|"They can keep us here. They can do what they like with us."|
|— Alderpaw about the rogues in The Apprentice's Quest, page 228|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter eighteen of The Apprentice's Quest. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 18 (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 225-230
- Alderpaw winces, feeling Darktail's claws dig into his haunches. Only moments have passed since the ginger apprentice witnissed the murder of Mistfeather, and now Darktail is driving him to the camp. The rogue leader orders him to keep going, and Alderpaw doesn't protest, stumbling. He is still able to picture the spurt of blood as Darktail's claws tore open Mistfeather's throat, and struggles to master his fear. The ThunderClan tom tries to tell the cruel rogue he didn't need to kill Mistfeather, but claws stab him once more.
- Darktail snarls a reply, calling the former SkyClan warrior devious. The white leader tells Alderpaw once he dies, and his companions, he'll leave them to rot. Alderpaw is dismayed at the revalation, then attempts to turn. Darktail simply shoves him, forcing him along the path. The dark ginger tom desperately wonders if his quest will end now, and feels guilty for not having left earlier. He protests against Darktail's motives, but the big rogue hisses at him, going on about his supposed plan to take the land back.
- Alderpaw has no reply, for the hope of changing Darktail's mind is drained. Every cat in the camp rises up, and stares as the ThunderClan cat and rogue alike enter, Alderpaw being shoved along. The dark-furred apprentice is relieved to see his Clanmates back, and they pad to his side. Molewhisker questions the current events, and Darktail stands below the tumble of rocks, raking the crowd as his rogues move forward.
- As Alderpaw observes, he realizes that Darktail doesn't act like a Clan leader, and they shouldn't have believed such. The white tom prods Alderpaw, mockingly calling him pathetic, then tells the cats about the apprentice meeting a SkyClan cat. He claims Alderpaw's companions are working against the rogues, in order to win the territory back. Angry murmurs ripple through the clearing, and Alderpaw sees neck fur bristling, and tails lashing as their enemies close in.
- The patrol, however, is bewildered by the false claims, and do not resist. Molewhisker hisses, stating lots of things make sense now. Another rogue, a gray tom named Rain, squares up to Needlepaw. The rogue tom's nose almost touches Needlepaw's, and he snarls, flexing his claws. Beneath the gray cat's fury, Alderpaw's able to sense something else, and he wonders if he's hurt. His chest swells with an odd ache, but the ShadowClan she-cat remains unfazed. Needlepaw assures Rain it isn't true, and explains that the travelers didn't even know if SkyClan existed.
- An angry yowl follows her words, and Alderpaw realizes that it came from Darktail. The rogue questions if Needlepaw is calling him a liar, and the silver apprentice still shows no fear. She even smooths her whiskers, and Alderpaw admires her cool air. She replies she isn't calling anyone a liar, then turns to look at her ThunderClan friend; he sees her face: annoyed. It reminds him of Molewhisker used to look during his time as his mentor.
- Needlepaw tells him Alderpaw must've meant nothing by talking to Mistfeather. Darktail seems to be considering this, but then Raven paces forward. The long-furred rogue states it'll be better safe then sorry, and to not trust Alderpaw and his patrol. Alderpaw's windpipe seems to swell, cutting off his breath, and he wonders if every cat there is nasty. Darktail continues to think, then turns an unblinking blue stare onto Needlepaw. The leader refuses to let them leave, especially not after the events that conjured.
- Cherryfall and Molewhisker move forward, spines arching, shoulder fur spiking. Molewhisker growls at Darktail, saying he can't make them stay, and Cherryfall agrees. Alderpaw realizes that Darktail doesn't even need to respond, for his rogues tighten the circle, claws flexing and ready to fight. The dark apprentice knows they can keep them in the camp, since they're outnumbered. Darktail replies to the frightened group that it isn't personal, and once he's convinced the danger is gone, he'll let them go. He finishes with a promise, but Alderpaw is not sure whether or not to trust the white tom.
- The sun went down, and shadows lay over the gorge. After the confrontation earlier, Alderpaw's patrol was escorted to a different den, which was small, and tight, causing them to be uncomfortable. Outside the small den, Raven sits guard, her ears pricked, as though making sure they won't plan anything. Cherryfall speaks, and asks the ginger tom if he found out what happened to SkyClan. Alderpaw nods, and explains that Mistfeather said Darktail's rogues came and drove SkyClan away, causing the Clan to scatter. He finishes that Darktail killed him after finding him and Alderpaw.
- Sparkpaw gasps, looking horrified, and digs her claws into the ground. Molewhisker calls Darktail evil, then turns to confront Needlepaw. The cream and brown warrior asks what she thought earlier, recalling the silver apprentice to have told the rogues. The ShadowClan cat retorts, defending herself by saying they might've lead the rogues right to the lake Clans. Her voice rises as she speaks, and Alderpaw checks to see if Raven showed any signs of hearing. They settle down once more, and Alderpaw feels the sharp stones and pebbles jabbing him, and wonders how it went wrong.
Notes and references
|The Apprentice's Quest 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 • Bonus Scene|
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