Part V

One year later: It was spring again in the beautiful mountains. Cherry blossoms once again fall from the trees and the birds sung their spring time music. It was a season of new life and new beginnings, but it didn't bring its' usual happiness to one.

Panther sighed sadly as looked over the mountain side. He was a litter bigger than he was just a year ago. He was a couple inches taller and he was skinnier. His cloths, however, were messy, too small for him, and torn in many places. His hair and nails were also much longer to the point he could no longer wear shoes, but Panther no longer care about his appearance.

Not even the season could lift his mood anymore. Spring, after all, used to be his favorite season, but now, it only brought back memories of the pass year.

A couple days after the massacre the authorities had taken the bodies of the villagers back to their respected families. Those villagers who manage somehow survive the slaughter had long ago move away. The village was now a ghost town where no one dared to live.

No one could explain what had happen the night of the attack. The only information that Panther heard out of the survivors was that a monster destroyed the village.

"A monster..." Panther whispered. He had looked high and low for such a creature, but there had been no sign of it since that night.

Panther suspected that his same creature was also the one who killed his grandfather. After all, his grandfather was a powerful master. No human could has possibly killed him. Even though, the same marks were not found on his body as the villagers.

It was these questions that made this day even more unbearable. It was one thing to lose his grandfather, but to have have no answers to who had killed brought no closer.

He sighed to himself as he jumped from the tree he was sitting in and slowly walked through the forest.

There was no one now. Even though the townspeople never liked him, he was still surrounded by people. He also had the love and support of his grandfather who loved him no matter what he was. It was him that made his banishment from the village easier to handle.

But, his grandfather was gone now. He had no family to go to and he was too afraid to leave the safety of the mountains. This was the only home he knew, plus where would he go?

As a half-demon, he would not be welcome anywhere in the world. He would be chase from sight or even killed by people who saw him. He was trap with no way out and sentence to die alone in these mountains.

He stopped his thoughts as he finally reached his destination. He approached a small stone slab that laid in the middle of the pasture. The cherry blooms from the trees completely covered the opening.

Panther brushed away the blooms from stone and kneel before it. Panther slowly reached out to the stone and traced his claw fingers around the craved letters.

Here lies the Great Master Tike

A Beloved Grandfather and Mentor

May he forever be at Peace

Panther knew these words by heart. He could remember the day he craved them with his own claws like it was yesterday. Today, was exactly a years since he grandfather was killed.

"Hi Grandpa." He whispered hoarsely. His normally bright green eyes were dull as tears freely fall down his cheeks.

"It's been a year since you lift. I miss you so much." Panther shuddered lightly.

"I'm lost grandpa. I've been lost for a long time now." He said sadly. "I'm so lonely here. This place used to be filled with such happy memories, now only darkness is here now." Panther began to rock himself back and forward.

"Why couldn't that creature kill me as well!?" Panther shouted in grief. "Why did it take you away and leave me in this empty world!? To cry without comfort, to scream without being heard, to have no future except the darkness."

Panther took several deep breaths before he continued. "I am alone in this darkness, Grandpa, and I am afraid of the dark."

He cried even harder into the silent stone. "Please, Grandpa, tell me that everything will be okay again. Tell me that there is something to have hope for." He knew that he would receive no answer, but he still hope to hear something.

After crying at the tomb for a few more minutes, he got up to leave the silent pasture.

"Goodbye Grandpa." Panther whispered as he walked back to his house.

He had gotten everything ready. Panther sighed as he packed up the rest of the necessary equipment. Today was the day had been planning for a long time. A part of him was afraid, but he was also happy that he had finally gathered the courage to do this. No matter what happen today, he will finally be free of his loneliness.

He finished his packing and closed the door to his house one last time. He wonder for a moment if he should lock the door, but quickly dismissed the idea. He wasn't ever coming back here again.

Gathering his things, he made his way into the woods. It was night as Panther began his march through the deepest part of the forest. The air was cool with the spring breeze and the smell of flowers filled his sense. It was cruelly ironic that the night had to be so peaceful while he felt so bad inside. Panther, however, was not going to turn back now. He had set himself on this course and he would see it through till the end.

He finally arrived at the location that he had chosen months ago. It was a cliff with a tree at the tip of it. With a short breath, he pulled out a rope that he had made himself and tied it to one of the branches.

He then proceeded to tie the rope into a knot. With that part done, he went to the edge of the cliff and pulled out a wooden dummy he had made from behind the tree. He didn't know why, but he wanted to test the rope before he used it on himself. He had to make sure that it was strong enough.

Within minutes, he ad the wooden dummy hanging perfectly from the tree branch. It seemed he was able to make a rope strong enough to carry his body weight.

Panther was about to take the dummy down when the tree branch suddenly snapped and sent the dummy tumbling to the ground. It had bounce and rolled off the cliff several times before it fell into the valley below.

Panther ran to the edge to to see the damage to the dummy. He stared in shock at what he saw. The dummy had hit several sharp edges on the way down, which caused the wooden dummy to break into pieces. Parts of it were scattered across the cliff.

If he had of hung himself just now, he would had fell into the valley. He would had broken who knew how many parts of his body on the way down. Although the whole point was to die, he didn't want it to happen by him bleeding to death or lying broken on the forest floor.

"I can't even kill myself right" Panther muttered in disgust. In a way was grateful for what had happen.

"Am I pitiful. Too afraid to die and too afraid to live." Panther said humorlessly. He would just have to try again later. After all, they were plenty of trees in the woods. With nothing else to do here, he made his way back home.

He was so absorbed in his thoughts, that he didn't see the tree's roots that laid in his path. Before he knew what had happen, he tripped over the one of the roots and fell ungracefully to the ground.

Panther muttered a curse to himself as he rubbed his bruised arm. He was about to stand up when he noticed a shiny object lying in front of him.

Curiously, he reached for the strange object that was covered in dirt and brought it into his sight.

To Panther's uttered surprise, it was the amulet that his grandfather had given him years ago. He carefully looked over the amulet and saw that it wasn't damage at all. He had thought that that he had lost this necklace forever. Tears once again began to fall from Panther's eyes as he took the amulet and held it against his heart.

"Grandpa," Panther whispered. For the first time since his grandfather's death he felt warm all over his body. It was almost like someone had thrown a blanket over his shoulders in the dead of winter. More hot tears ran down his pale face as he remember his grandfather's words when he gave him this necklace.

"When you feel alone, look at his amulet and remember me." Panther muttered as he recalled that night. "For I will always be with you." The memory seem to have brought new life into Panther.

Although his grandpa was no longer with him, his sprite would always be with him. The realization of this made Panther feel almost dizzy with happiness. To think, it took going to the edge of death to finally see what had been right in front of him this whole time.

His grandpa wouldn't want him to die or grieve over him, but to live to the best to his ability and create a new future.

He looked into the sky and smile at the starts. "Thank you, Grandpa." Panther said as he put the necklace around his neck and made his way back home.

The sun was beginning to rise over the horizon and on Panther's new life. Although there would be many hard days ahead, he knew that somehow he would survive. He was no longer afraid of the dark.

Well, that is the end. Thank you all for reading and reviewing this story. Your feedback was very helpful and I hope all of you enjoyed reading this story as I had writing it.

On that note, I am considering about turning this one story into a small series about what happens to Panther after this point in his life. I have some ideas what would happen, but I would like to hear from you. If you think a sequel would be a good idea for this story, just write it into the review. In either case, I will be working on my other story for awhile, so it may be a while before I even write such a story.

Until then, check out my other works and happy writing to you all:)