Leopardkit scampered after her brother, swiping playfully at his tail. Her black coat shone in the sunshine. She stopped and stared in delight when she saw Bluekit and Snowkit. “You’ve opened your eyes!”
Bluekit licked her chest, trying to smooth down her fluffy fur and wishing her pelt was as sleek as theirs.
“We can show you around,” Leopardkit mewed excitedly.
Snowkit bounced around the older kit. “Yes, please!”
Bluekit flicked her tail crossly. She didn’t want to be shown her territory. She wanted to explore it for herself! But Leopardkit was already trotting toward the wide patch of ferns near the gorse barrier. “This is the apprentice den,” she called over her shoulder. “We’ll be sleeping there in a moon.”
Snowkit raced after her.
“Are you coming?” Patchkit nudged Bluekit.
Bluekit was gazing back at the nursery. “Won’t you miss your old nest?” She felt a sudden flicker of anxiety. She liked sleeping next to Moonflower.
“I can’t wait to move into my new den!” Patchkit yowled as he darted toward the apprentices’ den. “It’ll be great to be able to talk without Swiftbreeze telling us to be quiet and go to sleep.”
As Bluekit hurried after him, the ferns trembled and a tortoiseshell face poked out between the green fronds.
“Once you start your training,” yawned the sleepy-looking apprentice, ‘you’ll be glad to get some sleep.”
“Hello, Dapplepaw!” Patchkit skittered to a halt outside the den as the tortoiseshell she-cat stretched, half in, half out of the bush.
Bluekit stared at her pelt, thick and shiny, the muscles on her shoulders rippling as she sprang from the ferns and landed beside Patchkit. Suddenly her denmate didn’t seem so big after all.
“We’re showing Bluekit and Snowkit around the camp,” Leopardkit announced. “It’s their first time out.”
“Don’t forget to show them the dirtplace,” Dapplepaw joked. “Whitepaw was complaining about cleaning out the nursery only this morning. The place has been filled with kits for moons, and there are more on the way.”
Bluekit lifted her chin. “Snowkit and I can keep our nest clean now,” she declared.
Dapplepaw’s whiskers quivered. “I’ll tell Whitepaw when she gets back from hunting. I’m sure she’ll be delighted to hear it.”
Was she teasing? Bluekit narrowed her eyes.
“I can’t wait to go hunting!” Patchkit dropped into a crouch, his tail weaving like a snake.
Quick as the wind, Dapplepaw pinned it down with her paw. “Don’t forget to keep your tail still or the prey will hear you swishing up the leaves.”
Patchkit pulled his tail free and straightened it out, flattening it to the ground.
Snowkit stifled a purr. “It sticks out like a twig,” she whispered in Bluekit’s ear.
Bluekit was watching too intently to reply. She studied how Patchkit had pressed his chest to the ground, how he’d unsheathed his claws and tucked his hind paws right under his body. I’m going to be the best hunter ThunderClan has ever seen, she vowed.