Episode Nine, Season One of Double Agent.
So the RiverClan warriors settled down at the ShadowClan camp. Everyone was nervous. There had been no sign of WindClan, and I myself was worried. Yes, I was there. How do you think I know Snowfeather so well?
The night wind ripples through my fur.
I crouch below the holly bush, hating sentry duty with all my heart. And I especially hate it since Hollowstar had to put me with Reedflame and Frozenwhisker. How bad can this get? Worse. Hersonstar also had to put bad-tempered Grayfur with us. Pity it wasn't Rockfall. I like that she-cat, she seems almost like a friend.
" I see a pigeon," Reedflame says blandly. " Someone catch it." His teeth begin to chatter in the cold.
" Yeah," I say, not wanting to move out into the frigid night. " Someone should."
" I'll do it," Frozenwhisker growls. " I'm not a coward, like some cats."
Then it snaps.
I rush after him. He shoots me an odd glare, and I return his gaze. When we are out of earshot with the other cats, I turn on him, snarling.
" Stop acting like a bad-tempered grouch the whole time!" I hiss. " I don't know what you've got in for Reedflame, or me, but just stop it! Can't you forgive me?" my voice becomes half-wail.
" No!" Frozenwhisker hisses, blue eyes flashing. His cream-and-white head is engulfed by shadows as he turns away from me. " You wouldn't understand. I-I loved-love-you. Why don't you love me?"
" Because-" I sigh, dropping my head. " I can't explain love! Who can?"
" I don't know anymore, Rainpaw. Let me be," he sighs and begins to walk away. " As for Reedflame, I thought you would know."
Confused, I watch his pelt fade into the foliage.
Next morning, I stretch my stiff limbs in the holly bush. Reedflame rolls over, looking at me out of sleeping green eyes. He groans and gets up.
" I see you're all cozy and warm, huh," he snorts.
" Same goes for you," I shoot back and stumble to my paws. " Let's go relieve ourselves of sentry duty and rest in a decent shelter." I carefully skirt past Frozenwhisker, not knowing what to feel. I feel bad... but just not bad enough.
" Hey, Rainpaw!" someone calls. It's Rockfall. The grey tabby runs a paw across her sleek pelt and nods to me. " Are you off of sentry duty? I think it's my turn next."
" Yeah, we just came to get you," I say, and wave my tail at the entrance. Rockfall doesn't leave at once, but lingers. When she speaks, her ears are flattened and her eyes wide with worry.
" Aren't you guys sick of it?" she bursts. " Just waiting for WindClan to come get us! We're cowering like trapped pike! RiverClan doesn't go into combat much, but we don't like waiting for an osprey to come snatch us up."
" Well, we aren't exactly having the best moment of our lives right now," Reedflame snorts, pawing at the grass. " Waiting on guard duty for our limbs to freeze off. I bet that's when WindClan'll attack. When we don't have any limbs left!"
" Then why don't we do something?" I exclaim, an idea coming to my head. " Follow me, I have a plan. Let's tell Heronstar and Hollowstar first."
" Rainpaw?" Hollowstar looks up from where he is talking to Heronstar. " What is it?"
" I have a plan," I say in a rush.
" What sort of plan?" Heronstar says, yellow eyes bright. " What sort?"
" We're tired of waiting for WindClan to attack us," Reedflame says. I shoot him a glare and he silences.
" I was thinking we could retake the land the moor river used to be on. That ground is very marshy, and I know that WindClan cats hate that kind of ground. The RiverClan cats could help us. All we have to do is put up a guard around the area. It'll definitely irk WindClan," I suggest. The two leaders appear to be very deep in thought.
" It could work," Hollowstar muses. " We'll do it!"
" And we can turn back the water," Heronstar says, eyes sparkling " Shadowcats did not do it right, but RiverClan will. We will recaputre it from Windscum! We can turn back the water!"
" Thank you, friend," Hollowstar murmurs. " Take your warriors, and some of mine. Rainpaw, you can go. Take Blackfeather with you as well. I've never known that she-cat to shy away from a bit of water spray!"
" Can I come too?" Reedflame unsheathes his claws. Hollowstar nods, looking amused as the tabby leaps up and yowls in delight. I flick my tail to him, and we race arosss camp only to bump into Blackfeather. The she-cat twitches as ear.
" I heard you. I didn't become a warrior at eight moons for nothing," she says. Reedflame looks at her with rapidly widening eyes. He seems to be trying to gauge wether she's kidding or not. The she-cats impassive expression gives away nothing.
" Are you guys ready?" Rockfall bounds up to us, fur bristling with excitement. " We're waiting!" she gestures to the RiverClan warriors waiting by the entrance. I nod. Blackfeather, Reedflame and I hare after the she-cat. She's surprisingly fast for a RiverClan cat. Heronstar stands in the lead, twelve sleek and muscular warriors behind him. He nods and they plunge through the entrance. I fall in alongside them, my WindClan speed seeming slow with their battle-frenzied pace.
" Where is the cat called Rainpaw? She must show us the way," I recognize Hersonstar's deep meow " where is the cat called Rainpaw?"
" H-here!" I gasp. The leader holds up his tail and the patrol slows its pace. Grateful, I trot up to Heronstar's side and manage to decently regain my breath. He allows me to run a few paces ahead of him. I nimbly twist between the pine trunks, emerging into the frosty morning air. The damp and marshy slope of land the moor river was turned on stretches out before us. With a brief glance at it, Heronstar bounds across the border. The other cats follow.
" They're fast," Reedflame points out and pads alongside me. I am amazed at the speed of the cats, not just in speed. Already, they are trekking into the mud. Some seem to be enjoying it thoroughly, rolling and squealing in delight. Heronstar gives those cats a few sharp taps on the rump with his tail. They stand up, whiskers quivering madly.
" Let's help," I say, suddenly feeling awkward. Reedflame nods and trots alongside me. The mud oozes between my claws as I stumble towards the RiverClan cats.
" It's ruining my lovely paws!" Reedflame whines.
" It can't ruin something you don't have," I say mockingly and dodge a ball of mud he throws at me. The RiverClan cats have bounded into the moor river. Other are scraping away at the bank, trying to clear a path for the river. I've almost forgotten my fear of WindClan in the excitement. A few other cats are setting up scent marks around the area. I trot to the riverbank, feeling the icy water lapping around my paws. Heronstar is wading in the shallows, belly fur brushing the surface.
" First rank, dive! Up, dispose! Second rank, dive! Careful, Shoalpaw!" he dives in to help a little brown tabby with her load of mud. The cats are diving into the river, clearing away the riverbank underwater. They surface with mud clogged between their claws, challenging each other to get the most. I want to help, but I can't swim. I turn to Heronstar, who has just dumped Shoalpaw's load onto the bank.
" What can we do?" I say, watching him turn to wade back in.
" You can keep watch," he says ungraciously. I sigh.
" Fantastic. More sentry duty!" Reedflame purrs in fake delight and bounds up to a nearby boulder. Swiping my tongue across my flank to clear some mud, I run up after him. The rock allows me to look over the plains and up the slope of the hill the moor river curves around. Reedflame is jabbering the whole time. " I can see birds! Wait, are those rocks? Rocks... birds... no difference."
" Bet my eyesight's better than yours," I mutter and look up. My heart nearly stops beating. Two WindClan heads appear at the crest of the hill. They vanish before I can blink again. I silently curse myself. This valley puts us in a dangerous situation. They could trap us down here!
" We're being watched," I mutter to Reedflame out of the side of my mouth. " Two cats just went to get help." Reedflame stiffens.
" There's a cat behind us, in the bushes over there," he hisses. I sneak a quick look. A tabby pelt is barely discernible in the leaves. Movement catches my eye and I spot the long grass trembling.
" They're over there, too. We're surrounded!" I flatten my ears. The noise from RiverClan seems ominously loud. Suddenly, I make the most daring move I have ever made in my entire life. Spinning around, I bound away into the grass where probably tens of warriors are hidden. " We're being attacked!" I wail.
It's over before I can even register it.
I knock aside shapes and race towards the shoreline. Heronstar hears my call, but before he can do anything, WindClan warrior race down from the hill. They're hard on Reedflame and my trail as we race towards the water, the only safe place from WindClan. The RiverClan warriors vanish beneath the surface, but Heronstar and Rockfall and running to help me. I see Blackfeather leap towards the water, only to be cut off by a WindClan warrior who slits her throat and stops her forever.
A dull screaming is in the air. I don't know if its mine. I can't feel right now.
And then Gorsestar is looming in front of me. His claws are raised, glinting in the sunlight as he prepares the final downwards strike.
" No!" someone yowls, and everything seems to rush back to reality. Reedflame flings himself forwards, crashing into the tom. They fall to the ground, a ball of waving tails and whirling claws.
" Reedflame!" I snarl and launch myself at Gorsestar. As I dig my claws into his shoulders and haul him off, Gorsestar begins to purr insanely. I let him drop. My eyes are fixated on the limp body in front of me. Green eyes clouded, his tail twitches once and he falls still. His spine is broken, like a piece of fresh kill.
" What have you done?" I wail and turn around. My former leader snarls and leaps for me. I dodge and sink my teeth into his shoulder. The tom howls in pain. He jerks it away and slams me to the ground.
" I finished him off, and I'll kill you, too-"
" Oh, no you won't," someone growls. Gorsestar falls back, making a gurgling noise. Rockfall stands over his body, eyes glinting coolly. Her gaze meets mine. " He won't be dead for long. Let's go."
" Gorsestar!" a thin wail sounds from across the plains. Numb with shock and pain, I turn away from my leader's body and follow the she-cat. But I stop and stand over the thin grey body. A sob breaks from my throat and I collapse to the ground beside him.
" Reedflame?" I whimper. " Why did you do it? Why?"
The sightless eyes do not give anything away.
I don't want to move. I don't want to leave his body behind. The body that just a few heartbeats ago was alive and breathing.
There's an emotion there, something howling like a wounded beast. It's not grief, it's worse than grief, it's all the times I spent with him, knowing he knew my secret, knowing he was caring when he was close to you, the feeling of his tail curling around my shoulders, so warm and protecting, so... loving.
"Reedflame. Come back to me, please?" I whisper hoarsely. " I-I loved you." Then I rise to my paws, Rockfall has hauled my up by my scruff. She allows me to lean on her shoulder and I whisper softly.
" I won't let this pass, WindClan. You are my Clan no longer. You have killed Blackfeather, and Reedflame. I swear vengeance!"
With that, I break free of Rockfall and bound for the shelter of the pine trees.