"Wake up!!" Leafpaw opened her eyes slowly, what was that racket? "Wake up Leafpaw," she heard Orangefur yelling. Leafpaw got to her paws immediately,"I'm sorry Orangefur," she exclaimed. She couldn't believe she was late on her first day of training! "It's ok," sighed Orangefur, "Just get ready, eat some fresh-kill if you are hungry."
"Yes Orangefur," Leafpaw answered. Orangefur walked out while Leafpaw stretched her legs, and followed. "Hey Leafpaw," she heard Nightpaw call her name," Want to share some fresh-kill?" Leafpaw's stomach started to rumble, so she decided to pad toward Nightpaw. "Sure," Leafpaw said, while Nightpaw picked a mouse for them to eat. The tom took a huge bite then pushed the mouse in front of Leafpaw. She stared at the fresh-kill wondering how it tastes. After contemplating for a few seconds, she took a small bite. "Hmmm," Leafpaw said with her mouth full," This is delicious!"
"Glad you like it," laughed Nightpaw, "Now don't eat it all." Together they both finished the piece of fresh-kill and quickly went to their mentors.
"Now Leafpaw, the den made of branches and leaves beside yours is the warriors den, never go in there because Warriors don't appreciate little apprentices getting in their way. Then, as you know, the medicine cat den is beside that in the cave, and only Glowpelt and Petalpaw are allowed in there regularly. Next to the medicine cat den is the elders den in the tree stump. Apprentices have to care for the elders by bringing them fresh-kill and using mouse bile to kill their ticks. Finally, the cave beside yours is the nursery, and all the newborns and queens stay there until their kits are apprentices." Orangefur explains. Although Leafpaw dosed off slightly during the long explanation, she mostly got everything. "Ok," Leafpaw said while nodding. She didn't really like the idea of having to get ticks off of elders' pelts, but oh well. "Now let's go explore the territory!"
Leafpaw was following Orangefur when she heard, "Wait up!" Both she-cats turn around and see a tom with a completely white pelt except for the tip of his tail, which was brown. "What is it, Browntail?" asked Orangefur.
"Can Graypaw and I accompany you two? I just want to refresh Graypaw about where the borders are," Browntail says with an edge to his voice. Ugh, Graypaw, thought Leafpaw, why couldn't it have been anyone else? "Of course," Orangefur answered. The four cats walked out of camp, and started to head over to the Creekclan border. When the cats arrived at the edge of the river Orangefur signaled them to stop. "Leafpaw, this is the border between CreekClan and TreeClan. CreekClan have a rocky territory filled with many rivers. The border extends all the way to the lake that you will see soon." Orangefur said and continued padding forward. Browntail sped up his pace to walk beside Orangefur and talk with her, so Leafpaw was forced to walk by Graypaw in an awkward silence until they got to the Lake.
"Wow," Leafpaw gasped,"The lake is huge!" Graypaw snorted," It's only big for kittypets like you."
"Hey," exclaimed Leafpaw, ears hot with embarrassment,"I'm not a kittypet!"
"You two stop it," Orangfur said with much authority, "NightClan is across the lake from us, and border CreekClan and BreezeClan. NightClan mostly live amongst the pine trees that make up most of their territory. We will see the river border that separates TreeClan and BreezeClan next." The four cats continued their walk across TreeClan's vast territory. While walking to the next border they passed by the Dusty Grounds, where apprentices practice hunting and have mock fights. Finally they reached the border where they came face to face with a BreezeClan patrol. "Hello Orangefur," a creamy furred she-cat said.
"Greetings Cloudwind, how is prey running?"
"We are doing fine as well,"Orangefur answered curtly, "We must be on our way now, may StarClan light you path!" "Same to you," Cloudwind said before bounding off, with the rest of her patrol following after her. "Notice how BreezeClan territory is all moorland. That is why BreezeClan cats are thinner and more nimble," Orangefur said, then glanced at the sky, "Ok, well it seems to be getting late we should head back now." Orangefur finished, "Leafpaw, tomorrow I will teach you to hunt." Leafpaw nodded her head slowly, she was so tired of learning right now, all she can hear was her stomach grumbling.
As they walk back Graypaw leaned in close to her and whispered," So the kittypet can't stand a day of walking huh? What a scrap you are." Leafpaw was to tired to respond to taunts, it wasn't her fault she wasn't born in the clan. She sped up her pace to avoid the annoying apprentice, and they finally got to camp. She asked Orangefur if she could eat, and got the answer she desired. She immediately went to the fresh-kill pile and chose a squirrel to try. After she finished her meal she decided to go straight to her nest and sleep.
Leafpaw woke up and saw that it wasn't even dawn yet, and that all her den mates were asleep. She stretched herself awake and went outside to see if Orangefur was awake. She looked around a bit until she heard a voice behind her. " Hey, you're Leafpaw right?" She turned around and saw that she was passing by the elders den. "Yes," she said. "Ahh youngster come meet your elder," the she-cat with a matted fur chuckled. Leafpaw had nothing better to do so she follows the she-cat. "My name is Mattedfur," said the she-cat who called her inside, "The gray tom is Longfur, the sandy she-cat is Sandpelt, and the tom with the brown pelt is called Vineclaw. "Hello," the three other elders said in unison, "Would you like to hear the story of how I beat a CreekClan patrol on my own?" Longfur asked. "No thank you Longfur," she said as politely as possible,"I have to find my mentor, but another time." Longfur looked slight disappointed," It's not a problem youngster," he responded as Leafpaw left the den. "Apprentices these days," Mattedfur chuckled.
When Leafpaw walked outside she immediately saw her mentor. "Meeting the elders Leafpaw," She says with a purr, "That is a good start at meeting the clan." "Ya," Leafpaw said, "They are really nice."
"Have you eaten yet?" questioned Orangefur, and to that Leafpaw shook her head no. "Then grab something to eat quick, and then meet me at the Dusty Grounds. I'll teach you how to hunt." Orangefur walked off and Leafpaw immediately thought, Yes, finally I can contribute to the clan,and show them I'm one of them! Leafpaw walked to the fresh-kill pile, and started to pick out a prey. "Hey," Leafpaw heard, and turned around to see Sunpaw running toward me,"Hey, are you going to the sandy grounds too?" Leafpaw responded, "Ya, Orangefur is going to teach me how to hunt, why?"
"Because Scarletpaw's mentor, Berryleaf, Stormcloud and I are going to take us to hunt with you guys," Sunpaw said excitedly," Can I share fresh-kill with you?"
"Ok," Leafpaw said, so Sunpaw quickly picked a hare for them to share.
After they finished, Sunpaw quickly started dragging Leafpaw toward the barrier. When they got near the entrance, the dawn patrol walked into camp. Sunpaw told Leafpaw that the dawn patrol consisted of Nightpaw, Graypaw, Browntail, Brownfur, and Solarclaw. She didn't know Solarclaw, who was an orange tabby tom that looked similar to Orangefur, and Brownfur, who was a brown furred tom with a fluffy tail. "Hey guys," Nightpaw said," you all are lucky you weren't on Dawn Patrol," he finished with a yawn. "Well we are going to go hunting," retorted Sunpaw, and walked passed him. Leafpaw muttered a quick greeting, and then followed Sunpaw. "Where's Scarletpaw," Leafpaw questioned. "He's always late,"Sunpaw answered," He gets in trouble all the time." Leafpaw nodded silently, and then they continued to the sandy grounds.
When Leafpaw and Sunpaw arrived at the Dusty Grounds, all three mentors were waiting, Berryleaf is flicking his tail impatiently while the two she-cat mentors sat deep in conversation. "Where is Scarletpaw," questioned Berryleaf impatiently. "He's late...again," says Sunpaw, like she says everyday. "Ughhhhhh," Berryleaf exclaims in frustration. Orangefur places her tail on Berryleaf's shoulder," Calm down Berryleaf, he will be here soon."
"Speaking of which," Sunpaw said as Scarletpaw burst through the bushes. "Sorry I'm late," he exclaimed, "I overslept, again."
"Learn to arrive on time," Berryleaf growled, "Now let's get started." Orangefur nods and indicated the apprentices to follow her with a flick of her tail. "Ok everyone," Stormcloud said, "today you all will learn how to hunt in the undergrowth." The apprentices eyes sparkle with excitement due to the fact that none of them had ever hunted before. "Yes," Orangefur adds, "Now let's stop here." The group stoped a few tail-lengths in front of a huge tree that was surrounded by small bushes. "The first thing to think about is what type of pray you are hunting," Orangefur explained, "for example if you are trying to hunt mice, like we are, you have to step lightly or else they will feel you coming."
"Like this," Stormcloud says, as she lowered into a crouch," What do you notice about the way I stalk?" The apprentices watch the lean she-cat stalk across the forest floor dappled with leaf shadows. "Umm," Leafpaw thought hard, "Well you are stepping lightly."
"Yes," Orangfur praised, "that is correct Leafpaw, you have to step lightly or else you will scare the prey." Leafpaw nods, eyes shining with praise. "She is also making sure her tail isn't moving any undergrowth," chirps Sunpaw excitedly. "That is also right Sunpaw," Stormcloud says with a look of approval, "if I was rustling undergrowth with my tail, then the mouse would hear me before I get a chance to pounce."
"Do you have anything to add Scarletpaw?" Berryleaf questioned impatiently. "Umm," Scarletpaw hesitates," I guess if you are stalking it would be best to be downwind so the prey doesn't smell you?"
"Finally," Berryleaf said with a huff of relief. "Good Scarletpaw," Orangefur says, "now it's time for you guys to try. There should be some mice by those bushes, try to scent them." Leafpaw scented the air along with her fellow apprentices. Hey, she thinks, I think I smell mice. Leafpaw then notices a small head poke out of one of the bushes surrounding the big tree. A mouse, she thinks, now is my chance. Leafpaw lowered into a crouch slowly, and starts slowly stalking towards the mouse. She carefully makes sure her steps are light, that she is downwind, and that her tail is not touching anything. Orangefur watches Leafpaw intently, while the other two apprentice are arguing over who will get a catch first. Leafpaw approached the mouse, who is continuing to nibble on a flower seed. When Leafpaw is about to pounce, a twig cracks under her foot. The mouse immediately notices her and started to run away extraordinarily fast. Leafpaw gasped. I messed up, she thought as she broke out in to a run after the mouse. She sprints as fast as she can in a fiery pursuit after the woodland creature, who accidentally trips over a small stick. Yes this is my chance, Leafpaw thinks as she finally catches us, and pounces right on top of it. She then bites the neck, and feels blood flood her mouth. "That was very close to the border," Berryleaf says.
"Nevertheless it is still TreeClan prey," Orangefur says, "That was a very nice catch Leafpaw!" Stormcloud nods in agreement while Sunpaw and Scarletpaw are still arguing about who will get the first prey. Leafpaw's eyes sparkle with excitement, Yes I am finally a real Clan cat. "Let's head back now, it's getting late," Orangefur says," Make sure to thank StarClan for the fresh-kill." Thank you for the fresh-kill StarClan, Leafpaw thinks, as the group walked back to camp.
When the group arrived back to camp, the sun is already almost completely set, leaving the sky a dark indigo color. "You guys may eat," Orangefur says addressing the apprentices, "You all did good today." All the apprentices nod and start to walk towards the fresh-kill pile. "Wait Scarletpaw," Berryleaf says," I need to talk to you."
"O-ok," Scarletpaw responds, and follows his mentor out of camp. Leafpaw and Sunpaw walk towards the fresh-kill pile, "Why do you think Scarletpaw's mentor wanted to talk with him," Sunpaw questions.
"I don't know he see-,"
"Hey guys," Nightpaw interrupts," what did you two do today? I did some battle practice."
"We did hunting practice," Leafpaw responds, "I caught my first mouse!"
"Yes I didn't see what happened, you should tell us the story," Sunpaw exclaimed. "I would like to hear the story too," adds Petalpaw, who just walked up to the other three apprentices. "Ok I'll tell you guys," Leafpaw said with a warm purr, "but let's all eat while I tell the story." The four apprentices all chose a piece of prey and recounted today's events.
In the forest:
Scarletpaw followed Berryleaf out of camp. I wonder what he wants to talk about, Scarletpaw thinks, is Berryleaf mad? Suddenly Berryleaf stops apruptly, and Scarletpaw almost bumps into him. "What a disappointment you are," Berryleaf snarls as he turns to look at Scarletpaw, "you don't deserve to be in TreeClan, you are completely useless." Scarletpaw trembles in fear," What did I do wrong?" he asked desperately. "You should have been to first to catch prey, not Orangefur's apprentice," Berryleaf growled, "but instead you were arguing like a little kit with your sister. On top of that you were late, what a disgrace!" Scarletpaw cried in pain as Berryleaf's sharp claw scratched his ear. Blood starts to drip down his cheek and onto the soft forest ground. "You will not tell anyone about this right?" Scarletpaw nodded in fear and rushed back home, leaving his mentor looking at him with a sick look of satisfaction on his face.