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 Rainwhisker.
"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 against him."
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 could say.
"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 treacherous legacy.
Twilight, Copyright © 2006 by Working Partners Limited. All Rights Reserved. HarperCollins Publishers
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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