Author's Note: Again, after good reviews of my last one shot, here's yet a new one. Although, this different and longer. Now I don't wanna give anything away, so read and enjoy!
Kovu walked out of the den with hesitating steps. He'd look back to the entrance every few moments has his paws carried him to one of the high stones that would lead him down into the grass. His eyes were filled with a worry he couldn't express. He stared out into the lands, his head hung low.
"Okay, I have to tell her today," Kovu said softly. "Oh, where do I start?" He didn't want to tell her the truth but he couldn't keep it hidden. "Kiara, Zira had a plot and I was part of it but I don't want to be." He shook his head. "Because… it's because I love you," he whispered and lowered his head, his worry increasing. "She'll never believe me…" He turned back to the entrance of the den and started walking to it. "But I gotta try…"
When he entered the cave, Kiara came to him, a smile on her face. "Kiara," he started, a little louder than he intended. "I need to talk to you."
The two lions turned to see Simba, his face stern.
"I don't want you talking with him," he said, speaking with the authority. But then, his face turned to a smile and he came nearer, the morning light shining on his face. "I want to talk with him."
Kiara's face, which held worry turned relief but Kovu was shocked and slightly terrified. Two days ago the King had been ready to rip out his throat for saving the princess's life and tried to attack him as he came near the den.
Simba winked at his daughter and with the brown lion at his side, they walked out of the cave and down the steps.
While Simba showed him the Pridelands, Kovu kept his head down, his mind reeling. It was just him and Simba, out in the open… No one was around. Kovu figured he could surprise the King and attack. He wanted to, so badly.
His blood boiled. He had been so close to getting Simba until Kiara ruined it. He spent the whole day with her, teaching her how to hunt and she in turn, taught him how to have fun. That same night, they watched the stars, making forms of animals in the sky. They had grown close, shared an embrace and Kovu wanted to tell her his reason for being in the Pridelands but faltered in the last minute. She wanted to know what troubled him but a mandrill, someone Kiara called 'a friend of the family' had taken them to a place where their feelings were revealed.
Kovu realized in that moment that he could love, even if it meant loving the daughter of the lion he was supposed to slay. Now he wondered if it was all worth it. The fact that Simba wanted to talk to him indicated that maybe this lion wasn't as bad as his mother said.
As they walked, Simba filled him in on Pridelands history. He told the young lion of his father, the great King Mufasa, and how his life had been brutally cut short and how he himself was banished.
The words of the King deeply surprised Kovu but he was unable to speak. Then, to Kovu's amaze, Simba told him of Scar's reign. Of how the lion he called uncle had killed his father to take the throne and near tried to kill him by sending his hyena companions to chase him out of the Pridelands.
Simba spoke every detail of Scar and his rule, at least the details his mother and mate relayed to him.
Kovu walked in silence, his mind absorbing the information. He wasn't sure which side to believe. The Pridelanders never spoke of Scar or his rule but his mother did and often. Both she and the lionesses had a different take on Scar and what he was like. Zira told her children stories but Nuka, who lived during those times and old enough to remember, never stayed to listen. Kovu always wondered why the subject bothered his brother so but he knew better than to ask.
The words of the Lion King had Kovu thinking. Was Scar really the bad ruler Simba made him out to be? Or was he, in fact, a king who only wanted what was best for his pride and the hyenas he had allowed into the lands? And what was it about his birth that Scar would make him the heir? Wasn't his brother Nuka, the true son of Scar?
His thoughts were interrupted as Simba spoke again. The further they walked into the lands the ground under their paws that was beautiful and healthy became hard, cold, dusty and a sickening gray brown color. The trees around them started to die. The leaves fell from the branches until there were no leaves to be seen on any of the trees as the trees looked dead and deprived of life.
Kovu, with a still lowered head, looked around the lands, seeing the damage caused by the fire his brother and sister had been sent out to start. He shivered but to his luck, Simba didn't notice but he did stare at the ground and on the lands.
"Scar couldn't let go of his hate," the king spoke, occasionally looking down at his young companion. "And in the end it destroyed him."
But Kovu knew that this statement wasn't true. It was the hyenas who destroyed Scar. They had torn him apart after Simba threw him from the highest point of Pride Rock. And it was his mother who fought the beasts to avenge the blood they spilt and nearly lost her right ear. His brother, only a cub, cried at his slain father's side while his infant sister was taken care of by the lionesses loyal to Scar.
"Nuka was only a cub then," the brown lion thought. His mind spoke the words but his mouth would say different. After all, he wanted to get on the king's good side, especially now. "If you hadn't thrown Scar, my brother might still have his father! You are the murderer not Scar!" his mind screamed.
Kovu shook his head and still stared at the ground. At last, he found his voice. "I've… never heard the story of Scar that way." He looked up at Simba when the gold lion stopped in place. "He truly was a killer…" But there was another side, his mother's. Kovu knew that Simba did not live in the Pridelands during Scar's reign that he only returned to take from Scar what Scar stole from Simba and his father.
Simba looked from him and to the lands. The smell of ash still lingered and it was a sad sight to look upon. Sorrow played in his eyes. "Fire is a killer," he said.
Kovu turned to him with a questioning stare.
Simba continued. "Sometimes what's left behind and grow better than the generation before."
Kovu watched as the king stretched out a paw, placing it on the earth then moving the dirt to reveal a small green plant that would ensure new life to the burned lands when the rains came. The two lions lowered their heads to it.
"If given the chance," Simba concluded with a small smile.
Suddenly, both lifted their heads as if hearing strange yet soft laughter. The air around them turned cold and it sent shivers down both their spines. A dusty mist settled around and on all sides of them slowly approached lionesses. Kovu gasped, knowing who they were. Simba was surprised and wondered silently if there was a way for him and Kovu to escape.
From the front of them appeared three to four lionesses and a young lion. The lioness in front grinned evilly as she slowly stepped from the mist. "Why Simba…"
The King narrowed his eyes dangerously getting into a crouching stance. Kovu just looked terrified. Right before his eyes stood his mother, sister and brother. The lionesses circling them were his pride mates.
"Zira…" Simba spoke, growling.
"What are you doing out here…" Zira paused as she continued to step forward, her son and daughter on either side. "… And so... alone…?" She chuckled.
Simba faced the lionesses and growled while Kovu silently wondered what to do.
Zira stood in an upright but proud position. She faced her son, the pride shining through her crimson red eyes. Nuka, for the first time in his life, smiled at his brother, knowing he had both failed and succeeded. If he got a piece of Simba beforehand, maybe he would at last, please his mother.
"Well done, Kovu. Just… like we always planned," Zira spoke, smiling.
Simba's eyes widened in shock and he turned to Kovu, his eyes once willing for chance turned to pure hatred. "You…!"
Kovu's ears perked and he turned his head to the king. "No! I didn't have anything to do with this!" he said in insistence, wanting Simba to believe him but the timing… was it possible his mother found out that he didn't kill Simba when he had the chance and formed a plan of her own?
Zira stepped forward. "Attack!" she commanded.
Nuka sprang forward, claws out and teeth ready to bite but Simba hit him with a paw. When Nuka sprawled to the ground, dust covering his coat, the lionesses ran to their own attack.
"No!" Kovu cried.
Simba swung his paw at a lioness to his left until one in front bit into his mane. A few more jumped onto his back clawing and biting. Simba groaned in pain and tried to throw them off but the lionesses kept coming, biting his sides and clawing as hard as they could. Nuka had finally risen to his paws and joined them, his eyes angry.
Kovu growled and ran to help Simba. He rose, preparing to swing a paw at one of the lionesses when Vitani, who was helping her pride sisters, saw him. She was disgusted. Their mother had sent him to do a job which he couldn't even do. "So we have to do it," she thought. When he was in good range, she kicked him in the face with her hind legs.
The blow caught Kovu by surprise and he found himself landing into a small boulder, the back of his head making hard contact. His body sprawled to the ground. As he lost consciousness, his sense of reality began slipping while his brother, sister and pride mates pushed Simba down into the gorge. After a few moments, his reality faded altogether but his mind was pulling him into another reality… his past…
"Mom?" the brown cub asked carefully as he approached the lioness.
Zira's ears flickered as she lied on the hot ground. She turned. "What is it Kovu?"
The cub stepped closer with hesitation. When he saw his mother relax, he came closer. He sat beside her, staring. "Why must we live here? What did we do wrong?"
Zira growled softly, her paws clawed at the barren soil. "That… murderer…" she paused as her breath came in heavy gasps. "…that so called King Simba killed Scar the true king!"
"Would he have killed me?" Kovu asked, shivering slightly at the memory of seeing the king with nothing but a look of hatred for him and his mother.
She looked down at her son, the anger slowly fading. If she hadn't been around, Simba would have killed Kovu and if that happened, there would be no one to avenge her mate's death. The only other who could was Nuka but he was weak, having been that way since birth.
Zira's ears flickered. She remembered Nuka's birth and how Scar, at first so excited about having an heir, became thoroughly disappointed upon seeing the cub. Though Zira loved her oldest son in her own way the king hated him with a passion. Then, some months later, Vitani had been born and Scar's disappointment increased, saying to his mate that a female could not be his heir. But then Zira became pregnant again and a new cub had been born but Scar was worried and angry. After two 'failures' he'd vowed he would have an heir, unaware that his mate had a plan of her own and it worked. Scar knew the cub wasn't his and vowed to kill it upon birth.
But Zira asked him to look. He did and was amazed. The cub was named Kovu in memory of Scar, announced the heir and presented as such by Rafiki.
The memory faded and Zira looked on her son again. She spoke gently, a rare thing for her. "No Kovu. If he did I would have killed him. You are my son and losing you…" She paused and shut her eyes. "I would have no memory of Scar left at all. You, my son are Scar's heir and you will bring us back to the Pridelands. You will undo the wrong that brute did to us. He couldn't keep an eye on his own son who met his death much too early. Irresponsible… Simba is no king. He exiled us unjustly."
Kovu moved over and carefully rested his head against his mother's chest. "Mom… I'm sorry about yesterday. I didn't mean to stray too far I swear!"
Zira purred, though she was still angry but it was her oldest son Nuka who was supposed to be keeping watch. He had failed, like always. "I know you didn't. And with enough training, you will be strong and you will kill Simba and take Scar's place as king of the Pridelands."
Kovu yawned, his eyes beginning to drop. "I love you mom and I will make you proud."
Zira didn't reply. The cub fell asleep and she looked down again, admiring him. Then, she stared at the sky, wondering if her mate was up there but she had the calm assurance that he was.
"Scar," she whispered. "Through this cub you will be avenged. You can finally rest in peace, my love." After awhile, the former queen of the Pridelands rose to her paws and picked the sleeping cub in her jaws and returned to the cave to rest. That night and many after that, she dreamed of a coming glory when she and her pride would be restored to their home.
Kovu slowly woke and his vision was blurry. When he could focus again, he carefully rose to his paws, shaking the dust from his mane and body. There was, however, a new look in his eyes. It was the same look he had held when his mother had sent him to the Pridelands. The look was of vengeance had returned and he wasn't about to blow it again.
He walked ahead, his ears perking. He stopped and listened. There were sounds of fighting. His mother commanded the lionesses to attack Simba at any cost and they would do it. It was what they all trained for. They would not fail her. And he wouldn't either. If this was what he trained for, for three years of his life, it would not be in vain. Why did he listen to Simba, who had nothing but evil to say about Scar? His mother was Scar's mate and queen. She knew him better than Simba and though Kovu was not Scar's son by blood, he was an adopted son. If Simba returned to avenge the death of his father, shouldn't he do the same? He didn't know Scar at all but he did know him through stories and through his brother and sister.
The look in his green eyes turned vicious, his mother commands rang in his head and he started running around the gorge, occasionally looking down to see what was happening. He watched as his sister and some of the lionesses pounced on Simba's back, only to be thrown off. Kovu noticed Simba was running north as was he.
Simba ran as fast as he could, hoping to find some way out. Zira wasn't going to give up. Not until he was dead. As he ran, he saw the wall of logs that blocked the river just up ahead, his paws touching a large log. He turned seeing the murderous look within Zira's eyes. His heart quickened, his breath coming in shallow gasps. He didn't have a choice. He started climbing but was careful. He didn't want to accidently break some logs and have the water they blocked coming crashing down. A flood like that could kill not only him but his intended killers as well. One log was budged due to his hind legs and it fell, landing hard on the ground in front of Zira and her children who managed to get out of its way.
Kovu saw Simba climb the logs. If he climbed further there was a chance for attack. The brown lion growled softly, his claws scratching the surface of the ledge. "Simba…" he snarled, his eyes snapping.
Zira noticed her son. "Get him Kovu. Get him! Do it NOW!"
Kovu crouched down a bit then silently wondered how he was going to get Simba. He saw a ledge near the one he stood on and went toward it.
From down below, Nuka growled, his red eyes gleaming. Was his brother going to follow their mother's command or what? Suddenly, the lion got an idea. If Kovu couldn't do it, then he wasn't fit after all. This was his chance. If he could kill Simba, Zira would be prouder of him than Kovu. He ran and leapt up the log wall.
"I'll do it for you mother!" he screamed, burying his claws into the logs as he started his ascent. He was some distance away from Simba but his strength, experience, and determination enabled him to climb faster, but warned him to be careful, as one misstep could kill him. "Mother, are you watching?" he asked a tone of insanity in his voice. He turned back, his eyes showing more malicious and viciousness than they ever had. "I'm doin' it for and I'm doin' it for me!" He chuckled evilly.
Kovu suddenly ran back up to the ledge he had stood upon moments before. He heard his brother's call and watched as he ran up the logs, the thirst for revenge running deep in his voice and in the way he ran to get the king. Kovu bowed his head thinking. It was he who was supposed to kill Simba not Nuka. But for all his life Nuka had wanted to please his mother, to show that he was not worthless.
This would be his chance unless…
Kovu wondered if there was a way for both him and Nuka to gain praise from their mother. In the end it was he alone who could kill Simba but Nuka would have part in it. He crouched low to the ground, not wanting Simba to see him. He waited.
Simba struggled to get up the logs. There was dust in his eyes and he knew that Nuka was right behind him. He panted heavily. It hurt for him to breathe but if he slowed down the black maned lion would catch up to him. His left hind leg slipped and a sharp pain was felt. He grunted and closed his eyes tightly, his teeth gritting.
Nuka smiled. He had dug the claws of his left forepaw into Simba's hind leg. "This... is my moment of GLORY!" He grunted and slipped down some logs but managed to grab hold of a few in the last minute. He shook his head, anger rising through his body. Simba had kicked him with the other hind leg. Nuka growled and continued climbing but Simba was ahead, ready to jump up to the ledge to safety. Nuka snarled. He was not about to give up. Not while his mother watched.
Kovu hoped his brother was okay from the blow. Before the king would reach the ledge, there were more logs he had to climb. If he slipped, the work of the logs will have done his and Nuka's work for them but if Simba did slip Nuka would be unable to get out of the way.
"No. He may be a fool but he's still my brother," the brown lion thought. He rose from his position and ran down the ledge at a fast pace but once his paws touched the logs, he had to balance himself.
Simba gasped, looking at who was in front of him. He was trapped. He had one pursuer ahead and one behind. He cursed himself. He should never have brought Kovu into the pride, but the Royal Protocol stood. His first instincts, his kingly instincts had been right from start but the young lion saved his daughter's life and a debt had to be paid.
On the safety of the ground Zira, Vitani, and the pride watched. The desert lioness was in awe. Both her sons were willing to risk their lives so that Scar's death would be avenged but she knew in her mind that Nuka wasn't doing for vengeance. He was doing it to please her, just as he wanted to all his life.
Kovu carefully made his way down the logs, coming to Simba. His eyes were murderous, his face vicious, his teeth bared and snarl emitted from his throat. "Nuka!" he called. "Get down, now. If Simba breaks a log it'll kill you!"
But the black maned lion was not about to listen. "Whatever you say termite…! If you hadn't killed this stupid king when you were supposed to, we wouldn't be in this situation!"
Simba frantically looked to all sides of him. He groaned and clenched his eyes. He carefully rose to all paws, his belly no longer resting on the logs for support but Kovu studied his targets moves. Simba was tired and his legs near gave way. The kind look Kovu had given the night before was now replaced by a cruel gleam. The same was said to the lion behind. To Simba, it was as if he was seeing two versions of his late uncle, one being of blood, the other of adoption. Simba shuddered. Would his life end here? What would become of his pride? What of Nala, his loving mate and Kiara, his only child and heiress? Shaking his head, Simba made a dash to the right but his hind paws stood on a log and slipped, sending it careening.
Kovu watched and snarled at the king. He would not get away. Kovu jumped to the side and ran down staring at Simba but stopped and looked up, seeing the log that the king's paws had touched made its way down to his brother. His eyes widened in horror.
"NUKA, GET OUT OF THE WAY NOW!" he roared.
Nuka saw it but couldn't evade. The log hit him in the chest, sending him falling and tumbling down. He groaned as he hit the logs, freeing some in the process. His side burned and the air was knocked out of his lungs. After a few moments, he landed hard on his stomach, feeling something jab into it. He tried to get up but found himself to be pinned. He couldn't move. He looked up at Simba and snarled angrily.
Zira watched her oldest son. "Nuka!" she yelled in fear, something she had never expressed, least not for him.
Kovu looked on the trapped form of his brother and turned to Simba, his eyes narrowing in anger and hatred. "SIMBA!" he roared and with all claws out, he steadied himself and ran down the logs towards the king.
Simba tried to move, to dodge the lion's coming attack but Kovu, being younger and more experienced, collided with him and together the two lions fell down the wall, their bodies hitting each log hard. They groaned in pain and Kovu clawed all he could of Simba, who was unable to fight. The dark lion snarled and bit into the king's upper foreleg causing Simba to grit his teeth.
The gold lion raised his paw and smacked Kovu in the face, and the young lion roared out and stepped back allowing Simba the chance to escape. But Kovu saw and with blood dripping from his wound, he shoved Simba's head back to the logs.
As he tried to get the assailant off him, Simba noticed his hind legs were free. Using the same trick he had used on Scar, Simba pushed his legs into Kovu's stomach, who, looked down at him and leapt away. Simba rolled to his paws, breathing heavily and Kovu charged again, the look his eyes more vicious as the moments passed. Simba prepared himself as Kovu rammed his body into his. They fell down the logs again, rolling several times, their bodies covered in dust, scratches and blood.
The pride below watched but Zira was torn. She worried for Nuka but was proud of Kovu for making the right choice and not turning against his pride or Scar.
After seemed like forever, Kovu landed hard on his back, his head slamming into a log. He was dazed and coughing but he swore in his mind that Simba would die.
Simba had fallen onto his stomach. He panted. He didn't want to fight. He didn't want to die but he had to finish this. He knew that when he returned, if he returned, that his daughter would hate him once told that it was Kovu who set up the ambush. He wondered why she, a royal, had fallen for this rogue in the first place. He shook his head and slowly got back up to his paws, his left paw hanging in the air. It felt broken. Despite all he had endured, Simba growled dangerously. He was not about to let himself die in this way. If he went down, he would take Scar's heir with him. The pain was excruciating but he would live with it. Breathing heavily, he coughed a bit. There was fire in his eyes. This scene reminded him of his fight with Scar and he felt as though he were fighting a ghost.
The king roared softly and charged down at Kovu who looked up, seeing him. Simba jumped from a log and flew through the air towards him. Kovu lifted his forelegs and back legs into the air and felt them make contact with Simba's stomach. With a surge of strength the young lion flipped the large lion over his head.
Simba flew through the air, the surprising flip catching him off guard. He wasn't sure how long he was falling until he suddenly hit. The land was hard and Simba was sure that one of his hind legs and a few ribs were broken. He groaned and snarled in pain.
Zira walked up and laughed evilly. "Not as tough as you were made out to be, were you Simba?" she sneered, looking on the near dead king.
Beaten and bloodied, Simba spat up blood and tried to climb out. One log rested on his back but Simba managed to get it off. He shook the dust from his mane, his head spinning and eyesight blurry. He shook the rest of his body free and put a paw down and stumbled downward until he landed in the water on the ground of the gorge, water that seeped through the log blockade. He landed some feet away from the Outlanders. He stuck his tongue out to drink the water and heard mocking laughter from behind. He didn't bother to look up. He was defeated and he knew it.
"And they call you a mighty king," Zira drawled. "Ha! Not so might now huh Simba!" She walked toward him, looking into his eyes, seeing nothing but despair and defeat. She faced her pride, with a smile. "My pride mates, bow to King Simba, son of Mufasa!" She knelt down in mock homage. The lionesses did the same but Vitani ran up to the logs, aiding her brother.
The young lioness stumbled as she made her way to him. "Kovu!" she called. The brown lion shook his head, his body aching all over. "Kovu, you've done it…" She paused and stared at his face. "Kovu," she said in a shocked voice. "Your face…"
"What?" Kovu asked curiously. "Simba hit me…"
"That's how Father got his name. Brother…" She gently touched his face with a paw, moving it over his left eye. "You have the same scar."
The black maned lion chuckled. "Guess I really am a son of Scar." As he said those words, he remembered Nuka. He turned his head then looked back to his sister. "Get some help. Nuka is still trapped. He's up there, I can see him. I don't know if he's alive but he could be." Then, he narrowed his eyes, staring down at the torn body of the gold lion. "Can you do that Vitani? I have some unfinished business." He growled and limped down the logs, Vitani watching.
As Kovu made his way down, four lionesses walked past him, going to Vitani. They saw his face and gasped but Kovu smiled reassuringly, as if saying in silence that he would wear the scar with pride and honor. His paws touched the ground, splashing through the water. Again, the lionesses that saw him had stunned and scared expressions on their faces. The cub that once looked nothing like Scar except in eye color and fur color was, more like him now than ever. The scar had completed him. Not only was Nuka a son of Scar but Kovu, whose name means scar, did as well. They watched as he made his way towards his mother and the fallen king.
"Mother…" he said in an emotionless voice.
Zira snarled and lifted her head, facing her son. Her eyes widened as she stared at his face. The scar… She smiled, her eyes now gleaming. "My son…" She stepped back, giving room. "Do what you must…" She joined her pride but a lioness near informed her of Vitani getting Nuka. She could only nod, afraid to look from the sight which she dreamed about for so many years.
Kovu slowly approached. He couldn't help but snicker at the sight. He would enjoy this and he licked his lips.
Simba struggled to breathe. With tired and exhausted eyes, he looked up at Kovu. "Kovu… I should never have accepted you!" he said hissing. "You…" He coughed. "You used my daughter… just to get to me…"
Kovu laughed. "Yes! And she'll never know. If you hadn't killed Scar none of this would be happening. And don't worry. Kiara will be queen but I will be her king and I will take good care of her." He chuckled, seeing that there was still life in the battered lion yet. "Look at you. I thought you were better than this, but I guess I was wrong."
"You really want to continue the circle Scar started Kovu? It doesn't have to be like this. Scar killed my father…" He was cut off by a smack to the head. He didn't cry in pain. He was numb all over.
"And Scar was the father of my brother!" Kovu growled. "You threw him to the hyenas. You didn't stop it! You're a king of mercy? No! My mother was Scar's mate, his queen and his second in command! Scar knew I was not of his blood but of my mother and a rogue. He could've killed me but he saw himself in me. He saw brilliance and strength and he named me his heir out of love! You know nothing Simba!" The dark lion circled him. "Scar didn't have the experience but he would've made a great king if he did. Your father was the favorite and Scar was shoved to the side like a piece of trash because he was second born, not strong like Mufasa. The circle Scar created will continue but it will be different." He came up to Simba's neck.
The king didn't reply. He shut his eyes, waiting. "Father… please, watch over Nala, and Kiara. I… I failed you. I'm sorry." Tears leaked out of his eyes.
"Aww… a Daddy's little boy… sounds like your daughter, a Daddy's little girl!"
"Just do it Kovu," he whispered.
The lion laughed. "If you insist…" He lunged out and wrapped his jaws around the king's throat, his buried in the bloodied and dust covered red mane. He felt his teeth sink into the flowing blood and with a fierce jerk Kovu stepped away.
Simba cried in pain. Blood formed underneath his body and spewed out of the wound, also covering his shoulder. The king gasped for air and after a few moments, his struggles ceased, his legs stopped jerking and finally, Simba's eyes rolled in the back of his head and he was still.
Kovu smiled triumphantly and went towards another small pond of water and dipped his blood stained muzzle into it.
Zira smiled with the same triumph. At last it was done. The lionesses muttered to themselves. A few moments later Nuka stood beside his mother but leaned on his sister for support, the four lionesses following. Zira turned to her eldest son and nuzzled him.
"Mom… did I make you proud today?" Nuka asked in a pained whisper.
"You did your best my son," she replied. "And I am proud of you, of both you and Kovu. Scar… your father would be too."
"But Kovu did it didn't he?"
"He did it for all of us."
Kovu cleaned his muzzle and came near the pride. His mother smiled proudly. His brother and sister held shocked but proud expressions.
Nuka winked. "Not bad ter… I mean, not bad Kovu."
For the first time, the three siblings shared a laugh.
Kovu looked on his brethren then to Zira. "Mother… you said I would be king. You are the mother of the new king, the Queen Mother." He turned again to Vitani and Nuka. "Vitani, Nuka, prepare to reclaim your true titles of Prince and Princess of the Pridelands. Vitani, you're an excellent huntress. I hereby appoint you, leader of the hunting party. And Nuka… there shall be no hard feelings between us. I'm gonna need your help."
The gray brown lion smiled. "No… that's what happened between Dad and his brother. And I would be glad to help. We are brothers right."
Kovu nodded and walked in front of the lionesses, some bowing their heads a bit. Despite him being in terrible pain he managed to jump onto a ledge and look down. He cleared his throat and spoke in a bold voice. "Simba, our oppressor, is no more. His daughter, Princess Kiara and his mate, Queen Nala are officially stripped of their titles but Kiara will be my Queen and she will learn the ways of the Outlander but never again will we be known as that." The lionesses just stayed silent. "From now on, we are Pridelanders, for that is our true title!"
Some wanted to roar but they wanted to hear his speech.
"On this day, we will return home and our glory will be restored. If Nala wants a fight then that is what she will get. We will not have another Pridelander stand in the way of taking back what was stolen from us! Before this day is done, we will eat in peace upon Pride Rock! We will help each other and defend the Circle of Life from murderers, traitors. Anyone who wants a home shall have it and have it freely."
The lionesses roared followed by Zira who roared with joy, her heart pounding. Nuka and Vitani roared alongside their mother and from the top of the ledge, Kovu roared and in his mind, he imagined himself standing on Pride Rock's promontory.
After the roars, the lionesses bowed their heads deeply. Vitani and Nuka laughed softly sharing a sibling embrace, while Zira, somehow felt the presence of her dead mate. "Look on our children, my love," she whispered. "Your legacy has been restored." Then she, along with her son and daughter, bowed.
But as she did, she heard the words she had spoken long ago. Then, they were just words but now, their meaning was fulfilled. Her youngest son was king, her other children, prince and princess.
One day when you're big and strong, you will be a king…