Honeypaw blinked her eyes open. Two moons had passed since she had brought Frostkit to LostClan, and she had made friends with Lightcloud’s kits.
Honeypaw stretched in her nest and padded out of the apprentices den.
Across the clearing, Frostkit, Mousekit, Leopardkit and Gracekit were sitting in a circle, talking. Frostkit sat next to Gracekit. “Okay. Let’s play a game.” Honeypaw heard her mew.”Gracekit amd I will protect the camp, and you two will pretend to be invaders.”
Gracekit leaped on Mousekit, barreling him over playfully. Honeypaw kept her eye on Frostkit as she batted Leopardkit softly and with her paws. A warrior at heart. Honeypaw thought proudly.
She looked in the direction of the voice to see her mentor trotting towards her.
“How about I take you out for some battle training today?” she asked her apprentice.
Honeypaw brightened up. “Finally!” She followed Angelwing through the South tunnel and into the forest.
The forest opened up to a clearing with a soft, sandy floor and a large tree stump at the edge of the trees.
Angelwing turned and looked at Honeypaw. “This is the training clearing.” she mewed. “I will show you the-”
“Hi, Honeypaw!” came Tigerpaw’s voice. Honeypaw spun to see her bounding across the clearing, and Bubblefur calmly walking behind her.
Bubblefur halted in front of Angelwing. “Mind if we train together?” she asked the white warrior.
Angelwing nodded. “Not at all.” she mewed. “I was just about to show Honeypaw the leap-and-hold move.”
Honeypaw exchanged a glance with her sister who shrugged. Honeypaw looked at her mentor. “Is’nt the leap-and-hold move good for a smaller cat who is facing a larger cat?” she guessed.
Angelwing looked at her. “Yes, it is,” she meowed, and Honeypaw’s eyes gleamed with pride, “and that’s exactly why we are showing it to you.”
Bubblefur looked over at Tigerpaw. “Watch as Honeypaw demonstrates.” she told her.
Angelwing waved her tail to summon Honeypaw closer. “Jump onto Bubblefur’s back and try to hold on.”
“I don’t want to hurt her with my claws.” Honeypaw protested.
Bubblefur chuckled. “My fur is thick enough for apprentice claws.” she told the apprentice.
Honeypaw crouched down as the black-and-white warrior bounded to the other side of the clearing. Creeping closer, Honeypaw judged the distance between her and Bubblefur. With a great leap, she landed onto her back and sinked her claws into her thick fur.
Tigerpaw was on the huge tree stump, yowling encouragement to her sister. “Claw her! Claw her!” Honeypaw knew that she meant with sheathed claws, so Honeypaw started to land blows to Bubblefur, who was thrashing under the apprentice.
Bubblefur then collapsed onto her side, rolling over, crushing Honeypaw. The air was knocked from her body, but Bubblefur got up off of her.
Honeypaw scrambled to her paws, and Angelwing was padding towards her. “Almost every move a warrior can do has a flaw. When performing the leap-and-hold move, you have to get in as many strikes as you can, but you have to be quick enough to jump off your opponent before they roll on you.” she meowed.
Gasping for air, Honeypaw nodded.
Tigerpaw leaped off of the tree stump and trotted over to her sister. “Nice job.” she mewed. She looked at Bubblefur. “Can I try the move?” she asked.
Nodding her head, Bubblefur bounded across the clearing. Honeypaw had jumped onto the tree stum to watch. Angelwing jumped up next to her, and flicked her tail for Honeypaw to follow her. She jumped down the other side, and trotted through the forest.
Casting a glance back at her sister, who was now on top of Bubblefur, Honeypaw followed her mentor into the forest.
Angelwing had stopped in a small clearing and faced Honeypaw. “You are a LostClan apprentice,” she began. Honeypaw was confused. Is this my warrior ceremony already? It has only been two moons! She thought. The confusion slowly melted away as her mentor went on. “and every LostClan apprentice learns this skill within their apprenticeship.” What is she talking about? The leap-and-hold move, or another move? “I am going to teach you how to tree run.” Angelwing meowed.
The confusion was creeping back into Honeypaw. Angelwing jumped onto a tree and climbed up to the lowest branch a few tail-lengths above Honeypaw’s head. “Come on!” her mentor urged.
Honeypaw jumped onto the tree and sank her claws into the bark. She climbed up to the banch where Angelwing waited for her. The white warrior looked at her through her blue eyes. “Watch me.” she mewed.
Before Honeypaw could question her, Angelwing slid her claws out and took off into the trees, leaping from branch to branch through the forest. She grew smaller and smaller until she slowly turned as she jumped, and circled back to the tree where Honeypaw sat.
“You will one day be able to do that.” she told her. “The move was first thought of by our ancestors, and messengers use this skill to quickly take messages through battle without being caught. It is also great for cats who are fighting in battle. When being chased, they can easily climb the trees, wait, and drop down onto the enemy, either crushing them under their weight, or clawing them like in the leap-and-hold move.”
Honeypaw nodded and looked at the sky. The sun was setting, and the few clouds in the sky were turning pink and purple. “Shouldn’t we be getting back to camp, Angelwing?” she mewed.
Angelwing looked at the sky and nodded. “We can go, but I don’t want to see your paws touch the ground.” she meowed. She jumped to the next branch and waited for Honeypaw to jump. She followed her mentor through the trees and back to camp.
As Honeypaw neared the camp, the thick scent of blood hit her nose. She rushed into camp with her mentor to see a crowd of cats in the center of the clearing. Tigerpaw noticed Honeypaw and padded up to her, head down. Her sister’s voice shook as she spoke, “Nightstripe is dead.”