|"Pack, pack. Kill, kill."|
|— Brightpaw to Fireheart about what attacked her in A Dangerous Path, chapter 19|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter nineteen of A Dangerous Path. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 19 (of 27)
- Page Numbers: 211-219
- Fireheart wakes up in the morning and goes outside to watch the dawn patrol leave. He then walks over to the newly named Cloudtail, thinking about the stiffness of his injured leg. The deputy tells his former apprentice that his vigil is over, and asks him if he’d like to sleep, or go hunting and see Princess. Cloudtail chooses to hunt, so Fireheart chooses to invite Sandstorm along as well. Personally, the ginger tom knows that his closeness with the she-cat has been dwindling, and hopes hunting can help restore their bond. Fireheart glances around, looking for Sandstorm. Instead, he sees Dustpelt padding towards him with Fernpaw beside him. As they draw closer, the deputy notices that they look worried, and waits until both stop in front of him. Dustpelt announces to the ginger tom that there’s something he needs to know, and instructs Fernpaw to tell Fireheart what she told him earlier.
- The apprentice seems nervous, and Fireheart wonders why she had chosen to confide in Dustpelt instead of her mentor, Darkstripe. He then sees the young warrior comfort Fernpaw, and knows that there must be something more there. Dustpelt says to the apprentice that Fireheart won’t be angry at her, and shoots a glare at the deputy warning him to be nice. The ginger tom encourages Fernpaw to open up, trying to put her at ease. Finally, she says that Swiftpaw was angry last night that Cloudtail was made into a warrior, while he is still an apprentice. Fernpaw meows that after the sun set,the black-and-white tom had gathered the apprentices together, telling them all that Bluestar would have to make them warriors if they did something special. The apprentice continues, recalling that Swiftpaw said that they should go to Snakerocks and find out what is killing the prey there. Cloudtail states that that’s a really dumb idea, but Fireheart shoots him a warning glance. The deputy asks Fernpaw what the other apprentices thought of this plan, and she answers that everyone was conflicted. She says that they all want to be warriors, but in the end, only Swiftpaw and Brightpaw went.
- Fireheart looks at Cloudtail, demanding to know if he spotted the apprentices leaving last night. The white warrior answers no, and Fernpaw adds in that Swiftpaw and Brightpaw sneaked out through the ferns behind the elders' den. Fireheart demands to know when this happened, and the she-cat shrinks down, saying it’s sometime before dawn. She meows that she knows what they did is wrong, and went to tell Dustpelt about it. Fernpaw gives the brown warrior a grateful glance, and he presses his muzzle to her flank. Fireheart decides that they will go after the apprentices, and Cloudtail insists on coming with him. The white warrior growls Brightpaw is out there, and he’ll shred anything that hurts her. Fireheart is surprised by Cloudtail’s display of emotion, and asks him to find some cats to come with them. Dustpelt offers for he and Fernpaw to go as well, but the deputy suggests that they hunt instead, as the she-cat is already distressed. The brown warrior agrees, and Fireheart hopes that they can find Swiftpaw before it is too late. He considers telling Bluestar where he’s going, but doesn’t want to give her another reason not to promote the black-and-white tom as a warrior.
- Cloudtail soon returns with Sandstorm and Graystripe beside him, and Fireheart is pleased that they’re coming. He wishes that Whitestorm could come as well, but remembers that the white warrior is on the dawn patrol. Fireheart leads the group out into the forest, making a beeline towards Snakerocks. They race through the trees, slowing only when they approach the area. Fireheart signals that they should be careful and scope out the situation before taking action. He feels a sense of foreboding, knowing that this situation is much more dangerous than he’s ever dealt with before. Everything is silent, so the ThunderClan deputy slowly slinks forward like a snake. As he draws nearer, Fireheart is able to scent Brightpaw and Swiftpaw, but their smells are overlapped by the stench of freshly spilled blood. Sandstorm turns to look at the deputy, whispering that something terrible has happened.Terror courses through Fireheart, and the patrol slowly moves forward until they are a few fox-lengths away from Snakerocks.
- A fallen tree blocks their path, so Fireheart jumps on top of it to get a better view. He looks at the scene below him, seeing a bloodstained clearing with Swiftpaw and Brightpaw lying motionless on the ground. Sandstorm comes up beside the ginger tom, but Cloudtail races forward without the deputy’s order, calling Brightpaw’s name. The white warrior runs to her, but Fireheart tensely waits for whatever attacked the apprentices to appear. Nothing stirs, so he springs down and stumbles over to Swiftpaw. Fireheart stares at his body, seeing the young cat’s black-and-white pelt shredded and covered and dreadful wounds. The deputy can see that Swiftpaw died fighting something much bigger than a cat. Fireheart is horrified, wondering what happened to the apprentice, and feels the earth shift under his paws. Graystripe and Sandstorm stand beside him, and the deputy voices his regrets at the loss of life.
- A yowl from Cloudtail alerts the three cats that Brightpaw is still alive. Fireheart races over, seeing the white-and-ginger she-cat is missing an eye and is covered in wounds. At first, the deputy thinks she is dead, but finally detects the faint rise and fall of the apprentice’s flank. Fireheart orders Sandstorm to fetch Cinderpelt, and the warrior dashes off. Graystripe stays on watch for danger while the ginger tabby continues to stare at Brightpaw. He feels an icy calm, determined to save the rest of his Clan from a similar fate. Fireheart silently prays to StarClan, asking him to aid his vengeance on whatever caused this horrific incident. Next to him, Cloudtail crouches beside Brightpaw, begging her not to die. The white warrior tells her that Cinderpelt is coming, and she only needs to hold on a little longer. Fireheart watches his nephew, hoping Cloudtail won’t have to suffer the pain of losing a loved one. The deputy asks Brightpaw what did this to her, and she fixes a cloudy gaze on him. She begins to thinly wail, and Fireheart is able to decipher that she’s saying pack pack, kill kill.
Notes and references
|A Dangerous Path chapters|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10 • Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 • Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapter 21 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27|
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