|"Fog's group is clearly attracting the attention of the Twolegs, just like they did at the outdoor gathering. We need to get rid of her before the Twolegs discover our den."|
|— Tigerheart announcing they need to drive Fog's group out in Tigerheart's Shadow, page 242|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty three of Tigerheart's Shadow. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 23 (of 35)
- Page Numbers: 239-250
- Fierce paces across the gathering-place floor, saying that they need to find out how many foxes lived at Fog's group's old home. Tigerheart agrees to this but says that if they convince Fog and her group to join the fight, the foxes will retreat. His kits, Pouncekit, Lightkit, and Shadowkit are watching the meeting quietly since their mother, Dovewing, had given strict orders to stay quiet.
- Dovewing stands beside Cobweb. Tigerheart previously told her about his plan, and he can see her silently urging him on. The guardian cats aren't enthusiastic about his attack plan on the foxes, though Blaze is watching him curiously. Peanut and Bracken listen anxiously, Ant frowns, and Dotty, Pipsqueak, and Boots glance at each other as Tigerheart goes on. He says that if Fog stays, she will only make life more difficult and that he saw her looking into the guardian cats' den last night. He adds that her cats will not sleep in the cold weather if they think they can sleep in the guardian cats' den.
- Dotty looks puzzled as she asks why don't they invite them to join their group. Tigerheart's hackles lift as he remembers Darktail. He then adds that Fog believes in every cat looking after their self and that Fog's denmates probably felt the same. He asks the group if they wanted cats in their group who are only interested in filling their own bellies.
- Spire is stripping herbs from their stems as he adds in that he has met cats like Fog before and tells the group that in the forest, they call them rogues and that they have no pity for sick cats. Spire adds that they see the guardian cats as burdens and Fog's group would destroy everything Tigerheart built there.
- Fierce listens thoughtfully as she tells Spire that if they could drive the foxes away, Fog and her friends might be able to go home. Tigerheart agrees, ignoring the doubt pricking his belly. He adds that Fog's group liked their old home and he thinks that they'd choose it over this place if they could.
- Pipsqueak's tail twitches as he adds that not because they chased the pair of foxes from the herb patch doesn't mean they can fight a whole Clan of them. Tigerheart argues that they don't know that it is a whole Clan.
- Rascal comments darkly that the whole Clan was enough to drive away Fog and her cats. Tigerheart looked pleadingly around the guardian cats as he states if they and Fog's group fought together and if with Fog fighting with them instead of against them, he could offer them to show the battle moves he had taught the guardian cats.
- Fierce snaps that first, he told them that Fog's cats are a threat; then he offers to teach them how to fight. Dovewing pads forward and stands beside Tigerheart, saying that he was only trying to help and that he speaks from experience.
- Dotty looks at Tigerheart with narrowed eyes as she asks why is Tigerheart here then if his clan hasn't recovered fully and if his Clan didn't need him. Guilt sparks in Tigerheart's chest as he reasons that he is here because he thinks his clan is better off without him for a while. Dovewing shifts beside him and says that Tigerheart wants to be with her and her kits.
- Dotty tips her head toward Dovewing and asks her why she had come and left the Clans, adding that she talks about the Clans like they're better than strays. Tigerheart felt Dovewing's fur bristle self-consciously and says that Dovewing dreamt her kits would be safer with the guardian cats.
- Dotty rolls her eyes and says that Dovewing sounds like Spire. Spire lifted his head, saying that dreams sometimes reveal the truth and nodded distractedly at Dovewing and Tigerheart. He dreamed that they would come and asks the group.
- Dotty huffed that dreams are nonsense and why it matters if Spire dreamed that they were coming and that it didn't change anything. Rascal and Mittens squeezes through the entrance and jumps to the floor. Mittens mewed breathlessly that there are cat scents around the slabs. Fierce stiffens as she asks if it was Fog's cats. Mittens nods and say that Fog's cats clearly been snooping around in the night. Rascal adds that there is also fresh Twoleg scents and concludes that they must have came before dawn.
- Tigerheart lifted his muzzle as he says that Fog's group is clearly attracting the attention of the Twolegs just like they did at the outdoor gathering. He says that they must get rid of Fog before the Twolegs discover their den.
- Fierce gazed at him thoughtfully for a moment then nodded. She meowed decisively to practice the battle moves Tigerheart taught them. Pipsqueak's pelt bristled nervously as he asks if they are going to fight the foxes.
- Fierce says that not until they know how many there are and if Fog will help them and that it sounds as though they are going to have to defend their home one way or another, so they might as well be ready.
- The guardian cats looked at one another. Tigerheart's paws pricked nervously as the guardian cats leaned close and murmured. One by one, they met Fierce's gaze and nodded. Hope swelled in Tigerheart's belly. He was doing what was the best for the group. He couldn't let Fog drive them away and says that they should train outside and they should get used to fighting on uneven ground. He swept his tail over the shiny floor and hopes that the battle never reaches this den.
- Tigerheart let Fierce lead the way out. Pipsqueak, Dotty, Rascal and Mittens followed, Ant and Cobweb at their tails. As Bracken, Boots and Peanut headed after them, Tigerheart called them back and says that their healers and suggests that they should be gathering herbs for the wounded rather than training how to fight. He didn't want to frighten them, but if there was a battle, they would need to be prepared.
- Peanut nodded and mews that they'll go to the herb patch and collect some leaves left untouched by the frost. As Peanut led Boots and Bracken out, Dovewing glanced at her kits.They were still watching, leaning forward eagerly. Dovewing purred and mewed that they're desperate to help.
- Tigerheart blinked fondly at his kits and says that perhaps they could watch the battle training and that it would almost be like being among real warriors. Dovewing's ears twitched anxiously, she asked if Tigerheart meant to take them outside.
- Tigerheart says just as far as the stone slabs and fresh air will do them good and there won't be any Twolegs around that it's not a yowling day. Dovewing mewed about the Twolegs Rascal smelt, and Tigerheart says that the Twolegs must be gone and that Rascal didn't see them, he only caught their scent. Tigerheart felt a prick of guilt.
- Tigerheart wondered if Dovewing will guess that he was eager to get the kits outside because he wanted them to taste the wind and feel soft grass beneath their paws? He wanted to know if the leaf-bare wind would pierce their kit fluff too easily. Would the cold earth freeze their pads? Were they ready to make the journey home?
- Dovewing looked at Tigerheart uncertainly, and then at her kits. Pouncekit was already racing across the shiny floor and asked if Tigerheart said they could go out. Lightkit charged after her sister and says that she wants to go first. Shadowkit trailed them doubtfully and asked won't it be cold outside. Pouncekit called over her shoulder and says That's what he's got fur for, and calls Shadowkit silly.
- Dovewing's tail drooped and says that she can take them outside, but only for a while. Lightkit tried to haul herself up the leg of the wooden ledge. Dovewing scooped her up and carried her to the entrance and warns Lightkit not to go outside until she got her other littermates.
- As Dovewing jumped down to fetch the others, Tigerheart noticed Spire. The healer had wandered into a pool of sunshine at the far end of the den and was staring at the air, his eyes glazed. Was he having a vision?
- Tigerheart excuses himself, and Dovewing tells him to not be long. Tigerheart padded toward the skinny black tom. Spire didn't shift his gaze from the shaft of light that seemed to have hypnotized him. Tigerheart wondered whether to disturb him, but as he neared, Spire's gaze still distant as he spoke about Blaze.
- For a moment, Tigerheart wondered who the healer was talking to, but there was no cat left in the den aside from Feather and Scowl. Tigerheart wondered if Spire was talking to an imaginary cat.
- Spire says that he will not live beside the wide water, but Blaze will. Tigerheart instantly thought of the lake as Spire said Widewater and wonders if he's talking about the journey there. He asks Spire if he is saying that Blaze will travel home with us. Spire's yellow gaze flashed toward him, focusing suddenly. He says Of course, and Tigerheart leaned closer to ask if Wide Water means the lake.
- Spire says that's where the Clans live, and Tigerheart says Yes in surprise, fur prickling. He asks How Spire knows what it is, and wonders if Dovewing mentioned the lake. Spire told him that he sees things, and Tigerheart asks him if he sees their journey or if they make it. Spire looks away and tells Tigerheart to teach battle moves like he promised.
- Unease wormed in Tigerheart's belly. The healer was avoiding his question and Tigerheart tries to ask Spire again if they make it there. Spire padded past him, heading for the sick cats' nests and says that he doesn't see everything. Tigerheart hurried from the den, suddenly anxious to see Dovewing and his kits. Tigerheart wondered, did the black tom know something or something he didn't dare to tell.
- Tigerheart's kits were bouncing over the grass beside a stone slab. Dovewing watched them protectively, her gaze flitting beyond them, as though checking for danger. Dovewing caught sight of Tigerheart and blinked at him, purring that their kits like the grass.
- Lightkit says that the grass is soft, and Pouncekit replies that it is tickly, rolling over in it, mewling in delight. Shadowkit stayed in the shelter of the slab and watched anxiously. Pouncekit wants to explore, while Lightkit wants to play. Lightkit asks if Tigerheart will play with them.
- Tigerheart looked to where the guardian cats were already practicing the battle moves he'd taught them to fight foxes with. He says that he must go and help Fierce, and that they can play another time. Lightkit wasn't listening and She was following Pouncekit as the gray kit sniffed her way to the net stone slab like a fox following her scent.
- Tigerheart purred that it was good to see the kits with grass beneath their paws and sky overhead. For the first time, Tigerheart could imagine them as warriors. He turned toward the guardian cats. Cobweb and Ant were stalking around Rascal. Rascal eyed them sharply. As Cobweb dived for Rascal's forepaw and Ant lunged for his tail, Rascal ducked and rolled. Cobweb and Ant landed clumsily as Rascal tumbled out of reach.
- Tigerheart was pleased the guardian cats had remembered the skills he'd taught them. Blaze bounded toward him, mewing that he wants to learn a new move and that he already knew all the old ones. Tigerheart purred at him proudly and told him to show him one of the battle moves.
- Blaze arched his back and flattened his ears. Hissing, he approached Tigerheart side-first, looking as big as he could. Tigerheart shot out a paw to tumble the kit onto his back, but his sheathed claws swiped thin air. Blaze had ducked beneath his chest and was clinging to his hind leg, churning his paws against it energetically.
- Tigerheart purred as he praises Blaze. Tigerheart cuffed his ear playfully as he thinks about Blaze. Movement near the trees caught his eye. Fog and Tuna were stalking through the grass there. Streak and Growler were heading the other way. Tigerheart's pelt pricked as he wished the guardian cats would admit this was their land and mark some borders.
- Tigerheart is thinking how he could confront Fog and needed her help to fight the foxes. As Fog caught his eye, he looked away. Fierce lifted her muzzle as she asks what do they do if they're attacked by two foxes at once. Tigerheart flicked his tail approvingly as he says that if they fight the foxes, they'll stay in pairs. and says that that way they'll be more prepared for an attack on two sides.
- Tigerheart beckoned Rascal and Mittens forward and tells them to stand tail to tail. As they shifted in position, he padded around the circle of watching cats and nudged Pipsqueak forward with his nose and tells him to be one fox and moves on to Dotty.
- Tigerheart tells Dotty to be another fox and guided her past Rascal and Mittens who were facing forward, tails touching. He then explains if two foxes attack from two sides to get straight into a tail-to-tail position.
- He then explains about the strategy about the foxes and asks the guardian cats to keep their claws sheathed to prevent injuries. They practice using Tigerheart's strategy as Cobweb flicked his gaze toward Blaze and pointed out that Blaze is too young to fight foxes.
- Fierce promised Cobweb that Blaze will not be involved in any battles but Blaze should learn the moves as he might need them one day. A terrified squeal of a kit cut Fierce off as Tigerheart froze. He recognized Pouncekit's cry as he raced for the patch of grass where'd he left them. The kits were gone, and he saw Dovewing's pelt flash between the stone slabs and chased after her.
- Tigerheart caught up as he sees a shiny mesh cave, which sat in the grass behind a stone. Pouncekit was trapped inside, staring through the silver mesh, her eyes wide with terror.Dovewing asks Pouncekit what happened, as she says that she smelled something tasty and crept inside the mesh cave.
- Shadowkit and Lightkit scrabbled at the outside with their paws. Lightkit squeals that Pouncekit is trapped and Shadowkit looked at Tigerheart with his eyes dark and says that the mesh cave has eaten her and she'll be trapped forever.
Notes and references
|Tigerheart's Shadow 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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