Link to the original story: s/10611759/1/A-New-Rise-Book-1-Misty-Horizon

Lightwing padded through the forest to the meeting place beside the stream. She was looking forward to this particular meeting because not only was the day sunny and warm, but also her best friend was coming. Dewcloud and her mate, Frozenwhisker, had been off searching the forest for any other cats who were originally ShadowClan.

They'd traveled with her from the lake and, when the larger group had gotten separated in the Twolegplace, they'd stuck with her, eventually being guided by Hyperion, the golden tom who had appeared out of nowhere and made Lightwing doubt her love for Ashthorn.

Lightwing emerged into the clearing, the stream splashing over the rocky streambed, creating a lovely background noise. Ten or so cats were already there, sharing tongues in the sunlight. Lightwing spotted Leafheart, Voletail, and their son, Adderpaw, to one side of the clearing and gave them a wide berth. She wanted to chat with Dewcloud and Frozenwhisker, not be assailed with tales of Adderpaw's greatness.

There. She spotted her best friends lying on a flat, sun-warmed rock by the stream and made a beeline for them. Dewcloud looked up as Lightwing drew closer and her face split into a wide smile.

"Lightwing!" she exclaimed, rising from her luxurious spot beside Frozenwhisker to touch noses affectionately with her best friend. "How have you been? And where are your three little kittens? Last I saw them, they were barely two moons old and still only as big as mice!"

I forced a smile. My parting from Sootpaw, Cinderpaw, and Rainpaw still hurt. "They decided that, once they received their apprentice names, they were going to find their father. They went off back to the forest to see him."

Dewcloud's smile faltered. "Oh, dear!" she meowed sympathetically. "I remember when my own kits left. They wanted to go find their fortune in the Twolegplace. The Twolegplace, of all places!"

"There, there," Lightwing said soothingly. "Emberpaw and Sandpaw were always very close. They'll look out for each other. Maybe they'll even find Hyperion, like we did."

Dewcloud's smile widened again. "I'd forgotten how well you can cheer a cat up," she purred, giving Lightwing an affectionate lick over the ear. "And you still haven't forgotten about Hyperion? He's really rivaling Ashthorn now, isn't he?"

"Oh, be quiet," Lightwing said in an imitation of a stern voice while Dewcloud and Frozenwhisker purred. "He just helped us, is all. He was nice to us, so it would be a good thing not to forget him."

"And what was the name of that cat who gave me and Frozenwhisker their den?" Dewcloud asked, smirking.

She tried to remember, but couldn't quite manage it. "Wasn't it something like Coral?"

"It was Ladybug, actually," Dewcloud corrected, purring.

"Oh, fine," Lightwing said, miming irritation but laughing all the same. "You win. Now how have you been? Find any other ShadowClan cats?"

Dewcloud sighed. "No, I'm afraid not. We found a couple from WindClan, none from RiverClan, of course, and a few ThunderClanners. We even came across several loners and rogues, some of which told us quite plainly to get out of their territory."

"We could have taken them on, too," Frozenwhisker put in, staring pointedly at Dewcloud, "but Dewcloud here insisted on leaving them alone."

"We weren't trying to take their territory," Dewcloud said dismissively. "It would have caused unnecessary bloodshed and might have slowed us down."

"Fair point," Frozenwhisker conceded.

"So I'm guessing all the ShadowClan cats ended up staying at the lake except for you?" Lightwing prompted.

"Yes, either that or they're already in StarClan," Dewcloud sighed. "You know, I wonder if the Clan cats have won at the lake yet?"

"Ashthorn said he'd come for me," Lightwing reminded her. "And even if he had to stay at the lake to keep control there, he could always send Sootpaw, Rainpaw, and Cinderpaw back for me. And you two would be welcome to join us, too."

Dewcloud purred. "Well, thank you very much. I think we'll probably take you up on that offer."

"Definitely," Frozenwhisker said. "I'd like to see the lake again before I go to join my mother and littermates." He got a faraway look in his eyes. "Icecloud, Lizardkit, and Sunkit shouldn't have died," he said quietly.

Dewcloud pressed her nose against her mate's cheek. "You can borrow my littermates from time to time when we get back to the lake," she teased. "I'm sure Sparrowtalon and Mistheart would be pleased to get another littermate. Sparrowtalon's always wanted a brother."

Frozenwhisker and Lightwing both purred in amusement, but Lightwing was thinking about what her friends were talking about. She'd wanted to go back to the lake for a long time, and was even tempted to return with her kits. But that had been their journey and so she decided to stay in the peace and safety of the forest. Still her thoughts and wishes followed her kits wherever they were, whether at the lake or still journeying to it.

Be safe. Be careful. Never trust any NightClan cats. Lightwing thought, hoping somehow, somewhere, her kits would hear her and know she still worried about them. After all, they were her kits, and she loved them more than life itself.