|"I think a very great deal of you, Spottedpaw. Wherever I am, in my nest, in the forest, patrolling the borders... you are always beside me."|
|— Thistleclaw to Spottedpaw at Sunningrocks in Spottedleaf's Heart, chapter 4|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter four of Spottedleaf's Heart. 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
- Spottedpaw organizes Featherwhisker’s herb store, commenting that he’d better not mess it up again. He thanks her, saying that she’s been a great help lately. Featherwhisker offers to make her his apprentice, should she ever want to become a medicine cat. Spottedpaw is appalled, and thinks that he must be joking. She quickly turns down the offer, and leaves to make her way across camp to Thrushpelt. Her mentor is pleased to see her better, and says that they can go do some hunting practice today. He notes that Spottedpaw’s shoulder is still healing, so they shouldn’t do anything too strenuous. The tortoiseshell playfully protests against that, imploring how Featherwhisker said she is ready to do as much as she likes. As they head toward the gorse tunnel, Spottedpaw meows a greeting to her littermates, Willowpaw and Redpaw, who have just returned from a hunting patrol. They show her the prey they’ve caught, and the tortoiseshell thinks that she’s way behind in her training compared to them. Spottedpaw practices her hunting skills with her mentor, demonstrating each type of hunting pounce. Her shoulder is stiff, but Thrushpelt encourages her to continue. When he is satisfied with her skills, they separate to go hunting in the forest.
- Spottedpaw trots toward the Treecutplace, remembering that it has good hunting. The apprentice walks through a bed of pine needles, picking up prey scent. She tries to follow it, but it dies out under some bushes. Spottedpaw freezes when she hears voices coming from a distance, seeing Bluefur, Thistleclaw, and Tigerpaw confronting an intruder. Spottedpaw realizes that they have cornered a black kit, and watches as the dark tabby apprentice attacks it. Bluefur tries to get them to stop, protesting that their intruder is a very young cat. Thistleclaw hisses that she’s always too lenient when defending their borders, and goads his apprentice on. Spottedpaw holds her breath as it continues, readying herself to come to the kit’s rescue. Before she can do so, Bluefur steps in to intervene by knocking Tigerpaw out of the way. The kit flees with a whimper, back to the Twolegplace. Bluefur threatens that if something like this happens again, she’ll report them to Sunstar. Thistleclaw shrugs and says they were only defending their borders, and she should do the same. Spottedpaw takes a deep breath, backing away. She is appalled by what she just saw, wondering at how cats could be so cruel to a kit.
- Thrushpelt finds his apprentice and says that they should go to nearer to Snakerocks to hunt. She agrees, and both of them end up catching a mouse and a blackbird. The tortoiseshell helps her mentor carry their prey back to camp, and her shoulder begins to ache. Thrushpelt notices, and says that she can go get herself something to eat and find somewhere to rest. Spottedpaw picks out a sparrow, and drags it close to the nursery. Thistleclaw invites her to eat with him, and she then follows the warrior to a shady spot. Spottedpaw bravely mentions that she saw his earlier confrontation of the kit intruder, and he is surprised, as he hadn’t known she was there. The apprentice questions if Tigerpaw was perhaps a bit harsh, considering the intruder was only a kit. She goes on to say that Bluefur definitely didn’t seem happy, but Thistleclaw defends his actions. He begins to rant at her about how great Tigerpaw is, and insults Thrushpelt’s skills in mentoring her, as she’s coming out too soft. She becomes angry with him, and runs away to a spot near Sunningrocks.
- Thistleclaw follows her with prey and apologizes, saying that he’ll leave her alone now. Spottedpaw then invites him to come sit with her, purring in amusement. He compliments Spottedpaw, flattering her and saying that he is sorry for what he did. Thistleclaw elaborates that he won’t be rude to her again, and values her opinion very much. He asks if she ever thinks about him during the day, as he does, and she replies affirmatively. Thistleclaw meows they could have a future together, because she won’t be an apprentice forever. The apprentice feels at ease with his words, and he invites her come somewhere with him tonight, to prove that she wants to spend time with him. Thistleclaw notes that she can’t tell anyone, and needs to trust him. Spottedpaw agrees, and he disappears into the bushes. The tortoiseshell apprentice watches him go, wondering what he’s planning.
- Whitepaw is listed as an apprentice at the time of this scene in Spottedleaf's Heart,  but is still a kit during this same event in Bluestar's Prophecy.
Notes and references
|Spottedleaf's Heart 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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