soon may the wellerman come | mudpelt

When Flycatcher had been invited to go hunting with one of the RiverClan cats, he had been quick to say yes. It was only when Mudpelt, the cat who had invited him, started leading him to the river, that he realised he had made a mistake. He had little to no skill when it came to fishing, and now here he was, likely about to be asked to do exactly that. Still, despite his concerns, he was willing to give it a go. Mudpelt had come across as a nice enough tom in their brief conversations with each other and he was certain that even if he failed (which he knew was likely to be the case) Mudpelt was unlikely to get mad at him. Hopefully...

Flycatcher followed the chocolate tom closely as he led him to a more secluded spot where they could fish. As Mudpelt got himself in a position close to the edge, Flycatcher tried his best to mimic the RiverClan tom, though his stance was wobbly and uneven. They did not wait long until the shadows of fish danced tantalisingly close to the surface. In theory, it should have been an easy catch. Unfortunately, Mudpelt had asked Flycatcher to tag along, and the ThunderClan tom did not know how to properly swipe a fish out of the water. Instead, when the time came to act, he pounced as he would when catching a mouse or any prey close to the ground, and ended up more or less diving into the river, scaring away any would-be prey. Wet and embarrassed, Flycatcher turned back to the RiverClan tom with a sheepish expression. "Whoops." Was the only word he said to his companion.

Mudpelt was thrilled to get to know one of RiverClan's very own neighbors! He trots along happily, leading his newfound pal through the wetlands, pushing through reeds and drapes of willow trees. The two make idle chit-chat, and already he can tell Flycatcher is a cool tom. He can really see them ending up as friends, even after ThunderClan moves back into their forest (camp was getting a bit crowded, anyhow).

When they arrive at the river, Mudpelt swiftly sinks into a practiced position, paw raised in the air and eyes locked onto the water. He leans back until his shadow only sinks over the mossy ground, and with a grin on his maw he shifts his gaze to his companion. He almost spews with laughter as almost immediately, Flycatcher pounces into the shallow water, drenching himself. "I didn't know ThunderClanners were so graceful!" He jokes loudly, no longer concerned with the fish as he lets out a hearty chuckle. They'd all be gone anyway!

Flycatcher rolls his eyes playfully at the light taunting from Mudpelt. As embarrassed as he feels in that moment, he notes that it would have been an amusing scene to witness, with him practically diving into the water instead of using the careful technique to fish that the RiverClan cats widely practice.

Stepping back up onto the bank, Flycatcher shakes out his fur, trying his best not to drench his companion in the process. His green eyes look back to the water and then back at Mudpelt. "Well, I guess fishing might be a bust then," He mews, chuckling faintly due to his own ineptitude. A thoughtful expression takes hold of his features as he considers what they might do next. After a moment, Flycatcher looks toward the forest in the distance. "Would you be open to some forest hunting?" He asks, raising a brow towards Mudpelt.
Mudpelt chuckles again, nodding as he steps away from the rippling water. "Any fish in this area is long gone now," He agrees with a nod, although his voice isn't scolding. He's amused! RiverClan has good luck with plentiful prey, so one failed fishing trip is no reason to get anyone's tail in a twist. But Flycatcher then mentions forest hunting, and the chocolate tom grows nervous, tendrils of anxiety winding up his legs and making them lock in place. "I mean - sure, if you want to! I'll just watch!" He finally trills, grinning. He's never been known to successfully catch anything on land. Although he hates to admit it, he is curious to see how a ThunderClanner does it. Living in a forest must mean they're super good at stalking mice and birds!

Although Mudpelt doesn't seem as enthusiastic about going hunting on land he doesn't say no, which in Flycatcher's eyes is a victory. "You sure?" Flycatcher presses, when Mudpelt says he'll just watch. "If you're nervous don't be - I'm sure you're much better than you think!"

With a second attempt at hunting agreed upon, Flycatcher leads the way this time, guiding Mudpelt through the trees. The forest in RiverClan's territory is not like that of his home, and despite spending some time looking up at trees, the blue tabby decides against hunting up there. Besides, Mudpelt seemed reluctant enough to be hunting on land, he dreaded to think how his companion might feel about hunting in the trees. Flycatcher moved carefully over the terrain, keeping a good pace but also ensuring he did not move too fast, lest he disturb any particularly skittish prey. They continue walking until Flycatcher comes to a halt, signalling for his companion to do the same. "Mouse," He says, before gesturing with his head to the creature not far in front of them, oblivious to the hunters in the bushes.

Since Mudpelt was comfortable just watching, Flycatcher pushes on ahead. Stepping out to the left so he can remain downwind of the oblivious mouse. It was quite a plump looking mouse too which meant a particularly delicious meal awaited the two toms if Flycatcher was successful. He would wait until the mouse had turned away, bunching his hindquarters up, and then, when the moment was right, he leapt. His front paws clamped the mouse to the ground and a sharp bite to its neck ensured it did not suffer for long.
"Wow!" Comes the hushed praise, the tom's gaze lighting up as Flycatcher catches the mouse with such practiced ease. Envy burns within him - he wants to do that! With an impressed grin and wide amber eyes, the warrior pads forward to sniff at the mouse, unused to smelling one so freshly-caught. Normally, he just catches a whiff of the occasional mouse on the fresh-kill pile. "How do you move like that? And pounce so precisely? It's like magic!" The man exclaims (albeit softly; he doesn't want to disturb any other prey in the area).

If his newfound pal can so easily do it, why can't he? A wave of determination washes over the rather naive hunter, and he turns to look around with narrowed eyes. He awkwardly stalks through the reeds, bulky frame making it rather difficult to do. He had smelled bird in this direction, and now he only wants to show Flycatcher that he can do this, too! And...perhaps he wants to prove it to himself as well. After several long moments, he gets close enough to deem acceptable to pounce. But when he does, it's sloppy, unpracticed, ill-executed. He clumsily leaps forward and tosses big, ugly swipes at the birds that are now taking flight in the air. When it's all said and done, he is sitting on his rump, legs splayed, staring after the birds with a pout upon his face. They taste gross, anyway!

It's unusual for him to get such praise. He's a good hunter but by his own admission, there are warriors in ThunderClan with far better skills than himself. Still, Flycatcher's cheeks warm at the compliment.

When Mudpelt begins to try and imitate him, Flycatcher says nothing but watches with intrigue. He doesn't know where Mudpelt had initially come from before settling in RiverClan. He knows that RiverClan cats are fond of fish and seem to have refined their hunting skills to reflect that diet, but he can't help but wonder at that moment how practised they are at hunting other prey. Judging by how Mudpelt stalks through the reeds and later pounces at a flock of birds, Flycatcher guesses it's not something they practice often. He pads out alongside his new friend and flicks a tail reassuringly over his shoulder. "Well, your pounce was more than a little clumsy, but I really can't fault the effort," He said in a jovial tone.
Mudpelt's cheeks immediately heat up from the embarrassment as his companion arrives. At least Flycatcher doesn't laugh at him! Humiliated, the warrior gets to his paws and gives his sleek pelt a swift shake. "Erm...I'm a fisher, if that's not obvious, heh," He offers with a halfhearted smile, trying not to show how truly embarrassed he is that he's unable to hunt a single piece of prey on land. He never has had the knack for it - constantly, he watches his clanmates bring down water voles and wonders why he can't do it, too? It's pathetic!

"Yes, I can see that," Flycatcher chuckled. "And as you could probably tell from before, I am not a fisher." Flycatcher cast a discerning glance at his new friend, noting that he seemed pretty downbeat about his failure to catch anything. "Have you ever hunted on land before?" Flycatcher would ask. He hoped his question wouldn't come across as rude but he was genuinely curious. He knew all too well that RiverClan preferred their fish but he had also seen some of them hunting voles and birds at the water's edge. He assumed not all of them had lived by the river prior to the clans formation, so surely must have had some experience at hunting on land. "If you'd like I could give you some pointers? Maybe show you a good hunting stance to use should you ever try again," Flycatcher offered.
Flycatcher's attempt at making him feel better does cause his mouth to quirk up a bit at the edges, although the dejection is still evident in his gaze. He's pretty horrible at hiding his feelings, after all. In response to the ThunderClanner's question, Mudpelt sits up and grimaces, glancing away awkwardly. "I've tried, ever since I was a kit! I've just never gotten the hang of it." His brother on the other hand? So much better at it! So unfair. At this rate, he won't even be able to teach Fernpaw anything about land hunting, too! I'm continuing the cycle! He realizes with horror.

And yet, upon hearing his new friend's offer, Mudpelt attempts to keep some semblance of pride. He smiles and shrugs, shaking his head assuredly. "Oh, no, no! I'm good, I'm fine! Who needs to learn how to hunt mice and stuff anyway, right?" Stars, he's a horrible liar. Of course it would be cool to hunt mice! Perhaps later that day he can sneak after more of the ThunderClanners staying with them and watch their form, though...
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