by M. L. Cooke
Honeykit is a daring cat training to become an apprentice. A Warriors fanfiction story.
Honeykit bounded from cactus to cactus, not caring if the thorns stuck onto her paws. Her mother would take them out. Honeykit leaped off the last cactus. She slipped at the last moment and almost fell into a crevasse in the stone. Something stepped on her tail. “Hey! You-” She looked up. “Pebblekit! You scared me!”
“Hehe! I saw my chance, and I took it!” Pebblekit said. He took his paw off Honeykit’s tail. “Why do you insist on jumping on cacti all the time? Your paws have got enough holes in them already!”
“I don’t know. Silverstar says that I have to be tough to become a warrior, so I’m proving I can be tough!”
“Are you mouse-brained? That’s stupid! What happens if you get a cactus thorn in your eye! Silverstar might not let you become a warrior!”
“Meh. I think it’s working. Come on. Let’s get back to camp.” Honeykit led the way. She slid through the narrow gap between the walls of the canyon that surrounded their camp. Her mother, Mesaheart, appeared near the entrance.
“Where have you been! Have you been jumping on cacti again! Oh, come here.” She sat me down and began to take the thorns out of my paws. Occasionally she would lick my ear. “Oh dear, I can’t seem to get this one out, better go and see Sandybriar, hmm?” I got up and limped over to the sandstone cave Sandybriar lived in. He greeted me at the entrance.
“Again? Are ya sure you didn’t fall off o the canyon cliff?”
“Yes. I’m sure. I just like the feeling of being tough.”
“You like the feelin of cactus needles in yer paws?” He said pulling hard at the spike. Honeykit yowled.
“Easy! Geez! No, I don’t like the needles, I like being tough, and proving it!”
“Well this is no -umf!- way ta -grrr- get your apprentice name! I’m getting tired of pulling these dang things from yer poor pads!” He finally yanked it out. honeykit howled in pain. “Easy now, I’ll get ya some cactus juice to help with the pain.” He walked deeper into his cave. A few moments later he came back carrying a chunk of cactus in his mouth. Honeykit had always wondered how the medicine cats knew what helped what. She knew Sandybriar would never tell her. Those were the secrets of Starclan.
She made her way out of the cave. Amberfang, the clan deputy, called her over with a flick of her tail. Now what? Honeykit bounded over to her. “It has come to my attention that you are now old enough to become an apprentice.” She said. “You and Pebblekit will receive your apprenticeship tonight at moon-high. Now, it is very important that you remember-” Honeykit didn’t hear the rest of it. She could barely believe it! She would finally get a mentor! Amberfang sent her off to her mother. This would be the day.
Sage, Smoke, and Eyan leaped over the fence, Sage in the lead. Their twolegs had done it again. It had let them out earlier to catch mice and birds in the garden and had let the dog out for his evening outage shortly after. It left the dog out with the cats. It had done this so many times that the cats were fed up of it. They wanted to get away. This was the last time they would be chewed up by a dog again.
The dog’s bark echoed off the trees as they sprinted into the sierra landscape. They did not stop running until the sun sank behind the hills.
“I- I can- I gotta stop.” Eyan said slowing to a walk. He was the youngest of the three, and had the shortest legs.
“But, the twolegs might catch us…” Sage replied.
“We still need to stop. We can’t run forever. Over there is a forest we can hide in. He won’t find us there.” Smoke suggested. They all agreed.
The forest was small, dense, and dry. It's canopy was overshadowed by short, scraggly pine, mesquite, and palo verde, their broad branches letting shafts of light spill through to the pebble paved ground. Solid flowing rock formations jutted out of sandy areas forming natural lookout towers for any cat who wanted to control the secluded area. Mushrooms grew in the more shady areas, and looked out-of-place in the otherwise sepia landscape. A discord of animal sounds, which were caused by fleeing animals, brightened up the wooded area, and almost overpowered the sounds of a fight in a nearby clearing surrounded by blackberry bushes.
“What’s that?” Eyan asked.
“I think it’s a cat fight. But that makes no sense. There are no houses out here.” Smoke inferred.
“Well it’s definitely a cat fight, and where theres cats, there’s mice. I’m hungry.” Sage said. “I don’t know about you, but I want food now.”
“But what if the cats are fighting over the last mouse? Or they don’t like outsiders? They seem pretty fierce…”
“I don’t care. I’m hungry!” Sage ran in the direction of the sound. Eyan followed.
“This is not a good idea.” But still Smoke followed. They entered the clearing. The cats in the middle were huge! They fought with a vigor that the three of them never thought possible. There were other cats around the fighting two. Eyan had fallen behind and was the last to enter the clearing. When he did he tripped on a stick which sent him sprawling into the field. All the cats turned to look. Even the fighting ones stopped to look at the intruders.
“Heh heh heh, ummm….. Sorry to bother you sirs and madams….. We’ll be leaving now….” Sage said.
“Who are you?" Said one. "Where’d you come from?" Said another. "They shouldn’t be allowed to leave! Right? Take them to Hazelstar! Take them! Take them! Take them!” All this was said almost at once. The two cats who had been fighting came over and ‘escorted’ them out of the clearing.
“Umm…. how far is this place? Hazelstar?” Eyan asked. Everyone except for Smoke and Sage turned to look at him.
“You don’t know who Hazelstar is?”
“So it’s another cat?”
“Not just any cat! Hazelstar. Star!”
“I really don’t know what your talking about.” Eyan said. The cat talking to him sighed.
“Hazelstar is our leader. The leader of SierraClan. It’s not that far from here.”
“And just where are the mice?”
“The what? Mice?”
“No! Eyan be quiet!” Sage hissed.
“There are no mice here. Just rats, hares, toads, and the occasional bird.”
“No mice? NO MICE!?! What world is this?!? They’re lying! They have to be! A world without mice, is not a world at all!” Sage really liked mice. And, as he said, a world without mice is no world at all.
“Other Clan territories have mice. We just hunted all our mice to oblivion.”
“Oh. How far is it to another Clan?”
“You really haven't been around here long, have you. Don’t go to the other Clans. We don’t want to start a Clan war. There is already one going on, and we, as a Clan, don’t want to get mixed up in it.”
“Well, I guess that makes sense… But how can you eat toad all the time?”
“We also eat rats, hares, and th-”
“I know! I know. Is there a Clan that would give us mice if we asked nicely?”
“I guess IslandClan would. If you joined them in the war. Yeugh! Just saying the word makes me shiver!”
“Oh, okay. How far is Isle-”
“No! We are not joining the war, so you can have mice!” Smoke interrupted. “I think joining the war is a bad idea.”
“Well I think joining the war is a good idea!” Eyan said.
“I agree, Eyan. We should join it! Plus we get free mice, but, hey! We’re all cats, right? This is a good cause.” Sage said.
“Sage, you con-artist. I’m staying here. I like this clan. It’s very friendly.” Smoke said.
“I wanna go with Sage to IslandClan!” Eyan exclaimed.
“That’s that then! Seeya!” Sage and Eyan sprinted off into the brush heading in the direction of IslandClan.
“Do you think they know they’re going the wrong way? Never mind. Alright. Smoke? Was it? If your going to be in our Clan, then you should probably come and see Hazelstar.”
“Who’s that again?”
“Our Clan leader. Come on. We’ll give you some food. Hazelstar is gracious and will probably let you join the Clan!” The cat said. Was this is? Did she finally find a home without twolegs and dogs? The cats led her silently through the brush.
Honeykit sat next to her mother. It was almost moon-high. Silverstar padded up to her. It was time. “Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join me here under the moon for a Clan meeting!”, Silverstar said. These were the customary words to speak when gathering together. Honeykit could hardly keep still. “Tonight we have two kits who are ready to become apprentices. The first, Honeykit. Dustcoat, you have not mentored an apprentice yet, and I think you are ready for your first.” Silverstar said. Dustcoat, looking as inattentive as ever, suddenly looked up. “Do you accept Honeykit as your apprentice?”
“I do!” He said.
“I expect you to pass on all you know.” Silverstar stepped out of the way. Dustcoat walked up to Honeykit, stumbling a bit on the way. She jumped up to meet him. They touched noses in greeting. “The next kit is Pebblekit”, Silverstar began again. “Rustscar, you showed a great deal of wisdom in mentoring Pinetail. I expect you to do the same with Pebblekit.” They both got up and touched noses. I could see the pride in Rustscar’s eyes at being chosen to mentor the deputy’s kit. In Pebblekit’s eyes, though, I saw a glint of fear. It quickly disappeared and was forgotten. “Get a good night’s sleep, for tomorrow you begin your training.”
“Honeypaw! Pebblepaw! Honeypaw! Pebblepaw!” The gathering of cats cheered. Loudest of all was Honeypaw’s mother. Honeypaw was the youngest of her sister and brothers, and was the first to become an apprentice. Her mother had been so proud when she found out. Honeypaw's joy showed on her face as she bounded into the apprentice’s den for the first time. She sniffed around the grass beds dotting the floor for a little while, to find an empty one, and, when she found one, curled up in it and waited for Pebblepaw to come. He had been immediately intercepted by his father, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. All wanting to congratulate him for becoming an apprentice. Unlike Honeypaw, he had been the last of his litter to be apprenticed. He ducked through the small sandstone doorway, chatting with Eveningpaw, Orangepelt’s apprentice.
“Oh, hey Honeypaw. How’s it going?” She said.
“I’m good. I’m so excited to start training tomorrow, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to sleep! What’s Dustcoat like?” Honeypaw asked.
“He’s kind of a space case. Always having to ask someone else who heard what his orders were. He’ll be a good mentor, though. Just you wait.” Eveningpaw answered.
“I don’t know if I can!”
Keep in touch for the next chapter to be added to this same work. Coming soon!