Episode Five, Season Two, of Spy Torture.
The pain was overwhelming.
Suddenly Ice was shoving others aside with herbs and cobwebs. Shard’s eyes fluttered open and closed, and Brightsong whispered, “Shard, why would you do that?” She hissed, her tail flicking back and forth.
Shard didn’t know what really happened next, but pain and blackness closed around her vision and she let the darkness take her away.
Sun was crouched next to Silver, her eyes held shut.
“This was your idea,” the silver tom hissed, “Now the Rebellion leader is dying and we can’t do anything!”
Sun muttered something inaudible and clawed at the ground. Silver glared at her, and she snarled, “I didn’t mean to hold her back for so long! We couldn’t let Snarl think we weren’t loyal though.”
Silver huffed, “And with the Rebellion leader dying, what are we going to do next?”
“Proceed as planned.” Sun mewed.
“Oh, brilliant idea!” Silver growled, “Especially since the Rebellion will fall apart with her dead.”
“She might not die, mouse-brain!” Sun sighed, “Come on, let’s go before Snarl finds us chatting.”
If she dies, what are we going to do? What will happen to the Rebellion?
Pain was the first thing she felt when she woke up. “What happened?” Shard rasped, wincing slightly at the pain of her throat.
“You’re awake!” Brightsong rushed forward, “Are you alright?”
Shard groaned and closed her eyes, “I don’t feel alright... What happened after...” Suddenly everything came back to her.
The battle, saving Brightsong, the overwhelming pain... Shard let out a soft moan. Brightsong was next to her, whispering words of encouragement. “You’re going to do fine, Shard, believe in it.”
“Fine”, was not how Shard would have described “recovering”, but she was grateful for Brightsong’s support.
Ice and Mist Leaf were musing over herbs, and Shard let herself drift off into sleep once more, the fuzziness of the battle after Snarl had implanted his claws into her neck coming back to her.
“Retreat, Spy Army!” A deep throated growl sounded as he hissed in satisfaction, “Our goal is finished!”
Everything was black, and Shard was trying not to faint from the pain.
She could tell that Snarl was pleased by his “assassination”, and Shard assumed his goal was to kill her.
“The Rebellion will fall!” He gloated, “Let’s go, Spy Army!”
Sounds of pattering pawsteps sounded as paws pressed tightly around her throat. Shard keeled over, trying to struggle away. But fatigue took over, and she only heard Ice say something about keeping still, and then she disappeared.
In Pouring Rain, the name was very accurate. It had been raining for the past three days, and Moon that Glows on Water was sick of it.
She wanted to be out helping the Rebellion, or doing something. Anything was better than sitting in a wet den and listening to the drip, drip, drip of the rain. She was soaked to the bone, sick, and unable to go out hunting because of the marshy lands and the weather.
I hate this rain, I hate my position, I hate everything in life. Moon sighed miserably. Night of the Great Black Sky looked up, “Are you alright, Moon?”
She lifted her head and nodded, “Yes, I’m fine, thank you.”
Red of the Burning Sun looked impatient, “We should go now, so we can inform the Rebellion.”
Water shook her head, “No, you remember what Snarl implanted in their midst. It would be pointless to tell Shard of Ice, and then get captured by Snarl immediately.” She had a point there.
Night narrowed his eyes, “We must think of some way,” he mewed, padding closer, “We must get the message across.”
Moon glanced outside, “In this weather, we could sneak past the traitor easily, even if we don’t know who he is.”
“And all the other factions are stationed at camps right now.” Water added.
“It’s only raining around here.” Red pointed out.
Moon rolled her eyes, “It’s cloudy all around the Tribe area, it won’t be hard to slip through.”
“We’re not the stealth faction though,” Night sighed, “It’s easy to get caught if we’re not careful.”
“Then be careful!”
Moon looked around her faction and stood up, “Let’s get moving.”
“Wake up, Shard,” a pleading voice sounded by her ear, “Please don’t die because of me.”
Die? Who’s dying?
Shard tried to open her eyes, but then registered the pain. Letting out a soft moan, she heard a bright voice exclaim, “She’s alive!”
If this is what being “alive” means, I’d rather be dead. Shard thought. The pain was overwhelming, and Shard couldn’t move. Her sight was blurry, but she saw a white blob and a ginger smudge hovering over her like two eagles waiting for prey.
“What’s going on?”
Brightsong purred, “You fainted, and the Spy Army retreated, and we’re treating you right now.”
Ice grunted, “She’ll live if she doesn’t move for some time, but she’ll live.”
“We can’t stay here!”
Mystery of the Falling Feather trotted over, “How is Shard?”
Ice repeated her response, and Mystery rolled her eyes, “Getting Shard to stay put is impossible. You better find some way to get her up and moving, rogue.”
The white cat stiffened at the word “rogue”, but Mystery had already turned away. She red-brown she-cat twined her tail around a black tom’s tail, and Shard purred in amusement.
Nightfire was said to be born in the Tribe near Mystery. Star herself had confirmed that she had seen Nightfire, or a cat like him, in the camp of Glowing Moon. The two had been together ever since Nightfire found out, and Shard found the two adorable.
Shard stirred, and slowly sat up. Ice let out a startled yelp at her movement, but Shard didn’t sway or die.
“I’m fine,” she croaked, “We can move at a slow pace.”
She made a signal to Brightsong-their own signals, nothing like the Spy Army’s to avoid being spied on-and the ginger she-cat turned to do her task.
As Brightsong went to make sure everyone was present and was ready to move, Pathway to Frozen Star led the way out.
Rain stayed near the end of the group, his eyes down. Shard wasn’t blaming him for the loss of Eagle That Hunts at Night, but he obviously did.
We’ll get Eagle back soon, I know we will.
Silver and Sun were seated at the edge of Snarl’s makeshift ‘faction’, and Silver just wanted to edge away.
“We have successfully killed the Rebellion leader, Shard of Ice, the traitor that has caused so much trouble for our united Tribe!”
There were cheers, but most were forced and tinged with fear and repulsion. Silver didn’t blame them. He pressed closer to Sun that Shines on Water, who tried to smile back at him.
Snarl continued on with his speech of victory, “We have tasted defeat many times,” his eyes raked over his daughter, Leaf that Changes Color, who had come to attend Snarl’s speech, “But now, we have tasted victory!”
This time the cries were real, because they weren’t just cheering for the fact that they killed some nobody. They were cheering because they had succeeded with a task, to have a peaceful life in the Tribe.
“However,” Snarl mused as the cheering died down, “We must capture the rest of the Rebellion and kill off all the Clans.”
The silence was deafening. Leaf was staring wide-eyed at Snarl, but she stood up when he indicated her to.
“We will start to recruit rogues, and we are trying to spy on the Rebellion to see if we can pinpoint where they are going next, and what we can do.” Leaf mewed.
Raina, Leaf’s mother, stood up too. There were hushed murmurs as the fierce she-cat let her gaze roam through the crowd. It stopped on Silver, and he gulped nervously. “We are strong.”
Like she does anything to help the Tribe!
Sun whispered in his ear, “We must try to find out how to warn the Rebellion, and help them regroup.”
Silver replied, “They’re not going to let us come close, we killed Shard of Ice!”
The golden tabby’s eyes darkened, “I’m not going to sit around being Snarl’s loyal cat, I’m going to do something!”
Silver sighed, “I’ll join you then.”
“What do you mean you’re leaving?” Shard stared in shock at Rush of the Howling Wind and Ananta.
Rush replied calmly, “We’re going to live in the wilds, but we’ll keep mobbing with you. We just don’t want to be part of the fighting and everything anymore.”
Ananta nodded, “She’s having kits.”
The ginger she-cat blushed as the crimson tom blurted out the answer, and Shard purred, “When they’re strong enough, will you return to live in the Rebellion? We need you two, and I promise we’ll keep your kits safe.”
Rush exchanged a glance with Ananta. They were hidden in a grove, and there were guards watching outside to make sure there was nobody eavesdropping. “Of course,” Ananta mewed, “But we don’t want Rush, or the kits, to be hurt before they are kitted.”
Shard dipped her head respectfully, “I wish you two well, and if you need our help, call for us.”
“Same goes for you.” Rush replied back.
Shard watched as the two padded away, and she felt someone brush against her. She turned, and met his green eyes. “That’ll be us one day,” he murmured.
The white she-cat let herself lean against Tornclaw tiredly, “It will...” She sighed, “When this war is over.”
Tornclaw flashed her a look, but he knew why she couldn’t take him as a mate now. “You have a Rebellion to lead.”
He sighed, “You’re right, you have to lead us to victory. And now, without Rush and Ananta, we’re weaker than we were before.”
Shard nodded. “But I don’t want to burden them with responsibilities.”
Tornclaw gave her a half-smile, “That’s just like you Shard, watching out for everybody.” He stood up, and Shard’s blue eyes followed his as he trotted away to assemble a hunting patrol.
Stargaze had rounded up five cats to scout for good places to live, and Shard looked on with approval. Mist Leaf was hovering over cats, treating their wounds quickly as everyone moved.
Ice and rain hung near the edge of the large group, both looking tired and out of place. Rain still looked miserable, and Shard decided to go talk with him.
“Are you alright, Rain?”
He jumped slightly, his eyes widening when he saw Shard.
“Yeah, y-yeah I’m fine.”
Shard of Ice narrowed her eyes slightly at his tone, “You don’t look fine, if you’re thinking that Eagle’s capture was your fault, stop blaming yourself. It wasn’t your fault.”
He seemed to relax at her words, “Yeah, I was thinking about him,” he confesses, obviously relieved to talk about it, “I shouldn’t have left him back there for Snarl to capture, he was obviously laying in wait for Eagle.”
Suddenly a question dawned Shard. He’s right, Eagle was assaulted after Rain left. There was no scent of who and where they came from, only the scent of nature and leaves. If Snarl wanted to attack and do something to lead me to the battle field, why didn’t he attack both Rain and Eagle?
There was something wrong with Rain’s story. Something was fabricated in there. Shard wanted to know what, but she didn’t know any clues to lead her.
They kept walking in silence, until she heard a dash of pawsteps, and Star’s hushed meow.
“Snarl has Eagle right up ahead, Shard.”