|"Alderpaw, you need to pay attention. A cat who can't hunt is no good to his Clan."|
|— Molewhisker being harsh to Alderpaw in The Apprentice's Quest, page 6|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter four of The Apprentice's Quest. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 4 (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 56-67
- Alderpaw and Sparkpaw battle train with Molewhisker and Cherryfall, and they learn how to stand on their hindlegs to attack enemies from above. Sparkpaw masters the skill, however, Alderpaw fails at the move and his mentor becomes irritable with him. Thinking back to Leafpool's stare at the Gathering, Alderpaw becomes uneasy. He is uncomfortable with how the medicine cats are aware of him all of a sudden. Molewhisker calls off battle training and suggests to Cherryfall and her apprentice to collect their fresh-kill. Molewhisker plans to take his apprentice hunting, and Alderpaw gloomily thinks that he won't catch anything today.
- Thinking to himself about his fears, he realizes too late that Molewhisker was giving him a suggestion. His mentor is sharp with him as he tells his apprentice that he needs to start paying attention. Alderpaw flinches and Molewhisker tries to gain back his patience. His mentor tells him to focus on one part of the territory to which Alderpaw says he will do. The apprentice concentrates on undergrowth at the bottom of an oak tree and smells a mouse. He crouches and creeps toward the tree, thinking to himself that he is going to get it this time. The ginger tom sees the mouse as he steps on a twig and it scurries off. Alderpaw growls in frustration and Molewhisker moves to stand next to him. His mentor keeps his agitation under control, leading the way back to camp, with Alderpaw following.
- As the two ThunderClan cats enter the camp, Bramblestar bounds forward and wishes to speak with Molewhisker in his den. Alderpaw joins his sister, Sparkpaw, at the fresh-kill pile. She asks him about his hunting and he replies that he missed another piece of prey. Sparkpaw is sympathetic and offers to share a thrush with Alderpaw. He miserably accepts it and Sparkpaw looks up at the Highledge. She wonders if he is in trouble and why Bramblestar is speaking to Molewhisker. Alderpaw feel nervous, as he thinks what his sister is saying may be true. Bramblestar, Molewhisker, Leafpool, and Jayfeather head out of the den and climb down to the center of the clearing. Bramblestar beckons with his tail for Alderpaw to come over, so the apprentice swallows and pads toward the group of cats. His father tells him he knows how he is proud of him and meows that that sometimes a cat can find himself down the wrong path. Alderpaw doesn't understand what his words mean and his father states him that he is going to become ThunderClan's next medicine cat.
- Alderpaw is shocked and thinks that he is going to be punished for his failures. Bramblestar says that the medicine cats saw his new destiny in a vision from StarClan. Alderpaw protests, thinking he'll be even more useless to the Clan as a medicine cat. The apprentice doesn't believe in the vision and thinks it is a cover-up story so he won't have his feelings hurt. He also believes that Leafpool and Jayfeather don't need another medicine cat and wishes he can run out of camp. Alderpaw begs to stay as a warrior apprentice and promises that he'll do better. Molewhisker tells Alderpaw that he knows how hard he tried and that he's not angry with him. Leafpool steps forward to say that this wasn't a punishment, as both medicine cats asked for this to happen. Bramblestar puts in that they believe he can talk to StarClan.
- Alderpaw realizes that his father wouldn't lie to him, but he still doubts his new path. He asks if there is anything he can do and Bramblestar shakes his head, telling him that it is the will of StarClan. Alderpaw gives up arguing and Bramblestar dismisses him. He goes back to the fresh-kill pile and Sparkpaw curiously asks him what had happened. Alderpaw tells her that they said he had to be a medicine cat and his sister becomes amazed. After realizing how unhappy Alderpaw is, she mews that it probably would be better for him to become a healer. He swallows and promises to himself that he would become a great medicine cat and make his parents proud. However, deep down, Alderpaw believes that he's not special enough to become a medicine cat.
- Two days later, Alderpaw leaves the apprentices' den. He sees Squirrelflight, his mother, organizing the dawn patrol with Brackenfur, Berrynose, and Brightheart. Mother and son exchange words and Alderpaw walks to the fresh-kill pile. When he enters the medicine cats' den, Jayfeather snaps that he is late. Leafpool comforts him, saying that the sun isn't up yet. Jayfeather tells his mother that he'll say what he likes and that he isn't her apprentice anymore. Jayfeather turns and asks Alderpaw if he had strange dreams sometimes. He looks at both medicine cats uneasily and says he guesses he does sometimes. Briarlight interrupts the conversation and says that she had a dream. The dream was about her flying over Clan territory. Alderpaw is relieved to have the attention off him for a while. The two medicine cats exchange glances and Jayfeather meows to Alderpaw that he should learn about herbs. The medicine cat introduces the herbs to him and explains each of their uses. In the background, Leafpool helps Briarlight exercise with a moss ball. She suggests to her son that Alderpaw should have a sniff of the herbs. The apprentice takes a sniff and thinks that they smell alike. He also thinks that he could never remember everything about the herbs.
- At sun-high, Alderpaw's sister pushes her way into the medicine den. Jayfeather asks her what she wants, and she replies that Cherryfall sent her for herbs to treat Purdy's bellyache. Leafpool decides to check on him, and Jayfeather questions Alderpaw on what herb should be used for the elder's bellyache. Alderpaw panics, trying to think of the answer, and spots Briarlight mouthing watermint at him. He meows watermint to his mentor, and notes that Sparkpaw looks impressed with him. Jayfeather then tells him to take it out of the herb store and Alderpaw pulls out a bundle of goldenrod. Jayfeather picks out the correct herb and gives it to Leafpool, and she carries it outside with Sparkpaw following her out of the den. Jayfeather tells Alderpaw he should be paying close attention as cats' lives depend on getting the right herb. The apprentice sighs and gloomily wonders how he could get everything right.
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|