Squirrelflight let out a mrrow of amusement. Her gaze drifted past them to the
tunnel through the thorn barrier at the entrance to the camp. She felt the
muscles in her shoulders tense. It looked like the dawn patrol had just
returned: Brambleclaw was padding out of the tunnel, followed by Sandstorm and
"What's the matter?" Leafpool asked.
Squirrelflight suppressed a sigh. She and her sister were much closer than most
littermates, and each one was always aware of what the other was feeling. "It's
Brambleclaw," she mewed reluctantly. "I can't believe he's still friends with
Hawkfrost, after the way he supported Mudclaw."
"Many cats supported Mudclaw," Leafpool pointed out. "They did it because they
truly believed Onewhisker wasn't the right cat to lead WindClan. After the tree
fell, Hawkfrost admitted he was wrong, and that Mudclaw had tricked him into
helping. Onewhisker has already forgiven him, and all the other cats who fought
Squirrelflight lashed her tail. "Hawkfrost lied! He was part of Mudclaw's plot
all along. I heard what Mudclaw said before he diedHawkfrost was trying to
become powerful enough to take over RiverClan."
Leafpool's troubled gaze seemed to pierce Squirrelflight's fur. "You have no
proof of that, Squirrelflight. Why should we believe Mudclaw over Hawkfrost? Are
you sure you're not judging Hawkfrost because of who his father was?"
Squirrelflight opened her jaws for a swift retort, but there was nothing she
"Remember, Tigerstar was Brambleclaw's father too," Leafpool went on. "He may
have been a murderous traitor, but that doesn't mean his sons have to follow his
pawsteps. I don't trust Hawkfrost any more than you do, but we can't assume he's
as evil as his father without proof. And even if Hawkfrost is dangerous, it
doesn't mean that Brambleclaw has to be like himor like Tigerstar."
Squirrelflight twitched her tail uneasily. "I guess you're right." The three
tabby toms were tangled together like the tendrils in a bramble thicket, and she
wondered if either of Tigerstar's sons could ever be free of their father's
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