by Erin Hunter
The tortoiseshell she-cat crept up the slope into the hollow, a cool breeze billowing her fur. "Dapplepaw!" Someone cried. She whipped around, snarling, but froze in fear.
A huge fox was circling around her. Her neck fur bristled, and she leaped onto the cub's back. It barked in shock, and snapped at her tail.
How had the fox followed her all the way to the clearing? More importantly, how had she not noticed? She scrabbled on its back, and bit down hard on its scruff.
It yipped in pain as it toppled over, leaving Dapplepaw scratching its belly. A yowl broke out as her mentor, Goldenfoot, joined into the writhing heap of fur on the ground.
Two more apprentices leaped into battle, until finally the fox turned tail and fled into the forest.
Side by side, Dapplepaw and Icepaw dashed into the woods after it, chasing it over the ShadowClan border.
She yowled after it, "And don't come back!" She stared at Icepaw with triumph in her dark blue eyes. The other apprentice dipped her head slightly and narrowed her eyes happily.
Together, they bounded back towards Goldenfoot. "Great job, guys!" She praised them, "I couldn't have done it better myself.
" She flicked her tail towards camp and they padded off together, Icepaw, Dapplepaw, Goldenfoot, and Honeypaw. When they reached camp, Goldenfoot lightly brushed her tail along Dapplepaw's back.
"Why don't we go tell Bramblestar about our encounter with that piece of fox-dung." She whispered. Dapplepaw nodded.
Her father was the deputy, surely he'd be proud of her?
As the two she-cats padded over to the leaders den, Dapplepaw heard Jayfeather and Bramblestar speaking to each other in hushed, urgent tones. "Bramblestar? May we come in?" Her mentor asked.
A gray tabby head poked out of the den. Blind eyes stared intently into Dapplepaw's eyes and she looked away. "Huh? Oh, Goldenfoot. Yes, come in." He meowed. The two cats walked into the den.
Bramblestar looked at them curiously, and asked, "Well, what seems to be the issue?" The apprentice shuffled her paws on the floor of the den.
She hadn't ever talked to her leader in private before, and she hadn't expected it to be so awkward. Her mentor was much calmer.
"Dapplepaw and Icepaw chased a fox cub over the ShadowClan border. It had followed her to the camp entrance, StarClan knows why. She attacked it, and Icepaw, Honeypaw, and I joined in the fight.
But it was right at the entrance, can you believe it?" She explained. Bramblestar's eyes clouded with worry. "Right at the entrance to camp?" He asked cautiously. Dapplepaw was puzzled.
"Well, er, yes. It must have followed me, I was hunting and well, they warned me so I leaped at it." She mewed. It was just like Bramblestar to worry.
Especially with Squirrelflight expecting his kits, he was always tense and thought the worst. She sighed and shook her head to clear it.
"Dapplepaw!" She jerked out of her thoughts as a hiss interrupted her. "Huh?" She asked stupidly. Her mentor shook her head.
"Bramblestar said he thinks you are ready to become-" "A warrior!" Dapplepaw finished. She lit up, and warmth filled her body from nose to tail tip.
Goldenfoot nodded and smiled proudly at her apprentice. "Thank you Bramblestar." She meowed. They headed toward the exit of the den.
When the emerged into the sunlight, Goldenfoot said, "Go get something from the fresh-kill pile. Then you should rest. " "Thanks, Goldenfoot. I'll do that." Her mentor nodded.
"Oh, and get those wounds checked out. That fox gave you some nasty scratches." She added. "Ok.
" As she padded toward the medicine cat den, she thought wearily, 'what if he brings up my dream? After all, he does seem to read minds' The previous night she had had a dream.
A blue-gray She-cat had said to her, "Four warriors will hold the power, and light and darkness shall battle...
" She still has no clue who the cat was, or why she had told her this, but she felt something inside of her, as if she was one of those warriors...
"No!" She said aloud, Jayfeather stuck his head out the entrance and said, "What are you talking about?
Stop standing there and come in, mouse-brain!" His sharp tongue made her wince, but she obeyed and trudged into the den. It was warm and smelled of relaxing herbs.
She sat down next to Jayfeather. He stared into her eyes again and narrowed his. "You've has a dream." He mewed curtly. She scrabbled backwards, stunned and meowed, "Yes.
H-how did you know?" He shrugged. "Will you tell me what it was about?" He asked. She nodded reluctantly and told him about the warrior.
He nodded and said, "That was Bluestar, former ThunderClan leader. And she said to you a prophecy that another cat has told me about.
Willowshine, the Riverclan medicine cat, said that a warrior named Minnowfur had a similar dream. You are one of those warriors." She shook her head slowly. "No... no I can't be." She whispered.
He snorts. "Well, you are. You're not the first cat who's had to fulfill a prophecy before, you know!" His short temper made her flinch.
She rolled her eyes and said, "Well, Goldenfoot said I should get my wounds checked on." He sniffed her fur and put a poultice on her scratches. "There. You should rest." She tipped her head.
His voice sounded softer and more loving now. 'That's strange' she thought. She shook her head gave his ear a quick lick of thanks as she padded out of the den.
Rain had started to fall steadily and she darted over to
the fresh-kill pile. She snatched a vole and ran over to the apprentice den. She curled up in her nest and purred.
She gulped down her vole in a few ravenous bites and fell asleep, her chest rising and falling steadily. But even in sleep, the words haunted her.
"Four warriors will hold the power, and light and darkness shall battle..."