|"Up here! Climb the hay! D'you want to stay and be eaten?"|
|— Purdy saving Hollypaw, Breezepaw, and Lionpaw in Outcast, page 183|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter seventeen of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 17 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 182-191
- Breezepaw exclaims that they must get out and he bounds toward the den entrance, only to halt when three skinny black-and-white dogs appear in the gap, jaws hanging open. There are no other entrances to the nest and no gaps in the stone walls low enough for a cat to leap. The dogs creep forward, ready to spring after the cats, and the three apprentices back away nervously. Lionpaw suggests that they dodge around the creatures then get out and outrun them.
- The first dog leaps forward, and Hollypaw spins around and flees, but she slips on the floor. Ahead of her is an enormous pile of dried grass, and she desperately wonders if they could hide in it, but knows that the dogs would be able to drag them out of it. The ThunderClan she-cat thinks that they were stupid to get trapped and wails for help, though she doesn't think it will be of any use. However, a yowl comes from above, and Hollypaw is astonished to see Purdy in one of the narrow slits in the wall. The old cat urges them to climb the hay, and Lionpaw flings himself at the pile of grass and claws his way up. His sister plunges after him just in time, but from behind she hears a shriek. The black cat looks back to see Breezepaw trying to climb, but is dragged back by a dog with its teeth fastened in his tail.
- Despite her dislike of the WindClan apprentice, Hollypaw knows that she must save Breezepaw, but before she can go to help him, he heaves and tears his tail free, then struggles upward. The dogs try to follow him, but the piled grass doesn't bear their weight. Hollypaw struggles up through the grass again, and just ahead of her, Lionpaw reaches the slit where Purdy waits. The old tabby pulls him through by the scruff, then drops him somewhere out of Hollypaw's sight. He then reaches for the she-cat, grabs her, and swings her into the air. The young cat is afraid of falling, but instead only is dropped onto a sloping red roof a couple of tail-lengths below the slit in the wall. She starts slipping to the edge, but Lionpaw thrust himself in front of her, bringing her to a halt. Hollypaw thanks her littermate.
- Behind them, Purdy hauls Breezepaw through the gap, but the WindClan tom complains about his bleeding tail. The old tabby tells the apprentice to be quiet, then leads the cats along the edge of the roof. He jumps down onto the edge of a canister filled with water, and from there to the ground, gesturing urgently for the young cats to follow. Lionpaw leaps down first, and Hollypaw follows with caution. Breezepaw lands beside her and immediately examines his bleeding tail, but Purdy hisses that they must hurry.
- Yelps sound from inside the nest, followed by a thunder of paws breaking out into the open. Purdy runs back the way the apprentices had come, and they race after him. The old tom leads them to a different part of the fence and shoves Lionpaw through a hole. Hollypaw and Breezepaw follow, and Purdy turns to the dogs and taunts them to go back to their Upwalkers, before he scrambles underneath himself. The large animals fling themselves at the fence but it doesn't give way, and a moment later a Twoleg appears around the corner of the nearest nest and yowls at them. The dogs whine and slink away, then Purdy meows that they should go.
- The elderly tabby leads them back to the shelter of the hedge, where all three collapse into the long grass. Hollypaw closes her eyes, but when she opens them finds that Purdy is gone, and Brambleclaw and Crowfeather stand over her. The ThunderClan deputy castigates the apprentices on their behavior, but although Hollypaw and Lionpaw apologize, Breezepaw says that it was because they were hungry. Crowfeather spits that none of them know the true meaning of hunger, and Brambleclaw continues that they should have thanked Purdy. Breezepaw ungratefully interrupts that they would have saved themselves without him, which shocks Hollypaw, who believes that they would be dead had it not been for the old loner. Crowfeather hisses in irritation and turns his back, which causes Hollypaw to suddenly feel sympathy for the WindClan apprentice. She thinks that she would rather have a scolding from Brambleclaw than face the black warrior's coldness, and she wonders if he even likes his son.
- Jaypaw pads out of the hedgerow with a mouthful of herbs, and drops them beside Breezepaw, announcing that it is chervil. The gray tabby instructs the WindClan tom to put the pulp on his tail, then checks his siblings thoroughly. Noticing her brother's tension, Hollypaw apologizes for not bringing back prey, but in a fearful and angry voice, Jaypaw says they should be sorry for doing something so mouse-brained, and he questions what he would do if he lost his littermates. Hollypaw realizes that she hadn't thought about her sibling, and thinks that he is right. She mews that she is sorry, but Jaypaw states that sorry catches no prey, and sniffs the pulped chervil on Breezepaw's tail before stalking off down the line of hedge. He calls to Brambleclaw that they are fine and the group can continue. The dark tabby tells them to come.
- Brambleclaw leads the way to the other cats who wait in the shadow of the hedge, and Tawnypelt grunts that it is about time. Squirrelflight anxiously asks if they are okay, and Lionpaw mews that they are. Stormfur wakes Purdy, who is sleeping, and the journeying cats set off again. Hollypaw is hungry, thirsty, and exhausted by the time they reach the forest on the other side of the valley. Brambleclaw stops under the trees and announces that they will stay for the night, but Talon objects that it is still daylight. Crowfeather adds that they shouldn't stop for the apprentices, but the group leader explains that if they rest now they can get an early start the next day, reaching the mountains before nightfall.
- The warriors go to hunt by the edge of the wood, while Lionpaw and Breezepaw quickly fall asleep between some tree roots. Hollypaw wishes to join them, but instead goes farther into the forest until she spots a mouse. The black apprentice catches the creature, then pads back to the edge of the trees where Purdy crouches, his paws tucked under him, gazing across the valley. As Hollypaw approaches him, he gently asks what he wants, and she gives him the mouse, explaining that it is food, and that she can help him get rid of his ticks. Purdy scratches behind his ear with a hind leg and accepts, so Hollypaw extracts the mouse bile and soaks a scrap of moss in it. She explains to the former kittypet that it is what medicine cats do in the Clans. Purdy comments on the dreadful smell as Hollypaw begins to dab the bile on the ticks in his fur, but he keeps still and lets out a sigh of relief as the creatures start to drop off. The ThunderClan she-cat asks if his Twolegs don't take care of his ticks, but the elderly tom answers that his Upwalker died, and although he occasionally finds others who feed him, none care for his pelt. He unconvincingly adds that it doesn't bother him, and Hollypaw feels great pity for him.
- The black she-cat tells him that she is done, and Purdy begins to purr, and thanks her that it is much better. Hollypaw apologizes for what they did, and thanks him for rescuing them, but the old cat responds that it was nothing. The former tells him that she thinks she could learn a lot from him, but he simply snorts in amusement and devours the remains of the mouse. Hollypaw curls up beside him in the long grass, the sound of his purring filling her ears as she sleeps.
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|