Hedgestar walked back into camp with Riseclaw, one of his oldest friends, directly in front of him. They had both just returned from a trip to the moon-pool, and Hedgestar had just the night before received his nine lives from Starclan. He had also been given a new prophecy, "You will fight many foes, and overcome all your enemies. All of them . . . except one, who will swat you down like one would swat a fly. Then blood shall truely' rule the 'forest."
Hedgestar shivered as he thought of this dark prophecy, wondering what he would do, now knowing how he would be defeated. Maybe he should return to the moon-pool with Riseclaw after choosing his new deputy, and seek more council on the matter.
"Hedgestar?" Riseclaw asked, bringing Hedgestar back to reality. The new leader of Thunderclan shook his head and focused on his old friend, who looked at him in a way that reminded him of the way a cat would react to a bee sting.
"Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help?" Riseclaw asked. Hedgeclaw smiled at his old friend, remembering a time when they both had pretended being leader of their own clans, and shook his head.
"No, it's alright. I just need to--" Hedgestar stopped talking as he saw a white cat with black streaks on its paws walk through the forrest in front of them. Riseclaw snarled as they both watched this cat begin to walk towards the medicine den, where Fleetwing was waiting.
"Hedgestar," Riseclaw started. Hedgeclaw knew what he was going to say and walked in the direction of the white cat, stopping directly behind it and clearing his throat. Hedgestar watched the white cat stop walking and turn around, a look of anger written across it's face.
"What do you want?" It asked.
"May I please have a word with you?" Hedgestar asked. The white cat looked growled in frustration.
"Can it wait, Hedgerise?" The cat asked gruffly.
"My name is Hedgestar now, not Hedgerise." Hedgestar growled. The white cat sat down in front of the medicine den in a laid back fasion, starting to lick one of its mud-covered paws.
"Why? You don't like the name I gave you?" It asked. Hedgestar growled and resisted the urge to jump forward with his claws extended.
"Because Allstar lost his last life in our last battle with Riverclan, which you would know if you had been there." Hedgestar hissed. The other cat stopped licking its paw and stared at their new leader as if it had just been kicked in the face.
"Allstar is dead?" The white cat asked. Hedgestar rolled his eyes while lashing his tail.
"That's what I just said, isn't it?"" He asked the white cat. It dropped its shocked look and began snarling at it's new leader, as if Hedgestar was some kind of Adder.
"Don't talk like that to me! You know that I have better things to do than meddle around in the clan's petty affairs!" Hedgestar stared at the white cat for a few seconds before laughing hystarically and swatting the ground with his large paws.
"I can't believe you just said that, Fangtail!" Hedgestar laughed. He heard Fleetwing chuckle a little before turning around and walking back into the medicine den as Riseclaw walked up behind him. Fangtail looked at his new leader in confusion.
"Why is that funny to you?"
"Becasue it's the most hypocritical thing ever said!" Riseclaw chuckled. Hedgestar stopped laughing and looked at Fangtail, shaking his head.
"You really are something else, you know that?" Hedgestar asked. Fangtail arched his back and began spitting at the new leader of Thunderclan.
"I am hunting down the one who murdered my family, Hedgestar! I don't call that a petty affair!" Fangtail yelled, making the rest of camp stop whatever they had been doing and look at him. Hedgestar looked around at camp and saw this as a great time to remind the clan what was going on tonight.
"Well then, Fangtail," Hedgestar said loudly, walking around the white cat in the way an animal would walk around it's prey. "Then I guess you won't have time to come to the Gatehring tonight, with the rest of us." Hedgestar said, smiling as he watched Fangtail stop moving altogether and simply stare at the ground.
"I would think he would want to accompany us, considering a ton of cats are going to be there. Maybe even the one who really killed your family." Riseclaw said loud enough that the whole clan could hear. Hedgestar heard some cats snicker and watched Fangtail settle down and glare at him.
"Go eat Mistmoon's fur, Riseclaw." Fangtail said. Hedgestar jumped in front of Fangtail as Riseclaw snarled at the white cat.
"Fangtail, you have two seconds to tell me if you are going to the Gathering tonight or not." Hedgestar said. He watched Fangtail sit up and begin to trot away to the warrior's den, calling back to him and the rest of the clan.
"Might as well, Hedgerise." Fangtail taunted. Hedgestar growled dangerously and thought about the prophecy again. Could his old metor be the cat who would one day kill him?
"Hedgestar, aren't you supposed to choose a new deputy?" One of the elders called out. Hedgestar remembered that he was indeed and looked back at his clan, deciding that Fangtail and his dark desires could wait.
"Uh, yes. I beleive I am." Hedgestar said as he jumped over to the leader's den, seeing Fangtail stare out of the warrior's den at him with his blood-red eyes. He prayed to Starclan that whatever happened, his old metor wouldn't do anything that would hurt his clan in any way.
"Cat's of Thunderclan, I have gathered you here today, to choose a new deputy . . ."
Chapter 1: The Gathering
"I think it was a bad idea to invite Fangtail along, Hedgestar." Eclipsestar, the leader of Windclan said, as she and Hedgestar waited for Shadowclan and Riverclan to arrive at the Gathering. Hedgestar found himself agreeing with the stripped she-cat as he watched Fangtail stare after certain Windclan cats, his gaze dangerous.
"I promise you, Eclipsestar, if he hurts any cat in Windclan at all, he will suffer my wrath as well as yours." Hedgestar promised. He looked at Eclipsestar and caught the she-cat's gaze, a sense of passion flowing between them. Eclipsestar broke away from Hedgestar's stare and looked down at the ground, making the new leader of Thunderclan smile as he looked back out at the two clans. He had that effect on she-cats, even of other clans, but Ecplisestar especially.
"What's the matter, can't stand the fact that I now have more lives than you?" Hedgestar asked. He felt Ecplisestar swat the back of his head with her tail when it looked like no one was looking.
"You don't know that, I could still have more lives than you." Eclipsestar said under her breath but loud enough for Hedgestar to hear. Hedgestar rolled his eyes for the second time that day and swatted her back with his own tail.
"Actually, I do know you that well." Hedgestar said, remembering the times they had both met as aprentices at Gatherings like this one.
"Now is not the place to talk about this kind of thing." Eclipsestar said as Shatteredstar, the leader of Shadowclan, walked into the clearing with Shadowclan close behind him.
"Yes, it can wait for tonight." Hedgestar said as the leader of Shadowclan jumped up to where he and Eclipsestar were sitting. He heard Eclipsestar gasp as she realized that she was referring to their late-night meetings they often had. He heard Shatteredstar scoff as he walked around behind the she-cat and stare down.
"I know, I've never heard of Riverclan being this late either." Shatteredstar said, looking our over the three clans that were there. Hedgestar had to try with all of his might to not laugh as he heard Eclipsestar stumble around in words before recomposing herself and agreeing. He loved it when those kinds of things happened.
"Some days, I'm glad that the three of us are friends with one another . . . and not Twilightstar." Shatterstar said. Hedgestar nodded in agreence, recalling that he, Eclipsestar, and Shatterstar had always been friends, from the moment they had met each other, and because of those friendships, Thunderclan, Windclan, and Shadowclan had always been allies, while Riverclan had only ever tried to attack the others whenever they could.
"I'd think by now Twilightstar would have realized that attacking one of us means attacking all three of us." Eclipsestar said. Hedgestar again nodded before catching a glimpse of something moving through the underbrush. It looked like a cat, but Hedgestar shook the thought off; Riverclan wouldn't attack THREE other clans at a GATHERING. It was against the warrior code, as well as being completely suicide.
"She'll never learn. She thinks only with violence, and will always be defeated because of it." Hedgestar said, seeing a shadow move through the undergrowth. It resembelled a cat in many ways, making Hedgestar wonder what any cat would be doing hiding in the bushes at a time like this.
"I agree. In fact, I think we should just start without Riverclan. You snooze, you miss breakfast. That's my motto." Shatterstar said. Eclipsestar and Hedgestar both nodded their heads as another shadow appered in the bushes behind Fangtail, at the end of the clearing.
"Alright then, let's get this done wit--" Hedgestar felt something slam into his back as he walked to the end of the hedge he and the other clan leaders were sitting on. He fell off and smashed into the ground below him, catching a brief glimpse of Twilightstar standing on top of both Shatterstar and Eclipsestar, who were staring down after him.
"Riverclan! Attack, and get that cat!" Twilightstar called out as she jumped off of Shatterstar and Eclipsestar, and down onto Hedgestar, who had gotten back up and was calling out battle-cries of his own. He felt the she-cat slam him back into the ground and felt her head right against his own, whispering into his ear.
"Fangtail will pay for the deaths in my clan." Twilightstar whispered. Hedgestar snarled and bit forward onto the she-cat's nose, making her duck back in pain.
"Never." Hedgestar said. He watched Shadowclan, Windclan, and Thunderclan cats jump on top of Twilightstar and pin her down, barely able to hold the thrashing black-furred cat. Hedgestar looked up at the spot where the leaders of the clans were supposed to be and saw Eclipsestar and Shatterstar jumping down to his position. They both glared down at Twilightstar while the attacking Riverclan cats were easily driven away from the Gathering clearing.
"What in Starclan's name were you thinking?!" Eclipsestar yelled down at the leader of Riverclan. Hedgestar watched Twilightstar smile up at the other tree leaders and cough once or twice.
"Trying to save my clan." Hedgestar, along with the other cats looked over as Riseclaw ran up to their position, calling Hedgestar's name frantically.
"What is it, Riseclaw?" Hedgestar asked. He watched the brown tom come to a hault right in front of the leaders of the clans, panting like a wild-dog after a chase. He caught his breath quickly and looked up at Hedgestar with horror written across his face.
"They . . . took . . . Fangtail . . . away!" Riseclaw panted as a little blood dripped off of a wound on his right ear. Hedgeclaw looked back down at Twilightstar and stared as she smiled in satisfaction.
"Seems justice will be satisfied after all." The she-cat said. Hedgestar looked up at the moon and saw it become covered by clouds overhead, rain beginning to fall down around all the cats in the clearing. He looked down at the leader of Riverclan and was inturupted by Shatteredstar.
"You will pay for this insult to Starclan and the other clans!" He said, reaching his paw back, claws extending. Hedgestar stared in satisfaction as Twilightstar realized what Shatteredstar was going to do, and began thrashing around under the other cat's grip, trying to get away.
"This is for attacking us!" Shatteredstar roared as he tore his claws across Twilightstar's eyes, making the she-cat cry out in pain. Eclipsestar walked up next, claws already extended.
"This is for putting so many lives at risk including those in your own clan, you stupid fox!" She said, ripping her claws across Twilightstar's face. Both of the leaders looked over at Hedgestar and waited as he slowly stalked toward the black-furred leader of Riverclan.
"And this," Hedgestar said, swiping Twilightstar's face repedetely with his front claws, making sure she would never see again. "Is for blaming Fangtail for everything that goes wrong in your clan." Hedgestar motioned to the cats holding Twilightstar and they all released her, blood drainning off of the claw marks across her face and eyes. The leader of Riverclan spit blood out of her mouth as she began to shake violently from the pain.
"You all . . . will pay for . . . this-oh!" Twilightstar yelled in suprise as Hedgestar slashed her again across her face, tearing the muscle and causing more bleeding. He then turned around and looked at the other leaders of the clans.
"You both wait here, sort everything out, I'll go grab my old mentor." Hedgestar turned around in the direction Riseclaw had come from and sprinted after tracks he saw in flattened grass.
Eclipsestar was right, it was a mistake to bring a crazy cat who's murdered several Riverclan cats because he thinks they killed his family. Hegdestar thought.
Chapter 2: Who Killed Fangtail's Family?
"I say we bash his head against those rocks!" Frogpaw said. He and Archstone had been charged by Twilightstar to be the ones who killed Fangtail, and she had said that it had to be a very painful, very horrible death. So far, neither he nor his mentor had been able to come up with a good way to kill him.
"No, that will only leave a big mess. We need something that will kill him, but only leave a little blood." Archstone said in a savage tone. Frogpaw nodded his head excitedly as he tried to think of something they could do that would follow that idea.
"Why don't we find some death berries and feed them to him?" Frogpaw asked. He felt Fangtail try to get out from underneath his paw, but failed miserably and only was able to get himself another slash from Archstone.
"No, it would be more satisfying to drown him." Archstone mentioned. Frogpaw nodded and felt himself growing more and more excited with every passing minute. He couldn't wait to kill this badger-pelt beneath him . . . then his mother would finally be avenged.
"What is instead we drop him from the top of a tree? There would be a little blood, and not much of a clean-up!" Frogpaw said. He watched Archstone widen his eyes as he saw the truth in his words.
"Very good idea, my apprentice. I think you really have learned something from me after all." Archstone said as he began to reach under Frogpaw and grab Fangtail by his old neck.
"What's that?" Frogpaw asked. He watched Archstone look back at him happily and motion to a tree.
"Cunning." Archstone said. Frogpaw smiled back and began to drag Fangtail over to the tree, the entire time the old cat digging his claws into the ground, trying to stop himself from being dragged away.
"Stop struggling, you old fool, you'll only delay the coming storm." Archstone said, slashing Fangtail across his nose, drawing blood. The Riverclan cats stopped moving as they felt rain begin to fall all around them.
"We'd better hurry, I think Starclan is losing patience." Archstone said, helping Frogpaw drag the old Thunderclan warrior to the tree.
"Let's get him up there as fast as possible, I don't want this taking any longer than it--" Archstone stopped talking as Fangtail stopped struggling and instead attacked his captors, slashing Archstone's neck and pounding Frogpaw's head into the ground repetedly until the apprentice was on the verge of passing out.
"Ah," Fangtail said in a strange tone of voice as he let Frogpaw fall to the ground and walked over to Archstone, who was lying on the ground close by, blood pouring from his wound. "I always knew I would catch up with you, murderer." Fangtail said. Frogpaw widened his eyes as he watched Fangtail bit into his mentor's left ear and pull him over so that Frogpaw could see him.
"Wha-?" *Gurgle* Archstone coughed as Fangtail looked down at him.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about, Archstone. I know you're the one who snuck into the nursery in Thunderclan and murdered my mate, Sheetclaw, and my two kits. I know it was you!" Fangtail yelled. Frogpaw tried to get to his feet, but the dizzyness was keeping him from helping his mentor. He watched Fangtail circle Archstone for a few more seconds before sitting down right in front of the dusty-colored cat's face, staring into his eyes with a strange satisfaction.
"I'm so glad I finally caught up with you. I admit, it's been quite stressful, mistaking you for those other Riverclan cats I've killed, but you have to admit, it was worth it!" Fangtail laughed as he looked over at Frogpaw and lept up, landing on the apprentice's head, bashing it against the ground again. Fangtail then walked calmly back over to Archstone and sat down, poking him with one of his claws.
"I should just kill you now, put you out of your misery . . . but that wouldn't be fair, would it, Archstone?" Fangtail asked. Frogpaw blinked his eyes a few times and saw Fangtail actually reaching his mouth down to the blood pool around Archstone's neck, licking a little up and licking his lips.
"Mmmmm, revenge really does tast sweet." Fangtail said, smiling over at Frogpaw and showing the young cat his teeth, which were covered in blood.
Frogpaw tried to move his legs and get back on his feet, but he found he couldn't feel his legs anymore.
"And to think, all this happened all because Twilightstar decided to attack the Gathering. Excellent work on your leader's part, I must say." Fangtail said happily, taking all of his claws out. Frogpaw watched in horror as Fangtail stabbed Archstone in his chest repetedly, making more blood pools in which Fangtail then rolled in, acting like a cat bathing in a river.
When Fangtail was done, he looked at Frogpaw and looked sypathetically at the yound apprentice, who was just staring up at the blood-covered cat in pure terror.
"You know, I love confusing cats like that just before I kill 'em." Fangtail said. Frogpaw felt his blood go cold as Archtone's blood began to flow under his body, making him pray with all his might to Starclan, asking them to let him move.
"Wha-?" Frogpaw asked. He watched Fangtail sit down in front of him and smile down at the young apprentice, licking his blood-covered lips.
"I know he's not the Riverclan cat who kill my mate and kits. In fact, I know that it wasn't actually a Riverclan cat that did kill them. It was actually a Thunderclan cat who smelled like a Riverclan cat." Fangtail said happily. He stared in satisfaction as Frogpaw realized what he was saying and was actually able to lift his head up.
"You killed your own--?" Frogpaw said as Fangtail put his paw on the top of the apprentice's head.
"Yup." Fangtail said. Frogpaw looked down and felt Fangtail's claws slide out of his paws and slowly begin to puncture his skin.
"Why?" Frogpaw asked weakly. Fangtail laughed and leaned down next to the apprentice of Riverclan, drool and blood dripping off of his face and out of his mouth.
"Becasue I love to hear 'em scream." Fangtail said, pounding all of his weight down onto the young apprentice's head, smashing it and sending pieces of Frogpaw's skull in all directions.
Fangtail slowly took his paw out of the remains of Frogpaw's head and turned around, walking in the direction of the Gathering clearing. When would they learn? You don't always need a reason to kill someone.
"Fangtail! Where are you?!" Fangtail stopped walking as he heard Hedgerise-or Hedgestar now, call his name.
Good old Hegderise-I mean "star", always looking for me, always covering for me. Fangtail thought, walking in the direction of his old apprentice's voice.
I think I'll kill him next. Fangtail thought.