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Authors note (AN): There are some things that I write that the main character will forget, so if you want to experience this as Goldenkit will, I’ll warn you when to skip something.


Prologue

A fluffy medicine cat padded up to the dazzling ranks of StarClan as a red and gray she-cat stepped forward.

“Greetings Feathertuft,” she mewed, urgency in her voice.

“Is all well, Redflower?” The young ThunderClan cat questioned, though the answer seemed all too obvious.

“You must be careful,” Redflower warned, avoiding the question, “for there will be one overlooked by all but the shadows, one who will threaten all the clans. But, do not waste their talent, just show them what is right,” she finished.

As Redflower stepped back images flooded Feathertuft’s mind. First, a blinding yellow flash followed by the strong scent of catmint. Complete darkness overcame her along with a sharp pain in her side.

She tried to wail, but nothing came.

Finally, deathberries laid in front of her, juice seeping out of them.

“Feathertuft? Feathertuft!”

She bolted awake, panting.

“Are you ok? Y-you were yelling a-and…” The small apprentice was shaking, his fur slightly bristled.

“Don’t worry Specklepaw, I’m alright,” She lied. Feathertuft glanced around, seeing that she was the second one awake.

That’s good. She thought I would get worried looks for moons if Maplewhisker had seen me.

Soon enough, the other cats woke, all of them seeming content with their visit.

Maplewhisker must have seen the concerned look on her face because she mimicked it perfectly.

“Bad dreams?” Her mentor asked.

“No, It’s nothing to worry about,”

Yes, it is.

Chapter 1

Goldenkit sat at the entrance to the nursery and scanned the camp. Honeystar and Leafhawk were sharing tongues on the Highledge while the warriors were talking in groups at the base. The apprentices were play-fighting outside their den as Feathertuft walked through the camp entrance with freshly picked herbs. 

It seemed everyone was here except Mottlesky, Iceflight, Cedarwillow, and Beeflurry, who were on the dusk patrol.

That only leaves Ni-

“Got you!” A tiny shriek sounded behind her, interrupting her thoughts.

“Now I’m the hunter!” Goldenkit didn’t need to turn around to know who was there.

“Hey, Goldenkit! Do you want to play?”

She didn’t respond. She knew that Grasskit meant well, but Blazekit was different.

“Come on Grasskit, we don’t need Goldenkit,” Blazekit mewed, “Let’s go play elsewhere,”

“O-ok,” They padded away.

Goldenkit didn’t mind being left out. In fact, as long as everyone was safe, nothing else mattered. 



“Thanks for the help Goldenkit,” Feathertuft said, “but you should get some sleep,”

“Ok,” Goldenkit responded as she headed for the nursery. She could tell that Feathertuft was staring at her. The blue medicine cat had always watched her like she was a snake about to strike.

Goldenkit and her littermates were becoming apprentices in two sunrises, so she was spending most of her time in the medicine den to ensure she would become a medicine cat apprentice. Blazekit will probably keep everyone up mewing about who he wants for his mentor. She thought.

As Goldenkit neared the nursery she heard her littermates playing before she even saw them.

“Hi, Goldenkit!” That was her mom, Silkfur.

Goldenkit shot her a look. She tried to make it look nice, but if it wasn’t, it didn’t matter. Goldenkit could tell by the way she and Snowcloud whispered to each other, and how she was always nice, just to her, that her mother never truly liked her.

Just like the rest of the Clan.


Chapter 2

Goldenkit pushed her way through the long grass. She padded along the maze of flowers and brambles - that she had never seen before - as though she had walked this path for moons.

The field seemed to go on forever, but, eventually, she ended up in a sunny clearing with flowers rimming the edges.

“Hello, Goldenkit,”

She spun around and unsheathed her claws. She may only be a kit but she would fight if she needed to.

Goldenkit froze. The red and gray she-cat standing in front of her glittered. She had stars in her pelt.

This was a StarClan cat.

Goldenkit sheathed her claws and sat down, staring at this cat with interest.

“I’m Redflower,” the she-cat purred, her voice like honey. “I was a medicine cat long before you were kitted.”

Goldenkit blinked, trying not to show any emotions.

“You have a great destiny set out for you, and I’m here to help.” Redflower mewed as she started to fade away.

She shot up from where she was, panic rising with her. “Wait! Don’t go!”

There was no true response, only an echo as everything went black.

Don’t let the poison go too deep.



Goldenkit blinked open her eyes, adjusting to the light. She heard rustling coming from a different part of the den. She jerked forward, sending leaves and scraps of moss flying.

“Oh!” Came a voice from the back. “You’re awake!”

“Yeah,” Goldenkit replied, recognizing Feathertuft’s voice. “Why am I here?”

“Silkfur woke up to Grasskit and Blazekit awake and you asleep. She wasn’t worried until Blazekit tried to scare you and you still never woke up,” Feathertuft explained. “So, she brought you here,”

Goldenkit glanced towards the entrance of the den. Sunlight was streaming through. “How long have I been asleep?” She asked in a small voice.

“It’s past sunhigh,”

Goldenkit looked at her paws.

“So Goldenkit,” Feathertuft started, “Did you dream about anything?”

She hesitated. “Yes,” She replied simply. Goldenkit wasn’t sure how much to tell the fluffy she-cat.

“What did you dream about?”

“I walked through some grass for a long time until I made it to a clearing,” Goldenkit explained. “I met a cat named Redflower who told me I have a great destiny,” There was no need to tell her about a prophecy that didn’t involve her.

Feathertuft stared at her, both relief and anxiety sparking in her gaze.

Goldenkit made eye contact and held it, confidence suddenly streaming through her.

“Goldenkit, do you want to be my apprentice?” Feathertuft asked, her voice a bit shaky.

Goldenkit looked at her paws. This was everything she wanted. She was going to be a medicine cat. She would help her clanmates. She wouldn’t have to hurt any cat.

“Goldenkit?” Feathertuft questioned.

Goldenkit looked up. 

“Yes,”


Chapter 3

“From this day on, until you receive your full name, you will be known as Goldenpaw,”

Goldenpaw touched noses with Feathertuft, then stepped next to her littermates, pride bubbling inside her. 

“Grasspaw! Blazepaw! Goldenpaw!” The Clan cheered.

“Are you ready to see the territory?” Feathertuft asked.

She nodded eagerly, knowing that if she talked her voice would come out like a squeal.

Feathertuft padded to the entrance as Goldenpaw saw Grasspaw and Blazepaw walk up to their parents.

“I’m so proud of you two!” Silkfur exclaimed, a purr interrupting the last word. Snowcloud was purring too much to say anything.

Goldenpaw stared at them, a little bit of hatred bubbling inside her. She tried to push it down, but it stayed. Realizing that Feathertuft was waiting for her, she bolted off to the camp entrance.



Goldenpaw flopped down into her nest. She had never thought that the ThunderClan territory was so big! And the lake was so beautiful, so much better than she had imagined. Goldenpaw was overwhelmed by the number of herbs she had to learn. When she was a kit she had only learned a small number of them.

Sometime while reflecting her day, she had fallen asleep.


(AN): Skip to chapter 4.


Goldenpaw pushed her way through the long grass, recognizing the same fields from the last time she dreamt. She was thrilled, maybe she would get some answers this time.

She let her paws guide her and this time, they led her to a forest. Dark and dusty, the forest had a weird aura to it. Goldenpaw parted her jaws and scented something like ShadowClan, but, different somehow.

“Hi there,” came a voice that seemed to come from everywhere.

“Hello,” she replied, scanning the forest.

“Goldenpaw,” the voice continued. Now, she could tell this was a tom. “You’re the one with the fake clanmates, right?”

Goldenpaw let out a growl. She didn’t know why - she’d never growled at anyone before - but, it just came naturally.

“Woah, no need to get hostile! I just want to help,” he replied. She spun around, hearing the voice coming from right behind. A black tom with a white streak going along his belly stood right in front of her.

“What do you want,” she growled, shocked at the tone of her voice.

“Ah, but the better question is what do you want,” he responded smoothly.

Goldenpaw was a little surprised that he was so calm, but she wouldn’t show that she wasn’t.

“What do you mean,” She questioned.

“I think you know perfectly well what I mean,” the tom replied, calm, but menacing. He was right. Goldenpaw - for some reason - knew exactly what he was talking about.

“Well if this is a dream that means you’re in my head which also means that you should know what my answer is,” she retorted.

“I’m glad we’re on the same page then,” the black and white tom responded, “So, let’s make a deal,”


Chapter 4

Goldenpaw blinked open her eyes, her head fuzzy. As she sat up she noticed that her ears were ringing. Goldenpaw glanced outside. The medicine cat apprentice had woken up before the dawn patrol.

She tried to sleep, but she knew very well that she wouldn’t be able to. Bored, Goldenpaw tried to recall her dream. She knew she had dreamed about something, but the ringing in her ears and the fuzziness in her head grew worse as she tried to remember. Goldenpaw gave up, deciding that if she couldn’t remember, then it wasn’t important. 

She heard the dawn patrol leave and she decided to go for a walk. When she walked through the bramble entrance, Quaildust - who was guarding the camp - asked, “What are you doing up so early?”

“I couldn’t sleep, so I want to go for a walk,” Goldenpaw replied, nervous as always.

“Ok,” she responded, “but be back soon!”

Goldenpaw breathed a sigh of relief as soon as she was out of earshot. She always felt nervous when talking to other cats, and today especially she wanted to be alone.

She made it to the lake, found a stump to sit on, and draped her tail over her paws.

Goldenpaw stared at the lake, her anxiety being swept away by the calming waves.

It’s nice, isn’t it?

Yeah.

She was so lost in the environment that it took her a moment to realize that someone was talking to her. “Um, hello?” She asked, looking around.

Ha! I’m not a real cat, Goldenpaw.

If you’re not real then can you hear me? She thought.

Yes, Goldenpaw, I can hear you.

Goldenpaw’s thoughts immediately whirled, her anxiety returning as quickly as it left. Great StarClan, I hope he can’t hear any of this! 

Whoa, whoa! Slow down! You’re giving me a headache!

Ha, ha, very funny, she thought, feeling the same headache this cat was talking about.

Well, you’re a strange one, aren’t you?

Ok, who are you? She asked, avoiding the question. Although it would seem hard to hide from a mind reader.

Not a mind reader, that’s for sure.

Her patience grew thinner than it had ever been before. Just tell me already, she growled

Silence.

Ok. My name is Toxic, and I’m the dark side of your thoughts.

This sounds sketchy, Goldenpaw thought.

No more sketchy than your “littermates”, Toxic retorted. Anyways, this isn’t the first time you’ve talked with me.

I think I would remember talking to myself

He hesitated. Well, I’m hurt!

No, I-I didn’t mean it like that! She thought, instantly feeling guilty.

Toxic purred with laughter. I was joking! You need to learn to toughen up!

She growled, feeling slightly embarrassed that she hadn’t realized he was kidding.

Don’t you think you should get back to camp before Feathertuft wakes up?

I guess, but I should get some herbs on the way back.

Ugh, you really have to get herbs? Toxic complained. You told Quaildust that you were only going for a walk.

I’d feel bad not bringing anything back. Goldenpaw responded. 

The one time I wish I could leave.

Well, you’re part of me which means wherever I go, you come too.

Chapter 5

“Marigold for infection, yarrow extracts poison and makes a cat vomit, and…” Goldenpaw mewed, trying to remember the use of the slender purple flowers. “And rush for… binding broken bones?” she guessed.

There’s no way that’s ri-

“Good job!” Feathertuft praised. Goldenpaw purred with delight, only partially because she guessed right.

There’s no way it’s what? She retorted.

Toxic stopped talking.

“Why don’t you go get something to eat, then we can keep sorting tomorrow,” Feathertuft suggested.

“Ok,” she meowed, walking away. It had been a quarter moon since she had become a medicine cat apprentice and tonight was the half-moon meeting.

Goldenpaw picked out a small mouse and sat down by herself, looking over the camp just as she had when she was a kit. The Greenleaf heat scorched down and she debated on going for a quick swim when she felt something hit her back paw.

It was Nightfur, who was glaring down at her.

“Get out of my way,” he growled, unsheathing his claws just enough to prick her paw. Goldenpaw yanked it back and stared at the ground as he padded away, muttering under his breath.

She was used to it - well, used to the growling part, not the claws. Nightfur, in particular, hated her, though a lot of cats did too.

Goldenpaw finished her meal as fast as possible then headed to the medicine den to get ready for the meeting.

Right as she approached the den, Feathertuft poked her head out and almost hit Goldenpaw.

“Oh! Sorry!” the blue-gray medicine cat exclaimed. “I was just coming to get you,”

“Are we leaving now?” Goldenpaw asked.

Feathertuft glanced towards the sky. The sun was about to set. “Sure! We might be a little early, but you’ll be able to meet the other medicine cats,”

She bubbled with excitement, but she pushed it down. Don’t show them how you feel. She recalled her father talking to her when she was just a tiny kit.

Feathertuft led the way to the entrance, as she started her first journey to the Moonpool.


~~~~


“Greetings, Feathertuft,” a sandy tom meowed, “Is this the new apprentice?” He glanced at Goldenpaw, who seemed to shrink beneath her pelt.

“H-hi,” she stammered.

He probably thinks you’re a complete weirdo.

Not helping! She yelled in her mind.

Feathertuft looked down at her apprentice. “This is Goldenpaw,” she introduced.

“Hi Goldenpaw, I’m Palefur, WindClan’s medicine cat,” he said, his voice unusually deep for a WindClan cat.

She looked up at Palefur, not daring to talk in case she stuttered again.

“Feathertuft! Palefur!” came a voice from behind them. Goldenpaw whirled around to see a spotted cat running towards the medicine cats enthusiastically. Her mentor waved her tail in greeting. 

“Hello, Speckleheart! Is Nightcreek feeling any better?” Feathertuft asked as soon as the new tom was close enough.

“A lot better, actually,” Speckleheart replied, “I gave him some elder leaves and his sprain seems to be healing nicely. Hi!” he exclaimed, turning to Goldenpaw. “Are you Feathertuft’s new apprentice?”

“I-I,” she started, taking a deep breath, “Y-yes, I’m G-Goldenpaw,” the apprentice stuttered. She was overwhelmed by how much Speckleheart talked.

“Awesome! You’re going to love being a medicine cat. Have I introduced my self? I’m Speckleheart, ShadowClan’s medicine cat apprentice,”

Goldenpaw just nodded. Did Speckleheart even realize how awkward he made this for her?

One more. Toxic said as the last cat appeared.

“Hello everyone,” the white she-cat said calmly.

She’s much better.

“Hey, Mistpetal!” Speckleheart greeted. “This is Goldenpaw, Feathertuft’s apprentice,” he waved his tail, beckoning her forward.

“Hi,” said Goldenpaw, staying where she was.

Mistpetal stared at her with piercing blue eyes. “Greetings, Goldenpaw. I am Mistpetal. I can assume you’ve figured out that I’m from RiverClan by now,”

Goldenpaw nodded, turning to her mentor. “Shouldn’t we get going?” she whispered.

“Sure!” Feathertuft exclaimed as she turned to continue their journey.


~~~~


“So, that’s when I realized I needed...” Speckleheart explained, but Goldenpaw stopped listening.

You should claw his ears off.

Are you kidding? I should claw my ears off! She joked, but Toxic didn’t laugh.

“And now he’s almost better!” Speckleheart finished. Goldenpaw nodded, though she had no idea what he had just said.

“Oh, and this other time…” Goldenpaw heard water and broke into a trot, excited for the Moonpool and not really caring about the medicine cat’s next story. She leaped over the last few rocks on the hill - beating everyone - and turned around to wait for the rest of the medicine cats.

“Well, someone’s excited!” Feathertuft purred. Goldenpaw gave her chest fur a couple of embarrassed licks. “Come on,” her mentor meowed as she took the lead.

They walked over a path of rocks where old paw prints were molded into the stone. She felt pelts brushing hers, but when she looked around, she could see that no cat was beside her.

Goldenpaw gasped. The Moonpool was beautiful! It looked as if it were made of crystals. Feathertuft purred with laughter as the medicine cats took their places around the Moonpool.

“Goldenpaw,” her mentor started, “is it your wish to enter the mysteries of StarClan as a medicine cat?”

“It is,”

“Warriors of StarClan, I present you with this apprentice. She has chosen the path of a medicine cat. Grant her your wisdom and insight so that she may understand your ways and heal her Clan in accordance with your will,” Feathertuft finished, beckoning Goldenpaw forward.

She laid down in front of the Moonpool and lapped at the icy water. She was immediately thrown into chilling darkness. Goldenpaw eventually felt ground beneath her paws and opened her eyes. She stood between two forests; to the left, she recognized the forest from her dream when she was a kit, and to the right, there was a dark forest with dead trees that made her stomach twist.

Two cats stepped out, one on each side. She looked to the left to see Redflower standing there, a concerned expression plastered to her face. She tried to yell her name, but no sound came. Looking to the right she saw a black tom with a white streak on his belly. He had a smug look on his face. A shooting pain went through her head when she looked at him. She wanted to run to Redflower, to hide behind her like a kit, but her legs wouldn’t move.

“Hello Goldenpaw,” they said in unison.

“I can help you save the clans,”

“I can give you everything you want,”

Both the cats talked at the same time, and she felt like they were playing tug of war, and she was the rope.

“Join me,” both cats asked.

Goldenpaw didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t choose even if she wanted to. Her whole body was paralyzed except for her head. She longed to join Redflower and hide from the pain that the other cat was causing, but something inside was telling her to join the dark cat.

That was when her paws started to move.

She turned to the right, her head now stuck and her legs moving on their own.

No, she thought, no, turn around! Her body refused as it kept walking away from the light.

The tom purred. “Thank you,” Goldenpaw dipped her head, unwillingly, and the cat laid his head on top of hers. “Thank you,” he whispered again.


Chapter 6

She bolted awake, panting, but relieved to be able to control her body once more. Goldenpaw looked around. Everyone was looking at her. She looked down at her shaky paws, her breath still heavy.

“Did you dream?” Feathertuft asked warily.

“Y-yes,” Goldenpaw said. It had felt strange to talk again. She looked up. All the medicine cats had concerned yet excited looks on their faces.

“You did? We didn’t. What did StarClan say?” Speckleheart exclaimed, his voice hyper, as usual. 

“Oh, do-” Goldenpaw felt a sharp pain go through her entire body, cutting off her words. She collapsed on to the hard ground, her breath coming in short gasps.

“Goldenpaw!” her mentor yelled as she ran over to help her up.

“Ungh,” She groaned as she tried to stand up, but a fresh wave of pain hit her. Goldenpaw fell again.

“Find juniper!” she heard Feathertuft yell, though she sounded very distant.

Goldenpaw’s vision blurred as the pain kept stabbing her. She closed her eyes.

Goldenpaw.

Toxic?

Calm down.

Calm down? How can I calm down when there are claws in my head? She screamed.

You need to focus. Open your eyes and choose something to focus on.

Goldenpaw opened her eyes just slightly. There were juniper berries laying in front of her. “Goldenpaw?” Feathertuft asked. She tried to look up at her, but as soon as she did more pain shot through her. She slumped down again and closed her eyes.

I can’t do that.

Ok, well think about something.

What?

Think of the lake.

Alright. She pictured her favorite spot on the tree stump with the beautiful blue waves lapping at the shore. It had worked for a moment, but the pain was back once more. She screeched. This time, all the force was in her head.

She slowly opened her eyes.

“Goldenpaw you need to eat these,” Mistpetal was in front of her, nudging two juniper berries towards her. She leaned forward, trying her best to ignore the pain as she ate the berries.

Goldenpaw tried to keep her eyes open, but she couldn’t. She would have fallen asleep if she weren’t so afraid. The pains didn’t come back, but she thought they would.

She heard anxious meowing coming from around her and it made her worry even more.

I’m making everyone worry. This is all my fault. All my fault…

“Goldenpaw. Goldenpaw can you get up?” She blinked open her eyes. It was Palefur.

“I-I think,” she stuttered. Goldenpaw tried to stand up. She did, but her legs were shaky and she needed help from both Feathertuft and Speckleheart.

“Let’s get you back to camp as fast as possible,” the ThunderClan medicine cat said as they slowly made their way back to camp.



“Goldenpaw!” Wolfdawn raced from where she was guarding the camp, her grey fur shining silver in the moonlight. “What happened?” she questioned the medicine cats.

“Let me get her to my den first,” Feathertuft said quickly. Her and the ShadowClan medicine cat helped her to the medicine den. Speckleheart had agreed to help her back to camp, saying that if there were an injury, Nightcreek would take care of it.

Goldenpaw was practically asleep on her paws. She had fallen multiple times on the way and the pains only came back once, but it hadn’t lasted long.

“I’ll get Honeystar,” Wolfdawn mewed, racing off to the leader’s den. By now some of her clanmates had started to emerge from their dens, curious about all the commotion.

Goldenpaw stumbled into her den and collapsed into her nest.

“You can go back to ShadowClan now,”

“No, I’ll stay here and watch Goldenpaw until you tell Honeystar what happened,”

The fluffy apprentice heard them talking, but her mind was somewhere else; her dream. She had thought about it most of the way back, but now she could really contemplate what happened. The more she thought about it, the more she recognized the black and white cat.

She couldn’t sleep, no matter how much she tried. She worried too much about her dream, but she wouldn’t let anyone else. She opened her eyes slightly and saw the white and grey medicine cat sitting next to her, his attention towards the entrance of the den.

“Speckleheart?” she asked weakly. He jumped in surprise.

“Yes?”

“Tell the others that my dream-,” she cut off, pain hitting her again. She had to fight through it. “My dream was nothing to worry about, ok?”

“Alright,” he mewed giving her a couple of licks between her ears. Goldenpaw laid her head back down, happy that no one else had to worry. She would have slept, but voices outside wouldn’t let her.

“She’s just an extra mouth to feed!”

“Yeah, she’s not even a warrior!”

“She’s no use to the Clan!”

“Everyone! Quiet down! None of those things are true. She is a loyal member of ThunderClan and contributes to the Clan by being a medicine cat,”

The hollow broke into angry protests, but the loudest one came from Silkfur.

“I wish she was never born,”


Chapter 7

“Are you sure? What if you collapse again?” Feathertuft fretted.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” Feathertuft, Wolfdawn, and Honeystar had been the only three that had worried about her for the past few days, and Goldenpaw honestly felt really guilty that she was the one making them feel nervous. She didn’t even care that everyone else ignored her.

"Ok, but take someone with you!” her mentor called as Goldenpaw left the den.

“Goldenpaw!” She looked up to see Honeystar standing in front of her,  waving her tail in greeting. “Feeling better?”

“Uh, yeah,” she mewed, looking at her paws.

“Do you have time to talk?”

“I was just going to get some goldenrod,” Goldenpaw said. “But I need someone to come with me,”

“Do you mind if I come?” her leader asked. She shook her head as Honeystar turned towards the camp entrance.

“So, what exactly happened on the half-moon?” Honeystar questioned. “Feathertuft told me that you fell, but she didn’t know what else really happened,”

“Oh, I don’t know what caused it, but basically, it felt like I was hit by lightning,” Goldenpaw explained as they turned towards the WindClan border, “It was a sharp pain that started in my head every time, and it hit one after another. Almost every time it spread through my whole body, but the last time was only my head,”

“So you don’t know what caused it…” the ginger she-cat murmured after a moment hesitation, to no one in particular. She did that a lot, especially when she was deep in thought.

When they got close to the border, Goldenpaw paid more attention to her surroundings, searching for the bright yellow flowers.

“You know you’re not going to be left alone for a while, right?”

“Yeah,” she sighed. Goldenpaw hoped that she wouldn’t be left alone with anyone besides her mentor, although Honeystar wasn’t bad. 

“Here!” the grey apprentice exclaimed, pointing to a large patch of goldenrod. She grabbed most of the herb and handed half to Honeystar. “Thanks for helping,” Goldenpaw mewed shyly as they headed back to camp.

“No problem,” Honeystar said, her usual cheerful tone gone. Goldenpaw assumed that she was still thinking about what she had said.

After a long walk of silence, they made it back to camp and deposited the freshly picked herbs.

“I can sort these out if you like,” Goldenpaw mewed as soon as Honeystar had left.

“Sure! You can check the berries too,” Feathertuft agreed.

She walked back to their storage and started sorting. She loved the silence that was back there, and she almost jumped when she heard someone enter the den.

“Feathertuft, do you mind if I talk to you?”

“No, not at all!”

Goldenpaw heard them leave and turned back to the herbs. She sorted them without really thinking; her paws moving on their own. 

She was learning the herbs quickly. Perhaps it was because of her great memory or maybe it was simply because she liked learning. Whatever it was, very few cats had it.

“Wow! You’re doing great!” she remarked Feathertuft saying. “It took me forever to learn this many herbs!” Goldenpaw purred at the thought.

She finished sorting soon after and walked out of the den. The medicine cat apprentice eyed the fresh-kill pile.

Maybe just a vol-

“No!” She heard someone yell from the leader’s den. Her mentor bolted out of the den and ran towards the entrance.

“Feathertuft?” Goldenpaw asked as she ran to the medicine cat. “Are you alright?”

“Fine,” she mewed flatly as she walked through the entrance. Goldenpaw stared after her.

That’s not like her.

Great observation.

I wasn’t talking to you!

Toxic snorted, but she could tell he was amused.

Goldenpaw lingered at the entrance until she heard a voice come from behind her.

“Hey, Goldenpaw,”

She spun around to see Blazepaw and Pinepaw standing a tail-length or two away.

She stared at them, her shyness returning.

“Is she always this weird?” Pinepaw asked the other apprentice, snickering.

“You better believe it! She’s always been like this,” Blazepaw replied. “No wonder you became a medicine cat. You would never be able to lay a claw on any cat,”

Goldenpaw still didn’t talk, partially because she felt awkward, and partially because she knew he was right.

“What, can’t you talk?” Pinepaw questioned, stepping closer.

Ignore them. She told herself, turning towards her den.

What! Don’t you want to claw them? Don’t you want to tackle them? Don’t you want to do anything?

No that wouldn’t be right.

“Aw, look. Can’t handle it?”

“Yeah, turn tail and run, coward!”

Ignore them. She repeated, but each time she did, it became harder.

Come on, attack! Do something!

Inside, Goldenpaw wanted to, but she wouldn’t let herself.

They would beat you, don’t do it.

You can beat them. Do it!

“See, she’s just like her mother!”

Goldenpaw stopped dead in her tracks.

Yes, yes! Attack them!

“No,” she growled, not meaning to say it out loud. “No,” Goldenpaw repeated, but it was too late.

The last thing she remembered was Toxic’s laugh as everything faded away.

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