Chapter 26 || Reunion
“What in StarClan’s name is he doing here?” Batchaser hissed, hackles rising, claws extending outwards as he shook with rage. The black and white tom shuffled his paws anxiously, head bowed with what looked like guilt.
⠀⠀I don’t care. That foxheart killed me. Why should I forgive him?!
⠀⠀Jackalstar looked at Shellstar expectantly, curling her lips and smacking his face harshly. “Tell him, mousebrain!” she growled. “Or are you too scared now? You literally practiced this on our way to the Star-lit Pool fifty thousand times!”
⠀⠀“Probably about four,” Galewhisker corrected, earning him a glare from Jackalstar.
⠀⠀Shellstar was quiet for a few more moments before he looked up at Batchaser, eyes reflecting kit-like fear. He’s scared of being rejected. Narrowing his eyes slightly, the black tom huffed and turned his head away. “Well, he clearly can’t explain to me—”
⠀⠀“I’m sorry!” Shellstar wailed, a heartbroken cry wrenching from his throat. Batchaser cocked a brow at him. “I didn’t mean to! I... I mean, I did...! But...it was a mistake. I made a mistake, like-like you made a mistake!”
⠀⠀”Oh, of course, blow this back on me!” the ShadowClanner snarled, neck fur bristling. “Because you can’t truly apologize without making yourself feel better, right? At least I didn’t kill a cat with my own claws! You idiot!” He lunged forward and sunk his thorn-sharp talons into Shellstar’s chest, slamming him to the dusty ground with a fierce growl.
⠀⠀”OKAY! I really am sorry!” Shellstar covered his face with his paws, anticipating being struck. “I-I’m a horrible excuse for a feline and I know that now! I received my fair punishment, okay? Does that make you feel any better??”
⠀⠀Batchaser knew the WindClan leader wasn’t exactly the best with showing true emotions, but even he could tell Shellstar was truly being genuine. That caused his heart to almost stop, his tail flicking wildly behind him. Someone actually feels guilt for hurting me? Batchaser though back to Lynxbite, a frown tugging at the edges of his lips. I know she never cared.
⠀⠀Shaking away the memories, Batchaser snorted and jumped off of the leader. “Fine. I accept your apology.”
⠀⠀Shellstar jerked upwards, eyes wide. “Really?”
⠀⠀Batchaser glared at him. “Would you rather I don’t?”
⠀⠀That shut the stupid leader up.
⠀⠀“So,” Batchaser continued after a moment of silence, examining his claws. “What brings my three best buddies to The Forgotten Eternity?”
⠀⠀“Oh. Right.” Jackalstar leapt to her paws and paced around the other three cats. “Well, you know how we talked about that stuff last night?” Batchaser nodded. “Okay, so after all of that I gathered up Galewhisker and Shellstar to the Star-lit Pool to talk to you more in-depth. But then... well, when we were teleported inside, we figured you’d be having another dream, right? Turns out you weren’t but you connecting with me left the Forgotten Eternity open to outsiders... we were dropped off a ways away from you and started looking. Then Galewhisker—observant as ever—noticed your pathetic tail struggling in that absolutely disgusting river! So now here we are!” A moment of silence passed. “....yaaaay..?”
⠀⠀“I guess that makes sense,” the black tom said with a shrug.
⠀⠀“Jackalstar.” Galewhisker nudged the she-cat. “Are you going to tell him about...”
⠀⠀The ThunderClan leader’s eyes glazed over with pain and she nodded slowly. “Right... um, Batchaser, after you were killed a few days ago, Rushingpaw..” Her voice shook and Shellstar’s ears flattened with shame. “Rushingpaw attacked Shellstar with the rest of us... he snapped the little tom’s neck and he died as well. Do you... do you know where he is...? Did he make it here or...or is the runt gone?”
⠀⠀“I truly do feel sorry for that,” Shellstar murmured, defeated.
⠀⠀Batchaser tensed up, the muscles inside his body going stiff. He’d momentarily forgotten about Rushingpaw and Cypressfall. I doubt they’re sharing any good memories about me. They both hate my guts.
⠀⠀“Yeah,” he finally spluttered out, earning surprised looks from the other three. “He was here with me. We met another sort of crazy she-cat named Cypressfall... she helped us on our journey but, uh, before I talked to you—” He motioned toward Jackalstar, “—we sort of split up after an argument. I’m not sure where they are, but I’m pretty sure they hate me.”
⠀⠀“We don’t hate you, Batchaser...!”
⠀⠀All four cats whipped around, pelts on end and ruffling with fear. Batchaser’s eyes widened when he saw the familiar gray-blue shape of little Rushingpaw, and Cypressfall’s lithe body, along with her cold mismatched eyes... he froze, paws shaking as his two former companions ran up to the others. Cypressfall held back, looking wary of meeting strangers.
⠀⠀Before Rushingpaw could tackle Batchaser in a hug, he squealed with terror at the sight of Shellstar. The apprentice turned tail and hid behind Cypressfall, who narrowed her eyes at the black and white tom. “Um. Who exactly are you all?”
⠀⠀“These are my.... friends,” Batchaser snorted, waving his paw toward the four felines. “Apparently they just made it in here. Jackalstar, Galewhisker, and... Shellstar.”
⠀⠀“I really am sorry,” Shellstar sighed, eyeing Rushingpaw with a guilty look. “I was so angry... I... I hardly knew what I was doing...”
⠀⠀The calico’s eyes widened. “You’re the one that killed Rushingpaw for the second time? He’s just a kit!”
⠀⠀“Apprentice...” the small gray tom muttered, but looked up at Shellstar with wide eyes. “Are you... are you sure you feel sorry? I could forgive you... I’m glad I got to meet Cypressfall through all of this... but it was still hard, being killed ruthlessly..”
⠀⠀“I know,” the WindClan leader choked. “I truly feel horrible. Please forgive me.”
⠀⠀“Okay...” Rushingpaw smiled up softly at Shellstar.
⠀⠀“Alright, enough reunion time, shall we get going?” All eyes turned to Batchaser and he met their gazes, shrugging. “What? I’m ready to get out of this place!”