|"We have known each other too long to tell lies now. I have reached my ninth life sooner than I expected, but ThunderClan will be safe with you. All of the Clans suffered this leaf-bare, but this only means they will want to prove their strength as soon as the warm weather returns. You must guard the borders fiercely, do you understand? Especially Sunningrocks. Your father never trusted RiverClan, remember."|
|— Doestar lecturing Pineheart about guarding ThunderClan in Pinestar's Choice, chapter 4|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter four of Pinestar's Choice. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 4 (of 10)
- Page Numbers: N/A
- Pineheart is carrying a dead squirrel back to camp. The trees around him are bare and stark because of leaf-bare, yet buds are appearing, signalling the arrival of newleaf. The tom thinks that he never would've been happier to see the end of leaf-bare, because he had to watch his Clanmates starve, as the floods and cold destroyed the little prey. Goosefeather's idea of burying the prey didn't work as the prey rotted away. Pineheart remembers feeling terrified and helpless, but now the hunger had passed. Now the camp is filled with prey, and the deputy is thinking that the hungry seasons are now over, and everyone is now able to fill their bellies.
- Larksong warns her kits, who are sharing a squirrel to not eat so fast. She tells them they will get bellyache if they do so, and that they should thank Flamenose, who caught it just for them. Cloudberry is with Mistpelt, the remaining elder, and advises her not to eat too much as her belly wouldn't be able to handle it. They share a mouse that Mumblefoot brought. Pineheart feels a pang of sorrow for his former mentor, because she had to watch her denmate Nettlebreeze starve to death, and many others had too. Pineheart knows his bones stick out just like everyone else's because of the harsh leaf-bare. All the cats add moss to their nests just because lying down is uncomfortable.
- However, the warm weather is there at last. The first successful hunting patrol in quite a while appears with new fresh-kill, and the fresh-kill pile is crowded with cats. The deputy takes his squirrel to the leader's den, and tells Doestar that he caught fresh squirrel just for her. Goosefeather, Cloudberry's apprentice, nudges the cream-and-white she-cat, and asks if she wants it. Doestar tells Pineheart to put it on the fresh-kill pile, but the tom says it was full, enough for everyone. Doestar questions it, and he confirms this, saying everyone on his patrol caught something. The reddish-brown cat pushes it closer to his leader, and she begins to eat. The mottled gray tom gives a nod of satisfaction to Pineheart.
- Outside, the fresh-kill pile has disappeared because of the hungry cats, and Pineheart forces himself not to panic. He tells himself that they will catch more prey tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Mumblefoot murmurs that they did well, and that StarClan spared them. Pineheart replies that not all were spared. Not only was Nettlebreeze lost, but so were Harepounce, Stagleap, Hollypelt, and Flashnose. A noise catches Pineheart's attention, and he sees Rabbitpaw and Moonpaw fighting over the ears of a rabbit. It is noted that before the hunger that rabbit ears were used as playthings or buried in the dirtplace. However, now, they were highly prized. The tom steps in between them and gives one ear to each apprentice. He tells them that they are not starving, and there is plenty for every cat. Both cats look up at him with a glimmer of hope in their eyes, with dirty pelts.
- Pineheart tells them to clean up, as they are not rogues, and walks away, only to find Cloudberry. Like all of them, she clung to survival by eating tree bark and whatever else she could find. She barely survived, yet she is fussing over her Clanmates like they are her kin. He asks the white medicine cat if Doestar was all right. She answers that the she-cat is weak, like the rest of ThunderClan. Pineheart replies that isn't an answer, because he was deputy and needs to know if the leader is going to lose a life. The she-cat sighs and says this is Doestar's last life, and that she most likely more ill than anyone realizes. Soon, Doestar will walk with StarClan. Pineheart frets about Doestar's death, panicking and saying that their leader can't leave them yet. He tells Cloudberry that he isn't ready yet.
- Cloudberry comforts him and tells him that he'll do fine, like his father. Panic still threatens to overwhelm the brown deputy, and he is convinced that it is too soon for him to become leader. He enters Doestar's den, and asks if there is anything he could get her. She says no, and tells him that Deerpaw was here just now, and Pineheart freezes, because it possibly means that Deerpaw is here to take her sister to StarClan. Cautiously, he replies that he didn't see the dead apprentice, and Doestar meows that her sister wanted to take her somewhere, but she didn't want to go.
- Pineheart takes this as sign that Doestar will die soon. He changes the subject quickly, and mentions that Heronpaw caught a pigeon earlier, and that the apprentices are hunting well. Doestar purrs and says that the tom was always fast, even as a kit. The deputy is relieved that the she-cat is still up-to-date. Out of the blue, the cream-and-white leader announces that all the apprentices are going to be made warriors. She sits up, her eyes more focused, and looking more like her old self. Pineheart agrees that it is an wonderful idea, and Doestar reaches out and tells the tom that it was an honor to serve as deputy under Oakstar. She is sad that she will not be able to watch Pineheart rule as leader.
- Pineheart objects that it will not be for a long time, but Doestar interrupts him, saying they knew each other too well and for too long to tell lies. She says that her ninth life has come sooner than expected, and that ThunderClan will be safe in his paws. Eyes blazing in the sunlight, she tells Pineheart that all Clans have suffered during leaf-bare, but they will prove their strength as soon as the warm weather returns. The reddish-brown tom is told to guard the borders fiercely, especially Sunningrocks. He is reminded that Oakstar never trusted RiverClan.
- He assures her that the borders will be safe, and that they will not lose Sunningrocks. He promises that they will always be strong, even if they have to fight all their enemies. His claws in the dirt, Pineheart imagines himself leading his Clanmates into battle to protect ThunderClan's territory and honor. Quickly he realizes that Doestar has slumped and is breathing raggedly. He panics and asks Doestar if she was okay. Cloudberry comes in, and tells him she is still alive, but tired. She suggests that Pineheart leave her. He does, while keeping his eyes on the she-cat, hoping that she wouldn't leave him.
Notes and references
|Pinestar's Choice chapters|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10|
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