|"Star Flower's not my campmate! She's gone back to her true friends."|
|— Quick Water to Clear Sky in Path of Stars, page 6|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter one of Path of Stars. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 1 (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 4-11
- Star Flower has been missing since moonhigh; to Clear Sky, it feels like a lifetime as he hurries along a sodden trail. He warily lifts his muzzle to taste the air, wondering if some cat is behind him, following. The tom remembers Slash's warning that he had more rogues than Clear Sky could imagine, and there are several waiting outside his border. The gray tom compares them to foxes, preying on the weak. He growls, thinking to himself that he isn't weak. Clear Sky wonders how he can beat Slash, for he's taken Star Flower, and he has no choice but to agree to the mangy tom's demands. He hisses, calling the rogue a coward as he remembers waking up with Slash standing next to the golden she-cat. The faint scent of blood was in the air, and he soon discovered that there had been a wound slashed across his mate's cheek.
- Clear Sky remembers how Quick Water had watched the entire thing, but had stayed hidden in the bracken. He believes that if she would have joined in his efforts to save Star Flower, she would be beside him now, rather than with Slash. When challenged on why she had just watched, Quick Water had accused the golden she-cat of wanting to go back with him. In response, Clear Sky had scratched her muzzle angrily.
- Now, as he walks toward his camp, energy fizzes beneath the gray tom's pelt. Clear Sky believes he's wasting time and needs to act. Slash had told him that he needs to get all of the leaders to meet at the four trees at half-moon. The mangy cat had originally allowed him one day to get them together, but then agreed on a later time. The deal is that Clear Sky can have Star Flower back if the settlers give Slash a share of their prey, and it lasts indefinitely. Leaf-bare has begun, and prey is already scarce.
- He wonders if the other leaders will even agree to meet with Slash. He assures himself that they would feel some sympathy for his mate, and Thunder and Tall Shadow have seen how supportive she was when his mother died. Clear Sky believes it doesn't matter that her father is One Eye, for she's nothing like the bloodthirsty tom. He thinks that Star Flower has made bad decisions before, but she has changed; she's also carrying his kits.
- Clear Sky breaks into a run, deciding that he'll form a patrol to visit each of the leaders. He believes that he can persuade them, for they only have to agree to Slash's terms until they get Star Flower back. He bursts through the bramble barrier and into the camp. As he enters the camp, Thorn and Alder spin around. Nettle and Sparrow Fur circle around the edge of the clearing, narrowing their eyes as Clear Sky stops in the center. Blossom hangs back behind Birch and Acorn Fur, watching uneasily. Quick Water's tail flicks as she paces beside the yew. No cat says a word, and the gray tom realizes that the gray-and-white she-cat has told them about Star Flower. He demands to know what she's said; the she-cat replies that she has told them the truth. Rage glitters in Quick Water's eyes, and dried blood could be seen where he scratched her on the nose.
- Curling his lip, Clear Sky reminds her that the truth is Quick Water had been to cowardly to fight for her campmate. She snaps that Star Flower isn't her campmate, and that she's gone back to her true friends. The gray tom swallows back fury, retorting that she was kidnapped. He tries to read the other cats' expressions. Alder is watching them through slitted eyes; Birch tips his head to one side thoughtfully. Nettle's expression gives nothing away, while Thorn shifts beside the tom. The only two cats who meet his gaze are Blossom and Acorn Fur.
- Sparrow Fur speaks up, saying that Quick Water had claimed that one of Slash's cats is a former mate of Star Flower; Clear Sky denies this claim. The gray-and-white she-cat says that she probably knows all of the rogues. Alder asks how big the mangy tom's group is, and panic sparks in the leader's chest as he admits that he has no idea. Clear Sky announces that they have to get Star Flower back. Nettle frowns, mentioning that Quick Water said the she-cat went with them freely. The pale gray tom snaps that she was terrified and had no choice; the small gray-and-white cat asks why the golden she-cat didn't fight.
- Turning on her, Clear Sky reminds Quick Water that Star Flower was outnumbered and is carrying kits, and couldn't risk their safety by fighting. Acorn Fur seems shocked at the fact that the tabby was taken against her will, and the pale gray leader wonders if someone believes him at last. Sparrow Fur asks if he could've stopped the rogues; feeling shaken by all the questions, Clear Sky replies that he couldn't have done it on his own.
- Birch asks why they took her, and Clear Sky responds that Slash wants to meet with all of the leaders, and he's going to keep Star Flower until it happens. The tom clarifies that he wants a share of the settlers' prey. Swapping a look with Nettle, Thorn meows that it's just like the old days, as they were loners once and left offerings at the edge of the woods to keep the rogues happy. Clear Sky seems content on the idea, but Quick Water asks if they could even make it through leaf-bare if they give away half their prey. Nettle claims that it doesn't need to be half, just enough to keep them happy. Thorn snorts in response, saying rogues like Slash aren't satisfied until they have everything. Despair sits inside Clear Sky as he realizes the she-cat is right.
- Clear Sky voices his opinion that they only have to give them prey until Star Flower is returned, and then the rogues can hunt on their own. Birch demands to know where he thinks they'll hunt, and Blossom mutters that it'll be on the group's land. The thick-furred tom urges them to understand that they can get the other groups to help; they'll decide what to do once they get the golden tabby she-cat back. Blossom anxiously asks what will happen if they refuse to help, and fear pulses through Clear Sky as he wonders if his family has forgiven him for turning against them. He turns to the rest of the cats, hope in his voice as he asks for them to help him persuade them.
- Quick Water huffs, saying the other leaders won't risk their own cats for a she-cat who betrayed them. Clear Sky argues that it was moons ago, and she can't be blamed for siding with her own father. Birch asks if he'd be so forgiving if she wasn't his mate. Thorn chimes in, wondering if he would be so eager to help if it had been a different cat. Glaring at her, the light gray tom claims he would do the same for every single one of them. Acorn Fur announces that she'll go with him, but Birch argues that Quick Water could be right, and Star Flower might have gone with them willingly. The chestnut brown she-cat firmly states that the golden tabby is carrying kits, and they must get them back.
- Alder glances at her brother, asking if he remembers how the group protected them after their mother died. Clear Sky feels a stab of guilt, for he was the one who killed her. Birch's gaze softens, and he meows that they've always had a warm nest and prey, so her kits deserve the same. Quick Water asks if they can trust their mother, and Thorn claims that Star Flower could be setting another trap, but Clear Sky denies this. Nettle reminds him of the time she led them all into One Eye's ambush, causing anxious murmurs to ripple through the clearing. The brown she-cat gasps that she could've set up her own kidnapping in an attempt to gather the leaders together. Blossom suggests the rogues are planning an attack, and Clear Sky snaps at her that they only want prey.
- Quick Water asks if he's sure, for they'd be weak if their leaders were killed. Clear Sky compares his campmates to helpless rabbits, saying that they have claws just like the rogues, and nobody will be killed. The other cats agree; Sparrow Fur and Alder announce that they'll come with him. Thorn interrupts again, asking if it's wise to leave so few cats in camp. The light gray tom asks what more could they want besides Star Flower, and Quick Water growls that they'd want the food from their mouths. Glaring at her bitterly, Clear Sky remarks that she'll have something to fight for. As he heads for the camp entrance, he is relieves to find Acorn Fur, Sparrow Fur, and Alder following him.
- The patrol heads toward Thunder's camp, and Clear Sky wonders if he'd be more understanding than his campmates. He realizes that his son would have more reasons to decline than accept. The tom thinks about how he had never been a good father, and had taken Thunder's crush as his own mate. Clear Sky wonders if, after all of this, he'll be able to rely on his son to help him.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Revealed in Path of Stars, page 4
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Revealed in Path of Stars, page 5
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Revealed in Path of Stars, page 6
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in Path of Stars, page 9
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Path of Stars, page 10
- ↑ Revealed in Path of Stars, page 8
- ↑ Revealed in Path of Stars, page 11
|Path of Stars 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 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24|
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