Every step in StarClan was like a undescribable pleasing sensation. Drake didn't know if it was just him, but it felt like the whole forest loved him. The trees were shining brown and green and the sky was a very light white. Drake could hear animals including birds, voles, and even mice living in the forest. He could see clearly and spot some burrows where mice tried to hide from cats. Even the ground was soft and nice under his paws. It was the exact opposite of the Dark Forest.
Crookedstar was leading Drake while Ferncloud took up the rear. The bushes around them whistled with a slight wind. It seemed that StarClan was just like a normal forest, except the prey was forever rich and everything was in harmony.
Drake could barely grasp sense in any of this though. He still had no idea how he has been showing up here for the past two nights and if he can't figure out why soon, the cats here might do something to him. Or will they? All he heard from his mother that she heard my father say that StarClan was supposed to be a place where the forest clan cats went after they died with a respectful past. All these cats though, from StarClan and the Dark Forest, seemed pretty menacing and looked like they could kill him anytime they wanted.
Crookedstar glimpsed behind at Drake with one eye. He studied him for a couple seconds, then looked ahead again. "We should be getting close to camp momentarily. Stay close and follow me."
Ferncloud caught up to Drake and whispered into his ear, "The cats here might be surprised to see a loner in their camp, so don't be afraid if they stare at you."
Drake whispered back, "How would they know I'm a loner?"
Ferncloud looked at Crookedstar. "They can smell it on you, like Crookedstar did."
Drake soon saw a huge wall of leaves up ahead. Crookedstar shoved his way through them. Ferncloud leaped ahead and moved some of the leaves out of Drake's way to pass. Drake slowly made his way through the huge thistle bush, trying to avoid getting any of the thistles on his fur. Then, a light appeared ahead where Crookedstar passed through.
Drake exited the thistles and found himself looking at a huge camp of various cats and multiple dens. Trees rose from many spots around the border. Small dens scattered around the clearing either in the tall grass, in burrows, or in reeds. In the center of the clearing was a big pile of prey. On one side of the camp, big cats with thick pelts were talking next to a small stream. Another group of cats were small and thin pelted, talking to each other on a small patch of hilly grass. It seemed that all the cats had different attributes that made them unique.
As Drake approached the clearing behind Crookedstar, cats started to notice him and stop talking. They gazed at him as he walked. Even some cats in the small dens peered outside to see Drake. He felt so alone for those moments that he hoped to wake up. Ferncloud reassured him by nudging him forward to stand beside Crookedstar, but Drake didn't comply and stayed two tail-lengths behind.
Soon, they had crossed the clearing had made their way along a wide path. Drake still wondered where they were going.
Then he saw it. A small stream led to a huge reflective pool. It's shine revealed a forest in it's reflection. Around the pond, a group of cats were settled on the opposite side, looking at them as they approached. For some reason, this place seemed familiar to him, like he's been here before.
Ferncloud stopped Drake from taking anymore steps. Crookedstar made his to the other cats on the other side and sat down next to an orange tom with green eyes. At first, his pelt seemed like fire in the white glow of the sky. Crookedstar spoke to him, making it hard for Drake ot over hear anything he was saying. Drake did hear a gasp from the orange cat. After what seemed like a moon to Drake, the orange tom spoke up.
"Leaders of StarClan, this cat is a loner from the twolegplace near our old home. For reasons unknown, he has been sent here and appeared first in the Dark Forest, but Ferncloud risked her life and the code to fish him out of there. First let's settle one point with Ferncloud." He shook his head and looked down, "Why Ferncloud? You know it is forbidden to go into the Dark Forest."
Ferncloud stood in front of Drake. "I sensed something was going on in the Dark Forest after overhearing Darkstripe near the border. He was talking with Thistleclaw about a meeting with a special cat, and I know that the Dark Forest wasn't meant to have meetings. It was meant to make cats wander and take punishment for their actions. When I first traveled to the other side, I spotted Drake here and found out he wasn't part of the Dark Forest, so I suspected maybe this was the cat they were talking about."
Another cat spoke up. He was a tall black and white tom with a long tail. His eyes were hazel as he looked at Ferncloud. "That still does not mean you can break the rules like that. And what of the second time you snuck out, hm?"
Ferncloud rubbed her paw on the dirt. "Well, Drake woke up last time before I could get him here, but I snuck out today to fetch him and found him floating in the muddy river. And before I could get him here, we had to run from Darkstripe."
Yet another cat spoke up. It was a she-cat with patchy tabby fur and glowing amber eyes. Her voice was very stern. "No matter what you say, you will not erase the fact that you broke the rules. Yet, I know by much experience that sometimes doing the right thing," She looked towards the orange tom and smiled, "Does require a little code-breaking on their part. It is a law that no Dark Forest cat can interact with another living cat in his sleep."
Ferncloud made her way back to camp. They were done with her. Drake stepped forward as the orange tom continued, "Crookedstar says that Darkstripe claims that this loner... Drake came to the Dark Forest by his own will. Is this true young one?"
Drake looked up to him with his fur flat and eyes round. "No. I have no idea why I'm here. My life is nothing special to the warrior cats as I know of. Though I have heard stories from my grandfather about how his father praised you cats. But I don't think I have any ties with StarClan or any ways to get myself into the Dark Forest in my dreams."
"We all know that Darkstripe doesn't always tell the truth, but if he is, it is strange," The orange cat started to walk around the pool over to Drake, "that a cat like you could come here. Tell me, everyone says you're a loner, but are you truely one?"
Drake thought for a moment. "Yes, but I never wanted to be one. A fire ravaged my twoleg's den while me and my mother were in it. Only I made it out. Next thing I know, I'm alone in the twolegplace, trying to avoid vicious cats."
The orange cat had almost arrived in front of me. "I still don't understand. Are you sure that you don't know any clan cats or have met any warriors?"
"No, not any warriors. But if you count Bloodclan as a clan, I saw Scourge's grandson start to take over the twolegplace."
Immediately, all the cats around the pond gasped and looked straight at Drake. The orange tom stopped pacing towards him. They all stood like they were looking at the twoleg monster on a thunderpath. The orange cat continued speaking, "Scourge had kits before he fought with me?"
The tall tom spoke up, "If BloodClan is back and approaches the clans, that could spell disaster."
Drake spoke again, "Not only that, but he has already gotten most cats in the twolegplace to follow him. I haven't heard anything about him going to the clans, but he did say that Scouge lives in him."
The orange tom finally got in front of Drake. "Well, that might be a reason to come here to StarClan, but that doesn't make everything clear. Why do you come here now?"
"I can answer that Firestar."
Suddenly, a massive cat appeared out of thin air. He had a ginger pelt with green eyes and a scratch ear. He stood behind Firestar. "I saw potential in this cat. I was reminiscing on the past, walking in our old territories when I stumbled upon the new Scourge as well. Before I came back here, I saw this loner suffer many losses, yet he had a pure heart. A warrior heart. When I summoned him here, he appeared in the Dark Forest because you can only come to StarClan if you know of them."
Firestar turned slowly, "You did this Pinestar?"
Pinestar bowed his head. "I will take full responsibility."
Firestar looked to the other cats around the pool, "Well, what should we do with him? Both Pinestar and Drake. Crookedstar?"
Crookedstar stood up. "I believe that Drake has suffered much and it's not his fault that he is here. Pinestar has broken the code many, many times before, too. I don't know what to say. Tallstar?"
The tall tom replied, "Pinestar, I don't believe you summoned this cat here to inform us about BloodClan because you could've done that yourself. Do you really think he even wants to become a warrior? And why?"
Drake shouted, "I had thought if I could prove myself before that I could join the clans. There is nothing left for me as a kittypet or a loner. I'm done being pushed around as well, both in real life and in the Dark Forest. I felt so weak, helpless to stop BloodClan from killing my friend or facing Darkstripe. I want to be brave, like all of you."
The tabby she-cat narrowed her eyes at Pinestar. "That's not the only reason, is it Pinestar? You have another reason, don't you?"
Pinestar stepped forward to the edge of the pool. He looked into the water. "I want to make up for my mistakes, Leopardstar. My biggest mistake was letting that fox-dung cat teach my son, Tigerstar, to be a clan killer. If this works, then I hope to atone for all of them, from leaving my clan to leaving my son."
The other cat by the pool spoke, "And what exactly is 'this'?" He was a small tom with a glossy black pelt and yellow eyes. "I can relate to your mistakes, letting someone train a killer. I'm sorry for training Brokenstar to be so vengeful and devious. But what do you think this cat can do to help you get your reputation back?"
Pinestar looked at the small tom and proudly said, "Nightstar, I believe that this loner really wants courage to fight his oppressors. BloodClan must be stopped before they get a chance to strike the clans at their weakest. If Drake here, is able to train a group of loners himself into warriors, he might be able to combat BloodClan before they arrive at the lake."
"So it is confirmed that BloodClan seeks revenge for their dead leader?"
"Yes, and not only is BloodClan heading this way, Sol is also gathering cats from the twolegplaces."
More of them were taken aback. Tallstar leaped across the grass and got close to Pinestar. "You saw all of this on your venture back to our old territory? BloodClan and Sol."
"All of them want their revenge on the clans, and their groups are the sizes of all the clans put together already. The clans cannot leave their homes to fight BloodClan and Sol, so I thought Drake might be able to be trained to train others like him. We cannot prevent the confrontation with BloodClan and Sol, but Drake might be able to weaken them."
Drake was very surprised by the mission he was being given. He asked himself, do I really have the potential to do all of this? Can I really fight cats like Garve and Kurk, or even Scourge and stand a chance? Drake could believe these cats could fight BloodClan, but could they teach him to be like them? He walked to the edge of the pool and announced, "I can do it. Just tell me how to weaken BloodClan. I will obey everything you command me to do if you can teach me to have courage and face those monsters."
Pinestar smirked at Drake for a second, and looked to Firestar. "Well, Firestar? Can you trust me?"
Firestar gazed around the pool to the other leaders. They all nodded. "Pinestar, I can see success in your plan. If it works, then it might make up some of your mistakes. Thank you for informing us about everything." He set out walking back to his position on the other side of the pond. "Our final decision now, leaders of StarClan, is how to train this loner into a warrior."
"Well, what did I do with you when you first came to ThunderClan?" A cat came out of the trees by the stream. It was a she-cat with gray-blue fur with a scar on her shoulder, a broad face, and icy blue eyes. She spoke with a laugh in her tone. "What did we do first when I found you? Remember?"
Firestar looked at the camp behind, "I think he'd still be good for Drake here." He smiled at the newcomer, "I could never forget that, Bluestar."
Bluestar came up to Drake and stared into his eyes. "First, we'll give him time to make his decision."
Drake stepped closer to her. "But I'm ready now. I'm ready to follow you to the end."
Bluestar's voice became hard. "If you want to become a clan cat, you can never go back to a kittypet like Pinestar did here." Pinestar backed away a bit. "You must never abandon the code of the the clans, never give up! You will face many cats that want to kill you!" Drake crumbled under the weight of her words. "You must be committed, respectful, and brave! This is similar to what I told Firestar here when he joined. Are you prepared to take that promise like he did?"
Drake didn't reply. Her words pierced through his pride. Even Pinestar was timid with her.
"That's why we'll give you time to decide. Tomorrow, we will ask you in your dreams if you will join the clans." She walked slowly back into the trees, staring at Pinestar. Firestar watched her leave with a long smile across his face.
"I love seeing that once more. It reminds me so much when I first joined." Firestar sat back down and said, "Well, you heard her. Tomorrow, we want you to travel to highstones near a farm by your twolegplace. It is a day's travel, so make your decision quick and we will give you a guide to follow to moonstone. You are dismissed."
Pinestar walked past Drake as StarClan started to disappear. "You'll do great."