|"Come on. It's time to walk the Path of Rushing Water."|
|— Talon to the journeying cats in Outcast, page 214|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 20 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 208-216
- Lionpaw follows Talon down the trail, and the cats who had killed the eagle wait for them cautiously. A pale gray tom steps forward and touches noses with him. He warmly greets Talon and Night that he is glad to see them. The brown tabby thanks his friend.
- Lionpaw eyes the Tribe cats doubtfully, as they are smaller and skinnier than most Clan cats, and their pelts are smeared with lots of mud. Their eyes glow strangely, and as one of them looks at him, he takes a step toward Squirrelflight. The she-cat licks his ear, and he briefly is ashamed, thinking that he is not a kit anymore. The apprentice reassures himself that they came to the mountains to help those cats.
- Gray looks at the other traveling cats, and exclaims Stormfur and Brook's names. He asks why they came, and adds that they are supposed to be dead. The Tribe cats edge closer together, fur bristling, and Lionpaw is slightly irritated that the Tribe cats seemed to believe that Stormfur and Brook were dead just because Stoneteller said they were dead to the Tribe. He wonders if the cats believe everything their leader told them.
- Stormfur looks and Brook wearily, then tells the cats that they aren't dead, and were simply outcasts. The cats step forward and sniff Stormfur's pelt, then began to inquire him with many questions. Brook announces that Talon and Night fetched them, as they said the Tribe needed them, but the Tribe cats exchange uncertain glances. They turn their attention back to the Clan cats, and Gray recognizes Brambleclaw as one of the cats who traveled through a few seasons ago. Brambleclaw agrees, and recalls Gray's name. The gray tom confirms this, looking surprise that the deputy remembered his label. He asks the ThunderClan tom if they found the home they were looking for, and Brambleclaw mews that they found a good place by a lake. Gray is surprised at why they came then, and where the others are. Tawnypelt begins to speak, but Brook interrupts that they are just passing through. As Lionpaw bristles, Hollypaw leans closer to him and murmurs that Brook doesn't want to offend the Tribe cats by admitting that they need outside help. Lionpaw thinks that the mountain dwellers clearly need their help, noting that they are very skinny, and that they wouldn't be a match for the trespassers.
- By now it is twilight, and Talon signals the journeying cats to continue moving. He bids a good-bye to Gray, and the Tribe cats go back to their prey and begin to drag it cross the rocks. Lionpaw walks around the eagle as he passes, feeling wary of its sharp talons and bright eye.
- As the cats pad across the rocky plateau, a noise like thunder is heard, but the sky is clear and starry. Still, the roaring noise grows louder and the air grows damp. Hollypaw runs to peer over the edge of the plateau, and calls to come and look. Lionpaw joins her, and in front of his paws the rock falls away into a narrow winding valley, with a stream foaming along the bottom and spraying the rocks. The thundering noise comes from farther down the valley, where the stream vanishes over a lip of rock, and Squirrelflight explains that it is the waterfall. Talon leads the way down the rocks to the stream, and as he enters a narrow path beside the water, he cautions the cats on their step.
- Squirrelflight asks Brambleclaw if he remembers the first time they came there, and her mate answers that he will never forget. Squirrelflight explains to the apprentices that it was on the way back from the sun-drown-place, and floodwater had swept them into the stream, bringing them to the pool below the waterfall. Stormfur adds that he thought he had died, and he cautiously walks down the slope. Squirrelflight follows him, then wonders if they will all do it dry-pawed that time. She tells Jaypaw to hold her tail and follow exactly where she walks, and the cats silently creep along the edge of the stream as far as the top of the waterfall.
- At the end of the valley, Lionpaw pauses and looks down at water hurtling into the pool. He asks Hollypaw how Jaypaw will get down, but his sister notes that he will never make it. Then a yowl of protest is heard, as Brambleclaw had picked up Jaypaw by the scruff and edge downward with the young cat dangling from his jaws. Jaypaw furiously hisses that he can do it himself, but Squirrelflight, from the bottom, orders him to keep still. Lionpaw whispers to Hollypaw to not mention it to Jaypaw, who would be enraged if they did, and she nods before heading down herself. Lionpaw follows, with only Tawnypelt behind him. His heart beats quickly as he tries to find a firm hold on the wet stones, and he once slipped, though Tawnypelt helped him up. The apprentice thanks her, and she flicks her ears in return.
- Lionpaw is grateful when he leaps down the last tail-length and stands beside the pool. His legs tremble and his pelt is wet, but he feels proud, and he thinks that nothing would stop the Clan cats. The golden tabby is certain that they would soon throw the trespassers out of the mountains, and believes that the Clans are the Tribe's only chance.
- Several Tribe cats lurking behind the rocks nervously watch the newcomers, and Lionpaw tries to pretend he hadn't noticed them, disliking how they studied him with suspicion and curiosity. The apprentice thinks that the Tribe cats should be acting more grateful for the Clan cats. Crowfeather wandered from the group and sits with his head bowed beside a heap of stones on the other side of the pool. Lionpaw asks what the black warrior is doing, and Tawnypelt explains that it is Feathertail's grave. Lionpaw asks why Crowfeather is so upset, and Tawnypelt gently answered that Crowfeather loved her, and she died saving him, and the Tribe, from Sharptooth. Lionpaw wonders if losing Feathertail made the WindClan cat so bad-tempered, and he feels sympathetic towards Breezepaw as the apprentice watches his father with a jealous glint in narrowed eyes.
- Talon tells them to come and walk the Path of Rushing Water, and the cave-guard pads around the edge of the pool and leaps up the first few rocks. Lionpaw is astonished when Talon vanishes behind the sheet of rumbling water, and questions where he went, but Tawnypelt answers that he will see. The ThunderClan apprentice scrambles up the slippery rocks to join Hollypaw, Jaypaw, and Squirrelflight at the point of Talon's disappearance. Squirrelflight instructs Jaypaw to follow her, and Jaypaw, still sulking, mutters something. Squirrelflight goes first with precision, and Jaypaw follows, with Lionpaw behind him. The water pounds past loudly, and Lionpaw is sure that it will toss him in the pool below.
- Jaypaw murmurs that it is where he is supposed to be, which greatly confuses Lionpaw. He takes a deep breath and steps into the gaping hole. Lionpaw finds himself at the entrance to the cave, and steep rock walls soar up on either side. The apprentice pads forward, leaving the thunder of the waterfall behind, with his littermates pacing beside him. Hollypaw gazes around in astonishment, while Jaypaw quivers with tension. Brambleclaw, Talon, and Squirrelflight stand farther into the cave, with Tribe cats around them, but they stare, as if hardly daring to greet the newcomers.
- An old, thin, brown tabby tom appears from the back of the cave, his amber eyes glowing in the light, and Brambleclaw respectfully greets Stoneteller. Lionpaw waits for the elderly cat to welcome them, and he notes that they must start planning on how to get rid of the intruders right away, but Stoneteller halts, his amber gaze resting on the newcomers. The Tribe leader's neck and shoulder fur bristles, and he demands how they dared to come.
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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