Tigerpaw stretched, and looked around. She quickly washed her fur. All the apprentices were gone, except for Amberpaw, Dustpaw, and her. Embarrassment jolted through her. What if Nightfur was waiting this whole time? She dashed out the den. Nightfur was assigning patrols. His sleek, black fur shone in the early morning light. Once all of the cats left, she ran to him. "I'm sorry!" she blurted. "I should have woken up sooner."
Nightfur turned to her and shook his head.
"It's okay. I want you fresh and rested for your training," he soothed.
Tigerpaw nodded, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Today we're practicing battle moves. Most apprentices start with collecting moss, and the hunting crouch, but since ShadowClan is pushing at our borders, there might be a battle," the black tom explained.
Tigerpaw nodded, her tail bushed out with delight. Nightfur stood up.
"We'll start at sunhigh. Until then, I'll teach you how to clean the elders' bedding."
Tigerpaw's head drooped. Battle moves, not elders. Tigerpaw padded into the elder's den.
"I'm here to change your bedding," she announced.
Straightwhisker, a gray tom with cloudy blue eyes grunted. He was so old that he could barely talk, never mind move. Flowerpetal, her favorite elder, purred.
"Great! We'll move out of the way so you can work."
Flowerpetal managed to move Straightwhisker out of the den. The other elders followed. When all the elders were out, Flowerpetal walked back in.
"I'm sorry if I disturb you, but I figured you'd like a story," she meowed.
Nightfur pushed his way in, with a huge wad of moss under his chin, and another wad in his jaws. He dropped it in the corner of the den. Flowerpetal waited until he was done showing her what to do. Once he was done demonstrating what to do, Flowerpetal started.
"Well, one time there was a great prophecy that called four cats from each Clan to go far, far away," Flowerpetal began
Tigerpaw clawed the old moss away, and spread a thin layer of new moss on the floor.
"The cats called by StarClan were named Brambleclaw, Tawnypelt, Feathertail, and Crowpaw."
Tigerpaw looked up as she made a nest.
"Crowpaw?" she asked.
Flowerpetal nodded. "Yes, Crowpaw. But this apprentice was brave, loyal, and willing to sacrifice himself for his Clan," she mewed.
Tigerpaw continued to shape the nest.
~~~~ Tigerpaw panted. The nests were done, but she was thirsty and hungry. Flowerpetal licked her on the head.
"Thanks," she purred.
Tigerpaw dipped her head, and walked out of the den. Nightfur had gone to wake up Tigerpaw's littermates. She looked at the apprentice den, which Nightfur, Amberpaw, and Dustpaw were emerging from. Nightfur nodded towards them.
"Get prey and Yellowstone will have water for you," he told them.
Tigerpaw grabbed a fat vole and got some water. She quickly drank the water, and devoured the vole. Tigerpaw glanced at the fresh-kill pile. She was still hungry, but she didn't want to be greedy.
"You can get seconds!" Nightfur called.
She ducked her head, but got another vole. Dustpaw and Amberpaw were sharing a rabbit. She trotted over to them, and sat down.
"Lucky you," Tigerpaw complained. "You guys got to sleep in!"
But Tigerpaw secretly relished cleaning the elder's den; she got to hear stories, be praised, and the elder's den was cool and shady.
"Sorry," Amberpaw mumbled around the rabbit.
Tigerpaw flicked her ear. "It's fine."
She stood up and ran to Nightfur. Amberpaw and Dustpaw soon followed. Snowheart and Sunstripe sat together, tails twined.
"Let's go to the mossy hollow," Nightfur meowed.
Once they arrived, each mentor set their apprentice in the attack crouch.
"This is the most basic battle move," Nightfur explained. "But it can save your life. You can either escape the enemy, or attack it."
Nightfur bunched his legs underneath him. He lay still for a heartbeat, and then pounced, paws in front of him. The second his paws touched the ground, he almost slipped, but turned around quicker than Tigerpaw thought possible.
"Go, but don't get in each other's way," Nightfur warned them.
Tigerpaw relaxed her legs, but kept them ready to move. She pounced, her paws in front of her, claws extended. The second her paws touched the ground, she dug her claws into the dirt, and spun around. Every time she trained with Tigerstar, she warmed up with this move.
"Where did you learn the claw-dig in?" Nightfur asked.
Tigerpaw froze. She had sworn Tigerstar to secrecy.
"Oh, I-uh, just worked it out. It made sense to use your claws to steady yourself," she mewed quickly.
Nightfur nodded approvingly. "Smart. Do it again."
They repeated it until Nightfur had made a technique for Tigerpaw not to grind the soil while she turned.
By then, Amberpaw and Dustpaw had mastered it too.
"Now, we'll work on real battle moves," Sunstripe told the apprentices.
Tigerpaw ignored everybody but Nightfur.
"We'll work on the front paw blow. It draws no blood, but it can stun an enemy," he decided.
Tigerpaw already had learned it from Tigerstar, but she patently watched Nightfur demonstrate.
"We aren't going to practice it on each other because we might get hurt. It's more of a strength move than an actual move," he meowed.
Nightfur went and plucked a large, flappy leaf, and used it as Tigerpaw's target. She slammed her paw on the leaf multiple times, until its stem cracked, and it ripped.
"Those two are the basics. Now we'll do battle moves that we can practice on each other."
"Half turn belly rake, next," Nightfur said.
By the time they had done the final battle move, the sun was just touching the trees.
They walked home, exhausted.
Once they were back at camp, Nightfur turned to her. "I want you and your siblings going to the Gathering," Nightfur meowed, pride in his voice.
Tigerpaw jumped. She had totally forgotten that tonight was the full moon.
"Really?" she asked, her voice rising to a squeak.
Nightfur nodded, amusement dancing in his eyes. "Yes, of course. But I want you to rest and eat first."
Tigerpaw jumped in the air. "Oh, thank you, Nightfur! I'm going to tell Amberpaw and Dustpaw right now!" she exclaimed.
She ran to her siblings, but they obviously already knew; they were prancing around, and purring.
"Come on, let's go get some prey!" Tigerpaw urged.
They all shared a chaffinch, and each ate a mouse in happy spirits.
Amberpaw yawned. "Let's go rest," she murmured.
Tigerpaw ran to the apprentice's den, and curled up in her nest, Amberpaw and Dustpaw right next to her.
Please review, and make a cat. Every cat but the WindClan med. cat are available.
Come on, bring your mouse to that little button. Mm hmm. The one that says 'Review'. Great Job! *Gives a candy cane to reviewer.*