The combined patrol patries returned to camp after sunhigh. Some of them limped into the medicine den while others went to their nests.
Honeypaw sat and licked her wounds: a long, but shallow, gash on her side, and some claw marks from where Dragonpaw was gripping her when he had pinned her down.
Should I meet him at moonhigh? It could be a trap. Or-
Tigerpaw had trotted over. “What happened? Where you attacked?” She asked, her eyes wide.
“Yes.” Honeypaw mewed. “Well, Icestar’s patrol was attacked, and Sparknight led a back-up party to help out.” she explained.
Tigerpaw looked around at all of the injured cats. “Where is Thistlepaw?” she asked Honeypaw.
“In the medicine den.” Honeypaw looked at the source of the voice: Stonesight. He was licking his own wounds halfway across the camp.
Honeypaw and Tigerpaw exchanged nervouse glances as he went on, “He was torn up bad by Thunderstar. Thistlepaw is lucky to have made it back to camp.” he meowed. “StarClan help him pull through.”
The sisters ran into the medicine den, and the scent of herbs and blood greeted their noses. Several cats layed in nests while Coralfern and Bluepaw treated their wounds.
Honeypaw spotted the bloodied dark tabby shape of Thistlepaw laying in a nest at the back of the den, near the waterfall. After Bluepaw gave Sunflare a herb and sent her away, she moved to Thistlepaw. She put a poultice on his wounds and wrapped them with cobweb.
“Will he live?” Honeypaw asked. Part of her wanted to learn the answer, but the other part of her didn’t want to hear the terrifying “no” that may leave Bluepaw’s mouth.
Bluepaw looked up from her work. “It will be a long recovery for him, but I can assure you, Honeypaw, that I will not let StarClan take him without a fight.”
Honeypaw dipped her head to her. “You will make a great medicine cat, Bluepaw.” she mewed.
The blue she-cat blinked her gratefulness. “StarClan be with you, Honeypaw. You as well, Tigerpaw.”
Honeypaw exited the medicine den to see Redcloud disappear into Icestar’s den. A few heartbeats later, she reappeared an padded across the clearing to the warriors’ den. Honeypaw could see that her belly was faintly swollen. The red she-cat came back into the clearing, followed by Stormcloud, who was carrying moss. They went into the nursery.
Icestar appeared from her den and leaped onto Highrock, yowling the summons.
Honeypaw and Tigerpaw looked up at their leader. Frostkit had come out of the nursery, followed by Lightcloud and her kits. Honeypaw saw pride in Frostit’s eyes blue eyes, as well as Lightcloud’s.
Icestar looked out over her assembled Clan. “Most of you know that my partol to talk with this new Clan was attacked,” several yowls of outrage erupted from the cats, and Icestar waved her tail for silence. “Sparknight led a back-up party to help us and we won.”
Again, the yowls started, but Icestar let them die down on their own before continuing, “He has shown courage and loyalty, and as a reward, I give him his first apprentice.” she looked down at the four kits. “Frostkit. You have reached six moons of age, and you are ready to become an apprentice. Sparknight will be your mentor.”
“Frostpaw! Frostpaw!” Honeypaw cheered. The rest of the Clan joined in.
Icestar began again, “I would also like to welcome three more new apprentices: Leaopardpaw, Mousepaw and Gracepaw.” The three kits’ eyes shone. “Flameclaw will mentor Leopardpaw, Whitestream will mentor Mousepaw, and Sunflare will have Gracepaw.”
“Leopardpaw! Mousepaw! Gracepaw!”
The mentors touched noses with their apprentices and sat in the audience.
“In addition to Lightcloud’s return to the warriors’ den, Redcloud is expecting kits of her own.” Icestar mewed.
Honeypaw looked over at the red she-cat who was sitting with Stormcloud outside the nursery. Both of their faces were lit with pride.
Icestar leaped down from Highrock and padded into her den. The new mentors and apprentices set out for the tour of the territory, and cats started for the tunnels and dens.
Tigerpaw leaned closer to Honeypaw. “I’ll bet that they will split up like we did.”
Honeypaw nodded. “Yeah. And I will not be surprised if they come back as tired as we were.” she joked.
She started towards the apprentices’ den. “I’m going for a nap.” she told Tigerpaw. She curled up in her nest, and slept.
* * *
Honeypaw sat up and licked a paw. She stood and shook the few bits of moss from her fur, and padded into the main clearing. The camp was bathed in moonlight. Honeypaw headed for the South tunnel, but saw Sunflare sitting guard.
She turned her paws in the direction of the dirtplace. She padded out the small tunnel and looked up at the moon; it was at it’s height.
She broke into a run. Many questions crossed her mind about her secret meeting with Dragonpaw, and she soon heard running water.
The stepping stones soon came into view; the moonlight turning them silver.
Honeypaw stopped when she reached the river, and she looked around.
Dragonpaw was sitting on the opposite bank, licking his paw.
“Dragonpaw!” Honeypaw called to him in a loud whisper.
He stopped licking his paw and looked across the river at her. “You are late,” he mewed. “But that doesn’t matter. Come across the river.” He told her.
Honeypaw bounded across the stepping stones, the black river below her swiftly running by. She padded iver to him. “Why did you want me to meet you here?” she asked.
Dragonpaw narrowed his eyes at her. “A simple ‘hi, my name is’ would be nice.”
“Fine. Hi, my name is Honeypaw.” she mewed crossly.
He gave a curt nod. “Better.” Dragonpaw padded into the forest. “Come on. We can’t talk here. My Clanmates will find us if we do.”
As Honeypaw followed, the questions flashed through her mind again; Where are you taking me? What is the name of you’re Clan? Why did you come here? Do you believe in StarClan too?
Dragonpaw stopped at a tall oak tree. “There is a tunnel by the roots. Come on.” he dove in.
Honeypaw followed and fell a few tail-lengths. She had landed on a soft bed of moss and ferns. She got up and looked around.
She stood in a cave, and she could hear a waterfall in the dark to her side. A hole in the roof of the cave let moonlight in.
Dragonpaw was rolling an oddly colored stone across the cave floor. “Watch this.” he mewed, his voice echoing off the cave walls. He rolled the stone into the circle of moonlight and the cave lit up in all shades of colors.
“Great StarClan!” Honeypaw breathed. “It’s beautiful!”
“I thought you’d like it. It’s called a crystal.” Dragonpaw meowed. “I was on the scouting party when we first arrived here. We were to find a suitable place for a camp, and I found this. It’s too small to fit all of my Clanmates, so I didn’t tell the others.”
“What is the name of your Clan?”
“LightningClan.” Dragonpaw replied. He padded over to the moss and ferns. “Come over here. It’s more comfortable.”
Honeypaw followed him and layed on the patch.
“What is your Clan name?”” Dragonpaw asked.
“It’s complicated.” Honeypaw began, “Our original Clan name was DiamondClan, and we lived here with WaterClan and CottonClan. The three Clans suffered through a drought, and then a huge storm broke. DiamondClan lived underground through the storm, and when it lifted, almost all of the WaterClan and CottonClan cats had died, and the survivors joined DiamondClan. Our medicine cat has a dream, and her ancestors told her that ‘Diamond is now Lost,’ and Redstar changed the name to LostClan.”
Dragonpaw was silent as Honeypaw explained. “So your Clan name is LostClan?”
She nodded. “Yes. But I had a dream. One of my StarClan ancestors told me that ‘Lost will be Found,’ and here you are.”
Dragonpaws eyes grew as wide as moons. “I had the same dream!”
The light from the crystal started to fade.
Dragonpaw looked at the hole in the roof of the cave. “I’ts almost dawn.” he meowed. “Time for us to get back to our Clans.”
He padded over to a large pile of boulders. “Come on. It leads out.” he gathered his haunches and leaped onto them. He jumped to the top of the pile and out the tunnel they came in.
Honeypaw followed him, and when they were out of the tunnel, Dragonepaw faced her. “Meet me here again tonight. In there.” He flicked his tail to the tunnel and ran off into the forest.
She took off in the opposite direction, towards her own camp.