|"Keep your fur on. We’re just going back to the farm. Every cat’s going so slowly that we can catch a few mice and be back before they miss us."|
|— Lionpaw to Hollypaw in Outcast, page 178|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter sixteen of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 16 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 169-181
- Hollypaw is surprised that Squirrelflight knows the strange kittypet, but the ginger she-cat explains how they met him on their first journey and how he helped them. Tawnypelt and Stormfur greet Purdy, and the old tom asks where the argumentative apprentice is. Crowfeather points himself out, but Breezepaw is surprised that his father is allowing the kittypet to talk to him like that. Crowfeather states that Purdy was part of their journey, and Brambleclaw tells the elderly cat that Crowfeather is now a warrior. Squirrelflight adds that she has also earned her warrior name. Purdy is surprised to learn this, but he then notices Feathertail’s absence. Crowfeather rasps that she died, and the brown kittypet says that he is sorry to hear that, but adds that he didn’t think he would see Clan cats again. Stormfur introduces Brook, Night, and Talon, pointing out that they come from the mountains; Purdy is shocked that cats actually do live in the mountains. Squirrelflight then points out Hollypaw, Jaypaw, and Lionpaw as hers and Brambleclaw’s kits, and Crowfeather introduces his son, Breezepaw.
- The apprentices pad up to Purdy, but Breezepaw rudely comments that he is very old. Hollypaw snaps back at him to be quiet, and although the kittypet says nothing, Hollypaw knows that he had heard the black apprentice. Breezepaw guesses that the old tom couldn’t even catch a mouse, and Purdy agrees that his Upwalkers give him food, but that he might try eating kits. Crowfeather swats at Breezepaw’s ear to silence him from saying anything else, and Jaypaw tells Purdy that Breezepaw is mouse-brained. Purdy purrs that he has met many annoying young cats before. As the old cat lowers his head to inspect the littermates, Hollypaw notices that his pelt hasn’t been groomed in a long time and sees insects crawling in his fur, contrary to Clan elders who are cared for.
- Purdy asks the cats what they are doing, and Brambleclaw replies that they are going to the mountains to help the Tribe cats. Purdy misunderstands, thinking that the Clans haven’t found a better place to live than the mountains, but Squirrelflight and Tawnypelt assure him that they found a good new territory by a lake. Purdy questions why they aren’t staying there, and Brambleclaw repeats that the Tribe cats need them. Lionpaw is annoyed at how the old kittypet is holding them up, and Hollypaw silently agrees with her brother. Brambleclaw dips his head to Purdy and says that they must go, but Purdy meows that he will come with them. The Tribe cats are clearly dismayed at hearing this, but before they can object Brambleclaw tells Purdy that it will be a long journey with fighting. Purdy agrees, but decides to escort the journeying cats to the woods. Breezepaw loudly complains about this, but Purdy ignores him. Hollypaw, although annoyed with Breezepaw’s rudeness, also wishes that the old cat weren’t to slow them down.
- As the cats head into the valley, Purdy, walking between Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw, rambles on about the Twolegplace in the distance, and he recalls the rats. Tawnypelt remembers how she got bitten by one, but Purdy assures that the Upwalkers got rid of them. While the brown tom continues talking, Hollypaw carps about Brambleclaw slowing down for Purdy, and Jaypaw points out how the Tribe cats are also irritated.
- As the sun rises above the trees, sheep are seen ahead, and Breezepaw states that it means there must be a Twoleg farm nearby. Lionpaw points out that there is another animal scent, but neither he nor Hollypaw can recognize it. Brambleclaw leads the cats around the flank of a hill, and a valley opens below them, with Twoleg nests at the bottom of the slope. Hollypaw realizes that the strange scent is coming from large black-and-white animals that are between the nests and the patrol. The apprentices don’t know what the huge creatures are, but Hollypaw is nervous that they might attack. Purdy laughs that they are only cows, and Squirrelflight reassures the young cats that cows are harmless. Nonetheless, Hollypaw is relieved when Brambleclaw circles around the large animals to stay away from them.
- As they near the Twoleg nests, Lionpaw announces that he smells mice, and he asks Brambleclaw if they can stop to hunt. Hollypaw’s mouth waters as she also picks up the scent from the two biggest nests, and she begs the deputy as well. Purdy tells the young cats that that place is dangerous and there are dogs, and Brambleclaw agrees with the elder. Lionpaw and Breezepaw, annoyed, claim that they can deal with dogs and complain about Purdy.
- Brambleclaw leads the way into the shadow of a hedge; meanwhile, Hollypaw listens for prey. The black she-cat spots Lionpaw and Breezepaw silently creeping towards the farm, and she asks what they are doing. Lionpaw silences her, and Hollypaw realizes that the other cats haven’t noticed that the two young toms are leaving. She darts over to Lionpaw and Breezepaw, questioning where they are going, and her golden-furred brother hisses that they are going to the farm to catch a few mice. Hollypaw scoffs at their idea and frets that they might get left behind, but Lionpaw claims that they won’t, while Breezepaw adds that Purdy is a kittypet and an elder that they don’t need to listen to. Hollypaw points out that Brambleclaw told them to not go, yet Lionpaw says that they will make sure the ThunderClan deputy does not catch them. Hollypaw realizes that she won’t be able to stop her brother from going, but she doesn’t want him going off alone with Breezepaw, so she decides to come too. Breezepaw doesn’t welcome Hollypaw, but Lionpaw allows his sister to come and points out that she is an excellent hunter.
- Linpaw leads the way, racing towards the shiny Twoleg fence. He crawls underneath the lowest strand, then urges the other apprentices to hurry. Hollypaw crosses underneath the fence, followed by Breezepaw, while Lionpaw already starts running towards a gap between the Twoleg nests. Hollypaw smells an overwhelming scent of mice and follows her brother. The three apprentices stop across from one of the big Twoleg nests. An open wooden barrier stands across its entrance, and the inside of the nest is dark. Hollypaw scents both dogs and Twolegs but can’t see either. Breezepaw becomes impatient, so Lionpaw gives a signal, and the three cats bound across the open space and enter the nest.
- Inside the nest, Hollypaw observes that the walls of the nest are made of rough stone, and light angles in from the entrance and from narrow gaps in the walls. Despite the strong scent of mice, Hollypaw is too edgy to hunt. Breezepaw has already caught a mouse, and Lionpaw, in the hunter’s crouch, is focused on stalking an enormous rat in the shadows. The golden tom pounces and bites down on the prey. His eyes glow with pride and Hollypaw and even Breezepaw compliment his catch. Lionpaw invites his sister to share with him, and Hollypaw thanks him but breaks off upon hearing movement from outside and a sudden sharp scent. The black apprentice hears snuffling at the bottom of the wooden barrier, thudding of heavy paws, and low-pitched growling. Breezepaw, his eyes stretched wide, exclaims that they are dogs.
Notes and references
|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 • Chapter 28 • Chapter 29|
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