|"We can't trust any of them. They're traitors and they'll train more traitors. I won't make warriors of any of their apprentices."|
|— Bluestar to Fireheart about the ThunderClan warriors in A Dangerous Path, page 50|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter four of A Dangerous Path. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 4 (of 27)
- Page Numbers: 41-51
- Fireheart assesses the fighting skills of Brightpaw, Cloudpaw, Swiftpaw, and Thornpaw. He is impressed by the four apprentices and thinks they have the makings of formidable warriors, also commenting that he is glad they are on his side in battle. Fireheart tells them that he will have a word with their mentors, and if they believe their apprentices are ready, he will have them made into warriors. The four young cats exchange excited glances, and Fireheart sends them back to camp. He orders them to hunt on the way back, and to ensure that the queens and elders are fed.
- Fireheart notes that while the Clan has been managing to find food and rebuild the camp in the wildfire's aftermath, the struggle to do so had exhausted every cat. He wonders how long they can go on like this, realizing that things will just get harder with leaf-bare coming soon – it is already leaf-fall, with the leaves remaining on the trees after the fire beginning to turn gold and red. As the deputy reaches camp, he sees Goldenflower's two kits, Bramblekit and Tawnykit, playing with Speckletail's son Snowkit. Looking at Bramblekit, Fireheart sees his striking resemblance to Tigerstar, and cannot help but feel suspicious of him, even though he knows it's wrong to blame the kit for his father's crimes.
- Fireheart hears a squeal from the kits, and turns to see Bramblekit knock Snowkit to the ground, pinning the white tom down. Fireheart pulls the dark brown tabby off the other kit, demanding to know what he was doing. Bramblekit protests that he was only playing, to which the ginger tom asks him why Snowkit was squealing, and the kit responds that he didn't know, and that Snowkit couldn’t play properly anyway. Goldenflower, overhearing, scolds Bramblekit for his rough play and for his rudeness towards the Clan deputy.
- Fireheart turns back to where Snowkit is still lying on the ground, with his mother Speckletail leaning over him, licking him and encouraging him to get back up. Bramblekit bounds over, and apologizes for his actions. He invites the white tom-kit to play again and to be the Clan leader this time. Tawnykit, witnessing the event, comments that Snowkit is no fun anyway and never has any good games. Goldenflower chides her as well for her rude remark, wondering what has gotten into her kits. Snowkit doesn't answer to any of the cats and has to be nudged from the ground by his mother. This causes Fireheart to worry that he might have been hurt, so he suggests that Cinderpelt take a look at him. Speckletail hisses that she can take care of her kit, and stalks away carrying Snowkit. Goldenflower comments that the tabby queen is very defensive of her only kit.
- Fireheart asks the pale ginger queen if she has told Bramblekit and Tawnykit yet that their father is ShadowClan's leader. Goldenflower shakes her head, pointing out that if she did, they would only brag about it and then some cat would fill them in on the rest of the story. The queen continues that she has seen the way Fireheart and the others look at them, and tells him that she wants her kits to not grow up feeling guilty for something that happened before their birth.
- She says that she would like Fireheart to tell them about their father, believing they would take it well from him and that he would tell them the truth. Goldenflower tells him not to do it right away. She says that he should instead inform them of Tigerstar’s history when he feels ready and when the two kits are ready, but also asks him not to leave it too long. Fireheart consents to telling them, and promises to make the discussion as easy on them as it can be. As Fireheart parts with Goldenflower, he sees Bramblekit and Tawnykit heading to the elders' den to bring them prey and to listen to One-eye's stories.
- Brackenfur approaches Fireheart, and he tells the deputy that he saw the incident involving Speckletail's kit. Looking uncomfortable, Brackenfur admits that he has been hoping to get to mentor Snowkit, so he had been watching him to get to know him. He goes on to tell Fireheart that he believes there is something wrong with the white tom-kit, as he doesn’t play like the other kits and he doesn’t respond when cats speak to him. He suggests Speckletail take him to see Cinderpelt. Fireheart realizes that he's right and that even though Snowkit is as old as Goldenflower’s two kits, he is nowhere near as developed as them and is unresponsive when cats try to talk with him. Although he and Brackenfur are aware Speckletail doesn’t believe her kit needs a medical examination, Fireheart tells the golden-brown warrior that he will make sure Cinderpelt takes a look at Snowkit in a way that won't upset his mother, and that he'll speak with Bluestar about making Brackenfur the white tom-kit's mentor.
- Before Fireheart goes to ask Cinderpelt to check on Snowkit, the deputy first heads to fill Bluestar in on the apprentices' progress. When he reaches the den, he is dismayed when he finds the she-cat is not better – she still looks very tired and has only eaten half of her prey. He explains that he would like to talk about the elder apprentices, who he believes to be ready to be warriors. Bluestar asks if he is referring to Cinderpaw and Brackenpaw. The ginger tom is alarmed that she can’t even remember who is currently an apprentice, and corrects her that it is Swiftpaw, Brightpaw, Thornpaw, and Cloudpaw he is talking about.
- The blue-gray leader asks Fireheart who their mentors are, a question which further unsettles the ginger tom. He replies that he is Cloudpaw's mentor, and that Longtail is Swiftpaw's. Before he can finish listing the mentors, Bluestar interrupts him that the Longtail is Tigetstar's friend, and therefore the pale tabby cannot be trusted. Fireheart reminds her that he stayed in ThunderClan when Tigerstar left, but she only hisses in reply that all the warriors are traitors and that they will only train more traitors. She states that he alone is faithful to her, and that his apprentice Cloudpaw is the only one of the four that can be made a warrior. Fireheart is stunned at her words, and thinks that none of the apprentices could become warriors now because Cloudpaw shouldn't be singled out for an honor the others deserve as much as he does. He understands that ThunderClan needs more warriors, but also knows he won't be able to reason with Bluestar in her mood, so he backs out of her den.
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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