Poisoned Honey is an AU fanfic where Honeyfern is evil. It is currently being written, and the author of it is Turtlepaw.
Note: Turtlepaw cannot reply to comments on this fanfic, because they visit this website on a phone, not a computer, and apparently you can’t reply on phones. However, they read every comment, and they’re grateful for your support! :D
Chapter one: Honeyfern woke up, and stretched. She glanced around the warriors den.
There was Cinderheart, curled up as close to Lionblaze as she possibly could be. Honeyfern hissed with annoyance.
She had been in love with Lionblaze since they were apprentices, and yet Cinderheart didn’t notice!
Honeyfern’s greatest fear was that Lionblaze would develop feelings for Cinderheart, and not for her.
She had to have a talk with Lionblaze, or maybe a talk with Cinderheart.
She couldn’t have complications.
“Honeyfern? Do you want to be on a patrol?” Honeyfern, who was sitting by the prey pile, nodded at Brambleclaw.
Brambleclaw flicked his tail. “Cinderheart, Poppyfrost, and Hollyleaf are going as well. Hollyleaf is leading.” the brown tom informed Honeyfern.
“That’ll be fine.” Honeyfern mewed.
She approached the other warriors, and followed them out of the camp.
Honeyfern meowed to Cinderheart, “Could we talk about something?”
Poppyfrost and Hollyleaf were deep in conversation, so Honeyfern figured this was the best time to talk. The best time to tell her sister to KEEP HER PAWS AWAY from Lionblaze.
“Sure!” said Cinderheart.
Honeyfern hissed, “What’s up with you and Lionblaze?” “We’re only friends!” Cinderheart quickly said. Honeyfern forced her fur to lie flat.
“You better not become more.” she said. Cinderheart looked confused. Honeyfern couldn’t believe how dense her sister was being. Can't she take a hint? she thought.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” Honeyfern forced herself to say.
But deep down, she was plotting revenge...
Three days had past since the whole... dilemma with Cinderheart.
Honeyfern was trying. She was trying to flirt with Lionblaze, make him notice her.
But Cinderheart. Cinderheart was a problem.
She also loved Lionblaze.
But Lionblaze could only have one mate, and Honeyfern was determined to have it be her.
“Lionblaze, want to go for a hunt together?”
“Lionblaze, I saved you a shrew!”
“Lionblaze, I found some thrush feathers for your nest!”
Cinderheart’s annoying efforts at getting Lionblaze to notice her across the last few days echoed in Honeyfern’s ears.
Hissing under her breath, Honeyfern stood up.
There was only one way to guarantee Lionblaze would love her.
And she would do it.
Fear should have spread throughout Honeyfern.
Kill Cinderheart? The very idea should have made her terrified.
Instead, she only felt eager. Eager to get her sister out of the way.
The next day, Honeyfern approached Cinderheart.
“Would you like to go for a walk?” she meowed, trying to sound as kind and sweet as possible.
“Sure! Let me just finish this mouse, and I’ll be ready!” mewed Cinderheart.
Honeyfern waited a few moments. Then Cinderheart stood up.
“Let’s go!” the gray tabby she-cat said.
Honeyfern walked out of the camp with her sister.
And happiness spread through her as she thought about how it would be Cinderheart’s last time walking out of the camp...
Once they were reasonably far away from the camp, Honeyfern decided it was time.
“Cinderheart?” she said.
“Yeah, Honeyfern?” Cinderheart asked.
Honeyfern leapt onto her sister, attacking her.
“It’s your fault Lionblaze doesn’t love me! And now I’m going to make sure you don’t get in the way anymore!” the light brown tabby she-cat growled.
Cinderheart looked horrified. “Honeyfern! Stop it!” she gasped.
“I’m not GOING TO STOP.” Honeyfern meowed.
“Maybe once he can’t be with you, he’ll love me! And see I’m so much better than you! You pathetic waste!” she snapped.
Cinderheart started attacking Honeyfern back.
“Don’t be like this, Honeyfern! You aren’t the jealous type, I know you!”
Honeyfern whispered, “You don’t know a thing about me.”
She bit on Cinderheart’s throat. She tasted the salty taste of blood on her tongue.
She heard Cinderheart screaming in pain.
She felt her sister’s chest rise and fall for the last time.
She saw Cinderheart’s glassy eyes.
She smelled the blood, felt it. It was red and sticky on her paws.
And Honeyfern looked at all of this- and purred.
Honeyfern stared at Cinderheart’s body.
I did that. I killed her. And I feel no remorse. I have no guilt, no regret. she thought.
Honeyfern realized she had blood on her paws.
“I’d better wash up,” she mewed to herself. “I can’t have cats finding out what I did, now can I?”
Honeyfern looked around, and found a puddle.
She dipped her paws in and out of it until she had no trace of blood on her.
Then, to rid Cinderheart’s body of her scent...
Honeyfern grabbed her dead sister by the scruff of her neck, and dragged her to a nearby stream.
Soaking her repeatedly, Honeyfern had an idea.
She positioned Cinderheart’s body near a rock, and hit the dead she-cat’s head against it.
Cinderheart would appear to have died by hitting her head on a rock.
Honeyfern would never be suspected. She was innocent. At least, that’s what every cat would think...
Honeyfern stayed out of camp long enough for her pelt to completely dry.
Then she decided to go home. It was time to ditch her happy, joyful self. It was time to put on a mask- to act scared, and sad.
Act like she actually gave two mouse tails about her dead sister.
“Ev-everybody!” she meowed, acting like she was terrified, and could barely speak.
Every cat’s head turned Honeyfern’s way.
“Honeyfern? What’s wrong?” Lionblaze asked, the first to speak.
Honeyfern almost purred- Lionblaze was concerned about her!- but reminded herself she was supposed to be acting scared.
“C-Cinderheart! She’s...” Honeyfern pretended she couldn’t even say what happened next.
Leafpool walked through the crowd. “Honeyfern has had a bad shock. Let her rest for a moment, then we can ask her what happened.” the brown and white she-cat meowed.
Honeyfern summoned a grateful expression onto her face.
Leafpool lead the light brown she-cat to the medicine cat den.
“Here’s something for the shock,” she said, giving Honeyfern some herbs.
Honeyfern ate them, even though she was only pretending to be in shock.
“Do you want to say what happened?” Leafpool gently asked.
“I’m ready,” Honeyfern said.
She went outside. Cats swarmed around her.
“What’s going on?” Jayfeather demanded.
“Oh, I hope you’re okay! You seemed so scared!” Lionblaze mewed.
Hollyleaf meowed, “Honeyfern! What happened?”
When all was quiet, Honeyfern said in a shaky voice, “My sister...Cinderheart...she’s dead.
“We were hunting together, and decided to spilt up. I came back to where we’d planned to meet-the little stream, you know where I mean-and...” Honeyfern paused, shaking. She had them convinced.
“She was in the stream. I think she fell in. I’m pretty sure she hit her head on a rock, there was so much blood...”
Honeyfern looked at her paws, trembling.
“Cinderheart is gone.” she whispered.
There was a shocked silence.
Then suddenly a voice shouted, “No!”
It was Hollyleaf. “No. No. No.” she kept saying.
Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw came to stand beside their daughter. They knew that Cinderheart had been Hollyleaf’s best friend.
“C-Cinderheart. She can’t be dead! She can’t be! She was alive this m-morning,” stammered Hollyleaf, her green eyes full of grief.
“I’m so sorry, Hollyleaf.” Squirrelflight mewed, rearing her ginger tail on her daughter’s shoulder.
Brambleclaw murmured, “Cinderheart shall never be forgotten.”
Honeyfern watched as cats grieved. Brackenfur and Sorreltail mourned together, burying each other in the other’s fur, meowing sadly.
Poppyfrost looked shocked.
Lionblaze and Jayfeather were trying to help Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight comfort Hollyleaf.
Honeyfern pretended to be sad as well. She let out a sad wail.
But really, she could have wailed with happiness.
Finally, she was on her way to Lionblaze being hers... Chapter four:
It had been a couple days since Honeyfern killed Cinderheart.
A patrol had been sent out to get the dark gray she cat’s body.
The patrol had found Cinderheart, and took the body back to the camp.
During her sister’s vigil, Honeyfern purposely made sure her voice shook each time she mewed anything. She acted sad, heartbroken.
Every cat thought Cinderheart died from hitting her head.
No cat knew the truth.
No cat knew the pride that rushed through Honeyfern as she thought of what she’d achieved, of what she did.
Honeyfern had killed a cat. And she hadn’t been caught.
It was hard work acting like she was grieving, but she could handle acting.
The real question was, now that Cinderheart was out of the picture, did Honeyfern have a chance with Lionblaze?
Nibbling the thrush that was in front of her, the light brown tabby pondered this.
“Hi, Honeyfern.” meowed a voice.
Honeyfern looked up. It was Lionblaze.
“Hey, Lionblaze.” mewed Honeyfern.
Lionblaze’s amber eyes were like pools of sadness.
“I...I can’t believe Cinderheart is gone. I’m so sad. Every day I expect to wake up with her in the nest beside me, and I need to remind myself...remind myself I’ll never wake up with her beside me again.
“I feel like I’m living a nightmare-one I can’t wake up from.
“A nightmare where Cinderheart is gone. And there is nothing I could do.
“She was one of my best friends. I’m having a hard time accepting that she’s...gone.” Lionblaze’s voice broke as he added, “I miss her.”
Honeyfern’s blue eyes shone with sympathy.
“I’m sorry, Lionblaze. I really miss her as well.” she said.
Well, she didn’t actually miss Cinderheart, but she needed to act like it.
Honeyfern went on, “If you ever want to talk about it, I’ll be here for you.”
Lionblaze purred, “Thanks, Honeyfern.”
“Now how about you don’t think about it anymore, and eat?” Honeyfern said.
Lionblaze selected a mouse. He chewed, appearing to be deep in thought.
Honeyfern scooted as close to Lionblaze as she dared. Taking a deep breath, she touched his tail with her own.
Lionblaze kept eating, but intertwined his yellow tail with Honeyfern’s pale brown one.
And happiness rushed through Honeyfern.
Maybe she was truly on her way to what she’d been working for... to what she’d even killed Cinderheart for... closer to Lionblaze FINALLY loving her.
An entire moon had past. Honeyfern and Lionblaze were growing even closer each day.
Honeyfern truly loved Lionblaze. She wanted him to say that he loved her, and no, Cinderheart had never been the cat for him, only Honeyfern.
She exited the dirtplace, hoping to find Lionblaze, ready for another walk. Lately she and the golden tom had gotten into the habit of taking walks together.
While the walks had never blossomed into anything romantic-at least not yet-Honeyfern still enjoyed them. Because despite her love for him, Lionblaze was still an amazing friend.
Honeyfern stopped in shock. Why were Poppyfrost and Lionblaze sharing tongues?
Poppyfrost murmured, “Hi, Honeyfern.”
Honeyfern grimaced in disgust as Lionblaze licked Poppyfrost’s ear lovingly.
When did THIS happen? Honeyfern hadn’t even noticed any chemistry between her sister and Lionblaze!
“Bye, Poppyfrost. I told Honeyfern we’d go for a walk.” Lionblaze meowed.
The tortoiseshell she-cat mewed, “See you later!”
Honeyfern couldn’t believe it. Was Poppyfrost in love with Lionblaze? Or were they just friends?
“Are you alright, Honeyfern? You’ve hardly spoken!” Lionblaze mewed.
Honeyfern said, “I’m fine. Really.”
She couldn’t get Lionblaze and Poppyfrost out of her mind! She wanted to ask Lionblaze if he had feelings for Poppyfrost, but was afraid. She wasn’t sure if she’d like the answer...
Lionblaze meowed, “Are you sure? If it’s about Cinderheart... I miss her too.”
Sadness clouded his amber eyes. “I don’t think Hollyleaf is ever going to be the same. She’s been so distant, and so cold. I just want my sister back.”
Honeyfern whispered, “I’m so sorry.”
She didn’t regret killing Cinderheart, but she was sad for Lionblaze.
“Jayfeather’s just being... Jayfeather about the whole thing. He’s grumpy as always.” Lionblaze said.
Honeyfern offered, “If you need anything...”
Lionblaze purred, “I know. Poppyfrost has actually been helping me a lot. She’s a really great listener.”
Honeyfern’s blue eyes narrowed. POPPYFROST? POPPYFROST? POPPYFROST was the one who was HELPING LIONBLAZE?
Who was the one who went for walks with Lionblaze? HONEYFERN!
Who was the one who comforted him? HONEYFERN!
Who was the one who loved him?
Honeyfern. But possibly Poppyfrost as well..
No. No. Honeyfern wouldn’t let this happen.
She COULDN'T let this happen.
“Oh, Honeyfern!” meowed Lionblaze, quickly realizing his mistake.
“I didn’t mean to let on that you’re NOT a good listener. It’s the opposite, in fact. It’s just that Poppyfrost-“
Honeyfern had heard enough about Poppyfrost for seventeen lifetimes.
“If you like POPPYFROST so much, go walk with her!” she choked out, running away.
Lionblaze called, “Honeyfern! Wait! That’s not what I meant!”
Honeyfern turned, and said, “It’s EXACTLY what you meant.”
And she ran all the way back to the camp, stumbled into the warriors den, and buried her face in her nest.
Honeyfern woke up the next morning, feeling happy as she noticed Lionblaze in the nest next to hers.
But then memories of the day before came rushing back to her, and she raged with fury.
If Lionblaze liked Poppyfrost so much, he could go spend time with her, for all Honeyfern cared.
Her blue eyes narrowed as she saw that Poppyfrost’s tortoiseshell tail and Lionblaze’s yellow tail were intertwined, even in sleep.
Honeyfern felt a pang of jealousy.
Why couldn’t Lionblaze love her? And why did he seem to be falling in love with Poppyfrost?
Was there anything Honeyfern could do to stop it?
After an entire half-moon of thinking about it, Honeyfern decided she had avoided Lionblaze enough.
It was time to find out the truth- even if the answer wasn’t the one Honeyfern wanted.
So she took a deep breath, and walked over to the prey pile, where Lionblaze sat- thankfully, not with Poppyfrost!
“Lionblaze,” Honeyfern mewed, “I need to tell you something.”
“I actually need to tell you something as well.” Lionblaze said.
Honeyfern’s heart beat faster. Could this be? Could Lionblaze love her too?
“You can go first.” Lionblaze added.
So this was it. The moment Honeyfern confessed her love, the moment she found out if Lionblaze loved her back.
“Lionblaze,” she said, “I have feelings for you. I’ve been in love with you since I was an apprentice, and I want to be mates.”
She shuffled her paws, waiting for the tom’s reply.
Lionblaze said, “Honeyfern...you’re my friend. A really, really good friend. But I don’t have any romantic feelings for you.
“The thing is, my news was...I’m mates with Poppyfrost. We just became mates yesterday, but I wanted you to be the first to know.
“I’m sorry if I’ve ignored you lately, it’s only because I was dealing with my feelings.” Lionblaze finished.
Honeyfern snapped, “I need to go.”
Heartbreak overwhelmed her. Her blue eyes blazed with anger and sadness.
“Honeyfern... we can still be friends.” Lionblaze meowed.
Honeyfern shook her head. “I don’t think our friendship will ever be the same,” she mewed, trying to talk without her voice shaking.
Lionblaze said, “I’m sorry.”
Honeyfern snarled, “Stop apologizing! Go and share tongues with your precious Poppyfrost! You know you want to!”
Lionblaze angrily said, “That’s enough! I can’t believe you. I thought you’d be more mature than this!”
Honeyfern snapped, “Clearly, you thought wrong!”
Both cats stalked off, anger swirling in both of their minds.
The next day, Honeyfern was still angry about Poppyfrost and Lionblaze being mates.
She felt sick to her stomach when she saw the two of them sharing tongues, Lionblaze lovingly licking Poppyfrost’s head.
Honeyfern became quieter, and more distant from her family.
Some days, she didn’t eat at all. She forgot through her heartbreak.
Honeyfern was approached by Leafpool one day.
“Honeyfern, I think you might be sick. You haven’t been eating. I noticed that recently.” the light brown medicine cat mewed.
“Sick? Heartsick, maybe!” Honeyfern scoffed.
Leafpool meowed, “I’m going to give you some herbs. You CLEARLY aren’t feeling well.”
Honeyfern followed Leafpool to the medicine cat den, but the young she-cat knew that no herbs could cure a broken heart.
Leafpool passed some herbs to Honeyfern. “These will help.” she said.
Honeyfern ate. She winced. The herbs had a sour flavor she wasn’t used to.
“You should probably eat a mouse. Not eating really isn’t good for you.” Leafpool said.
Honeyfern mewed, “Alright.” If eating one stupid mouse would make Leafpool stop bothering her, she’d do it.
Walking outside, Honeyfern choose a mouse from the prey pile.
She analyzed Lionblaze and Poppyfrost’s love in her mind, over and over again.
The answer as to what to do came to her so fast, it almost hurt.
Honeyfern had gotten rid of Cinderheart. She could get rid of Poppyfrost, too...
That night, Honeyfern sat in the clearing.
She was one of the last cats up.
“Honeyfern, would you mind guarding the camp tonight?” Firestar asked.
Honeyfern mewed, “Of course, Firestar.”
The ginger tom flicked his tail. “Good night.” he said.
Honeyfern didn’t mind staying awake. It gave her more time to plan how to kill Poppyfrost.
Curling her tail around her paws, Honeyfern began to think.
I can’t make it look like she hit her head, like I did when I killed Cinderheart. That would look strange, and cats might start to suspect me. she thought.
Honeyfern wouldn’t be the one to “find” Cinderheart’s body again, either.
That would just look suspicious.
Maybe...just maybe... something could kill Poppyfrost FOR her.
An idea spun in Honeyfern’s mind.
It was a simple plan, but also risky.
Yet Honeyfern was willing to take the chance, any chance, to make sure Poppyfrost was gone.
The next morning, Honeyfern slipped out of the camp.
Her plan was simple: lead a snake to the camp, make sure Poppyfrost tried to fight it, and let the snake do the rest.
Honeyfern clutched a rabbit in her mouth.
She ventured close to a place in the forest where snakes often were, and placed the rabbit on the ground.
She waited. This was something she didn’t mind. Waiting.
Honeyfern had waited a while to get revenge. She could wait a little longer.
At last, a snake slivered out.
Honeyfern saw it lunge for the rabbit.
She grabbed the rabbit, and the snake hissed.
Running as fast as her paws would take her, Honeyfern headed for the camp.
Would this work?
Rushing into the camp, holding the rabbit as if she’d been hunting, Honeyfern screeched, “SNAKE!”
The snake slivered. It started heading for Briarkit, who was playing with her siblings Blossomkit and Bumblekit in the center of the camp.
No! You’re meant to head towards Poppyfrost! Honeyfern silently screamed.
Briarkit whimpered. Poppyfrost circled the snake, seeming to be trying to figure out how to attack it.
Lionblaze did too, wanting to help his mate, Honeyfern noted with disgust.
The snake lunged for Briarkit before Poppyfrost, Lionblaze, or anybody else could stop it.
It bit the brown she-kit.
“Everything hurts!” Briarkit screamed.
Millie and Graystripe ran over to their daughter, expressions of horror on their faces.
Honeyfern stared as the parents wildly tried to comfort their kit.
“I want this to stop!” Briarkit whimpered, her blue eyes full of pain.
Then she twitched, fell to the ground, and was still.
“Briarkit!” mewed Bumblekit.
“Why isn’t she moving, Mama?” Blossomkit asked Millie.
Millie sorrowfully said, “Blossomkit... your sister is dead.”
Graystripe looked at his daughter’s body.
“How is this happening?” he whispered.
Firestar walked over, and licked his Graystripe’s shoulder.
“I’m so sorry, my friend.” he murmured.
Honeyfern couldn’t believe this. She’d been trying to kill Poppyfrost, but had failed.
She’d killed, but not the cat she wanted to.
And now? Now she was further from Lionblaze loving her than before.
Honeyfern crouched, staring straight ahead.
It was Briarkit’s vigil.
Graystripe and Millie were there, but not Blossomkit and Bumblekit.
They were in the nursery, being looked after by Daisy and Ferncloud, too young and sleepy to stay awake the whole night.
Most of the Clan was at the vigil, including Honeyfern.
She felt like she had to be here, to make up for the death of a kit. A death she alone had caused.
But this was Poppyfrost’s fault. Not Honeyfern’s.
If Poppyfrost hadn’t been in love with Lionblaze, then Briarkit would be in the nursery with her siblings right now.
Honeyfern needed to kill Poppyfrost. But slowly, slowly, she was failing.
Two days later, Honeyfern walked out of the warriors den.
Poppyfrost ran over quickly.
“Oh, Honeyfern!” she eagerly meowed. “I have the best of news!” Her blue eyes shone.
“What is it?” Honeyfern asked.
“I’m going to have kits! I just found out yesterday. Lionblaze is the father, of course. I already told him. He can’t wait! I’m going to be the best mother I can. Lionblaze has promised to be a great father, and I’m sure he will be. We’re already talking about kit names! I was thinking about naming one Grasskit.” Poppyfrost chattered, unaware of Honeyfern’s eyes blazing with anger.
This was going too fast! Lionblaze and Poppyfrost had only been mates for a few moons...
“...Lionblaze told me not to worry about it. He said that I’d be a good parent no matter what! Isn’t he the sweetest?” Poppyfrost continued.
Honeyfern hadn’t been listening for the last several seconds.
Those unborn kits should be MINE. I should be the one discussing kit names with Lionblaze. It should be me who is cheerful and chattering about being a good mother. Not Poppyfrost. she thought.
Honeyfern meowed, “That’s great, Poppyfrost. I’m really happy for you.”
The sweet words left a bitter taste in the light brown she-cat’s mouth.
And every one of them had been a lie.
An entire moon had past since Briarkit died. By this point, Poppyfrost was very pregnant, and showing.
She was in the nursery now, and Daisy and Ferncloud kept her company.
Honeyfern hated it when Lionblaze went to go visit Poppyfrost in the nursery, lovingly licking her head, and giving her some prey.
It should have been her. It should have been HER head that Lionblaze lovingly licked.
Honeyfern was thinking things through when her mother, Sorreltail, approached her.
“Hi, Honeyfern.” the tortoiseshell she-cat meowed.
“Hello.” Honeyfern said.
“Poppyfrost’s kits are going to be lucky to have you as their kin. You’ll be an amazing aunt.” Sorreltail mewed.
“You really think so?” Honeyfern asked.
“I do. Perhaps some day it will be you who’s in the nursery!” Sorreltail mewed.
Honeyfern sorrowfully gazed at the nursery, quietly saying, “I’d like that. But the tom I like is mates with another cat.”
Sorreltail seemed to understand. She said, “I’m sorry. Not being able to be with the cat you love...it can be hard.”
She gazed longingly at the medicine cat den as Leafpool walked out of it. Leafpool returned the longing gaze, her amber eyes full of...love?
Honeyfern cocked her head. Sorreltail and Leafpool were more than friends at one point? I had no idea! she thought.
“But,” Sorreltail continued, “you can love again.”
As she said this, she flicked her ear towards Brackenfur, who twitched his tail in return.
Honeyfern mewed, “Thanks, Sorreltail. I understand.”
She could love again. Lionblaze wasn’t the only cat in the world.
But her revenge...she could never give that up.
The burning desire for revenge, sweet revenge, blazed in Honeyfern.
She would torture Lionblaze and Poppyfrost, make their lives miserable... and make them pay for what they’d done.
A week had past since Honeyfern’s talk with Sorreltail.
She understood what her mother had said, and knew that she could love again.
Was it so wrong to despise Poppyfrost? Her own sister?
Was it so cruel to kill Cinderheart?
Was it so bad that she caused the death of Briarkit?
And was it horrible that she did this all because she was in love?
Honeyfern grasped for answers to these questions, but she had no clue.
Curling her tail around her paws, she sighed.
She watched Lionblaze exit the nursery with Poppyfrost, the tortoiseshell queen’s belly swaying slightly.
I wonder when her kits will be born? Surely it won’t be long, Honeyfern thought.
She still wanted to kill Poppyfrost, but how could she now?
With Daisy and Ferncloud in the nursery, helping Poppyfrost with her kits, Honeyfern could never sneak in!
The cream furred queen and the gray she-cat would catch her in a heartbeat.
Before Honeyfern could think anymore, a cry echoed throughout the camp.
“My kits! They’re coming!” Poppyfrost exclaimed. Her blue eyes were wild with panic.
“It’s too early! They shouldn’t be coming until next moon!” Lionblaze meowed, his fur bristling in fear.
“Lionblaze... help me.” Poppyfrost whispered, leaning against her mate for support.
Leafpool almost leapt out of the medicine cat den, clutching herbs in her mouth.
Jayfeather followed, a serious look in his blind, blue, cloudy eyes.
Honeyfern glanced around, noticing Sorreltail and Brackenfur whispering together.
“It’s her first litter. Of course I’m nervous for her!” Sorreltail was saying to Brackenfur.
“It’s alright. Leafpool is a great medicine cat, and Jayfeather is wise beyond his years. Poppyfrost will be alright.” Brackenfur assured his mate.
Honeyfern couldn’t let these kits be born. She’d never win Lionblaze’s love if he had Poppyfrost’s kits...
It's time to get rid of Poppyfrost- for good. she thought, her eyes narrowing.
Honeyfern dashed for the nursery. She didn’t care if she got caught, she just wanted her vengeance!
Poking her head into the nursery, Honeyfern saw Poppyfrost whimpering and shaking, Lionblaze licking her head comfortingly.
Jayfeather and Leafpool were feeding her herbs.
Daisy and Ferncloud helped Millie keep her kits quiet and out of the way.
Poppyfrost’s gaze turned to Honeyfern.
“Honeyfern!” she gasped.
Honeyfern mewed, “It’s alright, Poppyfrost.”
She had to keep up her charade a little longer. Just a little longer.
Poppyfrost gasped as the first kit came out- a light brown kit. It bared a hauntingly similar appearance to Honeyfern.
“It’s a she-kit.” meowed Leafpool.
“Grasskit...” Poppyfrost whispered. Jayfeather started licking the kit.
He then felt Poppyfrost’s belly. “There’s two more kits left.” he said.
“You can do this, my love.” Lionblaze assured Poppyfrost.
Poppyfrost shakily said, “No. I can’t.”
Her eyes showed fear.
Ferncloud called, “Poppyfrost, biting down on a stick can help.”
Then, to Honeyfern, she mewed, “Why don’t you help your sister? Please find a sturdy stick.”
Honeyfern nodded. She walked out of the nursery.
She exited the camp, and searched for a moment before finding a stick.
Racing back to camp, she entered the nursery.
Now there was another kit beside the light brown one: a tortoiseshell she-kit.
Poppyfrost bit down hard on the stick Honeyfern had offered her.
“‘thith doth helth.” she murmured.
Honeyfern assumed that the tortoiseshell queen had said, “This does help.” But the stick had muffled her words.
A third kit started to come out. Poppyfrost whimpered once more.
Honeyfern could hardly look at the pale brown kit and the tortoiseshell kit.
They should be mine. Not Poppyfrost’s. It should have been me. Another place, another time, perhaps I could have loved those kits like they were my own.
But when I look at them, all I see is what could never be- me and Lionblaze together.
I always thought we would be together. I never dreamt that I’d be watching my SISTER give birth to Lionblaze’s kits.
Those kits will PAY for the treacherous thing their parents did. I will make sure of it! Honeyfern thought.
Then she realized that while she had been thinking, Poppyfrost had given birth to her third kit: a black tom kit.
“You did it, my dear.” mewed Lionblaze to Poppyfrost, his eyes shining with love.
“What should we name them? I really like Grasskit for the light brown tabby.” meowed Poppyfrost.
“I like that name, too. What do you think of Cherrykit for the tortoiseshell kit?” asked Lionblaze.
“I think it’s a good name. I kind of want to name the black kit Nightkit.” Poppyfrost said.
“Grasskit, Cherrykit, and Nightkit.” Lionblaze purred.
Poppyfrost mewed lovingly, “Welcome to the world, little ones.”
Honeyfern ran. She just ran right out of the nursery.
I hate those kits! I want nothing to do with them- or their parents! she thought furiously, growling under her breath as her blue eyes blazed with anger.
A moon past. Honeyfern didn’t go anywhere near the nursery.
She knew what she’d find if she did: a purring, proud family.
Poppyfrost, Lionblaze, Grasskit, Cherrykit, and Nightkit.
A sweet, pathetically perfect little family.
Honeyfern’s heart ached, but what in StarClan could she do?
Honeyfern looked up, and saw Poppyfrost.
“Yes?” she mewed.
“Lionblaze and I are going for a walk. Would you mind watching the kits? Daisy and Ferncloud have been so much help, but they really need a nap. Grasskit, Nightkit, and Cherrykit have gotten them worn out!” Poppyfrost meowed.
Honeyfern sighed inwardly, but said, “Sure.”
“I knew I could count on you! Thanks, Honeyfern.” said Poppyfrost.
Honeyfern started heading for the nursery.
Inside, she saw Cherrykit, Nightkit, and Grasskit playing with Daisy and Ferncloud.
“Hey. Poppyfrost said I could watch the kits for a bit, if you'd like a break.” she mewed to Ferncloud and Daisy.
“Thanks, Honeyfern. That’d be nice. Dustpelt and I have been meaning to go for a walk together.” said Ferncloud.
Daisy purred, “I’ll see you kits later!”
“Bye, Daisy!” mewed Cherrykit, purring as her black and orange tail flicked around.
“Now Honeyfern can play with us!” said Grasskit, her blue eyes shining.
Nightkit mewed, “Yay!”
Honeyfern flatly said, “Indeed.”
“What’s wrong, Honeyfern? Don’t you want to play?” asked Cherrykit.
Suddenly realizing the opportunity she had alone with her sister’s kits, Honeyfern purred, “Of course I do.”
This could work.
Honeyfern could watch the kits often, gain Lionblaze and Poppyfrost’s trust.
Surely the kind, loving, sweet aunt would never hurt a hair on her sister’s kits...
But one day... when the time was right...
These kits... would be gone.
Poppyfrost walked into the nursery, and purred as she saw her kits sleeping beside Honeyfern.
“Thank you for watching them!” the tortoiseshell she-cat purred.
Honeyfern said, “No problem. They mostly just wanted to play mossball.”
She thought, They trust me. My plan is working.
She mewed, “I could watch the kits more often, if you like.”
“That’d be wonderful! Lionblaze and I really appreciate the help!” said Poppyfrost.
Honeyfern purred, “No problem.”
If watching the little brats was what it took to get her revenge, Honeyfern would do it.
She walked out of the nursery, and ran RIGHT into Berrynose!
“Sorry.” she stammered, shuffling her paws.
“Don’t worry about it! Well, see you later, Honeyfern!” purred Berrynose, walking away.
Honeyfern cocked her head in confusion as the cream-colored tom walked away.
Berrynose is never that... cheerful! He’s always so grumpy, and honestly, kind of annoying! she thought.
Giving her head a shake, she continued walking.
That night, Honeyfern laid in her nest, wide awake.
She couldn’t stop thinking about how kind Berrynose had been to her earlier.
I wonder... no, that’s ridiculous! Or... maybe... could he be... in love with me? Honeyfern thought.
She had no romantic interest in Berrynose at all- but she did want to know what was going on.
She padded over to Berrynose’s nest, narrowly avoiding stepping on Hollyleaf’s tail.
“Berrynose?” she asked.
Berrynose opened his eyes.
“Honeyfern? It’s the middle of the night.” he said.
“I know, but I have to talk to you. Can you come outside with me for a second?” asked Honeyfern.
“I suppose.” meowed the cream-colored tom.
Berrynose and Honeyfern went outside.
“I have to ask you something.” Honeyfern said.
“Anything.” Berrynose’s eyes shone.
StarClan, he really does love me. I’m sorry to break his heart.
“Are you... in love with me? You were so nice to me earlier, but you’re usually so grumpy! Almost as grumpy as Jayfeather is.” said Honeyfern.
Berrynose’s gaze met Honeyfern’s blue gaze.
“I do love you. You make me happy to be around. I feel like a better cat around you. Honeyfern... will you be my mate?”
Honeyfern was about to mew, I’m sorry, Berrynose. I don’t have feelings for you.
But then she started to think.
Berrynose had never been a fan of Lionblaze. The two had fought all the time as apprentices!
Maybe... just maybe... Berrynose could help her get her revenge...
“I love you, too.” Honeyfern purred.
This was a lie. But when the time was right, she could get Berrynose to help with her vengeance.
And when she didn’t need him anymore?
She could simply get rid of him- through death...
A day past after Honeyfern and Berrynose became mates.
Honeyfern exited the warriors den, yawning.
“Good morning, Honeyfern!” purred Berrynose. “I brought you a mouse, in case you were hungry. We can share!”
“Thanks,” mewed Honeyfern, pleasantly surprised at the cream-colored tom’s kindness.
Then she remembered that he was her mate now. That’s why he was being so nice.
Honeyfern and Berrynose sat down to share the plump mouse.
“Tasty.” Berrynose said.
Honeyfern looked around. No cat was paying attention to her and her mate.
She asked, “Berrynose?”
“Hmm?” asked Berrynose.
“What do you think of Lionblaze?” Honeyfern wanted to know.
She figured she should find out if her mate still had some hatred towards Lionblaze before she got him involved in her plans for vengeance.
Berrynose’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t like Lionblaze,” he growled. “That foxheart was also so good at EVERYTHING when we were apprentices! Nobody gave ME the praise they gave stupid Lionblaze.”
“I never knew...” Honeyfern meowed. She knew that Berrynose wasn’t a fan of Lionblaze, and vice-versa, but she hadn’t realized it was like THIS.
“I was a nobody as an apprentice. Why do you think I was so grumpy? It’s because I yearned for attention. Someone to say, Good job, Berrypaw. You’re a fantastic hunter. But it was always Lionblaze.” Berrynose meowed.
“I...I’m not a fan of Lionblaze, either. I was in love with him, and he rejected me.” Honeyfern admitted.
“Really?” asked Berrynose.
Honeyfern nodded. “So I understand the hatred you feel.”
She decided to not tell Berrynose she killed Cinderheart- not yet.
But at least she knew that there was somebody who might just help her get the revenge she desired...
After Honeyfern and Berrynose were done with the mouse, Brambleclaw called to Berrynose, “Berrynose, do you want to come on Mousewhisker’s patrol?”
“Sure. I’ll see you later, Honeyfern.” mewed Berrynose, giving her ear a lick.
Honeyfern meowed, “Bye.”
She watched Berrynose walk away. Then Poppyfrost approached her.
“Did I see what I think I saw?” she asked.
“Maybe,” purred Honeyfern.
“I never would have thought it! You and Berrynose?” Poppyfrost’s blue eyes twinkled.
“We all need love, don’t we?” Honeyfern said. But mentioning the word love just made her think of her love for Lionblaze...
Pure fury blazed through her. She hated her sister for stealing Lionblaze’s love...
At first, Honeyfern had considered killing Poppyfrost. Or maybe even Lionblaze.
But now? There was one thing that would make those two stupid, STUPID mates suffer the most.
Killing their kits. Cherrykit, Nightkit, and Grasskit.
She would do it tonight. Nobody would be awake.
It would be easy.
“Honeyfern?” Poppyfrost asked.
Honeyfern realized she hadn’t spoken for at least a solid minute or two, if not longer.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I was just saying that I’m headed back to the nursery. I’ll see you later.” Poppyfrost said.
“Bye, Poppyfrost.” Honeyfern said.
She watched her sister walk away, purring softly.
Honeyfern waited all day for night to come. Her plan would only work if she was under dark shadows, a dark night sky.
Finally, it was nighttime.
Honeyfern lay in the warriors den, waiting.
Finally, when she was certain that no cat was awake, she slipped out of her nest.
Her path only lit by the moon’s illumination, she made her way to the nursery.
She saw some sleeping cats.
Daisy. Ferncloud. Millie. Blossomkit and Bumblekit, whimpering in their sleep- perhaps dreaming about their dead sister, Briarkit.
Poppyfrost was curled up around her kits, and her kits were fast asleep.
Nightkit. Cherrykit. Grasskit.
She took a step closer. Her heart pounded, but not because of what she was about to do.
It pounded with... eagerness.
“Cherrykit.” she murmured.
Cherrykit opened her eyes. “Honeyfern?” she whispered.
“Wake up your brother and your sister, will you? I’m going to take you on a nighttime adventure.” Honeyfern said.
“Sounds fun! Can Mama come?” asked Cherrykit cheerfully.
“No, don’t bring Poppyfrost.” Honeyfern meowed.
Cherrykit cocked her head. “Why? Mama should always know what we are doing. That’s what Daisy and Ferncloud said.”
Worried that sooner or later, her conversation with Cherrykit would wake everyone in the nursery up, Honeyfern hissed, “Just do it, Cherrykit!”
Looking a little scared, Cherrykit nodded.
She nudged Grasskit, and flicked Nightkit with her tail.
“What?” mewed Grasskit.
Nightkit was blinking sleep out of his eyes. “It’s the middle of the night.”
Honeyfern whispered, “Follow me, kits.”
All three kits obeyed, and they followed her out of the nursery.
Little did they know, it would be the last time they left their beloved nursery.
Well, at least, two of the kits were leaving for the last time...
Honeyfern told the kits, “Be careful that Thornclaw doesn’t see you. He’s on guard tonight. Come on, we will sneak out through the dirtplace.”
“I’m sleepy. Can we go back to the nursery?” asked Grasskit.
“Soon,” Honeyfern lied.
Nightkit, Cherrykit, Grasskit, and Honeyfern slipped out of camp.
Luckily, Thornclaw did not notice.
They walked for several minutes.
Honeyfern led the kits to a stream- the stream that she had killed Cinderheart by.
“Is this where our nighttime adventure ends?” meowed Nightkit.
“Do we get a reward for making it all the way to this stream? asked Cherrykit.
Honeyfern growled, “You dumb, stupid kits. You never knew the truth.”
“Honeyfern?” gasped Grasskit.
Honeyfern went on, “You shouldn’t even exist. I should have been Lionblaze’s mate. The mother to his kits. Not POPPYFROST!”
“You’re scaring us, Honeyfern!” Nightkit mewed.
Her blue eyes were locked on the kits. “I know. But thankfully, you won’t live long enough to get more scared.” she said.
Cherrykit shook. Nightkit’s eyes were huge with fear. Grasskit whimpered.
Honeyfern picked up a trembling Nightkit by his scruff.
“Let me go!” the kit mewed.
Honeyfern did not listen. Without a moment’s regret, she threw him into the stream.
“Help! Grasskit! Cherryk-“ Nightkit’s pleads for help were cut off as the water forced him down.
A minute went by. He didn’t come to the surface.
“You killed our brother!” Grasskit yowled.
“I know.” Honeyfern said.
She picked up the pale brown kit by the scruff of her neck.
“Let my sister go!” Cherrykit snarled, her fur bristling.
Honeyfern ignored Cherrykit. She then killed Grasskit with a swift strike of her paws.
Grasskit felt no pain as her mother’s sister snapped her neck.
It was a quick death.
“Grasskit,” Cherrykit meowed, heartbreak in her voice.
“I was going to kill you too, Cherrykit. But I think you would suffer more pain alive, knowing that your siblings are dead.” Honeyfern snarled.
“I’ll tell my mother you did this!” Cherrykit mewed, trying to sound brave.
“If you do, I will kill your mother. I will kill Poppyfrost.” threatened Honeyfern.
Cherrykit shook. Honeyfern could just imagine the pathetic thoughts that were going through her mind. I can’t let Mama die! I’ve already lost my siblings!
The kit asked, “What will I tell my mother?”
Honeyfern said, “Tell her that Grasskit and Nightkit went on a nighttime adventure. You didn’t want to go. And tell her that your siblings never came back.”
Honeyfern tossed Grasskit’s limp body into the stream.
Cherrykit whispered, “I will do that.”
Her loyalty and love to Poppyfrost was the reason she was doing this. She didn’t want to see her mother die. Honeyfern knew this.
Then she and the kit walked back to camp, Cherrykit’s fear washing over her like a wave.
Chapter twenty one:
Honeyfern and Cherrykit reached camp. “Don’t tell anyone the truth about tonight,” Honeyfern snarled to Cherrykit. “Remember what I said earlier about your mother.”
Cherrykit hesitated. Honeyfern slashed her claws across the kit’s ear.
Cherrykit mewed, “I won’t tell.” She sounded distraught- as she should.
“Good.” Honeyfern said. “Now go back to sleep like nothing happened.”
Cherrykit went back to the nursery, whimpering softly to herself.
Pathetic kit, thought Honeyfern. She seems to be easy to manipulate, which could come in handy in the future.
She went into the warriors den and curled up, eager for morning to come.
It only seemed like seconds later that Honeyfern woke up to find a golden sunrise... and panicked voices.
“Grasskit and Nightkit! My kits! Where are they?” Poppyfrost meowed. Her blue eyes had fear in them.
Lionblaze rested his tail on his mate’s shoulder. “It’ll be alright. We’ll find them.”
Cherrykit looked at Honeyfern. Honeyfern nodded.
That was Cherrykit’s cue to tell the lie Honeyfern had bullied her into telling.
Cherrykit shakily mewed, “Poppyfrost, Lionblaze, last night Grasskit and Nightkit went on a nighttime adventure. I didn’t want to go, but do you think that they got lost?”
Honeyfern nodded encouragingly as the kit gave her a hopeless look, apparently upset with the lie she’d just told.
“We’ll search outside the camp, then. I’ll ask Brambleclaw if he can send out patrols. We will find Nightkit and Grasskit, dear.” Lionblaze mewed to Cherrykit, licking her head.
But Honeyfern knew that while Poppyfrost and Lionblaze would find their kits, they would not find them alive...
Chapter twenty two:
Poppyfrost approached Honeyfern. “Brambleclaw is sending out patrols to find Grasskit and Nightkit right now. Could you please come? I’d feel less nervous with my sister by my side.” she mewed.
Honeyfern nodded. She wanted to see the horror in her sister’s eyes as she saw her dead kits...
“Thank you.” Poppyfrost intertwined her tortoiseshell tail with Honeyfern’s pale brown one, purring happily.
“I just know we’ll find them!” she meowed in a cheerful tone that made Honeyfern want to gag.
Honeyfern walked over to Poppyfrost’s patrol. The cats on it besides herself and Poppyfrost were Squirrelflight, Thornclaw, and Brightheart.
“Let’s go.” said Brightheart, twitching her tail.
The five cats started to walk. Honeyfern’s heart beat quickly with excitement.
Poppyfrost started to panic once more. “They could have gotten killed by a fox! They’re only little... oh, I’m so scared!”
Thornclaw kindly said, “It’ll be okay, Poppyfrost. I’m sure that nothing bad has happened.”
Poppyfrost blinked gratefully at Thornclaw.
Brightheart added, “And with so many patrols searching, we’re sure to find Grasskit and Nightkit in no time!”
Squirrelflight purred at Poppyfrost, “Everything will be fine.” Her green eyes gleamed.
Honeyfern mewed, “Yes.” She purred under her breath, knowing that the patrol would soon reach the stream where she killed Nightkit and Grasskit.
Soon enough, they reached the stream.
“I can smell Nightkit and Grasskit’s scent!” Poppyfrost exclaimed.
Thornclaw searched among some reeds, and let out a gasp.
He slowly dragged out two limp, wet little bodies.
The bodies of Grasskit and Nightkit.
“My kits!” wailed Poppyfrost. She gazed at their bodies, and let out another wail.
Brightheart licked Poppyfrost on the ear. “I’m so sorry,” she meowed, comforting the distraught queen.
Squirrelflight whispered, “Why did StarClan have to take such young kits? Remember when Briarkit died a few moons ago?”
Poppyfrost’s blue eyes blazed. “I remember. And I promised that I would never let that happen to the kits I would have one day. But it has.” Letting out a sigh, she moaned, “I have failed. I tried to be a good mother, but my kits died anyway. I failed them!”
Chapter twenty three:
Honeyfern, Poppyfrost, Squirrelflight, Thornclaw, and Brightheart reached the camp, Poppyfrost carrying her dead kits by their scruffs, a heartbroken look in her eyes.
Honeyfern licked her sister on the ear, faking sympathy, when really, she was extremely pleased that Grasskit and Nightkit were dead.
The other patrols that Brambleclaw had sent out looking for Nightkit and Grasskit were already back.
Everyone turned to look at Poppyfrost’s patrol as it entered the camp, and Lionblaze ran over.
“Grasskit! Nightkit! No!” he yowled, grief stricken.
“They’re gone, Lionblaze. Our precious kits...” Poppyfrost mewed. She buried her face in her mate’s golden fur, and Lionblaze intertwined his tail with hers.
“Nightkit! Grasskit!” Cherrykit yowled. She ran out of the nursery, sorrow in her eyes, as if she hadn’t already known that Honeyfern had killed her siblings.
“I’m so sorry,” Honeyfern murmured softly.
Firestar approached Lionblaze, Poppyfrost, and Cherrykit.
“I’m terribly sorry for your loss. The Clan will sit vigil for Nightkit and Grasskit tonight.” he meowed, sympathy in his green eyes.
“Thank you, Firestar.” Lionblaze meowed.
Poppyfrost sighed. “I feel so heartbroken. I never knew this kind of pain was possible.”
Daisy came up to Poppyfrost. “I’m so sorry, Poppyfrost,” she mewed, licking her ear.
“Thanks, Daisy. Could you watch Cherrykit? I- I need to be alone right now,” meowed Poppyfrost, her voice breaking. She started to walk out of camp.
“Of course. Come on, Cherrykit.” Daisy mewed. Cherrykit followed the cream-furred queen back to the nursery.
And that’s when Honeyfern realized: Poppyfrost had said that she was going to be alone... perhaps now would be the perfect time to kill her...
Chapter twenty four:
Honeyfern slipped out of camp, following Poppyfrost’s scent.
Finally, she saw her. Poppyfrost was sitting by the stream, staring into the water. She didn’t seem to notice when Honeyfern approached her.
“Poppyfrost?” asked Honeyfern.
Poppyfrost turned. She had a dazed look in her eyes. “Honeyfern?” she slurred.
Honeyfern gasped as she saw what she had not seen before- the juice of death berries around Poppyfrost’s muzzle.
“I know death isn’t always the answer. But I lost Cinderheart. I lost Grasskit. I lost Nightkit. I can’t live anymore,” she sighed.
Honeyfern said, “I see.” She watched Poppyfrost’s eyes start to look glassy, and purred as they closed.
It looked like she wouldn’t have to kill Poppyfrost after all- Poppyfrost had taken care of that.
So who would her next victim be now? She needed Cherrykit alive for now, for manipulation purposes, and she couldn’t kill Lionblaze- at least not yet. She wanted him to suffer.
Honeyfern started to drag Poppyfrost’s body back to camp, her thoughts swirling like a storm in her mind.
When she entered the camp, every cat looked horrified.
“Poppyfrost!” Lionblaze wailed, a kind of sadness in his voice that shook Honeyfern to the core.
“She killed herself. With death berries,” meowed Honeyfern.
Brackenfur and Sorreltail ran over to their dead daughter’s body.
“My dear Poppyfrost,” mewed Brackenfur, sorrow in his gaze as he looked at the tortoiseshell she-cat’s body.
Sorreltail looked at Honeyfern. “You are our only kit left. First, Molepaw died, before he even became a warrior. Then Cinderheart was killed. Now Poppyfrost?” Her voice breaking, she mewed, “I don’t want to lose you too, Honeyfern.”
Honeyfern nodded, licking her mother’s ear.
“I’ll always be here,” she murmured.
Chapter twenty five:
A few days past since Poppyfrost died. Honeyfern was satisfied with herself. By killing Nightkit and Grasskit, she had caused the death of her sister!
Yes, she hadn’t been the one to kill Poppyfrost. But her actions did lead to her death, which made her very pleased.
Honeyfern also knew that this meant Lionblaze was available again. He had no mate now that his precious Poppyfrost was gone.
The trouble was, Honeyfern was mates with Berrynose. When she first agreed to become mates with the cream-colored tom, she’d vowed to herself that she’d find someway to get him to help her with her revenge.
But that hadn’t happened yet. But Honeyfern continued to act like she loved him. The right moment to manipulate him would come, she knew. She just had to wait for it.
Honeyfern was sharing a piece of prey with Berrynose.
Berrynose shoved the rest of the thrush toward Honeyfern.
“You can have the rest.” he murmured.
Honeyfern ate the bite of thrush, her eyes on Berrynose.
Could she really grow to love him? Perhaps not the way she loved Lionblaze, but surely she could attempt to love this tom?
“What’re you thinking about?” Berrynose asked. He cocked his head.
Honeyfern didn’t respond. Finally, the light brown tabby she-cat mewed, “Berrynose. I have to tell you something.”
At least if Berrynose didn’t approve of her evil deeds, she could kill him to keep him mute.
Berrynose eagerly asked, “What is it, Honeyfern?”
Honeyfern’s blue gaze was serious. “Do you remember when Cinderheart died all those moons ago?” she asked.
Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t. But it was too late to turn back now.
Chapter twenty six:
“Of course I remember,” Berrynose responded. “Why do you ask?”
In a voice that was as cold as frost, Honeyfern meowed, “Do you promise not to tell anybody what I’m about to tell you?”
Berrynose nodded. “Anything for you, Honeyfern.”
Honeyfern said, “I guess I’d better start at the beginning. It’s a long tale.”
“That’s alright. I don’t mind.” Berrynose tucked his tail around his paws.
He looks like he’s getting ready to hear a pathetic nursery tale. Well, he’ll soon know that this is no story for kits, thought Honeyfern.
She mewed, “Many moons ago, I was jealous of Cinderheart. I was in love with Lionblaze, but she was, too. I thought Cinderheart would win his heart.”
“But you have me now.” Berrynose purred.
Honeyfern fought back the urge to hiss, You stupid cat! I don’t even love you! I’m only your mate so I can manipulate you in the future!
But now was not the time to tell Berrynose that. Honeyfern would have to keep him in the dark about the real reason she became his mate for a little longer.
“My jealousy grew into hatred. I hated Cinderheart. So I did the only thing I could do: I got rid of her.” she meowed.
Berrynose gasped. “No... Honeyfern... are you saying... that you killed Cinderheart?”
“I didn’t only kill Cinderheart.” Honeyfern responded.
“Remember when that snake bit Briarkit? That was a failed attempt to kill Poppyfrost, because she won Lionblaze’s heart, and not me.”
Berrynose stared at Honeyfern, disbelief in his eyes.
“I killed Grasskit and Nightkit. I didn’t kill Poppyfrost, but my actions did lead to her suicide, which was a bonus. I was going to kill Cherrykit, too, but once I realized she could be easily manipulated, I decided it would be wiser to keep her alive.” Honeyfern explained.
“Honeyfern... how could you do this? You aren’t the cat I thought you were.” Pure heartbreak was in Berrynose’s voice.
In a very threatening tone, Honeyfern said, “If you tell any cat what I just told you, you will be... well, let’s just say that you’ll be in StarClan sooner than you’d like.”
Looking terrified, Berrynose quietly mewed, “Yes, Honeyfern.”
Satisfaction surging through every part of her, Honeyfern replied, “Good.”
Chapter twenty seven:
Two days past since Honeyfern told Berrynose the truth about the deaths of Cinderheart, Briarkit, Grasskit, Nightkit, and Poppyfrost.
Berrynose seemed more on edge than usual, and was constantly glancing around nervously, as if he was worried that he would be Honeyfern’s next victim.
But Honeyfern wasn’t interested in killing Berrynose. Not yet. He could prove to be useful someday.
She was on her way to the nursery to visit Cherrykit.
Cherrykit had been hit hard by Poppyfrost’s death. Now Millie gave her milk, and Daisy and Ferncloud raised her.
Luckily, Cherrykit hadn’t told anybody about the truth of her siblings’ deaths.
Honeyfern walked into the nursery.
Bumblekit and Blossomkit were tumbling around with Cherrykit, cheerfully mewing.
Daisy and Ferncloud sat watching them- Millie had probably left to go for a walk with Graystripe, which was something the gray queen and her mate did often.
“Hello, Honeyfern!” Daisy mewed, looking up.
“What brings you to the nursery, Honeyfern?” Ferncloud asked.
Quickly thinking of an excuse, Honeyfern told Cherrykit, “Cherrykit, Lionblaze found a beautiful butterfly. Its wings have the same colors as your fur. Come and see it before it flies away.”
“Sounds cool!” Cherrykit said. Then, to Bumblekit and Blossomkit, she meowed, “We can continue playing later!”
Cherrykit and Honeyfern exited the nursery.
“This isn’t about a butterfly, as you can probably tell.” Honeyfern told Cherrykit as soon as they were far away enough from the nursery that no cat would hear them.
“What’s going on?” asked Cherrykit, fear in her eyes.
Honeyfern knew that the kit vividly remembered the night Grasskit and Nightkit died.
She’s probably afraid that I’ll kill her, too.
Well, that may happen, but not today. I need her alive. thought the light brown tabby.
She said, “Cherrykit, I need you to do something for me.”
“I’m not doing anything for you. The last time I listened to you, Nightkit and Grasskit died!” Cherrykit shook, perhaps thinking of the saddening memory.
Honeyfern snarled, “Let me rephrase that. You are doing something for me, whenever you like it or not.”
Sighing, Cherrykit murmured, “What do you want me to do?”
And that’s when Honeyfern began to tell the kit exactly what she was to do.
Chapter twenty eight:
Cherrykit looked up at Honeyfern. “You really want me to do that?”
Honeyfern nodded. “Yes. And if you want to stay alive, you’ll do exactly as I said.”
Honeyfern’s plan was this: have Cherrykit tell Firestar a lie.
The lie was a massive one. And if it failed- well, Honeyfern would certainly be banished from ThunderClan.
But if it succeeded... well, that would be marvelous.
“Just go to Firestar, and tell him what I want you to.” Honeyfern said.
Cherrykit mewed, “I will.”
She’s easier to manipulate than I thought. If I can get her to do this, who knows what could happen in the future? Honeyfern thought.
The light brown tabby she-cat curled her tail around her paws, and watched as Cherrykit approached Firestar.
“Firestar? May I speak to you, please?” Cherrykit asked.
“Of course. What is it, little one?” Firestar replied.
Cherrykit hesitated. From across the clearing, Honeyfern gave her a glare, her blue eyes blazing with anger.
Cherrykit finally spoke. “Berrynose was the one who killed my siblings. He took all of us on a nighttime adventure, and kept me alive so he could manipulate me.
“He told me that he killed Cinderheart, so he could get closer to Honeyfern without her being in the way.
“He tried to kill Poppyfrost, too, but his plan ended up killing Briarkit. And ultimately, Poppyfrost ended up dying, anyway.
“And this plan worked. He won Honeyfern’s heart. Because of the cats he killed? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Some of these things even happened before I was born.
“Berrynose made me promise not to tell. But some secrets need to be told. And these secrets are the kind that need to be told.”
Firestar’s ginger fur bristled. “I can’t believe this. Berrynose is a killer? He murdered cats so they wouldn’t be in the way when he attempted to win Honeyfern’s heart?”
“What’s going to happen, Firestar?” Cherrykit asked.
Firestar responded, “For starters, I think it’s time the Clan knows the truth about everything.”
Then, in a gentler tone, he told Cherrykit, “Thank you for telling me this, Cherrykit. You were very brave to do this.”
Cherrykit nodded, then started walking back to Honeyfern.
“Did I do it right, Honeyfern?” she nervously asked.
Honeyfern purred. “Oh, yes, Cherrykit.” she murmured. “You did everything just right.”
Chapter twenty nine:
Honeyfern walked Cherrykit back to the nursery.
“Hi, Cherrykit!” mewed Bumblekit.
Blossomkit’s tortoiseshell fur bristled with excitement.
“Now we can continue playing!” she happily declared.
“Have fun, my dears.” said Millie, who was now apparently back from her walk.
Just then, Honeyfern heard Firestar calling everyone to a Clan meeting.
“A Clan meeting! Come on, kits, why don’t we go see what’s going on?” Daisy said.
Honeyfern, Ferncloud, Daisy, Bumblekit, Blossomkit, Cherrykit, and Millie all exited the nursery.
Would Honeyfern’s plan work? Or was the real truth about everything about to come out?
Once everybody was gathered around the High Ledge, Firestar meowed, “The reason I’ve called this Clan meeting is because I learned something very, very shocking today. There is an evil cat among us. But don’t worry. That cat will be properly punished.”
Murmurs of shock spread through the Clan.
Firestar spoke again. “Cherrykit told me that her littermates, Grasskit and Nightkit, didn’t just die. They were murdered. And that murderer was... Berrynose.”
Berrynose’s cream fur bristled. “It’s not true!”
“He was also responsible for the death of Cinderheart. Apparently he killed her so he could win Honeyfern’s love without her sister in the way. Briarkit’s death was also his fault. And his actions ultimately lead to Poppyfrost’s suicide.” Firestar meowed.
“Why would be do that?” gasped Hazeltail, Berrynose’s sister.
Berrynose’s brother, Mousewhisker, asked, “And why kill cats to win someone’s heart?”
“I do not know what Berrynose’s logic was. But, logic or no logic, he is directly responsible for the deaths of three cats, and he caused the death of another two.” Firestar said.
Berrynose was now shaking. “I didn’t murder those cats! Honeyfern did!”
Honeyfern widened her eyes. “Me?” she gasped.
“Why would Honeyfern kill those cats? She’s one of the kindest cats I know!” Lionblaze argued.
“And Cinderheart, Grasskit, Nightkit- they were all her kin! How could she even fathom murdering family?” Sorreltail meowed.
“I know Honeyfern. And believe me, she’s anything but a killer.” Brackenfur said.
Firestar said to Berrynose, “Berrynose, because of what you have done, you will be banished from ThunderClan.”
“No! I... I can’t be banished! Daisy, tell Firestar that he can’t banish me!” Berrynose yowled desperately, turning to his mother.
Daisy responded, “I will not. I never thought you could do this, Berrynose. But your actions are certainly worthy of banishment.”
Firestar ordered, “Leave now, Berrynose. If you are spotted on ThunderClan territory by tomorrow at sunset, any warrior who sees you has permission to kill you.”
Lowering his head, Berrynose said, “Yes, Firestar.”
He walked out of the camp, muttering angrily.
Honeyfern purred. Her plan had gone perfectly. Now no cat would ever suspect the real killer of Cinderheart, Grasskit, and Nightkit. No cat would ever guess who really indirectly caused the deaths of Poppyfrost and Briarkit...
Chapter thirty one:
The day after Firestar banished Berrynose, Sorreltail approached Honeyfern.
“Honeyfern? Are you alright, dear?” she asked.
Honeyfern lied, “No, I’m really not. I... I just can’t believe Berrynose... is a killer. I loved him. I trusted him. And he betrayed us all?”
She shook, faking sadness she didn’t really feel.
Sorreltail licked her daughter’s head. “Oh, Honeyfern. I’m so sorry.”
“I’m just so sad,” Honeyfern lied again.
“Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?” Sorreltail asked.
She really believes that I’m heartbroken. I must be getting better at pretending I’m not evil. thought Honeyfern.
“Yes. It might help me feel better if you’d go for a walk with me.” Honeyfern responded.
Sorreltail nodded. “Let’s go now.”
Nodding, Honeyfern followed Sorreltail out of the camp.
“It’s a beautiful day.” Sorreltail commented.
“Perhaps. But... I don’t think any day will be the same again. Not without waking up with Berrynose by my side.” Honeyfern purposefully made her voice break as she spoke, to make her ‘heartbreak’ seem even more convincing.
“I understand. I’d feel the same way, if I lost Brackenfur.” Sorreltail replied.
Honeyfern decided to tell another lie. “I feel so betrayed. Just a few days ago, Berrynose and I were talking about kits. He promised that when the day we had kits came, he’d be an excellent father. But... instead of caring for kits, he kills them? Nightkit and Grasskit, who had so much life to live.”
Grief in her amber eyes, Sorreltail mewed, “I can only hope that Nightkit and Grasskit are happy in StarClan.”
“And Cinderheart and Poppyfrost. Oh, and Briarkit.” Honeyfern said.
Sorreltail nodded. “But at least Berrynose’s been banished now. We don’t have to worry about any other cats being murdered now.”
Honeyfern responded, “Yes. It’s better that he’s gone.”
Sorreltail suggested, “Should we head back to camp now? We’ve been walking for a little while now.”
“Yes, let’s head back,” Honeyfern agreed.
The two she-cats started walking back to camp.
And now? Now Honeyfern knew that Sorreltail trusted her completely, which meant that she, too, could be manipulated like Cherrykit and Berrynose...
Chapter thirty two:
Berrynose couldn’t believe that Honeyfern had betrayed him like this.
It was shocking enough that the seemingly kindhearted she-cat was really a killer. But the fact that she framed her own mate for these crimes... that was even more unbelievable.
Berrynose had only been banished from ThunderClan the day before. It seemed like a moon ago, but at the same time, it felt like only a single heartbeat had passed since Firestar declared he was banished.
Since then, the cream-furred tom had left ThunderClan territory. He wasn’t sure where to go. He’d never thought that there would come a day that he wasn’t welcomed in ThunderClan anymore.
Berrynose only had a few options. And he really didn’t like any of them.
He could become a kitty pet. But he didn’t want to do that. He winced at the thought of being pampered by Nofurs, or, as several Clan cats called them, Twolegs.
He could join another Clan. But that was probably too risky, seeing as almost all of ThunderClan thought he was a murderer. If they spotted him at a Gathering or something, they’d immediately inform whichever Clan that had welcomed him that he was a killer, which he wasn’t.
Berrynose’s only option was to become a rouge, and fend for himself, without the support of Clanmates.
Currently, he was curled up under a bush. It was uncomfortable. Back in ThunderClan, he’d slept in the warriors den, Honeyfern by his side, the comfy moss nest beneath him.
Underneath this bush was wet and cold, and the brown mud stained Berrynose’s cream fur. It didn’t help that it was raining, or that thorns occasionally scratched him.
But this was his only shelter. Sighing, Berrynose closed his eyes, hoping to fall asleep.
His last thought before he fell asleep was How could you do this to me, Honeyfern?
Chapter thirty three:
Berrynose’s eyes flew open. Where I am? he thought. Then he remembered everything that had happened in the last couple of days.
He crawled out from under the bush, hissing. It was going to take him forever to get all of this mud out of his fur! Maybe there was a stream he could wash up in?
He started to walk. He wasn’t sure where he was going, but he knew that he was getting further and further away from the Clans with every paw step, which was probably a good thing.
As Berrynose walked, his heart ached as he thought of his family back home. Daisy... Hazeltail... Mousewhisker... Rosepaw... Toadpaw...
They didn’t care about him anymore, he knew. They, like so many other cats, had been convinced that he was evil. They believed Honeyfern’s lie.
Feeling sad from the memories that were flashing through his mind, Berrynose dug his claws into the earth angerly.
I can’t believe I ever loved Honeyfern! I don’t think she ever truly loved me- she just wanted to manipulate me. And she lied to me during our entire relationship. And the worst part is... I fell for it all. he sadly thought.
Eventually, Berrynose spotted a stream. After swimming around for a while, he was able to wash the mud off his fur.
But he would never be able to wash away the pain he felt. The pain of being betrayed...
Chapter thirty four:
After getting clean in the stream, Berrynose continued to walk.
His stomach rumbled with hunger. He suddenly realized that he hadn’t eaten since he felt ThunderClan- which had been two days ago.
How had he forgotten to eat?
Maybe he’d forgotten because he was so distracted feeling upset about everything that had happened.
Either way, he definitely needed to find some food.
Berrynose walked and walked, but he couldn’t scent any prey.
Eventually, he reached a Nofur Place.
A possibility stirred in his mind, but he tried to push it away.
No... that’s against the warrior code!
But, Berrynose realized, since he was no longer a member of ThunderClan, that meant he no longer had to follow the warrior code.
This exciting new source of... freedom... was interesting, but also a little scary.
Getting kitty pet food wouldn’t be a regular occurrence, Berrynose promised himself. He’d only do it right now, because he was desperate, but after today, he’d try his best to find prey.
He spotted a bowl of kitty pet food by a Nofur nest, probably belonging to a kitty pet that belonged to the Nofurs that lived there.
He cautiously approached the food. He gave it a sniff. It smelled surprisingly good, and its scent was familiar in almost a comforting kind of way. Perhaps he’d eaten this type of food when he was a very young kit, and lived at the horseplace.
Berrynose started to eat the kitty pet food. It was surprisingly tasty for something that looked like mouse droppings. He found himself licking the bowl after he was finished eating, to make sure there was no more tasty scraps left.
After he was completely done, his pelt felt hot with shame.
What have I done? I might not be a ThunderClan cat anymore, but I’m still a warrior at heart! And here I am, eating kitty pet slop!
That’s it. Even if I am not a warrior anymore, I will at least act like one!
Running from the empty food bowl, Berrynose decided that as soon as possible, he would find some prey to make up for being tempted by the kitty pet lifestyle.
He couldn’t let it happen again...
Chapter thirty five:
Berrynose continued to wander through the Nofur place, hoping to find some sort of food that wasn’t kitty pet food.
His amber eyes gazed around at the sights and smells of this place, and he curled his lip in disgust as a nasty smell filled his nose after a monster sped past.
He hated it here! But it was too dangerous to head back to the forest. Too risky. Too likely that he’d run into the Clans.
He started running, spotted a small Nofur kit not too far away from where he was.
The kit let out a screech- a screech of delight or a screech of fear, Berrynose couldn’t tell.
Either way, the Nofur kit was now chasing after him, making strange sounds as it did so.
Berrynose leapt on top of some sort of Nofur structure. It was white, and seemed to separate individual Nofur nests from others, so perhaps it was some sort of border. Better yet, it was too high for the annoying Nofur kit to reach.
The Nofur kit looked sad. Berrynose stared at it. Now that he was out of danger, he was content to simply stare at this Nofur and puzzle over how weird-looking it was.
Just then, a different cat approached the Nofur kit. She had brown fur, and had a collar. She purred as she rubbed against the Nofur kit’s legs.
Berrynose winced as he watched the Nofur kit stroke the kitty pet’s fur. It had to feel so weird! A paw with no fur touching you? That did not sound pleasant at all.
The kitty pet looked up at Berrynose curiously.
“What’s that look for? Haven’t you ever seen a kitty pet being petted by her housefolk before?” she asked, her amber eyes shining with curiosity and amusement.
“I suppose. But it seems strange to me, because I’m not a kitty pet.” Berrynose responded.
“Then who are you? Everyone I know here is a kitty pet, but I’m open to learning about different ways of living. I’m Jessy, by the way.” the brown-furred kitty pet said.
“I’m Berrynose. I’m a ThunderClan cat. Or, at least, I used to be. It’s a long story.” Berrynose responded.
“Feel free to tell the entire story.” Jessy mewed, glancing over her shoulder as the Nofur kit walked away after giving her one last pat on the head.
Berrynose began, “I fell in love with a cat named Honeyfern...”
Chapter thirty six:
After Berrynose’s tale was over, Jessy meowed, “I can’t believe Honeyfern did all those things!”
Sadness overwhelming him as he thought of Honeyfern’s enchanting blue eyes, and how much he’d loved her... and how much her betrayal had hurt, Berrynose mewed, “I can’t believe it, either.”
Jessy’s amber eyes softened. “I’m sorry, Berrynose. I didn’t mean to make you feel sad.”
“It’s alright.” Berrynose murmured.
“So, is it alright if I ask some questions about your experience? There are a couple of things that I don’t really understand.” Jessy said.
“Ask away.” Berrynose was enjoying talking to Jessy. She seemed like a nice cat. Plus, she was the only cat he’d talked to in a couple of days that didn’t believe he was a murderer. Which was good.
“Can you please explain what a Clan is? I don’t really understand. Basically, you all hunt together and fight sometimes? Correct me if I’m wrong- I don’t really know much about life outside of, well, my life here.” Jessy said.
“It’s more than that. My Clan is my home. Jessy, you have Nofurs- I mean, housefolk- and you see them as family, right?” Berrynose replied.
“Yes. I do.” Love shone in Jessy’s eyes. Berrynose realized that Jessy loved her Nofurs as much as he loved Daisy, Hazeltail, and Mousewhisker. They weren’t cats, but clearly Jessy still loved them like they were her kin.
“That’s what a Clan is like. A group of cats looking out for each other and helping each other. Yes, sometimes we fight with the other Clans, but we are peaceful most of the time.” explained Berrynose.
“I understand now.” Jessy said. “ThunderClan is your home, and the cats that you care about forced you out of it. And for a crimes you didn’t commit? Honeyfern really is evil. And I’m sorry you had to go through that, Berrynose.”
“Thank you.” Berrynose responded, shyly looking away. He felt a little bit embarrassed when cats told him they felt sorry for him. He wasn’t sure why.
Then, looking up, he saw that the first stars of the evening were already appearing. Had he really been talking to Jessy for that long? Well, his tale about how Honeyfern had slowly manipulated him until it led to being framed for murdering cats had been a rather long story.
“Berrynose, it's getting late. Do you have somewhere to stay tonight?” Jessy asked.
Berrynose shook his head. “I don’t.”
“I know somewhere you can stay. Follow me!” Jessy started to dash away, and Berrynose started to follow her.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
“You’ll see” was his only answer.
Chapter thirty seven:
Cherrykit wandered around the nursery. She didn’t feel like playing with the other kits. She was too upset.
Guilt overwhelmed her as she thought of what she had done.
She was responsible for Firestar banishing Berrynose.
She was a pathetic kit who let a she-cat she KNEW was evil manipulate her.
She was to blame. And she couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that was currently surging through her.
What if Honeyfern killed her, like she killed Grasskit and Nightkit?
Grief stabbed Cherrykit’s heart as she thought of her dead siblings. Then she only felt more upset thinking of Poppyfrost, her mother, who was also among the ranks of StarClan.
It was all Honeyfern’s fault. Anger blazed through Cherrykit as she thought of how the evil, cruel-hearted she-cat had destroyed her family and her future.
Cherrykit let out a whimper. She wasn’t safe. She would never be safe as long as Honeyfern was in ThunderClan.
“Cherrykit, sweetheart, are you alright?” Daisy asked, padding over.
Cherrykit buried her face into Daisy’s soft, cream fur. “I’m not okay,” she whispered sadly. “I’m scared. I don’t want to be killed like Grasskit and Nightkit.”
Daisy mewed, “It’ll be alright, Cherrykit. Berrynose can’t hurt anybody else now, since he’s been banished. We’re all safe now, I promise.”
But we aren’t safe. Berrynose was innocent. He didn’t kill all of those cats. Honeyfern did. And she’s still here. She could strike again at any time!
But Daisy doesn’t know that. She can never know. Nobody can. Otherwise, Honeyfern would probably kill me for telling the secrets I promised to keep... even if they are evil secrets, I must keep them secret for my own safety. So now I must pretend to feel comforted by Daisy’s words, thought Cherrykit.
She gazed into Daisy’s eyes. “Really?” she meowed.
“Really.” Daisy licked Cherrykit’s head. “Now, how about you play with Blossomkit and Toadkit? I think they’re playing mossball outside.”
Cherrykit’s heart ached as she thought of the days when she, like Blossomkit and Toadkit, played mossball happily, without a care in the world.
As she walked out of the nursery, she thought, I will never be carefree and happy like that ever again...
Chapter thirty eight:
Blossomkit and Toadkit noticed Cherrykit.
“Hi! Want to play mossball with us?” Toadkit asked, his black-and-white fur bristling with excitement.
“Though, I’m warning you: I’m pretty darn good at mossball,” he added.
Blossomkit nudged Toadkit. “Mouse-brain! I’m clearly better at mossball. I beat Bumblekit at it all the time!” the tortoiseshell she-kit argued.
“No, I’m happy to just watch. Carry on.” Cherrykit mewed.
She watched as Blossomkit and Toadkit rolled the ball of moss back and forth.
Her mind swirled with thoughts. Thoughts like, What will I do if Honeyfern tries to kill Lionblaze, too? and Poor Berrynose. I wonder how he’s coping, having to survive on his own.
She glanced over at Toadkit and Blossomkit. They were distracted tumbling around, apparently now done with mossball for now.
She got up, and walked away. She decided to go find her father, Lionblaze. She hadn’t actually talked to him as much as she wanted to after Poppyfrost died. Lionblaze had always seemed distant and cold after his mate had died.
Eventually, Cherrykit spotted Lionblaze. He was deep in conversation with his sister, Hollyleaf.
She didn’t really want to interrupt, but at the same time, she really wanted to talk to her father.
She awkwardly stood there, wondering what to do.
Soon enough, Hollyleaf noticed her. “Oh, hello there, Cherrykit!” she mewed, her green eyes twinkling in a friendly manner.
“Hi, Hollyleaf.” Cherrykit responded.
She looked over at Lionblaze, to see if he would greet her as warmly as Hollyleaf had.
Instead, he said to Hollyleaf, “I’ll see you later,” and walked away.
That’s it? No ‘hello’? Not even an acknowledgement that I was here? thought Cherrykit, feeling upset.
Hollyleaf noticed that Cherrykit looked sad, and said, “Your father’s not acting like himself, is he? It’s strange for me, too.”
“He used to be so warm-hearted and loving. Now he’s cold and distant.” Cherrykit replied sadly.
Hollyleaf licked Cherrykit’s head. “I’m sure he’s only behaving that way because he’s grieving for Poppyfrost. He’ll be alright, I promise.”
I like Hollyleaf a lot. She seems wise and kind. And she’s my kin. I should really try to get to know her better. thought Cherrykit.
“After all,” Hollyleaf continued, “I felt the same way when Cinderheart died. The grief never fully faded, but it got better as time went on. Losing your mate is never easy.”
Cherrykit curiosity looked up at Hollyleaf, cocking her head.
“Yes, Cinderheart was my mate. We kept it a secret from the rest of ThunderClan, because we weren’t sure how they’d react to two she-cats being mates.” Hollyleaf explained.
A realization hit Cherrykit like lightning.
Wait... if Cinderheart was in a relationship with Hollyleaf until her death... then that means... Honeyfern never had to kill her! Cinderheart was never in love with Lionblaze in the first place!
But it’s too late now. Even if Cinderheart wasn’t really in love with Lionblaze, Honeyfern still wants revenge on him for not loving her. But how he could ever love a manipulative, evil cat is completely beyond me. thought Cherrykit.
And if Cinderheart wasn’t in love with Lionblaze, then why did Honeyfern think she was?
Cherrykit had so many questions- but no answers.
Chapter thirty nine:
The day after talking to Hollyleaf, Cherrykit decided that she had to talk to Lionblaze.
She couldn’t let Poppyfrost’s death destroy her relationship with her father. She just couldn’t!
It was all Honeyfern’s fault. But Cherrykit would not let the evil warrior make her afraid anymore.
She had to fix things. First, heal her relationship with Lionblaze.
Second of all, talk to Honeyfern about Cinderheart’s death. Explain how it wasn’t needed.
The first thing Cherrykit had to do- talking to Lionblaze- would be easy. She just hoped that Lionblaze wouldn’t ignore her again, like he did that time he was talking to Hollyleaf.
Maybe he needed somebody to help him through his grief. Maybe Cherrykit could be that someone.
But more than anything, she wanted her father back.
She remembered what Lionblaze had been like before the deaths of Nightkit, Grasskit, and Poppyfrost. Affectionate with his kits. Comforting. Kind. Strong. Brave.
But he wasn’t like that anymore. Now Cherrykit was pretty much ignored by her father. And it hurt.
Not for the first time, she wondered if Poppyfrost had never died, if Lionblaze would have still ended up like this.
Giving her small black-and-orange head a shake, Cherrykit padded over to the fresh-kill pile, where Lionblaze was sitting.
“Lionblaze?” she asked.
Lionblaze looked up. His golden fur- normally so silky- was matted down and looked as if he hadn’t given it a good licking for days. His amber eyes- usually alert- looked sad and helpless.
“Cherrykit,” he murmured.
“Lionblaze... are you alright?” Cherrykit asked.
Lionblaze awkwardly said, “Oh, I’m...” Glancing at the shrew he was half-heartedly eating, he finished, “I’m fine. How about you run along and play, Cherrykit?”
Cherrykit’s black-and-orange fur bristled. “I don’t want to play,” she almost snapped. In a gentler tone, she added, “I just want my father back.”
Lionblaze’s amber eyes widened. He was silent for several moments, as if he was realizing he’d been neglecting his daughter- his only daughter left in the whole wide world.
“Cherrykit, I’m sorry. I let my grief blind me. And I didn’t realize... how much you needed me. Or how much I need you.” he admitted.
“We can help each other through our grief. We can be there for each other.” Cherrykit said.
For the first time in a while, Cherrykit heard Lionblaze purr.
And that sound- the sound of her father purring- was enough for Cherrykit to purr too.
Berrynose followed Jessy through Twoleg Place, wondering where she was taking him.
Finally, they reached an alley.
“Purdy,” Jessy called. Her brown tail twitched with excitement.
An old tabby tom came out. “What? Jessy, young’un, you know I like to take a little nap ‘round this time o’ day. Wait- who’s that cat with ya?” Purdy asked.
“This is Berrynose.” Jessy explained.
Then, to Berrynose, she said, “Berrynose, Purdy’s told me about the Clans! But I never realized they were real! That’s why I was asking so many questions.”
“What? You didn’t believe me? I swear, Jessy, every single story I’ve told you is true,” protested Purdy.
“I think he exaggerates sometimes, though,” Jessy whispered softly to Berrynose.
“I was banished from ThunderClan for a murder I didn’t commit. I don’t know where to go.” Berrynose said to Purdy.
“I was hoping he could stay with you.” Jessy mewed. “You’re always talking about how you could use more company, aren’t you, Purdy?”
“I could...” Purdy thoughtfully murmured.
“Well, it’s getting late. And I’m not about to leave this young’un all alone at night. Berrynose, why dontcha make yourself cozy.” the old tom added after a moment’s thought.
“Thank you.” Berrynose meowed.
“I’d better get going. I don’t want my housefolk to worry.” Jessy said. She touched noses with Purdy. “I’ll visit again soon.”
“Goodbye, Jessy.” Berrynose said.
“See ya soon,” Purdy purred.
Jessy let out a purr, then started walking away.
“Ah, Jessy. She’s got her mother’s adventurous spirit,” Purdy murmured.
“Jessy’s your kin?” asked Berrynose, surprised. Though, now that he thought about it, Jessy and Purdy had a similar build. Not to mention how affectionate with each other they were.
“Yes. Her mother died a few seasons back. Mango, my daughter. She was so brave.” Purdy lowered his gaze. “But one of ‘em Upwalker things killed Mango. Whatcha call ‘em- oh, I think one of the Clan cats I knew called them ‘monsters.’ Yeah. A monster killed her.”
Berrynose’s heart ached. He too, had lost somebody he loved- Honeyfern- but not through death.
“I’m so sorry about your daughter, Purdy,” he mewed quietly.
“Thank you, young’un.” Purdy softly purred.
Berrynose wasn’t sure where he was going to end up. But for now? For now, he would stay with Purdy.
Chapter forty one:
Honeyfern approached Lionblaze one morning. It had recently rained, and the fresh, rainy smell was everywhere.
“Hi, Lionblaze.” Honeyfern greeted.
A few moons had passed since Berrynose’s banishment. Lionblaze and Cherrykit- who would be apprenticed soon- were closer than ever.
Honeyfern continued to ponder if there was any other cat she had to kill to get revenge, but she didn’t feel like there was. Cherrykit was much too useful to kill.
And Lionblaze- well, now that Poppyfrost was out of the picture, Honeyfern was slowly getting closer to him, hoping to become his mate.
Only then would her revenge be completed.
“Honeyfern. Good morning,” Lionblaze purred.
“Do you want to go for a walk?” Honeyfern asked. Her blue eyes gleamed.
She truly loved Lionblaze. Really, she did. And it was only because she loved him that she’d committed murder in the first place.
But he wouldn’t understand that. Nobody would.
“Of course,” Lionblaze replied. “But first, why don’t we talk to Cherrykit? She’s so excited to become an apprentice. She’s been chattering about who could be her mentor for days now.” Lionblaze purred with amusement.
Honeyfern softly purred. “You were eager to become an apprentice, too.”
“I was. It feels like so long ago, doesn’t it? Our apprentice days... remember when you used to comfort me when I had trouble hunting?” Lionblaze asked.
“I remember.” Honeyfern said. That had been when she’d started to love him...
The two cats walked to the nursery. Inside, Cherrykit was happily mewing to Daisy, “Or maybe Sandstorm! She’d be a great mentor.”
Then, noticing Honeyfern and Lionblaze, she meowed, “Oh, hi!”
Giving an excited little bounce, she said, “How am I gonna wait to become an apprentice? I know it’s only a few days away. But I can’t wait! I wonder what my warrior name will be. Cherryshade? Cherryfire?”
“You have to complete your apprentice training first,” Lionblaze purred with amusement.
Honeyfern rolled her eyes. Cherrykit’s happy, chirpy... everything... made her feel sick.
“Anyway, Honeyfern and I are going for a walk. We just wanted to say hi.” explained Lionblaze.
“Okay!” Cherrykit turned her attention back towards Daisy. “What do you think my warrior name will be? Bumblekit suggested Cherryberry, but I think that sounds dumb.”
“Cherrykit, darling, don’t be rude,” Daisy gently scolded.
“Sorry. But really, do you think Firestar would consider naming me Cherryberry of all things?” asked Cherrykit.
Honeyfern didn’t hear Daisy’s reply, because now she and Lionblaze were outside of the nursery, and heading out the camp entrance.
“We haven’t talked in a while. Are... are you doing okay?” Lionblaze asked.
Honeyfern nodded. “Berrynose... I truly loved him. But we weren’t meant to be.”
“I know. You deserve a better mate. Somebody who truly loves you,” Lionblaze responded.
“Lionblaze...” Honeyfern softly mewed. “I love you. But you refused my love. But... maybe you could give me a second chance? It’s been a while since Poppyfrost died. I know that you’re still grieving. And that’s understandable. Somebody you cared about is gone.
“But I could give you a fresh start. I could be the mother Cherrykit needs, because she was so young when Poppyfrost died. We could even have our own kits one day. You don’t have to spend your life alone now that Poppyfrost is gone, Lionblaze. You could love again.”
Lionblaze was silent for a moment. Then he spoke.
“Honeyfern... I already told you. No. You’re a good friend- one of the best I’ve had. But I don’t love you. Not like that. I see you... I see you as a sister, okay? But a potential mate? No. I’ve never seen you that way, and I never will.”
Honeyfern’s blue eyes widened with sadness. “Lionblaze, please-“
“Stop, Honeyfern,” snapped Lionblaze. “If you truly loved me, you’d respect my choice.”
“I do truly love you! I killed for you!” Honeyfern growled.
Maybe it was better if Lionblaze knew. Yes. It would be better if he knew that the deaths of Cinderheart, Briarkit, Grasskit, Nightkit, and Poppyfrost were all his fault...
Lionblaze’s eyes widened. “Honeyfern... what are you saying?”
“I think you know exactly what I mean,” snarled Honeyfern.
“I killed Cinderheart because she was so close to you. You two were practically inseparable. I feared that you’d become mates, so I killed her before that could happen.
“After her death, you grew closer to Poppyfrost. I attempted to kill her, luring a snake to camp. But it killed Briarkit instead, which had never been my intention.
“Once you and Poppyfrost had kits, I realized that the only thing I could do was to murder them. So I told them we were going on a nighttime adventure. Small kits will believe anything. But I didn’t kill Cherrykit. I realized that she could be useful. And she proved that she was very easy to manipulate.
“I didn’t kill Poppyfrost. She killed herself. That part of the story is true. But even though I didn’t kill her, I’m still the one who killed Nightkit and Grasskit- I’m still the one who influenced Poppyfrost’s death.
“But I couldn’t have anybody know that I killed these cats. Which is why I made Cherrykit lie to Firestar, saying that Berrynose killed all of those cats. I told you Cherrykit was easy to manipulate, didn’t I?
“But... I’ve made a mistake. Yes, Cinderheart, Nightkit, Grasskit, Poppyfrost- well, maybe not Briarkit- had to die. It was the only way I could win your heart.
“But, Lionblaze, all along, you are the one I should have killed. You are the one who ignored me. You are the one who never even gave me a chance. This is your fault.”
Lionblaze, who had been sitting in silence for the last several minutes, looking horrified as Honeyfern explained each and every murder, snarled, “No. I will tell Firestar the truth. Berrynose is an innocent cat. Every cat you killed? They were also innocent.”
Honeyfern lunged at Lionblaze, her claws digging into his golden pelt.
Lionblaze scratched Honeyfern’s face, leaving a bloody trail across her pale brown fur. Honeyfern grit her teeth, and kept fighting.
But something bizarre was happening. Despite everything Honeyfern was doing- clawing Lionblaze, biting him, doing everything in her power to kill him- he didn’t appear to be injured at all!
Sure, his pelt was matted down with blood. But Lionblaze wasn’t limping, he didn’t seem to be out of breath whatsoever, he seemed... fine.
“How?” gasped Honeyfern. Then, snarling, she demanded, “Why can’t I kill you?”
Letting out an angry yowl, she lamented, “My revenge will never be complete!”
Lionblaze said cooly, “Nothing you do can hurt me. I’m part of a prophecy, one where I have a power- the power to always win my battles.”
Honeyfern meowed, “No. I refuse to believe that’s possible. But even if you can’t die, I will make sure you suffer!”
She started chasing Lionblaze. Lionblaze darted away.
Honeyfern continued to chase him, hoping to reach the Thunderpath... where hopefully, Lionblaze would meet his end.
Maybe Honeyfern would get her revenge after all.
Chapter forty two:
Cherrykit curled up in the sunshine. She was pretty tired- after all, she’d spent basically the entire morning running around asking cats what they thought her warrior name would be.
A few cats- well, mostly Dustpelt and Jayfeather- had seemed a bit annoyed by her running around, but she couldn’t help it! Thinking about your warrior name was exciting!
She closed her eyes, and fell asleep.
A kind, soothing voice murmured in her ear, “Hello, my dear.”
Cherrykit opened her eyes. She was in a grassy meadow, surrounded by flowers.
In front of her was her mother, Poppyfrost. Stars shone in her tortoiseshell fur, and she purred happily.
“Poppyfrost!” mewed Cherrykit.
Poppyfrost licked Cherrykit’s head. “Cherrykit. How I’ve missed you!”
“Are Nightkit and Grasskit here, too?” Cherrykit asked. “Is this StarClan?”
“Yes,” Poppyfrost meowed, “this is StarClan. Nightkit and Grasskit are here.”
Just as Poppyfrost spoke, Nightkit and Grasskit bounded over, chasing a yellow butterfly with a young tom. He only looked a few moons older than Cherrykit.
“That’s my brother they’re with. Molepaw. He was only an apprentice when he died. He’s been a big brother figure to Grasskit and Nightkit since they joined StarClan,” Poppyfrost explained.
“Honeyfern killed them,” Cherrykit sorrowfully said. Then she felt embarrassed. “But I suppose you already knew that.”
“I did,” Poppyfrost mewed. “Cherrykit, you must not let Honeyfern force you to do anything anymore."
“I’m trying. But it’s hard. Especially when Honeyfern threatens me. I’m worried that if I don’t do what she says, she’ll kill me.” Cherrykit confessed.
Poppyfrost licked her daughter’s head.
“I just realized that cats lick my head a lot.” Cherrykit said, blinking.
Poppyfrost purred with amusement. Then, her tone serious, she said, “Be careful, Cherrykit. Please, promise me you’ll be safe.”
“I promise, Poppyfrost.” Cherrykit responded.
The world around Cherrykit started to look blurry, its colors blending together in one big mixture.
As her mother’s starry figure faded away, Cherrykit found herself waking up.
She stretched, and then rolled over, trying to get into a more comfortable position.
“I’ll stay safe, Poppyfrost,” she softly whispered. “I promise.”
Chapter forty three:
Honeyfern and Lionblaze were getting closer to the Thunderpath now. Lionblaze was a quick runner, but so was Honeyfern.
“I will never forgive you! You ruined my life, Lionblaze! Did you even think about how I felt after I told you that I loved you? Did you think about how I’d feel about any of your stupid actions?” Honeyfern exclaimed angrily. “But no,” she growled, “you had to become mates with Poppyfrost.”
“Honeyfern, I can’t help which cat I love!” Lionblaze snarled. “The sooner you accept that, the better!”
They were near WindClan territory now. Honeyfern saw a tunnel. An idea formed in her mind- an idea involving the tunnel.
Swerving left, she made a mad dash for it. Lionblaze followed as Honeyfern ran inside the tunnel.
The tunnel was dark, and made Honeyfern feel hot. But she still continued to run, hoping her idea would work.
Lionblaze couldn’t be hurt in battle. But he’d never said that he couldn’t be trapped!
Stumbling in the darkness, Honeyfern felt Lionblaze’s fur brush against her pelt.
“I’ve got you now. Everyone will know the truth, Honeyfern.” Lionblaze murmured.
Honeyfern sprinted, running with energy she hadn’t realized she had.
There was a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Lionblaze started to race to it, but Honeyfern was faster.
She leapt out of the tunnel... when suddenly, it started to collapse!
Lionblaze was trapped! Honeyfern let out a purr, realizing that he’d never be able to get out now!
He’d suffer in there. He’d starve.
Honeyfern ran back to the entrance of the tunnel. That was blocked by rocks, too!
That was strange. Really, really strange... too much of a coincidence.
Suddenly, an unfamiliar cat’s scent filled the air.
Honeyfern softly gasped as a ghostly, tortoiseshell she-cat appeared beside her.
“Who are you?” she asked, taking a step back.
The tortoiseshell she-cat grinned, revealing yellow teeth. “Ah, no need to be afraid, dear. I was just helping you with your revenge.”
“You made the tunnel collapse,” Honeyfern whispered.
“That’s right. I know exactly how you feel, Honeyfern. Revenge is the only way to get what you want!” the cat meowed.
“What’s your name?” Honeyfern asked.
“Mapleshade,” the she-cat replied. “And I come from a place filled with cats just like you. Cats who wanted revenge. Or are still working on getting their revenge. I think you’d be right at home there.” Mapleshade let out a rusty purr.
Honeyfern nodded. “Yes, that sounds like my kind of place. How do I get there?”
“You’ll go there in your dreams. My allies will teach you to be the best warrior you can! And they’ll help you with your revenge. It’s a place where your tales of murder will be praised, not scorned. You belong there, Honeyfern.” Mapleshade explained.
“Okay, Maplesh-“ Honeyfern realized that Mapleshade’s ghostly figure had faded away.
Despite this, she let out a purr. She had gotten rid of Lionblaze.. and she had a new ally!
Chapter forty four:
Berrynose was enjoying his life with Purdy. It was relaxing, and he enjoyed the old tom’s stories- even though most of them were probably exaggerated.
Jessy visited almost every day, sharing news with Purdy and Berrynose- telling them which cats had gotten into a fight, who had to go to the cutter- things like that. Sometimes Jessy’s friend Minty visited Berrynose and Purdy, too.
But one day when Jessy came, it wasn’t to share something interesting or amusing that had happened. She looked upset, and her amber gaze was solemn.
“Jessy, what’s the matter?” Purdy quickly asked.
“Is everything alright?” Berrynose mewed, worried.
Jessy was silent for at least a solid minute or two before responding.
“There are new dogs in the neighborhood. Now, usually dogs don’t bother us cats that much, but these dogs? They’re super aggressive, and...” The brown kitty pet started trembling.
“What happened, dear?” Purdy gently asked.
Jessy whispered, “They killed my friend. Frankie. I don’t think you’ve met him, Berrynose, but he was one of the best friends I’ve ever had...”
“Oh Jessy, I’m so, so sorry.” Berrynose murmured.
“Poor Frankie. Was he the one who lived close to Minty?” asked Purdy.
“Yes.” Jessy replied, then she turned to Berrynose. “Berrynose... we could use your help. I know you were a warrior when you lived in ThunderClan. We need your fighting skills. These dogs are too much for a few kitty pets to fight. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but some of my friends and I would appreciate it if you taught us some fight moves.”
“Of course I’ll help!” Berrynose exclaimed. Jessy was one of his best friends- he just had to help her!
“I’ll help too,” meowed Purdy. “Now, I’m not exactly young, and I’m no warrior, but I still remember some fight moves I used against dogs in my younger days!”
Jessy’s amber eyes shone with determination. “Maybe we can win this!”
Berrynose prayed to StarClan that Jessy was right.
Chapter forty five:
Cherrykit looked up as Honeyfern walked into the camp. A cold feeling surged through the kit, because Lionblaze wasn’t by Honeyfern’s side, and he’d left the camp with her...
Honeyfern mewed something to Firestar. Firestar sadly shook his head, his expression solemn.
He yowled, calling a Clan meeting. Cherrykit padded over to where Hollyleaf was sitting, as horrible thoughts about what Honeyfern might’ve done to Lionblaze rushed through her mind.
“Lionblaze is no longer with us. Honeyfern’s informed me that he left ThunderClan to become a kitty pet, because staying here was too painful- too many memories of Poppyfrost, Grasskit, and Nightkit. While I mourn the loss of a strong warrior, I also respect his decision.” Firestar meowed.
Cherrykit’s fur bristled. Honeyfern was lying, I just know it. My father would never become a kitty pet. Honeyfern killed him, I’m sure of it.
Hollyleaf gently nuzzled the top of Cherrykit’s head, murmuring, “Oh, Cherrykit...”
Cherrykit turned to Hollyleaf, sorrow in her gaze. “Am I am orphan now? Poppyfrost is dead. Lionblaze’s gone. I don’t have a mother. And my father, while he’s not dead, I- I’ll probably never see him again. Who’s supposed to be my parents now?”
“Cherrykit,” Hollyleaf mewed, “everything’s going to be alright. I promise. I’ll take care of you. We both lost somebody important- Lionblaze was your father, and my brother- but we can help each other and be there for each other through our sadness.”
She gently nudged Cherrykit, nodding at a flower spouting. “Look. That started out as a seed, and it was lucky enough to not get eaten or tampered with. And now it’s going to become a flower. It’s still growing, though. And so are you. Hardships are going to come, but with resilience and bravery, I know we can face them together.”
“Thank you, Hollyleaf.” Cherrykit said.
Hollyleaf crouched down, and touched noses with Cherrykit before walking away.
Cherrykit spotted Honeyfern. The light brown tabby was sitting next to the Highledge, deep in thought.
She started walking over, anger blazing in her eyes as one question, and one question only echoed in her mind.
What did you do to my father?