Poppypaw could feel Ivypaw leaning heavily against him.Her breath was a thick,rumbling wheeze that made shivers run up his spine.He had never heard a cat breath like that before and it worried him.
Mosspaw's tail drooped.He could tell his brother was disapointed...with himself.What had Mosspaw said?Surely it couldn't have been that bad.Maybe I was too harsh...Poppypaw sighed.He was always correcting his brother.Because I wanted him to do better.He sighed a second time.
Ivypaw glanced at him.“Something's bothering you."she croaked.
He shook his head.“No."
“Yes,"she wheezed,“You've been acting strange,and you have that weird look in your eye that you get when you're worried about something."
“You."Poppypaw looked at his brother,who was dragging his tail in the dirt.He was lagging behind the others,off by himself.“And Mosspaw.He looks like he's having a hard time with something.Was I too hard on him?"
Ivypaw thought a moment.“Maybe.But he'll perk up soon enough."
Mosspaw stumbled on a tree root.He didn't even notice.
“I don't think so,"Poppypaw meowed.“He's so distracted."
Ivypaw sighed.“Sometimes it's good to be distracted.It means you're thinking.And thinking can be good."
He saw the sense in her words but worry for Mosspaw still lingered in the back of his mind.
Suddenly the trees opened into the sandy clearing where the apprentices arrived.The thing sat in the center.It seemed like moons since the morning that Mosspaw had pushed the circle that made it hum.But really it was only like a day.
Pinestar cocked his head.“It's true,"he mumured,“It really is true."
Poppypaw nodded.“It brought us here."He looked at his littermates.“Maybe it could take us home."
“But that awful spinning,"Ivypaw moaned.
Pinestar looked at it.“How does it work?"
“You push the red circle,and the box gets warmer.Then it begins to hum,and sping,and everything goes dark."Poppypaw explained.
“Then we were here."Ivypaw added.
Pinestar looked at it.“Amazing."
Mosspaw didn't say anything.He stumbled behind them,head hung in shame and thought.
Poppypaw looked at them,then dipped his head to Pinestar.“Thank you,for being kind to us.You welcomed us into your camp and your medicine cats helped me treat my sister.We are grateful.Now we must try and go home."
Pinestar dipped his head in farewell.“Goodbye.I hope you have a safe journey.May StarClan light your path."
Poppypaw plopped down on the board,Ivypaw leaning against him.Mosspaw sat down on the box.Distractedly,he pushed the circle.