Contents

Author's Note:

Well, I have finally published my first fanfiction!!! It took like, a year (literally) to finish what you see below, but here it is. IM SO EXITED THAT I FINALLY PUBLISHED THISS!!! :DDD!

So, I guess this is where I should say, Please do not edit my book without permission. You may edit it, of course, but ask me for permission in the comments below. And also, in the same comment, I would really like it if you'd copy and paste whatever it is in my story that you think needs editing, so that I would know exactly what part of my book that you want to change.

Oh, and I basically created those super long Allegiances below for myself, so feel free to skip over them. :)

Well, thank you to everyone who reads this book! :D



Description:

Misty is a gray she-cat of ThunderClan. She is a loyal warrior at heart, but will she stay loyal when she is deceived into making the biggest error in her life as a warrior? Two ShadowClan cats will change her life forever, turning practically every cat, even her closest friends and relatives, against her. Misty must strive to correct this error before she is exiled from life as she knows it......




ALLIEGIANCES

`'THUNDERCLAN`'

LEADER:             Shimmerstar- red she-cat with brown splotches and amber eyes

DEPUTY:              Blackfern- long-haired black she-cat with a long plumy tail and

green eyes

MEDICINE CAT: Littleberry- small creamy gray and white she-cat with blue eyes

WARRIORS:        Brambleheart- silver tabby tom with blue eyes

Snowbreeze- white she cat with green eyes

Volefoot- light brown tom with yellow eyes

Stonespots- long haired gray tabby tom with blue eyes

Amberbreeze- she-cat with yellow pelt and amber eyes

Lionclaw- dark tabby tom with yellow eyes

Swiftblaze- orange striped tom with amber eyes

Rainfern- smoky dark gray tom with faint black stripes and

blue eyes Apprentice, Firepaw (dark orange she-cat with blue eyes)

Poppyfur- tabby and white she-cat with green eyes Apprentice, Oakpaw (black tom with green eyes)

Ratclaw- red tabby tom with amber eyes

Plumshade- tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes

Sunbreeze- cream colored she cat with light brown eyes

Mothpool- long haired gray she-cat with green eyes

Sparrowflight- wiry long haired tabby she-cat with dark amber eyes

APPRENTICES:    Oakpaw- black tom with green eyes

Firepaw- dark orange she-cat with blue eyes

QUEENS:           Lilyberry- white she-cat with green eyes

Pebblefrost- silver tabby with blue eyes, mother of Foxkit (russet tom with orange eyes), Mistykit (a blue-eyed she-cat whose fur is a medium shade of gray), and and Leopardkit (dark tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes)

Swallowfur- white she-cat with creamy gray spots and green eyes, mother of Raykit (green-eyed white she-cat with a wide orange stripe on her back and flank), Rosekit (rose-colored she cat with green eyes), Beechkit (black tom with brown eyes), Emberkit (green-eyed she-cat whose fur is light brown with specks of white and has a large splotch of creamy yellow on her flank) and Frostkit (white she-cat with blue eyes)

ELDERS:          Thornheart- tom with long tabby fur and yellow eyes

Dawnsong- she cat with long silver tabby fur and blue eyes

Mouseclaw- black tom with dark blue eyes

=SHADOWCLAN=

LEADER:       Ravenstar- small black tom with green eyes

DEPUTY:          Pebbledust- light brown tom with amber eyes

MEDICINE CAT: Toadspots- long haired black and white tom with yellow eyes

WARRIORS:         Snakefang- she-cat with amber fur and yellow eyes Apprentice, Blackpaw (brown tom with a black paw and green eyes)

Heatherfur- brown she-cat with amber eyes

Barkstripe- gray tom with a black stripe along his back and blue eyes

Greenberry- tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes

Moleclaw- small tom with gray-brown fur and amber eyes Apprentice, Leafpaw (cream-colored tabby tom with blue eyes)

Wildbird- tabby she-cat with yellow eyes

Stonetail- black tom with amber eyes

Deerstripe- gray tom with long legs and amber eyes Apprentice, Dustpaw (yellow she-cat with green eyes)

Sootmist- long-haired smoky black tom with blue eyes

Mousefern- tom with long gray pelt and bright blue eyes

Poolstorm- long haired tortoiseshell she-cat with amber eyes

APPRENTICES:  Leafpaw- cream-colored tabby tom with blue eyes

Blackpaw- brown tom with a black paw and green eyes

Dustpaw- yellow she-cat with green eyes

QUEENS:           Whitefur- long haired white she-cat with amber eyes

ELDERS:          Nutstripe- tabby and white tom with blue eyes

Fawnspots- tabby tom with yellow eyes

Mudpelt- brown tom with yellow eyes

Goosestrike- gray she-cat with bright amber eyes

```WINDCLAN```

LEADER:           Silverstar- long haired gray she-cat with black stripes and bright blue eyes

DEPUTY:           Leopardfang- tom with a dark tabby pelt and bright amber eyes

MEDICINE CAT:  Songpool- tabby and white she-cat with green eyes Apprentice, Duskspark (black tom with green eyes)

WARRIORS:        Blueflower- silver she-cat with a blueish tint to her fur and bright blue eyes Apprentice, Icepaw (milky white she-cat with blue eyes)

Nettlestrike- tabby and white she cat with green eyes

Runningbreeze- pure white tom with long legs and yellow eyes

Mintleaf- small gray tabby she-cat with green eyes

Mudwhisker- black and brown tom with yellow eyes

Rabbitspots- gray she-cat with small black splotches and green eyes

Sandtail- tom with yellow fur and bright blue eyes

Birdfeather- gray she-cat with only three black paws

Redpelt- red tom with amber eyes

Morningbreeze- tortoiseshell she-cat with brown eyes Apprentice, Seedpaw (gray tom with yellow eyes)

Stormheart- black tom with green eyes

Glintclaw- gray and white tom with amber eyes

Crimsonrose- firey orange she-cat with green eyes Apprentice, Breezepaw (light brown she-cat with blue eyes)

APPRENTICES: Icepaw- milky white she-cat with blue eyes

Duskspark- black tom with green eyes

Seedpaw- gray tom with yellow eyes

Breezepaw- light brown she-cat with gray eyes

QUEENS:           Yellowbird- golden furred she-cat with brown eyes

ELDERS:           Buzzardstrike- silver tabby tom with green eyes

Gorsebriar- cream colored she-cat with yellow eyes

~RIVERCLAN~

LEADER:           Rushingstar- gray tom with blue eyes

DEPUTY:           Icehawk- white long haired tom with amber eyes Apprentice, Creekpaw (long haired gray and white tom with blue eyes)

MEDICINE CAT:  Smokeblaze- long haired gray tom with amber eyes

WARRIORS:    Shadowstone- long haired smoky black tom with yellow eyes

Frostbird- white she-cat with silver patches and amber eyes

Shrewfur- tom with long creamy pelt and bright blue eyes Apprentice, Murkypaw (silver she-cat with blue eyes)

Streamfish- long haired white and brown tom with amber eyes Apprentice, Bumblepaw (tabby tom with yellow eyes)

Featherstripe- silver tabby she-cat with blue eyes

Thistlefur- tabby tom with green eyes Apprentice, Sandpaw (long haired tabby she-cat with blue eyes)

Robinheart- brown she-cat with green eyes

Reedshade- tom with light brown pelt and brown eyes

APPRENTICES:   Creekpaw-  long haired gray and white tom with blue eyes

Sandpaw- long haired tabby she-cat with blue eyes

Bumblepaw- tabby tom with yellow eyes

Murkypaw- silver she-cat with blue eyes

QUEENS:        Dapplefur- tortoiseshell she-cat with yellow eyes

ELDERS:           Duckjaw- ginger she-cat with amber eyes

Waspclaw- tabby she-cat with green eyes

Raggedeye- red long haired tom with one eye

`~SKYCLAN`~

LEADER:             Applestar- she-cat with a light brown pelt and blue eyes

DEPUTY:          Mistleaf- tortoiseshell and white she-cat with blue eyes

MEDICINE CAT:  Vineleaf- long legged tortoiseshell she-cat with yellow eyes

WARRIORS:         Willowshade- she-cat with short blue gray pelt and bright blue eyes

Icefeather- long haired smoky gray tom with icy blue eyes

Stormfrost- pure white she-cat with green eyes

Fernstripe- silver  tabby tom with blue eyes Apprentice, Jaypaw (light gray tabby she-cat with green eyes)

Wingflight- long legged black and white she-cat with green eyes

Robineye- black tom with yellow eyes

Deerwing- brown she-cat with blue eyes Apprentice, Goldpaw (yellow tom with blue eyes)

Grayfoot- white she-cat with only three gray paws and blue eyes

Beechfur- brown and white tom with green eyes

Sunwater- orange she-cat with big orange eyes

Specklefur- black tom with white paws and tail tip

APPRENTICES:  Goldpaw- yellow tom with blue eyes

Jaypaw- light gray tabby she-cat with yellow eyes

QUEENS:           Applestar- she-cat with a light brown pelt and blue eyes

Berryfur- brown she-cat with yellow eyes

ELDERS:          Birdclaw- gray and brown she-cat with blue eyes

Clawfoot- black she-cat with amber eyes

CATS OUTSIDE THE CLANS

Canary- brown she-cat with distinct tiger-like stripes and gray eyes, a kitten

Shere Khan- very young, muscular brown tom with stripes and green eyes

Savaahn- a humongous, giant tom cat with long legs, golden fur and leopard-like spots

PROLOGUE:

Her paws thrummed on the forest floor.

Ferns, trees, and bramble thickets all swept past her as the she-cat ran, excitement surging through her.

She took no care, now, to pad quietly and stealthily, as she always did. She was too exited, and besides, why should she? The camp was far behind her.

But she couldn't run as fast as she always did. Not when she carried an extra weight, one that had slowed her down quiet a lot lately. And now she was going to tell him about it, about the good news.

She slowed her pace, going along at a trot.

The silver she-cat was nearing Fourtrees now.

Apprehension rose in her belly, making her pause. What if he wasn't there? Maybe one of his clanmates had found him sneaking away. What if he was stopped from coming to meet her? And then, she could never tell him the news. At least, not until the next Gathering.

She imagined herself walking up to him in the throng of cats, giving him a polite nod, telling him that she was going to have kits.

Not his kits.

Just. . . Kits.

And then, he wouldn't look at her, with his eyes sparkling with excitement. He wouldn't be able to purr his happiness.

He would curtly congratulate her, give her a nod, then walk away, disappear into the crowd.

She took a deep breath, forcing herself to expect his absence, then looked over the rise.

Her heart thumped as she searched the moonlit clearing for the signal.

There!

A wave of relief swept through her as her gaze darted to a clump of ferns which was shaking vigorously in the wind. It wasn't noticeable enough to any other cat that might have been following, but definitely noticeable enough to her.

The gray she-cat straightened up and looked behind her, in front of her, in every direction, her eyes narrowed and muscles tensed. She searched every thorn bush for accusing eyes, she looked for the flash of one of her clanmate's familiar pelts, or perhaps a cat from RiverClan. She strained her ears, listening for the sound of a twig snapping, or a shocked meow.

Nothing.

She sighed with relief. She wasn't going to be found out tonight.

The cat whirled around and clawed her way up a silver birch. She scrambled high up the white trunk, reaching the branch that she had picked out specifically for her agreed all-clear signal. The branch wasn't at all thick enough to support her weight, in contrast it was almost as thin as her own tail. But that was why she had picked it.

The silver she-cat clawed carefully higher until she was directly above the small branch. Then, holding on with her front claws with all her might, she released her hind claws and set them on the designated branch. The gray cat pressed down on the branch, purposefully making it sway unnaturaly, up and down, up and down.

She stopped and turned her head as far back as she could in that position, looking toward the clump of ferns again. She could barely make out the tiny pair of glowing green eyes that were hidden there, but she knew she saw them blink.

Knowing that the other cat had seen her signal, she scrambled down the tree again and raced down toward the Gathering place.

As she neared the Great Rock, a brown tabby tom emerged from the fronds.

The silver she-cat brushed pelts with him and twined her tail with his, purring loudly.

Then she stopped. "Thistlefur," she mewed exitedly.

"Hmm?"

"Guess what?"

"You know I don't like guessing."

"Just do it!" she purred.

"Let's see. . . You've become deputy?"

"No, silly! Guess again."

"You've got an apprentice?"

"No!" she purred.

Thistlefur lifted his head and looked into the she-cat's gleaming blue eyes.

"Okay, I give up. What is it?"

The silver cat reared up on her hind legs. "We're going to have kits!" she exclaimed. Then the gray she-cat let herself crash down on Thistlefur, and the two cats rolled back and forth on the ground in a mock fight.

Thistlefur raised a paw and batted his mate away easily, then stood up.

"No, really, Pebblefrost. What was it you really wanted to tell me?"

 Pebblefrost shook out her sandy pelt. "I'm not joking!" she mewed, her eyes wide.

Thistlefur stared at Pebblefrost, happiness flooding into his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out.

Pebblefrost purred again and swiped her tongue over Thistlefur's ear.

Then the she-cat stiffened as she heard the sound of fur brushing against leaves.

Before she could say anything, a familiar voice growled, "What's going on here?"

Pebblefrost whipped around and saw ThunderClan's deputy standing behind her. The black she-cat's green eyes were shining furiously.

"I don't remember giving you orders to meet with a RiverClan warrior!" she meowed angrily.

 Pebblefrost gasped loudly.

 It finally happened. Deep inside, Pebblefrost knew she would be caught someday. But her stubborn self didn't stop her from meeting with this RiverClan cat- even thought it was against the warrior code.

A pang of remorse hit Pebblefrost. It was all her fault that she was caught. She was the one who was unnecessarily - carelessly - stomping through the forest.

"Blackfern-"

"No. I don't want to hear it," Blackfern meowed coldly. "Get back to camp. You'll explain yourself to Shimmerstar."

The black she-cat walked away with her head held high.

Pebblefrost turned around and looked into her mate's green eyes.

A wave of overwhelming memories swept through Pebblefrost, almost knocking her over. She recalled all the times she had spent with Thistlefur, how they had chased each other back and forth under the wide-spreading branches of Fourtrees, and how they had climbed up the Great Rock and talked about when they would train apprentices of their own. The she-cat remembered how Thistlefur had taken her to the river and taught her how to swim, and catch shining, wriggling fish. And all those memories were already becoming bittersweet. Pebblefrost almost couldn't believe that this was happening.

"So, I guess this is good-bye," she meowed sadly.

Thistlefur stepped forward and touched noses with the beautiful silver she-cat. "I'll never forget you," he meowed.

"Thistlefur," Pebblefrost breathed. "I'll always love you."

The two cats entwined their tails for the last time under the stars.

Blackfern's voice rang out from the top of the crest. "Pebblefrost! Get back here!"

The gray she-cat turned back to Thistlefur and said, "You know what? No matter what happens, I promise I'll tell my kits about you."

"Yes, I think you should tell them," he meowed, his voice cracking with pain.

Pebblefrost buried her head in her mate's shoulder and wished she could yowl her sorrow.

I am never going to be able to meet with him again, she screeched mentally. My whole life is ending...

But as she tore herself away from him and followed her deputy back to camp, a quiet voice calmed her, promising, But it isn't. Your life isn't over. You're going to have kits, and you'll love them more than life itself.

CHAPTER ONE:

A soft breeze whispered through the walls of the nursery den as dawn quietly snuck in. A small ThunderClan kit was curled up with her mother and littermates, snoring softly.

But the wind must have disturbed her soft gray fur, because the kit's ears twitched, and she woke up. Blinking in the soft daylight, the young gray cat raised her head, timidly checking to see if any other cat was stirring. When she realized that nobody was awake, the kit sighed with relief, then stood up and quietly padded outside.

The little gray she-cat padded a little way away and stood still for a moment, glad to have this morning to herself. Then a cool breeze blew again, ruffling her fur the wrong way. The kit shook herself and shivered a little.

Then her gaze rested on some leaves, several fox-lengths away, lying next to a fallen tree. The wind was slightly stirring some of the leaves, making a tantalizing rustling noise.

 The kit dropped down to a crouch, bunched her muscles, and pulled herself closer to them, her eyes big and black and her tail-tip twitching excitedly. Then she hurtled across the clearing and dove into the leaves, sending them fluttering in all directions.

 The cat raced after a particular leaf that was floating too close to the ground. Snatching it up with her paws, she threw it into the air again, batting at it, not letting it touch the ground.

All of a sudden, a soft call made the gray cat pause. "Mistykit!"

Forgetting all about the leaf, the kit raised her tail and galloped away in the direction of the nursery. A beautiful silver tabby was leaning out of the entrance, annoyance sparkling in her eyes.

"Mistykit, how many times do I need to tell you not to come out of the nursery without my permission?" the queen whispered sternly.

Mistykit stopped in front of the silver queen. "I'm sorry, Pebblefrost. But I can't help it. The morning was so beautiful, I just had to go out."

Pebblefrost paused for a moment. "Okay." She leaned forward and swiped her tongue between her daughter's ears. "You can get up before anyone else, but only if you promise to be quiet."

Mistykit rubbed her head against Pebblefrost's shoulder. "I promise," she meowed.

The gray kit straightened up and looked toward the far side of the camp. By now the Clan was starting to stir. Cats were coming out of their dens and gathering under the Highrock, and a black she-cat walked out from a den in the rock. Mistykit was too far away to hear what she was saying, but it looked like the deputy was giving orders to the waiting warriors. Some of the cats were already gathering brambles, and weaving them into the camp walls.

Mistykit turned toward her mother. "Pebblefrost, can I see if there's anything I can help the Clan with? Please?"

The silver queen shook her head. "No, Mistykit. You can do that in three moons, when you have become an apprentice."

"But it's not-"

"Fair. Yes, I know. But you know what? It actually is fair-"

"How?" Mistykit meowed frustratingly. "It makes no sen-"

Her mother interrupted her. "It's complicated. Sshh," she meowed as her kit tried to get another word in. "I'll explain it to you later. For now, why don't you go and get me some fresh-kill instead? You can have some, too; you're well enough to eat proper food now."

Mistykit's eyes shone with pleasure, and her tail gave a happy little flick. "Thank you!" she purred. The kit bounced joyfully away and stopped at the fresh-kill pile.

There was little prey; a gray, bushy-tailed squirrel, a brilliant blue thrush, and a mouse, but what caught Mistykit's eye was a juicy vole. She picked it up and started to carry it to the nursery, but just then a voice mewed her name.

The kit turned around and saw her older sister, Mothpaw, standing behind her. The sun was shining on her pretty gray fur, outlining the scars she had recieved yesterday in the battle with RiverClan.

Mistykit spat out the vole from her jaws and meowed, "Hi Mothpaw!"

"Hi," Mothpaw replied. "Listen, do you want to take a walk with me up the ravine?"

Excited, Mistykit meowed, "Oh, yes!" She bounced on her paws. "Except, I have to ask Pebblefrost's permission. And can't I eat this vole first? I'm really hungry, and I've never eaten real prey in my entire life!"

Shaking her head, Mothpaw said, "I'm sorry, but no. I was hoping to go as soon as possible. You know, I have things to do later on today, since I'm an apprentice. But I promise I'll catch something for you at the top of the ravine."

The gray apprentice turned around, brushing her tail against Mistykit's nose, and walked away. "Go and ask your mother," she called over her shoulder.

Mistykit's eyes followed her sister, who stopped to say something to a young black tom before continuing on to the gorse tunnel.

Snatching up the vole, and the mouse for her mother, she hurried as best she could with her load to the nursery and scooted underneath the brambles.

Inside, a white, swollen-bellied queen lay in the back of the nursery, trying to get more sleep. Next to her was Pebblefrost, who was washing a sleepily protesting kit with her tongue and smoothing his reddish-brown fur. Strewn throughout the nursery were four kits, still sound asleep. The nursery was very overcrowded, with even more kits on the way.

A tortoiseshell kit played with a gray and white she-cat's tail. The kit pounced on it, then started kicking it with her hind paws as the creamy gray tail writhed beneath her. The queen turned around and gently pushed the she-kit away.

"Leopardkit, stop that!" she scolded.  

"Yes, Swallowfur," Leopardkit mewed. She bounced away, then saw Mistykit.

"Hi, Mistykit!" she meowed. She gasped when she saw the juicy vole. "Is that for me?" Leopardkit looked at her mother. "May I eat it, Pebblefrost?"

The gray queen nodded.

"Wow, thanks, Pebblefrost! "she squeaked.

The little tortoiseshell took the vole from her sister, then bent down and took a mouthful.

"It's delicous!" Leopardkit exclaimed with her mouth full and her bright green eyes shining.

Pebblefrost stopped washing her kit. "Go on, Foxkit. You can have some of that vole, too," she murmured, letting him scamper away to eat.

"Pebblefrost," Mistykit began, "may I go up the ravine with Mothpaw?"

Pebblefrost thought for a moment.

"Yes, you can go," she answered, her her voice unusually quiet and her eyes somewhat distant. "But be back by sunhigh."

"Yes, mother," said Mistykit. "Oh, and here." Mistykit gave the mouse to her mother, who quietly meowed her thanks. Then Mistykit ducked underneath the brambles again, Pebblefrost calling after her, "Be careful!"

Outside, the sun was slowly rising, sending its bright rays through the green trees and filling Mistykit with the hope that every day after this would be as bright. The Clan was buzzing with life, warriors milling busily about and securing the camp walls, which were still damaged after yesterday's battle.

Mistykit walked toward the camp entrance, dodging warriors as they walked.

I hope Mothpaw is still waiting for me, thought Mistykit.

Then a tail flicked her flank. Mistykit looked to her side and saw Mothpaw, walking beside her.

Thinking fast, Mistykit yowled, "Last one to the gorse tunnel is a dead mouse!"

She pelted away, ignoring a grunt of surprise from her sister.

Mistykit ran fast, but Mothpaw was still gaining on her.

Mistykit put on a burst of speed.

The tunnel was getting closer and closer.

All of a sudden, Mothpaw jumped clear over Mistykit and touched the gorse tunnel.

"Made it!" she announced cheerfully. Mistykit hissed loudly, but her tail waved in the air, her own unique sign to show that she was joking.

The sisters walked through the tunnel. Emerging on the other side, Mistykit saw a path; they walked through that, too. After walking for a few tail-lengths, they stopped at a slope.

Mistykit gasped. It was huge! The ground rose so high.

The whole slope was almost completely covered with rocks, and bushes dotted the ground. Two giant boulders sat at the bottom of the slope, a rockfall in between them.

Staring up over the ravine, Mistykit could just barely see the forest beyond.

Then she noticed the smell. Wild, prey-rich forest scent.

Mistykit longed to go to the forest.

If only I had remembered to ask Pebblefrost. But then, she probably wouldn't have let me anyway.

Mothpaw walked over to the rockfall and made her way quickly across it, beckoning with her tail for Mistykit to follow.

Mistykit padded to the small slope and put her paw carefully on the first sharp rock. Finding a dull surface, she stepped on the stone. She scanned the jumble of rocks in front of her and looked for the next smooth area to place her soft kit pads on.

A few rabbit hops later, Mistykit landed at the top of the mini slope.

All of a sudden, a weight dropped down next to her, nearly startling Mistykit out of her fur.

Mothpaw let out a mrrow of laughter. "Well, come on," she meowed. "We haven't got all day, you know."  She turned around and walked away, and her sister trotted to catch up.

Mothpaw led Mistykit along a mud gully and stopped at another massive boulder.

"Right," said Mothpaw. "I'll climb up this rock first to show you how it's done."

She watched as Mothpaw scrabbled upward.

"Notice how I. . . use the dents. . . in this stone. . . to climb," Mothpaw managed to choke out as she heaved herself up the rock and onto the top. "Now you try."

Mistykit looked at the first ledge in the rock and crouched down, then leaped forward and hooked her claws onto it. She reached out with her forepaw and caught hold of a crack, then propelled herself to another dent. She gripped it and pushed herself up, then realized that she was at the top of the giant stone.

"I did it!" she said breathlessly, turning toward Mothpaw. "That was fun."

Mistykit looked back toward the camp, realizing that she was level with the tree tops. "Wow," she breathed. She didn't know that she was so high up.

Mistykit turned her gaze back to Mothpaw. "So, which way now?" she asked.

Mothpaw turned around and walked toward a stony path. "This way."

As Mistykit followed, she noticed that the sky had darkened. Clouds had swum over to cover the sun in the bright gray sky.

Mistykit sighed. She had hoped that it would stay sunny throughout the whole day. But now it looked like it might rain.

Again.

It's been gray and gloomy for ages, Mistykit thought frustratedly. When is it going to end?

Then she realized that Mothpaw had stopped walking and was waiting for her to catch up. She stopped walking just in time to aviod bumping into a wall of rock which rose high above the ground.

Mistykit could tell that above the rock was the forest; when she backed away she could see the branch tips of the trees poking out.

"Now, you'll have to be careful here," said Mothpaw. "If you misjudge the jump, you'll bump into the cliff."

Then, before Mistykit could say anything in reply, she leaped high into the air and landed with a thud on the other side, leaving Mistykit to stare after her in wonder. How did her sister get to be so good at jumping?

Mothpaw's gray head peeped out from over the cliff. "Come on. It's easy!" she mewed, making the kit even more surprised.

 Mistykit backed up. She took a deep breath, crouched, tensed her muscles, and using all the strength she had, sprang into the air.

She was aware of her body getting higher and higher, and as she got closer to the top of the rock, she stretched out her front paws like her sister did. Then, closer still, she gripped the stone and tried to haul herself up.

A pang of fear shot through her as her back legs scrabbled in empty air. She dug her claws in, but they just scraped against stone. She was slipping! To make matters worse, a stronger wind blew at Mistykit from behind.

Then, just as her claws lost hold of the rock, she felt Mothpaw's jaw close around her scruff. Heart beating, she felt herself being pulled away.

Mothpaw set her sister down on the grassy cliff. As soon as she found her footing, Mistykit stood up and nuzzled Mothpaw gratefully. "Thank you!" she exclaimed.

Mothpaw shook her head. "You wouldn't have had such a bad fall, if I didn't catch you," she meowed, then added with a glint of amusement in her eyes, "But you do need to work on your jumping, you furball."

Mistykit sat down. "why is that?" she asked. "Aren't SkyClan apprentices the cats who need to work on jumping?" Mistykit tipped her head to one side and added, half-joking, "Oh, and how did you learn to jump so well? Do you spy on SkyClan apprentices while they're training or something?"

Mothpaw playfully swiped at her sister's ear with one paw. "Be quiet," she purred. Then she stared off into the trees. "No, really," she breathed, and when the kit opened her mouth to say something, she added, "I think I can smell mouse."

Mistykit nodded her head, and Mothpaw went off into the thick tangle of trees. Mistykit could hear some scuffling noises beneath the roots of a maple, and she could smell fresh-kill. Mothpaw padded quietly toward the sound, the fur on her paws not even brushing against the leaves. When she was near enough, she shot her paw into the roots, and the scuffling stopped. The next moment she was walking back to her sister with a plump gray mouse dangling from her jaws.

Mistykit's mouth watered and her stomach growled as Mothpaw put the mouse down in front of her.

"Go on," her sister meowed. "Eat. I'm not supposed to eat until I have caught prey for the whole Clan."

And with that she walked away into the forest again, probably to hunt, Mistykit thought.

Last leaf-bare, Mistykit recalled, when she and her littermates had been severely sick with some kind of a deadly stomach sickness a little more than moon ago, their mother had only fed them her milk. Many cats had died then. It was a depressing time. After nearly everyone had gotten better, though, most of the Clan had had a greencough epidemic, and Pebblefrost decided not to let her kits eat prey, even though they were old enough by then. She did it in a desperate effort to save food for the other cats who had needed it more. So this was the first time Mistykit could finally eat real, solid food.

The kit bent her head and took her first mouthfull of mouse.

She had never tasted anything better. It tasted of the forest, and so warm and fresh. She took another big bite and rolled it around in her mouth, savoring the delicous, warm flavors.

Many long moments later, Mistykit had finished the delicous mouse, and Mothpaw had come back with a squirrel, a pigeon, and two mice hanging by their tails.

Mothpaw dropped the prey. "I think it's time we got back to camp, don't you?"

"I guess," said Mistykit.

"Well then, how about helping me carry all this fresh-kill? Here, take the mice."

As they walked through the gorse tunnel and into camp, Mistykit noticed that the sun was shining brightly again.

Good!

Then Shimmerstar, who was standing in the clearing, yowled, "Let all those cats old enough to fetch their own prey gather beneath the Highrock!"

All the cats who were mending the camp walls, and some cats who were in their dens, stopped what they were doing and slowly trickled into the center of the camp.

The kit and her sister quickly deposited their prey in the fresh-kill pile.

"Mistykit!"

She turned and saw her mother and siblings coming from the nursery to the clearing. Leopardkit was beckoning to her excitedly.

The gray kit darted toward them, glad that for whatever reason, they would be allowed to be in a Clan meeting.

"Mistykit," her sister Leopardkit meowed excitedly when she had joined them, "Mothpaw and Sparrowpaw are going to be made warriors!"

"Wow! Really?" she meowed as they sat down in the front line of the group, next to Mothpaw and her mentor, Volefoot.

"Yes," Leopardkit replied. "Now sshh."

Mistykit realized that the whole Clan had the camp had gone quite.

Shimmerstar started to speak.

"I thank all my clanmates for participating in the battle yesterday. Even though RiverClan has the victory - " the leader flattened her ears, and Mistykit could tell that the whole Clan was probably thinking, For the tenth time.

Shimmerstar went on, " - I know you all have fought your hardest."

She paused, then continued, "Today I want to add two new warriors to the Clan. Mothpaw, Sparrowpaw, come stand next to me."

Shimmerstar beckoned to them with her tail.

Mistykit managed to catch Sparrowpaw's eye as she stepped forward, and her tail flicked happily.

The sisters padded to their leader and stood beside her.

"I, Shimmerstar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon these apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn."

Mothpaw's eyes were glittering with excitement, and Sparrowpaw was trembling.

"Sparrowpaw, Mothpaw," Shimmerstar went on, "do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"

The two apprentice's voices rang out in unison as they replied, "I do."

"Then by the power of StarClan, I give you your warrior names. Sparrowpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Sparrowflight. StarClan honors your bravery and your enthusiasm, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan."

Shimmerstar took a step forward and lay her muzzle on Sparrowflight's lowered head, and the new warrior gave the leader's shoulder a lick, then walked away to join the other warriors, her eyes flaming with excitement.

Shimmerstar looked at the gray apprentice. "Mothpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Mothpool. ThunderClan honors your courage and strength, and we welcome you as a full member of ThunderClan."

Mothpool's tongue rasped over Shimmerstar's shoulder, then the warrior turned and padded to her clanmates.

As soon as she reached the cats, the whole clearing erupted into cheering.

"Mothpool! Sparrowflight! Mothpool! Sparrowflight!"

Mistykit ran to her sisters, chanting their names as she went. When she reached her sisters, she yowled above every cat's voice, "Congragulations!"

"Thanks!" Sparrowflight purred.

Mothpool just stayed silent, her eyes gleaming with happiness.

~'°'`~'°'`~'°'`~'°'~

|`°`°`°`°`°`|

"Let me be the warrior! You be the dog." Mistykit said.

Leopardkit walked up to her sister until they stood nose-to-nose, her tail twitching. She was trying to sound ferocious, but her eyes were glinting with amusement as she said, "No! I hate dogs! They're so stinky, and-"

"How do you know they're stinky?"  asked Snowbreeze, who was eating fresh-kill nearby. "You've never met one before."

"I. . .  Well. . ."

"Okay, fine. Let's find another game to play," said Mistykit, backing up and rubbing her nose. It almost hurt from being squashed against Leopardkit's nose. "Let's play. . ."

"I know!" exclaimed Leopardkit after a few moments. She turned sideways and backed up as she drew a shaky line in the ground with her claw.

Leopardkit hopped onto the other side of the line, opposite from Mistykit.

"I'm Leopardstar, leader of ThunderClan," she declared.

Snowbreeze stood up and trotted over to three of her clanmates standing by the gorse tunnel, and together they left the camp.

Leopardkit poked Mistykit with her paw.

"Helloo."

Mistykit turned her gaze back to her sister and flicked her ears.

Leopardkit continued, "And you're going to be Mistystar, leader of RiverClan."

Mistykit shook her pelt crossly.

"Fine," she agreed. This game sounded fun, and she didn't want to ruin it by arguing about who gets to be ThunderClan leader.

"So how do I play?"

"You have to try and get over this line, onto my territory, and I'll be trying to get onto your territory."

"Okay," said Mistykit.

Leopardkit crouched, ready to pounce at Mistykit.

Mistykit decided she would try to push Leopardkit and herself away back onto Leopardkit's side of the line as soon as her sister sprang.

"Ready?" meowed Leopardkit, her tail twitching. "Okay, now."

She jumped at Mistykit, bringing herself over the line for a few moments. But Mistykit stood on her hind legs, bringing her sister up with her, and knocked her over onto Leopardkit's side of the line. She jumped over the line and galloped away so Leopardkit couldn't get her over again.

She sat down. "That was easy."

Leopardkit stood up and stalked over to her sister menacingly.

"I'll teach you easy!" she yowled. She sprang at Mistykit and they both crashed to the ground.

"Hey!" mewed Mistykit, laughing.

Leopardkit fell still and stared darkly into Mistykit's eyes, her mouth gaping open and her whiskers tickling Mistykit's cheek.

"Get away from me," Mistykit purred, amused at the funny face her sister was making.

She put a paw on Leopardkit's shoulder and held her sister down as she backward-jumped away.

Mistykit backed up a little more, and as her sister was getting to her paws, she ran toward her and sprang over the tortoiseshell, then skidded into the ground.

She regained her footing.

"Hey Leopardkit!" Mistykit mewed. "Let's jump over each other!"

"Yeah!" exclaimed Leopardkit. She walked farther away to get a running start.

"My turn!" she yowled.

Mistykit crouched, pressing herself down as low as possible, and Leopardkit ran and flew over her.

Mistykit popped up as soon as her sister came in contact with the ground.

"Duck!" Mistykit meowed when she was already far enough away, ready to jump over her sister again.

Leopardkit sat up. "Duck?"

She scanned the camp for a sign of the bird, swinging her head around to look in every direction.

"I don't see a duck," she meowed exaggeratedly.

Mistykit purred with laughter. "Okay, smarty-paws. Come on, you know what I meant."

Leopardkit tipped her head to one side and meowed in a deep voice, "Um, no, I do not not know what you maybe mean." she lifted a paw and her tail flicked as she said each word.

Mistykit purred with amusement. "Okay, fine. Get down. I'm going to jump!"

Leopardkit got down.

Mistykit fixed her gaze on the place where she planned to come back down again, a few tail-lengths beyond the nursery.

She took a flying leap over Leopardkit, but just then, her brother Foxkit exited the nursery. She collided and tumbled into the ground with him. They rolled a two times before stopping at a dip in the ground and coming untangled from each other.

"Hi!" purred Mistykit, her voice bubbling with laughter. "How was your day?"

She rested her cheek on the ground and stared her brother in the face, waiting for his answer.

Foxkit opened his mouth to say something, thought about it for a moment, and meowed, "We should maybe say abnormal think-grass in the forest with our mouse."

"What did you say?" Mistykit squeaked.

Foxkit stared back blankly at her.

"Foxkit, what's wrong with you?" meowed Leopardkit.

Mistykit looked up, just realizing that her sister had been standing there.

"Yeah," mewed Mistykit. "Foxkit, are you okay?"

Foxkit's gaze flicked slowly from Mistykit to Leopardkit and back again.

He meowed, "I think. . ."

Then he jumped quickly to his paws and slapped his paw over Mistykit's tail.

Mistykit leaped to her feet. "Hey!"

Foxkit walked toward the elder's den at a fast pace. "I think I tricked you, that's what!"

He disappeared inside the den.

"Oooh," Leopardkit huffed. "He can be so annoying! And you too. Would you two just stop that tail-slapping game?"

"Noo," Mistykit protested. "I don't want to, it's fun, and you can't tell me what to do."

She added, "Oh, and, it's not actually a game. We just slap each other's tails, that's all. Like. . ."

She stepped closer to her sister. ". . . This!" and she swiped at her sister's tail.

Leopardkit glared angrily at Mistykit. "Stop that!"

"Okay, okay, fine."

Mistykit sighed.

Leopardkit meowed quietly, "But what he said was funny."

"Yes," Mistykit said, purring with amusement. "What was it he said? We should say mouse in the forest with our grass. . ."

"'We should maybe say think-grass in the forest with our mouse', I think," Leopardkit interrupted, correcting Mistykit.

"Yes," purred Mistykit. "It's so hilarious to hear such random stuff like that!"

"But," Leopardkit said casually, "maybe you blue into the moon, or more better, save a ground." she swished her tail.

Mistykit laughed. "I wish I could easily think of random stuff like that."

A distant rumble sounded overhead.

Mistykit looked at the sky. The clouds and sky were black, and lightning was flashing from them.

There's going to be a storm soon, she thought.

 As if on cue, there was a loud thunderclap, making Leopardkit jump.

Mistykit's heart plummeted, and she sighed loudly.

"Ugh, I hate storms!" she exclaimed.

Leopardkit looked surprised.

"What is wrong with you?" she meowed. "Storms are awesome!"

"No, what's wrong with you? They're so. . ." Mistykit searched for the right word.

Just then a patrol poured in from the tunnel. Poppyfur, Oakpaw, Sunbreeze and Rainfern walked quickly to the leader's den, their pelts bristling with anger.

Mistykit's ears and whiskers instantly pricked forward with curiosity.

Why are they so mad? What's going on?

A raindrop fell and splattered on her ear. Mistykit's ears flicked irritatedly, and she and her sister hurried to the nursery as the falling rain quickly increased.

In the nursery, the kit curled up in a tight, rain-streaked ball of fur next to Leopardkit and her mother.

 A moment later, Foxkit hurried inside and, without a word, lay down next to them.

I don't know why I'm so tired, Mistykit thought as she sunk deeper into sleep. But I'm glad I don't have to lay here awake. That would be so boring. . .

~;~;~;~;~;~;~;~

/:-:-:-:-:-:\

Mistykit dreamed that she was standing on the Highrock. She looked down at all the cats of ThunderClan gathered beneath her, and noticed that Pebblefrost and Lilyberry were starting a conversation between themselves, even though their eyes were fixed on Mistykit.

Pebblefrost's gaze bore into Mistykit as she meowed, "Lilyberry, what's wrong?"

"Stonespots told me that our patrol had scented RiverClan well inside our territory," the white queen spat angrily. "They went to check it out, and found that there were RiverClan scent markers everywhere, more than five fox-lengths over the border. Those mangy fish-hearts had killed one of our thrushes and everything."

Pebblefrost's fur bristled furiously."What!" she gasped. "They've had Sunningrocks for almost two seasons! And now they're going to steal the rest of our territory, too? How dare they!"

Mistykit unsheathed her claws, angry.

I wish I were an apprentice already. Then I could fight in the battle with RiverClan, if there's going to be one.

Then Mistykit's vision blurred, and the whole camp swirled and spun before her eyes. The kit stumbled off the rock and fell onto the grass. She closed her eyes, trying to blink the blurriness away, but when she opened them again, she found that she was lying in the nursery.

Relief swept over Mistykit. It was all a dream. RiverClan hadn't gone over the border, and now there's no chance that a cat will get injured in the battle, because there's no reason that there should be a battle.

Then she noticed that Pebblefrost and Lilyberry were awake, too. Lilyberry was bristling with anger, and her mouth was open as if she was about to say something. But then she noticed Mistykit.

"Mistykit, you're awake," she meowed.

Pebblefrost turned around.

"Good morning!" she purred, obviously making an effort to sound happy and cheerful.

"Your denmates are already in the camp," she pointed out. "Why don't you go along and join them."

Mistykit sat up and nodded.

"But first," she mewed, "what are you so angry about? Is it about the RiverClan thing?"

 "You heard us, didn't you?" Pebblefrost said, her expression darkening. "I won't try to hide it from you. Yes, RiverClan is trying to steal more of our territory."

Mistykit nodded. "But I heard you talking about it in my dream, and when I woke up, I thought it wasn't real! But now I know that I'm wrong."

Mistykit's feelings about battle were torn in half. She didn't want their to be a battle because there had been plenty of battles with RiverClan before she was born, and from all the accounts of it that she had heard - and from the most recent battle that she had experienced from the shelter of the nursery- they had all ended horribly. But she was also excited at the prospect of battle, and because she wanted the issue with Sunningrocks over and done with.

She leaned against her mother and looked up at her.

"Is there going to be a battle?"

"I don't know," Pebblefrost meowed, shaking her head.

~.`°'.~.`°'.~.`°'~.`°'.~

Mistykit padded to the fresh-kill pile and absentmindedly picked a small squirrel. She carried it a little way away and sat down to eat as Blackfern selected cats for the late evening patrols. But Mistykit paid no mind to the noise; she was too busy thinking about the incident with RiverClan. She had been poring over the incident all day.

RiverClan had had Sunningrocks since last leaf-bare. ThunderClan had fought countless battles with them, trying to get Sunningrocks back, and even losing many of their warrior's lives in the process, but it was all in vain. RiverClan had fought hard for the territory that they claimed was theirs from the beginning. The elders had told Mistykit that, for as long as they had been alive, for a little while ThunderClan had owned Sunningrocks, and then RiverClan would steal it from them. And then ThunderClan would steal it from RiverClan, and there would be battle after battle for the piece of territory. Mistykit wished something could be done so RiverClan would never claim Sunningrocks again, but she knew that it was impossible.

Then Mistykit's thoughts were interrupted by Blackfern's voice.

"Stonespots, take Snowbreeze, Lionclaw and Swallowfur," she meowed. "Go as far as our border at the Sunningrocks. If you see a RiverClan patrol, you can confront them. But do not unsheath your claws. If we are to fight later, we all need to keep ourselves healthy and uninjured."

Mistykit watched as the patrol nodded their agreements and filed out of the camp.

Her claws kneaded the ground, frustrated because she could not go with them.

As she tore another bite from her squirrel, an idea hit her.

If RiverClan had done anything terrible to my Clan, like stealing kits, ThunderClan would fight them, right? And they would probably win, because they would have an even bigger motive for winning, than just the borders, right?

Mistykit stayed there for a while and thought hard, perfecting the details of her idea, until finally she made up her mind.

Tonight, I am going to sneak out and go to Sunningrocks.

Chapter Two:

That night, when every cat had gone into their dens to sleep, Mistykit lay awake. As soon as the soft snores of her denmates filled the nursery, she quietly got to her paws. Blinking several times, she waited for her eyes to adjust to the dark, but the night was so black that she could hardly see anything.

Nonetheless, she picked her way over the sleeping cats' bodies. She was determined for make her plan work, and right now that meant she was not to wake anybody up, but get out of the nursery unseen.

Then Mistykit accidently clamped her foot down on a cat, and a high-pitched squeak cut through the silent night.

Mistykit froze, her body trembling with the fear of being stopped from sneaking out.

Hardly daring to breath, she looked behind her to see who the sound came from.

Two round, glowing eyes stared back at her. They blinked slowly.

"Mistykit?" The familiar voice mewed. "Mistykit, is that you?"

Mistykit sighed with relief. It was just her denmate, Glosskit.

Thank StarClan.

At least it wasn't one of the queens.

She tiptoed back to the kit. "Sshhhhh," she breathed. "Yes, it's me. And please don't wake anyone up."

"But what are you doing?"

"I'm-" Mistykit stopped, not wanting to tell him her plan. Cursing herself for waking him up, she whispered, "I need to go to the dirtplace."

"Oh."

Mistykit turned to go, relieved that he didn't ask any more questions.

Then the small voice mewed, "Can I come?"

She turned back. "What?"

A cat somewhere in the nursery stirred.

I wish Glosskit would shut his mouth!

Sighing, she walked back to him.

"What do you want?" she hissed. "I'm just going to the dirtplace. I'm old enough to go there instead of making my dirt here. You're not. You have no reason to go. Now stop talking to me, and let me go."

His ear flicked, tickling Mistykit's nose and making her want to sneeze. She held her breath and tried to ignore it.

"I just want to get away from here," he mewed. "Even if it's going to take really quick, and if it's just to the dirtplace. It must be fun to be out of the nursery at night."

"Glosskit..." she sighed. "Glosskit, no. I'm going by myself. If you go, you'll only get into trouble. You are not going with me."

She turned and walked as quickly as she could out of the nursery.

Mistykit turned to the side and started walking, trusting herself that she was walking in the correct direction, toward the gorse tunnel. She could hardly see anything in this darkness.

Then she stopped, remembering that it would be better to use the dirtplace tunnel, because every night a warrior guards the camp.

She turned around, and bumped into another cat's body.

Completely surprised and off-guard, she sprang backward and landed on her back. She scrambled to her paws and backed away. "Who-" her throat was dry. She cleared it and tried again.

"Who is that?"

The cat sighed and mewed in a small voice, "Me."

Mistykit realized that it was just Glosskit again.

She shook her head angrily.

It won't do any good to argue with him, she thought, frustrated that her plan wasn't working out the way she wanted it to. He's obviously made up his mind to follow me, and if I try to make him go back, he'll mess everything up.

She hissed into what she thought was Glosskit's face. Veering aside, she made her way back to the dirtplace, which was behind the nursery.

Glosskit's footsteps pattered noisily behind her.

Mistykit squeezed through a small tunnel and pushed past the bush covering the dirtplace, deliberately letting the leaves slap back at Glosskit.

Ignoring the sharp, disgusting smell, she reached the side of the ravine and started climbing up it.

Mistykit scrambled up the stones and boulders, glad that she had made this climb with Mothpool a while ago. She needed the experience for this time.

But Glosskit was not so lucky. She could hear him panting behind her - even though the moon had produced a little bit more light for him to see by - and a few times he had meowed for help when he was having trouble climbing. But Mistykit ignored him.

Why should I help him, when he's not supposed to be here at all in the first place? Mistykit thought, flicking her ears at Glosskit as he mewed pitifully after her. But then, came the unwelcome thought, I'm not supposed to be here, either.

Mistykit cleared the jump over the last obstacle, the small cliff. But when Glosskit tried to spring up the wall of rock, Mistykit heard a dull thump and a mewl of pain.

Alarmed, Mistykit whipped around. She looked down the cliff to see the kit getting to his paws again and crouching to jump.

He must have bumped into the rock, she thought sympathetically.

Glosskit launched himself into the air and caught the rock with his claws.  He scrambled up the rest of the way and flopped onto the ground, panting.

Ignoring him, Mistykit lowered her head and searched for Snowbreeze's scent. She knew that she had been part of the most recent border patrol to Sunningrocks, and Mistykit would know the white she-cat's scent anywhere.

"What are you doing?" Glosskit wondered.

Mistykit looked up at him fiercely. "Go home, Glosskit. You're ruining everything."

"Okay," he pouted. "I'll go."

The black kit stood at the edge of the cliff, about to jump down again.

"Wait," she meowed. "You're not going to tell everyone to find me, will you?"

He looked at her. "Of course I will!"

"But why would you do that?"

"Because-"

Mistykit pointed her tail at him.

"Stop. Don't answer that. Just. . ."

She sighed loudly. "Stay with me, " she growled.

Glosskit's eyes brightened. "Okay!"

Mistykit glared at the black kit.

Can't he see how mean and annoying he's being? Is he doing this on purpose or something?

Mistykit took a few steps forward and started to sniff the ground again.

Almost at once, she could smell Snowbreeze's scent, and the rest of her patrol.

Oh, good!

She turned to her left and headed after the scent trail.

The ground grew a little softer as they went on, shifting the tiniest bit underneath the kits' paws.

As they walked, a clearing opened up in front of them.

Mistykit raced toward it.

Is that Sunningrocks? she thought excitedly.

She skidded to a halt on the clearing, disappointed as she realized that there were no rocks in sight. Looking up at the trees, Mistykit noted that the branches didn't have enough space between themselves to let down much sunlight in the daytime anyway.

Overwhelmed, Mistykit crumpled to the ground. She had no idea where her destination was, it might as well be on the other side of the world.

Glosskit shifted his paws nearby, unsure of what to do.

I have to get up, she told herself.

But what do I do after that? the kit wailed silently.

But Mistykit new perfectly well what she had to do. Keep on following the scent trail, of course.

She imagined herself walking for ages, mostly with her nose to the ground, and shuddered, despairing it.

But nonetheless, she got to her paws.

Mistykit knew that she could not afford to waste time. But she decided to waste time anyway and examine the clearing.

 It was fairly big, with soft sand making up its floor.

With her nose just a little bit used to picking out scents, Mistykit noticed that the place smelled strongly of Firepaw and Oakpaw. She also noticed that the patrol's scents whose she was following lingered at the edge of the clearing.

She pictured the two apprentices in the clearing, Snowbreeze and the rest of her patrol watching them.

What would the apprentices be doing here? Why were they spending so much time here?

Of course!

It must be the sandy hollow Firepaw was telling her about, where apprentices practice fighting techniques!

I can't wait to be an apprentice. It must be so much fun!

Then Mistykit realized how great a risk she was taking with this journey. If her plan didn't work, she would be in so much trouble. Maybe so much so that Shimmerstar would never even let her become an apprentice!

But her optimistic attitude didn't let her worry too much about it. That would never happen to her, Shimmerstar would never be mean enough to do that!

The kits set off again.

As Mistykit bent over the ground to follow the scent trail, she decided to pass the time by reviewing her plan.

 Her idea was to wait at Sunningrocks until a RiverClan patrol comes.

Of course, they'll be angry at me for being at their territory.

Mistykit would stall, saying insulting things to the RiverClan cats, until a patrol from her own Clan comes, and then, hopefully, her clanmates would think that RiverClan had done something horrible to her. If anything went wrong, Mistykit was prepared to fight the RiverClan cats, so that when the ThunderClan patrol comes, they would think that RiverClan had stolen Mistykit and that she would be trying to defend herself. The ThunderClan cats would fight RiverClan, and since RiverClan had apparently tried to steal ThunderClan kits, the ThunderClan warriors would probably win. Kits mattered a great deal more to any Clan than borders and territories.

Glosskit was panting behind her.

"Where are we going?" he asked breathlessly.

Mistykit flicked her tail at him, trying to ignore him. But after a while his meows started to aggravate her.

She whirled around.

"You know what?" she snapped. "You need to just stop complaining. You are going to keep on walking, you know why? Because you're the one who insisted on coming with me, even though I tried not to let you. So you need to just shut up and stop complaining about something that's your fault. Got it?"

Glosskit's voice sounded hurt as he quietly mewed, "Yes."

When Mistykit heard Glosskit's voice, she instantly regretted her words. But she didn't apologize.

They trudged on. And on, and on, and on, and on.

Will this trail ever end? Mistykit thought despairingly.

All her limbs were aching from walking great unaccustomed lengths, and she could barely keep her eyes open one whisker-width. All she wanted to do was to curl up in a nice, soft bed of moss and sleep for days.

All this walking. Nothing to do but walking, walking, walking. I need to occupy myself with something.

But no time-killing thoughts came to the gray kit.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_

Mistykit and Glosskit trudged through the forest as the sky began to very faintly light up. Mistykit's shoulders were aching horribly from straining them because she had been bending down to follow the scent trail.

She had raised her head every now and then, hoping to see Sunningrocks in front of her.

Now, as she looked up for the hundredth time, she saw another clearing ahead.

Large slabs of rocks dotted the ground in it.

There were no trees looming over the space.

Mistykit barely had any strength to run to it, but she almost knew that the place in front of her was Sunningrocks. She tried not to let her hopes up, but it was no use. Her heart beat excitedly. She had probably reached the end of her journey. Finally.

A strange smell reached her nose as she came even nearer to that clearing. The scent was like nothing she had ever smelled.

Measuring the distance between her and the clearing, she realized it was about five fox-lengths.

Lilyberry's voice echoed in her memory.

"They went to check it out, and found that there were RiverClan scent markers everywhere, more than five fox-lengths over the border."

Mistykit's heart skipped a beat as she stumbled into the clearing.

Yes! I'm at Sunningrocks!

She turned around to face Glosskit.

"Glosskit, I need you to wait in these bushes over here."

She gestured to a dense clump of ferns a little ways away from Sunningrocks.

Glosskit pouted. "But I don't want to!"

Mistykit tried to keep herself from yowling at him. Instead she managed to meow gently, "Glosskit, this is extremely important. If you don't do what I say, you could get hurt."

That wasn't all too true.

Oh, well.

But it was very possible for Glosskit to ruin everything if he didn't stay where Mistykit was telling him to stay.

"Fine," he grumbled.

The glossy-black kit pushed his way into the ferns until Mistykit couldn't see him anymore.

 Mistykit padded over to a rock that was slightly overhanging the ground and curled up underneath it.

Might as well sleep, she told herself. It's probably still going to be a long time untill the first RiverClan patroll sees me.

Her eyes closed, and she finally drifted off.

~_~_~_~_~

It seemed to Mistykit that she'd just fallen asleep a few moments ago when she woke up to the sound of a cat's shocked meow.

She opened her eyes.

Wow. Well, these RiverClan cats are early! she thought as she realized that it was somewhat dark still.

She lifted her head and blinked up at a massive white longhaired tom. With him was a young gray and white tom, probably an apprentice.

"What are you doing here, you stinking furball?" snarled the white warrior.

Mistykit leaped to her feet and lashed her tail.

"What are you doing here?" she snarled back. "From what I've heard, you're actually standing on ThunderClan's territory, not FishbreathClan's. Oooops, silly me. RiverClan."

"You cheeky kit, get of our territory!" growled the gray and white tom.

He stepped closer. "Or I'll make you get out."

Mistykit started washing herself.

"Hmmmm, I don't think so," she meowed in between licks. "I think I'll stay here for a bit more and enjoy some more sleep. You FishbreathClan warriors are so mean, you don't even let a kit go to sleep when she wants to!"

The white warrior hissed at her. Leaning forward, he opened his mouth and grabbed Mistykit by her scruff.

"Hey!" she squealed. "Put me down!" she struggled to turn around and scratch at his chest with her claws, but he stretched out his neck, making it impossible. Mistykit was being carried away, her paws churning uselessly in the air.

Then she saw a black shape dart out from the forest.

"Help!" she screeched, thinking a ThunderClan warrior had come to save her.

It all happened so fast.

As the cat raced nearer, the white tom dropped Mistykit and she landed with a thud, the breath driven out of her.

"Get off our teritorry!" the RiverClan cat snarled ferociously at the ThunderClan warrior.

Mistykit scrambled to her paws to see the white cat raise his paw as quick as a flash, aiming it at his enemy.

Time slowed down for Mistykit. Just as the RiverClan warrior was about to strike, she heard him gasp.

Next thing she knew, there was a high-pitched squeak of pain, and a tiny body sailed through the air and hit a rock hard. The cat slid limply off the rock and rolled onto the ground.

Mistykit raced over to the warrior. As she stopped beside him, she realized that it wasn't a warrior, at all.

It was Glosskit.

There was a huge, bloody gash on his head next to his ear, and blood was pouring from the wound.

Mistykit let out a yowl of horror before she realized it was out of her mouth.

"No..." breathed the younger tom behind her.

Mistykit whirled around and raced toward the two cats who were just standing there, rigid with shock.

Anger pounded in the gray kit's ears, making it hard to hear.

"He's a kit!" she screeched at the white warrior. "Why?"

But the cats ran numbly away from her and plunged into the river. They swam onto the other side, and as soon as their paws touched dry land again, hared away into the forest.

"You'll pay for this!" she screeched at the running cats.

Mistykit let out a sob and crouched there for a few moments, unable to move.

Then she realized that Glosskit may still be alive.

She ran toward him and stooped next to the black kit. Lowering her head, she put her ear next to his nose to check for signs of breathing.

Her ear fur moved the slightest bit at the kit's tiny breath, making Mistykit gasp with relief.

The kit was alive!

Frantic, Mistykit ran and looked underneath the rock that she had been sleeping next to. There were cobwebs stretching from the rock to the ground, and Mistykit swiped her paw through to gather them.

She hurried back to her denmate and did her best to cover his wound with the webs.

Mistykit prodded him with a very gentle paw.

"Glosskit," she mewed. She pressed herself into the ground next to him.

"Glosskit, please wake up."

She let out a sobbing noise.

"Glosskit," she begged. "I promise I will never be mean to you again. Just, please. Wake up."

Not meaning to but extremely tired, Mistykit dozed off into a fitful sleep.

~`~`~`~`~

"They must have gone to Sunningrocks!"

"Come on, she must be close!"

The sound of many cats running reached Mistykit's ears as she gradually woke up.

She woke up completely with a start, jerking her head up from leaning against her denmate's warm body, and stretched her eyes open.

Bright sun rays met her sight, blinding her for a moment.

The cats raced nearer.

Realizing that ThunderClan had finally come to look for her, Mistykit stood up and ran excitedly toward the nearing warriors just as they burst out from the forest.

"Help!" Mistykit yowled as soon as they had seen her. "Glosskit is very hurt!"

Mistykit spotted her mother in the search party, standing next to Plumshade and Lionclaw. Pebblefrost was about to dart over to her daughter, a worried expression on her face, but Mistykit whirled around and ran toward Glosskit. There was no time for any sorts of reunions; Glosskit had to be seen to first.

Mistykit waved her tail wildly, beckoning to them all to follow her.

The cats followed, some of them letting out gasps of shock at the sight of the kit's severe injury.

Snowbreeze instantly crouched by him and started to lick the little kit as if he were her own. Glosskit was actually Snowbreeze's brother, but only from a way later litter. Since she was so much older than him, she was almost like his second mother.

Looking up at Mistykit, she breathed, "What in StarClan's name happened to him?"

Mistykit opened her mouth to answer, but Plumshade interrupted her, meowing in an accusing tone, "And why are you naughty kits both so far from camp in the first place? I bet this was all your fau-"

But Stonespots stepped forward, whisking his tail over the tortoiseshell's mouth, and heaved Glosskit onto his shoulders. Without a word, he padded away with his load toward camp.

The other cats followed, murmuring among themselves. Snowbreeze was instantly at Stonespots' side, tending to Glosskit as the warriors disappeared among the trees.

Pebblefrost looked at her kit, her eyes flashing with mild accusation and anger, but it was very quickly replaced by relief.The queen stepped closer and licked her daughter' ears.

"Don't you ever leave us like that again," she scolded. "You nearly made my heart stop when I realized you were not in the nursery."

Mistykit nodded somberly.

Sighing with relief, Pebblefrost meowed, "Come up. I'll let you ride on my shoulders like Glosskit was."

Mistykit sprang up and rubbed her head against her mother's, then she curled up as best she could atop her shoulders as the queen set off after the other cats.

The gray kit closed her eyes, falling asleep for the third time since she had left the camp.

=_-_=_-_=_-_=_-_=_-_=

"Mistykit."

Mistykit's ears flicked.

"Mmmm," she replied.

"Wake up. We're at the camp."

Mistykit opened her eyes, not making an effort to get up.

A huge boulder was right in front of her face.

Mistykit looked behind her, and realized that she was in the ravine.

"Okay," she mewed sleepily.

She pushed herself up and jumped off her mother's shoulder's, stumbling when she hit the ground.

Then she remembered her injured friend.

"Is Glosskit okay?" she mewed quickly. "Are they taking care of him right now? Is he dead? I want to see him right now!"

Pebblefrost gazed at her warmly.

"Yes, Glosskit is okay," she meowed. "I'm sure they're taking care of him right now, and I'm sure he's not dead."

Her tail flicked and she added, "So you're ready to go back to the camp?"

Mistykit nodded vigorously. When her mother started walking to the tunnel, Mistykit raced ahead of her and plunged through the gorse and into camp.

The clearing was deserted. Mistykit guessed that most of the warriors were out on the day's patrols.

She hared away to Littleberry's den.

She went through a tunnel of ferns and emerged in a clearing with more ferns for its edges. The air was filled with the scent of herbs that she had smelled on Littleberry's pelt. At the edge of this clearing was a small pool, dazzling Mistykit's eyes with bright reflected sunlight. She turned her gaze away from it. There was a tall rock with a crack down its middle, but when Mistykit inspected it she found that there was no cat inside, though an extremely strong tang of herbs reached her nose and made her sneeze. Mistykit turned around, then realized that she could hear a hushed voice coming from an unknown location.

As she headed toward the sound, she noticed that her mother was in the clearing beside her.

"Follow me," she mewed, padding quietly to an opening in the ferns.

Mistykit walked after her, her paws crunching on the dry bits of herbs that practically covered every paw-length of the grassy clearing. Pebblefrost pushed through the ferns. Mistykit followed.

She looked up as the ferns they were brushing past made a very soft scraping noise. She realized that the tops of the ferns were touching rock, and as they padded inside, Mistykit found that she was in a small rocky tunnel. There was a tiny hole in the ceiling which was barely bigger than a cat's paw, and naturally it let in a very meager amount of sunlight- which made it very hard for the kit to see in that place.

Mistykit noticed that the dead end of the tunnel still had a significant amount of light in it. As a matter of fact, that end was actually was more lit up than the end that she and her mother were in. Mistykit wondered how that could be, when the only light source she could see was the tiny one right above her.

Why are we even in this tunnel? It's obviously a dead end.... Oh.

As they came to the dead end, Pebblefrost veered off suddenly to the left and Mistykit could see that there was an opening on that side.

In the opening was a clearing, fairly large. The light source was coming from the another hole above, but only this one was, in contrast to the hole in the tunnel, more like a big opening in the ceiling than a hole. The walls and floor were all rock.

Mistykit took all this in at a quick glance. But off to one side of the space, Littleberry was crouching over a black kit.

Mistykit was instantly at his side. Littleberry looked over at her, just realizing she was there, and Mistykit blurted, "Will he be okay?"

She sighed.

"I don't know," the she-cat meowed. "I'm going to be completely honest with you; if a warrior had gotten this injury, he would - all in all - be all right. But Glosskit is just a kit."

Mistykit stared at the limp body lying there on the green moss.

Just get better! she thought.

She turned and padded away, numb to her surroundings. But her mind was swirling with thoughts.

She found Leopardkit and Foxkit sitting in the nursery. They both were on their feet as soon as they saw her.

"Are you okay?" Leopardkit asked.

She started to sniff her sister's pelt. Mistykit moved away.

"I'm not hurt," she snapped.

Leopardkit sat down again.

"Where were you?" Foxkit meowed.

Mistykit lifted her head.

"At Sunningrocks," she answered simply.

Foxkit's mouth fell open.

Leopardkit squeaked, "Really? Oh my goodness, wow!"

"But why?" Foxkit wondered.

Mistykit really wasn't in the mood to explain.

"It's complicated. Maybe I'll tell you some other time."

Leopardkit called after her, "But what about Glosskit?"

Mistykit ignored her.

She didn't know what to do. She was so bored, but she wasn't in the mood to play with her siblings, and she definitely didn't want to eat.

If I could still drink my mother's milk, then I might think about having some of that. But she doesn't let us anymore.

Then she remembered the medicine clearing.

As soon as Mistykit had set foot in the small sunlit clearing, she had been amazed at how peaceful and serene it was. It almost made her want to be a medicine cat herself, just for the sake of living in the lovely space. And it had made her forget about Glosskit for a few moments, which was exactly what she wanted to do now.

But there would be nothing to do there! It would still be boring.

The first thought that came into her head was that she could spend time with one of Swallowfur's kits. Or maybe just a few of them. If it was okay with the medicine cat, she could just chat with them in her clearing.

She quickly made her way to the elder's den. Raykit, Rosekit, Beechkit, Emberkit and Frostkit, who were older than her by one moon, practically spent their lives there, exhausting the poor elders by asking them to tell them stories at every spare moment. The kits' parents, and a few other warriors, had asked them to leave the elders alone many times, but the old cats refused. They obviously liked the attention, and the opportunity to share their knowledge with young cats. It was starting to rub off on the kits, and at one time Mistykit had joked to Beechkit that they were going to be as wise as the elders before they even became apprentices. Beechkit had taken it as a compliment.

Mistykit slipped through the tangle of twigs in the elder's fallen tree-den.

She heard Rosekit gasp.

"So Haregaze got away?"

Mistykit hopped into the clearing.

"Hi!" she meowed brightly.

All four kits turned around.

"Mistykit!" Beechkit mewed. "Where have you been? Warriors have been looking everywhere for you!"

"I was at Sunningrocks," she said, tossing her head teasingly.

They gasped.

"Why didn't you take me with you?" mewed Emberkit, crestfallen.

Frostkit looked at her quizzically. "If you took Glosskit with you, then you must be better friends with him than us."

"You never take me with you anywhere," Emberkit sniffed.

Mistykit sat down next to her.

"Emberkit," she began, "I didn't take Glosskit with me. He didn't give me a choice, he just went along with me. If I would have forced him to not come, he would have told the whole Clan that I had left, and my plan would have been ruined!"

"Fine," the light brown kit murmured.

Beechkit flicked his ears and asked, "What plan?"

Sighing, Mistykit asked, "Do you really want to know?"

"Yes!" Raykit, Beechkit, and Frostkit all meowed in unison, impatient.

Mistykit got up and made her way out of the elder's den. She didn't want the elders to hear. Her plan was still in motion, and telling the wrong cat would ruin it. But she could trust her best friends. Well, all of them except for Rosekit and Emberkit.

"Hey!" Beechkit meowed. "Where are you going?"

"Wait up!" meowed Raykit.

She heard Rosekit squeak in protest.

Not waiting up a single bit, Mistykit made a beeline for the medicine clearing.

Raykit broke away from her siblings and caught up to her.

Mistykit padded across the pretty clearing and through the dark tunnel. Sure enough, the medicine cat was there. She was sitting down a little ways away from Glosskit, watching him patiently. There was a thoughtful look on her face.

Before Mistykit had a chance to say a word, Raykit saw Glosskit and bounded over to him.

She looked at Mistykit, shocked and worried. Just then Raykit's siblings bustled in through the tunnel.

"What happened?" Raykit asked.

Littleberry stood up.

"You all need to leave," she meowed. "The last thing I need is a kit stampede in here."

She herded them all out of the cave and back into her clearing.

Everyone except for Mistykit looked confused and scared.

"What was wrong with Glosskit?" meowed Beechkit. "He's just had another bellyache, right?"

Sighing, Mistykit said, "I wish."

Raykit spoke up. "I don't know what's going on, but it's bad. Glosskit has a huge wound on his head."

"Why?"

"Oh no! What happened?"

"What?"

Mistykit was sick of hearing those words. But she had to answer them. And now she would have to tell even Rosekit and Emberkit her plan.

"Okay, everyone, please," Mistykit said loudly. "I'll tell you, but I wanna tell you here. So first, I'm going to ask Littleberry if we can stay here."

She ran out from the clearing and into the camp again. Littleberry had gone out while Mistykit and her friends were talking.

But Littleberry was walking with Glosskit's mother, Lilyberry. Blossomkit, Glosskit's sister, was with them. They were going toward her clearing.

Mistykit padded up to them as they walked.

"Lilyberry," she mewed, "I mean, Littleberry, can me, Raykit and Beechkit and Frostkit and Rosekit and Emberkit stay in your clearing?"

"No," she answered.

They came into the clearing where the other kits were.

Mistykit mewed, "But we're just gonna be talking! And we'll try to be quiet, right?"

She looked at the others and they all murmured their agreements.

Littleberry stopped.

"I don't have time for this," she snapped. "Fine, you can stay. But leave me alone and be quiet."

She disappeared into the tunnel with Lilyberry and her kit.

Mistykit padded to the small pool and sat down a tail-length away from it. The others made themselves comfortable around her.

She told them about RiverClan's recent activity in her Clan's territory and how she wanted the battles over Sunningrocks to stop.

"What do you think would happen, if any cat," she mewed, "even if it was your own clanmate, took you and did something bad to you, like maybe injured you?"

Frostkit spoke up. "Swallowfur would fight him and take me back."

Mistykit's tail flicked. "Exactly. So I thought that I could go to Sunningrocks, wait for a patrol to come, and make the RiverClan cats angry. Then a ThunderClan patrol would come, and maybe they would think that RiverClan had stolen me."

"That's a big 'maybe'," Beechkit pointed out.

"Oh." Mistykit said.

She hadn't realized just how risky her plan had been. That part of her plan was just filled with ifs and maybes.

"So anyways," she went on, "I wanted to leave camp by myself, but I accidentally woke up Glosskit, and he wanted to come, too. But I didn't tell him my plan, just in case. So after we were walking for an extremely long time, we finally got to Sunningrocks! I was so tired, so I told Glosskit to go into some ferns and then I went to sleep under a rock. Then-"

Rosekit interrupted, "You're going into too much details."

"Okay, okay, fine," the gray kit meowed impatiently. "Anyways, as I was saying, A RiverClan cat came with his apprentice, and I made him angry on purpose, and then he picked me up and started to carry me back to our territory, but then Glosskit ran out of the ferns like he thought he was a ferocious warrior or something, and the RiverClan warrior hit him with his paw! And Glosskit, he hit his head on a rock, and... Well that's what happened."

She sighed sadly, meowing, "I should have waited for him to go back to sleep before I left camp."

"Yes," Raykit said. "You should have."

"Is he going to live?" asked Rosekit hopefully.

"Littleberry really doesn't know."

There was a silence between the kits for a long time.

Beechkit had been thinking, and now he said, "But there's one thing I don't get. Why did you want to get in trouble with two Clans just so that ThunderClan would save you?"

"That's not what I wanted! I thought that when there would be a battle between the Clans, ThunderClan would win and also win back Sunningrocks. Or something."

"Mistykit," mewed Raykit, "this is horrible. You should have thought this through first! Now look what happened. Your plan will probably not work out, and Glosskit might... Might not..."

She trailed off and couldn't bring herself to say it.

"Mistykit!" meowed a voice, drifting to them from the camp.

Mistykit got up.

"Oh," she meowed. "my mother is calling me."

She quickly walked into camp.

Shimmerstar was with Pebblefrost. They were just exiting the elder's den.

"Mistykit," Pebblefrost meowed when she had seen her. "Come here. Shimmerstar wants to speak with you."

Mistykit stared at Shimmerstar.

Shimmerstar wants to speak with me? Wow!

But then she instantly registered the grave expression on the leader's face.

Oh. It's about Glosskit.

"Come with me," Shimmerstar said, her voice hard.

They walked toward the Highrock.

Mistykit whispered to her mother, "Do I have to? I really don't want to talk about it."

"You have to," her mother mewed in reply. "It's very important."

Shimmerstar's ears flicked. She had heard. Mistykit wished her mother hadn't spoken so loud.

They entered the leader's den.

It was small but spacious, because the only thing inside was a plump, soft nest of moss and bracken, near the back.

Mistykit wished that they were here under different circumstances and that she could play on that soft nest, maybe jump on it a little.

Shimmerstar sat down in the center of her den and wrapped her tail over her paws.

"Mistykit," she began, "tell me why you wanted to leave camp and what happened at Sunningrocks."

So Mistykit told her that she knew what RiverClan had done over their border, and about her whole idea to go to Sunningrocks. She explained what happened when they finally reached the end of their tiring journey, and how and why Glosskit was injured.

"So it wasn't my fault!" she concluded. "Well, maybe it was a little, but Glosskit insisted on going and I couldn't stop him."

Shimmerstar looked at her for a while; until Mistykit started to feel awkward and dropped her gaze to her paws shamefully.

"And did you realize how dangerous and bad it was for you to do this?" Pebblefrost asked. "You're a kit!"

"I thought-"

"You thought. No, you didn't think, you-"

"Pebblefrost," Shimmerstar meowed.

Her mother didn't say any more.

There was more silence for a few moments.

"Mistykit," the leader said, "As your punishment, Swallowfur's kits will become apprentices a moon before you do. I was going to make you all apprentices on the same day, but I have decided not to do so."

"What?" Mistykit squeaked. "But they're my best friends! We have to do everything together!"

Shimmerstar nodded.

"I have noticed that," she meowed, "which is exactly why I chose this punishment. You have to understand that you can never do anything like what you did again."

"Yes, Shimmerstar," Mistykit mumbled, pawing at the sandy floor.

"But," the leader added, "I have decided to work with the bad that was already done, and lead a battle against RiverClan. I will not tell anything about your idea to my Clan, and perhaps we will win Sunningrocks back if they believe that RiverClan is completely at fault for what happened to Glosskit."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mistykit was crouched on the ground beside the nursery, Frostkit sitting next to her. Shimmerstar had just called a Clan meeting and was about to speak.

"I have spoken with Mistykit," she began. "She has told me that she had snuck out of camp and accidentally woken up Glosskit. She and him came out together and had gotten lost. They stumbled across Sunningrocks, and then fell asleep there out of exhaustion."

Mistykit winced. She didn't want to be portrayed as completely innocent. It was halfway her fault, and she wished she could take some of the blame.

Frostkit looked at Mistykit questioningly.

"You lied to your own leader?" she meowed, shocked.

Mistykit shook her head.

"No, no, not at all!" she assured. "I told her the truth and now she's lying to her Clan. Don't ask why, I want to listen to her talk right now."

Frostkit opened her mouth, then closed it and kept her gaze on Mistykit a bit more before looking away at Shimmerstar.

"The description of the two RiverClan cats that she saw at Sunningrocks made me sure that the cat who had injured Glosskit was the RiverClan deputy, Icehawk," meowed Shimmerstar.

The Clan fell into shocked yowls, and some murmured among themselves.

"Everybody, quiet down!!" she meowed, raising her tail.

When they stopped yowling, she added, "His apprentice Creekpaw was with him at the time, but according to Mistykit, all he did was say a few cruel words. It was most likely Icehawk who did this to Glosskit, and not only did he injure him, but he also threatened to do this again to any warrior, elder, queen or kit who crosses the border, intentionally or unintentionally.

"We need to make sure that never happens. For one last time, we shall fight to win back Sunningrocks!"

This time she let her Clan yowl their approval for a few moments.

"Is everyone in favor of this?" the leader asked.

There were more meows of approval, but a few cats who Mistykit hadn't noticed yowled their disagreement.

"We need to stop losing warriors just for a piece of territory!" some shouted.

Mistykit noticed that the cats who were for battle were mostly queens, and toms who were fathers. The cats who were against it were warriors who had never had kits.

"If nobody else speaks against this," Shimmerstar meowed after it became quiet again, "I will lead a patrol to RiverClan's border right away. Are all in favor?"

One or two cats made it clear that they were not in favor, but otherwise the Clan was mostly quiet.

"Right," said Shimmerstar, leaping off the Highrock. "I will call out the cats whom I have chosen to take with me to battle, but if you don't want to go, tell me so."

She called the first name. "Stonespots!"

The gray tabby tom stepped forward to stand by his leader.

"Snowbreeze!"

Hesitantly, the white she-cat took her place next to Stonespots.

"Rainfern! Sunbreeze, Brambleheart, Poppyfur, Volefoot, Sparrowflight, Mothpool, Plumshade, Oakpaw and Firepaw!"

Mistykit was glad that she wasn't an apprentice fighting in this battle. Even though her plan was working out wonderfully, she wasn't sure she liked it. Her own leader was lying to her Clan. Mistykit wasn't sure at all what to think about all this.

Shimmerstar gazed at all the cats she had chosen.

"Are you all ready?" she meowed. "This is your last chance to decide to not participate in the battle."

But all the cats stayed. Even the apprentices and Sparrowflight, who had all looked a bit reluctant at first.

Shimmerstar nodded and led the cats through the gorse tunnel. Sparrowflight fell back and glanced at Mistykit, flicking her tail as if to say, It will be all right.

As her sister also disappeared through the gorse, Mistykit had to stop herself from running after them and asking them not to go. This had all happened way too fast. She tried to reassure herself by thinking that it was Shimmerstar who had decided to fight, not her, but it was no use.

What if cats die today because of my actions?

~=-=-=-=-=-=-=~

After the the cats had left for battle, Mistykit had explained to Frostkit and her siblings what Shimmerstar had decided to tell her Clan. Afterwards they had played all sorts of games to pass the time, and when they couldn't think of anything else to play, all eight kits had chatted, joking and having a good time.

It was around evening when Mistykit could hear the sound of the cats racing through the near forest, and now, in the ravine. Just then Shimmerstar burst through the gorse with her warriors streaming out behind her. The leader ran straight to the Highrock, jumped onto it, and, throwing her head back, yowled, "Cats of ThunderClan, gather beneath the Highrock!"

Every cat came excitedly into the clearing. Even the kits and elders came and sat in the group. In a matter of moments, almost every single cat in ThunderClan was there. Mistykit found her mother and siblings near the back of the group and sat down next to them, waiting for Shimmerstar to start speaking.

Shimmerstar was panting, and Mistykit thought, Did they run all the way from Sunningrocks?

When the leader caught her breath, she let out a laugh and yowled, "Sunningrocks is ours!"

The clearing erupted into overjoyed cheering.

It took a moment for Mistykit's mind to register what had just happened.

We have Sunningrocks back! Our full territory! No more trouble from RiverClan!

Yowls of happiness swamped Mistykit, and she couldn't help but let out a shrill yowl too.

She made her way to Swallowfur's kits.

Beechkit turned toward her, his eyes sparkling.

"Isn't this just awesome?" he shouted above the cheering. "Your plan worked after all. You got us Sunningrocks back!"

"I can't believe it!" she replied, laughing and realizing that he was right.

When the cheering died down, Shimmerstar called Firepaw and Oakpaw to stand beneath the Highrock.

The apprentices' eyes widened with wonder as they realized what was about to happen.

"I have seen you fight today," Shimmerstar stated, "and I think that it's about time that you two became warriors.

"I, Shimmerstar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon these apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn.

"Firepaw, Oakpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"

Oakpaw mewed, "I do."

Firepaw repeated the same words.

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior names. Oakpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Oakclaw. StarClan honors your skill and your energy, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan.

Oakclaw, his tail waving, padded to the watching cats and sat down among them.

"Firepaw," Shimmerstar went on, "from this moment on you will be known as Fireblossom. ThunderClan honors your bravery and your enthusiasm, and we welcome you as a full member of ThunderClan."

The Clan cheered loudly.

"Fireblossom!"

"Oakclaw!"

"Fireblossom!"

"Oakclaw!"

As the fiery red she-cat walked to her clanmates, there was a skip in her step. Fireblossom sat down and whispered something into Oakclaw's ear, laughing when she said it. Oakclaw flick his ears at her as if he was annoyed, but there was amusement in his eyes as he turned his gaze to Shimmerstar.

"I have one more ceremony that I wish to perform," the leader meowed.

She nodded to Swallowfur's kits, and they padded over to her as their mother proudly watched.

What? Are they going to be made apprentices right now?

"Raykit, Frostkit, Beechkit, Rosekit and Emberkit," Shimmerstar meowed, "You have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior names, you all will be known as Raypaw, Frostpaw, Beechpaw, Rosepaw and Emberpaw."

Emberpaw was bouncing on her paws with excitement, and purrs of amusement rippled through the Clan. She stopped, looking embarrassed.

"Blackfern," Shimmerstar meowed. "Come here."

The black she-cat joined her leader.

The leader continued, "Blackfernyou are ready to take on an apprentice. You had received excellent training from Mouseclaw, and you have shown yourself to be skillful and loyal. You will be the mentor of Raypaw, and I expect you to pass on all you know to her."

Raypaw's eyes widened when she realized that she was going to be the deputy's apprentice. She stepped forward when Blackfern told her to and touched noses with her. Then, apprentice and mentor sat back down with the other cats.

As the ceremony went on, Volefoot became Frostpaw's mentor and Beechpaw's mentor turned out to be Lionclaw. Rosepaw's chosen mentor was Rainfern and Emberpaw's was Snowbreeze.

Mistykit couldn't help being envious. She had secretly been hoping that Snowbreeze could have been her mentor.

"Raypaw! Frostpaw! Beechpaw! Rosepaw! Emberpaw!"

Mistykit came to them, congratulating them happily and meowing, "Only one more moon and we'll join you! Can't wait!"

Mistykit and her siblings spent the whole night with their best friends. As a celebration of the successful battle, there was a feast and every cat stuffed themselves with prey while the elders told story after interesting story. Pebblefrost and Lilyberry both let their kits stay up, and the mentors let their new apprentices do the same.

Dawnsong had just finished telling a story of how she had accidentally crossed the ShadowClan border as an apprentice, when Littleberry emerged from her clearing.

Every cat looked up, waiting to hear the news about Glosskit.

"Glosskit is going to be fine," Littleberry meowed happily.

Relieved meows and purrs of gratitude spread through the Clan.

"He is going to need to stay in my den for a little less than half a moon, though," Littleberry said. "But as for now, he is awake, and Lilyberry, and he wants to see you."

As the kit's mother got up and padded quickly to the medicine den, Mistykit couldn't believe how great everything had went.

Chapter Three

"Mistypaw!"

"Leopardpaw!"

"Foxpaw!"

I am finally an apprentice! Mistypaw thought. How exciting!

Mistypaw turned her head and Pebblefrost was there, her eyes sparkling with a mixture of happiness and... Mistypaw didn't understand why, but her mother almost looked... sad.

She pressed herself against Pebblefrost's silvery pelt.

"I'm proud of you," her mother murmured.

Mistykit bounded away to Swallowfur's kits.

"I'm so excited!" Frostpaw squealed to her. "We're going to be denmates again!"

Mistypaw shivered excitedly. "I know, right? I hope we get to do whatever we'll be doing today with you and your siblings!"

"Mind you," meowed Raypaw, "we had to work our paws off getting fresh moss for your new nests."

Mistypaw gazed at her. "So, what's your point?"

Shrugging, Raypaw said, "Oh, I don't have a point. Just saying."

Mistypaw purred, and Emberpaw turned toward her.

"Yay!" the light brown apprentice meowed. "Now we can do everything together again!"

"I don't know about that," Plumshade said as she joined Mistypaw. "Eight apprentices, full of energy, all on one patrol? That will be.... hard, to say the least."

Emberpaw was instantly begging, "Please? Oh, please can we all go together?"

Plumshade looked mildly amused. "That's for all your mentors to decide," she meowed.

Since Plumshade had been named mentor to her, Mistypaw asked, "Well, will you decide to take us all out at once? If all the other mentors decide to, too?"

"I guess," she meowed reluctantly.

"Great!" Mistypaw said. She skipped away to find Blackfern and ask her as well.

The deputy was speaking to her leader as Mistypaw neared them. She sat down, waiting impatiently for them to notice her.

Blackfern turned her head and looked at Mistypaw.

"Yes?" she meowed. "What do you need?"

"Well, I was wondering if you could let Raypaw come with us on a big patrol. You know, with all of the apprentices."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Blackfern said, not sounding sorry at all. "I'm going to take Raypaw on a solo hunting test, to see how well she's doing. She can't come."

The black cat's gaze slid back to Shimmerstar and they started talking again.

Mistypaw seethed with fury as she padded away. For some reason, Blackfern had always acted coldy toward her and her siblings. She had probably made up her excuse so that her apprentice wouldn't spend time with Mistypaw. Besides, Raypaw had just been made an apprentice one moon ago! She wasn't yet ready for an assessment.

Soon the apprentices had asked all their mentors and they had hesitantly agreed, mostly due to much begging and good points made. In a matter of moments they were in the forest, walking toward the sandy hollow, as was told to the apprentices by their mentors.

Almost every time the patrol passed a tree, Leopardpaw or Foxpaw would enthusiastically ask if they could climb it. Which happened in the timespan of a breath. They finally stopped asking, and soon after that the cats reached the training hollow.

Mistypaw's siblings raced into the clearing.

"Can we train here?" Leopardpaw asked.

The mentors looked at one another.

Have they seriously not thought about what we will learn first? Mistypaw thought, surprised. I thought they had decided already!

"We do need to teach them to fight, don't we," said Plumshade.

The others nodded slowly.

"With the Clans on edge and the possibility of battle springing up out of nowhere, that might be a good idea," said Lionclaw. He had been made mentor to Leopardpaw.

"Me first!" Leopardpaw meowed. She bounced around, raising her paws to swipe at the air clumsily, then fell down.

Mistypaw let out a snort of laughter, much to her attempts at not revealing her amusement.

Leopardpaw whipped around, glaring. "Who laughed?" she meowed suspectedly. Her eyes rested on Mistykit, who was trying to act nonchalant by studying an interesting leaf on the ground. The wind picked up, and the leaf was carried forward a little.

Before she knew what she was doing, Mistypaw wooshed forward as the leaf moved again, and trapped it beneath her paws. Her paws moved slightly aside, and she nipped the leaf, making it crackle slightly as it broke.

Now it was Leopardpaw's turn to laugh. "Mistypaw," she meowed in between giggles, "I don't know how to stalk correctly, but any cat could see that you hunt like a lopsided badger!"

Lionclaw stepped onto the training hollow. "Okay, everybody, stop. If we're going to carry on like this, we will never get the day started."

Mistypaw sat down with a bump and nodded her head obediently. Leopardpaw did something similiar.

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