Get ready to find out why it has to be Leafpaw, in this edition of…
Trailing Stars: Chapter Five
Edited by: Embersky
illustrated by Jayfrost
“This has to be Leafpaw!”
Leafpaw hates it when people wake her up. She prefers to wake up on her own, thank you very much. But this voice… It sounds so desperate.
Leafpaw opened her eyes. The figure in front of her was a cream colored Siamese she-cat with bright blue eyes that were full of excitement. She thought perhaps the voice belonged to this cat’s owner? Then she realized something; the cat was taller than her. Does that mean I’m just lying flat on my stomach for the entire world to see?!
But Leafpaw sat up on four legs. What the heck is wrong with me? Now I’m playing cat?
Wait, I am a cat. White paws and everything. Does that mean this Siamese cat was…..?
“Kat?” Leafpaw asked. “Why are we cats now?”
“Not exactly sure,” Kat admitted. “But I’m more than happy you’re here!”
Leafpaw looked at the cats next to her. Copperclaw? She thought, and nodded her head in greeting. A mahogany she-cat bounced up and down with joy. That has to be Swiftpaw.
“What do we do now?” Leafpaw mewed, curious on how she’ll change back and how this will all work out.
“We’ll return to camp,” Copperclaw said sternly, with a voice of complete confidence and control. “Then I’ll try and set up a hunting patrol, to see if we can try and learn to catch food.”
The thought of killing animals made Leafpaw’s stomach churn with unease. She always liked squirrels, rabbits, mice, birds, and even fish because if Leafpaw ever caught a fish as a human she’d let it go. There has to be some other way to get food, right?
Leafpaw set that aside and walked next to Kat as Copperclaw led them to camp.
“We’ll have to cross this deep river. Our camp was temporarily moved when a dog pack chased us out just a day ago,” Copperclaw meowed with annoyance. Leafpaw could tell she was disappointed about not being able to do anything about it.
“You are fine with crossing the river, right Leafpaw?” Swiftpaw asked.
“Of course!” Leafpaw replied. Swimming was one of her most favorite things to do in the whole world. So she went in first, and Leafpaw easily adapted to the way cats swim. She liked it.
Copperclaw was the first to get out of the water. Kat shakily got out of the river, (she never was a big fan of deep water) and Swiftpaw splashed and bounced across.
Leafpaw was chasing fish, literally swimming through the water and touching their thin tails.
“Leafpaw!” Kat mewed. “That river is more than a couple of feet deep, you know!”
Leafpaw squeaked. Quickly she scrambled out of the water, but she knew she would return, despite how deep it was.
The small group entered camp. Cats were everywhere. Except none seemed to be relaxing. They all were working their tails off, making nests and digging dens.
“BlogClan has been working hard to restore a new camp. Cakestar says it would be better to make it here; the river would protect us from any more intruders. The last camp was so perfect though….” Copperclaw sighed, saying the last sentence very quietly. But Leafpaw heard it.
Then Leafpaw turned to a silver tabby with worried and confused green eyes. She was scrambling around, different leaves and flowers surrounding her. A slightly smaller silver tabby she-cat followed her, muttering words.
Leafpaw walked over to the two silver tabbies. “I’m Leafpaw,” she mewed. “Do you need help with sorting the herbs?”
“We’re kind of desperate right now, so yes,” the small silver tabby said. “I’m Silverpaw, by the way.”
“You also go by Silverwind, right?”
“Yes, but I’m stuck in this tiny apprentice form.”
Leafpaw nodded. She knew Silverpaw, and it was weird to be the same size because the other apprentice was older than Leafpaw.
“This could be yarrow…” Leafpaw heard the big silver tabby mutter, while examining a leaf. “Or it could be borage. How do I know if I’m going to make a cat get sick or heal them?”
“Is that Dawnmist?” Leafpaw asked Silverpaw, tilting her head towards the silver tabby.
Silverpaw nodded. “We’re having a difficult time sorting herbs. You said you could help…?”
Shakily Leafpaw stared at the mixture of leaves. I know what they do, but what do they look like?
Nodding to Dawnmist, Leafpaw picked up the leaf she was looking at. Dawnmist seemed to have narrowed it down to either a borage leaf or a yarrow leaf, but Leafpaw couldn’t tell what it was. She remembered when Kat tried to review with her what herbs looked like, but Leafpaw hadn’t taken interest in it.
“Borage leaves help stop fevers and it often helps queens when they’re giving birth,” I stuttered out randomly, but then I kept going. “A yarrow leaf makes a cat throw up. This leaf could be anything. But if someone has a fever accidently making them throw up wouldn’t help.”
Dawnmist squeezed her eyes shut with happiness. Leafpaw remembered looking that up as a human, realizing that cats can’t smile so they squint their eyes instead.
“Dawnmist seems to have some sort of a knack at finding out what the leaves are, as if StarClan gave that gift to her,” Silverpaw mewed. “Except you, Leafpaw, seem to know what the herbs do. Even with Dawnmist’s talent though, some leaves are too similar or the scents are too similar to tell apart.”
“These are the ones we sorted,” Dawnmist meowed, pointing to five or six neat piles of leaves, flowers, and roots. “But these are the ones we can’t sort.”
The piles of unsorted herbs were huge. Looking at Dawnmist’s tired eyes; Leafpaw could tell this was overwhelming.
“Maybe you two should take a rest,” Leafpaw suggested. “I’ll try for a bit.”
It took forever to get even the top part of the stacks done. The worst part was, Leafpaw didn’t even know what the leaves were. She just sorted the herbs in piles of which ones looked the same.
In the distance Copperclaw announced the hunting patrols to be set out. Leafpaw gulped. Don’t pick me, don’t pick me……
“….and Mintshade,” Copperclaw finished. “Everyone try and remember how the cats did it in Warriors for each type of prey, or just stalk quietly and be light on your paws.”
Leafpaw was at the middle part of the stacks when they returned.
“We failed!” Copperclaw growled angrily, throwing her scrawny bird in the ground with fury.
Kat walked over and rested her tail along Copperclaw’s shoulders. Slowly Copperclaw relaxed, and Kat walked her to the warriors den.
Everyone placed their prey in a small pile. Most looked at the pile sadly and walked away with nothing to contribute to it.
Cakestar stood in the center of camp, her head low. Mournful glances were cast from cat to cat.
Rainsong dropped a large vole in front of Cakestar.
“Eat it,” she mewed. “The only reason I was able to catch it is because it was so slow.”
Small smiles spread at Rainsong’s joke. Maybe there was a chance of survival, as long as they stayed happy.