Curiosity had piqued in the young apprentice. She'd heard all about the tunnels that could potentially lead to unexplored lands, or even the territories of other Clans. With her paws soaked in standing mud, she peered into one of the open tunnels. Her head tilting, she went a few steps further, leaving prints behind where she had walked previously.
"Hello?" she called, wondering if there was anyone else inside the tunnels. She didn't think there was, but if some NorthClan cat on the other side was standing nearby, maybe they had heard her. Of course, the tunnels probably connected somewhere in the far reaches of the NorthClan territory, or just outside of it. But a she-cat could hope.
She hadn't brought any of the other apprentices with her. They would often just chicken out and decide they weren't going to go anywhere she wanted them to. She was a notorious tom boy, and notorious for being rough and getting into situations. She had received many a cut and bruise in her time because of it. This time she wouldn't have any 'kits' telling her not to go in. She began to wander inside.
Without Viperpaw knowing it, her sister Fleetpaw had followed her out towards the tunnelplace. She had been wondering where her sister had gone to. It was her responsibility to look out for her siblings after all. Or at least, that's what she thought. It took her a long time to reach the place where the tunnels opened in the earth, but that's where Viperpaw stopped.
Fleetpaw had known Viperpaw to run off and do dangerous things before in the past. She had to stop her sister from running inside of there before something terrible happened to her. "Hey, Viperpaw," she meowed. "Get away from there you could get hurt! Why don't you come back to camp with me and we can spend some time catching frogs instead?"
As soon as she heard her sister's voice, Viperpaw let out a violent hiss of frustration. She hadn't noticed anyone following her to the Tunnelplace. Fleetpaw must have been so very quiet and careful if she had managed to come this far without Viperpaw ever noticing or scenting her.
"What are you doing here, Fleetpaw?" she growled. "I was just trying to go exploring. I don't want to go back to the camp, and I don't want to spend time catching frogs. You can go and do all the boring stuff, but I'm staying here. With that, and a lash of her tail, she went padding down into the tunnels.
It was dark and moist beneath her paws, but she was used to that from having lived in the swamps her entire life. There were pools of water on the ground, and jagged cave rocks jutting up everywhere around her. She took it all in with marvel.
Fleetpaw was frustrated when Viperpaw wouldn't listen to her. She knew that her sister could be rebellious sometimes and wander off, but she didn't want to risk losing her inside the twisting and winding tunnels. They went down so far, and so far back that it was so easy to get lost in there and starve to death.
"Please come back, Viperpaw," she pleaded. She began stepping in after her sister. She looked around, bewildered at all the sights of the jagged rocks hanging from the ceiling. The ground was so rough and so damp beneath her paw pads. She shook one of her paws to get rid of the water.
Viperpaw rolled her eyes when she still heard her sister following her. She didn't stop, or turn around, but she did say something. "Why don't you come along with me and do something exciting for once? We could end up in NorthClan and discover some secrets." Her pelt bristled with excitement as this prospect. She was going to be almost like a spy for her Clan.
Maybe then, she would get a little more respect from the cats who disliked her for being the descendant of cats who had no WestClan blood in them. WestCan could stand to accept rogues for the sake of strength, but for some reason they didn't appreciate any halfbloods, because it meant disloyalty to the warrior code. Her mother Damage had essentially cursed her with being distrusted for life.
Viperpaw looked down bitterly. Why couldn't she just have had kits with Lonestar, the cat whom everyone thought was her mate. They acted like mates... maybe they even had been, but Damage had fallen in love with another. She shook her head. "So what'll it be, Fleetpaw? Go or stay?"
Fleetpaw was deeply considering her sister's words. She did want to have a little bit of fun, but at the same time she didn't want to shirk her responsibility and possibly get in trouble for what she was doing. She swallowed and looked around. "Okay maybe just this once," she replied, sighing. "We'll go in maybe just for a little bit, but we'll come right back out after that!
She hesitantly walked down into the tunnels with her sister. She looked all around at the hanging rocks, and the jagged ones that came up from the floor. It was so wet, and the tunnels seemed endless and long.
She giggled as she heard that Fleetpaw had decided to follow her after all. They were going to have such a fun adventure exploring the tunnels. Maybe if they went far enough they would even come out the other side and could spy on the cats from other Clans. She heard dripping coming from the ceiling. Water splashed onto her nose, and she shook her head furiously. "Yikes!" she squeaked.
She recovered from being splashed fairly easily, and continued to walk through the darkness. She was finding it harder and harder to see, as there was increasingly little light for her eyes to refract and use to see in the dark. She was concerned, but she did not let Fleetpaw know that she was. "Haha, having fun yet, Fleetpaw?" she asked.
Fleetpaw did not like the fact that it was just getting darker as they went on. She could barley see where she was going anymore. She swallowed, trying to follow her sister's pawsteps. When her sister asked her if she was having fun yet, she shook her head and growled. "No, and I think we should go back now if it's all the same to you," she hissed. "Someone might be out looking for us. And what about Briarpaw?"
She walked right into a deep puddle and sputtered as water went into her mouth. She quickly got out of it and jumped up onto the other side. This is so dangerous, she thought. We have got to go home. I just wish that Viperpaw would listen for once! With her ears flat, and her fur wet, she continued to begrudgingly follow her sister.
"What about Briarpaw?" meowed Viperpaw, looking back and squinting to try and see Fleetpaw through the thick vale of darkness. She heard a splash, and Fleetpaw struggling to get out a puddle that she had fallen into. Viperpaw laughed at her sibling's misfortune. "Clumsy!"
She did worry, however, that there would be puddles that were much deeper and harder to get out of. There were twists and turns in the tunnels, and holes in the ground that could go very deep. She was beginning to wonder if her plan was such a good one, but she wasn't about to give up and go back and make it seem like she wasn't brave in front of her sister.
Fleetpaw frowned when her sister mentioned that she was clumsy. She wasn't clumsy, it was just far too dark to see anything. Any cat could have made that mistake, and she bitterly turned away. She couldn't see any light from the entrance, and now they had reached a fork in the road, it seemed. She could vaguely make out two different tunnels headed in different directions, if only because they were darker black than anything else.
"Great, Viperpaw! Now what do we do?" she meowed. She looked back and forth. "We've got to pick one of the tunnels to go down, or we've got to head back. My vote is with heading back." She knew that Viperpaw wasn't going to have the same idea, however. She was in for the long run on this terrible adventure.
She stared down into the blackness of each hole, and her mind conjured up images of terrible monsters that could be lurking down in there. She shuddered. She could just see giant snakes or things with sharp teeth trying to claw at her and drag her down there. She took a step back. Please decide to go back, Viperpaw. StarClan, make her make a good decision!
When they came to the fork in the tunnels, Viperpaw frowned. She didn't exactly know which way to go, and she hadn't thought about which way she would take if she came upon any kind of twists. She looked from left to right, trying to make it seem like she knew what she was doing. She didn't want to seem clueless in front of her sister. "We're going to go... that way," she meowed, indicating towards the left tunnel.
She wasn't going to head back, not after she had gotten this far. She was going to reach NorthClan territory, if that's what was at the other side of the tunnels. She knew that Fleetpaw would be none too happy with her decision to continue on, but right now she didn't really care what Fleetpaw thought. She was going to have an adventure no matter what.
"Don't be such a scaredy cat," she meowed at her sister. "It's not like the tunnels are haunted or anything. As soon as she mentioned this, she actually began to imagine the tunnels being haunted. She didn't want to scare herself, so she tried to think of better things. There weren't any monsters in the caves, there were probably just prey animals.
She suddenly froze, hearing a noise coming from the tunnel she had begun walking down. She hoped it was just something small shuffling around, but she could have sworn she heard a growl. She looked back at Fleetpaw, her eyes wide. "D-did you hear that?" she stammered.
When her sister stopped ahead of her, cringing at a sound that she heard, Fleetpaw began to grow worried. "Alright, maybe we should really go back now," she meowed. "I think we've had enough adventure for today. I mean, it's been fun but... this one is kind of getting a little dangerous." She looked down past Viperpaw, who was staring down the tunnel they'd chosen to go.
She thought for a moment that she'd seen a glimpse of something... eyes, maybe, flashing in the darkness. She swallowed. She wished that Viperpaw wasn't so keen on getting into trouble. She knew she'd have to tell some cat about it when they got back to camp, just so that she could be punished. Though, then again, Fleetpaw herself might also get in trouble for coming along. Oh, mousedung, she hissed. I wish you weren't so stubborn, Viperpaw!
Viperpaw was beginning to grow worried, and she slowly began to give in, despite her not wanting to. "Alright," she murmured. "Willowleaf's probably wondering where I am anyway. We'll come back here some other time, and finish exploring, right?" She didn't really want to give up, but she was concerned about whatever was lurking down there.
As she was turning around, she heard teeth snapping. She turned around and was staring into the amber eyes of an angry fox, snarling and growling with fury. She screeched and ran out, past Fleetpaw, as fast as she could. She barely looked to see if her sister was running as well. She ran out of the tunnels and looked back. "Hurry Fleetpaw!" she meowed.
Fleetpaw barely had time to react as she watched her sister run past her. Her fur bristled, and she let out a shriek. She could see the fox, growling and snarling near her. She practically leaped into the air, and ran as fast as she could, following Viperpaw out of the tunnels. She prayed to StarClan that the beast wouldn't follow them out. There was no way that the two of them could take on a fox alone.
"This was a bad idea from the start!" she yowled. "Now look! There's a fox after us!" She looked back over her shoulder. The red and black creature was still following them, snapping it's jaws. Fleetpaw shuddered, pressed to run even faster to avoid being bitten by the furious creature. They must have stumbled upon its den.
Viperpaw barely said a word as she sped back towards the camp. It was already growing dark outside, and she hoped that the fox would stop chasing them after a while. She could tell by the frantic noises that Fleetpaw was making that she was safe and right behind her. Her chest heaving, Viperpaw slid into the camp. Her amber eyes shut as her heart raced.
"That was too close," she meowed. But then her eyes snapped open. "And I loved every second of it," she added with a smirk. She looked over to the apprentices' den, eager to get in there before any cat noticed she and Fleetpaw were missing for such a long time. She didn't see the fox anymore, and breathed a sigh of relief. That was so much fun.