Matthew walked with the patrol, his eyes scanning the environment around him. Everything was so large, so big. In this point of view, he felt restricted yet free. Matthew's objection to becoming a cat was now out of his mind. Now all he could think about was how lucky he was to be able to see this while still being able to compare it with his world, the one he grew up in. Matthew sighed, remembering once again that this was a bad idea. He wasn't used to being a cat, and he shouldn't have even lived.
With a little nudge from Robinpaw, Matthew bounced back and watched where he was going. Nothing seemed different. Unlike WindClan territory where there was actually an entrance, there seemed to be nothing here at all. Where was their camp?
Matthew found out, as he followed the patrol, that it was underground. Bramble thickets surrounded the entrance everywhere except for one part, which they walked into. After walking down a slope that was a bit steep, they walked into a camp that seemed to also be filled with cats. Matthew's nose picked up many unfamiliar scents.
Like last time when he entered WindClan camp, they all seemed to notice him. Matthew ignored the glares and hisses and continued on, hoping that none of them would catch the star-shaped scar on his shoulder. He hated being thought of as royalty, or at least being different. He wasn't different, in a matter of speaking. He was just a cat, besides the fact that he used to be human. He just had an irregular scar.
"Who is this?"
Matthew looked up to find a large black tom with one brown ear. The cat towered over Matthew, making him take a step back. Cursing at the fact that he was smaller than anyone there, he made himself look taller. The worst thing he could do right now was look afraid, it seemed. At least he was good at something.
"He's a loner we found on our patrol," Yelloweye explained. "WindClan found him and then threw him out beyond our border." Sharpfang scoffed
"They probably thought that we would take him, considering all the other loners and rogues we've taken in." said Sharpfang. "I hope we just leave this one to ShadowClan. We don't need any other soft mouths to feed around here. We need strong, Clan born warriors." Yelloweye gave a low growl, but the black tom just narrowed his eyes.
"I understand, Sharpfang," the black tom said reasonably. "But it is up to Ravenstar." Matthew sighed with relief, but Sharpfang wasn't as happy. He just walked away, and that was a good thing, Matthew hoped.
"Come, kit," said the black tom then. "Ravenstar is waiting. We shall decide whether you are worthy or not to become an apprentice of ThunderClan." Matthew nodded and then followed the black tom, knowing now that he must be deputy. So, Matthew figured his name was Jayflight, since Yelloweye and Sharpfang talked about him that way. All he could do was guess at the moment, so he did.
After making the short but hard trip up the ledge, Jayflight led him into a large den that Matthew knew was the Leaders' den. Why wouldn't it be? It was the highest den, not to mention the largest, and the safest. Matthew shivered as he walked into it, finding it actually really cold.
"Jayflight? Who is this?"
Matthew looked up to see a large dark grey tom with lightning blue eyes exactly like his own. The tom seemed young, yet he was leader and he looked curious. His fur was longer than the average cat, but it was groomed so that it looked glossy in the light given.
Matthew blinked, hoping his eyes would adjust to the dim light, but he wasn't inside the den anymore. He was instead—well he didn't know where he was. It was darkness, pure black darkness. A few seconds later and several cats—five, exactly—stood in front of him, all the same cat. It was Ravenstar, yet there was several of them. What on earth was happening?
"The martyr, the pariah, the shadow. . . .The martyr, the pariah, the shadow . . . the unloved, the unprotected, the unwanted . . . the unloved, the unprotected, the unwanted. . ." The cat's all chanted together, their lightning blue eyes narrowed tightly. In a few seconds he gasped and tried to grip his claws into the stone beneath him.
Wait! He was sitting on stone! Matthew sighed in relief as he realized he was back in the den, sitting right beside Jayflight, who looked really confused at the moment. In front of him, Ravenstar blinked his eyes several times before looking at Matthew. Ravenstar then circled him, searching with shocked eyes for something that Matthew hoped he wouldn't find.
Ravenstar, unfortunately, was good at finding things and found Matthew's scar quite quickly. While staring at it, Ravenstar's eyes showed nothing but shock and surprise. Had Ravenstar seen him in that darkness? Had he known something that Matthew didn't?
"It can't be. . ." Ravenstar murmured, low enough for only Matthew to hear. Ravenstar looked up to Jayflight.
"Where was he found?" the dark furred leader demanded. "Is he a rogue? Loner? Kittypet?"
"He was found near the WindClan border, said to have been caught on WindClan territory and then thrown out by Rosestar." Jayflight explained. "He's a loner, so Yelloweye tells me, though Sharpfang said he was as well and Sharpfang never lies if it is about blood." Ravenstar nodded in response.
"Where did you get this scar?" Ravenstar asked Matthew.
Matthew sighed and shook his head before saying, "I don't remember, it was long ago when I got it."
"Anything's good, I just need an answer," said Ravenstar. "Tell me anything you remember."
"I told you, I don't remember. I—"
"Anything's an answer." Ravenstar said, interrupting Matthew. Well, he could say some things without telling Ravenstar that he was human and that he was sent here by StarClan. Besides, Matthew was going to have to come up with a story anyways, so why not make it now? Thinking quickly, he responded.
"I remember fighting, yelling, and blood but that's it. Everything else seemed to slip from my mind due to the intense pain I was feeling. I can't even remember who my family is, if they're even alive." Ravenstar seemed to buy it, and that's really all that mattered. Ravenstar sat, looking at Matthew's scar.
"Is there something wrong, Ravenstar?" Jayflight asked, looking worried. Ravenstar sighed, but shook his head. Finally taking his eyes off the scar, Ravenstar looked up to his deputy and nodded.
"He should stay." Ravenstar decided. "He doesn't have a family of his own, and I don't think he would last more than a day out there in the world as young and small as he is."
Jayflight nodded, but then paused. "I do not question your wisdom and kindness, Ravenstar," Jayflight started. "However, if WindClan has seen this cat and sent it across our border, they will no doubt think that we will take him in. They will call us the names they did back then. Are you okay with this?"
Ravenstar nodded in response. "WindClan may say what they will, but none of it is going to matter." said Ravenstar smiling. "Not when this kit grows up to be a fierce warrior that will be more loyal than any of their cats combined. There is hope in this kit, Jayflight. I can feel it." Jayflight nodded, and then left the den, leaving Ravenstar and him alone.
"You are going to ask about what you saw, aren't you, young one?" Ravenstar asked then, a certain kindness in his eyes. "I wouldn't blame you if you don't—it's natural."
"There are several things I'd like to ask about what just happened, but I'm too afraid to ask," Matthew explained truthfully. "So, until I've found the bravery to ask, I will leave it. There is one question I'd like you to answer, though," said Matthew then. "Why were there five of you?" Ravenstar asked, but continue smiling. "They are the lives that I have lost, young one," Ravenstar explained. "Five out of the nine that I was given from StarClan when I received the title of leader. You will learn more of that later, I am sure, but first we must give you your apprentice name."
"So you only have four left?" Matthew asked. "Lives, I mean." Ravenstar nodded, curiosity yet caution in his eyes.
"Yes, I have four left."
"But why have them, then?" Matthew asked. "Why live when it would be so much easier to die and get it over with? Why live when, if you go back, other peop—cats, I mean, would demand more of you?" Ravenstar, looking very confused, tilted his head.
"I wasn't just given the nine lives because I became leader," said Ravenstar softly. "I was given them to protect my Clan, to let them demand everything from me. You'll learn more of this when you train as an apprentice, young one. Just wait." With another smile, Ravenstar left his den and walked out onto the ledge.
As Matthew followed, he tried to make sense of what Ravenstar had just said. Protect his Clan? But how could Ravenstar protect them if he failed and died? Why would Ravenstar want to live with that, and let everyone remember that? It just wasn't right. Matthew was now starting to grow uncertain about this whole Clan thing and wondered if it would actually be good for him.
"Let all the cats old enough to catch their own prey, gather beneath the Highrock for a Clan meeting." said Ravenstar.
Matthew watched as the cats gathered coming out from several dens from around the camp. From blacks to whites and tabbies to tortoiseshells, every cat from the Clan came together beneath the Highrock.
"I'm sure some of you know already, but for those who don't I will explain," Ravenstar started. He continued by flicking a tail to Matthew, who was so nervous that his face felt like it was on fire. He hated being stared at, and right now, several were glaring, smiling and hissing at him.
"This kit is a loner, as I am sure you have figured out due to his scent. He has no memories of his family, no memories of his life aside from that after he got this scar." Reluctantly, Matthew showed his scar. Most of them gasped and whispered some things that Matthew would rather not have heard.
"It's a star!" said one cat. "It's a sign from StarClan!"
"But what if it's a bad sign?" asked another cat. "What if their telling us not to accept any more non-Clan-born cats?"
"It's almost perfect!"
"Who is he?"
"Did he come from StarClan?"
"Is he safe? My kits will not be harmed!"
"Silence!" Ravenstar ordered, though his smile was kind. "This kit has no family, and cannot survive in the wild without one. We will take him in, no matter where he comes from. The scar may or may not be a sign from StarClan, but either way it does not matter. We must remember our ancestor, Firestar, and the fact that he was a kittypet originally, and yet lived to be the best leader StarClan has ever known. He lives in our blood to remind us that not only Clan-born cats can become warriors. This kit can become one as well." Ravenstar then turned to look at Matthew, surprising him a bit.
"Young kit, do you accept my offer? Do you wish to learn the ways of our Clan, the ways of our ancestors, and learn the ways of the Warrior Code? Do you wish to live everyday with your loyalty placed in this Clan, and love placed to everyone around you?"
Matthew, face burning harder, nodded. "I do,"
"Then from this day, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Rainpaw for your fur, but also for your determination. When fire threatens our forest, rain will fall high from the sky and extinguish even the worst flames. Your mentor will be Thorntail. I hope that she can teach you of the Clan and help you learn the ways of your new home." Ravenstar then looked up to his Clan.
"Thorntail, please step forward." Ravenstar ordered. The pretty long-haired she-cat then stepped up, her amber eyes looking up to Rainpaw with pride. "Thorntail, you are ready to take on an apprentice. You have received excellent training from Yelloweye, and you have shown yourself to be adventurous and loyal. You will mentor Rainpaw, and I have no doubt that you pass on all of your knowledge down to him and teach him the ways of our Clan." Rainpaw ducked his head in respect for Ravenstar, and then clumsily walked down the Highrock. After making it to Thorntail, she touched noses with him and smiled kindly again.
"Rainpaw! Rainpaw! Rainpaw!" The Clan chanted, all really happy for whatever reason.
Thorntail laughed but then called someone over. Robinpaw then appeared, looking at Thorntail with confusion.
"Are you doing anything with Grassfur today?" Thorntail asked Robinpaw. Robinpaw shook her head, her pretty pale green eyes glittering. Something about that jade colour made him a little nervous around Robinpaw. Just so . . . pretty.
No, no, no, definitely not! StarClan or whoever those cats were wanted me to do something here, and so I will do it and die so that my life can finally be over. I will not fall in love!
"Could you show Rainpaw around? He'll want to know the names of his den mates, and he'll need to know the names of his elders. I've got a hunting patrol I need to go to, otherwise I'd do it as his mentor. Would you be willing?" Thorntail said hopefully.
Robinpaw shrugged. "Sure," she said. "It's not like I've got anything better to do."
Thorntail nodded and left with some other cats that Rainpaw would know later. Robinpaw then looked to him and smiled. "Are you coming, Rainpaw?" Robinpaw said before walking off. Rainpaw followed, trying hard to ignore the many eyes on him at the moment.
"Well I'm sure you've seen the Leaders' den up there on the Highrock," said Robinpaw. "It's were all of the ThunderClan Leaders' have slept, sometimes even with their mates. Ravenstar doesn't have a mate, but that's only because he acts too much like a kit around us she-cats. You'd think a leader would have more confidence with those nine lives behind him."
"So does every cat get their nine lives when their ready to become leader?" asked Rainpaw. "Or does the cat who gives them out choose if they are worthy or not?" Robinpaw shrugged at this question.
"Beats me, I'm barely an apprentice myself," Robinpaw explained. "In some of the stories told to me and my sister as kits it was told that Nightstar—not the current Nightstar, but a former one— of ShadowClan, was not given his nine lives and died of Greencough. He never told his Clan, so when he died of Greencough it scared everyone because they thought it had taken all his lives at once."
"ShadowClan? How many Clans are surrounding this lake?" Rainpaw asked. Robinpaw giggled a little at this.
"Only four: ShadowClan, WindClan, RiverClan and us, ThunderClan." Robinpaw explained. "Although some cats have heard of Tribes and other Clans from far away."
Rainpaw's eyes widened. There was probably around, at least, twenty-five cats in each Clan? So that would equal one-hundred cats around this whole forest. Who knew?
"Okay, come on, I only have so much time before I have to train with my mentor." said Robinpaw, moving forward. They came to a very dark den, making Rainpaw shiver.
"This is the medicine cat's den," Robinpaw explained. "It's where our medicine cat, Snowdrift, stays. It's also where all his herbs are. If you ever get a cold or a serious wound, you'll end up there. Snowdrift may be grumpy, but he's one of the best medicine cats ThunderClan has ever had." Rainpaw narrowed his eyes with confusion.
"So he helps everyone?" asked Rainpaw. "But what about himself?"
"It's against the Warrior Code to harm a medicine cat, Rainpaw," Robinpaw explained. "Snowdrift should never have to heal himself unless he gets sick or something. He should be getting an apprentice soon, though, so we're alright." Robinpaw then led him toward another den, this one slightly larger than the medicine den. Over ten cats could probably fit in there.
"This is the Warriors' den," Robinpaw explained. "Besides us apprentices and the younger kits, everyone sleeps there. Jayflight, the deputy, even gets to sleep there."
"The deputy is second in command, isn't he?" asked Rainpaw.
"Yes," Robinpaw explained. "He is in line for Ravenstar's position, if Ravenstar dies. However, if Jayflight dies, then Ravenstar will appoint a new deputy by that moonhigh. If not, the cat Ravenstar will choose will be considered a bad omen. Firestar, the kittypet Ravenstar was talking about during your ceremony, was chosen as deputy after moonhigh. He was also really young, so no one knew how he was going to cope. He actually did well, and so he was leader. A really good one, too." Robinpaw then led him toward a smaller den with about five nests in it.
"This is our den, the apprentices' den," Robinpaw explained. "We've already made a nest for you over there. Oh! And speaking of apprentices', we should probably go see the others. Let's see . . . there is Shadowpaw and Amberpaw; let's go talk to them." As Robinpaw led him over to the two she-cats, Rainpaw couldn't help to wonder how many apprentices there were. Hopefully not many, because Robinpaw made it out that he had to remember them all, and that didn't seem likely.
"Hey guys," Robinpaw greeted. "Thorntail told me to show Rainpaw around and meet the other cats. So, did you catch anything on your patrol this morning, Amberpaw?" the blue-grey she-cat with sharp amber eyes shrugged.
"Just a mouse," said Amberpaw. "Shadowpaw, here, caught more." The light ginger she-cat next to Amberpaw sat proudly.
"I caught a squirrel and two mice!" said Shadowpaw happily. "Snowclaw was so proud of me!"
"Well that's a new one," said Robinpaw. "Snowclaw's nearly never happy with you. That is, unless you do something absolutely outstanding."
"She's nice once you get to know her, Rainpaw," said Shadowpaw with a wink. "I'm still jealous of you, though. Thorntail is going to train you up good!" Rainpaw smiled and the others laughed.
"Well, we better go," said Robinpaw. "We've still got the nursery and the Elders' den to take care of." Shadowpaw and Amberpaw nodded in response and then they left.
When they got to the next den, Rainpaw could already tell what it was. He heard kittens suckling from their mother's stomach already, and he could smell it as well.
"This is the nursery," said Robinpaw. "It's where the Queens that are expecting kits and the Queens that have already had their kits stay until their kits are six moons old and ready to be apprentices." Robinpaw led her inside, and Rainpaw felt the warmth as soon as he walked in. There was a black she-cat and a grey she-cat, both had kits beside them. The grey she-cat's kits seemed to be older, much older.
"The grey she-cat is Softstreak, Tigerpelt's mate," said Robinpaw. "The two kits are Sweetkit and Frostkit. The black she-cat is Ivyclaw, Ravenstar's sister. She's stubborn, but I guess Yelloweye can control her. I mean, he's her mate after all. Lionkit and Bluekit are mischievous little guys, and it's only been a few days since they've opened their eyes!" Rainpaw smiled, but then suddenly, the calico kit ran up to him, her bright blue eyes shining up at him.
"You're Rainpaw, huh?" asked the kit. "I'm Sweetkit, and in a moon I'll be an apprentice, just like you! I felt a little sad when I heard that you didn't have a family, so now I'm going to count you as my brother!"
"Hey!" said the other kit, probably Frostkit. "What about me?"
"You're still my brother, mouse-brain," said Sweetkit. "Rainpaw here is just my other one!" Rainpaw laughed, then, as Sweetkit licked his cheek and ran off to go play with her brother.
"Sweetkit is always like that," said Robinpaw, shaking her head. "Sorry if she brought up some memories." Rainpaw smiled and shook his head.
"No, she was fine," said Rainpaw. "I thought it was cute." Rainpaw watched the kit for a little bit before walking out of the den. She called him family, she called him her brother. For that, he would protect her. For that, he would make sure this kit would live to be a warrior. But is that really what StarClan wanted?
The martyr, the pariah, the shadow. . . .The martyr, the pariah, the shadow . . . the unloved, the unprotected, the unwanted . . . the unloved, the unprotected, the unwanted. . ."
Rainpaw looked around through the complete and utter darkness. Voices were coming from everywhere, and Rainpaw was becoming afraid.
"You left me . . . you failed . . . I hate you . . ."
Alfie? Rainpaw looked around. That voice was definitely Alfie's, but where was he? Why did he say that?
"You failed to protect . . . you should've died . . . you left me. . ."
"Alfie!" Rainpaw yelled. "Where are you?"
"Mum is gone . . . dad is going insane . . . you are dead . . . and I am alone . . . you left me . . ."
"Daniel?" asked Rainpaw. "Daniel!"
"Learn to love . . . learn to be protected . . . learn to have loyalty . . . learn to trust…"
"Daniel! Alfie! Where are you?" Rainpaw searched around him and then began to run.
"Fight! Fight! Fight!"
"You failed to protect me!"
"You left me alone!"
"You killed me!"
"No!" Rainpaw screamed. "No! No! No! No! No!"
"It's all your fault!"
Scenes of the past seemed to engulf him. Alfie's blue eyes looking at him with a kind smile on his face. Alfie playing in the forest, laughing along with Matthew. Alfie chasing him, always catching him and winning the tag game instantly. Alfie and his new toys that he got for Christmas. Alfie looking at baby Daniel. Then came the bad scenes.
Alfie being held down by something, screaming for help. Alfie, beaten and broken, whispering for help. Alfie, a gun shot, and then nothing. Blankness. Matthew screaming with pain and fury and heart-break.
Daniel suddenly appeared. Daniel running through the backyard. Daniel eating his eighth birthday cake. Daniel, playing baseball. Daniel, smiling at him just as Alfie did. Then Daniel seemed worried. Then Daniel seemed sad. Then Daniel seemed mad.
"It's all your fault!"
"No!" Rainpaw screamed.
Then suddenly he woke up, opening his eyes to the apprentices' den. Rainpaw noticed he was breathing loudly and quickly so he slowed himself down, telling himself that it was only a dream. A dream of his life, a dream of what he'd done.
Rainpaw closed his eyes but then stood up and opened them. He needed to be alone, someplace where he wouldn't bother anybody. After exiting the apprentices' den, Rainpaw walked over to the centre of the camp and sat down. Nobody seemed to be up, and he wouldn't dare leave camp, so this was the quietest place, he figured.
StarClan wanted me to learn how to love, how to trust. I can't. This life is only leading me to believe that it was my fault. I don't want to live remembering that it was my fault. Can't I just die and get it over with?
"Having trouble sleeping?" Rainpaw flinched, but then realized it was only another apprentice. It was one that he'd actually never met before, but he didn't ask his name. Rainpaw's mind was clouded with more important things. Rainpaw just nodded in response.
"I never seem to sleep well at all," said the ginger tom then. "But then again, I never seem to do anything, anyways, which means I never get tired. I can't train because Yelloweye is too busy—you know, with his kits and all."
"I'm just having dreams that—well, I don't know," said Rainpaw. "They're just bringing up too many memories, I guess." Flamepaw nodded.
"It sounds normal," said Flamepaw. "You're not the only one either. Yelloweye, I was told from my mother, didn't sleep well either, until he was a warrior. That's probably because of what happened to his family." Rainpaw, now interested, tilted his head.
"What happened?" asked Rainpaw.
"Well from what I've heard, they were killed by WindClan," Flamepaw explained. "You see, WindClan haven't really been, well, kind to us these past few seasons. Ever since I can remember, they've all been hostile toward us because we take in outsiders. So, when they found Yelloweye's family on their territory, they killed them. Yelloweye was able to run and get out, and that's where Dawnpelt found him. Ever since then, Dawnpelt has basically been his mother. Oh and boy did he need one! After seeing death like that, no one is ever the same. Especially if you see it young. I've never seen it, and my mother says that that's a good thing." Rainpaw laughed a bit and then looked at his paws.
"Maybe that's my problem. . ." Rainpaw muttered. Flamepaw then tilted his head.
"You've seen death?" asked Flamepaw curiously. Rainpaw nodded, his head pounding and tears trying to burst through the barrier he still had in his mind.
"My own brother was killed in front of me I think," Rainpaw replied. "I can remember the screams from him, the screams for help. I—I don't know why, or how he died. I remember being held down by myself but nothing else. I don't know what was attacking us, I just know that it was my—"
"Fault?" Flamepaw asked. Rainpaw nodded slowly, making Flamepaw smiled and nearly laughed. "Rainpaw, it wasn't your fault and I'm sure of that. If you were unable to move and your brother was as well, than there was nothing you could have done differently. Besides, maybe there was a reason that he died. My mother used to say that everything happens for a reason—StarClan always makes sure it's for a reason." Rainpaw sighed. He wanted to believe Flamepaw—he really did—but he couldn't. StarClan wasn't doing anything for him. They were just sentencing him to a miserable life in a place he hadn't even know existed until yesterday. This life wasn't a gift from StarClan. It was a curse from whatever these cats called the underworld.
"Is that the best you can do, Rainpaw?" asked Shadowpaw from in front of him. "You're worse than Sweetkit!" She then lunged forward, a smile on her face. Rainpaw laughed as he dodged, his sides moving fast. He'd never had this much training at all in his entire life! Well, at least his human life.
It had been two days since the nightmare and even though Rainpaw continued having the same dream, he'd moved on. There were more things to worry about, like if he was on the dawn patrol or if Shadowpaw was going to use her super small paws to send a surprise attack on him at any moment. Life had been too busy for him to think about anything but training, so his life had finally settled in.
Shadowpaw then rushed forward, her claws sheathed. Most of the Clan had gathered to watch, mostly because none of them had seen Rainpaw fight. Thorntail had taken him battle training the day before, so he knew at least some moves.
Rainpaw dodged her move again and then this time got behind her. As quick as a snake—or an adder, as these cats called it—Rainpaw leaped onto Shadowpaw and landed square with his fore paws on her shoulders and his hind paws on her hips. Shadowpaw rushed forward then, surprised. Rainpaw then jumped off, watching Shadowpaw closely. She moved, he dodged, and then he slid his paw into her leg, unbalancing her. She fell and he pinned her down. That was easier than I thought it was going to be, Rainpaw thought. Maybe Shadowpaw's having a bad day.
"Can you admit that was a good fight?" Rainpaw asked. "Because if not then I don't know what'll make you happy." Shadowpaw rolled her eyes before pushing him off, a small look of nervousness on her fact.
Rainpaw held his head high, proud that he'd been able to do that. Amberpaw surprised him once every day all in different times and different places. Today he'd finally won.
"Don't get so proud of yourself, kit," said a very cold voice. "If that were a real fight you'd be a dead kitty." The Clan then looked to the cat who had spoken, and Rainpaw was not surprised to find out that it was Sharpfang. The brown tabby tom then walked forward, his amber eyes looking straight at Rainpaw.
"I bet you don't even know half of the moves that any normal apprentice would know," Sharpfang said, his voice cocky and bold. "I mean, you're only a loner that's half the size of a real six moon old kit. I'd bet that you're lying about your age."
"Oh, be quiet," said Shadowpaw then. "The fight was just a bit of training, that's all."
"Yeah, and he failed in my point of view," Sharpfang hissed to Shadowpaw. "His moves did not flow together and then that one at the end was so predictable. He's also too small to have pulled off any of that jumping on any normal warrior." Rainpaw growled lowly, making Sharpfang raise his eyebrows. "Think you can fight me, do you?" said Sharpfang, interested. "Then go ahead and try."
Sharpfang then crouched low to the ground, his tail lashing and his yellow eyes just asking for a fight. His teeth were bared and his claws were moving in and out of sheathed form. Rainpaw just sat, trying to decide what to do.
"Sharpfang!" called Yelloweye then. "Don't you dare! He's just a kit!"
"Yeah, he was just trying to play with me!" Shadowpaw said then, probably aware that Sharpfang was a very good warrior and would be very hard to fight. Rainpaw knew this as well, but if Sharpfang wouldn't shut up unless they fought, then so be it. It would be nice if he won, but Rainpaw doubted that he would.
"Oh be quiet!" hissed Sharpfang. "It's not like you did him any good." Rainpaw narrowed his eyes as he noticed that Shadowpaw was offended by this. Most of the Clan was now watching him, probably hoping that he'd accept the challenge. "Hey, Shadowpaw," said Rainpaw as he crouched low to the ground, copying Sharpfang's position. "Make sure Snowdrift is ready for me; I probably won't get out of this unscathed." Rainpaw then waited for Sharpfang to make the first move because he didn't want to look like the idiot when he lunged right into Sharpfang.
"Excellent," was the only warning that Rainpaw got before Sharpfang attacked.
Rainpaw hadn't even realized what had happened. All he knew was that he was going to get humiliated before the fight had even begun. Rainpaw dodged and dodged and dodged, but he was growing tired. He wasn't used to this much movement and he could feel his body giving out and getting tangled. Rainpaw then jumped forward, thinking that Sharpfang was there, but it was only his trap. Sharpfang unbalanced him and then pinned him down, leaving him breathing rapidly for some breath. Sharpfang laughed as he breathed hard, hardly looking tired himself.
"I told you that you didn't belong here, but you never believed me," said Sharpfang. "Ravenstar made a bad mistake, taking you in. WindClan should have finished you off when they had the chance." Sharpfang then leaned closer to him, his mouth dangerously close to Rainpaw's ear.
"I'll just have to finish you myself." Rainpaw's eyes widened as he tried to get out of Sharpfang's grip.
Rainpaw then reached up and grabbed onto Sharpfang's neck, making him yowl in pain. Rainpaw took that moment to break free, his heart pounding with adrenaline and fear. He was too slow, however, making him wish that his legs were longer. Sharpfang lunged and jumped in front of him, an evil little grin on his face. Then, with unsheathed claws, Sharpfang slashed across Rainpaw's chest.
Rainpaw screeched in pain and fear, hoping quietly that someone would help him. He heard a laugh from Sharpfang then, making him take a step back. Then before he knew it, fangs had entered his skin right into his shoulder. The shoulder with the scar on it.
Rainpaw's nightmare then began to replay itself in his mind, making him yowl in physical and mental pain. He could hear the yells of someone in the crowd, but then the hiss of someone who wanted them to stop.
The nightmare then took him away.
"Matthew, help me!"
"I'm sorry, Matthew!"
"Matthew, don't leave me!"
"Rainpaw! I'm going to call you my brother from now on. I hope I'll be as good as your brothers were!"
Sweetkit? What was she doing in his nightmare? What was she trying to do, convince him that he needed to protect the cats in this world now that he was unable to in the other world? Right now, he was too busy trying not to die in Sharpfang's grip. Otherwise he couldn't protect her at all and then he'd fail again. Then Rainpaw's mind changed.
Protect. Protect. Protect.
Rainpaw stood up. Sharpfang, surprised, looked at him and froze with shock.
Sharpfang is the enemy. Kill him.
"That's impossible!" Sharpfang exclaimed as he got back into a fight position. "You should be out! That move was supposed to knock you out!"
"Well, it obviously didn't," Rainpaw muttered, his eyes narrowed at Sharpfang. "It actually woke me up. Ready to see a real fight?" Rainpaw's voice had changed.
This had happened to him before, but it was never this bad. Usually he just punched whoever was insulting or threatening him or Daniel. Right now, his voice was like thunder and his eyes felt like they were on fire for whatever reason.
As Sharpfang took a step back, Rainpaw lunged with his claws unsheathed. Sharpfang dodged easily, but that was what Rainpaw wanted. He slid his paw into Sharpfang's leg and hoped to unbalance him. Sharpfang didn't fall like Rainpaw had hoped. Instead, Sharpfang just stumbled and leaped away from Rainpaw. Sharpfang seemed to be happier about the fact that Rainpaw was like this now, but he still seemed a little more afraid. Sharpfang attacked then, his claws ready to rip through him. Rainpaw gave a small smile before running underneath Sharpfang and surprising him. Rainpaw then turned and jumped onto Sharpfang, biting down on the tom's shoulder. Sharpfang yowled, but then rolled over, nearly crushing Rainpaw under the weight.
Rainpaw held on, also forcing the tom to roll over. They rolled for a few more minutes before Rainpaw stopped, pinning Sharpfang down finally. Rainpaw then watched him as his mind tried hard to fight what he really wanted to do.
No, I can't! I can't do that, this cat hasn't done anything but make me furious. I can't kill him.
You want to.
No, I can't!
Well . . . maybe I can. . .
Then do it: kill him!
I mean, nobody likes him, right?
So, kill him!
Just one cat won't hurt my reputation. . .
Robinpaw? What's she doing?
"Rainpaw? Are you okay?"
Robinpaw should know I'm fine. I mean, she can see me right?
"Rainpaw! What are you doing?"
I'm doing what the Warrior code tells me to do, Robinpaw. Protecting you and the others. Isn't it obvious?
What? Why? I'm doing a good thing aren't I?
Then he felt like he was being pulled off of the enemy. He felt like someone was taking him off of his prey. He didn't go with them. He wanted to kill.
Robinpaw! Stop! Let me do this! Let me kill him!
"Rainpaw, stop! What's happened to you? Why are your eyes so much darker than before?"
My eyes are darker? Really? But why? Why doesn't this make sense? I need to kill him, Robinpaw! Before he hurts you!
"Rainpaw! Get off of him! He did nothing wrong!"
No! He did do something wrong! He nearly killed me, and he'll go after you next! Robinpaw? Robinpaw what are you doing? That hurts! That really hurts! Stop! Robinpaw, stop! Robinpaw that—