Here's chapter two! I'm sick today, so all I've been doing is writing. I hope you guys like it! Thank you to those who have reviewed so far! You're amazing! :D
"Is he dead?"
"I think I see it breathing…"
"Ah, Dapplepaw, get back!"
The speckled apprentice's momentum halted the second her mentor placed his tail in her path. He pushed her back to his side, where she stood, grumbling. Stupid furball is always worrying about me, she thought angrily. To her right, Tawnyfur took a step forward, sniffing curiously. The tortoiseshell she-cat stood over the crumbled body of a golden-brown tabby tom that lay on his side. There were scores all over his body, and a pool of blood surrounded him. He lay still even when Tawnyfur reached out and poked him experimentally. She backed up, cocking her head.
"I think he is dead," she reported. "He's not moving."
Dapplepaw broke free of her mentor's hold and ran to the tabby's head. She leaned down and sniffed him. "He sure smells bad!" she meowed. "He smells like crowfood and Twolegs! He—" She screeched as the supposedly dead tom stirred beneath her. She raced over to Ravenflight and hid behind him. Ravenflight bristled protectively and shielded her as the rogue slowly lifted his head off the ground.
Dizzy, he blinked several times and turned his gaze from Ravenflight to Tawnyfur and back. The second he spotted them, he leapt to his feet and cowered on the ground, ears flattened against his head. "Hey, hey, no need to be hasty!" he said fearfully. "I-I-I've already told you a hundred times! I don't know where Sabre is! I don't care!"
The ThunderClan warriors glanced at one another, frowning. "Sabre?" echoed Ravenflight. "Who is that?"
The golden-brown tom frowned and straightened himself slightly. "You mean, you're not looking for that bastard?" he asked.
"No," said Tawnyfur. "We're warriors."
"We're ThunderClan cats!" hissed Dapplepaw. "What're you doing on our territory?"
"ThunderClan?" echoed the tom. "Eh, never heard of 'em. You guys some kind of wild cat group?"
Ravenflight nodded. "Haven't you heard of us?"
"Can't say that I have."
"What're you doing here?" asked Tawnyfur.
"I haven't come to do you any harm," the tom replied. "I was running from some enemies of mine. They're trying to find a cat that I was once…affiliated with. I can only imagine what they want to do to him. They beat me and chased me through the woods until I collapsed here." He motioned with his tail to his legs. Dapplepaw gasped when she saw that they were badly twisted and had deep bite marks along them. "I don't think I can stand."
Tawnyfur nodded her head to Ravenflight, signaling that they needed to speak. They stepped a bit away from the rogue and left Dapplepaw alone. Unguarded, the speckled she-cat moved closer to the rogue, cautiously. He chuckled and nodded her forward.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he said. "My name's Patrick. What's yours?"
"I'm Dapplepaw," she purred.
"Dapplepaw? That's a weird name."
She puffed up. "Well, Patrick is a weird name too!"
Patrick laughed. "Yeah, I guess it is."
"What're we going to do with him?" asked Ravenflight, whispering so as not to be heard by the rogue. "We can't just leave him here. That's cruel. At the same time, I hate the idea of bringing him back to camp. We hardly have enough prey as it is."
"I know," replied Tawnyfur, "and knowing Tigerstar, she'd not going to like the idea of keeping a rogue around. She hates dealing with cats outside ThunderClan."
"All the same, we can't kill him," Ravenflight went on. "We're not ShadowClan."
"The only thing we can do is take him back to camp," Tawnyfur said. "Maybe he'll heal quickly and be on his way. Leopardclaw can probably fix him up in a half-moon or so."
"A half-moon!" muttered Ravenflight. "Think of all the prey an injured cat will eat in a half-moon!"
"I know, but we can't leave him. We have to do something."
Agreed, the two warriors rejoined Dapplepaw and Patrick. "We've decided to take you back to our camp," said Tawnyfur. The rogue brightened a bit. "There, our medicine cat will see what he can do for your legs. That is, only if our leader agrees to humor you. If she wants you gone, there's not much we can do about it."
Patrick dipped his head. "Sure. That works for me." He laughed and gave a wide smile. "Now, which of you great ThunderClan cats is going to carry me?"
A puny ginger tom stumbled through the forest. He kept his eyes forward, watching as a fuzzy shape moved between the trees. Every so often it would wait for him to get closer, but when he got within a fox-length of it, it disappeared and reappeared farther away. Growling, the ginger kit forced himself onwards. His shaky legs were tired and achy, but he wouldn't give up. He used his claws to pull himself through the deep leaves on the forest floor. Ahead, the white shape let out a purr. He closed in at last and leapt towards the figure, but as it always did, it vanished. With a frustrated growl, the kit sank to his haunches, panting.
"I don't want to play this game anymore!" the kit hissed. "I don't care what prize you have for me! It's too hard!"
Purring echoed around him, and the white figure appeared. Its blue eyes gleamed as it looked down at the kit. "You're so close!" she purred. "Come on, Talonkit! Just a bit further and you get your prize."
Talonkit huffed. "I don't like you anymore. I'm going back to camp!" The ginger kit turned his back on her and began crawling back through the forest when all of a sudden, the white figure appeared in his path. He sat crossly. "Get out of my way! I told you: I don't want to play anymore!"
The white figure let out a hiss. "But I'm not done playing," she hissed.
The white figure froze at the familiar voice. Talonkit brightened and turned towards the direction that it came from with a smile. "Mother!" he cried. "I'm over here!"
With a hiss, the white figure turned back towards the kit. "This game isn't over," she snarled.
Talonkit stuck his tongue out at her. "I win, I win!" he chuckled as she slowly vanished.
The ginger tom moved towards the loud sound of a cat moving through the forest. A blue-gray she-cat skidded into the clearing and raced over to his side. "Talonkit!" she exclaimed, showering his dirty pelt with rough licks. "Where on earth have you been? What were you thinking?"
"That white she-cat came again," Talonkit explained. At this, the blue-gray she-cat let out a low growl. "She said she'd give me a prize if I caught her. I tried, Momma, I tried, but she was too fast!"
Hissing, the blue-gray she-cat swung her head about. "Is she gone?"
"Yeah, she left! I won the game, Momma, I won!"
With a sigh, the she-cat leaned down and rubbed her face against her son's cheek. "I'm glad to hear it," she murmured. "But you need to promise Momma that you're never going to follow the white she-cat into the forest ever again. Promise?"
Talonkit nodded. "I promise."
His mother grabbed Talonkit by the scruff and began carrying him through the woods. As she walked, Talonkit retold the tale excitedly of how he chased the white she-cat for trespassing in ThunderClan territory and how he fought her off like a true warrior. His mother purred affectionately, thought worry hung about her.
This is the third time Mist has tried to kill one of my kits, she thought. I don't think I can keep them from her much longer.
"Can I go visit Leopardclaw, Momma?" the ginger kit asked when they entered the thick walls of the nursery. The blue-gray she-cat set her son down in a bed of feathers.
"If you behave," she replied.
"Ah, Skyeyes, you're back."
Skyeyes looked up and purred as she greeted Robinpelt, the brown tabby queen, with a touch to her nose. Robinpelt had been watching Skyeyes' other kit, a small white and ginger she-cat who clambered over to pounce on her brother. Two small brown kits were curled at Robinpelt's side. She'd only just kitted the night before, and her mate, Pinefrost, finally gave up watching her all the time.
"Did Talonkit wander far this time?" Robinpelt asked. Robinpelt also happened to be the mother of Skyeyes' mate, Sandstone. The two she-cats were very close.
"Not too far, actually," Skyeyes replied. She turned her gaze on her son. Talonkit shrank back under his mother's angry stare. "And he's promised to never do it again, right?"
"Right," Talonkit replied. "I—" His sister cut him off by nipping at his ears. "Cherrykit!" Talonkit spat. "You never play fair!"
Cherrykit, the ginger and white she-cat, knocked Talonkit over. "I always play fair!" she squeaked. "You're just terrible at fighting!"
Skyeyes purred at her kits play. She knew that Cherrykit could deal just as much damage as she received. The third of her motley litter, a black and white tom named Stormkit, padded over, looking bored. He was the son of their former leader and his mate, Sableclaw. Sableclaw's kitting had gone all wrong, and she died shortly after giving birth to Stormkit. Distraught, Longstar succumbed to his illness the next day, leaving his son without any immediate kin. Skyeyes agreed to care for the tom, but he hardly needed caring. He was more mature than any of her kits, and he liked to spend his time with Shadeclaw, the loud-mouthed elder. He turned his blue gaze on Skyeyes.
"Where did Talonkit go this time?" he growled.
"He went to play in the woods," Skyeyes replied. "He simply 'forgot' that that's not allowed."
"Stormkit, come help me!" cried Cherrykit. She had her brother pinned. Talonkit squirmed under her, but she held him fast. "I need you to hold him!"
Stormkit huffed. "I'm going to the elders' den," he said. "It's boring here."
The black-and-white tom turned away and stalked out of the den. Robinpelt frowned after him. "I'll never understand that kit," she muttered. "He's too angry for his own good."
Skyeyes nodded in agreement and looked up when a familiar tawny head popped in through the entrance. "Sandstone!" she meowed, rushing over to greet him. She rubbed against him affectionately as he purred into her fur.
"Miss me?" he chuckled. "I've only been gone for a few hours."
"Talonkit ran off again," Robinpelt explained. "She's been worried all morning."
"That so?" Sandstone looked over her shoulder at his two kits. "I'll talk to you about this later, Talonkit," he growled in mock aggression. The queens both knew that he loved the kits dearly and would never hurt them. "It'll be the punishment of your young life."
"What's the news from outside?" asked Skyeyes.
"Oh, come with me!" Sandstone purred. "There's a rogue in camp."
"A rogue?" echoed Robinpelt, curling her tail around her small kits. "What's it doing here?"
"Ravenflight, Tawnyfur, and Dapplepaw found him on a patrol. Tigerstar's deciding what to with him."
"Is he dangerous?"
"No, he seems nice enough. But you know how Tigerstar is about cats outside ThunderClan. She may not agree to keep him."
Sandstone led his mate out and into the camp. They went into Leopardclaw's den where the spotted tom stood over the body of a golden-brown tabby. Tawnyfur and Dapplepaw sat in the corner, watching. They greeted the pair as they entered. Sandstone walked over to join them with Skyeyes in tow.
"Has Tigerstar decided yet?" asked Sandstone.
"No, she's talking it over with Molewhisker," replied Tawnyfur.
"Ow, ow!" grumbled the rogue. He pushed Leopardclaw off of him and sat up with gritted teeth. "You're not helping, Spotty!"
Leopardclaw sighed and rolled his eyes. "I've told you a hundred times that my name is Leopardclaw!" the medicine cat hissed. "Get it right, will you?" He grabbed a wad of cobwebs and pressed them harshly into the rogue's flank. The tom hissed in protest, but Leopardclaw ignored him. "There. You're all patched up. StarClan willing, you'll be out of our hair in a moon or so."
The rogue chuckled. "Right, Leopardclaw," he purred. "I'll remember that."
Growling, Leopardclaw stalked away. He passed Skyeyes and whispered, "Do me a favor and kill him."
Skyeyes purred as he left. Dapplepaw rushed over to the rogue's side with a purr.
"Do your wounds hurt anymore, Patrick?" she asked.
The rogue shrugged. "Not so badly," he replied. "I think I'm going to take a nap. Tell Spotty—Dotty—Leo—Whatever—that I'm grateful to him." Patrick lay his head on his paws. "Thank you, Dapples."
The apprentice chuckled. "It's Dapplepaw!"
"Right, okay. I'm going to get that done eventually."
Dapplepaw walked back over to the three older cats with a smirk. "I hope Tigerstar keeps him around," she said. "He's funny!"
"Isn't that so shameful?"
"Look at the way she walks. She thinks she's so great."
"I'd sure like to teach her a lesson."
Skyeyes looked up from her prey with a frown. Tawnyfur, Robinpelt, Puddlefoot, and Cloudpatch sat around her in a circle. They were sharing prey while Bluestorm watched over their kits. Skyeyes followed their gaze to where Whiteblossom sat talking to Pinefrost. She briefly looked at the group of she-cats with disdain in her green eyes, but Skyeyes could not for the life of her think of something she'd done to upset her, nor could she find any reason why the she-cats around her would speak so poorly of the white warrior. Skyeyes swallowed a bite of her shrew.
"What are you talking about?" asked Skyeyes.
Puddlefoot flicked her tail. The silver tabby she-cat was heavy with her second litter. "It's that Whiteblossom," she muttered. "She's carrying kits again."
Skyeyes brightened. "Is that it? I thought she'd done something wrong by the way you talked!"
"It's not that simple, Skyeyes," said Robinpelt. "See, Whiteblossom doesn't have a mate."
"At least not in ThunderClan," supplied Tawnyfur with a snort.
"This is the second time it's happened," meowed Cloudpatch. "The first time, she had a litter of four: all black toms. We all asked her who the father was, but she wouldn't tell anyone. When curiosity got the better of us—namely me—I asked every black tom I knew, but none admitted to being the father of her kits. Whiteblossom never revealed who the father was, but one day, her kits just disappeared. She never explained what happened to them. She came back to camp one day and said, 'They're gone'."
"And she's carrying kits again?" asked Skyeyes.
"Yes, according to Leopardclaw," said Puddlefoot. "She's going to move into the nursery soon."
Skyeyes frowned at her paws. "Why would Whiteblossom lie about her kits?" she asked. "Even if they're a rogue's kits, or if their father is from another Clan, wouldn't she want to tell her family about them?"
"She doesn't have any close family, that's the problem," replied Cloudpatch. "She's my niece, so I try my hardest to be in her life, but she doesn't like me much. My idiot brother is long dead, and her mother too. You were there when Icepelt died, right?"
Skyeyes winced. "Yes, I was there."
"So it's understandable that she'd turn to an outside source for…comfort," said Tawnyfur. "However, it doesn't excuse the birth of useless, half-Clan kits that will never have a true father!"
"You awful bunch of gossips!"
The queens turned to see Lionpelt, bristling behind them. "How dare you talk about my mate that way!" he hissed.
"Your mate?" echoed Cloudpatch. "Then—"
"Yes. Those useless, half-Clan kits you're talking about are mine! They will have a true father!"
"I'm sorry, Lionpelt," murmured Tawnyfur. "I didn't know…"
"Well you shouldn't go making assumptions!" he hissed. "Keep your damn mouths shut from now on! I hate to think that my beautiful mate is moving in with a bunch of harpies like you!" Hissing to himself, he stormed right through them, nearly trampling over Cloudpatch's food. He went over to Whiteblossom and whispered something in her ear. Skyeyes frowned at her paws guiltily.
"I never would've guess that," murmured Cloudpatch. "Lionpelt has never cared for Whiteblossom in the past. In fact, he told me once that he hated her."
"Cats can change," said Skyeyes. "Maybe he's actually a kind tom underneath all that."
Puddlefoot shrugged. "Yes, and maybe underneath all the lies, Whiteblossom is actually a very pure she-cat." She snorted. "Something is up. It seems like no cat is ever telling the truth these days."
Skyeyes nodded and ducked her head. She had nothing bad to say about Whiteblossom. Deep down, she kept a similar secret: one that could shatter her world forever.
What's Skyeyes' secret? Who's the father of Whiteblossom's kits? :O Haha, I have no idea...I'm making this up as I go along. The ending is as much a surprise to me as it is to you! Please R&R!