Honeypaw padded through the entrance of camp with the mouse and a vole in her jaws. When she set them on the fresh-kill pile, Tigerpaw padded up to her, “Big territory, huh?” she mewed, seeing how exhausted her sister was.
Honeypaw nodded, “Yeah, and Angelwing said that that was only half the whole territory!” she mewed, taking a hungry bite of her fish she got. “She also said that you, Thistlepaw, and your mentors did the other half together.” she pushed the fish to Tigerpaw, who took a bite and passed it back, “After you and Angelwing left, I asked Bubblefur if we could tour the territory with Thistlepaw-” she was cut off as Thistlepaw strode over, “Talking about me?” he mewed.
Honeypaw rolled her eyes at her brother and looked at Tigerpaw, “You were saying?” she pressed.
Tigerpaw sat up straight, “I asked Bubblefur if we could tour the territory with Thistlepaw and Shadowfoot, so whens he agreed, we went.”
Thistlepaw nodded and sat down next to Tigerpaw, “Yeah, and to think that what we saw was only half! I can’t *imagine* what the patrols must do every day!”
A yowl sounded from the nursery, and Adderwind, a smoky black tom, ran inside. He emerged a few heartbeats later, and rushed to the medicine den behind Honeypaw. Honeypaw heard what was said inside: “Coralfern! Lightcloud’s kits are coming.” he mewed, sounding a bit nervous.
A white she-cat with black and orange patches raced out of the medicine den and into the nursery carrying a bundle of herbs in her jaws. Bluepaw, a blue-silver she-cat following her in.
Tigerpaw edged closer to the fern entrance, but Whitestream sent her away and went inside herself.
Perking her ears, Honeypaw tried to listen to was going on inside, but Thistlepaw whispered in her ear, “I wonder what the kits’ names will be?” he mewed.
Focusing her attention inside the nursery again, Honeypaw could hear Coralfern guiding Lightcloud through the kitting. “Come on, Lightcloud, almost done; one more kit left.”
Another yowl erupted from the nursery, and Honeypaw heard Coralfern’s voice follow it. “You can do it.”
Coralfern’s voice came from the nursery again, “Okay. That’s all of them. Here, eat this borage; it will help with your milk.” she was telling the queen.
Honeypaw watched as her mother came out, waving her tail to summon Honeypaw and her littermates, “Do you want to see them?” she mewed.
Honeypaw bounced over excitedly and ducked inside. Three tiny kits scrambled around in the nest at Lightclouds belly. “They’re beautiful, Lightcloud!” she half-whispered.
A brown queen blinked at her, “Thank you, Honeypaw.”
Backing out of the den, Honeypaw was looking around for her mentor.
A young black tom came up behind her, “Cute, huh?” he mewed, snapping Honeypaw from her thoughts. She spun around, and nodded, “Oh, hi, Sparkpaw. Yeah.” she mewed awkwardly.
Sparkpaw turned his head to see Icestar go into the nursery, and Honeypaw had to strain her ears to hear what she said: “Welcome to LostClan, little ones!”
Honeypaw looked back at Sparkpaw. “Did you see them yet?” she asked.
Shaking his head, Sparkpaw sat down. “No, not yet. I’ll see them tomorrow.”
* * *
As the sun went down, Honeypaw yawned, ate the mouse she caught earlier, and went into the apprentices’ den after her grooming. She yawned again, and curled up next to her sister to sleep after her first day as an apprentice.
Honeypaw found herself in a sunny, beautiful place that was too beautiful to be her home – even in greenleaf. As she looked around, a tortoiseshell cat appeared in front of her, “Don’t be afraid little one. I am only here to help you.” she meowed softly.
Amazed at how her fur had starshine in it, Honeypaw stuttered, “W-Where am I?” she asked. “Why do you have stars in your pelt. Who are you? What-”
The tortoiseshell cat put her tail over her mouth, “Like I said, I am here to help you. You and the Clan that is. I am Skycloud.” she mewed. ”You need to take an important message back to your Clan: What was lost will soon be found, and along the path will come a third.” she started to fade.
Honeypaw stepped forward, “Wait! Don’t leave!” she begged. “Tell me what you mean! Come back!” she yowled.
Honeypaw awoke, panting in her nest, and looked up into the green eyes of Sparkpaw, “Hey, you okay, Honeypaw?” he asked, tipping his head.
Honeypaw nodded, getting up and shaking the scraps of moss from her pelt, “I’m fine.” she mewed.
Sparkpaw shook his head, “It didn’t sound like you were fine. You were yelling to something about ‘coming back‘” he told her.
as she sat down, Honeypaw licked a front paw and drew it over her head, “Well, it was only a dream. I think I was yelling to a mouse or something.”
“I guess, I can’t remember.”
“Well, have fun taking care of ol’ Spottedclaw.” Sparkpaw mewed and padded out of the den.
Honeypaw rolled her eyes and jumped as Tigerpaw came up behind her, “You like him.” she teased.
She spun around, “Do not!”
Honeypaw pounced on her and they rolled over and over until they hit a sleeping Rosepaw, “Hey, watch it!” she mumbled and rolled over.
Padding out of the den, Angelwing called over from where she was helping other warriors expand the warriors’ den, “Take care of Spottedclaw, Honeypaw.” Bubblefur, who was next to her, called over to her apprentice, “You too, Tigerpaw,” he meowed.
Tigerpaw’s jaw almost dropped and Honeypaw twitched her whiskers in amusement at her sister’s reaction to the task. She padded over to the fresh kill pile to get a vole and padded into the elders’ den, “Hi, Spottedclaw.” she meowed, giving her the vole.
Tigerpaw had already started to pull the old moss from the sandy floor and toss it into a pile, mumblingsomething too low for Honeypaw to hear.
Spottedclaw was laying in her nest, but picked her head up as Honeypaw entered the den. “Hello, Honeypaw. Your turn to take care of me?” she mewed, her voice cracking with age.
Honeypaw nodded, “Yeah. Tigerpaw’s too.” she told the elder, flicking her tail to the working Tigerpaw.
Spottedclaw chuckled as Tigerpaw mumbled again.
“I’ll be right back.” Honeypaw mewed, and she padded out of the elder’s den, and into the medicine den. “Coralfern? Can I have some mouse bile for Spottedclaw?” she asked.
The medicine cat was already padding to her herb store and got a ball of soaking moss out with her paw, “Don’t carry it in your mouth, and wash your paws in the stream. Don’t lick them.” she informed.
Honeypaw nodded and took the moss back to the elders’ den, “Got any ticks?” she asked Spottedclaw.
The elder nodded, “At the base of my tail and on my shoulder.” she said, and Honeypaw got to work. She picked through the fur at Spottedclaw’s tail base, and saw one. She dabbed the mouse bile on the tick and it fell right off. Honeypaw did the same with the other tick, and found an another one on her ear after an extra checking.
“All done,” she said with a sigh, and took the moss ball back to Coralfern’s den.
Honeypaw was heading out of camp to wash her paws when she bumped into Sparkpaw, “Watch where you’re going,” she said.
“Where are you going?” he asked, tipping his head.
“I was taking care of Spottedclaw’s ticks with mouse bile, and now I’m going to rinse it off my paws in the stream. Where were you?” she challenged.
Sparkpaw sat up straight, “I was doing some battle training with Icestar,” he meowed.
Honeypaw rolled her eyes at him , then she remembered what he had said that morning, “Wait, how did you know that it was my turn to take care of Spottedclaw?” she asked him.
Sparkpaw shrugged, “No reason, I just guessed,” he mewed, and bounded after Rosepaw and Petalpaw who were practicing battle moves on the edge of camp.
She watched him go with curiousness in her eyes. “Lucky guess,” Honeypaw muttered, then she shook her head, padding out the east tunnel.
She headed towards the stream, and she watched Tigerpaw pad into camp with a wad of fresh moss in her jaws.
As Honeypaw washed her paws, she heard a tiny shriek in the distance. She tasted the air and smelled a cat scent and blood on the breeze.