All was quiet. All was peaceful. It was a beautiful day. And, two kits were chasing each other. "I'll catch you!"
A gray-and-white she-kit hared away from a brown-and-white tom-kit. "Get back here!"
They both stopped in their tracks when a gray she-cat came over to them. "You know very well not to go near the river when the sky is cloudy. It can be dangerous."
Just then, lightning split the sky and a huge wave came towards them. The she-cat picked up her kits and ran, to no avail, only to be picked up by the foam-spitting wave.
Chapter One - Memory
Just recently, when the storm wave had crashed, a blue-gray she-cat had been depressed to find her best friend and kits dead. "Lakeheart!"
Lakeheart turned around to see a white tom. It was her mate. "Yes,Cloudnose?"
"I was just thinking... Maybe we could go hunting?"
Lakeheart just shook her head and turned around. She sat on a warm rock, but inside, she thought, It won't warm my heart, and got up. Just then, she saw a gray figure with fur plastered to her sides coming over to the camp. "Hopecloud?"
The she-cat looked up at Lakeheart, and cried out in joy. Cloudnose looked on unhappily. Lakeheart felt bad that she had been ignoring him, but she was sick of spending most of her time with toms. "We all thought you were dead!"
Hopecloud shook her head, then her eyes darkened. "But my kits are."
"I'm so sorry!"
Lakeheart nuzzled her, but Hopecloud shoved her aside with a shoulder. "I don't need comforting."
Lakeheart looked at her in confusion. Wasn't she sad? Or was she just grief-stricken? I'll let her get over it, decided Lakeheart. She padded up to Cloudnose. "Fine, we can go hunting."
"Since your best friend won't hang out with you," muttered Cloudnose.
But that day, their luck was big. They caught a trout, a carp, a few minnows, and a stray mouse. They brought their load back and dropped it on the pile. "Great StarClan!"
Lakeheart jumped as a voice came behind her. She calmed down when she saw it was just Hopecloud. "Ready to hang out again?"
Hopecloud nodded, but she still looked unsure. But that day, they had more fun then they could imagine. They went out swimming. Lakeheart's paws churned beneath her, and the water rippled around them as they stirred up debris and scared away minnows. But there would be more prey. And they would have a feast that night because of her prey! Once they got back, the leader called, "Feast time!"
Hopecloud and Lakeheart settled to share a fat water vole. But just as Hopecloud finished a sentence, she heard Cloudnose talking to her leader. "You need to make me deputy. Please, Reedstar!"
Reedstar shook her head. "Not when Minnowwing hasn't died or become leader yet."
Cloudnose scowled. "What's wrong?"
Lakeheart looked at Hopecloud. "Oh, nothing."
Chapter Two - Ambitions Cause Terror
Lakeheart padded to her den, underneath the twinkling stars. She curled up next to Hopecloud, who was already sleeping. Lakeheart smelled the familiar smell of bracken, and the cats sleeping beside her. "Lakeheart?"
Hopecloud had winked open an eye. Lakeheart had taken a walk, so obviously, Hopecloud hadn't known she was there. "Oh, hello, Hopecloud."
Hopecloud closed the eye again, as if she had no strength to reply. Lakeheart closed her eyes, and let herself drift off into the mist of sleep.
A loud snarl made Lakeheart jolt to her paws. Is there an invasion? She carefully slid out of her nest and out of the camp through the dirtplace tunnel. She followed the noises. She eventually could make out it wasn't an invasion, as it was two cats fighting each other, or just hissing and snarling. She picked up a scent trail and followed it, as it was just past moonhigh, there was no light. "Just step down."
She came to two cats, she could see their shapes outlined against the forest, but there was a white pelt, it shone against the black. The other was silver, so she could barely see it. "I'd never let my Clan down for you. You'd make a horrible leader."
Lakeheart almost gasped as she realized the cats were Cloudnose and Minnowwing. She had been suspicious, because Cloudnose had been arguing with Reedstar that evening. "Your not fit to fight. Your in a state of panic, Minnowwing. I could easily win a fight. You know, if we had to." He smirked.
Minnowwing's eyes looked wild and frantic. Cloudnose's looked just plain mad, as if he had gone mad a with ambition. But this kind of ambition wasn't good. "If I weren't good enough, why would Reedstar pick me as deputy?"
Cloudnose snarled, "Her mind is clouded."
As the distant dawn light started to show, Lakeheart could see that Minnowwing was backed against a tree, and Cloudnose was cornering her, a huge grin on his face. Lakeheart couldn't stop herself as she leaped out. "Cloudnose!"
The white tom blinked and looked at her, panic showing in his eyes for a second, but it flashed away so quickly. "So, you saw our little argument," Cloudnose sneered.
"If you do anything to her, I'll tell Reedstar," snarled Lakeheart.
"Please, help me," Minnowwing wailed.
Lakeheart nodded, she would be getting to that soon. She slowly advanced towards him in a threatening way. Cloudnose didn't back away, though their eyes were locked. "I honestly thought you were loyal. I thought you were my mate," snarled Lakeheart.
"Sometimes you have to give up a few things to get what you want," snarled Cloudnose.
Cloudnose and Lakeheart unsheathed their claws, and Lakeheart bunched her muscles and leaped at him.
Chapter Three - A Tough Clawing
Cloudnose met her in midair, slashing his claws across her throat. She fell to the ground, panting. "No, Lakeheart!"
Minnowwing dashed over, but Cloudnose blocked her way. "To save her, you have to get through me."
Minnowwing unsheathed her powerful claws, and kicked him into the air. His head smashed into a tree, knocking him out. "Lakeheart! Are you okay?"
There was no reply. Minnowwing shook her, feelings of dread going through her body. Let's get her back to camp, and fast! Before Cloudnose wakes up! She raced across the riverbank, dragging Lakeheart behind her. She burst into camp. "Lakeheart is injured!"
Cats rushed out of their dens, a commotion of questions going up. "Wavesplash!"
Wavesplash, the medicine cat. took Lakeheart by the scruff and dragged her to the medicine cats' den. "I'll explain what happened. And this is all true. I was guarding the camp, then something hit my head and knocked me out. The next thing I know, I'm in a dark clearing, with Cloudnose standing over me. He corners me, and I don't know how long we were fighting, until Lakeheart jumped out of the bushes and challenged Cloudnose. She leaped at him, but Cloudnose slashed her in the throat. I knocked him out, and brought Lakeheart here."
Gasps rose from the clearing. "He could never do that!"
A light gray she-cat weaved her way through. "He's my brother. I know him. He would never do such a thing."
But then Reedstar examined the bruises and cuts on Minnowwing's battered body. "It looks legit, Stormpelt."
Minnowwing suddenly noticed how much she hurt. The pain overwhelmed her and she collapsed. Cats rushed over to her, and the last thing she saw before black was faces and moving mouths.
Where am I? Am I dead?
She was beside a sleeping, or dead, Lakeheart, and she sighed in relief as she saw the walls of the medicine den. "Your awake."
Wavesplash sat in front of her. "Is Lakeheart okay?"
Wavesplash sighed. "It's in the paws of StarClan now. I've done all I could."
Minnowwing felt a sadness swamp over her. What if Lakeheart had given her life for me? She deserved to live more then I did. "Is she alive right now?"
Wavesplash nodded. Minnowwing sighed in relief. "Anyway, you passed out back there. Are you okay?"
"I think so. Other then that my head hurts."
Minnowwing curled back up into a tight ball, and fell into sleep. One question was on her mind: Will Lakeheart be okay?
Chapter Four - A Life, or a Death?
A cat stirred. "Lakeheart?"
Her whisper was faint. "Lakeheart?"
She hissed louder. Was the cat stirring? Minnowwing couldn't make it out in the dark. A quiet voice answered her, "Don't bother Lakeheart."
Minnowwing sighed. Was Lakeheart even alive? She had been there for two days straight now. Minowwing had been able to move back to her den, but she had come to visit Lakeheart so much. "Minnowwing? What are you doing in here?"
A shadow stood behind her. "Nothing, Hopecloud. Just visiting."
Hopecloud padded to her side. "I didn't know you were her friend."
Minnowwing purred, "I don't know if I am either."
Minnowwing detected movement. A cat's head slowly stirred. "Uh... Who is it? Where am I?"
Both the she-cats cried out in joy. They ran over, bombing her with questions. "Are you okay?"
"Did you think you were dead?"
The medicine cat stepped in. "Give her some space."
The she-cats stepped back, eyes shining. "Lakeheart. Your awake."
Had the medicine cat known all along? Why were they keeping it from the Clan? Questions buzzed in Minnowwing's mind. But the medicine cat had seemed so calm, and knowing. Hopecloud looked suspicious too. This was a mystery yet to be solved. "I'm so glad she's okay," Hopecloud whispered.
Minnowwing nodded. "She was a worthy cat."
Lakeheart purred. Minnowwing felt joy rush over her, yet again. She never knew how this would've felt. "I'm seriously glad, Lakeheart. You don't even know.."
Minnowwing felt herself give in to joy, and she started purring so loudly. Hopecloud joined in, as these two she-cats really cared. Their medicine cat looked at them with happy eyes. "Leave now, you two. She must rest."
"I don't need to!" Lakeheart protested.