Chapter 5

Squirrelflight padded to the fresh-kill pile, anxious to hear why Bramblestar had send patrols to the other clans. What could be that important? She felt left out of all of the clan business. Ever since she hadn't been able to serve as deputy due to expecting her kits, Brackenfur had been filling her place. She missed serving her clan at such a high position. She had always loved serving as deputy. Being the deputy of Thunderclan always offered her the chance of one day become a leader. That would mean Bramblestar would be dead. She squirmed at the thought. Squirrelflight had never stopped loving Bramblestar. Leafpool and she went through unimaginable pain after their secret had been exposed. She would never be able to get over the way Lionblaze and Jayfeather still loathed her and Leafpool. They had to understand what they did. It was for every cat's best interests. She quickly chose a vole from the pile and laid down in the sunny camp. It was sunny, yet cold at the same time. Still, it was nice to see the weather improving after such a tough leaf bare. She would never be able to bear seeing any of the cats she loved sick like that ever again. Leafpool had been very sick and almost died. She wouldn't be able to handle losing her sister.

"Hi Squirrelflight." Brightheart padded up to Squirrelflight, a mouse in her jaws.

"Hi. It's great to see new warriors in our clan. I bet you are proud of your kits."

"I am. And I bet you're proud of your warrior kits, too." Brightheart cut off at the end and awkwardly flicked her tail. "I mean, I suppose you must still think of them as yours. You raised them, after all."

"Oh yes, of course. I will always love Jayfeather and Lionblaze. Hollyleaf, too, of course." Squirrelflight said with a mrrow of amusement.

"Yes, that's sweet. I bet Frostkit is excited to meet your kits. Although by then, she will nearly be apprenticed."

"Oh, yes, believe me, she is. I am quite excited to meet these kits, too. Perhaps one will be a clan leader, or a medicine cat." Squirrelflight pondered that thought. Perhaps my kits will become clan legends.

"Yeah, kits are exciting." Brightheart mewed, finishing her mouse. Squirrelflight blinked in agreement. She finished her vole and hesitated before padding back to the nursery. It was so boring in there. She decided to go for a walk in the forest. Just when Squirrelflight left camp, she heard terrified yowling from camp. Without a moment's hesitation, she pelted back to camp. A giant square monster was sitting in camp, growling at the hiding clan. A twoleg stepped out carrying a big stick. He yowled into the monster, then began to pound the stick into the ground with another stick. Once it was firmly in the ground, he went back in the monster and it rumbled away, heading for Shadowclan territory. Frozen with fear, Squirrelflight looked around. Frostkit shuffled out of the medicine den, a bewildered expression on her young face.

"What was that?" She whimpered. Squirrelflight flicked her ear in response.

"We need to get that stick out of camp." Dustpelt mewed, arousing from the elder's den. "We have to show the twolegs they're not welcome." Squirrelflight nodded solemnly.

"I haven't seen twolegs this close since we were driven out of the old forest." Sandstorm remarked, looking the stick up and down. Gradually, warriors, kits, and elders emerged from their dens. They all stared in horror at the stick. How dare that twoleg bring its monster here and put a stick in their camp? This is not their territory. Cloudtail sauntered up to the stick and began to dig around it. Bumblestripe and Hazeltail bounded up the help him. They dug up dust until they came to the conclusion they couldn't uproot it. Cloudtail grunted in frustration.

"What now, will we be driven out again?" He mumbled, not intending for any cat to hear.

"We need to send patrols to see that the twolegs are out of our territory." Sandstorm mewed. Cloudtail gestured to Bumblestripe, Brightheart and Birchfall. The four cats bounded off after the mysterious twolegs. Squirrelflight felt fear take over her. She had never had this feeling of dread before. Somewhere deep inside of her, she knew Thunderclan was in trouble. She watched as Cinderheart whisked Frostkit back into the nursery.

"Squirrelflight? Are you alright?" Rosepetal meowed, concern in her voice.

"Just as worried as everyone else is."

"Don't be. Not this close to your kits' birth." Rosepetal glanced at Squirrelflight's swollen belly, even bigger than she had ever seen it before. Finally, Bramblestar and her own kits. Their actual kits. Although, they both had still thought of Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze as their kits. Her kits would be coming in another half moon, Jayfeather had told her before he left on Bramblestar's hasty patrols. Suddenly, Dewpelt, Sorreltail, Poppyfrost, and Brackenfur charged into camp.

"Is Bramblestar's patrol back yet?""No, not yet. You are the first one back." Dustpelt mewed from the elders' den, annoyed to be awoken. Brackenfur dipped his head, then gathered with his patrol, mewing together quietly. Suddenly, they all went silent as they stared in horror at the twoleg stick.

"It's starting." Poppyfrost breathed. Dewpelt flicked his tail, fear flooding his amber eyes.

"There's not as many as in Windclan, we'll be fine." Sorreltail mewed, trying to convince herself as much as anyone else. The camp seemed to be stricken by fear as they tried to get on with normal duties. But Squirrelflight knew there was nothing normal about that day.