Snowflower was running. She was running away from her clan. She knew she was a coward, but in a way, she didn't care. The deputy, Pinefrost, had glared at her and forced her to be her mate. Two moons later, she found out that she was close to having kits. She would live as a rogue for a while. The important thing was not to be in WindClan. Everything else didn't matter at this point.
Suddenly, Snowflower dropped. My kits are coming! She felt the pain and desperately bit down on a stick. Just then, she felt the first kit come out, white with silver tabby patches. Soon after, the pain stopped. She must be the only one.
"Hey! Who are you?"
Is that Pinefrost? Please, StarClan, don't let it be Pinefrost!
A golden tom stepped out from behind a tree. "Hey, are you Snowflower of WindClan?"
Snowflower gave a weak nod. "How did you know?"
"I saw you at Gatherings. Anyway, what are you doing here?"
Snowflower told the tom her story. When she was finished, the tom gave her a comforting lick.
"I'm Brackenfeather," he explained. "Would you like to join ThunderClan?"
Snowflower nodded gratefully. "This is Ivykit," she told him, resting her tail on her kit's head.
Brackenfeather nodded, and the three cats walked off toward camp.
"Wake up, dear!"
Ivykit slowly opened her eyes. "It's your ceremony today!" her mother, Snowflower, purred.
Ivykit smiled. An apprentice! I can be an apprentice! Then that snobby Tornadopaw won't be able to act all proud around me just because he became an apprentice a half moon before me!
"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join here beneath the Highrock for a clan meeting!"
Quickly, Ivykit and Snowflower ran toward the Highrock.
The clan leader, Whitestar, then made her an apprentice, with Rosewhisker as her mentor.
"Now, let's go on a tour of the territory," Rosewhisker mewed to Ivypaw.
After the tour, they had battle training. Ivypaw struggled a bit. She tried to be tough, but it didn't work. Finally, Rosewhisker sat down, and they had a chat.
"Ivypaw," Rosewhisker mewed. "One thing that my mentor told me when I was an apprentice was, 'Use your skills to your advantage.' Being aggressive doesn't work with you, okay. Let's try another method. From what I've seen, you're intelligent. Use strategy to avoid being tough. Use your skills to your advantage, Ivypaw!"
As they continued, Ivypaw would make a sound to distract Rosewhisker, then used her small size to sneak under Rosewhisker's belly and pull at her tail to topple her over.
"That's a great strategy," Rosewhisker mewed, "especially the distraction part. You really took me by surprise there!"
Ivypaw dipped her head. "Thank you," she mewed.
By that time, the day was over, and Ivypaw went into the apprentices' den.
Meanwhile, even though she didn't know it, Pinefrost was exiled from WindClan for attempting to kill Snowstar. Now he was going to ThunderClan, the words of a prophecy ringing in his ears.
A fleet of ivy will grow and rise to the top of thunder. It wil shoulder apart a frosty pine and rise to the top.
Ivykit's the cat in the prophecy! I just know it!
Stealthily, Pinefrost crept up to the warriors' den. He recognized the ThunderClan deputy, Liontail, from seeing him at Gatherings. Quickly, with a slash to the throat, Liontail was killed.
Pinefrost ran out of camp and to a certain Twoleg nest. A rogue named Tree told him that there was Twoleg goo guaranteed to change your pelt color. Pinefrost chose a snowy white and rolled around in it. He decided to change his name to Cloud so no one would recognize him.
The next day, Ivypaw woke up to find the Clan grieving.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Liontail was murdered, and Whitestar accepted a rogue named Cloud into the Clan as Cloudheart and chose him as deputy," Snowflower explained.
Ivypaw sighed and went out on patrol with Rosewhisker, hoping everything would be okay when she came back.
Ivypaw walked into the warriors' den. Snowflower promised to tell her a story about her father, Pinefrost, and Ivypaw was excited about hearing it.
"Come in," Snowflower purred as Ivypaw sat down next to her mother.
"Once upon a time, I was in WindClan. On a hunting patrol, he pinned me down and told me to be my mate, or he would kill me. I was forced to oblige, and two months later, I found out that I was close to having kits. Panicking for their safety, I ran away, and you were born. Brackenfeather invited me into ThunderClan, and here I am. Oh, and he tried to kill Snowstar to become leader. He wants to hurt us, Ivypaw, so be very, very careful. He could be anywhere, waiting to kill you."
When she was finished, Ivypaw looked at her, eyes filled with fear. She managed to calm herself and brushed her pelt against her mother's.
"Everything will be okay," Snowflower whispered. "Everything will be okay."
And everything was okay, at least for a long time.
"Before we name Waterpaw a warrior, I have some tragic news.
Ivyfleet pressed against her mate, Tornadoheart. The tragic news was the death of her kits, Stonekit, Wolfkit, and Bravekit, and her mother, Snowflower. Someone had brutally murdered them, and Ivyfleet longed to avenge their deaths.
Sure enough, the sad news was announced, but Ivyfleet's apprentice, Waterpaw, became a warrior, Waterstream. As Ivyfleet cheered his name, she felt tiny claws dig into her back. Ivyfleet whipped around and realized that the claws belonged to Leafkit, the newest member of ThunderClan.
Purring, Ivyfleet went back to the medicine den to get her scratch treated. "Amberspots! Amberspots!" Ivyfleet entered the medicine den and found Amberspots, the medicine cat, lying on the floor dead, Cloudheart's paw on her throat.
"What are you doing here?" Cloudheart roared.
Ivyfleet looked at him nervously. "I walked in to get a scratch treated, and I found you."
Cloudheart made an attempt at a smile. "I guess I'll have to kill you then," he mewed.
"No!" Ivyfleet yelped, running out of the medicine den. If we're going to fight, might as well do it near the gorge.
Cloudheart ran after her. "Don't try to run away, Ivyfleet! I'm going to kill you no matter what!"
Just then, he tripped into a puddle, staining it white and making his pelt brown.
"Who are you?" Ivyfleet yelled. "Why are you so against me?"
Cloudheart glared up at her with icy blue eyes. "My name is Pinefrost!" he yelled. "I'm not going to let Ivy shoulder Pine aside."
"Pi-Pinefrost?" Ivyfleet looked at her father in surprise. "What were you talking about? About Ivy shouldering Pine aside?"
Pinefrost climbed out of the puddle, long brown fur dripping with water, making him look even scarier. "There was a prophecy. A fleet of ivy will grow and rise to the top of thunder. It will shoulder apart a frosty pine and rise to the top. I'm not going to let that happen!" With a yowl, he crouched down to jump on Ivyfleet.
"No!" Whitestar yowled, stepping forward.
Tornadoheart put his tail out to block his path. "This is Ivyfleet's battle."
Ivyfleet stepped aside, but Pinefrost didn't end up tumbling into the grass. "That wasn't where I was aiming, mouse-brain!" Ivyfleet jumped on him again, this time filled with rage. Pinefrost had killed her kits and mother. She just knew it.
Ivyfleet looked scared. Never before had she met an opponent with her brilliant mind. Now, she wasn't entirely sure about beating him.
Rosewhisker's words ran through her mind. Use your skills to your advantage.
Quickly, Ivyfleet headed towards Pinefrost's tail. He, however, whipped around and held Ivyfleet down. "I guess Ivy won't shoulder Pine aside after all!"
Desperately, Ivyfleet tried to spring up, but it was no use. Pinefrost was strong and continued to hold her down.
"No," said a voice. "It will."
Rosewhisker sprang out from behind a tree and pounced on Pinefrost, knocking him into the gorge.
"Hooray!" the Clan cheered.
"Now," Whitestar mewed. "Pinefrost is dead, and I have to appoint a new deputy. I say these words before StarClan, so that their spirits may hear and approve my choice."
"Ivyfleet will be the new deputy of ThunderClan."
"Ivyfleet! Ivyfleet!" the clan cheered, but Rosewhisker cheered the loudest.
Ivyfleet smiled. Finally, peace was restored in the Clans once more.