Chapter 20-A Lesson From The Chief

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-1 Moon After Chapter 19-

Sunpaw felt lonely. It clawed at her everyday She was doing great as a Mender, but her clan life had crumbled around her. She no longer talked to Honeypelt, for there was nothing to talk about. Goldenheart wasn't an option either, for he was always hunting, patrolling, or training Sagepaw. She was treated as one of the higher ups of the clan, but she did not like it for it made Sagepaw even more aloof. No one would talk to her, so she barely spoke to them.

It pained her heart to still not have Sagepaw as her friend. There was a well of different emotions. Anger for Sagepaw being so stupid. Empathy for being tricked. Frustration at her refusla to even listen to her. Loneliness, for no one else would speak to her. But at least she still her brother Badgerpaw. But not even that was enough.

There was no one she could tell of her internal struggle against Brightwing and Starktail as well. She constantly searched for ways to end Starktail that were right, but any hopes were vain and opaque. Killing her was wrong, for it was against the Code Of The Clans and the Code Of The Menders. Kill once, and she was no longer a Mender,unless she had been in dire circumstances. But uniting the clans against her would not work either, as they feared her too much. Sunpaw had spent many sleepless nights to think of something but to know avail.

The afternoon light shone through the freezing wind as she lay in her nest in the Learner's den, a giant hold in a hillside. It had taken much time to rebuild the dens in here and the whole camp after the fire. Deciding that she might as well go help Birchleaf, Sunpaw got up and went outside.

Sunpaw saw that Badgerpaw was happily staring, gazing off into the distance. Following his gaze, Sagepaw was at the end of it, tearing up a crow. Now that I think about, I think my brother is hopelessly in love with Sagepaw. He has been helping her out for moons now, been talking to her, and padding after her. She really does talk to him openly. The feeling may be mutual eventually. Also, he has gotten thinner, a punishment for being around Sagepaw. But he is willing to suffer for his love. He will be a loyal mate.

"Looks who's not dead!" exclaimed Badgerpaw when he saw her. His eyes showed familial love for her. "The mopey dopey cat who will none what depresses her!"

Sunpaw's mood brightened up in an instant. I cannot tell any of my expierences, but at least I am loved. "So says the cat who is hopelessly love with someone who they know has a closed heart!"Sunpaw teased, bumping her shoulder into his.

"She does not have a closed heart!" argued a hot pelted Badgerpaw. "She may hate you with a closed heart, but she is very open to everyone else! She may hate the elders, but she at least accepts them."

"Well then, you have a very open heart back!" countered Sunpaw.

Looking flustered, Badgerpaw gave in. "Oh all right! You win! I admit to crushing on Sagepaw." Then his voice went to a very series tone. "But this conversation has brought something that you need to realize."

The feeling of happiness in Sunpaw drained in that moment. "What is it?" Sunpaw asked. "I am sorry if I do not talk to you enough! I am sorry if I can not tell you of my struggles!"

"I am concerned for you, but not enough to interfere with what you want to be left alone of yours!" Badgerkit mewed. "But do realize this: accept Sagepaw for who she is! You try to hard to get it back. Leave her alone for once."

"But she is like family to me!" Sagepaw protested. And not when I must stop her from ever killing a cat!

"Yes," replied Badger, "But you try to hard. You are causing your own anger at her. Let it go, and you shall feel better. She is not who you once knew her as. Face the facts, sister."

"But there are other facts that I cannot tell you!" Sunpaw yelled. "I cannot let her go because of it!"

Badgerpaw stayed calm. "You may have problems with her. I can see that. But accept her for who she is! Work out your problems once you have accepted that. Whatever happened for her to hate you, that is in the past. You can't change her." His green eyes looked deep into hers. Sunpaw, accept it."

Sunpaw felt her tail droop. Can.........can I accept it? I don't know. Then the reason why she should hit her as hard as a rock. Of course I have too. I do not like it, but it is what I must do! I must think of now, not the past, in order, to out think the evil that threatens us all! If I can understand how Sagepaw works, then I will know how Brightwing works. How she is now is how she will be. She will never again be the same though. I need to talk to Birchstar, for she was Brightwing's sister.

Sunpaw felt a great weight lift from her heart. "Thank you brother, thank you!" He simply nodded and ran to the Chief's den, which was a small cave underneath the Chief Rock. She asked Birchstar to come in, and Birchstar have her permission to do so.

"What do you need?" inquered Birchstar. Her copper eyes showed boredom. The Valleyclan Chief was laying down in her nest, engulfed by a dim light.

"Please don't get mad at me." Sagepaw breathed in and satt down preparation. "We all know how Brightwing was evil, but as her sister, what was she like before that?"

Birchstar looked at her with much surprise. "I...I don't know....I've been asked this before."

"Take a deep breath and and take your time." advised Sunpaw. "I am just asking because if I am to be a good Mender, I must be able to soothe those who hold anger."

"She was always kind, helpful, and caring." replied Birchstar. "But in her eyes I could always see pain and anger. I have never understood why. Brightwing was very smart indeed, but her plans almost never worked. I think she underestimated how cats worked." He eyes then went dark. "Then she killed our grandfather that one night out of nowhere. My father rightfully killed her for it. I have never quite been able to understand her reasons why, for no one would tell me what went down. But my father must be protecting me."

"Perhaps," said Sunpaw, "She was angry at how the clan treated her. Valleyclan is a strong clan. It truly is. But perhaps our system to determine a cats worth is.......flawed in some way that we can not see. We can change it though."

Birchstar's eyes flashed in rage as she stood up and puffed up her fur. "Are you questioning my authority then?" she snapped.

Sunpaw took a step back in retaliation. "No....no I am not!" she stuttered. Birchstar leaned forward to were her breath could touch Sunpaw's face. Sagepaw was terrified

."Then don't you dare suggest that we change our ways!" Birchstar ordered. "Our clan is perfect that way it is! Those who work get a reward in comparison to what they do! Those disabled such as Sagepaw are less worthy for not being able to work as had! This includes Badgerpaw, who wastes his time crushing on her. The only reason are fed, for you wast time talking to her, is because you are a Mender. In fact, I think that you may even love her beyond friendship without realizing it!"

Sunpaw was confused by Birchstar's last statemtent. "What do you me-" Sunpaw tried to ask Birchstar.

"Don't you dare interrupt me!" Birchstar growled. "You'll find out soon enough on your own! Furthermore, don't tell Sagepaw what I am about to tell you. Otherwise, I will exile you for being a traitor" Sunpaw slowly nodded her head, unable to speak.

"Good," said Birchstar. "It will torment you to know this, as you should be! Stonestar, Sandclaw, and me tricked you into choosing the role of a Mender. Now your Sagepaw will forever hate you for stealing her dreams, as you both deserve. You are an unworhty cat, so consider yourself lucky that I had even the faintest pity for you. Now run off and never bring up those two questions ever again!"

Sunpaw ran out, terrified at how Birchstar was quick to anger. Do I really love Sagepaw more than I realize?

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