This stars Arti's character, Pathway to Frozen Star. This is my goodbye gift to Arti, who has been an amazing admin and a lovely friend of mine <333 Please enjoy this, my dear <3
A movie for Spy Torture.
Pathway to Frozen Star
I was born a rogue, a desperate rogue who wanted a home. Born as a lonely child, I roamed the lands beside the Clans and the Tribe when my mother died. My father was in the Tribe somewhere, but he never told me who he was. To the day I met Shard of Ice, I still had not realized who my father was.
During my life, I met this she-cat who was a bit different from me. She was a Clan cat, and she had her life to live like I did. We shared what we had, but in the end, I realized that we had a life of differences.
My rogue name was Star. When I joined the tribe, Ash changed it to Pathway to Frozen Star. She told me I would be the shining light for a young she-cat. At first, I thought it was Goldenheart, the she-cat I met, but I was wrong.
As a young rogue, I stayed headstrong and independent. But I didn't realized that I needed others to support me, to be beside me as I worked.
Once I entered the Tribe, I felt the feeling of teamwork as my faction and I worked together to complete missions and to work for the top.
I remembered the Peace, the time when all the Clans and the Tribe would meet up and socialize. My first Peace had been a magnificent one. There were so many cats, and so many Clans. But only one Tribe.
My life was what I made it, and I have never regretted one moment of my life. Thank the stars that they have given me the path I was given.
"Star, don't go off too far!" My mother, Scarlet, called out.
I raised my tail high. "I won't!"
But I was hightailing off into the unknown lands, desperate for a chance to explore. I had heard the these woods were full of wild animals, but I wanted to know what I could find here.
Scarlet, my mother, was a very protective she-cat. She had mated with my father, some Tribe tom that I didn't know. When she was younger, she had been a playful she-cat, but when she lost her sister, Scarlet realized she had to be more serious and protect the ones she loved.
When I was born, she protected me with a fierce love, forming the bond I had with her now. But that was when I was little. I was now ten moons old, and I was ready to explore the woods that were so feared among the kits.
I heard a small hiss and I jumped. Staring at me was a small fox. I let out a yelp of surprise and swiped at it. It shrieked as it started to bleed, and a fiercer looking fox emerged from behind it. Uh-oh. I thought.
The fox snarled, hatred glowing in her amber eyes. I whipped around and started to run, knowing the fox was angry. "Scarlet!" I screamed. "There's a fox behind me!"
My mother looked up quickly and crouched in a battle stance. She leaped for the fox, bowling it aside. I turned around now and joined in. I began to swipe eagerly with my paws, striking the fox several times before my mother drove it off.
When the fox was gone, Scarlet turned on me. "I told you not to wander too far. You shouldn't have gone into those woods! Who knows what else could have gotten you?"
I shrugged. "I'm ten moons old now, Scarlet. You don't have to worry about me so much."
But I knew in my heart that Scarlet would never let me run off by myself because she cared for me. She was scared that she would lost me just like she lost her sister, Asha.
"Perhaps you need a story to refresh your mind." Scarlet muttered, trying to lighten the mood. "Which story would you like to hear?"
"The one about your sister!" I mewed eagerly. I loved hearing that story because my mother always used the deepest emotions to tell the tale. Even though it was full of sorrow and grief, I could hear the determination in Scarlet's voice as she told the story.
Scarlet settled into a comfortable position. "Alright, so long ago, when my sister and I were playing near a stream, we would tease and dare each other. Asha was more of a competitive sister, so she was always daring me to do things I didn't want to do.
She was so daring that she even dared me to walk onto the frozen river after her. I agreed, since I thought if my sister could do it, I could do it. But I was terrified, and my mistakes cost her life.
Asha jumped onto the river with no hesitation, and she began to cross it, sliding as her paws tried to keep her balance. My heart began to beat faster as I stepped onto the ice, scared to cross it. My clumsy paws stepped too hard on the ice, and I ended up breaking the fragile ice. I leaped back, safe on the bank, but my sister was still too far from the shore.
Her eyes widened as she fell into the icy water, with no way for me to rescue her. She was engulfed in the freezing waves, and that was the last that I saw from her."
She ended the tale, and I thumped my tail in approval. "Tell me about when Asha dared you to climb the pine tree!"
Scarlet's whiskers twitched as she flicked her tail. "Asha, being the competitive sister she was, dared me one day to climb a pine tree. I hated heights, and I was always afraid that I would fall and die.
"Scarlet, don't be a scaredy cat and climb the pine tree!" Asha danced around me, teasing me as she went. I groaned and flattened my ears.
"I hate heights though!" I wailed as I sat down stubbornly. "Why do I have to climb the pine tree?"
Asha laughed. "Because I climbed it yesterday and you agreed that if I climbed it, you would climb it." She laughed even more when I pouted and stomped up to the tree.
Looking up at it, I couldn't help but feel mortified at the thought of climbing such a tree. I stood there staring at it until Asha coughed. "Scarlet, don't just stand there, climb the tree!"
Grimacing, I dug my claws into the soft tree trunk and began to haul myself up. I could feel the tree shaking, and my whole body was shivering in fear. I felt as though the branches were wobbling, unable to keep my weight.
Stopping half way, I shut my eyes closed and prayed to the stars that I would make it down alright. Then I felt a soft push and I shrieked as though I was falling.
Then when I really did hit the ground, I realized Asha had gone up the tree and had brought me down. She snorted as I glared at her, but I was thankful that she did carry me down, since I didn't think I would be able to climb down myself. And that's the tale of the pine tree."
I smiled when I conjured the image in my mind. To me, Scarlet was the outgoing she-cat who did everything she could to protect the ones that she loved. But these images showed a different she-cat, a she-cat who had fears and was carefree.
I wanted to be like my mother, carefree and able to enjoy her childhood, but I didn't have a sister to play with. I only had myself and my imagination.
Scarlet stretched and curled up. "I'm going to take a rest. Don't go out too far and don't rouse foxes and badgers while your out there."
I only laughed. "You wish."
The forest ground was cool against my pads and I sighed in relaxation as I padded through the undergrowth. This was a different forest, and it had different smells too. I suspected that there were other cats living here.
The scentline was stronger than it used to be today, so I stayed back. I never dared to cross the scentline because I knew it was a cat's territory
I sat down, pondering who might live in such a vast territory and manage to keep the scentlines fresh. Maybe it was a family or a group of cats that was living together.
The time past quickly as the sun began to set. I sighed and began to pad back to Scarlet's place. But I heard a rustle, and I turned around to peek at it.
There was a cat, a golden she-cat staring at me. She saw that I had seen her and she bolted away. I stood there for a moment, wondering who that she-cat was. Then I shrugged and padded back to my den.
"There you are!" Scarlet exclaimed. "I was worried that a fox had eaten who. What took you so long?"
I shrugged. "I was just sitting by the stream."
Scarlet sighed. "Next time, don't go out for so long."
Nodding to reassure my mother, I curled up in my nest, still wondering who the golden she-cat was.
The morning brought more news. Scarlet's eyes were drifting off to the horizon, then she stiffened. "There are nearby cats here." She hissed.
I stiffened too. "What do the cats want with us? They never bother us."
"Hush." Scarlet scolded. "I don't want to alert the cats."
She began to slid forward, obviously aiming for scaring the cats away. I walked behind her, careful not to step on anything that would crackle or snap.
My mother eyed the newcomers with a sense of hatred. She snarled softly and leaped out without another thought. I scampered after her, not sure what this was about.
Scarlet was fighting the group of cats by herself, keeping them off and away. "Back off, scums!" She shrieked. "This isn't even part of your territory. Leave us alone!"
I spotted the golden she-cat I saw yesterday cowering behind her own group. Her blue eyes met mine, and she seemed scared.
Breathing hard, I dashed into the battle myself, not wanting to leave my mother so vulnerable. I slashed at the nearby tom, making him grunt in pain. He whirled around, and I gulped. Wrong cat.
He hissed as he saw my size. "What's a puny cat like you doing here, fighting like a Tribe cat?"
Scarlet narrowed her eyes at him. "The Tribe is your friend, are they not? You meet with them every Peace and you never show hostility towards them."
The tom laughed. "When there isn't a Peace, the Tribe is our enemy. Now what is this she-cat, so like this tom in the Tribe, doing here? Is the Tribe invading us?"
"This isn't even your territory." Scarlet hissed back. "Leave us alone. She's just a loner who lives with me."
Another she-cat eyed my mother scathingly. "I know who you are. You mated one of those Tribe toms and decided to raise your kit out here."
Scarlet's eyes flared. "So we aren't a danger to your precious territory. Now leave."
The golden she-cat that was hiding behind her group of cats squeaked. "We don't have to fight over this. I just got lost when I accidentally chased a squirrel over the border. There isn't any trouble..."
The she-cat who had glared at Scarlet snorted. "These two cats wanted trouble, not us, Goldenpaw. Now let's go."
Goldenpaw... She has a weird name. I thought as I watched them go. Scarlet was breathing hard, but unscathed. She wasn't bleeding, and I thanked the stars that she was alright.
My mother sighed softly and turned to head home. "Are you alright?" She murmured as she started to pad away.
I started after her, then turned back around, not bothering to answer her question. I surveyed the trees and the bushes that surrounded them. Who were those cats? I was curious, and I wanted to know what they were talking about with Scarlet.
Scarlet beckoned to me. "Come on, Star. We don't have much time to rest today. I want to make sure those cats don't come back to invade."
I only nodded, turning away from the border, feeling a twinge of sorrow as I left the forest. "Now you tell me something, Star. Did you know that forest and that border was there this entire time?"
My mother's pretty amber eyes bore into my yellow ones. I gulped. "Um..."
"Yes or no?"
"Yes." I mewed guiltily as I stood in front of her. Scarlet sighed.
"How much do you know about those cats?"
I shrugged. "Nothing."
Scarlet let out a sigh of relief. "The less you know about them, the better. They are our enemies, only because we are related to the Tribe that lives near us."
My eyes widened. "Who were those cats then?"
My mother closed her eyes, letting her memories wash over her. "They were Clan cats. There are many Clans scattered across these plains, and that was only one of them. Your father lives in the Tribe. The Clan cats hate the Tribe, but they allow the Tribe to gather with them every moon. It's called a Peace."
I was mesmerized with this information. I had never heard of a Peace, Clan, or a Tribe. They were strange words to my ears. But my father was a Tribe cat...
"Do you know you he is?"
Scarlet smiled. "Of course I do. But he made me swear to him that I wouldn't tell anyone who he was. He wants to stay hidden. He doesn't want others knowing he mated a loner who had his kit."
I sighed. "I wish he would at least let me know. I want to figure out who my father is." I rested my head on my black forepaws.
My mother laughed. "I'm sure you'll find him one day. There's no way a father can keep away from his daughter for so long. You've grown to be big, Star." I found myself staring at her, as if she was telling me goodbye. "You should join the Tribe, Star, I'm sure you would become a great cat there."
"Aren't I already?"
She closed her eyes. "Well, do you enjoy life as a rogue? Don't you want to roam your own territory and mark it proudly? You'll meet your father there, I'm sure of it."
That made my heart pound. I wanted to know who my father was so badly. If he was in the Tribe, maybe I should go meet him. But that would mean abandoning my mother. But my problems were soon solved, in a wicked way.
~ -- ~
The next morning, I waited for Scarlet to return from her morning hunting. Then I heard the scream. I rushed towards the forest where I saw the Clan cats that were settled there. Scarlet was on the floor, her eyes closed, her breathing ragged. "Scarlet!" I shrieked in horror.
"Star..." She whispered softly. "Go...od... bye...." She barely stuttered out the last words before she fell into a deep sleep, never to wake up again.
"No!" I howled. It couldn't be true. My mother could not be dead. I started to sob, but I had to bury my mother. I dragged her to our little den, and I dug a hole deep enough to hold her body. Her pretty features were ruined, and her blood stained the gruond. When I was done mourning for her, I stood up. It was time for me to face my decision.
I started towards the Tribe, but I looked back. I would miss the carefree adventures as a rogue, but I needed something to keep me going. Something that would keep me in line.
I stopped by the border, my head down. "Who are you?" A brown tom was staring at me in the creepy sort of way. I stared back at him, then lowered my gaze.
The brown tom kept his gaze on me. "Do you have any family members nearby?" I narrowed my eyes. What kind of questions are these?
Nevertheless, I answered. "My mother just died." I bowed my head. "And I do not know who my father is." The brown tom seemed to flinch away.
"I'm sorry about your loss." He murmured. "So what are you doing on our borders?" His yellow eyes met mine.
"Can I join your Tribe?"
The brown tom pondered that for a moment. "That's not my decision. I'll take you to our leader, Eagle of the Sky. She'll decide whether or not you can join."
I nodded and followed him through the complicated maze of trees. I stared around me, amazed at the sky-reaching trees that surrounded me. We reached the camp in no time, and the tom told me to wait in the clearing, disappearing to find his leader.
The cats were gazing at me with strange eyes. They were murmuring and whispering to each other. I shifted uncomfortably, feeling awkward. Then a gray she-cat stepped out. The moment she appeared, the whole clearing shushed.
"Are you Star?" The she-cat mewed.
I nodded. She purred. "Welcome, Star. I am Eagle of the Sky, or just Eagle. I am the leader of this Tribe, and I would be glad to speak with you in my den. Perhaps then we can come up with a solution to your problem."
She beckoned me to join her in her den. Padding inside, I spoke up. "I'm sorry for intruding into your Tribe like this. My mother just died, and I wanted to be able to live a new life."
Eagle turned around. "I'm sorry for your loss. But there's no need to apologize, you remind me of a tom in my Tribe..."
Excitement tingled in my paws. Was is my father? But Eagle probably didn't know that I was the daughter of a tom in the Tribe. "Is there any reason why you want to join?" I hesitated, then decided to tell her the truth.
"My mother, Scarlet, told me that I had a father in the Tribe. She wanted me to join, but I didn't want to abandon her. She was grateful for my loyalty, but she told me to go on. Before I left, Scarlet was killed by the neighboring Clan cats." I mewed. "I decided that I needed to come to the Tribe and join you."
Eagle gazed at me warmly. "You are a passionate she-cat, Star, and I agree to allow you into my Tribe." I purred my thanks, and began to back out.
I paused, and glanced back at Eagle. "You must receive your Tribe name first, Star. Follow me." She brushed past me out into the open.
"Cats of the Tribe, I want you to meet the newest member of our Tribe, Star! But she shall be renamed, taking on the name, Pathway to Frozen Star." She turned to me. "Congratulations." She whispered softly. I purred, and turned to face my new Tribemates. They cheered me on, their eyes friendly. I sighed in relief inside, and started a new life there.
"Pathway to Frozen Star, go join Hawk that Swoops and Shining Light that Glows on a border patrol." I nodded and bounded over to join them.
"Hey, Star!" Hawk purred. "You settling in well now?"
I nodded. It had been a whole moon since Scarlet died and I had joined the Clan. The brown tom, Bramble that Coursed through the Woods turned out to be a friendly and eager tom. He still glanced at me weirdly, but I was used to it.
Shining beckoned to us. "We should patrol the GorseClan border. They've been getting too close latey." I bounded after them.
The trees wilted and bowed as we passed by, the wind blowing them over. Hawk the Swoops glanced upwards nervously, her paws shifting back and forth. "The wind seems harsh today, I hope it's not going to be a bad windstorm."
Shining dismissed the howling wind and mewed, "Come on, we can't let GorseClan think we're weak. We may be the only Tribe, but their warring Clans too!"
Hawk shivered a bit and hurried after her, her own brown paws pattering on the hard ground. I ran after than, not wanting to be the last one behind. They forged onwards, and I started to feel out of breath. I was still pretty young, and Scarlet never let me run around wildly, in fear I could meet something dangerous. The memory of Scarlet was like a thorn in my heart.
"You okay back there, Star?"
Shining slowed to a stop and came back. "If you're too tired, just tell us. You're probably not used to all this and Eagle should get you a mentor, you're rather young for a warrior."
Hawk nodded, "Have you heard of the Peace?"
I shook my head, a bit nervous with all these questions. Hawk continued on, "The Peace is a 'Gathering' in Clan terms, but it only happens every three moons. It's the only time we mingle with all the Clans, and it's really big. I love going to Peaces!"
"You've never been to one." Shining Light that Glows rolled her eyes, "But it's pretty cool when you see a sea of cats just walking around."
Hawk snorted and whispered in my ear, "Shining's never been to one either, but she's heard of what it's like." Shininig then hollered.
"I heard that Hawk!"
I purred along with them and we continued our trek through the forest. "How big is Tribe territory?" I questioned.
Hawk's eyes shone, "Really big. We have parts of the mountains, the forest, the moors, and swamps, even this place that has so many rivers criscrossing through it. We have different camp points and what you lived in was the Main Camp of the Tribe. Which is actually called the Spy Army Home."
Shining nodded. "I actually came from the camp Glowing Moon, it was really pretty at night and you could see the moon shining on our camp every night."
"How did you get in the Spy Army then?"
The light and pale she-cat lowered her head, "Most cats are pulled into the Spy Army." She admitted, "I was one of those 'unlucky' cats."
"After we check the GorseClan border, do you want to visit Glowing Moon?" I nodded eagerly and Hawk purred.
With our spirits high, we bounded towards the GorseClan border, and my pelt pricked as I realized that we were venturing closer to where Scarlet was killed. Shining Light that Glows looked back and saw my horrified look, and she mewed softly, "What's wrong, Star?"
"This was where Scarlet died." I whispered softly, "GorseClan must have killed her."
"I'm so sorry..." Hawk whispered.
I shook my head, "Don't be, she's gone now." I tried to stop the small crack of pain slip into my voice, but it came in anyways. Shining's tail looped around mine and she whispered.
"It'll get easier, don't worry."
Hawk gave her a sharp look, and I turned away, "Will it really?"
Shining quickly covered up her mistake by mewing, "I lose my father when I was young. To FireClan," she sighed, "I know how it feels to love somebody you love."
"She was the last cat I loved."
I walked briskly away before tears could pile out of my eyes. You're eight moons old, you should be able to handle yourself.
Sighing, I slowed to let my companions catch up by I didn't talk to them. I was too muddled up in my own memories of my mother and how much she cared for me. "Star?" I didn't respond, my gaze flitting back and forth, my claws itching to claw something.
"Where are they?" I hissed, my eyes flashing.
Shining dragged me back, "We're not going to claw GorseClan to pieces, Star. That would be a disappointing reputation for the Tribe."
"I don't care."
Shining's eyes grew hard and flinty at my stubborn words and she knocked me backwards, her face contorted into a snarl, "Don't say you don't care. Everybody cares, and if you don't care, then you're a sick and a monster!"
She shoved me down once more before storming away. Hawk stared after her, then turned to me. I had my face pushed against the dirt and I didn't stand back up. "She has a point you know?"
"Who cares if she has a point or not?" I yelled, "Nobody cares about my past and how I feel! I have every right to tear GorseClan apart, they killed my mother.”
“When did you become so bloodthirsty, Star?” Hawk whispered, “You don’t even understand the whole situation!”
My eyes flashed and I growled, “And you don’t understand how I feel!”
Hawk bared her teeth and she snarled, “I can’t believe you would charge into GorseClan’s camp and kill a bunch of innocent cats!”
“Not all of them are innocent!”
Hawk gaped at me and she hissed, “You’re so despicable! Eagle will never let you back into the Tribe after this.”
“Fine!” I fumed, “I don’t care what happens in your stupid Tribe.”
I turned and stormed away, knowing perfectly well that I was not going to charge the GorseClan camp. I heard Hawk huff in anger behind me, and I ignored her. I just wanted time alone first.
Stopping by a river, I stared down at my reflection. My haunted and tired face glared back at me, and I smacked the water’s surface, berating myself for my outburst. What had made Shining so defensive though?
I glared at the GorseClan border, my anger flowing through my veins as I thought about Scarlet’s death.
Those killers deserve to die!
Then I turned away, free tears flowing down my face. I couldn't help it, it started to come out. I hiccuped, wishing somebody was here to comfort me as I sobbed my heart out.
I sniffed, and crossed the Tribe's border to where I once lived. I didn't want to return tonight, knowing that Hawk would probably tell Ash what I wanted to do. There's not point in returning now. I decided to live a live of a rogue once more.
"Star." I tested the word on my tongue, "My name is Star."
"Not Pathway to Frozen Star."
But every word I said aloud only made my heart ache even more. This life reminded me too much about my mother, but I didn't want to face the Tribe after my outbreak. The other camps! I could go live by the other camps.
Quickly, I first went to visit my mother's grave, wanting to pay my respects and say goodbye to her before I left to live in the nearest Tribe camp.
I reached her grave quickly, and bowed my head, "Scarlet, I wish you didn't have to go. I miss you so much..."
Tears stained my eyes as I turned away from Scarlet's grave, trying not to let grief overwhelm me. I padded off in the opposite direction of the Tribe camp and headed towards a marshy area. "What are you doing here?"
I started, my eyes terrified. The brown tom I had spotted earlier was staring back at me, "You're not from the Marshes."
"No, but I need a place to live."
"You want to live in the Marshes?" The brown tom seemed terribly surprised as he stared at me. I nodded briskly but didn't speak.
"Mud of the Marshes, who are you speaking to?"
A beautiful she-cat stepped out, her pelt dazzling and gleaming in the sunlight. I quickly have her a quick bow, knowing she must have been someone of importance.
"Star." I instantly mewed. "I mean Pathway to Frozen Star."
Using my Tribe name made the ache in my heart fade a bit and the she-cat blinked at me, "If you're a Tribe cat, why are you out here instead of at your camp?"
"I didn't like it at the Tribe camp." I explained slowly.
Mud seemed to understand. "The main camp is terribly crowded, the Marshes are a lot better." I noticed that this camp was a lot closer to the place I lived when I was young.
"I'm Dapple of the Nearby Stream, the leader of the Marshes." The she-cat greeted me, "I you're welcome to join the Marshes until you're ready to leave."
She makes it sound like I am leaving.
Well, aren't I ever going to go back?
The thought of going back pained my heart. "Thank you." I mewed politely, dipping my head once more. Dapple only smiled and nodded.
"Mud, why don't you show our new campmate around?"
The brown tom seemed less thrilled than me about the assignment. He grumbled something incoherant and stalked away.
I hurried after him, desperate not to lose my guide. He stopped at an elder bush that had a massive amount of leaves and grumbled, "This is the apprentice den, you seem really young so you'd be placed here if you got a mentor."
Mud shrugged, "All apprenticing take place in the main camp, or the camp Rushing Fire."
"That's what the main is called?"
Mud nodded as he ambled away. "Others call it the Spy Army Home." I rolled my eyes and hurried after him, noticing that the older tom seemed to like my company. "This is the warriors' den, you'll probably sleep in the apprentices' den since you're so young." I surveyed the warriors' den, and decided that I would rather not share a den with Mud anyways.
Sighing, Mud pivoted and headed out towards the elders' den. Slowly, we progressed our way through the Marshes' camp.
"Do you like it here?"
Mud turned around in surprise at my question. "Yes, I mean it's my home." He reasoned. "There's no reason why I'd hate it."
"Are you a father?" I mewed softly, thinking about my own father, who resided in the Tribe.
Mud looked disdainful at my next question and growled, "Yes, I am a father." He sounded unsure about that though.
"Who's your mate?"
The brown tom stiffened and he pushed past me. I raced after him, panting. "That's not an answer, Mud." He stiffened, and glared at me.
"That's not a valid question."
"That's not a valid answer." I retorted, then seeing his masked expression, I asked, "Is it Dapple? I mean if it is, I'm sure that's not a-"
"She lives in... another camp." He growled, turning away again.
"What was her name?" I couldn't stop myself.
"Why do you want to know?" Mud snapped, his eyes flaring, "Does it matter to you who I mated? Are you going to ask who my kits are? Because I don't know."
My eyes widened, and I flattened my ears. "It does matter to me. My father was in the Tribe when he mated my mother, and I never knew who he was."
Mud flinched back, and I blinked. He saw my astonished expression, and spat, "No, it's not me feather-brain." He muttered, "I just knew some tom that mated a rogue."
"I have to go." Mud growled hastily, "See you later."
I stared after him, still shocked by his earlier reactions to my questions. A young black she-cat came and joined me, "You look as though you haven't eaten yet." She piped up. "You can come share with me, we don't have much to spare in the Marshes."
"Thanks," I mewed gratefully, padding after her.
"The name's Piles of Falling Ash." She mewed, her eyes shining. "My father says that he might become the next leader! He's the deputy right now, but our current leader, Eagle of the Sky is pretty frail." She is? "Anyways, I hope that I can become deputy one day and maybe even leader!"
I purred, "I hope you succeed in your dream." I, myself, didn't want to pursue something like that. I just wanted to be the best warrior I could be.
As I joined her by the pile, I saw Mud sitting in the corner, his eyes narrowed as he met my gaze. I flinched slightly at the fierceness in his gaze and turned away quickly. Ash was already digging through the pile and she brought up a vole, which wasn't very big either.
"Meals are usually this small." She sighed.
The next day, a messenger from the Spy Army Home came and delivered a message to Dapple. "Eagle of the Sky died a peaceful death last night, and Tiger of the Mountains became leader just today."
Ash's eyes widened, and she whispered, "That's my father!"
Dapple nodded as she took in the news, "Who was appointed deputy in his place?" She asked, tilting her head slightly.
"Fierce Lion that Roars was." The messenger replied.
Ash sighed as the messenger started to leave, "One day," she vowed quietly, softly enough for me to hear, "One day I'll be the leader of the Tribe."
I hope she achieved her goal the right way.
"Piles of Falling Ash, can you take Pathway to Frozen Star, and Bright Snow from the Sky on a hunting patrol?" Dapple of the Nearby Stream called out.
My friend nodded, "Come on," she mewed, leading the way, "Let's hunt in the Pine Forest."
She turned and led the way out, holding the authority of the leader's daughter. She acted like a normal warrior in the camp, but I could tell that the cats respected her because of who her father was. "Star, can you check out that area and try hunting there for a bit?" Ash mewed, her eyes bright.
"Why don't we all go?" I asked, indicating to Bright Snow from the Sky. The young black she-cat nodded and led the patrol towards the Pine Forest.
"Let's split up." I then stated as we reached the forest, "We'll be nearby if any of us encounter trouble." Ash nodded stiffly.
Ash stalked away, and I chased after her, "What's wrong?"
"I can't lead a patrol!" She wailed, "It's obvious that you understand all this better. I'm younger than you, and we're both not even warriors yet. Why does Dapple want me to lead a hunting patrol? It should have been you, or even Snow!"
I laid my tail on her shoulder, "Ash, it's obvious that Dapple expects a lot from you because of your father, but that doesn't mean you can't do it."
She looked over, "Easy for you to say."
Sighing softly, I pulled her up, "How about this, we'll train together. It's obvious that we both don't have mentors, and we can't receive mentors unless we go back to Main, which for some reason, we both don't want to." She glared at me, but I shrugged it off, "So we'll have to work around the mentor barrier and work together! Come on, Ash, I'll help you."
"When did you become so optimistic?" Ash grumbled.
I laughed, "Don't be so grumpy, Ash, let's hunt!"
She rolled her eyes and readily agreed. I spotted a squirrel nearby and crouched down, using the technique that Scarlet had taught me to stalk it.
Ash swiftly climbed a nearby tree and waited, and she nodded to me. Purring a bit, I rushed at the squirrel, making sure if raced up the tree that Ash was waiting in. She pounced on the squirrel, and laughed as she slid down the tree with a squirrel in her jaws.
Snow came back around and mewed, "Are you two okay?"
"Yeah," Ash dipped her head to the older cat, "We just caught a squirrel."
Snow purred and nodded before turning back to hunt some more. "A rabbit!" Ash exclaimed before slapping her tail across her mouth in surprise.
Ash gave me a sheepish glance before bunching her muscles. She was in close range of the rabbit already, and her cry had startled the rabbit. Right before the rabbit sped off, Ash charged forward, lumbering like a badger. I sighed and winced as Ash tumbled through the undergrowth, but she came back truimph with the rabbit in her jaws.
"I caught it!"
I laid my tail on her shoulder, "Good catch." I praised her.
Spotting a blackbird perched on the tree above, I remembered what Scarlet used to tell me about birds. "Birds are the hardest to catch, Star, so you have to remember to first climb the tree if you can't reach it from the ground, then surprised it from there. You mustn't let it fly away, or you'll never catch it."
Judging from how high the branch was, I couldn't reach the bird if I jumped for it. I scurried up the tree and crouched, waiting for the right moment to attack the bird.
It tilted its head and let out a caw, flapping it's wings. I tensed, thinking that it was going to fly away. Instead, it rustled it's wings and continued to caw gently.
I slid forward, then leaped across the tree, catching the bird before landing on my paws on the ground. "Nice catch, Star!" Ash purred.
"Thanks," I mewed warmly, "I think we have enough prey now, let's go call Snow and let's head back to camp."
"You know, we should go hunting again." Ash observed. It had been several days since we last hunted, and Ash was getting impatient while being cooped up in camp.
"Look, there's a messenger coming into camp."
Ash perked up, and the messenger mewed something to Dapple. Dapple then turned her head and called to Ash, "Piles of Falling Ash, this message is for you." My best friend looked surprise as she hurried over to the messenger, who whispered something in her ear.
The astonished look on Ash's face made me curious, and my paws itched to be rushing over to her and asking her about the message.
Slowly, Ash nodded, and the messenger dipped her head to Ash and Dapple and hurried away. I saw that she was dismissed by Dapple and I hurried over.
"What did she tell you?"
My friend seemed a little reluctant to tell me, so I nudged her, "Come on, you can tell me." I begged, "I want to know what the message was!"
"It's a little personal." Ash mewed tersely.
I sighed, "If you want to tell me, I'm here for you."
She only nodded, and went to go talk to Dapple once more. Disappointment dropped like a stone in my stomach. I turned away to go curl up in my nest, but a gruff voice grunted, "You're on my hunting patrol, let's go."
I flinched at the sound of Mud, then muttered, "Okay, okay, keep your fur on."
I flashed a last glance at Ash, who was in a deep discussion with Dapple.