Freezepaw lay down in the dip, grateful for the rest. She yawned again, her jaws stretching so wide she heard them crack. She rolled her shoulders, then pricked her ears when she noticed Ripplestar calling over Sunstripe. Her eyes followed the EastClan warrior as she watched Ripplestar whisper hushed words at him. She couldn't catch what they were saying, but she knew it, obviously, was about her.
Looks like I won't be able to slip back home tonight, she thought. It didn't matter. She would go to sleep now, and rest up for tomorrow's journey and a night awake. If Sunstripe fell asleep, she would slip away. She nibbled the fresh-kill, trying not to appear to greedy. It was different then what she was used to, but it was gone quickly.
Once, she finished, Freezepaw lay down her head. Sunstripe hovered nearby, watching her. Freezepaw closed her eyes. Home was a long way away, and the unfamiliar camp was daunting to the apprentice. She slowed her breathing and squeezed her eyes shut, but to no avail. She opened her eyes and sighed. It was hot, and Frezepaw's fur was damp from perspiration. She closed her eyes again, pretending she was in the NorthClan camp. Surrounded by fantasies of Clanmates and the mountains, Freezepaw finally drifted off.
Sunstripe was somewhat confused by his leader's suspicions of the young NorthClan apprentice, but at the same time he could somewhat understand why there would be some concern. After all, NorthClan were often sneaky, and for all he knew this apprentice could be a spy.
He watched over her until she fell asleep, and when he felt confident enough to fall asleep too, he shut his eyes. He could only hope that he could trust her, and that she wouldn't try to sneak away. That would only give EastClan a huge reason to suspect NorthClan, and cause the entire Clan to be on their guard.
Freezepaw blinked open her eyes. She had been asleep for a few hours, and the rest of the camp was asleep. She noticed Sunstripe deeply asleep not far away. Freezepaw decided to stay in her nest. She had to think how she was going to get out of here. She noticed a guard sitting in the center of camp. How could she sneak away when there was a cat watching the entire camp. She cursed herself for having such a light coat.
Freezepaw considered her options. The only thing she could do was creep below the tall grass, as quickly and silently as possible. Freezepaw eased herself out of the nest when the guard was facing away from her. Silent as a snake, she slid through the tall grass, careful not to make a sound. It way easy to see here for a great distance. If only she could remember where the NorthClan border was...
Freezepaw scented the air as she slunk through the grass, moving farther out of the EastClan camp. She was lucky it was so open, and there were many exits. She tried to detect the scent of mountains and pine. All she could smell was grass, and there was no way to tell the path on which Sunstripe had brought her here. She lifted her head above the strands as far as she dared, and saw what she was looking for--the blurred outline of mountains on the horizion.
How far away from camp am I? She wondered. Surely she could run to the border now. Freezepaw poked her head above the grass once more. She could be fine. Straightening but still keeping low to the ground, Freezepaw took off toward home as fast as her long legs could carry her.
Sunstripe heard movement, and he opened his eyes slowly. He saw Freezepaw getting up, but he waited for her to try and leave to start following her. He wanted to see what she was doing. Suspicion was starting to creep over him, and he wondered why she would leave the camp.
He followed her, seeing her trail through the grass. He rushed through it to catch up with her. "Freezepaw, halt!" he commanded. "Why are you running away, don't you trust us?"
Freezepaw swiveled her ears, catching Sunstripe's voice behind her. He wanted her to come back. Freezepaw tried to run faster, flicking her tail below the fronds of grass to protect it from the tips that stung her as she sped by. She groaned as she realized that Sunstripe no doubt followed her tail and could easily catch up. "You idiot," she spat, annoyed at herself. How could she forget something so simple? Freezepaw lengthened her strides, trying to speed up while keeping her position a secret.
She breathed in again, trying to scent the mountains. She stopped short when she realized she had lost their scent. She lifted her eyes above the grass. She wasn't any closer. Freezepaw looked behind her. Sunstripe was very close now. He wouldn't catch her--Freezepaw wouldn't fail this time. With her remaining strength, Freezepaw dashed as fast as she could toward her home.
Sunstripe was used to hunting and tracking things through the tall grass of the open fields. Finding Freezepaw was a simple task for him. He caught a glimpse of her fur through the grass, and followed the trail she was making by mashing down the grass with her paws.
He sped up to catch her, hoping that she would be confused and unable to see through the tall grass. She darted away, but Sunstripe didn't give up the pursuit. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, and he finally jumped in the air. He hadn't want it to come to this, but he leaped to try and pin her to the ground. "Stop, Freezepaw!" he demanded.
Freezepaw's legs crumpled beneath her as Sunstripe leaped over her and tried to pin her down. The grass around them was flattened, and Freezepaw glanced around. They were only a few fox-lengths from the NorthClan border. Freezepaw swatted Sunstripe off of her. Her mind raced. She couldn't try to dash off again; Sunstripe was too close and would easily catch her. She was too small to fight, no doubt he was an experienced and fully trained warrior... Perhaps she could talk her way out of this one? Eclipsesun had always told her that she had a quick tongue, and if she couldn't fight her way out of something she could use her wit. Freezepaw narrowed her eyes, and stared at the warrior, waiting for words to come.
Sunstripe recoiled after Freezepaw swatted him. He knew that she couldn't run without him catching her again, so he stood there. "Why were you in such a hurry to get back to NorthClan? he asked. "It's dangerous out here in the dark, and we would have taken you back at dawn." There had to be something going on. He looked towards the NorthClan territory. Did they have a patrol waiting there, ready to strike?
He stared back at her, narrowing his eyes. "Listen to me, Freezepaw," he hissed. "If your Clan is planning something, I need to know. EastClan does not want trouble with NorthClan. I can tell Ripplestar and he can work it out with Shatterstar if need be." He was pressing his claws against the broken grass on the ground. This apprentice had better have a good explanation; if this isn't about battle.
Freezepaw purred in amusement, walking a large circle around Sunstripe. "Please, Sunstripe," she meowed. "Even if we were planning something, do you think I would tell you?" She leapt backwards, playfully wiggling her tail. "And it isn't dangerous- I can take care of myself. Remember, I'm almost a warrior." Freezepaw rotated her body so she was parallel to the NorthClan border, but so her head was still tilted toward the warrior. She had put a good enough distance between them, so he couldn't reach her if she tried to run. "Besides," she meowed. "I'm too close to the border for you to catch me!"
She jumped forward, her powerful hind legs pushing her far out of reach of the warrior. No warrior could jump as far as a NorthClanner. Freezepaw scurried over the last couple of tail-lengths until she had crossed the border. She turned around, happy to be on NorthClan territory again. She locked her gaze with Sunstripe's. No doubt he wanted to claw her ears off. But he was too late--if he crossed the border, NorthClan would have a valid reason to display aggression.
His suspicions only grew as she seemed to try to skirt around it. He knew that it was almost useless to ask a potential NorthClan spy straight out if there was something being planned. His tail lashed back and forth with irritation. "No, I don't and..." Before he could finish what he was going to say, she leaped away from him.
Sunstripe blindly followed after her, wanting to catch her before she spilled some kind of secret to her leader. He barely realized that he was stepping into NorthClan territory. "Get back here, Freezepaw!" he spat.
Freezepaw bared her teeth and unsheathed her claws. Whipping around to face Sunstripe, she hissed. "Get out of my territory!" She swiped her claws across Sunstripe's face. She twisted around and kicked her back legs up, knocking Sunstripe's chin with her back feet.
He hasn't noticed he crossed the border, Freezepaw thought. She stopped attacking him. "I'm sorry," she said. Freezepaw turned her head. The moon was still high overhead. ["b]You're on NorthClan territory. Now it's your turn to be held in another Clan's camp." [/b] Freezepaw narrowed her eyes. She felt bad for the tom. She had given him nothing but trouble. Freezepaw flicked her tail. "Follow me," she meowed, and padded a few steps in the direction of camp.[/color][/size]
Sunstripe's eyes opened wide. He hadn't realized he'd crossed into NorthClan territory. He scanned the hills. There could be NorthClan warriors waiting to ambush him at any second. He stepped back a little, but Freezepaw reached towards him and scratched his face. He hissed.
He didn't trust her at all now. "I'm not going to let you lead me directly into a trap," he hissed. "There are probably five NorthClan warriors just over the hill. I know you're all just looking for an excuse to start a war with my Clan." He turned around, ready to march back into EastClan territory. "I won't have it, but Ripplestar will hear about this."
Snarling, Freezepaw gripped the warrior by his neck and pinned him down. "There are no warriors out there," she replied smartly. "They don't know I've come back." She sighed inwardly, not wanting to say what was coming next. Digging her claws into Suntripe's neck just a little more, she hissed, "Sunstripe, you're coming to camp with me. If you don't, I'll kill you right here and now." Freezepaw closed her eyes briefly. She didn't like the direction this was going in. If only she could somehow keep him from getting back to his camp...
She shook her head. The only thing she could think of was waiting until the dawn patrol arrived at the border, but that was still hours away. EastClan would know they were missing by then. The midnight patrol already passed. Letting out a breath, Freezepaw decided to take a gentler approach. She was already tired, and she didn't want to kill an innocent warrior, not when he was pinned to the ground like this. Besides, she was a better talker than a fighter. "I don't want to have to hurt you," she meowed. "Please, Sunstripe. I promise you there is no ambush."
Words were coming faster now. "And Sunstripe, you were caught in my Clan's territory. That's against the warrior code. It is my duty to bring you to my home, where you will be questioned. I can't have an EastClan trespasser go unnoticed." She let up off his neck a little bit. She hoped her reasoning would convince him.
The warrior was surprised at how strong the apprentice was, though she had mentioned that she was going to be made a warrior soon. He knew that he could probably overtake her, but he didn't want to hurt her. He narrowed his eyes. Maybe he could turn the tables on this obvious spy and get a glimpse at what was going on inside the NorthClan camp.
"Alright, I believe you," he meowed. "If NorthClan truly has no quarrel with EastClan, I will come with you." He was reluctant, but he knew that if the NorthClan cats hurt him, EastClan would be ready to jump up to come and rescue him and start a fight with NorthClan. They were not going to let them get away with harming one of their warriors.