|"I saw you there. Who would have thought it -- Gray Wing falling for a rogue!"|
|— Rainswept Flower about Gray Wing and Storm in The Sun Trail, page 245|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter nineteen of The Sun Trail. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 19 (of 26)
- Page Numbers: 238-245
- The roar of monsters deafens Gray Wing and he could taste their reek as he creeps along the hard stone paths of Twolegplace. Rain plasters his pelt to his sides and he feels as if Twoleg filth is soaking into him. He wills himself on, thinking he has to find Turtle Tail but Gray Wing has no idea where to find Bumble's Twoleg nest, among all the others that look and smell exactly alike. He'd picked up Turtle Tail's scent as he had approached Twolegplace, but he quickly lost it among all the competing scents of dogs and Twolegs and monsters.
- He pads alongside a Thunderpath when a monster comes roaring around a corner and flashes past him. A wave of filthy water surges from its paws, soaking Gray Wing before he could jump out of range. Even wetter than before he shakes his pelt and looks around. The Thunderpath stretches ahead of him, lined by dens of red stone on either side. He isn't sure where to start looking for Turtle Tail, let alone get back to the forest.
- A voice speaks from behind Gray Wing and asks what he's doing in Twolegplace. He spins around and sees the silver tabby she-cat he met in the forest. Hot embarrassment scorches through him -- she was the last cat he would have wanted to see him bedraggled, reeking and lost. He tries to greet her but reminds the silver tabby she never told him her name, knowing that he sounds flea-brained. She rolls her eyes and Gray Wing retorts he told her his and the silver tabby tells "Gray Whatsit" that her name is Storm (Ro) as she heaves an exaggerated sigh. She asks if he's lost and Gray Wing confesses he is.
- Storm snorts, saying he couldn't find his tail if he used all his four paws and asks where he wants to go. Gray Wing explains he thinks his friend is here and she's probably with a plump tortoiseshell with white chest and paws, called Bumble. Storm replies she knows Bumble and could show him her housefolk's den and Gray Wing, relieved that he didn't have to wander around on his own in this dreadful place anymore accepts but wishes it hadn't been Storm who'd helped him. She waves her tail for him to follow her, rounding the next corner and slipping down a narrow path between two Twoleg dens. Gray Wing meows he didn't expect to see her here and she doesn't look like a kittypet. Storm halts and glares, snarling she isn't a kittypet. He keeps his mouth shut after that, thinking he'll only say the wrong thing.
- At last Storm halts beside a section of Twoleg fence. She tells Gray Wing that Bumble's Twoleg nest is through the fence, and taps him on the nose with one paw, claws sheathed. She asks if he'll be okay and Gray Wing replies he'll be fine. She turns away and glances back, green eyes glittering with humor. She jokes she'll see Gray Wing the next time he needs rescuing and he watches Storm until she's out of sight. He then squeezes through a hole in the fence, where a narrow path leads up to the den, with grass on either side, surrounded by bushy plants with bright flowers. When he tastes the air, he picks up Turtle Tail's scent, and another he recognises as Bumble's. He yowls for Turtle Tail, but no cats appear. Gray Wing waits for so long that he's afraid they left the den and fears that maybe Turtle Tail's on her way back and he's come all the way for nothing.
- Then, at last, a small flap in the side of the den opens, and Turtle Tail and Bumble come out. Turtle Tail bounds up to Gray Wing, excitement in her eyes, and talks about how glad she is that he came to visit. Gray Wing replies he's here to take her home and her excitement fades, replaced by fury. She snaps she doesn't need rescuing, and she only stayed overnight because it was raining. She adds how kind Bumble's housefolk were and how they even gave her food. Gray Wing hissed that they're Twolegs, not housefolk, and asks if she's forgotten that she's a wild cat. She retorts if he forgot his manners and Gray Wing remembers Bumble is standing a couple tail-lengths away, looking embarrassed.
- Turtle Tail apologises for Gray Wing saying he's not usually such a pain in the tail to Bumble, and he hisses, thinking she doesn't need to apologise about him. Bumble ducks her head and says it's okay and Turtle Tail tells Gray Wing that she'll come back with him, but only so he doesn't make a scene. Tail twitching irritably, she bids farewell to Bumble and says she'll meet her at the big oaks tomorrow.
- She stalks off, squeezing through the Twoleg fence. Gray Wing nods awkwardly to Bumble and follows her. After they'd walked for a while Gray Wing apologises, saying he was worried. Turtle Tail glances at him, her face softening and she apologises for staying out for so long, saying she didn't want to walk back in heavy rain - plus the food despite looking like rabbit droppings tastes great and she slept on the soft rocks. Her voice trails off and there's a shadow of disappointment in her eyes. Gray Wing feels a bit guilty that he couldn't be more interested in Bumble's den. He thinks they don't belong with Twolegs and that's all there is to it.
- Gray Wing pads through the trees, alert for prey, wondering whether to pay a visit to Clear Sky and Jagged Peak. Two sunrises passed since the heavy rain and the sun is shining but the ground is still wet underpaw. Sounds from deeper in the forest made Gray Wing's ears prick but he realises at once they aren't made by prey. Instead, he hears a vicious snarl and a voice that exclaims filthy prey-stealer. Terrified one of his Tribemates were being attacked, Gray Wing races through the trees towards the sound. Bursting out of an elder thicket, he spots two forest cats: a white tom and a small yellow she-cat he'd seen before. They're trapping a third cat among the gnarled roots of an oak tree. Gray Wing's heart beats faster when he realises the third cat's Storm.
- The white tom growls strangers aren't welcome and orders her to clear off, but Storm protests she's lived here all her life. Instead of arguing further the small she-cat slashes her claws at Storm, who presses herself back against the roots. Leaping forward, Gray Wing yowls at the white tom to leave Storm alone. The tom turns on him with a snarl, his claws flashing. Gray Wing batters him with his hind paws, and they roll over and over and over among the debris of the forest floor. He's dimly aware Storm and the yellow she-cat are grappling together with furious hisses.
- Gray Wing winces as the white tom catches him with a stinging blow to his shoulder. He lunges forward, trying to fasten his teeth in the cat's white furry throat but the tom jerks his head away and Gray Wing's teeth met his ear instead. The tom screeches and tears himself away. Blood trickles from his ear as he scrambles to his paws and flees. The yellow she-cat follows him, pausing to look back and snarl that it isn't over.
- Panting, Gray Wing and Storm stand side by side, watching as the two rogues vanish into the undergrowth. Storm snaps with a lash of her tail that he didn't have to interfere and Gray Wing retorts that it was his turn to rescue her. Inwardly he admires the silver tabby's courage and her refusal to admit that she needed any cat. Storm begins that now that he's here that he could maybe show her where he and all his friends have been living. Warm pleasure floods over Gray Wing as he purrs at Storm to follow him.
- He leads the way through the trees and climbs up until they're close to the hollow where the cats are living. Storm mews doubtfully it's not very sheltered and Gray Wing assures her its dry and warm under the gorse bushes and they like the open spaces because they remind them of where they used to live. Storm asks where is there old home, and Gray Wing points towards Highstones with his tail and says the place they came from is a bit like that but the mountains are even higher, so far away that you can't even see them from here
- Storm's green eyes go wie and Gray Wing is pleased that for once he'd impressed her. She exclaims she's surprised he has any paws left walking all that way, and as Gray Wing is about to reply, he spots Turtle Tail emerging from the gorse bushes surrounding the hollow. She heads in their direction and Gray Wing calls to Turtle Tail to meet Storm. She pads up and dips her head to the silver tabby and introduces herself politely. Gray Wing asks her where she's off to and immediately Turtle Tail's neck fur fluffs up. She snaps it's not to Twolegplace and Storm's ears flick up as she flashes a surprised glance at Gray Wing. He sighs that it's too complicated to explain and he leaves Turtle Tail to go her own way. Gray Wing and Storm head back towards the trees and he asks her if they can meet again tomorrow, suggesting she could show him around the woods.
- Green eyes glittering Storm remarks that from what she's heard, Gray Wing and his friends have already been over every mouse-length. Before Gray Wing has time to feel disappointed her gaze softens and she says she'll meet him at the four big oaks at sunhigh. Brushing her tail against Gray Wing's cheek, she turns and trots away. Gray Wing watches until she disappears into a clump of fern.
- As Gray Wing turns and begins climbing the moorland slope again, he spots Rainswept Flower sitting on a rock just above him. She mews that she saw him there, a spark of mischief in her blue eyes. She asks who would've thought Gray Wing falling for a rogue and Gray Wing mumbles it's not like that, tearing at the rough turf with his claws. But he can't stop a thought from creeping into his mind, and wonders if Storm would ever consider moving to the moor.
Notes and references
|The Sun Trail 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 • Bonus Scene|
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