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Pen Your Pride

Chapter 3

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"Hey Stormpaw! Nice speech!" Stormpaw smiled and turned round just as Heatherpaw and Thornpaw trotted over to him, a cloud of smoke coming out of the she-cat's mouth.

"Thanks!" he muttered a little embarassed.

"Are we going to train or not?" A low mew sounded behind them.

"Coming Leopardclaw!" Stormpaw cried rushing towards his mentor through the deep layer of snow.

"You'll have time to talk later. You need to be ready for this battle! Thornpaw! Keep up please!" Maplecloud mewed, lashing her tail at her apprentice. The two other apprentices hurried over to the others. Stormpaw sneezed as snowflakes drifted onto his nose. Snow is fun but after three moons it's just sickening. He pushed further on, every paw aching from the harsh days of leaf-bare. Even the warriors looked tired and scrawny. His belly growled but he ignored it. Hopefully it would be satisfied soon.

Heatherpaw eyed her mentor Brackentail then whispered to Thornpaw.

"Woah! I've never seen Maplecloud this unpatient!"

"Yeah!" Thornpaw nodded.

"I heard that!" Both apprentice thrust their heads up, eyes wide, only to relax as Stormpaw approached them.

"You made me jump out of my fur!" the dark brown tabby she-cat hissed.

"She's just worried that's all now come on!" Stormpaw bounded forward, a little more confident and excited at the thought of battle training.

They arrived to find the grassy clearing covered in snow.

"Right! DuskClan will outnumber us no matter what!" Maplecloud meowed scanning the apprentices. "Stormpaw I want u to fight with Leopardclaw and Brackentail. Heatherpaw and Thornpaw, you'll train with me until Stormpaw's finished. Got it?" she asked a little more gently.

"Yes!!!"

Leopardclaw lashed his tail. "Ready?" he growled lightly, challenge flickering through his eyes. I guess after three moons of mostly hunting everyone is enjoying this. "Always!"

The golden flicked his tail sideways. His gaze stayed fixed on his apprentice. Stormpaw returned the stare.

"Gotcha!!!" Brackentail slammed into him, knocking the breath out of his lungs. He scrambled franticly, bewilderment and panick flaring through him. The golden tabby tom pinned him down, ripping Stormpaw's belly with sheathed claws. Mouse dung! I should have seen that coming! Thought fast, remembering his lessons, and went limp. Brackentail lifted his head in triumph with a smirk. Now! The grey-blue apprentice rolled swiftly away and aimed a deadly blow at Brackentail's throat.

"What was that?" he asked triumphing himself.

"Stormpaw! Focus!" A snarl sounded behind him. Stormpaw whizzed round, ducking low just as Leopardclaw lunged at him. He raced towards his mentor and sunk his teeth lightly into the bushy tail. Rearing on his hind legs to meet the secong attacker and pretended to slash Brackentail's nose. But now less stable, both golden warriors slammed into him. His chance of winning had slipt away.

Stormpaw sighed and shook his head as he got up to clear the snow ofF. "I'm sorry. I didn't fight well enough. Maybe Raggedtail was right! Maybe we should ask BreezeClan for help!"

"Stormpaw that was amazing!" Leopardclaw licked his ear. "It's too late for that. But you're more than ready anyway. I know you can do it."

Stormpaw looked up into the bright blue sky. In three days, nothing would be the same anymore. Fear suddenly slammed into him. His fur stood on its ends as he realized what he'd just told the whole clan.

ForestClan's fate was approaching. What have I done?

*********

Thankyou very very much for voting commenting and reading this far!😊Sorry if this seemed a bit long...😁 Hope that's ok... Anyway was it good? ^-^

~Shadowripple :)

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