Happy early holidays. I got this chapter up earlier than anticipated. Yay! But...it's the last chapter... so... (Breaks down crying)
Goldenstar sighed in slight disappointment, but also acceptance. There was no way that Dogclaw would let them go without a fight. He had hoped that it would be easy, but apparently not. Goldenstar turned back around to face the former ThunderClan deputy. There were two other cats standing next to Dogclaw. Goldenstar was bewildered when Illusion screamed, "Heat! Bird!"
The cats at Dogclaw's side turned to face Illusion. Shock crossed their faces, the she-cat actually stepping forward toward Illusion before regaining her composure. "I am Deerfoot now," She snarled, "Our brother is Scorchgaze." Goldenstar flicked his tail. So Illusion was related to these cats.
"Why are you helping Dogclaw?" Illusion cried, "We left our tribe so that our powers would not be abused!" For a moment Goldenstar saw a flicker of regret in the StarCat's eyes, but it was gone as quickly as it had come.
"Dogclaw saved our lives when we were dying," Scorchgaze murmured, "A badger wounded Deerfoot during Frozen Water so I couldn't leave her to hunt. I was afraid that the badger might come back while I was gone," Scorchgaze shivered at the memory, "We were almost dead. We welcomed it. We thought that we would see Gold again when we died. Dogclaw found us, half starved and frozen to the bone. He brought us some Caught-prey, and brought medical help for Deerfoot. We have been repaying our debt to Dogclaw ever since."
"You can come with us to MoonClan," Goldenstar offered, "You would be protected from everyone."
Scorchgaze looked at Illusion. "Do you like it in MoonClan?" He asked. "Are your powers abused at all?" Goldenstar bristled. The very thought of StarCat's powers being abused.
"No," Illusion murmured, "I have made so many friends in MoonClan, and I've fallen in love," She snuggled close to Sparrowfur. The tom looked surprised but happy as he twined his tail with hers. "It's wonderful. Everyone's so nice. We're all outcasts who have found a family."
Scorchgaze looked at Deerfoot. "It does sound nice," Deerfoot admitted, "I think I'll come with you," Deerfoot trotted over to Illusion.
"You're going to love it Deerfoot," Illusion mewed.
"No," Deerfoot purred, "Call me Bird Which Flies Swiftly, or Bird. I'm sick and tired of that clan name."
"Okay Bird," Illusion twitched her whiskers in amusement.
"I'll come too," Scorchgaze relented, "Someone's got to keep an eye on Bird. And also, I'd like my tribe name back too. I'm Heat of Midday Sun."
"I'm so glad to have you both back," Illusion cried, rubbing pelts with her siblings.
"Wait!" Dogclaw yowled, "You both owe me your lives! Return to me!"
"They won't return to you and neither will we!" Mosspelt yowled, speaking for all of ThunderClan. There were yowls of agreement from all the cats.
"The piece of foxdung!"
"Drive him out!"
"You don't have a deputy!" Dogclaw protested, "Who will lead you?"
Grayleaf stepped forward. Though her eyes looked haunted, her voice was strong. "I received a message from StarClan long ago. I did not know what it meant then, but now I do," Grayleaf cleared her throat. "Mosspelt will be the new leader of ThunderClan!"
The tortoiseshell she-cat froze in shock. "Me?" She gasped, "I thought..."
Dogclaw snarled furiously. "Fine! I hope that you all die!" Dogclaw stalked away from the ThunderClan and MoonClan cats. The cats stared after him as though he might try something. Goldenstar prepared for an assult. He didn't want to kill Dogclaw, but if her had to, the cat deserved it. When he didn't and left the cat's earshot, the relief was obvious.
"I guess that means that we can go home," Robinsky mewed.
"Home! Wait, MoonClan!" Spruceclaw cried, "Timestar's gone!"
"You don't have to remind us," Iceshadow growled. Goldenstar's heart clenched. He was going to miss the former leader.
"I mean that, won't the time freeze over the territory end?" Spruceclaw gasped. "We all will start aging again!" There was dead silence as the MoonClan cats slowly took in the words.
"Oh! Great StarClan! You're right!" Goldenstar hadn't gotten that far. When he gazed around at the clan, his clan, he saw a mix of emotions on their faces. Fear, confusion, loss, sadness. It all echoed the feelings that were twisting inside of him.
"Nothing will change," Mapletail meowed to the MoonClan cats.
"Mapletail, are their bees in your brain?" Lightfeather cried, "Timestar's dead. Of course the time freeze will end!"
"No it won't. Timestar is still watching over us. She wouldn't change the freeze. He powers will continue even thought she is dead. It is unfreezing the territory that we have to worry about." Mapletail purred.
"Another concern," Sparrowfur pointed out, "The clans know about MoonClan now. Are we going to move?" At Sparrowfur's question, everycat looked to Goldenstar. Goldenstar had to force himself to remain calm under the stare of all of these cats. Would the fact that the clans knew about them change anything? Did they have to move?"
Then Flashfrost was by his side. 'Whatever you do," She murmured, "These cats will listen. You just always have to act calm and like there's a plan," Goldenstar nodded, grateful for Flashfrost's advice.
"We will do what we have to," Goldenstar mewed to his clan. "Let's go home."
When the cats arrived back at camp everycat looked to Goldenstar. Goldenstar was prepared this time, and he quickly began speaking. "Cats of MoonClan, we have gone though a difficult time. We have lost Veilfur and Timestar. We will sit vigil for them tonight," Goldenstar dipped his head. "Okay, I'm no Timestar, and this probably won't come out sounding right, but bear with me. I'm a new leader. I don't know this clan very well, so for a while, you're going to have to help me. Yes, the big issue. The other clans know about MoonClan. That may not be such a bad thing. This way, cats from other clans that are StarCats won't think they're freaks. They'll know right away what they are. They'll find MoonClan, and we won't have to be secret in our movements. The clans will understand when their cats go missing.
"But, of course, there may come a time when we must leave, but I think that time is long in forth coming, and for now, we'll stay here. MoonClan will be free," Goldenstar looked at the cats. Yes there was despair, but know there was hope too. He looked to Spruceclaw and Robinsky, who nodded at him, and Flashfrost who twined her tail with his. "We will survive, and we will be free. May StarClan be with us.
Sob. It's over. The story is over. I can't believe it. Review, please. :-) And for those of you who read this even after it's been out for a long time, a review would be much appreciated from you too. Here's a thanks you to everyone who reviewed as of 2/1/09:
Crystalstar Medicine Cat
Namu the EDOD and Kamizuki
Chibi Ookami Tora
Knight of dreams
Nightmares and Dreams
x. Reflectionheart's Honour .x
*Those names in Italics are those who reviewed logged in. Terribly sorry if I missed anyone.