Sickness strikes.Her blurred senses began to separate from the black void of sleep and make sense of the world around her. The wall in front of her slowly become more detailed, seeing the separate lime stems, creating a forest of tall pale trunks. Mapleshade’s neck ached from spending the night laying on a wooden floor, rather than proper bedding made from soft moss and feathers. She’ll miss the nursery. Taking in the moment, she breathed in the fresh and crisp dawn air. Peering through the gaps in the ferns, she noticed a frosty white gleaming fog had drifted in, covering the small birch wood and Riverclan marshes in icey silver sheets.
She eventually noticed movement in the pile of soft fur at her belly. Petalkit shifted around uncountably serval until throwing herself away from her sleeping brothers, landing in heap on Mapleshade’s tail, panting. “What’s wrong?”, she asked confused. The brown she-kit huffed, “It’s boiling in there!”, she complained. This just made Mapleshade even more confused. She had a thick pelt but overheating had never been problem until now. Leaning over, she sniffed. Petalkit was right, it was near her belly and the source of it was...Patchkit. His chest rose and fell slowly, his breath heavy and swallow. He was horribly burning up like a blazing fiery monster ripping through trees and undergrowth as it charged through the forest. Lightly nudging Patchkit to wake up, he simply let out off a weak gruff moaning. Instead Larchkit began to steer from his deep subber. “Is it dawn already?”, the dark kit guessed, rolling onto his back and stretching his legs. Seemly he was completely ignorant of Patchkit’s soaring temperature. Out of nowhere Larchkit leapt to his paws, as if he had all the energy in Starclan, hushing outside of ferns with the speed of a hare. “Don’t go anything outside of my line of sight, ok?”, Mapleshade called after him, feeling like that could go wrong, would, knowing her son. “Don’t worry, I will!”, not even bothering to look back at her as he sped off.
“Make sure he stays out of trouble.”, she uttered to her daughter. Petalkit’s face lit up. She flexed her claws, a malicious smile grow up her face like a weed, “It’ll be my pleasure.”, she mewed slyly. Before rushing out of the outstretching branches of the ferns, after her brother.
With her two other kits out the way, her full attention could be on Patchkit. He was fighting his own body; constantly uncontrollable shaking, raspy gasping for air, his eyes rolled inside his head making them white slit and he was as solid and cold as frozen stone in leaf-bare. What was wrong with him? Mapleshade stood up, trying to give the young kit some space. She prodded him with her muzzle again, trying to get him to stand but he just continued to make meaningless unhealthy noises. Slowly she began to get worried, “Patchkit, Patchkit. Are you alright? Try and stand up.”, she encouraged. Still nothing. He continued to lay there barely moving among the red and orange leaves. The sign of life he gave off was the rising of chest and occasional twitch.
Just then she spotted a cream pelt moving approving the ferns, ignoring the two kits charging after a moss ball. She’d honestly forgotten he was missing. As he came near, Mapleshade could see covered in small layer of mud and he smelt of marsh. The branches swayed as the large frame of Appledusk evented inside. Carrying three green limp bodies with him. Mapleshade blinked at him, “Frogs?”. He placed them down at his paws, making strange movements with mouth in effort to get rid of the houl taste. “Well since we’re in exile now.”, mewing with hint of mockery. Mapleshade narrowed her eyes. He quickly shifted his tone of voice, knowing he was pushing his back, “-Since I can’t fish in the waters of Riverclan territory, I have to make do with what we’ve got.”.
He pushed a frog toward her, settling down with one of his own. Just looking at it’s lumpy slimy gray-green skin with those fish-like eyes made her want to be sick. “Where did you even get them?”, she mewed, still wondering why he would choose frog over anything else. “A small pond near a twoleg fence. However I think I drained what little prey it had to offer.”. That was right, Appledusk, as a Riverclan cat, could only really hunt in water. And with Riverclan hogging all the nearby rivers and streams, he wouldn’t be much use in gathering food. So, unless they could find another water source with a steady food supply, she would have to teach him how to hunt on land. Which wouldn’t be fun. She also wanted to get some traveling done today as well. They were too far over the border for any normal patrol to go after them. Sure. But if they sent too long lingering around the Riverclan’s borders, Darkstar might sent warriors to drive them further away.
Pushing aside her unappetizing meal for the moment, she turned to Appledusk, “You wouldn’t know anything herbs or illnesses, would you?”, being hopeful. The tom made a face after swallowing another painful mouthful of frog, “What do I look like? A Medicine cat?”, he joked.
She sighed, moving around so he could see the limp Patchkit, “I think he’s ill.”. Appledusk’s eyes surprising glazed over with concern, “He is?”, leaning over and sniffing him over. He sat back, seemly unsure what to do, “What’s wrong with him?”, he asked. That’s why I’m asking you! She couldn’t help but cringe at her mouth-brained partner. She shrugged, “I don’t know. He’s not coughing, so I don’t think it’s white or Greencough.”. Appledusk muttered something under his breath looking to the green wall for the heartbeat before looking back her. “So what do we do about it?”, he urged.