This is a really long chapter. It's like two chapters in one page, since I put a lot into the planning of this chapter. So yeah, you guys get extra! XD Enjoy, and please read and review!

Chapter 6

In which Blaze encounters certain characters


The paved concrete beneath his paws felt hard and cold as Blaze continued to venture through the alleyways. Turning from a circuitous path to another, wandering from street to street, hope was beginning to fade inside the young ginger tom's heart. His fur, ruffled up as it was, still didn't lose its flame-like blaze. However, Blaze could feel the blaze of hope grow fainter and fainter as he got lost again. I'm not actually lost, he thought bitterly. I don't even have a place to stay now. I'm too far away from home. And probably too far away from Ruby, too… Suddenly a fear struck him. It wasn't as if he made the choice to set off would really make him find Ruby. What if he ventured forever, until he died? What if he never found Ruby? And he left Belle. What if…? Fear widening his eyes, Blaze shook his head again and again until he felt dizzy. No, that will never be! At least, that was what he hoped. Absentmindedly, he turned into an alleyway and bumped into a dark silver tom. The tom was huge, with short but acute claws, and he growled at Blaze, speaking odd words.

"How dare you intrude BloodClan territory!" he snarled. "I must report this to Scourge!" His piercing amber glare bore into Blaze's fearful amber ones. He stumbled as his words rumbled out softly, "I-I'm sorry, I'll leave right now—" Just when he made the move to flee, the large silver tom flashed into the air, and pinned him down, his claws by Blaze's throat. Why is he attacking me just because I bumped into him? Blaze thought, suddenly furious at the unreasonable attack of the tomcat. The stranger sheathed his claws for a second, maybe considering that Blaze was no threat. However, Blaze used his chance, and slipped away from under his paw. He had been a housecat all his life. Never had he gotten into a fight before, and it was best to evade fights, according to Dapple. So he pounced upward and darted away as fast as he could. Turning around a corner, he bumped into another cat, and a mixture of dread and annoyance overwhelmed him. Oh, please, Dapple, he turned his head to the sky, hoping his mother was watching over him this instant. Not again. All he saw were a black-and-white shape and a brown blur before he fainted with fatigue.

Drowsily, Blaze staggered upwards, realizing he had blacked out beforehand. The sweet scents that surrounded him were familiar. It smelled like home…just slightly different… The cats smelled different… But he was home again. His eyes opened fully. It was a completely unfamiliar place, but certainly a house where housecats lived!

"Ah!" screeched Blaze when a plump black-and-white tom popped up in front of him with curious huge amber eyes staring at him quite rudely. The chubby tom smiled a wide smile that could barely fit on his narrow face, and he mewled, "Hello! My name is Smudge!" Blinking at Smudge's friendliness, Blaze was suddenly glad to be in an environment more like he and Belle's home. But it was still different, and that made Blaze's gaze droop. A brown tabby she-cat was beside him, and her eyes twinkled with inquisitiveness, and introduced herself. "And I'm Hattie." Hattie was a pretty she-cat, but to Blaze, no cat was as beautiful as Ruby. Somehow, though, Blaze almost felt like he was at home— at what he would call a home— somewhere where he was delighted because there was Ruby, Belle, and Socks. Smudge groomed Blaze's fur for him and grinned gleefully. He began: "So, what's your name?"

Blaze glanced at him, and his amber gaze glittered in thought. "Blaze," he finally mewed, deciding to trust these two forthcoming housecats. "My name is Blaze." Then, without being prompted, he explained why he was wandering on the streets. Hattie's green eyes glimmered with zealousness and purred, "That's so sweet!" Chuckling, Smudge exclaimed, "Sure is!" Struggling to grin back, Blaze made a somewhat odd expression. The two cats in front of him began to laugh. Smudge flicked a tail at his face, and mused, "Your expression is hilarious, Blaze! You can stay here as long as you want, of course! My housefolk won't mind!" So this is Smudge's home, he thought. Blinking gratefully, Blaze dipped his head and thanked Smudge. Hattie padded away for a few long heartbeats and when she returned with Smudge's housefolk by her side. For a second the Twoleg seemed surprised at the newcomer. But he kindly set two crimson-colored bowls in front of Blaze and filled one with brown chunks and one with milk. Milk, Blaze suddenly remembered the day when he first thought about love. It was the day Dapple introduced milk to him. Then Jasmine died. And Dapple's death arrived as well. Irresistibly, he sniffed loudly at the memory of Dapple's death.

Although the sniff was exceptionally shrill, Smudge and Hattie didn't seem to notice, and prompted him to eat the chunks and drink the milk. He obeyed, and enjoyed it, since all he really got to eat were a few mice or chicken shared by other wandering cats in the duration of his journeying. To his surprise, the mice and chicken tasted quite savoring— however, he missed the chunks for they gave him a feeling like home. I miss Ruby and Belle and Socks so much, Blaze thought, and suppressed a sigh. After the food, Smudge kindly urged him to sleep, for he probably looked like he hadn't had sleep for a whole moon. Compliantly Blaze fulfilled Smudge's urges and had quite an extended nap. By the time his eyes stretched open again, the sun was setting; a brilliant ocher color filled the sky. Blaze was shocked he'd slept so long— the sun was at the top of the sky when he drifted into dreams. I need to find Ruby quickly, he instantaneously thought. Each heartbeat he wasted was less time finding Ruby.

Dashing to meet Smudge and Hattie, he swiftly mewed gratefully, "Thank you so much for the food and hospitality… But I need to find Ruby now." Without waiting for a response, he rushed away and the more he scampered the more speed his paws built. Soon he could not control the speed of his paws, and he was flying. His tireless paws finally tangled together and tripped him. He scowled in pain. His leg was scraped by a rock, and he was bleeding slightly. Darn it, he thought furiously. That will definitely slow me down. Where is Ruby? Suddenly all the exhaustion he was supposed to felt while he ran flooded into him and his legs were numb. Shoot. Now I can't move. I shouldn't have ran that fast. Desperately, he glanced around and spotted two toms not far away. One was sleek-furred and black with a white-tipped tail and a white dash on his chest, with green eyes. Another was black-and-white with amber eyes. Before he called out for help, both of them had already appeared in front of him in a flash. He jumped up in surprise, and then the piercing pain of his leg hit him.

"Are you okay?" the sleek-furred tom asked with worry glistening in his eyes. Stiffly, Blaze nodded. The black-and-white tom meowed, "My name is Barley. My friend here—" he flicked his tail at the other tom— "is Ravenpaw." Ravenpaw…? That sounds familiar… Pine! He suddenly remembered the stories Pine told… about the Clan cats… What? Pine's stories…what if they were true? His eyes widened and he questioned absentmindedly, "Ravenpaw… Are you from the Clans?" Ravenpaw's jade gaze flickered with surprise. He dipped his head and mewed, "How do you know?" Ravenpaw turned to Barley first and mewed, "Hey, Barley, can you get some goldenrod, cobwebs, and dock leaves from the farm? Remember what Featherwhisker and Spottedleaf did…remember, Ravenpaw…" he muttered the rest to himself. Blaze was still shocked that the stories Pine told were actually true. The pain coming from his bleeding scratch ached. And then he blacked out.

Voices faded in the dark as Blaze stirred. He woke to find himself in a warm barn, and Ravenpaw and Barley were glancing at him with anxiety. Noticing that he awoke, Ravenpaw purred, "I treated your scratch with some herbs from the farm. I remembered the way the medicine cats used to treat my wounds," he added, grinning. Blaze remembered Pine mentioning medicine cats. Those were the cats that healed the Clan members and treated them to sicknesses. He now felt no pain from his leg, so he was deeply grateful at Ravenpaw. Appreciatively Blaze mewed, "Thank you so much…" he sighed. Barley offered him a mouse, and Blaze blinked, and sniffed at the mouse. He didn't just smell its sweet scent drifting away from it. There were other scents in the barn. The scent of Ravenpaw and Barley, of other mice, hay… other animals… Thankfully Blaze took a huge bite at the mouse and gobbled it up within a few heartbeats, realizing he was truly ravenous. As Barley offered him some water, Ravenpaw inquired, "How did you know about the Clans? You smell like a kittypet."

Blaze cocked his head in wonder. "Kittypet? Um, I'm a housecat, if that's what kittypet means. And I know about the Clans because Pine told stories about it." Ravenpaw looked deep in thought, and then mewed thoughtfully, "Why did you wander around the street if you're a kitty— housecat?" Then, Blaze told his story, about Ruby and Belle and Socks. About how Belle urged him to go find Ruby, the love of his life…about how Pine died and Ruby and Socks got kicked out of the house… all those details he told. When he stopped, he was breathless. He had described Ruby and Socks to Ravenpaw and Barley. He hoped they knew where Ruby and Socks were. Barley and Ravenpaw exchanged curious looks.

"I did hear that three new cats moved into a farm nearby and settled there," Ravenpaw spoke up.

"Right," Barley confirmed. "There are three cats. And two of them are she-cats. One is a tom. One of the she-cats is gray, quite pretty, you can say. Like you described, young Blaze." He nodded as his own words and continued: "The tom was black with a white muzzle, tail-tip, and paws. Like you described once again. I reckon they're your Ruby and Socks. They're pretty fortunate. The Twolegs by their farm are quite nice fellows." Blaze's amber eyes gleamed with hope.

He leaned forward eagerly. "Where's that farm? Oh, please tell me!" he begged joyfully. Ravenpaw shook his head and meowed, "It's quite far away, Blaze. A long distance to the north. If you follow the streets beyond Dingle's Farm, and walk for another long distance, you might reach it. But it might take a moon or so…" Determination flickered in Blaze's voice as he spoke. "I'm going to go! It's definitely Ruby and Socks. No matter what it takes, I will go!" At last there was hope. I'm going to find Ruby. I will, Blaze promised himself confidently. He was one pawstep closer to find his love.

Hehe. the ending was kinda bad, but I liked the chapter overall.

Also, I've been thinking. Would it be better for you guys if I make a whole new paragraph when there's character dialogue?

I'm sorry if it was kinda bugging you because most dialogue is bunched up in one paragraph-- that was just kinda the way I was trained by my teacher to write. Please tell me your opinions in your review. Thanks. Please review! :)