Chapter 13

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Skypaw's back arched and her fur bristled for the third time today. She bolted into camp.

"Sunstar!" She screeched. The happy buzz of the Clan halted and all the cats fell silent, staring at Skypaw with confusion. Russetsky and Bramblefrost raced out of the medicine den, and Appleleaf poked his head out of his own den.

Sunstar was out of his den within seconds and was bolting down the tumbled rocks. "Skypaw?" He narrowed his eyes at her. Whatever the ThunderClan leader had against her, she did not like it. However, this was not the time for such a thought.

"ShadowClan has invaded!" She hollered. Russetsky's back arched. The pelts of ThunderClan warriors bristled all around.

"Willowleaf and I were out talking when Nightflare and Hawkpaw were caught in our territory," Skypaw quickly explained. It took all she had to keep talking and to ignore Sunstar's piercing gaze meeting hers. "I was told to go back to camp so I did, but I stopped to talk to Featherfur. That's when we heard ShadowClan and a yowl!"

"Russetsky! Order patrols!" Sunstar hissed. Russetsky nodded and her eyes scanned the Clan.

"Hawkeye, Blizzardfur, Flarecloud and Flowermoon come with me!" The ThunderClan deputy hollered. Skypaw noticed she was choosing the healtiest cats. "Duskwave, Stormpelt, Shadepaw and Skypaw go with Sunstar!" Skypaw nodded at her order. Excitement tingled in her paws when she realized she would be fighting an enemy Clan for the first time.

Pity soon filled her heart when she glanced at the medicine den. Rainpaw would not participate in this battle.

Skypaw remembered that her scratches had not been treated by the ThunderClan medicine cat since the battle with the badgers, but she put that aside. Time to rip ShadowClan to pieces!

"Where's Willowleaf?" Bramblefrost's alarmed meow came from the entrance to the split rock. He hadn't moved since Rainpaw was submitted into Willowleaf's care.

"She's still outside with the ShadowClan medicine cats!" Skypaw replied. Her father's frosty blue eyes clouded over with fear. He was not the only cat who had realized that Willowleaf did not have an apprentice. If she was killed, ThunderClan would be absent of a healer.

"Let's go, then!" Sunstar's deep meow rang through camp. "Petalheart, Hazelflower and Jaysoul will be in charge of camp!" With a lash of his tail, he ducked through the gorse tunnel, the rest of his patrol behind him. Russetsky waited patiently for her turn to lead her patrol out of the ThunderClan camp.

Skypaw bolted through the forest. For the first time since they were kits, Shadepaw and Skypaw ran side by side, matching pawstep to pawstep. Skypaw's heart warmed for a moment before she realized once more that Rainpaw was absent.

"May StarClan light your path," Skypaw meowed to her sister. Shadepaw seemed surprised for a moment before replying.

"You too," The littermates shared a heart-warming moment before focusing on the battle that lay ahead.

Now that Rainpaw was still on the brink of going to StarClan, Skypaw knew how real the possibility was that each battle could be her last. Concentrating, she was sure to tell herself that every move counted.

Sunstar growled. Gasps and hisses came from the cats on his patrol, and Skypaw stretched to see what lay ahead. She wished she would have stayed to guard camp instantly.

ShadowClan were everywhere. Their scent filled the air, and Skypaw even saw some cats marking ThunderClan trees with ShadowClan markers. Willowleaf, Nightflare, and Hawkpaw were no where to be seen.

"ThunderClan, attack!" Sunstar's deep meow brought ThunderClan the attention of the ShadowClan cats. Skypaw shivered. The coldhearted cat's eyes shone with eagerness and excitement. Their claws were sheathed and they crouched, ready for the fight ThunderClan was about to give them. Skypaw wished she could feel more confident in her fighting skills than the ShadowClan cats appeared, and she saw the doubt in the eyes of her Clanmates before they all leaped into battle.

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