(Okay like I said in my other story, i've been swamped with school and i've been sick these last few weeks so chapters are taking a while to get i will get to the next chapter soon. Also i made a small adjustment in chapter 6 and i added a new name onto the allegiances section in one of the other clans.)
Four sunrises had passed since Yellowfang had come to camp, Scourgeclaw was stretching just outside of the warriors den. Lionheart had called out the dawn patrol so, he was free to hunt for the day. He moved to the fresh-kill pile and pulled out a plump mouse and moved to lay near the entrance of the warriors den to eat it. As he ate began to think about Windclan's disappearance. He had been curious about it since Firepaw mentioned it to him, he had hoped to go and see the territory for himself, but he hadn't been able to get away long enough to look. He licked the last scrap of mouse off his jaws before padding out of the camp. He knew that Tigerclaw had taken out Firepaw, Ravenpaw and Graypaw for their first assessment. He decided to follow his ginger brother to see how he would do in the assessment and to make sure Tigerclaw wouldn't do anything to Firepaw. He didn't care what Bluestar said, there wasn't anything she could do or say to make him trust Tigerclaw.
Scourgeclaw could tell that leaf-fall had come there was a chill in the air and he fluffed his pelt out to keep out the chill. He made his way to the sandy hollow. When he arrived at the hollow, Tigerclaw was sitting in front of a tree speaking to the apprentices. Tigerclaw sent Graypaw to hunt near the owl tree, Firepaw to hunt in pine forest near the twolegplace and Ravenpaw in Snakerocks. 'Why Snakerocks I thought Ravenpaw wasn't that great of hunter?" Scourgeclaw thought narrowing his eyes in suspicion. He watched the apprentices split up racing off to their various hunting locations. Scourgeclaw moved off to follow Firepaw keeping a nice distance between the two of them. Firepaw pounce on a plump unsuspecting mouse and he quickly buried it continuing on with his hunt. Scourgeclaw felt as though he wasn't the only one watching Firepaw hunt, but he couldn't smell or see Tigerclaw. He shook off the feeling and continued to follow Firepaw watching as he took out a sparrow that had been pecking at a seed. As he observed his brother, he was impressed with the prey his brother had caught. He noticed a flash of black and white near by and quickly realized that Firepaw must have seen it as well because he charged for it and barreled the cat onto the ground. Scourgeclaw was proud to see him attack the kittypet that had strayed into the clan's territory, that is until he realized that the kittypet Smudge. Scourgeclaw sat watching Firepaw talking to Smudge with look of disgust. He couldn't believe that his brother was actually talking to that useless lump of black and white fur. He was watching them from behind a pine tree and could tell from Smudge's scent that he was no longer a tom. Scourgeclaw remembered that cats that were no longer toms had no desire to fight or protect what was theirs. He started to move toward the duo, when a scent caught his nose that caused his fur to crawl. 'Tigerclaw' Scourgeclaw thought crossly. He had been avoiding the tabby warrior ever since his talk with Bluestar, but it seemed that she was right about Tigerclaw not remembering him. Scourgeclaw honestly didn't know if it was a good or a bad thing that the dark tabby warrior didn't remember him. He did know that Tigerclaw would use this encounter as an excuse to call Firepaw soft and untrustworthy. Scourgeclaw raced from his hiding place and charged straight for the two cats. Smudge's eyes widened and he backed up as he saw Scourgeclaw heading for them. Firepaw turned around in shock to see Scourgeclaw. He came to a stop right next to Firepaw and spat crossly at Smudge.
"Get out of here kittypet, go home now." he growled threateningly. Smudge only nodded before tearing away back to his twoleg nest. Firepaw whipped his head around to look angrily at Scourgeclaw who snorted after Smudge left, Scourgeclaw began to walk off and Firepaw stormed after him.
"Listen Scourgeclaw, I know you've never liked Smudge but that's no reason to treat him so terribly." hissed Firepaw. Scourgeclaw rounded on him.
"Were you aware that Tigerclaw was watching you and Smudge talking together? Of course not because you weren't even thinking about your assessment." growled Scourgeclaw. Firepaw's eyes widened in shock and disbelief.
"H-He saw us?" Scourgeclaw gave a sharp nod. Firepaw shivered a little.
"Yes he saw you and now I have no doubt he'll tell Bluestar and who knows what she'll think of this little incident."
"What should I do?"
"Go back to your assessment, it's the only thing you can do at this point. Make sure you stay away from the this side of the forest for a while unless Bluestar says otherwise." meowed Scourgeclaw. Firepaw nodded and ran back into the forest. Scourgeclaw circled around to find the exact spot Tigerclaw had been watching. He followed the tabby warrior's scent trail and found him observing Graypaw, as the gray apprentice pounced on an unsuspecting vole. He watched as the tabby warrior padded off back toward the sandy hollow. 'What about Ravenpaw? Did he even watch him?' thought Scourgeclaw.
"You were worried weren't you?" Scourgeclaw turned looked back to see Mossflower padding up behind him.
"What are you doing out here? Where's Runningwind?" Scourgeclaw mewled. Mossflower brushed her fur against Scourgeclaw warming him against the chill in the air.
"Why wouldn't I be here I wanted to know how Firepaw was doing and I realize that I haven't been spending as much time with you and Firepaw and I wanted to make up for it." she meowed softly.
"Then maybe you can help with our latest problem." Mossflower looked at him in confusion.
"What problem?" Scourgeclaw sighed.
"Firepaw ran into Smudge during his assessment."
"What's wrong with that? I mean I know that as warriors we must reject the life of a kittypet but we both know Smudge and we know that he wouldn't try to do anything and he certainly wouldn't hunt here." she meowed.
"Yes but Tigerclaw didn't know that when he saw them sharing tongues near the twolegplace." meowed Scourgeclaw. Mossflower looked surprised and worried.
"That isn't good at all, I'll talk to Bluestar and make sure that she realizes that Firepaw is a loyal apprentice." Scourgeclaw sighed and looked back at the direction Tigerclaw went.
"Yes hopefully the clan won't think less of him, but I'm suspicious of Tigerclaw." Mossflower sighed with a hint of sadness in her voice.
"Scourgeclaw I know that you had a bad encounter with Tigerclaw as a kit, but you can't just suspect him of doing something wrong for no real reason."
"Tigerclaw has been acting strange, particularly toward Ravenpaw." Mossflower looked questioningly at Scourgeclaw.
"What do you mean by strange?"
"Well look at his assessment, Ravenpaw was told to hunt at Snakerocks, you and I both know that Ravenpaw isn't that great of a hunter, so why would he send him to Snakerocks?" asked Scourgeclaw.
"That is strange."
"Also when this whole assessment began I had been watching Firepaw hunt, but my instincts were telling me that I wasn't the only one watching Firepaw, but I hadn't seen nor smelt Tigerclaw until Firepaw started talking with Smudge." meowed Scourgeclaw.
"Well I'm sure the whole point of assessing the apprentices is to keep them guessing whether or not they are being watched, also why would it matter if he was watching Firepaw through the start of the assessment?" she meowed.
"Because, he just went back to the sandy hollow where he gave the three their assignment. He was just watching Graypaw a moment ago he hasn't even gone to check on Ravenpaw." Mossflower looked surprised by his answer.
"Are you sure?" Scourgeclaw nodded with an exasperated sigh.
"Yes I'm sure when have my instincts been wrong?" Mossflower thought back to time when she and Scourgeclaw and taken a walk through the twolegplace together and had almost been attacked by a dog, whose scent had been overpowered by rotting crowfood, that neither of them had picked up his scent. Mossflower sighed 'If it hadn't been for Scourgeclaw's instincts telling him not to go down that alley way we would have been ambushed.' she thought before answering him.
"Your right we'll keep an eye on him, but we won't approach him about anything, right?" Scourgeclaw snorted.
"Of course I won't approach him about anything. Now if you'll excuse me I need to hunt for our Clan." he meowed moving away from her. The loss of Mossflower's warm fur against his own fur seemed to unsettle him a bit, but he shook it off before racing toward the pine forest. When he had reach the pine forest he continued through the forest till he found the potential camp. He crawled into the thorn tunnel making his way through the grassy clearing. He stopped by a hollowed out log that was wedged in between two boulders. He crawled into the log and brought out the items he had stashed within it. He pulled out his collar, that he moved to the potential camp two sunrises ago, and a few dog teeth that he had gotten from the dog he fought the same day he found the camp. He carefully picked up a tooth and pushed it through his collar until it was stuck. He continued to do this with the three other teeth he had gathered in his fight. When he was finished he slid the collar around his neck and could imagine just how frightening he must look. 'What would my clanmates think if they saw me like this?' he thought smugly. He could just see the frightened yet admiring faces, he could see his brother looking at him with pride and admiration and Mossflower looked… Scourgeclaw frowned he hadn't really thought about what the gray and white warrior would think of him if she knew about all that he was planning. He sighed, he hadn't realized how much not being around Mossflower would upset him. He knew he wasn't jealous of Runningwind but, he still missed having her around him.
When he arrived back at camp Firepaw, Ravenpaw and Graypaw were placing their catches in the fresh-kill pile and then they headed toward the apprentice den. Scourgeclaw carried the his two mice, vole and a shrew to the fresh-kill pile. After catching Firepaw's eye he moved to speak to Bluestar, only to stop as he saw Tigerclaw heading toward the three apprentices. He hissed under his breath and continued on his way to Bluestar.
"Bluestar, can I speak to you?" asked Scourgeclaw
"Yes, what is wrong?"
"Its about Firepaw's assessment."
"Yes I just sent Tigerclaw to go get him."
"I was watching him and he was doing fine until he ran into and old friend of his." Bluestar's eyes widen in surprise.
"A friend of his? Tigerclaw made it seem as though he didn't know the cat at all and didn't fight him because he was a kittypet." Scourgeclaw flicked his tail with agitation. Bluestar looked gently at Scourgeclaw and touched her tail to his shoulder.
"Scourgeclaw I won't judge Firepaw unfairly, I'm going to get his side of the story. Don't worry I won't make him do anything he doesn't wish to do." Scourgeclaw inwardly hissed but outwardly gave Bluestar a nod and turned to face Firepaw as he approached.
"You wanted to see me Bluestar?" asked Firepaw as he glanced at Scourgeclaw. Scourgeclaw caught his eye for a moment before looking back to Bluestar. Bluestar fixed Firepaw with her stare.
"Yes I wanted to see you. I wanted to ask you about this kittypet I heard about from Tigerclaw, did you know him?" Firepaw looked guiltily at his paws before speaking up.
"Yes he was a friend of mine from my kithood I didn't think I would ever see him again and he was sad when I told him I was leaving." Bluestar nodded.
"Yes its hard to leave behind good friends but Firepaw, you must understand that you cannot have a paw in both worlds. You must be loyal to ThunderClan." She glanced closely at Scourgeclaw as she spoke those words. Scourgeclaw glanced at her but kept his eyes on Firepaw
"I understand Bluestar, I never meant to cause trouble for the clan." meowed Firepaw.
"Good and I know that you caught a great amount of prey during you assessment the clan will eat well tonight. I think you Graypaw and Ravenpaw should come to the gathering." Firepaw's eyes widened.
"Really? Thank you Bluestar, but what about Scourgeclaw and Mossflower?" Scourgeclaw inwardly held his breath he and Mossflower hadn't been chosen to go to a gathering since the three had joined the camp. Though he hadn't wanted to go to the gathering without Firepaw with him, he had been curious about the other Clans and he wanted to see them so he could observe them.
"They will be coming as well they have worked hard as warriors and will join me at the gathering tomorrow." Firepaw eyes brightened with excitement he quickly thanked Bluestar before racing off to tell his denmates the good news. Scourgeclaw looked directly at Bluestar.
"I appreciate you allowing Mossflower and I to go to the Gathering tomorrow I didn't think we would be going." Bluestar purred softly.
"You both have earned it I'll let you have the pleasure of telling Mossflower the news." Scourgeclaw dipped respectively to Bluestar before making his way to the warriors den. Willowpelt was outside the warriors den eating a squirrel. She looked up when Scourgeclaw approached.
"Hello Scourgeclaw, would you like to share my squirrel?" she mewled. Scourgeclaw felt his stomach rumble before nodding and settling down next to Willowpelt. While he shared the squirrel with Willowpelt he thought of the Gathering that was suppose to happen tomorrow. He knew that this gathering would be an interesting one since the WindClan cats were missing. He looked up as Mossflower came through the entrance of camp with Runningwind right behind her, both were carrying some prey in their jaws.
Mossflower saw Firepaw talking to his friends just outside the apprentice den. She spotted her mother sitting just in front of her den speaking to Lionheart. she started to move toward them when Scourgeclaw caught her eye and shook his head. 'But why doesn't he want me to say anything to her? Did he already talk to her?' Runningwind brushed his pelt against Mossflower gently.
"Are you okay? you look upset about something." he meowed softly. Mossflower purred softly at him.
"I'm fine I just need to speak to Scourgeclaw."
"Okay, I'll take our catches to the fresh-kill pile and bring both of us something to eat." he meowed picking up the prey they caught and padding off to the fresh-kill pile. Mossflower padded over to stand next to Scourgeclaw. She turned her attention to Willowpelt.
"Hello, Willowpelt how was your patrol?" she asked. Willowpelt purred
"It was fine, no trouble from the other Clans so far." she meowed
"That's good I wonder who Bluestar will take to the gathering tomorrow?" Mossflower meowed. Willowpelt shrugged.
"Its her decision, no doubt this will be an important meeting if Windclan has really disappeared, well I'm going to rest now." Willowpelt mewled giving both Scourgeclaw and Mossflower a nod before moving into the warriors den. After she had left Mossflower leaned in closer to Scourgeclaw.
" What's going on with Firepaw? Is Bluestar going to punish him?" she asked quickly. Scourgeclaw shook his head.
"No, I spoke with her and while she isn't happy he spoke to Smudge she can sympathize with why he did it and that is the only reason he isn't going to be punished by her." Mossflower sighed in relief.
"Well that's good at least, what do you think of this gathering that's coming up? Do you think WindClan will show up?"
"I have a better question do you think we'll be going?" Mossflower nodded.
"I think so yes, I'm not sure about Firepaw, but you and I could very well be going."
"Well I doubt it after all this is an important gathering that is going to happen and the right cats need to be there." hissed Mousefur as she glared at Scourgeclaw and Mossflower.
"Now Mousefur, Mossflower and Scourgeclaw have proved that they are loyal cats and I think that Bluestar will take them to this gathering." meowed Runningwind as he set down a vole in front of Mossflower.
"Well I'll have you know Mousefur that Bluestar told me herself that Mossflower and I are going to the gathering." Scourgeclaw mewled as flicked dirt from between his claws. Mousefur scoffed as she padded into the warriors den. Runningwind sighed as he settled next to Mossflower. "You'll have to forgive my sister, its going to take her a bit more time to trust you two. Hey Scourgeclaw where did you run off to today?" Mossflower watched as Scourgeclaw seemed to stiffen slightly before relaxing.
"I went hunting and I also went to keep an eye on Firepaw." He meowed. Mossflower could tell that Scourgeclaw was hiding something but, kept it to herself. She focused on the vole that Runningwind had brought her and started to devour the plump rodent. As she finished her meal Runningwind rasped his tongue against her fur and she briskly returned the favor. She saw Scourgeclaw roll his eyes before stretching and padding toward the den. Mossflower stood to follow him with Runningwind trailing behind her. She climbed into her nest and curled up with Runningwind's fur brushing against her. She purred softly as she fell into a nice comforting sleep.
(Well thats it for this chapter like i said i've had a rough last few weeks hopefully i will get a new chapter up soon. The Gathering is next look forward to that.)