Goosefeather’s Curse

Warriors

Goosefeather’s Curse

Erin Hunter

Special thanks to Victoria Holmes

Allegiances

THUNDERCLAN

LEADER

DO ESTAR—pale fawn-and-white she-cat with amber eyes

DEPUTY

PINEHEART—red-brown tom with green eyes

MEDICINE CAT

C LO UDBERRY—very old long-furred white she-cat with yellow eyes

WARRIORS

(toms and she-cats without kits)

MUMBLEFO O T—brown tom with amber eyes

LARKSO NG—tortoiseshell she-cat with pale green eyes

RO O KTAIL—black tom with blue eyes

APPRENTIC E, STO RMPAW

W INDFLIGHT—gray tabby tom with pale green eyes

APPRENTIC E, SW IFTPAW

HAREPO UNC E—light brown she-cat with yellow eyes

APPRENTIC E, ADDERPAW

SQ UIRRELW HISKER—brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes

APPRENTIC E, RO C KPAW

HO LLYPELT—black she-cat with green eyes

APPRENTIC E, SMALLPAW

RAINFUR—speckled ginger-and-white she-cat with amber eyes

STAGLEAP—gray tabby tom with amber eyes

LITTLESTEP—black-and-white tom with blue eyes

FLASHNO SE—dark ginger cat with white muzzle

QUEENS

(she-cats expecting or nursing kits)

DAISYTO E—gray-and-white she-cat with yellow eyes (mother to Moonkit, a silver-gray she-cat with pale yellow eyes, and Goosekit, a speckled gray tom with blue eyes)

FALLO W SO NG—light brown she-cat (mother to Poppykit, a dark red she-cat with a bushy tail and round amber eyes, Heronkit, a dark brown tabby tom with yellow eyes, and Rabbitkit, a thick-furred light brown tom)

APPRENTICES

(more than six moons old, in training to become warriors)

STO RMPAW —blue-gray tom with blue eyes

ADDERPAW —mottled brown tabby tom with yellow eyes

SW IFTPAW —tabby-and-white she-cat with yellow eyes

SMALLPAW —gray tom with very small ears and amber eyes

RO C KPAW —silver tom with blue eyes

ELDERS

(former warriors and queens, now retired)

MISTPELT—thick-furred gray she-cat with green eyes

NETTLEBREEZE—ancient ginger tom

SHADOWCLAN

LEADER

HO UNDSTAR—brown-and-white tom

DEPUTY

C EDARPELT—very dark gray tom with a white belly

MEDICINE CAT

REDTHISTLE—dark ginger she-cat

APPRENTIC E, SAGEPAW (white she-cat with long whiskers)

WINDCLAN

LEADER

HEATHERSTAR—pinkish-gray she-cat with blue eyes

DEPUTY

GO RSEFO O T—gray tabby tom

MEDICINE CAT

C HIVEC LAW —dark brown tom with yellow eyes

APPRENTIC E, HAW KPAW (mottled dark brown tom with yellow eyes)

WARRIORS

DAW NSTRIPE—pale gold tabby with creamy stripes

RIVERCLAN

LEADER

VO LESTAR—brown tabby tom

DEPUTY

HAILSTEP—thick-pelted gray tom

MEDICINE CAT

EC HO SNO UT—old black-and-white she-cat

Maps

Chapter One

The leader of TigerClan unsheathed his claws until they pierced the smooth spotted throat of the cat who sprawled beneath him. He lifted his magnificent black-striped head and glared at the warriors standing at the edge of the trees. ‘This is my forest!’ he roared. ‘One step closer and I’ll rip the fur from your leader’s bones!’”

Goosekit whimpered and buried his nose under his thick gray tail. The elderly she-cat nudged him with her muzzle. “Don’t be scared, little one,” she purred. “It’s only a story.”

“But TigerClan is so mean!” Goosekit mewed, his voice muffled by fur.

“Goosekit! Where are you? Come outside!”

Goosekit lifted his head and scowled. “That’s my mother,” he muttered.

“It’s a lovely day! You should be out here, not moldering in the den!”

The old she-cat nuzzled the top of his head. “Go on, scamp,” she meowed. “We can finish the story later.”

“But I want to hear it now!” Goosekit wailed. “What if I meet the leader of TigerClan when I’m a warrior? I need to know how to fight him!”

“There’ll be time later, I promise. Now go find your mother. She’s right; it is a beautiful day.”

The she-cat prodded him with her fat brown paw, and Goosekit stumbled reluctantly out of the nest.

He pushed his way through the thorns and emerged blinking into the sunlit clearing. The brambles that circled the clearing sparkled from the recent fall of rain, and the air was heavy with the scent of unfurling leaves and warm fresh-kill. Goosekit’s belly rumbled, and he turned toward the pile of prey, but before he could take a step, a damp and prickly ball of moss knocked his legs from under him.

“Oof!” he grunted, tumbling onto his side.

A gray-and-white she-cat bounded over and stared down at him. “Oh, Goosekit!” she meowed.

“Are you all right?”

“Of course he’s all right!” huffed a silver-gray she-kit. She trotted up on sturdy, fluff-covered legs. “Aren’t you?”

Goosekit lifted his head. “Yes, I’m fine, Moonkit,” he panted. “I didn’t see the moss ball coming, that’s all.”

Moonkit prodded him with her forepaw. “Get up! I want to play!”

A dark red kit with round amber eyes bounced up and flicked the moss ball away. “Come on, Moonkit! Bet you can’t catch this!”

Goosekit’s littermate spun around and raced after the ball as it rolled across the clearing.

Poppykit followed, her longer legs keeping up easily. There was a flash of dark brown fur as her brother Heronkit charged to meet them. All three kits crashed together in a flurry of paws and tails, while the ball of moss kept rolling until it reached the fresh-kill pile.

Watching them, Goosekit winced. His mother licked the top of his head. “You should join in more,” she urged him. “You won’t get hurt.”

Goosekit looked up at her. “Really? Then why is Rabbitkit in Cloudberry’s den again? Did he fall off the half-tree? Get stuck in a bramble?”

Daisytoe shook her head. “He got a thorn stuck in his nose. He’s clumsy because he hasn’t grown into his paws yet.”

Goosekit looked down at his small furry feet. “I don’t want to stay this size forever,” he muttered.

“What if I never grow big enough to be a warrior?”

“That’s not what I meant,” Daisytoe began. She broke off as the gorse bushes at the entrance to the clearing quivered and several cats burst through.

A tortoiseshell she-cat with leaf-green eyes was at the head of the patrol. She dropped her catch—a plump young pigeon—on the fresh-kill pile and trotted over to Daisytoe. “You’d have loved it out there today,” she mewed. “The prey was practically falling into our paws!”

For a moment Daisytoe looked wistful. “Maybe next moon, Larksong,” she replied. “I need to get the little ones weaned first.”

The black tom who had followed Larksong through the tunnel came to join them. A red squirrel dangled from his jaws. He placed the squirrel on the ground and brushed the tip of his tail along

Daisytoe’s flank. “I caught this for you,” he purred.

“Thanks, Rooktail,” Daisytoe meowed, her eyes lighting up.

There was a gasp from the other side of the fresh-kill pile. Goosekit saw a broad-shouldered gray apprentice staring at him. “Wow, Goosekit, is that really you? Or just a lump of moss shaped like you?”

Goosekit sighed as the cat trotted over and sniffed him. “I haven’t seen you outside for days!” the tom went on. “Look, Rooktail! Your son doesn’t melt in sunlight!”

The black warrior twitched his ears. “That’s enough, Stormpaw. Go see if the elders want anything to eat.”

Moonkit ran over, her stubby tail straight up in the air. “Stormpaw! Watch this! I’ve been practicing that move you showed me!” She crouched down, waggling her haunches, then sprang forward with her front paws raised. Her ears were flat back, and she curled her lip to reveal tiny sharp teeth. “Pretty fierce, huh?” she panted, dropping back onto all four paws.

Stormpaw nodded. “You scared me for sure! Do you want to help me take fresh-kill to the elders?

Then I’ll teach you another battle move.”

“Yes, please!” Moonkit bounced on the spot, her yellow eyes shining.

Rooktail narrowed his eyes at Stormpaw. “You’re the apprentice,” he reminded him. “Don’t let the kits do your duties for you!”

“But I want to help!” Moonkit protested. “I hope Stormpaw can be my mentor when I’m an apprentice.”

“Of course he won’t be,” Goosekit mewed. “He’ll only just be a warrior!”

“Maybe, but he’ll be the ...

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