You always seem to be the smartest among us
“What is going on here?” Bramblestar's loud voice rang through the clearing, calling all cats to look up from their quick murmurs of anxiety, worry and anger, that made it impossible to hear or do anything in the clearing, which was very unfortunate for me.
Because I was starving.
However, when Bramblestar called the clan, food turned out to be the very last thing on my mind.
Wetstream was standing in the center of the clearing, obviously infuriated by something, as she faced her leader.
“So have you discovered where Birdwing and Mistypaw are?” Bramblestar gently asked one of her most trusted warriors.
“Yes,” Wetstream snarled, “They have been captured by FireClan. We didn't need to go very far to hear two FireClan cats talking about two “prisoners” who matched Mistypaw and Birdwing perfectly in descriptions.”
I noticed Bramblestar's claws unsheathing as cats began to break into murmurs. Bramblestar gently flicked her tail and the chatter quieted.
“Do you know where they are being kept?” she asked.
“In the center of camp,” Wetstream responded, “They are obviously waiting for us to come and attack.”
Bramblestar nodded, “They want to make this be as difficult as it will get for us. There is no way we can get into the center of camp without using all of our forces to attack. But then we can’t leave the camp unguarded. That would be too dangerous.”
The Clan was quiet.
“I want to have a meeting with all of my senior warriors!” Bramblestar loudly announced, “The rest of you are dismissed.”
I felt myself being prodded by Rainpaw, “Are you okay?” she asked me softly, “You seem like you are in a trance.”
“How dare that FireClan scum?” Violetpaw slid her claws out and began to scrape at the ground furiously, while I watched in fascination.
“At least they are still alive,” I whispered as a group of senior warriors walked passed us and headed into Bramblestar's den where she would be having a meeting.
“I can't say I am surprised,” Rainpaw sighed, “I saw this coming for a long time now, and I think we all knew it was FireClan.”
“Why can’t we just attack them?” I asked furiously.
“Because,” Ivypaw was behind me, “It’s very obviously a trap, Aquapaw. Any cat could see that FireClan wants us to pull all of our warriors out of camp to attack them, so that they can hurt the elders, queens and kits.”
“Then some cats will stay behind!” I huffed loudly.
Ivypaw sighed again, “If we only send some of our cats we won't be strong enough to take them all. The only we way we could stand a chance would be if we attacked with everything we had. FireClan will not be able to be pushed aside so quickly.”
“Oh,” I paused before huffing loudly again, “Then what are we supposed to do?” I demanded.
“That’s what they are trying to find out,” she indicated towards the leader’s den with her head.
“FireClan is smart,” Rainpaw sighed, “As much as I hate to admit it. They know exactly how to get us into a tough spot.”
I sighed as well, “I’m grabbing something to eat,” I claimed, stalking over to the freshkill pile where I picked up the largest mouse before heading to the apprentice den, my head unable to free itself of thoughts.
The apprentice den was stuffed with apprentices and I had to weave around all of them to successfully reach my nest, as I plopped down and began to chew into my mouse.
I soon found Nightpaw by my side; who looked unusually hopeful for the situation.
“You excited?” she asked me gently and I shrugged, not really sure how I should feel, “I know you love to fight.”
“What if we chose not to go to battle?” I asked her, “What if the warriors decide it’s not worth the risk and they have no choice but to leave Birdwing and Mistypaw trapped in FireClan.”
“They won’t,” Nightpaw assured me, “They won’t get a wink of sleep until they know how they are going to save Mistypaw and Birdwing, because they will. They have to. FireClan would have left their warriors here but that is what makes us different.”
“I guess it is,” I mumbled, “But what if there is no way to save them but keep the camp secure at the same time.”
“There has to be,” she shrugged, “There always is a way to do something when you put your mind and heart to it.”
“I hope you are right,” I responded gravely.
When I woke up the next morning the camp was unusually silent. All of the apprentices were still sleeping except for Snowpaw, who must have been out of camp at the moment.
I gently dragged myself out of the den, avoiding all the other apprentices and making sure not to step on them while doing so, and made a beeline for the freshkill pile, my only source of comfort at the moment.
Snowpaw was also there, picking out a small mouse and she smiled when she saw me approaching.
“Hey, Aquapaw,” she purred, “How is your day starting?”
I shrugged, “I’m worried,” I admitted, “Do you know what happened to the meeting the warriors had?”
Snowpaw shook her head, “I actually took a peak into the den and they are all cramped in there, sleeping together. They must have discussed until they were too exhausted to continue.”
I felt a small burst of pride in my heart for what honorable and noble Clanmates I had, before it was drowned by worries.
“So we still don’t know?”
“Not yet,” Snowpaw claimed, “It’s a very tight spot. They will have to think for days before they can come up with a perfect strategy.”
I groaned, picking up the mouse, and feeling my stomach lurch in worry for my friends, “Why can’t we just bring the queens, kits, and elders with us.”
“I can assure you that was discussed,” I heard a disapproving voice meow behind me, “But it was quickly tossed aside. It’s more dangerous than leaving them here alone.”
I blushed avoiding Sapphireshine’s gaze.
“FireClan is obviously waiting for us to bring a fight to them,” Snowpaw calmly whispered, “Its clever of them. We aren't going to get out warriors back by waiting for them to attack us.”
“Snowpaw gets it,” Sapphireshine smiled at the pure white she-cat and I let out a low sigh.
“It’s not fair,” I murmured.
“I’ll give them their credit,” she shrugged, “It was clever, smart and thought out very well. FireClan knows what they are doing. I wish I could say the same for us at the moment.”
“I’m sure we’ll come up with something eventually,” Snowpaw meowed calmly, “If FireClan could come up with something so clever we can too.”
Sapphireshine smiled, “I like your confidence, Snowpaw. I’m sure you are correct. The warriors are working very hard right now to come up with a proper plan.”
“Would it help if we went hunting?” I asked, “While you are discussing battle plans?”
“That would be great,” she purred, “We’d love if you apprentices tried to make yourselves a little useful.”
“Great!” I exclaimed, dropping my freshkill on the ground and grinning at Snowpaw, “Come on!” I exclaimed, “Let’s go!”
Snowpaw shrugged before following me as I bounded out of camp, eager to do something to keep my mind off Mistypaw, Birdwing and FireClan.
“Let’s split up,” Snowpaw suggested, quickly catching up to me, as I dashed, my pace incredibly slow, “I’ll head towards the river and you head towards the FireClan border.”
I nodded, flicking my tail at her as she turned around and began to run towards the lake to go fishing, while I headed towards the border with FireClan, one which I knew I no longer had to be careful around.
As I reached the border, I realized how faint the FireClan scent mark was. It obviously hadn't been marked since Mistypaw and Birdwing went to talk to them, which was strange. If they wanted us to take the battle to them, they would hope that we should be aware of their presence.
Shrugging my thought off, I quickly turned my nose up to see if I could scent any prey. The smell of a mouse soon hit my nose and I whirled around my eyes darting, trying to locate it.
It was standing right on the border, its tail gently swaying. Sucking in a deep breath, I pulled into a crouch and shut my eyes for a moment, steadying myself before I gently and nimbly leaped.
I missed however, something far too common for me with my hunting experience and, hesitated for a moment about crossing the border before chasing the mouse across FireClan territory.
“What are you doing?”
My gaze quickly turned up to see a deep ginger tabby tom, with snarled teeth, “You are on our territory,” he claimed, “I suggest you get out before you take me captive.”
I took several quick steps back before I felt myself being taken over by rage, as I remembered that this one of the cats who had attacked and captured my friends, “Just like you took Mistypaw and Birdwing?”
His lips pulled into a sly smile from the angry state they were in and he sneered, “So you did find out. We were wondering how long it might take you to realize that.”
I let out a low gasp, unsheathing my claws and ready to fight the dangerous tom who had attacked my friends.
“Aquapaw!” I heard a low hiss behind my and turned around to see Snowpaw, standing on our side of the territory, “What are you doing there?”
A feeling of deep guilt swiped over me as I realized I had given away the last weapon that we had: surprise.
Now we didn’t stand a chance.
With a loud sigh I turned away from the tom and began bounding away furiously until Snowpaw was flanking me.
“Are you okay?” she asked me gently, her brown eyes soft and concerned, and I felt another zap of guilt.
“I’m fine,” I whispered, “But now they know we are aware that they have caught Mistypaw and Birdwing. We don’t even have the element of surprise anymore when we chose to attack.”
But Snowpaw didn’t seem bothered, “I thought you would give it away,” she smiled softly, “That’s why I sent you to FireClan.”
“What?” I looked up, confused.
“I needed them to find out without realizing we wanted them to find out,” she gently whispered.
“Why?” I asked her shortly.
She shot me a half-smile, “I think I have found a plan, Aquapaw. And they needed to think we were about to attack for it to work.”
“Tell me!” I demanded, “What’s it like? How are we going to keep the cats that can’t fight safe?”
“Trust me,” she was brisk, “If Bramblestar approves then you will find out soon. I’ll tell her what I thought of as soon as we get back to camp.”
“I hope it works,” I softly whispered.
“Me too,” she replied.
So much for catching prey, and helping the Clan.
“Would all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the highrock for a Clan meeting!”
I looked away from Nightpaw as I pulled myself up to my paws.
“Do you think she liked Snowpaw’s plan?” Nightpaw asked me, her voice quivering with anticipation.
“I think she did!” I exclaimed unable to conceal my excitement, “Let’s go hear what she has to say!”
We both jumped up and quickly ran out of the den, being on of the first cats to sit before Bramblestar as she stood on the HighRock, Snowpaw right beside her, looking proud.
“I wonder what the plan is?” a loud voice boomed between us.
“Ashpaw!” I batted her gently, “You scared me! I thought FireClan had attacked!”
She let out a purr of amusement and Nightpaw released a relieved breath as she gently cuffed the brown tabby she-cat.
We waited impatiently, fidgeting as apprentices and warriors began to gather under their clan leader, as she waited patiently for the whole clan to come.
Once we were all seated she began.
“The senior warriors and I have been discussing ways to get into FireClan camp without putting those remaining here in danger,” she claimed, “And I think Snowpaw has come up with a proper plan to save our two cats and yet keep us from jumping into a battle.”
She was greeted by an excited and tense silence.
“We are going to bring the fight here!” she claimed loudly and was greeted by more confused glances, as she continued.
“Snowpaw has suggested that we take most of our warriors and apprentices and line up at the border, possible crossing it a little. They will be expecting us and so they will attack. We will have to fight very hard and force them to retreat. However, they will not be retreating back to their own territory. Instead we will drive them into ours, where we will have the home advantage and cats to keep the queens, kits and elders safe.”
“In the meanwhile a group of cats will sneak into FireClan territory and save our two warriors who will only be guarded by a few warriors.”
The Clan was silent at first before breaking into murmurs of agreement. I felt a small bud of hope blossoming in my heart.
“Snowpaw is genius!” Nightpaw exclaimed, “That’s perfect! I hope I get chosen to sneak into FireClan territory!”
“But then you don’t get to fight,” Ashpaw kindly pointed out but before Nightpaw could respond Bramblestar continued.
“I have already selected the cats who I want to take into FireClan territory,” she claimed, “I have chosen Hopeflare, who knows the territory as well as Rainpaw and Aquapaw who are both quite experienced with it. I have also chosen Ashpaw and Nightpaw to accompany them. I thought it would be wise to send smaller cats who could quickly squeeze in.”
Ashpaw let out a yelp of excitement and I felt myself needing to pounce on something through my excitement.
“Yes!” Nightpaw exclaimed.
“When are we attacking?” A cat called and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at the direction it was coming from.
It gets a little annoying when a cat calls out asking when every time the leader announces something, and I was starting to suspect it was the same cat.
“Tomorrow at sunset,” Bramblestar replied, “I want the apprentices I chose and Hopeflare to rest now while the rest of you resume your daily duties, and let’s all give Snowpaw a great thanks for her great idea.”
“Snowpaw! Snowpaw! Snowpaw!” the Clan began to chant loudly for my friend and I felt a beam of pride as I cheered alongside them.
We finally had a plan, an action to perform and two cats to save.
And it was all thanks to Snowpaw.