Rosetail followed Reedwhisker and Ripplepaw out of camp and down to a wide stream.
"Ripplepaw, show me your best crouch," Reedwhisker told his new apprentice. Rosetail felt a rush of pride toward Reedwhisker. He would make a great mentor. Rosetail watched as Ripplepaw crouched down by the stream, his tail flicking excitedly behind him.
"Keep your tail still," Reedwhisker instructed,"and don't let your shadow fall over the water, or the fish will know they're being hunted." Ripplepaw looked at them. "How do I do that?"
"Rosetail, will you please demonstrate?" Reedwhisker asked her. "Sure," she meowed. Rosetail crouched by the stream, adjusting her position so that her shadow didn't fall over the water. She looked over to Ripplepaw.
"Always be sure that the fish don't know you're here, or else you'll come back empty-pawed. And the elders won't like that much." Rosetail told the apprentice. Ripplepaw crouched down, imitating Rosetail. This time, his tail was still and his shadow hung on the bank.
"Good," Reedwhisker praised. "Now try catching a fish, like this..." Reedwhisker gazed into the current. Suddenly his paw lashed out into the water. The tom scooped a fish out onto the bank, killing it with a swift bite. Ripplepaw's eyes glowed with envy. Rosetail felt a pang of admiration for the tom. She limped over to Reedwhisker and rubbed her cheek against his. Reedwhisker purred and returned the gesture. "Great catch!" She mewed.
"Thanks," he replied, eyes sparkling. Ripplepaw bounded over. "Can I try now? Please!"
"Okay, but remember to be quiet!" Reedwhisker meowed with amusement. The pair watched as the eager apprentice hopped over to the water and crouched down. Only a few heartbeats had passed when Ripplepaw's paw flashed into the water, scooping out a small, silver fish. The fish flopped around on the ground as the apprentice grappled for a hold on it. Finally, he managed to aim a clumsy swipe at the creature's head, killing it. Ripplepaw looked up his catch, his eyes glowing with pride. Reedwhisker padded up to him.
"Nice catch," he purred. "But try to be quicker with the kill. You don't want it getting away!"
"He's right, you know," Rosetail put in. "You should have seen Reedwhisker on his first try. He nearly fell in the water himself!" She purred, memories rushing through her mind like wind through her fur.
"Hey, at least I caught something. You didn't catch a fish for so long, I was worried you might starve! And you almost fell in that same day!" Reedwhisker objected.
"We both almost became fish ourselves!" Rosetail mewed with amusement, warmth flooding her. Reedwhisker rubbed his cheek against hers. “Let's get home, its almost dark.”
Once back in the camp, Rosetail settled down next to the fresh-kill pile and picked out a plump fish. Stormfur settled next to her and began to eat his fish.
"How was the training session?" He asked between mouthfuls.
"It was great! Ripplepaw is such a fast learner. I hope Leopardstar gives me an apprentice of my own soon."
"That's good," Stormfur purred. "It's always great to have fast-learning apprentices. That means more good warriors."
"Yeah, and more cats to take care of the elders and change every cat's bedding. I sure don't miss that part of being an apprentice!" Rosetail meowed.
"Me either! And the mouse-bile for ticks? Yuck!" Stormfur replied. Just then, Brook padded up.
"I think I'm lucky to have grown up in the Tribe of Rushing Water, then," she mewed when she had sat down.
Rosetail suddenly felt defensive for her Clan. She opened her mouth to reply when she realized that Brook wasn't insulting the ways of the Clans. "Training was the best part. Battle moves, fishing. It didn't get better than that." She said instead. Rosetail yawned.
"You should get some sleep," Mistyfoot meowed, coming up behind her. "You're on the dawn patrol with
Graymist and Mosspelt."
Rosetail dipped her head and headed toward the warriors' den. Pushing through the reeds, she spotted Reedwhisker grooming his chest fur. "Hey, today was fun! Thanks for coming with me," he whispered, looking up from his licking.
"I had fun, too. Ripplepaw was great!" Rosetail replied, yawning again. She circled in her nest next to Reedwhisker and curled up, tucking her tail over her nose. As she was drifting into sleep, Reedwhisker began to gently groom her ears. Rosetail fell asleep to the sound of her mate's gentle lapping.