|"Jayfeather didn't kill me! I drowned. Jayfeather was trying to save me. But I was too heavy and the current was too strong. My death was not his fault!"|
|— Flametail telling the truth about his death in The Last Hope, page 188|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter sixteen of The Last Hope. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 16 (of 27)
- Page Numbers: 173-189
- Jayfeather awakes because of a cold wind. He looks around, wondering where he is. The tabby suspects he must be somewhere in the Dark Forest, because StarClan is usually set in mild greenleaf with a light breeze. He cannot detect any sign of life and tries to hear pawsteps. Fur brushes bark, and he peers through the brush. A muddy cat steps out, and he jumps back, thinking it is someone from the Dark Forest. Instead, it turns out to be Spottedleaf, who asks what he is doing here. Jayfeather inquires if this is StarClan, and she confirms it. Then he asks what happened, and she replies that leaf-fall happened. This is the first StarClan has known, and the tortoiseshell also smells leaf-bare on the way.
- He tells her that's impossible; StarClan can't have leaf-bare. She simply says that the Dark Forest is rising, and StarClan may fall. The blind retorts that it won't if he can help, and requests to talk to Flametail. Spottedleaf asks why, and he replies because of the sign. She tells him StarClan never sent a sign; they can't even see the Clans. Confused, he argues that one of them must have, because he couldn't get to the Moonpool last time he wanted to talk with Flametail, but now he's here. The tortoiseshell insists that StarClan did not send a sign, and Jayfeather comments that someone must have. He switches topics and asks to see Flametail.
- Spottedleaf reminds him that the deceased medicine cat will be in ShadowClan's part of the hunting grounds, as StarClan is divided. He snorts that StarClan has no borders, but she snaps back. He argues that the borders aren't real, but the tortoiseshell warns him that he won't be able to travel freely anymore. Fed up, he growls that she doesn't have to help him. She hisses that she never said that; she was just saying it wouldn't be easy. Yellowfang has been feeding StarClan's fears. Startled by her anger, Jayfeather asks if she'll take him to Flametail. Spottedleaf agrees, and on the way she mutters that she never would abandon her Clan.
- They come to meadow; near it there is a river flowing. However, it's brown, foaming, and flowing especially fast. He asks where everyone is, and then he spots Whitestorm, barely recognizing the white tom with his ribs sticking out. The tortoiseshell explains that prey is now scarce. Longtail is sitting next to Whitestorm, his eyesight fully restored, but filled with sadness. Jayfeather bounds up to him, greeting him with a purr. The tabby murmurs that it's good to see him again. He sees Brindleface making her way to him out the corner of his eye, and she asks why they can't see the Clans anymore. Jayfeather tells her it's because of the Dark Forest gaining more power. Whitestorm asks how Firestar is, and the blind tom replies that their leader is doing fine. Longtail then asks how Mousefur is doing, and the reply is that she's grumpy as ever. The medicine cat adds that Ferncloud still rules the nursery ferociously as well.
- He then assures the cats that ThunderClan is well, and says that Briarlight is doing fine and Brightheart is expecting her second litter of kits. Spottedleaf calls him to get going, and Longtail asks where they are going, and Jayfeather announces that he's going to find Flametail. Whitestorm warns him not to cross the border, but the blind tom growls that there shouldn't be borders. Longtail replies that there shouldn't be leaf-fall either. They're about to leave when Whitestorm stops them, and says they'll only be turned away. Eventually he lets the two pass, and Brindleface tells them to be careful as they make their way to their destination.
- They arrive at the border, and Spottedleaf suggests that they hide, but Jayfeather retorts that the idea is ridiculous and stands in the path. Soon enough, Russetfur turns a corner and asks what they are doing here, with Raggedstar and Hollyflower appearing behind them. Raggedstar hisses at Spottedleaf that he told her not to cross the border. The blind tom snaps that borders shouldn't even exist in StarClan, and the ThunderClan she-cat meows to the ShadowClan cats that they're only coming to find Flametail. Jayfeather explains that a sign showed that he needed to talk with the ginger tom after the former leader asks what they want with Flametail. Hollyflower growls that StarClan did not send a sign, but the tabby points out that they might not have known because of the borders.
- The bushes rustle as a gray tom appears behind Russetfur. He suggests to the ShadowClan cats that they let Jayfeather and Spottedleaf pass. The ginger she-cat protests, but Stonetooth says there is no harm in letting them speak with Flametail. Hollyflower adds that they've crossed the border, and the tom points out they'll cross it soon enough. He also points out that Jayfeather isn't any cat, and they agree to make an exception. They pick up the pace once they are out of sight of the other cats. He points out that they should look near water, since the sign was a burning reed. Spottedleaf is confused at first, but then takes him to a reed bed near muddy water, explaining that ShadowClan took it from RiverClan to spite them.
- They call for Flametail, but he does not appear. Both cats try again, this time venturing out further into the reed bed. Jayfeather keeps walking forward, the ground beneath him getting softer and softer, until he tries to walk and finds that his hind leg is stuck in the mud. He tries to pull it out but to no avail; the mud only sucks at him until it's at his knees. The tabby calls for Spottedleaf and tries to get himself out; however, he only sinks deeper. The tortoiseshell runs toward him, asking if he's found Flametail, only to find a sinking Jayfeather. He warns her not to come any closer. She tries to pull him out by the scruff, but can only grab his ear. He advises her to stay back, because they can't both drown. Spottedleaf tells him to stay there while she finds a stick.
- While he is struggling, a ginger tom appears and comments that he looks like he's in trouble. Jayfeather turns around to see Flametail standing close by, watching coldly. The blind tom gasps for help, but the ShadowClan medicine cat asks why he should, because Jayfeather didn't save him. Still flailing, the tabby explains that he tried, but he couldn't; he had to survive. Flametail hisses that he didn't want to die; his cause of death was stupid. The drowning tom gasps that the ShadowClan tom still has a destiny to fulfill: he is the only one who can save ShadowClan now. Flametail must unite the medicine cats or else there is no hope against the Dark Forest. He has to tell Littlecloud that Jayfeather did not drown him.
- The ginger tabby refuses, snarling that ThunderClan is full of murderers, explaining that when he first came to StarClan, Ivypool tried to kill him. It was only Tigerheart that stopped her from doing anything. Now Flametail states that he will let Jayfeather die instead. The gray tabby desperately tries to breathe through his nose as the water rises higher and higher. Spottedleaf arrives and demands that Flametail stop acting like a warrior; he only needs to tell the truth and everything will be all right. He flattens his ears as if he doesn't want to listen, but the tortoiseshell begs him to help the Clans see what is happening, to help the medicine cats work together again. She explains that the medicine cats are the heartbeat of the Clans, not the warrior code, and pleads for him to remember the promises he made as a medicine cat.
- As he watches, Jayfeather slides down deeper into the water. Something comes over him, as if he knows fighting is useless. Shifting his paws, the ginger tom asks if it really is in his power, and the drowning tabby wants to reply that it is, but he can't and he closes his eyes, feeling very tired all of a sudden. He is aware of movement but it doesn't seem so close. Suddenly something jabs him, and Spottedleaf hisses for him to wake up; he cannot die now. He grips the branch between his teeth and as Flametail joins the she-cat, he heaves himself up on the branch. The two medicine cats pull and he is saved from the mud. Hacking up the mud, he tries to tell them he's fine. Spottedleaf urges them to go quickly because not much time is left. Both are confused on what she means, and she answers that there is not much time to speak to the other medicine cats. Jayfeather races after them before he realizes that all of them are dreaming, so they have to speak to them before they wake up.
- Flametail directs them to where his former mentor is, and they cross a low hill before seeing the small tabby. He is surprised at seeing the both of them, and Jayfeather quickly prompts the ginger tabby to speak. He apologizes for hiding since he came to StarClan, but Littlecloud brushes that aside, saying he now knows he is safe with StarClan. The tortoiseshell reminds them that they need to hurry, because the medicine cats could wake up any moment. She asks for the quickest way to WindClan territory, and he says she should head through the pines and head for the gorse. She thanks him and speeds off.
- Eventually they reach Kestrelflight, and Spottedleaf yowls that they need to talk to him. He frowns, asking what's going on, before she adds that they need Willowshine. Before they can determine the fastest route to RiverClan territory, a voice meows that there's no need to go. She explains that she saw them and wondered what they were doing. Turning to Jayfeather, she asks if he is here because of Mothwing, who said he had visited RiverClan earlier. He confirms this, saying there was a sign. Willowshine nods, saying it was strange that her mentor told her to share dreams with StarClan, because the golden tabby didn't believe in StarClan.
- Suddenly Jayfeather realizes that they are all fading, and Spottedleaf presses for Flametail to tell the truth before the sun rises. He blurts out that the ThunderClan medicine cat did not kill him, but was rather trying to save him. The tabby thanks him for fulfilling his destiny, then suggests they meet at the Moonpool tomorrow. All of them agree, and as they fade, Flametail thanks Jayfeather for finding him, and says he'll stand by the Clans whatever happens. Before he wakes up entirely, Spottedleaf tells the gray tabby that the deceased tom isn't the fourth cat, and that he must keep searching.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Revealed in The Last Hope, page 173
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Revealed in The Last Hope, page 174
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Revealed in The Last Hope, page 176
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in The Last Hope, page 178
- ↑ Revealed in The Last Hope, page 179
- ↑ Revealed in The Last Hope, page 175
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Revealed in The Last Hope, page 187
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Revealed in The Last Hope, page 183
|The Last Hope 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|
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