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Shadows lay hidden in the forest

The eyes of the hidden cats seem watch you, every moment.

But one shadow emerges, to try to stop the darkness.

But she cannot succeed,

Unless she forgives

Prologue

Two cats prowled the dark clearing. They nodded as more cats emerged from the trees. All gathered in a circle. They hissed at each other, but then a booming growl silenced them.

"She has escaped." grimly announced a large tabby tom, his amber eyes gleaming with hatred. "But, she might still take her long awaited revenge."

The gathered cats murmured relief, glad that their efforts have not been wasted. Their attack might still stand a chance.

Another tom stood up, his blue eyes the only thing that set him apart from the first tom. "She tried to leave. But she doesn't realize that it's too late. She will be crushed, along side the other who try to stand up to us. But, it will be a wasted effort. She cannot truly leave."

The cats cackled. Another tom sneered, "She might be exactly what we need, bringing down the enemy from the inside." His sleek dark gray tabby stripes were camouflaged in the everlasting darkness.

"We will watch her collapse, and truly regret leaving us." The toms' eyes gleamed, and they padded off in different directions.

Chapter One

"Get up," ordered a familiar voice. "I need you to help me fetch the catmint." Jayfeather announced.

"Fine," sighed Lionblaze. "I'll just grab a mouse and meet you outside." Jayfeather turned at headed outside, and Lionblaze pulled himself to his paws. Quickly cleaning the moss scraps off his pelt, he padded out to the fresh-kill pile, which was beginning to shrink, since it was already Leaf-Fall. Taking a small mouse, Lionblaze had in down in about three swallows. He headed towards the camp exit, where Jayfeather was waiting impatiently. "Let's go," he commanded, and the two brothers set off into the dawn forest.

The two reached the abandoned Two-Leg Nest, when Jayfeather's ears perked up. He sniffed the air, and ran hopefully towards the border.

"What's wrong?" Lionblaze asks, confused. "Is WindClan invading?"

"No," Jayfeather sighs. "It's just I thought I scented-"

"Hollyleaf!" Lionblaze yowls joyfully. He dashed over the his sister, his brother on his tail. Hollyleaf was there, with another she-cat, a younger one. "You're alive." Lionblaze whispers wistfully.

"I've missed you." Hollyleaf mews. "I'm sorry I left, but I had to."

"But we told the Clan that you were dead!" exclaims Jayfeather, his whiskers quivering.

"We'll work it out." Lionblaze announces firmly. The reunited siblings begin to walk towards ThunderClan camp, all thoughts of the catmint forgotten,

"Hollyleaf- who is this?" Lionblaze asks curiously, nodding towards the small gray cat.

"She's Mist." Hollyleaf mews. "When I nearly died in the tunnels, she nursed me back to health. Her father died in the collapse."

The group finally reaches camp. "I'm glad that most of the clan is out on patrols, because they'd certinly find it odd that a cat came back form StarClan!" Jayfeather muses.

"Let's go to Firestar." Lionblaze says, a bit nervously. They all knew that he might not accept Hollyleaf back into the clan so easily.

Then, a cat came out of the entrance. "You!" Hollyleaf spat. The she-cat looked utterly surprised. "Hollyleaf?" she says, believing this to be a dream.

Hollyleaf's eyes gleamed murderously at her mother.

Chapter Two

"Leafpool. I see you're still a part if the Clan." hisses Hollyleaf furiously. "You broke the code! The one thing that keeps all the clans together!"

"Hollyleaf- she's suffered enough!" Jayfeather mews without thinking. Both Lionblaze and Leafpool look up at him in surprise. But Leafpool says nothing, just stares numbly at the leaf-covered ground.

"I'll never forgive you." Hollyleaf snarls, and stalks into camp, behind Lionblaze. Leafpool turns around, into the forest, whispering, "I love you, daughter."

But Hollyleaf doesn't hear it.

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"Firestar?" nervously asked Lionblaze, as the four stood outside the leader's den.

"Come in, Lionblaze." answers a voice from inside the den. They step in nervously.

"Yes?" asks Firestar, who appeared to be pacing around the den.

Lionblaze steps to the side revealing the sleek black she-cat. "Hello, Firestar." she said, bowing lowly to the leader. "Hollyleaf," he whispered, not believing that the supposed dead warrior was in front of him. "You're alive."

Hollyleaf nodded. "I am. I was lost in the tunnels. Mist helped me survive." she continued, nodding towards the small cat, who shrank back slightly.

"Lionblaze and I were collecting catmint when I scented her." Jayfeather explained.

Firestar nodded, and continued to study the she-cat. "With Leaf-Fall here, the clan needs every warrior possible." Hollyleaf and her brothers' eyes lit up. "But," the old leader continued. "Can I trust you won't leave the clan again?" Instantly Hollyleaf nodded. "But what about Mist?" Hollyleaf inquired about her companion. "I can't leave her after she saved me in the tunnels." Firestar looked towards the small cat. "She may stay, at least for now." Hollyleaf sighed, evidently relieved. "How old are you?" asked Firestar to Mist. She spoke for the first time in a small voice. "About 10 moons, more or less. It's hard to tell in the tunnels."

"Would you like to become an apprentice of ThunderClan?" Firestar asked suddenly.

Mist's ears perked up. After a moments hesitation, she answered. "Yes, I would like that."

Firestar nodded. "I will announce it to the clan."

Chapter Three

Firestar emerged from his den, and leaped on the HighLedge. "Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather for a Clan meeting!"

Cats began to come forth from their dens, confused. No kits were 6 moons, nor apprentices passing their final assessments. The clustered beneath their leader, looking curiously. Jayfeather and Lionblaze had also gathered with their clanmates, worried what they'll think about Hollyleaf, who's death has long been accepted. Dovepaw sat near Briarlight, who had dragged herself out here for the meeting. So much has changed since Hollyleaf left Lionblaze thought numbly. He wondered how she would react to all of the clan changes.

"After we believed Hollyleaf died in the tunnels, we sat vigil for her, and grieved for the loss of our clanmate. But," Firestar announced, cats hanging on to his every word. You could hear a falling leaf in the camp. Even the kits were silent, a first. "She's returned." Hollyleaf padded out from Firestar's den, a confident look on her face. Every cat gasped, excet for the younger cats, with quizzical looks on their faces. Hollyleaf looked down at her clanmates, and a warm lit let up her eyes. She leapt down from the HighLedge, and the Clan surrounded her, greeting her, happy cheers from a few cats who were her friends. Other cats stood back. Ones who seemed unsure of the sudden return of a clanmate who was presumed dead. Squirrelflight and Leafpool stood back. Squirrelflight looked nervous, and Leafpool's face was unreadable. Brambleclaw stood back, too. Uncertainly filled the normally powerful deputy's face. The cat he had once ben proud to call his daughter, was revealed alive. If she hadn't told the secret, maybe he would still be happy with Squirrelflight...

Mousewhisker pushed his way to the front of the crowd, his eyes gleaming towards the black she-cat. His eyes gleamed with excitement. He was one of Hollyleaf's closest friends before... before she left.


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