Chapter 2

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Horrified gasps shook the clearing. Pelts of the ThunderClan cats bristled and tails bushed. Eyes were wide with confusion and horror.

Sunblaze burst into camp moments later, his pelt bloody and matted. "It's true," He huffed, sadness clouded his eyes and grief shook his voice.

"What happened?" Sandstar was sitting on the Highrock now, opposite of the other cats, who were all standing. Skykit wanted to peak out and take a look around the devasted camp, but she knew better.

"A fox," Sunblaze explained, his expression darkening. "Our patrol was chasing rogues out of our territory. They had ThunderClan prey." Skykit looked at her littermates. They had the same expression as she did- bushed tails, spiked pelts, and wide, fearful eyes.

"They crossed the WindClan border," Sunblaze went on. "Moonfur stood guard in the forest while I decided to take Mousepaw to the boarder to check his senses." Sunblaze's eyes raked the clearing. "A fox mauled her while we were gone, and when we came back, it was too late."

Russetsky's tail was now lashing. Skykit decided to take the chance and look under her tail to face the clearing. Once she did, she knew it was a mistake.

The rest of the Clan looked just like her sisters. Fearful, appauled, angry. Mousepaw had a look of disgust on his face, and Skykit didn't blame him. If she had been in his paws when one of her Clanmates was murdered not so long away, she would feel the same way.

Skykit glanced up at her mother. She was surprised her eyes weren't focusing on the broken deputy and the horrified apprentice. She followed Russetsky's gaze and was surprised at to what she found.

Willowleaf was on the Highrock with Bramblefrost and Sandstar. Sandstar was laying down. Willowleaf had her nose buried in the ThunderClan leader's pelt and Bramblefrost was staring at Russetsky, his eyes filled with grief for his mate.

"What is it?" Shadekit whispered to Skykit. Skykit beckoned with her tail.

"Look, it's Sandstar."

Shadekit let out a mew of surprise. Rainkit did the same thing just moments after. Their father sank his teeth into Sandstar's scruff and carried her down the tumbled rocks, Willowleaf leading the way.

The rest of the Clan had saw Sandstar now. No cat dared to speak, so they stared at their leader and their young medicine cat. Sunbreeze had an expression dancing in his eyes that Skykit couldn't put her paw on.

Hope?

Certainly not. She must be mistaken.

"It's okay," Willowleaf's gentle and quiet mew rang through the now silent clearing. "we're just bringing her to the medicine den."

Skykit's eyes followed her father with her leader in his jaws until Russetsky repositioned her tail, blocking their sight. "You should get some sleep," Russetsky meowed softly. "it's been a long day."

Without arguing, Skykit curled up in her nest, free from her mother's tail prison. Shadekit and Rainkit shot each other a worried glance before curling up in their own usual sleeping places, closing their eyes quickly.

Sleep wouldn't come for Skykit. She kept imagining what the forest was like. Just earlier today she was excited to set her first paw out the gorse tunnel after speaking with Willowleaf, but now she couldn't shake the thought that same ground was where one of her own Clanmates was killed by a bloodthirsty fox.

She heard her sisters' breathing slow, signalling rest had come for them. Growling lightly with envy, she rolled over. She opened one eye when she heard the leaves of the floor rustle.

Her mother was standing at the nursery entrance, sunlight shining on her shadowy pelt, making it shine. Russetsky took a deep breath and padded through the vines, and Skykit was instantly on her paws.

Where could Russetsky be going? She never left her kits alone!

Careful not to step on her sleeping littermates, Skykit stood up and made her way through the den. Poking her head out, she caught side of her mother's pelt. Taking a deep, shaky breath, she bolted after it, making sure not to get too close that she would be discovered, but not too far away that her Clanmates would think she's up to no good.

After a moment, she realized where Russetsky was going. To the medicine den. Where her mate and her foster mother were.

Russetsky ducked under the lichen curtain. Skykit huddled near the entrance to the medicine den, not wanting to take the chance of being discovered by going inside.

"I just want to thank you," Skykit heard her mother's harsh voice. It was cracking with grief.

"For what?" Sandstar's raspy voice questioned.

"Being there for me," Russetsky meowed as if it was obvious. "when ThunderClan wouldn't accept me, you did. I will never forget you for that and you deserve so much better."

Sandstar purred. "You don't have to thank me. I'll always love you as if you were my own, Russetsky, don't ever forget that. You are apart of ThunderClan, and your ShadowClan birth will never change that. Your kits are beautiful, smart cats, they will serve this Clan well and I know no one will shoot them down for it." Sandstar said the words with certainty, and although they made Skykit's heart warm, she felt strange about them.

Why would her own Clan shoot her down? Why was Sandstar even talking about the possibility?

"Russetsky, Bramblefrost," Willowleaf interrupted. Her voice sounded loud and strong compared to the two grieving cats.

Skykit had forgotten all together that her father was in the den. He had been silent.

"Long ago, Willowleaf and I were informed of a prophecy," Sandstar meowed, her voice even weaker.

"What was it?" Russetsky's voice sounded surprised and curious.

"The sky will fall on the sun to save our Clan."

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