I padded back into camp, the pain from receiving my nine lives ebbing away. My first had been love, given by my mother, Doveheart. Courage had been given by my father, Tigerwing. Wisdom had been given by Sunspark. Faith had been given by Sparrowstar. Loyalty had been given by a she-cat named Brookcloud. Honesty had been given by a young apprentice named Furpaw, who had been Fallingleaf's apprentice before I was born. Trust had been given by Songwing, my father's mother. Determination was given by Falconeyes's mother, Leaffeather. Lastly, compassion had been given by Falconeyes's feather, Crowcloud. I hadn't been expecting to feel a warm, nurturing feeling at love, but I had still ended up unprepared.
"So, how did it go?" Fallingleaf asked me. I purred and meowed, "It went fine. Just the tiniest bit of pain."
Fallingleaf turned and walked back to her den. I walked up to my kits, mewing, "Are you apprentices?"
"Yes! My mentor is Dewfall. Snowpaw's is Fawnripple, Hawkfire's mentoring Flowerpaw, Firepaw's getting mentored by Ivydawn, Foxpaw's mentor is Ripplestream, and Wolfpaw's being mentored by Wingfeather." Leafpaw replied proudly, puffing out her chest. She was a a lot bigger than from the last time I had seen her, though out of all my kits, Flowerpaw was the smallest but smartest, and Wolfpaw was the biggest.
I felt sorry that I hadn't gotten a chance to see my kits' apprentice ceremonies, though I was proud of them as well.
"Does GorseClan know the truth about you two?" I asked Wolfpaw and Foxpaw.
"Yes. Falconeyes told everyone. Besides, Echosong received a vision. A fox and a wolf, each carrying a paw-shaped lump of birch and a falcon's eye. I feel like an invading rogue." Wolfpaw sighed.
"I know how you feel. But after Chortletuft became my mate, the Clan started to trust me.
"Then you think we should take a mate? We're too young!" Wolfpaw snarled, jumping to his paws.
"No. I mean you should make someone close to the Clan trust you." I replied.
Foxpaw stood up next to her littermate. "I'm sorry, Birchstar, but there are some solutions that work for you, but they don't and won't work for us." She meowed.
"Foxpaw, Wolfpaw, wait..." I trailed off. They were already gone.
"Birchstar, take Dewfall, Chortletuft, Fawnripple, Honeyflower, Cinderstripe, Sunclaw, Rainstorm, Moonflight, Longbreeze, Silentsong, Lionstrike, Fallenpetal, Starlingfeather, and Rowanflame to MistyClan territory to retrieve the most prisoners you can." Cloudbreeze ordered.
I wasted no time gathering the patrol together. We silently ran through AspenClan territory with the agility and speed of GorseClan warriors. I paused at the tallest cliff of the gorge that MistyClan lived in. Their camp was a large stone gorge with a river full of fish in the middle. I peered over the edge, careful not to fall or slip, which had caused me to lose my right eye at the Mudplace. It was only due to Leaf that I had lived.
I crouched down low like the regular hunting position, except I wasn't catching prey, I was saving warriors.
I curved around the gorge and jumped lightly down, my patrol following me one by one. I traveled over to the pits and saw the enormous boulders covering the entrance. I, Chortletuft, Dewfall, Fawnripple, and Honeyflower rammed into the sides of the boulder and it moved enough for a queen and her litter to get through.
I dropped down into the AspenClan pit and meowed, "Everybody!"
Willowblossom turned and mewed, "Birchfoot!"
"Er, well actually, I'm Birchstar now. Sparrowstar and Sunspark died. Fallingleaf's vision said that I would become the new leader of AspenClan." I corrected.
"Did Silverspark and Sandfeather make it to LionClan?" Havenwhisper asked.
"Yes. They did." I replied quickly. "But we need to get you out of here. I brought a patrol to help sneak out as much prisoners as possible."
Willowblossom carried Tigerkit out by the scruff and Havenwhisper followed with Lionkit. Apparently, Lionkit and Tigerkit understood what we were doing, because they didn't make a sound.
After all the AspenClan prisoners were out, I ordered Dewfall and Fawnripple to take them back the longer, but safer, way back to camp. We succeeded in getting Spiderstrike, Heatherblaze, and Ashbreeze out as well. I had Moonflight and Honeyflower take them back to camp, and we shoved the boulders back into place above the AspenClan, GorseClan, MistyClan, and CliffClan pits, making it look like nothing had disturbed them.
I turned my attention back to the sleeping guard. Earlier, I had managed to slip some poppy seeds into his vole when he had left for a short while.
He started to stir, I panicked and dropped him into the BranchClan pit, realizing that the prisoners were out. I rolled the boulder back into place and I spotted a large patrol coming up the gorge, heading for us.
"Run!" I screeched, breaking into a fast trot, and then a run. I dashed through the thick undergrowth of AspenClan territory and stopped at the camp, panting, trying to catch out breath.
"Berryshadow? Mintyfur? Fernpool? Here?"
"Here!" "Here!" "Here!"
Luckily, no one was missing. I then remembered something.
"Where's Chortletuft?" I yowled.
"Not in the camp." Cloudbreeze mewed quietly.
I whirled around to face the patrol.
"Do you know where she is?" I yowled to the patrol.
"I thought she was running with us." Rainstorm of GorseClan meowed.
I stormed out of camp, ignoring my Clanmates' cries of "Come back!" and "Don't go!"
But I didn't care. I would die to find Chortletuft, even if it took all my nine lives.