|"It's Red. I... I think she betrayed us to Dodge."|
|— Stick to Shorty about Red in SkyClan's Destiny, page 297|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty three of SkyClan's Destiny. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 23 (of 35)
- Page Numbers: 295-300
- Stick angrily asks his cats what they mean when they say the Twolegs took Percy. Snowy's ears are flat to her head and she wails that he couldn't run fast enough: the Twolegs had just grabbed him. Shorty and Coal bound up to join Cora and Snowy. Shorty apologizes and says there wasn't anything that they could do to stop them. Coal snarls that it mean war. Cora nods and says it's mouse-brained to think it's possible to live along Twolegs. Stick narrows his eyes, and says it's not the Twolegs, but Dodge's fault. Shorty asks what he means, and Stick explains how he once found Skipper and Misha torturing the rabbit in the Twoleg garden. He meows that Twolegs won't let cats attack their rabbit, and he shares his prediction that Dodge arranged this so the Twolegs would drive them out. Coal hisses if they will fight for their home, and Stick retorts that they will, but not against Twolegs. He says that they must fight Dodge and his cats. Coal snarls that he'll rip their fur out, then breaks off, asking where Red is, and wondering if he Twolegs took her too. Stick growls that Red is fine and she got away. He asks his cats if they have any ideas to attack Dodge and his cats. The cats look at each other, and Shorty comments that it would be easier if they knew where they slept. Cora meows that they don't know, and Stick realizes how clever Dodge had been in taking hunting grounds that Stick and his friends had been using, but not giving anything away. He snaps at his cats to find them. Cora asks if they should wait for Red, and Stick responds no. He isn't sure that she will come back, and says that they don't need her. His friends exchange uneasy looks before heading off in different directions.
- Stick shoulders Snowy away from the direction Red had taken, saying that he would go that way and ordering her to climb the wall and search behind the Twoleg nests. Snowy is surprised, but leaps the wall without arguing and disappears down the other side. Stick feels ashamed as he retraces his steps toward where he had confronted Red. He can't tell the others that his daughter had betrayed them, but realizes that she must have told Harley where they slept, and helped Dodge plan the Twoleg raid. Stick reaches the shed where he had confronted Red and Harley, and follows his daughter's scent to the next corner. He scrabbles over a low sloping roof and drops into the next alley. He barely begins following the trail when he hears paw steps behind him.
- Stick freezes, then spins around to see Shorty bounding along the alley. The brown tom pants that he can't let him go off on his own. Stick growls that he's fine, and adds that Shorty is making so much noise. He whips around and carries on up the alley, but realizes that Shorty is following him. He snaps that he's fine, but Shorty halts again, and meows that he's know Stick too long, asking again what it wrong. Stick mutters that it’s Red, and confessed that he thinks she betrayed them to Dodge. Shorty gasps in horror, and protests that he doesn’t believe it. He says that Red would never do that. Stick counters that maybe she would, as her mother hadn’t shown much loyalty, but Shorty furiously hisses that Stick knew exactly why Velvet did what she had done. He says that Red might have her mother’s pride and stubbornness, but that she gets that from her father too, and adds that Stick has always been proud that his daughter knows her own mind. Stick mutters that he isn't sure if she does know her mind anymore, but breaks off as he spots a whisk of movement underneath a bush a few fox-lengths away.
- Stick bounds up to the bush, and pauses to check the scent, which he recognizes as an enemy. He plunges through the twisted branches and sinks his teeth into the scruff of a black-and-silver she-cat. As he drags her into the open, he mumbles that she's one of Dodge's lot. He lets her go, but keeps her pinned down with a paw on her neck, and snarls, asking what her name is. The she-cat looks too shocked to struggle, and stammers that she is called Onion. Shorty protests to Stick not to be too harsh, but Stick ignores him, and slides his claws out till the tips prick Onion's skin through her pelt. He demands where Dodge is, and Onion opens her jaws to speak, but only a chocking sound comes out. Stick realizes that he is squashing her neck, and raises his paw a fraction, but as soon as he does that, she rears up, trying to throw him off. Stick flings himself on top of her, and pushes his face close to hers. He raises a paw, ready to slice his claws through her neck.
- Shorty objects, saying that Stick can't kill her. Stick spits back that he can, but won't, and again asks Onion where Dodge is. She gabbles that hexs by the stream, behind the Twoleg nests, and adds that he sleeps in some old boxes, then begs to be let go. Stick flexes his claws to slice them through Onion's flesh, but Shorty stops him, and says that Stick must let her go, as she told them what they must know. Stick sheathes his claws and rises to his paws, releasing Onion, who flees down the alley. When she disappears, Stick turns and heads in the direction of the stream. Shorty tells Stick to wait, and asks his friend what he's going to do, claiming that he can't attack on his own. Stick breathes deeply, almost about to hurl himself at his friend, but Shorty presses on if it became personal, and if it's about Red.
- When Stick doesn't reply, Shorty says that Dodge can't steal Red, as she isn't helpless and wouldn’t stand for it. Stick growls that he knows that, and thinks that if she joined Dodge it's because she want to. Shorty warns that this is a battle Stick can't win, and tells him to focus on their safety and right to hunt. Stick responds that Shorty is right, and that they'll collect the others and come back to fight. Shorty asks even if that means fighting Red, and Stick responds yes. Shorty gapes and says that his friend doesn't mean that. He goes on saying that he should talk to Velvet, as she might know what Red is doing and be able to change her mind before it's too late. Stick responds that Velvet is dead to him, but Shorty faces his friend, and replies that she is not. He says that she never has been, and never will be, and that Stick thinks of him every time he looks at Red. He takes a pace forward so that he and Stick are nose-to-nose, and tells him to go talk to his daughter's mother, as she might be his only chance to save Red.
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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