Mistywater got up from the dirt. She nudged Vixenstar, Pineleaves, Buzzardfeather and Cinderwing to their feet. The apprentices had fallen asleep long ago in their den and woke guiltily as they thought of their cousin. Addertail was keeping vigil in the mouth of the elders den as Mistywater was anxious that she would catch green cough if she stayed out too long. Willowspirit had been ordered by Mistywater that to keep her strength up for her remaining kits she was to go back to the nursery as soon as possible. With a weak queen looking after them, they would catch green cough.
“You do not need to do training today if you wish.”
Kestrelpaw looked at her in surprise.
“That is not necessary. Not for me anyways. I’m going to train to be the best. I’ve lost a cousin already and I’m only an apprentice, you’ve lost one cat who would have been a fine hunter and fighter. I will train for her, she shall be an elite as long as I complete my training without her memory fading.”
“I echo my sister. She-cats all together!”
“Me too, I shall be good enough for myself and Pebblekit. My cousin shall live on!”
“I shall do everything in Pebblekit’s name! Come on!”
Mudpaw, Darkpaw and Redpaw ran off to find their mentors while Kestrelpaw stayed behind.
“Oh, I forgot that Brightbrook was your mentor, well, um.”
“Shall I just ask Buzzardfeather, Cinderwing and Cloudheart to share me again?
“Oh no, that will not do. I shall take you on as apprentice. Your uncle is a fine deputy and you will be one as long as you have a great mentor.”
Kestrelpaw’s eyes lit up with happiness.
“I’ll not let you down Vixenstar, I’ll be the greatest hunter ever!”
“I’m not that good a hunter, I’m more of a fighter. Cinderwing will be great for the hunting part of your training.”
Vixenstar beckoned to Kestrelpaw with her tail to follow to the water’s edge. Kestrelpaw flicked mud off of her paws as she waded into the water.
“Okay. Lets try a few WaterClan only moves. First slap the water really hard so it splashes into your enemy’s face. It gives you some breathing room.”
The small red paw came down fast and Kestrelpaw gulped the water down in surprise and her head disappeared under water. She spluttered as she came up.
“That’s no fair!”
Kestrelpaw slapped the water sending the water back at her leader’s face. Vixenstar sent her tail whipping like an angry snake again splashing water into Kestrelpaw’s eyes. Kestrelpaw’s eyes narrowed in amusement and she leapt onto Vixenstar’s back, pushing her mentor under. When they finally got back to camp they were both soaked but happy and ran giggling into camp like she-cats who’d been told a tom fancies them. The camp was quiet. Addertail, Pebblepelt, Minnowfur and Fernclaw were heading out to the rocks that would be warm now it was Sunhigh. Cloudfur, Ratjaw and Ottertooth were talking loudly but sleepily in elder’s den and the apprentices were out with their mentors. Willowspirit was deeply asleep, her tail coming out of the mouth of the nursery. Vixenstar laid flat out, closed her eyes in pleasure and began to purr.
“Um, Vixenstar, your stomach just moved! Should I call Mistywater?”
The young she-cat had leapt up. Vixenstar hissed and sat straight up.
“I guess I can no longer keep my secret, I’ve been found out and by an apprentice!”
“Your in-kit! What a great surprise for the clan. The leaders first kits!”
The leader and apprentice curled up together and sunned themselves. Vixenstar was confident that her apprentice would keep her secret. After all the apprentice had promised this was a secret she would keep.
When the hunting patrol of Rainpetal, Thornclaw and Ravenfur came back accompanied by the elders that went to Warmrocks, Brightbrook awoke and asked where Cloudheart was. Mosstwig, Pineleaves and Catnip who were going out on Sundown patrol said he was with his apprentice. Kestrelpaw asked if she could go and fetch them. Addertail said she would go instead of Kestrelpaw or with her. Vixenstar overruled that idea and said she would go with her apprentice to get them.
“Vixenstar you don’t have an apprentice,” said Pineleaves kindly.
“Brightbrook had to give up mentoring Kestrelpaw, I have taken her on as my own apprentice.”
Pineleaves licked his niece’s ruffled fur making her squirm even more.
“Isn’t great Pineleaves! My own daughter the leader’s apprentice!”
Thornclaw purred happily and Rainpetal began to lick her daughter.
Kestrelpaw was outraged that her mother was cleaning her like she was a kit.
“Come Kestrelpaw, we’ll go with Mosstwig, Catnip and Pineleaves on Sundown patrol.”
All the cats walked out of camp. Kestrelpaw hurried this way and that.
“Kestrelpaw can you scent the other apprentices?”
Kestrelpaw opened her mouth and scented the air. She took a little while drinking in the scents before saying that all the cats had gone to FourTree Hollow. The patrol went the other way while Vixenstar and Kestrelpaw hurried on to FourTree Hollow. There the cats were practicing land battle moves. Kestrelpaw watched as her sister, Redpaw, tackled Cinderwing to the ground.
“Hello, Vixenstar,” Cinderwing said from her position upside down flat on the floor.
“Well done Redpaw, unorthodox but effective.”
Cinderwing turned away from her apprentice and faced Vixenstar.
“Aaaawwwww, is it time to go?”
Darkpaw said from underneath Mudpaw. Kestrelpaw and Vixenstar nodded in unison.
"Why was Vixestar comig to collect us? Was she the only cat free?"
Kestrelpaw gave a loud smug purr and smiled a little smug smile.
"Do you know how stupidly smug you look?"
"Yes but I couldn't really care!"
Darkpaw, Mudpaw ad Redpaw were take aback. Kestrelpaw hated beig teased. She purred even louder and bounded along. Her tail was high and curled above her head.
"You are really pleased with youself and you seem to have no reason to be so pleased. What happened to make you so happy?"
"I've got a new mentor!"
"Vixenstar. Thats why she came to collect you and your mentors!"
"You're a really lucky cat!"
"I know, its amazing!"