52,167 Replies to “BlogClan Tavern”

  1. Eaglefrost
    May 16, 2019 at 7:13 am

    I’m reading this Star Wars book right now, and this is something I never thought I’d say, but it’s making me think. There’s a lot of discussions of morality, which kinda makes neither side good. I love it. They talked about the Alderaan destruction, but then they talked about how there were millions of people on the Desth Star when the Rebellion blew it up, thus, almost making the Rebellion just as bad as the Empire because they killed a bunch of, more or less, innocents. Now I really wanna watch Star Wars again. I’m kinda delving back into my Star Wars obsession again…

    • Fally
      May 16, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      what book are you rereading? 🙂


      Running for SW!!

      • Eaglefrost
        May 17, 2019 at 2:59 am

        I’m reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. It’s fantastic. I highly recommend it.

    • May 16, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      😛


      procrastination is the key 🔑

    • May 16, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      ooh interesting 🙂


      liar liar plants for hire

  2. May 16, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    how i feel when people at school started saying rest in spaghetti never forgetti because i put it in a video project of mine

    View post on imgur.com


    liar liar plants for hire

    10
    • Fally
      May 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      😛


      Running for SW!!

    • May 16, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      Wow… 😛


      procrastination is the key 🔑

  3. May 16, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    One of my classmates’ favorite joke:
    “Knock-knock.”
    “Who’s there?”
    “Jimmy.”
    “Jimmy who?”
    “Orange you glad you didn’t say banana?”

    6
  4. Sunpaw
    May 16, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    This is going to be my last comment before I go inactive for an undefinite amount of time.

    Bye, guys.

    8
    • May 16, 2019 at 8:03 pm

      bye sun we will miss you so much! <3


      liar liar plants for hire

    • Fally
      May 16, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Aw I’ll miss you Sun! <3


      Running for SW!!

    • May 16, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      aww bye! We’ll miss you <3


      🌊 Queen of Canon Correcting🌊

    • May 17, 2019 at 12:07 am

      no don’t go wly <3


      INFP-T Libra

    • Pineblossom wants winter to be back
      May 19, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      Bye sunpaw! Take all the time you need!


      Blarmony assured

  5. Potato
    May 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    ¡Hola señors!
    I have many much SOLS and therefore are done with everything! 😛
    Do I seem really inactive? I barely on anything other than roleplays.

    5
  6. Pastelpaw🌸Pasty
    May 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Spanish class was different today 😛 and embarrassing


    And that’s the tea.

    • May 16, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      ooforoni why? 😛


      liar liar plants for hire

    • Fally
      May 16, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      why was it embarrassing? 😛


      Running for SW!!

    • May 16, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      dude you can’t just drop that and not tell us why 😛


      🌊 Queen of Canon Correcting🌊

  7. Ivie | Ivypaw
    May 16, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    My friend gave me a Todoroki sticker today 😀 My friend Icepaw who doesn’t know anything bout anime asked what it was and I responded:
    ‘Japanese Iceland’

    😛

    • May 16, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      😛


      liar liar plants for hire

    • Fally
      May 16, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      😛


      Running for SW!!

  8. Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
    May 16, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Hi guys, just wanted to pop in and let you know I’m alive. 😉 I’ve been on live chat a lot lately, but haven’t commented much. Just wanted to check in with you lovely people and see what you’re up to. ❤


    Ambition and strong coffee.

    11
    • May 16, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      Hey Icy! I rode Donner last week and I wanted to give you an update 😉 He spooked at the beginning, but was super forward the rest of lesson. I made it out alive 😛


      procrastination is the key 🔑

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 16, 2019 at 5:37 pm

        Cool, cool. 🙂 Sorry he spooked! I’ve stopped riding for the summer because it’s already in the 90s (uuuugh) and I’m traveling a lot in the next few months, but when I go back in fall I’ll likely be riding Donnie more, so I can work on lead changes and low jumps better. Sandman just Doesn’t Care™.


        Ambition and strong coffee.

      • May 16, 2019 at 10:00 pm

        ooh I know I’m butting into this conversation but I just want to tell you that Donner means to give in French 😛 does that fit his personality?


        🌊 Queen of Canon Correcting🌊

        • May 17, 2019 at 6:37 am

          Nope most definitely not 😛


          procrastination is the key 🔑

    • Rose from her phone haha
      May 16, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Trying to figure out the mod polyship ship name, writing like three fics at the same time, and designing a fandom 52-card deck

      😛

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 16, 2019 at 5:37 pm

        Who is in this mod polyship?


        Ambition and strong coffee.

        • Rose from her phone haha
          May 16, 2019 at 5:49 pm

          You, Sunny, Flo, Birchy, and Goldi

          It is… a hassle

          • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
            May 16, 2019 at 5:52 pm

            4 of my favourite people! I approve.

            Flircholdicy?


            Ambition and strong coffee.

            1
    • Fally
      May 16, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      Hiya Icy, it’s good to see you! 😀 <3 How have you been? 🙂


      Running for SW!!

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 16, 2019 at 5:38 pm

        I’ve been pretty good! 🙂 You?


        Ambition and strong coffee.

        • Fally
          May 16, 2019 at 8:11 pm

          I’ve been pretty good too. 🙂


          Running for SW!!

    • willowstep
      May 16, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      49,600 RELPLYS?!


      dont die graystripe

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm

        I think we need a new Tavern soon. 😛


        Ambition and strong coffee.

    • May 16, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Icy! ^^


      bramblestar has rabies >:3

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm

        Hey!


        Ambition and strong coffee.

    • May 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      heya Icy ! I’m inactive rn as well rip


      Somewhere that’s Green

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 16, 2019 at 5:51 pm

        No worries, friend. We still love you 😉 Take all the time you need.


        Ambition and strong coffee.

        • May 16, 2019 at 6:35 pm

          Hey Icy! What’s up? I’m in large group study hall. Two girls cannot stop talking right next to me… welp


          ~ 🌉U Mundo Ideal🌌 ~

          • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
            May 17, 2019 at 5:03 am

            Dang! Not much. Just hanging out in my comfy bed with my dog. The good life.


            Ambition and strong coffee.

    • Cloudy has a competition tommorow!
      May 16, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Hi Icy! Just to let you know, I rode a new horse last week! He’s name is Shimon!

      • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
        May 17, 2019 at 5:03 am

        Oh, cool! Was he fun? What colour is he?


        Ambition and strong coffee.

        • May 17, 2019 at 5:15 am

          He’s a tan / light brown male with sort of ginger streaks (he’s as handsome as he sounds). He’s great fun, but can be a little annoying… It took me five minutes to get him into a trot, and every five minutes he tries to break into a canter. But overall he’s a real cutie


          Silverstream is a bae 😛

          • May 20, 2019 at 6:59 am

            It’s been two days, doesn’t this deserves to be modded?


            Silverstream is a bae 😛

            • Iceeeeeeeeeee (Icy)
              May 20, 2019 at 5:10 pm

              Hi Cloudy – comments are left in moderation for me, and I’m afraid I just hadn’t gone back and modded them yet!

              He sounds like a very beautiful horse! Sorry about him breaking into a canter – Sandman will do that and scare the bejeebles out of me sometimes. 😛


              Ambition and strong coffee.

    • May 16, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      hei der icy 😀 i’ve been good what about you? 🙂


      liar liar plants for hire

    • Pineblossom is ready for her birthday!
      May 16, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Hey icy! How’s life?


      Blarmony assured

    • May 16, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      Hey Icy! It’s nice to see you 🙂 how are you?


      🌊 Queen of Canon Correcting🌊

    • May 17, 2019 at 12:10 am

      hey Icy! it’s been a hectic week 😛 on Monday there was volleyball playoffs, on Tuesday I had anxiety, yesterday was our chorus’ spring concert (where a kid with the stomach virus decided he was going to come … that didn’t end well) and the finale of Survivor (I’m still angry) aaaaand today was testing and my speech-and-debate tournament so yeah 😛


      INFP-T Libra

    • Jasmine That Sways in Breeze (Jazz)
      May 17, 2019 at 6:25 am

      It’s about 1:30 AM and I just spent twenty minutes in total confusion because there was something in my eye and I couldn’t get it out and for a moment it was like glued shut 😛

  9. Lionthorn (Lionpaw/Leo)
    May 16, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Hey!!! sorry i haven’t been active. i finished Claws!! here’s the final product:

    Prologue
    A wolf howled. A lion growled. A hyena laughed. And the moon went black. In a dark cave, the nursery of the pride of Moon, a pregnant lion named Whisper was giving birth. Her mate, Moonheart himself, was by her side, along with two other lions. Whisper’s sister, River and her brother, Shadow stood nearby
    River’s golden pelt rippled as she shifted uncomfortably, peering over at her distressed sister every few seconds.
    Moonheart paced back and forth in the birthing cave, running a groove in the dirt on the floor.
    Shadow curled up in the corner, tucking his nose in his paws and trying to block out the noise of his sister’s wails.
    “This is taking longer than anticipated.” Moonheart growled, pausing in his pacing to stare at the sky.
    “Is this your first birthing?” Leaf, the Lekar, or healer, of the pride, snapped at her leader. She was the only one with the courage to do so.
    “No, but it’s the longest.” Moonheart sighed and laid down, placing his massive head on his paws.
    Whisper let out a scream of pain.
    “It’s all right, Whisper,” Leaf turned her attention back to the queen.
    Leaf massaged Whisper’s belly with her paws and sighed happily. “The cub’s coming.”
    Moonheart’s eyes widened and he paddd slowly up to Whisper just as his daughter entered the world. The cub was pressed against her mother’s side, her fur gleaming in the starlight streaming into the cave. The cub was unlike anything ever seen before, because instead of the usual golden-tan color of lion cubs, this cub was black. Black as night. Black as smoke. Black as thorn. And, as her mother licked her nose, the cub opened sapphire blue eyes.
    “Is this…?” Moonheart rumbled, hus fur rippling as he clenched and unclenched his muscles.
    “The black cub?” River finished with an astonished look on her face.
    Whisper stared at her cub, awe in her eyes. “I… I… I’m the mother of the black cub?”
    “Yes, my love.” Moonheart purred softly and pressed his big head against hers.
    “She’s incredible.” Shadow said to his sister.
    “Yes, quite.” River knelt in front of the cub and looked into her deep blue eyes. Suddenly, River collapsed, her paws in the air and her brown eyes glowing blue. The newborn cub stood shakily and stared at her aunt. River stood, and, looking through the roof of the cave, she shrieked as the starlight streamed in.
    “What’s going on?” Moonheart demanded.
    “It’s the cub!” Leaf gasped. “She’s possessing River!”
    River gasped in shallow breaths and slowly her eyes returned to dark brown.
    The whole cave stared at the small black cub in shock. They all knew that she had great power, but this was unlike anything they could have imagined. This cub was dangerous. If she wished, she could wreak havoc. She could destroy the world.
    “What do we do?” Leaf rasped.
    “We take care of her,” Moonheart stared at his paws. “Like any other cub. She is still one of us, and she must be nurtured.”
    “Will she know of her powers?” Whisper asked, curling around her baby.
    “She has to,” Moonheart decided. “She needs to learn to control them.”
    “Well then,” Whisper declared. “May the stars welcome Nightshade, the black cub born of the Pride of Moon.”
    “And may they watch over her.” Leaf bowed her head and the rest of the lions followed her example.

    _(*)_

    “The moon has vanished!” Orion roared. “The black cub has been born!”
    Murmuring broke out amongst the Hunters.
    “We must wait, but when its powers have matured, we will hunt the cub,” Orion continued, the scars on his face flashing in the starlight. “I will form bands, and only the luckiest of you will be chosen. You will train from dawn to dusk so that you will be ready when I send you. The weak among you will fall, and they will be replaced by the strong.”
    Orion shook out his thick golden-brown mane and shouted at the sky. “For only the strong survive!”
    “Only the strong survive!” the rest of the lions roared, their huge hearts beating in their chests at the thought of finally being sent on the mission they had trained their entire lives for, while in the shadows, a small cub buried his head in his paws and smothered a single tear falling from his face.

    Chapter One
    Starlight and Sunlight
    Nightshade tumbled over her sister, snarling. What had been a play fight had quickly evolved into something bigger. They had been practicing battle tactics when Nightshade had accidentally let a claw slip out. She had scratched her sister’s leg, and Star in return had scored a set of slashes down Nightshade’s side. Now bleeding profusely but numb with anger, the sisters were nearly in a full blown battle when their father, Moonheart, had leapt into the clearing.
    “Stop this!” he roared, pinning Star to the ground with one paw. “What has gotten into you?”
    “Into me?” Star snarled, while Nightshade hung her head shamefully. “I didn’t start this! Nightshade was the one that scratched me first, so I just scratched her back!”
    “Is this true?” Moonheart lifted his paw from Star and looked at Nightshade.
    “Yes, but look at her leg!” Nightshade protested. “The scratch is so small!”
    Moonheart sighed and rubbed his face. “Nightshade, be more careful next time. Star, you-”
    “I didn’t do anything except what she deserved!” Star snarled. “You’re always giving Nightshade special treatment just because she’s the Black Cub and has all of these powers and stuff. Nightshade helps around in the nursery, she hunts and guards, sure, but I do all of the same things, but I don’t get rewarded or even praised while she gets fawned over and the first pick of the kill. It’s not fair!”
    Before Moonheart could say anything, she let out a sob and stomped off to her den.
    “I’m sorry.” Nightshade began, but her father cut her off.
    “You didn’t do anything.” he grunted. “Go see Leaf to get your scratches taken care of.”
    “Okay,” Nightshade glanced in the direction that Star had gone. “Will she be okay?”
    “She’ll be fine,” Moonheart growled. “Go get healed.”

    _(*)_

    Nightshade padded back to the entrance to the Pride Walls. Her side was crusted with a thick paste that Leaf had plastered to her side. The black lioness held a rabbit in her powerful jaws, her mouth watering. Nightshade slinked around a thorn bush when she smelled a peculiar scent. The scent of another Pride. Nightshade raised her hackles and dropped the rabbit.
    “Who’s there?” she demanded.
    “Go!” a voice snarled, and three lions, a female and two males, launched from the bush.
    Nightshade’s eyes widened. She snatched up her rabbit and streaked to the Pride Walls.
    “Invaders!” she screeched when she pushed through. “Two females and a male, coming fast!”
    The lions broke through the walls after Nightshade just then, causing everyone to scatter in shock.
    “Give us the Black Cub!” one of the the females demanded.
    “And no one gets hurt.” the male added with a snarl.
    Nightshade stared up at her father with flashing eyes. Certainly he wouldn’t give her up.
    “Why are you here?” Moonheart stood in front of his daughter. More lions crept from their dens to see what was going on. Star caught Nightshade’s gaze.
    What’s going on? Nightshade guessed she was thinking.
    Nightshade shook her head. Nothing bad, I hope.
    Despite the fight the day before, the sisters were close. Star padded over silently and pressed her side against her sister’s. Nightshade gratefully pressed back, welcoming all comfort.
    “We have been sent by Orion,” the female was saying. “We want the cub. In three days, we will come back. If she is not ready to come to us, the Hunters will destroy your pride.”
    “Come in three days,” Moonheart meowed. “We’ll discuss further then.”
    The three Hunters growled once more and dashed out of the Pride Walls.
    “What are you going to do?” Whisper, Nightshade and Star’s mother asked.
    “I’m not giving Nightshade up,” Moonheart glanced at his daughter. “In three days, be ready to fight.”
    “We don’t need to fight those Hunters too soon,” Whisper said grimly. “I’ll send a Guard to see that they’ve gone.”
    “We’re going to fight?” Nightshade said shakily.
    “You need to learn to use your powers,” Moonheart said. “We can’t afford to lose anyone else.”
    “She’s not ready,” Star called from where she was preparing to leave with the Guard. “She needs to see what can really happen if she can’t protect us.”
    “Nothing would happen,” Moonheart glared at his daughter pointedly. “The rest of us would just step in.”
    “She’s not soft-hearted any more,” Star pointed out. “We can show her. Night, come with me.”
    Nightshade cautiously followed her sister. They went to Leaf’s den, where River lay on her side in the middle of the floor.
    “Is she okay?” Nightshade peered curiously over at her aunt.
    “Night,” Star said softly. “Go closer.”
    Heart pounding, Nightshade padded over so that she was standing over River. She wasn’t moving.
    “Is she asleep?” Nightshade asked, panicked.
    “Look.”
    “She… she…” Nightshade closed her eyes tightly. “She’s dead, isn’t she.”
    It wasn’t a question. She knew the truth. Nightshade’s beloved aunt, the one who had brought her rabbits when her mother said no, the one who took her and Star to the watering hole when they were cubs to see the beautiful sunsets, was dead.
    “How?” was all she could manage.
    “We think it was the Hunters,” Star licked Nightshade’s face. “A hunt band found her this morning, just before you came in shouting about them.”
    “It’s all my fault,” Nightshade stared at her sister with big sad eyes. “I attracted them here, and they- they killed her.”
    “It’s not your fault,” Star said. “You didn’t choose to have these responsibilities.”
    That didn’t help. Nightshade knew it was her fault, and no one could change her mind.
    “I can’t stay here.” Nightshade stared at Star.
    “What do you mean? Of course you can stay here! This is your home.” Star insisted.
    “But what if the hunters come again?” Nightshade pointed out. “It’ll be because of me, but if I leave, they won’t have any reason to come here.”
    “If you leave, I’ll come with you,” Star said quickly. “I can teach you how to use your powers, and you don’t want to be alone on the run.”
    “Thank you.” Nightshade pressed her face against her sister’s neck.
    “Let’s go ask father.” Star and Nightshade walked side-by-side out of the den with their dead aunt, the whisper of her ghost flitting along beside them.

    Chapter Two
    Whispers and Currents
    Moonheart unsheathed and sheathed his claws. This was a big decision. His daughters’ lives were at stake. He knew that he certainly couldn’t give Nightshade willingly to Orion. Star would kill him -or Nightshade might- to save her life. It wouldn’t be easy to teach Nightshade how to use her powers, and if she did, then she would understand how dangerous she could be, and that wasn’t safe for anyone.
    The battle is inescapable, Moonheart thought grimly. I need to start planning.
    Moonheart hunched over a dirt patch on the floor and began scratching marks. Slashes, circles, lines and X’s covered the den and brown dust clogged Moonheart’s golden paws.
    “Moonheart?” Someone scraped at the entrance of the King Den.
    “Enter.” Moonheart called. Nightshade and Star walked inside and sat in front of him.
    “Yes?” Moonheart looked up from the scratches in the floor.
    “I have to leave.” Nightshade said softly, her blue eyes glowing.
    “Why?” Moonheart asked, although he already had an idea. His daughters would do anything to save their pride.
    “I can’t risk anyone else getting hurt.” Nightshade’s voice caught in her throat and she looked over her shoulder.
    “You saw River.” Moonheart meowed softly. “I understand.”
    “We must leave,” Star interjected. “I’m going with her. I can help her with her powers.”
    Moonheart nodded. “Protect her,” he said, though neither knew which of them he said it to. “And make sure she stays alive.”
    Both lionesses nodded sharply and turned and bolted from the den with a shout of elation.
    “Very brave of you, Moonheart.” a voice broke the King’s vision away from his daughters’ retreating paws.
    “River.” Moonheart smiled softly. There before him stood a misty figure with brown-gold fur and bark-brown eyes. It was indeed his mate’s dead sister, or a form of her at least.
    “She brought me.” River said softly, her fur glowing a slight blue tint.
    “She’s getting stronger.” Moonheart drew himself up. This was a time to say that he was truly proud of his daughter.
    “And more dangerous,” River looked down her smokey nose at her brother. “She is lucky to have Star.”
    “Yes, but-” Moonheart shook his head. “Never mind.”
    “Spit it out.” River nuzzled her transparent head against Moonheart, a feeling like snow-mist being drenched into fur.
    “It’s just that I’m worried for her.” Moonheart confessed. “Star is a born protector, but if a better opportunity is presented-”
    “Like a reward for killing Nightshade?” River supplied.
    “Exactly.” Moonheart shook his huge head. “I’m just going to say that she always leads the most successful hunt-bands, even if they’re not hers.”
    “She wants power,” River nodded. “That’s dangerous for such a young cub.”
    “The scary thing is,” Moonheart said, shutting his eyes tightly in fear. “That if she knew that she was capable of overthrowing me, she could have done it long ago.”
    “It’s alright,” River licked Moonheart’s nose softly, making him shiver. “She’s gone now. She can’t hurt you.”
    “But she can hurt Nightshade.” Moonheart closed his eyes tighter and slowly fell to the floor, shaking slightly as a ghost whispered memories.

    Chapter Three
    Moonlight and Nightshade
    “Let’s go!” Star pushed Nightshade through the Pride Walls. The sisters had just gotten permission from Moonheart, and they were raring to go. Even though it was a run for their lives, Star and Nightshade were still excited for an adventure.
    “Where should we go?” Nightshade asked as they ran over small hills and past scraggly bushes.
    “Let’s head for the mountains,” Star suggested, pointing with her nose to the misty peaks in the distance, illuminated against the setting sun. “They’ll never find us there.”
    “Good idea,” Nightshade agreed. “Let’s hunt first, though.”
    They followed a strong scent that smelled slightly like antelope mixed with zebra. Nightshade sniffed in a clump of coarse grass and touched something squishy with her nose. Her head shot up and she called over to Star.
    “Over here!” she meowed. “Some kind of meat, I think….”
    Star prodded the meat with a claw. Nightshade saw something glisten in the dark from the corner of her eye.
    “Don’t!” she warned.
    “Why?”
    “There’s something attached to the meat,” Nightshade broke off a piece of the grass and poked the meat. Nothing happened.
    “Maybe I was wrong….” Nightshade dropped the stick and bent down to pick up the meat. As soon as her jaws clamped down, a silver wire lashed up and tightened around her muzzle. Nightshade screamed in pain, but the wire wouldn’t come off. Star grabbed the end of the wire and yanked on it, but that just made it tighten more.
    Nightshade shook her head, spraying blood over Star’s light golden coat and a sleek white one… a white coat? The Black Lioness turned her head and stared into red eyes surrounded by glowing white fur splattered with Nightshade’s blood.
    “Relax.” she said. Nightshade laid down and, breathing hard, tried to ignore the pain in her muzzle. The white lioness took hold of the long wire and pushed it into the gap between the knot and Nightshade’s face. The wire came loose. Nightshade put down the meat and licked her own muzzle, wincing at the bitter metallic taste of blood.
    “Who are you?” she asked the white lioness.
    “Are you a ghost?” Star stood rigid facing the lion.
    “No,” the lion chuckled. She didn’t look much older than Star and Nightshade; fully grown, but still young. “I’m albino.”
    “Why are you here?” Star asked. “There are no Pride Walls or even Pride territory nearby.
    “I’m not in a pride anymore,” the albino siad. “I was driven out when I was a cub because of my albinism, but I live fine on my own.”
    “I’m so sorry!” Nightshade tried to brush the stranger’s ears with her tail, but she ducked.
    “What’s your name?” Star asked, obviously amused.
    “Moon.” Moon said, and dipped her head. “What are yours?”
    “I’m Nightshade.” Nightshade bushed up her fur and small burst of light shot from the end of her tail.
    “I’m Star,” Star cocked her head. “What was that, Night?”
    “I don’t know.” Nightshade stared at her tail, the fur shining with black light.
    “Hang on,” Moon unsheathed her claws. “Is your fur black? I didn’t notice in the dark.”
    “Yes, it’s black,” Star snapped. “Are you blind?”
    “No, I just wasn’t paying attention to her fur color while I was trying to save her life.” Moon retorted. “Why is it black?”
    “Well, I, um,” Nightshade shuffled her paws. “Have you heard the legend of the Black Cub?”
    “Yes, everyone has,” Moon cocked her head in confusion, and then her ears stuck straight up. “Are you it- I mean her?”
    “Yes,” Nightshade grimaced as Moon bowed. “You don’t have to do that.” She noticed a mutinous look evolving on Star’s face and added, “But Star is much better at pretty much everything than I am.”
    “Does she have powers as well?” Moon asked.
    “No, but I don’t know how to use mine, so I technically don’t have any either.” Nightshade inched away from her sister’s growing fury.
    “Sorry, but not everyone’s special.” Star growled, gestring to Moon’s luminous fur with her nose.
    “Special?” Moon growled, her extending claws sharp as mulberry thorns. “My specialness is the reason my family hates me.”
    “Can we not fight?” Nightshade stroked her sister with her tail. “I was hoping Moon could join us on our journey.”
    Moon’s gaze softened. “Thank you,” she muttered. “I need a Pride.”
    “We’re not your pride.” Star spat.
    “We are now.” Nightshade glared at her, and gestured for the two other lions to follow her. “Let’s go to the mountains.”
    “Is that where you’re going?” Moon asked. “Why are you traveling away from your pride, anyway?”
    “The Hunters are after her.” Star told her.
    “The Hunters?” Moon gasped. “Then she has no chance. They will tear her apart unless she can use her powers. We need to teach her how.”
    “We?” Star stared at her.
    “I’m not a terrible fighter, believe it or not.” Moon puffed out her chest.
    “I’m grateful for any help,” Nightshade put her paw in the middle of the trio. “Are we all ready for a journey?
    “I’m ready.” Star placed her paw on top of her sister’s.
    “I was born ready,” Moon placed her white paw on the sandy and black ones. “Let’s go.”

    Chapter Four
    Storm and Stone
    The sun glowed overhead as the three lionesses gradually made their way towards the peaks of mountains. They had just exited the jungle and were now entering a barren wasteland surrounded by cliffs. Nightshade had had to break up three of Star and Moon’s fights just that day, and she was tired of it, so when Star turned and snapped at Moon to stop breathing on her tail, Nightshade blew up.
    “Can’t you two just get along?” She snarled, her back fur bushing up and her eyes glowing blue. “We’re going to be on this journey for who knows how long, so we need to learn to get along like every other lion!”
    “Night?” Star asked meekly, “Are you doing that?”
    Nightshade whipped around to see hundreds of rocks hovering above her and her friends’ heads. Boulders and small stones hung suspended in the air. Grains of sand gathered in a cloud of miniscule bullets. The ground itself seemed to rise, and, as Nightshade stared at it, the storm of stones slowly, one-by-one, began to plummet.
    “Run!” Nightshade bolted, Star and Moon on her heels.
    The stones had spread in a sheet above them, and even as the lions ran, they felt the occasional smack on the head from a small stone, leaving them dazed for a few seconds. After a while, it became clear that there was no escaping the rocks, so the three lionesses stopped running. They panted and coughed as the sand particles were sucked into their lungs.
    Hacking up flecks of blood, Nightshade rasped to her friends; “Wait, I’ll try to control it.” she could see that Star was doubtful, but hope gleamed in Moon’s red eyes.
    Her face scrunched up with determination, Nightshade crouched down and splayed her paws. The rocks around them fell quicker, but every one missed Nightshade, Star, and Moon. Nightshade started when she felt warm fur against her own pelt, all of the rocks she was dispelling falling an inch or two closer to them. Moon shifted against Nightshade, her brilliant white coat now brown and grey from stone dust.
    “You can do this.” Moon whispered in her friend’s ear.
    Nightshade was filled with courage, but the time it took her to nod at Moon was just enough time for the rocks to start plummeting.
    “Run!” she screamed, shoving moon away from her and pelting into the shelter of a nearby cliff-cave.
    Panting heavily and exhausted from the effort of holding the stones, Nightshade padded to the back of the cave and dropped her head. She licked sand from her paws. Nightshade’s head felt heavy, like it was full of water, and she laid down and drifted into an uncomfortable sleep.

    _(*)_

    Moon pelted away from the collapsing wave of rocks, shaking so hard she could barely run. She felt like she was the reason the rocks had fallen in the first place, she had spoken to Nightshade, caused her to look up, caused her to break her concentration. Or maybe it was Nightshade herself. Maybe she just felt overwhelmed by the strain of protecting the three of them from a storm that she had created, a storm that could have killed them all. And maybe it wasn’t Moon’s fault at all.
    As Moon walked, her paws left bloody prints on the sand, but Moon was so lost in thought that she felt nothing when the grains pressed into her fresh wounds, making their way into her body, seeping through her blood…. No, she felt nothing. Nothing as she walked. And walked. And walked.
    Moon walked until she smelled water. Then she ran. She pounded towards the water hole. She crouched down in front of it and stuck her nose in, yearning to feel the cool relief against her scratches. It never came. Moon stuck a paw in. No soothing touch of cold water. The water was hot. The water was sticky. And the water was red. The water wasn’t water like she thought it had been. This watering hole was filled with blood.
    Moon backed away, shaking her face and her paws here her pristine fur was dipped in blood. And the blood lake followed. Moon hissed and swiped at it with a paw, but the blood was thick and it caught her paw. Pulling her in. dragging her under. Under. Under. Into the lake of blood. And pain. Hot, scorching pain. And….
    “Hello, little cub.”
    A face rose above the blood lake, roaring with laughter as he watched Moon disappear beneath the surface. Orion. He stared right at her and sneered.
    “It looks like you’ve lost your little friend, cub. You really should keep a better hold on your fragile things.”
    He stood on the blood lake, the lake freezing beneath his paws. “No matter,” he smiled, an awful, gruesome grin on his face as he watched the blood freeze. “I’ll have you soon enough, little cub. Then you will not have to worry about losing anyone else.”
    As he said these words, the stars glowed and rained down, a sharp pain shot through Nightshade, and she awoke with a gasp to see a bright white face and red eyes staring into her own.

    Chapter Five
    Stars and Constellations
    Star growled. Hating her sister. Hating herself. Hating the world. She had stood still while Nightshade and Moon ran. She had stood under the rocks as they began to fall, and finally, when she couldn’t stand it anymore, she had run. Because of her stubbornness, though, she had taken a few large rocks to her left hind leg, and was now limping. Steadily but surely, Star made her way towards a huge barrier of bush and wood. She smelled a Pride, and she tensed up. Star had entered the Pride of Cloud’s territory.
    Walking on silent paws, Star traipsed through the maze of brampbe and vines until she saw the Pride Wall. Well, not quite a Pride Wall, there was no distinct smell of queen milk or of a Pride King or Queen’s gallant pride, no sharp herbs from a Lekar’s den. No. this Pride Wall was hiding the scent of blood. The smell made Star wrinkle her nose and her stomach roll, but she decided that there must have just been a particularly sloppy kill that no lions had bothered to clean up.
    Star pushed through the vines hanging from a branch, shivering as they brushed her wounded leg. She slunk through shadows much too dark to welcome a Pride and crouched back, hissing, when she saw a gaping cave before her. Hearing the muffled sound of purrs and roars, Star hesitated before entering the cave, deciding that this Pride must just be odd in deciding to nest underground rather than under open air.
    As Star padded down the tunnel, the scent of blood grew stronger. It wrapped around Star and threatened to drown her. She halted and panted, searching for fresh air. Then she caught a glimpse of a flash. Eyes. glinting in the dark. A rustle. A mane shaking, or a tail swishing. The burble of conversation stopped, and Star finally saw the blood.
    It was smeared on the walls. Spread across the floor and dripping from the ceiling. And rather than the sweet scent of zebra or antelope blood, this blood was sour, it was fresh, and it was all too familiar. This was lion blood. Star gagged and her chest heaved. Her eyes watered and blurred, and she staggered forwards a few steps before she vomited. Star backed away from the pool of bile, revolted with herself.
    One of the moving shadows peeled itself from the wall and slunk towards Star. It was a male lion, his fur dark and his mane darker. Star gaped at the handsome lion and glared at the floor as more shadows crowded around her. She had just vomited in front of dozens of lions. But these lions didn’t look revolted. They simply looked amused.
    “Come,” the male lion meowed, his voice gruff. “You smell of Nightshade.”

    _(*)_

    Star kept her head high as the lions escorted her down the pathway, deeper and deeper into the ground where no light was visible. Star glimpsed more streaks of blood on the walls, this looking like bloody paws scrabbling for escape.
    What kind of lions are these? She thought to herself.
    A she-lion nudged Star’s injured leg to keep her going. Star whipped around and hissed in the lioness’s face. “Hey, watch it.” she growled.
    The she-lion growled back, and shoved Star again, harder.
    “Ignore her,” the handsome male lion murmured to Star. “Talon just likes to feel important. Anyway, we’re here.”
    They stepped into a huge cavern with an underground river running through the middle and a cleft in the roof with starlight sifting through. A huge lion lounged on a pile of rocks on the other side of the current.
    “Orion,” the male lion called. “We found this one in our tunnel. Feather says that she smells of Nightshade.”
    “Nightshade, eh?” Orion turned his massive head towards Star, his golden eyes piercing her, seeming to search her soul. “How do you know the Cub, little one?”
    “I’m not little, thank you very much,” Star growled, not intimidated at all by the notorious leader of the Hunters “My name is Star, and my sister prefers to be referred to as Nightshade, not ‘the Cub’.”
    “Your sister?” Orion’s eyes widened and he stared at the dark-furred male lion beside Star. “Thorn, you brought me the Black Lioness’s sister? Good cub.”
    “I always wish to please you, father.” Thorn dipped his head, a slight taste of malice in his voice.
    “Why do you want Nightshade anyway?” Star pushed past Thorn and leapt over the river in a single bound, bringing herself eye-to-eye with Orion.
    “To have her power, of course,” Orion cocked his head. “I’m sure that that is something you can relate to.”
    “How dare-”
    Orion snarled, twisting his face into a smile.
    “Don’t pretend you’ve never dreamed of it before,” Orion meowed, his snarl deepening. “If only you could have her powers, then you could be great… you could be just as loved as her.”
    I could be great? Star thought.
    “I see you’re hesitating.” Orion sounded pleased.
    “I’m not going to act like I’ve never wanted her powers -that I still don’t want her powers.” Star tilted her head, her mind filling with the things she could do if only she could wear that black pelt, if she had powers. If she was the one everyone wished they were.
    “Excellent,” Orion licked Star between the ears. “Welcome to the Hunters, my dear Star. You will shine brightly among us.”
    Star narrowed her eyes and grinned. Her teeth gleaming in the faint starlight in the cavern. “What do I have to do?”
    Chapter Six
    Black Holes and New Moons
    Shivering, Nightshade pressed closer to Moon’s fur. When she had awoken from her nightmare, she had been so relieved to see Moon she had felt light-headed and nearly collapsed into her friend.
    “Are you okay?” Moon had asked, concern rounding her eyes.
    “Fine,” Nightshade had rasped, wincing at the sound coming from her throat.
    “You’re not fine.” Moon decided. “How can I help?”
    “There was an herb… an herb in my Lekar’s den… it helped sore pads.”
    “What does it look like?”
    “It’s yellow and kind of tufty… it’s a flower.”
    Moon had raced off into the forest to search for the herb, but not before making Nightshade promise to get some rest. Now, as Nightshade groggily came back to consciousness, she tasted a bitter film that coated her throat and saw dried pulp on her pads.Nightshade sighed and stood shakily, nudging Moon in the side with a paw.
    “Come on,” she meowed, surprised that her voice already sounded better. “We have to find Star. She’s probably worried sick about us, and is trying to find us, and she might be lost or hurt or dead or-”
    “She’s fine.” came a voice behind Nightshade.
    Nightshade whipped around to see… “Star!” she exclaimed, her fur rippling.
    “Huh?” Moon stood sharply, nearly collapsing from the dizziness of standing while so tired. “Star?”
    “Yeah, I’m here.” Star ducked her head.
    “Good!” Nightshade playfully glared at her sister. “You worried us to death.”
    “That I can tell.” Star licked her hind left leg, a thin trail of blood dripping from it.
    “I’ll get some more of the herb.” Moon crossed to the back of the cave and grasped a bundle of the flowers in her jaws. She chewed up the flowers and then attempted to smear the mush onto Star’s leg, but the golden lioness pulled away.
    “What do you think you’re doing?” she snarled.
    “It’ll help.” Moon promised.
    “I don’t think so.” Star backed away.
    “Just trust me.” Moon hissed.
    “Trust you?” Star scoffed. “I barely even know you.”
    “We walked three days straight together, and I’m trying to put a flower on your leg.” Moon strode forwards again. “What, do you think I’m going to poison you?”
    “How should I know?”
    “I put this on Nightshade and she’s doing just fine.”
    “Why should I believe you?”
    “Oh my stars!” Nightshade roared. “Just relax, Star, and let Moon put that herb on your leg!”
    “No-” Moon stood stock still and her golden eyes glowed blue. Her face twisting with hatred, she laid down and stuck out her wounded leg.
    Sighing, Moon finally slapped the ointment on the cut. “Was that so bad?”
    “Stings.” Star gasped.
    Nightshade broke her concentration and Mon lurched up. Snarling, she shoved her face into her sister’s. “Thanks for that.” she snapped her teeth and Nightshade flinched and Moon gasped.
    “You promised.” Star bristled and growled. “You promised you would never use you powers against me, and you did. For her.” Star scoffed and gestured to Moon with her tail. “Not even your own sister, just- just her.”
    “My best friend.”
    “Over me?” Star growled and whipped around. “You know what? Have fun finding your own way to the mountains, because I’ve had a much more interesting offer given to me.” she smirked. “Come in, Feather, Thorn, Jupiter.”
    The two female lions and the male that had followed Nightshade into her Pride Walls the day she had run entered the cave.
    “This is Feather,” Star gestured to the grey-gold she lion. “Thorn,” the red-gold male. “And Jupiter.” the dark brown female.
    “They’re Hunters.” Star cocked her head. “We’re Hunters. And Nightshade, Black Cub of the Pride of the Moon, you’d better come with us or you and Moon are going to die.”

    Chapter Seven
    Hunters and Fighters
    Nightshade snarled.
    “Really, Star?” she flicked her tail. “A Hunter? Are you that desperate for power?”
    Moon lunged at Star with her claws gleaming and her teeth bared. She growled and rolled over the gleaming lioness. Feather leapt on top of Moon and raked her hind claws down her back, blood welling up on her pristine fur. Moon let out a screech of pain and rolled over. She pushed up with her hind legs and watched as Feather flew across the cave and slammed into the wall.
    Jupiter snarled and jumped on top of Nightshade. The Black Lioness struggled to grasp a hold on Jupiter’s mind, but it was prepared to block her, so Nightshade gave up and struggled to push the heavier lioness off of her. Jupiter pressed her paw on Nightshade’s throat, but then it wasn’t Nightshade.
    Jupiter was pushing on the throat of a massive komodo dragon. The komodo dragon hissed and writhed violently. She slithered out from under Jupiter, her mouth frothing with venom. She sank her fangs into Jupiter’s shoulder and the dark brown lioness screamed so loud, the komodo turned back into Nightshade and covered her ears.
    Thorn pressed under Jupiter’s shoulder and helped her stand. He pushed her out of the cave and they ran back to wherever they had come from. Nightshade growled after them, but let them go. She turned around to see Moon growling, about to sink her jaws into Star’s throat.
    Nightshade gently pushed her best friend aside, but nothing was gentle about the way she slashed a row of marks down Star’s stomach.
    “Tell Orion that we’re not going to the mountains anymore.” Nightshade snarled. “And tell him to have fun finding us, wherever we go.”
    Moon dragged Feather’s partially conscious body over.
    “And take your weak little friend with you.”

    _(*)_

    “We need more time to lick our wounds.” Moon insisted.
    “We don’t have that time.” Nightshade paced. “As soon as Star, Feather, Thorn, and Jupiter get back to Orion, they’ll regroup and come back after us.”
    “Do you even know where we’re going?” Moon pressed her paw on Nightshade’s side, halting her pacing.
    “To the mountains.”
    “But you told Star that we weren’t going to the mountains anymore.” Moon pointed out.
    “Which is exactly why we are going there.” Nightshade said. “They’ll be looking everywhere except for where we actually are.”
    “Of course!” Moon shook her head. “I’m sorry, ’Shade. I swear, Star is much stronger than she looks.”
    “Yeah, I have plenty proof of that.” Nightshade showed her stomach so that Moon could see the checkerboard of scratches that had healed into scabs and then faded into scars.
    “Star did all of these?” Moon gently traced a scar with her paw.
    “Yes,” Nightshade sat back down, sighing. “No one ever knew about them, except for this one.”
    She twisted to show a dark scar that looked like it had never healed properly.
    “It got infected so I eventually had to tell Leaf -my Lekar- about it. Star got into huge trouble.”
    “I don’t understand,” Moon pressed her head against Nightshade’s scars. “You said that you and your sister were close.”
    “Not in the fighting clearing.” Nightshade squeezed her eyes shut, blocking out memories. “When we trained, she didn’t care about hurting anyone. As long as she won, she’d do anything.”
    “Well, you can forget about her now.” Moon stood and began to walk out of the cave.
    “Where are you going?” Nightshade asked.
    “To the mountains. You coming?”

    Chapter Eight
    Thorns and Petals
    Thorn growled as he pushed Jupiter the final step into the Hunter Den.
    “Stay here. I’ll get Bee.”
    “Who’s Bee?” Star came up behind him, Feather limping a few steps behind her, trailing blood.
    “Our… well… she’s not a Lekar, she just makes sure the wound is not fatal.” Thorn gestured for Star to follow him down the tunnel.
    “And if it’s not?” Star winced at the sharp sting of the scars given to her by her sister.
    “Then they get treatment.”
    “And if it is?” Star asked.
    “Then you get to prove your loyalty to us.” Thorn grimaced.
    “How?” Star gulped.
    “Let’s bring Bee to check them first.” Thorn looked slightly uncomfortable.
    “Thorn, is that you?” a fluffy young lioness poked her head out of a cleft in the rock. She had nearly bright yellow fur and her eyes glistened black. She was barely out of the nursery, looking to be only a few moons old.
    “Yes,” Thorn bent forward to touch noses with the cub. “Star, this is my little sister, Bee.”
    “Hi!” Bee reached up to touch noses with Star, but she drew her head up so that she couldn’t reach.
    “Thorn, why didn’t you tell me you found a mate?” Bee pipped, unfazed by Star.
    “A mate?” Thorn’s eyes widened, and he looked from Star to Bee and back again. “Oh, no, she’s not… I mean, we’re not… um… I… no. We’re not mates.”
    “Yeah….” Star ducked her head, her ears burning.
    “Sure.” Bee winked at him, them ducked back into her den. “What kind of wounds?”
    “I don’t know.” Thorn said as he followed Bee as she trotted down the tunnel. “Jupiter has a really bad bite in her shoulder, and Feather is bleeding from her sides, but I can’t see any scratches.”
    “Broken ribs.” Bee mutered.
    “Here we are.” Star plopped down beside Feather and licked her nose.
    “Definitely broken ribs for this one.” Bee placed a pile of plants next to her, then went to examine Jupiter. “What happened here?”
    “Nightshade turned into a big lizard and bit her.” Thorn provided.
    “What kind?” Bee licked the wounds, then backed away quickly when the dark brown lioness snarled and snapped her teeth.
    “I don’t know, I’ve never seen it before.” Thorn inched closer to his sister.
    “Fatal.” Bee looked up, her eyes grim. “Will you, Thorn, or will Star?”
    “Star will.” Thorn stared at Jupiter. “We’ll bring her to the King Cave first.”
    So they dragged the lioness down the tunnel towards the cave with the river and Orion’s lounging stones, leaving Bee behind to tend to Feather.
    They pushed Jupiter into a standing position in front of the raging river, and Thorn roared. His roar echoed through the cave and resonated around the tunnels that spiderwebbed from it.
    Lions streamed into the King cave, one after another. Males and females growled and shoved past each other, flowing in like a living river until the cave was full of them. Hundreds and hundreds of lions roared in response to Thorn’s, the sound more deafening than his had been.
    “This is Jupiter!” Thorn roared again. “Bee had determined her wound from our recent fight against Nightshade herself fatal! So you know what must be done.”
    Cheers and howls erupted from the crowd shouting; “Throw her in! Throw her in!”
    Jupiter squeezed her eyes tightly shut, hissing against the pain of her wounds.
    “Today, we call upon Star, our newest Hunter, to show her loyalty to us,” Thorn turned to Star, excitement glowing in his eyes. “Kill her.”
    “Kill her?” Star’s eyes flew open.
    “She’ll die anyway, the wound is fatal.” Thorn pushed Star closer to Jupiter. “Just put her out of her misery. You’re doing her a favor.”
    “How?” Star’s stomach turned and tumbled as she heard herself asking the question.
    “However you want,” Thorn smirked, backing into the crowd of spectators. “Be… creative.”
    Creative, Star’s mind raced. She snarled and jumped on top of Jupiter. Even though she was weak, the she-lion was determined not to die. She howled and bucked Star off of her. Star growled and slashed Jupiter’s eyes, blood splattering her fur. Now blinded, Jupiter whipped around and hissed, lashing out at nothing, at empty air.
    Star felt instantly guilty for what she did next. Sneaking on silent paws, Star grabbed Jupiter’s lashing tail in her mouth and pulled. Hard. She used the leverage to push Jupiter into the river. She was standing on the bank, holding Jupiter by the tail as she thrashed and screeched, mere inches from the raging waters.
    Jupiter wrenched her head up and glared at Star. “If even the sister of the Black Cub can do such terrible things, then kill me now.”
    She pushed off of the stone wall above the river and with a terrible scream, she leapt into the river.
    There was a sound of popping cartlidge and a huge snap, and Jupiter was thrown into the river. Star stood, shaking, and stared defiantly at the crowd of lions. Star stepped forwards and dropped something on the ground in front of her. A dark brown tail laid lifelessly on the ground, bleeding slowly where it had been ripped from its socket.
    There was a murmur that rippled through the crowd of lions that faded into cheers. Star smiled faintly. All of these lions were cheering for her. A murderer. A Star.

    Chapter Nine
    Spirits and Hearts
    Nightshade ducked Moon’s swipe and pushed under her. Flapping up as a bustard, the black bird thwacked her friend over the head and crashed back on top of her as a macaque. The monkey screeched and wrapped her arms around Moon’s waist and snarled.
    Moon snarled back and shoved the macaque off of her, whipped around and snorted with laughter. Nightshade had taken a form that was all too familiar to her; Nightshade had taken Moon’s white lioness form.
    “Good battle tactic, eh?” Nightshade shed the Moon disguise and licked her friend on the bridge of her nose. “To make my enemy confused or just burst into laughter and they’ll forget that they’re after me.”
    “Great.” Moon agreed, now let’s focus on your possessing.” She flicked her ears towards a herd of antelope. “I want you to make as many of those antelope as possible come over here and lay down in front of us.”
    Nightshade scrunched up her face and stared at the antelope. Come on. Come over here. You, you, you, you, and you just walk on over here and lay down. It’s okay, we’re not going to hurt you… much. Just come over here and lay down. It’s okay.
    Five of the antelope trotted away from their herd and towards the spot where Moon and Nightshade stood, bleating loudly with wide watery eyes.
    Shhhh. Be quiet. It’s okay. Calm down. Just come over here and be quiet and calm and relaxed.
    The antelope’s eyes clouded over and they stopped bleating. Heads lollong, they sleepily trotted to where Nightshade was giving telepathic instructions. They laid down and fell asleep, snorting and shuffling their hooves.
    “Great job!” Moon purred.
    Moon and Nightshade picked out the biggest antelope and pulled it away from the other, killing it with a sharp bite to the neck. Nightshade released the other four antelope, who let out sharp bellows and raced back to where the rest of their herd lay waiting.
    “Now,” Moon said after they had eaten the antelope. “Your… what’s it called?”
    “Spirit summoning?” Nightshade offered. “I’ve never done it before.”
    “That’s why we have to practice.” Moon pointed out.
    “Okay,” Nightshade sat down and bent her head, her closed eyes looking down at her paws. Slowly, she pulled up every memory she had of the lion that she missed the most. When they were cubs. A rippling mane against her neck. Brown eyes glistening with love. With pain. With more love. More love than Nightshade had ever felt in her life, all pressed into those beautiful dark brown eyes.
    As she sat, her heart numb and her mind whirling, a figure began to show. A male lion with a thick mane. Brown eyes. Golden fur. Nightshade’s best friend and mate. He had been killed in a battle against the Pride of Ice, but Nightshade had never forgotten him.
    “Bramble!” she gasped, reaching forwards to press against him, longing to feel his soft fur once more. But she didn’t feel anything. This lion was dead, he was simply a projection of what once had been. Nightshade could not touch him, could not bury her head in his mane as she had once done.
    Bramble purred, though, the tips of his fur glowing blue.
    “I’m so proud of you.” he purred, his eyes showing all the love he felt for her still, even though he was dead.
    “Who’s this?” Moon narrowed her eyes curiously against the blue glow of the spirit.
    “Bramble.” Nightshade’s voice cracked. “He was my mate.”
    “Oh, ’Shade….” Moon pressed against her friend.
    “It’s okay.” Nightshade smiled at Bramble. “I just want you to know… that I never stopped loving you.”
    “I never have, and I never will.” Bramble smiled back. “But it’s alright if you find someone else.”
    “What?” Nightshade exclaimed. “I could never!”
    “Don’t say that.” Bramble said softly. “Remember, in the Star Realm we know more than those alive do.”
    “Yes…?” Nightshade’s eyes felt suddenly heavy.
    “You will find love again,” Bramble tried to lick Nightshade’s nose, but could not. “And it may be closer than you thought.”
    As Nightshade’s eyes closed completely, his spirit faded away, but not before saying four more words.
    “I love you, Nightshade.”
    Chapter Ten
    Sights and Scents
    Thorn bowed to Star. She had killed Jupiter, his friend, because she had wanted to be loved by who? By these horrible, wretched creatures that killed for sport. Everyone was different, he supposed, but he didn’t care anymore. Long ago, he had learned that love was useless. Or so he thought.
    His father used him as a weapon. His mother hated him. His sister teased him endlessly, and although it was only teasing, there was always a scent of hatred behind her words.
    But there was one lioness that couldn’t leave his mind. Sleek, black fur. Blue eyes. The fierce determination in her eyes. That was someone worth loving, if only she could love him back. Nightshade. That name whispered through Thorn’s mind and echoed around his dreams.
    He wished he could help her escape his father, but he would never be allowed to go alone… unless….
    “Father.” Thorn bowed to Orion. “I have a request.”
    “What is it?” Orion stared at his son.
    “That you send me to find the Black Cub.” Thorn blinked up at him. “Alone.”
    “Alone?” Orion laughed. “Are you serious?”
    “Yes.” Thorn’s gaze didn’t waver.
    “Why alone?” Orion said suspiciously.
    “Because I feel like I have a better chance of finding her alone than with a bunch of bumbling hotheads who would rather use brute force than logic.”
    “You are my son.” Orion purred. “Of course, go get her.”
    “Thank you.” Thorn bowed his head.
    “But,” Orion growled, his soft tone gone. “If you fail, you will be exiled as one of the weak when you return.”
    “I understand.” Thorn resisted the urge to grin. He wouldn’t have to worry about that. He wouldn’t be coming back if everything went according to plan.

    _(*)_

    Thorn raced through the jungle, making his way to the cave where the battle had taken place. There he would be able to find a scent trail to follow so that he could find Nightshade and her friend… what was her name? Moon? Yes. Moon. that was it. He would find Nightshade and Moon and then try to help them if they would let him. Even if they didn’t let him.
    Running at top speed, Thorn finally made it to the cave. Blood spattered the floor and walls.grey spots had been weathered into the floor where venom from the Nightshade-lizard’s fangs had dropped.
    Thorn sniffed around the entrance of the cave, picking up numerous scents; Star’s, Feather’s, his own -his heart lurched- Jupiter’s. Also, Nightshade’s and Moon’s entwined scents that lead down a thin path in the middle of the jungle. Thorn followed the scent until he reached the edge of the jungle, where he also smelled antelope blood. Finally, he found them. Nightshade was laying down, very much asleep, and Moon sat up next to her, keeping watch while her friend slept.
    Thorn crouched down in a nearby clump of grass, weary from his journey. He laid down with heavy eyes.
    I’ll wait until morning. He decided, and then slipped into dreams of a moonless sky.

    Chapter Eleven
    Stories and Gore
    Nightshade woke to Moon shaking her.
    “Get up!” Moon hissed. “I found something I need to show you!”
    She pelted off into the tall grass, Nightshade on her heels.
    “I was keeping watch,” Moon began. “And I saw something moving in that grass over there. I thought it was prey, so I went after it, but look what it really was.”
    There in the grass lay the sleeping for of a male lion, but just any male lion. It was Thorn, Star’s friend who had been with her, Feather, and Jupiter at the fight.
    Nightshade growled and took the form of Orion, Thorn’s master, seeing as he was a Hunter.
    “You’re getting faster.” Moon praised her.
    “Thanks.” Nightshade’s voice was now the guff, kindless voice of Orion the Wild.
    Nightshade-Orion shoved Thorn hard and roared in his face.
    “Wake up!”
    Thorn awoke with a start. “Father?” he gasped. “What are you doing here?”
    “What are you doing here?” Nightshade hissed back.
    “I’m on my mission to find Nightshade, like you allowed me to.”
    “Well, you found her.” Orion morphed back into Nightshade, a mutinous look on her face.
    “Nightshade.” Thorn gasped, his eyes wide. “It’s you!”
    “Unless you know another black-furred shape-shifter.”
    “Why are you here, Thorn?” Moon snarled.
    “I want to help you.” Thorn proclaimed, beginning to stand, but Nightshade and Moon snarled and he laid back down.
    Moon placed her paw on Thorn’s throat and slowly began to unsheath them.
    “Give us one good reason why we should believe you.” she growled.
    “You worked with my sister to betray me, remember?” Nightshade snarled fiercely.
    “Yes, before… well… before Star did something.” Thorn stared down at his paws.
    “Hey, ’Shade?” Moon whispered to Nightshade. “Look at his eyes.”
    And so she did. What she saw touched Nightshade almost as much as it scared her. It was a look she had seen in Bramble’s eyes many times. This lion, this Hunter, son of Orion, was in love with her.

    _(*)_
    “Come on.” Nightshade pushed Thorn up from the pile of grass. “We have to go before one of your Hunter friends tracks us down.”
    “I came alone.” Thorn assured her.
    “We can never be too careful.” Moon glanced around.
    “Anyway, let’s go.” Nightshade and Moon pelted together towards the sky-high peaks of the mountains, Thorn right beside them.
    “What did Star do?” Nightshade cast a look sideways at Thorn, still running full speed.
    “Are you sure you want to know?” Thorn looked dismayed. “I wouldn’t want to ruin your image of your sister.”
    “She’s ruined it herself enough times.” Nightshade growled.
    “All right, if you’re sure.” Thorn explained how Star had killed Jupiter and ripped off her tail because the she-lion has a fatal wound.
    Moon ran faster so that the wind in her ears would block out any details, but Nightshade stayed right where she was, next to Thorn with wide eyes and a face frozen with shock.

    Chapter Twelve
    Final Fights and Stormy Nights
    Key for this chapter:
    Star’s thoughts are first
    Nightshade’s thoughts are second
    Moon’s thoughts are third
    Thorn’s thoughts are fourth

    there are spaces separating them, they repeat

    The rain pounded in Star’s ears. Excitement flowed through her veins. Behind her, Feather, Nettle, Silver, Sunny, Fish, and Robin raced at her heels. Thorn had betrayed them or was dead. Either way, she was the new lioness at the head, and she was leading a fight-band to kill her sister.

    Nightshade pressed her ears down in the rain. She pressed closer against Moon’s side. She saw the tips of the mountains high above her head, the snow caps as bright as Moon’s fur against the grey clouds.

    Moon pressed back against her friend, shivering in the cold air. They were nearly at the mountains. They had been very lucky to not have been attacked by Hunters so far. Moon felt confident with Nightshade as their leader, proud that she had been able to train her how to use her powers.

    Thorn smiled as he felt Nightshades pelt against his own. They had finally grown close enough that she was no longer uncomfortable touching him. He liked it. He was traveling with two brave, smart, strong lionesses, and he couldn’t be any luckier to still be alive.

    Star ran against the wind, her tail streaming behind her. She shivered at what she had done to be able to lead this band. Sh had fought again, won again, and killed again. She winced as she remembered Talon’s screams as Star had pulled out her tail. The tail of the she-lion laid now in front of Star’s den along with that of Jupiter. A warning to all who might challenge her.

    Nightshade swept her gaze around, looking for a was past the steep walls that blocked her way to the even steeper mountains. She saw a thin tunnel and she, Moon, and Thorn padded through it single file. When they came out on the other side, their eyes widened and pulses quickened. All three braced themselves, crouching down with hackles raised.

    Around the trio, seven Hunters lay in wait, Star in the lead. Nightshade’s sister laughed and flicked her tail. Moon snarled at her and unsheathed her claws, just waiting for either Nightshade’s signal or the Hunters’ first move, whichever came first.
    Thorn’s heart clenched when he saw the Hunters. Not because he missed them, but because he hated them. It was because of them he had seen countless murders, lead countless murders. It was because of them his father, mother, and sister hated him. But it was also because of them he had met Nightshade.
    Star raised her tail, signaling for her Hunters to be ready.

    Nightshade shifted form so that she resembled her mother, a massive muscular she-lion, and raised her tail.

    Moon snarled at every one of the Hunters, her fur bushed up and her claws glistening.

    Thorn glared at Robin. If his mother wanted to be here, then she would be the one to fight.

    All seven hunters and three free-ones hissed. Star and Nightshade dropped their tails. The sisters flew at each other. And the fight began.


    thesignaturespotshouldbebigger

    • Lionthorn (Lionpaw/Leo)
      May 16, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      Chapter Thirteen
      Battles and Betrayals
      Nightshade bit Star’s ear.
      “You asked for this.” she snarled and she grabbed Star by the scruff of her neck and shook her. Star shrieked and whipped around. She lunged at Nightshade and reached for her tail.
      “You’re not getting mine.” Nightshade flicked her tail, rolling onto her back and shoving Star with her hind legs. Star twisted in mid-air and pinned Nightshade by the throat. Nightshade growled and lashed out with a paw, aiming for Star’s throat, but missed, only getting her shoulder.
      Star let out a wail and dropped her weight, flipping over her sister. She rolled over Nightshade and smothered her under her weight. Nightshade choked and shifted form to that of a lizard. The tiny creature slid out from under Star, and it turned into a tiger with rippling muscles and its glossy stripes glinting like teeth.
      She leapt at her sister again and scored her claws down Star’s side, wincing as her sister’s blood sprayed her face. Bracing herself, Nightshade grabbed her sister’s mind before she had time to block her and forced her to run into the tunnel. Nightshade then made all of the rocks around her sister collapse. When the dust settled, Nightshade’s muzzle was wet with more than rainwater. She had just killed her sister to save her own life.
      Nightshade turned to see Moon grappling with Feather and Thorn with a she-lion that could have been him, but without a mane. His mother.
      “Oh, Thorn,” she whispered.
      As the lions they were fighting dropped to the ground with blood streaming from scratches along their sides, faces, and throats, Moon and Thorn stood next to Nightshade. The free-ones were still outnumbered, four-to-three, but they were not doubtful of their chances of winning.
      Nightshade charged forwards with her friends right beside her. The Hunters backed up, turned around, and ran. Nightshade, Moon, and Thorn chased them so that they were at the edge of a cliff. The Hunters slowed down, but Nightshade shoved their minds a little and they sped up, throwing themselves off of the cliff with screams of terror.
      Nightshade halted, panting, at the edge of the cliff. Her paws were stained with blood and mud. The sickly sour scent of it clogged her nose and she shook her head and pressed her nose into Thorn’s fur. He was her only comfort now, the only comfort she needed.
      She had never expected to kill anyone on this journey, but so far she had been at the head of six murders. The four Hunters, Star, and Jupiter. The worst part, though, was that Nightshade didn’t feel guilty.

      Chapter Fourteen
      Confessions and Acceptance
      Nightshade heaved herself over a rock to the top of the mountain, watching as Thorn and Moon pulled up behind her. The sun was setting, casting a pink-gold glow over the dusky grey mountaintop. Moon climbed over with a dead animal in her jaws, it’s curling horns and shaggy fur crusted with ice.
      “What’s that?” Nightshade sniffed at the animal, pleased by its savory smell.
      “I don’t know,” Moon dropped it at her paws. Thorn tore off a leg and carried it over beneath a tree to eat it.
      “It tastes good.” he looked up at Nightshade with blood staining his mouth, both humorous and sickening.
      Nightshade tore off a leg for herself and joined Thorn while Moon curled up by the edge of the cliff, keeping watch.
      “Hey.” she bumped her head against his.
      “Hey.” he pressed his against her cheek, just a little too long just to be a friendly gesture.
      “I… I have something I need to tell you.” Thorn licked stray furs from his lips.
      Nightshade shifted closer to him. “Yes?”
      Thorn squeezed his eyes shut, his ears flicking. Nightshade’s ears glowed and she .
      “It’s hard to say, but from the moment I laid eyes on you… everything, every instance has been about you—I don’t just matter anymore, you are… everything.” he opened his golden-brown eyes and seemed to gaze into Nightshade’s soul. “I love you.”
      “Thorn, I…” Nightshade mumbled.
      “It’s alright,” Thorn dipped his head, “if you don’t feel the same way. I completely understand if you-”
      “Thorn!” Nightshade placed a paw on his foreleg and he looked at her with hopeful eyes. “I do.” she pressed her face into his thick mane, breathing in his warm scent. “I do feel the same way, Thorn, I love you too.”
      “Really?” Thorn looked down at her.
      “Of course.”
      “Even though… my father…?” he didn’t need to finish the sentence.
      “You’re not your father.” Nightshade touched her nose to his. “You’re Thorn. My Thorn.”
      “Your Thorn,” Thorn licked Nightshade between the ears. “I like the sound of that.”
      They both smiled and Nightshade saw something glinting in Thorn’s eyes that she hadn’t seen since Bramble, and now she was sure how she felt about it.

      Chapter Fifteen
      Claws and Teeth
      Nightshade took the last pawstep up to the bottom of the mountain, icy winds fading from her fur. Thorn jumped down behind her, and Moon behind him. When they had reached the top of the mountain the day before, Nightshade had called upon Jupiter, the lioness that Star had killed. She had asked her what would become of them if they ever traveled back down to join the Prides, and Jupiter had told her that they must. They must kill Orion and free the rest of the Hunters, most of which were being kept in the Hunter Den by force.
      So Nightshade, Thorn, and Moon had reluctantly began their journey back down the mountain, going as fast as possible, fueled by the thought of avenging all of the deaths Orion had caused. Now, they were following Thorn back to the Hunter Den, stopping only to eat, not allowing themselves to rest.
      Racing deep into the jungle, the trio were beginning to doubt their choice to fight Orion. They would be surrounded by hundreds of Hunters, much more that Moon and Thorn could fight or Nightshade could control, so Nightshade had asked Moon with a secret plan of her own. She knew she could shape-shift into anything, but what about multiple versions of herself? So Nightshade decided to try.
      She shape-shifted into around a hundred Nightshades, all of them moving in one fluid movement. Them each of them shifted into a different form; one a jaguar, one an ibis, one an elephant, and many, many more
      The Nightshades shifted back to their lion forms and moved through the jungle so that they surrounded the entrance to the Hunter Den. Then they swarmed into the tunnel, clogging it so that the smell of blood was blocked out. The Nightshades filled the Gathering Cave and surrounded every lion inside.
      “I wish to speak to Orion.” they roared.
      The one hundred Nightshades each took the form of a predatory animal, each snarling or howling or grunting or roaring.
      “Orion!” The original Nightshade thumped her paw. “Where is he?”
      “Here, Black Cub!” Orion roared from his lounging rock. “I see you have finally learned that there is safety in numbers! Well, I’m afraid that isn’t true when you are among my fiercest Hunters.”
      “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.” Nightshade snarled. “The easy way? You throw yourself into the river and free your Hunters. The hard way? I make you throw yourself into the river and then kill all of your Hunters.”
      “There’s no such thing as an easy way to do anything.” Orion snarled and leapt over the river directly on top of Nightshade. He bit her throat, but she just dissolved. It was just one of the clones.
      All on the lions in the cave growled an leapt at the Nightshade nearest to them, but it was all in vain. The real Nightshade was in between Moon and Thorn, sneaking up behind Orion.
      Come on. Just turn around and repeat after me: “Hunters, I free you, you may now walk your own paths.” Say it. Come on, Orion, just say it.
      Orion narrowed his eyes, but said what Nightshade told him to.
      “Hunters!” he roared. “I… I… I free you. You may now w-walk your own paths.”
      As if broken from a trance, every one of the Hunters blinked and turned towards Orion. They roared and lunged towards him.
      Orion batted many of them into the river like they were just pesky fleas, but the river of lions came faster. They swarmed over Orion and hen they broke away, all that was left was a few tufts of fur and his thick, blood-stained mane.
      Orion had been killed by the lions he had thought were mindlessly loyal to. He had been killed by his loyal subjects, by even his best friends. Nightshade wondered if that’s how Star had felt when Nightshade had killed her; betrayed by the one she had once loved more than anything.

      Chapter Seventeen
      Home and Comfort
      Nightshade raced alongside Thorn, her mate at last, and Moon, her best friend. There was once a time that running meant danger or blood or more slaughter. But not anymore. Now, they could run simply because they wanted to.
      After she rejoined her Pride, Nightshade had to go through the agony of telling the story of how she killed Star, killed Orion, and freed the hunters. She had discovered that her father had been killed by Orion shortly before she had come back, and was glad to become the Pride Queen. That night, Nightshade would become Moonheart, an honor above all honors.
      Nightshade was also expecting cubs, Thorn’s cubs, and she could not be happier. Although she missed her dearly, Nightshade never regretted killing her sister. She had developed a thick layer of guilt, but she knew that it was better this way, even for Star.
      Nightshade was finally living up to her full potential, becoming what she had been destined to be. She was a mate, a mother, a best friend, and a Pride Queen.
      And she had never been happier


      thesignaturespotshouldbebigger

    • May 17, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      ooh 😀


      liar liar plants for hire

    • Fally
      May 17, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      This is really good! 🙂


      Running for SW!!

  10. Lionthorn (Lionpaw/Leo)
    May 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Chapter Thirteen
    Battles and Betrayals
    Nightshade bit Star’s ear.
    “You asked for this.” she snarled and she grabbed Star by the scruff of her neck and shook her. Star shrieked and whipped around. She lunged at Nightshade and reached for her tail.
    “You’re not getting mine.” Nightshade flicked her tail, rolling onto her back and shoving Star with her hind legs. Star twisted in mid-air and pinned Nightshade by the throat. Nightshade growled and lashed out with a paw, aiming for Star’s throat, but missed, only getting her shoulder.
    Star let out a wail and dropped her weight, flipping over her sister. She rolled over Nightshade and smothered her under her weight. Nightshade choked and shifted form to that of a lizard. The tiny creature slid out from under Star, and it turned into a tiger with rippling muscles and its glossy stripes glinting like teeth.
    She leapt at her sister again and scored her claws down Star’s side, wincing as her sister’s blood sprayed her face. Bracing herself, Nightshade grabbed her sister’s mind before she had time to block her and forced her to run into the tunnel. Nightshade then made all of the rocks around her sister collapse. When the dust settled, Nightshade’s muzzle was wet with more than rainwater. She had just killed her sister to save her own life.
    Nightshade turned to see Moon grappling with Feather and Thorn with a she-lion that could have been him, but without a mane. His mother.
    “Oh, Thorn,” she whispered.
    As the lions they were fighting dropped to the ground with blood streaming from scratches along their sides, faces, and throats, Moon and Thorn stood next to Nightshade. The free-ones were still outnumbered, four-to-three, but they were not doubtful of their chances of winning.
    Nightshade charged forwards with her friends right beside her. The Hunters backed up, turned around, and ran. Nightshade, Moon, and Thorn chased them so that they were at the edge of a cliff. The Hunters slowed down, but Nightshade shoved their minds a little and they sped up, throwing themselves off of the cliff with screams of terror.
    Nightshade halted, panting, at the edge of the cliff. Her paws were stained with blood and mud. The sickly sour scent of it clogged her nose and she shook her head and pressed her nose into Thorn’s fur. He was her only comfort now, the only comfort she needed.
    She had never expected to kill anyone on this journey, but so far she had been at the head of six murders. The four Hunters, Star, and Jupiter. The worst part, though, was that Nightshade didn’t feel guilty.

    Chapter Fourteen
    Confessions and Acceptance
    Nightshade heaved herself over a rock to the top of the mountain, watching as Thorn and Moon pulled up behind her. The sun was setting, casting a pink-gold glow over the dusky grey mountaintop. Moon climbed over with a dead animal in her jaws, it’s curling horns and shaggy fur crusted with ice.
    “What’s that?” Nightshade sniffed at the animal, pleased by its savory smell.
    “I don’t know,” Moon dropped it at her paws. Thorn tore off a leg and carried it over beneath a tree to eat it.
    “It tastes good.” he looked up at Nightshade with blood staining his mouth, both humorous and sickening.
    Nightshade tore off a leg for herself and joined Thorn while Moon curled up by the edge of the cliff, keeping watch.
    “Hey.” she bumped her head against his.
    “Hey.” he pressed his against her cheek, just a little too long just to be a friendly gesture.
    “I… I have something I need to tell you.” Thorn licked stray furs from his lips.
    Nightshade shifted closer to him. “Yes?”
    Thorn squeezed his eyes shut, his ears flicking. Nightshade’s ears glowed and she .
    “It’s hard to say, but from the moment I laid eyes on you… everything, every instance has been about you—I don’t just matter anymore, you are… everything.” he opened his golden-brown eyes and seemed to gaze into Nightshade’s soul. “I love you.”
    “Thorn, I…” Nightshade mumbled.
    “It’s alright,” Thorn dipped his head, “if you don’t feel the same way. I completely understand if you-”
    “Thorn!” Nightshade placed a paw on his foreleg and he looked at her with hopeful eyes. “I do.” she pressed her face into his thick mane, breathing in his warm scent. “I do feel the same way, Thorn, I love you too.”
    “Really?” Thorn looked down at her.
    “Of course.”
    “Even though… my father…?” he didn’t need to finish the sentence.
    “You’re not your father.” Nightshade touched her nose to his. “You’re Thorn. My Thorn.”
    “Your Thorn,” Thorn licked Nightshade between the ears. “I like the sound of that.”
    They both smiled and Nightshade saw something glinting in Thorn’s eyes that she hadn’t seen since Bramble, and now she was sure how she felt about it.

    Chapter Fifteen
    Claws and Teeth
    Nightshade took the last pawstep up to the bottom of the mountain, icy winds fading from her fur. Thorn jumped down behind her, and Moon behind him. When they had reached the top of the mountain the day before, Nightshade had called upon Jupiter, the lioness that Star kad killed. She had asked her what would become of them if they ever traveled back down to join the Prides, and Jupiter had told her that they must. They must kill Orion and free the rest of the Hunters, most of which were being kept in the Hunter Den by force.
    So Nightshade, Thorn, and Moon had reluctantly began their journey back down the mountain, going as fast as possible, fueled by the thought of avenging all of the deaths Orion had caused. Now, they were following Thorn back to the Hunter Den, stopping only to eat, not allowing themselves to rest.
    Racing deep into the jungle, the trio were beginning to doubt their choice to fight Orion. They would be surrounded by hundreds of Hunters, much more that Moon and Thorn could fight or Nightshade could control, so Nightshade had asked Moon with a secret plan of her own. She knew she could shape-shift into anything, but what about multiple versions of herself? So Nightshade decided to try.
    She shape-shifted into around a hundred Nightshades, all of them moving in one fluid movement. Them each of them shifted into a different form; one a jaguar, one an ibis, one an elephant, and many, many more
    The Nightshades shifted back to their lion forms and moved through the jungle so that they surrounded the entrance to the Hunter Den. Then they swarmed into the tunnel, clogging it so that the smell of blood was blocked out. The Nightshades filled the Gathering Cave and surrounded every lion inside.
    “I wish to speak to Orion.” they roared.
    The one hundred Nightshades each took the form of a predatory animal, each snarling or howling or grunting or roaring.
    “Orion!” The original Nightshade thumped her paw. “Where is he?”
    “Here, Black Cub!” Orion roared from his lounging rock. “I see you have finally learned that there is safety in numbers! Well, I’m afraid that isn’t true when you are among my fiercest Hunters.”
    “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.” Nightshade snarled. “The easy way? You throw yourself into the river and free your Hunters. The hard way? I make you throw yourself into the river and then kill all of your Hunters.”
    “There’s no such thing as an easy way to do anything.” Orion snarled and leapt over the river directly on top of Nightshade. He bit her throat, but she just dissolved. It was just one of the clones.
    All on the lions in the cave growled an leapt at the Nightshade nearest to them, but it was all in vain. The real Nightshade was in between Moon and Thorn, sneaking up behind Orion.
    Come on. Just turn around and repeat after me: “Hunters, I free you, you may now walk your own paths.” Say it. Come on, Orion, just say it.
    Orion narrowed his eyes, but said what Nightshade told him to.
    “Hunters!” he roared. “I… I… I free you. You may now w-walk your own paths.”
    As if broken from a trance, every one of the Hunters blinked and turned towards Orion. They roared and lunged towards him.
    Orion batted many of them into the river like they were just pesky fleas, but the river of lions came faster. They swarmed over Orion and hen they broke away, all that was left was a few tufts of fur and his thick, blood-stained mane.
    Orion had been killed by the lions he had thought were mindlessly loyal to. He had been killed by his loyal subjects, by even his best friends. Nightshade wondered if that’s how Star had felt when Nightshade had killed her; betrayed by the one she had once loved more than anything.

    Chapter Seventeen
    Home and Comfort
    Nightshade raced alongside Thorn, her mate at last, and Moon, her best friend. There was once a time that running meant danger or blood or more slaughter. But not anymore. Now, they could run simply because they wanted to.
    After she rejoined her Pride, Nightshade had to go through the agony of telling the story of how she killed Star, killed Orion, and freed the hunters. She had discovered that her father had been killed by Orion shortly before she had come back, and was glad to become the Pride Queen. That night, Nightshade would become Moonheart, an honor above all honors.
    Nightshade was also expecting cubs, Thorn’s cubs, and she could not be happier. Although she missed her dearly, Nightshade never regretted killing her sister. She had developed a thick layer of guilt, but she knew that it was better this way, even for Star.
    Nightshade was finally living up to her full potential, becoming what she had been destined to be. She was a mate, a mother, a best friend, and a Pride Queen.
    And she had never been happier.


    thesignaturespotshouldbebigger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up