Chapter 23

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Skypaw froze. Her tail lashed back and forth as her eyes met the green ones that were glaring at her heavily. Even in the middle of the night, where darkness roamed the territories, his pelt still shone as bright as storming flames.

Willowleaf and Russetsky hadn't noticed. They continued to talk about Skypaw as if she wasn't there, and she felt her fur start to raise.

"Be quiet!" Skypaw snapped. The ThunderClan deputy and the former medicine cat looked confused as they looked at her. She would usually feel guilty by such an outburst to upper Clanmates, even if they were her friend and her own mother, but not now. No cat would learn about the prophecy.

Willowleaf followed Skypaw's gaze. She froze and looked at Russetsky quickly.

"I need to go," She meowed. Russetsky's eyes now rested on the fiery pelt. She nodded briefly at Willowleaf, her eyes narrowed.

"Skypaw," Willowleaf whispered fiercly. "Meet me at the Gathering island tomorrow after you're done training." Skypaw nodded and watched as the tortoiseshell she-cat sprinted across the marsh. Skypaw wanted to know where she would go, because certainly their nests would be destroyed from the monsters.

Skypaw looked back to her mother right as her tail flicked in signal. Without taking her eyes off the pelt, the ThunderClan deputy took her time to get to the ThunderClan scent line, something she was against just a few moments before.

As the two she-cats reached the border, Skypaw's fur flattened as she realized who the cat really was.

"Firesoul," Russetsky meowed, somewhat coldly. "Would you like to explain why you're in the territory alone at moonhigh?"

Firesoul continued to glare heavily. Skypaw didn't care, she was just relieved the ThunderClan leader had not caught them instead. Surely a warrior couldn't do much damage, right? After all, she had been caught with the deputy!

"Sunstar sent me out here to check for rogues," Firesoul spat. "Looks like it was a good idea. It hasn't even been a whole day since she was exiled!"

"You saw her in ShadowClan territory, not ThunderClan's. If you had been listening, you'd know that is where Sunstar had exiled her. She did nothing wrong."

"What about you?" Skypaw tried to hold back a mrrow of amusement. She knew there was no way Russetsky would lose this arguement. "And that runaway apprentice!"

"That runaway apprentice is my daughter." Russetsky meowed coldly once more, but calmly. Once again, Skypaw found herself admiring her mother.

"So?" Firesoul's tail lashed.

"I also order patrols." Her mother fought back. "I had her come with me."

Firesoul was silent for a moment, until his eyes brightened like he had found a nest of mice. "Why were you talking to Willowleaf, then?"

"To tell her to get her paws off our territory." Russetsky's eyes started to blaze like fire. "Do not question me again."

Skypaw didn't know how she felt about her mother's lie. She knew well enough that Russetsky did not support Sunstar exiling ThunderClan's only medicine cat, but she also knew that Russetsky would tell Willowleaf to get off ThunderClan's land if she was caught there. Russetsky was a loyal deputy.

"We're going to head back to camp," Russetsky dismissed the suspicious warrior. "Finish what Sunstar told you to do and report back to me."

Firesoul nodded once before continuing along the ThunderClan border. Skypaw knew that he would not find any trace of Willowleaf near their territory, but she didn't say anything but follow her mother through the dark woods.

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