It came without warning.
A long, thin tendril wrapped itself around Duskfur's throat and tightened. She spluttered and pulled frantically. The tentacle replied with a tighter grip. The giant bear behind her reeled its long arm back, and the she-cat was taken away from her kits under cover of a thin primrose bush. Duskfur screamed and tore frantically at the dirt as she felt the creature's hot breathe on her back.
The reek of fire overwhelmed Duskfur's nostrils the same moment it released her grip.
Shetook a lungful of precious air and staggered back to her kits. The smell was coming from a pile of burnt and smoking formless shape that used to be the bear. Over it stood Applefur. The she-cat was bleeding heavily on her right shoulder. She hardly stole Duskfur a glance before she leaped in the air and plowed into the back of another fleshy pink animal that was rearing over a StarClan cat.
Duskfur quickly ushered the kits further in the forest. "Come on, let's go."
"But what about Applefur?" Podkit mewed.
Duskfur looked over her shoulder. A flock of birds fell upon Applefur. She clawed desperately as they surrounded her, sticking to her fur. She cast a terrified glance at Duskfur before they smothered her completely. It happened so quickly the StarClan she-cat could hardly believe Applefur was absorbed. So fast. Like a starving dog devouring a meat without chewing.
She could have done something. But she didn't. She just stood here and watched it happen. The beginnings of guilt began to obscure her mind. She felt the mushy ground tilt under her paws.
One of the bird's looked up and caught her eye.
Duskfur turned tail and led her kits further in the forest. She nearly passed Moonkit if the kit had not mewled. Without stopping she snatched the kit in her jaws and ushered them deeper in the woods.
Where can they go? It became wrong so fast.
Tigerstar had met StarClan at the border to their Dark forest. He let them inside without fuss. He knew what was happening, and he felt allowing them to stay in the forest while the other cats dealt with Buu would smooth their relationship. He had led the cats through the dark and smelly forest to a wide clearing. But even this was insufficient. The ground was bare, the bark broke under Duskfur's paws, and the water tasted so bad it was like something died in there. She felt she wasn't far from her assumption.
But it was the best they could hope for, and they waited it out here. One of Tigerstar's scouts had arrived shortly after, claiming he saw a large group of pink things plowing through the dark forest. Duskfur wanted to wail. StarClan's greatest warriors had fallen. Buu was now in the Dark Forest.
Tigerstar had gone ahead to see for himself. He returned, grim-faced, but not wholly disappointed. He saw one of the pink cats tryto absorb a dead stump. "It covered the whole thing, then reshaped itself and backed away," he had mewled. "It looked lost. I don't think its that smart. It tried to cover the log again and again. I saw the other things try the same with the other rocks, bushes and trees before I left."
Bluestar bared her teeth. "If we knew they were this stupid, we could have planned this differently!" She curled her claws in the dirt. It stuck to her claws, but she was beyond caring. Duskfur felt someone could fling a pawful of foxdung in her face and she'd still hardly react. Well, maybe she would, but not strongly.
"They're dangerous, but stupid," Tigerstar mewed, as if Bluestar never spoke. "If we keep going south, we might be able to make it past the border."
Bluestar blinked nonplussed. "What's beyond the border of the Dark Forest?"
Tigerstar shrugged. "How do I know? You don't let us go as far as the border! But now that StarClan's grip over is us weak, we should be able to cross for the first time. Whatever we find has to be better then this!"
Except the journey didn't go smoothly. Some of the Buu gave up trying to absorb lifeless husks and drifted closer in the forest for live prey. They caught up with the cats after about an hour, and everything went to hell. Cats scattered and ran or fought. Most of the Dark Forest fled, some stayed behind to help, but despite their efforts it wasn't enough.
Duskfur had kept pushing and carrying her kits, but she was quickly left behind. The she-cat had swerved to the side and pushed her kits in a cluster of dark bushes and squeezed after them. It was dark and suffocating. She had no room but to squat over the kits. She was terrified, breathless and losing her sanity. She had already suffered one mental trauma that would have stuck with her for the rest of her StarClan life when she made the decision to leap over the mountain with her kits; anything to escape Buu's absorption. Could she do something like that again?
She didn't find a clear answer before Buu had found them. The she-cat would have been absorbed before her kits' life. Then Applefur saved her. And it was Moonkit who watched his mother disappear before his eyes.
Duskfur was so distracted she didn't see Tallstar until she bumped into him.
He turned, bristling. "What are you doing here?" he demanded, as if the sight of a stressed out mother pushing three kits wasn't enough to enforce her lagging behind.
"I- " began Duskfur tiredly.
"No time. C'mon!" He snatched one of the kits in his jaws - Duskfur had to force herself to hold back from leaping at his throat, the way he held the kit roughly - and moved off. She herded the other two after him.
She didn't know what to do, except run and pray they could find the border.
He gazed at the large, round planet floating in space. He watched as a pink haze slowly colored the surface. Watched as it floated away from the sun, towards distant planets.
He switched his gaze to StarClan. Most of the surface was already covered. The Green lolling hills and mountains would be gone too.
He glanced at Dark Forest.
There was still some black in the rapidly filled pink of the dark forest. He focused on this spot. The cats were huddled, terrified and confused. Dovewing was the only cat remaining. Lionblaze was absorbed when he hung back to fight the Buu on earth. Jayfeather was taken during the confused panic in Dark Forest.
Oh well, what's done is done.
The prophecy, like many others before it, was gone. Not that he expected it would come true. But he played his part just as he was supposed to, for he was a pawn in something beyond his scope of understanding. He remembered another prophecy, of a creature with large, primal eyes that consumed a black cat. But he was not in this part. He shared this with an unbeknownst StarClan cat, whom immediately sought out Goku in the hopes that he could somehow put a stop to this. Brightspirit was the next key to ensure Vegeta followed the prophecy, and with it the vast emptiness he foresaw.
He didn't try to go down there and comfort the Clans, or appear or do anything. He had seen death, torture and Armageddon so many times that it was nothing to him anymore then a butterfly perched on his ear. He simply watched and waited, already sure of the outcome. He knew when he should play his part, but not yet.
He saw a small form whisk through StarClan. It settled in the middle of a mass of pink and disappeared. Rock didn't react. He settled back and waited patiently.
They've been stumbling for how long Duskfur couldn't tell. There was no sun, no moon. Just this sickly light that glowed from the trees. They couldn't hear anything else in the forest, except the silent pursuit of the creatures behind them, snapping twigs and plowing through bushes, intent on their prey.
Duskfur slipped and tumbled. Her kittens squeaked as they fell from her grip. The ground shook again. Tallstar steadied himself as another rumble thrummed through the forest.
"What's happening?" Duskfur mewled shrilly.
Tallstar didn't answer. He stared past her, his eyes wide with fright.
A tremendous sound like multiple monsters roared at once and boomed through the air. The she-cat was pushed back. Her kits, mewling in alarm, tumbled head over tails by the gale of the wind. Tallstar quickly blocked them with his body. Bright red light enveloped the entire clearing. Fire roared and rose to alarming heights, illuminating the trees and sky.
Duskfur instinctively sought the kits and together she and Tallstar covered them with their bodies, the scorching wind whipping their fur; it got so violent they kept their claws on the ground for support. She didn't look towards the fire. She kept her head down, eyes shut.
She could feel it. Pinepaw was in that terrible fire. She was screaming in agony as it tore her from the inside out. But at the same time, this fire was Pinepaw. It was like her very life exploded out of her and crawled free to pillage and consume everything in its furious path.
Dear StarClan, did she actually have that much fire inside her?
Duskfur waited, expecting the she-cat to die. But she didn't. The fire rose higher. The she-cat was openly allowing this terrible fire to consume her from the inside out. And the screams, so small yet so shrill. Duskfur's spine wouldn't stop shuddering.
The roaring fire began to lose height. It sputtered and puffed out. The screaming echoed until the air was quiet. Duskfur pricked her ears. No more fighting. No Pinepaw. No... nothing.
Tallstar was the first to raise his head slowly. His fur was stuck in all the wrong places. He squinted through the dark trees.
Duskfur tugged his tail. "Let's go." She quickly ushered the kits forward. Tallstar didn't move. "Tallstar, come on!"
"I'll be back." Without another word he strolled, not away from Buu, but towards StarClan!
Duskfur spat a curse after him, but she held her ground. She'd rather move, but she was still badly shaken from the blast. Her legs felt wobbly that she had to lie back down.
Her kits nudged her insistently. "Duskfur, let's go!" They insisted.
"Give me a moment..."
"Where's Applefur?" Moonkit mewed.
Duskfur didn't answer.
Tallstar returned, a troubled look in his eyes. Duskfur stood shakily. "Well?"
He looked her in the eye. "StarClan is gone, and part of the Dark Forest. There's nothing there but white mist and blank memories. No bodies, no Buu, no nothing. I don't know how, but Pinepaw erased it."
He watched as the group of StarClan, Dark forest and clan cats hesitantly moved past the border. Many more stayed behind to guide those still roaming the Dark Forest to the borders. They followed a mostly straight path beyond what they could not be sure. He led them, without their knowledge, with small clues here and there in the form of illusions and whispering voices, to the borders of SkyClan.
As he watched, he noticed that neither dead nor spirit, evil nor good stuck out of the traveling cats. They all looked the same clustered together, frightened but determined, as they moved on to an uncertain future in the minds.
A loud stomp signaled the arrival of a guest. Rock didn't bother looking around. The newcomer cleared his throat.
"Okay, start talking."
"What do you mean?"
Without warning Rock felt someone grasped the back of his scruff in a tight grip and turn him violently around. Vegeta, in his Saiyan form, regarded Rock with burning eyes. Above him spun a bright yellow halo.
Rock wriggled in his grip. "Put me down."
"Can't you just will it away from me?" Vegeta taunted.
"You are misinformed. I know everything. That does not make me any stronger then an Elder."
Vegeta didn't loosen his grip. "You knew this was going to happen. Somehow you knew."
"I'm just a cat."
"Bullshit. You probably used to be a cat. But not anymore. I can sense that. You're like those Kaioshins."
Rock didn't answer. He struggled.
"Why didn't you convince Kakarot and his brat to stay? They could've defeated Buu."
"They were not supposed to be here. It goes against the laws of our Universe."
"But I was?"
Rock blinked. "You were destined to die. It wouldn't have mattered."
"Don't give me that destiny bull crap!" Vegeta spat. He had every mind to fling this ugly naked creature as far away from him as he could. And he did. He flung the cat until he disappeared over the horizon. Rock stood beside him, as if nothing happened. Vegeta was not surprised.
"Just a cat my ass."
"I'm a spirit."
Vegeta pounded his fist against his forehead and angrily gestured at the rapidly coagulating pink planet. It was like looking at an extremely wide mirror below them. Except instead of mirroring them, it presented the dark recesses of space, and the slowly moving pink planet. "So? Why did you let Buu do all this? Why not let Kakarot deal with them first?"
Rock looked up blankly. "Because there was a chance Buu would have absorbed them. Then we would have two of the most powerful and dangerous creatures wrecking chaos in multiple universes."
"But it's fine for Buu to do that to this one?!"
"Not everything ends in a happy ending." Rock looked towards the distant stars, and the giant floating pink planet. "But then again, life will move on."
"How the fuck do you think life will move on?" Vegeta demanded. "What kind of cat thinks like that? Answer me or I'll-"
"I've done it for many years. I'm not going to stop just because you tell me." Rock bowed his head. "Move on, become at peace, you've done enough. In the end, we can't always fix everything."
Vegeta opened his mouth, but the cat was already disappearing. He shouted curses in the sky, but when the cat didn't return he shifted his attention to the group of cats below him.
They moved as one, terrified but determined. He tried not to, but he could sense Moonkit in the group. A kit with the blood of a saiyan in his veins? Preposterous? But even so, Vegeta gazed at him as he followed Duskfur. He didn't look or act any different then the others.
Vegeta hoped whatever peaceful destination they find, there would be no moon.
And that's it! It was fun writing this, and I apologize for not finishing it sooner. I haven't had access to a computer or internet for a looong time, except small moments.
So, I hope you enjoyed it, and those who don't, well, thank you for taking the time to read it. Like always, critiques are nice, and you were all a good audience n-n