|"This is the first time I've led my Clan into battle. StarClan, please give us strength and bring all our warriors home safe."|
|— Leafstar thinking about the upcoming battle with the rats in SkyClan's Destiny, page 133|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter ten of SkyClan's Destiny. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 10 (of 35)
- Page Numbers: 132-143
- Leafstar reaches the top of the gorge and into the undergrowth. It is night, but she can see dark outlines of her Clanmates. Five sunrises had passed since Patchfoot's patrol found the Twoleg waste, and every cat had practiced Stick’s battle moves. Leafstar’s dreams had been troubled by rats and blood. She heads toward the rat heap, Sharpclaw and Stick beside her, other warriors following, gliding silently along the ground. A sharp snapping noise breaks the silence. Sharpclaw whips around and hisses, and every cat halts.
- Bouncefire apologizes, saying he stepped on a twig, and Sparrowpelt complains that the rats would know now that they were coming. Stick assures them that it won’t matter, as the rats would just hide deeper into the nests, soon to find out that nowhere is safe in their nest. Leafstar calms down and signals the patrol to move on, although she can still feel tension into the air. She thinks about how it is the first time she's led her Clan into battle, and she asks StarClan to give them strength and safety.
- The first faint light of dawn filters into the forest, and Leafstar’s nose twitches at the foul stench the breeze carries. A few fox-lengths ahead, the waste pile is hardly visible through the trees. Leafstar signals with her tail for the patrol to halt, and she turns to face her Clanmates. Sharpclaw, fur bristling, turns too, and Leafstar feels his desire to avenge Rainfur's death. He reviews the plan of blocking most of the holes to the patrol, and Leafstar feels more confident in listening to her deputy and seeing determination in his eyes.
- Leafstar can see tension mounting, and the whole patrol is clearly very nervous. She decides to get on with it, and asks Sparrowpelt, who had led a patrol there yesterday, if he located exits from the heap. The young tabby tom nods, saying that they didn’t want to get too close. However, he had found three gaps in the far side, one on each side, and two in front. Leafstar looks through the trees and can make out the front wholes Sparrowpelt had mentioned. She assigns Patchfoot, Tinycloud, and Petalnose to go around the back and block the exits there, and gives Bouncefire and Cherrytail each their own hole. She tells them to stay beside them even after they’re blocked, and tells Sharpclaw that he’s in charge of catching the rats as they come out to the front. She tells Waspwhisker, Sparrowpelt, Rockshade, Stick, Coal, and Shorty to go with the deputy.
- Mintpaw asks what the rest would do, and Leafstar promises that soon they would fight rats too. Leafstar tells the apprentice that Mintpaw, Cora, and Shrewtooth would come with her after the exits were blocked, to chase the rats out. Mintpaw is excited at this.
- The dawn light becomes brighter, and Leafstar pads around to the back of the heap, following Tinycloud, Petalnose, and Patchfoot. They pass Bouncefire on the way, and the ginger tom had been trying to push a chunk of wood into a gap between two shiny black pelts, and Leafstar gives him a nod of approval, silently thanking Stick for all he taught them. Her confidence grows with every step, and she is proud as she watches her Clan work together.
- Then she remembers the fight with the rats in the barn, and her confidence ebbs as she pictures the hordes of rats, pouring from hiding places to kill cats. Her breath chokes as she imagines being overwhelmed by the rats. Leafstar wonders if there are enough of them, and realizes that perhaps she should have brought the daylight warriors. She remembers that Sharpclaw hadn’t included them in practices, so that perhaps he thought they wouldn’t be strong enough to fight rats. Leafstar shakes off her thoughts, telling herself it is too late for reinforcements. She halts and gazes up at the mound, and is shocked at how tall it is. She had seen it before, but never up close. From inside, rustling, scraping, and high-pitched rats squeaks come from inside.
- Beside her, Petalnose, Patchfoot, and Tinycloud collect sticks and lumps of wood and stone to block the exits. Cora pads up to her, asking if they should climb up yet. Leafstar nods, and beckons to Mintpaw and Shrewtooth, then claws her way up the pile. She is almost at the top when she hears a yowl of alarm that is quickly cut off. A tail-length below her, Mintpaw’s forepaws cling into a jutting piece of wood, though her hind paws dangle in the air, tail waving wildly. The apprentice apologizes and Leafstar manages to haul herself up again, and murmurs to Mintpaw that it’s okay.
- A fox-length beneath Mintpaw, Shrewtooth had frozen, but before Leafstar can speak, Cora whispers to him that he’s doing fine. He quivers as he manages to climb, and the SkyClan leader is grateful for the Twolegplace cat’s courage. Leafstar admits to herself that it would be much harder without Cora and her friends.
- Finally, Leafstar gets a firm paw hold on a piece of stone, and scans the clearing: at the bottom of the pile, Patchfoot, Tinycloud, and Petalnose, each brace against the blocked exits; farther around, Bouncefire is in position; however, Leafstar can’t see Cherrytail on the far side, or Sharpclaw and his patrol, but she has to assume that they’re ready, and yowls for SkyClan to attack. The mound becomes alive beneath her, rats squeal, and Leafstar can feel them scrambling underneath her paws. The stone she is standing on shift. A rat head pops out of the hole Tinycloud blocks, trying to force its way through, but the white warrior slashes its nose, and the rat vanishes. Leafstar congratulates Tinycloud as the small she-cat shoves sticks back into place. Petalnose is hissing furiously at two rats who are trying to escape through her exit, and Patchfoot darts across to help. The rats slide back into the mound at the sight of two cats.
- Leafstar is reassured that her warriors know what to do, and climbs to the top of the heap, ordering to scare rats out of the mound. Cora and Mintpaw do the same, while Shrewtooth shrieks. The mound lurches under Leafstar’s paws as new gap opens up, and a rat breaks into the open a few mouse-lengths from her nose, running down the heap before she can swipe it. A squeal from below tells her that another cat killed it instead. Mintpaw claws her way over a Twoleg chair, when suddenly the chair gives way and sinks deeper into the waste, carrying the apprentice into a gaping hole. Mintpaw screeches and struggles as she sinks into the depth of the mound, but Leafstar leaps forward and grabs the apprentice’s scruff, hauling Mintpaw back up. The young she-cat kicks out with her hind paws and catches a rat across the side of its head. She thanks her leader, and Leafstar compliments her on the rat.
- From where she is standing, Leafstar sees Sharpclaw and his blood-spattered patrol surrounded by rats, and hopes that it is the rats’ blood and not their own. The SkyClan leader sees Rockshade below her, struggling with an enormous rat, and yowls and launches down the heap, killing the rat, and releasing its grip on Rockshade. She flinches as blood comes out of the wound, and thinks that that they should only kill to eat. Rockshade thanks her and whirls around to block another rat. Leafstar rears on her hind paws as a rat fastens its claws in her back fur. The rat falls off and scrambles away into Sparrowpelt’s paws. A huge female rat, chased by Shorty, crashes into the Leafstar's haunches, and the she-cat gives it a blow to the head with sheathed claws. Sharpclaw objects that she should show no mercy. Leafstar realizes that he’s right, and kills the she-rat with Shorty.
- The battle surges around Leafstar, until she is only aware of the rats that she kills. The one under her paws stops struggling, and Leafstar spins around to face the next enemy, but sees Cora standing in front of her. The black she-cat’s ear is ripped, and there are toothmarks on her jaw. All around her, more cats stand over swarms of dead rats. Cora informs Leafstar that it is over, and Sharpclaw comes over, telling Leafstar that there are no more rats. She looks around and sees heaps of dead rats. The waste heap is torn into smaller piles, with separate bits of debris scattered all over the clearing. She thinks that the rats won’t be able to use it as a refuge anymore.
- The silence is broken by Waspshisker's wheezing: the warrior is lying on his side, with Mintpaw heading toward him. The gray she-cat wails that he’s hurt and Leafstar pads over to her injured Clanmate. The gray-and-white tom is bleeding from a scratch down his flank. He lifts his head and rasps that he is fine, but Leafstar meows that he needs more than that, and licks her warrior’s ear. She says they'll take him to Echosong. Waspwhisker murmurs that he finished off the rat that injured him and closes his eyes. The rest of the cats gather, and though all have injuries, none as serious as Waspwhisker or Cora's. Leafstar feels a scratch on her shoulder, though she had never noticed the rat that had done it. She announces that they won, though none of the cats respond. The SkyClan leader meets Sharpclaw's gaze, and they silently acknowledge that it is not the time to celebrate. Leafstar meows that it is time to go back to camp.
Notes and references
|SkyClan's Destiny 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 • Chapter 25 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27 • Chapter 28 • Chapter 29 • Chapter 30 • Chapter 31 • Chapter 32 • Chapter 33 • Chapter 34 • Chapter 35 • Manga|
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