Chapter 5

Blaze opened his eyes. He looked around at the sleeping cats around him. He carefully crept out of the cave. He saw that it was already light out. He picked a mouse out of the fresh-kill pile and started eating.

He saw Claw emerge from the bramble bush that was his den. A queen emerged from the nursery, a holly bush, and headed for the dirtplace. The servants started to walk out of the cave where they lived. They stood before Claw as he ordered them to their different tasks. Blaze saw the warriors start to emerge from their den. Adder was among them, yawning sleepily.

“Hey,” Adder meowed.

“Morning,” Blaze replied. “What do you want to do today?”

Adder shrugged. “I don’t know. But I want to eat first.”

Blaze watched Claw assign the patrols. That was the only thing warriors were assigned to was patrolling the borders with the other Clans. With the rest of their time they could do whatever they wanted. Blaze saw a queen and her kits walk out of the nursery. Queens trained their own kits, so they were probably off to the training area.

“I’m done,” Adder meowed, swiping his tongue across his lips.

“Let’s go hunt,” Blaze suggested.

“Sure,” Adder agreed.

The servants hunted, so there would always be plenty of fresh-kill but Blaze and many other BloodClan warriors thought killing prey was a good replacement of killing cats when there was peace. It still gave them a bit of a thrill.

The two toms trotted out of the camp. Blaze stopped as he smelled squirrel. He stopped to pinpoint it. He saw a flicker of movement and crept toward it. He leaped, and missed. A root he hadn’t seen tripped him and he rolled, slamming into a rock.

Adder trotted up to him, looking worried. “Are you okay?”

Blaze tried to stand and hissed in pain. His shoulder hurt like foxdung. He looked over and saw blood running down his leg.

“You should get back to camp,” Adder meowed.

Blaze leaned on Adder and hobbled back to the camp. Claw trotted up to him and sniffed the wound.

“This needs a medicine cat,” Claw meowed. “Night, Flint, escort Blaze into LeafClan territory.”

The two cats nodded and helped Blaze out of the camp. BloodClan didn’t have a medicine cat, and LeafClan’s camp was the closest. By the time they got there, Blaze was gritting his teeth and praying to his warrior ancestors.

The leader of LeafClan warily approached the BloodClan cats. “What do you want?”

“He needs a medicine cat, Branch,” Flint answered.

Branch nodded. “Bramble, come here.”

A white tom padded toward them. He sniffed at Blaze’s wound, and then he walked into his den. He came back with herbs, which he chewed up a pressed on Blaze’s shoulder. Blaze hissed in pain.

Night and Flint started forward, ears pinned at Bramble.

“Do you want me to heal him or not?” Bramble meowed exasperatedly. “It will hurt before it can heal.”

Night and Flint exchanged a suspicious glance, but sat down again.

“Try to keep weight off of your leg until it scars over,” Bramble meowed. “But I don’t know if that’s possible with you BloodClan cats.”

Blaze pinned his ears. He had never been talked to that way before from a non-BloodClan cat. He admired the tom’s spirit.

Night and Flint escorted him back to the camp. Adder was waiting anxiously.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Blaze nodded. “It feels better now.”

Adder purred. “Good. But you should get some sleep.”

Blaze walked over to the fresh-kill pile that the servants had collected and carried a mouse to his den. He fell asleep thinking of Bramble, and his sharp tongue.

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