If her heart could still beat. She could have sworn it would have shattered like the most fragile blade of grass. There was nothing more heart breaking than watching your loved ones suffer before your very eyes and being able to do nothing about it but cry tears that no one could hear.
That's how she felt as she watched the love of her life discover her broken body. How she felt watching him weep and beg for her to come back to him. She wanted to yell, to scream, to cry that she was right there in front of him. He only had to look up and see her. But even if he had, he would see nothing but air.
She was invisible to him.
Just like she was invisible to everyone else that found her body. Even to her son. Her heart broke even more when she heard his cries. To hear him blame himself tore her apart. It was something she didn't want him to do. It was not his fault at all she wanted to tell him.
None of this was his fault.
She had tried to touch him. But her paw to her dismay only went through him.
She wanted to bring him into her arms. Cradle him and sooth him. Tell him she was right there and she none of this was his fault.
Nothing that happened that night was.
The word fate hardened her non beating heart. Fate was something she didn't think had a play in all this. That was until moments after her death when she saw….them….
Sapphires eyes blinked into existence. But the image she expected to greet her wasn't what she saw. All she remembered was refusing to look away from the lioness in front of her as she awaited the killing blow. She remembered pain as her last seconds of life had slipped from her.
But now, there was no pain. No pain from the blow she had received to her head that she knew had been the one that ended all her suffering. But it wasn't just the pain that was gone but also the wounds she had received throughout the night. As a matter of fact. All her wounds seemed to have disappeared. Vanished not even leaving a single mark to show that she ever had them.
How can that be?
As she alive? Was this some miracle?
Or was she dead?
Was she a ghost?
That would have seemed like a ridiculous thing to ask herself a year ago while she lived back in the Jungles with the Rasheda's. If you told her there was such thing as ghosts back then she would have laughed. But after having experienced the ghost of her mates father and great-great-grandfather. That didn't seem like a silly thing at all to ask herself.
Her answers seemed to come on their own to her when she took note that she was standing now rather than laying on the ground. With a glance down at her paw which she held out in front of her she discovered it was so transparent that she could see the muddy ground through it. Not even the rain and wind seemed to touch her.
It felt strange that she could no longer even feel it.
But nothing was stranger than the sight she laid her eyes upon. There laying no more than four feet from where she stood was her body. But what unnerved her were the eyes of her body staring right back at her. For it seemed even in death she had refused to close them.
Taking a quick look around, she saw they she was alone. There was no one else nearby. How long had it been since her death?
With quiet steps, she began making way toward her body only to stop when she stepped on…or more preferably stepped IN. With a downward glance, a gasp escaped her making her quickly retract her paw. Although she could not hurt what she had stepped on for her paw seemed to have gone right through it. She tore it away from the body of the cub that lay at her paws.
That's right she thought. She had not been the only one to die. Tears formed in her eyes.
"My baby…" she breathed. Lowering herself to the ground, she stared at the dead body of her youngest son. He looked so tiny she thought. His eyes hadn't even had the chance to open. And now they never would and she would never be able to see what colour eyes he would have had.
"My poor baby boy…how could this happen to you? How could the Ancestors take your life while you are so young? You had a chance to live and it was taken from you…" Laying there on the ground, she attempted to reach out and touch her son only to watch her paws go right through him. "I can't even touch you not even in death." Her words became sobs.
Adjusting her body she laid with her arms forming a semi-circle around her cub. She could not hold him physically but she would make it look like she could still cradle her beloved boy in her arms. "Why did this happen to you…I would have greatly accepted death if you had not had to suffer as well…why…" clenching her eyes shut her body shook with uncontrollable sobs.
She didn't even hear them approaching her from behind until they spoke. "I warned you your majesty. Where there is death. There will always be death."
The lioness's head snapped up from where she had it bent in a fashion where she was pretending she could nuzzle her dead cub. She knew this voice. She had heard it many times over the months since he started to appear in her nightmares. She knew it from where he had spoken to her when he had led her towards where her son had been chased by that tyrant.
But when he had disappeared. She had thought she would never see him again. She had hoped she would never see him again. For she was going to fight her nightmares and she was going to save herself and her cubs. But that had not happened. Her nightmares had come true after all. For she hadn't been strong enough to protect her beloved cubs.
Now she didn't even know where her other cubs were.
Turning her head slowly she saw him standing there. But this time he was not alone. There was another just like him standing there right along side the furless creature. Only this one was much smaller, and only seemed to come past the waist of the much taller one. The one she had been seeing in her dreams.
Both of them stood there staring at her. Eyes filled with a small bit of sympathy but otherwise their faces were impassive.
A low growl emitted from her. Getting back to her paws she turned to face them both fully. "You! You knew everything and yet you did nothing!" she hollered at them but her words didn't seem to affect them in the slightest. They just kept standing there in complete silence till the taller one stepped toward her only to stop when she growled a warning for him not to come any closer to her.
"Relax Queen Zuri. My friend and I mean you no harm." The taller one proclaimed his strange furless five fingered hand held out toward her in a peaceful gesture. "You can trust us."
"How can I possibly trust you?" Zuri hissed between her teeth. She placed herself between them and her son's body. "You did nothing to save my son or myself. So I'll ask again, how can I possibly trust you!?"
The taller one shook his head almost sadly at her. His staff in hand he leaned against as he stared at the Queen. "What had occurred tonight. Was the hand of fate taking its toll in the plans it had set for every being on this planet the moment their life comes into effect while still inside their mothers." He spoke with wisdom that made Zuri want to believe him.
But the Queen vigorously shook her head in denial. That had to be wrong. Why would fate take away her son like this? Why would it take her life away like this? Her eyes went to her cub who laid in the mud his body torn up from where Zira's teeth had torn at him when she had gripped him in her jaws.
"No…" she breathed turning her attention back to them. She narrowed her eyes into a glare. "No. That is a lie. There is no such thing as something that creates ones fate. Only the person alone can create their own fate! My mother taught me as much."
"She has taught you well. And she is proud of you." The taller one seemed to smile as the shock came over the Queen's face at the mention of her mother. "Oh yes dear Queen. I know her well. I know all of those who wander the higher plains. She has been watching over you from the moment of her death…as has your father…" He nodded his head to confirm what he said was true when Zuri's eyes went from their narrowed state to as wide as they could possibly go. "And they all knew of your fate…"
"Wait…they knew…they knew just like you!?" Zuri's shock of knowing her parents had both been watching over her. Not just her mother but also her father. The lion she had never met, the one who her mother told her had died so that Zuri herself could live. Something she should have done for her own cub she thought tearfully.
It was the smaller one who nodded this time. "Yes…and do not hate them for it Queen Zuri. They could not put a stop to it even if they wished. And they wished desperately. For you see the woven web fate for all is created by those much higher than them. There are things in this world that you may never be able to comprehend. Your mother was right when she said people choose their own path. But fate is littered with many paths. But there are some who are fates for something else entirely…and you my Queen were fated to die…"
Fated to die? Zuri repeated in her head. She had been fated to die…but that…Zuri looked toward them and shook her head. "That is ridiculous…no one is fated to die…"
"Everyone has a time that they die your majesty. And when it's their time. It's their time. Just like it's always time for your prey that you kill in order to feed you and your pride is fated to die that day you hunted them. As is now your time to pass on from the living…"
"NO!" Zuri shouted. "That simply cannot be! I had those dreams to prepare myself…to live!"
"No Queen Zuri. You had those dreams because it was one of the few things Mufasa could do to try and warn you. He did not want his son to suffer the pain of loosing someone in such a way again. But there were simply forces in this world that not even he could stop. He tried to lead you on a path that may have saved you and your cubs.
"And it did appear as though it was working. He thought if he could not save you then he could save the cubs. Knowing you would have died to protect them. He and your parents tried their hardest, but your mother and father wanted you to live as well. Mufasa's plan seemed to be working. BUT like I've said before Queen Zuri." The smaller one spoke again giving the Queen a critical look. "There are many paths one has…your cubs had many. You can lay them all down before them…but it is their choice what path they choose…some…just need a nudge in the possible right direction…"
The taller one stepped forward and knelt so that he was eye level with her. Both his hands gripping his staff. "We are sorry we could not stop this Queen Zuri. For even the Fates are stronger then us. We are only here to do their bidding for we have promised Mufasa and the others we would guide you into becoming what you are meant to be now…"
The Queen furrowed her brow. Not sure exactly what this strange furless monkey was talking about. What was she meant to be?
Narrowing her eyes, she focused on the tall one. "Very well…then what is my purpose in this afterlife…?"
The taller one seemed to smile leaning in till his face was close to the Queens.
"To guide those who need guiding."
To guide those who needed guiding.
It was a mystery to even her when he said it. When she asked what he had meant by that he simply told her that she would know in time. She asked how that would be possible when no one could see her. He only said to have faith and she would know what to do when the time came.
So now…here she was. Sitting and watching as everything unfolded in front of her. And there was nothing she could do about it. She watched as the furless creatures spoke with her son and she could not help the pride she felt for him watching him stand up against them when they tried to explain his fate. He was every mixture of her and Simba inside him.
Zuri wished there was something she could do rather than stand there and watch as chaos took its part in the Pridelanders. More importantly what was becoming of her family. To watch with great relief as Kiara was found safe and alive. She watched with a heavy heart as her daughter was taken away by Kumai. Zuri had wanted nothing more then to take her daughter back for her to be brought to Simba. To watch with sadness and grief as her son ran away thinking his entire family was dead.
To watching her mate banish those who betrayed their Pride from the Pridelands.
And now here she was, out of the rain that she could no longer feel, watching the love of her life and her daughter converse. Zuri felt happy that Simba least had one of their cubs with him and she knew one day he would be reunited with the others. Zuri would see to that.
Whatever goal was set out for her. She did not care for it.
She would make her own goal.
She would guide her family from the beyond.
She would see them reunite.
Yes, that was her goal.
But until she could figure out a plan on how to make it work. She would speak with those who she thought she'd never be able to speak too again. Those who she wanted answers from.
Stepping toward Simba and Kiara, Zuri bent her head down though she knew right now she could not touch them. But until the day she could again. She would close her eyes and pretend she could nuzzle the lion she loved and the cub she bore him. "I'll always look over you my loves…always know that I am here…I love you…" she wanted nothing more then to hug them but for now she would settle for knowing they were safe.
The Queen turned her attention away from her family toward the source of the voice with new tears in her eyes and a small smile on her face. Her eyes resting upon the translucent body of a tanned lioness at the head of the cave who was watching her with warm brown eyes.
"Mother…" taking one last look at her family, Zuri began making her way to the head of the cave where her mother stood waiting for her. Passing the now sleeping bodies of her once pride sisters and mother-in-law. Stopping for a moment to gaze down at Nala and whispered, "Keep your promise Nala…I trust you my friend…" she watched the lioness's ear twitch as if she had heard her. Then continued her way to the front of the cave where her mother stood.
"Mother…" she breathed looking into the face of the lioness she had felt certain she would never see again.
Zakia smiled at her daughter with tears in her own eyes. Sadness from the night's events evident on her face. She and the others could all but sit back and watched as the events unfolded that night. They had all cried as they watched Zira take the life of Musa and Zuri. Lives they had been trying so hard to protect but had failed at. They knew there may have not been something they could have done for Zuri but they had tried.
But seeing her daughter here in front of her where she could willingly speak with her without revealing the whole truth of the afterlife it was something she thought. Nodding her head, Zakia reached forward to wrap her arm around her daughter and drew her close hooking her neck around Zuri's.
"My precious daughter. I'm so sorry this happened…we tried…we didn't want anything to happen to you or the cubs…I sacrificed my life to keep you alive…I wanted you to have the best future ahead of you with Simba. I'd known for so long that you two had feelings for each other. I was just waiting the day you told each other." Zakia nuzzled her daughter holding her close enjoying the fact that she was able to hold her again.
Tears filled Zuri's eyes as she clutched onto her mother with one arm turning her nuzzles of affection. It was good to be able to touch someone. Even if it wasn't the mate and cubs she wanted desperately to touch she was getting the chance to do something she wanted to do since her mother died. "It's not your fault mother…" she whispered.
Pulling away the two lionesses looked into one another's eyes. Both mother and daughter wearing equally watery smiles. "Mother…my cubs…"
"They'll be fine…we all promise…" Zakia reassured placing a paw on her daughters.
"His Guardian is already on his way to help him. As for Eshe…we will look over her." A new voice made the brown lioness turn and gasp at the newcomer. A brown lion with a large golden mane with blue eyes that matched hers. She knew him by the descriptions her mother gave of him…of her… "Father…" Beside him was the grey mane lion she never grieved over when she heard of his head. "Uncle Mansa…" The grey mane lion smiled at her then nudged his life long friend beside him.
Kopa Sr. nodded his head with a bright smile on his face that after so many years he got the chance to talk to the daughter he looked over in the afterlife. But to watch her die the way she had broke his heart. This was not what he wanted for her when he died. Stepping toward his daughter so that for the first time he was face to face with her. Well for the first time she could actually see him. He reached out to touch her face with his paw. "You've grown so beautifully…" he whispered looking his daughter over and was suddenly taken back when she latched herself onto him and started to cry into his mane.
Smiling, Kopa closed his eyes and leaned his head on hers. His paw rubbing her back. "Everything will be alright Zuri…your son takes after you…and his ancestors. He will be just fine…everything will work out in the end." Though as he said this even he had his doubts but even he was worried about the fate of his family. His daughter had been the last of his bloodline and now the last remaining cubs were exactly that.
Mansa nodded his head, "My son will look out for him Zuri. You know Jaali will."
Pulling away from the lion she had waited her whole life to see again. Zuri looked at him with red teary eyes. "But they are only cubs…"
"Yes…and that is why we will look out for them. We failed in trying to keep them all safe. We failed to stop these plans when we first heard of them. But we will not stop at creating a harmony among the prides like there hadn't been before. We will not allow anything else to come of them." From the shadows a large red mane lion stepped for his eyes full of sadness but determination. His plan at making sure his son didn't suffer had failed. He had given Zuri those dreams in the beginning to warn her but as time went by he saw they weren't going to work.
Every plan he had tried to put into affect had failed. But this time he would make sure it didn't fail again.
Mufasa smiled as he bore his eyes into the young lioness before him. "So Zuri…are you ready to guide those will need guidance?" From the shadows behind him, the tall furless creature stepped out to stand along side Mufasa.
Watching the father of her mate for a moment Zuri then turned her attention the strange creature to her uncle and then finally her parents. Her parents and Mansa gave her their best smile. A smile she thought she'd never see on her stern Uncles face. And with those smiles she placed a look of determination on her face.
Turning back to Mufasa she moved until she stood right in front of the Mufasa nodding her head.
"Yes…I am ready"
Ready to guide those who knew would one day need her guidance in the dark days to come.
That's the end of His True Destiny. Make sure to look forward to The Guardian and the Warrior.
Thank you all for reading. And my apologies for how long it took to finish. I do have some problems in life that need handling from time to time.
Hoping to see my loyal readers for Part 3