“You’re doing a great job, Featherkit! You’ve got the makings of a legendary medicine cat!” An amused twinkle glowed in Brambletail’s eye as his gaze flicked towards the piles of herbs and seeds on the ground. “The catmint should never be confused with the borage, though. Catmint, you’ll find, has a tempting smell to it, and borage is quite sour. You’ll know right off.”
Featherkit blinked and pulled the mingled herbs towards her and began to dismantle the pile. She sniffed the individual leaves, separating the catmint and coltsfoot. “Is this better?” she asked Brambletail, pushing the piles back between the marigold and the poppy seeds.
Brambletail barely had to glance at the new piles to confirm her inquiry. “Yes, Featherkit. Very good.” Then he turned to the blue-eyed she-kit, his face bright. “Hey, you’re nearly at your apprentice ceremony! You’re going to join me in about a moon!” The tabby tom’s eyes were gleaming with such genuine excitement that Featherkit couldn’t bring herself to tell the truth.
“Yes, I can’t wait to become a medicine cat apprentice,” Featherkit pushed the poppy seeds away from the marigold, guilt gnawing at her insides. She was glad when a sleek black tom came limping into the medicine den, distracting Brambletail from their discussion.
“Stupid bushes,” Shadowpaw flicked his tail in annoyance. “Full of burrs! And I got one in my paw, too.” He held his leg out for Brambletail to examine.
"Give it a good lick,” the medicine cat advised, “that’ll loosen it. Then I’ll try to remove it.” He turned back to a few shriveled leaves lying on the floor of the medicine den. “Featherkit, could you ask Owleye to fetch some yarrow? This bit is getting old. Oh, and while you’re at it, we could use some dock leaves for Sparrowtail as well. She’s got some nasty scratches.”
Featherkit dipped her head as she backed out of the den, glad to leave the den at last. She slipped into the warriors’ den to find Owleye, who was obviously waiting for something to happen. She brightened when Featherkit entered.
“Brambletail wants you to get some yarrow and dock,” Featherkit informed the fluffy gray she-cat, who immediately sprang up, amber eyes gleaming.
“I’ll get right to it!” The she-cat sprang from her nest and darted out of the den and into the thick undergrowth of the forest.
As much as anyone said it would be, Featherkit knew she would not at all find the apprentice ceremony exciting. In fact, she found herself dreading the moment. Her head was filled with thoughts of everything that could go wrong. She could slip, she could trip over a twig…Yet the more Featherkit thought about this, the more it became clear to her that it wasn’t what could go wrong, it was what would go wrong.
Namely, the disappointment in Daisyleaf’s eyes as she denied the path her mother wanted her to take.