|The Forming of Lakeclan Series|
|Preceded by: |
Days of Dirt
|Sunlight||Succeded by: |
The following story is rated Moderate.
Lakeclan has finally escaped the suffocating underground tunnels and made it back to the surface. But in their absence, things have changed. There are new, strange cats settling around the lake, some hostile and some passive. But as Lakeclan tries to adapt, they may find two of their warriors in mortal danger.
Mistwind-light gray she-cat
Cloudsky-gray she-cat with a white left paw
Streakfur-white she-cat with gray tabby markings
Snowtail- white she-cat
Grassfur-dark gray tom with white underbelly and tip of tail
Sunnyheart- yellow she-cat with orange spots
Pebblesplash- gray tom
Wavestream- blueish gray tom
Fireflame-reddish she-cat with an orange tail, ears, paws, and underbelly
Redfur- reddish tom
Softsky- calico she-cat
Icepaw- white she-cat
Robinpaw- gray tom with reddish belly and he is blind
Hiddenpaw- black she-cat
Airpaw- ornage tom with brown stripe going down his back
Speckledpaw- white she-cat with gray speckles.
Bracken - brown tabby tom
Moon - white she-cat
Ice - black and white tom
Snake - black and white tom
Walter - brown tabby tom
Snow - white she-cat
Amber - golden she-kit
Icicle - gray she-cat with a white marking on her forehead
Sniff - gray tom
A white cat raced through the forest. Her pelt rippled, and she leaped over a fallen tree gracefully. Her green eyes shined with fear, and her white pelt flashed in gaps between the trees. She was only a blur in the forest, racing by, only leaving a trail of dust behind. She breathed heavily and raced toward the heart of forest.
The white she-cat raced into camp. Many cats looked up to stare at her. She panted heavily, her flanks heaving. "What is it?" a brown tabby cat raced to her side.
"New cats...emerged from the ground...many..." Suddenly the white she-cat fainted.
"Help her!" a white and gray she-cat screeched. The brown tabby cat dragged the white she-cat into his den.
"I saw a group of cats emerge from underneath the ground. They streamed out as if they were eager to be here. I think they've been here before." the white she-cat stood on a rock while the other cats listened to her intently. "There were so many...more than our numbers. They all looked a bit weak and sick. I think they've been living under the lake for many moons!"
"What? Impossible!" one cat protested.
"No, it's all true!" The white she-cat said. The brown tabby came forward.
"We must all be wary of these cats. Soon we will decide if it is war or peace." The brown tabby's voice rumbled above all the others. The other cats nodded in agreement.
"I know you will make a wise choice Bracken," The white she-cat dipped her head in respect.
"I hope so." Bracken mumbled. "Our lives could depend on it."
"Don't worry. It'll all turn up all right." The white she-cat whispered in his ear. Then she slipped off into the shadows of the night.
"Airwind!" Streakfur squealed. She rushed forward and shoved her nose in his fur.
"Oh Streakfur..." Airwind breathed in her scent.
"Dad!" Speckledpaw ran forward with Airpaw and Hiddenpaw following.
"My kits!' Airwind gasped. "But where's Rabbitkit?..."
Hiddenpaw's eyes cast downward. "She's dead." Hiddenpaw whispered.
"Wh-what?" Airwind stammered.
"I'll explain later." Hiddenpaw mumbled.
Airwind shook his head sadly. "Lakewater, I have some friends i'd like you to meet." Airwind said. He stepped back and two cats, a white tom and a gray she-cat stepped forward. The tom had a huge scar down his shoulder, and many smaller scars scattered on his fur. The she-cat only had a few little scars, but you could tell the hardships they'd been through.
"This is Snowflake and Hope." Airwind touched his tail to each one. "They should receive great honor, for they helped me escape from the lake." The clan cats stared for a minute, but then broke out into cheers.
"Snowflake! Hope!' they cheered. Snowflake and Hope shuffled their paws in embarrassment.
"We really didn't do that much." Hope said.
"Are you kidding?! You did everything!" Airwind blurted out.
"Nah, you helped too." Snowflake said.
"I'm just glad you're all here." Lakewater purred. The clan cats clustered around Airwind, demanding the whole story.
"Well, right after I shoved the rock over the tunnel, I was sure I was destined to die..." Airwind began.
"All cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here for a clan meeting!" Lakewater shouted from the top of the tree. Right after Airwind had finished his story, the clan had rushed back to the island, eager to get back home. "I have several announcements to make. Firstly, I belive that Hope and Snowflake should become permant members of the clan." Lakewater called out in his loud voice. The clan murmered in agreement. "Hope, Snowflake, do you accept?" Lakewater looked at them.
Hope and Snowflake shared a glance. Then Hope stepped forward. "We do." She said loudly.
"Then from now on you will be known as Snowflake and Hopedream." Lakewater called out. "Snowflake! Hopedream!" The clan cheered as the called out their names. Lakewater lifted his tail for silence. Also, I believe three apprentices have shown their loyalty and skills by helping Lakeclan in it's hardest times. Airpaw, Speckledpaw, Hiddenpaw, step forward."
Hiddenpaw looked baffled, Airpaw looked proud, and Speckledpaw looked overjoyed. Slowly, they each gathered their wits and walked up. "I Lakewater, leader of Lakeclan, call upon our ancestors to look down on these apprentices. They have trained hard to learn the ways of your noble code, and have proved their loyalty. I commend them to you as warriors in their turn. Airpaw, Hiddenpaw, Speckledpaw, do you promise to follow the code protect and defend your clan at all costs?" Lakewater's voice filled the clearing.
"I d-d-o." Hiddenpaw stammered.
"I do!" Airpaw almost shouted it.
"I do." Speckledpaw kept a straight voice and held her head high.
"Then by the powers of Waterclan, I give you all your warrior names. Airpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Airflight. Waterclan honors your loyalty, courage, and perseverance, and we welcome you as a full warrior of Lakeclan. Hiddenpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Hiddenshadow. Waterclan honors your bravery, kindness and honesty, and we welcome you as a full warrior of Lakeclan. Speckledpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Speckledcloud. Waterclan honors your kindness, understanding and gentleness, and we welcome you as a full warrior of Lakeclan." Lakewater's voice was loud and clear.
"Airflight! Hiddenshadow! Speckledcloud!" The clan shouted.
Hiddenshadow was overjoyed, but felt a little sad. Rabbitkit should have been in this ceremony...I think she should have been Rabbitleap. Hiddenpaw thought wistfully.
"I'm so proud of you." Hiddenshadow heard her dad purring next to her.
"I love you dad." Hiddenshadow purred and rubbed fur with him. Soon the whole clan was crowding around them, congratulating them.
"As you know, Hiddenshadow, Airflight and Speckledcloud will hunt by moonlight, and at moonhigh return to guard the camp. While hunting they may talk, but once they come back to guard camp they cannot talk." Lakewater said. Airflight, Hiddenshadow and Speckledcloud nodded. This was to be the biggest night of their lives! "And lastly, I'd like to have a feast in celebration of freedom from the tunnels. Grassfur, Snowtail, Streakfur, Mudpelt, Fireflame, Airwind, Mistwind and Icepaw go hunting. Bring back as much food as you can! Hiddenshadow, Speckledcloud, Airflight, Redfur, Wavestream, Pebblesplash, Sunnyheart, Robinpaw and I will stay at camp to make the camp look like it's brand new! Now go of to your duties." Lakewater said.
Half the clan rushed out to hunt, and half the clan stayed behind. "Now Redfur, Wavestream and Sunnyheart, I want you to go gather as much moss as possible!" Lakewater said. They nodded at dashed out of camp. "The rest of us will remake the dens. Hiddenshadow, you do the nursery. Airflight, you do the apprentices den. Speckledcloud and Pebblesplash do the warriors den. I'll do the elder's den and my den." They all rushed off into the dens to clear out the dust and make new nests.
Hiddenshadow tore into a mouse fiercely. It tasted so good! The fresh kill pile was brimming to the top. Everyone was back exept Grassfur and Snowtail. Hiddenshadow figured they were having their "alone" time. Robinpaw was chasing Icepaw around the clearing. They'll be warriors soon. Hiddenshadow thought. Robinpaw, although blind, could find his way around perfectly. Hiddenshadow marveled at his skill. Today is the best day of my life! Hiddenshadow thought as she took another bite of her mouse.
"ACK!" Snowtail screeched as a white she-cat pounced on her. "GRASSFUR, WATCH OUT!" she shrieked. Too late. Grassfur was pinned down by a large brown tabby.
"What do you want with us?!" Snowtail screeched.
"This is our territory! We will defend it with our lives!" The white she-cat hissed.
"Who are you, and where do you come from?" Snowtail demanded.
"I'm..er..." the white she-cat stammered.
"Tell me!" Snowtail hissed menacingly.
"I don't have to tell you who I am!" She growled.
"Tell me or else!" Snowtail screamed.
"Ok, ok, I'm Moon!" She hissed. "Happy now?" Snowtail kicked Moon off of her.
"I'M COMING GRASSFUR!" Snowtail howled as she charged toward the brown tabby. Before she could reach Grassfur, Moon pounced on her again. Grassfur managed to get the brown tabby off of him, and then the Moon off of Snowtail. Both raised their fur and hissed, extending their claws.
"We own the lake!" Grassfur hissed. "So move out, or leave us alone." The cats realized they were beaten.
"Fine. We'll have peace with you. I'm sure you can share the prey." The brown tabby sighed. Grassfur's fur began to go back down.
"You promise you will share prey with us and NOT attack us anymore?" Grassfur asked.
"Yes." the brown tabby said.
"But Bracken this is our-" Moon began.
"No Moon, it was never ours to begin with. It was theirs the whole time." Bracken sighed. Moon looked ready to protest again, but Bracken raised his tail for silence. "Let's go." he said.
"And don't bother us any more!" Snowtail yelled after them.
"Let's collect our prey and get back to camp." Grassfur said.
"Right." Snowtail layed her fur back down. Then they headed toward camp.
"Robinwing! Icefur!" The clan cheered as Robinwing and Icefur, previously Robinpaw and Icepaw, stood up on the high tree. Icefur held her head high and Robinwing smiled. As they trotted to their new den happily, Snowtail and Grassfur came crashing in.
"Lakewater, we need to talk." Grassfur said. Lakewater nodded and slipped into his den, Grassfur and Snowtail following.
"What's the matter?" Lakewater sat down in his nest.
"While hunting, two cats attacked us. they live in the moors and seem to have claimed the territory. We had a fight, but agreed to share the territory and prey. Their names were Bracken and Moon. I thought you'd like to know about this." Grassfur said. Lakewater looked up thoughtfully.
After a few minutes he said. "Thank you Grassfur, you may leave." Grassfur nodded he and Snowtail left.
"Mistwind, Cloudsky, I need you to come with me." Lakewater said.
Mistwind tipped her head curiously. "Where are we going?"
"I'll tell you on the way there." Lakewater said.
Cloudsky came bounding out of her den, and quickly called back, "Softsky, you're in charge while I'm gone!"
"Ok, lets go." Lakewater said, and then they left camp.
"So you see, there are cats that have formed a small group in the moors. They claimed our territory while we were under the lake." Lakewater said.
Mistwind growled. "I'd like to see them try to take our territory."
"Mistwind, I think that since we have so much territory, it wouldn't hurt to share it with these cats." Lakewater said.
Mistwind grumbled, "What would we give them?"
"I was thinking they could have the moor and half the forest." Lakewater said. "It has always been hard to go around the whole lake to get there."
Cloudsky nodded. "It sounds like a sensible plan." she said.
"I just hope they agree." Lakewater said.
Suddenly a white she-cat stepped in front of them. "What do you want here?" she growled.
"We want to talk to your leader." Lakewater said calmly, showing no fear.
"Fine." the white she-cat turned and crawled down a slope. Lakewater followed her, watching other cats look up from their prey at him. He was lead into a small cave.
"Braken, we have some visitors." the white she-cat mumbled.
"Thank you Moon." he nodded and motioned her to go out.
"And why have you come?" Braken asked, turning his head toward Lakewater.
"I am Lakewater, leader of Lakeclan. This is my deputy Mistwind and my medicine cat Cloudsky." Lakewater said.
Braken looked confused, but shook his head and continued. "You still haven't answered my question." he said.
"I am here to make a truce with your...group." Lakewater began. "You may hunt in the moor and half the forest . We will have the pine forest, half the forest, and the river area. I know that means we have more territory, but my clan is bigger and needs more prey."
Braken looked on thoughtfully. "It's a deal." he said.
Lakewater nodded. "Then so long for now." he said, and walked out of the camp.
Hiddenshadow sat in a corner quietly as Lakewater, Cloudsky and Mistwind came into camp. Cats immediately began crowding around, asking them questions. Hiddenshadow still stayed in the corner. "QUIET!" he yowled. The cats settled down to a quiet murmur. Lakewater sighed. "I will tell you where I went. I went into the moors, and met other cats that have settled there. They will have the moor and half the forest." Lakewater said. Fireflame stood up.
"I'd just like to know who these cats are!" she growled. Many cats murmured in agreement. "Well then, why don't you meet them yourselves?" Lakewater growled, then marched into his den. Fireflame looked shocked but shook it off and went back to her den.
Hiddenshadow looked at the moon. An owl hooted and the crickets chirped. Hiddenshadow pricked up her ears, listening for prey. She heard a rustle in the bushes and stalked up slowly and silently. She listened to the heavy breathing. It's a cat. she thought. It could be a enemy!
As she looked at the bush again, she saw two faded blue eyes staring at her. She screeched a battle cry and pounced. "Ouch!" she looked down to see Robinwing. "What are you doing?!" Hiddenshadow growled.
"Uh, I was just, er, hunting." Robinwing stammered.
"Go back to camp!" she hissed. Robinwing flattened his ears, drooped his tail and trudged back to camp. Hiddenshadow felt pity on him, but this was not the time to interrupt! She ran silently to a different part of the forest.
"Um, Hiddenshadow, I'm really sorry about last night." Robinwing shuffled his paws in front of Hiddenshadow.
"It's ok." Hiddenshadow rolled her eyes and went into the hunters den. Why is Robinwing acting so nervous around me? Honestly you'd think I was a murderer or something! Hiddenshadow thought. Speckledcloud giggled.
"What's so funny?"
"Robinwing likes you."
"I don't care."
"Come'on, you're breaking the poor tom's heart."
"Come'on, you really think I'd fall for a tom?" Hiddenshadow asked. Not waiting for an answer, she marched out of the hunters den.
Hiddenshadow looked at Robinwing. Does he really like me? she thought. Then she shook her head. No. We're friends, that's all that we'll ever be, and anyways I'd never fall for a tom. Hiddenshadow grabbed a mouse out of the fresh kill pile and went to a tree in the clearing. As she munched hungrily on it, she didn't notice Robinwing staring ruefully at her.
She doesn't like me. She just thinks I'm any old tom. Robinwing thought sadly. Even though he couldn't see, he could tell Hiddenshadow must look beautiful and have sleek lovely fur. Robinwing sighed.
"Go on, go up to her." Robinwing scented the air. it was Icefur.
"Icefur." he said. "I can't. She doesn't like me back anyways." Robinwing said.
"Come'on, you have to do something! A moonlight hunt?" Icefur suggested. "You know, the real way into any cat's heart is to be sincere."
"I don't think she'd say yes." Robinwing sighed.
"At least try." Icefur pleaded.
"Fine, but you're only going to make my heart break more." Robinwing got up and walked to Hiddenshadow.
"Hey, um, Hiddenshadow I was thinking we could go hunting tonight, you know, to have a little celebration of being above ground? Just us two I mean, but if you don't want to you don't have to..." Hiddenshadow looked up at Robinwing. Hiddenshadow blinked her eyes. This is crazy! Don't do it! a voice in her mind said.
But to Hiddenshadow's own surprise she said, "Yes."
Robinwing nodded. "Ok, that'll be good." he was shaking and looked like he would faint any minute.
Does he really like me? Hiddenshadow thought. Then she put down the thought. It's to celebrate the escape from the tunnels. she thought quickly. But something still nagged at her that Robinwing liked her. I'm being ridiculous! she thought. I'll go see Speckledcloud. If I can get her to stop being all giggly I know she can help me. Hiddenshadow thought.
"Speckledcloud, I need help. I just...don't know what to think." Hiddenshadow was sitting by Speckledcloud, who was looking very serious. "I mean, I don't want him to like me, but I want to know if he likes me, but I also kinda want him to like me!" Hiddenshadow said
Speckledcloud shook her head and smiled. "This is normal. Don't worry about anything." she said. "If he likes you, you'll find out. And you'll find out if you like him in good time. Just don't worry, your heart will tell you what is right."
Hiddenshadow sighed. 'I'll remember that." she said.
"Aren't the stars pretty?" Hiddenshadow said.
"Yeah," Robinwing said awkwardly, staring at some bushes intently. Hiddenshadow felt herself heating up with embarrassment at the comment.
"I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking-" she started.
"No, it's fine," Robinwing said with a strained laugh. For a moment there was silence. Then he asked, "...what are stars?"
"Oh, they-" Hiddenshadow began, but was cut off.
Robinwing suddenly screeched, "Hiddenshadow someone's com-" Suddenly five rouges jumped out of the bushes. They formed a circle around Hiddenshadow and Robinwing. Hiddenshadow raised her fur and hissed.
"Ooh I'm so scared!" a black and white tom sneered.
"Back off rouges!" Hiddenshadow hissed.
Another tom, almost identical to the first, hissed. "Lets just bring them back to camp now Ice."
"Can't we torment them a bit first Snake?" Ice grinned.
Snake looked thoughtfully off, then smiled and said. "Ok, but just a little." Ice leaped onto Hiddenshadow. Where is he from? Hiddenshadow thought. Ice ripped a chunk of her fur off. Hiddenshadow screeched. Robinwing growled deeply and leaped onto Ice.
"Get off of her!" he screeched. Then a brown tabby stepped forward and everyone stopped.
"Snake, Ice, please wait till we get to camp," the tabby said.
"Do you want them to find out we took them?"
"Then don't hurt them here!" Walter rolled his eyes. "Honestly!" Hiddenshadow growled deeply. That's it! I won't just sit here and be held prisoner! Hiddenshadow dived for Walter, but a gray she-cat and a brown and white tom leaped in front of him and sent her flying backwards.
"Come, lets move." Walter flicked his tail and they disappeared into the dark.
"Has anyone seen Hiddenshadow or Robinwing?" Streakfur raced around camp frantically.
Speckledcloud walked up to her and gently rested her tail on her back. "It's ok, they probably just fell asleep out in the woods and aren't up yet." she said.
Streakfur sighed. "I just wish I knew."
"Look, why don't we make a patrol and go out looking for them if they aren't back by sunhigh?" Speckledcloud said.
"You're right. Lets wait till sunhigh." Streakfur said.
"It's ok mom they'll be back." Speckledcloud licked her mother.
Airbreeze was sitting across the clearing and heard the whole conversation. He stared into space thoughtfully.
"I know this is ridiculous, but I won't be able to think about anything else until I find out." Airbreeze mumbled to himself. Then he crossed the clearing and slipped into the forest.
Airbreeze slinked through the forest, paws stepping lightly and drinking in all the scents. Then he caught a whiff of Hiddenshadow and sighed, relived. "So she is ok." he thought.
"Hiddenshadow you need to get back to camp!"
Airbreeze burst through a wall of ferns into a clearing. Hiddenshadow's scent was strong here, but she was nowhere in sight. Suddenly he picked up the scent of another cat, and it was coming his way. He quickly dived into the bushes to spy on whoever came.
A dark gray tom poked his nose out of the bushes, sniffed, then emerged. He had deep brown eyes and was very sleek. Airbreeze tensed his muscles, then pounced on the gray tom.
"What have you done with Hiddenshadow?" Airbreeze growled.
The gray tom looked at him with wide eyes, and his mouth gaped. He tried to say something, but his voice wouldn't come out. Finally, he managed to say one word:
"Yes. A black she-cat?"
"Hiddenshadow...erm......who are you firstly?"
"Airbreeze of Lakeclan!"
When Airbreeze said clan, the gray tom raised his fur and hissed. "Clan! What a cursed word! I hate clans!" Airbreeze tried not to growl.
"Why do you hate clans so much?" he asked, trying to keep his cool.
"Clans stole my mother from me and clans gave me this!" he turned around to show me a large scar across his shoulder. "And I was only a kit!" he spat. I was startled. Surely it wasn't Lakeclan. And Flameclan is too honorable for that. Airbreeze thought. He shook his head and continued.
"Where is Hiddenshadow?"
"That's....well that's a long story. I can shorten it if you want."
"I suppose I have time." Airbreeze said, glancing at the sun.
"Where do I begin..."
"When I was young, I lived with a group of rouges, the descendants of a shattered clan. What I didn't know was that I was being raised and living with murderers. We lived in a barn for some time, but then my parents kicked the first cats that lived there out. I didn't know why, I was but a kit. Then, there was a huge war. My parents fought against the cats who had saved us, and I was horrified. I didn't know why they were doing this. My mother took us all away and hid us. I knew though that she was going back to Walter, her mate and the leader of the cats. I managed to escape, and as I was running I could hear my mother calling for me: "Sniff, don't leave!" But I kept running until I couldn't see her anymore."
"Eventually I came to a forest, and I raced right through it. I could smell cats, and I knew they were there. But I didn't care. I just had to get away. Then suddenly a dark brown tabby with amber eyes stepped in front of me, obviously a clan cat. I screeched to a halt, and looked at him with wide eyes. "Hey little kitten, are you lost?" he sneered. "You look like a kittypet to me. And do you know what I do with kittypets?" He flexed his claws. I was horrified. "I eat them for lunch!" he growled. I screamed and ran the other way, the cat close behind me. I was horrified, and I completely forgot about mother."
"Then suddenly the horrible creature slashed my shoulder. I screamed in pain and terror. He tried to bite me, but I leaped into a rabbit burrow and sat there, trembling. I watched as his big grimy paw searched inside the burrow for me. It got closer and closer until I was sure he was gong to find me. But then a shout came, the pretty shout of a female cat, and he growled, annoyed, and left. I sat there for two days without much to drink or eat. Finally, I dared to come out. When I was sure no one was there, I leapt out and raced away into some hills."
"I raced through the hills, haunted by those gleaming amber eyes and tiger-like claws. Finally, I raced away from the clans and came to mountains. I looked up at the mountains, looming above me. But I knew that this was the only place I'd be safe from my parents."
"But then I smelt my mother's scent, and I could hear her calling for me. "Sniff! Sniff!" I heard her. My dad Walter was walking beside her, I could smell it. My brothers and sister's were also calling, and the rest of our group was trudging behind them. I didn't want to come back to them, so I started to scramble up a hill. But just then, my mother caught my scent. "It's Sniff!" she cried out. I scrambled faster. But I was too late. Walter burst through a wall of bramble. "Sniff! There you are!" said my mother, coming out of the bramble.
"Good, we found him, now lets get moving!" Walter growled, then turned away. Mother sighed.
"He's been grumpy since we lost the barn." I rolled my eyes. Walter was always grumpy, but usually not towards her. He wanted Daisy, my mom, to think he was a beautifully wonderful cat. But I had seen him before, and he was mean and sly. I sighed and went back to my brothers and sisters. "I understood why you ran away, that battle was SO scary!" my brother whispered to me. I nodded my head, even though I had really run away to try to get away from my mom and dad."
"We trudged across the mountains together, until we came to this lake. I knew other cats were living here, I could see their silhouettes hunting in the forest around the lake. But my father paid no attention and went into the pine forest to live. I ran away again though, and that's how I got here." Sniff finally concluded.
"How old are you anyways?" Airbreeze asked.
"Eight moons exactly." Sniff said proudly.
Geez, he's only an apprentice! Airbreeze thought.
"Anyways, do you know anything about Hiddenshadow or Robinwing? Hiddenshadow is black, and Robinwing is gray with a reddish belly." Airbreeze said.
"Black cat....gray and reddish cat....Oh yea!" Sniff suddenly exclaimed. "I remember last night seeing Walter get them!"
Airbreeze gasped. Walter had got Hiddenshadow and Robinwing?!
Hiddenshadow and Robinwing flew into a small cave. "And stay in there!" a brown tabby tom yelled. Hiddenshadow growled deeply. "Why when they aren't looking I'll-" She was suddenly cut off by a small she-cats voice.
"What'd they throw you in for?"
Hiddenshadow turned to see a small pale gray she-cat with a white stripe on her forehead that looked like an icicle and a white chest.
"Who are you?" Robinwing asked.
"I'm Icicle, and I have to stay here for the day cause I wasted food." Icicle shuffled her paws nervously.
"Well I'm Robinwing, and we're in here because-" Robinwing was cut of by Hiddenshadow.
"Cause these stupid cats are keeping us prisoner!" she hollered out the entrance. The cats paid no attention.
"Icicle, you can come out now!" A she-cats voice shouted.
"Goodie!" Icicle bounced out the entrance. Robinwing sighed.
"What do we do now?"
"Sit and rot." Hiddenshadow growled and turned her back to him.
"Fine, if this is how you want to thank me for trying to defend you!' he shouted.
"I can defend myself!" Hiddenshadow growled.
"Oh, so suddenly I'm nothing to you?" Robinwing said.
"You never were anything to me at all. Just a dumb tom that liked me, but I never liked him back!" Hiddenshadow yelled.
Robinwing's eyes grew huge, and he ran into a separate cave. Hiddenshadow could hear him sobbing.
Great! Look what you've done Hiddenshadow! Hiddenshadow thought.
"I never liked him. I shouldn't care," she growled, arguing with herself.
You like him, and you know it. she thought.
"No, I never liked him and never will! I'll never like any tom!" she growled deeply. She plunked herself down as if saying she was done with the matter. But she would glance at the cave Robinwing was in every once and a while and look very concerned.
You like him. Maybe even love him. You just are afraid to admit it. A soft voice whispered.
Hiddenshadow jumped up and scanned the room. Nobody was there, but she could hear a tom breathing softly in her ear.
"Who's there?" she asked frightfully.
Then she heard a deep laugh and everything around her began to swirl away, and she was falling. She thrashed her paws violently and screeched. She was falling, falling, falling, down into nothingness, and she would keep falling forever.Suddenly a brown and gray tom appeared beside her as she was falling.
"Dustbreeze?!" Hiddenshadow screeched.
"Hiddenshadow, Robinwing is smart, capable, and brave. How can you not see that?" he murmed in her ear.
"What are you talking about?" Hiddenshadow screeched.
Dustbreeze just laughed and swirled up toward a light. "Wait! Let me come with you!" Hiddenshadow screamed. "Don't leave me here falling!" Then suddenly, things began fading, and she saw Robinwings face.
"Hiddenshadow..." he said. He was becoming clearer and clearer. "Hiddenshadow...." Finally, Hiddenshadow awoke.
Airwind sighed. His search had been proving to be fruitless. After Airbreeze had come back to camp and told the clan about the rouge group that had kidnapped the two warriors, the search efforts had been doubled. Where could they be keeping his daughter?
Suddenly, a tiny orange and white kitten tumbled in the path. Airwind tried to stop, but it was too late. He hit the kitten and it tumbled down the lakeshore into the lapping waves beneath.
"Sunsetkit!" Flamefire jumped out of the bushes. He glared at Airwind. "Where is my son?"
"DADDY!" a high-pictched scream came from the water. Flamefire leaped into the lake. Tinybird emerged from the bushes.
"Sunsetkit! Flamefire! Oh please be careful!" she cried. Flamefire grasped the tiny bundle of fur between his jaws and swam to shore. Tinybird ran up.
"Are you all right? You're sure you're not hurt?" she fretted over them. Flamefire spat in anger at Airwind.
"What happened here?" he growled.
"Ah-ah-ah." Airwind couldn't speak. The leader of Flameclan! He didn't know they were still around! I guess they didn't leave when we mysteriously disappeared under the lake... he thought.
"Well? Spit it out!" Flamefire asked again.
"Flamefire!" Tinybird said. Flamefire sighed.
"Sorry. I'm sure it was an accident." he said ruefully. "Do you accept my apology for my unruly behavior?"
Airwind nodded. "I'm the one who should apologize. I should have been more careful." he said. The small kitten stared up at him curiously with big eyes.
"Who are you?" it asked sweetly. Airwind smiled. He had always loved kittens, and this one was especially adorable.
"What are you doing this deep in Flameclan territory?" Flamefire said suspiciously.
Airwind took a deep breath. Should I tell him? Or would it cause to much alarm among Flameclan? But the rouges are the closest to Flameclan, so they'd be in greater danger. I'll tell them. Airwind thought.
"There are rouges in this area. They kidnapped two of our warriors!" Airwind blurted out. Flamefire gaped. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to tell him... Airwind thought worriedly.
Then Flamefire blinked several times. "This is...horrible!" he shouted. Tinybird suddenly froze and dropped Sunsetkit.
"Mommy don't drop me!" Sunsetkit whined. Tinybird looked like she was in a trance. She squeezed her eyes shut and yelped in pain.
Then she blinked slowly and shook her head. "It was a message from Starclan." she said. "Hiddenshadow and Robinwing are in trouble, and I know where they are."
Streakfur shouted Hiddenshadow and Robinwings names as loud as a cat's meow could possibly get. Lakewater lead the patrol that consisted of Streakfur, Icefur, Speckledcloud, Mistwind, and Airbreeze. Lakewater looked worried and kept glancing at the wobbling Icefur.
"Is there something wrong Icefur? You can't seem to balance very well." he said. "I'm fine!" Icefur snapped back at him. Airbreeze was constantly glancing at her. What's up with those two...Icefur all wobbly, Airbreeze constantly glancing at her....wait, they just might be... Lakewater's eyes popped but then he purred. They'd make a lovely couple.
Lakewater snapped back. Streakfur was shouting to Airwind as he came rushing back through the woods. He was panting hard. "Hiddenshadow...Robinwing...in trouble." he gasped.
"Which way?" Lakewater asked quickly.
"That..way." Airwind gasped as he pointed toward the shadowy pine forest.
"Come'on, lets move!"
"Too bad we didn't get one of the leader's kits."
"Well, they were just sittin there. It couldn't have been easier!"
"Eh, someone'll want em."
Two guards were having a chat. I wonder why they took us? And who will want us? Hiddenshadow thought curiously. Robinwing sat by her side. Ever since her dream, Hiddenshadow had tried not to be to snappy to him and listen to him more. She had found out that when he wanted to be, he was quite a enjoyable companion.
Hiddenshadow perked her ears as cats scrambled all about, doing this and that while the same cat kept on howling, "Intruders! Intruders!" It got annoying after a while.
"Be quiet, will ya?!" she shouted out to him. Then suddenly everyone hushed. Right then and there Hiddenshadow knew Walter had come out. The same stubborn cat kept on yelling, "Intruders! Intruders!" Then there was a yelp. Walter had obviously kicked him. And for once in Hiddenshadow's life, she was thankful to Walter.
"Where are Hiddenshadow and Robinwing?"
"Lakewa-" she started to shout, but just then a guard pinned her down and covered her mouth with his paw.
"Lakewater we're in the ho-" Robinwing tried to talk with Lakewater but was cut off by a guard too. Silence hung in the air. Lakewater was pondering what to do.
"Want em back, do you?" Walter sneered. "Well, I'll give them back, but for a price." Hiddenshadow flung her head angrily. They were trying to get land off of us! she thought.
"Oh, lets say a forth of your territory?" Walter said. There was a moment of silence. Please say no, please say no... she pleaded in her mind.
"How do I know you have them?"
She would have let out a long sigh right then if the guard wasn't covering her mouth. "Guards! Bring them here!" Walter shouted. Then they were kicked along out of the hole.
"Lakewater!" Hiddenshadow shouted. She tried to run to him but the guards blocked the way. Airwind stared sadly as she was prodded along.
"So, believe us now?" Walter jeered. Lakewater looked at them. Oh Starclan please let him say no! Hiddenshadow prayed.
Lakewater gulped nervously. "Well....the conditions are quite low for such valuable warriors..." Hiddenshadow's jaw dropped and she shook her head violently. Don't give in! Don't give in! she thought.
"So..." He flicked his tail, one, two, three times. Then he lifted his head and howled. Suddenly a sea of Flameclan warriors came pouring onto the rouges. Hiddenshadow gaped.
"Flameclan! Oh thank you Flameclan!" she cheered. A warrior ran by her and smiled. She quickly joined the fight.
The rouges could see they were outnumbered. Walter hissed. Flamefire and Lakewater stepped forward and growled in sync, "Get out and never come back." Walter glanced from one to the other, then sighed in defeat.
"Let's go." he growled. Then they began their trek. But a pretty gray she-cat with a white stripe on her forehead singled out from the group. She walked toward them with a little white kitten.
The group stopped. "Snow, come!" Walter barked.
Snow shook her head. "I...I can't Walter. You've been cruel to me and my kit. I'm not going back with you, to your hard ways of living." she said softly.
"My own daughter...a traitor!" Walter growled. "But I should have guessed. You were always pathetic. But that is your decision. They won't let you in, you'll see!" he shouted back as him and his gang raced away.
Snow gulped nervously and walked forwards to Flamefire. "I know this is a lot to ask...but me and my kit need a home, and-" Flamefire rested his tail on her shoulders. She looked up through big, sweet eyes.
"Of course. You have done nothing wrong to us." He said. Snow smiled in relief.
"And who's this?" Tinybird smiled at the kitten.
"This is Amber." Snow said shyly.
"Hello." Tinybird smiled at the little kitten. A grin flickered across it's face, but it was somewhat faint.
"Your new names shall be Snowpelt and Amberkit!" Flamefire said Snowpelt smiled.
"Thank you so much." she said. "You don't know what this means to me." Flamefire smiled, then cleared his throat. "We'd best be going." he said, then he and the rest of his warrirors slipped back into the forest.
Chapter 9-Hiddenshadow's POV
I thought the battles were over. I thought it would be peaceful from there on out. But I was wrong.
"Strange cats are in our territory!" I perked my ears and looked up from my squirrel. Mudpelt was panting as if she had ran all the way around the lake. And maybe she had.
Lakewater looked calm. "How many?"
"There must be at least a hundred of them!" she shouted.Lakewater gaped.
"That-That-That's four times our size!" one cat yelled. Cats whispered to each other excitedly. "What do we do?" Mudpelt said.
"Well, at least those loner cats left five moons ago." one cat murmured.
"Mistwind! Hiddenshadow! Robinwing! Grassfur! Redfur! Come with me." Lakewater said. Then he turned to Cloudsky and Softsky. "Be ready for injured warriors." Then he turned around and sped out of camp, me and the rest of the patrol following.
As we were running I realized Robinwing was getting closer to me with every step. I wanted to move away, but I also wanted to let him come closer. I watched him nervously, making sure he was close but not to close.
Finally, he whispered to me, "Um...Hiddenshadow, I know that we've been through bad times but would you be mates with me?" I thought about it. After all I'd been through, he had turned out to be really nice.
"Yes." I said. "A million times yes."
Then suddenly I saw them. A huge group of cats, all going around, eating sleeping, and looking at the lake. "Do you think they want to live here?" I whispered to Robinwing. He nodded nervously.
"Ok, Robinwing,Redfur and Mistwind, you go spy on them and find out what they're doing here. As for me, Hiddenshadow and Grassfur we'll go check out that scent trail leading into our territory." He nodded and we were off.
I followed the scent trail. It was recent and was growing stronger. "Halt!" Lakewater said. I sniffed the air and perked my ears. The scent was strong now and I could hear cats talking...
"I smell the scent of cats."
"Probably just loners."
"But I smell lots of cats."
"Just be quiet Squirrelflight!"
I peeked through the bushes to see a group of five cats. There was a brown tabby tom with amber eyes, a firey red she-cat with green eyes, a black tom with green eyes, a tortoishell she-cat with amber eyes, and a light gray she-cat with blue eyes.
I looked at the light gray she-cat. She looks just like Mistwind. I thought. The fiery red she-cat edged away from the group and ran toward a bramble bush. Suddenly I remembered the ditch right there. I remembered the first time I found that ditch. Very important lesson I learned: don't go charging into places, enter with caution. She was about to fall down there. I could only imagine the pain.
I heard a yelp and squeezed my eyes shut. I could almost feel it. The brown tabby tom and the tortoiseshell she-cat ran to her, disappearing into the bushes. "This is our chance." Lakewater whispered, "Now!"
We jumped out with a hiss at the black tom and the light gray she-cat."Who are you, and where do you come from?" I hissed at them. The black tom gasped.
"Mistyfoot, Squirrelflight was right about other cats here!" he yowled.
"Get out of our territory!" Lakewater hissed.
Mistyfoot pleaded, "Please, you don't understand, we need a home!"
"And so do we." Grassfur said.
"You can't come barging into our territory!" the black tom hissed.
"Come'on Mistyfoot, let's show these cats whose boss!" He raised his hackles and gave a low, long, growl. The fight had begun.
I stared in horror as Lakewater layed on the ground, his eyes facing the sky. He's still got lives left though, I told myself. The black tom howled in triumph.
"Hah!" I spat at him and pinned him down. "Watch." the black tom's eyes widened as Lakewater twitched, then slowly arose.
"B-b-but I killed him!" he stammered.
"Well Lakeclan leaders have ten lives!" I hissed.
"Don't you mean nine?" the black tom said.
The other three cats! We couldn't take them on too! "Retreat!" Lakewater howled, and we left. But I hung back and caught the black tom saying,
"Don't tell the others. It's better that way."
I smiled. He had just covered us up. Now we could hide, and no one would ever find us, no one would ever know we were there. We'd be night prowlers, and it'd be as if we were ghosts. We'd live a quiet life, under the lake perhaps, making new tunnels reaching to each of our territories. And we'd survive.
Because we are Lakeclan.
Hiddenshadow turned and moaned in her sleep. Hopedream perked her ears and sighed. She couldn't sleep at all, mostly because of Hiddenshadow, but still, she missed home. She could still hear the thundering waterfall roaring outside her den....
"Your turn Hopedream."
Hopedream jerked up quickly. "I must have fallen asleep." she thought. Airbreeze stood in front of her. "It's your turn to guard camp." he said. Hopedream got up and stretched. Then she trotted out of camp.
She stared up at the stars wistfully. It seemed like the stars were free, and she was stuck, glued, to the ground. She still couldn't get used to the idea that the stars were cats, and they lived in Waterclan and Fireclan. She had grown up learning that all cats went to Many-Stars Place, and they lived in harmony. Maybe Waterclan and Fireclan were part of the Many-Stars Place.
She perked her ears and growled, "Who's there?"
A dark blue-gray tom came out of the bushes and gasped. "So I was right!" he said. "I thought there were cats in these parts! Now what are we going to do?"
I hissed, "We're going somewhere you'll never find us so you won't harm us."
The tom's eyes went big. "So you'll let us have this territory?"
"What choice do we have?" Hopedream said. Then suddenly Mudpelt came out and yawned
"Um, your turn." Hopedream said.
"Really? Already?" she said sleepily. Hopedream nodded and slipped back into the den. Mudpelt would have to deal with that tom.
"Um, hi." Mudpelt's eyes were big.
"Yea, hi." the tom smiled.
"So, who are you?" Mudpelt asked.
"Where are you from?" Mudpelt tipped her head curiously.
"I come from Thunderclan."
"Cool, this is Lakeclan."
They talked some more. "If I get caught talking with you, I'll get in trouble." Mudpelt finally realized, and she said it out loud.
"Well then let's go to the pine forest. It'll be nice there." Rainwhisker said. She shook her head. No, talking to another clan warrior in private isn't right. But why do I want to so bad? Do I like him? she thought. No, it wouldn't and couldn't work out. she shook her head, but one look at Rainwhisker told her he liked her too. Or he was at least interested.
"It was nice being with you." Rainwhisker said.
"You too." Mudpelt sighed.
"Meet again day after tommorow in the same spot?"
Mudpelt raced back to camp. "This is going against Lakeclan...but I want to do this so bad..." She raced toward camp, the sun rising behind her.
Chapter 11 - Mudpelt's POV
A cold gust of wind smacked my face. Tiny flurries of snow whirled around me, and a squirrel digged frantically, hiding it's last few nuts. A snowflake landed on my nose. How long had I been waiting here? I knew it. He wasn't coming. What was I thinking? That he might actually like me? Pha, well, I didn't need a tom anyways. I began to walk back toward camp when I heard a voice say,
"Hey, where are you going?"
I turned around to see Rainwhisker with a great big grin on his face. I grinned too, not being able to hold off his contagious smile. I laughed and ran up to him. Suddenly, before I could stop, my nose was stuffed into his fur. I pulled away quickly and mumbled, "Sorry."
"It's alright." he purred. Maybe this was love. Maybe I had found it finally, after all my years of being alone, I might have found my love. I looked into his eyes, and I knew he was thinking the same thing. "Rainwhisker..." I began. He put his tail over my mouth and said "I love you too." I smiled and purred.
"Psst! Softsky!" I hissed under my breath.
"Mudpelt, I'm BUSY!" Softsky growled.
"Come'on it's important!' I hissed louder. She shook her head and sighed. Then she mumbled to herself, "Sometimes warriors have the sense of a newborn kit." and trotted over to me. "What is so important it had to inturuppt my herb sorting?" she growled fiercley. I glanced around.
"There are too many cats here. Lets get out of camp." I slunk toward the enterance. Softsky closed her eyes and moaned inwardly, then followed.
"I have something to confess, and I have to tell you. But you HAVE to keep it a secret!" I whispered. I had to tell someone, and Softsky was the most likley to understand. "I....It's a long story." I sighed. Softsky looked at me curiously but stayed silent. "Well, it all started the night we found the new cats. Rainwhisker, a Thunderclan cat, was by the camp. I met him and we talked for a while. We did that for a week. And then...we fell in love and I'm having his kits!" I wailed. Softsky blinked slowly.
"You're...you're having kittens?!" she gasped. I nodded.
But you can't tell ANYONE!" I said.
Softsky shook her head. "What will the clan think?" she asked.
"I'll ask a tom to drop hints that he's the father, but I won't tell anyone. Nobody will ask me. If I don't want to tell the father, they won't question me." I said.
Softsky shook her head. "You must feel horrible." She whispered. "Don't worry, I'll keep your secret."
I walked into the warriors den, half asleep. My mind was content. I would never see Rainwhisker again. Or at least he wouldn't see me. I would long for him every day though.
Redfur howled out. A young dark gray tom cat walked slowly into camp. He looked nervous. A little gray she-cat followed him. Redfur raced up to them alongside Fireflame and Pebblesplash. They circled them, growling. "What's all the fuss about?" Lakewater came out of his den.
"These cats came into our camp!" Redfur growled.
Lakewater turned his eyes to the two cats. "And who would you be?" he said warily.
Suddenly Airbreeze jumped up. "Hey, I'd know that gray cat anywhere!" he shouted. "It's Sniff!"
Lakewater swiveled his head around. "You know this cat?" he said.
"Erm...yes...he's the one that told me about the rouge group that captured Hiddenshadow and Robinwing..." Airbreeze shuffled his paws nervously. Lakewater yowled in his commanding voice. "Why have you come?"
"Well, those new cats are threatening the only place that we live...we thought maybe you'd let us join Lakeclan-" Sniff began.
"Is that the only reason you wish to live with us? For protection?" Lakewater spat. "To be a part of Lakeclan, you must be willing to die for your clan! You put the clan's life before yours. How do we know you will be loyal if you only seek protection?"
"Just give us a chance." the gray she-cat pleaded.
Lakewater looked thoughtfully into the sky. "Lakeclan will take you into training. It is not guaranteed you will become a warrior though." He said. "Please, tell me your names." The fiery light had disappeared from his eyes and instead curiousity filled them.
"I'm Sniff." The dark gray tom said.
"And I'm Icicle." the light gray she-cat said. As she bent over, and icicle shape was revealed on her forehead.
"Then from now on you will be known as Iciclepaw and Sniffpaw." Lakewater said. Then he diappeared into his den. Mistwind followed him. "The mentors will be announced tommorow." Mistwind said before she disappeared into his den.
"So that's the warriors den. Don't poke your nose in there because some of the warriors would yell at you. Of course I wouldn't, but Pebblesplash is REALLY cranky." Sunnyheart was bouncing with excitment. "Maybe I'll get one of you as my apprentice!"
"I hope not." Iciclepaw muttered. Sniffpaw glared at her. Sunnyheart seemed not to have heard her. "And finally, that's the apprentices den, where you'll sleep. We don't have any apprentices yet, but Mudpelt is going to have kits any day now and Hiddenshadow could get pregnat. But then I guess they'd have to grow up to be six moons which is a really long time! Wow you guys are sooo lucky you get the den all to yourselves I had to share with Pebblesplash and Wavestream boy Pebblesplash was soooo cranky...."
"Come'on, lets just slip off to the apprentices den." Iciclepaw whispered. She tiptoed into the cave. Sniffpaw sighed and followed her.
"And Wavestream had this nasty habit of kicking me in his sleep-hey where'd you go guys? Guys?" Sunnyheart asked.
"Now crouch down really low, just like this.."
Speckledcloud stood in a clearing with Grassfur, Iciclepaw and Sniffpaw. "Good job Sniffpaw. Iciclepaw, lower your rear end a bit." Speckledcloud said.
Iciclepaw growled. "I'm not good at anything!"
"Now, don't say that! You're a brillant fighter!"
"But I'm horrible at hunting!"
Grassfur suddenly sat up taller and pricked his ears. "Sssh." he said. The clearing became silent. "I hear someone coming." Grassfur hissed. Quickly the four cats slunk into the bushes. The tromping of many cats filled the air, and now everyone could hear it.
"Wow! Look at that island! It's perfect!" A huge group of cats came tromping out of the bushes.
"Good thing you heard them coming Grassfur." Speckledcloud hissed under her breath. Grassfur simply nodded.
"This will be a suitable territory for Riverclan." a large female cat spoke, She seemed to be the clan leader.
"Come'on we need to report this to Lakewater." Speckledcloud hissed. Then the four Lakeclan cats slunk into the bushes.
"A whole clan is by the V-shaped river. They call themselves Riverclan."
"Another clan is in the moors. They call themselves Windclan."
"There's one in the pine forest. They're Shadowclan."
"And one in the birch forest. They're Thunderclan."
Lakewater shook his head. Four clans? How could they possibly defend their territory against four clans?
"What will we do Lakewater? Will we move? My kits are coming soon, we just can't!" Mudpelt said in a worried tone.
"No. We won't move. We are Lakeclan. We may not be able to defeat these cats, but we will still hunt and live here."
"And how do you suggest we do that?" Robinwing curled his tail around Hiddenshadow. "I don't want to risk my mate or my childrens lives by settling in one of the clans territories."
Lakewater sighed. "I have a suggestion." Hiddenshadow stepped up and all eyes turned toward her. "I ran into some of them last night. I crept right through them, and killed a mouse without any waking up. Then before I left, I cleaned brushed of my pawprints in the leaves and cleaned up the mouse blood. The next day, none of them noticed."
"Go on." Lakewater looked excited.
"Well, I was thinking, if we settled somewhere hidden, and only hunted during the night, they'd never know we were there. We'd make sure we didn't overhunt any clans territory by catching an equal amount of prey from each place."
"And I know just the place for camp." Lakewater jumped up. "Lakeclan, we may not be seen by others, but we will remain strong!" Lakewater howled. The clan howled with him. Then they raced off the island, heading toward the tunnels that still remained from the days of living under the lake.
"The last tunnel is finished."
Lakewater nodded. "Good. Now we have acess to all of the clans territories."
"Hiddenshadow's had four healthy kits!" Softsky's head popped out of the nursery. "Good!" Robinwing shouted with glee. Then he raced into the nursery.
"Don't tell me you named all of them without me!" Robinwing purred as he slipped in.
"Nope, I've only named one!" Hiddenshadow laughed. She pointed to a orange-red kit. "He's Foxkit." Robinwing nodded.
"A perfect name for a perfect kit." He said. Robinwing pointed to a gray kit. "He's Oceankit."
"Oceankit?" Hiddenshadow said questioningly.
"Yes, I've heard stories of the ocean. The water is salty and the sun sets into it." He explained. Hiddenshadow nodded.
"And those two black and white kits should be Ravenkit and Flutterkit." she said. Robinwing purred. The four kits mewed weakly and curled up next to Hiddenshadow. One of the kits started moving in the wrong direction and began mewing frantically. Softsky froze.
"A sign." she whispered. "Lakeclan's troubles aren't over."
Like this book? Then read the next one, Returning Flame.