The rush of knowing she had caught something on her own still hadn't faded. Yes, yes, she had been doing that since she was an apprentice, and even since she had earned her warrior name, but there was just. The thrill of a clean catch was still there, every time. Hopefully it would always be. She didn't want to be one of those cats who took it for granted.
With all this in mind, she picked up her pace as much as possible. There was only so much she could do when the rabbit she had caught was nearly too big for her to carry. Especially with her small size. It was a gift though! She might take a bite or two but it was mostly for Cherrybloom, who loved rabbits. And what better cat to give her one today than the one who loved to run as much as rabbits themselves?
Robinflight blinked around camp for a moment, looking for her mother. Was it a sunning day or a stay inside the nursery day? Or even a helping the medicine cats day? She briefly put the rabbit down. "Cherrybloom?" she called to the nearly-empty camp, ears pricked for a reply.
Today had been quiet. The Nursery was still with no kits scurrying about and no Queens to keep her company. It was almost enough to pull her into a sulking manner. But she had fought against it, opting to ask an apprentice to guide her to the Medicine Cat's den. There at least she was able to help Skywhisper as needed.
But the sound of her name echoing in the small camp had her poking her head out of the tree den...as if she could actually see who was calling. "I'm over here!" Her brain quickly flipped through it's mental book of voices, finding only two that it could possibly be. Morningpaw or Robinflight.
While she adored both of her daughter's, she found herself almost closer to Robingflight in a strange yet calming way. Morningpaw seemed so eager to run off and become her own feline...while Robinflight seemed content to check up on her dear old mom. Cherrybloom let her tail guide her to the outside of the den, her haunches dropping as she curled her tail around her paws.
Perhaps if Robin and the rabbit were closer her sense of smell would have clued her in to this visit and her visitor, but as things were she sat in the dark with only the slightest inkling of who her visitor could possibly be.
There she is! A familiar head popped out of the medicine cat's den, followed by the equally familiar voice of Cherrybloom. Robinflight almost quivered in excitement at the thought of presenting her present to the queen. She picked up the rabbit once again and trotted over as Cherrybloom moved fully out of the den and sat waiting for her.
Her tail flicking almost beyond her control, the young molly set her prize down in front of her mother. "I brought you a present!" she said, perhaps in redundance as the other she-cat had to have smelled the rabbit by now. "And, well. It's been a bit since we've had a day together and I don't have any duties today and I've already gone by the borders the patrols weren't set to mark just to make sure and -" Robinflight cut herself off self-consciously, kneading the ground as she did so. "I just. I haven't talked to you in a while." Quite a difference from even her apprentice moons, where she made a point or was reminded by her mentor to at least say hello to her mother, alone in the queen's den.
Nerves took over once again. She nudged the rabbit closer so it touched the paws of her mother and lay down, head on her paws. "I also might have some questions about something that happened earlier today. I don't know if you'll know but... you're always the first I want to ask." Now that she had admitted another reason for her visit, Robinflight's mind couldn't help but stray to the odd encounter at the Stumps she had with that Creekclan warrior. Maybe... maybe she should tell Spiritstar she needed to go to the next Gathering. There was so much she didn't know about things outside her clan. Could she even be a good warrior if she kept herself so closed off?
Her ears were quick to catch the sound of another cat approaching. It wasn't at a leisurely walking pace, but rather a quick trot. And the smells began to reveal just who was bringing what to her. So she had been right about it being one of her daughters, and a rabbit? She smiled softly...just days ago Spiritstar had brought her one as well. It seemed as if her family were not going to let her go anywhere near hungry.
The young molly's voice filled her ears and she smiled whole heartedly as as a small laugh escaped her maw. "You and Spiritstar seem to think quite alike. Rabbits from two of my favorite cats." She purred softly, her tail swaying happily. It wasn't often that she got to enjoy one on one time with her family members. Even her son, who was lovingly attached at the hip, seemed to be spending less time with her and more time on his training. She couldn't entirely blame him, for as he aged his responsibilities would only become greater.
As the fur of the rabbit touched her own, and her ears picked up on the weight of her daughter shifting, Cherrybloom remained seated. Her ears perked up at the words that came next. Something had happened? Her head tilted softly, quizzically almost before she took a quick bite of the rabbit at her paws. "Go on young one. Mama's all ears and Skywhisper is more than capable of taking care of anyone without my help."
WHILE MUCH IS UNKNOWN ABOUT THIS MYSTERY DISEASE, IT HAS CHOSEN TO GRACE YOU WITH ITS PRESENCE. a musty odor begins to fill the nose of cherrybloom. it consumes her sense of smell and soon becomes all she can recognize. her ears begin to ring, softly at first but soon growing to cut off her hearing entirely. (friendly reminder, the spore will not kill any characters without prior authorization from the owner of said character. feel free to resume your thread with this interjection now in play. the spore will continue to interact as needed)
Her mood lifted at being even vaguely compared to the leader of Moorclan - nevermind that he and Cherrybloom were siblings - and again when her mama started to eat the rabbit she had caught. "Well, yes, Skywhisper can but I know you like to help still.," she said as a way of trying to stall for a moment.
Eventually, she just dove headfirst into it. It all came out, her confrontation with the Creekclan warrior at the border between the two clans and the Blessed Stumps, what she had been doing there in the first place and how it all happened. Robinflight made sure to tell Cherrybloom that she hadn't broken the code, she had stayed on the Moorclan side of the border and hadn't even started the fight. All she had been doing when the tom came up was resting after her run and he was so rude, honestly, and she might have... maybe... possibly... threatened to tell Stoatstar that he was being rude? But she'd never even met the other leader and she was just barely a warrior and oh my stars she's just now realizing exactly what she said and -
Robinflight paused in her panic to look at her mama with wide eyes. "Cherrybloom? Am I going to be in trouble?"
Cherrybloom couldn't help but laugh softly at the comment of her helping. "I try to help, but sometimes I'm just in the way." She teased playfully, hoping her kit would acknowledge that she would always come before the queen's pretend medicine cat time. Her family had always come first, and they always would. And while this was considered a strong loyal trait, it could also threaten to be her downfall.
As Robin began to spill forth the details of her encounter, the Queen caught scent of something she couldn't quite attribute to anything particular. It was unpleasant, and rather overwhelming...a strong musty odor that she could've easily slipped inside of Skywhisper's den to remedy. But, Robinflight needed her...and her motherly duties and instinct kept her glued in place.
Until something else began to set in. At first it was soft, a subtle ringing that had her ears twitching in hopes that a bug of some sort or dirt particle was just messing with her. But as she attempted to clear her ears, she only found them getting worse. A paw came up involuntarily to try and swipe over the top of one, hoping for sweet relief.
Her daughter's voice brought her back and she winced slightly. "At...no. No you're not in trouble." Her usual comforting demeanor changed as the ringing grew more intense. "Do you hear anything strange?" Her voice was louder than normal, unable to gauge her volume as the ringing overtook what hearing she had left. In a world without sight, she had just lost what she relied on the most...her hearing.
Now that her panicked babbling had stopped, Robinflight finally realized that something was wrong with Cherrybloom. She sat up as straight as possible before carefully edging forward to sniff at her mama to see if she could possibly detect something wrong with her extremely limited knowledge. Why was she messing with her ears? Surely nothing was wrong with them. Right? Right?
"I don't hear anything at all, mama," she answered, but it was quite clear that the queen was no longer listening to her. Or at least no longer able to hear her. "Cherrybloom?" she questioned anxiously, nosing the other cat in the shoulder before realizing the medicine cat den was right there. Robinflight threw her mom a concerned and anxious look and bolted into the den yelling for Skywhisper.
"Skywhisper! Skywhisper, something's wrong! Cherrybloom started acting weird and now it's like she can't even hear me and she asked if I had heard something but I didn't -" The panic was very clear in her voice as she raced back to her mama's side and pressed close so that she at least knew someone else was with her. Blind with something messing with her hearing? Oh, she had to be terrified, stars only knew that Robinflight would have been if she was in Cherrybloom's position.
There was commotion outside Skywhisper's den. He all but ignored it until Robinflight's panicked voice broke through the rest of the bustle of the camp. He swept aside the pawful of marigold he had been storing and bounded out of his den, nearly crashing into Robinflight. [break][break]
Worry slowly dawned on Skywhisper as he approached Cherrybloom. There was a very faint scent in the air that only he recognized from Mistfeather and Tallstep's illness. However, Cherryblooms symptoms were very different from the previous two patients. Roughly and without explanation, he shoved Robinflight away from Cherrybloom's side. Who knew if the disease was contagious? He would not bear the thought of both of them getting sick.[break][break]
He sniffed the rabbit Robinflight had brought. "Bury this for now," he instructed calmly. Robinflight might have worked hard to catch it, but Skywhisper was not willing to take the risk. Hopefully she would not take too much of an offense. [break][break]
Despite his internal turmoil, Skywhisper showed none of it on his face. He acted as stoically and as efficiently as ever. Using his tail, he guided Cherrybloom toward his den. He did not attempt to speak to her. His previous patients from the Spore never seemed to hear him anyway.[break][break]
He tried his best to make space in the mess of his den. Between training Orchidpaw, collecting herbs, and throwing old ones away, the floor was a pig sty. He crouched and put a paw against Cherrybloom's throat. There was nothing too unusual. Well, there was nothing he knew to do but keep her calm for now. Skywhisper brought out a few poppy seeds on a wad of moss and held them gingerly in front of Cherrybloom's mouth, encouraging her to swallow.
WHILE MUCH IS UNKNOWN ABOUT THIS MYSTERY DISEASE, IT HAS CHOSEN TO GRACE YOU WITH ITS PRESENCE. the musty odor begins to fade. and soon the ringing begins to dull. hearing is restored to cherrybloom's ears and life goes on. (friendly reminder, the spore will not kill any characters without prior authorization from the owner of said character. feel free to resume your thread with this interjection now in play. the spore will continue to interact as needed)
She heard nothing. It was as if Starclan had wished her to be painfully reminded of what it felt like to lose something so valuable. Her sight was one thing, but her hearing? To hear no voices of her loved ones. To no longer be able to hold a conversation. She would be condemned to the elders den before she even hit a ripe old age. The commotion taking place was something she couldn't even begin to picture, and without her hearing she found herself unable to really fill out the space around her.
The only clue she had was the small but definite smell that broke through the must, Skywhisper. "Skywhisper?" Her voice was loud, unable to adjust to the correct volume without her hearing. Robinflight must have panicked and grabbed him, and the queen couldn't blame her eldest daughter. It was right of her to do so, and for that she was grateful. She felt the presence of Skywhisper, with a soft subtle jump. But settling into it, she let herself be guided to where she assumed was the den.
She had to try and remain calm. But her brain ran wild. Was this the illness that had taken Moorclan lives? And if so....was she next? This is what you get for asking your brother about this dreadful disease she thought. Would she die slowly and painfully, or eventually be okay? She had to remain calm as he worked, a paw here...a paw there. She slowly let her haunches drop to the floor, if she could just attempt to be comfortable....
Something in front of her maw, her whiskers alerted her to that much. He wanted her to take...something. Gingerly she accepted what was given to her...poppy seeds...and encounter with them during her first go around with kitting reminded her of the herb.
The musty odor began to subside, and she wondered if it was just the poppy seeds or perhaps whatever this was would leave her be? Soon her ears followed, and she tilted her head lightly. "I...I think it's going away..." her voice was softer this time, her ears beginning to regain their strength.
She nearly resisted being pushed away from Cherrybloom, recognizing Skywhisper at the last second and letting him put the distance he wanted between them. She burst into motion, snatching up the rabbit and running with it with all the speed that gave her her warrior name. If Skywhisper wanted it buried, it couldn't be somewhere easily noticed and taken by a curious cat. She took care to bury it far but not too far from camp, marking it with three stones so it could potentially be collected later.
It was only as she raced back that she realized she had killed the rabbit. She'd carried it twice now in her jaws. Was she in danger? Robinflight skid to a stop outside the medicine cat den and entered anxiously. Luckily, she was just in time to hear Cherrybloom speak a bit louder than normal. The young warrior breathed a sigh of relief and padded a careful distance closer. She didn't want to risk getting close and having Skywhisper tell her to keep her distance.
"Um, Skywhisper?" she asked quietly, kneading the ground anxiously. "Will I need anything? Since I caught the rabbit? I mean, I feel fine, but -" Robinflight cut herself off self consciously and ducked her head.
Skywhisper bit back a sigh of relief as Cherrybloom spoke again. The strange scents had faded, and it seemed the poppy seed was doing its work.[break][break]
He frowned. No. That would be ridiculous. Poppy seeds, to cats that did not practice medicine, always seemed like a miracle cure, soothing symptoms and warding away some pain. But it was an obvious fluke. Poppy seed almost never cured illness; it only ever alleviated symptoms. He would not be so easily convinced. [break][break]
Cherrybloom's softer tone of voice indicated she must have recovered her hearing. It showed volume control. Skywhisper stopped all his probing. There was nothing out of the ordinary that he could pinpoint.[break][break]
Robinflight's voice shook him out of his confused thoughts.[break][break]
"No," he said confidently despite his true lack of confidence in his own words. "I trust you are alright. But burying sick cat's food is an important cautionary practice." [break][break]
He motioned with his tail for Robinflight to come closer. He had driven her away before, but now Cherrybloom would need someone to comfort her. It did not appear the Spore was contagious, he thought to himself, or surely he and Robinflight would have it by now. Spiritstar would need to hear of this. [break][break]
"Thank you though, Robinflight," he blinked in gratitude at the young she-cat, who had uncomplainingly buried her prized kill. She had always been a favorite of his - eager and quick to respond. Who knew if Cherrybloom would have been okay, had he arrived a minute later?
All at once everyone seemed to move around her. It was almost as if she had disappeared and wasn't even there in the den with them. Robinflight was sure to be worried. It was in her nature and the Queen was close to her. After all, she had taken her in and kept her as her own. While it had not been perhaps the most ideal situation at the time, she had forever cherished it once it had happened.
"Robinflight dear?" The queen called softly, hoping that her daughter would make her way over to her. While Cherrybloom was indeed worried with what had happened, she was almost more concerned about how her daughter was handling it. And how quickly the news would spread to Fogsplash and her other kits. She wasn't one to indulge others in her problems, in fact, she preferred taking on the problems of others. And with the tables now turned, she could only hope that damage control could be done with her returning to normal and appearing as if nothing had even phased her.
"Won't you come sit by your mother?" She beckoned once more, her tail gesturing for her daughter to come closer.
Robinflight tucked that little bit of knowledge into the back of her mind. She would never have the patience or temperament for being a medicine cat, but it didn't hurt to know a few things so she could maybe help before Skywhisper got there. "Of course! she responded to his gratitude. I would do anything to make sure Cherrybloom was okay. She wasn't just the queen who had taken her in, after all, but the queen who treated her like her daughter and let Robinflight treat her like her mother.
She had been creeping slowly closer until Cherrybloom suddenly beckoned her over. And, well, Skywhisper had made it clear that it was safe to be around her again! So Robinflight darted forward and pressed herself against the other she-cat and started purring hesitantly. "Are you feeling okay, Cherrybloom?" She gave a quick lick to one of Cherrybloom's ears. "It's not bothering you anymore?"