Darkclaw's whiskers twitched irritably as Slash squared up beside his mate.
"It's the two of us against a single you," Slash purred. "How do you hope to defeat us?"
"Is that the best you can come up with?" Darkclaw sighed. "Fine. Let's get serious! I'll show you what real battles are all about."
Just then, the three cats were interrupted by a scream from the forest.
A gray she-cat with white stripes, roughly the same age as Tidepaw, raced into the clearing. "Sorry I'm late," she mewed to Darkclaw. "Navigating this swamp took a lot more time than I thought it would. But never fear! I'll protect you now." She resumed her screaming and ran towards Slash.
The large tom's fur stood up as he effortlessly knocked her aside. "Stop following us!" he snapped.
Darkclaw had no words to describe what he had just witnessed. At apprentice age, cats… well, they sure are lively.
The gray she-cat leapt to her paws. "Sneaky rogues!" she snarled and ran towards Slash again.
Darkclaw sighed and ran forward, grabbing her by the scruff of her neck. He couldn't stand to see a young she-cat get beaten up by rogues like this.
As the dark tom held onto the squirming she-cat, Slash opened his mouth to say something. Whitefeather slapped her tail across his jaws before he could.
"We're leaving," she announced. "We didn't come here to pick a fight. That may have been Bonetail's intention, but we're only in this place to restock our supply of herbs." Then she gazed affectionately at Darkclaw and the gray she-cat. "You're pretty strong, you know that?" she mewed. "Take care of her for me."
Through a mouthful of fur, Darkclaw grunted a reply. Slash reluctantly padded after his mate into the bushes.
"Let me go!" the gray she-cat shrieked, but to no avail. Only after the rogues had left did Darkclaw release her.
"What did you do that for?" the she-cat snapped, spinning around. "You let them get away when we could have taken them!"
"Oh, I understand you now," Darkclaw snarled back. "You're an idiot who rushes into things without thinking because you're an idiot! And if you didn't notice, I was just trying to get around those two. My real target is their leader, Bonetail."
"Well, let's go get him then!" the she-cat exclaimed, instantly pleased.
"No, you're staying here," Darkclaw ordered. "I don't want you getting hurt. Talk all you want, but you're barely more than a kit."
She beamed at him. This she-cat reminds me of Tidepaw. As if one of her wasn't annoying enough already.
"Don't you know who I am?" the gray she-cat asked, striking a pose. "It seems like you need enlightenment! I am often called Ace, the Rogue Hunter. That's right! I am not merely-"
He stormed off out of the camp. It had been a long day, and he needed some solitude.
He found himself walking back to his training area. That's fine. I might as well do some training. He grunted and settled into his stance. Just as he was about to start, he heard a rustle from a nearby bush.
"Alright, who's there?" he screamed, spinning around.
"Agh, sorry Darkclaw!" came the squeak of Ace, the Rogue Hunter. "I just saw you passing by and wanted to say hello."
The dark tom relaxed at the sight of the gray she-cat. "So, how do you know my name?" he asked, intrigued.
Ace's ears twitched and she smiled, looking embarrassed. "You know that tom called Arise?" she asked. "Well, I was hiding in this very bush when you met him. It's how I knew where Bonetail would be today. So, you're here for your daily training? A little late, don't you think?"
"Oh," he grunted. "What did you think you could accomplish by hiding in a bush?"
She smiled, in an irritating way that yet again reminded him of Tidepaw. "I come here often to watch you train," she explained. "You're great at fighting, so you're a good source for tips. By the way, what kind of a name is 'Darkclaw' anyway?"
"It's a Clan name!" he snapped back. "It shows that I'm a warrior of ShadowClan! I would never give it up! Besides, what kind of name is 'Ace, the Rogue Hunter'? Isn't that overly dramatic?"
"My father's name is Dragon and my mother's name is Wendy," Ace explained. "They're both pretty well known in the Twolegplace I come from. They travel around, and when cats are in danger, they lend a paw! I wanted to live up to that legacy, so I came here to warn the Clans of the coming danger. But when I found out about the threats you were facing, I decided to change my name and join you in your struggle. My parents named my 'Glace', which means ice or something. I find that ridiculous. If they wanted to name me that, why not just call me 'Ice'? So I took off the beginning of 'Glace' and got-"
"Shut up!" snapped Darkclaw. "Great StarClan, do you know how much you talk?"
Ace shrunk back. "Sorry," she squeaked.
Darkclaw shrugged. At least she was telling him things that were slightly more interesting than the stories the elders told. "So, what kind of threats were you talking about?" he asked.
Ace shivered. "Like, there's Reaper," the gray she-cat explained. "She's raising an army to destroy you all. Really, she's a lot like Bonetail."
"Whatever," the dark tom sighed. "Crazed she-cats are nothing Clan cats can't handle. I think Slash proved that to you early."
Ace shook her head. "I already learned that when I tried to take on the rogues a few weeks ago," she explained. "But, you don't understand. Dragon is trying to deal with Reaper, and yet I worry for him. I'm here where it's safe, trying to make a name for myself. But one of Reaper's cats, Lord Decay, is really strong. Stronger even than you! Keep your eyes peeled, okay?"
Darkclaw shrugged. "Well, it's been great chatting about my impending doom," he mewed, "but I really have to get back to my Clan. Maybe we can talk again tomorrow morning, Glace?"
"Wait!" mewed the she-cat as she blocked his way. "I did something terrible to you earlier, and that's why you got angry at me earlier. I don't know what it was, but I wanted to make it up to you."
"Can't that wait for tomorrow?" Darkclaw asked.
"I know where the rogue camp is," Ace said.
Darkclaw grinned, filled with a sudden interest. At long last, I'll take the fight to you, Bonetail.
"How intriguing," he mused. "Yes, that is indeed a very interesting revelation, indeed."