Chapter 6: Sunstorm
After easing herself away from Hazeltail, who slept on, mouth hanging open, Sunstorm quickly left the sheltered den. The large leaves dripped dew onto her back and she shook it off before hurrying to the place she'd last seen Feathertail. The silver she-cat had to be there. She wouldn't break her promise to Sunstorm. That just wasn't Feathertail.
On the way to the marsh, Sunstorm hunted, catching a rabbit on the moorland. No one was there to challenge her or chase her away from her catch, and if there was, Sunstorm would have fought them. There was another cat though. He saw her and bounded over, his light ginger fur flashed in the dawn sunlight. He moved with ease as if used to the moor, the grass waving around him.
"Want to share?" he asked. His eyes were bright and Sunstorm heard his stomach grumble.
"Can't catch your own?" she asked, just a bit annoyed. "You can," she continued just as quickly. There was enough for two.
The frown on his face disappeared to another smile. He lay down beside her and they finished off the rabbit.
"What's your name?" he asked her when they'd finished.
"Redfur," he replied. "I've been up here a long time. What about you?"
"I died last newleaf," Sunstorm meowed, surprised at how easy those words came out. Before, she would have been touchy. She didn't like that she'd died at all. She'd had so much to live for.
"Sorry," Redfur meowed a bit awkwardly.
"It's all right," she sighed. "I've gotten used to it mostly."
"What Clan were you from?" he asked.
"ThunderClan, and let me guess, you're WindClan?"
He nodded his head and had some surprise in his eyes. "A ThunderClan cat caught a rabbit?"
"Better than a RiverClan cat," Sunstorm meowed.
He purred with laughter.
"I've got to get going," Sunstorm meowed suddenly, standing up as she realized how late in the morning it was getting. The sun was glowing bright and hot almost halfway up the sky. Cats started to appear from their dens, hunting and walking easily together. Their happy voices echoed to Sunstorm across the sunny air and fresh breeze.
"Will I see you again?" Redfur asked, standing up with her.
"You might," she shrugged.
"Tomorrow?" His eyes hopefully gleamed at her.
Sunstorm shook her head. "No, I'm going to be gone for a few moons."
"Moons?" he blurted in surprise.
"Yes," she nodded. "I'm going on a journey. Feathertail is taking me to the Tribe of Endless Hunting."
"You'll get lost!" he protested.
"Have you ever tried going?" Sunstorm challenged.
He nodded. "In the old forest. I did it many times. But I always lost direction. It took me a long time to get back to StarClan. I've given it up since the Great Journey. That was enough travel for me."
"Well not for me," Sunstorm meowed. "Now I don't want to be late. Bye, Redfur."
"StarClan light your path," he meowed, his eyes sad as he watched her leave.
Sunstorm looked once back. He was still standing near the rabbit bones, his eyes on her. His ginger fur gleaming in the sunlight, golden highlights parting his fur and the faint stars glimmering between. Sunstorm turned away and raced along the lake shore. She really had to be going. She feared that if she didn't, she would never leave. There was just something about Redfur that made her want to stay by his side. She couldn't do that. Not when she planned to see the mountains first. It was time to do things she hadn't done in life.
"You did tell someone you were going didn't you?" Feathertail asked. They neared the very edge of StarClan's territory. The forest around them was active around them, birds flying and singing while squirrels leaped branch to shaking branch. The ferns bobbed at the two she-cats' passing. The moss beneath their feet was soft and giving. Sunstorm even thought she could smell some marigold flowers. It was a perfect day for a journey. She wondered if Redfur would agree. Maybe she should have invited him.
"No," Sunstorm shrugged as if it didn't matter.
Feathertail stopped and stared at Sunstorm, disbelief on her face.
"What is Hazeltail going to think when you don't show up?" Feathertail demanded. "What about your friends?"
"They'll miss me for a while," Sunstorm continued to tease, amused by the horror Feathertail displayed. "Then they'll get used to it."
Feathertail stared at her in shock. The even-tempered cat didn't understand or realize that Sunstorm was just pulling her tail. Joking to see what would happen.
"Are you going to make me turn around and tell Hazeltail?" Sunstorm continued, with a pretend horrified look on her face.
"I should," Feathertail sighed, "but no. We're this far. And I did tell Silverstream where I was going. She decided to stay behind this time."
Sunstorm grinned. But a part of her was disappointed Feathertail wouldn't play along anymore.
"Don't worry," she meowed. "I told Hazeltail last night."
Feathertail sighed, but at the same time shook her head in amusement, realizing she'd been tricked. Sunstorm was glad Feathertail didn't hold grudges. Any other cat would have gotten Sunstorm back by abandoning her out of StarClan territory. Sunstorm would have done that to somecat given the chance.
That was when they came to the border. Something inside Sunstorm just knew it was the border. Although the trees looked no different, her paws didn't want to cross over the unmarked line. She glanced at her silver companion wondering if Feathertail felt the edge of the territory too. The ginger-brown she-cat suddenly wanted to stay in StarClan, but the logic part of Sunstorm prevailed. She did want to travel. She'd been planning it, longing to leave behind the dreary life of a StarClan warrior.
"Follow me and don't let your eyes off of my pelt," Feathertail meowed. "Now this could take days or moons, it varies for some reason. The border lands always do. Only when a territory is marked does it stay the same."
Sunstorm looked at her in surprise, not realizing this. She understood there were so many things yet to learn. She nodded her head. She'd follow Feathertail. The RiverClan she-cat put the first paw over the border. She walked calmly over and stood on the other side. She turned and faced Sunstorm.
"Your turn." Her face looked concerned.
Sunstorm realized the other she-cat doubted this was possible. Feathertail didn't know if it was safe for Sunstorm to go over. Sunstorm narrowed her eyes and took a deep breath, and fighting the instinct that told her to go back, she stepped over until all four paws had taken her from StarClan territory.
Sunstorm was expecting something to happen. That she'd lose all sense of direction, that she'd be caught it a whirlwind of color, that the forest would disappear and be replaced with fields. She was expecting something grand, but nothing happened at all. She just stepped over and everything was the same as always. She was still in the forest, the lake was still behind her a distant silver line behind the trees, and Feathertail was still at her side.
"Well?" Sunstorm asked. She wasn't impressed.
Feathertail looked relieved. Maybe she'd thought Sunstorm would disappear in a puff of smoke. Sunstorm kind of wished that would happen. Then at least there'd be a story to tell.
"Let's go," Feathertail meowed. "Perhaps the rest of this journey will go well too."
Feathertail led the way through the forest and toward the mountains that towered on the horizon. They looked so far away, just jagged peaks beyond the green leaves and tree branches, shadows against the blue sky. Sunstorm thought she caught a glimpse of something flying through the sky around the mountain. It flashed in the sunlight and quickly disappeared around a cloud covered peak.