|"I've lost my best friend. I never thought I would feel so empty."|
|— Lionpaw about Heatherpaw in Dark River, page 322|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty one of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 21 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 320-322
- Despite his muscles still burning from his adventures in the tunnels, Lionpaw can't rest in his den any longer. He had slept till midday due to Ashfur refusing to train him until getting another good night's sleep, and Lionpaw's heart aches so much that he fidgets and cannot fall asleep in his nest. He finally gives up trying to get comfortable and goes into the forest.
- Brook, guessing that he needs to stretch his legs, surprises Lionpaw as he pads out the camp entrance, as he had been lost in thought. The sun begins to set, and he tells the she-cat that he is bored with resting. Brook notes that he looks better than his tired state from the previous night and Lionpaw looks at his paws, commenting that the kits were hard to find. Brook reminds him that he did find them though, and Lionpaw agrees, padding up the slope. Brooks calls that she will watch for him, and the apprentice promises not to be long.
- Loinpaw slowly heads for the tunnel entrance, and the pang in his belly grows as he sees the brambles guarding it. He wriggles beneath the branches and climbs the slope, stopping at the small burrow where Heatherpaw had once called him, and he imagines her now. Lionpaw is sad that he and Heatherpaw won't ever be friends or fellow DarkClan member with their own hidden territory with again, since he can't have all that and still be loyal to ThunderClan.
- Lionpaw closes his eyes and imagines that he can still smell her scent from the tunnel retrace, though he knows that a mudslide blocks the way now, ending the most precious friendship he ever had. Lionpaw whispers a farewell to Heatherpaw into the tunnel, and pictures her waiting at the other end. He remembers how she told him there would be no borders between them in StarClan, and the moment in the tunnels when he thought they would die, and Lionpaw doesn't want to turn his back on their friendship. However, he thinks that both of them must.
- There is a full moon in the sky as Lionpaw heads back home through the forest, when he feels fur brush his flank and he jumps, bristling. Tigerstar mews that they are proud of him, and Lionpaw turns his head to see the warrior's outline and amber eyes, then feels Hawkfrost brush his other flank. The former RiverClan cat tells him that he made the right decision, and Lionpaw shivers at the ghostly touch when Hawkfrost nudges him with his shoulder. Lionpaw murmurs that he has lost his best friend and feels very empty, but Tigerstar growls that friendship is worthless, and he has learned an important lesson. He adds that one day he will be so powerful that he won't need friends and promises the young tom that when that day comes, he won't regret choosing to be a warrior.
Notes and references
|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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