Flameflower gritted her teeth, snapping her stick in half.
"Push! Come on, you can do it!" the medicine cat, Featherheart, told her.
Flameflower cringed as the first kit, a ginger-yellow tom, slid out. She would have puffed her chest out in pride if it hadn't been for the fact that she was kitting. Before she could finish her thought, another kit slid out, a dark gray she-kit.
"One more, right?" the medicine cat apprentice, Waterpaw, asked.
"Yes," Featherheart told her, just as a brown she-kit slid out.
"You did it!" Flameflower's mate, Graynose, purred. "What will we name them?"
"Well," Flameflower replied. "I can't think of any. But the brown one is Mousekit, like the Clan leader, Mousestar."
Graynose wanted to cheer. He could name the kits!
"The gray one is Rainkit," he mewed, resting his tail on the gray she-kit's head. "And the ginger one is Lightningkit.
Flameflower smiled. "My kits will be perfect," she murmured as the kits suckled. "They'll be strong and wonderful."
"Come on, Rainkit!"
Rainkit opened her eyes. "What is it?" she asked. Then it hit her like Lightningkit when he was in one of his bouncy moods. "Oh yeah, we get to explore camp today!"
Mousekit bumped into her from behind and the two sisters rolled into a playfight. They rolled into the center of the camp and bumped into the fresh-kill pile.
"Hey!" Foxpaw, an apprentice, yelled at her.
"Sorry," Mousekit squeaked. Rainkit followed, afraid of getting in trouble.
Still fuming, Foxpaw walked back into the apprentices' den.
"What a meanie," Rainkit grumbled. She started to run around camp when she felt a paw on her back.
"Hey, Mousekit, what are you doing?" Rainkit yowled angrily.
"Who's Mousekit?" the cat holding her asked.
"You-you're not Mousekit?" Rainkit squeaked.
"Of course not!" the cat holding her roared. "I'm Johnifer!" Just then, he picked Rainkit up and carried her far, far away. Rainkit continued to call out for help, but it didn't work. No one came to her rescue.
When Johnifer stopped, Rainkit looked around. She wasn't in the forest. There was a weird black square thing and lots of other weird stuff? "Where am I?" she asked.
"It's okay," a ginger she-cat purred. "You're in a house now, Ashie. You're safe."
"Who's Ashie?" Rainkit asked.
"Looks like you got hit pretty hard if you don't remember me. I'm Rachel, your mother. And this is Johnifer, your father."
Rainkit blinked. She didn't know any of those words. "I'm Rainkit!" she yowled. "Not Ashie! Flameflower is my mother, and Graynose is my father! You're not my parents! I hate you!" Rainkit ran toward the opening and tried to get out, but it didn't work. Eventually, she gave up.
For six moons, Rainkit was inside the "house". One day, however, a miracle happened.
Rainkit was eating Twoleg slop when suddenly, there was a crash!
The Twoleg ran out to see what happened. Just then, Rainkit saw Flameflower! She was saying, "Get out, Rainkit!"
Quickly, Rainkit darted out and followed her mother back to camp. As they were walking, Flameflower explained what was happening while she was gone.
"As soon as you were gone, Foxpaw - he's Foxfrost now, you know - convinced us that you had ran away. Everyone believed him, but I didn't. I knew something was up. I asked around, and a kittypet told me that you had been kidnapped. I quickly ran to rescue you. The crash was your father. I'm glad you're safe. I was so worried! Now you're going to be an apprentice."
Rainkit squeaked. She still felt terrified from being kidnapped, but was relieved to come back to her clan.
"You're back!" Mousekit - Mousepaw now - yowled.
Rainkit grinned. Now that she was back, things would be back to normal. But what Rainkit didn't know was that not everything was quite the same.
Rainpaw walked to the middle of camp to touch noses with her new mentor, Snowheart.
"We're going to go on a tour of the territory, right?" Rainpaw asked.
Snowheart nodded. "You'll be a little behind because you spent so much time in the Twoleg nest, but you'll be fine."
Rainpaw and Snowheart walked out of camp, stepping carefully.
"This is RiverClan scent," Snowheart mewed as they were outside. "And that's - wait, RiverClan scent?"
"There's another strange scent here," Rainpaw mewed, flicking her tail toward a bush.
Snowheart walked over and sniffed. "You're right, Rainpaw," she mewed. "RiverClan and someone else have been in our territory!"
"Strange scent, you say," Mousestar murmured.
Snowheart nodded. "We were outside of our camp. It was very close to our camp and far away from the RiverClan border."
Mousestar frowned. "I will speak to them at the next Gathering," he muttered. "Those rotten fish-faces have no business in our camp."
Rainpaw almost gasped in shock. Her calm and peaceful leader was calling RiverClan fish-faces! This must be serious. And that strange scent, what was that about?
Rainpaw decided to visit Flameflower, her mother. Maybe she could find out about some things that happened while she was gone!
When Rainpaw arrived into the warriors' den, Flameflower was in there, sharing tongues with Graynose. She looked up when Rainpaw came in and looked at Rainpaw curiously. "What is it, dear?" she asked.
Rainpaw ssat down and explained about everything that had happened while she was out training. When she was finished, Flameflower frowned. "Well, looks like that argument was serious," she muttered.
"What argument?" Rainpaw asked.
Flameflower looked at Rainpaw. "Well, while you were gone, Mousestar had an argument with the RiverClan leader, Flamestar. I don't even remember what it was about, but Flamestar is known for having a fiery temper, and he must have been really mad to do something like this."
"So it was revenge?" Rainpaw asked.
"I don't know, dear." Flameflower murmured. "But my suspicion is that it was.
Rainpaw was shocked. She didn't understand how Flamestar could do this to another clan! Well, she wasn't going to stand by and let it happen. She was going to help.