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Prologue

The forest was wet. It was raining, and they were standing on the border inbetween ShadowClan and ThunderClan. The pines mixed with oaks and birches as the scent was washed away.

Ivypool didn't know if StarClan was bringing the rain because they were angry, or just wished to sooth their kin's hot tempers. The Dark Forest was defeated. Ivypool, panting hard, looked around at her Dark Forest comrades.

Redwillow nodded to her as he passed by her. Icewing, following Mistystar, ran up and brushed her pelt along Ivypool's before trailing after her leader. Breezepelt's amber eyes blazed with the thrill of battle. Birchfall and Blossomfall looked at her through sorrowfull, darkened eyes. Tigerheart's green gaze burned her pelt, and she could feel Hollowflight sitting beside her.

She could even feel the hot breath of Hawkfrost on her neck. She missed her Dark Forest mentor, but knew he was dead forever. Ivypool shuddered as she thought of how painful it must have been to die twice.

Cinderheart's dark gray pelt was slicked down to her fur. "I'm the leader of ThunderClan," she whispered hoarsely.

Graystripe, knowing this was true but wanted to calm her down, mewed, "We are all leaders in our own way."

"Ivypool," Hollowflight suddenly whispered. "Meet me by the river." It was short and abrupt, and then he was gone, following Icewing's thick, white tail.

Ivypool shook her head to clear it of confusion. She and Hollowflight had trained together, but she had never thought of him having feelings for her. She scoffed inwardly. I certainly haven't!

Dovewing padded up to her, golden eyes gleaming. "Bumblestripe has just told me that he would love if we had kits!"

"Dovewing, that's great." Ivypool tried to fake it for her sister. "But aren't you a little young for kits?"

The gray she-cat shifted her paws uneasily. "Well, yesterday Whitewing told me I should think about the future of ThunderClan. Although I do wish his name was better!" she added jokingly in a whisper. Suddenly she pricked her ears.

"What is it?" Ivypool asked in the same tone of voice.

"I can hear..." Dovewing paused, straining to listen. "Oh."

"What?" asked her sister, impatient.

"N-nothing..." Dovewing sighed. "Just....him."

Ivypool tried not to flinch. "You still love him?"

Dovewing shook her head. She fluffed out her fur, shaking droplets of water on Ivypool's flank. "I'm going to find Bumblestripe."

Ivypool watched her sister go, and thought of when she would meet Hollowflight. If she would.

Chapter 1

Dovewing picked up a squirrel from the fresh-kill pile. It was greenleaf and food was plentiful.

Bumblestripe saw her and padded up to her, supporting her on one side. She sighed, rolled her eyes, and stood up straight, showing she didn't need support.

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