Chapter 43: An End and A Beginning

"Kivu still needs to be presented to the kings and then… you will become King and Queen of The Pride Lands."

All were quiet at Simba's words. Kiara knew it was time. These were the last few moments she would spend being the Princess of The Pride Lands. Rafiki approached Kiara again. Kivu squirmed in her paws.

"Are you readee?" he asked. Kiara nodded and Rafiki bent down to take Kivu in his arms. Kiara watched as he gently put the small brown cub over his shoulder. He smiled down at her, and then turned and started walking to the peak of the rock. Kiara got up easily, and glanced at Kovu. He stood as well, looking as ready as anyone about to be King could. Kiara saw her mom and dad get up as well. A somber look was on the present King's face. All four lions followed Rafiki slowly to the peak. About halfway through the peak, Simba whispered for them to stop there while Kivu was presented. Rafiki continued to the very peak, he now held Kivu in his arms, cradling him carefully. The sky suddenly grew brighter and clouds opened, rolling away. All the animals below watched.

Rafiki gently situated Kivu into his hands to where his feet were dangling, and facing front. He then thrust Kivu into the sky with his strong arms. A barrage of trumpeting and stomping reached all lion's ears. They grew louder and louder as a ray of sun fell upon Kivu. A large lion smiled down at him, along with a lioness at his side.

Kiara smiled as she saw her grandfather for the first time. She saw him smile at her too. When Kiara looked into Sarabi's eyes, she felt tears trying to push their way through her eyes. Kiara heard a kind voice in her mind saying "Be strong, my love," and her tears went away. Kiara looked up at the large brown lion standing next to her and smiled. He looked bewildered as he stared into the sky, with his mouth agape. He slowly closed his jaws, only to open them again.

Rafiki held Kivu out for all to see, on heaven and on Earth. Kivu blinked in the brightness and stared at the smiling faces in the sky.

When the animals quieted, a great shiver of pride crept down Kiara's spine. She felt so happy. Then, all the animals, great and small bowed. Giraffe's long necks lowered the long way to the ground, elephant, zebra, gazelle, antelope, and all the other animals all lowered to one knee and put their heads to the ground. Only when Rafiki lowered the cub and re-cradled him in his arms, did the animals get back up.

Rafiki turned to the four awaiting lions and walked toward them. He stopped in front of Kiara and Kovu and let them nuzzle the confused Kivu. While they nuzzled him, still in Rafiki's arms, Simba moved toward the peak. Nala walked closely behind him. Kiara stopped to watch in wonder.

Simba reached the peak and all eyes were on him. (Except for Kivu's; His were starting to close.) He looked out at his kingdom and lightly bowed to the awaiting herds. They bowed back. Simba took one last glance at the sky, smiled, and then slowly returned to the middle of the rock with the others. Nala followed him back.

After a moment, the mandrill whispered, "It is time." Kiara and Kovu looked at each other and smiled. They let Rafiki hold on to Kivu as they stood. Kiara looked at Kovu again, motioning for him to lead the way. He gulped, forced a strong expression, and started walking. Kiara followed behind him.

"These are my last moments as Princess," Kiara thought, her heart racing. She started watching herself put one paw in front of the other. The stone under her paws felt warm to the touch. "This is it, I'm about to become Queen." Her heart raced faster and faster. When she finally reached the edge, she nervously stood by Kovu. She looked at him with a nervous glance. He looked up at the sky with a very somber expression. His ears lifted as wind encircled Kovu, as if whispering to him.

"I accept this responsibility to my pride and kingdom." Kovu muttered so quietly that Kiara wasn't sure he said it.

Kiara felt the wind caress her. She felt incredibly warm and happy. Kovu came out of his trance and looked at Kiara. A large smile formed on his handsome face, and his mane blew gently in the wind. Kiara returned the smile and even laughed. Kovu then looked to the sky again, readied himself and roared. After just a small moment, as custom, Kiara joined his roar. While roaring, she heard roars from the pride behind her. She roared until she ran out of breath. She stopped before Kovu did, and looked at what now was her kingdom. The animals had exploded in excitement and noise at the roars of their new King and Queen. Kovu finished his roar and lowered his jaw. Kiara looked at him, now with small tears in her eyes. He smiled.

"Don't cry, my Queen," He said quietly, gently wiping her cheek with the side of his paw. She nuzzled him and watched the animals rejoice. Then all suddenly got quiet as the animals started to bow, just as they had done for Kivu. Great and small, again, bowed to the ground with great respect. Kiara looked at them all with awe. These were her lands now, and her subjects. She saw Kovu look over his shoulder with half shock-half wonder on his face. She followed suit and looked behind her, also. The lionesses at the mouth of the cave were bowing to the new King and Queen. Kiara looked and saw her mother bowing deeply; she also had tears in her eyes.

Simba looked very proud, his mane gleamed in the sunlight. He smiled as Kovu and Kiara looked at him. He slowly lowered one leg under him, lowered his head and bowed to his rulers. Kiara looked at Kovu, and he looked at her. The love for each other, and their new son, was shining in their eyes.

Kovu and Kiara's Royal Journey was complete.


THE END

Thank you so much for reading it all the way through. It was all my reviewers and fans who made me want finish it. In the beginning, I seriously thought this story would never make it big. (That's why I didn't put much effort into the plot/spelling/grammar near the beginning) I thought it would never be popular, and no one would read it. I figured I would eventually give up. But many many people started commenting and made me want to write more! I planned and planned some more, finishing the story in my head. I planned more for the next story. I've loved writing this story so much. And I've actually grown to love the story. I never used to be proud of it, but now I am.

Thanks to EVERYONE who commented, even the flamers. Cause hey, you just added to my review count ;)

As of 2010, this entire story has been edited. I removed almost all Author's Notes. I fixed most major spelling and grammatical errors. This story was originally written in 2004 I believe.

The new story "The Lion King 4 A Single Step" is here, so go along and read it. It is still in the works, even now June 2010 I'm still working on it! Oh and thanks to MorphusDreamer for suggesting the name.