Since I have been talking so much about my stories, you are probably wondering why I don’t show them to you. The reason is that they are not finished yet, but I think it will be okay to give you a part of Wildrulers, for two reasons:

1. I have just realized that the first book of Terradiem has no chapters for some reason, and

2. Wildcall’s first chapter hasn’t been finished yet because I have started over.

So, I decided to give you Wildrulers, the story about the two foxes. Enjoy!

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Chapter 1

“Wait for me!” Sunsetcub darted past her new friend, Skykit. She didn’t care that he was a cat and she was a fox. She liked playing with him, and sleeping with him, and eating with him, and…well, you get the point. Sunsetcub liked spending time with her newfound brother. She raced past him. “Race you to the twisted tree!” she threw over her shoulder.

She stopped, panting, next to the gnarly, knotted tree at the edge of the clearing. She watched as Skykit pulled up in front of the tree. Then, to her surprise, he started to climb it.

“Come back, Skykit!” Sunsetcub called, frightened that her friend would slip and hurt himself.

Sunsetcub was scared of heights for two reasons: one, foxes didn’t climb. Two, her real mother had fallen trying to rescue her brother, Glimmercub, from the high branches of a tree. She couldn’t bear to see Skykit’s broken body at the base of the tree, which would add to the memories of her mother.

“I’m fine!” Skykit yowled in reply. “Come on. The view is amazing!”

Sunsetcub hesitated. Skykit must have sense that she was nervous, because he meowed some encouragement. “Come on. If you step on those knots and wedge your paws in slightly, then you can’t slip.”

Sunsetcub carefully stepped onto the rough trunk. “Are you sure about this, Skykit?” she gazed into his sky-blue eyes and flicked her red tail.

“Sure I’m sure!” he called back. “You’re safer when you’re climbing up here than if you stay on the ground your whole life.”

Sunsetcub set her paws on top of the two knots side by side above her head. She hoisted herself up, ricocheting her hind legs off a particularly massive knot. She bounded up the trunk, using the space between the knots and the bark as pawholds. Soon, she found herself next to Skykit on the branch with her bushy tail curled around her paws. He glanced at her, shocked. “I thought you hated heights!”

Sunsetcub still felt a little uncomfortable balancing on the branch. If Skykit can do it, so can I, she told herself firmly. But then again, she contradicted herself, he is a cat and I am a fox.

It’s not really very different, she argued with herself. We’re sort of related!

As Sunsetcub gazed out at the view, all of her fears sprouted wings and soared out of her mind. Skykit was right; the view was beautiful! Leafy-green trees spread in every direction as far as her little amber eyes would allow her to see. A break in the trees revealed a glistening lake, reflecting the night sky and its twinkling stars. In the distance, tall, jagged, gloomy, dark gray mountains touched the sky with points shrouded in thick black fog. Skykit nudged her. “I heard that wolves live there.”

Sunsetcub shivered with fear. She never wanted to meet another one of those ferocious creatures again, not after they carried away her brother before he opened his eyes. Of course, they managed to rescue him, but Sunsetcub still hated them. “I hope we never have to go there. It looks scary,” Sunsetcub replied fearfully.

“Nah, there would be no reason to,” he soothed her. “We live far away from those nasty wolves; it’s not like when you were with your family. You don’t live at the foot of the mountain anymore. Besides, I’ll protect you.”

Sunsetcub looked at him gratefully. “Thank you, Skykit. I don’t what Glimmercub and I would be doing now if you hadn’t brought us to the rest of your family.”

Suddenly, a yell sounded from below. “Alright, you won. Now get out of your hiding places and let me see you!” Sunsetcub remembered that they were playing hide-and-seek with her brother, Glimmercub.

The unlikely pair leaped down from the branch to meet Glimmercub. He whirled around when they approached him from behind. “I found you! Where have you been?” he demanded.

Sunsetcub stifled a bark of laughter. Her brother loved to play tricks on everyone, and they fell for it every time. “Thank you, Glimmercub, for finding them,” Skykit’s mother, Shimmerleaf, emerged from the shade of an oak tree, her tortoiseshell pelt gleaming in the moonlight. “I am afraid that we have to start traveling by night again,” she told them regretfully. “The others are looking around here in the daytime.”

“Oh, not again!” Skykit whined. “Why can’t they quit searching and accept that they’ve got to move on without us?”

Shimmerleaf sighed. “I know. I should have told them not to look for me.”

Sunsetcub knew what the cats were talking about. Skykit and his family ran away to avoid getting murdered by a cat they thought they had defeated: Whiteblood. He been dead for some time, and the remaining cats were searching for the family of cats that refused to go home.

As she spoke, Skykit’s father, Stealthfeather, slid from the shadows. No one noticed him until he spoke in his deep, calming voice. “We should set off at once, he rumbled. “If we start any later they will find us in the midst of travel and force us to go home. They might even drive away the cubs!”

His gaze lingered on Sunsetcub when his brilliant blue eyes searched them all. She repressed a shiver. Stealthfeather seemed to know things no one else did. It made sense, because it was his job to interpret Lightcat omens, seeing as he received most of them. He ran away with Shimmerleaf when he found out that she was having kits; he couldn’t risk his packmates getting alarmed and hurt his offspring. Ever since then, he stayed sad and somber, like he was waiting out a storm in a dark hollow filled with rotting leaves. Sunsetcub tried reading his expression, but his face was unreadable. She just couldn’t find out about the subject.

Shimmerleaf shunted the little ones along, while Stealthfeather scouted ahead for danger. A while later, he came back, reporting that all was clear. Sunsetcub padded along behind her adopted father between Glimmercub and Skykit. She felt safe with them.

As a curtain of darkness fell upon the forest, the unlikely group settled in a deep hollow in a twisted tree that was filled with moss. It had the stale scent of fox, but they had two cubs with them, so they decided not to worry. Sunsetcub couldn’t sleep, though, so she wandered around outside close to the temporary den. She recalled Stealth-feather’s words. “…they might drive away the cubs!” Sunsetcub wondered what would happen if they were discovered. Would she and Glimmercub have to find a new home? Until then, Sunsetcub would have to take care of her little brother.

The cub was so lost in thought that she didn’t pay attention to where she was going. Soon, she found that she had no idea where she was. “Skykit? Glimmercub? Shimmerleaf? Stealthfeather? Where are you?” she barked desperately.

She felt heat on the back of her neck. At first, she thought it was because of her fear. Then, she heard a crackle and a roar. She whirled around as the bright orange fire consumed a tree and reduced it to a pile of ash. Bigpaws were scrambling around with silver containers. They dumped the contents (which turned out to be water) onto the fire, and it retaliated. A flame shot through the air at one of the bigpaws. Sunsetcub barked out a warning, but it was too late. She watched in horror as his colorful skin caught fire. Immediately, he yelled, fell to the ground, and rolled around, extinguishing the flames that had engulfed his body moments before. The, he leaped back up, grabbed another container, and flung the water at the fire. Sunsetcub whimpered when the flames spread towards her. She started to back away slowly, but whipped around and ran when it came too close. She stumbled into the hollow of a tree and watched, quietly licking her burnt tail-tip, as the bigpaws managed to get rid of the fire.

She eventually fell asleep, whether due to the now comforting heat or to her exhaustion, she did not know. All she knew was that when she woke up, the sky was filled with smoke that hadn’t faded away yet. Sunsetcub jumped daintily out of the hollow. She headed away from the fire and the bigpaw house (which was now in ruins, thanks to the out-of-control fire) and hopefully towards their temporary shelter. After a while, though, when the sun was high in the sky, visible through the trailing wisps of smoke, Sunsetcub began to get worried. What if she couldn’t find her way back? What if the others were captured before she got back? Who would take care of Glimmercub? Sunsetcub couldn’t bear to think of her brother, out there alone in the forest with no means of survival.

Just then, she glimpsed the twisted tree that they had stayed in. She poked her head inside, and sighed with relief when she saw that the unusual family was still curled up together. No one had noticed she was gone.

Suddenly, she felt a thin tail rest on her back. She turned around to face Stealthfeather. “Come,” he murmured. “We need to talk without disturbing the others.”

He guided Sunsetcub to the shade of another tree outside. He faced the russet-furred cub. “Are you alright?” he asked, as if he knew where the cub had gone. “Did the bigpaws hurt you?”

Sunsetcub told Stealthfeather everything, from wandering away to watching the forest fire. Stealthfeather nodded as she finished. “If the house has burned down, we can go and stay there, live happy lives,” he wondered aloud.

“Maybe, but right now, I’m going to make use of sleep as much as I can!” With those words, she turned around and marched into the makeshift den, leaving Stealthfeather looking thoughtful behind her.

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Chapter 2

When Sunsetcub awoke in the morning, all was quiet. No birds were chirping, no wind was shaking the trees, and no bees were buzzing. Sunsetcub figured that the fire was the cause, but the ominous silence made her shiver.

“You noticed, haven’t you?” Skykit asked as he padded up beside her. “Do you know what happened?”

“Forest fire,” she responded. “Over there.” Sunsetcub pointed her tail in the direction of the broken-down bigpaw house.

Skykit gazed at her in awe. “How did you know that?”

Sunsetcub walked ahead to stand at the mouth of the tree hollow. “Never mind how I know. It doesn’t matter, so long as we’re safe.”

Skykit didn’t pester his friend anymore, but Sunsetcub knew that more questions were whizzing through his mind. “By the way, Skykit, I was there,” she told him, watching in amusement as he jumped a twig-length into the air, surprised.

Sunsetcub padded out of the hollow, aware of more than just Skykit’s stare on her pelt. The second burning feeling ceased as Stealthfeather turned back to what he was doing. Shimmerleaf glanced up at Sunsetcub as she approached.

“Are you okay?” she sniffed at Sunsetcub’s pelt. “Stealthfeather told me that you were caught in a bigpaw forest fire. Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” she replied.

Sunsetcub turned back to the hollow to wake Glimmercub. Suddenly, an unfamiliar scent wafted into her nostrils. “Cats!” she warned the others.

Unfortunately, the patrol burst into the clearing before they could do any hiding. Sunsetcub shrank back as they yowled in triumph. “Where were you? We have been searching everywhere!” the black-and-white cat at the front meowed furiously. “Do you know how hard it is to locate a group of cats when they keep moving around?”

Shimmerleaf hissed at them. “We will stay here.”

The she-cat narrowed her eyes. “You will come with us peacefully or we will make you!”

Stealthfeather padded up to his mate and murmured a few unheard words into her ear. He glanced sorrowfully at Sunsetcub before Shimmerleaf answered. “Very well,” Shimmerleaf dipped her head towards the cat. “We will come quietly in order to keep our loved ones safe.”

Sunsetcub couldn’t believe her ears. What would happen to her and Glimmercub? And why did Shimmerleaf speak of more than one loved animal?

The black-and-white cat seemed to detect this wrong note as well. “Do you mean to tell me,” she began, “that you have found more animals to love other than your family?”

“No,” Shimmerleaf replied nonchalantly. “I am simply saying that I have acquired more family members.”

Just then, the black-and-white cat caught sight of Sunsetcub. She bared her teeth, and the little fox stared right back at the full-grown cat and growled ferociously. “You cannot stop them from returning, little cub, so don’t even try or you will end up worse than when you started!” she hissed fiercely.

“Is that a threat?” she growled back.

The she-cat didn’t answer, but instead turned away. She nipped at Shimmerleaf’s hindquarters to get her to move. A cat emerged from the tree hollow with Skykit dangling from his mouth. He squirmed. “Let go of me! I can walk.”

After all of the cats disappeared, Sunsetcub ran inside the tree hollow to wake Glimmercub. She had a hard time finding him in the dark. Finally, she discovered him snoozing in the shadows, unaware of what had just happened. That fox can sleep through anything, she thought wryly.

Quickly, Sunsetcub shook her brother awake and briefed him in on the search party’s capture. By then, he was fully awake. He listened to the plan Sunsetcub laid out. They would follow the cats from a distance so that they couldn’t sense the foxes. Then, Sunsetcub and Glimmercub would know if they harmed Shimmerleaf, Stealthfeather, or Skykit.

As they slid through the thick, twisted tree trunks, Sunsetcub worried about what they were going to do to survive. Just then, the trees came to an end. They crept silently forward, but the cat at the back whirled around as soon as he caught their scent. The cat saw the red pelts of two foxes standing out against the green grass. He bared his sharp teeth and growled.

Sunsetcub turned and ran.

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