|"We can show them the kits. If they know they're safe, there doesn't need to be a fight."|
|— Lionpaw finding ways to stop a war from breaking out between WindClan and ThunderClan in Dark River, page 311|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 20 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 307-319
- Water roars in Hollypaw’s ears as the cave’s pale light fades and she is dragged into the tunnel by the river’s current. Her lungs scream for air, but she doesn’t suck in water and manages to hold on to Thistlekit’s tail. She feels air on her face and rocks scrape her ears as the river swirls her upward. Thistlekit struggles, but she resists the urge to fight and lets the flood carry her. The roaring grows extremely loud, until it is all quiet. The current lets her go and the noise dies away. Hollypaw strains to see through the dark, and wonders if the bright dots sparkling in the distance is StarClan waiting to welcome her.
- Hollypaw's head swims and she fights to stay conscious, frantically fighting her way up and searching for the surface. She pushes up so long that she feels hopeless, when suddenly she bursts through the lake's surface, and is startled by the wind’s chill. Hollypaw realizes that they have made it and gasps, drawing in lungfuls of air. She blinks water from her eyes and realizes that the dots were stars shining through wind-torn cloud, and thinks that the rainstorm is moving away. Thistlekit trashes to keep her head above the water beside her and Hollypaw grabs the kit's scruff and paddles with her hind legs to keep both of their heads above the water. She forces herself to relax and works her paws in a steady rhythm, with Thistlepaw trembling against her chest.
- Hollypaw scans the lake for the others, and is joyful to see Lionpaw's nearby, with Sedgekit clinging to his back. Near him, bubbles explode as Breezepaw and Swallowkit burst to the surface. Hollypaw is panicked as she wonders if Jaypaw and Heatherpaw made it. She hears splashing behind her and twists around quickly, where she sees Jaypaw and Heatherpaw flail beside each other in attempt to stay afloat. Hollypaw exclaims her brother's name, and Heatherpaw calls out that they are fine. Hollypaw swims toward them, surprised at her skill in swimming, and points out where the shore is. She can see it not far off and, after reaching him, nudges Jaypaw toward it. Heatherpaw splashes toward Lionpaw, and Hollypaw briefly wonders why the WindClan she-cat isn't helping her own Clanmate until she notices that Lionpaw is thrashing in the water, ducking his face under. He comes up for a breath, eyes are wild with panic, and he yowls that Sedgekit is gone.
- Heatherpaw and Lionpaw dive beneath the surface, and Holllypaw holds her breath, treading water. She wonders if the current had dragged Sedgekit down into the bottomless water when suddenly, Heatherpaw bobs up, Sedgekit between her jaws. The kit's paws flap wildly, although Hollypaw is excited to see that he is alive. Lionpaw breaks the surface, eyes lighting as he sees Sedgekit, and swims to Heatherpaw's side. He grasps the kit's tail beneath his teeth, and they swim toward the shore. Hollypaw swims beside Jaypaw, and checks to make sure that Breezepaw and Swllowkit are managing, which they are.
- Although Hollypaw's muscles burn with exhaustion, she doesn't stop moving. She struggles to breath with Thistelkit's fur blocking her mouth, but continues on, revealed to finally feel pebbles underpaw. Hollypaw wades from the water and drops Thistlekit in the shallows, panting. Lionpaw and Heatherpaw's flanks heave as they lay farther along the shore, Sedgekit crouching beside them and vomiting water. Jaypaw follows Hollypaw out of the lake, and Hollypaw asks how he knew that it would carry them into the lake. Jaypaw stammers that it made sense and splashes onto the beach, Thistlekit stumbling after him.
- Breezepaw struggles out of the shallows father along the shore, Swallowkit's paws flailing to be put down as she dangles from his jaws. Hollypaw breathes that they are all safe and pads over to Lionpaw and Heatherpaw, asking if they are okay. Lionpaw responds that they are only half drowned, and Heatherpaw purrs, flicking Lionpaw with her tail as she gets to her paws. She notes that they must get the kits back to camp. Hollypaw glances along the beach and can tell that it is ThunderClan territory, then suggests taking them to Leafpool, who is nearer. Sedgekit still coughs up water, Thistlekit lying beside him, and Jaypaw agrees that they need treatment for shock. Breezepaw and Sedgekit hurry toward them, and the kit announces that that was the most horrible thing she ever did. Jaypaw warns that Leafpool’s medicine is bad too, though Breezepaw is confused. Heatherpaw explains that the ThunderClan camp is closest, and the kits need treatment. There is blood on Swallowkit’s fur from where the rocks grazed it, and Breezepaw stares at the kit, agreeing. Jaypaw pricks his ears and tells the cats to listen.
- Threatening yowls are heard, countered by menacing growls of WindClan cats. Jaypaw mews that it is coming from the forest border, and Hollypaw gasps that there will be a battle if they don't get back soon. Lionpaw leaps to his paws and comments that if they show them the kits, there doesn't need to be a fight. Swallowkit's eyes grow wide as she asks if there will be a battle, and Sedgekit puts in that he can help fight. Hollypaw mews that there won't be one if they get there quickly, thinking that Sedgekit is clueless that he'd helped cause the turmoil, or be fighting some of his rescuers.
- Jaypaw sniffs each of the kits and mews that they need herbs, but it can wait, and Heatherpaw points out that walking will warm them. Hollypaw leads the way up the beach and waits for the others pass. Heatherpaw assists Swallowkit, Breezepaw helps Thistlekit, and Lionpaw carries Sedgekit up the slope, dropping him beside Hollypaw at the top, and the kit stares up at the branches as if trees are unfamiliar to him. Lioinpaw stares at his brother on the shore and asks what he is doing, and Hollypaw narrows her eyes to see Jaypaw crouching beside a stick. She tells Lionpaw that they will catch up and darts back onto the beach, asking Jaypaw if he is okay. He doesn-t acknowledge her, but stares at the stick, pressing his muzzle against it and murmuring thanks. Hollypaw exclaims that they have to go, but Jaypaw doesn't stir, and tells Fallen Leaves that he hopes he will find a way out one day. Hollypaw urges Jaypaw more, the yowls from the border growing louder. Jaypaw says that he is coming and pads to her side. Hollypaw asks what he was doing, but he replies that it was not important, although Hollypaw knows that what he says isn't true. She sometimes wishes that she knew Jaypaw better, and that he were more straightforward like Lionpaw.
- Hollypaw and Jaypaw catch up to the others, although Breezepaw pushes the pace, causing the kits struggle with the speed. Hollypaw offers to carry Sedgekit, who pants hard, but he shakes his head. Suddenly, Swallowkit squeals as a bramble snags her fur. Although Jaypaw plucks in free with his teeth, Hollypaw is unhappy to force the kits travel so quickly through the forest, though she knows that they must stop the battle.
- The ground slopes down and Breezepaw, Sedgekit, and Swallotkit run down the hill. Firestar angrily yowls that they don't have their kits from the forest ahead. Onestar angrily asks where they are, as RiverClan swear that they don't have them. The ThunderClan leader hisses back that they will shred him if he crosses the border. Through the trees, Hollypaw can make out many ThunderClan and WindClan cats, including Brambleclaw and Ashfoot. Hollypaw passes the kits and chases after Breezepaw, and she bursts from the undergrowth in time to see Breezepaw leap across the gully and yowl that they found the kits. Hollypaw adds that there is no need to fight and looks over her shoulder, wishing that the others would hurry. Onestar asks where they are, and Hollypaw promises that they are coming.
- The warriors stare in astonishment as the kits and apprentices emerge from the undergrowth. Onestar asks where they found them, and Lionpaw steps forward, fur prickling. He glances at Heatherpaw, and begins to speak, but Hollypaw interrupts that the kits made a camp to shelter from the rain on the shore. She finds no need to give away her brother's secret, as the tunnels are blocked, and she glances at the others, hoping that they will agree. Heatherpaw nods, explaining that they were inside the ThunderClan border, right down the beach, where Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Jaypaw called to them after picking up a scent, having been looking for the kits themselves also. Onestar meows that they didn’t find a scent. Breezepaw offers that the rain must have washed it away, and Onestar tells the kits to come toward him. They gingerly approach the border, and Onestar angrily asks why they left camp without permission. Sedgekit murmurs that they were exploring, though Onestar says that they almost fought battles with ThunderClan and RiverClan looking for them. Swallowkit apologizes, and Thislekit adds that they didn't think. Sedgekit adds that it seemed like fun to build a camp on the beach, and gazes at Hollypaw mischievously.
- Lionpaw pads to the border, asking Onestar if he said they almost fought RiverClan. Hollypaw asks if there hasn't been a battle yet, and Onestar explains that they gave RiverClan until dawn to return the kits, though WindClan will now need to apologize. Tornear counters that they crossed the border, but Onestar reminds him that they were chased by a dog. Crowfeather growls that they may still invade, and his leader responds that they might also return to their camp as they promised, and WindClan must patrol their borders as usual until they find out at the next Gathering.
- Hollypaw feels weak with relief until she notices that Firestar is staring at her. He meows that she was right, although she dips her head and mews that it was never about being right. Brambleclaw suggests getting the tired cats back home, and Onestar agrees, carrying each kit across the border and apologizing about the trouble their kits have caused. Firestar replies in an almost warm tone that they know what it's like as they have kits of their own. Tornear snorts and picks up Thistekit, while Owlwhisker takes Swallowkit and Crowfeather lifts Sedgekit. Sedgekit thanks the ThunderClan apprentices for bringing him back.
- Brambleclaw glances at Jaypaw, who hangs back beside the undergrowth, and asks if he is okay. Jaypaw replies that he is fine, although Hollypaw is surprised that he seems indifferent at having stopped a battle. Breezepaw tells Hollypaw and Lionpaw that he must go and asks Heatherpaw if she is coming. She responds that she will in a moment, and Breezepaw snorts, then hurries after his Clanmatess. Heatherpaw pads up to Lionpaw and entwines her tail with his briefly, thanking him. Firestar narrows his eyes, and Lionpaw flatly mews that they would have done the same for any cat. Heatherpaw painfully tells Lionpaw that he will be a great warrior, and he watches as she crosses the border and disappears into the shadows. He blinks at Firestar and asks if they are going home. The leader nods and begins to lead his Clanmates away.
- Hollypaw realizes that Lionpaw has learned that the warrior code more important than friendship, and though Jaypaw can get away with pushing the code's limits, she and Lionpaw were nothing without the code. She decides that because she isn't a medicine cat anymore, she can't remain close friends with Willowpaw. Aching and weary, she follows her Clanmates into the forest.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 307
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Revealed in Dark River, page 308
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 309
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Revealed in Dark River, page 314
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 311
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 317
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 319
|Dark River 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|
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