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Tainted

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This is Episode One, Season One of Journey

One cat, one great destiny, one long journey

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Tainted

A shrill shriek of fear cut through the serenity of the forest. 

In a flash, I dropped the herbs I was collecting. Trouble in MistClan again, I knew it. I ran back to camp, fear and adrenaline strengthening my muscles and pumping blood and energy to my body. I finally reached camp, and my heart sank. A new round of their stupid games started. 

MistClan isn't even a Clan; it's practically swarming with cats from left and right. It's more of a society, if anything. A large, looming sound cut through camp; it was the Caller on the very top of their tall, stone platform, clutching a sea-shell close. That's how they announce their stupid games.

The cats leapt off a small podium and charged into the Main Clearing, and many things happened from then on. About eight cats ran away, and a few stayed to start collecting. I watched as a cat clutching fresh-kill in their jaws slipped, and fell off the edge of the Main Clearing... We all knew what would happen next. There was a faint cry of pain, then nothing.

I sighed. It's like this every single day of my life. But Mintspot, my mother, always taught me (and my brother, Rainbreeze, but we'll get to that later) to keep our heads high. Mintspot is probably every cat's dream mother; protective, caring, loving... Owlfoot, my father, was like a lot of fathers, yet much nicer - protective, sweet and gentle... My brother, Rainbreeze, is a different story. He's very spontaneous and cheerful, and knows how to 'spice things up'.

Hey, I might as well introduce every other cat I know.

There is Sootfeather; a mysterious elder, who rarely opens up to anyone but my family. You see, he was the mentor of both my parents, you know, where they first met and fell in love. Really, Sootfeather is an intelligent, optimistic cat who is always very kind to me.

Ugh, and my least favourites - Leafwing and Shadowpool. Leafwing is a cruel, cocky, annoying cat, who not only irks me but is the heart of my suspicions of this terrible Clan - no, society. And Shadowpool is literally a male clone of her - in personality anyway, so I suppose you can guess exactly what he's like.

"Mothsplash, dear!" A sweet, familiar voice called.

Oh yeah, not to mention myself. My name's Mothsplash.

My mother, Mintspot padded up to me, and gave my ears a quick swipe with her tongue. "Look at your fur..." she fretted, quickly grooming my silver fur. I've always been proud of how much I look like her; we both have silver fur and we're both spotted tabbies, yet Mintspot has a more blue-ish tinge to her coat. 

"Wanna go for a walk?" I asked, even though I was kind of tired.

"Didn't you just go on one?" Mintspot tilted her little head.

"Yeah, but, I want to go on another one with you." I added.

"Alright. Come along, dear," Mintspot meowed, padding out of camp and beckoning me forward with a welcoming flick of her tail.

Eventually we reached boggy terrain, only a small part of MistClan's territory. Our territory stretches out across an entire island, yet we prefer this one for some reason. The large, wide river running through it is mesmerising. 

"Here we can get away from those games," Mintspot meowed, sitting down at the riverbank, her tail wrapped tightly around her paws. She gently closed her eyes, "You can hear their screams from here." As if on cue, a bloodcurdling shriek sounded briefly, then there was one loud retch, and silence.

"Someone's food must've been tainted." I commented sadly. Mintspot remained there, resting peacefully. "Hey, mum, I just picked up the scent of a hare, so, um... I'm gonna go catch it. See ya!" I stepped back hastily. It wasn't really true, but I think she needed to be left alone. I carefully slipped into a crouch and stalked my prey, licking my lips as I neared toward it, inching closer and closer to the furry, big hare every second.

Then... Pounce! The hare was now in my claws, and with a quick bite I ended its life. But the thrill of catching a good-sized piece of prey was not going to last for long.

A splash. A yowl of fear. A muffled scream. A faint bubbling sound. Mintspot!

I turned around immediately and shrieked when I saw a flicker beneath the water. "No!" I yowled. I bolted over, forgetting all about my successful kill, and I stopped to a halt at the riverbank. I saw a small, delicate feline shape underwater, sinking down slowly with her fur flowing all around her. I bent down and reached a single foreleg in, but my pad only batted at her shoulder a little bit. "No!" I screeched once more as one tiny bubble rose to the surface and the sight of my mother was gone forever. 

But she didn't just slip and fall, did she? I heard a yowl of fear... Did someone shove her in? My gaze flitted around left and right, looking around for any possible suspects, but there was nothing. Maybe it truly was an accident. 

"Goodbye, mother." I whispered. Oh, how could I ever tell this to Owlfoot and Rainbreeze?

Mintspot was caring and protective... I remember when I was brutally shoved into a corner and insulted by Leafwing and her stupid little 'side-kick' Shadowpool, and wailing for help... But then Mintspot swooped in like a superhero and scared those two pieces of fox-dung off. Then she comforted me...

She was a great cat, how could I ever have left her alone? My eyes gleamed with tears as I trudged back to camp, entering the blood-soaked clearing. A sick feeling clenched my stomach as I spotted many corpses dotting the clearing like newleaf flowers. Blood spills were everywhere, and there was a single rallying yowl that sent chills down my spine. 

"That battle was, like, endless!" I heard a cat whisper.

"I know right! The heat and adrenaline was keeping me going! I wish I could fight more." Another cat replied.

"Yeah, me too!"

"Totally."

I ignored them and padded on. How, how will I tell my family this?

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