The Sky's Rise

Chapter 24

"Well, this is where we leave you. You'll be alright from here on out?" Cloud asked as they stood at the base of the mountain, staring out at open lands and trees.

"Yeah, we'll be fine," Sunmist mewed, almost purring. Her paws were itching to get moving. We're getting closer. Oh, we're so much closer! I can feel it! She thought excitedly.

"Will you come back?" Thunder asked. Sunmist noticed how he didn't look at Moonshadow, but knew the question was aimed to her alone.

"When we go back for ThunderClan, we'll make sure to make a stop here," Nightclaw mewed. Sunmist and Moonshadow nodded in agreement.

"We'll keep an eye out," Cloud mewed.

"You three stay safe," Wolf said.

"We will. Thank you all for your help, and tell the same to Stoneteller," Nightclaw mewed.

"We will," Wolf mewed.

"Hopefully, we'll see you sooner than later," Sunmist purred.

"I'd like that," Thunder mewed.

"As would I. It was a pleasure meeting you," Cloud added.

"The same for you. The same for all of you," Moonshadow mewed. Thunder watched her with dim eyes as Nightclaw led them away. Sunmist followed with Moonshadow at her side as they went.

Sunmist, Nightclaw, and Moonshadow stopped as the sun began to set. The farther they got from the mountain and the Tribe, the more it smelled like a Thunderpath. "We'll stay here for the night. Is that alright?" Nightclaw mewed. They were in a small patch of trees and bushes that were scattered across the land.

"Sounds fine to me," Moonshadow mewed.

"Same here. Should we hunt?" Sunmist asked.

"I'll hunt. You and Moonshadow get a few nests ready. It feels like it's going to be a long night," Nightclaw mewed. Sunmist nodded, having the same feeling.

"Be careful hunting. We don't know what's out here," Moonshadow mewed.

"It doesn't smell of fox, or badger, or dog. I think it's safe enough," Nightclaw answered. Moonshadow nodded. Sunmist padded up to Nightclaw and licked his cheek.

"You still need to be careful," She mewed.

"I will be," Nightclaw mewed, licked her head, and bounded away. Sunmist watched him leave before returning to Moonshadow's side and began helping her make nests.

By the time Nightclaw returned with a few mice and a thrush, Sunmist and Moonshadow had gotten three nests built and lined with moss. Sunmist could hear the tom purring from behind her and turned. She nuzzled him and he licked her cheek. "Take what you want. This place is full of prey, so it's no problem to get more," Nightclaw mewed gleefully. Sunmist purred and took a mouse. Moonshadow did the same, digging into it noisily as she ripped it apart. Sunmist almost laughed. She'd never seen Moonshadow so messy. Nightclaw took the thrush and laid down beside Sunmist before taking a large bite.

"So, have you two figured out where we're going yet?" Moonshadow asked when she was done.

"Do you know the stone forest Stoneteller told us about?" Sunmist asked.

"No," Moonshadow answered, reminding Sunmist of how much time Thunder had spent with her sister.

"Well, he mentioned this large stone forest beside a river. We need to find that river," Sunmist mewed.

"Did StarClan tell you that?" Moonshadow asked and licked her paw, running it over her ear.

"No, they didn't, but in my dreams, I remember hearing the sound of rushing water and seeing lots of stones and caves," Sunmist replied.

"That sounds like the mountain," Moonshadow mewed slowly.

"But it isn't. This place looked different than the mountain, and the cats that were there looked different than the Tribe cats," Sunmist mewed.

"So we find this river, and then what?" Moonshadow asked.

"We follow it," Sunmist answered.

"How will we know which way to go?" Moonshadow asked another question.

"We'll know," Nightclaw answered for his mate.

"Okay," Moonshadow mewed with a shrug.

"I want to leave at dawn though. I just have this feeling that we're getting so close to where we're suppose to be," Sunmist mewed.

"I get the same feeling," Nightclaw agreed, but his tone was weighed down.

"Is something wrong?" Moonshadow asked. Sunmist looked from the medicine cat apprentice to the large tom next to her.

"I don't know. It's just, well, I know we're getting closer, but I just get this feeling that what we find isn't going to be anything to smile at," Nightclaw mewed. Sunmist frowned, dropping her shoulders a little.

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"I just get this feeling that where we're going isn't going to be like home. There's something bad," Nightclaw answered.

"Like in the dream?" Sunmist whispered. Nightclaw looked at her and nodded.

"I'm just afraid it may be worse than that," He murmured before standing and going to his makeshift nest, laying down with a thud and laid his tail on his nose, closing his eyes, his back to the she-cats.

Sunmist sighed and finished what was left of her mouse. Moonshadow padded up to her and laid down beside her. "There's one more. Want to share?" Moonshadow asked with a weak smile. Sunmist knew she was trying to make her feel better, but Sunmist couldn't find a reason to be. The excitement she'd felt earlier had been extinguished, and she could only think of what wretched things lay ahead. "Come on. Let's eat, and get some rest," Moonshadow whispered, pushing the mouse to her. Sunmist forced a smile on her face and took a bite, pushing it back to Moonshadow. The she-cat looked at her with blue pools before taking a bite and pushing it back. They did this, relishing in each other's company, as they ate. By the time they were done, the moon had risen and the stars were shining.

"Good night, Moonshadow," Sunmist mewed as she stood, nuzzling Moonshadow quickly before groggily going to her nest and plopping down, close her eyes, and drifted into sleep.