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"I should probably get going," I claimed, finishing up the mouse I was eating, "Shimmerbreeze will be awaiting me and she doesn't like it when I'm late for my assessments."
"Alright," Brightpaw waved her tail at me as I pushed myself up to my paws and began to walk away, glancing back to smile at her, before exiting the apprentice den promptly excited. It was an assessment of my fighting skills today-something I was sure wouldn't prove too challenging for me.
But as I exited my den, I couldn't spot Shimmerbreeze anywhere in the clearing, which was quite odd considering she was always on time for everything-and detested it when anyone else wasn't.
"Has anyone seen Shimmerbreeze?" I approached Mistypaw and Ashpaw who were sharing a squirrel. Both shook their heads and I sighed, deciding to sit next to them.
"I'll wait here, I suppose," I decided.
We engaged in a conversation, while waiting for Ashpaw and Mistypaw and soon the two of them had to get up because their mentors were training them, and when I turned around I noticed that Shimmerbreeze still wasn't there.
Perhaps she's sleeping.
"Stargaze!" I called, paddling over to the senior warrior, who had just emerged from her den, "Was Shimmerbreeze in there, sleeping or something?"
"No," She frowned, "Why? You can't find her?"
I shook my head, confused, "I can't find her here and this is where she told me to meet her. I thought maybe she could have forgotten to wake up, but..."
"Why don't you check outside camp," Stargaze offered with a shrug, "Or you could check with Wetstream, see if she sent Shimmerbreeze on a patrol..."
"Alright," I nodded, "Thanks!"
"No problem," She waved her tail at me as I bounded up to Wetstream, who was lost in a deep conversation with Bramblestar and Redpoppy underneath the HighRock.
"Something wrong, Aquapaw?" Wetstream asked as I reached her.
"Did you see or send Shimmerbreeze on a patrol?" I asked, "I was supposed to meet her here a while ago but she hasn't shown up, and she's not in her den, either..."
Wetstream shook her head, a small speck of concern entering her eyes, "Why don't you check around the territory," She claimed, "Make sure she didn't forget and go on a stroll."
I nodded, turning around to dash out of camp, hoping that I could finally find my mentor and get to our hunting assessment already before it became too late.
I knew I was being ridiculous, but as I dashed out of camp, I could feel fear pulsing through me as I hoped that Shimmerbreeze was okay.
"Shimmerbreeze?" I called, as I paddled through the forest, glancing back and forth, "Shimmerbreeze are you here? Shimmerbreeze?"
Where could she be?
As I paddled through a bush, I swore I could feel something soft and squishy and almost... hairy underneath my paws. I paused for a moment, looking down.
And then I screamed.
"She's dead," Razorfang whispered, shaking his head in disbelief, "And she's been dead for quite a while now-I think she died sometime tonight."
There was silence and Bramblestar dipped her head sadly, "We will hold her vigil tonight then. And we'll find a different mentor for you, Aquapaw."
I unsheathed my claws, "Let's get FireClan."
"It..." Razorfang glanced at Bramblestar for a moment, "It wasn't FireClan. It wasn't StarClan, or rogues or any cat... no one attacked her."
"But she's bloody and battered and bruised!" I wailed, feeling confused.
"She hasn't been attacked at all," Razorfang sighed, "I checked-someone attacked her, but..." He trailed, "I don't get it-it wasn't anyone-but... but..."
And suddenly I knew. I remembered that dream. I remembered the bodies. The bodies as they died in their sleep, as they were bloody, scarred, but carried no other signs of conflict. The bodies that had been killed because of their dreams.
"She..." I trailed, "I think I know what killed her."
"Tell us, Aquapaw," Bramblestar urged as Mintpaw paddled into the den, glancing curiously at the scene that unfolded before her.
"I had these dreams..."
"Will all cats gather beneath the HighRock for a Clan meeting," Bramblestars voice was urgent, panicked and the Clan had no issue recognizing that.
Within moments we were all sitting beneath her anxiously waiting her news about the discoveries involving the mysterious death of Shimmerbreeze.
I figured I knew a good portion of it, but the sound of my heart beating was all I could hear as I waited for the other cats to quiet down and for Bramblestar to speak. Ivypaw was beside me, her tail wrapped around my pelt protectively, a comforting smile on her face.
"Cats of WaterClan!" Bramblestar didn't even wait for the silence to die down, "I have called you all together to bring a tragic piece of news."
We were silent.
"A beloved Clanmate-Shimmerbreeze has been killed," There was a pause, "By an unnatural cause."
The entire Clan was quiet as we waited for Bramblestar to continue. I tried to focus on the steady noises of breathing that were coming from Ivypaw.
"She was killed by her dreams."
The Clab busted into commotion. I buried my face into Ivypaw's shoulder, listening to the sound of the Clan as they turned to hysterics.
And enemy from within...
"I'll miss you Shimmerbreeze," I whispered, touching my nose to hers, holding back my tears as the whole of Clan stood over her.
Normally she wouldn't have this many cats to mourn her but her death had started quite a bit of excitement and fear more than anything else. There was also the factor that many no longer wanted to even sleep because of their fear.
The Clan was in a despair.
"I still don't get it," Featherpaw whispered, her eyes dull, "How can dreams kill someone.. how is that possible? This is... I don't..."
"I wish we understood," Bramblestar whispered, "Tomorrow night I'm taking a trip to the MoonPool alongside Razorfang. We're only supposed to visit the place sparingly but this is certainly an emergency."
There was a silent nod from the Clan.
That morning there were no patrols. There was no one going out to hunt. There wasn't the usual gossip. Everyone was dead quiet, scared, sad, questioning. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a good amount of cats that had left the Clan by the next sunrise.
"This doesn't make sense," Secretpaw shook her head back and forth.
"You wouldn't believe how many times I've heard that..."
"What do you think? Who do you think-" She cut off with a loud sigh.
"It's some sort of enemy from within," I claimed, "Maybe her subconsious or something... Wait. Secretpaw, you don't think Shimmerbreeze killed herself do you?"
"It was a dream, Aquapaw. How can she kill herself in a dream. I mean, if we're vulnerable in our dreams too, haven't we lost the only security we have left?"
"I suppose," I frowned looking at mu paws, "I think I want to get some sleep... or rest, I don't think I'll ever be able to fall asleep again."
I spent the whole day rolling around in my nest. There were a few hushed conversations going on but for the most part it was all silence. A few went out to hunt, and a while into the morning Redpoppy came in to tell me that my new mentor would be Hopeflare.
That was good news, I decided-Hopeflare was a good cat and we knew each other quite well. Still, it was hard to feel celebratory about anything at the moment.
Eventually I gave up and decided to head out of the den. There I found most of the warriors sitting silently. Some were eating but most were silenced.
We were all scared, lost, confused...
And I was just about to give into my fears, my darkest thoughts when there was an excited call that went through camp. It was masked but it almost brought us joy.
"Why are you all so freaked out?" It was Sunmark. There was a look of disapproval as she entered camp, two mice hanging from her jaws which she dropped off at the fresh-kill pile, "Moping won't get you anywhere!"
There was silence and she sighed.
"You really think this is what Shimmerbreez would want?" Her loud voice echoed through camp and several cats turned their heads up, as did I. Something about Sunmark's enthusiastic voice made me feel better-even in these situations.
"We have to keep going," Sunmark urged, "It's what Shimmerbreeze would want. Maybe the enemy from within was going to be our despair because you are not at all acting encouraging now."
"We're scared," An apprentice murmured.
"Why?" Sunmark demanded, "Do you think being scared is going to clear up the situations? Do you think that hiding and refusing to sleep will solve the problem?"
"What will?" I murmured. The flash of hope was gone. I wanted to be miserable again.
"Hope," Sunmark encouraged, "Happy thoughts make happy endings. Yes, you're not going to dance around singing because a cat died, but you can remember that there are worse and stop pitying for yourselves. It's not the end yet, it won't be the end until every cat of WaterClan has been put down."
There was slow movement, and I almost felt the hope within me growing. Sunmark had a point-a good point. We weren't done yet, we would still speak to StarClan and they could give us an answer.
We could still win.
This fight wasn't over yet.