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Posted August 22, 2012
Hollyleaf sat in the entrance and peered out of the den. The camp smelled of wet leaves. "It's stopped raining." Snowfur stretched in her nest. "Is it clearing up?" "Yes." Clouds still streaked the sky but a brisk wind was sweeping them away. "It'll be clear by the time we get there." Hollyleaf's whiskers twitched. There would be a gathering after all. These past rainy days had left her restless. Runningwind padded from the fresh-kill pile, a mouse in his jaws. "Hi Hollyleaf." He dropped it at her paws. "I thought you might be hungry." She pushed the mouse away. "No thanks." Runningwind tipped his head. "Are you sure? It's a long way to the island. I'm starving already." "Then you can eat this mouse," Hollyleaf meowed. On the other side of the clearing, Thunderstar was emerging from his den. "We'll be leaving soon." Hollyleaf glanced at Snowfur. "Perhaps Owleyes will let you come." The deputy hadn't chosen Snowfur for the gathering. When Hollyleaf had begged him to let her friend join the patrol, he'd shaken his head. Snowfur turned in her nest. "I'd rather stay here and sleep." Hollyleaf blinked at her. Snowfur's gaze flicked toward Honeyfern and Tawnyspots as they passed the den entrance. "Owleyes is right. I am tired." She murmured. Hollyleaf ducked outside and crossed the clearing to where Fallen Leaves and Thistleclaw were already waiting by the thorn tunnel. Halftail sat beside them, while Mosskit patted playfully at Larchkit's twitching tail. Sweetpaw hurried to catch up. "Runningwind is trying to cram in an extra mouse before we leave." Hollyleaf snorted. "He'll be as fat as Lionheart if he keeps eating like that." The ginger warrior was rummaging through the fresh-kill pile. Lionheart nosed in beside him. "Any good prey left?" Runningwind hooked out a shrew and licked his lips. "This must have been hidden at the bottom." "You'd better offer it to Mousefur first," Lionheart advised. "She loves shrew." Runningwind looked across to the honeysuckle bush. Mousefur was outside, washing her ears with a trembling paw. Runningwind held out the shrew, letting it dangle on his claw. "You hungry Mousefur?" She looked up, her whiskers twitching. "Not really. I wish I still had a warrior's appetite." Longtail rolled onto his back and stretched. Runningwind looked at the shrew, his eyes lighting up. "I guess it's mine then." Ferncloud marched from the warrior den. "Oneeye would probably appreciate it more." She nipped the shrew from his claw and carried it back to where Oneeye lay resting. Runningwind's tail drooped. Hollyleaf purred and nudged Sweetpaw. "Poor old Runningwind. Always first to the pile and last to get fed." Thunderstar jumped down from highledge and gazed at the rising moon. "We should leave." He glanced over his shoulder as Swiftbreeze landed beside him. "The break in the weather might not last long."
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