Chapter Ten:

A few days later, the panda wasn't in very good shape. He was scared silly by all the sounds around him and was sure he was going to be eaten by something.

Which brought about another problem. Food. He had no idea what would be okay for him to eat or not, and by this time he was wishing that old wizard was still around.

True, he was smelly and mean and a overly confident coward, but atleast with him he'd been fed properly, even if it there were long waits in between.

When he wasn't running around in fright he was huddled beneath a tree,
thinking his situation over and coming up with nothing he liked.

Finally, on the third day, his savior arrived. At first he was sure he was doomed.

Shannara had taken to wandering the woods in what ever form striked her as interesting. It was oddly comforting to just aimlessly drift around as some animal, with no worries in the world.

On one such venture she decided to try out a wild cat.... she met a curious little red creature...... what followed was immencly interesting to the aspiring young wizard.

As soon as he saw her the little creature darted away.

She chased him. And chased him some more. Finaly she got close enough to get a good look at him. This had to end. His screaming was going to draw unwanted attention.

A pounce and she had the thing pinned down.

"Please! I'm sorry! Don't eat me!"

Were her current form capable, she would have laughed. The poor thing.
She didn't know what it was, but it was kind of cure in it's own special way

Without another thought she picked it up in strong cat jaws and carried it off.

The panda grumbled and begged and complained and pleaded for the entire trip.
When they got to the castle, he shut up. For about a minute. Then he was full blown jabbering again.

"What on earth are you doing with me? Were are we going? Who are you?
What are you? Hey, that hurts! If you're going to eat me will you please get it over with already? Hey, were are we?"

He was still jibbering when Shannara dropped him on the floor of the study and shifted back to her normal self. That gave him something new to talk about.

"Wow, you're a wizard arn't you? What are you going to do with me? You don't eat panda do you? I...."

"Quiet! I've heard quite enough from you! I'm trying to help you, you sily creature!"

The, what had he called himself? Panda. Yes, the panda wasn't seeming all that cute anymore. Instead she was extremely frustrated with him.

"Oh. In that case, I'm hungry."

A few hours later the panda was sleeping soundly on a blanket in front of the fire.

Pat watched it, unamused.

"Why did you bring that -thing- here?"

"It seemed to be in trouble."

"It is trouble. I've never seen anything quite so...."

"Cute?"

"No, cute wasn't the word I was looking for. More like...."

"Cuddley?"

Pat growled. "No. Exactly the opposite in fact. It's a nuicance."

Shannara laughed. "You're just jealouse."

"Am not. What's to be jealouse of? He's nothing more than a dirty little obnoxious cub."

"Ah, I think he's cute. Just don't tell him I said that."

Pat shook his head slightly. "Don't worry, I would never dream of doing such a thing."

With that he walked out, off to do whatever it was cats did. Probably sleep.

Shannara watched the panda for a little while longer.

It had vaguely told her were it came from, causing her to feel pity for it.

It had no name, no home that it could remember. It's former master had been anything but nice. If you could trust his discription.

And what was more, it had power. She could feel it. What that might mean was a different matter entirely.

He awoke a short time later, ate, went back to sleep again. A few days and it was more than apparent that he was not in any way willing to earn his keep.

Pat thought they should throw him out.

And he still had no name.

It was a bit of a problem for Shannara. "Hey you" only worked for so long.

Finally one day after it awoke from an overly long nap, blinking up at her, it struck her.

"You know what? I think I'll call you Blink. All you ever do is eat sleep and blink your eyes at me. Fitting yes?"

The panda, or Blink, nodded. "Indeed."