United Stars (Chapter Seven)
Word-Count: 1,105 Content Warnings: ??? Written: 2017?? Last Edit: ???
The journey back to the Behemoth's Bones from the Everpool seemed so much shorter than the journey to it. Rainstar and Cedarpaw galloped through the darkness, straight into the cool underside of the fallen monster.
Both cats gasped for their breath... and this was the only sound they could hear. The Behemoth's Bones were empty. The clan was not here.
"Where is-" Rainstar began.
"Rainstar!" A voice called from outside. The grey-and-white leader stuck her head out, to see a blood-covered Crabclaw stumbling toward her. "Thank Starclan!"
"Where is the clan?" She called back.
"Near the Dustclan border....there are cats there....horrific cats."
Cedarpaw scrambled out toward the north-east, toward the place Crabclaw had mentioned. Rainstar hung back for a few moments. Her wide eyes taken in the sight of the injured senior warrior.
"You will be okay," Rainstar trembled as she spoke. "You're going to be okay Crabclaw- rest." She repeated in a more assured voice, "Rest."
"Crystalsight is in the battle." He replied weakly, settling himself into the ground.
Feeling as if she had been dumped into cold, cold water- Rainstar snapped to attention. She nodded curtly at Crabclaw and dashed off toward the Dustclan border. The leader could see the shadow of Cedarpaw in front of her.
She could begin to hear the screams. Before them, crashing in and out of the dry grasses, were the remaining cats of Tideclan. They fought off the foul-smelling, monstrous cats with blood red eyes and spines sticking out like spikes. Rainstar could recognize the horrific scent, but had no time to try and remember if the Woodclan cat she met had spikes and dripping fangs as well.
The leader howled and flung herself onto a Sunscorched cat that had began to corner Frostfang. Rainstar pulled her claws around the cat's bony chest, pulling the skin and causing the cat to turn. The face was almost familiar, almost one of the Dustclan queens she had met.
The cat opened its jaws, bearing the fangs, and Rainstar crashed her head into it's nose. The fangs crunched as they snapped. Rainstar kicked downward, pushing herself up and taking chunks of the sick cat's skin with her. The former Dustclan queen didn't fight back. Her body grew limp.
"Frostfang- what happened?" Rainstar gasped.
Frostfang pulled herself off the ground. "We were hunting, and just as soon as the sun went down- these beasts appeared!"
"Help!" Pebblepaw mewled from Frostfang's side. The white warrior kicked out against a lunging beast, but barely managed to change it's course. The creature skidded onto the ground near Pebblepaw, poising its neck like a snake about to strike.
All at once, Crystalsight's claws raked onto the backside of the monster cat. They dug deep into the flesh, and the monster hissed. Crystalsight didn't let go.
Frostfang grabbed Pebblepaw by the scruff, dragging him away. The apprentice's eyes were wide, watching Crystalsight attack with a ghastly expression.
Rainstar barreled into the front of the Sunscorched Cat's frame, trying to tear straight into it's heart. The monster twisted its back and jumped, pushing off both Crystalsight and Rainstar in the process. Rainstar wasted no time standing up again, about to leap back onto the creature...
"Wait!" Crystalsight commanded. Rainstar turned to her, shocked, but quickly back to the red-eyed cat. The cat had curled itself into a submissive position...and turn-tailed and ran.
"Never come back!" Rainstar roared instinctively.
"It ran..." Crystalsight blinked. Her face was strangely calm. "They have never run before. They fought to the death."
"Maybe that one had some brains?" Rainstar suggested, shaking off some wetness from her back.
"No. They don't have brains...not anymore." Crystalsight replied, almost suspiciously, and unaware of the puzzled expression Rainstar gave her.
Foxflight ran over to the two cats, digging his claws into the dirt to forcefully stop before the white medicine cat. "Crystalsight...!"
Rainstar almost hissed. At the last second she remembered that Foxflight was their ally now.
"Crystalsight, they're running!" Foxflight exclaimed. "They're leaving...! What, what happened?"
Crystalsight's eyes scanned the ground, and then her gaze turned upward. "Ther-there are clouds."
"What?" Foxflight pricked his ears. He turned up to face the sky as well, "There are?they weren't there before."
Rainstar could hardly make out the clouds from the dark sky, but there was something obscuring the stars. She looked down again to see spots of wetness freckling the sand. Was it...raining? It certainly didn't feel like it.
She curled her lip, pushing away the thought to focus and turn to Foxflight. "Hey, Foxflight!" Rainstar's tone spoke that she was offended she had been ignored until now.
The orange-and-white Medicine cat snapped his head toward her. His eyes flashed with some kind of emotion, but Rainstar spoke before he had a chance.
"Those cats....where they...where they Dustclan cats?"
Horror spread on Foxflight's face and his muscles and energy seemed to sop away. "They were...were. Not anymore."
Crystalsight chirped cautiously, "Should you return to your camp?"
Rainstar looked over her shoulder. Her clan had gathered around her. She could count all the cats- except for Crabclaw- were present. They were alive, but none were uninjured. "Crystalsight," she called, "We need to treat the clan."
Crystalsight's eyes were locked with Foxflight's own. "Go back to them." She whispered. Foxflight sputtered his breath, turned around, and ran in the direction of the camp. His paws began to pick up faster, remembering his duty to Dustclan.
"What is wrong with him..." Frostfang sneered under her breath. "Does he not realize he's their Medicine Cat...?"
Crystalsight pushed herself against Frostfang's side. "He's learning," she said.
Rainstar swung her head around one last time to check for any of the red-eyed monster cats. The stench of death that they extruded lingered, but was not nearly pungent enough to suggest any where still around. "Back to the Behemoth... we need to recover. Quickly!"
The clan's strength was almost gone but they managed to rally enough to kick up piles of dust as they returned to the make-shift camp. They could hear echoes of screeches and howls carried by the wind with ghostly softness.