DEDICATIONSpecial thanks to Cherith Baldry
ntabbytom with amber eyesDEPUTYSQUIRRELFLIGHT—dark ginger she-catwith green eyes and one white pawMEDICINE LEAFPOOL—light brown tabby she-catCATSwith amber eyes, white paws and chestJAYFEATHER—gray tabby tom withblind blue eyesALDERHEART—dark ginger tom withamber eyesWARRIORS (toms and she-cats without kits)
hairedwhitetomshe-catwithwith blue eyesBRIGHTHEART—whiteginger �white she-cat with greeneyesBIRCHFALL—light brown tabby tomBERRYNOSE—cream-colored tom witha stump for a tailMOUSEWHISKER—gray-and-white tomPOPPYFROST—pale tortoiseshell andwhite she-catCINDERHEART—gray tabby she-catLIONBLAZE—golden tabby tom withamber eyesROSEPETAL—dark cream she-cat
BRIARLIGHT—darkbrown she-cat,paralyzed in her hindquartersLILYHEART—small, dark tabby she-catwith white patches, and blue eyesBUMBLESTRIPE—very pale gray tomwith black stripesIVYPOOL—silver-and-white tabby shecat with dark blue eyesAPPRENCTICE, TWIGPAW (gray she-catwith green eyes)DOVEWING—pale gray she-cat withgreen eyesCHERRYFALL—ginger white, fluffy tomAMBERMOON—pale ginger she-catDEWNOSE—gray-and-white tomSTORMCLOUD—gray tabby tomHOLLYTUFT—black she-catFERNSONG—yellow tabby tom
SORRELSTRIPE—dark brown she-catLEAFSHADE—a tortoiseshell she-catLARKSONG—a black tomHONEYFUR—awhite she-cat withyellow splotchesSPARKPELT—orange tabby she-catQUEENS(she-cats expecting or nursing kits)DAISY—cream long-furred cat from thehorseplaceBLOSSOMFALL—tortoiseshell-andwhite she-cat with petal-shaped whitepatchesELDERS(former warriors and queens, nowretired)PURDY—plump tabby former loner witha gray muzzleGRAYSTRIPE—long-haired gray tomMILLIE—striped silver tabby she-catwith blue eyes
ANSTAR—ginger tomDEPUTYTIGERHEART—dark brown tabby tomWARRIORS TAWNYPELT—tortoiseshell she-cat withgreen eyesWINDCLANLEADERONESTAR—brown tabby tomDEPUTYHARESPRING—brown-and-white tomMEDICINE KESTRELFLIGHT—mottled gray tomCATwith white splotches like kestrelfeathersWARRIORS NIGHTCLOUD—black she-catAPPRENTICE, BRINDLEPAW(mottled
brown she-cat)GORSETAIL—very pale gray-and-whiteshe-cat with blue eyesCROWFEATHER—dark gray tomAPPRENTICE, FERNPAW (gray tabbyshe-cat)LEAFTAIL—dark tabby tom, ambereyesEMBERFOOT—gray tom with two darkpawsAPPRENTICE, SMOKEPAW (gray shecat)BREEZEPELT—black tom with ambereyesLARKWING—pale brown tabby she-catSEDGEWHISKER—light brown tabbyshe-catSLIGHTFOOT—black tom with whiteflash on his chestOATCLAW—pale brown tabby tom
FEATHERPELT—gray tabby she-catHOOTWHISKER—dark gray tomHEATHERTAIL—light brown tabby she-cat with blue eyesELDERSWHITETAIL—small white she-catRIVERCLANLEADERMISTYSTAR—gray she-cat with blueeyesDEPUTYREEDWHISKER—black tomMEDICINE MOTHWING—dappled golden she-catCATSWILLOWSHINE—gray tabby she-catWARRIORS MINTFUR—light gray tabby tomDUSKFUR—brown tabby she-catSHADENOSE—dark brown she-catMINNOWTAIL—darkgray-and-whiteshe-cat
APPRENTICE, BREEZEPAWMALLOWNOSE—light brown tabby tomPETALFUR—gray-and-white she-catBEETLEWHISKER—brown-and-whitetabby tomCURLFEATHER—pale brown she-catPODLIGHT—gray-and-white tomHERONWING—dark gray-and-black tomSHIMMERPELT—silver she-catAPPRENTICE, NIGHTPAW (dark grayshe-cat with blue eyes)LIZARDTAIL—light brown tomFOXFACE—russet tabby tomHAVENPELT—black-and-white she-catPERCHWING—gray-and-white she-catSNEEZECLOUD—gray-and-white tomBRACKENPELT—tortoiseshell she-catJAYCLAW—gray tomOWLNOSE—brown tabby tom
ICEWING—white she-cat with blue eyesQUEENSLAKEHEART—graytabbyshe-cat(mother to Harekit, Dapplekit, Gorsekit,and e-catROGUES(DARKTAIL’S “KIN”)LEADERDARKTAIL—a strong, muscular tom,with white fur broken up by black spotsaround his eyesMEDICINE PUDDLESHINE—brown tom with whiteCATsplotchesTHE “KIN” RAIN—long-furred gray tom with greeneyesRAVEN—long-furred black she-catROACH—silver gray tom
NETTLE—brown tabby tom with long,spiky furNEEDLETAIL—silver she-catSLEEKWHISKER—sleek yellow she-catJUNIPERCLAW—black tomSPIKEFUR—dark brown tom with tuftyfur on his headYARROWLEAF—gingershe-catwithyellow eyesWASPTAIL—yellow tabby she-cat withgreen eyesSTRIKESTONE—tabby tomDAWNPELT—cream-furred she-catBEENOSE—plump white she-cat withblack earsSCORCHFUR—darkgray tom withslashed earsBERRYHEART—black-and-white she-catCLOVERFOOT—gray tabby she-catRIPPLETAIL—white tom
furred, pale grayshe-catBIRCHBARK—beige tomLIONEYE—yellow she-cat with ambereyesSLATEFUR—sleek gray tomGRASSHEART—pale brown tabby she-catPINENOSE—black she-catVIOLETPAW—black-and-whiteshe-catwith yellow eyesQUEENSSNOWBIRD—pure white she-cat withgreen eyes (mother to Conekit, Gullkit,and Frondkit)ELDERSOAKFUR—small brown tomRATSCAR—scarred, skinny dark browntom
CONTENTSDedicationAllegiancesMapsPrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7
Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21Chapter 22Back AdsAbout the Author
Books by Erin HunterCreditsCopyrightAbout the Publisher
PROLOGUEThe sun edged its way above thehorizon, casting a flood of golden lightover the grassy hollow whereAlderheart stood. Blinking in thedazzling rays, he glanced around andtried to work out where he was. Hecouldn’t remember ever having visitedthis hollow before, and a pang ofapprehension seized him as he wonderedif he had managed to wander away fromThunderClan territory without realizingit.In the bottom of the hollow was a
small pool, the surface glittering in thesunlight. Straggling bushes surrounded it,and when Alderheart looked moreclosely he spotted a group of catshuddled in the shelter of the branches. Asmall, silver-gray tabby she-cat laystretched out in their midst. Alderheartthought he had seen her somewherebefore, but the other cats were allstrangers to him.Hesitantly, Alderheart began paddingdown the slope into the center of thehollow. “Greetings!” he called out as hedrew nearer to the group of cats. “Canyou tell me where . . . ?”His voice trailed off as none of thecats reacted to his approach—it was as
if they could neither see him nor hearhim. A spark of excitement fizzledthrough Alderheart.I must be having a vision! Are thesethe cats of SkyClan? But I don’t reallyrecognize any of them. . . .Eager to know what his vision had totell him, Alderheart drew closer to theclump of bushes, noticing that his pawsteps did not even bend the grass bladesbeneath them.As he padded forward, Alderheartcould see that the silver-gray tabby had along gash down her flank. The flesharound it was swollen, and pus oozedfrom the wound. The tabby was verythin, her pelt dull and almost colorless;
her breathing was shallow, and her eyeslooked glassy with fever. Once again hefelt that odd sense of familiarity, asthough he really ought to recognize her.I wish I could help this cat,Alderheart thought. Chervil or marigoldfor the infection, some borage leaves tobring down her fever a little . . .But in his vision he was helpless,with no way to communicate with thesecats or find the herbs for them. All hecould do was watch as one of thetabby’s companions dipped a scrap ofmoss into the pool and held it to hermouth so that she could drink.“Is there anything we can do foryou?” one of the other cats asked her.
Wearily, the silver tabby shook herhead. “Maybe dandelion or borage,” shemurmured. “But I don’t know where youwould find them here. My time is almostup. The infection is too strong. . . .There’s nothing any cat can do now.”Her eyes closed. One of the othercats bent over her and gave her ears agentle lick.Alderheart almost thought that thetabby had died, but a moment later sheroused again.“I wish I could protect you all,” shemewed, her voice shaking and filledwith guilt. “We’re so far from the gorge. . . and we haven’t been able to find thehome that StarClan wishes for us.”
Suddenly she startled, looking over herClanmates’ heads. “Frecklewish! Haveyou found us at last?”The other cats looked eagerly in thedirection she was staring, butdisappointment clouded their eyes whenthey saw no cat there. Alderheartunderstood that the tabby’s fever wascausing her to hallucinate. The cat whohad been licking her said gently, “She’snot here. You know we never foundFrecklewish after we were driven fromthe gorge. I fear that she must be dead.”Another cat nodded. “We lookedeverywhere.”Alderheart realized that the dyingtabby must be their medicine cat. Pity for
her Clanmates clawed at him: theylooked so thin and ragged, and itsounded as if they had struggled hard tofind themselves new territory.They’ve been through so much, hethought. And losing their medicine catwill only make things more difficult.The cat’s name was on the tip ofAlderheart’s tongue, and suddenly it feltvitally important for him to remember it.But he was distracted when the silvergray tabby let out a gasp and struggled tosit up. Her eyes widened, her gaze fixedon something on the horizon. Alderheartwanted to turn and see what it was thatshe saw, but he couldn’t tear his gazefrom her face.
“They’re coming . . . ,” shewhispered, seeming to relax; then sheforced herself upright again, her legstrembling and her tail flailing. “You mustlook for the blood trail in the sky!Follow the blood trail!” she rasped out.The effort had taken the last of thetabby’s strength. She sank back onto thegrass, her eyes fluttering shut. Herbreathing slowed, then stopped.“Echosong!”Thecatswhosurrounded her flung back their headsand sent wails of anguish up to the sky.“Echosong!”Echosong! Alderheart’s suspicionswere confirmed. No wonder she looksfamiliar—I’ve seen her in a vision
before! And I know her name . . .Sandstorm spoke of her. She’s SkyClan’smedicine cat . . . which means thesecats are all that’s left of SkyClan.The vision began to fade into aswirling gray mist, and as he lost sight ofthe grieving cats, Alderheart felt certainthat SkyClan still desperately neededhelp—more than ever, now that theywere without a medicine cat.Opening his eyes in the apprentices’den, Alderheart saw pale dawn lightfiltering through the ferns that screenedthe entrance. He lay still for a moment.His vision had convinced him not onlythat his Clan must help SkyClan, but thatSkyClan definitely had something to do
with the prophecy.It’s time to do something,Alderheart thought, hauling himself tohis paws and shaking moss and brackenout of his pelt. I’ll talk to Bramblestarabout it as soon as I can. But I’mafraid that won’t be until after thismorning’s battle. . . .
CHAPTER 1Cats of all four Clans were massed asone on the ShadowClan border. Allaround her, Twigpaw could hear the faintrustling, as their paws shifted in thegrass, and taste their mingled scents. “Somany warriors!” she whispered. “Allfour Clans together . . .”The cats of ThunderClan wereclustered around Twigpaw, theirgleaming eyes and bristling fur showingthat they were ready for battle. Twigpawlet her gaze travel over them: the Clanleader, Bramblestar, with his deputy,
Squirrelflight, beside him; Lionblaze, hismuscles rippling under his golden tabbypelt; Cloudtail with his mate,Brightheart,andtheirdaughterWhitewing; Larksong and his littermates,Leafshade and Honeyfur, proudlyawaiting their first chance to fight fortheir Clan as warriors.Twigpaw pressed close to Ivypool’sside,nervouslysheathingandunsheathing her claws. The dawn lightwas growing stronger, but shadows stilllurked under the trees, making theShadowClan territory ahead look evendarker and scarier than usual.Ivypool dipped her head to speaksoftly into Twigpaw’s ear. “After the
Great Storm, Bramblestar proposed anew addition to the warrior code.” Hereyes shone with pride in her Clan leader.“He said that though the Clans must allremember their separate histories andtraditions, in times of dire need allshould stand together so that no Clanshould ever fall. And if this isn’t a timeof dire need,” she added wryly, “I don’tknow what is.”“Do you really think we can drivethe rogues out of ShadowClanterritory?” Twigpaw asked. She tried tostop her voice from shaking, even thoughher mouth was dry and her heartpounded so hard that she thought everycat must be able to hear it.
Ivypool brushed her tail reassuringlyover Twigpaw’s shoulders. “Your firstbattle is always tough,” she meowed.Her silver-and-white pelt was as neat asif she had just groomed it, and her voicewas full of confidence. “But stick closeto me, and I’ll look after you.”Relief flooded through Twigpaw,and she blinked gratefully at her mentor.I’m so happy to be Ivypool’sapprentice, she thought. She always hasmy back.“Cats of all Clans . . .”Bramblestar’s voice rang out across theassembled cats. “The time has come totake the rogues by surprise and forcethem out of ShadowClan territory.”
“Yes,” Rowanstar agreed. TheShadowClan leader’s voice was quietbut invited no argument. He stood at thefront of the crowd, his ginger furbeginning to glow as the lightstrengthened. His mate, Tawnypelt, hadpositioned herself close beside him.“We must get rid of the rogues once andfor all. The future of the Clans dependson it!”Onestar, the leader of WindClan,glared at Rowanstar and gave anirritated lash of his tail. “That’s aninteresting order,” he meowed, “comingfrom the cat who allowed the rogues tolive on his territory for moons, untilfinally most of his Clan decided they
would rather follow Darktail! Maybe,Rowanstar,” he added, “you could stopissuing orders to cats who are cleaningup your mess.”Rowanstar’s neck fur bristled and hedrew his lips back in the beginning of asnarl. “And just maybe,” he retortedbitterly, “WindClan cats could mindtheir own business.”“You made it our business!” Onestarsnapped.“Enough!” Mistystar of RiverClanthrust her way between the two furiousleaders, holding herself with authority.“What hope do we have if we fightamong ourselves? Rowanstar is rightabout one thing: the rogues must be
driven out. They killed Furzepelt, theyenticed ShadowClan warriors awayfrom their Clan, and now they’ve stolenShadowClan’s territory. It’s time to getrid of these fiends once and for all.”“Exactly,” Bramblestar agreed, hisvoice level. “So please can we stopblaming one another, and work togetherto drive out these rogues?”He glanced from Rowanstar toOnestar and back again. Onestar dippedhis head in acquiescence, whileRowanstar turned aside, breathingheavily and shaking out his fur.Seeing the leaders fight like that onlymade Twigpaw more nervous; she felt asif she had a belly full of mice that were
chasing one another’s tails.“Are you ready?” Ivypool asked.Twigpaw hesitated. “I’m worriedabout my sister,” she confessed at last.“Poor Violetpaw is with the rogues now,and she’s bound to be caught up in all ofthis. What if she gets hurt?”“Violetpaw is strong and smart.” Anew voice chimed in; Twigpaw turnedher head to see the ShadowClan deputy,Tigerheart, standing just behind her, withher Clanmate Dovewing by his side.“She’ll be okay,” Tigerheart continuedreassuringly. “And none of the cats herewould seriously injure an apprentice.”“Thank you.” Twigpaw gave the darkbrown tabby cat a grateful glance, though
she noticed her mentor’s tail-tiptwitching back and forth in irritation. Iwonder why Ivypool doesn’t seem tolike Tigerheart.Bramblestar waved his tail as asignal for the assembled cats to move.His muscles rippled under his darktabby pelt as he led the way. Paddingforward as one cat, the combined forcesof the four Clans slid silently after himthrough the long grass and crossed intoShadowClanterritory.Twigpawshivered as the reek of the bordermarkers wafted over her.Every cat kept quiet under theshadow of the trees, paw stepssoundless on the thick layer of pine
needles that covered the ground. Theyspread out as they headed toward theShadowClan camp.But before the bushes thatsurrounded the camp came into view,Twigpaw spotted movement among thetrees ahead. A patrol emerged: four ofthe ShadowClan cats who had chosen toremain on their own territory with therogues. Sleekwhisker was in the lead.The patrol halted as they spotted thecrowd of cats stalking purposefullytoward them. They stared as if theycould not believe what was in front ofthem.Sleekwhisker was the first torecover from the shock. “Intruders!” she
screeched. “We’re under attack! All cats—back to camp, now!”She whirled around and vanishedinto the trees, her patrol hard on herpaws.Harespring, the WindClan deputy,looked at his paws and shook his head.“There goes our chance of surprisingthem,” he muttered.“Into your groups!” Bramblestarordered.Before they’d left the ThunderClancamp, every cat had been assigned to agroup that would fight together in thebattle. Now Twigpaw knew exactlywhere she was supposed to be. Stillnervous, and amazed at how fast
everything was happening, she racedforward, following Lionblaze. Her pawshardly touched the ground as windflowed through her fur. Ivypool,Dovewing, and Tigerheart pelted alongbeside her.The mingled scents of many cats toldTwigpaw that they were now very closeto the ShadowClan camp. At the samemoment, cats began to stream out of thebushes ahead. Twigpaw’s eyes widened,and for a heartbeat her flying pawsfaltered, as she realized just how manyrogues there were now that formerShadowClan cats had joined them—farmore than she had seen or heard ofbefore.
The silence of the forest was split byyowls and caterwauling as the twogroups of cats clashed. Twigpaw foundherself face to face with Juniperclaw.For a moment she hesitated, unsure whatto do, until the ShadowClan tom swipedat her, claws extended and jaws gapingin a snarl. Instinctively Twigpaw duckedunderneath his outstretched leg andraked her claws across Juniperclaw’sunderbelly, her fighting lessons withIvypool echoing in her mind.Juniperclaw let out a hiss of fury andreared back to pounce on top ofTwigpaw, who dodged to one side,swiping at his flank. But Juniperclawjumped back quickly enough that
Twigpaw’sblowneverlanded.Growling fiercely, Twigpaw leapedtoward her adversary, throwing up apaw to block the ShadowClan warrioras he slashed at her shoulder.ExcitementfloodedthroughTwigpaw as her body remembered allthe fighting moves she’d learned intraining. This feels natural . . . it feelsright. I’m fighting for my Clan!She dashed at Juniperclaw again,bunching her muscles to leap upon hisback. But at the last moment Juniperclawreared onto his hind legs and twisted toone side, pinning Twigpaw to theground. The ShadowClan warrior’sglaring eyes and sharp teeth were less
than a mouse-length from her face.“You’re good, apprentice,” hehissed. “But not that good.”Unable to breathe under his weight,Twigpaw tried to bring up her hind pawsto bat at the ShadowClan cat’s belly, butJuniperclaw was too heavy; Twigpawcouldn’t push him far enough away to getany strength behind her blows.What do I do now? she wondered,fighting off panic.Suddenly a silver-and-white blurflashed across Twigpaw’s vision asIvypool leaped right over her, knockingJuniperclaw away. The ShadowClan catfell to the ground, paws flailing, whileIvypool followed up her leap with a
couple of hard blows across hisshoulders.“Scram, flea-pelt!” she snarled.Juniperclaw scrambled to his pawsand fled; Twigpaw lost sight of himamong the battling cats.“Thanks, Ivypool,” she gasped,forcing herself upright again.“My pleasure,” Ivypool mewedswiftly; then she hurled herself towardLionblaze and Dovewing, who werebattling three of the rogues.Her chest heaving as she fought tocatch her breath, Twigpaw took amoment to look around. Everywhere catswere locked in combat. Her spirits roseas she realized that the Clan cats seemed
to be winning the fight. She sawBramblestar knock Rain to the ground,while Cherryfall was darting to and fro,slashing at Sleekwhisker, whose effortsto defend herself grew feebler withevery heartbeat.Twigpaw was about to leap backinto the fray when she spotted Onestar,who had Darktail pinned to the ground.Onestar’s forepaws pummeled atDarktail’s face, leaving bloody slashesacross his cheeks. Darktail barelystruggled, gasping for breath.Onestar must be taking revenge forhis lost life, Twigpaw guessed.But as she watched the two leadersfight, Darktail heaved himself up and
tumbled Onestar to the ground. Hestaggered toward Onestar and murmuredsomething, his mouth close to theWindClan leader’s ear. Onestar’s eyeswidened into a horrified stare as he roseto his paws and drew away from therogue. His message—whatever it was—delivered, Darktail sagged to the groundagain. Twigpaw could see that his whitefur was smudged with red from injurieson his sides and chest.She tensed, expecting Onestar tolunge at Darktail and deliver a killingblow. But the WindClan leader backedaway. Why doesn’t Onestar finishDarktail off? Twigpaw wondered.That’s the whole point of this battle!
Instead Onestar raised his head to letout a loud yowl. “Cats of WindClan!Retreat! Back to the camp!”Twigpaw let out a gasp. She couldn’tunderstand why Onestar would call hiscats out of the battle, especially when hehad been so adamant that they drive therogues out at last.What could Darktail possibly havesaid to him?“WindClan!Retreat!”Onestaryowled again.Twigpaw caught no more than aglimpse of the WindClan cats breakingoff their tussles with the rogues beforesomething hard hit her in the back andbowled her over, knocking the breath out
of her. Too late she realized that sheshouldn’t have been staring at Onestarinstead of paying attention to the battlearound her.Summoning every scrap of herstrength, Twigpaw twisted around to seeYarrowleaf glaring balefully down ather, the hostile she-cat’s breath rifflingTwigpaw’s whiskers while her clawsdug into her shoulders. Twigpaw heavedupward and managed to dislodge theShadowClan cat so that she could rakeher hind paws across her belly. ButYarrowleaf still kept a grip on her andbent down, jaws parted to sink her teethinto Twigpaw’s throat.Twigpaw strained away from her,
bracing herself for pain. Then Ivypoolappeared once again, fastening herclaws into Yarrowleaf’s neck andhauling her bodily away.After flinging Yarrowleaf to oneside, Ivypool crouched to pounce on topof her, but before she could move,Tigerheart appeared, thrusting himselfbetween the two cats and givingYarrowleaf the chance to scrambleaway.Ivypool straightened up, glaring atTigerheart. “What in StarClan’s name doyou think you’re doing?” she snarled.“Yarrowleaf isn’t your Clanmate now.You’re supposed to be on our side!”Tigerheart cast an anguished glance
after the fleeing Yarrowleaf. He openedhis jaws to answer, but before he couldspeak he was interrupted by an angryyowl from Lionblaze. The WindClancats were streaming away from theShadowClan camp in the paw steps oftheir leader, leaving the remainingwarriors at a serious disadvantage.“Stop!” Bramblestar yowled.“You can’t leave us! We agreed!”Mistystar added.Rowanstar was tearing up clumps ofgrass with his claws, his fur bristlingwith rage. “Traitors!” he screeched afterthedepartingWindClancats.“Cowards!”While the leaders were distracted,
Twigpaw spotted one of the rogueslooming up behind Mistystar. Her bellyclenched in anxiety and she let out ascreech, but her warning came too late.The hulking tom barreled into Mistystarand knocked her to the ground in a whirlof waving paws. Several RiverClan catsraced up to defend their leader, andmore of the rogues piled in, viciouslyswiping at the RiverClan warriors.Ivypool and Tigerheart exchanged aswift glance, their argument forgotten fornow, and dived back into the battle.Twigpaw glanced from side to side,anxiouslywatchingherbattlingClanmates. Even she, an apprenticefighting in her first battle, could see
clearly that the tide had turned. The Clancats were losing. WindClan had fled, theRiverClan warriors were giving wayunder the pummeling of the rogues, andlike Tigerheart, the ShadowClan catswere hesitant to attack their own formerClanmates.This is a disaster! she thoughtdespairingly. And we planned it socarefully! How did it all go wrong?As Twigpawturned around,wondering what she could do now tohelp her Clan, she spotted a small blackand-white cat emerging from theshadowsunderneathabush.“Violetpaw!” she gasped.Her sister halted, and the two she-
cats stared at each other for a moment.Twigpaw could see that Violetpawlooked thinner and taller than when shehad seen her last. Blood trickled from ascratch on one of her ears, but toTwigpaw’s relief she looked mostlyunhurt.“Are you okay?” Twigpaw blurtedout after a moment.Violetpaw’s eyes widened at thequestion. She didn’t reply, and for acouple of heartbeats neither cat moved.Twigpaw knew that she should springinto attack, but every hair on her peltshrank from the thought of hurting hersister.“I miss you,” she whispered.
Violetpaw’s jaws parted as if shewas about to speak, but just then a snarlcame from behind her.“What are you waiting for?”The long-furred gray rogue, Rain,ducked out from beneath the same bush,followed by Needletail, who had grownlarger and more formidable sinceTwigpaw had last seen her. Theyseparated, moving to either side ofTwigpaw, their eyes menacing. Twigpawflinched back, trying to keep all threecats in view.“She’s the enemy,” Needletail hissedto Violetpaw.Twigpaw could hardly believe whatshe was hearing. Is this the same cat
who used to bring Violetpaw to playwith me when we were kits?Rain draped his tail overVioletpaw’s shoulders. “We’re your kinnow,” he growled.Violetpaw gave one desperateglance from Needletail to Rain and backagain. Then she gathered herself andsprang at Twigpaw, claws outstretchedto slash at her shoulder.For a heartbeat, Twigpaw could dono more than stare at her, stunned; thenshe recovered enough to stumblebackward, out of range. But before shecould take more than a couple of pawsteps, one of her hind paws caught in ahole behind her. She fell heavily onto
her side, wrenching her leg, and she letout a screech as hot pain clawed throughher body. Violetpaw stood over her,staring down with her teeth bared.Twigpaw knew that she couldn’tfight anymore. This is when I go to huntwith StarClan. Oh, Violetpaw, how didwe end up like this? Are you reallygoing to strike the blow that kills me?Then a yowl rang out from behindher and Lionblaze raced past, flinginghimself on Rain and the ShadowClancats. All three of them flinchedbackward in the face of his ferociousattack.Twigpaw stared after her sister’sretreating form. Violetpaw doesn’t care
about me anymore, she realizedmiserably. She thinks I’m her enemy!She attacked me!All around Twigpaw, the battle wasstill raging. She could see that the Clancats were being driven back, but shecould hardly bring herself to care. Guiltflooded over her; she knew she ought tobe panicking at the defeat of the Clans.But all she could think about was hersister.
CHAPTER 2The sun was dipping behind the trees atthe top of the hollow, the slanting raysfiltering into the medicine cats’ den, asAlderheart laid one last piece ofcobweb on Birchfall’s shoulder wound.“It will heal well,” he reassured theolder warrior. “Do you want a poppyseed for the pain?”“No.” Leafpool turned from whereshe was tucking fresh moss aroundTwigpaw’s drowsing form. “We need tosave the poppy seeds for the cats withmore serious injuries.”
“That’s okay,” Birchfall meowed. “Itdoesn’t hurt much anyway. Thanks,Alderheart,” he added. “I’ll be fine.” Hebrushed past the bramble screen at theentrance to the den and headed out intothe camp.Alderheart joined Leafpool besideTwigpaw,whowasdozinguncomfortably in her nest of moss andbracken close to the sleeping Briarlight.The apprentice’s fluffy gray fur wasbarely visible among the thick bedding.Occasionally she let out little murmursof pain.“I’m worried about her,” Alderheartconfessed to Leafpool. “Her leg wastwisted badly.”
“At least it’s not broken,” Leafpoolresponded. “And the stick you andJayfeather bound onto it will give itsome support. She’ll just have to stay offthe leg completely until it gets better.”“That’s going to take a few days,”Alderheart mewed gloomily.He was concerned about Twigpaw’sother injuries, too, the long scratches onher sides and face that he had treatedwith marigold to protect againstinfection. But what worried him most ofall was the heartbroken expression onTwigpaw’s face before the poppy seedshad helped her to drift into sleep. Heremembered her anguish as she’d toldhim how Violetpaw had attacked her. He
knew how terrible he would feel ifSparkpelt had turned on him like that.And Twigpaw has never had any kinbut Violetpaw, he mused. I’ll do my bestto look after her.Alderheart’sthoughtswereinterrupted as Bramblestar stuck hishead around the bramble screen.“We’re getting ready to leave for theGathering,” he meowed. “I want at leastone medicine cat, but you can decidewhich of you is going.”He withdrew again without waitingfor a reply.“You and Jayfeather should �� she called. “Do you want
to go to the Gathering?”Jayfeather emerged from the cleft atthe back of the medicine cats’ den,where he had been checking on theremaining herb stores. “I suppose,” hemuttered, not sounding enthusiastic. “Ifyou’re sure you can cope by yourself.”“I was coping before you werekitted,” Leafpool reminded him tartly.“I’ll check on the injured warriors, and Iwant to keep an eye on Blossomfall. Herkits are due any day now.”“Okay,” Jayfeather agreed. “Comeon, Alderheart. Let’s see if Onestar hasany excuse for what he did during thebattle.”The sun was gone, and twilight filled
the stone hollow as Alderheart followedJayfeather out into the
SORRELSTRIPE—dark brown she-cat LEAFSHADE—a tortoiseshell she-cat LARKSONG—a black tom HONEYFUR—a white she-cat with yellow splotches SPARKPELT—orange tabby she-cat QUEENS (she-cats expecting or nursing kits) DAISY—cream long-furred cat from the horseplace BLOSSOMFALL