Gingerpaw meowed.
“Go,” Furrypaw meowed.
Gingerpaw started singing. “I came all this way today to give us a fresh start, but now that you’re like ‘Wow’ it’s all like warm in the heart.”
Furrypaw took over. “I’m so glad you like it, sis, ‘cause this is the real me. You have no idea how great it feels to be free!”
“We’ve been fallen out for way too long, so let’s forget who’s right,”
“And forget who’s wrong.”
“Okay!” they both sang.
They kept going for quite some time, then, they finally ended, with both of them singing simultaneously: “Life’s too short to waste another minute! Life’s too short to even have you in it! Life’s too short!!!”
“I was so wrong about you!” Gingerpaw cried.
“You? You were so wrong about everything!” Furrypaw shot back.
“Maybe you are the prophecy.” Gingerpaw meowed angrily.
“I am not the prophecy!” Furrypaw yowled. “And seen!”
“Wow, that was amazing,” Firepaw mewed from behind them, making Furrypaw jump. “The music, the emotion, the passion,”
“You’re sounding like a director after we shoot a scene,” Gingerpaw mewed. Furrypaw chuckled, and Firepaw gave him a confused look, as did Bramblepaw next to him.
“We’ll never understand you two.” Bramblepaw meowed.
“Are you two just going to randomly appear every time we finish a duet?” Furrypaw asked.
“Maybe,” Firepaw meowed mysteriously. The other three cats let out a mrrow of laughter at the way he said it.
“Guys, look at the time!” Bramblepaw exclaimed. Furrypaw looked up.
“How is it sunhigh already?” she asked.
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” Gingerpaw pointed out.
“Well it’s not like the song is that long! It doesn’t make any sense!”
“Maybe you were playing tag with the kits longer than you thought,” Bramblepaw suggested.
“Guys, does it matter? We need to get back to camp!” Firepaw yowled.
“Race ya!” Gingerpaw cried, racing ahead of everyone.
“Hey!” Furrypaw cried, sprinting after her, Bramblepaw and Firepaw on her paws.
“—Highledge for a Clan meeting!” the last of the traditional words for a calling a meeting sounded in Furrypaw’s ears as she reached the thorn barrier. The four apprentices stood panting in the camp entrance.
“You know you four didn’t have to run so fast,” Leafpool pointed out as she passed the barrier. Bramblepaw hissed and the four apprentices took their seats beneath the Highledge.
Bramblestar leapt down from the Highledge. Leafkit, Larkkit, and Honeykit were standing proudly next to him. Furrypaw remembered her apprenticing ceremony. “Leafkit, Larkkit, and Honeykit,” Bramblestar started. “You have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. Leafkit, from this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Leafpaw. Dovewing,” Bramblestar called Dovewing up. “You are ready to take on an apprentice. You have received excellent training from Lionblaze, and you have shown yourself to be intelligent and loyal. You will be the mentor of Leafpaw, and I expect you to pass on all you know to her.”
Dovewing nodded and touched noses with Leafpaw, and they stood off to the side, where Lilyheart and Snowbush were waiting proudly.
“Larkkit,” Bramblestar continued. “From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Larkpaw. Berrynose, you are ready to take on an apprentice. You received excellent training from me, and have shown yourself to be brave and enthusiastic. You will be the mentor of Larkpaw, and I expect you to pass on all you know to him.”
Berrynose touched noses with Larkpaw, and they stood off to the side with Leafpaw.
“Honeykit, from this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Honeypaw. Mousewhisker, you are ready to take on an apprentice. You have received excellent training from Spiderleg and have shown yourself to be skillful and brave. You will be the mentor of Honeypaw, and I expect you to pass on all you know to her.”
Mousewhisker touched noses with Honeypaw, then they went to join the others. “Leafpaw, Larkpaw, Honeypaw!” The Clan cried.
“There is one more ceremony to perform,” Bramblestar mewed. Bramblepaw, Firepaw, and Gingerpaw walked up to join Bramblestar.
“I, Bramblestar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on these apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as a warrior in their turn. Bramblepaw, Firepaw, and Gingerpaw, do you promise to uphold the Warrior Code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?”
“I do!” Bramblepaw and Firepaw shouted.
“I do,” Gingerpaw mewed, quieter and slower.
“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior names. Bramblepaw, from this moment you will be known as Bramblethorn. StarClan honors your bravery and loyalty, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan.” Bramblestar rested his muzzle on Bramblethorn’s head, and he licked Bramblestar’s shoulder in return.
“Firepaw,” Bramblestar continued. “From this moment you will be known as Firepelt. StarClan honors your courage and strength and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan.” Bramblestar rested his muzzle on Firepelt’s head and Firepelt licked Bramblestar’s shoulder.
“Gingerpaw, from this moment you will be known as Gingerheart. StarClan honors your energy and kindness and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan.” Bramblestar rested his muzzle on Gingerheart’s head. Gingerheart licked his shoulder in return. He stepped back.
“Bramblethorn! Firepelt! Gingerheart!” Furrypaw was cheering the loudest. Brackenfur, Lionblaze, and Cinderheart were standing near them, looking most proud. Bramblestar was looking very proud, too, considering two of the new warriors were his sons.
“Go sit your vigil,” Bramblestar ordered.
“ThunderClan is safe tonight.” Stormcloud declared.
“And we get to sleep!” Cloudtail cried enthusiastically.
“Not if you’re picked to go to the Gathering,” Cherryfall pointed out.
“Dang it!” Cloudtail moaned. Furrypaw let out a mrrow of laughter. Furrypaw wondered if Bramblestar would pick Cloudtail just because of that comment. It would be hilarious if he did!
“Go get some sleep,” Furrypaw heard a voice behind her. Jayfeather was behind her. “You want to have energy for the Gathering.”
“But I’m not tired!” Furrypaw complained. She’d used this excuse countless times as a Twoleg when her parents told her to go to bed.
“It was just a suggestion,” Jayfeather mewed. “But with your friends sitting vigil, it’s not like there’s much to do.”
Furrypaw sighed and sat down where she was as Jayfeather walked away. She thought of a song that related to her in a way at the moment, so she sang quietly: “But what hurts the most is being so close! And having so much to say. And watching you walk away. And never knowing what could’ve been! And not seeing that I’m loving you is what I was tryin’ to do.” Furrypaw was singing about Firepelt. The “never knowing what could’ve been” line didn’t work, but it was part of the song. She was so close to Firepelt, but she wasn’t allowed to be. She wanted to say so much to him, but he was walking away to sit vigil. She was trying to convince herself she didn’t love him. But it just wouldn’t work. She sighed.
Furrypaw decided to just sing random songs to make the time slip by. She started singing a few, then Berrynose, Mousewhisker, and Dovewing walked up. “We’re taking the apprentices out to see the territory,” Dovewing meowed. “Wanna come just because?”
“Sure, I really need something to do!” Furrypaw replied. As she joined the group, she noticed Berrynose scowl at her. I get it, I killed your mate, but that was like, three moons ago! When I lost my kittypets I was over it in five minutes! Move on, man! Let it go! Thinking that last line got the song Let it Go stuck in her head for the entire trip.
The trip wasn’t anything exciting, but it was something to do. Leafpaw Larkpaw and Honeypaw were having the time of their lives, smelling new smells, seeing new sights, hearing new sounds… But Furrypaw had seen all of this already. She was still bored out of her mind. She wished nightfall would hurry up and get here!
They finished their patrol and walked back to camp. “What are we going to do now?” Larkpaw asked happily. “Battle training?”
“Can we go hunting?” Leafpaw asked.
“Can you teach us to climb trees?” Honeypaw asked.
“None of those,” Dovewing meowed. “That’s all for today.”
“Come on!” Larkpaw complained.
“Please please please!!” Leafpaw begged.
“We want to train!” Honeypaw complained.
“Sorry, that starts tomorrow.” Mousewhisker mewed.
“I can teach you three how to swim,” Furrypaw suggested.
“Really?” Leafpaw asked excitedly.
“I wanna swim!” Honeypaw exclaimed.
“I bet I could swim best!” Larkpaw mewed happily.
“No, I can!” Leafpaw argued. The three new apprentices argued who would be better as they sprinted towards the lake. Furrypaw glanced at Berrynose, Mousewhisker, and Dovewing. “I feel sorry for you guys,” she mewed, before racing to catch up with the apprentices.
“Where have you been?” Larkpaw asked. “What are you, a snail?”
Furrypaw hissed at him then leaped up on her rock. “When swimming,” she started. “Simply churn your hind paws to keep your head above water. Your front paws control whether you go forward or not, and then steer by simply turning your body.”
“You make it sound easy,” Honeypaw mewed.
“It is easy,” Furrypaw replied, jumping off the rock and wading into the water, then swimming around.
Larkpaw slowly started to wade in. He got belly-deep, then complained, “It’s freezing!” and backed out quickly.
“My Twoleg brothers showed me a way around that,” Furrypaw meowed, swimming for shore.
“How?” Leafpaw asked. Furrypaw jumped back on the rock.
“Get wet all at once!” She cried, jumping off the rock and splashing into the lake. She surfaced and shook the water out of her eyes, then started swimming around. “Try it!”
Larkpaw jumped on the rock, and looked down nervously. It’s Firepaw—Firepelt—all over again! Furrypaw thought. “Don’t think about it!” Furrypaw advised him. “Just jump!”
Larkpaw glanced at her uncertainly, then stepped back, shook himself, and launched himself into the water. He surfaced and mewed, “Cold! Cold!”
Wow, déjà vu. Furrypaw thought. “Be glad you didn’t come with me and Firepelt a moon ago. It was freezing outside! And I mean freezing! Now newleaf isn’t far away, but Firepelt and I jumped in the lake in the middle of leaf-bare!”
“Why didn’t you freeze to death?” Larkpaw asked.
“You know, I’m not sure. I really should’ve at least gotten hypothermia. But, it’s a good thing we didn’t, huh?”
“What’s hypothemio?” Honeypaw asked.
“Hypothermia,” Furrypaw corrected. “And it’s what Twolegs call it when you get sick from being too cold.”
“Then I think I’m going to get hypotheme—hypothermo—that disease you just said.” Larkpaw replied. Furrypaw noticed he was shivering.
“Shivering in water is bad,” Furrypaw mewed, pushing him to the shore.
“Why aren’t you cold?” Leafpaw asked, wading in.
“Again, I really don’t know.” Furrypaw replied as Larkpaw climbed out of the water. “I’d say it’s because of my pelt, but that doesn’t exactly work in water. But maybe you two shouldn’t get in. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone getting sick. Let’s get back to camp.”
Furrypaw climbed out of the water and shook herself. Larkpaw did the same. Furrypaw led the way back to camp. Larkpaw was still shivering, so his sisters tried to warm him between their pelts.
Furrypaw pushed through the thorn barrier, passing Bramblethorn, Firepelt, and Gingerheart, who were still sitting vigil.
“Larkpaw!” Lilyheart gasped as they came in. “You’re soaking wet and freezing cold!”
“He’s the one who wanted to go swimming,” Furrypaw pointed out.
“It was your idea!” He hissed. “Now I’m going to get hypotemeia!”
“Hypothermia!” Furrypaw cried. “Honestly, is it that hard to say?”
“Yes,” Honeypaw replied.
“What’s hypotermio?” Lilyheart asked. She gasped. “Is it as bad as greencough?”
“Oh my gosh, hy-po-therm-i-a!” Furrypaw enunciated each syllable clearly. “It’s where you get sick from being too cold!”
“Then I think he is going to get sick,” Lilyheart fretted. “Get him to Jayfeather!”
“What’s all the fuss about?” Jayfeather asked, appearing from his den.
“Furrypaw threw my kit into the lake and now he’s going to get hypothemiar!” Lilyheart wailed.
“I give up!” Furrypaw cried, walking away, letting Jayfeather deal with Larkpaw.
Furrypaw looked up at the sky. I still have like five hours! She sighed. I wish Firepelt and Gingerheart weren’t stuck on silent vigil! That was another perk to being a medicine cat, Furrypaw realized. She didn’t have to sit vigil. She got her name and that was that. She got the amount of sleep and she wasn’t tormented by not being able to talk.
Furrypaw curled up in her nest and tried to go to sleep, but it was no use. She wished the Gathering would just come and give her something to do! She sat up and started singing random songs again. When Jayfeather walked in she stopped singing. “Why did you put Larkpaw in the lake?” He scolded.
“He wanted to learn how to swim! When I saw the temperature was too much for him I took him out!” Furrypaw defended herself.
“Furrypaw, we’re not RiverClan!” Jayfeather scolded. “Not every cat is as good in the water as you are! Not even some RiverClan cats are as good in the water as you are! When will you learn?”
“I’m sorry! With newleaf around the corner I didn’t think the lake would be that cold!” Furrypaw meowed.
Jayfeather sighed. “Is the big problem boredom?”
“Yes,” Furrypaw replied. “I need something to do! There are no herbs to fetch, no bedding to be cleaned, no prey to catch, Sunkit Brightkit and Cloudkit are too young for my games, Bramblethorn Firepelt and Gingerheart are on vigil, and I bet Larkpaw Leafpaw and Honeypaw want nothing to do with me now!”
She stared out at the three new warriors. She sang softly: “It almost feels like it was just a dream, all these memories of you and me.”
“I’d love to hear more of your singing,” Jayfeather mewed. “Could you sing the rest of that song?”
“I suppose,” Furrypaw mewed. Then started up. “Maybe I’m falling on my face, or maybe I’m standing in my place. And maybe we’re a million miles apart, or maybe we’re standing heart-to-heart. But no matter what I’m walking right off this stage, and never looking back, looking back to yesterday. No way, no way, I’m on my own, yeah-eah yeah! As long as I’ve got me, myself, and I I’m doing fine. So far from home… But know I know that I am gonna make it, brave enough to take this road out on my own. It almost feels like it was just a dream, all these memories of you and me.”
“You’re talent is amazing,” Jayfeather mewed. “Can you sing some more?”
Furrypaw had sung for Jayfeather for what felt like—and probably was—hours! But it had kept her busy, and now they were leaving for the Gathering. Bramblestar had picked Cloudtail, and Furrypaw wondered if it was just because of that comment he’d made earlier. It didn’t matter why Bramblestar had picked him; Cloudtail said that he’d get some sleep, and now he was picked for the late-night Gathering. That was just too funny!
Bramblestar leaned over to the three cats sitting vigil at the thorn barrier. “I’m leaving you three in charge of camp,” he mewed, and they nodded furiously. He then walked over to Brackenfur, who wasn’t coming. “You’re in charge of camp,” he whispered. Bramblethorn, Firepelt, and Gingerheart clearly heard, because all three wore expressions that said, “Hey!” and it was clear they were desperate to yell at Bramblestar. Bramblestar wore an amused expression as he pushed his way through the thorn barrier.
The chosen cats followed, and soon they were at the Gathering island. Furrypaw leaped onto the tree bridge. She was still not used to walking across the slippery bark. She turned around and found Jayfeather sitting by the edge of the tree trunk. Furrypaw sat down and held her tail down for Jayfeather to judge the distance he needed to jump. He mewed, “Okay,” and Furrypaw pulled her tail up and took a step forward, slipping. Jayfeather jumped up and steadied her. She mumbled a thank you and continued walking.
Furrypaw leaped off the tree trunk and felt grateful to be on the steady ground again, instead of the slippery bark. Furrypaw would honestly rather swim across!
Furrypaw waited for Jayfeather to land, then walked off into the clearing. Furrypaw had been too shaken by the battle last time to notice that everyone wore long scars. But now she did. She was rather surprised they hadn’t healed yet, but every cat had at least a torn ear after the battle.
Jayfeather led Furrypaw to the circle of medicine cats. “Furrypaw, I’d like to say that I’m very sorry our Clans attacked you,” Littlecloud mewed as they walked up.
“I tried to talk Onestar out of it, but his mind was made up.” Kestrelflight apologized.
“I knew from the start that you were too special to battle against,” Willowshine meowed.
“It’s okay. There was no serious harm done,” Furrypaw mewed.
“What about your deputy and leader?” Mothwing asked. Furrypaw felt a pang of sadness at the mention of Squirrelflight. She was too good of a cat to lose.
“Squirrelflight will always be missed,” Jayfeather mewed sadly. “But we’re grateful that no harm came to anyone else.
“We’re really sorry,” Littlecloud mewed again.
“Can we please talk about something else?” Furrypaw asked.
“Could you sing?” Willowshine asked eagerly.
Furrypaw thought about a good song to sing, one they hadn’t heard. Maybe a Disney song… One that didn’t have too many Twoleg references. Let it Go had been a good one, but they’d heard it twice now. She tried to think Rascal Flatts, and a song came to mind: “What do I do now that you’re gone? No backup plan, no second chance, and no one else to blame. All I can hear in the silence that remains are the words I couldn’t say.”
“You’re so talented,” Mothwing meowed.
Furrypaw sang another song. “Furrypaw,” Jayfeather interrupted. “Why don’t you sing the one you sang for me earlier, in the medicine den? Something about being on your own…”
“Oh, that one!” Furrypaw agreed. “Maybe I’m falling on my face, or maybe I’m standing in my place. And maybe we’re a million miles apart, or maybe we’re standing heart-to-heart—“ She kept going, and as she finished Mistystar yowled for silence.
Furrypaw looked up and saw Mistystar nod to Bramblestar to go first. He cleared his throat and meowed, “ThunderClan has three new apprentices, Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw.”
“Leafpaw! Larkpaw! Honeypaw!” The Clans cheered.
“We also have three new warriors, Bramblethorn, Firepelt, and Gingerheart, who are currently sitting vigil.”
“Bramblethorn! Firepelt! Gingerheart!” Everyone cheered.
Bramblestar nodded to Onestar. “WindClan has little to report. The rabbits are plentiful, and no one’s wounds are major.” He nodded to Mistystar.
“RiverClan is running smoothly, but we’d like to say again, Bramblestar, that RiverClan is deeply sorry for attacking you.”
“We understand your concern.” Bramblestar dipped his head politely to Mistystar. Mistystar nodded to Rowanstar.
“ShadowClan has no food!” He hissed. Furrypaw noticed that all the ShadowClan cats were thin, their ribs visible. He turned to Bramblestar. “Please, we beg you, to give us some of your territory!”
“No!” Bramblestar growled.
“My Clan is starving!” he insisted. “Mistystar?”
“RiverClan is keeping their own territory.” She hissed.
“What am I supposed to do?” Rowanstar yowled.
“I don’t know! It’s not my problem!” Bramblestar growled.
“Guys, stop arguing!” Mistystar yowled over the noise. “Look at the moon!” Furrypaw glanced upwards and noticed that thin clouds were starting to cover the moon. “StarClan is angry at our bickering!”
“Please, just help my Clan!” Rowanstar begged.
Bramblestar looked at him with a regretful look. “I’m sorry, but my own Clan comes first. Besides, newleaf is right around the corner. I’m sure your prey will show up soon.”
“He’s right,” Mistystar meowed. “Gathering dismissed.”
“Wait! My Clan…” Rowanstar insisted.
“Your Clan will be fine,” Bramblestar assured him, rounding up his warriors.
Furrypaw said a quick goodbye to the other warriors and followed Bramblestar away from the Gathering island. What was wrong with ShadowClan? Are they in danger?
Furrypaw awoke from her nap. She’d rested because tonight was the trip to Moonpool with the other medicine cats. She was finally going to get her full name! She’d felt left out after Bramblethorn Firepelt and Gingerheart had gotten their warrior names. Once she’d tried to play with them, and Firepelt had said, “Sorry, we’re warriors. We don’t play with little apprentices.” Then shooed her away with his tail. When she’d stared after the three warriors with sad eyes he’d said, “I’m just kidding, Furrypaw! Come join us!” but the comment had still stung her heart. Even though she’d still be Jayfeather’s apprentice, she’d have a full name, so she wouldn’t technically be an apprentice anymore.
“Are we leaving yet?” Furrypaw asked.
“It’s not quite sundown yet,” Jayfeather replied. “Why don’t you go sing with Gingerheart? You seem to like that.”
“Okay,” Furrypaw sighed. She walked out of the medicine den and instinctively walked towards the apprentices’ den to look for Gingerheart, then stopped herself and walked towards the warriors’ den. “Gingerheart?” she asked, peeking her head in.
“Yeah?” she asked.
“Want to go play?”
“Sure,” she replied, walking out of the warriors’ den. “What do you want to do?”
“I was thinking singing.” Furrypaw mewed, leading Gingerheart out of camp.
“Sing what?” Gingerheart asked, pushing her way through the thorn barrier.
Furrypaw stayed silent until they reached a private spot, then burst into song, knowing Gingerheart would know what to sing next. “In the sun, it’s a party, you and me and everybody!”
As Furrypaw had hoped, Gingerheart knew exactly what to sing next, and they continued in unison: “It’s been the best summer ever, wheels and waves, surf and shades! The best summer ever, rockin’ every night and day. Like shakes and fries, wet and dry. It all adds up to feel like the best summer ever, best summer ever!”
Gingerheart taught Furrypaw the rest of the lyrics, and they sang the rest of the songs from the movie until Jayfeather found them. “It’s time to leave for Moonpool, Furrypaw.” He mewed.
“We can play tomorrow,” Furrypaw meowed to Gingerheart. “When I have my full name!” she couldn’t help but quiver with excitement. What would it be? Furrycloud? Furryfur? Really? Furryfur? That didn’t work! Furryfoot? Furrypaw wondered all the way to the Moonpool.
Jayfeather stopped on the WindClan border, and Furrypaw stopped beside him. Kestrelflight had been waiting for them. Furrypaw hoped she wouldn’t go without Jayfeather. She’d feel so lonely…
Littlecloud approaching behind her made her jump. “You know, Littlecloud, you’re nearly an elder. Shouldn’t you think about getting an apprentice?” Jayfeather pointed out.
“I’m hoping one of Pinenose’s kits will want to be a medicine cat,” Littlecloud sighed. “They are nearly apprentices,”
“Are we ready to go?” a voice asked from the trees. Mothwing and Willowshine had shown up.
“We are now,” Kestrelflight meowed, leading the way up the stream towards the Moonpool. Furrypaw followed behind Jayfeather. For once the medicine cats didn’t ask her to sing. They walked up the slope, a bit of conversation here and there, but nothing that interested Furrypaw.
They finally reached the Moonpool. Furrypaw let her paws fall into the pawprints of the ancient cats. She spiraled down to the pool. Before the medicine cats dipped their heads to drink, Jayfeather announced, “I believe it’s time for Furrypaw to get her full name.”
“Already?” Kestrelflight asked surprised. “Could she have possibly learned all the herbs by now?”
“Don’t forget she already knew most of the herbs before she came to ThunderClan,” Jayfeather reminded them. “And StarClan told me that she deserved her name. I was going to give it to her the last half-moon, but she insisted to get her name after her sister and friends.”
“Get on with the ceremony!” Willowshine urged.
Jayfeather cleared his throat, then performed the ceremony: “I, Jayfeather, medicine cat of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of a medicine cat, and with your help she will serve her Clan for many moons. Furrypaw, do you promise to uphold the ways of a medicine cat, to stand apart from rivalry between Clan and Clan and to protect all cats equally, even at the cost of your life?”
“I do,” Furrypaw replied, her voice shaking.
“Then by the powers of StarClan I give you your true name as a medicine cat. Furrypaw, from this moment you will be known as Furrypelt. StarClan honors your dedication and enterprise, and we welcome you as a full medicine cat of ThunderClan.”
“Furrypelt! Furrypelt!” the other medicine cats cheered. As Jayfeather rested his muzzle on Furrypelt’s head. She licked his shoulder.
“Now it’s time to share tongues with StarClan,” Jayfeather mewed.
“And may it be a good dream,” Littlecloud added as Furrypelt leaned down to drink.
Furrypelt drank from the Moonpool and closed her eyes. She then opened her eyes to find herself in a starry forest. She wondered who she’d encounter this time. “Congratulations,” a voice meowed from behind her. She spun around to find Firestar staring at her, his green eyes happy. “All of StarClan is proud.”
“Yeah, congratulations, Furrypelt.” Furrypelt turned and saw Squirrelflight approaching her. “And, could you look after Alderclaw Sparkheart Firepelt and Bramblethorn for me?”
“Of course,” Furrypelt mewed. “I’ll keep their spirits up!”
“Thanks,” Squirrelflight mewed.
“We are all happy for you, Furrypelt.” Bluestar meowed from Firestar’s left. “We’re all proud.” She swept her tail around, indicating the forest, and as though rehearsed, the rest of StarClan materialized in front of her.
“Our hard work against our Clans was worth it,” Tallstar mewed.
“Thank you so much for doing that for me,” Furrypelt meowed. “It takes a lot of bravery to fight against your own Clans.”
“Anything it worth it for you,” Runningnose replied.
“We did not make a mistake,” Leopardstar agreed.
One by one, most every dead cat she’d ever heard of congratulated her. Many of them started to turn away, but Firestar and Bluestar stayed. When the others were out of sight, Firestar meowed, “Furrypelt, there are hard times up ahead, but do not fear. We are not mad at you.” Before Furrypelt could ask what he meant, she opened her eyes to find herself sitting next to the Moonpool. Soon after waking up, she understood what Firestar had meant. Unlike Leafpool when this had happened, she was not confused. She knew exactly what was coming. She’d known ever since she’d become an apprentice.
“Hey, Furrypaw!” Cherryfall greeted her. She was guarding the camp when Jayfeather and Furrypelt had gotten back.
“It’s Furrypelt now,” Furrypelt corrected.
“Oh, you have your full name now! Good for you!” Cherryfall congratulated. “You must feel lucky you’re a medicine cat. When you get your full name you don’t have to sit vigil!”
“Yeah!” Furrypelt agreed. She yawned and pushed through the thorn barrier.
Furrypelt walked to the medicine den and pushed through the bramble screen, then collapsed into her nest and immediately fell asleep.
What seemed to be heartbeats later, Furrypelt awoke in her nest to find sunlight filtering into the den. Gingerheart was over her. “Rise and shine, sleepy head!” she cried. Furrypelt moaned in response. She was tired after being at Moonpool all night. “Come on, Furrypaw! Since when do you like sleeping?”
“It’s Furrypelt!” Furrypelt hissed. She closed her eyes to sleep longer.
“Come, on, wake up!” Gingerheart cried, pushing her.
“Anna, go back to sleep!” Furrypelt moaned, pushing Gingerheart away from her and rolling over in her nest.
“But Elsa, the sky’s awake, so I’m awake, so we have to play!” Gingerheart insisted.
“Who are Anna and Elsa?” Jayfeather asked. Furrypelt opened her eyes and looked at Gingerheart. They both bust out in a fit of laughing.
“What?” Jayfeather asked.
“We were being movie characters!” Gingerheart laughed. “And it worked perfectly!”
“We’re awesome!” Furrypelt cried, still laughing, and climbed out of her nest.
“Come on! Let’s go play!” Gingerheart cried. Furrypelt followed her out of the medicine den. She led them out of the camp and into their private spot in the woods. Gingerheart immediately broke into song: “When it’s meant to be, you go kinda crazy. Meant to be, forget your name! When it’s to be, it’s destiny callin’, and nothing ever will be the same! Na na na, na na na, na na na na na na. Na na na, na na na na…”
Furrypelt knew what she was supposed to say. “When it’s meant to be, the stars seem to glisten. Meant to be, all the clouds depart! When it’s meant to be, it’s destiny callin’, and if you listen you’ll find your heart!”
“Bravo!” Furrypelt recognized the voice of Firepelt.
“Oh my gosh!” Furrypelt cried. “Can you just sense when we’ve gone to duet?!”
“Maybe,” Firepelt mewed mysteriously.
“Cut that out!” Furrypelt cried. Firepelt gave a fake frown and they all chuckled. Bramblethorn was next to him.
“If you two are going to keep appearing every time we duet, maybe you should duet.” Furrypelt suggested.
“We could do Love is an Open Door!” Gingerheart suggested. “We’ll take turns. I’ll be Anna and Bramblethorn will be Hans, and then you’ll be Anna and Firepelt will be Hans!”
“That’s a great idea!” Furrypelt agreed.
“Woah, woah, woah, there’s no way we’re doing that!” Bramblethorn cried.
“You got yourselves into it!” Furrypelt pointed out.
“We don’t even know the lyrics!” Firepelt persisted.
“You can learn,” Gingerheart mewed. The two toms sighed, clearly seeing no way out of this.
For what felt like hours, they went over the lyrics and tune to Love is an Open Door. It took Bramblethorn and Firepelt forever to be able to figure out how to hold their own part when Anna and Hans sang different notes at the same time, but they managed to do it.
“Ready?” Gingerheart asked Bramblethorn. “You and me first.”
“I guess,” Bramblethorn muttered uncertainly.
Gingerheart took this as a yes. “All my life has been a series of doors in my face. And then suddenly I bump into you.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” Bramblethorn meowed, looking uncormfortable. “’Cause like, I’ve been searching my whole to find my own place, and maybe it’s the party talkin’, or the chocolate fondue.”
Gingerheart chuckled. “But with you,”
“But with you, I’ve found my place.”
“I see your face.”
They started singing together. “And it’s nothing like I’ve ever known before. Love is an open door! Love is an open—“
Gingerheart went first. “Door!”
They went back to singing together. “Love is an open door,”
Gingerheart started singing. “With you.”
Singing together. “Love is an open door.”
They continued through the next verse and chorus. “My turn!” Furrypelt finally cried.
“You listened carefully to what I did, right?” Bramblethorn asked Firepelt.
“I tried to focus on you, but Gingerheart was louder!” Firepelt exclaimed.
“In my singing lessons I heard she has the right to be louder,” Furrypelt mewed. “The melody line—that’s Gingerheart—gets to be louder.”
“Lame!” Bramblethorn huffed.
Furrypelt and Firepelt dueted. Furrypelt thought it felt right, singing about love with Firepelt… It felt completely normal, like they really were Anna and Hans—except without the whole betrayal, try-to-kill-you-and-sister thing that the real Hans did.
“Love is an open” they both sang.
“Door.” Firepelt sang.
“Can I say something crazy?” Firepelt asked. “Will you marry me?”
“Can I say something even crazier?” Furrypelt asked. “Yes!” That moment felt especially right. In her mind it felt as though Firepelt were actually proposing. She needed to tell him that she loved him—and not just in roleplaying. She really loved him. She didn’t know what her life would be if she’d never met him. But she needed to catch him alone, private.
Now was not that time.
Firestar’s words rang in her ears. “There are hard times up ahead, but do not fear. We are not mad at you.”
Furrypelt knew what was coming. She could not deny it. She needed to tell Firepelt.
“I can’t believe we’ve been warriors for a full moon!” Gingerheart exclaimed. Furrypelt had taken Gingerheart to look for herbs.
“I’ve had my full name for a full half-moon!” Furrypelt cried, trying to sound as excited. Gingerheart gave her a look. “Yeah, I know. Not nearly as good.” Furrypelt sighed.
“You know, you could had your full name for a moon and a half by now,” Gingerheart pointed out. “Why did you have Jayfeather wait?”
“I wanted you three to get your names first.” Furrypelt replied simply.
“But, why?” Gingerheart repeated.
Furrypelt shrugged in reply. She didn’t actually know why. She just knew she wanted her friends to have their full name before her.
“So, when were you going to tell Firepelt you love him?” Gingerheart asked. The question took her by surprise. Furrypelt sighed.
“I don’t know.” She sighed.
“You’ve told me and Bramblethorn,” Gingerheart meowed. “You have to tell him at some point.”
“I feel like we’re teenagers all over again,” Furrypelt sighed.
“We kinda are,” Gingerheart mewed.
“We’re not even a year old yet!” Furrypelt cried. “How can we be teenagers?”
“We’re cats,” Gingerheart reminded her.
“Right, they age differently.” Furrypelt remembered. “That’s why I could talk and walk before I was a month old!”
“Yeah, animals are weird,” Gingerheart agreed. “Hey, isn’t that tansy over there?” she asked, pointing with her tail.
“Yes, yes it is.” Furrypelt mewed. She walked over to the clump of tansy Gingerheart had pointed out and divided the clump in half. They each took half of the tansy and walked back to camp. They probably would’ve talked, but they had their mouths full.
The two she-cats returned to camp and deposited their herbs. “You two better get some rest,” Jayfeather suggested as they walked in the medicine den. “Tonight is the Gathering.”
“Oh yeah!” Furrypelt remembered.
“Now that newleaf’s here, ShadowClan shouldn’t be complaining about loss of prey anymore,” Jayfeather mewed. “Hopefully,” he added.
“I feel like there have been three Gatherings in the last moon,” Furrypelt mewed. “Isn’t something supposed to happen in between Gatherings?”
“What do you mean?” Jayfeather asked.
“Furrypelt’s right,” Gingerheart agreed. “Usually in the Warriors books, something big happens between Gatherings. But now, it feels like nothing’s happening between the last three Gatherings!”
“What do you mean? You two got your full names.” Jayfeather meowed.
“Yeah, but that’s all that happened!” Furrypelt explained.
“You’ve lost me.” Jayfeather meowed.
“We tend to do that,” Gingerheart mewed. Furrypelt chuckled.
“Why do I bother talking to you two?” Jayfeather wondered quietly. Furrypelt and Gingerheart chuckled again.
“Think I’ll be able to go to this Gathering?” Gingerheart asked.
“I hope so,” Furrypelt replied. “Bramblestar’s not taking me without my sister!”
“He’s done it twice,” Jayfeather pointed out. Furrypelt hissed at him. Jayfeather jumped back in surprise. Furrypelt immediately felt guilty. Hissing at my own mentor! What is wrong with me?
“Sorry,” Furrypelt mumbled. Jayfeather shook his head and started pulling out herbs. Furrypelt felt that was all Jayfeather did lately. Doesn’t he get bored?
“Furrypelt, want to go play?” Gingerheart asked.
“Sure,” Furrypelt replied.
“Don’t you two ever sleep?” Jayfeather asked.
“Only when we’re tired,” Furrypelt replied.
“So you never get tired?” Jayfeather asked disbelievingly.
Gingerheart and Furrypelt shared a glance and at the same time replied, “Nope!”
Jayfeather sighed. “It’s going to be tough having you two around camp.”
“We know!” Furrypelt and Gingerheart replied at the same time. “Jinx!” they’d said that at the same time too. “Jinx! Jinx! Jinx! Jinx! Jinx! Jin—“
“Shut up!” Jayfeather cried. Furrypelt and Gingerheart stopped talking and cringed in fear. Jayfeather sighed. “Go play.”
The two she-cats hurried out of the medicine den. “Why is he always so grumpy?” Gingerheart asked.
“I think he was born that way,” Furrypelt replied. She lowered her voice. “Probably inherited it from Crowfeather.” Gingerheart let out a small chuckle. They sat in silence, trying to figure out what to do. “Tag, you’re it!” Furrypelt tapped Gingerheart’s back with a forepaw and bolted off to the other end of camp. Gingerheart pelted after her, quickly gaining. Furrypelt sped up, skidding as she turned because of how fast she was going. Gingerheart turned earlier, quickly catching up with Furrypelt. Furrypelt tried to go even faster, but she was running out of energy.
“Tag, you’re it!” Gingerheart cried, tapping Furrypelt with her tail as Furrypelt slowed down. Furrypelt stopped dead to catch her breath, while Gingerheart bounced away, with seemingly never-ending energy.
“How do you do this?” Furrypelt panted. Gingerheart laughed.
Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw came in through the thorn barrier and saw Furrypelt and Gingerheart playing tag some time later. The three new apprentices joined the game, and it managed to last for hours. Eventually, Larkpaw ran out the thorn barrier, hoping Furrypelt wouldn’t spot him, but Furrypelt knew where he went. Furrypelt flicked her tail and the other three cats followed her out of camp, and the game continued in the woods. There were many places to hide so the tagger wouldn’t get you, and Gingerheart even climbed a tree to get away from Furrypelt at one point. However, it wasn’t a very big tree, so Furrypelt simply shook it from the bottom, and she fell out. Furrypelt walked over and tagged her, then sprang away.
“Furrypelt?” Jayfeather’s voice sounded from the direction of camp. He appeared through the undergrowth to find Furrypelt standing there in a clearing, waiting for him. Gingerheart dropped from a tree, landing on Furrypelt. They both fell to the ground.
“You’re it!” she cried, running away into the undergrowth.
“Gingerheart, come back!” Jayfeather called. “It’s time to go to the Gathering!”
Gingerheart came back, and so did Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw. “Do we get to go, too?” Larkpaw asked.
“I don’t know. I only know for certain that Furrypelt and Gingerheart is coming.” Jayfeather replied. The three apprentices stared at their paws sadly. “But you might be coming,” Jayfeather meowed quickly. “Come back to camp, just in case, and I’ll ask Bramblestar.”
“Okay!” Leafpaw mewed eagerly, bolting in the direction of camp. Her siblings followed. “Wait up!” they called after her.
“Apprentices,” Jayfeather muttered. “Let’s go you two,” he added, addressing Gingerheart and Furrypelt. They followed him, panting, back to camp.
They came back to find Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw dancing around excitedly. “I guess they’re coming,” Furrypelt mewed. She pushed her way into the group going to the Gathering, with Gingerheart behind her. They set off into the night. Furrypelt wondered how she hadn’t noticed it was getting dark while she’d been playing tag.
They trekked through the woodland, across the moors, and on the marshy wet ground as they made their way to the island. They reached the tree bridge. This would be her fourth Gathering—she should know how to walk on the tree bridge by now. She leaped up and dug her claws into the slippery bark. Gingerheart was in front of her, having the same trouble.
Furrypelt let her tail down for Jayfeather to judge the distance to the top of the tree trunk. Furrypelt walked forward a pace, started slipping, and dug her claws into the bark as Jayfeather leaped up. “I won’t always be here to steady you, you know.” He mewed.
“By that time I should be able to walk without slipping.” She mewed. “Hopefully.” Furrypelt really hoped Jayfeather wouldn’t die young. She was still in that stage where she knew what to do but without her mentor to help she felt lost.
Furrypelt walked carefully across the tree bridge, nearly bumping into Gingerheart. Gingerheart gingerly stepped to the edge of the tree bridge and leaped off, landing awkwardly in the grass. Furrypelt bounded off the tree bridge after her, and Jayfeather landed right after her. They all had clumsy landings. Berrynose chuckled at this as he landed smoothly behind them. Jayfeather hissed and led Furrypelt to the circle of medicine cats. Furrypelt looked back to when she was a kit in the horseplace. Now she was a true medicine cat, part of ThunderClan.
“Hey, Furrypelt!” Willowshine greeted her warmly. Furrypelt was glad they lived outside Clan rivalries.
“Hi, Willowshine,” Furrypelt mewed. Furrypelt turned to Littlecloud. “Still no apprentice?” she asked.
“Pinenose’s kits don’t become apprentices for another moon,” Littlecloud responded. Furrypelt noticed he was frail and thin. He really should’ve retired by now. But then again, not without an apprentice.
“What happens when a medicine cat dies without having an apprentice, or an apprentice without his or her full name?” Furrypelt asked. The other four medicine cats stared at her.
“I don’t know,” Littlecloud replied slowly. Mothwing Willowshine and Jayfeather shook their heads.
“I guess it’s unimportant,” Furrypelt mewed. “You know, unless Littlecloud were to die before picking an apprentice.”
“I hope I’m not on my way to StarClan,” Littlecloud meowed. “And I was supposed to have a backup medicine cat,” Littlecloud’s eyes filled with grief. “But StarClan had to take Flametail.”
“I’m sorry,” Furrypelt mewed. When she’d heard about Flametail’s death, she couldn’t believe it. He had been too young…
“Let’s talk about something else,” Mothwing suggested.
Furrypelt knew to take everyone’s minds off Flametail, she needed to break into song. She stepped forward. “Switch on the sky and the stars glow for you. Go see the world ‘cause it’s all so brand-new. Don’t close your eyes ‘cause your future’s ready to shine, it’s just a matter of time before we learn how to fly! Welcome to the rhythm of the night! There’s something in the air you can’t deny.”
“That’s beautiful!” Willowshine cried.
“You didn’t even hear the whole song!” Furrypelt complained. She sang the rest of When Can I See You Again? for the medicine cats. Bramblestar gave a yowl and the clearing fell silent.
“First off,” Bramblestar mewed. “Jayfeather’s apprentice has gotten her full name, Furrypelt.”
“Furrypelt! Furrypelt!” everyone cheered.
“Other than that nothing’s happening.” Bramblestar finished. He nodded to Mistystar.
“We have one new warrior, Foxclaw.” Mistystar mewed.
“Foxclaw! Foxclaw!” the Clans cheered.
Mistystar nodded to Onestar. “WindClan has nothing to report. Prey is running well, especially now that newleaf is here.”
He nodded to Rowanstar. At the mention of food, Furrypelt noticed that ShadowClan still looked thin, their ribs showing. “My Clan is hungry!” he yowled. “Please, Bramblestar, Mistystar, give up a bit of your territory, please, Kinkfur has died from starvation!”
Gasps rose up from the other three Clans.
“Can’t you see what we’re struggling with?” Rowanstar mewed. “Bramblestar, please, I’m begging you,”
“I’m sorry, Rowanstar, but as I said last moon, my own Clan comes first. But I will be happy to send some cats to figure out why your prey has disappeared, if you like.”
Rowanstar hissed. “Mistystar?” he asked hopefully.
“I’m not sure you’d like the prey you find on our territory,” Mistystar mewed. “Besides, as Bramblestar said, my own Clan comes first.”
“Onestar?” Rowanstar asked hopefully.
“I don’t even border you! That doesn’t make any sense!” Onestar exclaimed. “Leave me out of this!”
Rowanstar sighed. “Bramblestar, I’ll take your cats. I need to know why I have no prey, and I need this to be fixed.”
“Very well,” Bramblestar mewed, dipping his head. “I’ll send a patrol in the morning.”
“Thank you,” Rowanstar meowed gratefully.
“There must always be four Clans in the forest,” Bramblestar replied.
“Gathering dismissed,” Rowanstar mewed, leaping out of the tree and gathering his Clan. Onestar did the same, then Mistystar, and Bramblestar leaped out last.
“You’re seriously sending out patrols to figure out what happened to ShadowClan’s prey?” Mousewhisker asked as he landed.
“I had to.” Bramblestar replied calmly.
“Why should we care about ShadowClan?” Mousewhisker asked confused.
“There must always be four Clans!” Bramblestar hissed, rounding on him. Mousewhisker shrank back. “It is StarClan’s will!” Bramblestar turned around and continued to the three bridge. Furrypelt followed slowly, suddenly scared of Bramblestar.
Furrypelt leapt onto the tree bridge and let her tail down for Jayfeather. She took a step forward and Jayfeather jumped up behind her and gave her a nudge. Furrypelt walked forward, digging her claws into the slippery bark. Furrypelt leapt off the other edge, too eager to get off to look below her. She fell on a cat, and got up to find Gingerheart on the ground. “Sorry,” she mewed quickly. Then she felt weight on top of her. She turned her head. “Jayfeather!”
“Sorry! I’m blind. Can’t see,” he scrambled up and joined the rest of the group. Furrypelt and Gingerheart hurried after him.
Furrypelt awoke in her nest the next day. She was woken by the sunlight filtering in through the bramble screen. She stood up and stretched, and, careful not to wake Jayfeather, pushed through the bramble screen and stood in the newleaf sun. She had a thick pelt, but it was early morning, so the sun felt good. She looked around camp. Ever since she was a Twoleg, she’d noticed how that early in the morning and in the evening before the sun set, everything was gold, and the colors were so beautiful… But during the afternoon the sun is too powerful and everything is ruined.
Furrypelt noticed Cloudtail grumbling as he pushed his way out of the warriors’ den. “Dawn patrol,” he muttered. “I just want to sleep!” Furrypelt knew he was getting old. Was he old enough to be an elder? She was pretty sure it didn’t matter what age you were to be an elder, so long as it wasn’t like, new-warrior-age or younger.
Furrypelt watched the rest of the dawn patrol wander out of their den. Bramblestar appeared from the Highledge. Before the dawn patrol could leave, he yowled, at the top of his lungs, “Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the Highledge for a Clan meeting!”
Berrynose grumbled as he walked out of the warriors’ den. “Did you invite another Twoleg cat to join us overnight?” he growled.
“No, but it is about something that happened last night.” Bramblestar replied. He waited for everyone to get up, then meowed, “Last night at the Gathering, I told ShadowClan that I would send a patrol this morning to figure out what was happening to their prey,” Bramblestar meowed. “I will pick the cats now and they can be off.”
Bramblestar studied the crowd beneath him. “Brackenfur, Birchfall, Gingerheart, and Furrypelt.”
“Gingerheart and Furrypelt?!” Cloudtail spluttered. “Furrypelt’s a medicine cat, and Gingerheart’s a new warrior! Besides, they’re both Twolegs!”
“Exactly,” Bramblestar mewed.
“What?” Cloudtail cried.
“They’re Twolegs, which means if the Twolegs are the reason ShadowClan has no prey, then they can figure out what the Twolegs are doing, and what we can do about it.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Cloudtail grumbled.
“Dawn patrols may be off. And you four,” Bramblestar addressed the four cats he’d chosen to check out ShadowClan. “May StarClan light your path.”
“Thank you, Bramblestar, but I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Brackenfur assured him. The golden tom’s pelt shone under the sunlight. He motioned with his tail for the rest of the patrol to follow him.
“Our first warrior mission!” Gingerheart squealed to Furrypelt.
“Yeah, yeah, don’t be too excited. We’re going into ShadowClan’s territory, remember?” Birchfall growled.
“So?” Gingerheart asked.
“Yeah, this could be fun!” Furrypelt agreed.
“Yeah, Birchfall, cheer up.” Brackenfur told the tabby tom. Birchfall rolled his eyes and they kept walking.
While they were walking, Furrypelt trod on a thorn. She yowled in surprise and leaped backwards, falling into a bramble patch. Birchfall howled with laughter, and Gingerheart chuckled, while Brackenfur immediately came to her rescue. Even though she was in pain, Furrypelt started laughing too. She must’ve looked ridiculous!
“Are you okay?” Brackenfur asked, concerned.
“Yeah, I think so,” Furrypelt mewed. She sat down to lick her injuries. She started rolling around to reach them, and realized she must just look even sillier, like her kittypet Belle. When she took a bath, she was always rolling around, trying to catch a body part to clean it.
Furrypelt stood up, covered in scratches—though most had barely scraped the skin because of how thick her pelt was—and kept moving. “I looked ridiculous, didn’t I?” Furrypelt asked Gingerheart.
“Well,” Gingerheart mewed, obviously trying to spare her feelings. “You didn’t look that bad,”
“Don’t bother with my feelings. Just tell me the truth.” Furrypelt meowed.
“You look hilarious!” Gingerheart cried. She imitated Furrypelt. She put her paw down, leaped backwards and fell, then started rolling around in the dirt. Furrypelt couldn’t help but laugh. Suddenly, Gingerheart dissolved, as did Birchfall and Brackenfur. But the forest was still there.
Furrypelt saw two ginger-and-white cats laying on their sides, screaming in pain, with a gray figure struggling to take care of both of them. Words rang in her ears: There will come another, one who should never have come. Firestar’s words came back to her: There are hard times up ahead, but do not fear. We are not mad at you. Furrypelt knew exactly what would happen; she had not needed visions and prophecies. She’d foreseen this ever since her apprentice ceremony. However Firestar’s words were reassuring.
“Furrypelt!” someone’s voice rang in her ears. “Furrypelt! Come on! Are you going to stand there all day?” Furrypelt blinked her eyes and saw Birchfall turned around calling to her. He, Brackenfur, and Gingerheart were far ahead.
“Sorry,” Furrypelt muttered, running to catch up.
“You had a vision,” Gingerheart mewed quietly in her ear.
“What?” Furrypelt mewed. Her comment had taken her by surprise.
“You had a vision, from StarClan.”
“What gave it away?” Furrypelt asked.
“You’re a medicine cat, for one thing, and you were staring off into space just standing still, plus I’ve read every single Warriors book. I took a wild guess.” Gingerheart replied. Furrypelt smiled.
Furrypelt bumped into Brackenfur, who had stopped. “Why did we stop?” she asked.
“This is the border,” Brackenfur explained. “We’ll wait for a patrol.”
“I forgot this is how we do things,” Gingerheart sighed.
They waited for what felt like hours. “We need to attract their attention somehow,” Brackenfur mewed.
“I’ll take care of that,” Furrypelt mewed. She need a loud, heavy song. One immediately popped into her head. “Ohh, if there’s one thing I hang onto, it gets me through the night, I ain’t gonna to do what I don’t want to; I’m gonna live my life! Shining like a diamond! Rolling with the dice! Standing on a ledge I show the wind how to fly! When the world gets in my face I say, have a nice day! Have a nice day-ay-ay!”
“Hey! Who’s making all the noise?” someone called from ShadowClan’s side of the border. Furrypelt’s plan had worked. A patrol appeared from the trees. “Ugh, ThunderClan!” Scorchfur hissed. “What do you want, and why are you making all the noise?”
Brackenfur covered Birchfall’s mouth with his tail, as though worried the younger warrior would say something and make a mistake, then calmly stepped forward. “Last night at the Gathering, Bramblestar gave Rowanstar an offer to help ShadowClan with their loss of prey. He accepted, and Bramblestar said that he’d send a patrol this morning. We’re that patrol, and we didn’t want to go onto your territory without you knowing.”
“So you decided to scare the little prey we have?” Ferretclaw hissed.
“Well, you weren’t coming, and we didn’t feel like waiting until sunhigh!” Birchfall growled. Brackenfur shot him a look.
“I’m sorry about that,” Furrypelt apologized. “I figured singing would be the best way to attract your attention.”
“Well you got that right,” Ferretclaw growled.
“You had to bring the two Twoleg cats?” Scorchfur asked in disbelief.
“If Twolegs are the reason you don’t have prey, who better to ask what’s going on than Twolegs?” Brackenfur reasoned.
“Fine,” Scorchfur hissed. “But you’re not coming onto our territory without us escorting you.”
“Understood.” Brackenfur dipped his head.
“Why don’t you check that Twoleg nest on your territory?” Furrypelt suggested. Ferretclaw rounded on her.
“Why should we listen to you?” He asked. He stared at her. “And why do you look like you fell in a patch of brambles?”
“It might because I fell in a patch of brambles.” Furrypelt replied. Ferretclaw let out a mrrow of laughter.
“Let’s get going,” Scorchfur hissed. He and his patrol surrounded ThunderClan’s.
Scorchfur clearly took Furrypelt’s suggestion and walked in the direction of the Twoleg nest. As they approached, they heard loud noises. The eight cats shrank back, but continued nonetheless.
Furrypelt walked cautiously forward. She didn’t remember Twoleg things being that loud. Then again, as a Twoleg, she had had pretty pitiful hearing. Not only were Twoleg ears simply worse than cat ears, but even for a Twoleg her hearing had been rather bad. Not so bad that you had to scream, but, worse than most people’s.
Furrypelt suddenly bumped into Gingerheart, who had stopped. She looked past her to see the rest of the patrol had stopped. Beyond that was a Twoleg nest. Loud construction noise was coming from it. What was going on?
Furrypelt observed the Twoleg nest, and discovered that there was construction above the nest for the monsters. Furrypelt was confused on why they needed it. However, she had always wanted a special hangout room above the garage, so she could understand.
“They’re building an over-garage apartment!” Furrypelt meowed to Gingerheart. “Or a movie theater. Or a video games room.”
“Either way they’re building something above the garage and making noise.” Gingerheart confirmed.
“Yes.” Furrypelt replied.
“What’s a garage?” Scorchfur asked.
“It’s what Twolegs call the nest for their cars.” Furrypelt replied, immediately spotting her mistake: Clan cats didn’t know the term car.
“Stop making up words!” Ferretclaw hissed.
“She’s not!” Gingerheart defended Furrypelt. “It’s just she’s used to talking like a Twoleg. It’s a pretty hard habit to break, you know.”
“Cars are monsters.” Furrypelt explained coldly.
“Monsters get their own nests?!” Scorchfur exclaimed.
“Yeah, you guys didn’t know that?” Brackenfur asked.
“Why would we know that?” Ferretclaw asked. Furrypelt looked at the other two cats in the patrol, Rippletail and Sparrowtail, and wondered why they’d been silent.
“I don’t know.” Brackenfur replied. “I just forgot that ShadowClan aren’t that smart!”
“What did you say?” Scorchfur hissed.
“I said—“ Brackenfur started.
“Woah! Guys, let’s not fight! It won’t help anyone!” Gingerheart cried, jumping between the two fighting warriors.
“So how are we supposed to stop them?” Rippletail growled, speaking for the first time.
“We can’t,” Furrypelt mewed. “Only other Twolegs can stop them. Besides, they’re not going to stop a project in the middle and give up forever. You’ve been losing prey for three months—moons—now, yes?”
“Roughly,” Scorchfur replied. “Why?”
“They appear to be almost done, so if you can just wait them out, they’ll be gone in no time.” Furrypelt finished.
“We can’t just, just, wait them out!” Ferretclaw spluttered. “Kinkfur died because we were ‘waiting them out’!”
“With newleaf here, ThunderClan has extra prey,” Brackenfur mewed. “We could drop off a share of it every day for you until they’re gone, which, if Furrypelt is right, shouldn’t be long. Maybe another moon at most.” He glanced at Furrypelt to confirm his last statement. She nodded and he looked back at Scorchfur.
“That’s an insult to ShadowClan!” Sparrowtail hissed.
“You’re desperate,” Brackenfur reminded them. “I could bring Bramblestar to Rowanstar, and they could make a deal about prey.”
Scorchfur stared at Brackenfur, and Brackenfur held his gaze for quite some time. “Very well,” Scorchfur hissed at last. “We’ll go back to Rowanstar. We expect you to be at our camp with Bramblestar by sunhigh.”
“We’ll be there,” Brackenfur promised. The ShadowClan patrol surrounded Brackenfur’s, and they escorted ThunderClan off their territory. Furrypelt and the rest of the patrol crossed the border marker, then ShadowClan stalked off into the trees.
“What did you do?!” Birchfall cried as soon as ShadowClan was out of earshot. “We can’t afford to give prey to them!”
“Yes we can!” Gingerheart scolded him. “Newleaf is here! Compared to ShadowClan, we have more prey than we know what to do with!”
Birchfall hissed at her. “Well, she’s right you know.” Brackenfur meowed evenly. “Come on, Birchfall! What happened to the enthusiastic warrior? You’re starting to sound like Berrynose!”
“Sorry,” Birchfall mewed. “I just really don’t like ShadowClan, and don’t want anything to do with them!”
“Understandable,” Furrypelt meowed.
“Let’s get back to camp and tell Bramblestar,” Brackenfur decided. He looked up at the sky. The sun was more than three quarters to the top of the sky. “And quickly!”
The four cats ran back to camp. As they pushed through the thorn barrier, Brackenfur called, “Bramblestar! Bramblestar!”
Bramblestar hurried from the Highledge. “What is it, Brackenfur?” he asked anxiously.
“We ended up scheduling a meeting with Rowanstar at ShadowClan’s camp at sunhigh,” Brackenfur mewed quickly. “And it’s nearly sunhigh!”
“Wait, what happened?” Bramblestar asked confused.
“No time to explain!” Brackenfur insisted. “We need to move!” He started pushing Bramblestar out of camp.
“Lionblaze, you’re in charge!” Bramblestar called over his shoulder as Brackenfur pushed him through the thorn barrier. Furrypelt, Gingerheart, and Birchfall ran after them. “That’s no way to treat your Clan leader!” Bramblestar hissed.
“Sorry,” Brackenfur apologized. “But if we don’t get moving, ShadowClan will claw our ears off! Come on!” He took off through the trees. Bramblestar sighed and followed him. Birchfall followed, then Gingerheart, and Furrypelt ended up in the back.
Furrypelt had trouble staying with the group. Brackenfur was moving so fast… Even Bramblestar was having trouble! “Brackenfur, slow down!” Bramblestar panted. Brackenfur slowed his pace, but just a little bit. Brackenfur crossed the ShadowClan border without stopping and pelted through the pine forest. He slipped on the pine needles underpaw and fell. “I told you you need to slow down,” Bramblestar mewed, skidding to a stop on the needles and pulling Brackenfur to his paws.
“Sorry,” Brackenfur mewed again. “I just really don’t want to become ShadowClan’s lunch!”
“Brackenfur, we have plenty of time.” Bramblestar reassured the panting golden warrior.
“Do we?” Birchfall asked, glancing up. It was practically sunhigh. Brackenfur glanced up too and Furrypelt knew what was coming.
“No, we don’t!” Brackenfur cried, taking off again. The other four cats sighed and ran after him.
After quite a bit of running, they were stopped. “What do you think you’re doing?” It was Tawnypelt. She stopped dead when she saw Bramblestar. “Bramblestar!” She exclaimed. She ran up to touch noses with him. Bramblestar purred loudly as he greeted his sister.
“Tawnypelt! What’s going on here?” Crowfrost appeared from the camp. “Oh, why is ThunderClan here?”
“That’s what I was about to find out—“ Tawnypelt started.
“And then you found your brother,” Crowfrost hissed. “Speaking of which, why is ThunderClan’s leader here?”
“Ask Scorchfur, or Ferretclaw, or Rippletail, or Sparrowtail, or Rowanstar!” Brackenfur hissed. “Scorchfur said he’d tell Rowanstar we were coming. He didn’t tell you?”
“No,” Crowfrost growled. “But come in.”
The five ThunderClan cats followed them in, Tawnypelt staying close to Bramblestar. Furrypelt thought this act of affection was adorable.
“Rowanstar!” Crowfrost called. “ThunderClan is here!”
“Coming!” Rowanstar called. He didn’t sound surprised at all.
“Why wouldn’t they tell me?” Crowfrost muttered as Rowanstar appeared from a den.
“Scorchfur! Ferretclaw! Rippletail! Sparrowtail!” Rowanstar called. “Bramblestar, I take it you are filled in on the details.”
“No, actually, I was rushed out of camp too quickly so I could get to the meeting.” Bramblestar replied with a glance at Brackenfur. “I actually have no idea what happened.”
Furrypelt volunteered to explain the whole thing. She did, down to the part about giving ShadowClan ThunderClan prey.
“I’m willing to give you prey, Rowanstar, if you’re willing to accept help. I won’t do it if you don’t want me to, because I don’t want to insult your Clan.” Bramblestar mewed when Furrypelt had finished.
“Hmm,” Rowanstar started debating with himself quietly. “We are desperate… Very well, Bramblestar. We will accept your offer.”
“I will send an extra hunting patrol daily, and anything they catch is yours. We’ll leave it on the border.” Bramblestar meowed.
“Thank you, Bramblestar. ShadowClan is grateful.” Rowanstar dipped his head.
“Goodbye,” Bramblestar dipped his head and waved his tail for the others to follow him.
“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the Highledge for a Clan meeting!” Bramblestar called. Everyone gathered beneath without any comments and waited for him to speak. “We have discovered the reason of the disappearance of ShadowClan’s prey. Twolegs are building onto their nest, to expand it. It’s a little loud and is scaring the prey. But it isn’t big, and Furrypelt claims it’ll be over soon, but that there’s no way to stop it. So, every day we’ll have an extra hunting patrol. Whatever they catch is to be deposited on the ShadowClan border. Understood?”
Yeses rippled through the crowed. Bramblestar flicked his tail at Lionblaze. Lionblaze quickly started forming an extra patrol. Furrypelt yawned. She had gotten up earlier than usual. She walked into the medicine den and curled up in her nest for a nap.
She opened her eyes to find herself in a forest, but not a starry forest. Two ginger-and-white she-cats were lying on the forest floor, with a gray tom standing over them. They were screaming in agony, each of them had a huge belly.
There will come another, one who should never have come.
Hard times are coming, but do not fear. We are not mad at you.
Furrypelt opened her eyes again. She had to tell Firepelt.
Furrypelt listened carefully. She dropped into the hunter’s crouched and snuck up slowly. She pounced, and walked back to Hollytuft with a plump squirrel in her jaws. “Nice catch!” she approved. Furrypelt nodded absently. It had been a half moon since ThunderClan’s agreement with ShadowClan. Their amount of prey hadn’t lifted any, so they still had to hunt. Too few cats were willing to hunt for ShadowClan, so Furrypelt had had to step in and help. She suddenly hadn’t found time to tell Firepelt she loved him.
Furrypelt dove back into the forest to look for more prey. They already had a decent pile for ShadowClan, but it needed a finishing touch. She sniffed and listened. She dropped and advanced, then pounced and killed the mouse with a swift bite to the neck. She brought it back to Hollytuft. “Perfect!” Furrypelt mewed. “We should bring this to the border.”
Hollytuft nodded. She flicked her tail to the rest of the group: Fernsong, Alderclaw, and Sparkheart. They each picked up a share of the prey and started towards the ShadowClan border.
Furrypelt was getting annoyed with this. How long did it take to build an over-garage apartment? And besides, when she’d been in the Twoleg world, she’d watched a neighbor build a room over their garage, and it wasn’t noisy at all! Furrypelt shrugged. That was what they were doing and it was noisy. As she often said, it was better not to question it.
Furrypelt arrived at the ShadowClan border and deposited her prey, then the patrol turned around and headed back for camp. Furrypelt sighed. She’d never noticed how much Twolegs got in the way with the wild. Even the simplest of things could cause major issues… She’d always been taught as a Twoleg to avoid these problems, but apparently not enough kids listened to Disney. And now ShadowClan was suffering because of it! Couldn’t they understand? What about the thousands of people who read Warriors? Didn’t they know the trouble Twolegs could cause the Clans? Why weren’t they trying to spread the word of conversation? Furrypelt then remembered that most people thought Warriors was made up. Even still, if you live near a forest, keep it down! Otherwise you could be the difference between life and death!
Furrypelt pushed through the thorn barrier. She looked around for Firepelt, but she did not see him, nor did she sc ent him. Must be on patrol, she thought. Never going to have time to talk to him. I haven’t had time in a half moon! Furrypelt was getting frustrated with ShadowClan. It had taken away her time with Firepelt!
She suddenly scented him. He was returning from patrol!
Furrypelt rushed up to greet him. He noticed her eagerness, then walked to the fresh-kill pile, deposited his catch, then walked back to Furrypelt. “What’s up?” he asked.
“Come with me,” Furrypelt mewed. “In the forest.”
“Why?” Firepelt asked, curious.
“Just come on!” Furrypelt insisted. Firepelt shrugged and followed Furrypelt into the forest. There was something important she needed to tell him, and she wanted to do it musically first, so she wasn’t telling him straight-up, but he should be able to get the message.
Furrypelt led Firepelt to her private spot where she and Gingerheart sang together. She took a deep breath and looked Firepelt right in the eye. “When I look in your eyes, I forget for a while there’s a world spinning ‘round, life in motion! And I just wanna stay in your arms for a day and we’ll live our love, it’s the time of our lives. And you will always be the song in my heart. And I’ll sing your melody! And at the end of the day, you can’t take that away, oh-oh-oh-oh!” She looked at Firepelt, hoping he understood, but he stared back at her with a blank expression.
“That was beautiful, Furrypelt, but was that all you wanted to tell me? Why did you have to do it in private?”
Furrypelt sighed. “Firepelt,” she whispered. “I love you.”
Firepelt stared back astonished. “Furrypelt, you can’t love me, you’re a medicine cat!” Firepelt reminded her.
“I know, I know, but, I can’t resist the feelings I have for you!” Furrypelt explained. “Don’t you feel the same about me?”
“I do, but, I can’t, Furrypelt! I can’t have you break the medicine cat code for me!” Firepelt persisted.
“Firepelt! You feel the same way, can’t we leave it at that? Can’t we just accept we have feelings for each other and move on?”
“Furrypelt, I don’t think you understand—“
“I do.” Furrypelt interrupted, and she told him all about the prophecies she’d been getting.
“So we’re meant to be together,” Firepelt mewed when she’d finished.
“Yes!” Furrypelt meowed, grateful that he understood.
“I can do that,” Firepelt mewed, smiling. Furrypelt was glad he’d accepted. She couldn’t imagine what she’d do if Firepelt had turned her down.
“You’ll be a good father,” Furrypelt whispered.
“You-you’re not expecting, are you?” Firepelt asked worriedly.
“No, no,” Furrypelt reassured him. “Not yet.” She knew she would be eventually.
“Yet?” he asked.
“I just told you the prophecy! I will have kits eventually! Please, don’t tell anyone. When they’re ready, I’ll tell them myself.” Furrypelt mewed.
“You have my word.” Firepelt promised.
“Thanks!” Furrypelt rubbed against Firepelt and purred. Firepelt purred with her.
“I’ve always had feelings for you, ever since we were apprentices.” Firepelt whispered.
“Me too,” Furrypelt whispered back. Furrypelt never wanted to leave his side.
“Furrypelt!” Jayfeather called. “Could you get me some dock?” Jayfeather appeared through the trees and Furrypelt and Firepelt instantly separated.
“What’s going on?” Jayfeather asked. He sniffed the air and clearly knew both Furrypelt and Firepelt were there. “Oh, no, please don’t tell me this is about that relationship thing!”
“She was given a prophecy!” Firepelt hissed. “She’s destine to be my mate and destine to have kits, okay?!”
“What?!” Jayfeather exclaimed. “Furrypelt, what is he talking about?”
Furrypelt sighed and reluctantly told Jayfeather. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Jayfeather asked.
“I don’t know,” Furrypelt admitted. “It just didn’t feel right.”
“If it’s meant to be, then I’ll help you get through this,” Jayfeather promised. “I’ll make sure your kits are delivered safely and that no one knows they’re yours.”
“A few people need to know,” Furrypelt mewed.
“Like who?” Jayfeather asked.
“You, Firepelt, Gingerheart, Bramblethorn, and my kits.”
“You saw what happened with Leafpool and her family! The family needs to know who their family members are!”
“You make a fair case,” Jayfeather mewed. “If I’d known Leafpool was my mother when I was a little kit, my life would probably be better off.”
“Jayfeather, please don’t tell anyone about this,” Firepelt begged.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep this a secret.” Jayfeather promised. “Now go get some dock.”
“Okay,” Furrypelt sighed, reluctant to leave Firepelt.
“I’ll come with you.” Firepelt offered. Furrypelt purred so loud she couldn’t reply.
Furrypelt was sorting herbs for once, while Jayfeather was collecting herbs. It was nice to be alone in the medicine den with just her thoughts for once. It had been a half moon since she’d admitted to Firepelt she was in love with him. She’d gone to the Moonpool the next night, and they’d confirmed that she’d done the right thing, and was following her destiny. Furrypelt knew what was lying ahead. When would it happen?
Furrypelt heard Jayfeather coming in. He dropped some marigold at her paws. She put them away for him. She glanced outside and realized that the sun was starting to set. It would be time to go to the Gathering soon. She wondered if the prey was starting to come back yet.
Furrypelt and Jayfeather worked with herbs a little longer until Lionblaze came into their den. “It’s time to go,” the deputy announced. Furrypelt thought it weird to have Lionblaze as deputy. But, not as weird as Squirrelflight as deputy. But the loss of Squirrelflight still pained her.
Furrypelt shook the thought away and followed Jayfeather and Lionblaze out into the clearing, where the others were gathering to go to the Gathering. Soon everyone was ready, and Bramblestar set off through the forest. Furrypelt watched as the sun slowly set, the sky—and the water—changing from a brilliant blue, to a purple, to a blood red, to black. The full moon floated high in the sky by time they reached the Gathering island. It suddenly occurred to Furrypelt that every moon she passed by her parents. Why didn’t she ever visit? Was she allowed to on the way to the Gathering? She’d be leaving the two-tail-lengths-from-water boundary…
Furrypelt jumped up on the tree bridge and set her tail down for Jayfeather. She was finally able to cross without slipping, and leaped down gracefully at the end, Jayfeather landing awkwardly beside her.
Furrypelt walked over to the typical circle of medicine cats. She noticed that there was one more, a brown tom with white splotches. He was standing next to Littlecloud. Jayfeather followed close behind. “Littlecloud! Who’s the new apprentice?” Jayfeather asked.
“This is Puddlepaw,” Littlecloud replied. “He’s Pinenose’s son. “I’m so glad he chose to be a medicine cat!”
“I want to heal my Clan,” Puddlepaw replied quietly. “And help them.”
“I didn’t see you at Moonpool,” Furrypelt commented. “When did you become apprenticed?”
“A quarter-moon ago,” Puddlepaw replied shyly.
“There’s no need to be shy,” Willowshine soothed.
“Let me introduce you to everyone,” Littlecloud mewed to his apprentice. “This—“ he flicked his tail towards Willowshine. “—is Willowshine of RiverClan. This—“ he flicked his tail towards Mothwing. “—is Mothwing, Willowshine’s mentor. This—“ he flicked his tail towards Kestrelflight. “—is Kestrelflight of WindClan. And finally, these two—“ he flicked his tail towards Jayfeather and Furrypelt. “Are Jayfeather and his apprentice Furrypelt.”
“Is Jayfeather the gray one?” Puddlepaw asked.
“Yes,” Littlecloud replied.
“There’s something special you might want to know about me,” Furrypelt mewed.
“What?” Puddlepaw asked curious.
“I used to be a Twoleg.”
“That’s impossible! Stop joking!” Puddlepaw snapped.
“It’s true,” Jayfeather meowed. “She came back again as a cat this time. She has all her memories as a Twoleg. She was born at the horseplace. She claims there were stories in the Twoleg world about us, so she knows a lot about herbs, allowing her to get her name early.”
“Is that true?” Puddlepaw asked, eyes widening.
“Yes, it is.” Furrypelt confirmed.
“Wow!” Puddlepaw cried. “Are there any special things you can do?”
“This,” Furrypelt mewed. “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere! I want it more than I can tell! And for once it might be grand to have someone understand. I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”
“Wow!” Puddlepaw exclaimed. “Do it again!” Furrypelt sang a few more songs for the apprentice. Then Mistystar yowled for the Gathering to start. Furrypelt stopped singing and gazed at the leaders. Puddlepaw was trembling with excitement.
“We have three a new apprentices, Poppypaw, Breezepaw, and Nightpaw.” Mistystar announced.
“Poppypaw! Breezepaw! Nightpaw!” The Clans chanted.
“And a new warrior, Shadetail.”
Mistystar nodded to Onestar. “WindClan has nothing to report,” he mewed. “Prey is running fine.” He nodded to Bramblestar.
“ThunderClan also has nothing,” he meowed. “Except for how we’ve been helping ShadowClan with their prey problem.” He nodded to Rowanstar.
“We have four new apprentices, Puddlepaw, Slatepaw, Birchpaw, and Lionpaw.”
Puddlepaw stood as the Clans called his name. Looking around, Furrypelt could tell that her siblings weren’t chosen to attend this Gathering.
“Also, the Twolegs’ construction has stopped, and prey is beginning to return, so we will need no further help from you, Bramblestar.” Rowanstar finished. “We are grateful for your help, though. Without you, my Clan would’ve starved.”
“You are welcome, and we are willing to help any time you need it,” Bramblestar mewed, dipping his head.
Rowanstar stared out at the crowd. “Gathering dismissed,” he meowed, leaping from the tree.
“You certainly have a lot of apprentices right now,” Furrypelt mewed to Littlecloud.
“Which means plenty of more warriors, making our Clan stronger.” Littlecloud replied.
“Congratulations, Puddlepaw,” Jayfeather mewed to the apprentice. “We’ll see you in a half moon.”
Puddlepaw dipped his head in acknowledgement. Littlecloud quickly whispered in his ear, and he mewed, “Okay!” Clearly Puddlepaw had not known that Jayfeather was blind, so Littlecloud had told him.
Bramblestar gathered up his Clan and they left the Gathering.
Furrypelt was relieved that there were no more extra hunting patrols. It meant she could have more time with Firepelt. As though the thought had summoned him, Firepelt appeared through the crowed. “Without the extra hunting patrols, we’ll be able to spend more time with each other.”
“I was just thinking that!” Furrypelt cried. “Can you read minds?” Firepelt chuckled at the joke. Furrypelt was glad he’d returned the love she had for him instead of criticizing a medicine cat for falling in love. Well, he’d done both, but mostly returned the love. You’ll be a great father, she thought. When it’s time.
Furrypelt again found herself alone in the medicine den, sorting through herbs. As she set aside a wilted tansy leaf, she felt a squirming in her belly. She felt confused, but kept working with her herbs. She then felt another squirming. She suddenly felt scared. After reading about Leafpool, she knew what this meant.
Gingerheart suddenly came into the medicine den. “Guess what?” she asked excitedly.
“What?” Furrypelt asked.
“I’m expecting Bramblethorn’s kits!” she exclaimed.
“Unfortunately, I think I am, too,” Furrypelt mewed.
“You’re expecting Bramblethorn’s kits?” Gingerheart asked confused.
“No, I’m not expecting Bramblethorn’s kits, I’m expecting Firepelt’s.” Furrypelt clarified.
“Oh, Furrypelt,” Gingerheart mewed. “You aren’t!”
“But I am,” Furrypelt replied. “Don’t deny it. I broke the Warrior Code. Just, don’t tell anyone!”
“Can I tell Bramblethorn?” Gingerheart asked.
“Why?” Furrypelt asked.
“I promised if you had kits I’d take them as my own, like Squirrelflight did for Leafpool.” Furrypelt felt miserable at the mention of the dead deputy. “But Bramblestar was mad at Squirrelflight for not telling him they weren’t his own kits. I don’t want that to happen between me and Bramblethorn!”
“Fair point,” Furrypelt mewed. “I suppose.”
“I’ll go tell him now.” Gingerheart decided.
“Make sure he doesn’t tell anyone!” Furrypelt called after him. “The only people allowed to know are you, Bramblethorn, Firepelt, Jayfeather, and the kits when they come. Both of our litters.”
“That’s a lot of cats,” Gingerheart pointed out worriedly.
“Compare the number I’m telling about this to the rest of the cats in all four Clans. Not many will know.”
“Okay, I trust your judgement.” Gingerheart mewed.
“What’s going on?” Jayfeather appeared in the entrance to the den.
“I’m having kits!” Gingerheart exclaimed.
“That’s great!” Jayfeather congratulated her.
“So am I,” Furrypelt mewed quietly.
“That’s terrible!” Jayfeather cried. “Furrypelt, it’s against the Warrior Code!”
“Jayfeather, I told you about the prophecies! StarClan knew this was coming, and they’re not mad at me! And one of my kits will be special.” She added quietly.
Jayfeather sighed. “I’ll keep this secret for you,” he mewed. “But make sure the kits know about this. Trust me, you want them to know early on, not believe a lie most of their lives.” Furrypelt remembered that Jayfeather’s parents were Leafpool and Crowfeather, even though he was told they were Squirrelflight and Bramblestar.
Furrypelt nodded. “That was my plan anyway.”
“Good,” Jayfeather meowed. “Now, let’s pretend this conversation never happened and focus on our duties. We’ll focus more on the matter when the time to give birth comes closer.”
“How long will it take before they’re born?” Gingerheart asked.
“Probably a moon,” Jayfeather replied. “For both of you.”
“Which means it’s more likely the others will believe that Furrypelt’s kits are mine.” Gingerheart meowed excitedly.
“If they’re born on the same day, yes.” Jayfeather mewed. “Otherwise we’ve got problems.”
“No kidding,” Furrypelt agreed. Jayfeather dismissed Gingerheart with a flick of his tail. She walked out of the medicine den. “Jayfeather, after a while, won’t the others notice I’m getting fat?” she asked.
“I’m not sure. I could keep you out of sight from the others until you give birth…”
“But what about the half-moon? I can’t just not go to Moonpool!” Furrypelt asked.
“Well, there’s only going to be one from now to when it’s time, so, I could make something up.” Jayfeather suggested.
“I hope that works,” Furrypelt mewed. “How did Leafpool keep it a secret that she was giving birth?”
“No idea,” Jayfeather replied. “Let’s just focus on these herbs. Could you go get some more tansy?”
“Sure,” Furrypelt replied, pushing her way out of the den. She tried to forget about the whole thing. But it was too hard. She kept feeling the squirming of kits. I hope this doesn’t cause too many problems!
She found a clump of tansy and brought it back to Jayfeather, then went to the fresh-kill pile and chose a plump pigeon and ate the big bird by herself. She needed to keep the kits fed.
“You’re hungry today,” Sparkheart commented.
Furrypelt avoided her eyes and didn’t reply, just ate the last few bites of her pigeon in silence and stalked away. She was still a little hungry, so she decided to go and hunt for herself.
She pushed through the thorn barrier and ran out into the woods. She sniffed and listened, and smelled a juicy squirrel. She followed her nose, quietly, through the undergrowth. Spotting her prey nibbling on a nut, she crouched, wiggled her hindquarters, and pounced, killing the squirrel in one swift bite. She sat down and ate it, then buried the bones and went back to camp.
Furrypelt was really worried about the kits that were coming. What if she and Gingerheart gave birth on different days, but near each other? How would she explain it? What would be her cover for having kits?
Furrypelt’s mind was still filled with these anxieties later in the day as she curled up to go to sleep. She struggled, but finally managed to fall asleep.
She opened her eyes a few moments later to find herself in a familiar forest. She looked around and found Bluestar over her. “I know you’re worried,” she mewed. “But it’s okay. We’re not mad at you. Trust me, it will all turn out right.”
Furrypelt was about to ask for details, when she woke up. Is that true? She wondered. Will everything turn out right in the end?
Furrypelt shook herself, telling herself that Bluestar was right. She felt more squirming in her belly, and she felt really hungry. She climbed out of her nest and walked out into the clearing. She walked to the fresh-kill pile, which had evidently recently been restocked, and grabbed a large vole, and ate it quickly. Furrypelt looked down at her belly—it was starting to get chubby. Not by much, but noticeable to anyone paying close attention. It probably wouldn’t draw attention quite yet, but it would very soon.
Furrypelt walked back in the medicine den. Jayfeather was still asleep, and she didn’t want to wake him. She rummaged through the medicine store and made a mental note of what she needed—celandine, chamomile, and fennel—and set out into the woods to find what she needed. As she was searching through the undergrowth, she realized that she’d never told Firepelt that she was expecting his kits. Had Gingerheart told him? Or did she need to do so herself?
Furrypelt realized that with these anxieties and the kits squirming in her belly, she’d passed a clump of celandine without noticing. She backtracked to grab a few, then continued, hoping she hadn’t passed any chamomile or fennel.
Furrypelt wandered around a little longer to find the herbs she was looking for, then headed back for camp.
She arrived in the medicine den to find Jayfeather awake. “Why didn’t you wake me?” he scolded.
“I thought you might want to sleep in for a change,” she apologized. Jayfeather shrugged.
“What do you got for me?”
“Celandine, chamomile, and fennel.”
“Good,” Jayfeather replied curtly.
Furrypelt pushed through the bramble screen and looked around for Gingerheart. She spotted her sister walking out of the nursery to stretch her legs. She trotted towards her. “Did you tell Firepelt that I was expecting?” she asked quietly.
“No, I figured you’d want to do that yourself.” Gingerheart replied.
“Good,” Furrypelt mewed. “Know where he is?”
“Nope. Try checking the warriors’ den.” Gingerheart suggested.
Furrypelt walked off to the warriors’ den and peeked inside. Firepelt was still asleep, but no one else was in there. Furrypelt let out a sigh of relief and pushed her way to him.
Furrypelt prodded him gently and he stirred. He gazed up at her. “What’s up?” he asked groggily, pulling himself into a sitting position.
“Firepelt, I’m expecting kits—your kits!” Furrypelt mewed quietly.
“I don’t know whether to feel proud or scared,” Firepelt replied.
“Both,” Furrypelt meowed. Firepelt nodded.
“So what are you going to do?”
“Jayfeather said that Gingerheart would give birth around the same time I would. Hopefully they’ll be close enough together that ours can pass as Gingerheart’s kits.” Furrypelt explained.
“I hope that works,” Firepelt mewed. “I can’t have my kits be outsiders in their Clan.”
“I won’t let that happen,” Furrypelt promised, licking Firepelt’s ear. Firepelt rested his muzzle on her head.
“I promise I’ll make this work.” Firepelt mewed. Furrypelt wished she could stay there forever, beside Firepelt. Just her and him. No one else. But they had to separate. Furrypelt hoped more than ever that Bluestar was right, that this would all work out right in the end.
“I have to go do my warrior duties,” Firepelt apologized, pulling away from her.
“See you soon,” Furrypelt called after him. She padded out of the warriors’ den and headed back to the medicine den.
“You seem a little sad,” Jayfeather commented as she walked in.
“Every time I leave Firepelt, a part of my soul feels like it’s missing.” She sighed.
“Could you stock up on parsley?” Jayfeather asked. “After you give birth, you’ll need it to stop your milk from coming.”
“On it,” Furrypelt replied. She pushed out of the bramble screen and headed back into the forest, searching for parsley. She found a rather large clump and walked back to Jayfeather’s den and deposited the herbs. Jayfeather looked pleased. Furrypelt looked up and noticed sunhigh was approaching. It felt hot outside. Greenleaf was on its way. It was still newleaf, but greenleaf was not far, not far at all.
“Jayfeather? Is it okay if I go swimming? Expecting kits won’t be a problem, right?” she asked.
“Typically, yes, but, not quite yet.” Jayfeather replied. “As you get closer to giving birth you won’t be able to, but you can go swimming if you like now.”
“Okay, thanks.” She mewed. “Could I take Gingerheart with me?”
“Same answer. Go have fun.” Jayfeather meowed, flicking his tail towards the entrance of the medicine den.
Furrypelt looked in the nursery and found Gingerheart laying in her nest. “Gingerheart, wanna go swimming?” she asked. At Daisy’s look, she added, “Jayfeather said we could.”
“Okay,” Gingerheart replied. She pulled herself out of her nest, and nearly tripped over Cloudkit as he started play-fighting with his siblings.
“Why don’t you three play outside?” Ivypool suggested. Brightkit charged for the nursery entrance. Cloudkit followed, Sunkit a little behind them. Furrypelt was glad to see that Sunkit was becoming a little more focused. Furrypelt flicked her tail and Gingerheart followed her out of camp.
“Furrypelt, I’m worried about the fact that you’re expecting. We could easily give birth a few days apart. That would be hard to cover up. What do you do if that happens?” Gingerheart fretted.
“I’ve been worried about that, too,” Furrypelt admitted. “But Bluestar came to me in a dream and told me that everything would turn out fine. Unless I’m going to drive myself crazy, I have to trust her.”
“Understandable,” Gingerheart meowed. “StarClan is rarely wrong, so I bet it will work out fine. Promise me you’ll try not to worry? It might give away your pregnancy.”
“I promise,” Furrypelt mewed. “However, you said try not to worry, so if I do worry I’m not breaking your promise. Do you promise to try not to worry?”
“I promise,” Gingerheart replied. Furrypelt realized the lake was not far away.
“Race you!” she cried, making a mad dash for her rock.
“Hey!” Gingerheart called, chasing after her.
“Try to get me!” Furrypelt yowled, leaping onto her rock and leaping into the water without stopping. There was suddenly furious squirming in her belly. Do the kits not like the water? Can they sense where I am? Or do they simply not like being jostled around?
Furrypelt surfaced and slowly treaded water. The mad squirming stopped, and she figured they kits didn’t like the jostling sensation. As Gingerheart surfaced and slowed her pace, she could sense that she was experiencing the same thing.
They swam around slowly, trying not to disturb their unborn kits. They splashed each other a little, but it was mainly just slowly swimming laps around a small portion of the lake. When they’d had their fill, they climbed up onto the rock they liked to jump off of. The sun was beating right on it, so they laid down next to each other and sprawled out in the sun. The warmth felt good on her wet fur.
Soon she was dry, and she stood up and gracefully leapt off the rock. Gingerheart noticed that she’d left and bounded after her. Furrypelt walked slowly back to camp, once again because she didn’t want to disturb the kits. She chatted with Gingerheart as they slowly made progress back to camp.
“You’ve been gone a while,” Jayfeather commented as they returned.
“We decided to dry by basking on a sunny rock,” Furrypelt replied.
“It took a while,” Gingerheart added.
Jayfeather shook his head. “Go make yourselves useful!” he snapped. Furrypelt and Gingerheart jumped. There was nothing useful to do, so Furrypelt and Gingerheart walked towards the fresh-kill pile; the swim had made them hungry.
Furrypelt wondered when the kits would start to show, and when she’d have to go into hiding. She shook the thought away and ate her prey.
Furrypelt finished the squirrel and started making her way towards Jayfeather’s den. “Furrypelt!” someone called. She turned around to find Dovewing walking towards her.
“What’s up?” Furrypelt asked.
“Berrynose and Mousewhisker are on patrol, and now so am I,” Dovewing replied. “I was wondering if you could show our apprentices a few battle moves, since you trained as a warrior for a while.”
Furrypelt wasn’t sure what to say. By training the apprentices she’d have to shake the kits around a lot, and it was obvious they didn’t like that. But if she said no, it might give away her pregnancy. “I don’t see why not,” Furrypelt mewed brightly, but on the inside, fear swam in her belly rather than joy.
Furrypelt walked into the apprentices’ den, where Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw were play-fighting. “Guys!” Furrypelt shouted. “Dovewing wants me to take you battle training.”
“What do you know about battle training?” Larkpaw asked. “You’re a medicine cat!”
“I trained as a warrior for quite some time you know,” she pointed out.
“Why?” Honeypaw asked. “Can you tell us the story?”
Furrypelt sighed. “When I was an apprentice, I wanted to see my parents. So I went to the horseplace and found out that my sister never got sold, and that if no one bought my sister, the Twolegs would put her in the shelter, which is a place where kittypets and Twolegs’ dogs get put in cages. It’s very sad in there.
“I learned that my sister was originally a Twoleg, like me, and she turned out to be my best friend from the Twoleg world. So I brought her back to ThunderClan and she got her apprentice name, Gingerpaw.”
“Gingerheart?” Honeypaw asked.
“Yep.” Furrypelt replied. “We went to the Gathering some time later, but without Gingerpaw. Bramblestar announced that we’d taken in another Twoleg cat, and no one liked it.
“That night after the Gathering, I had a dream from StarClan. All three Clans came into our camp and went directly for me and Gingerpaw, and killed both of us. I was so frightened, I asked Bramblestar to make all the apprentices train double, the warriors do battle training with the apprentices, and for me to train as both a warrior and a medicine cat.
“A half-moon later, the battle happened. Everyone fought bravely, and StarClan was beside us. But only I, Jayfeather, and Leafpool could see them. StarClan fought just as bravely, and were the reason we succeeded. You three became apprentices just a moon later. Firepelt, Bramblethorn, and Gingerheart were going to become warriors right after the battle, but then we’d have no apprentices, so we waited for you three. I was going to get my name the next half-moon at Moonpool, but I wanted my friends to get their names first.”
“That was a long story to explain why you trained as a warrior,” Larkpaw mewed.
“Well, Honeypaw asked for the story!” Furrypelt defended herself. Larkpaw cuffed her on the ear.
“Hey!” Honeypaw complained, leaping on her brother.
“Stop it!” Furrypelt cried. “I came in here so we can do battle training, so come on! We’re burning daylight!”
The three apprentices stared at her confusedly. “Just come on!” Furrypelt snapped. She hoped the kits wouldn’t be too much of a problem.
“Furrypelt, get back in here!” Jayfeather cried as she walked towards the fresh-kill pile. With the kits on the way, she was starving!
“What? I’m just getting food!” Furrypelt cried.
Jayfeather rushed out and started pushing her back into the medicine den. “Your kits are starting to show!” he hissed.
“How would you know? You’re blind!” Furrypelt growled.
“I can still feel, you know!” Jayfeather hissed. “And my other senses are twice as sharp to make up for being blind!”
“Well, how am I supposed to get food, huh?” Furrypelt asked, annoyed. “I need extra food for the kits, and now you won’t let me get any!”
“I can’t risk anyone seeing you!” Jayfeather growled. “It’s been a half-moon since you announced that you’re expecting! Your belly is starting to get rather large. It’s beyond fat at this point, Furrypelt! It’s obvious you’re expecting!”
“I need food!” Furrypelt reminded him.
“I can get it for you!” Jayfeather snarled, walking out of the den and over to the fresh-kill pile. He started inspecting each one, then grabbed a plump thrush and brought it back to Furrypelt. She crouched and devoured it in famished gulps.
“I’m going to Moonpool tonight, Furrypelt, and you can’t come. I’ll make something up. Please don’t do anything stupid to give away your pregnancy!” Jayfeather pleaded.
“I’m not an idiot!” Furrypelt cried. “I won’t give away my pregnancy!”
Jayfeather sighed. “This is tough for both of us,” Jayfeather mewed. “But we’ve worked hard, and we can’t blow it now.”
Furrypelt was at the Gathering. She was watching the leaders as they spoke, with Jayfeather beside her. Bramblestar opened his mouth to speak, but he was cut off by a ginger-and-white warrior she-cat. Furrypelt thought it was her at first, but something was a little different. This one seemed younger. It’s my daughter!
“I have something to say!” she cried.
“What is it, Fluffycloud?” Bramblestar asked. “And why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
Fluffycloud stood up. “You all think that Gingerheart and Bramblethorn are Dovetail, Sparrowfeather, and my parents,” she mewed. “But you’re wrong! Firepelt and Furrypelt are my parents! She broke the medicine cat code!”
Jayfeather glanced at Furrypelt with grief in his eyes.
“Furrypelt, is this true?” Bramblestar asked.
Furrypelt nodded, her eyes clouded. She didn’t trust her voice.
“You realize you can’t be a medicine cat anymore, don’t you?” Bramblestar asked.
Furrypelt nodded again, ready to cry.
“It wasn’t her fault!” Firepelt cried. “You can’t help it if you fall in love! And once you do, you can’t help it if you have kits!”
“But Furrypelt should’ve tried not to make friendships with toms to avoid that, but she didn’t!” Rowanstar yowled.
“It’s Leafpool all over again!” Nightcloud yowled.
Furrypelt opened her eyes. She was in the medicine den. She let out a sigh of relief. The kits hadn’t come yet. I have to tell them early, she thought. So it’s not so much of a shock. But when is the right time? If I tell them too early, they’ll be too young to understand, but if I tell them too late, it’ll be Leafpool all over again!
Furrypelt shook the thought away. She’d ask Jayfeather when he got back.
As though the thought summoned him, Jayfeather pushed through the bramble screen. “Still awake?” he asked surprised.
“Bad dream,” Furrypelt replied.
“What about?” Jayfeather asked.
“My and Gingerheart’s kits were already born, and one of them—one that looked exactly like me—told everyone at the Gathering that I was her mother, not Gingerheart. It was just like Leafpool and Hollyleaf.” Furrypelt looked at Jayfeather. “When they come, when do I tell them who their parents are? If I tell them too early they won’t understand. If I tell them too late…” she trailed off. She figured Jayfeather didn’t want to discuss his parents. Especially now that Squirrelflight was dead.
“Perhaps when they’re a moon old,” Jayfeather suggested.
“Thanks, Jayfeather,” Furrypelt mewed, collapsing in her nest again. “So, what excuse did you use for my not being there?”
“I said that Honeypaw fell in a patch of really sharp brambles, and that you had to stay back to clean the scratches.” Jayfeather replied. Furrypelt chuckled.
“Goodnight, Jayfeather,” she mewed as she lay her head back down.
“Goodnight, Furrypelt.” He replied, as she drifted off into sleep again.
Furrypelt awoke the next morning. She was starving again. She peeked out of the den to see if anyone was outside. No one, perfect. She darted outside and grabbed a shrew, then ran back into the medicine den. She munched on her breakfast as Jayfeather awoke.
“I need to stretch my legs,” Furrypelt mewed as she finished her prey. “Do I need to get any herbs?”
“Speaking of stretching your legs, we need to talk about what’s happening when your kits are born.” Jayfeather mewed.
“How do those two have any relation?” Furrypelt asked.
“You and Gingerheart will both have to give birth outside of the camp, so that yours can pass as hers.” Jayfeather explained. “I’ll go get Gingerheart so we can go over the plan together.”
“I’ll be here,” Furrypelt replied as Jayfeather left the den. He came back a moment later with Gingerheart. Furrypelt hadn’t seen her sister in a while, since she’d spent most of her time in the nursery. She looked rather large, and Furrypelt realized she must look the same.
“We need to know what’s going on when the kits come,” Jayfeather mewed to the two of them. “As you both know, you’ll both need to give birth outside of camp, so that Furrypelt’s kits can pass as Gingerheart’s.”
“How? How will we know exactly when the kits are coming?” Gingerheart asked.
“We don’t,” Jayfeather replied. “But I can guess that both of yours will be born in exactly a half-moon. I’m not sure what time of day, though. But, the day of the Gathering.”
“I hope they don’t come at night,” Furrypelt mewed. “Then I’d have to go to the Gathering with my big fat belly, and I might give birth then!”
“If it’s time to leave for the Gathering and your kits aren’t born yet, I’ll tell Leafpool what’s going on, and convince Bramblestar to leave you here.” Jayfeather replied. “But it shouldn’t be necessary.”
“You’ve got this all planned out, don’t you?” Gingerheart asked.
“I’ve been planning it in my head for a half-moon now,” Jayfeather replied. “On the Gathering day, when the sun is halfway to the top of the sky, we’ll leave camp and find a private spot in the woods. Then we wait. Hopefully it won’t be too long…”
“If we’re out too long, people will start suspecting,” Gingerheart warned.
“We’ll have to hope for the best on that,” Jayfeather told her. “I’ll remind you the day before the Gathering.”
“Understood,” Furrypelt and Gingerheart replied at the same time.
Jayfeather dismissed Gingerheart with a flick of his tail and turned to Furrypelt. “You could be more grateful about what I’m doing for you, you know,” Jayfeather pointed out. “You broke the medicine cat code!”
“Gratefulness has been the last thing on my mind considering I’m worried my kits will be outsiders in their own Clan!” Furrypelt snapped. “But thank you, for everything you’re doing for me. I could never pull this off by myself.”
“Well, you’re welcome.” Jayfeather hissed. “Now go get some chickweed.”
Furrypelt nodded and poked her head out of the medicine den. Seeing no one, she quickly ran out the thorn barrier. She went out into the forest, trying to stick to the shadows, and searched for chickweed. Finally finding a clump in a patch of sunlight, she picked it up and headed back to camp. At the thorn barrier, she sniffed and made sure there were no cats nearby, then hurried to the medicine den. “I hate having to hide from everyone!” Furrypelt hissed.
“You won’t have to soon,” Jayfeather promised.
“Right, because a half-moon is absolutely no time at all!” Furrypelt cried. “That’s a full fourteen days! And I’m not allowed to socialize with pratcially anyone!”
“You can hang out with Gingerheart and Firepelt,” Jayfeather pointed out. “And Bramblethorn.”
Furrypelt sighed. “It’s just not the same when no one else is allowed to see me,”
“You’re the one who wanted kits,” he reminded her.
“No I didn’t!” Furrypelt cried. “I’m glad to be a mother, but I wanted things to stay the same! I wanted to be a medicine cat, with no kits, because if I had no kits, it would be easier to hide my relationship with Firepelt, and we could still hang out, and I wouldn’t have to hide from everyone, and watch my kits grow up with a different mother, and have to tell them who their parents really are, and hope they actually keep the secret! I didn’t ask for this!”
Jayfeather stared at her. “That’s how you feel about this?” he asked slowly.
Furrypelt sat down and felt like crying. “I don’t know,” she mewed quietly. “I’d love to have kits, and to be a mother, but being a medicine cat as well, there are too many downsides. I can’t even be a mother to them!”
Jayfeather placed his tail on her shoulder. “This will all turn out fine. You’ll be able to spend time with your kits, no one will know except us, and your kits won’t tell the secret.”
“How can you be so sure?” Furrypelt hissed.
“You told me this was StarClan’s wish, so surely nothing bad will come of this?” Jayfeather mewed.
“You’re right,” Furrypelt agreed. “I just have to keep this up a little longer, and then everything will be back to normal.”
“I’m proud of you,” Jayfeather mewed.
“Do you wish you could’ve had a relationship with Half Moon?” Furrypelt asked. Jayfeather stared at her with eyes wide with shock, then he turned away and mewed,
“Every day of my life since I met her.”
Furrypelt felt pity for him. He had a true love, but she was one of the Ancients, who lived here before the Clans, before the Tribe. A cat who’d been dead for generations upon generations.
Furrypelt was glad Firepelt was a cat here and now. A cat she could mate and have kits with. The best kind, she thought.
Furrypelt woke up a half moon later. Her belly was huge. She’d been avoiding everyone for a moon, and it had been really tough. But today was the day that would all change. She felt really excited. I’m going to have kits, Gingerheart is going to have kits, I won’t be fat anymore, so I can socialize again! And it’s the Gathering! Best day of my life!
Furrypelt reminded herself that the kits weren’t coming for another few hours probably. She poked her head out of the thorn barrier. The sun was a quarter ways to the top of the sky. Another hour or two and I can leave, and then the kits might come soon.
She looked around. No one was in the clearing, so she darted out and stole some prey, but she couldn’t go quite as fast as she usually could because of how large her belly was. She dragged the prey to the medicine den and ate it in famished gulps.
“We’re leaving soon,” Jayfeather reminded her.
“I know,” Furrypelt replied.
“What do you want for your kits when they’re born?” Jayfeather asked curiously.
Furrypelt thought of the song My Wish by Rascal Flatts. “My wish for them is that their life becomes all that they want it to; their dreams stay big, their worries stay small, they never need to carry more than they can hold, and while they’re out there getting where they’re getting to, I hope they know somebody loves them.”
“That’s so sweet,” Jayfeather mewed. “And I’m sure that will happen.”
“Everyone has hardships throughout their life, but I hope they’ll know that anything is possible, and work their way through it joyfully.”
“You’ll be a great mother.”
Furrypelt dreamed of the lives her kits could have when they grew up. She imagined what they would look like, and what she could name them. She wondered if any would end up looking like her or Firepelt.
Before she knew it, the sun was halfway to the top of the sky. “Jayfeather, come on!” she cried. “Let’s go get Gingerheart!”
“I’ll get Gingerheart, you get out of camp and wait for me under a bush or something. If you can fit under a bush…”
Furrypelt ignored the last part, looked out of the medicine den, and snuck out of camp. She was curious to know how Jayfeather got Gingerheart out of the medicine den, so she quickly pushed through the thorn barrier and walked to the edge of the hollow, crouching as low as she could. She listened carefully to what Jayfeather was saying.
Upon seeing Jayfeather, Gingerheart mewed, “I’m going to go for a walk. You know, stretch my legs. I’ve been in the nursery forever just sitting here!”
“Nuh-uh!” Daisy cried. “You’re way too close to giving birth!”
“I’ll take Jayfeather and Furrypelt with me,” Gingerheart promised.
“Jayfeather would never allow that!” Ivypool cried.
“Actually, I’m willing to.” Jayfeather replied.
“What?!” Daisy and Ivypool exclaimed at the same time.
“Come on, Gingerheart. If you want to stretch your legs that badly I’ll come with you.” Jayfeather mewed as calmly as he could. Furrypelt heard Gingerheart clumsily clamber to her paws. She watched as Jayfeather and Gingerheart came out of the nursery. Not wanting to seem as though she didn’t follow directions, she quickly jumped into a bush. As Jayfeather passed, she popped her head out.
“Good, you hid like I told you to.” Jayfeather mewed.
“That’s right, I did!” Furrypelt cried. “I was in this bush the whole time! Wouldn’t risk anyone seeing me!”
“Good to know,” Jayfeather mewed absently. “If you see any good hiding places where you two can give birth let me know.”
Furrypelt and Gingerheart started looking around. “What about that overhang?” Gingerheart suggested. Furrypelt glanced over and saw that there was a rock in shadow that hung over a good fox-length of ground. Jayfeather walked over and inspected it.
“This will do. Come here, and stay put until the kits come. I know it might be boring, but you have to.” Jayfeather ordered. “And don’t sing, otherwise everyone will know where we are, and it’ll ruin the point of being here.”
Furrypelt and Gingerheart muttered, “Okay,” and walked over to the rock, laying down right up against it, trying to keep to the shadows.
“Let’s hope no one has too good of a nose,” Jayfeather muttered.
Furrypelt, Gingerheart, and Jayfeather chit-chatted for what felt like forever until she felt something against her belly. “I think the kits are coming,” she told Jayfeather.
“Took long enough,” Jayfeather muttered. “What about you Gingerheart?”
“Yeah, I think so, I think they’re coming.” Gingerheart replied.
“Great,” Jayfeather muttered. “I have to deal with two queens giving birth at the same time!”
Furrypelt felt another push. She noticed ripples passing through her belly. Jayfeather quickly found two sticks for them to bite on. Furrypelt and Gingerheart started letting out wails of agony. “It’s time,” Jayfeather mewed.
Furrypelt felt a rather large push, and pain shot through her. She bit tightly on the stick, trying not to wail, but a yowl escaped her. She heard Gingerheart wailing beside her. Jayfeather was helping her as a kit started to pop out, but a kit was popping out from Gingerheart, too, and Jayfeather couldn’t treat both of them at once. “This is impossible!” he yowled.
Suddenly, a gray she-cat materialized out of thin air. “Yellowfang!” Jayfeather gasped.
“Need some help?” Yellowfang asked.
“Kinda, yeah!” Jayfeather cried.
“I’ll take care of Gingerheart, you help your apprentice.” Yellowfang ordered. Jayfeather nodded, turning to Furrypelt. Her first kit had come, a gray-and-white she-cat. Jayfeather started licking her, when Furrypelt let out another wail of agony. She gripped the stick tightly in her teeth as Jayfeather waited.
“Push, Furrypelt!” he cried. Furrypelt pushed, immense pain shooting through her, energy starting to fade. Another kit popped out, a black-and-white tom. Since they were her own, the slimy look of them didn’t bother her. Jayfeather started to lick this one as well, but pain shot through her once more. “Last one,” he promised Furrypelt. She pushed one more time, biting on the stick so hard she thought it would break. Finally, one more kit popped out, a dark ginger tom.
Furrypelt let out a sigh of relief as Jayfeather started licking them. Furrypelt started licking some of them, too. She caught Gingerheart out of the corner of her eye, pushing two kits toward her belly. Suddenly, Furrypelt heard pawsteps. Oh no! Someone’s going to find out! I’m toast!
But Firepelt and Bramblethorn appeared in the undergrowth. “Are you two okay?” Bramblethorn asked anxiously. “We heard yowling.”
“Firepelt, Bramblethorn, meet your kits.” Jayfeather invited, indicating to Furrypelt and Gingerheart with his tail.
“I have two kits!” Bramblethorn cried.
“I have three! I win, Bramblethorn!” Firepelt cried.
“You’re mating a medicine cat!” Bramblethorn snapped.
“So what? I still have more kits!” Firepelt argued.
“Yeah, but I’m going to raise them so it doesn’t look like your mate broke the medicine cat code!” Bramblethorn reminded him.
“Dang it, Furrypelt!” Firepelt cried.
“What do I have to do with this?” Furrypelt asked.
“You’re the one who kitted them!” Firepelt reminded her.
“Since you’re here, want to help me name our kits?” Furrypelt asked.
“I’d love to,” Firepelt replied. “That ginger one, we could name him Foxkit,” he suggested.
“I like that name,” Furrypelt approved. “And this gray and white one could be Mistykit.”
“That’s cute,” Firepelt mewed.
“What about this black and white one? What about… Rockkit?”
“Rockkit?” Gingerheart asked. “What kind of name is that?”
“Would you rather I call him Justinkit?” Furrypelt snapped.
“No! That’s a terrible name for a cat!” Gingerheart cried.
“Rockkit it is!” Furrypelt decided.
“I like it.” Firepelt approved.
“You just don’t want to get in trouble with your mate!” Bramblethorn snapped.
“No, I actually like Rockkit!” Firepelt hissed.
“What did you name your kits?” Furrypelt asked her sister.
“We named this one Icekit,” Gingerheart replied, tapping a white she-cat. “And this one is Squirrelkit,” she tapped a ginger tom with a white belly and paws with a bushy tail. The name Squirrel got her thinking of Squirrelflight, and how she’d never see the cat named after her. It’s my fault Squirrelflight is dead. If I’d never come to the Clans, there never would’ve been a battle, and Squirrelflight wouldn’t’ve died.
Furrypelt shook the thought away. “Those are cute.” She replied honestly.
“There are five cats here, and five kits,” Jayfeather pointed out. “Each of you grab one and take it back to camp.”
Furrypelt picked up Mistykit. Firepelt picked up Foxkit. Gingerheart grabbed Squirrelkit in her jaws, and Bramblethorn picked up Icekit. Jayfeather grabbed Rockkit, and they made their way back to camp.
“Where have you been?!” Daisy cried as they walked in. She gasped. “You’ve had your kits! Why were you there, Firepelt?”
“We heard yowling from Gingerheart, and we thought she was in trouble, so we both went.” Firepelt replied. “Just kits, though! And just Gingerheart’s.”
“Well, of course it was just Gingerheart’s! It’s not like anyone else in camp was expecting!”
“Right,” Firepelt mewed uncertainly, but Daisy missed it.
“Come lie down, Gingerheart. Five kits, wow! That’s a lot to feed!” Daisy exclaimed.
“At least it’s newleaf, and greenleaf is almost here!” Gingerheart pointed out. They walked into the nursery and placed the kits next to Gingerheart. Jayfeather urgently flicked his tail for them to leave.
Jayfeather leaned towards Furrypelt when they left the nursery. “I need to give you parsley so you don’t have milk, and I need to give borage to Gingerheart so she has enough milk to feed three extra kits!”
“Okay,” Furrypelt mewed. She followed Jayfeather into the medicine den. He climbed into the herb storage and pulled out leaves. He came back out and pointed to a stack.
“That’s parsley. Eat a leaf every day.” He instructed.
“Got it,” Furrypelt replied, taking one leaf and eating it. She took some leaves from the other pile and walked into the nursery. “Here’s some borage, Gingerheart,” she mumbled around the leaves. She placed them next to Gingerheart. She ate them then looked down at the five kits. They were suckling happily. I really hope she has enough milk, Furrypelt thought. If some of our kits die…
“Gingerheart, you never told us what you named them.” Daisy pointed out.
“Oh, right!” Gingerheart remembered. She tapped the white one. “This is Icekit.” She mewed. She tapped Squirrelkit. “This is Squirrelkit.” She tapped Mistykit. “This is Mistykit.” She tapped Rockkit. “This is Rockkit.” She tapped Foxkit. “And this is Foxkit.” She glanced up at Furrypelt, as though checking that she’d gotten the names right. Furrypelt gave a small nod.
“Those are cute names.” Ivypool approved.
“I had some help,” Gingerheart mewed, once again looking at Furrypelt. Was it this hard for Leafpool? Furrypelt wondered. Knowing your kits were in the Clan, but nobody thought they were yours? It was killing Furrypelt that nobody knew her kits were hers.
Furrypelt backed out of the nursery. She heard Cloudkit squeal, “When do we get to play with them?”
“When they’re big enough to handle your rough-housing!” Ivypool replied affectionately. Furrypelt chuckled. She wondered if being an older kit in the nursery was like being an older sister. She’d never had a younger sibling. Only older ones. She’d always liked being the youngest though.
Furrypelt walked away from the nursery and into Jayfeather’s den. She plopped in her nest, tired from giving birth. She closed her eyes and fell asleep. She opened her eyes and found herself in StarClan’s territory again. They must really like me, she thought. She wandered around, looking for someone she knew. She found Bluestar eating a mouse. She looked up. “Congratulation, Furrypelt.” Bluestar mewed. “You’re a mother.”
“It’s hard not being able to announce it, though.” Furrypelt sighed.
“You’ll make it through this,” Bluestar promised, standing up and walking towards her.
“That prophecy, There will come another, one who should never have come,” Furrypelt mewed. “I know it’s one of my kits! Which one?”
“I don’t know,” Bluestar replied. “I guess you’ll have to watch and see.”
“But what does it mean, ‘another’?” Furrypelt asked. “Another what?”
“A Twoleg cat, of course.” Bluestar replied.
“One of my kits is a Twoleg?” Furrypelt whispered.
“Yes,” Bluestar meowed.
“I wonder if it was another one of my friends, or if it’s some stranger.” Furrypelt mewed.
“No one knows,” Bluestar told her. “Until he or she’s old enough to talk and give clues, we won’t know. Don’t stress about it, you’ll know when it’s time.”
“Okay,” Furrypelt mewed. “Do any other StarClan cats want to congratulate me?”
“I do,” came a voice from the undergrowth. Squirrelflight walked out. “You mated with my son. Both of my sons have kits. I am so happy for you, Gingerheart, Firepelt, and Bramblethorn.” She suddenly looked sad. “Are my kits doing okay without me, Furrypelt?”
“They’re just fine.” Furrypelt assured her. “Sometimes I feel like I’m struggling with your death more than they are, and I have a chance to see you every night!”
Squirrelflight purred. “I loved being your mother, Furrypelt.” Squirrelflight mewed.
“I loved being your daughter,” Furrypelt replied, purring as well.
“Do you have an idea on who the Twoleg cat might be?” Furrypelt asked curiously.
“My suspicion is Foxkit. I don’t know why…” Squirrelflight replied. Furrypelt had thought maybe Rockkit was the Twoleg.
Furrypelt looked down and saw she was starting to fade. “Goodbye, Furrypelt!” Squirrelflight and Bluestar called.
“By, Squirrelflight, Bluestar!” Furrypelt called back as she woke up.
“Have a nice nap?” Jayfeather asked, though Furrypelt heard no kindness in his voice.
“Are the kits okay?” Furrypelt asked.
“They’re perfectly fine, Furrypelt!” Jayfeather assured her. “Firepelt wanted to talk to you, but you were asleep.”
“Oh,” Furrypelt mewed. “I’m going to go find him.”
She pushed her way through the bramble screen. She looked up and saw the sun just starting to set. We’ll be leaving for the Gathering soon,
She looked around for Firepelt and found him coming out of the nursery. Spotting his mate, he walked over to her. “They’re all very energetic,” he meowed. “All five of them.”
“Wanna speak in private?” Furrypelt suggested. Firepelt nodded and they walked out of camp to their special spot.
“You know that prophecy you told me, There will come another, one who should never have come?” Firepelt asked.
“Yeah, I was just talking to Bluestar about it.” Furrypelt replied.
“What does it mean?”
“One of our kits is a Twoleg, like me. I think it might be Rockkit, but Squirrelflight thinks it might be Foxkit.”
At the mention of his mother, Firepelt’s eyes clouded for a heartbeat, then returned to normal. “Will we have to announce that at the Gathering when we find out? Or could we keep it to ourselves? We’re not taking the kits in, they’re Clanborn, so…”
“I don’t know,” Furrypelt replied. “But I figured when we found out which one it was we’d tell Bramblestar and then he’d decide whether to tell. Probably not, considering we fought a huge battle over me and Gingerheart being part of ThunderClan.”
“Raging war over apprentices… How could they do such a thing?” Firepelt meowed fiercely.
“In their defense, all they know Twolegs for doing were things that hurt us. Having a Twoleg live among us, well… How did you feel when I first joined ThunderClan?”
“I was two moons old, Furrypelt! All I knew was that I was getting a new friend! I didn’t think about the trouble you could cause because you were two moons old, too! From the moment I saw you, I saw you as a friend and nothing else. The thought that you could be dangerous never crossed my mind.”
“Not everyone was that smart, Firepelt,” Furrypelt sighed. “I was always taught it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but everyone judged me by the outside.”
“That’s because they’re mouse-brains,” Firepelt mewed, moving closer to Furrypelt and purring. Furrypelt closed her eyes and purred back.
“Do you think anyone will find out the kits are ours?” Furrypelt mewed.
“Never,” Firepelt replied. “With Gingerheart’s timing on her kits, and by telling the kits early-on, I think we’ll be fine.”
“You’ll be a good father.” Furrypelt meowed, almost too quiet to hear over her purr.
“Furrypelt! Firepelt!” someone called. Bramblestar appeared from the undergrowth, and the two instantly separated. “There you are! Come on! It’s time to leave for the Gathering!”
Furrypelt followed Bramblestar, with Firepelt trailing close behind.
Furrypelt found herself next to Jayfeather as they approached the tree bridge. She leapt up and found it easier to walk across than usual. She leapt down and landed lightly, then watched as Jayfeather landed beside her.
They walked to the circle of medicine cats. “Is Honeypaw okay?” Littlecloud asked as they approached.
“Yeah, she’s fine.” Furrypelt replied. She turned to face Puddlepaw. “I’m sad I missed your apprentice ceremony.”
“It’s okay,” he replied. “A cat needed you. Perfectly understandable. I’m not the type to hold grudges.”
“No, really, I really wanted to see you apprentice ceremony!” Furrypelt insisted.
“There will be other apprentices,” Puddlepaw replied.
A yowl from Rowanstar made her jump. She looked up and realized the Gathering had started. “ShadowClan has little to report,” he mewed. “Prey has come back, and we are glad of newleaf.” He nodded to Mistystar.
“RiverClan has nothing to report either,” she reported, nodding to Onestar.
“We have two new apprentices, Smokepaw and Brindlepaw.” Onestar announced.
“Smokepaw! Brindlepaw!” The Clans cheered.
Onestar nodded to Bramblestar. “Gingerheart has given birth to five new kits today,” Bramblestar announced. Gasps rippled through the Clans. Furrypelt picked up a few conversations.
“Five kits! Wow, that’s a lot to feed!”
“She’s going to have trouble making sure they all behave!”
“Will she have enough milk for five kits?”
Bramblestar raised his tail for silence. “Their names are Icekit, Squirrelkit, Mistykit, Rockkit, and Foxkit.” Bramblestar meowed. “That is all. Gathering dismissed.”
“Wow!” Willowshine cried. “Your sister gave birth to five kits, Furrypelt?”
“Yeah,” Furrypelt replied uncomfortably. “All hers, those five kits.”
“She might have trouble trying to raise so many,” Littlecloud mewed.
“I might be able to step in every now and then and help her, and so can Ivypool and Daisy,” Furrypelt pointed out. “Plus she has Bramblethorn, and I’m sure Firepelt is willing to help, since they’re his brother’s kits.”
“Good point, I’m sure those five kits will be fine.” Mothwing agreed.
After a short while the leaders gathered their warriors together. Furrypelt trekked back in silence, being unsure what she could say. How will Gingerheart be able to handle extra kits? Will she have enough milk? Will they behave? Will they keep my secret when I tell them?
“Psst, Furrypelt!” someone called her name. She rolled over in her nest, still asleep. “Furrypelt!” the voice called again. She blearily opened her eyes and found Firepelt standing above her.
“What?” Furrypelt asked.
“Couldn’t sleep,” Firepelt replied. “I thought we could take a walk through the forest?”
“Sure,” Furrypelt replied, standing up and shaking moss from her pelt. She pushed through the bramble screen. She blinked as moonlight hit her eyes. The moon was almost full. It had been three quarter moons since her kits had been born. They were growing strongly and healthy, and could occasionally handle Sunkit Brightkit and Cloudkit’s games.
Furrypelt passed the nursery and saw her kits and Gingerheart’s kits curled up together next to Gingerheart, hers thinking that Gingerheart was their mother. What will they think when I tell them that only Icekit and Squirrelkit are hers in a quarter moon?
Furrypelt shook the thought away. They’d be ready to hear it, and she trusted her kits to be smart. They knew the warrior code, and the medicine cat code at this point. They’d gotten a lot of background information from the elders. Furrypelt had noticed that Foxkit had seemed smarter than his littermates, sometimes even smarter than Sunkit Brighkit and Cloudkit. Perhaps Squirrelflight was right when she said Foxkit might be the Twoleg? He hadn’t shown any other signs, but still…
Furrypelt followed Firepelt into the forest. They walked slowly around for a bit, not saying anything. “Race ya!” Firepelt suddenly cried, bolting through the undergrowth.
“Wait up!” Furrypelt called, sprinting after him. She started getting closer, and closer, and closer… then she passed him. Where is the finish line? She wondered. She thought about which direction she was going. Perhaps the lake?
She pelted towards the lake at full-speed. Suddenly, Firepelt slammed into her from behind, making them tumble down a hill towards the lake. They landed—with Furrypelt on top. “Pinned ya!” She cried. Firepelt pushed her off him and leapt on top of her. She started pummeling his belly with her hind paws—claws sheathed—and he backed off. She leapt on top of him and they started tumbling around like kits. Furrypelt felt her heart lift, as though a rock had been moved off it.
They stopped tumbling and they lay there, panting. Furrypelt walked over to the lake and took a long drink, then walked away from the water and flopped onto the ground. Firepelt laid down beside her and started licking her. She closed her eyes and purred, purred so loudly that she could’ve swore that everyone could hear it back at camp.
Furrypelt opened her eyes and looked up, and thought of her and Firepelt. Two songs came to mind. “As we lie beneath the stars, we realize how small we are. If they could love, like you and me, imagine what our world could be.”
Firepelt stopped licking her. “It would be a world with no hate, no fighting, just happiness. Everything you’d want: Peace. We’d have a world of peace.”
Furrypelt decided to sing the second song. “Baby you’re all that I want, when I’m lying here in your arms. I’m finding it hard to believe we’re in heaven. Love is all that I need, and I find it here in my heart. It isn’t too hard to see we’re in heaven.”
“Agreed,” Firepelt purred. They both lay there, purring, for quite some time.
“Firepelt, the prophecy, do you think it might be Foxkit?” Furrypelt asked suddenly.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Firepelt replied. “But come to think of it, yeah, he might be the one.”
“Think it’ll be someone I knew as a Twoleg, or some complete stranger?” Furrypelt wondered.
“Something tells me it’ll be someone you know,” Firepelt replied.
“Woah! Easy, Rockkit!” Gingerheart cried. Furrypelt stood a little ways away. The five kits were playing together outside the nursery. Rockkit had jumped on top of Mistykit and pushed her down a little too harshly.
Icekit and Mistykit ran towards Rockkit and barreled him over. He fell over and couldn’t get up under their weight. “You two work well together,” Furrypelt commented, walking over.
“Well, of course!” Icekit squeaked. “We’re sisters!”
Gingerheart and Furrypelt shared a glance. They were not sisters. They were kin, but not sisters.
Furrypelt knew she had to tell the kits today; they were a full moon old now. As soon as Firepelt and Bramblethorn are back from patrol, she told herself. She was scared. Will they accept it? Will they keep the secret? Are they old enough to know?
Furrypelt heard the thorn barrier rustle, and Firepelt, Bramblethorn, Stormcloud, and Spiderleg came back from a hunting patrol. Each had two pieces of fresh-kill in their jaws. They dropped it on the fresh-kill pile and separated. Furrypelt flicked her tail for Firepelt and Bramblethorn to come over to them. She motioned for Gingerheart to come over too. She started whispering.
“It’s time to tell the kits the truth, but we can’t in the middle of camp. We have to do it in private, outside of camp.”
“But the kits can’t leave camp!” Gingerheart hissed.
“They can use the dirtplace tunnel,” Furrypelt pointed out. “We’ll have them sneak out one at a time, so it doesn’t look suspicious, and meet them on the other side.”
“It’s our best option,” Bramblethorn mewed. “Come on, let’s go get them.”
The four cats walked over to the play-fighting kits. “Kits!” Bramblethorn called. They five kits ran over to them. Bramblethorn lowered his voice to a whisper. “We have something important to tell you guys, but it has to be in private, so we’re going to sneak you out of camp. Now listen carefully,” he had all the kits’ attentions; they were staring at him wide-eyed and silent. “You five are going to walk out of the dirtplace tunnel one at a time. When you’re out of camp, look for us and join us. Okay?”
All the kits nodded. “Good,” Bramblethorn mewed. “Now, go out the dirplace tunnel, one at a time. We don’t want to raise suspicion.”
“I’ll make sure they follow directions!” Foxkit promised, leading them to the tunnel.
Furrypelt led the way as they pushed through the thorn barrier, and walked quickly to where the dirtplace tunnel lead. They emerged through undergrowth to find that Icekit and Mistykit had already come. Soon came Squirrelkit, then a few moments later Rockkit, and finally Foxkit. “Don’t worry,” Foxkit mewed. “I made sure they went one at a time, with enough time between them. So, what did you want to tell us?”
Furrypelt flicked her tail, and the eight other cats followed her to her usual private spot. “Okay, are you ready?” she asked the kits. They all nodded eagerly. “This is going to come as a great shock to you, but I have to tell you.” She took a deep breath. “Mistykit, Rockkit, Foxkit, Gingerheart is not your mother, and Bramblethorn is not your father.”
“What?!” Mistykit and Rockkit exclaimed. Foxkit just sat there, though his expression said he was just as surprised.
“What about us?” Squirrelkit asked.
“You and Icekit are my kits,” Gingerheart mewed, sweeping them up with her tail.
“Then who are our parents?” Foxkit asked calmly. Furrypelt flicked her tail for Firepelt to step forward.
“We are,” Furrypelt replied.
“But you’re a medicine cat!” Rockkit cried. “You can’t mate!”
“I broke the medicine cat code,” Furrypelt mewed. “You guys have to promise to keep this a secret. You have to pretend that Gingerheart and Bramblethorn are your parents, and that Icekit and Squirrelkit are your siblings. You can’t tell anyone about this. You’ll have to keep quiet, probably for the rest of your lives. Promise me this.”
“I promise,” the five mewed simultaneously.
“Go back to the nursery, one at a time, like getting out.” Firepelt instructed.
“I’ll lead them!” Foxkit promised.
The five kits disappeared, leaving Furrypelt, Gingerheart, Firepelt, and Bramblethorn.
“I think it’s Foxkit,” Furrypelt mewed.
“What?” Gingerheart and Bramblethorn exclaimed.
“Furrypelt was given a prophecy,” Firepelt explained. “There will come another, one who should never have come. It obviously means one of my kits is a Twoleg cat, like Furrypelt and Gingerheart. We think it’s Foxkit.”
“Come to think of it, he has been acting differently than the others,” Gingerheart pointed out.
“Should we ask him?” Bramblethorn asked.
“And say what, ‘Hey, were you once a Twoleg before you became a cat?’? It would sound ridiculous!” Gingerheart snapped. “We’ll wait for him to come to us.”
“That could be forever!” Firepelt cried. “I want to know which of my kits is part of a prophecy! It’s an important thing, Gingerheart!”
“Okay, okay, we’ll give it a moon, if he doesn’t come to us, we ask him upfront.” Gingerheart decided. “Now, I should probably get back to the nursery and keep an eye on those five!”
Gingerheart rushed back into camp, leaving Furrypelt Firepelt and Bramblethorn alone. “We should probably get back too,” Bramblethorn decided. He walked into the camp. Firepelt and Furrypelt followed. They arrived to find the kits acting as usual, when they thought they were all siblings. Good, there’s no way anyone will suspect.
Furrypelt yawned. She could use a nice afternoon nap. She walked into the medicine den and closed her eyes. She instantly slipped into slumber.
She had multiple dreams, each being different except for one detail. They were all about Foxkit coming up to her and greeting her as their Twoleg name.
The first one: “Hi, Elizabeth. I’m Jacob Hunter.”
The second: “Hi, Elizabeth. I’m Joseph Hunter.”
The third: “Hi, Elizabeth. I’m Richard Rodriguez.” At this one she jumped back and clawed Foxkit.
She woke up. She knew Foxkit was the Twoleg. Who was Foxkit? Was he Jacob? Joseph? Richard? Someone else she knew? A complete stranger?
She walked out of the den. The five kits were running up to her. “Tell us a story! About anything!”
“It’s hard to think of something. Give me something specific. And I’ve heard enough stories from the elders to tell you about things that happened before Jayfeather’s time!”
The kits stared at her wide-eyed, but Foxkit gave her a face that said, “I know what happened before Jayfeather! Tell me something new!”
“Tell us about the leader before the leader before Bramblestar!” Rockkit begged.
“Bluestar?” Furrypelt asked.
“Bluestar broke the Warrior Code by mating with Oakheart of RiverClan and gave birth to Mosskit, Stonefur, and Mistystar. Then gave the kits to Oakheart, though born in ThunderClan, so she could become deputy. Then she let Firestar into the Clan—at the time Rusty—even though he was a kittypet. He became Firepaw and trained. Then she died trying to save Firestar, at the time known as Fireheart.” Foxkit mewed. “Come on, tell me something I don’t know yet!”
“How’d you know all that?” Mistykit inquired.
Foxkit suddenly looked scared. “Um, I was listening to the elders’ stories while you guys were napping.” He replied hastily.
“Oh, okay.” Mistykit mewed, satisfied by his answer.
“Tell us about Firestar!” Icekit begged.
“I already know about him! Something new, please!” Foxkit wailed.
“Foxkit, if you already know all of this, go ask the elders to talk about something you don’t know, so I can tell these four about Firestar.” Furrypelt ordered. Foxkit reluctantly walked away towards the elders’ den.
“So, Firestar originally came to ThunderClan as Rusty, back in the old forest—“
“What do you mean ‘old forest’?” Squirrelkit asked.
“Haven’t you guys heard about the Great Journey?” Furrypelt asked. The four kits shook their heads. “Well, ask Sandstorm sometime. Anyway, no one wanted Rusty in ThunderClan, except for Bluestar. But Bluestar convinced them—except for Tigerclaw, Darkstripe, and Longtail. Rusty became Firepaw and trained—as Bluestar herself as his mentor. Firepaw quickly became friends with Graypaw and Ravenpaw, however the other apprentices, Dustpaw and Sandpaw, always made fun of his kittypet roots.
“Soon Firepaw found out that Ravenpaw had seen what had happened at Oakheart and Redtail’s deaths, and Tigerclaw threatened to kill him since he knew the truth, so Firepaw and Graypaw escorted Ravenpaw to live with Barley, a loner. Then Firepaw and Graypaw rescued ThunderClan kits from ShadowClan, and chased out Brokenstar, the blood-thirsty murderous leader of ShadowClan. Everyone loved them, and Firepaw and Graypaw became warriors early, earning their names as Fireheart and Graystripe.”
She continued, until the kits started to complain that they were sleepy. “But I just got to part about Fireheart getting his nine lives!” Furrypelt complained. “That was my favorite part!”
“But I’m tired!” Icekit moaned, struggling to keep her eyes open.
“Fine, you can go nap.” Furrypelt hissed, scaring the kits back to the nursery. Wow, what kind of mother am I? Gingerheart glared at her from the nursery entrance. Furrypelt gave her sister an apologetic look.
Furrypelt turned back into the medicine den and started sorting through herbs. "Elizabeth!” A voice cried from behind her. Startled that someone called her by her Twoleg name, she turned around and found Foxkit by the entrance of the medicine den.
“Foxkit? How do you know my Twoleg name?” Furrypelt asked.
“The elders told me! Said you came to ThunderClan, and that you used to be a Twoleg, and your name was Elizabeth.” Foxkit replied.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Lizzie?!” Foxkit cried.
“Who are you?” Furrypelt asked, knowing for certain now that Foxkit was the one.
“I’m Charles!” Foxkit cried.
“What’s going on?” Jayfeather asked from inside the storage cleft.
“One of my best friends from the Twoleg world is my son!” Furrypelt replied excitedly.
“Okay, first your sister is your friend, and now your son is your friend? I am completely confused!” Jayfeather meowed.
“So am I!” Furrypelt cried, staring at her son. “You’re Charles?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Foxkit replied.
“I should’ve named you Lionkit!” Furrypelt exclaimed.
“Why?” Jayfeather asked confused.
“Because when he was from in the Twoleg world, ‘leith’ means ‘lion’. And his nickname was Leith.” Furrypelt explained.
“Too late to change it now,” Jayfeather mewed. “He’s Foxkit now.”
“He looks more like a fox anyway,” Furrypelt mewed. She studied her son again. “So you’re the cat of the prophecy,” she whispered.
“What prophecy?” Foxkit asked eagerly.
“There will come another, one who should never have come.” Furrypelt recited.
“I’m part of a prophecy!” Foxkit cried, bouncing around the medicine den. “What does it mean?”
“It means there’ll be another Twoleg cat, like me and Gingerheart,” Furrypelt explained.
“Gingerheart’s a Twoleg?” Foxkit cried. “Who is she?”
“Kelsey,” Furrypelt replied.
“Oh!” Foxkit exclaimed. “But what do you mean by, ‘should never have come’?”
“I’m a medicine cat,” Furrypelt reminded him.
“Ohh!” Foxkit shouted. Jayfeather slapped his tail over the kit’s mouth. Foxkit spluttered and backed away, spitting out fur. “What’d you do that for?” he asked crossly.
“You don’t need to tell the entire camp you were never supposed to be born, Foxkit!” Jayfeather hissed. Foxkit turned his back to Jayfeather, stuck his little tail high in the air, and marched out of the medicine den. He pushed gracefully through the bramble screen and disappeared.
“Don’t be so harsh on my son!” Furrypelt snapped to Jayfeather. Jayfeather hissed in reply. Furrypelt left the medicine den.
Furrypelt caught sight of Cloudtail, dozing in the sun. Fernsong walked over and prodded him awake. “Come on,” he mewed. “Bramblestar says we need to do the evening patrol.” Furrypelt looked up and saw the sun was starting to dip below the horizon.
Cloudtail grumbled, clearly wanting to sleep longer. Furrypelt walked over to the nursery and looked for Gingerheart. Gingerheart was sitting in her nest, talking quietly to Ivypool and Daisy, while Icekit, Squirrelkit, Rockkit, and Mistykit slept by her belly. Foxkit was jumping around with Sunkit, Brightkit, and Cloudkit. Gingerheart looked up at the sight of her sister. “What’s up?” Gingerheart asked.
“I just wanted to chat,” Furrypelt replied. “Ever think it’s time for Cloudtail to retire?”
“Sometimes,” Gingerheart replied. “He is getting rather old, and he always wants to sleep, never wanting to go hunting or patrolling anymore.”
“Brackenfur’s older than him, and he still works his tail off every day,” Furrypelt pointed out.
“If he’s more dedicated to being a warrior than Cloudtail, he can retire after Cloudtail, despite his being older.” Gingerheart pointed out.
“Would Cloudtail be willing to admit that he’s ready to retire?” Daisy asked.
“Probably not,” Ivypool mewed.
“Well, if he’s not going to work,” Furrypelt mewed.
“Would he retire without Brightheart?” Gingerheart wondered.
“I doubt it,” Daisy replied. “Those two are glued together.”
“But Brightheart’s still willing to put in effort to be a warrior,” Furrypelt meowed. “Cloudtail’s not.”
“I think it’s time for Cloudtail to retire,” Gingerheart agreed. “With or without Brackenfur and Brightheart.”
Furrypelt backed out of the nursery, allowing the queens some space. How much longer until Sunkit Brightkit and Cloudkit become apprentices? She wondered. Three moons?
Furrypelt wasn’t sure what to do. Why had she signed up to be a medicine cat? It was so boring! But then again, she didn’t like violence, so why be a warrior?
What Furrypelt wanted to do was see her mom again, and bring Gingerheart and their kits. But the kits aren’t allowed outside of camp, so we need to wait until they’re apprentices. She sighed. Five moons and they can see my mother.
“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the Highledge for a Clan meeting!” Bramblestar yowled the next day. Furrypelt pushed her way out of the medicine den. She saw Cloudtail sitting beneath the Highledge.
Furrypelt took a seat near the Highledge. She spotted Gingerheart, Ivypool, and Daisy walk to the nursery entrance.
“Cloudtail,” Bramblestar mewed. “Is it your wish to give up the name of a warrior and go to join the elders?”
“I, I don’t know!” Cloudtail yowled, surprising everyone. “What about Brackenfur? He’s older than me! Or Brightheart? She’s my mate!”
“Cloudtail,” Brightheart mewed, walking up to him. “Brackenfur and I are still more than willing to help our Clans, but you’re always sleeping and complaining about hunting and patrolling. You’re more ready than us to join the elders. It’s not like you’re going to a different Clan!”
“You’re right,” Cloudtail agreed. He raised his voice. “I’m ready to join the elders!”
“Your Clan honors you and all the service you have given us,” Bramblestar mewed. “I call upon StarClan to give you many moons of rest.”
“Cloudtail! Cloudtail!” Everyone chanted.
“My claws will still be ready if we’re under attack,” Cloudtail added, walking over to join Sandstorm Graystripe Millie and Purdy.
“New denmate!” Graystripe cried enthusiastically. He studied Cloudtail. “I remember when you first came to ThunderClan,” he mewed. “No one thought you belonged, and that Fireheart had made a mistake, but I stood up for you.”
“Thanks, Graystripe.” Cloudtail replied, settling down in a nest.
“Hey! That’s mine!” Sandstorm cried.
“Whoops!” Cloudtail mewed, standing up. Furrypelt chuckled. Poor Cloudtail! Furrypelt suddenly felt bored.
She walked towards the thorn barrier and sniffed and listened. She heard something scuttling through the undergrowth. She dropped into the hunter’s crouch and advanced on her prey, then, wiggling her hindquarters, pounced, and killed a squirrel with a swift bite. “Nice catch,” someone commented. Furrypelt jumped, then relaxed as she saw Firepelt. “I wasn’t expecting to find you hunting.”
“I miss training as a warrior,” Furrypelt admitted. “I love you, and I love that we mated and had kits, and I like hunting, and I’m great at fighting, but I hate violence, and I also have a knack for herbs.” She looked at Firepelt. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be.” She batted the squirrel at Firepelt. “Here, I don’t deserve this.”
“Furrypelt, you deserve the world.” Firepelt mewed, walking towards her and rubbing up against her. She purred in reply. “Wanna go for a walk?” Firepelt asked.
“Sure.” Furrypelt replied. Firepelt quickly buried the squirrel and set off through the woods and down towards the lake. He sprinted off, and Furrypelt playfully shot after him. The sun was right on the horizon, turning the sky and water blood red.
Furrypelt bounded after Firepelt until they reached the shore. Firepelt leapt on top of Furrypelt before she could catch her breath, and they tumbled on the sand. They batted each other with sheathed claws and rolled around, sucked into a play-fight.
Firepelt flung Furrypelt backwards with his powerful hind paws, and she found herself in water. Firepelt started laughing, so she put her paw in the water and splashed Firepelt. Firepelt stopped laughing and lunged for her. Furrypelt stepped aside so Firepelt dove into the water. She started laughing, and as he surfaced he splashed her. She splashed back, then he splashed her, and so on until the moon was halfway to the top of the sky.
Furrypelt climbed out of the lake and shook out her pelt. Firepelt climbed out behind her and shook himself also. Furrypelt raced back to camp, Firepelt hard on her paws.
Furrypelt got back to camp and walked into the medicine den. “Furrypelt!” Jayfeather gasped. “You’re soaking wet! Where were you?”
“I was with Firepelt,” she replied. Jayfeather sighed. “I forgot my squirrel in the woods!” Furrypelt suddenly cried.
“You can get it in the morning,” Jayfeather told her sternly. “Lie down and rest.” Furrypelt relented and flopped down into her nest. Jayfeather started licking her as a father would his kit. Furrypelt started purring, and soon found herself asleep.
Furrypelt woke up early the next morning, still exhilarated by the fun she and Firepelt had had last night. She yawned and stretched, then walked out of the den, passing the elders’. “Am I due for a dawn patrol?” Cloudtail asked, peeking his head out.
“Cloudtail,” Millie chuckled. “You’re an elder now! You don’t do patrols!”
“Oh, right,” the white tom remembered. “Force of habit I guess.”
Furrypelt snuck out into the forest and dug up her squirrel from last night. It seemed a little stale, but she walked back to camp anyway and tossed it onto the pile. Furrypelt watched as eight kits tumbled out of the nursery on top of one another. Mine and Gingerheart’s are growing so strongly… They can handle the older kits’ games so easily now! They’ll make great warriors someday.
Furrypelt watched as Leafpaw Larkpaw and Honeypaw shot out of the apprentices’ den. They raced into the warriors’ den. Those innocent warriors being woken up when the sun has barely risen, she thought. Poor guys.
Leafpaw Larkpaw and Honeypaw came back out of the warriors’ den, with their mentors following them. “Hey, Furrypelt!” Mousewhisker called. “You’re not busy, are you?”
“No,” Furrypelt replied, walking over. “What’s up?”
“Berrynose is due for the dawn patrol, and these three are obviously eager to train,” Mousewhisker looked down at the three apprentices, dancing around their mentors’ paws. “I thought you could take Larkpaw.”
“Sure thing,” Furrypelt replied, as Berrynose stalked off to Dewnose, Thornclaw, and Sorrelstripe.
Furrypelt followed Mousewhisker, Dovewing, Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw. They went to the training hollow. They practiced battle moves for what felt like forever! Honeypaw just couldn’t figure out how to leap onto someone’s back and hold on for more than five heartbeats! It’s not difficult! She kept thinking to herself. Just dig your claws in! It’s not rocket science!
Furrypelt looked up and saw that it was sunhigh. She walked back to camp and grabbed a vole from the fresh-kill pile and ate it greedily. She then picked up a tasty-looking mouse and brought it to the medicine den. “Would you like a mouse?” Furrypelt asked Jayfeather as she entered.
“Thanks,” Jayfeather replied, taking the mouse. He pushed a leaf wrap towards her. “Could you bring that to Sandstorm please? It’s for her stiff joints.”
Furrypelt looked at the leaf wrap and saw marigold in it. “Sure thing,” she replied, pushing out of the medicine den and towards the elders’ den. “Here you go Sandstorm,” She mumbled around the leaf wrap. “It’s for your stiff joints.”
“Thanks,” Sandstorm replied. Furrypelt chewed the marigold and applied it on Sandstorm. “I bet one of the apprentices was too careless to make sure the moss wasn’t damp!”
Furrypelt leaned over to Graystripe. “She complains as much as Mousefur!” she hissed.
“Don’t let her hear you say that,” Graystripe warned.
Furrypelt walked back out of the elders’ den. She felt tired from being up all night and waking up early, then training three restless apprentices, so she walked back into the medicine den and plopped in her nest for a nap.
Almost instantly she was asleep, and she looked around. Everywhere there were fighting cats, some her own Clanmates, some she didn’t know. Some looked vaguely familiar, but because of how fast they were moving, she couldn’t quite figure it out.
The smell of blood was all around her. Suddenly, all of her Clanmates fell, dead, on the floor. There will rise four, four who can destroy the Clans.
Furrypelt woke, gasping, in the medicine den. “What’s wrong?” Jayfeather asked urgently.
Furrypelt kept gasping for breath. “Four… Destroy… Clans…”
“Furrypelt? Are you okay?” Jayfeather asked, crouching beside her.
“I had a dream,” she mewed. “There were fighting cats all around me, some unknown, some were our Clanmates. Suddenly, all our Clanmates fell dead, and I was given a prophecy, There will rise four, four who can destroy the Clans.”
Jayfeather stared at her, disbelief in his eyes. “Too soon after the Dark Forest attacked,” Jayfeather mewed finally. “And now this?! And how come StarClan has stopped trusting me with these prophecies? You’ve gotten all of them!”
“Well, in the past they’ve all concerned me more than anyone else,” Furrypelt mewed.
“But how does this involve you?” Jayfeather asked.
“I’m not sure,” Furrypelt replied. “Perhaps we’ll know soon enough.”
“There’s no need to tell anyone yet,” Jayfeather mewed.
“But won’t the apprentices need to train harder to be able to fight this?” Furrypelt asked.
“Good point,” Jayfeather replied. “We should tell Bramblestar to make Leafpaw, Larkpaw, and Honeypaw train harder. And when Sunkit Brightkit and Cloudkit become apprentices to train harder. Same with your and Gingerheart’s kits.”
Furrypelt rushed out of the medicine den. “Wait!” Jayfeather called, but Furrypelt didn’t stop. She bolted up to the Highledge and rushed into Bramblestar’s den. Please let him be here!
She found Bramblestar talking with Lionblaze. “What’s up, Furrypelt?” Bramblestar asked, interrupting the conversation. Sure, Lionblaze can know, too.
“I-I just had a dream,” Furrypelt stammered, uncomfortable speaking to the deputy and leader without Jayfeather with her. But she explained everything about her dream to them. “The apprentices should train harder, and the kits when they become apprentices. Apprentices should train harder than usual, at least until this danger is past.” She finished.
“I see your point, Furrypelt.” Bramblestar walked out of the den and called, “Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the Highledge for a Clan meeting!”
Everyone poured out of dens, walked away from the fresh-kill pile, and rushed into camp. “Furrypelt has had a dream,” Bramblestar began. “Danger is coming. Apprentices from this moment will train harder than ever, until this danger is past!”
Murmurs of reluctance rippled through the Clan, and Larkpaw shouted out that it was unfair. Firepelt glanced at Larkpaw with a knowing look, and Furrypelt remembered that when they were apprentices, she’d asked all the apprentices to work double. Firepelt hadn’t liked it.
Furrypelt bounded down from the Highledge, and was met by Gingerheart, who was running out of the nursery, abandoning her kits to Ivypool and Daisy. “Furrypelt, what’s going on?” Gingerheart asked.
“I’m not entirely sure myself,” Furrypelt replied. “All I know is that danger is coming, and no one will be safe.”
Furrypelt wandered through the forest. Gingerheart had reported that Icekit, Squirrelkit, Mistykit, Rockkit, and Foxkit had managed to run away, so Furrypelt was looking for them.
Furrypelt heard young, squeaky voices, and walked towards the sound. She pushed through the undergrowth, and behind a bush, there were the five kits, tumbling around innocently. “Guys, you can’t be out of camp. Come on! It’s time to go home!” Furrypelt called.
Foxkit stared at her. “But-but we wanna stay here and play!” Foxkit complained.
“Well, there are five kits missing from the nursery,” Furrypelt pointed out. “It’s not like it’s going to go unnoticed. Besides, it’s against the Warrior Code to be out here!”
Foxkit glanced at his littermates, an idea sparkling in his eyes. He raised his right forepaw and mewed, “These are not the kits you seek.” Furrypelt knew what he was doing. Fine, I’ll play along, but only for a little bit.
“These are not the kits I seek,” Furrypelt repeated.
“You will leave now and let us play,” Foxkit continued.
“I will leave now and let you play,” Furrypelt mewed, turning and leaving the clearing. She sat behind the thick bush and stayed silent, watching them.
“Woah! How’d you do that?!” Mistykit cried.
“Can you teach us?” Squirrelkit asked.
“It’s called the Force,” Foxkit replied. “It takes much practice to learn the ways of a Jedi,”
“What else can you do?” Icekit asked. Foxkit glanced around.
“I can make that stick over there levitate!” Foxkit cried.
“Levitate?” Icekit asked.
“He means making it float off the ground, dummy!” Squirrelkit replied, cuffing his sister’s ear lightly.
Foxkit closed his eyes and lifted his right forepaw again. Furrypelt noticed that the stick he was referring to was halfway out of the bush she was hiding behind, and some of it was sticking out her side. This is going to be hilarious,
She picked up the stick gently in her teeth, and lifted it with Foxkit’s paw.
“Woah!!!!” Rockkit cried. Foxkit opened his eyes and stared in disbelief at the stick, as though he hadn’t thought it would work. When Furrypelt saw the disbelief, she dropped the stick, because you can’t use the Force if you don’t believe it will work.
Furrypelt emerged from bush and started tumbling over her and Gingerheart’s kits. “Come on!” she cried. “It’s time to come home!”
“Furrypelt, did you see?” Rockkit asked. “He made the stick float!”
Furrypelt let out a mrrow of laughter and swooped the kits up with her tail. They followed her, amazement shining in all of their eyes. Furrypelt pushed through the thorn barrier, and the kits walked in, not caring if others noticed they were out of camp. The kits ran towards the nursery, clearly eager to tell Gingerheart about what Foxkit had done.
Gingerheart excitedly greeted them, glad that they were okay. Furrypelt watched from a distance. I wish I could really mother them, instead of always standing on the sidelines. She watched as the kits told the other queens about what Foxkit had done. Brightkit emerged and told them that it was impossible. Sunkit and Cloudkit backed him up, and they ended up in a play-fight. Furrypelt was impressed at how well she and Gingerheart’s kits were keeping up with Ivypool’s. They’ll be great warriors someday.
“How do you do it, Gingerheart?” Ivypool asked.
“What do you mean?” Gingerheart asked.
“You have five kits, and they all seem like little troublemakers!” Ivypool explained.
“They’re kits, what can I say?” Gingerheart replied. “Besides, they’re not that hard to take care of, and I have help.” Gingerheart glanced at Furrypelt. Maybe I am a mother to my kits. “Also, typical kittypets give birth to seven or eight at a time! I’ve always thought you guys have tiny litters!”
“Woah! Eight kits in one litter?” Ivypool whispered. “How do they handle it?”
“Well, like I said, kittypets, so they have their Twoleg to help them out, you know, to keep an eye on them, play with them, make sure they’re fed, as a kittypet, the mother doesn’t exactly have to do much, but they seem to anyway. Probably because they’re afraid their Twoleg with harm their precious kit, and I can’t say I blame them, honestly. Most Twolegs are a little rough with cats…”
Furrypelt walked over to the fresh-kill pile and grabbed a thrush to eat, keeping one eye on the kits, making sure they didn’t sneak away while their parents were busy in conversation. It proved unnecessary, though, because Daisy was watching the kits.
Furrypelt couldn’t help but slipping back to her dream, and the prophecy. The Clans could be over forever… but how? Why? What was coming?
She needed to take a walk through the forest, enjoy the scenery, the beautiful colors, cherish the smell of fruit and herbs, and the tweet of birds. Furrypelt stood up and pushed through the thorn barrier, wandering aimlessly through the forest, trying to take her mind off the dream and prophecy.
Furrypelt wasn’t even paying attention to where she was going, but simply allowing her paws to lead her as she tried to focus on the forest around her. She suddenly found herself at the Moonpool. She decided to ask StarClan what to do. Maybe it would help her relax.
She walked up the slope, then spiraled down to the water. She touched her nose to the sparkling water, and instantly found herself in StarClan’s hunting grounds. “Help me!” she called out. “What does this prophecy mean? I can’t stop thinking about it, at least help me relax!”
Bluestar walked towards her. “No,” she mewed gently. “StarClan is just as confused as you are. And we don’t think you should relax.”
“What?” Furrypelt asked confusedly. “You want me stressing out, unable to think about anything else?”
“Yes.” Bluestar replied.
“If it’s always on your mind, you’ll be more likely to try to figure out what it means, what’s happening, and how to stop it. We can’t just ignore it, Furrypelt. We have to be on constant guard, keeping the thought about this fresh. I trust you to try to save the Clans by giving them sense to train harder, all four Clans, and to join forces to stop this. Everything everyone has worked for cannot, will not, be destroyed.”
“I understand,” Furrypelt mewed, dipping her head. “I’ll do my best.”
Furrypelt awoke beside the Moonpool. Night was falling. Bluestar’s words ran in her ears. I trust you to save the Clans…
Me? How can I save the Clans? “What am I supposed to do?!” she yowled out loud. She sat down and felt like wailing like a kit. All four Clans are depending on me…
Furrypelt was sorting through herbs with Jayfeather, setting aside wilted leaves. Suddenly, Firepelt burst into the den, with a long scratch on his side, and bleeding from his ear and front paw. Cinderheart came in after him, and then Fernsong, and then Alderclaw.
“What happened?!” Furrypelt cried, staring at the four beat-up cats.
“WindClan happened,” Firepelt replied, licking his injuries. “They’re tougher than usual, especially Breezepelt.”
There will rise four, four who can destroy the Clans. Could Breezepelt possibly be one of them? She wouldn’t be surprised. How could he destroy the Clans though? Would the four know their destiny, or would they need outside help? Could the Dark Forest possibly know which cats were destined to destroy the Clans, and are training them to make sure the job gets done?
“Furrypelt!” Firepelt’s mew roused her from her thoughts. “Were you going to stand there staring off into space until sunhigh?”
“Sorry,” Furrypelt mewed, shaking her head, and grabbing herbs to treat injuries. “Firepelt, how do you keep getting a gash on your side like that? Honestly…”
“I think my right side is cursed,” Firepelt replied, licking the wound. Furrypelt applied dock to it, and he winced as she did so.
“There,” Furrypelt meowed, stepping back from Firepelt. “That should do it, but I recommend staying off warrior duties for a day or two. I’m worried about that paw…”
“I’ll be fine,” Firepelt assured her.
“But she’s right,” Jayfeather agreed, still working with Fernsong’s injuries. “Firepelt, stay off warrior duties for today, and we’ll go from there.”
“Fine,” Firepelt replied reluctantly.
“You can play with our kits,” Furrypelt whispered. Firepelt nodded and left the medicine den.
Furrypelt and Jayfeather finished treating the other warriors’ injuries, and they left, all with the same instruction to stay off warrior duties for a day. “WindClan must’ve been really tough!” Jayfeather commented.
Furrypelt’s mind wandered back to the prophecy. What’s coming? How do we stop it? Why is it up to me?!
Furrypelt tried to change the subject, and tried to determine when Sunkit Brightkit and Cloudkit would be apprenticed. Two and a half moons? That sounded right. That would be a nice day. And then, what, three more moons to follow before her kits’ ceremony? She was having trouble keeping track.
Furrypelt had trouble keeping focused that day, and was glad when she could sleep and take a break.
She found herself in the camp. Suddenly, cats poured out of their dens. Fighting had begun. There will rise four, four who can destroy the Clans.
Look for the next book in the series,
Warriors A Merged World: The Suspected Warrior
After Furrypelt learns that her son, Foxkit, is her friend from the Twoleg world, she starts hanging out with him more, making the same conversation she makes with Gingerheart.
Ivypool, Gingerheart, and Furrypelt’s kits become apprentices, and with all the apprentices, Furrypelt feels there will be no problems, until she remembers the prophecy, There will rise four, four who can destroy the Clans.
She suspects Breezepelt is one of the four, and her suspicion rises as he becomes a better fighter, and is scented throughout Clan territories. What does this mean for Furrypelt, who was told she has to save the Clans?
Catch a Sneek Peek at Warriors a Merged World: The Suspected Warrior:
Suddenly, Brightpaw and Cloudpaw burst into camp, looking very excited. “Furrypelt! Wanna see what we just learned?” Brightpaw asked excitedly.
Furrypelt chuckled. “Sure!”
Brightpaw lunged to attack Furrypelt’s belly, and she focused on Brightpaw. Cloudpaw leapt on top of her, and started pummeling her back with sheathed claws. This caught Furrypelt by surprise. She rolled to squish Cloudpaw, but she made sure not to press hard, so that she wouldn’t actually squish the little apprentice. Cloudpaw yelped in surprise as Furrypelt reached her back, and she stood up and allowed Cloudpaw to get to his paws. Furrypelt watched Brightpaw out of the corner of her eye, and he leapt at Furrypelt. She quickly spun and batted him out of the air. Cloudpaw lunged, trying to catch her off guard, but Furrypelt was ready, and knocked him out of the air with her other paw.
“You’re good at partner-fighting, I’ll give you that,” Furrypelt mewed. “You’ve got the moves and the cooperation, but you need to be stealthier and quicker. Most likely your enemies will be trained warriors who are ready for anything, so you have to be able to catch them off-guard.”
“Can you give us a training session?” Cloudpaw asked.
“I’d love to be able to catch WindClan off-guard!” Brightpaw yowled.
“Sure, I’ll give you a training session,” Furrypelt chuckled. Cloudpaw and Brightpaw jumped with excitement and scampered off out the thorn barrier. As Furrypelt made to catch up with them, Sunpaw and Foxpaw came back through the thorn barrier.
“You hunt really well,” Foxpaw commented as they walked in. He was mumbling around a pigeon.
“You’re really good, too,” Sunpaw replied. “You caught a pigeon! All I caught was this squirrel!”
“But when the squirrel took off, you were so fast! That was an amazing catch!” Foxpaw protested.
“You really think so?” Sunpaw asked.
“Absolutely.” Foxpaw replied. Aww! Furrypelt thought, watching the two together. But they’re kin! They’re both Firestar’s kin! They’re distant cousins! But then again, Dustpelt mated his niece, and Willowpelt mated her brother, so I guess Foxpaw can mate his distant-cousin.
Furrypelt hurried out of the thorn tunnel to catch up with Brightpaw and Cloudpaw. “It took you forever to get here!” Brightpaw complained. Oy! Apprentices!
“Alright, here we go. Like I said, you’ve got the moves down, just be quicker, and quieter. For instance, while Cloudpaw’s got me locked in combat, Brightpaw could sneak up quietly behind me and leap onto my back. Wanna try that?”
“Yes!” both apprentices squealed. Furrypelt backed up, and Cloudpaw rushed towards her, then started fighting her with his front paws. Furrypelt slashed back, claws sheathed. She didn’t hear a thing, then suddenly felt weight on her back. Brightpaw had leapt on top of her, and was pummeling her back with sheathed paws.
Furrypelt tried to roll on her back to get Brightpaw off, but he leapt off and her back only hit sandy ground. Cloudpaw and Brightpaw each started pummeling her belly, and she swatted them away, then sprang to her feet. As soon as she did, the apprentices knocked her over. They sat there, wide-eyed. “How was that?” Brightpaw asked excitedly. With his neon coat and the sun on him, he was almost blinding to look at.
“Really well,” she approved. “Wanna practice some more or are you done?”
“Keep going!” Cloudpaw shouted. Furrypelt sighed and clambered to her paws. This was going to be a long day.
About the Author
Warriorcat1195 loves cats, and she loves to sing, and she loves Disney. She also loves Erin Hunter's series, Warriors. She reads the books nonstop and loved them enough to write a sequel.
For more information on this book, please visit http://warriors-fanfiction-area.wikia.com/Forbidden_Love Also visit other pages for information about the characters on that wiki.