Blazing - Book One: Into the Wild

Seasons ago, Bluefur refused to give up her kits, and Thistleclaw became deputy in her place. Thistlestar leads his clan cruelly, greedy for land. In his territorial rage, he chases away and injures young kittypet Rusty. RiverClan rescues Rusty and accepts him into their clan, but while he just wants to learn the ways of his clan, he finds himself in the middle of a desperate war.


9. Chapter 7

Firepaw let out a yowl as the gray she-cat leaped straight for him, bowling him off his paws. "Out of my way, crowfood!" she spat, clobbering him over the head with a large paw.

"You're the one intruding!" he hissed back, swiping at her muzzle.

The she-cat seemed to take him in before letting out a cackle. "Ha!" she laughed, rancid breath making Firepaw's lip curl. "A puny apprentice! Easy prey for Yellowfang."

Firepaw almost wished that the ThunderClan patrol had continued into his territory to deal with the she-cat, but he could hear them giving warning yowls from the other side of the river before they headed away. He glared up at Yellowfang before struggling. The she-cat let out another throaty laugh before placing her paw on his chest, pinning him to the ground.

Suddenly, Firepaw lashed out with his hind legs, and smashed them into the she-cat's stomach. Yellowfang let out a startled cry of pain before stumbling away and and tumbling to the ground. "Not such easy prey after all, huh?" Firepaw growled, leaping back up onto his paws.

"Not bad, apprentice, but you'll need to do better than that!" She spat back, hissing, as she rolled back up into her paws.

As they faced off, Firepaw finally got a good look at his adversary. She was a large gray she-cat, with thick, matted fur. She had a very broad, flat muzzle that was scarred with the wounds of past battles. Despite her blazing eyes, he could see that she was skinny, and her face seemed almost hollow with hunger.

"You're on RiverClan hunting grounds," Firepaw warned, arching his back. "Move along!"

"Who's going to make me? You?" Yellowfang snorted in contempt. "Perhaps I'll hunt first. Then I'll move along." The she-cat curled her lip, exposing yellowed and broken teeth.

"Enough talk," Firepaw snapped, feeling adrenaline rushing through him. It was as though his warrior instincts were urging him on to fight for his clan. There was no backing down now.

Yellowfang seemed to shift as she noticed the change in him. She eyed Firepaw with a new respect, but still held her ground. "Alright, little cat. No need to be so hasty…" She lowered her head and let out a low purr.

Firepaw wasn't about to be fooled by her wiles. Letting out a fierce cry, he leaped forward, claws extended.

With a hiss of rage his enemy reacted, twisting up to swipe at him. Snarling and spitting, the two cats locked together before they were sent tumbling to the ground, clawing and snapping desperately. Firepaw tried time and time again to get a proper blow in, but try as he might, he found her thick and tangled fur was too much for him to get through to claw at her flesh.

Yellowfang came out on top for a moment before rearing up, letting out a yowl. Firepaw managed to move his head aside as her jaws snapped just a hair-length away from his ear. Hissing, Firepaw countered by twisting and kicking, catching a sharp blow across her skull with a flailing hind foot.

Yellowfang staggered away, shaking her head. "Yee-ow!" she cried, dazed momentarily.

Firepaw saw his chance, and leaped forward towards the she-cat's legs. He sank his teeth into one of her hind legs, and felt bile rise in his throat as the taste of the dirty, oily fur coated his mouth. Regardless, he clamped down as hard as he could until he felt skin and tasted blood. Yellowfang shrieked and spat as she whirled around to snap at his tail.

With a snarl, Firepaw ripped his tail from his opponent's jaws. His tail lashed madly back and forth before he pounced again, scratching one of her ears. Yellowfang hissed furiously as she shook her head, scattering droplets of blood. He stepped away, dancing lightly on his paws as they each sized each other up once more.

Yellowfang seemed to wheeze, and he could taste the stench of her filthiness and hunger from a fox-length away. Firepaw hesitated, his muscles relaxing for a heartbeat. He felt something very unwarriorlike- pity. This she-cat wasn't truly trying to hurt him- she was desperate and half-starved and had just been chased out of ThunderClan land, just as he had been two moons ago.

But then she leaped for him once more, and the pity disappeared. Again they clashed, tumbling and rolling. Yellowfang pushed Firepaw's muzzle into the ground, and the ginger apprentice spat out grit as he tasted it. Snarling, he twisted and clawed at her already wounded leg. After a few more blows, they separated, and Yellowfang was panting harder this time.

"Had enough?" Firepaw asked, eyeing her carefully. If she conceded, he'd let her run off with only a warning blow.

"Never!" Yellowfang screeched, drawing herself up to her full height again. "Mousedung, if I weren't so tired and hungry I'd have finished you off already!" Despite her brave words, the she-cat's injured leg gave out with a shudder, and she crumpled to the ground with an "Oomf!" She let her head fall to the ground, eyes dull. "Well, finish me off. I won't stop you. You'll be doing me a favor."

Firepaw stared at her uncertainly. I can't hurt her. She's hungry and desperate and ThunderClan probably hurt her. He frowned. But she has a clan name. Is she… ShadowClan? Firepaw had never killed before, and certainly not in cold blood! It was one thing to strike a finishing blow in the heat of battle, but… this? This felt wrong.

"Well?" The she-cat scoffed, wrinkling her nose. "You're dithering like a lizard-brained kittypet!"

Firepaw bared his teeth and snarled. He could tell she wanted to rile him on, but he couldn't resist reacting to the jab. "I am a warrior apprentice of RiverClan!" he growled, bristling.

Yellowfang seemed confused before she broke into a sneering grin. "Well, well. Is RiverClan so weak that they are accepting soft-pawed kittypets into their ranks?" she broke off into a fit of laughter, as though the entire idea was extremely amusing.

"RiverClan is not weak!" Firepaw spat, feeling aggression rising within him again.

"Prove it!" Yellowfang hissed, glaring up at him. "Finish me off, kitty."

Firepaw stared at her as he sheathed his claws. He wasn't about to allow himself to be goaded into killing this pathetic creature. "You seem in a rush to die."

"Yeah?" Yellowfang snorted, chest heaving. "That's my business, mousefodder." She glared at him again. "Are you trying to talk me to death?"

Firepaw stared at her uncertainly. He could smell the hunger and sickness rolling off of her in waves as she lay defeated in the dirt. What could he do? He didn't want to kill her. And yet, she clearly couldn't hunt for herself. How long would she survive like this?

"Wait here," He ordered, flicking his tail.

Yellowfang seemed to deflate for a moment before she pushed herself up into a sitting position. "You kidding? I'm not going anywhere, kitty." She stood and limped over to a small gorse bush before flopping down again and leaning over to lick her wounded leg.

Firepaw padded away, tasting the air. I'll just give her a bite to eat and send her on her way. No one deserves to starve like that. Firepaw padded down the riverbank, feeling absolutely exhausted. It was lucky for him that Yellowfang had been weak- he was tired enough after fighting the fox.

He pricked his ears as he spotted a plump water vole munching on some plant, and dropped into a crouch. Firepaw made quick work of it- with a leap and a snap, it was his, and he headed back towards where he'd left Yellowfang.

The ragged she-cat raised her head as he padded towards her. "Back so soon, kitty? Changed your mind about killing me? For a moment I'd thought you'd scurried off to get your warrior friends!"

"Yeah? Well, maybe I will do that." Firepaw dropped the vole at her paws. "Eat. Unless you don't want it…?"

"Ah- no. I do want it." Yellowfang pulled it closer with a paw. She sniffed it for a moment. "a little small, but I suppose it will do." She took a bite and chewed slowly, closing her eyes.

Firepaw wanted to roll his eyes. I suppose I can take that as a 'thanks'.

Yellowfang looked up at him slyly. "Better than some of the slop they feed some of our brothers, eh, kitty?" Firepaw bristled as he gave his wounded shoulder a lick. Yellowfang knew she'd hit a sore spot, and went on. "Can't see why anyone would want such frogspawn… it's poison! Absolute muck."

Before Firepaw could give her a stinging retort, Yellowfang's head shot up. "Shh… warriors coming."

Oh no! Firepaw's eyes widened. He could smell Leopardfoot coming closer, and heard her furious yowl. "The clan must be fed first!" Firepaw winced, bracing himself for the deputy's remiranding. But surely, she would have to understand why he had helped her? Mind reeling, he wanted nothing more than to wake up and find this all to be some terrible dream. His first real apprentice task, and he had ended up breaking the warrior code!

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