Morning sunlight shone over the forest, the leaves leaving shadows all over the forest floor. Mist could be seen rising from the lake, and a single songbird could be heard from the canopy. A shape was moving silently over the leaf-mulch ground, its dappled ginger pelt blending in perfectly with the light and shadows.
Careful of where she was putting her paws, the figure's eyes were glued intently on a small mouse, scurrying about the fallen leaves. Step by step, she inched closer to the small creature, when finally, gathering her haunches, she-
The mouse froze, and immediately dashed back to its burrow. The ginger she-cat dug her claws in the ground.
"Dewpaw, seriously! This is the second time since yesterday!" Amberpaw hissed. "What's so important that you needed to chase away some cat's lunch anyway?"
"Spiderleg wants you back at camp." Dewpaw responded, padding out from behind a bush.
Amberpaw relaxed slightly. "Okay, fine. But you're paying me back later for that lost mouse." She added with a smirk, beginning to stride towards camp.
Dewpaw shrugged. "I'm a better hunter than you anyway. I bet you can't catch three squirrels in as many minutes!"
Amberpaw rolled her eyes. "I'd like to see you try."
"Amberpaw! Finally! What took you so long?" Spiderleg sighed as his apprentice entered camp.
"Dewpaw," Amberpaw muttered.
"Anyway, Ivypool's leading a patrol with Whitewing and Snowpaw, and you're going along," he ordered.
"Of course, Spiderleg." Amberpaw answered and padded over to the camp entrance where the patrol was waiting.
"Hey, Snowpaw! Where are we going?" She meowed, joining them.
"The edge of ThunderClan territory," Snowpaw grumbled, eyes downcast.
"What's so bad about that?" Amberpaw wondered.
"Nothing, I guess!" Snowpaw snapped. "I just hate patrolling!"
"You hate everything," Amberpaw muttered, padding alongside Ivypool as they headed to the farthest edge of the border.
"I do not!" Snowpaw growled.
"Oh, yeah?" Amberpaw swivelled to face him. "Betcha can't name three things you like off the top of your head!"
Ivypool rolled her eyes. "How about you guys make yourself useful. Go hunting or something. And Snowpaw," she added. "I don't care whether you love hunting or find it equivalent to a large pile of mousedung, there better be something on the fresh-kill pile when we get back."
"Yes, Ivypool," he grumbled.
Amberpaw gleefully stuck her tongue out at him, but unfortunately this action was not missed by Ivypool. "Oh, and Amberpaw, you go too."
"Yes, Ivypool." Amberpaw muttered, only to be interrupted as a grey and white cat raced up to the patrol.
"Hey, guys!" Dewpaw panted, stumbling slightly. "Spiderleg told me to tag onto you guys!"
"Awesome." Snowpaw stated, disappearing into the undergrowth. "Two annoying siblings."
"What an optimist," Amberpaw stated sarcastically, following her brothers into the bushes.
Padding off to the border, a good distance away from the patrol, the apprentices paused, gazing off into unknown terrain. It was a forest, quite shadowed, thick with all kinds of trees, mostly oak and maple, and some pine. Dewpaw blinked.
"It's not that impressive," Snowpaw scoffed.
Neither siblings responded. Dewpaw inched closer to the rogue territory border, and slowly and dramatically, placed the tip of his claw across the invisible line, and tensed up, as if something was watching. When nothing happened, he announced, "Ha! Look! I'm in rogue territory!"
Amberpaw rolled her eyes. Boldly striding forward, and flicking Dewpaw's chin with her tail, now all the way over the border, she declared, "Beat that! Snowpaw, how far can you go?"
Even Snowpaw couldn't resist joining in. With his head held high, he went nearly five fox-lengths past Amberpaw. "You guys are pathetic," he sneered, though this time there was a small spark of amusement in his eyes.
Amberpaw padded out even farther. "Watch! I'm gonna touch that large rock!"
She strode over to it and slapped her paw against the hard surface. "Top that!"
Dewpaw raised a paw in warning. "Uh, Amberpaw?" He asked, noting her hind paw slipping into a dark hole beneath the rock.
"Hold on Amberpaw, I'm coming!" Dewpaw screeched, hurrying over to his slipping sibling. He put his tail in the hole for Amberpaw to grab onto, and winced when she stuck her teeth in it. But slowly, he started slipping himself.
"Amberpaw! You have to lose some pounds!" he said as his grip was sliding. Snowpaw rolled his eyes. Sinking his teeth into his brother's scruff, Snowpaw gave a great heave, but that just make his lurch forward. The siblings landed on the floor of the hole with a thump.
"You just had to touch the rock, didn't you, Amberpaw?" Snowpaw grumbled.
But neither of his siblings were listening to his complaints. It wasn't a hole they had fallen in; it was a cave.
"Awesome!" Dewpaw meowed, his voice echoing down the caverns. "Let's explore!" His siblings glared at him.
"I mean- you know, there are tunnels under ThunderClan territory, perhaps this one is attached?" he mewed hopefully.
Snowpaw and Amberpaw glanced back up the hole they fell through.
"Well there's no way were getting back up. We might as well go along with Dewpaw's plan," Amberpaw reasoned, padding ahead.
"I hate exploring," Snowpaw groaned, but went with his siblings nonetheless.
Dewpaw ran his tail along the grooves in the tunnel walls. "There was a river that ran through here, moons ago."
Snowpaw, stalking along behind them, rolled his eyes.
"And the walls are a limestone and shale blend." Dewpaw added.
"Well if this tunnel floods, I'm blaming it on you two," Snowpaw decided.
Looking around, Amberpaw thought she spotted a blue glow. Whipping her head around, she narrowed her eyes at the strange light. She blinked repeatedly, and finally asked, "Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is that mysterious blue light ahead of us real?"
"Amberpaw, you've been in the dark too lo- hey, I think I see it too!" Dewpaw confirmed.
Snowpaw sighed, exasperated. "Seriously guys, you can't be this foolish. . ." he trailed off, seeing the light too, his pupils getting wide, the light reflected in them. The apprentices padded closer to the light source like moths to a flame; it was hypnotic. Finally, at the end of a tunnel, the whole cavern shone in an eerie blue glow.
In a small pile, sat three stones, definitely the source of the light.
Amberpaw reached out a paw to touch one, her face shining blue in the glow. "What are they?" She breathed.
"Hmm, never seen one like this before." Dewpaw plucked a stick off the ground and poked it. Its glow flashed and then dimmed.
Snowpaw bent down, and picked up a stone in his jaws. Almost immediately, he spit it back on the ground. "It's freezing!" he exclaimed.
Dewpaw licked one. "Hey, you're right!"
Amberpaw picked a stone up. "They're very light." She commented. "I can't feel a weight at all."
Dewpaw studied the smallest stone. "I wonder what would happen if you rubbed it?"
Amberpaw saw a streak of white appear on the stone floor and expand. "Uh, Dewpaw? Maybe that isn't such a good idea..."