Author's Note

I only have one thing to say to all of you.

Welcome to the final book. It will be rewarding.

Forests are life

Chapter 1

Barkpaw ran forward to Waterheart.
"Waterheart!" Barkpaw mewed desperately. "Waterheart!"
The black cat did not reply.
"Help!" Barkpaw yowled. "Help me!"

Runningfoot raced towards his apprentice's cry. "I'm coming, Barkpaw!"
He passed through the clearing where he had last seen them. Bearface was eating a mouse.
"Leave it," Runningfoot snarled.
Bearface dropped the fresh-kill and hurried through the forest on Runningfoot's heels.
When Runningfoot broke through the trees to see his apprentice, he couldn't believe his eyes.
Waterheart was dead.
"Go get Cinderstripe!" Runningfoot yowled at Bearface. "Now! If we hurry she still might be alive!"
Bearface shot off towards the camp.

"She's not dead," Cinderstripe declared.
Runningfoot let loose a yowl of joy, and looked around in embarrassment when the Clan stared at him. "Sorry," he whispered.
"When will she wake?" Gorsestar asked.
Cinderstripe looked troubled. "I don't know," she meowed. "Birdheart still hasn't woken up yet."
Snakepaw yowled, "Who's my mentor?"
"I don't know," Gorsestar replied. "I'll mentor you for the time being, I guess."
Snakepaw looked elated.
"Go back to your duties now," Gorsestar mewed loudly. "And don't drink that water."
"I'll cover it with leaves," Bearface offered.
"That's a good idea," Gorsestar mewed. "You and Barkpaw can do that."
As Runningfoot moved past Gorsestar to get some fresh-kill, he heard him murmur, "What will happen next? My best warrior isn't going to wake up anytime soon."
Runningfoot didn't know.

"You are here too?" I asked.
The warrior and the apprentice nodded their heads. "We don't know what happened," whispered the apprentice. "I was looking for my brother-"
"And I was just hunting," the warrior added. "Nothing we did was wrong."
The apprentice squirmed where she sat.
I looked over the two cats and recognized them from somewhere, but I couldn't remember.
I didn't know what was going to happen to me, and part of me didn't want to know.

Gorsestar stared at his two sleeping warriors. Birdheart's leg twitched, and Waterheart was as still as a stone.

ThunderClan won't suffer any more, Gorsestar declared to himself.

Chapter 2

I groaned as I woke up.
I stretched, noticing I was in the medicine clearing. Why am I here? I asked myself.
I noticed Cinderstripe enter the clearing. She glanced at me, and moved into the den.
I shrugged my shoulders, wondering why they were so stiff.
Suddenly Cinderstripe burst back out of the den yowling, "Waterheart! You're awake!"
I gasped as she collided into me, purring.
"What's the big deal?" I asked. "I slept here. So what? I must of sleepwalked."
As Cinderstripe stared at me, I knew something was seriously wrong.
"What?" I asked slowly.
"You've been asleep for half a moon!" Cinderstripe mewed.
I stared at her.
Seeing my face, Cinderstripe whispered, "You don't remember anything, do you?"
I slowly nodded my head.
Cinderstripe murmured something to herself, and mewed, "Let's go announce this to the rest of the Clan."
I nodded. Cinderstripe led me across the clearing and through the small tunnel that led to it.
Outside, barely a cat glanced at Cinderstripe, probably thinking that she was going to check on some cat.
The first cat to notice me was Birdheart. "Waterheart!" she yowled. "You're awake!"
The rest of ThunderClan noticed me then, and crowded around.
"Tomorrow night's the Gathering!" said one voice.
"And we're going to-"
"Birdheart," Runningfoot mewed. "She just woke up."
"What?" I snarled. "What's wrong?"
There was silence as I stared down the littermates.
Finally Runningfoot looked up. "Do you want me to get you some fresh-kill?"
"Don't change the subject!" I screeched. "Tell me!"
Suddenly I asked myself if I had seen every cat I was close to. Gorsestar... Brackenclaw... Birdheart... Runningfoot... Snakepaw-
I hadn't seen Snakepaw.
"Where's Snakepaw?" I hissed.
Birdheart and Runningfoot glanced at each other before staring at me. "How did you know?" Runningfoot asked.
"Know what?" I asked.
"That ShadowClan captured Snakepaw?" Runningfoot instantly covered his mouth with his tail. "Oops," he mumbled.

Chapter 3

I stepped forward, my foot snapping a stick on the marshy ground.
The mission was clear: get Snakepaw, and get out.
I was sure he could recognize me - he was the one who recognized me the first time.
Creeping forward, I saw the ShadowClan going about their normal business- clearing out the elder's bedding, organizing patrols... life seemed normal there, just like the things going on in ThunderClan.
Except for their newfound apprentice.
I saw my apprentice sitting in the center of the ShadowClan camp, talking to his leader, Bigstar. He seemed to be protesting, but Bigstar was not caving in. Snakepaw made a gesture with his tail towards ThunderClan territory, his fur bristling. Then he stalked off to the fresh-kill pile and over to what must of been his den.
I was going to save him.
I crept forward and made a loud noise. "Oh, cats!"
The ShadowClan cats all froze in the middle of what they were doing and stared at me. One cat hissed.
"Stay back!" Bigstar yowled to his Clan. "Let the Twoleg take what they want, and don't bother it."
ShadowClan retreated to their dens, and hid inside them.
All except for one cat.
Snakepaw trotted towards me with a look of utter surprise on his face.
I picked him up. Snakepaw purred.
The warriors emerged from their dens, hissing.
Rustlepaw, Snakepaw's ShadowClan sister, also tore out of the apprentice's den. "No!" she yowled. "Snakepaw, you're making a mistake!"
"Is he?" I asked her.
I watched Rustlepaw stare in horror as I ran off with Snakepaw, still carrying him, until we were home.

"That was great!" I told Snakepaw as we rushed through the forest.
Snakepaw, now running beside me, nodded. "That was a good way to help me escape."
As I was stopping for a drink, he added, "Thanks."
Looking up, I whispered, "You didn't like it there, did you?"
Snakepaw shook his head slowly.
I nodded. "I understand."
The apprentice nodded, and padded towards his real home. The place that he was destined to be.
No cat could defy StarClan, could they?
I hoped not as I walked after the white apprentice.

Chapter 4

I entered the camp to a flurry of voices yowling, "Snakepaw!"
Snakepaw dipped his head at each of the cats that said his name and headed towards the fresh-kill pile.
"How did you get him out?" Gorsestar asked me, purring.
"That's my little secret," I mewed.
Gorsestar purred. "Not anymore."
"I'm really tired," I mewed, trying to get away from him. "I need to sleep."
Gorsestar nodded his head respectfully as I padded away from him.
I was actually in dire need of talking to Snakepaw.
"Snakepaw," I whispered, "can I talk to you?"
The white apprentice nodded, dipped his head at Barkpaw, who was lying next to him, and walked over to me, leaving his fresh-kill in the dust.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Why did ShadowClan capture you?" I asked.
Snakepaw shrugged. "I don't know. They ambushed me in my sleep and threatened Barkpaw with her life. I had no choice but to go."
I suddenly realized he loved Barkpaw, and Barkpaw was obviously ready to commit to him. "So..."
They led me to the camp, gave me some fresh-kill, and sent me to the apprentice's den. I hated it there, but I had to stay, or Barkpaw would die."
"I saw you talking to Bigstar before I saved you."
"Bigstar didn't trust me. I was trying to point out that ThunderClan did, and I wasn't even born there."
I nodded my head, understanding.
"But- Waterheart, the morning after I arrived, they showed me Rustlepaw. She was in a coma, like you were when you drank that water. ShadowClan needed help, and I gave it to them." Snakepaw's voice quivered with sadness. "I'm half-Clan. I can do that, can I?"
I nodded gently to him, and pressed my side against his. "Tell me what happened next."
"I got trained by a mentor. Bigstar himself," he added. "I wasn't to leave the camp without him, which was an obvious sign that they didn't trust me, and they were willing to show it. Bigstar tested me first on the hardest warrior skills - which I couldn't do in ShadowClan - and I was bad," he added unnecessarily.
"Do they know you came to me on purpose?" I asked.
Snakepaw shook his head.
"I should probably stay away from Gatherings for a long, long time," Snakepaw whispered.
I nodded. "You probably should."

Chapter 5

Seeing Rustlepaw at the Gathering didn't make me happy.
Her eyes were red, her pelt was far from glossy, and she snapped at every cat that looked at her.
I hesitantly approached her, expecting a yowl of anger, but all I got was a glare.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
The apprentice stared up at me. "My brother is wrong."
"You mean Snakepaw?" I asked. "You know what happened to him?" Rustlepaw didn't know that I was half-Twoleg, and I was going to keep it that way.
"He got stolen by a Twoleg."
I pretended to be overcome with sadness. "W-what?"
Rustlepaw nodded sadly.
"I'm sorry," I whispered. "I knew how much he meant to you."
The light brown apprentice stared at me. "Why did you have to steal him?"
"He willingly came," I replied. "I didn't know he would stay loyal."
"Well, you could of said that he couldn't come!" Rustlepaw hissed.
"It's not up to me to decide his loyalties," I told her. "Remember that," I added, padding away.
I suddenly saw a RiverClan apprentice, Mistpaw, bounding up to me.
Mistpaw's father was Stonestar, an evil RiverClan leader that attacked ThunderClan during my warrior's vigil. I had killed him, and at the last Gathering, Mistpaw had thanked me, saying how horrible her father really was. Now Treestar, Stonestar's deputy, and a much nicer cat, was the leader of RiverClan.
"Hi, Mistpaw!" I meowed.
"Mistheart," the gray she-cat corrected me.
"Congratulations," I purred. "Mistheart."
"Thank you," Mistheart replied. "But... there's something I'm unsure about."
"Yes?" I asked.
"I- I got the same warrior name as my father. What if my Clan doesn't like that?"
I sighed. "Mistheart, one of the worst things a cat can do is judge another cat based on their kin. Only a bad cat will judge you about that, and you shouldn't worry, anyway. Your Clan respects you and cares for you, and that's enough, isn't it?"
The gray warrior nodded. "Thank you, Waterheart. You're a true friend."
"You're welcome."
The gray warrior bounded away to sit next to another RiverClan warrior that I didn't know.
"Where's Stormwing?" a voice asked.
I turned around to see a strange apprentice, smelling of WindClan.
"He's, er, over there," I replied, pointing with my tail.
"Thanks!" the apprentice meowed. He ran away.
How come only cats from other Clans respected me in this way?

Chapter 6

"The Gathering was fine," I replied.
Runningfoot, who was not chosen to go to that Gathering, asked, "Any new warriors?"
"One," I replied.
Birdheart stood up. "I'm hungry. See you."
Now it was just me and Runningfoot.
"Who were the new warriors?" Runningfoot asked me.
"You know Stonestar's daughter?" I asked. "Mistpaw?"
Runningfoot nodded.
"She's Mistheart now."
"Well, good for her!" Runningfoot purred. "She deserves it."
"Stonestar's warrior name was Stoneheart, as well. Mistheart was afraid her Clan was would judge her based on that."
"And what did you say?" Runningfoot prompted, leaning forward.
"That it's wrong for a cat to judge based on kin."
Runningfoot nodded. "I agree."
"And Rustlepaw thinks Snakepaw was captured," I added.
"You convinced her otherwise, I hope," Runningfoot mewed hurriedly.
I shook my head. "No. If I told her, she would know something was up. I could only act sad, too."
"She was one of the cats to drink the water that you drank," Runningfoot told me.
"Really?" I asked.
The brown warrior nodded. "We didn't find out until after Snakepaw was captured, though," he informed me.
"Rustlepaw loves her brother," I mewed quietly. "You have to give her that."
Runningfoot's eyes flashed.
"What?" I asked.
"Nothing," he mewed. "I'm just remembering all the times I saw you when you were... asleep... for half a moon."
"What about them?" I prompted him.
"How sad I felt," Runningfoot replied. "It was devastating, seeing you there, asleep until the end of StarClan."
"I was only asleep for half a moon," I whispered. "Is that really what every cat thought?"
"No," Runningfoot replied. "Just me."
"What?" I asked.
"I love you, Waterheart," Runningfoot whispered. "I love you."


I stared at my three kits.
My mate, Runningfoot, stood beside me. "Good work, he whispered.
I purred.
Cinderstripe had left the den long ago, and now other cats were beginning to come in. Gorsestar, Brackenclaw, Birdheart, Barktail, Snake-eye...
I couldn't believe my good fortune.
"What will you name them?" Runningfoot asked. "Any name you choose will be perfect."
I saw a bird flying through the sky, and I had an idea.

I gasped. I had fallen asleep while the kits drank my milk, and now a familiar cat was standing in front of me.
"How are you, Waterheart?" Smoothpaw asked.
"Fine," I mewed.
"I have a prophecy," Smoothpaw mewed.
His voice seemed to echo through StarClan's forest as he mewed, "He will not take off until his threat is exterminated."
And I knew there was danger waiting for my kits.

End of Book Six

Well, how did you guys like it? I did. It was quite a journey, and it isn't over yet. That's why I'm naming this six-book series The First Journey to be sure nobody confuses it with the next series- The First Omen.

I need ideas for the names of Snake-eye's kits- he mated with Barktail. If you have any ideas, post them on the talk page, please! I can't seem to find the giant list of names that was on this wiki.

The next book will be called Hatching, so look out for it!

Thanks for your participation! Forests are life

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