Darkness Within by Erin Hunter

Darkness Within by Erin Hunter

Author:Erin Hunter
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2020-08-30T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter 10

Bristlefrost narrowed her eyes against the glare of the morning light as she watched Leaf cross the meadow. Sunlight lit his silhouette so that he seemed to glow like a spirit cat as he turned and dipped his head in farewell. The tom’s gaze locked with Rootspring’s for a moment, and she saw Rootspring’s fur ripple as the SkyClan warrior lifted his tail in a respectful salute.

Bristlefrost’s heart swelled with affection. Rootspring was loyal to his Clan and yet openhearted with a tom who was hardly more than a loner. A purr rose in her throat, and she swallowed it back, pulling her gaze away from Rootspring before Needleclaw or Spotfur could catch her.

She didn’t need to worry about Spotfur, who stared unenthusiastically across the fields. Bristlefrost wondered if she’d even noticed Leaf leaving. Her Clanmate had been distracted since the tom had told her she was expecting kits. It was as though, the moment she’d realized, her thoughts had wandered far away. Surely she must feel some happiness? Kits were a new beginning, weren’t they? It meant part of Stemleaf would live on.

Bristlefrost moved closer to Spotfur and ran her tail along her Clanmate’s spine sympathetically. Without looking at her, Spotfur moved away. Clearly, she was not ready to share what she felt.

“Let’s hunt before we leave.” Needleclaw’s gaze flitted across the fields. “This looks like great territory, and there’s no one to claim it but us.”

Bristlefrost was suddenly glad to be here. A warm breeze was stirring her fur. There were no Clan boundaries to worry about and no grouchy old warriors to tell them what to do. This mission was fun. She shook out her pelt. “I’ll hunt with Spotfur,” she mewed.

“Good idea.” Needleclaw was already heading away. “Clanmates always hunt better together.” Her gaze flitted pointedly toward Rootspring. “Are you coming with me?”

“I’ll hunt with Spotfur and Bristlefrost today,” he told her. “I want to learn some Thunderclan hunting skills.”

Needleclaw sniffed. “Suit yourself.” Pelt ruffled, she padded downslope toward a meadow specked with wild flowers.

Spotfur glanced after her. “I want to hunt alone today too.”

Bristlefrost blinked at her. “Are you sure?”

“I need time to think,” Spotfur told her firmly.

Bristlefrost’s paws pricked as Spotfur headed away. Should she let Spotfur hunt alone? This was strange territory, after all.

Rootspring’s mew cut through her thoughts. “You can hunt with me, if you like,” he offered.

“Thanks.” Perhaps Spotfur did need time to think. Hunting might restore her spirits and help her come to terms with the idea of expecting kits. She blinked at Rootspring. “Which way do you want to go?”

Rootspring nodded to a beech copse a little way away. “There will be mice there.”

“Or rabbits.” Bristlefrost narrowed her gaze. Were those burrow entrances showing in the grass? She fell in beside Rootspring as he headed across the field. He gazed into the distance. Was he looking for signs of Leaf? “You liked him, didn’t you?”

“He’s my kin.” Rootspring’s eyes shone. “And he kind of reminded me of Tree.”



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