AvatarCat11: Yep! This is the final chapter for Nightfang and the Elixir Stone! After this, I'll be working on the second book of the Nightfang series: Nightfang and the Cavern of Secrets! Plus, I have another three day weekend! There's just two moons for me to finish school altogether!
Ron: Looks like you've been working hard, mate! Keep that up and you'll be working hard like Hermione here!
Hermione: (Hits his arm in a mock hurt way) Ron!
Ron: I didn't mean that, love. Sorry.
Hermione: (Smiles at him) I know.
Harry: So this is when my cat form fight Quirrel's cat form, right? Anyways, I'd like to say the disclaimer this time. May I, AvatarCat?
Disclaimer: AvatarCat11 doesn't own my books or Warrior Cats. My friends and I are owned by J.K. Rowling and Warriors is owned by Erin Hunter.
Updating Date: March 18, 2011
AvatarCat11: Good job, Harry! And I hope everyone enjoys the last chapter of Nightfang and the Elixir Stone!
Everyone in the room: Enjoy!
The Cat With Two Faces
Quailflight turned to face him; the look on his face startled Nightpaw. Instead of the twitching and scared look he always had in his eyes, there was instead an icy sneer spread across his face.
"Yes, it's me," the European Shorthair meowed, and his voice was stuttering either; his voice was now cold and sharp. "I was wondering when I'd meet you here tonight, Potter."
Nightpaw stared at him with alarm. "But I thought that..."
But Quailflight glared at him and gave a sharp cold laugh instead of the nervous giggles that he always made around him. "Brokenfang? Oh yes, he does really seem to be like that, hmmm? And it's so useful to have him swoop all around you like a large ugly bat. Besides, who else would suspect..." he put on his now-fake shaking voice "...p-p-poor st-st-stuttering Q-Q-Quailflight?" Then he finished it off with another cold sharp laugh.
Nightpaw couldn't believe his own eyes and his ears; he had hoped that Brokenfang had just threatened him to do what he said and act for him. But he didn't look afraid and try to be brave like Toadpaw was doing; instead, he was sneering all on his own. He looked like a cat that could control his own feelings.
"But...Brokenfang tried to kill me at the AirBall match!"
"Oh no! Of course he didn't! It was I who tried to kill you. Your pal Miss Granger by chance knocked me over as she went over to set fire to Brokenfang's tail at that AirBall match. She broke my eye contact with you. If I had a few more seconds, I would've got you thrown off of those wings. I would've managed to do it before then if Brokenfang hadn't been saving you by muttering a counter curse."
Nightpaw gaped at him. "Brokenfang tried to...save me?"
Quailflight nodded coldly. "Yes. Why do you think he wanted to be the umpire at your next match? He was just making sure that I didn't try my tricks again. It's funny, really; he shouldn't have bothered. I couldn't do anything with that pesky Silverstar watching. All the other mentors thought that Brokenfang wanted to stop LionClan from winning; besides, he did make himself unpopular. And it's a waste of time, when after all that, I will kill you tonight."
The brown-&-white tom flicked his tail around and two giant statues of wolves pinned Nightpaw to the ground. The black cat tried to struggle, but it was to no avail.
"You're too nosy to live, Potter," Quailflight spat. "I saw you scurrying around the castle on Halloween night like a rat. For all I knew, you would've seen me coming to look at what was guarding the Stone."
Nightpaw gasped at what he had just realized. "You? You let that mammoth in the castle?"
Quailflight purred, "Indeed. I have a special gift for those ancient beasts. You and your ginger-furred pal maybe saw what I did to the one in the chamber back there. Alas, while everyone else was running around looking for it, Brokenfang, that cat that already suspected me, went at once to the third floor to chase me away. Not only did my mammoth fail to crush you, but that three-headed dragon didn't bite Brokenfang's leg off right. Now, wait silently, Potter. I have to inspect this interesting mirror."
It was only then that Nightpaw realized what was standing behind Quailflight. It was the Mirror of Reflections. He never knew that he would see this mirror once again after Silverstar warned him to be prepared. This was what the silver tabby Persian warned him about.
"The key to finding the Stone is this mirror," Quailflight meowed, touching his paws all around the frame. "Trust Silverstar to come up with a trick like this. But he's away at Juneau; I'll be far away by the time he returns."
But all that Nightpaw could think about was keeping this evil cat talking to and try to stop him from concentrating on the mirror. He had an idea; he could just talk and stall his time.
"But I saw you and Brokenfang in the swamp," he exclaimed.
Quailflight padded around the mirror to look at the back, absentmindedly replying to Nightpaw. "Ah, yes. He was onto me by that time, and he was trying to find out how far I got. He suspected me from the very beginning. He even tried to frighten me...as though he could when I had Red Helmet right by my side..."
The European Shorthair came back out from behind the mirror and stared enthusiastically into it. "I see the Stone...and I'm presenting it to my master. But where is it?"
Nightpaw struggled some more against the statues pinning him down, but they didn't give way. But he had to keep Quailflight from giving his whole attention to the mirror. So he made another remark, but even this took him by surprise because he wanted to find out about this.
"But Brokenfang hates me."
"Hmmm? Oh yes. Of course he does," Quailflight purred casually. "He was here at the Forest with your father when you were their age. Didn't you know that? They really despised each other and they were bitter enemies. But he never wanted to make you dead."
Nightpaw went on, "But I heard you a few days ago, sniveling in a classroom. I thought that Brokenfang was threatening you."
For the first time for a while, a shudder of dread flitted across the brown-&-white tom's face. "My master is a powerful and great warrior while I am weak and feeble. It is from time to time hard to obey his commands."
"You mean he was there with you?" Nightpaw gasped. Red Helmet was here at the Forest the entire time?
"Yes. He is with me wherever I go." Quailflight purred quietly. "I had met him when I traveled around the world. Back then, I was just a foolish young cat, full of preposterous ideas about good and evil. Red Helmet had showed me about how wrong I was. There is no good and evil; there is only power, and those too weak to seek it..."
He paused to spit evilly before going on, "Since then, I have served him very loyally, though I have let him down many times. He had to be very hard on me and punish me severely." The evil cat shuddered all of a sudden. "He does not forgive mistakes straightforwardly. When I had failed to steal the stone from Liverpool, he was very disappointed. He punished me harshly and he decided that he would watch me closer..."
Quailflight's voice trailed away. With a sick feeling in his belly, Nightpaw remembered his first trip to Dragon Alley; how could he be so stupid? He himself had seen Quailflight there that very day, exchanged nods with him in the Dripping Pot. And he even smiled at him in an encouraging way! Now he felt as if he really was going to be sick because of that.
Quailflight cursed under his breath. "Shit! I don't understand! Is the Elixir Stone inside this very mirror? Should I break it apart?"
Nightpaw's mind began to race. What I want more than anything else in the world right now is to get to the Stone before Quailflight does. So if I look in this mirror, I'll be able to see myself finding it, which means that I'll see where it's concealed! But how can I look without him seeing what I'm up to?
He tried to edge to the left, to get in front of the glass without Quailflight noticing him, but the large statues were too tight; after he tried to get away, the statues just tightened their grip onto his body. But Quailflight just ignored him; he was still muttering to himself.
"What does this mirror do? How does it work? Master, help me, please!"
And to Nightpaw's horror, a deep scary voice answered him, and the voice seemed to come from Quailflight himself.
"Use the apprentice...use him..."
Quailflight nodded quickly and turned around to face Nightpaw. He flicked his tail once again and the giant statues of the wolves got off of the black cat, who gasped for breath. Nightpaw, feeling as if one of his ribs had been cracked, rose slowly to his paws and licked some blood away from his muzzle.
Then he told him, "You. Come here."
Nightpaw didn't need to be told twice, because he steadied himself onto his paws and limped over to the brown-&-white tomcat. Quailflight flicked his tail sharply to the ground, inviting him to sit, so Nightpaw had no choice but to sit down.
"Now..." Quailflight breathed as if his dream was going to come true. "Look into that mirror and tell me what you can see."
But all that Nightpaw could think of was to try and stay out of trouble with this cat. I have to lie to him, he thought to himself urgently. I have to lie about what I see in the mirror. Meanwhile, Quailflight was breathing into his ear, and Nightpaw recoiled a little at the stench coming from his turban.
Nightpaw closed his eyes, stepped in front of the mirror, and opened them again.
Now he was looking at his reflection, shocked and scared at first. But just in a few seconds, the reflection smiled at him; it placed its front paw into its bag and pulled out a stone that was as red as blood. It winked and put the Stone back in its bag...and as it did so, Nightpaw felt something heavy drop into his real bag around his neck. Somehow...incredibly...he got the Stone!
"Well, what do you see?" Quailflight barked edgily.
Nightpaw screwed up his courage and made up an invented vision. "I see myself dipping my head towards Silverstar. I...I see myself winning the Clan trophy for LionClan."
Quailflight spat and cursed again and told Nightpaw sharply to get out of the way. But while the black-furred apprentice moved aside, he felt the tip of the Elixir Stone brush against his neck while it was in the bag. Should he dare make a run for it?
But right as he had been backing away from the mirror, a deep scary voice spoke up, despite the fact that Quailflight wasn't moving his lips.
"Potter, come back here and tell me the truth!" Quailflight roared so angrily that Nightpaw no longer remembered the timid cat that he was...or rather, what he pretended to be. "What did you just see? TELL ME!"
The deep scary voice spoke again. "I want to speak to him...face-to-face..."
"Master, no! You're not strong enough!"
"I have enough strength for this..."
Nightpaw felt as if a snake was constricting him right to the spot. He couldn't move any of his muscles. Frightened, he watched as Quailflight reached up with one of his forepaws and began unwrapping his turban. What's going on?
The turban fell away; the brown-&-white tom's head looked strangely small without it. Then he turned slowly on the spot so that the back of his head was facing the apprentice.
Nightpaw almost screeched with terror, but he couldn't make a sound. There should have been a back to Quailflight's head, but instead, there was a face; it was the most horrifying face that the young black cat had ever seen. It was coal black with glaring glowing red eyes with a big muzzle sticking out like a rock from a mountain and there were no pupils in its eyes.
"Ah...Nightpaw Potter," the face rasped.
"Red...Red Helmet?" Nightpaw gasped. He tried to take a step backward, but his legs wouldn't move in the face of fright.
The scary face laughed evilly and wheezed, "Yes...have you seen what I have become? I have become mere shadow and vapor. I have a form only when I share another's body. However, there were always those enthusiastic to let me come into their hearts and minds... Unicorn blood has strengthened me over the past moons or so. You saw my faithful servant drinking it for me in the swamp. Once I have the Medicine of Life, I will create a body of my own. Give me the Stone in your bag."
So he knew! The feeling suddenly surged back into Nightpaw's legs. He stumbled backward, but Quailflight flicked his tail around one more time. This time, red and orange flames surrounded the chamber, the tips of the fire licking the air for a new victim.
"Don't be a fool," the face snarled. "It is much better to save your own life and join me than to meet the same fate as your mother and father had met. Lilypelt and Darkfire had died begging me for mercy..."
"YOU LIAR!" Nightpaw spat suddenly.
Quailflight was padding backward right at him so that Red Helmet could still see him properly. The evil bear's face was now sneering. "Ah...how touching..." it growled. "I admire the virtues of courage. Yes, child, your parents were brave. I killed Darkfire first, and he put up quite a daring fight. But your mother needn't have died; she was just trying to protect you. Now...give me the Stone. You don't want her to have died in vain, now do you?"
Nightpaw suddenly looked back at the mirror to see his parents smiling sadly back at him while they and his other family members were swallowed up by flames. Their deaths now made him angry; he had to stop Red Helmet.
Nightpaw leaped toward the flame door (even though flames surrounded it), but Red Helmet roared, "SEIZE HIM!"
In the next second, Nightpaw felt Quailflight headbutt his shoulder so that he stumbled and fell to the ground. But as he snarled up at him in defiance, he felt Quailflight's jaws close on his throat. At once, a sharp pain seared across Nightpaw's scar; his head felt as though it was about to split in two like an egg. He let out a screech, struggling with all his might, as his blood began to trickle down his neck and to the ground. And to his surprise, Quailflight let go of him.
The burning pain in his head lessened; he looked around wildly to see where Quailflight had gone off to, but he saw him hunched in pain, looking at his jaws in the mirror. His jaws were blistering before his eyes and his teeth were turning to dust and crumbling out of his jaws.
"Seize him! SEIZE HIM!" Red Helmet roared again, and Quailflight lunged, knocking Nightpaw down onto his back and landing on top of him, both forepaws sinking their claws into the black cat's neck. Nightpaw's scar was almost blinding him with pain, yet he could see Quailflight cry in agony.
"Master! I cannot hold him! My jaws! My paws!"
And the European Shorthair, though pinning Nightpaw to the ground with his back paws, freed his neck, reared onto his hind legs, and stared at his own palms in horror. Nightpaw could see that they looked burned, raw and red and shiny; then they started to turn to dust before his eyes.
"Then kill him, you fool, and finish the task!" Red Helmet bellowed.
Quailflight raised his tail-wand to perform a deadly curse, but Nightpaw instinctively reached up and swiped his claws at the tail wand while sinking his fangs into the brown-&-white warrior's throat.
Quailflight rolled off him, his throat blistering, and then Nightpaw knew: Quailflight couldn't touch his fur, not without suffering horrifying pain. His only chance was to keep hold of the older warrior, keep him in enough pain to stop him from killing him.
Nightpaw leaped to his feet, tackled him to the floor above the ground, and pinned him down to the ground. Quailflight screamed and tried to throw Nightpaw off of his throat; the pain in the Maine Coon mix's head was building, but he couldn't see. He could only hear Quailflight's awful screeches and Red Helmet's roars of, "KILL HIM!" But there were other voices that were in his own head, yowling, "Nightpaw!"
He felt Quailflight's disintegrating paw wrench from his grasp while he pulled his neck free, leaving Nightpaw to feel the taste of blood in his mouth. He knew that all was now lost, and he fell into blackness, down...down...down.
Something bright blue was glinting just above him. He thought that it was a strangely colored firefly, so he tried to catch it. But the bad news was that his front legs were too heavy.
Then he blinked; it wasn't a blue firefly at all. It was a pair of bright blue eyes staring down at him with pride. That was strange. He blinked again and the smiling flat face of Silverstar swam into view right above him.
"Good afternoon, Nightpaw," he purred
Nightpaw stared up at him. Then he remembered: "Sir! The Elixir Stone! It was Quailflight all along! He got the Elixir Stone! We gotta..."
Silverstar just meowed calmly, "Relax yourself, my son. You are a little bit behind the times. Quailflight does not have the Stone in his clutches."
"Then who does? Sir..."
"Please calm yourself down, Nightpaw or Poppyleaf will have to ask me to leave. I wish to tell you something."
Nightpaw calmed down, swallowed, and looked around him. He realized that he must be in the medicine cat den. He was curled up in a nest with moss used for blankets and bracken used for poking away intruders. And next to him was a table piled high with what looked like half the candy from a candy shop.
Silverstar looked at his face of surprise and purred happily. "Ah...there are tokens from your friends and your admirers. What happened down in the hollow between you and Quailflight is a secret, so the whole school naturally knows. I believe your friends Berrytail and Cherrynose Weasley were responsible for trying to send you a table leg. They thought it would amuse you, but Poppyleaf thought it was quite unsafe, so she removed it."
Nightpaw felt his brain ache a little when Silverstar talked about his friend and admirers. Last time he checked, every cat except for Redpaw and Fawnpaw hated him now. But this was maybe something new again, since many cats had heard and had respect for him once again; yet another worrying thing came to him. "How long have I been here?"
"You have been here for three sunrises. Redpaw Weasley and Fawnpaw Granger will be more than ever relieved that you have been revived. They were tremendously worried about you."
"But the Stone..."
Silverstar sighed good-naturedly. "Hmmm...I see that you are not to be distracted. Very well. I shall speak about the Stone. Quailflight did not manage to take it from you because I had arrived just in time to prevent that. Although you did great on your own, I must admit."
Nightpaw gaped at him with shock and relief. "You got there? You got Katara just in time?"
"Yes," the silver tabby leader told him. "We must have crossed paths in midair. As soon as I reached Juneau, it became very clear to me that the place I should be was the one I that had just left. I had arrived just in time to pull Quailflight off of you."
"So it was you?"
Silverstar nodded. "I feared that I was too late."
Nightpaw dipped his head gratefully to his leader. "You nearly were and I couldn't keep him off the Stone for that much longer..."
"Not the Stone, my son, but you. The attempt involved had nearly ended your young life. For one horrifying moment there, I was afraid that it was indeed too late. But as for the Stone, it has been destroyed."
"Destroyed?" Nightpaw asked him blankly. "But what about Flamestone?"
Silverstar gave a jolly laugh and looked down into Nightpaw's green eyes with his bright blue ones. "Oh, so you know about Flamestone Flamel already? Looks like you did the right research all along! Well, Flamestone and I have had a little talk, and we both agreed that it's for the best."
The young black cat gulped. "But does that mean that he and his mate will die?"
"They have enough Elixir stored to set their affairs in order and then, yes, they will die."
Silverstar purred as he smiled at the look of amazement on Nightpaw's face. "To a cat as young as you, I'm sure it seems absurd, but to Flamestone and Petalstem, it's like sleeping after a very long day. After all, to the ordered mind, death is the next great adventure. You know, the Elixir Stone wasn't really a wonderful thing. As much cash and life as you could want! That's the two things that cats would choose above all. However, cats do have a skill of choosing exactly those things that are bad for them."
Nightpaw just laid there in his nest, lost for words. Silverstar hummed a little and smiled at the ceiling while his tail twitched.
"Silverstar?" Nightpaw mewed after a few moments of silence. "I've been thinking. Even if the Elixir Stone is gone, Red...sorry..."
"Don't be sorry at all. Just call him Red Helmet, Nightpaw. Always use the correct name for their things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself."
Nightpaw dipped his head to his leader again and meowed, "Well, is Red Helmet going to try other ways of coming back? I mean, is he gone?"
Silverstar replied, "Defeated, perhaps, but not gone. He is still out there somewhere. Maybe he is looking for another body to possess; not being really alive, he is maybe immortal. He had left Quailflight to die; he shows as no mercy to his cohorts as he does to his enemies. But while you have delayed his return to power, it will simply take a cat that is prepared to fight what seems to be a losing battle next time. If he is delayed again all over, he will never return to power."
The Maine Coon/British Shorthair mix nodded, but he stopped fast. This was because it made his head hurt. Then he said, "Sir, there are some other things I'd like to know, if you can tell me. I want to know some things I want to know the truth about."
"So you wish to know the truth." The Persian cat sighed. "It is a beautiful and horrifying thing, and should hence be treated with great concern. However, I will answer your questions if not I have a very good reason not to, in which case I ask for you to forgive me. I will not lie."
"Well...Red Helmet told me that he killed my mother because she tried to stop him from killing me. But why does he want to kill me in the first place?"
The leader of the Forest sighed very deeply this time. "Sadly, I cannot tell you the first thing you ask me right now. But you will know one day; put it from your mind for now, Nightpaw. When you are older, and I know that you will hate to hear this, you will know."
Despite that, Nightpaw admitted that this was fair. He knew that it would be no good to argue. "But why couldn't Quailflight touch me?"
"Good question. He couldn't touch you because your mother died to protect you. If there is one thing Red Helmet cannot understand, it is love. He didn't understand that love as powerful as your mother's for you could leave its own mark. Not a scar, not a visible sign, to have been loved so deeply, even though the ones that loved us are gone, will give us some shelter evermore. It is in your very pelt and heart. Quailflight, a cat filled with hate and greed and desire while sharing his soul with Red Helmet, couldn't touch you as a result. It was anguish to touch a cat marked by something so divine."
Silverstar turned around and he was now very interested in a bluebird sitting out on the ledge outside the den, which gave Nightpaw time to dry his eyes on the moss. Hearing about his mother's sacrifice made him start to cry and he didn't want his leader to see. Despite that, he knew that he wouldn't have minded at all.
When he had found his voice again, Nightpaw choked, "What about the Invisibility Pelt? Do you know who sent it to me?"
The leader of the Forest purred, "Ah...your father happened to have left it in my ownership, and I thought that you would like it." Silverstar's blue eyes twinkled. "It does do some useful things... He used it mostly for sneaking around to the kitchens to steal some fresh-kill when he was your age."
Then Nightpaw decided to set one thing straight: "And there's something else."
"Quailflight said that Brokenfang hates me because he hated my father. Is it true?"
Silverstar tilted his head to one side. "Hmmm...well, they did rather loathe each other, not unlike yourself and Icepaw Malfoy. And then, your father did something that Brokenfang could never forget nor forgive."
"He saved his life."
Nightpaw gasped. "What?"
Silverstar nodded in an absentminded way. "It's funny about the way a cat's mind works, isn't it? Brokenfang couldn't put up with being in your father's debt. I believe that he worked so hard to defend you this year because he felt that it would make him and your father even. Then he could go back to cursing your father's legacy in peace..."
Nightpaw tried his best to understand all of this but it made his head pound a little. So he managed to make it stop. "But there's one more question I'd like to ask."
"How did I manage get the Stone out of that mirror?"
Silverstar purred. "Ah, I'm glad that you asked me that. It was one of my more bright ideas, and between you and me, it's saying something. You see, only a cat that wanted to find the Stone, to find it and not use it, would get it; or else, they'd see themselves making gold or drinking a cup of Medicine of Life. Even my brain can surprise me sometimes...
"Now, that enough questions. May I suggest that you make a start on these sweets? Hmmm! It seems that someone got you Every Flavor Skittles! I was unlucky in my young days to eat a mucus flavored one, and I'm afraid I've rather lost my liking for them ever since. But I believe that I'll be safe with a nice chocolate, don't you?" He smiled and put the golden-brown bean into his mouth, chewing calmly. Then he choked and rasped, "Alas! It's vomit!"
Poppyleaf, the tortoiseshell medicine cat of the Forest was a kind maternal she-cat, but she could be very strict in healing her patients.
"Just five minutes! Please?" Nightpaw pleaded with her.
Poppyleaf shook her head. "I'm afraid not."
Nightpaw protested, "But you let Silverstar come in!"
"But that was the leader, and that's quite different. You need your rest."
"I am resting! Look!" Nightpaw protested again as he demonstrated. "See? I'm lying down and everything! Please, Poppyleaf?"
The medicine cat sighed. "Oh, very well," she meowed finally. "But it's for five minutes only." And she let the two other members of the Golden Trio in, with Katara riding on Fawnpaw's back.
Fawnpaw looked as if she was ready to lick him all over again, but Nightpaw was happy that she held herself in time since his head was still very sore. "I'm fine. How're you, Redpaw?"
Redpaw shrugged. "I'm good."
"And you, Fawnpaw?"
Fawnpaw purred. "Never better." But her voice grew serious as she went on, "We thought that you were going to die! Silverstar was so worried about you!"
"Yeah, everyone's talking about it," Redpaw added. "What really happened down there?"
It was one of those unusual occasions when the true story is even more strange and exciting than the wild rumors. So Nightpaw told them everything: Quailflight, the mirror, the Stone, and Red Helmet. Redpaw, Fawnpaw, and Katara were a very good audience to him; they gasped in all the right places, and when Nightpaw told them what was under the turban, Fawnpaw yowled very loudly. Redpaw and Katara flinched at the name; even the name had an effect on owls. It was an effect that was called" going yeep."
Finally, Redpaw meowed, "So the Elixir Stone's destroyed? Flamestone's gonna die?"
"Yeah. But Silverstar thinks that...'to the ordered mind, death is the next great adventure.'"
"I always said he was crazier than a fox in a fit," Redpaw meowed, but he looked impressed at how crazy his hero was.
Nightpaw purred with affection for his friends. "So what happened to you two?"
"Well, I got back in one piece," Fawnpaw began. "I managed to wake Redpaw up, and that took a while. We were running up to the Owlery to speak with Silverstar when we met up with him in the entrance hall; he already knew! He just meowed, 'Nightpaw's gone to find him, hasn't he?' and he dashed off to the third floor."
Redpaw added, "Do you think he meant for you to know all of this? You know, sending you your dad's Pelt and everything?"
Fawnpaw suddenly growled, "Well, if he did...he could've killed you, Nightpaw! That was awful!"
"Not really," Nightpaw reassured her kindly. "Silverstar's one hell of a mystery cat. I think he wanted to give me a chance. I believe he knows more or less about everything that goes on around this place, you know? I think he had a good idea about what we were going to try, but instead of stopping us, he taught us enough knowledge to help us. I don't think it was a mishap that he let me find out how the mirror worked. Maybe he thought I had the right to face Red Helmet if I could..."
"Yep, Silverstar's crazy, all right," Redpaw purred proudly. "You gotta come to the end-of-year banquet tomorrow. The points are all in and ViperClan won, obviously. Oh, and you missed the last AirBall match; we were beaten by RavenClan without you! But the food will still be good."
Nightpaw was a little upset at the loss, but he put it behind him. At that exact moment, Poppyleaf padded right over to his nest and looked him over.
"You've had nearly fifteen minutes, now OUT," she meowed determinedly, soothingly nudging Fawnpaw and Redpaw away from Nightpaw so that he could get some rest.
After a good night's sleep, Nightpaw felt nearly back to normal. Already, he had asked the Forest medicine cat (as she straightened his many candy boxes) if he could go to the feast. He already felt better, he told her, and he wanted to join his friends.
"Well...Silverstar did say that you are to be allowed to go," she meowed awkwardly, as if in her opinion Silverstar didn't understand how hazardous banquets could be. "But first, you have another visitor."
Nightpaw purred. "That's good! Who is it?"
Soon enough, Badgerstripe crept through the door as he spoke. As usual, when he was indoors, the big black cat looked too big to be allowed in an ordinary place suited for cats or Twolegs. He sat down next to Nightpaw, took one look at him, and began crying very loudly.
"This...is...all...my...fault!" he bawled, tears trickling from his dark amber eyes to the floor. "I told the evil guy about how to get past Flopsy! It was the only thing that he didn't know, and I told him! Yeh could've died down there, and all fer a griffin egg! I won't drink anymore! I think I oughta be thrown out and made ter live like a kittypet among the Twolegs!"
"Badgerstripe!" Nightpaw spoke up, shocked to see Badgerstripe shaking with sorrow and guilt, great tears still leaking from his dark amber eyes. "Look, he would've found out somehow, and this is Red Helmet we're talking about! He would've found out even if you hadn't told him."
Badgerstripe continued sobbing, "But you could've DIED! And please don't say that name!"
Nightpaw rolled his eyes while shouting Red Helmet's name once again, and Badgerstripe was so shocked that he stopped crying. "I've met him already and I'm calling him by his name. Please, Badgerstripe, cheer up! We saved the Stone and it's gone; he can't use it now. Here...have a Chocolate Toad. I've got a lot already."
When Nightpaw gave him the treat, Badgerstripe smiled weakly at him, wiped his nose on the back of his paw, and meowed, "Thanks, little buddy. Oh, that reminds me. I've got ya a present."
"Is it a rock cake?" Nightpaw asked him apprehensively, but the gamekeeper just gave a weak chortle.
Badgerstripe purred in a loving sarcastic way, "Yeah, I got it for ya right here. Nope, Silverstar had given me the day off yesterday to fix it for yeh. Of course, he should've sent me away from here instead...anyway, I got yeh this for yeh."
It seemed to be a fine-looking leather-covered book. Nightpaw opened it curiously. Inside, it was full of moving warrior photographs. Smiling and waving at him from every page were his mother and father. Lilypelt and Darkfire. The cats whose lives they surrendered to save his.
"I've sent owls off to all of your parents' old school friends, askin' fer photos. They knew that you didn' have any. Do you like it?"
His eyes filling with happy tears, Nightpaw looked up at him and couldn't speak, but the large black cat understood. Nightpaw didn't like it; he loved this book.
Nightpaw padded down to the end-of-year banquet alone that moonhigh. He had been held up by Poppyleaf fussing about him, insisting on giving him one last health check, so the Great Hall was already full. It was decked out in ViperClan colors of green and silver to celebrate ViperClan's winning the Clan trophy for the seventh year in a row. A huge streamer showing the ViperClan snake covered the wall behind the High Table.
When Nightpaw walked in, there was a sudden silence, and then everybody had started talking noisily at once. He slipped into a seat between Redpaw and Fawnpaw at the Gryffindor table and tried to ignore the fact that cats were standing up to look at him. They weren't looking hostile anymore; instead, they looked interested.
Fortunately, Silverstar had arrived moments later. The jabber died away from the hall.
"Another year has come and gone!" the silver tabby Persian meowed gladly. "And I have to tell you with an old cat's winded small talk before we dig into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! With any luck, your heads are all a little fuller than they were; now you have the whole time of greenleaf to get them nice and empty before next year starts...
"Now, as I understand, the Clan trophy needs presentations, and the points stand thus: In fourth place is LionClan with three hundred and twelve points; in third place is BadgerClan with three hundred and fifty-two points; in second place is RavenClan with four hundred and twenty-six points; and finally, ViperClan with four hundred and seventy-two."
A storm of cheering and stamping broke out from the ViperClan table. With dread, Nightpaw turned away so that he couldn't see Icepaw Malfoy banging his goblet on the table with his forepaw. It was such a stomach-turning sight; he was afraid that he'd get a scolding from his Clan.
Silverstar purred, "Well done, ViperClan, well done. However! Recent events must be taken into account."
The room went very still. The ViperClan cats gave each other worried looks.
Silverstar cleared his throat loudly and meowed at full volume, "I have a few last-minute points to dish out. Let me see. Yes... First, to Mr. Redpaw Weasley..."
Redpaw's jaws gaped wide as he stared up at his leader; he looked just like a goldfish gasping for water when on land.
"...for the most well-played game of chess that the Forest has seen in many moons, I hereby award LionClan...fifty points."
Many LionClan cheers nearly raised the bewitched ceiling; the stars overhead seemed to tremble with joy. Nightpaw could hear Sandthorn telling the other prefects, "That's my youngest brother, I tell you! He managed to get past Thistleheart's giant chess set!"
At last, there was silence again.
Silverstar went on, "Second, to Miss Fawnpaw Granger...for the use of cool common sense in the face of flames, I award LionClan...fifty points."
Fawnpaw lowered her gaze to her paws and began purring; Nightpaw was afraid that she had burst into tears. But he could hear her purring even from the cheering of the other cats.
LionClan cats up and down the table were very excited as they cheered some more; now they were a hundred points up.
"And third, to Mr. Nightpaw Potter..." the leader of the Forest announced as he stared deep into Nightpaw's green eyes with his blue eyes. The room went deadly quiet. "...for use of pure spirit and amazing heroism, I award LionClan...sixty points."
The hullabaloo was now so deafening that a hibernation squirrel could hear them. The cats that could add up while yowling themselves hoarse knew that LionClan had four hundred and seventy-two points now...exactly the same as ViperClan. They were tied for the Clan trophy...if only Silverstar gave Nightpaw just one more point.
"But we're tied to ViperClan now!" Fawnpaw hissed happily to Nightpaw, her amber eyes filled with joy. Redpaw cheered alongside her.
Silverstar raised one paw and the room slowly but surely fell silent.
"There are many kinds of courage in all shapes and sizes," Silverstar purred, smiling. "It takes a great deal of courageousness to stand up to our enemies...and even as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to...Mr. Toadpaw Longbottom."
A cat that would be standing outside the Great Hall would have thought some sort of explosion had taken place, so loud was the noise that erupted from the LionClan table. Nightpaw and the other members of the Golden Trio stood up to howl and cheer as Toadpaw, his eyes wide with shock, disappeared under a pile of cats hugging him.
The flat-faced brown tabby tomcat had never won as much as a point for LionClan before. Nightpaw, who was still cheering, nudged Redpaw in the shoulder and pointed at Icepaw, who couldn't have looked more shocked and appalled if he had just been constricted by a snake.
Silverstar called over the storm of applause, for even RavenClan cats and BadgerClan cats were celebrating the defeat of ViperClan, "And that means that we need a little change of decoration."
He waved his tail around and, in an instant, the emerald hangings became ruby and the silver became gold. The huge ViperClan snake statue vanished and a towering LionClan lion statue took its place. Brokenfang was embracing Thistleheart with an awful required smile. He caught Nightpaw's eye and the black cat knew at once that the dark tabby's feelings toward him didn't changed one bit. This didn't worry him; instead, it seemed like life would be back to normal in the next year, or as normal as it ever was at the Forest.
"LionClan has won the Clan trophy at the Forest, School of Warriorism this year!" Silverstar announced with pride in his voice. This was enough to make all the Clans (minus ViperClan) cheer for joy and praise the four cats who helped LionClan win.
This was Nightpaw's best evening ever, better than winning at the AirBall match, better than Christmas, and even better than beating up woolly mammoths. He would never forget this night.
Nightpaw almost forgot that the examination results were still to come, but they did come. To their great surprise, both he and Redpaw managed to pass with good marks; Fawnpaw, for sure, had the best grades of the first year apprentices. Even Toadpaw passed, his good Herbology mark making up for his awful Potions one. They hoped that Monkeypaw, who was as stupid as he was cruel, would be exiled, but he passed too.
It was a shame, but Redpaw said before that you couldn't have everything in life.
And suddenly, their wardrobes were empty, their suitcases were packed, Kermit the frog was found lurking in a corner of the toilets, and notes were handed out to all of the cats, reminding them to not to use any magic over the holidays "I always hope they'll forget to give us these," Berrytail mewled sadly.
Badgerstripe was there to take them down to the fleet of boats that sailed across the sea away from the island; they were boarding the Forest Express; talking and laughing as the landscape became cleaner with less mountains, and eating Every Flavor Skittles as they sped past many Twolegplaces; They pulled off their warrior capes and put on their collars once again, and they pulled into platform seven and a half at King's Cross Station.
It took a while for all of the cats to get off of the platform. A shriveled old pale gray tom was up by the ticket barrier, letting them pass through the gate in twos and threes so that they didn't attract attention by all bursting out of a solid wall at once and alarming the kittypets or Twolegs.
"Can you two come stay with us this greenleaf?" Redpaw asked him. "I'll send an owl over to you."
"Thanks. And we'd love to come over," Nightpaw meowed. "I need something to look forward to." Cats and Twolegs crowded them as they moved forward toward the entryway back to the Twoleg world.
Some of them called: "Bye, Nightpaw!" or "See ya, Potter!"
Redpaw nudged him, smiling. "Still famous, eh?"
"Yeah, But I'm not famous where I'm going, I promise you that," Nightpaw meowed.
The Golden Trio passed through the gateway together and Nightpaw heard a young voice call out. "There he is, Mom! There he is! Look!"
It was Leafkit, Redpaw's younger sister, but she wasn't pointing at Redpaw. Standing next to a Twoleg female with long ginger head fur, Leafkit was begging her mother to look at where she was pointing.
"It's Nightpaw Potter!" she squealed. "Look, Mom! I can see him!"
"It's rude to point, Leafkit, and please be quiet." Redpaw's mother smiled down at them. "Did you have a busy year, dear?" she meowed.
Nightpaw nodded and dipped his head in a gracious way to her. "Yes, ma'am. And thank you for the fudge and the cat sweater, Mrs. Weasley."
The plump ginger tabby queen purred. "Oh, it was no problem, dear."
"Are you ready yet?"
It was Uncle Bristle, still large, beefy, and looking furious at the nerve of Nightpaw, carrying Katara inside a cage in a station full of ordinary cats and Twolegs. Behind him stood Aunt Tulip and Tubby, looking terrified at the very sight of Nightpaw. Daniel was with them, but after looking over at Samantha, Redpaw's owner, he stepped over and began introducing himself in Twoleg languages. It seemed that those two were getting along now.
"So you must be Nightpaw's family!" Redpaw's mother purred.
Uncle Bristle cleared his throat and grunted, "In a matter of speaking, yes we are. Now hurry up, boy. We haven't got all day." At that, he padded away while Daniel exchanged a piece of paper with Samantha before following his cats.
Before leaping into Daniel's arms, Nightpaw hung back for a last word with his best friends.
"See you this greenleaf, you two." At that, he began touching noses with Redpaw and Fawnpaw; he knew that it was only for a short while, but he would miss them very much.
"Have a good holiday," Fawnpaw meowed, looking uncertainly after Uncle Bristle, looking very shocked that anyone could be so obnoxious. "So looks like you're going home, right?"
"No. Not really," Nightpaw purred, and they were surprised at the smile that was spreading over his Maine Coon-like face. "They don't know we're not allowed to use magic at home. I'll have a lot of fun this greenleaf. See ya next time!"
With a meow of joy, Nightpaw waved goodbye to his friends as he leaped into Daniel's arms, and owner and cat left the station together back to the Twoleg world.
One journey was over...but another was soon to begin.
AvatarCat11: There! I finally managed to finish Nightfang and the Elixir Stone!
Harry: I'm glad that's done with! May I say the summary for Nightfang and the Cavern of Secrets?
Summary: After a horrible greenleaf with the Dursley cats, Nightpaw Potter wants to desperately get back to the Forest, School of Warriorism. But when he's ready to leave, a small strange animal named Bobby had come to warn him that disaster will strike if he goes back to the Forest.
And disaster does strike. In Nightpaw's second year, he has to come face-to-face with a self-centered cat named Gloryhound, a depressed ghost named Carping Turtleneck, and the unwanted attention towards Redpaw's little sister, Leafpaw.
But the real danger comes when cats are starting to turn to stone, and someone is behind this. Can it be Icepaw Malfoy, who is a more menacing opponent than ever? Can it be Badgerstripe Hagrid, whose past is finally revealed? Or is it the cat that everyone least expects...Nightpaw himself?
Ron: Now I'll say the review thing. Anyone who has reviewed so far will receive all of the gifts that they had already gotten in this FanFic.
Hermione: And I'll list all the authors that should be given good mentions for their reviews:
DaniPotterCedric'sGirl, Jokegirl, ultima-owner, snowwhistle, holditagainstme, AvenJackal, gamer4
Everyone in the room: SEE YA NEXT TIME!