AN: Yes, I finally managed to finish this chapter. I hope you guys enjoyed this so far. Thanks to the reviewers who were thoughtful enough to leave one in the last chapter :D
A dog barked somewhere in the distance, causing a flock of sparrows to fly in the air. Jadepaw leaped into the air before one could escape, grasping one between her teeth. The sparrow struggled under her sharp fangs as she landed gracefully on the ground. Once it was dead she placed it in front of her paws. Her eyes gleamed with satisfaction when she saw that she'd caught an appropriate amount of prey.
Applewhisker had taken her out hunting during the morning. Most of the prey was buzzing with activity after the rain that fell the for what felt like a moon. Mice were abundant now that the grass was wet and filled with moisture. Birds came down from the branches to collect insects that were drawn out by the mist that covered the forest. Jadepaw had found hunting easy in the morning. She knew that her mentor would be impressed by the catch that she had. Her fur felt ruffled after bringing down the struggling sparrow. Yet she was proud to have caught both a sparrow and plenty of mice to feed the Clan.
"Good haul," Applewhisker meowed when she managed to find her apprentice. Her green eyes were bright with warmth when she saw the amount that settled in its hiding place. "The Clan will feed well tonight," she added with a twitch of her tail-tip.
Let's hope so, Jadepaw thought as she followed her mentor back towards the hollow. Almost a moon had passed since Whitepaw's adventure with ShadowClan. Talonclaw had been punished for sending her out without telling another cat. Since that day Whitepaw refused to even meet Jadepaw's gaze when she returned to her nest every night. Hurt and confusion had quickly seeped through Jadepaw as time passed on. She couldn't figure out why her sister didn't speak to her. Or what had happened during her encounter with the ShadowClan cats.
Applewhisker suddenly stopped and opened her jaws. The fur along her neck stood on end when she caught an all too familiar scent in the air. She whipped around to face Jadepaw, who dropped the prey she carried. Jadepaw opened her jaws as well after realizing that something must be wrong. Her own tail fur stood on end when she recognized the harsh scent of ShadowClan looming in the air.
"Warn the Clan," Applewhisker hissed. When Jadepaw glanced at her prey, she grabbed it before her mentor could cuff her around the ears.
She bounded through the forest, ignoring the sharp stabs of pain as tiny pebbles poked through her pads. She could hear the distant yowling as the ShadowClan cats drew closer. Blood roared in her ears as Jadepaw raced across the fern covered ground. She didn't care where her paws took her, as long as she got into the hollow before Applewhisker was attacked.
Mewls of alarm spread through the clearing like wildfire as Jadepaw nearly fell down the far side of the entrance. She gasped in surprise, allowing the prey to drop from her jaws. Several cats had already padded towards her, fur spiking in horror when they saw what had happened.
"What in StarClan's name is wrong?" Pineroot demanded after realizing that she wasn't severely injured.
"ShadowClan are coming!" Jadepaw sputtered. She was surprised to feel an immense pain surge through her leg like lightning. "Applewhisker and I were hunting near the Ancient Oak when we caught their scent."
"ShadowClan?" Airstorm's fur was spiked with horror. "Don't they remember the threat?"
"What threat?" Jadepaw looked at him in confusion. Than she suddenly remembered the promise that all four Clans had made. Peace would surround the forest until StarClan felt necessary. Her tail writhed around until she felt the gentle grasp of teeth on her scruff. She winced in pain when Stonebrook had carried her across the clearing like a whimpering kit.
"You've sprained your leg," the medicine cat murmured.
"Oakfire, I want you to gather your best fighters and stop ShadowClan from attacking," Blizzardstar called when the news spread to his den.
"I knew they were up to no good," Shrewtail hissed. "We should have taken the scent-markers seriously."
Stonebrook shook her head and muttered something under her breath. Jadepaw tilted her head to one side, but winced in pain when the blue-gray she-cat pressed a paw against her leg. Her tail lashed as she worked with Jadepaw's leg until she discovered where the sprain was. By the time she was finished working with it Oakfire had organized an attacking patrol. Addertail, Squirrelfang and Darksmoke were the three warriors that Jadepaw could see. She was surprised that Freezemist had decided to go as well.
The fighting patrol had left by the time Stonebrook carried Jadepaw into her den. Blizzardstar had helped the medicine cat by holding Jadepaw's tail. The pain she felt had slowly diminished by the time they laid her on a bed of moss. She didn't know how long the sprain would last. What she did know was that she would feel useless once her leg recovered.
"It will take a few days for this sprain to fix itself," Stonebrook murmured when she noticed the blood that stained the ground. Jadepaw glanced down at the ground where her paws had touched, and felt a shudder run down her spine. "I need comfrey and chervil," she added to Blizzardstar.
The ThunderClan leader stiffened when she ordered him to collect the herbs. Jadepaw felt her mind fading into a full lag as she imagined what would happen to her. Her normally sharp green eyes dimmed as she recalled what had happened to Applewhisker.
I hope she's alright, she thought. She felt guilty for leaving her mentor behind to fend for herself. Applewhisker had told her to warn the Clan of what ShadowClan were up to. Had she ignored Applewhisker's orders, maybe she wouldn't be in the situation she was. Her heart felt hollow as she listened to what Stonebrook told Blizzardstar.
"Stand back, Blizzardstar," Stonebrook meowed after the herbs were settled around them. "I will have to put her leg back in place, and this could be painful."
Jadepaw braced herself for the pain that would likely come. A part of her longed to have the comfort of Whitepaw beside her. Another part of her told her that Whitepaw would never come back. She told herself that Whitepaw was different now. Whitepaw cared for herself as far as Jadepaw was concerned. She thought of her parents, the cats who raised her until that one fateful Gathering.
She fought back a screech of pain as Stonebrook pulled back her leg into place. Blizzardstar jumped in surprise at the sudden sound. It surprised her that he would have the heart to stay behind. Than she remembered that Blizzardstar was related to her father, Snowstorm. The two had been closer than most siblings until Blizzardstar became the deputy.
Once Stonebrook was finished she began to apply the herbs that were used to mend broken bones or wounds. Blizzardstar helped her apply the herbs once he figured out what was used on where. Jadepaw tried not to squirm under their work as she listened to them speak.
"How long do you think it will take her to recover?" Blizzardstar asked calmly.
"At least a couple of moons," Stonebrook replied briskly.
Jadepaw's eyes closed as she imagined what life would be like without training. Two moons. She didn't know if she could handle it. Two moons of living in Stonebrook's den was like asking for her to join WindClan or RiverClan. She would feel useless like the elders that called themselves the best warriors in the Clan. The last thing she wanted was to be compared to Talonclaw or Coalfire.
I'm never going to become a warrior that the Clan could be proud of, she thought. Somehow, someway, she would have to make up for her sprained leg. One day, she would become the best warrior in the Clan. One that wouldn't be looked down upon.