Squirreltail.jpg

A/N - Sleepysky

Hi! This is a collab between me (Sleepysky) and Firewind0111! Please go check out their books, they're really interesting!

Firewind

Hi! As Sleepysky said, this is a collab between me (Firewind0111) and Sleepysky! Hope you enjoy Squirreltail's Darkness! P.S Please check out their books! - Blazing Fire and Racing Wind Firewind

Fans Sign Here!

Great story! So good! Happiness is like light. It always comes back.-Shininglight 21:02, 3 May 2021 (UTC)

This is a great story - I love it! It's got all the good elements of an amazing story! -

It doesn't matter if you don't succeed, what really matters is if you try your best, and if you keep on trying. So keep on trying! 00:02, 31 March 2021 (UTC)

This. Is. SO. Good. Can't wait to see now it turns out! -Neko <3

Hi, can I help write the book? It's really good so far- XxDeathstarYTxX [I think]

I. LOVE. THIS. Great job!!!- RavenStorm (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

THIS IS AMAZING I LOVE IT NEVER GIVE UP! - owoderu I CANT ITS TOO BEAUTIFUL! -Kitticupcake

Beetleclaw, Snowflight, and Barkshine haters! (Sign)

I mean, WHO KILLS THEIR MOM TO GET THEIR BROTHER KILLED? oh, wait, that would be Barkshine. Happiness is like light. It always comes back.-Shininglight 21:27, 3 May 2021 (UTC)

One of my evilest characters ever! - Blazing Fire and Racing Wind Firewind

Beetleclaw got to confident... And look how he ended up. Don't be like him, children - Sky

Ik @Sky! They seemed fun but then bullies! ARRRRRGGHHH!!! This is an attempt at being subtle, but believe me when I say that I am reasonably insane.

Other Collabs By Sky And Windy!

Brackenstar's Past - Brackenstar's book

Allegiances

ThunderClan

Leader: Brackenstar - Pale brown tabby tom

Deputy: Fernwind - Yellow she-cat with splotches of reddish fur.

Medicine Cat: Troutstem - Blue-gray she-cat with a stumpy tail.

Warriors:

Larkstrike - Pale brown tom with a nicked right ear.

Fringebelly - Cream tom with a white tail.

Cloudfrost - White she-cat with blue-gray paws and underbelly.

Pigeonfeather - Pale brown she-cat with black dapples.

Acornclaw - White tom with very sharp claws.

Dusklight - Pale yellow tom.

Thrushwing - Brown tabby tom.

Flowerstone - Beautiful silver she-cat with darker ripples.

Leafflight - Gray tom with white flecks.

Beechclaw - Dark brown tabby tom.

Apprentices:

N/A

Queens:

Skyfeather - White she-cat with gray splotches. (Mother of Squirrelkit, Barkkit, and Snowkit)

Mintshine - Black she-cat with multiple fresh scars. (Mother of Larkstrike's kits; Morningkit and Beetlekit)

Kits:

Squirrelkit - Russet-colored tom.

Barkkit - Dark brown she-kit.

Snowkit - Pure white tom.

Morningkit - Long-haired, dark brown she-kit.

Beetlekit - Gray tom with a brown tail tip.

Elders:

Tanglefoot - Black tom with a twisted back right leg and a left nicked ear.


RiverClan

Leader: Spottedstar - Ginger tom with black splotches.

Deputy: Halfshine - Cream tom with a black tail.

Medicine Cat: Nettleberry- Silver she-cat with long whiskers.

Warriors:

Lilybreeze - White she-cat with cream colored paws and tail tip.

Badgerstrike - Black-and-white tom with a huge scar on his left shoulder.

Littlefoot - Small brown tom with a long tail.

Apprentice, Briarpaw

Apprentices:

Briarpaw - Black-and-golden tom.

Queens:

Sunpetal - Silver she-cat with white paws. (Mother of Littlefoot's kits, Willowkit and Lotuskit)

Kits:

Willowkit - Shiny pale brown she-kit with white paws.

Lotuskit - Matted brown tom.

Elders:

N/A

WindClan

Leader: Ashstar - Ash gray she-cat with black spots.

Deputy: Eaglesight - Pale brown tom with a white underbelly.

Medicine Cat: Fawnwhisker - Pale brown, almost white, tom.

Apprentice, Leopardpaw

Warriors:

Grassfur - White tom with a black muzzle.

Apprentice, Dewpaw

Goldstorm - Golden tom with a black underbelly and tail.

Apprentices:

Leopardpaw - Golden-brown she-cat with a black tail tip.

Dewpaw - Red-brown she-cat with black ear tips.

Queens:

N/A

Kits:

N/A

Elders:

N/A

ShadowClan

Leader: Furzestar - Fluffy tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat.

Deputy: Stalkspring - Black she-cat with green eyes

Medicine Cat: Rippleface - Golden tom with darker ripples.

Apprentice, Reedpaw

Warriors:

Mistyclaw - Blue-gray tom with unusually long claws.

Whorlflower - Golden she-cat.

Featherwing - Pale gray tom.

Froststep - Long-haired frosty white tom with spiky fur.

Apprentices:

Reedpaw - Red-brown tom.

Queens:

Blackflame - Pitch black she-cat with red-brown flecks. (Expecting Froststep's kits)

Kits:

N/A

Elders:

N/A

Prologue Skyfeather's POV

Skyfeather winced in pained as the last kit was born.

The last kit was russet, like a squirrel's pelt.

"I'll name you Squirrelkit." Skyfeather mewed, licking the tom gently and putting him beside his littermates, Barkkit a dark brown kit, and Snowkit a pure white kit, who were suckling at Skyfeather's belly.

A young, long-haired dark brown she-kit bounced over to Skyfeather and her newly born kits, a huge smile on her face as she greeted them.

"Hi!" She paused, looking up at the queen, "They're so pretty!"

A smile appeared on Skyfeather's face as she replied,

"Why, thank you, Morningkit." She replied, "It means a lot to me."

Skyfeather glanced over the kit's shoulder, seeing another queen who was as dark as the night stare, somewhat intimidatingly, directly at her.

"Hm? Oh, that's Mintshine." Morningkit meowed, bouncing over to her and brushing against the rough, spiky fur of the black she-cat.

Skyfeather always thought that Mintshine was a little... off. She always kept to herself and was super protective of her kits, going as far as keeping them from their father.

She felt pity for their father, known as Larkstrike. All the poor tom wanted to do was visit his kin.

"I can't wait to play with your kits!" Morningkit mewed.

"Yes, I bet they'll like to play with you when they're a bit older." Skyfeather purred.


Chapter One

Squirrelkit opened his eyes, looking around at his surroundings.

The nursery was bright, sunlight slanting through the little gaps on the roof. Squirrelkit turned his head to see the fern draped entrance.

"Squirrelkit, I'm glad that you opened your eyes."

A soft and warm voice sounded behind him.

Squirrelkit turned to face a white she-cat with gray splotches

"I was getting a little worried, I must say." The white she-cat mumbled, shifting her gaze to the entrance.

The tom-kit was a little confused, to say the least. "By the way, I'm your mother, Skyfeather."

"Oh, okay!" Squirrelkit mewed.

Then, a small gasp came from the other side of the nursery.

Squirrelkit whipped his head towards the sound, spotting a dark brown, long-haired she-cat.

"Mintshine! Look!" She meowed to a dark she-cat with what seemed like fresh scars covered all over her body,

The black-furred cat slowly glanced over at the small tom.

To Squirrelkit, she looked a little scary.

Her emerald green eyes... And those scars...

"Sweetheart, don't be afraid of Mintshine. She isn't as intimidating as she looks." Skyfeather smiled sweetly.

"Yes, don't be afraid. I don't bite." The cat supposedly called Mintshine sighed.

Her voice was rough, and deep for a she-cat.

"Mintshine, can I go play with Squirrelkit? Please?" Morningkit pleaded, looking at Mintshine with big, pleading blue eyes.

Mintshine sighed. "All right. Be careful."

"Yes! Let's go, Squirrelkit!" Morningkit mewed, skipping out of the nursery and into the ThunderClan camp.

"Can I go with Morningkit, Skyfeather?" Squirrelkit asked.

"Sure. Just be careful." Skyfeather meowed, grooming Squirrelkit's fur.

Squirrelkit stepped out of the nursery after Skyfeather had finshed grooming him.

Squirrelkit gazed around the ThunderClan camp in awe.

It was a hollow with trees, ferns, and bracken surrounding it.

One cat caught the attention of Squirrelkit,

A cream colored tom with a white tail and glossy amber eyes.

"Hm? That's Fringebelly." Morningkit meowed, catching the attention of the warrior.

Squirrelkit hummed and glanced over at them,

They stared back in return.

Both of them stood still, staring at each other for a few minutes,

Until a gray tom tackled Squirrelkit.

He was bigger than the russet tom, maybe a mouse tail bigger.

"Beetlekit!" Morningkit mewed, somewhat annoyed.

The gray tom didn't even care,

He just kept Squirrelkit tackled while he squirmed.


Chapter Two

Morningkit was able to push the unknown kit off,

Swiftly taking Squirrelkit into a den that smelled sweet.

The tom glanced around, seeing that multiple plants and items were in the den.

"What brings you here, Morningkit?" A stern-faced blue-gray she-cat questioned,

She stood up from some plants and headed over to the kits.

"And who is this?" She asked, shifting her gaze to Squirrelkit.

"This is my friend, Squirrelkit!" Morningkit smiled,

Nudging the tom towards them.

The lily green eyes of the cat stared deep into Squirrelkit's eyes.

"We were just running away from Beetlekit." Morningkit explained.

Just then, a tiny head popped into the den.

"Squirrelkit, what are you doing in the medicine cat den? Let's play moss-ball!" mewed a snowy white kit.

Then the white kit scampered off to the clearing in front of the nursery.

"Who was that?" Squirrelkit asked Morningkit.

"Oh, that was your littermate, Snowkit!" Morningkit meowed.

"Should we go play moss-ball with them? And your littermate Beetlekit?" Squirrelkit meowed.

"Sure. Wait how did you know that Beetlekit is my littermate?" Morningkit mewed wide eyed.

"Well, first of all, he smelled like you, and second of all. I just thought you would have a littermate." Squirrelkit answered proudly.

"Wow, that's amazing!" Morningkit admired at Squirrelkit.

"Let's go, Morningkit!" Squirrelkit squeaked.

Morningkit and Squirrelkit padded over to the clearing where the other kits were playing.

"Let's play!" Morningkit exclaimed, bouncing up and down excitedly.

"Sure!" mewed Barkkit.

"I can't wait to play moss-ball!" Squirrelkit meowed, leaping onto the ball of moss in the clearing.

All the other kits except Morningkit who was chasing a leaf, seemed to pause.

Beetlekit broke the silence with his cold mew, "We don't want to play with a tiny runt like you!"

"Yeah, you're so tiny." Snowkit added, swiping his front paw and batting Squirrelkit with unsheathed claws.

"Hey, you were the one who invited me and Morningkit to play moss-ball!" Squirrelkit hissed, little drops of blood dripping down from where Snowkit had clawed Squirrelkit's ear.

"I never did that!" Snowkit protested.

Snowkit, Barkit, and Beetlekit snickered.

"Stop teasing Squirrelkit!" growled Morningkit, her neck fur bristling and hackles lifting.

"Fine then. You can play with the runt, Morningkit." Beetlekit sneered, "You're a runt too anyway."

Morningkit stormed away from the clearing and into the nursery.

"You will pay for this." Squirrelkit snarled and went to follow Morningkit into the nursery.

Chapter Three

r at Squirrelkit.

Skyfeather's ears perked up at his words as Beetlekit and Snowkit carried Barkkit to the medicine cat's den.

"She deserved it!" Squirrelkit spat, sinking his claws into the ground. "She teased me and Morningkit! I had to do something."

"I'll go talk to them in the medicine cat's den. You stay with Morningkit, Sweetheart." Skyfeather mewed, padding towards the medicine cat den.

"Larkstrike, did you have to throw off Squirrelkit like that? You could have hurt him seriously! You should have tried to stop the fight a different way!" Mintshine hissed at Larkstrike.

Chapter Four

Squirrelkit sighed,

Getting up onto his paws.

He glanced over at Morningkit,

Who had a scared expression on her face.

"Let's go play, Morningkit..." The tom sighed, still a little angry.

The she-kit nodded, leading him into a small, secure area.

It was surrounded by bramble bushes.

It was still inside the camp.

But no cat took notice of the kits.

"I bet you can't catch me!" Squirrelkit teased playfully, running away from Morningkit.

"I bet I can!" Morningkit replied, chasing Squirrelkit.


Moons passed, and pretty much every day was similar. Barkkit, Snowkit, and Beetlekit kept teasing Squirrelkit and Morningkit, and Squirrelkit and Morningkit tried to ignore them and played with each other.

Mintshine and Skyfeather kept telling Snowkit. Barkkit, and Beetlekit to stop the teasing, but whatever they did, they never stopped.

Skyfeather licked Squirrelkit's head, with soft, rhythmic strokes.

Squirrelkit had grown, with more broad shoulders and a bigger head.

Beside him was Morningkit, who was also being groomed by Mintshine.

"Skyfeather, I don't need to be groomed." Squirrelkit insisted, trying to squirm away from Skyfeather, but Skyfeather kept him still with her front paw.

"We need you to be perfect for the ceremony."

"Mintshine, aren't you going to groom me?" Beetlekit complained, his brown tail tip twitching impatiently.

"Not after what you did to Morningkit and Squirrelkit." Mintshine spat, keeping her eyes on Morningkit.

"All cats old enough to hunt for themselves, gather beneath the Highbranch!" Brackenstar called.

"We should go." Skyfeather mewed.

All the kits padded out and went to sit where the cats were gathered, Snowkit, Barkkit, Beetlekit with messy pelts.

Larkstrike came to sit beside Mintshine, but she hissed, "Go away!" and he left her.

When all the cats were settled, Brackenstar yowled, "Today, five kits will be made apprentices."

Morningkit glanced over at Squirrelkit, happily.

Squirrelkit smiled back, proud.

Chapter Five

"You five shall now be known as Squirrelpaw, Morningpaw, Barkpaw, Snowpaw and Beetlepaw."

Brackenstar announced.

Snowpaw, Barkpaw and Beetlepaw leaned over,

"Have fun being a medicine cat apprentice." Beetlepaw snickered,

Snowpaw and Barkpaw chuckling along with him.

"Squirrelpaw, your mentor shall be Fringebelly." Brackenstar meowed,

The cream tom with a white tail from his kit-hood stepped up.

He rested his forehead against Squirrelpaw's forehead.

While Squirrelpaw's new mentor did this,

Brackenstar shifted their gaze to Morningpaw.

"Morningpaw, your mentor shall be Pigeonfeather."

The pale brown she-cat came up to Morningpaw and they touched noses.

Larkstrike got Beetlepaw as apprentice, Cloudfrost got Snowpaw as apprentice, and Acornclaw got Barkpaw as apprentice.

"Squirrelpaw! Morningpaw! Beetlepaw! Snowpaw! Barkpaw!"

All the cats of ThunderClan cheered for the five new apprentices.

"Squirrelpaw, I will give you a tour of the territory." Fringebelly mewed.

"And we will come along as well." Larkstrike announced, Beetlepaw beside him.

"Okay." Fringebelly meowed, flicking his tail dismissively, unaware of the hostility between the two apprentices.

While the four cats trotted out of camp, Beetlepaw leaned over and teased Squirrelpaw's for minor things.

Squirrelpaw's tried his best to ignore the apprentice,

But he couldn't.

Every single word made Squirrelpaw more and more angry.

"Squirrelpaw, pay attention." Fringebelly hissed, resting his gaze on the russet apprentice.

"Yeah, pay attention." Beetlepaw sneered,

Squirrelpaw sighed and apologized to his mentor.

"I'm sorry, Fringebelly."

"We should be heading back to camp now that we've shown you the territory." Larkstrike mewed, glancing towards Squirrelpaw with a slightly angry expression.

"Yes we should." Fringebelly agreed.

While the four cats padded back to camp, Beetlepaw kept teasing Squirrelpaw quietly.

"Runtkit- Oh, you're Runtpaw now!"

"Shut up." Squirrelpaw muttered under his breath.

The four cats pushed pass the loose branches of the bramble lined entrance.

I was sunset, and cats were sharing tongues and prey.

"You two can eat some fresh-kill and go to sleep. Tomorrow will be a full day." Fringebelly told the apprentices.

The cats went to do their own separate things.

Squirrelpaw padded over to the fresh-kill pile.

Morningpaw was beside it, obviously waiting for Squirrelpaw.

"So, what should we eat?" Morningpaw asked, flicking her tail at the fresh-kill pile.

"Maybe we should each eat a plump mouse." Squirrelpaw suggested.

"Sure." Morningpaw agreed.

Squirrelpaw picked out a plump mouse,

Morningpaw doing the same.

As they were eating,

Snowpaw came over.

"Hey, runts." He hissed, Morningpaw flattening her ears.

"Why are you here?" Squirrelpaw sighed, flicking his tail violently.

Snowpaw smirked, picking out a huge hawk that one cat managed to catch.

"Where'd that come from?" Morningpaw asks, genuinely confused.

Snowpaw narrowed his eyes at the apprentices, "I caught it." He says, proudly.

"Fox-dung!" Squirrelpaw hissed, unsheathing his claws.

"Yeah! You were supposed to explore the territory. Not hunt!" The long-haired she-cat meowed,

Snowpaw shaking his head. "Cloudfrost let me hunt today. Mainly because she thinks I'll be leader one day! And you two... You two will be nothing but elders! Mouse-brained elders!"

Morningpaw hissed, "No! Quit it, mouse-brain!"

A white tom walked over to the three, his tail twitching.

"What's happening over here?" He asks, curious.

Squirrelkit chimed in, angrily, "Snowpaw keeps on insulting us and saying that we'll be nothing but elders!"

"Yeah! Tell him to quit it, Acornclaw!" Morningpaw narrowed her eyes at the white apprentice.

"Snowpaw- put that hawk down! You will not be eating that. We'll save it for Brackenstar and Fernwind. Besides, leave Dusklight's fresh-kill alone." Acornclaw ordered the apprentice,

Snowpaw sighed and put it back in the fresh-kill pile.

Snowpaw instead grabbed a vole and took it to eat it with Barkpaw and Beetlepaw.

"That fox-hearted excuse for a cat!" spat Squirrelpaw, sheathing and unsheathing his claws in frustration.

"Yeah all they do is teasing us." Morningpaw agreed.

They ate in silence, anger at Snowpaw, Beetlpaw, and Barkpaw overwhelming them.

They finished their fresh-kill and went to the apprentices den to sleep.

Unfortunately, Beetlepaw, Snowpaw, and Barkpaw were already in the den, snickering about something.

Barkpaw noticed that the two had entered,

An evil smirk appearing on her face.

"Hey, Runtpaw." The she-cat snickered,

Her claws unsheathing.

"Hey, fox-heart." Squirrelpaw responded, Morningpaw brushing against his shoulder.

"I think Troutstem wanted a visitor, didn't she?" Barkpaw asks Beetlepaw and Snowpaw, them agreeing.

Suddenly, Barkpaw leaped onto her littermate, catching both Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw off guard.

Barkpaw dug her claws deep into Squirrelpaw's skin while Snowpaw and Beetlepaw held Morningpaw back.

"Stop!" Squirrelpaw hissed, unsheathing his claws as he pinned Barkpaw to the ground.

He was fueled by fury, slashing Barkpaw's belly, and kicking her with his hind legs.

"I think Troutstem wanted you to visit her!" Squirrelpaw hissed, landing another blow on Barkpaw's face.

Barkpaw gasped out of pain,

Morningpaw begging Squirrelpaw to stop.

But it was too late.

Squirrelpaw was determined to kill the she-cat at this point.

The tom left a scratch on Barkpaw's right eye,

The apprentice yowled out of pain,

A few warriors rushing over.

"Squirrelpaw!" Dusklight yelled as Cloudfrost pushed him off his littermate.

Barkpaw coughed violently, some crimson blood landing on the soft grass.

"Care to explain what happened?" Dusklight hissed as Snowpaw and Beetlepaw let go of Morningpaw.

Cloudfrost shot Squirrelpaw a look before helping Barkpaw limp to the medicine cat's den,

"She was attacking me!" The tom meowed, "I only did it in self-defense!"

Dusklight rolled his eyes, "That's fox-dung! Barkpaw is sweet and respectful!"

Morningpaw barged into the conversation, "No! Dusklight, please! Squirrelpaw's telling the truth!"

The warrior glanced over at Morningpaw, his tail flicking violently.

"You're going to defend him?!" He hissed, "This is outrageous!"

Snowpaw and Beetlepaw sneak out of the den, going StarClan knows where.

Chapter Six

"So, Squirrelpaw, Barkpaw attacked you, and you did it out of self-defense?" Brackenstar asked.

Squirrelpaw was in the leader's den,

But he wasn't very nervous.

He didn't have anything to lose except Morningpaw, Skyfeather, and Mintshine.

"Yes. Barkpaw attacked me. This is her second time." Squirrelpaw replied.

Brackenstar hummed before glancing over to the entrance of his den.

His fiery amber eyes scanned the outside before responding to the apprentice, "I shall have a word with her. If she continues this, she shall be exiled from ThunderClan."

Squirrelpaw nodded, shifting his tail so it rests in front of his paws.

"You are dismissed." Brackenstar stood, padding past the tom and to the medicine cat's den.

Squirrelpaw stood also, trotting outside.

He went over to the apprentice's den, to which Snowpaw, Beetlepaw and Morningpaw were already fast asleep.

Squirrelpaw sat next to his she-cat friend,

Hatred of the rest of the apprentices filling his mind.

Chapter Seven

"Squirrelpaw, wake up!" a voice called.

Squirrelpaw instantly opened his eyes to see who it was.

It was Morningpaw, who was already awake.

"What?" Squirrelpaw asked drowsily.

"Our mentors said that we can go and practice hunting and even maybe catch some prey!" Morningpaw answered, grooming her pelt for the day.

"Really? Oh, wow! that's great!" Squirrelpaw exclaimed.

Squirrelpaw didn't bother to groom himself; he was too excited to bother.

"Well, c'mon!" Morningpaw stood, trotting out of the den.

Squirrelpaw swiftly followed her,

"I bet that I'll catch more prey than you!" Morningpaw mewed, flinging her tail towards the tom.

Squirrelpaw smirked, "No! I'll catch more prey!"

Pigeonfeather and Fringebelly were mewing about something in front of the bramble entrance.

"Are you ready to go?" Pigeonfeather asked.

"Yes!" the two apprentices bounded towards the forest, following their mentors.

Squirrelpaw was glad that there was no Snowpaw, Beetlepaw, or Barkpaw to tease them, and they could smell the refreshing scents of the forest.

"So this is the place where we'll be practicing hunting today!" Fringebelly mewed, angling his ears towards the fern surrounded clearing.

Morningpaw bounced over to the area, her tail high as can be. It waved from side to side, as if it were a leaf blowing through the wind.

"Morningpaw, you're probably scaring away the prey..." Pigeonfeather sighed, trotting over to her apprentice.

Squirrelpaw padded over to his friend, crouching low to the ground.

"That's right, Squirrelpaw." Fringebelly mewed, "That's how you do it."

Suddenly, a mouse came over to chew on a blade of grass.

Morningpaw quickly dropped down, low to the ground.

Squirrelpaw got ready to pounce, his tail flicking impatiently,

The mouse too focused on the grass.

Before he could pounce, however, a red-brown apprentice caught the prey.

"Hey!" Pigeonfeather hissed, catching the attention of them,

"Go hunt in your own territory!" The warrior continued.

"Shut it, feather-brain!" They replied, "Brackenstar gave WindClan permission to hunt in ThunderClan's territory!"

Fringebelly intervened, "Fox-dung! ThunderClan hardly has enough prey for it's cats!"

Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw stood, confused on the situation.

"Morningpaw, Squirrelpaw, go get Brackenstar." Pigeonfeather ordered.

Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw nodded and raced to the ThunderClan camp.

When they burst through the bramble entrance, Brackenstar was eating some fresh-kill.

"Brackenstar! Brackenstar!" Squirrelpaw mewed urgently.

"What is it?" Brackenstar asked, his hackles lifting and neck fur bristling.

"A WindClan apprentice stole our prey!" Morningpaw told him. "Pigeonfeather told us to come and get you."

"Let's go." Brackenstar meowed, then raced out of camp.

Squirrelpaw and Morningpaw followed, surprised at Brackenstar's speed.

When they arrived, Fringebelly was pinning the apprentice to the grassy flooring.

"Brackenstar!" Pigeonfeather purred, "Is it true that you gave this apprentice permission to hunt in our territory?"

Brackenstar shook his head, "I did no such thing." The WindClan apprentice perked up,

"Yes, you did!" They protested, "Ashstar told us that you gave her permission for her clan to hunt in your territory!"

Fringebelly got off the mysterious cat, them immediately springing onto their feet.

"Ashstar has lied to you." Brackenstar responded, calmly, "Leave our prey alone from now on."

"Dewpaw?" A white warrior that reeked of WindClan's scent called out.

"Grassfur!" the WindClan apprentice, apparently called Dewpaw called out, relieved.

Squirrelpaw noticed a large, white tom pad his way over,

His neon green eyes glanced at the apprentice, then at the ThunderClan cats.

"Is this your apprentice?" Brackenstar asks the warrior, to which they nod,

"Yes. Dewpaw is my apprentice." The WindClan warrior, so-called Grassfur, meowed.

"I'm sorry if she caused any troubles to you or your warriors..." He paused and shifted his gaze to Squirrelpaw and Morningpaw, "And apprentices... She's... Going through a hard time."

Fringebelly hissed, "We don't care. Take her and leave."

Morningpaw leaned over to Squirrelpaw, "Do you know what's happening? Because I sure don't..."

Squirrelpaw shook his head.

"Let's get back to camp with the prey that the WindClan apprentice left. It was ours!" Fringebelly mewed.

Chapter Eight

The five cats arrived at camp.

Brackenstar went back to his den.

"You two can clean the elders for ticks. I'm sure they can tell you an interesting story." Pigeonfeather told the apprentices.

Squirrelpaw and Morningpaw scampered across camp to the medicine cat den where Troutstem was sorting some herbs.

"Hi, Troutstem!" Morningpaw greeted, as happy as ever.

"Why, hello, Morningpaw." The medicine cat replied.

"Have you ever thought about having an apprentice?" Squirrelpaw chimes in, Troutstem sighing.

"I had an apprentice in the past, but they have joined StarClan." The she-cat flattened her ears,

Morningpaw's ears flattened as well, "I'm sorry."

Squirrelpaw couldn't help but to feel pity for the old she-cat.

"You two have better things to do than talk to an old cat like me. Go on and take care of the elders or something like that." Troutstem sighed, going back to sorting some herbs.

Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw nodded, padding out of the den.

As they did this, a she-cat with a swollen belly entered the nursery.

"Hm? What's wrong with Flowerstone's belly?" Morningpaw asks, confused.

"Flowerstone? Who's that?" Squirrelpaw questions, disregarding his friend's question.

"She's a new warrior in ThunderClan. She only joined a few moons ago." The dark brown she-cat answers, Squirrelpaw humming.

The ice-blue eyed apprentice took a glance over at the elder's den,

"I really don't want to pick fleas off of Tanglefoot..." She purred, "Let's go by the river separating us and RiverClan."

Squirrelpaw flicked his tail, nodding.

Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw trekked towards the border.

The forest was filled with life; mouse nibbling at seeds, birds chirping from the branches above.

”What are we going to do when we get in trouble for not helping Tanglefoot with his tick issues?” Squirrelpaw asked, kicking at a loose stone.

“I’m already in enough trouble from attacking Barkpaw twice.” he added.

”We say that we wanted to hunt, and we bring the prey we’ll catch after exploring the river. Plus, maybe Snowpaw, Barkpaw, and Beetlepaw will have to take out the ticks!” Morningpaw mewed, a hint of mischief in her icy blue eyes.

”Okay.” Squirrelpaw finally agreed.

After a moment of silence and admiring the ice blue river, Morningpaw spoke up,

"You know, I always thought of RiverClan as a flea-pelt fox-dung smelling mouse-brain clan, but I met one tom that changed my opinion on it."

Squirrelpaw's ears perked up, multiple questions running through his mind.

"Who was that tom?" The russet apprentice asks, Morningpaw glancing over at him, "He's a warrior called Badgerstrike."

The she-cat paused, "He is such a nice cat. He's loyal... Kind... Brave..."

Squirrelpaw flattened his ears, "It seems like you're in love with him."

"What?!" Morningpaw flicked her tail, "No! He's just a friend!"

Squirrelpaw hummed, not believing her one bit.

"Hey!" An unknown voice yelled to the apprentices,

"This is RiverClan territory!"

It was a black and white tom with a huge scar across his shoulder.

"Badgerstrike!" Morningpaw gasped.

"Morningpaw, please get out of here, before others come. RiverClan is on edge and I don't want you two to get hurt." Badgerstrike mewed, flicking his tail at the bushes behind him.

Morningpaw was frozen in awe at the handsome RiverClan tom.

Squirrelpaw grabbed Morningpaw's scruff and ran towards the forest.

Squirrelpaw set Morningpaw down when they were in ThunderClan territory.

"Hey! what was that for?" Morningpaw asked.

"Badgerstrike said that others were coming and you were frozen! So I had to bring you back here!" Squirrelpaw meowed.

"You could have just told me!" Morningpaw snapped.

"If it wasn't for your forbbiden love, none of this would have happened! Besides, I think Badgerstrike just likes you as a friend!" Squirrelpaw snapped.

Morningpaw's expression fell, becoming sadder.

"I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean all that, it was just that, from when I first saw you, I-I fell in love. I like you, Morningpaw, more than just friends." Squirrelpaw stuttered.

Morningpaw stumbled back, shocked at what the tom said to her.

The she-cat opened her mouth to reply,

But before she could, Troutstem dashed by them while carrying a variety of herbs.

From poppy seeds, to a single stick.

"Morningpaw! Squirrelpaw! Stop dawdling and get to the nursery!" The medicine cat hissed, "I need you two to calm Flowerstone while I help her give birth."

Morningpaw stood there, frozen.

She eventually nodded, her and Squirrelpaw trotting to the nursery while Troutstem raced over.

When they entered, Squirrelpaw saw it.

Flowerstone yowled out of pain while Troutstem did everything she could to help her.

"What do we do?" Morningpaw asked, finally coming into the nursery.

"Get Flowerstone to bite this stick!" Troutstem ordered.

Squirrelpaw grabbed the stick that lay on the ground and gave it to Flowerstone.

Flowerstone grunted and bit the stick.

The queen let out a screech and bit into the stick so hard that it splintered.

Flowerstone eased and a small wet body slipped out.

It yowled for its mother.

"A beautiful she-kit!" Troutstem told Flowerstone.

Troutstem licked the tiny kit and put it by Flowerstone's belly.

The kit suckled.

Flowerstone purred, then another spasm took her.

The stick splintered again and more easily, another tiny kit came out.

It too mewled and was licked by Troutstem then put next to the first kit.

Another kit slipped out.

"Squirrelpaw, you can lick this one." Troutstem said, giving the mewing little kit to Squirrelpaw.

Squirrelpaw licked the kit the way Skyfeather had licked him when he was a kit.

Then he put it gently with the other kits.

That kit I licked is a runt, born last from the litter. It might get teased.

"Two she-kits and a tom! All born healthy! Congratulations, Flowerstone!" Troutstem said.

"I'll go. If you need anything tell me." Troutstem left the nursery.

Chapter Nine

"What'll you name them, Flowerstone?" Morningpaw asks the queen,

The she-cat took a moment, staring at her newborn kits.

"I'll name the tom... Longkit." She nudged her nose against the cream tom.

"What about the other two?" Squirrelpaw chimed in, genuinely curious.

"The pale gray, almost white, she-cat will be named Whitekit." Flowerstone continued. That's when it clicked. Whitekit is the runt of the litter.

Squirrelpaw flattened his ears as the queen named the last one. Ravenkit.

"Squirrelpaw, Morningpaw, it's best if you leave Flowerstone alone with her kits." Thrushwing, who had gone looking for the apprentices, mewed.

"Okay.." Morningpaw trotted out of the den, alongside Squirrelpaw.

It was a moment of awkward silence, until Squirrelpaw spoke up.

"Do you... Feel the same?" He asks, Morningpaw glancing over at him, "Oh- uh... What?"

Squirrelpaw sighs, "I confessed that I love you... Do you feel the same?"

"I-I-Yes, I love you too." Morningpaw stammered.

Squirrelpaw purred happily.

"So... are we going to be mates when we're warriors?" Squirrelpaw asked.

"I guess." Morningpaw answered.

The tom was on cloud nine.

He happily walked alongside Morningpaw, curling his tail around her.

Once again, it was a moment of silence.

This time, Morningpaw spoke up, "Want to go hunting with me?"

Squirrelpaw nodded, leading her out of camp.

The apprentices walked far out into the forest.

They started a small conversation, but little did they know, a cat was with them.

"Okay... Fawnwhisker wanted what herbs again?" A voice meowed, catching the ThunderClan apprentices off guard.

"Must be a medicine cat apprentice. Leave them be, they're allowed to be on rival clan's territories, searching for herbs." Squirrelpaw told Morningpaw.

She nodded and headed towards Sandy Hollow, her future mate following behind her.

Chapter Ten

"The cats who will go to the Gathering tonight are: me, Fernwind, Pigeonfeather, Fringebelly, Larkstrike, Cloudfrost, Acornclaw, Leafflight, Beechclaw, Dusklight, Troutstem, Squirrelpaw, Barkpaw, Morningpaw, Beetlepaw, and Snowpaw." Brackenstar announced.

"Yes! We're going to the Gathering!" Moriningpaw bounced up and down excitedly.

"That's great! Wait-ugh, Barkpaw, Beetlepaw, and Snowpaw are going to come too." Squirrelpaw meowed.

"Ew..." Morningpaw scoffed, her tail flicking.

The she-cat sighed, dismissing herself from the meeting.

Squirrelpaw sighed, following her.

It was sunset, and it was beginning to get dark.

"All the cats who are going to the Gathering, meet me in front of the bramble entrance!" Brackenstar yowled.

Squirrelpaw and Morningpaw, who were grooming their fur, heaved a sigh and went to line up.

And of course, Barkpaw, Snowpaw, and Beetlepaw were there too.

"Hope you don't fall into the lake while crossing the tree-bridge, runts." Snowpaw smirked.

"Seriously?" Morningpaw asks, "Have you not learned from Barkpaw over here?"

Her tail flicked to the dark brown apprentice, who was covered in cobwebs.

"Squirrelpaw attack us again or else he might be exiled." Snowpaw taunted.

Squirrelpaw snarled menacingly.

Snowpaw, Barkpaw, and Beetlepaw just laughed.

"You think we'll intimidated by that?" Beetlepaw teased.

The cats began to file out of the entrance.

The three apprentices shut up.

"Let's go somewhere else in the line." Morningpaw whispered to Squirrelpaw.

The tom nodded, trotting to the end,

Behind Larkstrike.

Squirrelpaw and Morningpaw had always hated Larkstrike.

Larkstrike had saved Barkpaw from Squirrelpaw's attack, took Beetlepaw's side on anything, and always looked at Squirrrelpaw with a disgusted face.

And Morningpaw hated Larkstrike for hating Squirrelpaw.

The two apprentices started toward the Gathering stiffly.

"These cats need to accept us." Morningpaw leaned over to her kit-hood friend,

The tom nodded in agreement as they kept talking until they made it to the island, after crossing the tree bridge.

Squirrelpaw glanced around while Morningpaw darted from him,

Getting lost in the sea of cats.

Brackenstar went over to the other leaders,

Beginning a conversation with them.

Squirrelpaw sneaked through some cats,

Them growling and rolling their eyes in annoyance.

"Everyone, settle down." A ginger tom with black splotches meowed,

Every cat listening to him.

"Why, thank you, Spottedstar." A fluffy tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat chimed in,

"Now, who'd like to share their clan's well-being first?"

"ThunderClan shall go first, Furzestar." Brackenstar, the only cat who Squirrelpaw recognized, meowed.

The leader stood tall, on his branch.

"StarClan has blessed our clan with multiple surprises." He began,

"We have five new apprentices; Squirrelpaw, Morningpaw, Beetlepaw, Snowpaw and Barkpaw."

The other cats chanted their names, Beetlepaw stalking towards Squirrelpaw without his acknowledgment.

"Our new queen, Flowerstone, also gave birth to three kits; Two she-kits and a single tom. She named them Longkit, Whitekit and Ravenkit."

All the cats cheered.

"That is all ThunderClan has to say." Brackenstar finished.

"WindClan shall go next." A gray she-cat stood.

As she rambled, Beetlepaw leapt onto Squirrelpaw,

Biting his neck as hard as he could, drawing blood.

"Beetlepaw!" Fernwind stood, dashing over to the apprentices.

Before Fernwind could break up the fight, Squirrelpaw flipped onto his back, Beetlepaw losing his grip.

Beetlepaw landed blows on Squirrelpaw's belly.

It stung.

Squirrrelpaw fell limp, pretending to be defeated.

Beetlepaw smirked, pawing at Squirrelpaw's limbs.

"Quit it, you two." Spottedstar intervened,

Beetlepaw snarled.

"Yes, quit it." Brackenstar yowled from his branch on the Great Oak.

"Fine..." Beetlepaw hissed, storming away.

Fernwind nudged Squirrelpaw with her nose, "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." Squirrelpaw mewed.

The Gathering went on.

Squirrelpaw was sitting next to Morningpaw.

Squirrelpaw felt comforted by Morningpaw's presence, sturdy, loyal, and so kind.

Squirrelpaw was only focusing on Morningpaw during the rest of the Gathering.

Chapter Eleven

When ThunderClan arrived back at the camp, Squirrelpaw was so drowsy that Morningpaw was practically taking Squirrelpaw with his scruff.

"Sleep well." Squirrelpaw heard Morningpaw's kind voice as she set him down on his nest in the Apprentices' Den.

That was the last thing Squirrelpaw heard as he fell into a deep sleep.

Squirrelpaw woke the next morning to a bright sun filtering through the canopy of trees and soft snoring.

Squirrelpaw was the only one awake on the peaceful morning.

He made his way though the Apprentices' Den, trying not to wake up his denmates.

Squirrelpaw was greeted by a warm breeze carrying tantalizing scents of prey.

"Ah, hello, Squirrelpaw!" Pigeonfeather purred, carrying a piece of fresh-kill with her.

"Do you mind picking off Tanglefoot's ticks while we wait for the others to wake up?" The she-cat requests, setting down the plump vole she was carrying.

"Yes, I don't mind." Squirrelpaw answered.

Squirrelpaw was a little disappointed because he was hoping to hunt and bring back some fresh-kill to the fresh-kill pile.

But Squirrelpaw knew better than to complain.

"Thanks!" Pigeonfeather called.

Squirrelpaw got some mouse bile from Troutstem.

Squirrelpaw padded across the camp, to the elder's den.

Tanglefoot was sleeping, snoring.

Squirrelpaw gently shook Tanglefoot with his front paw.

"W-What?" Tanglefoot woke up, sitting up with a confused look on his face.

"Pigeonfeather asked me to pick out your ticks." Squirrelpaw answered.

"Oh, then. I have one just on my flank." Tanglefoot purred, showing where it was to Squirrelpaw.

"Okay." Squirrelpaw nodded and rubbed the mouse bile on Tanglefoot's flank with his front paw.

A giant tick fell out from where Squirrelpaw had rubbed the mouse bile.

"There, all done." The apprentice meowed,

Tanglefoot purred in joy.

"Thank you, Squirrelpaw." The elder thanked, "You have no idea how much that overwhelms me with relief."

The tom nodded as a certain dark brown, long-haired she-cat came in.

"Ah, Morningpaw." Tanglefoot purred as Squirrelpaw turned his head towards the she-cat.

"Hi, Tanglefoot!" Morningpaw mewed cheerfully,

Squirrelpaw padding over to the apprentice.

"You two should go and train." The elder advised, "You don't want to become warriors late, do you?"

Morningpaw shook her head, indicating that she wanted to become a warrior on time.

"Well then, go to your mentors. I'm sure they have something planned for you." The black tom meowed as both Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw left the den.

The sunlight shined straight into Squirrelpaw's golden yellow eyes, making them water.

"Squirrelpaw, Morningpaw." Squirrelpaw's mentor, Fringebelly, called them over.

"Yes?" Squirrelpaw ran over to Fringebelly, Morningpaw at his heels.

"We should hunt." Fringebelly answered.

"Yes!" Morningpaw meowed.

"Yes, Morningpaw, you're coming too." Pigeonfeather said, stalking towards them.

"Let's go!" Squirrelpaw mewed, jumping up and down.

He was so excited!

He would be able to hunt for his Clan and save them from starvation one day!

"Woah, slow down there! You don't want to use all of your energy there!" Fringebelly teased playfully.

"Okay!" Squirrelpaw said, still bundling his energy to use.

The four cats padded through the bramble lined entrance.

Squirrelpaw glanced at the forest's scenery,

Admiring how beautiful it was.

Pigeonfeather let out a soft growl,

Catching his attention.

The warrior flung her head over to Fringebelly and Morningpaw,

Who had wandered off without him.

He quickly caught up to them,

While Pigeonfeather slowly followed.

Eventually, they arrived at a grassy area with multiple prey.

The four ThunderClan members crouched low to the ground,

Squirrelpaw's eyes fixed on a small mouse.

Squirrelpaw crept up on it, careful not to break a twig.

When he finally could pounce, he leaped at the mouse and quickly swiped across its throat.

The mouse fell limp and motionless.

"I thank StarClan for this piece of fresh-kill." Squirrelpaw recited the words Fringebelly had taught him.

"Great catch!" Morningpaw cheered, her face full of joy.

"Yes, great catch indeed." Fringebelly complimented, prideful.

"Thanks. It was only just my luck." Squirrelpaw blushed.

"Well, well, well. I see that Runtpaw has finally managed to catch a scrawny piece of prey." Snowpaw taunted as he slipped out of the bushes.

"Where's Cloudfrost?" Morningpaw snarled.

"This is not my first catch!" Squirrelpaw retorted, digging his claws into the earth.

"Try telling that to the WindClan apprentice that stole our prey." The white tom hissed, his ears flattening against his head.

"Hush!" Morningpaw hushed him, flicking her tail rather violently.

Chapter Twelve

It had been moons since that incident with Snowpaw,

And it was time that Morningpaw and Squirrelpaw became warriors,

Along with his siblings and Morningpaw's brother.

Currently, they were in front of High-branch,

Awaiting for their warrior ceremonies to begin.

Brackenstar took a while, but it eventually started.

"Today, five apprentices will become warriors, and three kits will become apprentices."

Morningpaw lifted her head high,

Squirrelpaw doing the same.

"We shall begin with the apprentices' ceremonies. Squirrelpaw, Morningpaw, I have received word from mentors that you are prepared to become warriors."

Brackenstar paused, "Along with Beetlepaw, Snowpaw and Barkpaw."

Squirrelpaw glanced over to his kit-hood friend,

Happiness shining in his eyes.

"From this moment on, Squirrelpaw and Morningpaw shall now be known as Squirreltail and Morningfall."

Brackenstar announced,

Morningpaw, now Morningfall, looking over at the russet tom with happiness.

"Beetlepaw, Snowpaw and Barkpaw." The tom leader shifted his gaze to the three apprentices.

Something was shining in his eyes,

But Squirreltail couldn't quite tell what it was.

"You three shall be known as Beetleclaw, Snowflight, and Barkshine." the leader finished.

"Squirreltail! Morningfall! Beetleclaw, Snowflight! Barkshine!" the cats of ThunderClan cheered.

"And also, Longkit, Ravenkit, and Whitekit, step forward." Brackenstar continued.

"From now on until you three become warriors, you will be known as Longpaw, Ravenpaw, and Whitepaw. Leafflight, you are a loyal warrior. You will mentor Longpaw. And Squirretail, you have proven to be a brave cat, despite the teasing. You will mentor Whitepaw. Morningfall, you have shown the even warriors can be caring. You will mentor Ravenpaw." Brackenstar meowed.

"Longpaw! Whitepaw! Ravenpaw!" the cats of ThunderClan cheered once more.

"The new warriors will sit vigil tonight! This Clan meeting is now dismissed!" Brackenstar yowled from the high branch.

The cats began to disprise, finding something else to do.

"Wow! I can't believe that we became warriors!" Squirreltail mewed excitedly.

"Oh, yeah, congratulations on becoming Runttail!" Beetleclaw sneered, exaggerating the tail part.

"And you becoming Runtfall!" Barkshine added.

"I can't believe that our once tiny runt littermates finally became warriors!" Snowflight mocked them in a fake motherly voice.

"Quit it!" Mintshine appeared from behind Squirreltail.

"Yes, I can't believe I'm a mother to cruel warriors who taunt their littermates!" Skyfeather agreed, appearing from beside Mintshine and lashing her tail in anger.

"Hey, you don't love us. Only Morningfall and Squirreltail!" Snowflight accused the mothers.

"Only BECAUSE you three are cruel, mean, and teasing to your littermates!" Mintshine flared.

"And Squirreltail and Morningfall are VERY lovable, unlike you three!" Skyfeather raged.

"Oh fine." Beetleclaw spat, and the trio ran off to hunt.

"Thanks for saving us." Morningfall meowed gratefully.

"No problem." Skyfeather answered softly.

"Those fox-hearted mouse-brains!" Mintshine spat in absolute disgust.

"Yeah, they have nothing to do but tease us!" Squirreltail agreed.

"I challenge Squirreltail to a battle!" a call rang through the camp.

Squirreltail whipped his head around to see Beetleclaw.

"All cat who can catch their own prey gather around the challenge circle!" Brackenstar yowled.

As all the cats gathered, Brackenstar mewed,"Beetleclaw has challenged Squirreltail to a battle. As the traditions say Beetleclaw and Squirrelatil will fight until one of them yells yield or dies."

Squirreltail nodded grimly.

Morningfall blocked Squirreltail's path, tears glimmering in her eyes.

"No, Morningfall. Please, I need to fight Beetleclaw! Remember how many times he tease us?" Squirreltail pleaded, tears starting to form in his eyes too.

"C'mon, Squirreltail!" Beetleclaw taunts, arching his back as he flexes his paws.

Squirreltail's eyes fell to the ground as Morningfall stepped closer,

Beginning to rub against him.

"Too scared to fight me?" The gray tom asks, flicking his tail as he crouches low to the ground.

" No, I'm coming right here!" Squirreltail let out a sudden screech and leaped at Beetleclaw.

Beetleclaw's eyes widened.

Beetleclaw dodged to another side, just enough to avoid Squirretail's attack.

Squirreltail hissed in annoyance and landed softly on the ground.

Beetleclaw reared up and charged at Squirreltail at full speed.

Squirretail crouched, ready to jump.

As Beetleclaw launched at him, paws flying, Squirretail was ready.

Squirreltail leaped on top of Beetleclaw's shoulders and sunk his front claws in them.

Beetleclaw screeched in pain, shaking himself violently.

At first Squirreltail tried to hold on to Beetleclaw's fur.

Then, as the shaking got more stronger, Squirreltail decided that it wasn't worth it and launched off of Beetleclaw's shoulders.

Beetleclaw's shoulders were bleeding heavily.

Squirreltail's opponent was covered in blood.

The two enemies circled around the Challenge Circle, slowly.

They were like two hungry wolves, ready to eat each other.

Beetleclaw suddenly burst out of the pattern and ran towards Squirreltail.

Squirretail was caught on surprise at this attack, and he didn't get a chance to dodge.

Beetleclaw slammed into Squirreltail's side, and Squirreltail fell over on his back by the heavy impact.

Beetleclaw started to claw Squirreltail's belly.

Wounds opened and Squirreltail winced slightly, but Squirreltail didn't care about the pain.

Squirreltail wasn't even afraid of dying here, right on the spot.

True, Morningfall, Skyfeather, and Mintshine were great friends to him, but if it was the destiny StarClan had chosen for him, he didn't care.

But Squirreltail wouldn't be defeated without a fight.

Squirreltail lifted his hind legs and kicked the tom away,

Who collapsed onto the floor.

Beetleclaw hopped up,

Squirreltail waiting for his next attack.

He glanced over at Morningfall for a quick second,

The poor she-cat had her ears flattened against her head.

The russet tom immediately jumped onto his paws,

As Beetleclaw rushed over to him.

Squirreltail dodged the attack,

Beetleclaw landing on his face.

The new warrior hopped onto the gray tom's back,

Clawing and biting all over him.

The others watched anxiously,

Morningfall especially.

Squirreltail jumped down from Beetleclaw's back.

And he charged back at Beetleclaw, making the gray warrior lose his balance.

Beetleclaw toppled over onto his back, Squirreltail pinning him down.

Beetleclaw kicked furiously, trying to escape, but it was no use.

Squirreltail mewed, "Goodbye, Beetleclaw. I won't miss you." and slashed open Beetleclaw's throat.

Beetleclaw gurgled for a few heartbeats and then went still.

"I declare Squirretail as the winner! He will get to pick first off the fresh-kill pile. Great job, Squirreltail!" Brackenstar yowled.

"Squirreltail! Squirreltail! Squirreltail!" almost all the cats of ThunderClan cheered, except Dusklight and Slateclaw, who always were a Beetleclaw fan.

"Thank you!" Squirreltail meowed, full of happiness and joy.

Morningfall approached him. "I'm so grateful that you're alive!" she mewed, tears of happiness rolling down her cheeks.

"So. We can become mates now! So are we going to have kits?" Squirreltail mewed, the last sentence he said sadly.

"Yes, we will become mates, but I can see the trouble in your eyes about kits." Morningfall meowed gently.

"It's just that we have this great bond together, and maybe the kits might break our joy in someway. We might fight, and Morningfall, you'd have to give more attention to the kits! I know it's super selfish to think that way, but I just feel like that!" Squirreltail spilled out all the worries he'd had a few moons before becoming a warrior.

The dark brown she-cat hummed, understanding his troubles.

"It'll all be alright, Squirreltail," Morningfall reassured, "I'm sure we won't end up like Mintshine and Larkstrike, if we decide to have them. But we won't if you want."

Squirreltail started purring,

The tom beginning to rub against his mate.

"Yes, I think I'll like that, having no kits."

Tanglefoot hobbled over to Beetleclaw's deceased body,

Dragging it out of ThunderClan's camp.

Chapter Thirteen

"So this is the hunting crouch." Squirreltail demonstrated.

Squirreltail, Morningfall, Whitepaw, and Ravenpaw were out hunting.

Whitepaw crouched low,

As well as Ravenpaw.

"Doing good, you two!" Morningfall whispered,

Ravenpaw arching her back.

"I smell vole!" Whitepaw told Squirreltail.

"Great job! Now try to find it and catch it!" Squirreltail praised.

Whitepaw nodded, and started stalking toward a bramble bush.

A small vole skittered out of it.

Whitepaw slowly followed the small vole.

As the vole got close enough, Whitepaw leaped, and quickly nipped the vole's throat.

The vole squealed, and fell limp.

"Yes! My first catch!" Whitepaw exclaimed, pouncing on a leaf nearby.

"I wish I caught one too." Ravenpaw mewed, disappointed.

"It's okay. I'm sure you'll catch a piece of fresh-kill today!" Morningfall encouraged the apprentice.

"Okay." Ravenpaw sighed, searching for another piece of prey.

Squirreltail turned his head around to find some prey too.

Suddenly, a scuttling sound caught Squirreltail's attention.

It was a mouse!

The mouse was nibbling at some seeds on a root of a tree.

"There!" Squirreltail hissed softly to Ravenpaw.

Ravenpaw spotted the mouse too, nodded and began stalking the mouse.

Ravenpaw creeped closer.

She accidentally stepped on a twig that snapped.

The mouse lifted its head and began racing towards its burrow.

Ravenpaw raced after it, determined to catch the mouse.

As the mouse leaped into its burrow, Ravenpaw had its flanks clawed.

The mouse froze, squirming around Ravenpaw's grip.

Ravenpaw kept on tight on the mouse and hauled it out its burrow.

The mouse was dead by now, limp in Ravenpaw's jaws.

"Yes! I caught a mouse!" Ravenpaw cheered, racing around the clearing in excitement.

"Congratulations!" Morningfall congratulated her apprentice.

"It was nothing really." Ravenpaw blushed.

"No, really, you two did great!" Squirreltail complimented as well.

"Can we go back to camp? I'm getting hungry." Whitepaw mewed.

"Silly, warriors are supposed to endure hunger!" Ravenpaw meowed playfully.

"Of course. We're all getting hungry." Squirreltail purred.

It's so good, watching littermates getting along so well.

Even the runt is happy.

I wish I could have gotten along with all the other kits as well. Squirreltail thought.

The four cats padded along in silence, each thinking about different things, good and bad.

I wonder if Snowflight and Barkshine are planning something.

Something bad.

Chapter Fourteen

The four cats arrived back at camp, put their fresh-kill on the fresh-kill pile, and they each went to do want they wanted for the day.

Squirreltail went out for a walk in the wonderful forest.

Squirreltail pondered about his thoughts earlier in the day about Snowflight and Barkshine planning bad things.

It was likely true.

It was a quarter moon since Beetleclaw had died, and Snowflight and Barkshine still teased Squirreltail and Morningfall.

But they also kept together every chance they got, whispering quietly to each other so no one else can hear.

Every time Snowflight and Barkshine teased Squirreltail and his mate,

He became enraged.

He'd become more hostile,

More protective of Morningfall,

More violent.

But, he knew that he couldn't land a paw on them,

Or he'll be exiled from ThunderClan.

Everything was as normal as it could be,

Morningfall and Squirreltail training their apprentices together,

Snowflight and Barkshine teasing the two,

There was nothing out of the ordinary.

But, one sun-high...

Squirreltail had enough of his littermates.

He was furious.

No matter how much Squirreltail warned them to quit it,

They still did it.

The thoughts came from nowhere,

A plan to make them quit it forever,

Murder them.

He didn't care about the consequences at the moment,

As long as Snowflight and Barkshine learned to respect their littermate.

Squirreltail would creep up on them when they were on one of their 'walks' and kill them both.

It was that simple.

Then the whole Clan would be much better without them.

He would do anything to protect Skyfeather, Mintshine, and Morningfall.

He didn't care if he got exiled from ThunderClan or died, as long as they were all safe.

The next day, Squirreltail woke up to the dawn light, its pure beauty shining his surroundings.

Squirreltail padded out of the Warriors' Den and stepped out into the ThunderClan camp.

That moment, it was the worst of his entire life.

Two bodies were sprawled across the camp, limp and lifeless.

One was a she-cat with gray splotches and the other was another she-cat with a black pelt and multiple scars.

It was Skyfeather and Mintshine.

Two of the three cats who loved him were dead, gone and watching him in StarClan.

"No! Skyfeather! Mintshine! Please still be there! Please tell me you're still alive!" Squirreltail yowled in grief, resting his nose against the two lifeless bodies he loved.

Multiple cats, including Morningfall woke up to Squirreltail's yowl.

"What is the runt crying about this time?" Snowflight yawned,

Storming out of the den with Barkshine and Morningfall by his side.

Squirreltail hissed, flinging his head towards the warriors.

Morningfall caught a glimpse of the bodies, her ears flattening, "What happened to Skyfeather and Mintshine?" She asks, scared.

"Snowflight and Barkshine killed them both!" The russet tom hissed, blaming those two while tears streamed down his face.

Barkshine hissed at her littermate, "That's fox-dung! You killed them and tried to frame us for their deaths!" Snowflight nodded, flicking his tail violently.

"I'll make sure that Brackenstar knows the truth!" Squirreltail yowled, more cats swarming out of dens to see what was the commotion.

"Please, will he believe us or a killer runt?" Snowflight chirped in, Morningfall about to yell at them.

"Quit it, you two! Squirreltail did no such thing! He would never kill one of his own clanmates!"

Barkshine snapped at the long-haired she-cat, "He killed Beetleclaw! He did kill one of his clanmates, mouse-brain!"

"That is the tradition." A voice intruded, which belonged to Brackenstar. "We shall investigate the case between these two she-cats, and the culprit will be punished by death."

Squirreltail nodded, "I have every right to believe that it was Snowflight and Barkshine, Brackenstar."

Brackenstar's ears perked up, "Oh? Well then, explain why you believe that those two are the culprits."

"Yes, Brackenstar. First of all, they both were always whispering something after Beetleclaw's death. It could have been them planning this. Second of all, they made me and Morningfall more mad by still teasing us." Squirreltail finished.

"Okay. I will think about that." Brackenstar answered.

"That's all you got?" Snowflight yowled tauntingly.

"Yeah, did the little runts cry because of the teasing?" Barkshine added.

"Enough! Both of you, teasing your Clanmates aren't honorable things to do." Brackenstar meowed coldly.

Whitepaw, his apprentice who was rubbing her fur against his, scared.

"Is being the runt that bad?" Whitepaw asked, shivering.

Squirreltail sighs and glances down at his apprentice, "No, it isn't, really. It's just some mouse-brains that make it seem bad..."

He replies, Morningfall stalking over.

"Yes, being the runt isn't that bad, it just seems like it now because of those two fox-hearts." Morningfall agreed.

Squirreltail had another reason for Barkshine and Snowflight killing Skyfeather and Mintshine.

"Brackenstar! I have another reason!" Squirreltail yowled.

All eyes were looking at him.

"What is it?" Brackenstar inquired.

"The third reason is that Skyfeather and Mintshine loved us and didn't love them because they teased us!" Squirreltail exclaimed.

Shocked gasps and murmurs rippled across the camp.

"I will hear the reasons Barkshine and Snowflight have to give us about why you two think that Squirreltail is guilty." Brackenstar meowed.

"Okay." Snowflight mewed confidently.

"First of all, Squirreltail hated us, so he wanted to make it seem like we killed Skyfeather and Mintshine." Barkshine meowed.

"And second of all... we don't have any more reasons." Snowflight mewed.

The pale brown leader hummed,

Swinging his head towards Squirreltail.

"I will think about it." He meowed, "In the meantime, I shall have Fernwind and Troutstem keep an eye on you three."

The littermates nod,

Squirreltail becoming anxious.

He knew that he didn't commit this crime,

But he was worried anyways.

Fernwind trotted up to Squirreltail,

Her tail flicking rather violently.

"Don't you dare think of putting a whisker wrong." Fernwind told the three littermates.

Troutstem stood by Squirreltail.

Troutstem had always known that Squirreltail wasn't evil.

She knew that he didn't kill them.

Squirreltail felt rather comforted by Troutstem's presence.

The cats of ThunderClan dipresed and did their own things.

At sunset, Brackenstar came out of his den.

Does he think I'm the murderer?

Squirreltail couldn't tell, Brackenstar's face seemed blank.

Morningfall stalked her way over to Squirreltail,

Her ears flattened against her head.

Squirreltail glanced over,

His tail tucked between his legs.

Brackenstar raked his gaze around the camp, then suddenly, he moved.

Brackenstar sunk his two front paws into Snowflight and Barkshine's chests.

The two cats fell over, blood gushing out from their chests.

"I declare Snowflight and Barkshine as the culprits!" Brackenstar yowled, everycat except Larkstrike and Dusklight cheering.

Snowflight and Barkshine had fallen limp, now dead.

"I think Beetleclaw, Snowflight, and Barksine went to The Dark Forest, don't you think? They wouldn't deserve going to StarClan." Squirreltail muttered to Morningfall.

Morningfall nodded.

Epilogue

Moons passed, and Squirreltail and Morningfall became mates.

They were both honorable warriors and were loyal to their Clan.

Squirreltail and Morningfall were watching the sunset on a hill.

The sky was turning orange, purple, and pink.

It was beautiful, and yet it felt like something's end.

Larkstrike had been exiled for attempting murderer on Brackenstar.

The last rays of sun warmed the two cats' pelts.

"We will be loyal to our Clan, no matter what happens. We will protect ThunderClan with every last breath. ThunderClan is our home and we will try our best protect it."

Morningfall and Squirreltail meowed their oath.

Soon, the sun had finally set.

StarClan warriors were appearing above, them, watching them and keeping them safe.

"I love you." Squirreltail purred to Morningfall.

"I love you too." Morningfall purred back.

The End

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