Here's the final chapter of The Thunder Rolls. To self (and to readers): Nightcloud is sooo going to pay. *evil laugh*


CHAPTER 6

"Come on!" Onestar yowled to his warriors as he bounded down from Highledge, Leafpool, Firestar, and Jayfeather watching from the ThunderClan leader's cave.

She is so going to get what she deserves, Leafpool thought, lashing her tail.

"Jayfeather," she whispered.

"What?" The ThunderClan medicine cat turned his blind blue gaze on her.

"I was wondering if you could see what is happening in the WindClan camp."

He shook his head. "I can't. I'm blind, remember? But I know someone who can."

"Huh?" Leafpool was confused.

"Just wait here." The blind gray tabby tom disappeared, then reappeared a few heartbeats later with Dovepaw.

"What does Dovepaw have to do with this?"

"You'll see."

Meanwhile, in the WindClan camp, Onestar rounded on Nightcloud.

"What in StarClan's name were you thinking?" he snarled.

"In case you weren't listening," Nightcloud began hotly, "he was seeing her behind my back! We were mates! I had to do something about it."

"That still doesn't mean what you did was right. I'm sorry, Nightcloud, but—" He paused. Nightcloud didn't like where this was heading. "—exile is the only punishment for your crimes. Get out of our territory. If not . . ." The threat hung unspoken in the air. Nodding, Nightcloud turned and padded out of camp without looking back.

Back in the ThunderClan camp, Dovepaw finished reporting what she had just seen, leaving Leafpool and Firestar staring at her dumbfounded.

How in the name of StarClan does she know what's going on in WindClan territory without ever leaving the camp? Leafpool thought. It seemed Jayfeather had read her mind, since he mewed weakly, "Any chance you'll believe it's a vision from StarClan?"

"No," the tabby she-cat meowed bluntly.

Suddenly, Jayfeather blurted, "Firestar knows how she knows!" As soon as the words escaped him, he clamped his mouth shut, his blue eyes wide in horror. Now I've done it. Call yourself a medicine cat? he asked himself savagely.

Luckily, no other cat noticed his slip-up. They were too busy trying to figure out how Dovepaw knew. Finally, Firestar shrugged. "Let's just say it was a sign from StarClan for now. Besides, we don't have to worry about Nightcloud anymore, seeing as she's been driven out of her Clan."

"Hey, I might have to worry about her!" Leafpool meowed hotly. "What if she comes here and tries to murder me?"

Firestar laid his tail across his daughter's shoulder. "That won't happen. The Clan will protect you; you know that."

She lashed her tail and rose to her paws. "I'm going hunting," she announced, brushing past her father, son, and Dovepaw.

"Just take another warrior with you!" Firestar called after her.

Leafpool only flicked her ears to show that she'd heard. Quietly, she called Squirrelflight over to her. Her sister bounded over, green eyes gleaming with curiosity.

"What is it?" the ginger warrior asked.

"I'm going hunting. You want to come?"

"Sure. I have nothing else to do, and the fresh-kill pile needs stocking up."

The two she-cats had already caught a good amount of fresh-kill when Leafpool scented another cat close by. When she tasted the air, the musky scent of WindClan bathed her tongue. Nightcloud!

A low growl rumbled through the air; then the ThunderClan warrior was blindsided by a black blur. Leafpool battered with her hind paws at Nightcloud's belly, and finally managed to thrust the black she-cat off.

Nightcloud's green eyes glinted with fury. Snarling, she leaped again for the light brown tabby, claws unsheathed.

"Squirrelflight, help!" Leafpool yowled, sidestepping and raking her claws down the rogue's side. The former WindClan warrior rose on her hind paws, claws slashing for Leafpool's face. With a well-aimed blow, she knocked Leafpool on her side and pounced, teeth snapping at the tabby queen's throat.

Suddenly, Nightcloud's weight vanished. Leafpool coughed, trying to catch her breath, and blinked in surprise when she saw a familiar flame-colored she-cat battling the furious black she-cat.

"Squirrelflight?"

"I came as soon as I heard," her sister panted, sinking her claws into Nightcloud's neck. The rogue battered with her hind paws, but her blows steadily grew weaker. Finally, she stopped moving altogether.

The ginger warrior released her claws from Nightcloud's body and stepped back. Breathing heavily, her emerald-colored eyes met Leafpool's amber ones. "Glad that's over," Squirrelflight joked. She flicked her bushy tail at her sister and mewed, "Come on. We still have to bring our fresh-kill back to the Clan."

Before they entered the ThunderClan camp, Leafpool paused. Squirrelflight stopped and looked back quizzically. "What?"

"Thanks for saving my tail back there. She would have killed me if she could have."

Thank StarClan, she understood. Letting her pelt brush Leafpool's, Squirrelflight meowed, "At least peace has come for a few moons."

"Yeah, I guess." But how long will it last?