Chapter 18

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Skypaw's paws ached with pain as pine needles pricked her paws as she ran on the unfamiliar ShadowClan territory. It felt so dangerous here. Having to watch out for ShadowClan and ThunderClan patrols, as well as to look out to avoid dangers and keep track of the tortoiseshell pelt of Willowleaf.

Keeping her head down, she only dared to look at the path right in front of her. Her tail lashed with anxiety. She was crowfood if any cat but Willowleaf saw her. Her silver tabby pelt against the dark marsh of ShadowClan's territory wasn't helping her odds, either.

Skypaw began to feel more comfortable when she smelled no cats around. She held her tail a little higher, and and lifted her head up more. Keeping Willowleaf's pelt as a guide, she continued to bolt after her.

Skypaw nearly jumped out of her fur as a slimy green creature erupted through the marsh at her through the air. Her fur bristled as she stared at it. She noticed other slimy creatures around it, and they seemed to be croaking to communicate.

Flashing back for a moment, she remembered her nursery days, where more information about the Clans was given to any cat the most. Her former ShadowClan mother told her about these, but she couldn't remember the name. Striving further into her mind, she tried to make out every word that was said to her. She hissed to herself when she blocked her mother out, thinking the information was useless. But yet again, she hadn't known until seconds prior that she would be traveling through enemy territory.

"Why is ShadowClan invading the border?" Skykit squeaked out a question. "The mice and squirrels are ours!"

"ShadowClan aren't after the prey, Skykit," Russetsky had told her gently. "They just want to get under our fur, that's all."

"What do you mean, they don't eat mice?" Skykit's jaw dropped to the ground, baffled.

"They eat slimy green creatures who like to live near the lake," Russetsky explained. "They're called frogs. I never had a taste for them, just another thing to prove ShadowClan wasn't where I belonged."

Frogs!  Skypaw thought to herself. That's what they are!

She stared at the frogs with disgust. How could any cat eat something that didn't have fur, or even feathers?

Snapping herself out of her thoughts, she searched the terrain in front of her. Willowleaf was just barely a speck in the horizon. Skypaw scolded herself for letting her curiosity get in the way of her mission, especially when it seemed she was in the middle of no where.

Taking in a deep breath, Skypaw ran as fast and as silently as she could. Willowleaf didn't appear to be traveling at a fast pace, so that made Skypaw's life a little bit easier at the moment.

Her paws slipping and sliding in the ShadowClan marsh a few times, she prayed to StarClan she wouldn't fall. Although it seemed like good disguise, she didn't want to scare Willowleaf. Or be covered in mud.

After a long sprint, Willowleaf became close enough that Skypaw could speak to her. Padding up to the tortiseshell cautiously, her voice came out in a small and urgent whisper.


Willowleaf jumped and spun around. Her gaze filled with shock, confusion and anger all at once.

"Skypaw, what in StarClan are you doing here?"

"The real question is what are you doing here?" Skypaw retorted.

"Sunstar exiled me into ShadowClan territory. Your turn," Irritation was heavy in the former ThunderClan medicine cat's voice.

"I came after you," Skypaw explained. "You shouldn't have been exiled."

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