Eagleheart sank his teeth into his prey, slowly chewing on the chunk he bit off. The seal-point tom raised his odd colored gaze when he felt glares lingering on his pelt. He swallowed his mouthful and glowered back at several of his clanmates.
They snorted and turned their back on him, bending their heads closer together as they gossiped. The warrior rolled his eyes, quickly finishing off the rest of his food before licking his lips and rising to his paws just as a patrol returned. The patrol was calling loudly to the leader of the Clan, their chests puffed out in pride and their tails swishing happily. The leader poked his head out of his den, his eyes glinting happily when he noticed the patrol. He cast Eagleheart a smug look before hurrying to join them. After exchanging a few words, one of the warriors in the center of the patrol shoved another cat forward.
The ghost tabby stiffened when he recognized the familiar pelt of the loner he had been helping. Eagleheart pushed forward, his eyes wide in shock. "What are you doing? Why is she here?" He demanded, his tail lashing angrily. He tried to step towards the she-cat to shield her from the others but was pushed back by one of the patrol cats. Eagleheart's lips pulled back from his teeth in a snarl for a moment before he turned to the leader. "Why is she here?" He repeated.
The leader shared a look with the leader of the patrol before responding. "We've been doubting your loyalty, Eagleheart. You've continued to help this loner no matter how many times we punish you..." He snarled. "This is the last punishment but I think it'll be good enough." The leader turned to face his clanmates, his tail twitching. "Eagleheart, to prove your loyalty to us, I want you to kill her."
The loner whimpered and tried to struggle away from the clan cats, her tail snaking between her legs and her paws kneading at the ground as they held her in place. Eagleheart looked at her with wide eyes and shook his head. "No! I can't kill her. This is wrong and you know it!" He shouted, his claws unsheathing. The leader turned on Eagleheart, unsheathing his claws as well.
"You have no choice. It's either just her or it's both of you." The leader mewed, circling the tom. Eagleheart snarled back, his focus breaking momentarily when he recognized the dark pelt of his father flashing in the crowd. Eagleheart made eye-contact with Bearclaw long enough to see the pleading look in his eyes. "Make the decision now, Eagleheart."
"I will not!" Eagleheart spat, the fur along his spine bristling. The leader turned back to Eagleheart, watching him through slitted eyes.
Without taking his eyes off of Eagleheart, the leader made an order. "Kill her."
The loner crumpled into a lifeless pile, her life slowly draining from her body. Eagleheart's fire died from his eyes as he watched, all of the strength and determination he had moments before gone. The she-cat he had spent so long helping and protecting was gone. Just like that.
The leader gave a satisfied nod before turning and disappearing back into his den like nothing had happened. Slowly, Bearclaw walked up to Eagleheart. "Eagleheart, it's best that you leave. You're no loner a part of our Clan." He mewed, trying to keep all of emotions he was feeling out of his voice and off of his face. Eagleheart looked up at his father, an unbelieving look in his eyes.
"Go, Eagleheart. Now."
Eagleheart struggled to his paws, shooting a disbelieving look at his clanmates. "You fox-hearts." He snarled before turning and darting out of the camp. The tom knew he was leaving behind everything he knew. He knew leaving behind everything he ever knew would bring him a lot of heartache and pain in the future, but Eagleheart also knew that his pain would make him stronger and that one day, no one would ever hurt those he cared for again.