Prologue

Fear! Pain! PAIN! Gotta run! Get away!

She knew she had to run, they were chasing her. She had to get to safety. Such pain! Her leg wouldn't respond anymore, so she crawled in the wet mud and water, trying to get away. She didn't know what it was that was chasing her, but there were 3 of them, large, black, on 4 legs, slinky things with something that swished around behind them. She was scared of these things, and the pain they brought. She didn't want the pain anymore. So she had tried to run, run away.

They had caught her! She could see them now, with there black eyes, looking at her like dinner. She was scared, she was hurt, and most of all, she knew this was the end of her short short life. She turned over, exposing her stomach, trying to relive the pain in her leg. She knew that she was gone, never to be free again. She closed her eyes as one of them jumped at her, accepting her fate...

Nothing. No pain, no wetness on her back, no damp air around her. It felt like she was on some soft "thing" that kept her warm. She felt something heavy and warm on top of her. What could this be? Where was she? And most of all, why?

She crawled out of the "thing" covering her, and saw for the first time a small white room. It was so large! She could run forever in this room! She realized she could run! Looking back, she saw there was a brown wrapping around her leg. It was keeping the leg still, but still allowing her to bend her knee. She started to look better around. This place may have been huge, but as large in width and length as it was, it was almost as tall. It could have been 20 of her, standing up tall and proud! Where WAS she? As she looked around, she noticed there was another creature here. Something she had never seen in her life. It walked on 2 legs, had 2 other legs that moved on its top, and was some kind of color different from her own. She didn't have words for most of what she knew. She just knew it. It got up of the "thing" it was on, and came over to her. It was trying to communicate, but she just heard babble. It didn't make the sounds she did. Was there something wrong with it? She wondered if perhaps this thing was why she was here. Or perhaps it might know, if only she could get it to talk like her. She looked at this creature again. This was a tall thing almost as tall as one of her attackers, should they be on 2 legs instead of 4.

The creature picked her up, held her in its other legs. How was it able to do this? She couldn't hold things with her front legs! Why should IT be special like that!!! It took one of its legs and rubbed her head, moving her ears back and making her feel good.

"Be still little one, You will not be harmed here. We will talk when you can communicate to me better" she heard these things In her head. How? How could it communicate like that? All she could do was growl and make other sounds? And why did its other leg feel so good on her head and ears?! It placed her down, covered her up again, and placed its other leg on her head once more. She felt warmth coming from his other leg ... no, it was a hand. She knew that now, a hand. She started being able to know what things were, instead of just a "thing". This strange creature was a human, a male human. He was "sitting" on a "chair" and this was a "room". The soft thing below her was a pillow, and she had a blanket covering her. Try as she might, she could not tell what SHE was. There was no word in her newly coming vocabulary to say what creature she was. She HAD to know. He had told her that they could talk when she was better. She WOULD get better! She had to. She now had a mission, and a purpose. To know what she is, and what happened to her.

She was still tired when she woke up. "Woke up, interesting way to express that" she thought to herself. She took stock of her surroundings. She was still in the room from before, but it seemed different. It was MUCH smaller. Even her pillow and blanket were smaller. She couldn't focus her eyes though. Try as she might, she was still tired, and her eyes kept un-focusing. HE walked over from his chair, placed his hand on her furry head again and whispered to her, in actual words this time. "Sleep little one, I will watch over you. You have been through a lot, its time to rest and recover. I will be here when you awaken." She felt that warmth from his hand again, and felt her eyes droop. She had a realization just as her head hit the pillow. The room didn't shrink, SHE had grown!

Erin walked out of the room he had been in for the past 2 days. The panther cub that he had rescued had finally recovered, and when she awoke, he would be there, but that would be a few days yet. He had used his powers of the mind to implant his language into her, and to speed up her healing. Once she was healed, her body started to rapidly age, to that of an adult panther. She would be a large one indeed, almost one and a half times that of a regular panther. This one would be a good match for Shadow, but first, he had to teach her. Training a newly sentient creature was going to be tiresome, but he had done it before, and would do it again when needed. This one wasn't a need however; it was a favor to Shadow, for all of his loyalty and trust. He needed this. He needed a friend and companion.

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