Jayfeather had been sorting out the shrivelled juniper berries from the new ones, idly listening to Briarlight chattering away like a starling to Cherrytail. To be honest, Jayfeather was tired of having the medicine cat filled with cats. The late new-leaf had brought greencough and whitecough to the camp, not to mention the death of Molepaw.
The tom flicked his tail uneasily as he padded past the talking she-cats out of his den, something was wrong. He could feel it in his paws. Perhaps Dovewing knew, she'd probably hear anything bad.
A deafening screech came from the Nursery, making all the cats in the hollow jump in fright.
Jayfeather ran to the Nursery as if his paws were on wings, if anything had happened to Dovewing's litter...
As he entered fear and anger washed over him, Dovewing's emotions almost swamped him before he'd even smelt her.
"What's wrong?" He mewed urgently, not wanting to waste any time.
"Mountainkit's not breathing!" Bluekit and Dovewing wailed at the same time, and for a few moments Jayfeather had a flash of sight; Bluekit towering over her sister, pawing her chest as though to try to force Mountainkit to breathe.
But the vision was over in an instant, and Jayfeather had no time to ponder over it. Hurrying over to Dovewing's belly where Mountainkit, he nosed the little one over.
He felt for the kit's heartbeat, willing for him to feel a pulse, a movement, anything. But it was too late, Mountainkit was on her way to StarClan.
Jayfeather bowed his head, which was enough to show Dovewing what he thought. The queen let out a mournful yowl of grief, which echoed throughout the hollow ominously.
"I-I'm sorry Dovewing, but-"
"She's alive!" Bluekit's squeal pierced his ears, interupting him. He set his sightless gaze onto the kit beside him, pity for the young she-cat spreading through him. Yet the pity stopped in his tracks.
He heard a fluttering heart beat.
It was so faint he could have been imagining it, but no - it was there. Mountainkit was alive.
Jayfeather pawed the kit so she was on her back, feeling for her heart. It felt weak beneath his paws, and he lifted them off her chest.
But Bluekit replaced his position, barging the medicine cat out of the way. He gave a hiss of annoyance and was about to shove her to the corner, but something barred his way.
The musky scent of the old she-cat drifted through his nose, and he heard a hoarse whisper in his head. "Wait, Jayfeather, let her try."
Holding back a hiss of frustration he waited, silent and still. For a few moments, nothing could be heard but Bluekit's frantic movements and everyone's baited breath.
But the heartbeat had stopped once more. This time, Jayfeather was certain Mountainkit was dead, and it seemed that Bluekit was too.
"Is she, d-dead?" Leopardkit asked from behind him.
Silently, he nodded his head.
There was an absolute uproar as Mountainkit's family all chourused yowls in their shared grief and sorrow. It was too late.
Jayfeather padded through StarClan's hunting grounds, searching for the cat whom he longed to give a few sharp words to.
"Looking for me, Jayfeather?"
He whirled around to face Yellowfang, the face of the former medicine cat was right up against his, as though defying every breath he made in her defense.
"You! If you hadn't stopped me I could have saved Mountainkit's life!" He hissed.
"No you couldn't. No cat could. But Bluekit had to try, she had to learn." Yellowfang reasoned, almost pleaded with him.
"She learnt nothing but pain and death! Now she thinks it's her fault. But it's yours. Let that be on your conscience Yellowfang!"
"She learnt that you must try with all your heart, and if you do not succeed, to learn from your expriences. She will be stronger for it." She retorted, flicking her tail tip fairly.
"She'll just hate herself for it. You know that. You've crushed her spirit Yellowfang. She's a wreck. Her littermates won't even look at her! You don't know at all do you?"
"It had to happen! She must learn to stay positive, it's vital for her to become-" Suddenly Yellowfang stopped, looking a little guilty as though she had let something slip.
"Vital for her to become what Yellowfang? What?" Jayfeather growled, eyes glowing with curiousity.
Yellowfang sighed, and the cat looked older than ever.
"When the blue bird calls and the skies fall, a star shall be reborn again."
The StarClanner rasped slowly, her voice rougher than all the hardships of time itself.
Jayfeather shivered. "What do you mean?" He asked furiously as Yellowfang began to walk away.
But she did not answer.