And... this is the final part of this story. It'll be short, but I thought it could stand on its own.

"Mao, please don't cry," C.C. pleaded with Mao, as he lay sobbing in her arms. "The man didn't mean to run over your puppy."

"Yeah maybe but...," said Mao, "Why'd he have to be so mean about it? He didn't care at all! My poor little puppy...!"

"Mao, it's alright...," said C.C., "Listen, would you like me to find you a new puppy?" Frankly, C.C. thought, Mao was better at finding the animals than she was, but anything to cheer him up.

"Gee, I dunno," said Mao, "I just... I hate that man! I hate him, I hate him, I hate him! He killed my puppy and doesn't even care!"

"He did apologize to you," C.C. reminded him.

"Yeah, but he didn't feel bad at all!" said Mao. His face grew very, very dark. "He should die. Like he killed my puppy."

"Mao..., you really believe that?" said C.C., not quite sure what she was hearing. "That's a terrible thing to say..."

"You really think so...?" Mao desperately searched for something else he could blame on his misfortune. And then it came to him: his powers. If he had no mind-reading powers, he wouldn't have known what the man was thinking. "Oh, C.C.!" he started sobbing again, louder than before, and buried his head in C.C.'s breasts. "C.C., I don't want to read minds anymore! Please take it back!"

"Mao...," C.C. sighed hopelessly, "Mao, please, try to understand, I can't."

"You c-can't?" Mao wailed, "Why not?"

"It doesn't work that way," said C.C., "There's only one way to make the powers go away, and that's not something you can do right now. I'll tell you how when you get a little... older."

"That's... dumb!" Mao whined.

"Maybe," said C.C., "But that's the way it goes."

As time went on, though, Mao started hearing little snippets of voices randomly, whether he wanted to or not, and eventually, he was hearing them all the time, full blast. "Stop it! Shut up!" he screamed, as he huddled against C.C. "Be quiet!"

"Don't listen to them," said C.C., "Just listen to the sound of my voice." By talking to Mao for several minutes, C.C. was able to calm him down. However, it became clear that she would need to take him somewhere else for his safety. "It's alright," she promised him, "We'll go away."

With that, she took Mao's hand and began walking to the train station, speaking to him soothingly all the way. "Where are we going, C.C.?" Mao asked as the two of them boarded.

"We're going so far we won't be able to see this place anymore," C.C. explained, "I'll take you to a place where there won't be anyone else's thoughts around to bother you."

"And then what?" asked Mao.

"Well... since my mind is the only one you can't read," said C.C., "and since you can only be happy when you're with me, I will stay with you, always."

"Really?" said Mao, with a smile.

"I'm right here," said C.C., "So you don't have to worry." She help Mao close to him, as he rubbed her nose with his own.

The train was fast, but nevertheless it took them hours to get into the countryside. C.C. tried to keep up a conversation with Mao in order to distract him from all the voices in his head; but every once in a while he would hear something so painful he would start to cry, and C.C. would have to comfort him. Finally, however, the train arrived at its last stop, and Mao and C.C. got off the train, and began making their way through the countryside.

From there, they continued their journey on foot, with C.C. carrying Mao on her back at times when he could no longer walk. They passed through many villages, but gradually those got fewer and farther between. When they were there, the two of them would steal food to sustain them. If they had extra time, Mao would play with the stray animals he found. The nights the two of them had to spend in the villages were the hardest for Mao, since all the thoughts and dreams of the people around him would fill his head, making him scream, cry, and writhe in C.C.'s arms until she succeeded in lulling him to sleep. He also woke up frequently.

As the two of them left their last village, Mao carried a small kitten along with him. "C.C., can I keep him?" he asked.

"Mao, why would you want to do that?" asked C.C. "We won't be able to feed any pets once we get out into the wild."

"But this is a really bad place to live," said Mao, "Everyone here gets all these terrible thoughts."

"Most of those won't affect a cat, though," said C.C. "He'll be just fine here."

"Are you sure?" asked Mao.

"Y-yeah," said C.C. quickly, "Come on, leave him."

"Oh, alright," said Mao, grudgingly putting the kitten down. "Sorry," he murmured as he watched it run back toward town.

The next people they passed were farmers, working in the rice paddies or tending animals. C.C. managed to use some of the money they had stolen from a village awhile back to buy a bag of rice. "We won't be able to find many grains where we need to go," C.C. explained, "So we have to get them from town."

It was late spring when C.C. and Mao finally found a spot where they could stay. It was a beautiful open area surrounded by mountains and forests, with a beautiful lake right in the center. There was even a small shack close by, where the two of them could sleep. The instant Mao saw it, he became wildly happy, as C.C. had never seen him before. "Wow, C.C., this is so cool!" he exclaimed as he ran around, "This is gonna be the greatest place to live, ever!" And C.C. managed to smile at his enthusiasm.

Over a period of several days, C.C. and Mao cleaned out their new cabin, and C.C. taught Mao how to build fires, how to dig a well to collect water, and how to fish and forage for plants to eat. After their first winter went by, the two of them bought some seeds from a nearby village, to grow their own fruits and vegetables. To her joy, C.C. found she never had to prod Mao to do anything- if she asked him to do it, he would. He approached all tasks with an exaggeratedly serious face, and would keep working until his task became physically impossible for him. As he grew older, he would be inventing all sorts of new ways to make their lives easier.

Now Mao was happy almost all the time. When he wasn't working, he would play with C.C. in the meadow or the woods, showering her with affection or bringing him little animals he found to inspect. He was absolutely in love with C.C., and every night he would cuddle up next to her, kneading her with his hands and purring. C.C. felt as fond of him as she had ever been of anything, and began dreading in the back of her mind the day she would ultimately have to die and leave him. But for now, all that she and Mao needed was each other.

The End