“It’s only temporary.”
Blazepaw glanced at the white she-cat sitting next to him and flicked his tail warily. In the clearing, the cats of ShadowClan were beginning to slip out of their dens, stretching in the morning sunlight. The dawn patrol had already left and Sunclaw, the ShadowClan deputy, was busy organizing hunting and border patrols. At the foot of his oak tree, Duststar surveyed his Clan through warm, golden eyes. Blazepaw watched longingly as Hawkpelt led his apprentice Antpaw out the thorn tunnel.
Icedawn, the white she-cat, followed his gaze and sighed. “Leafburn will be fine. Rockwater is the most experienced medicine cat I’ve ever met and your mentor is a strong warrior.”
Blazepaw turned to the crevice between the two rocks that was the medicine den. Only yesterday, he and his mentor had been out on a hunting patrol. Blazepaw had scented a dog while hunting solo, which must have belonged to one of the Twolegs that came to the lake during greenleaf. A few heartbeats later, he’d heard Leafburn’s familiar yowl of distress. Blazepaw had raced as fast as his paws could carry him to his mentor. The rest of the hunting patrol had made it before him and had managed to drive away the dog, but not before it tore an ugly gash along Leafburn’s hindleg.
Now he was being treated by Rockwater in the medicine den and Icedawn would be replacing Leafburn as Blazepaw’s mentor.
When Blazepaw didn’t answer, Icedawn gave him an exasperated groan. “Worrying won’t help. I’m sure Leafburn will want you practicing while he’s being treated. We don’t want to disappoint him now, do we?”
“We?” Blazepaw muttered. Icedawn flicked her ears.
As a kit, Blazepaw had always been apart from the other cats. The other kits teased him about his size and slouching posture and loved to play tricks on him when the queens weren’t looking. Once, Twistkit had told him to go into the forest and stay there until sunhigh. He said that if Blazepaw’s mother Cherryleaf didn’t come looking for him, it meant she didn’t care about him. To Blazepaw’s horror, when he slipped back into the nursery, Cherryleaf was still sharing tongues with Applenose and hadn’t noticed his absence at all.
Blazepaw flicked his russet colored tail again and padded towards the thorn tunnel. “Let’s go.”
Icedawn, too relieved to argue, followed.