Sorry so much for the delay everyone! I just... sort of lost my interest in the Lion King area. I mean, I still read it, and I haven't abandoned it or anything... but I go through fazes. Right now I'm immensely obsessed with the Warriors book series, (If you want a link to my Warriors FF profile, go on my profile), among insane life. I'm gonna be straightforward with you when I say that this story will be updated VERY rarely from here on out, if I... well, if I even finish it at all. I mean, I actually have totally changed my mind about where I'm going with this story; I don't even -totally- know now. I have no idea how it's gonna end up. I actually wish I could start over, but I'm not even sure whether or not to do that. So, I -think- this will be finished... but I won't swear on a Bible.

Also, and this is VERY important, unless you are brand new to the story; I got a review telling me that, basically, in short, my character's names are not good. Well, at first this review made me upset; then it made me mad; and finally I realized maybe my names are a bit odd. First of all, Okami's name was a tribute to one of my favorite animals, wolves. 'Okami' means wolf.

Anika came from me just plain thinking the name fit her.

And Koda? I don't know. I just liked the name. But, the reviewer said that Koda makes them think of Brother Bear; but I've never even seen that movie.

But anyway, I finally decided that maybe they were right, so I changed the names of Okami, Anika, and Koda. Okami's new name is Sekani. Anika's new name is Zamani. And Koda's new name is Kota. And you CAN'T say those aren't African; both Zamani and Sekani are actually official African baby names. And Kota... just sounds African xD. Tama's name will remain the same.

Also; I now have links to each individual character's picture on my profile. So please check that out.

And, finally; this is a shout-out to Night-Wisdow. She is the author of the story "The Heirs of Hope"... which is probably the best Lion King story I've ever read. It actually inspired me to write this fanfic, and also is just plain amazing. I'm actually beta-ing it right now, so even though the whole story's done, the delay is me finishing the beta-ing. But I HIGHLY suggest you go and check that out. It really is my inspiration. PLUS, you can thank her for my updating; a few days ago, she P.M'ed me and told me she was looking forward to the next chapter... and for some reason, this motivated me so much I got my Warriors-writing butt up and wrote the next TWO chapters. MORE proof that you should review xD! Seriously, it's usually a review that makes me go write the next chapter. I'm serious.

And so ends the NEW longest author's note in history...


Tama peered down into the canyon. It snaked along, drawing patterns in the rocky floor. The four young cubs walked slowly and carefully along the rock, taking great care to not fall into the many holes which seemed to ooze green mist. "I wonder what's down there..?" Sekani muttered.

Zamani leaned over one of small volcano-type mounds. "Yeeach!" she shrieked, as hot air blew from the hole and into her face with great force.

"Heh," Tama giggled, receiving a glare from Zamani. "Sorry, sorry. I was just joking!" she rolled her eyes. "Don't be such a prissy-pussy!"

"Whatever," Zamani growled. Stealing one last glare at each other, they stalked off to explore separate sides of the cavern.

Kota, who had remained silent the entire time, padded over to Zamani. "Hey... she's in a bad mood today... just ignore it."

Zamani gave him a grateful smile, and they padded off to explore the cave more.

Sekani stepped carefully over one of the slits in the ground. "If you were a bird, I wonder what this would look like from the sky?" he asked inquisitively.

"I dunno... but I bet it'd be pretty awesome!" Tama breathed, entranced by the place. It was pretty cool.

"Ooof! Ah-ah-ahh!" Sekani slipped on a dampened rock, and nearly pitched into the seemingly endless pit he was standing near. "That was close..."

"Hey, come look at this!" Tama gestured to a line of "stepping stones". In reality, they were pillars. But because of the misty green fog that floated in and out the canyon that surrounded them, they looked like stepping stones that led across a misty green river.

"Wow!" Kota grinned mischievously. "Last one across is a smelly warthog!"

"You're on!" Tama leapt, landing on the first "stepping stone" with ease, then paused to regan her balance..

A "race" ensued, with Sekani reaching the end first, then Tama, then Kota. Poor Zamani was still stuck nearly at the beginning. The pillar she stood on wobbled slightly, and she squeaked and jumped for the next one. "That's not fair!" she protested, frowning.

"Ha-ha-ha! You're a smelly warthog!" Tama rolled on her back, giggling.

Zamani sighed, her expression downcast. "Awww... I'm always last..."

Kota opened his mouth to try and say something. He always seemed to be the most understanding of the group about Zamani, and he often jumped to her defense. "Oh... leave her alone, guys..." Kota hopped back across the "path", and when he reached Zamani, he helped her across.

"Thanks..." she said, smiling.

Kota nodded, before taking his place at Tama's side again. He gave her one last smile, which she returned, before they all began to walk away, still having much more to explore.

Suddenly Sekani gasped. "Look at that!" he exclaimed loudly, before taking off and charging towards whatever he had seen. He slid to a stop in front of a large, reddish crystal. "Look at that!" he repeated, obviously very excited by it.

"Wow..." Tama agreed, nodding with him as she circled the crystal slowly, looking it up and down.

"I dare you to lick it..."

"No way!"

"Hyena! Tama's a hyena, nah, nah, nah nah, nah!"

"Fine..." Her face twisted in disgust, and she leaned forward slowly and, with her eyes still closed, licked the crystal quickly.

She immediately yanked her tongue back in, as though not wanting it to remain on the crystal any longer than it had to.

"What did it taste like?" Sekani queried.

"Like warthog butt. It didn't taste like anything, Banana Beak!" she replied sarcastically, before poking him in the head tauntingly.

Sekani grinned, and crouched, preparing to tackle her. His efforts were interrupted by a low, ominous rumble, however, and he flicked his blue eyes around nervously. Their playful banter was forgotten as all four cubs edged closer together, eyes scanning ever inch of the massive cavern.

Tama stared at her feet, and noticed a few pebbles shaking and jiggling. "W-what's going on..?" Zamani asked slowly, the panic her voice growing steadily.

"I-I don't know!" Tama replied anxiously. "It sounds like some sort of... avalanche!"

Her explanation came true, as a wave of rocks burst into the room. The ceiling started shaking and hot green liquid gurgled out of the pits, steaming when it hit the ground. "Run!"

Scrambling to their feet, they, without a word, raced—and this time not playfully—to the stepping stones. They shoved each other along, panicky, and scrambled atop the other side. Rocks were falling from the ceiling now, and it seemed that the whole cave was collapsing. "Hurry!" Sekani shouted.

A rock fell on Tama's head, causing her to slow down and sway back and forth. Her vision blurred and the world seemed to spin, her eyelids half-closed. Kota saw what happened and turned around to help his sister. He grabbed her neck and began half-dragging her away, but the extra weight slowed him down. He began dragging her back across the 'bridge', with canyon on either side, until she blearily shook her head and stood up herself.

Then, eerily, a giant stalactite rumbled, and in slow motion, fell to the ground. It caused the two cubs to leap apart, and since it was pointed, it literally split the 'bridge' in two.

A stalactite was right in between them, and they were both dangerously close to the canyons on either side. Kota took a step back, but when he set his paw down, the rock crumbled and caused him to lose his balance.

He slipped off, his feet dangling down into the canyon and he clung onto the edge desperately. "Help!" he shouted frantically. Tama made ready to help him, being fully awake now, but just when things couldn't get any worse... they did.

Larger and more stones were breaking lose from the cave's ceiling, and because of their great size and weight, parts of the floor were crumbling too. There was less and less land and more and more canyon every second now.

Suddenly, the floor cracked, Tama and Kota on separate sides. There was a sickening groan, then, silence... The floors started to crumble, jarring Tama off her seemingly solid standing point and into the crumbling mess, which was traveling at breakneck speed in a river-like fashion... directly into the canyon.

Her claws scratched desperately against the pebbles, but she kept slipping further and further down, carried by the pebble current.

Kota wasn't doing so well, either. He tried to scramble up the rockslide that his wall had turned into, but his every attempt was in vain. His desperate acts seemed to only cause the wall to crumble more-so.

Sekani pounded along with Zamani, before realizing that they were missing Tama and Kota. He slid to a stop, and spun around just in time to see the ground crumble and the cubs get carried by the rocky current on either side. He knew he had a choice... he couldn't save both of them.

Tama slipped completely off her ledge, and began to fall, slowly, tortuously. The only thing that saved her, was a strange root that protruded from the wall.

She managed to just barely grab onto it with her teeth, but the weak root wouldn't last long. She could literally feel the bits of bark peeling off of it, and she momentarily wrinkled her nose at their awful taste.

That thought only served to terrify her more so, as rocks fell on her head and caused her to swing back and forth on the thin vine like a pendulum.

Sekani was frozen in thought , unsure which friend to save, and he stood motionless for several heartbeats. Zamani seemed to have disappeared. Kota cried out, "Help! Somebody!"

Sekani growled at himself for his stupidity, a lunged towards the closest cub; Kota.

"H-hold on, Kota! I'm c-coming!" he stuttered, the vibrating cave making him dizzy. "I think I'm gonna be sick..." he mumbled.

Tama clenched her jaw tightly, deciding there and then that there was no way a rockslide was going to end her. She pushed her back as hard as she could against the wall behind her, struggling to walk up the wall. This is easier than I thought it'd be... she thought briefly. It felt like when I first fell in here the wall was farther apart... Suddenly she came to the horrifying realization that the wall was closing together, crunching her in between. "Guys!" she shouted desperately. "The walls are closing in!"

Sekani was gripping Kota's scruff in his mouth, trying to drag him out. "I think we realized that!" he snapped.

Tama squeezed her eyes tightly, and welled up water, from just the pure strain of trying to walk up the wall, squeezed through her shut lids. She squinted her whole face up and willed her body to walk itself up the cliff further. Sharp rocks and bits of gravel dug into her back, drawing blood that seeped into her dark, dust-colored fur. Her olive green eyes narrowed, and she kept her gaze on the top of the cliff.. Almost there, she thought with little relief. Anticipating escaping, she began to push harder, trying to quicken her pace.

I'm almost there!
she excitedly thought again, one more step! Tama's face twisted into a look of horror as the rock she pressed her paw in crumbled, and she began slipping down into the abyss yet again. "H-help!" she shouted.

"A little busy here!" Sekani shot back. "Hold on, Tama!"

"I-I'm slipping!"

Suddenly, Kovu burst into the cave, crashing into the wall that Tama's back was pressed against and jarring it backwards. Zamani followed him straight behind, obviously having gone to get him. She reached down and help Sekani pull Kota out the rest of the way.

Kovu leaned down and snatched Tama out of the rift by her scruff, yanking her out onto the main floor. "Hurry!" he shouted, reaching his head down for the other three cubs to climb on. "We don't have much time!" A large rock hit him on the head immediately after he said this, causing him to lose his balance and stumble sideways. He still held onto Tama, though, who was too disoriented to struggle.

He tried to run, but his paws skidded and slid on the many tiny pebbles scattered across the shaking floor. He slid cartoon-style towards the exit; not that he minded, as it was much faster than trying to run. But with a glance to the ceiling, his eyes grew wide with terror and he scrambled to get to the mouth of the cavern.

Overhead, a huge boulder dangled ominously above the only exit to the shaking tunnel. It creaked, pebbles raining down all around it, and swayed back and forth, just begging to fall. Kovu swung his head around and sling-shot Tama out of the tunnel, who scrambled to her feet and danced on her paws, nervously waiting for her father.

Suddenly, Kovu slipped on the carpet of shaking pebbles, landing with his legs sprawled out. Sekani tugged at his ear, trying to get him up. "Hurry, mister Kovu!"

Tama couldn't wait any longer, and she pounded into the cave to help. But in her mad dash to help her father and friends, she skidded across the pebbles and slid dangerously close to the ledge. A mighty shake sent her toppling over, he hind paw catching on a rock and keeping her from going over all the way. She was trapped.

Kovu scrambled up, and, unaware of Tama's presence, grabbed the other three cubs and threw them onto his back. "B-but what about Tama!" Sekani shout-asked. But over the roar of the cave Kovu could not hear the dark gray cub.

Sekani took a deep breath, and jumped off of his back, half-running half-sliding over to where Tama had fallen. He snatched her by the tail, and began pulling her out of the pit. Once close to the exit, he spun his body around, slingshotting her body out of the cave and onto the ground behind her frantic father.

Everything happened so quickly that king Kovu had had no chance to dive in for his daughter; one second he was unaware of his daughter inside, and the next she was being thrown out at him.

Sekani put on an extra burst of speed, willing his body to escape the cave before the gigantic rock fell.

All at once, though, the final creak was heard, and the rock fell slow-motion to the ground. Giving a final leap, Sekani's front half landed outside the cave. He tried to scramble to his feet, but the large rock crashed down on him, trapping his foot and making him cry out in pain.

"Sekani!" Zamani shouted, leaping over the dazed Tama and rushing to her brother's side.

"Zamani, go get Rafiki, and hurry!" Kovu ordered. Without hesitating, she gave a curt nod, and bounded off in the direction of the gnarled old tree Rafiki lived in.

"P-please mister K-Kovu, get me out from under here!" came Sekani's mumbled response. His eyelids were drooping and an odd haze swirled in his piercing blue eyes; he was going into shock.

Kovu grimaced, obviously torn between doing what he knew was the right thing to do and obeying the poor cub's pleads. "I can't risk it, Sekani... I could hurt you further than you already are."

Sekani closed his eyes, lowering his head to the dusty ground again and going limp. He clenched his jaw, enduring the sheer, grating pain in silence, while Kovu looked on in sympathy.

Tama groaned, stirring, and as soon as she remembered where she was, she sprung up dizzily, teetering back and forth. "Sekani!" she shouted, anxiously searching for her friend.

"Down here..." he mumbled. Her fearful expression changed to one of horror as she saw her friend with his leg trapped under the great rock.

"Oh, Sekani!" cried Tama. "This is all my fault!"

"N-no, it's not..." he murmured. "I chose to go in after you... I couldn't just leave you there... you're my friend."

Tama's eyes watered, feeling incredibly guilty for her friend's show of loyalty. "You didn't have to do that..." she repeated, more to herself than to him.

He half smiled at her, although she could still see the pain etched onto his face. It was a bittersweet smile."I wanted to," he retorted. "I couldn't just leave you, Tama. You're my friend," he repeated.

His eyes closed, and he drifted out of consciousness. Rafiki appeared immediately after, scrambling through the brambles with Zamani puffing to keep up. Zazu fluttered some twenty feet above their heads, with Kiara bounding along under him, keeping sight of the blue bird. He swooped down to land on the ground beside Rafiki.

Rafiki examined Sekani and stood, slowly shaking his head. "Dis is not good," he said finally. "His body is going into shock, as a defense technique. We need to get him out of dere, now."

Kovu gave a brisk nod, understanding the mandrill's orders clearly. He put his strong, broad shoulder under the rock, and Kota gasped as he saw his father's enormous strength in lifting the large rock. Rafiki quickly but carefully pulled Sekani's body out, as he knew Kovu couldn't hold the rock up forever.

Sekani's unconscious body lay in the middle of the circle of lions, and they all stood in anxious silence as the watched Rafiki work. He dabbed many herbs around the gruesome leg, and retrieved some cobwebs from his basket of things to wrap the injured limb up.

Unable to stand there any longer, Tama finally asked, "Mister Rafiki, sir... will he be okay?"

"He has had a very bad leg injury, and the bone is broken. I 'tink he will recover, but I cannot be sure." The mandrill shook his head slowly. "It is bad, very bad. He is in the hands of the Great Kings. Whatever happens, he will certainly have a nasty scar."

Tama shrank under her father's cutting gaze. "Thank you, Rafiki." Kovu sighed.

Rafiki nodded. "I will bring him back to my den." His gaze landed on the dark gray cub once more.

Kovu nodded once more, watching as Rafiki gathered his herbs and left. He focused his emerald green gaze on Zazu. "Take Zamani and Kota home." His gaze turned sharply to Tama. "Kiara and I need to teach our daughter a lesson." Then his green eyes turned back to Kota. "And I'll talk to you later."

Zazu trembled slightly, but bowed respectfully. "Y-yes, Sire,"

Kovu nodded sharply once more at the bird. "Come on," he growled to Tama.

Tama sighed. She knew she was in deep trouble. And it would take more than an apology to fix it.

So... once again, THANK YOU, Night-Wisdow. And PLEASE review, people; like I said, it was a "review" ( A PM, actually, but...) that made me get up and write this!