Chapter Nine - Losing and Gaining

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Scourge padded down from his den and dipped his head to Poison. Poison looked mad as if he wanted to confront him but Scourge kept walking.

I fought my instinct to go follow him. I felt like I should be following him everywhere, as if I were his apprentice. He was one of the only ones who cared about me.

I stood up and wearily padded out of my hiding spot. Haykit, Heatherkit and Coldkit were tumbling around each other. Coldkit jumped back from the two others and turned around. I met eyes with him and he hopped over. "Wanna play?" Coldkit mewed and before I could nod, Heatherkit and Haykit stood on both sides of Coldkit. Coldkit gave them looks like he didn't know why they were there and then his face lighted up. He opened his mouth to say something but Heatherkit hushed him by speaking up.

"No, she can't play with us. She's almost three moons older than us and she's still smaller. I don't want to kit to play with us!" Heatherkit hissed and Haykit narrowed his eyes and nodded.

"I can beat you at fighting anyday!" I yowled, unsheathing my claws.

"Try me." Heatherkit growled and Haykit and Coldkit backed away, sitting off to the side. I even seen Deathkit in the corner of my eye and he too sat off to the side.

I scratched at the ground and gave Heatherkit a glare. I bared my teeth at her and she did it back, unsheathing her small claws. I gave a brief look to mine and noticed they were obviously bigger. I smirked and dodged away from her as she leaped at me.

Instinct came to mind and I clawed at her face as she went to hit me. She staggered to the side and my heart thumped fast in success. Blood welled up on her face and I hissed at her. Heatherkit did it right on back to me. She leaped at me and I backed away. She landed in front of me and clawed at me. I was only able to dodge one hit and I came back with a big slash onto her eye.

"Enough." Scourge hissed, separating me from Heatherkit. I gave her a snarl, my teeth bared, and let Scourge push me back. Onewhisker only shrugged as if he hadn't of known what was going on. I bet they all thought I was going to get beaten. That's why no one stopped us. I thought, glaring at the cats that had surrounded us.

Scourge sent Heatherkit and her two littermates into the nursery. Runningbrook scolded them but not harshly. Tawnypelt stretched at the entrance and yawned, "Are Deathkit and Icekit fighting again?" She acted as if it was okay.

"No. This time it was Heatherkit and Icekit." Scourge growled. "I love to see a good fight once in a while, but kits? No. It is amusing and I am not soft hearted, but Icekit needs to learn that fighting other kits has to wait until when she's an apprentice." Scourge looked down at me and gave me a look.

"It wasn't my fault! Heatherkit was taunting me and I sick of it!" I complained, then muttered only just loud enough for others to hear, "Tawnypelt couldn't care less if I got killed anyway." Scourge shot me a glare but didn't reply. Tawnypelt stomped toward me and opened her mouth to say something, but Scourge pushed her back. She sat down by the force of how hard Scourge had pushed her.

"Leave her alone, she has been through enough as is." Scourge growled. "And you -" He turned to me, "you need to stop getting into fights or I'll give you a fight you'll never forget." Scourge warned.

I dipped my head and fought the urge to gulp. I didn't know what to say. I knew he would tell me not to get into fights, but as his blue eyes bore into mine, I felt like he didn't like me any longer. I didn't want to think that way, though. What if he did still like me and I tried to stay away from him? He'd probably move on and make me an apprentice even later than I wanted.

***

Bloodpaw padded into camp as the sky darkened. I had literally done nothing but sit around and watch the sky brighten and then darken.

I realized as Bloodpaw brought in a pigeon and a bloody, cut up face. He didn't look like he was in pain, just pride glowed in his gaze. I realized I hadn't eaten in what seemed to be forever and my stomach was rumbling. My eyes fastened on his cut up face as he padded toward Deathkit to boast. He had already dropped his pigeon and was puffing out his chest and explaining what he had learned.

Bloodpaw never seemed to be looking for love and even now as I had been watching him from my hiding spot, I noticed he rolled his eyes every time Ocean and Tabby tried to speak to him. Too strong and cool for them, I suppose? I thought with a snort. That ball of fur couldn't beat a blind dog that is deaf and missing a leg!

I could beat that boastful, ugly ball of fur in a fight any day! But should I try fighting him? Scourge, Poison and Thornclaw went out a while ago, for reasons no one but them knew. Thornclaw was insane! Would they kill him or strengthen him up? I bet he's going to be one of the next contestant for BloodClan's Hunger Games.

I stood up and fluffed out my white fur. The breeze was chilly for new-leaf air. Bloodkit had complained that the snow went away way too early, just before Deathkit and I were born. Apparently not even a quarter-moon before! I, on the other paw, wasn't complaining. It was cold and unwelcoming here as is!

Coldkit padded out of the nursery and gave me a brief look. He turned away without even saying hello. What's his problem? I thought, stalking up to him. I opened my mouth to say hello and to ask why he never greeted me, but just as I did, Heatherkit and Haykit smashed into me and made me roll away.

"Hey!" I squeaked and Heatherkit gave me a look that said, Touch him and I'll kill you! I'd rather not get into trouble. Scourge would be on his way by now. Coldkit barely looked my way as I slowly stood back up.

Scourge suddenly padded into camp, bringing Thornclaw, Poison and four strange, bloody cats with them. Glares and shocked looks went their way. Scourge didn't stop to say hello or anything to me, but I could understand because he had stuff to do.

Thornclaw was bloodier than ever, limping. He disappeared into the medicine den and cheery greets floated into the cool air. The medicine cats were always happy about something.

Scourges' voice rose above the greetings of the medicine cats. His voice was a low growl, his claws unsheathed and chin high. "These four rogues have asked to stay. Burn, Snipe, Snapper and Timber are their names. I say we make them... prove they're welcome. We've had two kits fight for the past quarter-moon; now it's time to have a real fight occur."

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