Chapter 8

The next morning, Blaze woke up to see Rain next to him. She looked so innocent when she was asleep. As if to prove him wrong, Rain slowly blinked opened her eyes and yawned.

“I’m starving,” she meowed.

“This way to the fresh-kill pile,” Blaze meowed, leading her out of the cave.

He picked out a squirrel and watched Rain grab a sparrow. They ate in silence.

He saw a servant walking by. “You! Go and make a nest for Ra—Lightning next to mine. And if she has any complaints, I’ll take it out on your pelt!”

The servant flinched and nodded, hurrying into the forest to collect some moss.

“Why do you treat them like that?” Rain asked, her fur bristling. “You should be kinder.”

Blaze blinked in surprise. “They are here to serve us.”

“But that doesn’t mean you have to be so cruel,” Rain protested.

Blaze realized he had never thought about why they treated servants that way. He had just done what all the other warriors did.

“Blaze!” Adder meowed, trotting up to him. “What do you want to do today?”

“I thought we could show Lightning the territory,” Blaze meowed.

Adder shook his head, looking at Blaze like he was crazy. “Uh, no thanks.”

“Well, let’s go then,” Blaze meowed to Rain.

“Don’t you need to ask your leaders’ permission?” Rain asked as they padded out of the camp.

Blaze shook his head. “Claw only assigns patrols, and he always has plenty of volunteers for that. It’s the most interesting thing to do. The servants do all the menial tasks, and Claw organizes them.”

“In CloudClan our leader, Sunbeam, makes sure that all the warriors get a chance to do everything,” Rain explained. “That way everything’s fair.”

“There’s the training area,” Blaze pointed out, keeping his thoughts about how crazy the other Clans were to himself.

It was a clearing that was reduced to dust from so many cats training there. Blaze watched one of the queens train her kit.

Rain’s eyes widened. “That’s awful! That kit can’t be more than three moons old!”

“He’s about three moons,” Blaze meowed. “He has to learn his battle skills before he becomes a warrior.”

“And when will he become a warrior?” Rain asked.

“When he reaches about six moons,” Blaze answered.

Rain hissed. “In CloudClan, kits become apprentices when they’re six moons old. Then their mentor trains them for a few moons until they become warriors.”

“The queens know how much their kits can take,” Blaze meowed.

“Queens train their own kits?” Rain asked in shock.

Blaze felt uncomfortable under her stare. “We’d better go or it will be night by the time we finish.”

“Here is the Bonetree,” Blaze meowed when they arrived there.

Rain looked uneasy. “Why do you kill your elders?”

“It is an honor for a BloodClan warrior to be killed in battle,” Blaze explained. “But elders don’t have that chance. The kits kill them to become warriors so that older warriors don’t purposefully die in battle to obtain honor.”

Rain shook her head. “In my Clan, elders are respected for their wisdom and left in peace in exchange for the service they did for their Clan.”

Blaze showed Rain the rest of the territory, and they returned to camp just as the sun was setting. Blaze watched the sun set in a bloody light and almost could hear the spirits of his ancestors murmuring to him. But if they were warning him, he couldn’t hear.

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