After appointing Nettlewhisker as his new deputy, Cloudstar leads the warrior into the forest to have a private conversation with him. Cloudstar declares that "the Clan leader's word is law" is a poisonous rule in the warrior code. Nettlewhisker looks at him in confusion while Cloudstar notes how much the deputy looks like his mother.
He explains that he was the former leader, Budstar's apprentice and recites the aggression she instilled into him. Nettlewhisker is unsympathetic and considers his mother's tactics "good advice".
Cloudstar explains how he fell asleep on his vigil and allowed an enemy kit to sneak into camp. After capturing it, Budear made him watch as she killed it. When Budstar was made early leader, Cloudstar was promoted to deputy and had to watch as she led the clan into battle after battle.
Nettlewhisker maintains that his mother was a good leader since she also brought great success to MistClan. while Cloudstar argues that she did nothing but made others suffer. When Nettlewhisker questions his decision to made him deputy, Cloudstar reveals that it was Budstar's last wish when she granted him one of his lives in StarClan. He says that the life she granted was loyalty, and seems disgusted by this fact as in his mind, she was anything but loyal.
Nettlewhisker argues that if Budstar hadn't killed the kit, it would have revealed the location of their camp, resulting in many cats being killed. He proclaims that his mother was the strongest cat and beet leader MistClan had ever had and that her exploits gained territory and prey that stopped the clan from going hungry. He vows to carry on her legacy and be the kind of leader she was.
Cloudstar calls Budstar a rogue, saying he's tried so long to make peace. Nettlewhisker retorts that he's made a mockery of the clan and says that battles are a natural part of clanlife. He declares that he'd rather be an aggressive leader that fights for the clan than a coward who makes his clan miserable while trying to keep them safe.