|"None of you realize the danger you face. My rogues outnumber you. They are more savage than any of you can imagine. If you value your prey more than the lives of your campmates, then you are free to refuse me."|
|— Slash to the leaders in Path of Stars, page 50|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter four of Path of Stars. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 4 (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 43-52
- Clear Sky's pale gray fur ripples along his spine. Above him, the half-moon shines against the crow-black sky, and the last leaves of leaf-fall flutter to the ground around him. The blue-eyed leader pricks his ears, listening for a call of an owl, or the patter of prey. The forest greets him with silence, the same silence he heard leaving his camp. Briefly, Clear Sky wonders who'll attend the meeting, then he quickens his pace, nearing the rim of the hollow. Tall Shadow promised to be there, the same for Wind Runner; he is able to trust River Ripple on the tom's word.
- Clear Sky guesses the river cat is probably already waiting, but is unsure about Thunder. He wonders if his brother, Gray Wing, had been able to persuade the ginger tom. Fear sparks through the pale gray tom's blood, and he recalls his restless moons, and now fear fuels him. And hope too; hope that he'll get to see Star Flower's face again. He hurries along the path faster, imagining his mate beside the rogue tom, Slash, waiting. Clear Sky wonders if she's okay, and if Slash's rogues treated her well. He struggles not to imagine the suffering Star Flower could've endured. A new thoughts alarms him: if Slash or Star Flower don't show up, and the meeting possibly might be a trick.
- The forest cat leader tries to silence the nagging doubt, but it comes back with a question that'll leave his camp vulnerable. He narrows his eyes, remembering he made sure to secure his camp. Clear Sky had assigned each cat a position, and to guard it carefully. Nettle and Thorn were ordered to guard the camp entrance, while Birch and Alder stalk the woods for any intruders. Sparrow Fur and Blossom watch the camp from an oak bough, and Quick Water hides in the shadows with Acorn Fur. Clear Sky knows that his campmates will fight fiercely to defend their home, then hopes the other leaders acted the same way.
- As the pale-furred tom nears the top of the hollow, his name is called. He stops, heart quickening, then recognizes the voice as Tall Shadow. He tastes the air, his apprehension easing as he hurries forward, smelling the black she-cat. Tall Shadow emerges from some shadows, hard to make out in the darkness, and informs Clear Sky of River Ripple's presence. The leader of the marsh cats leads him away from the cover of the forest, and stops at the slope's peak. He follows her, his blue gaze trailing over the hollow, and he spots River Ripple, a pale shape against the undergrowth. Tall Shadow plunges over the slope, heading through the bracken.
- Clear Sky scans the clearing, and spots Wind Runner's wiry shape, then wonders if Thunder would come, before noticing the orange tabby emerging into the clearing. Ignoring resentment, the gray tom calls his son's name, greeting him. Just then, Slash appears, standing on the Great Rock with his rogues. Their eyes glitter in the darkness, menace visible in their gazes.
- The brown tabby pads to the edge of the rock, scorn flashing in his gaze, admitting he hoped Clear Sky would come; the gray tom retorts that Slash gave him no choice. The rogue leader asks if the other leaders would really care about Star Flower and her kits. Wind Runner questions what would happen if they didn't come, and Slash tells her he would've dealt with Star Flower for good.
- Thunder and Slash argue briefly over Star Flower, but when Clear Sky cuts in, asking where she is, the rogue doesn't answer, and the light gray tom realizes that he's toying with him. River Ripple moves to Clear Sky's side, telling him not to get riled up, and to keep a clear mind. The gray tom turns back to Slash, reminding him of his promise that he would return Star Flower if the other leaders came.
- Slash says that he won't return the golden tabby unless the groups agree to his demands. Thunder asks what he wants, so the rogue explains that for every five prey they catch, he wants one. Wind Runner spits that they'll starve, and Tall Shadow agrees, saying there isn't enough prey to share when leaf-bare rolls around. Slash states it's not his problem, but if they want to stay in his land, they need to share.
- Wind Runner snarls at him, declaring that ever since she was a kit, rogues bullied others to hunt for them. River Ripple questions why Slash decides to stay, suggesting he go find land to hunt somewhere else, and the rogue replies that it's easier when the groups can hunt for him, beginning to pace. He reminds the cats around about Star Flower, and how she'll be killed if they don't meet his demands.
- Clear Sky desperately offers giving one prey out of seven, hoping the other leaders would back him up. He feels sick, doubting any of them care for his mate, and snaps that they have to save Star Flower, and pleads with Slash to try and change their minds. The brown tabby tom hisses at him, saying clearly none of the leaders care for Star Flower, going on to state he's more dangerous than any of them realize, but Thunder tells him that he's bluffing.
- All the leaders refuse to give up prey, and despite Clear Sky's pleading, Slash turns, then hops off the Great Rock, and vanishes into the night. Swaying on his paws, the light gray tom collapses, barely hearing the approaching paw steps, telling the leaders to leave him alone and he never wants to see them again. Wind Runner claws Clear Sky's ear, ordering him not to act like a kit, and get up. Tall Shadow tells the gray tom they need to show him something.
Notes and references
|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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