|"Being a mother isn't about saying the right thing or doing the right thing all the time. No cat does that. No cat can. No, being a mother is about protecting the cats you care about."|
|— Squirrelflight in The Apprentice's Quest bonus scene, page 21|
- Below contains in-depth information for the bonus scene of The Apprentice's Quest. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: Bonus Scene (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 2-21
- Squirrelflight awakes in her cold den with Bramblestar, up on the Highledge. She realizes that the patrols were organized and long gone at the moment. She feels guilty about sleeping in and missing her duties, but she can't help it because she's a queen expecting kits. Her sister, Leafpool, and her foster son, Jayfeather, the Clan's medicine cats, had been trying to persuade her to move into the nursery. Squirrelflight kept on insisting that she wanted to hang on to her duties as Clan deputy for as long as she could. Since she is in pain, she rests in her den and reflects on her first reactions to finding out about her expecting kits. She remembers her sensations of excitement and joy, completely outweighing any feelings of nervousness. But as the days passed, Squirrelflight's excitement faded as nervousness took over her, weighing her down so it took a massive amount of effort to do anything.
- With a lot of effort, Squirrelflight leaves the den to see her Clanmates going to and fro with the days' patrols. Squirrelflight heads to the fresh-kill pile, and sees Cherryfall sharing a vole with Berrynose and Snowbush. Cherryfall beckons her over and offers her a mouse. Berrynose pushes it toward her and tells her to eat. Squirrelflight is hungry and wants to eat it, but she realizes that all of ThunderClan is hungry because it's leaf bare. She feels guilty about taking more than her fair share. Squirrelflight reflects on how hungry and how much pain she is. In turn, that leads to her thinking about her foster litter: Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf. She remembers how when they discovered the truth of their parentage, it took a long time for them to forgive her or Leafpool. She is anxious, frantically pondering if she was a good mother.
- Snowbush interrupts her thought process and tells her to eat the mouse. Squirrelflight insists that she doesn't need all of the mouse. Cherryfall objects, saying that she does need the prey, telling her that she's eating for her kits as well. Berrynose says that it's mouse-brained that she won't eat, and Squirrelflight snaps back at him, abrupt annoyance overcoming her. Cherryfall tries to comfort Squirrelflight with a gesture that just annoys the dark ginger she-cat even more. Cherryfall says that Berrynose wasn't being annoying intentionally. Squirrelflight slides out her claws threateningly when Berrynose mutters in exasperation about she-cats, but Snowbush slips in between the two of them, attempting to soothe her, assuring her that they know times are presently tough for her. Cherryfall agrees, adding that they only want what's best for Squirrelflight and her kits, encouraging her to eat the mouse.
- Squirrelflight feels guilty about losing her temper, and wonders why it keeps happening. She apologizes and begins to eat the mouse, though she still feels irritated that her Clanmates have to hunt for her, as well as slightly embarrassed. Jayfeather pads up to her and asks how she's feeling, and Squirrelflight tells her foster son she's fine. She offers the last of the mouse to him, but he refuses and says he has to gather herbs for Sorrelpaw. Squirrelflight tells him to be careful where he steps, and Jayfeather retorts that he's fine, and that it's her coming kits who will need her. Jayfeather turns to an alder bush and begins peeling off strips of black bark. Berrynose follows and asks what Jayfeather is doing. The medicine cat retorts sarcastically, then says that Sorrelpaw has a toothache and that alder bark is good for it.
- While he was speaking, the branches above him trembled, covered in snow and ice. Squirrelflight yowls for him to watch out and pushes him out of the way, though she was larger than usual and staggered into him instead. A chunk of ice fell to the ground and exploded. Jayfeather leaps to his paws and says he thinks his leg is sprained now. Squirrelflight apologizes and explains that ice was about to fall on him. The medicine cat sighed and said he had heard it and was about to move out of the way. He picks up his bark and goes back to the medicine cat den.
- Bramblestar comes down from the Highledge and greets her, asking how she is doing. Squirrelflight bursts out that she thinks she'll be a terrible mother. Bramblestar reassures her that that's not true, then suggests that they go for a walk together. His mate unintentionally gets upset at him, then apologizes, saying that she feels all she's done for moons is sleep and pick fights. She then suggests that they go on a hunting patrol together - just the two of them. Squirrelflight thinks that this will make her feel less guilty about the prey she's been eating from other Clanmates. Bramblestar looks uncertain, but Squirrelflight convinces him.
- After walking through the frosty woods for a while, Squirrelflight relaxes and says that this was the perfect thing for her to do. As they head towards the abandoned Twoleg nest, Bramblestar says that she doesn't seem herself lately. Squirrelflight agrees, sighing. She says that she's scared she won't be a good mother for her kits. She mentions Lionblaze, Jayfeather, and Hollyleaf, and says that they hated her after they found out the truth about the parents. She wonders if she was ever a good mother to them. Bramblestar remains silent for a few moments, and Squirrelflight wondered if her mate was still upset with her for lying. Then Bramblestar tells Squirrelflight that the three cats she raised turned into wonderful Clanmates and that no one in the whole forest could ever be a better mother than her. Squirrelflight feels very happy and reassured, and thanks her mate.
- The sun sets and the stars begin to show. Bramblestar and Squirrelflight had been hunting since sunhigh together but had caught nothing. Squirrelflight blames herself and her slow pace. She believes that Bramblestar is also treating her differently because she was carrying kits. When it gets darker, Bramblestar suggests they return to the Thunderclan hollow. Squirrelflight protests, but Bramblestar presses her to agree, saying he thought he smelled fox. Squirrelflight grudgingly followed him back to camp.
- She scents a vole on the way back, however, and stops to stalk it. She signals her mate to keep back with her tail and creeps toward it. But her swollen belly brushes up against grass, and the vole seemed to hear her. She leaps to it desperately, but the vole darted into the forest. She sees again a few seconds later, though, and she tries leaping for it again. But her paw caught on something buried beneath the soft snow, and she lands hard on the ground. She leaps up and sees the vole near a bramble thicket, and knows she would lose sight of it if the vole scurries inside. Squirrelflight leaps towards the prey and delivers a swift bite to the neck. She picks up the vole, turning to show Bramblestar, but he is nowhere in sight.
- Squirrelflight follows her footprints back to where she had tripped, seeing a gnarled root mostly hidden by snow. Still, her mate's dark tabby fur isn't visible. Suddenly she hears a snarl, and she runs around the large tree the root was near. A giant fox faces her, sharp teeth bared. Bramblestar is backed up against the big tree, fur bristling, and blood falling from a forehead scratch. He yowls for Squirrelflight to run as the fox lashes out, trying to bite his throat. Bramblestar rakes his sharp claws across the fox's flank. He repeated his yowl, saying Squirrelflight had to protect their unborn kits. Squirrelflight refuses, and lunges at the fox, dropping her prey. The fox has Bramblestar pinned down in the roots of the trees, and Squirrelflight continues attacking the fox's hindquarters, noticing how thin the fox was. The creature turns to face the ginger she-cat, raking her shoulder, causing her to leap away, forming a plan in her mind.
- She distracts the fox away from Bramblestar, who limped up behind the fox. Squirrelflight yowled at him to distract it, and he did, striking the flank of the fox. The fox turned to meet him, and Squirrelflight spins to climb the tree. Twigs scrape her sides, but she doesn't stop, and instead leaps into the fork of a second tree, right above Bramblestar and the fox. Both are circling each other, and Squirrelflight waits until the fox was under her. She screeches and jumps from her perch, landing on the fox's back. It shrieks, but as Squirrelflight jumps off of it after digging her claws into the fox's back and biting its neck, it limps away.
- Bramblestar compliments Squirrelflight on defeating the fox, and Squirrelflight feels better. Then she notices that both trees she had climbed were alders, and realizes that they are important - and not just for the bark they had. Squirrelflight thinks that she and her mate are stronger together and that they will make sure their kits are safe and loved. Bramblestar says they'd better see Leafpool and Jayfeather because of the fox scratches, and they head back to camp after Squirrelflight picks up her vole. It's nighttime when they made it back. Squirrelflight feels a lot better than she had in days. She now knows she can protect what she loves for as long as she needs to, which would be for the rest of her life.
References and citations
|The Apprentice's Quest chapters|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10 • Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 • Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapter 21 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Bonus Scene|