A soft breeze blew as a beautiful golden she-cat made her way down the wide path. She walked on the grass, choosing not to scrape her almost perfect claws on the hard, rocky Thunderpath that she was following. The sky was a dull blue, notifying the she-cat that leaf-bare was coming closer, and that she would need to leave before the season changed.
Her real home, up in the stars where she ran in the lush green forests, was a long way away. She had left momentarily to come see a Twoleg, one that had struck her interest the first time she had come down to visit her old life. She hated it here, but that was the only way she could see the Twoleg. No matter how many times her instincts or even her StarClan friends said no, she simply had to see this Twoleg.
The first time she had seen the Twoleg was when she was taking a forest walk in her home territory. It hadn't been long since she'd joined StarClan back then, and she had been given permission from the older StarClan residents to return to the forest she'd once lived in so that she could see how it lived on without her. Of course, none of the cats alive down there could see her, as she was merely a ghost, but she didn't care. She wanted to see her family; the forest; her home.
She had seen the Twoleg sitting on a boulder, looking at its large hind paws. The Twoleg was upset from what she could tell, because as she drew closer, its eyes were cloudy and full of sadness. The Twoleg was young. It was mumbling to itself, and even then, though she couldn't understand its words, it sounded as if it were upset. Curiously, she had watched it until moonhigh, when she was to return to StarClan, however, the Twoleg still hadn't left.
After that day she, Cheetahfur, had visited the Twoleg many more times, after getting permission from the Four Leaders. Though it had been many seasons since, Cheetahfur insisted on visiting him again, though, this time for a reason. After studying the Twoleg, Cheetahfur had noticed that it was always with another Twoleg, one that was younger than it. She had seen the the older Twoleg protect the younger one several times, almost as if it was acting like a shadow. It was strange, and if this Twoleg really was acting the way that she thought, she wanted to know why.
Cheetahfur glided gracefully, her back arched to show off her beautiful black spots. As she came across the Twoleg nest that she'd memorized, she leaped up onto the fence post and into the small closed in area that the Twolegs had reserved for some reason. Cheetahfur then waited for the Twoleg, knowing that it would be out soon with the younger one. The one that it protected…
It came, as Cheetahfur had hoped, though it was tall, now, much taller, in fact, than when she'd first seen it, and its head was covered in short golden fur. It walked out to the closed-in area and watched the younger Twoleg play. It sat on a large boulder as the younger one played with a large brown ball of moss. The Twoleg's eyes were soft, yet its expression seemed blank. Over the seasons, Cheetahfur had learned what the expressions meant, and what body language she needed to look out for. Right now, like always, the Twoleg seemed bored but, in truth, was actually pushing away a certain emotion.
"Why are you so curious about these Twolegs?" meowed a familiar voice from behind her. "They are too different from our ways." Cheetahfur, shaken from her thoughts, turned around to face the tom. The tom who had addressed her was Tigerfang, her best Clan-mate. He was a very tall, white tom with black stripes across his slender body and shimmering green eyes that always flickered with wisdom.
"I'm only interested in the bigger one," replied Cheetahfur as she turned her attention back onto the Twolegs. "He's just…different. Unlike any other Twoleg I've seen before."
"Why do you say that?" asked Tigerfang as he sat down beside her, licking his paws. "They're all the same, aren't they? Big and dangerous creatures that invade our territories without a second thought—"
"You're wrong!" hissed Cheetahfur. "They're almost never alike
! Not all Twolegs are bad," she said, staring up at the Twoleg once again. "This one is just…strange. Like a snowflake in Green-leaf"
"Are you sure?" he asked, his eyes showing his interest.
"What do you mean?" meowed Cheetahfur, tilting her head slightly.
"Haven't you heard about the new Prophecy? Talking about the 'Strange One'?" asked Tigerfang, sitting down. Cheetahfur's eyes widened. Yes, she had heard of it, but she hadn't paid any attention to it at all.
"But what would a Twoleg be doing in a StarClan prophecy?" she asked. "Why would StarClan choose a Twoleg?"
"We StarClan cats do not choose the Prophecy cat, Cheetahfur,"
Cheetahfur then turned around again, this time being a little more afraid. Cloudstar, the leader of ThunderClan before Cheetahfur had died, was standing right in front of her, looking disappointed.
"You should know that, by now." He said, flicking his tail. "The Prophecy itself is created when the cat is born, and when Destiny has chosen and chained itself to that cat. Therefore, this Twoleg cannot be part of a Prophecy. Destiny can—and will only—choose cats. This Twoleg isn't special in anyway, just a ball of moss for you, Cheetahfur."
"No, Cheetahfur," said Cloudstar, eyes narrowing tightly. "It is wrong that you are even watching this Twoleg. For StarClan's sake, Cheetahfur, act like one of us! Act like one of the Clan's ancestors instead of a curious kit."
Cheetahfur opened her mouth to protest, her tail flicking beside her, but then shook her head and looked at her paws. There was no point in arguing with him. Cloudstar was right; she needed to act like a StarClan cat for once.
"I thought so," said Cloudstar after a few minutes. "We're going back to the stars now. Thunderstar wants you for some reason."
Cheetahfur waited patiently for Thunderstar, ThunderClan's first leader, in a large cavern. The forest around the cave had been made especially for the first four Leaders of the Clans. Although she had no clue why she had been summoned, she knew it must be important if the Leaders were involved.
A movement from the back of the cave told her to come in, and so she did. She padded along the narrow cave walls and finally got the end. Thunderstar sat at the very back of the den on a nest of moss. Three cats were beside him and Cheetahfur had recognized them immediately as the other Founding Leaders of the Clans. They were all watching her, all with different expressions on their faces.
Shadowstar, a large black she-cat with thick fur and green eyes, looked annoyed and disgusted, while Windstar, a thin, wiry, brown she-cat with yellow eyes, looked as if she were examining Cheetahfur's soul.
Riverstar, a silvery-grey tabby tom with wide green eyes, was giving Cheetahfur a warm, kind smile that seemed to give her confidence that, whatever they were going to do; it was going to be okay. But the expression Thunderstar gave her seemed to wash all that away. The big ginger tabby with amber eyes and white paws, was giving a very blank expression, though a hint of curiosity flashed before his eyes as he blinked.
"Cheetahfur," said Thunderstar, breaking the silence. "We are aware that you have been visiting a Twoleg once every moon. Is this rumour true?"
Cheetahfur, cringing at the loud booming voice, lowered her head a little. Even though she couldn't tell if she was in trouble or not, she felt the curious eyes glaring at her. Were they mad at her for being curious of the Twoleg? After all, it was their fault the Clans had to relocate…
"Y-yes, it's true," said Cheetahfur, her voice wavering. Thunderstar smiled before standing, his fiery ginger fur shining with perfection.
"Then we must ask you what you have discovered," said Thunderstar then. "I, for one, am curious."
Cheetahfur couldn't believe her ears. They were asking her to tell them of what she had learned? Didn't they already know?
"B-but why?" she asked. "I don't understand." Riverstar chuckled a bit.
"It's okay," said Riverstar. "We aren't mad, just curious as to why you have been watching this Twoleg. We have been doing the same, however, we still don't understand; what is so interesting about him that has caught your attention?" Cheetahfur gulped, her head low and blood roaring in her ears with embarrassment.
"Well, the first day I saw the Twoleg it seemed upset," Cheetahfur explained. "I didn't know for sure, but after watching other Twolegs, I noticed that it was depressed. I watched it a lot after that, noticing that it seemed like he was trying to hide his depression. Then it started protecting this smaller Twoleg, one that is much younger than it. The Twoleg seems happy, now, but I can see past that. It's just…strange."
The four powerful leaders were thinking now, calculating the information she had given. After several heartbeats, Thunderstar looked up to her, his amber eyes showing a spark of light.
"I am assuming you've heard of the new Prophecy, correct?" he asked kindly. Cheetahfur nodded slowly, wondering where the leader was going with this. "Are you sure that he is strange, even if he were a cat?"
"Yes," said Cheetahfur. "It's like he's wasting his life away, trying to forget the reason he's so sad. I've never seen anything like it." Thunderstar nodded a determined look on his face.
"Then our decision is final," he said. "Cheetahfur, we are going to turn this Twoleg into a cat, bringing it into the world of Clan cats. It will start a new life in the Clan that it chooses, and will hopefully learn to live again. If this Twoleg is so strange, then he is a likely cat for the Prophecy. For that, I am willing to take the risk."
"As am I," said Riverstar, standing, his bright green eyes full of curiosity. "I want to see this Twoleg in cat form, from where I can watch it closely."
"I will also take the risk," said Windstar, caution showing in her yellow eyes. "It is time we see some justice, and if this Twoleg may be able to do it than I will help."
Shadowstar's bright green eyes told Cheetahfur she was debating whether to do it or not. If Shadowstar said no, than the Twoleg would live and die depressed. If she said yes, however, then the Twoleg would live again in a happier life.
"The risk is a large one, it is the job of the current leaders to protect their Clans, Thunderstar," said Shadowstar. "One that will change the world of the Clans forever. If danger truly is coming, why not let the current leaders fix it?"
"Yes," Thunderstar agreed. "But this danger is beyond the help of the leaders. The Unexpected is to kill the Unexpected, according to the Prophecy." Shadowstar narrowed her eyes but then sighed.
"I will take the risk," said Shadowstar. "Purely for the sake of my Clan."
"Then we shall get to it," said Thunderstar. "Cheetahfur will explain to this Twoleg exactly what is going to happen to it when the time comes. In the meantime, she will also keep watch on it. If there are any changes, she will tell us. Understood?"
Cheetahfur beamed with pride. Not only would she be able to keep watching it, she was going introduce it to a Clan cat's life. What an honour! But her smile soon disappeared as she noticed a small problem:
What if the Twoleg didn't want a new life?