Shattered Sky | Chapter 25 of 35

Author: Erin Hunter | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2739 Views | Add a Review

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CHAPTER 18

Twigpaw lay stretched on the ground outside the apprentices’ den, leaning into the warmth of her father’s pelt. Hawkwing was telling her all about SkyClan, about their life in the gorge and their journey to find the other Clans, in much more detail than had been possible while they were still traveling.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of listening to his voice, Twigpaw thought. It’s great to be back home, and it’s even better now that I have kin.

It was very early in the morning, a day after SkyClan had reached the ThunderClan camp. The sun had not yet risen, though rosy tints in the sky showed where it would appear. A breeze carried cool, fresh scents into the camp.

The day before, the clearing had been filled with bustle. Before leaving for the Moonpool and their meeting with StarClan, the medicine cats had tended to the RiverClan prisoners and the cats who had been wounded in the battle.

The SkyClan cats had been invited to share the fresh-kill pile, while Daisy guided Tinycloud into the nursery to rest and recover her strength while she waited for her kits to be born.

“Thank StarClan!” Tinycloud had exclaimed. “I think I have a whole Clan in here, and they’re all practicing their fighting moves!”

Now, the camp was peaceful. As soon as the sky began to pale toward dawn, Bramblestar and the other leaders had taken a patrol of uninjured RiverClan warriors, along with a few volunteers from the other Clans, to survey the damage in RiverClan territory and begin the task of rebuilding. Squirrelflight, left in charge of the camp, had sent out the border and hunting patrols, so that the hollow was much less crowded than it normally was these days. It’s almost like there’s just one Clan living here again, Twigpaw thought.

Soothed by her father’s voice, Twigpaw could almost have fallen asleep, except for the uncertainty she felt about the future. She felt a strong pull toward this cat who looked so much like her, but she wondered whether they could even live together.

SkyClan will need to find a new territory soon, and where will that be? Is there room around the lake for another Clan?

In the short time since the Clans had been reunited, some of the ThunderClan warriors had discussed the prophecy with her, with a new respect that Twigpaw had never sensed before. I can see in their eyes that they’re taking me seriously, and they listen to what I have to say!

“You may not be what the prophecy told the Clans to embrace,” Squirrelflight had meowed. “But you and Violetpaw are connected to the lost Clan. No cat still thinks it was an accident that you were brought here.”

“That’s true,” Graystripe had agreed. “Maybe it was meant to be? And maybe embracing you when you were found is what allowed us to reunite with SkyClan.”

Twigpaw hoped that was true. I felt so useless when no cat knew what I was doing here. But I did bring SkyClan back! I’ve earned my place here now.

Movement beside the thorn tunnel attracted Twigpaw’s gaze. Berrynose pushed his way into the camp, followed by Cherryfall. And following them was a third cat, a small black-and-white she-cat who was achingly familiar. . . .

“Violetpaw!” she yowled, springing to her paws. “You’re alive!”

Twigpaw rushed across the camp to her littermate, relief almost sweeping her off her paws. Violetpaw stood still, staring at her, a flood of joy in her amber eyes, then bounded forward. The two young cats pressed against each other, drinking in each other’s scent, purring as if they would never stop.

“I’m sorry we ever fought!” Twigpaw gasped out at last. “I’m so happy, just seeing that you’re alive!”

“Alderheart told me you must be dead,” Violetpaw responded. “But I never gave up hope. And I’m sorry too: I should never have attacked you in the battle.”

“That doesn’t matter now,” Twigpaw assured her. “Besides, you’ve more than made up for it. Every cat says that without you, the rogues would never have been driven out of RiverClan territory.”

Violetpaw’s ears flicked up and her eyes widened in surprise. “The rogues have been driven out?”

“Yes, but only from RiverClan’s territory. The leaders were going to attack once the prisoners were exchanged,” Twigpaw told her, “but the prisoners rose up on their own! And with Darktail gone, the Kin were easily chased off. But they’ve just moved back over to ShadowClan’s land. Anyway, the leaders were worried about you. Alderheart said that Darktail took you away, and then came back with scratches and blood on his fur. They thought he’d done something horrible to you—that you might be dead!”

The joy faded from Violetpaw’s eyes. “Darktail took Needletail and me down to the lake,” she explained. “He was going to drown Needletail as a punishment for what I did, helping cats to escape from him. Roach and Raven and Sleekwhisker were there too.” She paused, swallowing, and Twigpaw rested her tail comfortingly on her sister’s shoulder.

“Needletail turned on them and attacked them,” Violetpaw continued after a moment. “She was so brave! She told me to run, and I did. . . . But I should have stayed and fought beside her!”

“No, you shouldn’t have,” Twigpaw meowed. “Two of you against four of those vicious cats? You would both have died, and Needletail would have given you a chance for nothing.”

Violetpaw nodded reluctantly. “Raven followed me,” she went on. “I couldn’t think about anything except losing her—and when I finally did, I had no idea where I was.” Her head and tail drooped. “It took ages for me to find my way back to the lake, and then I met the ThunderClan patrol on the ShadowClan border.”

“Thank StarClan you made it!” Twigpaw leaned forward and nuzzled her sister’s shoulder. “Come on,” she murmured. “There’s a cat I want you to meet.”

Leading Violetpaw farther into the camp, Twigpaw saw that the remaining ShadowClan warriors were emerging from their den, having been alerted by Berrynose and Cherryfall. When they spotted Violetpaw, their eyes widened with an expression of awe and deep respect.

“Here she is!” Scorchfur exclaimed, bounding toward them. “Welcome, Violetpaw! You’re a hero to us all!”

“You certainly are,” Snowbird purred, stroking her tail down Violetpaw’s flank. “It’s so good to see you alive and well.”

Twigpaw let Violetpaw’s Clanmates greet her, then gave her a nudge and guided her over to the apprentices’ den. Hawkwing had risen to his paws and was waiting for them.

“This is Hawkwing,” Twigpaw meowed to her sister, feeling as if her excitement was going to bubble out of her like a mountain spring bursting from the rocks. “He’s the deputy of SkyClan—and he’s our father!”

Violetpaw halted in front of him, her jaws gaping with astonishment. Hawkwing leaned forward and gently touched noses with her.

“I never hoped to have both my kits close to me,” he mewed, his amber eyes shining with delight. “This must be a sign from StarClan, that kin should stay together, always. You can help me rebuild SkyClan!”

Just as he was speaking, a rush of paw steps sounded behind Twigpaw. Turning, she saw Alderheart dashing up to them, with Leafpool, Jayfeather, and the other medicine cats following him through the thorn tunnel.

“Violetpaw!” he exclaimed. “You’re okay!” He pressed his muzzle into her shoulder, then raised his head to look at Hawkwing. Twigpaw could see that his joy and excitement at seeing her sister was mingled with uncertainty.

“Have you discussed this with Bramblestar?” he asked. Clearly, he had overheard Hawkwing’s last words.

“Bramblestar isn’t here,” Hawkwing replied. “He and the other leaders took some cats over to RiverClan. Why—is there a problem?”

“There may be,” Alderheart replied, clearly choosing his words with care. “Twigpaw and Violetpaw have allegiance to other Clans.”

“But—” Hawkwing began to protest.

“There’s no need to worry about that just now,” Alderheart went on rapidly. “Violetpaw, you look so skinny and exhausted. You need to come to the medicine-cat den and have some juniper to build up your strength. Twigpaw, can you fetch her something from the fresh-kill pile?”

He padded off with Violetpaw, his tail resting on her shoulders.

Before Twigpaw could go to fetch prey for her sister, Hawkwing asked her, “Do you both have real allegiances to the other Clans? Obviously, you’re grateful to ThunderClan and ShadowClan for taking you in and raising you, but . . . I am your kin. Surely that’s more important?”

At first Twigpaw couldn’t think how to reply. She dipped her head, unwilling to meet her father’s gaze.

“You have SkyClan blood in you,” Hawkwing continued. “You’re SkyClan cats. Twigpaw—”

“It’s all too much to take in,” Twigpaw interrupted desperately. “And I’m not sure what I want to do.”

She could hardly bear to see the look of disappointment in her father’s amber eyes. She wanted to find the words to console him, but she had no idea how to do that.

“I’d better fetch the fresh-kill,” she mumbled, and bounded off before her father could say any more.

As Twigpaw was choosing a vole from the fresh-kill pile, more cats began to pour in through the thorn tunnel, with Bramblestar in the lead. Rowanstar, Leafstar, and the ThunderClan and ShadowClan warriors followed him. All of them looked exhausted.

Squirrelflight, who had been watching over the camp from the Highledge, bounded down the tumbled rocks to meet the returning cats in the center of the clearing. Other warriors gathered around eagerly.

“Is everything okay?” Squirrelflight asked.

“More or less,” Bramblestar replied. “We saw nothing of the rogues, but you wouldn’t believe the mess they’ve left behind them in RiverClan! The camp is in a disgusting state—I can’t imagine what it was like to live there.”

Leafstar shook her head. “It doesn’t surprise me,” she said. “He and his cats destroyed the gorge after they drove us out. He has no respect for the Clans, or how we live.”

Rowanstar shook his head. “Indeed he doesn’t.”

“Mistystar and her warriors have stayed behind to start rebuilding,” Whitewing added. “But they’re going to continue living in our camp for a while longer, until they’ve cleared away the worst of the debris.”

Rowanstar stepped forward, puffing out his chest. “I feel responsible for Darktail, that mange-ridden scourge of the forest,” he announced. “Now I know what I must do: return to my territory and rid it of that terrible rogue cat once and for all.”

Yowls of agreement rose from the rest of the warriors. Twigpaw could see their eyes gleaming with enthusiasm, and their fur bristling with the anticipation of a battle to come.

“But not alone!” Bramblestar raised his voice to make himself heard, and the fervent voices died into silence. “This burden cannot fall on one cat, or one Clan,” the ThunderClan leader continued. “All cats, all Clans, must unite and do their part.”

“SkyClan is behind you,” Leafstar said solemnly. “Many of our cats would welcome the opportunity to fight Darktail again, after everything he’s put us through.”

Rowanstar nodded at her. “ShadowClan feels the same,” he said. “That flea-pelt nearly tore our Clan apart. It’s time for him to leave.”

“Bramblestar is right.” A quiet voice broke into the discussion, and Twigpaw saw that Alderheart had emerged once more from the medicine-cat den and padded forward to stand beside his father.

All cats, all Clans, must unite,” he repeated. “According to StarClan, none of our efforts will succeed unless we involve one more Clan. . . .”

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Comments

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Nicely written. I cried when Needletail died ;(
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batool
thanks i was looking for a website like this to read i just want that could make the full screen best regards
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