|"I cannot let you lie to our Clanmates! And now that I know the truth, I cannot lie, either."|
|— Ravenwing to Mapleshade in Mapleshade's Vengeance, chapter 3|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter three of Mapleshade's Vengeance. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 3 (of 9)
- Page Numbers: 25-37
- Petalkit tells Larchkit to watch her as she grips some dried moss and violently shakes it. Larchkit grabs it from her, tossing it across the clearing, making the two kits scamper after it. Petalkit reaches it first and flops on top of it. Mapleshade looks down at Patchkit, who is curled up in the curve of her side, if he'd like to join in, saying his siblings look like they're having fun. Patchkit shakes his head, snuggling a little closer and saying he's fine here, and that she needs him to keep her warm, blinking anxiously at his mother. Mapleshade notes silently that it is a cloud-free day, sunbeams just strong enough to bring cats out of their dens to bask, but there is a chill that warns of leaf-bare. Mapleshade tells Patchkit that he's doing a great job and that she might have to share him with the elders to stop them from getting cold, but Patchkit, alarmed, says no to this, saying that he wants to stay with him mother forever, even when he becomes an apprentice. Mapleshade nuzzles her son's head and tells him he won't be an apprentice for another four moons yet, and once he's that old he'll be big and strong, glad to get out of the nursery, but Patchkit doesn't agree, and nuzzles into her fur, telling her he doesn't want to leave her.
- Petalkit and Larchkit, meanwhile, are staring at the shredded moss that was formerly the ball they were playing with. Larchkit is not pleased, as Petalkit has ripped it to pieces, but she simply shrugs and says that it was getting away, so she caught it. Rabbitfur, an elder, pads stiffly over to the kits, observing that Petalkit has 'killed' the moss ball, and asks them if they want to play a different game instead, to which both kits give an enthusiastic yes. Rabbitfur rolls a stone into the middle of the clearing and nudges a twig until it lays about a fox-length away from the stone. With his tail Rabbitfur indicates the stick, telling them to stand by it and pounce on the stone without touching the ground in between them. Both kits protest, Petalkit saying that it's all the way at the other side of the clearing, and Larchkit saying they'll need to grow wings to reach, but Rabbitfur tells them not to be mouse-brained, as Birchface would've been able to leap that far and land on the smallest leaf without disturbing a fly. This comment makes Mapleshade feel alarmed, but Patchkit distracts her, tipping his head to the side and squeaking that he thinks that Rabbitfur is very bossy.
- Petalkit crouches by the stick and wiggles her rump as she readies herself to jump, and grunts as she leaps. Her hind paw catches on the twig, however, and she lurched forward, breaking the twig and landing on her belly at Rabbitfur's paws. He tells her to try again, but when she does she only makes it half the distance the elder wanted, and he shakes his head as he tells Larchkit to take his turn. The kit hunkers down and springs into the air almost at the height of Rabbitfur's ears, but falls like an acorn from a tree, forcing the elder to move to avoid getting hit by him. He tells Larchkit to watch what he is doing, as Birchface managed to pounce without flattening any cats. Mapleshade jumps to her paws, Patchkit rolling off her with a squawk. She suggests that perhaps they take after her instead, as she is not a spectacular pounder either, but Rabbitfur rasps that she isn't that bad, and going on to say that he can't believe that any kit of Birchface's would be this heavy-footed.
- Blood is roaring in Mapleshade's ears, and she hisses that she won't have her kits judged before they event start their training. She tells Patchkit to come with her, as they're going for a walk in the forest. He scampers over to her, but Petalkit pouts and says she wants to keep practicing her jumping, wanting to be as good as Birchface. Rabbitfur looks pleased, and purrs that they should be proud of who their father was, reminiscing of a time when they saw a pheasant by the Twolegplace, saying he'd never seen a bird that big, but Birchface was fearless and very quiet. Mapleshade meows that she thinks that's the kits need to stretch their legs outside the camp, telling the kits to come with her. Patchkit's green eyes, which she notes as being very similar to Appledusk's, go wide, as he asks if they're allowed to go out as they're not six moons old. Mapleshade tells him that they'll be fine, as she's with them. She feels like she can no longer stay in the ravine, and whisks her tail as she trots out of the camp with the kits bundling after her. Larchkit boasts that he's going to catch a badger, to which Petalkit retorts that she's going to watch said badger eat him first! and Patchkit whimpers to Mapleshade that he doesn't want to get eaten by a badger. Mapleshade stops and licks his head, promising him she won't let anything bad happen to them.
- After the kits burst out of the tunnel, Larchkit breaths that the outside of the camp is very big, and Mapleshade tells him it's even bigger at the top of the ravine, urging them up the path leading to the tees. Petalkit leads them up the slope, and Mapleshade thinks about how tiny they look among the huge oaks and beeches overhanging the ravine. She has to make sure that they keep moving, as they want to stop to sniff every thing thing that they find. Larchkit stumbles over a fallen twig, landing on his nose as he asks what the source of the splashing noise is. Mapleshade picks him up, and thinks about how she is happy Rabbitfur didn't see it happen, unable to deny that the kits are much clumsier than the other ThunderClan cats. Patchkit continued past Mapleshade and she hears him squeak as he announces that he found a lot of water, having found the river. His litter mates clamber after him to stand beside him, while Mapleshade watches than and the river. Petalkit remarks that it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen, while Larchkit asks where it came from. Mapleshade admits that she does not know, and begins to explain that the river leads to a deep gorge beside WindClan's territory, and Petalkit demands to know if they can go there, but her mother tells them that it is too far for them to go today, but they will go there someday.
- When she sees Patchkit about to go into the water, she tells him to be careful, but tells her to watch as he launches himself into the water, vanishing before popping up above the water a few moments later. Petalkit and Larchkit race in after him, all three swimming through the water with ease. Mapleshade feels a burst of love, and thinks about Appledusk, about how their kits truly are half-RiverClan. Patchkit hauls himself out of the water and onto a branch, flanks heaving and looking as small as a mouse with his fur plastered to his sides. Mapleshade calls to ask if he's okay, and he nods, but is still panting too hard to speak. His mother paces up and down the shore, not wanting to get wet but not wanting to leave Patchkit on the branch if he needs help. She tells Larchkit and Petalkit to help their brother instead, interrupting their game of hide-and-seek among the reeds.
- From the other side of the river, the rushes rustle and reveal Spiketail, RiverClan's deputy. He growls, asking Mapleshade why Patchkit is on the branch, but before she can defend him, Milkfur steps out and asks if ThunderClan is sending its youngest cats to invade them. Another cat is present as well; Appledusk. He says that one kit is hardly a threat, and offers to go fetch Patchkit and return him to the other side of the river, wading into the water as Mapleshade calls Larchkit and Petalkit over to her. Petalkit asks if the RiverClan cats are going to catch them, but Mapleshade insists that they are safe, watching Appledusk get closer to Patchkit. He quietly mews something to the kit, too quiet for Mapleshade to hear, as he slips off the branch and into the water, Appledusk steadying him and propelling him towards the land as Mapleshade bends down to kick the other two kits to warm them up. Appledusk brings Patckit out of the water and sets the kit down on the stones, telling Mapleshade that he is worn out from swimming, then speaking in a hushed tone as he says that she was taking a risk by bringing them so close to RiverClan's territory, and she tells him she wanted to show them the river. Appledusk nearly brushes his muzzle against her cheek, breathing that he thinks they are wonderful, and will be strong and brave and as confident as any RiverClan cat in the water. With longing in his eyes, he says in a louder voice that he doesn't want to see them near the river again, and Mapleshade accepts this and thanks him for bringing Patchkit back to the shore.
- As Appledusk starts wading back across the river, Milkfur calls that Mapleshade shouldn't be bringing the kits so close to the river, as they're too young to be out of the nursery and could've drowned. Spiketail yowls that while ThunderClan may have Sunningrocks, the river still belongs to RiverClan, going on to say that Appledusk had been merciful, but they will not tolerate anymore trespassing. Mapleshade herds the kits back towards the camp, and they bounce as they walk, Larchkit squeaking that it was the best thing ever, and Petalkit asking if they can come back again, saying that swimming is way more fun than jumping, while Patchkit proudly mews that he swam the farthest.
- However, Ravenwing suddenly appears before them, glancing down at the kits and asking why they were in the river. Mapleshade's paws begin to tingle as she asks if he had seen them, and he nods that he had seen everything. Before their mother has a chance to tell the story the kits tumble over to him and tell him that a RiverClan warrior had to save Patchkit, to which he protests that he was just watching. Mapleshade tells Ravenwing that no one was in any danger, but he narrows his eyes as Patchkit squeaks that the RiverClan warrior was very nice, and said he was very brave and is a very good swimmer, and before he can say anymore, Mapleshade curls her tail around the kits, telling them it's time to go home. Ravenwing does not move, and tells her that he has seen an omen, wondering if she knows anything about it. Her fur pricks, but she says that she does not as she is not a medicine cat. Ravenwing explains the omen; a tiny stream appeared in his denm where no other stream ever had, and brought with it three pieces of water reed. He goes on to say that water reed does not belong in ThunderClan territory. Mapleshade shrugs this off, saying there's been a lot of rain during leaf-fall, so bits and pieces must be washing all over the place, trying to keep her voice light but feeling like there is a cold weight in her belly.
- Ravenwing watches the kits playing with an acorn, saying that he believes the omen means that the river has washing three cats into ThunderClan that do not belong, and Mapleshade's heart starts to pound as she asks what he is trying to say. Ravenwing gazes at her, and seems to hold a knowledge belong his years in his eyes as he tells Mapleshade that he knows that the kits are not Birchface's, bringing up what Rabbitfur had told him about their poor pouncing and stalking skills, and noting that he himself saw them swim like fish. He tells her that he believes Appledusk fathered her kits, judging by the colour of their fur and the way he spoke to her after he rescued Patchkit. Mapleshade can feel the ground sway beneath her, but hisses at him that ThunderClan is blessed to have three beautiful, strong kits; the truth will be revealed at the right time; and it's not her fault everyone assume they were Birchface's kits. Ravenwing spits that he cannot let her lie to their Clanmates, and now that he knows the truth he cannot lie either. Mapleshade begs him not to tell the Clan, as they are ThunderClan kits, but he corrects her, saying they're half-RiverClan. He says that he is sorry for her, but even more sorry for her kits, because they will suffer for the lies she has told.
- Mapleshade stares after him after he leaves, praying for StarClan to help her, considering taking the kits and running deep into the forest, but looks at the kits again and continues thinking about how ThunderClan loves the kits, and hopefully this won't change their opinions; how she had always planned to tell them, it was just happening sooner than expected.
Notes and references
|Mapleshade's Vengeance chapters|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9|
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