"Why? Why would you do this?" Ravenstar was glaring at the four cats below him.
The first one, a cream-colored she-cat murmured. "Ravenstar. We didn't do it. You are mistaken."
Ravenstar bared his teeth. "You did it, and you cannot deny it. Why else would Leafwhisker, Moleheart, and Poolheart be dead? Because someone killed them. And you four did it."
A gray tom bowed his head. "Ravenstar, we were hunting when they were killed. The four of us were on a hunting patrol. We couldn't have done the crime."
The jet-black leader growled. He bared his teeth, and hissed. "This is your last warning. Get out, or..." He unsheathed his claws, showing the sharp tip.
The four cats shied away, and the pure white tom stared at his former leader. "I'm sorry, Ravenstar. We did not not do this crime, and you are about to lose your four most valuable warriors.
The leader hissed, but did not stop them. He watched with cold eyes as the four cats, a cream-colored one, a jet-black one, a pure white one, and a stormy gray one. They padded off into the night, not glancing back once at the Clan they once knew. ~_~_~
"So you want to join us." Petalstar mewed.
The four cats nodded. "We were from ShadowClan, but Ravenstar accused us of a crime we didn't do. So we were exiled. Instead of trying to live in the wild, we decided to join ThunderClan instead."
Petalstar's eyes were cold, but she nodded. "You may join ThunderClan, but you must live under our guard for the first moon. But then, if I cannot find you trustworthy, then you will remain a prisoner. Am I clear?" Her gaze swept over the four cats.
"Yes." they chorused, though they were nervous. Petalstar was a strict leader. One mistake, and they were going to be trapped in her embrace forever. Trapped as prisoners. ~_~_~
The jet-black cat huddled in the corner, thinking about the father he never had. Ravenstar. The ShadowClan leader had tossed them out like they were a piece of rotten fresh-kill. His eyes were as cold as the leaf-bare winds, and his words stung like bees.
Ravenfur turned his head away. His life was full of lies, and it didn't seem to get better. Until now. He had ThunderClan to help him, and his beloved friends. Together, they would solve this mystery. Together, they shall break this lurking darkness, one that covered the Clans.
If they didn't, the Clans might fall into the darkness forever. ~_~_~
Flowerpelt stared at Petalstar. Her cream-colored pelt had always stuck out in ShadowClan, but now in ThunderClan, her pelt blended in smoothly. She had never known her mother, and had always been raised and cared for by Tawnyfire.
Ravenstar was her uncle, who's brother was Snaketail. Snaketail was the most caring father Flowerpelt had ever had. But now, she wondered what would happen to him.
She remembered the time when she was a kit, and a warrior called Firepelt had been revealed as a traitor. His father, Brushclaw, had been brought forward, and tortured in front of the Clan. Just because he was related to Firepelt.
But the more Flowerpelt thought about it, the more she was certain that Snaketail would be killed. Ravenstar was too cruel to let him go. Even if he was his own brother.
Flowerpelt laid her head on her paws, feeling depressed and heart-broken. How could life go on if nothing goes right? She was about to find out.
Cloudshadow slept in his new nest. He started to dream about his mother.
Moonshadow was grooming her pelt, watching Cloudkit play. "Oh Cloudkit, I wish tomorrow would never come." Cloudkit had stared at her in confusion.
"What do you mean, Mama?" Moonshadow whispered. "Rateye murdered someone, and all related to him will be killed.
Cloudkit had froze. "Uncle?" "Yes. Your uncle murdered Sunflight, the noble deputy. Now, because Soleheart is your father's brother, he will be killed."
"But why? It wasn't Papa's fault, was it?" Cloudkit stared at his mother desperately. Moonshadow touched her nose to his, and murmured. "No, Cloudkit. It wasn't."
The next day, Cloudkit sat with his mother, watching the ceremony. Rateye's body was in the middle, tore apart by scratches and claw marks. Soleheart was pinned down by the warriors Blackeagle, and Robinheart. They stared at Soleheart with sad eyes.
Soleheart glared up at Ravenstar, who smirked. "Soleheart. You are about to be tortured for being related to Rateye. And your first torture is, watching your mate die."
"No! Don't. Take me instead!" Soleheart cried out, anguished. Moonshadow stood there in shock, trembling as she touched her nose to Cloudkit's one more time.
Ravenstar smiled. "You don't have to be so desperate. I'm already going to take your life. But after Moonshadow dies first."
Cloudkit was wailing to the sky. No. His mother! Moonshadow brushed against him, her tears flowing down silently. "I will not allow you to harm Cloudkit though."
Ravenstar's eyes narrowed. But he wordlessly nodded. His tail flicked, and Shadowclaw brought Moonflight down. She yowled in agony, and Cloudkit struggled to save his mother. She didn't do anything! But Ravenstar was holding him fast.
Once Moonshadow fell at the paws of Shadowclaw, Ravenstar held his claws at his throat. "Okay, now that Moonshadow is dead, I think I'll kill Cloudkit next."
Soleheart screamed. "You promised! You promised that Cloudkit wouldn't get hurt."
"Did I?" There was an evil glint in his eyes. "Oh no, I only nodded for Shadowclaw to move, not to her promise."
Soleheart growled, and pushed his guards away. Lunging for Ravenstar, Soleheart growled. "You will not harm my kit."
Ravenstar lashed out. His claws dug deep into Soleheart's throat, killing him instantly. Ravenstar turned to Cloudkit, who shied away. "I think I'll let you live, so you can become my trusted warrior. Remember this day, Cloudkit...
Dewtail licked his tail, feeling faint. He remembered when he was little, and Ravenstar had raided WindClan. Dewtail had been stolen, and kept as a prisoner for the next six moons. Finally, Dewtail was forced to serve as Ravenstar's warrior.
Shuddering, Dewtail curled up. He did not want to relive the time.
Dewkit stared as ShadowClan warriors flooded into the camp. He was instantly surrounded by warriors, who scooped him up and fled the area.
Morningsun was screaming for him, trying to get him back. "Dewkit! No! Dewkit!"
Dewkit stared at his mother, who fell at the paws of Ravenstar. The ShadowClan leader had slashed his claws across Morningsun's throat, leaving her dead near the nursery.
Then, he had been carried away, away from his beloved home.
None of the warriors were happy, but they knew that there was only one way to get back at Ravenstar and stop his reign.
"Let's solve this mystery."
Chapter One - Ravenfur
He sighed, and lay down in his nest. They had work to do. Petalstar was kind and caring, but still unsure about who they were, and how loyal they will be. He looked at the others. They had never really talked before today. Ravenstar had always kept him by his side.
Licking his ruffled pelt, he stared at the others. They looked equally puzzled, and the look of despair and anger seemed to be washing over them. They were staring off into space, probably thinking about what they were going to do.
Ravenfur remembered what they had said yesterday. "Let's solve this mystery." To be honest, Ravenfur wasn't brave enough. He didn't want to meddle with Ravenstar again. He was happy to stay in ThunderClan.
Petalstar walked in. "I see you slept well. Are you ready to start your first task?"
Ravenfur nodded with the others. "I need all of you to hunt for ThunderClan. Of course, there will be warriors guarding you, just to make sure you stay loyal."
They nodded again, eyeing the bulky shapes behind Petalstar. "Each warrior is to be assigned to a..." She paused. "Warrior in waiting."
Ravenfur nodded, and he headed out with his partner. "Hey..."
"Oh, hi. I'm Swiftstripe, deputy of ThunderClan." The tom glanced down at him. "You know you aren't allowed to escape from my view, not even to catch prey. I must be able to see you at all times, or you will remain a prisoner. Am I understood?"
Ravenfur nodded. "Of course."
"Off you go then."
Heading towards a big clump, Ravenfur remembered what Swiftstripe just said. Veering away, Ravenfur sniffed the air. No prey. None.
Swiftstripe, still watching, sat down to groom. Ravenfur left out his breath, and sniffed for prey again. Still nothing. Lashing his tail in frustration, Ravenfur attempted to look for prey up the tree. Swiftstripe groomed her pelt, not so interested in watching a prisoner hunt.
Ravenfur tried to catch a bird that was chirping up in the tree, but missed and fell, landing with a THUMP that startled Swiftstripe. The deputy snarled, eyes glinting in annoyance.
"To think that you were actually obiediant!" Swiftstripe hissed. "Now I shall bring you back, and report to Petalstar."
He didn't get it. Ravenfur had done nothing wrong. "I was only chasing prey..."
"Nonsense!" Swiftstripe growled. "You were most certainly trying to escape, only to fall out of the tree!" Ravenfur groaned. He had such bad luck. The deputy took him back. and Petalstar eyed the two of them with disapproval.
She sighed. "All three of your companions showed such loyalty, but only you tried to escape from ThunderClan. I am afraid you must remain a prisoner." Ravenfur glanced at the others for help. But they only shrugged. They didn't know each other, and the others didn't have much to defend him with.
Ravenfur was dragged into a cave where a guard was camped outside. He sighed, and thought, And that's why the first impression is the most important one.
Chapter Two - Dewtail
He remembered his mother so clearly that it hurt. Morningsun was always caring, and never let Dewtail go without her permission. As a kit, Dewtail had been obidient, and loved.
But when the ShadowClan warriors had charged the camp, Dewtail forgot which one, Morningsun had been slain by Ravenstar, and Dewkit had been taken. Taken to ShadowClan to serve.
For the first six moons of kithood, Dewtail was forced as a prisoner, doing the hard labor work that had crippled many prisoners. Dewtail had been lucky, and escaped injuries. Proven to be a good warrior, Dewtail had then been trained and forced to serve as Ravenstar's warrior.
Now, the four of them had been accused of killing three of their Clanmates. It was obvious that Dewtail did not do it, because the four of them had the misfortune to be out when the three were killed.
Ravenfur seemed suspicious. He was Ravenstar's companion, and was quiet around the group. He, earlier today, was also accused of trying to escape. Dewtail suspected that Ravenfur was spying for Ravenstar.
Cloudshadow was quiet and shy, but defiance shown in his eyes. Dewtail had seen the way he glared at Ravenstar, as if daring him to bring them down as prisoners instead of exiling them.
Flowerpelt was a soft she-cat, but she seemed to know lots about herbs even though she trained as a warrior. She was a great hunter, and a fierce fighter, but even she could not defy Ravenstar.
The three of them had survived Ravenstar's rule, and passed Petalstar's loyalty test, and now they were to be tested on how good they fought, and hunted.
Dewtail was escorted out, and told to fight Ravenfur in a mock battle. "Remember, claws shealthed, but make sure to do hard blows."
Ravenfur leaped at Dewtail, his teeth bared. The brown tom rolled away, thinking. I know you're angry about being accused, and the fact that you're stuck as a prisoner, but don't take it out on me! Ravenfur continued to charge forward, his yellow eyes hard and angry. Dewtail smacked him away, panting. "Stop taking out your anger on me." He growled, gritting his teeth.
The black tom only hissed, his eyes fierce and hungry for blood. Dewtail grimaced and fought back harder. "Maybe if you weren't working for Ravenstar you wouldn't be in this position!"
"I'm not working for Ravenstar!"
Ravenfur's wide eyes stared at Dewtail. "That's what you thought all along?" The brown tom didn't want to nod, fearing that Ravenfur would be angry.
Dewtail bit his lip. "I thought you were trying to escape from ThunderClan to go warn Ravenstar of what was happening."
"I would never work for him again." He spat back.
Dewtail sat up. "Are we done yet?" He glanced at Swiftrunner, who shrugged. "I guess we're done then." Ravenfur was hauled away, but not before he exchanged one last glance with Dewtail. What drove him to such sadness and anger?
Cloudshadow nodded to Dewtail as he passed by. Even though the three cats didn't know each other too well, they had became better as the days stretched out in ThunderClan. Dewtail longed to be in WindClan, the Clan he had once been in. His long tail was perfect for tunneling, and his long legs suited moor hunting. If only...
"You look troubled." Petalstar mewed, her amber eyes watching him, "Is something wrong?"
Dewtail lowered his gaze. "It's about Ravenstar. He accused Cloudshadow, Ravenfur, Flowerpelt, and me of killing Leafwhisker, Moleheart, and Poolheart, but we didn't do it."
Petalstar sighed. "We." She noted. "So you mean none of you did it?"
He nodded. "None of us commited that crime. We're really just here to understand what happened. We want to fix our lives and live in WindClan once more."
"Not even Ravenfur did it?" Petalstar inquired, her cream colored fur streaked with dirt as her tail hit the rocky wall, which showered mud and stones all over her. She shook it out and stared at Dewtail.
"He isn't working over Ravenstar either." Dewtail confirmed. "We've been wrong about him the entire time. He's as innocent as I am."
The ThunderClan leader let out a frustrated sigh. "I don't know what to do anymore. I can't let you come to Gatherings, or else Ravenstar will see that you are still here. I must keep you concealed, which means you can only patrol the WindClan and RiverClan border, and hunt."
Dewtail shook out his fur. "What about Ravenfur?"
"If he's truly as innocent as you say, then he will go free, just like you three." Petalstar murmured. "I must rest now, and you should too, Dewtail."
"You're not very active are you?" Cloudshadow mused as Dewtail sat in the corner of the den, pondering over the clues.
"I'm trying to figure out who killed Leafwhisker, Moleheart, and Poolheart." Dewtail muttered. "It obvious wasn't us, and we couldn't have had any reason to kill them. So who did it?"
Flowerpelt glanced over from her grooming, "Did anyone hate those warriors before they died? Maybe like..." She didn't have an answer.
Ravenfur hissed softly. "Well whoever did it did it to spite us. They somehow had it so we were the only cats hunting on the territory when the three warriors died." His piercing yellow eyes flicked back and forth. "Someone must have hated us."
"The deputy?" Cloudshadow mewed uncertainly. "The last deputy ShadowClan had died... when Rateye killed him."
Dewtail laid his tail on Cloudshadow's flank reassuringly, but the white tom just shook him off. "Only the senior warriors planned the patrols and such." Cloudshadow continued, "Which means it must be one of them, or..."
Flowerpelt looked uncertain. "Ravenstar would be a valid suspect. He killed other cats just because they were related to a cat who murdered another. Just like my father."
"And my mother and father." Cloudshadow added. "He's not the best leader anyone can have."
Ravenfur had a flinty look on his face and he turned away. "We were his best warriors, other than the senior ones. So why would Ravenstar want us out?"
"He's a cruel leader." Dewtail snapped. "Maybe we did something in spite of him and he wanted to throw us out."
This was going nowhere. Dewtail glared at the three other cats, and Ravenfur stared back. "So you're saying that Ravenstar wanted to weaken ShadowClan by casting out four of his nominees to become senior warriors?"
"Yes." Dewtail muttered, "Well, no actually."
"Then what?" Ravenfur sighed, exasperated.
Dewtail furrowed his brow. "Perhaps... it wasn't Ravenstar and one of the senior warriors wanted to keep their position in the Senior Council, so they had us cast out."
Flowerpelt finished grooming and curled up in her nest. "That doesn't narrow it down much." She sighed. "Perhaps we should investegate tomorrow."
"Will ThunderClan let us?"
"Well," she mewed, cracking open one eye, "Do they really want us here in ThunderClan? We're ShadowClan warriors through and through."
But Dewtail was thinking. I was from WindClan, but I was raised to be a ShadowClan warrior. Could things go right?
Chapter Three - Flowerpelt
"Time for dawn patrol!" Swiftstripe called. Flowerpelt groaned as she stretched and padded outside, still not used to having a deputy organize patrols. "Flowerpelt, you're going to patrol the WindClan border with Brindlepelt, Frostleaf, and Snowfur."
She nodded and padded towards her patrol, who was giving her strange glances. "Shouldn't we patrol the ShadowClan border so we can show our new warriors off?" Snowfur snorted, giving Flowerpelt a hated glance. "I don't get why we have to accept them. They'll always be ShadowClan warriors."
Brindlepelt, who was leading the patrol sighed. "Snowfur, if you say that again I'm going to have Swiftstripe put you on apprentice duties. Stop being rude to our new Clanmates."
"We're temporary." Flowerpelt mewed suddenly. "We don't plan on staying."
The light brown tabby shot her a questioning look, but Snowfur looked triumphant. "That's good." She muttered. "You should stay away in the future."
Frostleaf rolled her eyes and shuffled forward, urging Brindlepelt to hurry towards the WindClan border. The morning breeze was chilling and Flowerpelt shuddered slightly, not used to the cold winds.
The older white she-cat matched Flowerpelt step by step and whispered. "Snowfur's a prickly she-cat and she hates trusting newcomers. Last time she did that, her brother died, and now she's overly protective of ThunderClan."
The cream colored she-cat nodded, "I see. Thanks for the pointers."
Frostleaf laughed softly. "Well, I wouldn't want to see your pelt ripped off on your third day of being here." She snorted.
Flowerpelt cracked a smile and padded onwards, following Brindlepelt's trail towards the moor scented border. It's not too bad that we're in ThunderClan. They're a lot nicer than the ShadowClan Senior Council members. Flowerpelt thought with a shudder.
"Hey, you okay?" An orange labby she-cat asked her. Flareshadow was one of the warriors that Flowerpelt had befriended while staying in ThunderClan.
"I'm fine." Flowerpelt replied. "I'm just thinking about what ShadowClan had become when we had left. Ravenstar ruined the whole old system that we had."
Flareshadow glanced over. "What do you mean?"
The cream colored she-cat stretched and curled up. "Well, he has a Council of senior warriors instead of having a deputy, and if one cat does something he doesn't like, he kills him and everyone who is related to him."
The orange she-cat cracked open one eye. "ShadowClan still has so many cats though."
"He recruits every rogue that comes by, and they practically have more power than the Clan-born warriors do. He's a tyrant." Flowerpelt explained. "And now we're being thrown out of ShadowClan and it's all because we were accused of killing three of our Clanmates."
Flareshadow tilted her head. "Do you have any family members living in ShadowClan?"
She gulped. "Yes, my mother and my father. But technically Ravenstar is my uncle because he's Brushclaw's adopted brother."
The other warrior sighed. "I hope he doesn't end up killing your family because of a crime that you didn't do."
"I hope so too."
The two warriors curled up to sleep, but Flowerpelt stayed awake for some time. They were still in a separate den, but Flareshadow had joined them because the warriors' den was too crowded. Ravenfur was still curled up in the corner, his grumpy attitude the same. Dewtail had his tail draped across Cloudshadow's flank, who was fast asleep.
"Get up, get up!" Flareshadow yowled. "ShadowClan is attacking us!" Fear was spiked in her voice, and Flowerpelt shot up.
"Do you think they know we're here?"
"Most likely." Ravenfur growled. "Ravenstar doesn't raid others for no reason." But Dewtail shot him a sharp glance.
Cloudshadow breathed heavily as he stood up. "Let's go. We have to defend our new Clan." He raced outside, yowling defiantly.
Flareshadow glanced nervously at Dewtail, who curled his light gray tail. "There has to be some kind of reason Ravenstar wants us so badly. He's been hunting us down since we've been exiled. Extra border patrols, and now raiding ThunderClan."
"Let's just go!" Flareshadow urged, racing after Cloudshadow. Ravenfur stood up, his eye meeting Flowerpelt's. "Are you going to go?"
"Why not?" Flowerpelt mewed, her eyes puzzled. "Don't you want to fight against Ravenstar?"
Ravenfur stared back at her. "Why should I?" He mewed flatly. "I care for neither Ravenstar or ThunderClan. Should I have to fight?"
Flowerpelt shrugged. "It's more of a fight for freedom for us too." She sighed softly. "But I can't stop you from not doing it."
She turned to raced into the battlefield.
Outside was terrifying. There were cats screaming as they fell at the paws of ShadowClan cats. There were yowls and defiant shrieks as ThunderClan fought back. Flowerpelt flattened her ears and flung herself into the battlefield.
"You!" a voice shouted, "Ravenstar wants you."
Flowerpelt turned and was bowled over by a large gray tom. She recognized him in a flash. "Graywing, I-" She mewed desperately.
"No, we're over Flowerpelt, I can't love a traitor and a murderer like you." Graywing snarled, digging his claws in. "You're disobeying Ravenstar's orders by staying here. He exiled you four!"
"He exiled us from ShadowClan." Flowerpelt hissed. "We're allowed to go to the other Clans if we want. Now leave me alone!" She pushed him off, desperate to escape the hatred burning in his eyes when she loved him.
"Flowerpelt." Ravenfur breathed out. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." She whispered, leaning against him. "But I don't think I'll be very stable." He looped his tail through hers, and she felt reassured.
Flowerpelt met Ravenfur's gaze, and he flinched back a bit. "I better go fight for ThunderClan." Ravenfur whispered softly. "You take care of yourself."
Before she could reply, Ravenfur's sleek form disappeared into the fray. Flowerpelt glanced around and hurled herself at a tawny she-cat. "Flowerpelt!" She cried out in surprise, just as Flowerpelt slammed into her. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm defending ThunderClan." She snarled. "What are you doing here, Creamflower?"
"Ravenstar wanted more... cats from ThunderClan. He didn't expect you four to be here too! You have to run." She whispered. "You can't let Ravenstar see you fighting for another Clan. You'll be putting yourself and your family in danger."
Flowerpelt's eyes widened. "You mean he hasn't killed them yet?"
Creamflower shook her head, still pinned under Flowerpelt's claws. "He has them imprisoned, but if he finds out that you're in another Clan, he'll try to hurt you by killing Brushclaw and Sunheart."
Flowerpelt stepped off Creamflower. "Graywing already knows."
The cream colored she-cat lowered her head. "I'm so sorry, Flowerpelt. I don't know what will happen now."
Flowerpelt sighed. "Just leave then. I won't fight you now, but I must defend ThunderClan. It is my Clan now." She mewed firmly, turning to find another opponent.
"Watch out!" She heard Cloudshadow yowl, as she spun around.
Ravenstar was lunging for her, his claws outstretched. He snarled, his yellow eyes flashing with anger. "You four are lounging in ThunderClan now are you?"
"You have a problem with that?" Cloudshadow snarled as he fought desperately next to Flowerpelt. "We have the right to go where we want, as long as it isn't in your territory."
"You're breaking your exile." He snapped. "I don't want you on Clan territory."
"Then you should have specified that when you exiled us!" Flowerpelt spat as she claws his flank. "Now you'll have to deal with us on your border."
Ravenstar kicked her aside, and faced Cloudshadow. "I always had a distate for you, Cloudkit." He mewed. "I thought I could make you into my loyal warrior if I kept you alive in fear. Now I know that I made a terrible mistake in letting you live that night. I think I'll end it now."
Cloudshadow dodged his next blow, snarling. "You had no right to kill Soleheart and Moonshadow. Rateye was the one who murdered Sunflight, not my parents!"
"But they shared his blood."
Ravenstar smirked. "Oh but they are mates, are they not?" Cloudshadow glared at the ShadowClan leaders, his flanks heaving.
"You're a monster, Ravenstar. I swear, by the name of StarClan, that I will kill you." Cloudshadow hissed, his claws finding Ravenstar's throat. "I will, one day I will." He snapped as Ravenstar jerked away, kicking him aside.
The ShadowClan leader glared down at Cloudshadow and snarled. "You'll never get me again, Cloudshadow."
Chapter Four - Cloudshadow
"Keep still!" The medicine cat, Poolshine hissed. "You're going to bleed to death if you don't let me treat your wounds." Cloudshadow sighed and tried to hold still. "Stupid ShadowClan cats." He heard the medicine cat mutter, "Always so reckless."
Cloudshadow bristled, but Poolshine mewed briskly. "You're done, get out."
A bit hurt by her harsh tone, Cloudshadow stumbled out of her den, crashing into Ravenfur. The black tom looked frantic. "Have you seen Flowerpelt anywhere?" His yellow eyes darted back and forth, as if he was trying to pinpoint her location.
"Um, no." Cloudshadow mewed awkwardly. "Why do you want her?"
As far as Cloudshadow knew, Ravenfur didn't get along with anybody, not even in ShadowClan. Flowerpelt, on the other hand, was pretty popular, and knew almost everybody. "I... I just need to talk to her." Ravenfur stammered. "There she is!"
He bounded off, but Cloudshadow already knew that wasn't Flowerpelt. "Ravenfur, stop!" He yowled chasing after the black tom. "That's-"
The she-cat turned around and jabbed her claws into Ravenfur's flank. The black tom screamed, his flanks heaving for breath. Cloudshadow reached there in three long strides and struck the she-cat. "Creamflower!"
Ravenfur gurgled something inaudible, and Creamflower struggled under Cloudshadow's grasp. "I'm sorry, Cloudshadow, but it's Ravenstar's orders. I-"
"You were my mate!" Cloudshadow yowled shrilly. "How could you hurt my friend?"
"Friend?" Creamflower glared down at Ravenfur in distate. "He's a nobody in ShadowClan, even when he was living there. How could he be your friend?"
"And how could a killer like you be my mate?" Cloudshadow hissed. He extended his claws, making Creamflower shriek in pain. "Where's Flowerpelt?" He snarled. "Where did you take her so you can replace her?"
The pale she-cat shook her head, her eyes glazed. "Cloudshadow, you're getting no where like that." Another voice sounded behind him. Dewtail.
"What do you want, Dewtail?" Cloudshadow snapped.
The gray tom padded over and gently lifted Cloudshadow's paw off Creamflower's flank. The pale she-cat bolted upwards, but Dewtail slammed his own paw down. "You're not going anywhere till we figure out where Flowerpelt is." Dewtail hissed, leaning in close.
Behind them, Poolshine was treating Ravenfur, who looked terrible. His bloodstained pelt was unwashed, and his eyes were bloodshot and closed. Cloudshadow left Dewtail to the interrogation, and leaned over Poolshine. "Will he be okay?" He whispered, staring in dismay at Ravenfur.
"Yes, but he has major injuries. It may take awhile to recover from." Poolshine mewed, her eyes drooping in tiredness.
Cloudshadow pushed her away gently. "Send Seedpelt to treat him. You need your rest." He mewed softly. "ThunderClan wouldn't want you to tire yourself out."
Poolshine looked up at him, then sighed. "Alright, but tell Seedpelt that if he gets worse, call me."
Cloudshadow nodded, and she glanced at him briefly, before padding away. Seedpelt took over, her delicate paws working magic on Ravenfur.
Dewtail nudged him. "She doesn't know where Flowerpelt is. Her job was just to be her for the day, and escape when she could."
The white tom padded over to the cringing she-cat. "You mean you were the decoy?"
Creamflower nodded. "Ravenstar told me to stay put, and remain here until the order was given that Flowerpelt was safe somewhere far away. I think he even wants me to remain prisoner until this is all over." Her legs trembled.
Cloudshadow glared at her. "Well, you should remain prisoner anyways!"
Petalstar came up behind them, asking for an explanation. Dewtail explained to her, and Creamflower was dragged off to prison. Cloudshadow closed his eyes and tried to relax. Ravenfur was resting beside him, right in the middle of the clearing. Dewtail was watching Creamflower, and he padded over to Cloudshadow. "You look shaken up."
Cloudshadow sighed. "When I heard that Graywing rejected Flowerpelt, I thought that Graywing was just selfish. I didn't know that my own mate would attempt to kill our friend just because we're framed as traitors."
"Well remember this. Leafwhisker and Creamflower were sisters. Of course she would feel anger towards the 'murderer'." Dewtail pointed out, "And they were best friends with Poolheart."
"And Molewhisker was Graywing's brother." Cloudshadow mewed suddenly. "Three murders, all connected to us in some way."
Dewtail froze. "I'll tell Ravenfur when he wakes up and see what he thinks. We need to find and rescue Flowerpelt as soon as possible, she needs to know this too." Then he added ruefully. "She probably could figure this out better than we could. Us being 'toms' and all."
Cloudshadow cracked a smile and stood up. "I'm going to talk to Creamflower. I need her to know that we never did it, and I want to know everything she knows."
Dewtail rested his tail on Cloudshadow's flank. "Be careful."
The white tom told the guard what he wanted, and shouldered his way in. Creamflower lifted her head and glared at him. "What do you want, murderer?"
His heart sank. "You really think I killed Leafwhisker, Moleheart, and Poolheart?" Cloudshadow stared at his former mate in despair.
"Yes." She mewed without hesitation.
Cloudshadow stared at her in disbelief. "After you've known me for so long, you think I would kill your sister and your best friend just to be your mate?"
Creamflower shrugged. "Why did you do it anyways?"
"For the last time, I didn't kill them!" Cloudshadow yowled, then he lowered his voice. "Look, I know you think that I killed your sister and your best friend, but I didn't. I had no reason to if I did!" Cloudshadow growled. "Somebody's messing with us, and you believe all the lies they've been telling you."
"What about the lies you've been telling me?" Creamflower shot back. "If you care about me so much, then why did you try to kill me?"
Cloudshadow bit his lip. "You nearly clawed out Ravenfur's heart!" He snapped. "Why should I care about you if you're trying to kill my friends?"
"I did what I was told."
"And I was protecting what I know!" Cloudshadow shot back. "I don't think we're meant for one another, Creamflower. You'll never understand."
"How did it go?" Dewtail sighed as Cloudshadow padded in.
"Terrible." Cloudshadow snapped back. "She thinks we're murderers! She doesn't think I'm a worthy mate of hers, and well, she might as well stay in prison now."
Dewtail was stroking Ravenfur's flank, which was barely moving. "Don't be so harsh on her, Cloudshadow." He purred as he laned over to remove the moss from Ravenfur's head. "Think about this. If you thought that Creamflower was responsible for killing your family and friends, wouldn't you hate her too?"
He had a point there. The white tom sighed. "Yeah, I guess so."
"How's Ravenfur?" Poolshine murmured as she pulled herself in, still looking like she got no sleep. "I heard from Seedpelt that you dragged him in for shade."
"He's getting hotter." Dewtail agreed.
Poolshine stubbled over to him, and drew in a sharp breath. "He's getting a high fever." She concluded, "I have to get some feverfew for him."
Cloudshadow exchanged glances with Dewtail. We have to get Flowerpelt back without Ravenfur then... He would want that.
Chapter Five - Ravenfur
Ravenfur felt like he was swimming in fire, his paws being dragged down to the flames, and his pelt felt as thought it was being roasted alive.
He groaned and opened his eyes, and all he could see was hazy pictures of cats working above him. "Don't move, Ravenfur, we don't your wound to open even more."
Ravenfur let out a muffled mutter and he closed his eyes again. "Where am I?" He whispered softly. He knew he was somewhere familiar, but it definitely wasn't very comforting with his wound flaring.
"Just relax, Ravenfur." He heard the worried voice of Dewtail and felt another flank brush against his. Then everything began to swirl, and he squeezed his eyes tighter, trying to stop the world from spinning into eternal darkness.
"Ravenfur." He heard a soft whisper, but he let out a frustrated sigh and tried to shut out the voice. "Ravenfur, it's me."
He opened his eyes, and realized he could see perfectly fine. There was no haziness, and he sat up slowly, and gingerly, afraid of re-opening his wound. Then he looked himself over, and gasped, "How am I unhurt? I just got clawed to pieces by Creamflower!"
Ravenfur turned to the she-cat in front of him and let out a strangled yelp. "Shadowstreak!" He gasped. "Am I in StarClan?"
His mother shook her head, "No, Ravenfur." She mewed softly, stroking his face with her tail, "I am just visiting you while you recover."
Ravenfur gave into her soft strokes and her murmuring and leaned against her. "Was Ravenstar really my father?" He asked, his yellow eyes troubled as he mentioned the name of the leader who had casted them out, believing that they were murderers.
Shadowstreak pulled away for a second, her eyes narrowed as she gazed at her son, seeing Ravenstar, the cruel leader who had exiled her, or did something to her.
"Yes, he's your father."
Ravenfur exhaled, and stared at the ground. The cruel tom of a leader had been his father all along. Ravenfur had guessed it before, but it was impossible to be a "family member" of Ravenstar's. The ShadowClan leader had killed everyone he knew that was related to him, and Shadowstreak had been the last to go.
"Why didn't he get rid of me then?"
Shadowstreak shrugged, "My best guess is that he believed that you weren't his son, and that he killed me for a different reason. He wanted you to be his loyal warrior, and have you serve him the way he wanted you to serve him."
That confused Ravenfur. "So he kept my identity from me in order to keep you in ShadowClan. Remember the reason why he had me killed?"
Ravenfur thought back to when Shadowstreak had been standing in front of Ravenstar, her eyes fierce and harsh as the ShadowClan leader told the Clan about her crimes. "You were killed for betraying ShadowClan or something."
His mother nodded. "Ravenstar accused me of having forbidden love with another tom, and he claimed that you were not my son."
The black-furred tom stared at his mother, understanding forming on his face. "So he framed you, then set me up to be his warrior."
Shadowstreak nodded once more, her tail encasing Ravenfur warmly. "Ravenstar always wanted a son, but he never knew you were actually his son. In his mind, you were just some half-blood brat that he decided to keep and train."
Ravenfur bristled slightly, but he tried to relax. "What are you doing here anyways?"
Shadowstreak sighed and leaned forward to lick his cheek. "I am here to warn you, Ravenfur, for a darker secret darker than Ravenstar's is shadowing over you four. The actually murderer is more than just a killer, they have plotted to wipe out the entire ShadowClan. I assure you, that's not Ravenstar wants to do. He just wants to make it a better place."
"How did you come to love Ravenstar?"
His mother closed her eyes. "He wasn't always as cruel as he is now. He was a kind tom at first, but very loyal to ShadowClan. Soon, he rose to power, his greed taking over instead. Now he let's his anger of his stupidity take over, and he has become a tyrant of ShadowClan. You must show him his true path, but do not kill him. He is the key to many things."
Ravenfur watched as she opened her eyes and started to fade away. "Sweet dreams, Ravenfur, and heal up well."
"No, wait," he whispered hoarsely, his tail reaching for hers, "Shadowstreak, wait."
She paused, glancing back at him.
"Do I have any brothers or sisters?"
Shadowstreak nodded grimly. "Two sisters, but they both died with me." She whispered, then she faded away and the pain of his wound came back, and Ravenfur let out a whimper as he opened his eyes.
I need to tell the others about this. Ravenstar is the key to everything for us. We must focus on that before we find the murderer.
Chapter Six - Dewtail
Cloudshadow met Dewtail's gaze as they trekked through ThunderClan's territory. They had been out hunting, and they were about to ask Petalstar if they were allowed to rescue Flowerpelt. "What do you think about our mission?" Cloudshadow hissed, "Do you think Ravenfur will really want us to go now?"
"I think he'll want us to, but we should ask him first before we ask Petalstar." Dewtail reasoned. "Ravenfur should have a say in this anyways."
They padded into camp, laden with prey. They dipped their head to the guard outside of ThunderClan's camp, and kept going in. The guard merely nodded back, but there was something else in their eyes. "What's wrong?" Dewtail asked, feeling his throat tighten, "Did something happen to the camp?"
The guard looked up, panic flaring in his eyes. Cloudshadow leaned forward and grabbed him by the throat and shook him violently. He dropped the guard, and hissed disgustedly. "ShadowClan."
Dewtail stared in shock at the unconcious guard, then at Cloudshadow. "We have to get into the camp." Cloudshadow growled, "They might be un trouble."
They charged in, their prey forgotten and saw ShadowClan cats surrounding the others. Ravenstar whirled around and purred. "Welcome, Cloudshadow and Dewtail, we've been waiting for you."
Dewtail's gaze flickered over to Ravenfur, who was still unconcious, and was surrounded by ShadowClan cats. "Where's Flowerpelt?"
Ravenstar doesn't know where she is...
Cloudshadow shook his head and said. "She's out hunting on a different patrol."
Ravenstar narrowed his eyes, then swept around to lift Ravenfur's chin. "Where's Flowerpelt, Ravenfur? I've seen the looks you give her. Where is she?"
"She's... not here." The injured black tom gasped.
The ShadowClan leader turned to Petalstar, who shrunk back. "Where is she?" He shouts, "I want her along with these three other exiled ShadowClan warriors." The ThunderClan leader glared back at Ravenstar and shook her head.
He leaned forward and jerked her head upwards. "I have all your warriors in my grasp, and I'll kill them if I must to get you to agree. Would you rather hand over ShadowClan exiles that you took in, or have your entire Clan wiped out?"
Petalstar had a wild look in her eyes, and her eyes met Dewtail's. He gave a slight nod, indicating that she should.
Cloudshadow leaned over and whispered. "This is Ravenstar's loyal guard, they would do nothing out of his orders. That must mean other cats are holding Flowerpelt."
Dewtail inclined his head forward, indicating that he heard Cloudshadow's whisper. The ThunderClan leader shook her head, looking fierce. Suddenly a loud roar erupted from the entrance, and two ThunderClan patrols came piling in. Dewtail lunged for Ravenstar, who was reaching for Ravenfur. "Get off him!" He yelped, crashing into his former leader.
Ravenstar shook him off, his eyes fierce. "Where is Flowerpelt anyways?" He snarled. "If she's not on those patrols, then where is she?"
"There are unloyal ShadowClan cats in your Clan." Cloudshadow growled, joining Dewtail, "And they're framing us and you and they kidnapped Flowerpelt."
The shock in Ravenstar's eyes was pleasing, and Dewtail kicked him back. "Wait," rasped another voice. Ravenfur stopped them from killing Ravenstar, "He's essential to findin the real murderer. Shadowstreak said to keep him alive."
Ravenstar froze, and his calculating, menacing eyes turned to stare at Ravenfur. "Did you just say Shadowstreak?"
The younger black tom nodded, and glared at the ShadowClan leader, "Yeah and you killed her for no reason! I'm your son and she's your mate."
Dewtail nearly choked and everyone turned to Ravenfur, who was trying to scoot away self-consiously. Ravenstar slowly digested this, and glared at the other two. "Don't say a word about this." He hissed, and then he turned back to Ravenfur, "You're lucky I'm going to keep you alive, son."
Cloudshadow coughed and mewed, "You better get out of here, Ravenstar. Sure, you are somehow involved with us, but you do realize that your cats are still attacking ThunderClan right?"
Ravenstar turned and called out. "ShadowClan, retreat! This attack was futile and mistaken."
Petalstar stood up slowly, swaying on her paws. "Ravenstar, what business do you have with these three warriors, and with Flowerpelt?"
"They were the murderers of three of my warriors, but if they can prove me wrong, then they will be free to rejoin my Clan." Ravenstar explained.
"With you as a leader?" Cloudshadow snorted, "You slaughtered my family! Why would I want to go back?" He glared fiercely at Ravenstar.
Dewtail nodded, "I don't even belong in ShadowClan. You took me away from WindClan, then killed my mother with your own paws. What makes you think we want to return to ShadowClan?"
Ravenstar shrugged, "Then don't, nobody will care."
Ravenfur looked as though he was thinking. "I would, Ravenstar, but only if you changed like Shadowstreak wants you to. She says you have a better side, the side she fell in love with. That's the only reason why I would go back to ShadowClan, even though it's been my home, and I love the pine trees, the marshes. You can change our decision."
The ShadowClan leader's gaze lingered on them for a moment longer, then he turned around, calling his warriors away. He paused beside, Petalstar and whispered something in her ear before padding away. Then all the cats were gone.
Dewtail slumped slightly, and turned to Ravenfur. "If we get the permission from Petalstar, do you want us to go rescue Flowerpelt?"
Ravenfur narrowed his eyes slightly, and nodded brisky, "Do it. She deserves more then being cooped up by some sick warrior who thinks that they can frame us and get away with it."
Cloudshadow laid his fluffy white tail on Ravenfur's flank for a moment, then nodded to Dewtail and started towards Petalstar. Dewtail hurried after him, his own gray tail streaming out behind him. Petalstar looked up groggily as they approached.
"What do you want?" She rasped.
Dewtail stepped forward, "We need your permission to go into ShadowClan territory to rescue Flowerepelt. Then we can return to ShadowClan and you'll no longer have to deal with us."
Petalstar snorted and muttered. "Permission granted, get out of here."
Dewtail exchanged amused glances with Cloudshadow and turned towards the camp entrance. Well, we've got some rescuing to do.
Chapter Seven - Flowerpelt
Sitting and waiting for her friends to show up proved to be a boring task. Flowerpelt glared at her guards and at her confinement area and sighed. She didn't see who grabbed her, nor could she see her guards. But she knew they were there. These guards are rogues, not Clan cats, which means there's only one Clan cat involved in this... or none.
Feeling a little bit more confident about her find, Flowerpelt concentrated on coaxing one of the rogues out. I want to make sure I'm right about these guards.
"So, does anyone want to have a chat?" Flowerpelt mewed tantatively, straining her ears for any signs of reaction or emotion.
"If not, I guess I'll stroll outside to get some fresh-kill, I'm a bit hungry." Flowerpelt mewed hesitantly, standing up to push her way out.
The bramble door opened and a fish was flung in. It hit Flowerpelt in the face and she stumbled back as the bramble door closed once more. Sighing she bent down to put up the fish. It was all they supplied and Flowerpelt was getting sick of the RiverClan taste.
RiverClan? The sudden thought hit Flowerpelt hard. I've been so stupid... We thought it was ShadowClan that killed them, but what if it was RiverClan?
She didn't even know where she was. For all she knew, she could be in the mountains. Slowly chewing on the rubbery prey, Flowerpelt gagged and flung the fish away. She would eat it later when she was hungry. "Well if you're not going to entertain me, I might as well just go out for a walk."
Before she even reached the bramble door, someone flung her back hard. She glared around in surprise, but her attacker was already gone.
Panting slightly, Flowerpelt hunched in the back of the den, trying to think of something that would keep her busy during this time. But at that moment, the bramble entrance swung open, and a shadowed figure stepped in.
"Flowerpelt, is it?" A rich voice sounded, not one that Flowerpelt could identify. "My counterpart allowed me to do whatever I wanted with the prisoners I caught. So allow me."
The guards shuffled aside and the shadowed figure indicated for Flowerpelt to be dragged out. "Pin her down."
A massive paw appeared and Flowerpelt struggled to break free of their grasp. Then the shadowed figure stepped out and Flowerpelt drew in a sharp breath.
She was gorgeous, her dappled orange pelt glowing in the faint sunlight. White and light brown swirls danced through her pelt and her long, elegant tail was painted with brown and black stripes. "I," she started, "Am Dapple, a counterpart of a 'Clanmate' or yours."
Everything about her seemed perfect, from her radiant smile to her glowing fur. But Flowerpelt knew that she was a terrible cat.
"Let us begin."
Her claws unshealthed and she tilted it to examine it in the sunlight. Her face became devoid of expressions, and a thoughtful look appeared. "How should I treat this patient?"
There was a series of soft murmurs, and Dapple stretched, and then her claws came slicing down. Flowerpelt let out a shriek, her scream carrying across the camp. "Hear her cry!" Dapple shouted, and the rogues around her laughed and snorted.
Flowerpelt screamed again as the claws came down again. She shuddered, her own blood flowing down from her flank. Dapple purred mirthlessly and she laughed as Flowerpelt let out another shuddering scream. "The patients are always the same."
The pain was unbearable. Flowerpelt didn't know how many times Dapple's claws gorged through her, but she could feel every single one. Each flare of pain was met with a terrifying scream. Flowerpelt let out another howl, then slumped.
"She's better than the other patients." Dapple purred, stroking Flowerpelt's face, claws out. Flowerpelt flinched away, a small whimper of pain escaping from her mouth, "She's lasted longer."
"Take her away." Dapple mewed, shrugging. "We'll do more tomorrow."
Flowerpelt fainted on the way back, her blood staining the ground behind her. Dapple smiled and dried her claws before stalking away. "She's a lot more fun than I thought."
Flowerpelt woke up with a small tiny rogue working beside her. "Who are you?" Flowerpelt rasped, her eyes fluttering open and shut."
The small rogue looked up. "Sage."
The cream colored warrior panted for breath. "Are you like their medicine cat or something?"
"No, I'm the working prisoner." Sage explained softly, "I'm the only one who knows how to heal, and Dapple wants you healed as best as possible for more pain tomorrow."
Sage pressed hard with the cobweb, and Flowerpelt opened her mouth to scream. Sage clamped a paw there and Flowerpelt gagged, spitting her paw out. "Don't scream, it daws attention and Dapple will make it worse next time. She likes to see others in pain."
Flowerpelt gritted her teeth as Sage continued to apply healing salves on her flank. "Stay still." Sage warned, "This may hurt a bit."
The cream colored she-cat clamped down hard and bit down a scream as Sage rubbed the dock leaf on her wounds. "Why does Dapple do this anyways?"
Sage shrugged, "Like I said, Dapple loves to see cats in pain, so she tortures who she captures."
"Who's the counterpart of Dapple?" Flowerpelt murmured, wincing slightly as Sage continued to work along her flank.
Sage looked up, her eyes shadowed and dark. "If any of us knew, we would be dead already. The counterpart is very careful about her appearances."
Flowerpelt sighed slightly. "Well, whoever they are, they really hate me, Cloudshadow, Ravenfur, and Dewtail."
Sage stiffened slightly, "Ravenfur?"
"Yes, the four of us were framed for a murder that we didn't do and Ravenstar exiled us from ShadowClan. We're living in ThunderClan now."
The young tabby started to pace, her voice hushed. "The guards aren't around because I insisted that I worked without guards watching, so we're safe for now. Ravenfur is the whole reason why this is all happening. You and the others were just unlucky to be brought into this."
"How do you know?"
Sage's eyes remained dark and stormy. "I'm small, and I can easily fit through tight spaces they don't expect cats to be in. I can easily listen in on the cats in charge. I heard Dazzle talking about how they grabbed you to lure Ravenfur in."
Suddenly the bramble door swung open and Sage was dragged out. "You don't seem to be healing, my young friend." Dapple purred without mirth.
Sage shuddered and she mewed, "I was about done, you see." She even dipped her head respectfully. Flowerpelt hurried to help her.
"I don't know what you're so afraid about, but Sage didn't talk once while she was healing. She was even a bit rough with applying the herbs." She emphasized this with another glare at Sage.
Dapple narrowed her eyes and beckoned to the guard holding Sage. "I don't care, I'm done with you anyways."
Sage shrieked as she was pinned down and Flowerpelt screamed her name. Sage's eyes widened as she saw Dazzle's claws unshealth.
Then she mouthed the words. "Avenge me and find out who it really is." Before the first slice came down. Sage screamed, and Flowerpelt flattened her ears and shut her eyes.
The screaming went on and on, until Sage eventually stopped. "She'll bleed herself dry here." Dapple mewed dismissively, put Flowerpelt back in her prison and we'll deal with her tomorrow."
I have to get out of here, but I need to know who's working with Dapple. Flowerpelt thought, growling and pawing at the ground. Then she paused.
Who would hate Ravenfur enough to do this?
Chapter Eight - Cloudshadow
Cloudshadow sniffed the air desperately for any signs of Flowerpelt. Dewtail was exploring the outerpart of the ShadowClan border, while Cloudshadow began to creep inside of the territory. They had been searching for hours on end, and they still couldn't find where Flowerpelt was being held.
"I wish Ravenstar would actually show up so we can start conspiring with him." Dewtail muttered as he came back, "There's no way we can find anything in ShadowClan's territory."
Cloudshadow sighed, "He said he would be here by sunhigh..."
"It's practically sunset!" Dewtail hissed, resisting the urge to yowl, "Ravenstar better show up tomorrow or we'll never get Flowerpelt back."
"What if he's the one doing all this in spite of us?"
Dewtail shook his head, "According to Ravenfur's dream, Ravenstar is the key to pretty much all our problems, which means we need him."
"Well, he's the one who caused half our problems." Cloudshadow muttered, "He could have easily cause the other half too."
The gray tom groaned and sank to the ground. "Well, if he is or not, we still need him. I'm starting to hate these ThunderClan trees. I wish we had those marshes to sink in when we're hot or tired." Dewtail closed his blazing blue eyes and sighed.
Cloudshadow secretly agreed with him, but he had to ask, "When this is all over, and we can hopefully get Ravenstar to be less harsh, are you going to return to ShadowClan?"
The white tom wasn't fazed, "But aren't you..."
Dewtail opened an eye and stared at him, "What do you mean?"
Cloudshadow took a deep breath, then spit the words out, "Aren'tyouWindClan?"
Dewtail blinked, trying to comprehend the string of words Cloudshadow had thrown out. "Say that again?" Dewtail mewed, yawning a bit.
"Aren't you WindClan?" Cloudshadow tried to slow the words down, but it still came out as a jumbled mess. Dewtail rolled over, staring at the sky.
"Yeah, I guess I am. But my mother's dead, and I really don't know anything about WindClan. I was raised as a ShadowClan warrior, and nobody can change that now." Dewtail pointed out.
"Nobody except you."
The gray tom sat up, and started to groom his fur. "Well, I don't think I'll go to WindClan. It'll be too different, and I'll miss all the ShadowClan things we would do."
Cloudshadow purred a bit, then perked up. "Ravenstar!"
Dewtail stopped grooming and turned his gaze on the approaching ShadowClan leader, "You're finally here." He muttered.
Ravenstar glared at them both, then sat down. "I had things to do, mind you. So, have you found any evidence along the border?"
Dewtail muttered something suspiciously like, "You were busy because you have Flowerpelt." but he shook his head and mewed out loud, "We couldn't find a thing. What about inside of the territory?"
Ravenstar sighed heavily, then mewed, "Either my patrols haven't found anything, or the patrol that found the hidden camp has the betrayers in it."
Right at that moment, a scream pierced the air. "Flowerpelt!"
Cloudshadow exchanged glances with Dewtail before charging off. Ravenstar didn't follow, but Dewtail could care less right now.
"Which way?" Dewtail hissed, looking at Cloudshadow as they slowed down.
Cloudshadow sniffed the air, then pointed towards a grove of trees that bordered the RiverClan border. "It's in ShadowClan alright."
Dewtail wasn't surprised as he continued forging forward alongside Cloudshadow, who was leading the way as they charged through the ShadowClan forest, heading towards Flowerpelt’s scream.
“I hope she’s alright.” Dewtail prayed as he hurried after Cloudshadow.
The white tom nodded. “If she’s still screaming, she’s still alive, and an alive Flowerpelt will please Ravenfur.”
“This isn’t only about Ravenfur!” Dewtail yelped as he dodged another fallen tree. “She’s part of our group now and-”
“Sh…” Cloudshadow warned as he slid to a stop, “Somebody’s here.”
They peered through the undergrowth at the small, tiny camp. Flowerpelt lay in the middle, with a dappled she-cat standing over her. Flowerpelt was letting out a low moan, cuts and wounds scattered across her pelt.
“She’s hurt,” Dewtail gasped, resisting the urge to dart forward, “We have to do something before that other she-cat kills her!”
Cloudshadow ground his teeth, “I know, I know, I’m trying to think of a plan.” Dewtail lashed his tail impatiently as another scream split the air.
“Wait, Flowerpelt’s screams are growing louder and louder, which means ShadowClan can hear her cries,” Dewtail growled, “Only one cat can make that happen…”
"No, Ravenstar isn’t the suspect of this mystery." Cloudshadow snarled, still thinking, "It’s… wait, somebody’s coming."
The two warriors ducked as a she-cat swept into the camp. "Dapple, you’re making a racket! All the cats in ShadowClan are wondering what’s going on. Can’t you make her quiet down a bit?" The newcomer snarled.
Dewtail had a surprised look as Cloudshadow gouged at the ground angrily, "How did she escape prison?" Dewtail gasped.
Dapple had the same question, "I thought you were still stuck in that ThunderClan camp." Creamflower stretched and snorted.
"Like they could keep me there for long."
Dapple smirked and prodded Flowerpelt, "She's very boring, Creamflower. Can't I just kill her already? She's not screaming as much anymore, which isn't that good."
"Don't you have a medicine cat who could heal her up for tomorrow?"
Dapple blinked, "I killed her."
"YOU DID WHAT?" Creamflower barged into the camp and glared at Dapple, "I told you she's useful for having the prisoners last longer. You're not supposed to just kill her!"
"She was giving her information. Can't we just get rid of her now and snag some other rogue for a medicine cat?" Dapple sighed, "I'm done playing with her."
Creamflower shook her head, "We can't kill her until the other three arrive, or other two, since Ravenfur's down. I want as many as I can get before we rid of them all."
"Why do you hate Ravenfur so much?" Dapple purred, her claw digging into Flowerpelt's leg. The she-cat whimpered, and lay limp.
Creamflower's eyes flashed, "He's useless! He didn't even acknowledge my presence and I've always wanted to have him notice me. But his eyes were always for another cream colored she-cat, Flowerpelt. Even though Flowerpelt had a mate, he was head over heels for her."
"Don't you have a mate?"
Creamflower gave her partner a scathing glare and shrugged, "Not like Cloudshadow ever cared for me. I certainly didn't care about him."
Cloudshadow let out a furious growl, but Dewtail hushed him. The white tom unshealthed his claws, his breath coming in desperate gasps.
"After we capture the other two, we'll bribe Ravenfur. Then I'll kill her in front of him, and he'll see what I went through when I saw him chasing after her. I saw him do it when he thought I was her. I got a good stab in for that though."
Dapple flicked her tail, "I'm done with her, she's too weak."
Some guard took her away, and Cloudshadow worked his claws in the dirt. "We have to rescue her today, just like we planned."
Dewtail nodded, "Let's let Creamflower go first."
Cloudshadow looked like he wanted to argue, but Dewtail shook his head, "If she doesn't go, then we can't get Flowerpelt. I know you want to claw her really badly, but you'll have other times for that."
Cloudshadow watched furiously as Creamflower stalked past, then Dewtail nodded, "Let's get Flowerpelt out."
Chapter Nine - Ravenfur
Groaning slightly, Ravenfur tried to roll over as he stretched. "Don't move too much." Poolshine warned. "You've lost a lot of blood."
"I've been trying to figure out something, do you want to help me?" Ravenfur sighed.
The medicine cat looked up, "Sure, why not?"
Ravenfur slowly sat up, trying not to wince at the prickle of pain. "So when Creamflower stabbed me, Cloudshadow had tried to question her about what she was doing. Her answer was that she was assisting Ravenstar with something. But Ravenstar is helping us."
Poolshine narrowed her eyes. "Either Ravenstar is lying to you four, or Creamflower is."
Ravenfur growled, "It can't be Ravenstar lying, because that would mean Shadowstreak is lying about him being my father and how he's important in our mission to find out who the killer was."
"He's your father!"
The black tom blinked at Poolshine's outburst, "Yes, and?"
"If it's really Creamflower, than she has something against Ravenstar. Or something. Obviously she wanted to frame Ravenstar for your injury, your exile, and everything that's happened to you!"
"Okay let's assume its Creamflower," Ravenfur continued, "So perhaps she has a grudge against Ravenstar about something that happened between them?"
"Maybe Ravenstar did something to her family." Poolshine suggested, "He did it to yours didn't he?" Ravenfur flinched visibly.
Poolshine opened her mouth to apologize, but Ravenfur waved her off, "Okay, so maybe it's something about Creamflower's past that we don't know."
"Yeah, I mean, why else would she be doing this?"
Ravenfur narrowed his eyes, "Why would she replace Flowerpelt just to get a stab at me? Okay, so what if I like Flowerpelt? It's not like it matters, Flowerpelt has a mate."
"I hear cats outside." Poolshine warned.
The black tom turned slowly, careful not to reopen his wounds. Dewtail and Cloudshadow staggered through the gorse tunnel, their breath coming in gasps. "Where's Flowerpelt?" Ravenfur yelled, resisting the urge to burst out of his nest.
They looked exhausted, and their pelt's were covered in wounds. "She's... with... us." Dewtail gasped out, before toppling over.
Cloudshadow dragged her in, and Ravenfur let out a keening wail, "Is she dead?"
Poolshine was already at their side, treating their wounds. "She's alive!" Poolshine called to Ravenfur, who sagged in relief.
They did it, they really did.
It took two days for Cloudshadow and Dewtail to recover, and they explained everything they heard while hiding, "Creamflower is working with that rogue, Dapple." Cloudshadow growled, "And she's doing all this because of you, Ravenfur."
Poolshine looked up, "We guessed that already, Ravenfur. It's something about Creamflower that wanted to frame you, or Ravenstar."
"Ravenstar?" Dewtail growled, "Why would she want anything to do with him?"
"Remember what he's like." Cloudshadow muttered, "Anybody in ShadowClan could want revenge on a leader like that."
Ravenfur pursed his lips, "Okay, so if this is about me, why would she even want me anyways? What did I ever do to her?"
Cloudshadow blinked, "She mentioned you chasing after another she-cat over her." He mewed slowly. Ravenfur's gaze darted to Flowerpelt, then back.
Dewtail nodded, and Ravenfur closed his eyes, "So she kidnapped Flowerpelt in spite of me. She wanted me to chase after her, but she stabbed me in the stomach anyways?"
Cloudshadow blinked, "Well she wanted you to suffer first, and have the two of us go after Flowerpelt and get caught. Then she wanted to have you recover and then come over and get captured, so she could kill Flowerpelt in front of you."
The black tom glanced over at the sleeping Flowerpelt, and he sighed, "What should we do about Creamflower?"
Cloudshadow had a dangerous gleam in his eyes, "We get Ravenstar to see the actual camp, and then we can frame her!"
"No," the gray tom muttered, "That might not work."
Dewtail shook his head, "Because she could easily say that she wasn't there and some rogue had taken Flowerpelt under Ravenstar's orders and she had just been ordered to be Flowerpelt."
"But Ravenstar wouldn't believe that story." Ravenfur pointed out.
Cloudshadow sighed, "Dewtail's right, it's too risky. We need a bait. Like maybe have you and Flowerpelt near the ShadowClan border just being together, and Creamflower will see you two, and make her move. Ravenstar will be watching nearby, and we'll get it done there."
"What about Dapple?" Dewtail questioned.
Cloudshadow looked over, "That's where you come in. You have to take care of Dewtail and the others, by leading a patrol."
"ShadowClan or ThunderClan?"
"Any." Ravenfur supplied, "I'm sure Petalstar can lend us a battle patrol for something like this."
"You called me?" Petalstar's voice sounded from behind them, "If it means peace from this rogue and this ShadowClan cat, then I'll lend you my battle patrols, as many as you need."
Cloudshadow nodded thankfully, "That'll solve our problems. We need to meet Ravenstar soon, and when Ravenfur and Flowerpelt are recovered enough to do it, we'll set out. But we can't let you two fully recover, because then she'll get suspicious about the reunion."
"Of course." Ravenfur nodded, "I'll protect her when we're out there."
"So then it's decided."
Chapter Ten - Dewtail
"I'm meeting up with Ravenstar today." Cloudshadow mewed, "Dewtail, Ravenfur, Flowerpelt, do you want to come along, or would you rather stay here?"
It had been a moon since they had retrieved Flowerpelt, and Dewtail had been keeping a close eye on Dapple along with some ShadowClan warriors they borrowed from Ravenstar. "Well the ShadowClan warriors are still guarding Dapple's area so I'll come." Dewtail mewed.
Flowerpelt exchanged glances with Ravenfur, then mewed too, "I'll come with Ravenfur too."
Cloudshadow nodded briskly and the four set out after telling Swiftstripe where they were going. "Okay, Dewtail, you scout the area real fast, make sure nobody's listening in on us."
Dewtail hurried out, and he slipped around the outside of the clearing, making sure to check every crevice and hiding spot. "Nobody's around, Cloudshadow." The gray cat confirmed.
"Good, Cloudshadow tells me you have a plan." Ravenstar emerged from the shadows, "Entertain me."
Flowerpelt and Ravenfur were standing guard, and Cloudshadow began to explain the plan. "So you're going to have Flowerpelt and Ravenfur go 'hunting' near the ShadowClan border, and Creamflower will be sent on a patrol at that time."
Cloudshadow nodded, "This way Creamflower will make up some excuse and see Flowerpelt and Ravenfur 'hunting', and she'll make her move on them."
Ravenstar nodded, "And you want me to send a ShadowClan patrol to go help the ThunderClan patrol against Dapple?"
Dewtail looked over, "It would be helpful." He agreed.
The ShadowClan leader nodded slowly, "Alright, when is this taking place?"
Flowerpelt called out, "We have comapny, we should disperse quickly." She warned. Ravenstar stood up and shook out his fur.
"It's just a normal ShadowClan patrol, don't worry." But he left anyways. The four cats turned and took their leave.
"Dewtail, you should get ready with your patrol to go take care of Dapple." Cloudshadow ordered. The gray tom nodded and bounded back towards the camp. Sunshadow, Duskdapple, Swiftstripe, Morningsun, Berryheart, Breezetail, and Iceflower were waiting for Dewtail when he slipped into camp.
"We'll be your battle patrol for tomorrow." Swiftstripe mewed, dipping his head to Dewtail. Dewtail nodded back to the ThunderClan deputy and faced the battle patrol.
"We're to set out tomorrow to the hidden camp of Dapple's. Then, we will meet up with the other ShadowClan patrol, who will help us as fight against Dapple."
"Sounds like a plan." Morningsun purred.
"A good plan too." Iceflower laughed.
Dewtail laughed too, feeling quite at ease with his new Clan. Do I really want to return to ShadowClan when this is all over? How will I be able to fight against ThunderClan if we have to? The uneasy thought trailed Dewtail as he joked around with his battle patrol.
When the next day came, Dewtail was itching to go out and fight. This last battle is going to be for ShadowClan, ThunderClan, and my friends that were framed for this crime. He stretched and groomed his pelt quickly before hurrying outside. Swiftstripe was organizing patrols, but when he saw Dewtail, he nodded to him and walked over, "Are we leaving now?"
"Around," Dewtail nodded, "We need to leave when Ravenfur and Flowerpelt are leaving, which should be soon."
Indeed, Ravenfur and Flowerpelt headed out soon, and Dewtail flicked his tail and indicated to Swiftstripe to take the lead. "No," the deputy purred, "This is your battle, Dewtail. You lead the battle patrol."
Dipping his head to the deputy, Dewtail led the battle patrol out of the camp. He quickly sniffed the air to make sure the path was clear and snaked through the trees to the ShadowClan border. The battle patrol that Ravenstar was sending was already there, and the leader of the patrol nodded to them and without saying a word, they merged forces and headed silently into the forest.
Ravenstar had picked the cats who had been examining the area for the past few days to lead the patrol. Lightningwind was in the lead and he glanced back at Dewtail as he padded forward, "The camp is very near the river, and the rogues fish there everyday so they don't end up hunting on our land. They're actually not on our territory."
"Lead us there." Dewtail instructed, letting Lightningwind take the lead.
The ShadowClan patrol quickly filed forward, and the ThunderClan patrol dropped back warily. They seemed out of place and jumpy as they trodded through the ShadowClan forest. Dewtail, on the otherhand, felt at ease as he followed Lightningwind's lead.
"Do you have a plan for this?" Dewtail hissed as Lightningwind stopped.
The ShadowClan cat shook his head, "Do you?"
Dewtail grimaced, "Yes, but it's a bit rough and choppy." He whispered the plan in Lightningwind's ear. The tom nodded, and the two patrols headed separate ways.
"Okay, Swiftstripe, take half of the patrol and head towards the river, make a rucus and have Dapple draw her roguse out and start the fighting." Dewtail ordered.
The deputy nodded and selected Iceflower, Morningsun, and Duskdapple to go with him. Sunstripe, Berryheart, and Breezetail were left with him.
"Alright, when we hear Swiftstripe's battle cry, we charge in. The ShadowClan cats are going to see if there are any more victims held hostage in the camp and they'll join in with the fight. We have to make sure nobody escapes, and we can capture them all. We also have to hold them off until Ravenfur and Flowerpelt make their move and come to our 'rescue'."
The three nodded and fanned out, their ears perked for their deputy's battlecry.
Then it sounded, and Dewtail closed his eyes. It's time... StarClan wish me luck. Then he charged after the ThunderClan cats.
Chapter Eleven - Flowerpelt
Strolling through the forest with Ravenfur was harder than Flowerpelt thought it would be. Even though he had his tail wrapped around hers and his pelt pressed reasurringly against hers, Flowerpelt felt terrified and exhilerated at the same time.
Ravenstar was hidden, ready to confront Creamflower when she appeared. It was easy to tell that there was a ShadowClan patrol nearby.
Flowerpelt pressed closer to Ravenfur and tried to put up a cheery smile as the two of them bounced about happily near the ShadowClan border.
Sure enough, a patrol broke through and Creamflower was standing in the back, shooting them glares. Cloudshadow, who was also hidden seemed to be eyeing her murderously. Flowerpelt hoped that he wouldn't make his move so soon.
"Hey you two!" The patrol leader shouted, though he knew exactly why they were there. "Don't get any closer to the border!"
Ravenfur glanced over, "We won't, don't worry."
The patrol leader paused to glare at them a moment longer, then turned away. Seconds later, Creamflower came rushing back. She seemed to be marking the border, so Ravenfur scooted closer, focusing his attention more to Flowerpelt than to Creamflower to divert attention.
Creamflower saw them coming and tensed, then when Ravenfur was close enough, she lunged forward. Cloudshadow and Ravenstar leaped out, cornering Creamflower as she grappled Ravenfur. The black tom let out a gasp of horror as Creamflower clawed at his throat. Flowerpelt screamed and tried to help Ravenfur, but Creamflower knocked her aside.
"I knew Ravenstar and Cloudshadow was there all along," she hissed, "I just wanted to get you, Ravenfur."
"Because you rejected me when I thought you could love me!" She screamed hysterically. Cloudshadow froze. "That's right," Creamflower gasped, "I never loved you."
Rage and tension flowed from Cloudshadow as he struggled to restrain himself. Creamflower dug her claws further in, and Ravenfur let out a strangled howl.
"Stop her!" Flowerpelt wailed as she struggled to stand up, "Stop her!"
Cloudshadow lurched forward and sank his claws into Creamflower's fur. He tore her off, and Ravenstar hurried to try to tend to Ravenfur's wound. Cloudshadow was still grappling with Creamflower, and Flowerpelt limped over to Ravenfur's side.
"Don't leave me." She begged.
Ravenfur opened his eyes and croaked weakly, "I knew she would kill one of us, so I made sure you were safe..."
"No Ravenfur," Flowerpelt whispered, "I love you, don't go!"
"I... love... y-you too."
Cloudshadow staggered back, his eyes a bit too bright for such a dark moment, "I killed her," he gaped, "I just didn't know what I was doing."
Ravenstar shook his head, "She was a threat to ShadowClan, it's fine."
The ShadowClan leader himself seemed to have changed, "Is he..." Cloudshadow whispered, staring at his friend.
This battle was over, but there was another one they had to fight before this was all over...
"We have to go help Dewtail." Flowerpelt mewed, trying to sound strong and sure, "We have to go help him..."
Before it's too late.
Chapter Twelve - Cloudshadow
Confusion was overwhelming him as he rushed towards the camp that Flowerpelt had been confined in. Grief and madness was clouding his thoughts, and he was heavily leaning on Flowerpelt to help guide him. "Are you okay, Cloudshadow?" Flowerpelt mewed worriedly.
He blinked, "Yeah... I guess."
"Don't let their deaths bother you now," she whispered, "We have another battle to fight. We can't afford to lose Dewtail too..."
Cloudshadow tried to nod, but he collasped, the memories of him sinking his claws into Creamflower overwhelming him, "I killed her though," he whispered, "I murdered her."
"Not in cold-blood," Flowerpelt snarled, "Come on, Cloudshadow, pull yourself together. Would you ever forgive yourself if you let Dewtail die because you couldn't get over one death?"
When the white tom met Flowerpelt's gaze, he saw pain and grief in her eyes too. But she looked determined to get to Dewtail before something happened to him, "No," he murmured, "I wouldn't."
Hauling himself up with the help of Flowerpelt, they turned and raced after Ravenstar to aid their last, living friend.
A war cry sounded from up ahead, and Flowerpelt nodded, "They must have started awhile ago, I hope they're alright."
Cloudshadow plunged into the battle, his claws aiming to knock them out. Warriors do not need to kill to win. Cloudshadow shuddered, and the tom he was fighting turned around and gave him two hard blows in the head. With a fuzzy mind, the white tom slashed cloudily around, trying not to think about that moment when he saw Ravenfur dying.
"Cloudshadow, get your head in the game!" He heard Dewtail cry, "We have a lot more to demolish if we're going to win!"
He nodded and focused on the tom he was fighting. When the tom smirked and lunged, he ducked and rolled forward, spinning around to give the tom a few scratches that he would never forget.
Howling, the tom turned back around, only to be dragged back by Flowerpelt. While Flowerpelt held him up, Cloudshadow lunged and dispatched him quickly. Memories of the cats he had killed flowed back, but Flowerpelt shook him, "We're here to kill these rogues because they'll be back if we don't."
Nodding once more at her words, Cloudshadow pivoted and found another opponent. They found battle after battle until there was a shriek.
A war call.
Someone was standing over Dapple, one paw pinning her down while the other paw was hovering over her, claws unshealthe.
"Flowerpelt-" Dewtail started.
"No!" she hissed, "This is my battle. Dapple took an innocent rogue's life away, and I want to avenge her death."
Dapple looked up dangerously, "You mean Sage? She was my younger sister, and she should have known not to mess with me."
Flowerpelt jerked back, shocked, but she easily regained her balance and pinned Dapple down again, "You didn't have to kill her!"
The rogue looked amused, "I did it on Creamflower's order, and hers only. She's the only reason my rogues and I came here."
Cloudshadow stalked up to stand next to Flowerpelt, and Dewtail was standing on her other side, "That doesn't give you any reason to torture our Clan cats."
"She's my sister, what do you expect?"
Cloudshadow's eyes widened, and Flowerpelt snarled, "Well, it's too late for you now. Creamflower is dead, and you'll be too soon."
She lifted her head and met Ravenstar's gaze, who merely nodded. Cloudshadow and Dewtail took a step back, and Flowerpelt raised her claws. The watching cats fixed their eyes on the scene, unable to tear their gazes away.
"In the name of the cats that have suffered and died, I hereby sentence you to death!" Flowerpelt heard cheers as she said the words.
Her paw came down, and Dapple's smirk was the last thing they saw before the light in her eyes died.
The other rogues had long fled, and Cloudshadow, Dewtail, and Flowerpelt had a decision to make. "Now we have a choice, to go back to ShadowClan, or stay in ThunderClan."
"I really want to stay, but I miss ShadowClan." Flowerpelt sighed.
Dewtail nodded, "I think I'm going to stay here," he murmured. At the surprised looks of his friends, he added, "It's closer to WindClan, and maybe one day I can learn more about my family and join them in WindClan."
Cloudshadow nudged his friend, "I'll miss you."
Flowerpelt nodded, "You really became a dear friend to us." She turned to Cloudshadow, "What about you?"
"I'm going to ShadowClan with you." He decided.
Dewtail closed his eyes, "I'm sorry that I can't join you two in ShadowClan, but we're not enemies. We've been given permission to stay out of any ThunderClan or ShadowClan wars, and Petalstar and Ravenstar had made peace since then."
"Even if we're separate, we're always together in our hearts."
Cloudshadow trotted into the ShadowClan camp, back from a good hunt with his patrol. It felt nice to be back in ShadowClan, but he knew he would miss the kind cats in ThunderClan. Leaving behind most of his catch at the fresh-kill pile, he picked up a large rabbit and hurried to the nursery. "Flowerpelt?"
The she-cat looked up, "Cloudshadow!" She purred, "Look, Graywing's proud of his new ktis."
Cloudshadow slid in and dropped the rabbit next to Flowerpelt. Despite that Graywing had been hostile when he thought that Flowerpelt was a murderer, they came back together quite quickly when Flowerpelt returned. Cloudshadow helped keep Flowerpelt well, as he was proud that his friend was settling in well.
"They're perfect," Cloudshadow breathed, careful not to nuzzle them because they were still getting used to their mother, "I'm glad you're happy."
"You should find someone too," Flowerpelt sighed, "Redstorm has always had your eye on you since we've came back."
The white tom dipped his head, looking flushed, "She's..." he couldn't finish the sentence.
Flowerpelt saw the embarrassed look in Cloudshadow's eyes and laughed, "Oh come on, it's okay to admit you like her."
"It's not just that!" Cloudshadow mewed hotly, but his cheeks were red, "She's a really nice friend and she's fun to hang out with, that's all!"
Cloudshadow froze and Redstorm purred as she slid into the Nursery, "You're such a frog-brain, Cloudshadow." Redstorm scolded, but she leaned against him affectionally, "I actually have news for you, Cloudshadow." Redstorm's eyes were brigth and happy.
Flowerpelt purred too, for she could guess what was going on.
Cloudshadow blinked, then mewed, "What's wrong?"
"It's not what's wrong," Redstorm laughed, "It's what's happening between us. I'm having kits, Cloudshadow!"
The white tom nuzzled his mate happily, "That's great!" He purred, giddy with excitement, "You should stay in the Nursery or stay off patrols or..."
"I'm not that weak!" Redstorm snorted.
Flowerpelt rolled her eyes, "Toms."
Dewtail was settled in ThunderClan, and he wasn't guilty about his decision. He had decided not to move to WindClan or move back in ShadowClan, but he was always allowed to make visits at the border. ThunderClan was a nice Clan, and Dewtail enjoyed it here better than he enjoyed being in ShadowClan.
Ravenstar had tried to help him find out if his father or anybody related to him was still alive, but they had no luck.
I wonder how Ravenfur, Cloudshadow, and Flowerpelt are doing...
Dewtail lifted his head to the sky and prayed that Ravenfur was safe in StarClan.
I'm glad everything turned out to be okay...
The End <3