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Plotting

Prepare for the battles

Prepare for the new lead

Prepare to sacrifice someone

In times of need

POV: Thornstrike

As I pressed Moonflight down, I could feel her trembling against me. "Answer me!" I growled roughly, shaking her slightly.

She flinched and snapped, "I wasn't telling me anything! Frostclaw was threatening me just like..." she paused mid-sentence.

"Threatening you?" I echoed, "No! You've been sending information over to him, I know you have. RushClan knows when we're going to attack, and everything! When did you get Snowstar to trust you more than she trusts me? I don't know anything about the time or date we're attacking RushClan, and you've already told the enemy when!"

I glared down at my sister, but she stared back. "I haven't done a thing, Thornstrike," she sighed, "I know you want to believe the worst of me, but I've never planned on betraying my Clan."

"Someone told RushClan about the training camp, and possibly the location of it." I spat, digging my claws in further, "Were you the one who did it?"

Moonflight didn't reply, her blue eyes anguished, "It was an accident," she whispered, "I did not mean to tell him such a thing, I just...thought he would be worried if I could not meet him more often." Her confession shocked me.

"I'm telling Snowstar."

Instantly, my sister surged upwards, knocking the breath out of me. I let out a shocked gasp, and clutched my chest, winded. Moonflight stood on top of me, her eyes angry, "Worrying about me and perhaps putting me in prison will only harm StormClan," she snarled, "We would be one warrior short, and Snowstar wouldn't be entirely focused on the war with RushClan."

"You're a traitor!"

Moonflight didn't flinch this time, "I made a mistake," she repeated, "But I promise that I'll make it up to the Clan. When this war is over, you can turn me in."

She let me up, even before I had promised her. She stalked away, and I let her go, feeling empty and betrayed.

I hauled myself up and sighed. As I plodded back towards the camp, Rainsong popped out and greeted me, "I saw Moonflight come back," she mewed worriedly, "And you weren't there, despite the fact that you had left to find her earlier. I was worried that you had gotten hurt!"

I couldn't bring myself to tell her what had happened, "I'm sorry," I mewed back, "I sent Moonflight back early as I checked the border. I saw her when I got there, and she had just been finishing marking the border, but I had to make sure."

"Oh," she didn't sound very convinced, but at least she looked more relieved.

"Rainsong," I started hesitantly, "I..."

The gray she-cat stared at him, sadness and something else flooding into her eyes, "Thornstrike, this isn't the time," she whispered.

I stared at her, my voice dying in my throat, "Not...the...time?"

"You have your duties and I have mine, I cannot let...us...get in the way of your leadership." Rainsong turned away, "And perhaps, I was not meant to be your mate."

I could not muster enough energy to protest as she looked back, her eyes full of love, then turned away again to walk into the warriors' den.

The space in front of me seemed daunting, and I suddenly wished I could push myself into the den and tell Rainsong that we had to be meant for each other, and that I could not live with the thought of her being so close, yet...so far.

But I could not.

She was right, I had my duties.

Closing my eyes, I left out my breath and opened them again. I had to organize the evening patrols. I limped to the center of the clearing, where some of the warriors had started to gather. "Alright, Frogleap, I need you to lead a patrol to the training camp and make sure there are not RushClan cats hiding there. Take whoever you want."

I waited until Frogleap had left with the warriors before continuing, "Flarefoot, take Shatterpaw and Smokepaw and take them to practice their battle moves. We may not have a training camp anymore, but we must proceed as if we had one."

Shatterpaw had been given to a young warrior named Thrushflight, since her previous mentor, Fawnsky had died.

"Birdsong, lead a hunting patrol with Scorchfire, Hareflight, Petalstorm, and Fogpaw."

I finished ranting the names of other patrols and quickly walked into the warriors' den and sank into my nest. Rainsong and Moonflight were curled up in their own nests, but I ignored them. I just wanted to sleep forever and think.

~

When I woke up, something was going on outside. I looked outside and was abhorrent to find a bloody mess. Cats were shrieking and tussling everywhere, and blood splattered the ground constantly. I lurched forward, grabbing a RushClan cat as he clawed Rainsong.

Suddenly the screams felt real to me. As every scream erupted from a StormClan cat, I gritted my teeth and took out another one of the enemy.

Everything blurred, and I whirled, scratched, and clawed, slowing dispatching RushClan warriors until I finally heard the words, "Retreat!"

I halted, the world clearing out so I saw Emberstar herself leading the RushClan cats back out of the camp. I breathed out heavily, then sank to the ground, my head hurting terribly.

"Thornstrike!" I heard a faint voice call out. At first, I thought it was a StarClan cat, calling to me. But as my vision blurred and cleared, I saw Rainsong crouching over me.

Another gray cat came into view, and it took me some time to decipher the image as Moonflight. My sister looked so worried, I was thrown back to those times I had been so harsh on her.

"He was poisoned." I heard someone say gravely, and I recognized the voice of Cloudstep, the medicine cat.

Poisoned? When did this happen?

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