Автор: Fluffypaw

Born To Rule

Shaka slowly climbed up the large jutting part of Priderock, there was no hurry and he loved feeling the warm stone underneath his paws. He would not leave here for anything or anyone. A warm gust of wind blew through his creamy mane and he suddenly realized the real purpose of his climb. His step grew more purposeful as he reached the tip of the wind chiselled rock. Shaka looked over his lands and let out a proud roar; “Everyone! Sufa is with child! These lands have a new heir!” Filled with excitement, Shaka let out another roar, filled with joy. He bounded down the path, ready to fill in all his pride and subjects in on the news, and of course, to see Sufa.

Ahadi grinned broadly as gave Shaka a playful swat “You old son of a gun! Join the club!” they continued to tussle like small cubs until two bloated lionesses reached the cave mouth. “I think we’re going to have ENOUGH cubs around here, don’t you think Imani???” Ahadi sprung up to greet his heavily pregnant mate. “Ziwa! That old hag Upesi let you off hunting?!?” “Aren’t you pleased” she purred quietly. The other lioness wandered happily over to Shaka, bumping heads happily. “It’d be good to have another king consort around here other than this big cub” She glared disdainfully at Ahadi, who stuck his tongue out. Shaka contently chatted to his friends about the exciting news until he slinked off to meet his Queen Sufa.

Not all, however, were thrilled with this news. Three hyenas were perched atop a large skull, discussing important matters. “For Roh’kash’s SAKE Germekh, I’m trying to think!” A cream coloured hyena snapped at the blood coloured one. “Fabana, you SAID that we could take the throne considering Shaka has no brothers, only his friend Ahadi! How could you lie?!?! Now we’re goanna have to deal with some cub too!” Fabana gave Germekh a quick snap on the nose “SILENCE! I didn’t know it THEN! Besides, I think I know how we can take it anyway…” “A clever lure into our graveyard? A stampede?” “NO Gerbruk! Those are all stupid ideas! I have a better plan…

Upesi gave her hunting party a warning snarl; they were getting awfully close to the border between the hyenas and the lions. It would be better to return home without an antelope than without a lioness. Obviously most of the other lionesses didn’t agree as they muttered words that certainly were not in the teachings of Aiheu and batting stones with their paws. Upesi turned and glared at her hunting party. It said more than words ever could. She turned away. Suddenly from behind her a lioness named Mbaya broke ranks and dashed back toward the border, where a hartebeest grazed peacefully. “MBAYA! NO!” Upesi charged after the reckless lioness, determined not to let her be taken in by the obvious trap. Mbaya, although certainly not being very obedient was as quick as wildfire and it was as certain as wildebeest eat grass that Mbaya would reach the hartebeest before the Hunt Leader. Mbaya, being just in reach of the hartebeest leapt, the hartebeest, suddenly realising she was the centre of attention charged away unharmed. Mbaya crashed heavily to the ground. To Upesi’s horror three emaciated hyenas sprang upon her, their teeth sinking into her tawny coat. Upesi dug her fangs into the hide of the closest hyena, a nasty creamy one with look of superiority on her face; not an appropriate hyena expression. Upesi fought furiously as Mbaya struggled out from under the melee. The trio, tired of this painful game galloped away, blood dripping from their wounds. “Upesi… I’m sorry I thought th—” “Let’s go home” Upesi said harshly, if Imani and Ziwa had been helping this never would have happened. And now they were down THREE lionesses. These young lionesses would never learn, Upesi shook her head despairingly.

Shaka gazed up at the night sky feeling the warmth of his beautiful mate beside him. “Sufa, do the great Queens of the past live in the stars?” “Of course!.. Sometimes I think I can see my mother up there, watching over me” The royal pair lay in companionable silence for a while, the gentle breeze keeping them cool as well as swishing the long grass around them delightfully. “Shaka, all the other lionesses have decided what they will name their cubs, what will we name ours?” Shaka chuckled. “They are much closer to their time Sufa…” “I’m serious!” Shaka stared thoughtfully at the stars before concluding; “Elanna for a girl, and Akida for a boy” “Akida… What a perfect name… It means ‘leader’ ” The wise lioness said quietly. Shaka nuzzled his mate affectionately “And leader he shall be”

“That crazy lion! I won’t be able to sit for a week!” Gerbruk spat venomously. “Calm down, we only meant to give ‘em a bit of a scare and we did!” Fabana reviewed their performance optimistically. “I hate to think what Shaka’s like if that little scuffle was just a lioness!” “Well how do you propose we kill him if we can’t touch him, genius?” “YOU’RE MEANT TO BE THE SMART ONE FABANA!” Gerbruk exploded. Fabana responded by pinning him to the ground. A rather uncomfortable, bony ground. “If we start picking off lionesses, Shaka will know something’s up, come looking for us and we’ll trap him. And get that stupid cub too, whenever the creature pops out” “Charming” Germekh said dryly. “Are you goanna help or what Germekh?”. “Of course Fabana! Now how do you propose we…”

Ahadi paced furiously outside the cave where Ziwa was labouring with their cubs. “ Oh gods please let her be all right” He gazed at the rising sun, not really taking in its crimson beauty. Just before Ahadi thought he would burst with anxiety he heard a gentle call from inside; “Ahadi…” He sprinted into the cave, not being able to move fast enough. As his eyes adjusted to the light inside the cave he saw his mate gently licking three newborn cubs. A small replica of himself collided boldly into Ahadi’s foreleg. Ahadi gently picked up his son by the scruff of his neck and placed him among his siblings. “Mufasa” he said proudly. He saw a dark, small cub gazing up at him, intelligence shining in his eyes. “Taka” Ziwa said gently, guiding him to her teats, where another cub lay suckling “Nga?” Ahadi suggested a popular name from the stories of Aiheu. Ziwa smiled tiredly, “Nga it is darling”. Ahadi stayed with his new family until the novelty of fatherhood wore off and he trotted off to find His Majesty Shaka and tell him the good news. The lions pranced excitedly; this also meant to Shaka that his own sweet Sufa’s cubs were not far off… “Why ‘Taka’ Ahadi? Doesn’t that mean ‘wish’?” Before Ahadi could answer a strangled cry came from inside “Get Bonde!” Shaka’s eyes widened, that could mean only one thing: Imani was having trouble giving birth! “Two sets in one day!” Ahadi said to himself as Shaka ran off to summon the old lioness.

Bonde stood panting over Imani. Imani licked her fourth cub frantically but it was no use, she was too late. Finally, with tears in her eyes Imani turned to her other three cubs. All of them were female. Imani gazed hopelessly into the distance until she was brought back to earth with an indignant swat on the nose from a chocolate brown cub. She giggled to herself. “Kali” she said absently, for the cub certainly was spicy! Humbled by the bold cub’s presence she guided Kali to her teats and turned her attention to the other two. One seemed to shimmer in the heat of the day. “She will have to be Sarabi” Imani said decisively to Kali. Kali looked questioningly at her mother. “It means mirage” she explained. The final cub caught Imani’s eye, she couldn’t believe she had not seen her before, her pale fur and bright blue eyes seeming to shine brightly in the dim cave. “My little Sarafina” “You are such a bright star”. Imani looked over her shoulder to her beautiful baby lionesses. She wished her mate was here to see them. But she knew he was watching, from the stars.

The sun was high in the sky, the heat was just about unbearable. Lucky lionesses, Shaka thought grumpily they were in the cool shade of the acacias, looking after the still very young cubs. He weighed up his options carefully, he could both patrol the border and make sure the hyenas were keeping in line or he could stay here in the blistering heat looking at his lionesses. He chose the former and was soon far from the shade of the trees. He wondered what Ahadi was doing right now. His ginger face split into a grin, surely it could not be as exciting as border patrol. A sudden movement caught his eye, it was a hyena! Shaka recognized her as Fabana; the ringleader of the hyenas. He snarled “Get back on your own side, inbred!” Fabana turned and bared her teeth “Just hoping for a little water, would it kill you to spend more time being a fair ruler than standing here and insulting me?” “Stop being cheeky carcass tearer, I don’t believe you.” Fabana swished her tail angrily then defiantly and slowly padded to the elephant graveyard. Shaka sighed and headed back to Priderock, obviously the hyena situation was not going to heal itself.

Sufa smelled the sweet evening air. Her white coat was ruffled by the gentle breeze. She smiled; three lionesses had asked her if her coat was magical today. “I’m quite flattered… But I’m sure my coat isn’t that beautiful…” she said dreamily to herself. “ I wouldn’t say that” a voice said from behind her. “Ahadi!” Sufa spun around to greet her mate. They nuzzled briefly, their coats, ginger on white, making a contrast that was pleasant on the eyes. Ahadi gently placed a paw on Sufa’s stomach. “Not much longer…” Sufa commented, her eyes sparkling. They both were silent for a while, lost in memories; they had come to this patch of grass beneath Priderock long before they were mated. Shaka’s eyes suddenly filled with worry “Sufa… Our cubs will be younger than the others, not by much, but at least a season… I’m afraid… What if they can’t keep up?”. “ Any cubs of mine? Unable to keep up?” Sufa lashed her tail and ran off, inviting Shaka to chase her. “The question is, can you keep up with me?” The two lions frolicked over the plains, their playful growls echoing across the savannah.

Bonde sighed and scuffed her paws across the damp earth. She had no place here, she was a healing lioness! She wished Upesi was better from her heat-stroke. For less noble reasons than the rest of the pride of course. Bonde turned and gave a roar to the rest of the hunting party, they would have to look very carefully for food; most of the animals were hiding from the heat of midday. She looked behind her, Imani and Ziwa’s cubs were far too small and helpless to be left on their own. As a result Mbaya had the best hunting spot. Bonde frowned; Mbaya was not the most respectful and easy to get along with lioness in the pride, surely the incident with Upesi had proved that. The pack roamed the plains, but alas, no game was to be found. Bonde wondered : “ We could return to the border, those stinking hyenas will have some antelope or hare around, besides Shaka’s reports have said no hyenas have been found near the border for several suns…” Finally, hunger triumphed over cautiousness and they headed toward the border. And dinner. Bonde’s heart filled with hope; she could see a small herd of antelope taking advantage of the fresh grass near the border. She roared; a signal to charge. Twenty lionesses charging toward you must be quite frightening, Bonde thought absentmindedly as she signalled for everyone to cut off the old buck. To her horror, Bonde saw Mbaya sprinting toward a young, healthy doe. Bonde cursed her foolishness and took off after Mbaya. Bonde was old and tired and was no match for Mbaya. With Bonde looking on with terror Mbaya sprang toward the antelope, her timing was wrong and a hoof smashed into the side of Mbaya’s determined face. There was a sickening crunch, and then a snarl of agony, Mbaya fell to the ground, just in the path of the stampeding antelope. “NOOO!!” Bonde shrieked. The lionesses had successfully taken down the antelope but the rest were already galloping over the spot where Mbaya was. Bonde quietly led the others back home with the antelope. Although Mbaya was not the most likeable lioness, Bonde was not looking forward to facing Upesi and Shaka.

Upesi slowly paced the top of Priderock, it was early morning and the others were still dreaming peacefully. She sat back on her haunches and surveyed the lands. She turned to the East, glancing at the border. She knew Mbaya had been trouble from the start, but that didn’t make matters any better. She should have taught her, told her. Maybe then she wouldn’t be feeding the hyenas. If only Bonde hadn’t been in charge if only… No. These things happened. Mbaya was doomed from the start she thought grimly. Now it was time to concentrate on the present and forget about Mbaya. She smiled, now Upesi could understand why Shaka was up here so much. Upesi took one more glorious look at the Pridelands, then turned and padded down to her cave.

Shaka nuzzled Sufa affectionately, it was the middle of the night and Sufa had just had the unpleasant experience of a nasty dream. It was an unusually cold night for the dry season and the pair was trying to get to sleep in the privacy of their cave with no luck. Unexpectedly Sufa gave a snarl of pain. Shaka’s eyes met hers with a mixture of alarm and excitement. For the next few moments there was no sound from the top cave other than soft scrabbling and finally one tiny mew pierced the air. Shaka looked proudly down at his creamy son. “Akida… A lot of lions have been waiting for you” Sufa gave Akida a large affectionate lick. He gave a bold squeak and looked crossly around at his mother. Shaka looked down stunned at the small heir to the throne that had not been there minutes before then came to his senses and rushed out into the fresh dawn air. Striding purposefully up to the end of Priderock, he gave an earth shaking roar. It was a signal for every animal in the Pridelands to gather below Priderock, a future king had been born.

All the animals, predator or prey were now gathered underneath Priderock. They looked up expectantly. Shaka swallowed, since Akema was heavily pregnant, he would have to guide his small son to the edge. He nudged Akida into action and father and son approached the waiting herds. Akida continued on, his legs shaking, he had only learned to walk seconds before. He stopped, now visible to the other creatures. He glanced down, surprised at all the creatures as they started trumpeting, whinnying and snarling. Finally he puffed up his chest, amber eyes flashing and let out a tiny, shrill roar. From behind him joined another roar, present and future king in a joyful chorus.

“Shh! You’ll wake them!” three lionesses hissed as Ahadi stumbled into the cave. All of the newborn lion cubs were in a pile fast asleep. Young as they were, the little cubs were great friends. Not really being toddlers yet they slept and ate together most of the time. Imani, Ziwa and Sufa had observed that there seemed to be close friends within the miniature pride. Taka and Nga were always whispering cubbish words to each other, Sarabi, Mufasa and Sarafina were inseparable and Kali and Akida made the boldest pair you could ever hope to see. Ahadi looked on at his sons and their friends, he grinned; he remembered the days where Shaka and he had played for hours under the crimson sky.

“Kali! Kali!” The fearless cub was awoken to Sarabi pawing her awake. “Sassie! What IS it? I was having a nice dream about being Queen.” “If you keep on like this you WILL be queen” Kali understood the meaning and promptly pinned Sarabi to the dusty earth. “Calm down… I only wanted to tell you that Akida just told us all to get ready, we’re goanna explore beyond the waterhole today.” Akida was the natural and respected leader of the cubs, they were always exploring or wrestling, Kali, being Akida’s best friend was usually the first to follow. “WOW!” Kali leaped off Sarabi and galloped up Priderock to meet her friend. Sarabi smiled and trotted off to find the others. Kali paused outside the top cave wondering where her playmate was. “RAAAWWR!” Kali found herself underneath a smug grin. “Gotcha!” Kali responded by flipping Akida onto his back and pouncing. Akida dug his paws into Kali’s stomach and the pair rolled around, delighted until Akida’s paw brushed against something disturbingly soft. They quickly separated and turned to face Imani. “Uhhh… Hi mum…” Kali started cautiously. Imani smiled briefly and gave her a quick tongue to the cheek and padded down the impressive landmark. “Good! She won’t spoil our fun” Akida grinned. “Akida! She’s not that bad…” “Oh yeah?.. RAAWRR!” the two tussled some more until Kali had pinned Akida. The two paused, breathless. “Hey lovebirds! What’s this news about the waterhole?” Mufasa’s cheerful voice carried to the duo. Akida wriggled out from under his companion. He noticed the whole crew was there. “Great! You’re all here!” “Quick one aren’t you?” Taka’s drawl reached Akida’s ears long before he could see his face. Akida snarled a challenge. Taka was too weak and intelligent to accept and quieted to talking with Nga. “I thought that today, ‘cos we’ve already been to the waterhole, like a million times, we could see what’s beyond it!” There was a chorus of agreement until Sarafina’s sensible tone rang out; “What will Mum say?” Akida froze, he had not thought of that. “I’ll handle ‘em” Nga said slyly. “Alright then! Let’s go!” Doubts ran through Akida’s mind as he and Kali led the way across the dusty path. Why was Nga being so pleasant? Normally he would have wrecked things by now. He was just as bad as Taka, only he was strong. Kali swatted a large sun warmed stone out of her way. It bounced into Mufasa and knocked him right over. Akida soon forgot about Nga and was rolling over laughing as Mufasa’s confused hazel eyes stared up from the ground. The happy pack (with the exception of Taka) continued on to the waterhole. Not much later, the cubs were frolicking in the cool water. This dry season never seemed to end and it took its toll on every creature cub and wildebeest alike. After joyful hours in the still water the cubs were drying off in the burning heat of the sun. Sarabi rolled onto her back and closed her eyes blissfully. “Don’t go to sleep Sabby! Let’s go already!” The other cubs looked to Akida; he was already on his feet and looking hopefully down at them. With not a single complaint, they set off again. After a short while Sarafina’s voice rang out; “This is boring! It’s just the same as the land before the waterhole…” There was a chorus of agreement. “Wait! What’s that over there?!?” Immediately the cubs looked over in the direction where Akida was pointing (Well, pawing). There was a huge skull, like nothing they had ever seen before. “It must have been an ELEPHANT’S!” Mufasa crowed. The cubs ran over to it. Akida took a flying leap and landed in the eye sockets. His head poked out comically. “Glad we didn’t go home Fini?” Sarafina did not answer; she was busy playing on the tusks with Sarabi. Mufasa was trying desperately to pull out a tooth to play with. Even the sulky Taka was helping him. Akida scaled the head and sat on top. “WHOA! Guys!!!! Check this out!!!” The cubs hurriedly climbed the skull, their claws biting into the brittle bone. An amazing sight awaited them; About 3 herds away lay an enormous graveyard. It was an incredibly eerie and cool sight. All five cubs sat and surveyed the graveyard. It was the creepiest sight any of them had seen; it was only tainted by the odd sensation that something unknown and strange was watching them. “How many creatures do you think died there… ?” Sarabi said, amazed. Her question was never answered. “WHAT do you think you are doing here, you BAD cubs. Thank Aiheu Nga warned us, you could have been KILLED. Come DOWN at ONCE.” Shaka’s stern voice echoed throughout the plains. The five sheepish cubs scrambled down and silently followed Shaka home. “That traitor Nga, when I see him again…” Akida whispered bitterly to Kali. “I thought it was a cool idea…” Kali whispered sadly back. The journey back seemed to last for centuries. Shaka had never been so angry with Akida in his whole life. When they arrived home, there was a frightening sight awaiting them; Imani, Ziwa and a smug Nga were waiting there. Taka threw an aloof gaze to Akida and trotted away. Mufasa gave a sympathetic look and heavily walked over to Ziwa. “Bye…” Sarafina and Sarabi whispered. Kali, avoiding Shaka’s withering look, gave Akida a nuzzle and murmured in his ear softly; “Good luck… I’ll see you next sun…”

Akida slowly looked up at his father. Shaka remained silent, gazing at the stars. At last he met his young son’s stare. “Akida, did you even think of how dangerous that was? Those cubs look up to you, even though you’re younger, you could have gotten them killed!” “Dad, it was only a skull! I know we could have fallen but I thi” “Akida, it’s time I told you what is out there.” Akida frowned, confused. “There are hyenas out there… Very clever hyenas, I’m sure there’re planning somet” Shaka stopped abruptly; there was no need to frighten his son. “Hyenas?! But I thought they only ate dead things…” “Not these ones…” Akida snuggled up to his father, while inside him a violent and bitter battle was raging against his loyalty to his father and the need to explore and have an exciting adventure with his friends. His loyalty won for now. “It’s alright Akida. I suppose you didn’t know…” “Speaking of knowing things, how did you know we were there? Nga told you, didn’t he?” Shaka paused. “Yes, I really dislike that cub. I have never known such a spiteful little creature.” Akida wanted to ask more about Nga but his thoughts were interrupted by his father’s voice; “Thank the great kings you weren’t killed” “Dad, where ARE the great kings… I’ve never seen them around Priderock…” “Oh, but you’re looking at them” Akida looked up, puzzled. ‘The stars?!?” “Yes Akida, when we die, we join them in the sky, whenever you feel alone, they will be there to guide you, and so will I”

“Didja see how CLOSE they were? If they had come any closer we would have had their little multicoloured hides” Gerbruk was all but leaping with excitement. “Yeah, Gerbruk but it’s Shaka we’re after, not the cubs.” “But if they come here again will have there hides.” Finished Fabana. “When will we get Shaka, Fabana?” “We’ll wait a while, until all the others are enthusiastic. Then we’ll have no trouble having his blood.” “No trouble finding food either” Germekh pointed out. The trio were silent at this thought, their minds racing.

Akida was silent. He was having a peaceful moment on top of Priderock. His thoughts were racing. He desperately wanted to visit the graveyard and explore with his friends, he had laid low for a while and was at the end of his tether for an adventure. But he did not want to betray his father all the same. He sat down, then nearly leapt up, surprised at the heat of the sacred rock. His amber eyes scanned the horizon. He wondered when he would get to be king, have a mane and have a formidable roar just like his father. It seemed miles away. “Akida! I didn’t think I’d find you up here!” Kali playfully pounced on his tail. She noticed his conflicted expression. “What’s wrong, Akida?” Akida related the whole story to Kali. The two friends sat together watching the sun rise for a moment. “Well if we don’t get caught” Kali said mischievously. Akida’s face lit up. “YES! We just won’t tell Taka or Nga” The two cubs continued to plan excitedly.

Not a long while after, all four of the cubs were gathered excitedly near the waterhole. After being told the same thing as Akida they were all chomping at the bit to visit the graveyard. As soon as latecomer Sarafina had come they all set off with Kali and Akida leading the way. Within no time at all they had arrived at the Graveyard. All of the cubs stopped in their tracks, still amazed at the sight of so many bones, they had been waiting for this moment for so long! Finally they all shook out of their stupor and galloped gleefully down to the Graveyard. “Check this out!” Mufasa said, his voice filled with excitement. The other cubs trotted over to him. He pulled back a curtain of decayed muscle to reveal the skull of a lion. The cubs surrounded the unnatural spectacle. “I wonder how he died…” “Do you have to ask… ?” Kali replied to Sarabi, referring to the hyenas. “This is creepy, let’s go back and play on that spine” Sarafina said uneasily. The cubs hastily trotted back to the huge spine. Akida appeared at the top of the spine. He gave a squeaky roar and slided down, he landed in a pile of bones. “Cool! I’m doing it again!” Akida spun around and scaled the spine, his claws digging into the bone. “That looks like fun! I’m doing it” Sarafina trotted to the peak of the spine and skidded down, this time she missed the pile of bones and landed on the dusty ground. The other cubs broke into hysterical laughter at the sight of Sarafina lying in the dirt, puzzled as to what had happened. “It’s not funny!” Sarafina said sulkily. Eventually the cubs stopped their laughter. But some ghostly laughter continued after the cubs had finished. Three hyenas appeared, their saliva splattering against the carpet of skeletons. “Well, well, well boys, I told you they’d come” A creamy hyena said haughtily. “Never doubted ya Banie” A blood coloured one replied. The cubs gasped in terror and backed up against the spine, their eyes growing large with fright. “Why so scared, cubbies? We only want you to stay for dinner” Fabana said, then breaking into frenzied laughter. “Sorry, but we’ll just be going now…” Kali said confidently patting Fabana’s hideous face with her tan paw. “I don’t think so” Germekh blocked the path home. “You know, I think this is a king fit for a meal!” Fabana quipped and the trio burst into hysterical giggles. While the hyenas were distracted Akida caught the other cubs’ eyes and whispered; “Shh! Let’s sneak out!” The quartet slunk past the guffawing hyenas. They were making their way toward the exit when Mufasa stepped on a baby elephant tusk. CRACK! The hyenas were after them like lightning. “RUN!” the cubs didn’t need to be told; they were running like stink. It looked like they were going to make it! Mufasa scrambled out, shortly followed by Sarafina and Sarabi. Akida prepared himself to spring out of this terrifying situation and into the Pridelands. Suddenly a frightened scream came from behind him; “AKIDA! AHHHHH!” Akida spun around; Kali was surrounded by the hyenas! Gerbruk was advancing toward Kali, drooling. Akida bravely ran back. He gave a large shrill roar. The hyenas turned around. Kali slunk away. Akida met their hungry gazes then turned and ran for his life. He was just about to make it when a pair of hungry jaws snapped on his tail. He pulled away, his tail searing with pain and leapt into the Pridelands. He turned around, the hyenas were returning home. He saw another confronting sight; the bloody mess of his tail. He was soon surrounded with comforting friends. “You were really brave!” Sarafina gazed intently into his eyes. Mufasa put a reassuring paw on his back. Sarabi inspected his tail, she had been taught by Bonde the basics of healing despite being so young. “It won’t scar, if we dip it in the water hole no one will know” Akida sighed with relief. The cubs made their way to the waterhole and Akida plunged his tail into the icy waters. His friends kept him distracted from the sting. “Imagine if Nga had come along… He would have told…” “I wish he had! He would have been eaten!” Sarabi said cruelly.

Little did they know Nga was listening behind the scrub. How dare they exclude me! He thought angrily. His faith in his malevolent antics increased. They always do that! No one’s me friend beside Taka and he’s always jealous about Mufasa or someone. His eyes filled with tears. Even Shaka was mad at him. That was it! No longer would he put up with their unkind games! One day he would get them, all of them, he thought vindictively.

The day and the cubs’ greatest adventure had just about ended. The sun was setting spectacularly, a mix of crimson, bright orange and sun yellow. Akida looked up at the sunset, and then at the huge rock that was his home. Taka stood in the huge shadow of Priderock. “Have fun?” He said bitterly then turned and headed for the main cave. Mufasa stuck his tongue out at his brother’s back. “See ya Akida!” He turned and headed after his brother. “Bye! Cool adventure, Akida!” Sarafina and Sarabi said in unison. Kali and Akida turned and climbed up to the peak of Priderock and the top cave. The pair sat and watched the sunset for a while. “Finishing the day how we started it” Akida murmured, feeling a sense of Déjà vu. “You know Akida, we won’t be able to go another adventure like that probably ever, since we’ll have to lay low” Kali said thoughtfully, staring at Akida’s tail. “It was worth it!” Akida said, grinning. Kali opened her mouth to say something then shut it. “Good night Akida” she said, and bumped her head against his, gave an unexpected purr and strolled down to the main cave. Akida looked after her, wondering. He turned back to the night sky, he wondered briefly if the great kings really were watching. Then he ran into his cave, ready to snuggle against his mother; it had been a long day.

Gerbruk snarled angrily at Fabana, his mouth still had a tuft of creamy fur on it. “If you hadn’t told that joke we would be having dinner now!” “Shut up Gerbruk! I have good news…” The two male hyenas sat down on the uncomfortable ground and listened as their leader told them of the hundreds of hyenas who were willing to help out. It would not be all that long now…

It had been several moons, the cubs were older, Akida had grown an impressive little tuft of snowy white mane. There had been no more adventures since the Graveyard, thus the cubs were itching for an adventure. Unfortunately, Nga knew this as well… “Akida!” Nga’s voice was strangely cheerful. “Yeah…” Akida replied uncertainly. “I heard there was a really cool zebra caught in the gorge… Want to check it out?” Akida looked uneasy; he did not want to go ANYWHERE with Nga. “Don’t worry, I’ve got things to do, why don’t you gather the others and go?” Akida looked surprised at this gesture of kindness but still turned and trotted off to find the others. Within no time at all of the slightly bigger cubs were gathered in the gorge. Sarafina scanned the horizon; “I don’t see any zebra…” “He was just making it up” Mufasa said disappointedly. “Wait! I see… A wildebeest??” Sarabi sounded confused. The others looked up, there was in fact, a wildebeest near the mouth of the gorge. And he was charging toward them. The cubs were not concerned; what could a single, dim-witted wildebeest do?. “Short sighted Nga…” Kali said, disgusted. Suddenly, another wildebeest appeared after it, then another and another… Soon there were hundreds of wildebeest heading straight for the cubs! “Stampede! RUN!” Sarafina shrieked. The cubs took off as fast as their legs could carry them. There was a ledge where they could climb up just ahead. The sound of hooves hitting earth was deafening. Just when it seemed they would get hit, the ledge was within reach. Sarafina, Sarabi, Akida, Kali and Mufasa landed safely on the ledge. But Taka was still running; he had missed the ledge! As Mufasa watched his brother weave his way through the wildebeest he swore he would never stand by and watch a family member get trampled like this. Taka had almost reached the next ledge, he made a hard right and was just about to leap when a wildebeest swerved and caught his face with a sharp hoof. Blood sprayed everywhere. Taka’s snarl of pain echoed through Mufasa’s body. Another wildebeest hit Taka’s just about blind body and he disappeared. “TAKA! NOOO!” Before anyone could react, Mufasa leapt into the stampeding wildebeest. With the others watching, their hearts in their mouths, Mufasa swerved and dodged all the wildebeest expertly. He had almost reached Taka. Another wildebeest collided with Mufasa’s small body. He hit the ground hard. “MUFASA!” Sarabi shrieked. She cared about him more than she would like to admit. After what seemed an age Mufasa sprang up, placed Taka on his back and made a leap for the ledge. A wildebeest crashed behind them, missing them by an inch. The brothers were breathless as they looked over at the other cubs and finally at each other. “Gods! What happened to your face!?!” Taka’s face was horribly disfigured and a huge gash was running over his eye. Finally the odd river of wildebeest disappeared and the cubs rushed straight to Bonde.

As Ahadi and Ziwa stood behind their two sons, Bonde applied bandages and soothing ointments. “Mufasa will be fine, just a very nasty scrape on his back” “Taka?” Bonde remained silent for a while. “He will have a large scar, I don’t know if he will see through that eye again” Ziwa sobbed; he son’s chances of being a good prospective mate or border patroller were destroyed. As the years would go on, he would gain a hurtful name; Scar. Somehow the name stuck and all but his closest friends would use it.

Shaka looked down at his son; he could not believe how close he had been to losing him. Akida glanced up at his father, his face full of guilt. “Dad, Nga said there was a zebra in the gorge, I believed him and…” Akida related the whole story to his father. Shaka’s face changed, it now showed pure rage. “That cub will be exiled tomorrow, I’ll tell Ahadi and Ziwa, if this is how dangerous he is as a cub…” Akida sighed with relief; all was now safe.

Ziwa roared in Shaka’s face. “How dare you!!!! My SON! He is only a cub!” Shaka calmly explained. Ziwa silently turned away to say goodbye to her son. Ahadi’s eyes were full of tears. Nga stared bitterly up at Shaka. He knew his days here were over. Shaka’s calm explanations and recitation of protocols went over his head. With one last glance at his home, he turned away.

Nga’s paws crunched against the dead leaves. How would he find food? He did not know how to hunt… That brat Akida… How he would love to kill him. Slowly. Suddenly, a jet black cub with red eyes stepped in front of him. “We don’t have many strangers round here, my names Mwezi…” Nga told Mwezi everything. Mwezi’s tiny face filled with malevolent glee. “So it’s revenge you want…” The pair headed towards Mwezi’s glorious homeland.

Time seemed to fly, now the ‘cubs’ were half grown. Akida, Taka and Mufasa had manes sprouting down their backs, spiky and new. Sarabi, Sarafina and Kali were much bigger and stronger. It was an exciting time; the lions would soon learn to fight, the lionesses to hunt and then it would be Akida’s mantlement. His mantlement would mean that he would officially be a grown lion, he could take over the pride when Shaka died.

Akida stepped into the morning sun. The wind ruffled his new, tiny spiky mane down his back. He was enjoying this peaceful moment to himself. He wondered when his training for battle would begin. It was important to know how to defend yourself and your pride. Suddenly, Shaka appeared and sat next to him. The two lions enjoyed a companionable silence. Shaka spoke; “ I think today would be a wise time to start the training…” Akida’s face lit up, he had been hoping his father would say that.

The three lions watched as Shaka and Ahadi performed a very exciting demonstration of a fair fight. Only Taka looked bored as the two lions tussled in an epic battle. Finally Shaka pinned Ahadi to the ground. Shaka gracefully released Ahadi and turned to the others. “ Now remember, no claws, no unfair play…” Akida listened intently, he did NOT want to cheat! “ Now, Mufasa against Scar, Akida plays winner” Shaka said, then stepped back to let the lions begin. Taka’s heart sank; he was going to be humiliated here in front of everyone. Mufasa faced Taka, his crimson mane glittering in the sun. Taka looked moodily away. “ Good luck Taka!” Mufasa said cheerfully, using his proper name. The two lions circled each other taking in the other’s movements. Taka took a chance and leapt toward Mufasa’s throat, Mufasa spun around and crushed Taka’s hindquarters down to the ground. Taka felt his heart sink down even lower, this was it. Suddenly a wave of fury washed over him as Mufasa started to pin him to the ground. Taka clawed Mufasa’s eyes. Mufasa roared in pain. Taka quickly darted in and flipped the blind Mufasa toward the edge of Priderock. Mufasa clung to the edge, his claws scrabbling. Taka liked this position, he would try it again. Shaka suddenly stepped in and rescued Mufasa. “ I don’t want to see that again Scar…” He said heavily. “ After all I’ve done for you, Scar” Mufasa stared angrily at his brother, things would not be the same between those two ever again. Akida stepped forward, he was eager to battle now. Shaka nodded; it was alright for them to start. Akida let Mufasa circle around him, he did not want to make the first move. Suddenly Mufasa’s crushing weight was on Akida’s back. Akida spun around and tried to pin him while he was off balance, but Mufasa dodged, and Akida was on the ground. Mufasa leapt onto the fallen Akida. Akida dug his hind paws into Mufasa’s stomach ( A trick he learned from Kali) and flipped him over, then pinned him solidly to the ground with a snarl of triumph. Shaka smiled at his son. “Well done!” choked Mufasa good naturedly from underneath him. The cubhood friends grinned at each other. Mufasa would have made a great king.

Upesi looked behind her. Three eager young lionesses gazed back. They would not be considered adults until their first kill. When they were eating they would usually give the first bite to their betrothed, it was a custom. Upesi grinned, she remembered when she made her first kill. Her face clouded over when she remembered Mbaya. Surely these lionesses would be different hunters than she. Sarabi’s mind raced; she HAD to have her first kill, she could not wait to announce her betrothal to Mufasa. She did not care that he would never be king, she loved him for who he was, and who he was becoming. She frowned when she thought of Taka and his nasty tricks, what if her beloved Mufasa had been injured? Sarabi gazed into the distance, she could make out the border, and the Graveyard. She smiled when she remembered her cubhood adventures. She caught Sarafina’s eye and grinned. Sarabi noticed Kali’s preoccupied expression. She wondered what Kali was thinking. Upesi motioned for the eager hunting party to be silent; she had spotted a huge herd of zebra. Sarabi’s heart filled with joy, this was her chance. She calmly and patiently waited for Upesi’s signal. Upesi quickly snarled and they were off. All of the lionesses charged toward the unsuspecting zebras. Amid all the confusion Sarabi spotted a lame zebra. She quickly cut off its path, it tried to pick up speed but lifted its foreleg painfully off the ground. Sarabi leapt onto its throat and cut off its air. As she rode it down to the ground she placed a protective paw on it. She noticed in the distance that Sarafina was sitting proudly on top of a zebra foal. Sarabi lifted her head and roared with all her might; she was a hunter now, and a lioness!

All of the pride was sitting patiently around the two important kills. Kali looked down, ashamed; she had not caught a single thing. Sarafina walked solemnly over to her foal and dug her fangs into its side and ripped the flesh away. As she chewed peacefully she turned to Sarabi. Sarabi took a deep breath and gracefully walked over to her kill. She paused above the zebra. “Mufasa…” Mufasa smiled and walked over to the zebra, he bent his head over and took a deep bite. He lifted his head and nuzzled Sarabi affectionately. All of the pride smiled happily; this had been expected. Then all of the waiting lions moved in and the feeding frenzy began.

Upesi listened patiently to Kali’s impassioned plea. She couldn’t imagine why Kali was in such a hurry, the next hunt was only two suns away. Upesi gave a sigh, “Yes, Kali. One more hunt together but that’s it, and no complaining if you miss” It took all of Kali’s self control not to give a cubbish squeal of glee.

Not that much longer, the two lionesses set off in the evening in search of a kill. Upesi kept Kali calm by telling her stories of the good old days where lionesses became lionesses when they were certain moons old. Upesi lifted her head up; she could just make out an antelope grazing peacefully in the shadow of an acacia tree. “Look…” she whispered to Kali. Kali felt her spirit soar, she crouched down to the ground and silently moved closer to the gullible antelope. Just when she felt she could not wait any longer, the antelope noticed and started to gallop away. “Oh no you don’t…” Kali snarled as she sprinted after it. Kali picked up speed, she was almost there… She soared through the air and landed neatly on the antelope’s back. The antelope bucked furiously. But Kali was ignoring it, she moved closer to its throat and dug her incisors in. The antelope gave a death cry and collapsed underneath her. Kali stood over her antelope, shocked. Upesi ran over to her young friend, “Well done! Let’s carry it home!”

Kali sat back on her haunches, waiting for everyone to arrive. Finally Taka stepped out onto Priderock, his sulky eyes refusing to meet her irritated ones. Kali swallowed and walked over to the antelope. She paused before it. Everyone was watching her, wondering when she would dig her teeth into the meal and let them eat. Kali took a deep breath and licked her lips. “Akida…” Akida jerked his head up, unable to believe his ears. His mouth fell open (as did everyone else’s!). He realized he was being rude and walked slowly over to the antelope. He bent over and quickly took a bite of antelope. He lifted his head up and his confused amber eyes met Kali’s determined green ones. It was that moment he realized how much Kali loved him and vice versa. He gave Kali the most affectionate nuzzle the pride had ever seen. Their contented purrs filled the air. The pride was silent. Then Shaka raised his noble head and gave a thrilled roar, he had hoped this would happen! Akida answered with his own roar, still not as loud as he would have liked. Sufa’s elegant roar sounded, Kali answered with her own. The whole pride erupted into thrilled roars. Akida smiled as his cubhood friends surround them and began their excited chatter. Akida realized just what an exciting time this was, now he was betrothed to Kali and his mantlement was in four suns!

Unfortunately, this was an exciting time for the hyenas too. Fabana stood on top of the elephant skull and inspected her army of hyenas. Over a hundred drooling, power hungry hyenas stared up at her. Fabana could not help it; she let out a high cruel laugh. When she was finished she, Germekh and Gerbruk ordered the hyenas; “This sun! Tonight! Let us go pack sisters! We will attack! Follow me!” The crowd of hyenas moved onward to Priderock.

It was raining heavily, Kali and Akida were staring out from the top cave. Akida placed one paw in the open and it was promptly splattered with rain. He jerked it back in. “Is that what you wanted to tell me that evening when we were here as cubs, Kali?” Akida asked softly. “Yeah…” Kali said dreamily as she groomed his small, spiky, half grown mane. Kali started to say something “You know Akida, we co- what’s THAT?!?” she ended with a half shriek. The two half grown lions ran out into the rain and looked near the bottom of Priderock; there were hundreds of hyenas down there! Akida roared to wake the others “HYENAS! WAKE UP! WE’RE BEING ATTACKED!” The rest of the pride dashed out as the hyenas climbed the rock and started to attack. Akida stood, shocked as the battle raged around him. Finally he came to his senses and leapt upon a hyena with his back to him. He dug his claws in a slashed mercilessly, the hyena’s powerful jaws clamped onto his throat, as he struggled for air he ripped the hyena’s eye out. The hyena screamed with agony and Akida finished him off. As he stood, gasping for breath he saw Upesi raging in battle with an intelligent hyena. The hyena ran closer to the edge, Upesi followed and started to slash, the hyena moved quickly, Upesi slipped on the wet ground beneath her and disappeared over the edge of Priderock forever. “NOO! UPESI!” Akida cried, he tried to move closer to the edge where Upesi had fallen. But he was stopped by yet another hyena. Akida felt his small, half grown body being pinned against the ground, he felt his vision dim as his blood spurted. Suddenly, Bonde leapt onto the hyena and Akida was freed! Akida picked himself up just to see Bonde and hyena disappear over the edge of Priderock; still engaged in battle. Akida continued to slaughter hyenas left and right, with his friends helping him. It looked as if the battle had almost been won when Akida realized his mother was bailed up by several hyenas, he charged them and started to fight when he was promptly pinned to the ground by a silver coloured hyena. He recognized him as Gerbruk; the hyena from his cubhood. The pair tussled on the ground. Gerbruk had Akida pinned to the ground solidly, Akida stared into Gerbruk’s face. He noticed a tuft of creamy mane in his teeth; Gerbruk must have killed his father. “NOOO!” Akida roared as he flipped the hyena off Priderock. As Akida rose to his feet, he noticed his mother; she was lying still on the ground. Akida moved over to her, he saw the graceful Queen close her eyes for the final time. Akida bent his head and was silent, his life had been destroyed.

Ahadi sat near Priderock. It had not been a sun since the great battle. He knew he would have to fill the pride in on all the new changes that would have to be made. All the pride was silent; the only sound was the rain and tears splashing on the ground. “Since our noble king Shaka’s untimely death, I will assume the throne. Since Akida has not had his mantlement, he will not become king. Since I have lions of my own, they will assume the throne when I die. Mufasa will be king and Taka, king consort. Because of Bonde’s death, the new healer shall be the mandrill Rafiki. And the final death, Upesi’s… Sarabi will be the new leader of the hunting party” No one seemed happy at this news, not even Sarabi or Mufasa. Ahadi noticed three hyenas trying to slink away. “COME HERE!”… “You and your tiny pack are exiled!” Akida realized that one of them was Gerbruk, now with a limp. “You killed my father! Now I will NEVER be king!” Akida roared, he charged toward him. “Akida! You are in no position to negotiate!” “You’re right! I’m not!” Akida cried and he tore the hyena’s throat out. All was silent as the remaining hyenas ran toward the jungle, where they were destined to meet Nga and Mwezi. Akida looked blankly after them. Ahadi realized they had left pups behind. The small female with a topknot of hair gazed up at him. Ahadi sighed and escorted them into the Graveyard.

Akida moved silently through the long, dead grass. Since he was not royal anymore he could not even sit and think on Priderock. Now Kali was the only comfort in his life. He lowered his ears sadly and looked at the moist earth underneath his paws. He felt the prickle of his short mane on his back, it was a painful reminder that he was still only half grown. His mind wandered back to the battle, it was a miracle he had not been killed. Mufasa had said it had not been a miracle; he was just an unbelievable fighter at a young age. If I’m such an unbelievable fighter, how come I will never be king? I was MEANT to be a leader, like my namesake, he thought angrily. Through his rage, he knew he meant no ill will toward Mufasa. He continued to move through the plains. Suddenly his paw fell into something. It was a paw print, made by his father. Akida noticed that his paw did not fit in it. Maybe, I wasn’t meant to be king here, he thought, confused. He heard a roar, from Priderock. Mufasa was having his mantlement. Akida lifted his head and gave a long, angry roar of his own.

Kali let her eyes wander out of the commoners’ cave. Akida had not appeared. He was probably spending the night out on the plains like he did these days. Kali sighed, Akida would have been a wonderful king, and he was a born leader. So was she, Kali realised as Sarafina asked her where she thought Rafiki was. Kali’s bright green eyes became even more determined than usual as she charged out onto the plains, and to Akida.

Akida sighed as Kali whispered words of comfort to him. She was so beautiful. His eyes filled with sorrow again; she would never get to be a Queen. Kali met his eyes and said something that made his life seem worth living “Akida, I have a plan. It will be terrifying and hard, but we can’t live the rest of our lives out here, being commoners. As soon as we are a little bit older… And you grow some more mane. We’ll leave here, and find a land of our own! Then we will be rulers!” Akida’s amber eyes grew large “Yes! I can hardly wait!” the pair was silent for a while. “I’ll miss Priderock though…” “And our friends…” Kali agreed. Akida’s heart filled with new hope at this promising future.

Akida and Kali’s last days at Priderock whirled by. Soon Akida’s mane was almost fully grown and the pair would be ready to leave in a few suns. Akida happily trotted down the border with Mufasa. The old friends reminisced of the days they had spent here as cubs. Mufasa finally turned to Akida, serious. “Akida… Do you… Do you… hate me for being prince?” Akida smiled at him “Of course not, old friend. It was not my destiny. This is though…” “I’ll miss you…” “I, you” The friends exchanged solemn glances. The moment was ruined by the sound of a carcass being torn open clumsily. The lions turned around, furious. Their gaze was met by a fierce glare from a hyena pup. “What do you think you’re doing, cheeky scum!” Mufasa roared. “Eating.” The hyena pup answered simply. Akida wondered how a pup could scavenge so effectively. One of the pups started to wander over the border. Mufasa cuffed it senseless back over. “How dare you! He wasn’t hurting anyone! My name is Shenzi, I named myself. So did Banzai! And… Ed…” She placed a protective paw over his shoulders. As she and her brothers trotted deeper into the Graveyard Shenzi threw a furious glare over her shoulder; “You’ll pay for that… Mufasa” Mufasa snorted to Akida “Not likely, what can a scrawny hyena pup do to a fully grown lion” “I don’t know Mufasa, maybe she’ll hurt your cubs in the future or…” Mufasa stiffened at the mention of cubs. “What’s wrong?” Akida asked, concerned about his friend. “Sarabi thinks… She might be with our cubs…” Akida gave a sympathetic look; it was considered immoral to have cubs before a lioness became Queen. “I wonder if his adventures will be as great as ours…” Akida wondered positively. Akida gave Mufasa a cheeky look. “I think Sarafina might have the ‘light in her eyes’ too…” Mufasa grinned; it was an ill kept secret that Sarafina was seeing a rogue lion outside the border. “Maybe your cubs could be betrothed!” Akida suggested. “Yes! You know… Sarafina was so sensible when we were cubs…” “What happened!” Akida quipped. The two comrades burst into delighted laughter.

As Akida walked out onto Priderock, ready to say goodbye to his friends. He collided with a thrilled Mufasa. “Akida!” “What is it, you big cub…” “I think you mean, ‘His Majesty’ ” Akida’s eyes widened. “Ahadi let you take over! That means Sarabi…” “Exactly!” Mufasa grinned. Akida gave Mufasa an excited head bump. Just then Kali stepped onto Priderock. Akida was reminded of his unwinding journey. She was followed by the rest of the pride. It was time for their final farewell. Akida and Kali took it in turns to nuzzle their cubhood friends goodbye, Imani nuzzled her boldest daughter goodbye; she knew Kali was destined to be a Queen. As the pair headed toward the jungle, Mufasa gave an earthshaking roar. Akida answered, it was the last time he would ever hear Mufasa’s roar again.

Kali stepped onto the beaten path, her paws crunching against the carpet of dead vegetation. The wind blew comforting through her chocolate brown fur. She sighed and turned to her mate. Their journey to find a new land had finally begun. Akida let his amber eyes wander to the horizon. He could just make out the top of a glorious mountain surrounded by trees and waterfalls. On the other side he could see the beginning of what seemed to be an endless savannah. Kali’s eyes widened; she had never seen anything so beautiful. “You’re looking at our future home! I don’t care WHO lives there! We must make that our kingdom!” Akida pranced excitedly on the spot like a cub. “No arguments here, Springbok!” Kali said with a grin. The pair set off, with new hope in their hearts; their home had already been found!

Unfortunately the brave duo had picked the very same spot where Mwezi, Nga and the two hyenas now lurked… Nga stretched out on the bed of thick leaves; now he was a formidable looking lion with a white mane, pinkish coat and evil green eyes. Next to him lay Mwezi; she was beautiful in an odd, wicked way. Her jet black coat contrasted well with her blood red eyes. On the other side of the leafy cave was the pair of hyenas; Germekh and Fabana had not changed a bit. Germekh was gnawing on a meaty bone. The small pack-pride was dominating the entire land, eating when they were not hungry; a crime to the circle of life. Soon there would be no creatures left except for themselves and the pitiable lionesses they controlled. Mwezi looked out from her cave, the light dappling on her growing belly; she was having cubs. Mwezi snarled a warning to Nga “The moaners are back” she snidely looked down her silky nose at the lionesses approaching their cave. The pair rose up and padded up to the entrance to the cave, puffing themselves up in an intimidating fashion. The impromptu leader of this mangy pride was a lioness with pale black fur and ice blue eyes. Her name was Barafu, which incidentally meant ice. “What is it THIS time, Barafu?” Mwezi snarled nastily. “To say, yet again, queen. That we should stop hunting unnecessarily.” Mwezi rolled her eyes, in mid roll, she noticed a lioness standing apart from the rest. Her fur was pale brown and her eyes hazel. The lioness was looking to the side dreamily. The others were ignoring her. Mwezi’s curiosity got the better of her and she walked away from Barafu, in mid sentence. “What is your name?” Mwezi asked, in a commanding tone. To her surprise, the lioness’ eyes showed no fear, only sorrow. “Karafu.” She said quietly, avoiding Mwezi’s gaze. Ahh… Different. No wonder, she thought. Barafu, who did not take kindly to being ignored, stepped in front of Karafu and snarled at her. “Mind your place. As for you, Mwezi, think about what I said…” with that, the lionesses turned and went off to the huge plains, with Karafu dejectedly trailing behind. Nga roared angrily after them and the pair lazily trotted back into their ivy covered cave.

Akida and Kali were doggedly following the path to the land of wonder. One thing had changed though; Kali now was carrying Akida’s cubs. She was not showing signs yet, although it would not be too soon before she did. Akida’s mind wandered to Mufasa and Sarabi. Would their cubs be born yet? Akida hoped Mufasa had kept his promise and named his son Simba, as Akida would name his son Ushakii; both meant courage. Akida smiled; who would Simba look like? Sarabi or Mufasa? His thoughts were rudely interrupted by the setting sun. Although he and Kali were tantalisingly close to their new home, they would have to spend the night near their path made of leaves. They kept warm by the heat of the other’s body.

Akida and Kali stopped just outside the border, appalled at the amount of carcasses around. Kali muttered something about crimes to the great circle of life. Akida stopped and lifted his head up and gave an almighty roar; it was a challenge to all that lived there. To Akida’s horror a very familiar roar came back; the one of Nga, this time fully grown and strong. Then came the one of a confident lioness, then familiar hyena whoops and then tired, starved lioness roars, Barafu and Karafu’s among them. Akida’s blood ran cold, Kali’s eyes widened in surprise and terror. The courageous pair soon recovered and strode over in the direction of the roars. Kali worried about her unborn cubs, would she have to battle these monsters? Akida lifted his head and could just see the mouth of a cave. He gave another earth shaking roar. Again, came the replies. Kali snarled along side Akida and the two climbed up the rocky path to the cave where the others awaited. For a moment the two sides stared, amazed and terrified at the sight of each other. Akida and Kali looked at the strange, powerful looking lioness beside Nga. Nga himself was now a cunning and powerful lion. The two hyenas behind him, Germekh and Fabana drooled in anticipation and laughed eerily. The surprisingly skinny lionesses beyond seemed to be looking at Mwezi and Nga with hate. Except for one lioness apart from them, she was only staring into the distance, Karafu. Nga and Mwezi sized up their opponents, probably not quite as strong as themselves, nor cunning, but they did have one thing against them; courage. Akida’s amber eyes burned into Nga’s, still as fierce as they were seasons ago. Akida soon overcame his shock and charged against Nga. He dug his fangs into his hide, Nga’s claws slashed against Akida’s soft pelt. Mwezi seemed to have slipped away. Kali realised with some regret. Kali sprang delicately upon Germekh, but his jaws were biting into her sensitive stomach. The lionesses came to the rescue, using up all the fury that had built up during Nga’s reign. Germekh soon disappeared under them. His mate, Fabana was still nowhere to be seen. Kali looked up and saw the battle raging above them. Akida’s blood was running through the thick vegetation below. Nga looked fresh and was launching fresh attacks against Akida. Akida was tiring and tried in vain to flip Nga off him. Nga dodged and Akida’s back paws slammed against the boulders behind the fighting lions. They wobbled ominously then started to come crashing down. Kali and the lionesses snarled a warning to Akida, they were too far away to help; the lions battle had carried them all the way to the waterfall. Akida slipped out from under Nga. Akida limped away from the boulders, but there was nowhere to go, Nga was coming fast from behind them. Akida gathered up his courage and sprang to the left; down the waterfall. Nga stared down after the bloody body of Akida in disbelief. Nga looked at the boulders behind him, paralysed with fear. The lionesses watched as Nga was buried underneath the boulders, his lack of courage claiming his life. Kali, however, was racing to the bottom of the waterfall. Kali mind raced also; was her brave mate dead? Had they come all this way just to fail again? Where were the pregnant Mwezi and Fabana? Kali’s heart lifted when she saw the battered Akida emerge sopping from the foam. He walked faltering to his mate, smiled, then collapsed.

The lionesses waited patiently under the high up cave. Barafu grew impatient and gave a calling snarl. Finally the still bleeding Akida emerged, with his faithful mate Kali beside him. Akida strode over to the edge of the leafy platform with Kali and then let out a roar, the lionesses answered; there troubles were now over! This land would now become overrun with prey again! Akida and Kali roared again joyfully; at last they were leaders.

The End, by Fluffypaw.

The characters Simba, Ahadi, Mufasa, Scar, Sarafina, Sarabi, Banzai, Shenzi and Ed are the property of Disney. Yeah, freaky I know.

The NAMES Nga, Sufa, Fabana, Shaka, Germekh and Gerbruk are Property of John Burkitt and David Morris but their characters in THIS story are MINE! Mwezi, Akida, Bonde, Kali, Ziwa, Upesi, Imani, Barafu, Karafu and the rest are MINE! Don’t you dare steal them you unimaginative creep! I was originally going to have art of the characters in this story, but *ahem* no go. If you want some, or just want to comment or beg for a sequel, email me but call me Izzy, sheesh people. PLEASE GIVE FEEDBACK! This is my first story and I can do better, besides I’m younger than you people. Yeah, thanks for reading.