Ashes of the Dried Tears… Part 1

Prateek Jain
8 min readDec 4, 2022

I am bringing another story from our lazy but loving Mr. Panda. It’s been a while since you’ve heard any stories from him and there is a reason for that. But, I am not gonna tell you right now and will be writing some other time about it.

The sole reason I have not written anything so far is that whenever I sit down to write, I get shivers and tears start brimming up in my eyes. Hopefully, I will get the strength to write it, and to be honest, I have to, it's the responsibility given to me by Mr. Panda himself, first and may be the only one he will ever give.

I won’t dwell much on this and let me tell you about another adventure of his.

Like all the story starts, Once upon a time, there was a huge and powerful kingdom in the North which had not faced even a single defeat in any of the battles or wars for the last 300 years!

Unbelievable, right? You might be thinking how is it even possible? Yes, he had the same questions, when he was young, and was curious to know if it is even true or if history was manipulated by the powerful and rich nobles of the kingdom.

In his own words:

When the village head told us about this story, during one of our history lessons, I thought it is just a myth and did not believe it. But, in the days which followed after this breakout — I kept pondering upon it and could not shake it off my mind. Over time — I don’t want to use this word — but I kinda became obsessed. To the point, that I rebelled against my parents and decided to go on a journey myself. Neither my parents, friends, or even my school teachers were on board with the idea, but, I had to, for three reasons, solve the mystery about the kingdom, test my prowess, and somehow get her out of my mind…

One night, I grabbed some fruits from the storage, packed a few sets of clothes, called out to Goddess Mother Kali, to provide me the strength for the journey, and then sneaked out of the house under the shadow of the moon. I knew everyone will be worried, so, I left a note on my bed, informing them about my venture to the North.

The graphics of the bedroom of Mr. Panda, the night he left for the Kingdom in the North.
Note Left by Mr. Panda, the night he left for the Kingdom in the North (NFT To be Collected 1/1000)

I walked past the woods…

All of a sudden, he paused, lost in some thoughts, and started sweating. He froze and his face looked lifeless like someone pulled his soul out of him. I shook him up, slapped him hard a couple of times, shouted his name, and finally after some struggle I had him back. I quickly rushed to the kitchen and got a glass of water for him, he slowly drank and apologized. I too took a few deep breaths and calmed myself.

All of a sudden, he paused, lost in some thoughts, and started sweating. He froze and his face looked lifeless like someone pulled his soul out of him. I shook him up, slapped him hard a couple of times, shouted his name, and finally after some struggle I had him back. I quickly rushed to the kitchen and got a glass of water for him, he slowly drank and apologized. I too took a few deep breaths and calmed myself.
Mr. Panda sitting there on a chair, lifeless. (NFT To be Collected 1/1000)

I know you must be worried about me and I apologize for that. It is just that I recalled some incident that happened on my way to the kingdom and it was damn so scary that it still sends shivers down my spine. I know you might be interested in knowing what happened, but, I am not ready for that, maybe some other time I will tell you about that, but now is not the time.

Where was I?

Yea! I went through woods, passed the rivers, and encountered various towns on my way, the towns where I rested, bathed, and had a belly full of food🙂 Though there was a time when it was almost night, I could not find any town nearby and I was so scared as it was getting darker and darker by every minute that passed. I had completed only my high school on hunting where they teach us how to hunt during the days, and my advanced school on hunting classes where they teach to hunt at night had to begin. So, if I encountered any of the dangerous animals, I was completely defenseless.

But, after a few miles of walking, I saw a huge old monument made up of stones, I had heard about such monuments, it is the place that humans call temples the holy places of worship. I had never seen one before and had a jaw-dropping experience seeing such huge crowds of humans.

Temple with huge Crowd (NFT to be Collected 1/1000)

I knew going closer could be fatal, so, I searched nearby some safe place to settle. As I was on my mini-quest, something hit my head and I heard the chatter of monkeys from above.

Mr. Panda Looking up when something hit his heead. (NFT to be Collected 1/100)

I looked above and found a tribe of monkeys in the trees and they invited me upwards.

A Troop of Monkeys on the top of a tree. (NFT to be Collected 1/1000)

I climbed up, skillfully, and introduced myself to them. They were astonished upon learning that I had been traveling for months and ventured here from miles to the south from here. They offered me some dishes which they called “Prashad”, it was made up of small round dry sweet stuff. I never had it before, and it was damn tasty. I wanted to have another bowl of it, but it won’t be courteous to ask, so I skipped the thought. They also offered me some space to sleep in and some sheets to cover myself from the freezing cold.

I was curious to know more about the temple and asked the monkey who was sleeping next to me, to tell me more about the temple. What he told me, you won’t believe it. That temple was known to have been blessed by the Gods themselves and people from across all parts of the land went there to offer their prayers, that temple also had some darker side, which the monkeys or any other animals in the jungle usually don’t talk about. It was believed that people who get possessed by the spirits were brought there and exorcised.

Once he had heard her mother talking to her neighbors that some years back, a child was brought there, who was possessed by some very powerful and dark spirit. Even the eldest priests of the temple were unable to ward off the spirit from the child. She had been kept there chained, was brutally tortured every day and then, he told me with a fumbling voice, a few nights back she cried like a banshee. Her cries filled with hate and anger had echoed throughout the forest until dawn which had scared the wits out of them. Not even a single animal had dared to leave their hiding spot the next morning. They did not even go to the temple to collect the “Prashad”. You don’t know how tasty it was and if they could resist that, I can only wonder how scared they must’ve been. He then said no further and asked me not to tell anyone about this and he went to sleep.

I was awake for some time, pondering about the child, wanting to see her, but, I still could not get over what I had experienced before during this journey of mine. The incident still sends shivers down my spine and hence, I dropped the idea of even going near the child. I wonder what had happened to her.

The next day, I thanked the family for the food, the place, and the packet of Prashad they had packed for me for the journey😄 I kept looking at the temple until it was out of my sight.

After struggling for another week or two, I had finally reached some human settlement as I could see highly raised walls and hoped that it was the Kingdom I was aiming for. I circled around the walls to find my way in but was really surprised to see how tight the security was. I knew, even with all the hunting lessons I had, this is not gonna be an easy feat. At least, looking at how well-guarded it was, I knew I might be at the right place, no wonder the Kingdom never tasted defeat in the last 300 years.

Heavily Guarded Fort Walls. (NFT to be Collected 1/1000)

I failed to find an opening, but, I saw a missy cat going towards the jungle carrying and wearing some jewelry.

Burglar Cat. (NFT to be Collected 1/10)

I instinctively knew she is a burglar and had stolen those items from the Kingdom, but, it was not of my concern. I called out to her, she looked back alarmed and then stopped. I had asked for her name only to get declined😄 At least, she told me the way to get in, though that came with a strict warning —



You know about Mr. Panda’s bad sleeping habits right? Just when things were about to get interesting, he left me to dry! I wanted to wake him up from his slumber, but, there was no point. I had tried waking him up before and never got even a single success.

He left so many things open-ended, what did he encounter during his journey that he is so afraid to even tell? Who was that child, was she even possessed? And what was the meaning behind the cat’s warning?

I will try to get the answers to these questions and will share what happened next with you all as soon as possible.

To be honest, I am not gonna get sleep tonight, as my brain is continuously running the entire story on a playback. So, I thought of writing this down as it is still fresh in my mind and to also share my sleeplessness with you all🙂

Hope after reading this you’re also not able to sleep, why should I have all the fun😛

One more thing — Mr. Panda clicked some of the Photos during his journey and has put them up for sale on the link below, these prove that this all really happened and you might not want to miss the proof of the magical world and the divinity. Divinity? What does that mean? Adios, dear readers!

Opensea Collection Link: Ashes of the Dried Tears — Collection | OpenSea
All collectibles have been generated using Midjourney or StableDiffusion AI.