Message from the Author: The last chapter for book one, prepare for a long read...
Lion King 4
Book One – The Successor and the Warning.
Chapter: X – Finale Part II: The Successor.
"Hey; what are you doing? We had a deal; you weren't suppost to hurt him!" The sudden voice of Malka erupts from within the maroon haze of the Outland. Malka rushes up the Kovu lying on the ground unconscious. The nameless lion growls and looks down upon the prince he just attacked, he tilts Kovu's head with his paw to get a better look at the future king.
"What do you think I was going to do? Let this half-breed take my place on the throne?" The lion growls at Malka, looking saddened Malka quickly realizes this was entirely his fault, he lied to Kovu, to everyone just so that he could Kovu here alone where he could be defeated. Regretfully Malka shakes his head and backs off; he wince's his eyes and backs off running off deeper into the outlands, no longer wanting to be part of this foolish scheme. Letting the liar Malka run off, for he has served his purpose the new lion that remains nameless leaves Kovu to rot unaccompanied in the Outland as a pack of three hungry vultures circle overhead.
'The sought successor as the rightful heir will return. Then equilibrium of this world will be broken.' That was the deadly warning given to Timon and Pumbaa at the Oasis, they passed it on to Simba and now the Lion King wonders just what it really means inside the lion's den, the fire, the storm, what does it all mean? Simba remains at Priderock, looking around for company around his rock throne, but everywhere is deserted, no Timon or Pumbaa, no Nala or Sarafina, not even the wise old Rafiki. Simba is alone at the eerier Priderock; the storm now at its worst and ominously swirls above Priderock itself and the air grows cold. He shivers alone in the lion's den, wondering just where everyone is; alone he cowers clueless to just who was trying to hurt his pride, and even more clueless to the events happening in the Outlands, a sudden gust of cold air blasts through the lion's den, Simba curls up for warmth, alone he continues to try to work out the sudden mysteries of the past few days.
To the north of Priderock the shaman Rafiki continues his descend into the mysterious shady cave at Five Stone, after a narrow dodge from the beady eyed Zazu. The dark passage being only dimly lit by cracked holes in the roof the tunnel where the light shines in. His elderly eyes peer as he makes his way through the passage, slowly and carefully down the gentle slope, throughout the hindering darkness. Rafiki has being here before, they are many entrances into the cavern, but this was the most concealed. The sound of gushing water could be heard in the distance; quickly reaching the end of the mighty passage Rafiki enters the large cavern. The small waterfall continues to rain down into the small lake below and the carving on the cavern wall remaining untouched by all. Smiling as her enters the cave, he's encountered with a familiar voice:
"What do you want Baboon?" the lioness groans intrepidly rolling her eyes at the sudden appearance of Rafiki who slowly walks towards her and places his hand on her shoulder. Looking at her gloomy reflection in the water, the lioness can only sob at the lakes edge. Rafiki knew he would find her here; Vitani fell down the falls awakening on the river's edge before immediately running to this cavern, the things Nala said to her Vitani could understand, and Vitani didn't want to be found. She recovered from the fall and is safely here now. Rafiki's wise instincts drew him to this cavern once again where he knew he would find the young lioness. Standing next to Vitani sulking in the cavern Rafiki decides to part some clever advice:
"Love doesn't hide, it stays and fights and it goes the distance, that's why love is so strong. So it can carry you all the way home." The lioness continues to sulk before looking up at Rafiki who gives her a warm smile. She lifts her face up and replies shadily "Why are you telling me this?" she says before heading towards the exit hoping never to be seen again. Rafiki sighs understanding and knowing her pain with all she has lost. It's just at that moment he remembers the painting he drew just after the coronation of newest prince Kovu. Days ago he drew a painting of a cub on the tree truck wall of his home. Suddenly to Rafiki it all made sense, remembering painting he made on the wall of his tree he answer Vitani's sole question:
"Because there is another cub." He says wisely and then looks on the far side of the cavern another tunnel leads off into an unknown location but then finally turns to face the caving on the cavern wall. Vitani's eyes widen, gazing upon the carving on the cavern wall, carved into the rock itself is her name. Staring at her own name carved on the wall, she now knows there is another cub and she winces at her name and rushes out of the cave knowing exactly what the wise mandrill meant, running through the cave quicker than lightning towards the exit. Rafiki realizes the painting he drew was for Vitani, and that the secret pact made so very long ago will soon be broken, the shaman eventually decides to follow Vitani into the furious storm.
Ni cries out Kovu's name in the Outlands, hoping for an answer and feeling slightly safer now he's away from the Pridelands. Nala follows closely noticing Ni's grubby fur coat cannot be noticed in the dusty Outlands, Kovu is missing and its particularly serious because someone in setting fires and traps among all the Pridelands. Nala has missed Ni so much, suddenly flashbacks of her past flow through her mind again: When Simba was deemed dead and Scar was the dark king, Nala and Ni met up several times and with Simba presumes dead in the stampede Nala was alone and after so long she needed someone for company, Ni was always around to help her, he wonders around the Pridelands occasionally, he is more like a wanderer, never staying in the same place for too long, always moving on. Nala is glad she found Ni, he was always around someplace, she knew she could find him if she ever wanted too again and she is most grateful to Ni for all he has done for her. Perhaps after all this is over she can finally thank him. Shaking her head the queen Nala cries Kovu's name once more, together the old friends had already searched the termite mounds and the bark forest, but there no sign of him. Suddenly running through the fog an adult lion crashes into Ni knocking them both off their feet. It's a bright furred lion with a mane of two colours, black and party lighter brown, with black fur on the top of both his ears and brown eyes, it was Malka. Ni growls and gets up but does not brushing himself as Malka gets up also slower. Nala knows they're something wrong in his eyes and she can see the panic in his face;
"Where's Simba?" Malka asks desperately for his own reasons he now wanted to help the Pridelands, but no one answers his question or even trust him as Ni suddenly notices Kovu laid on the ground in the dusty fog, rushing up the dark furred lion in the distance he checks if the new prince is okay while Nala finally answers Malka's question:
"Simba's back at Priderock," Nala run over to Kovu who lays unconscious.
Ni look at the poor state Kovu is in, he had clearly being attacked with lots of small scratches across his fur, Nala finally found Kovu and nuzzles him awake.
"I know who did this, but it doesn't matter, you must hurry back to Priderock, all of you, you shouldn't have left Simba alone, that's what he wants!" Malka replies quickly in fear as Kovu coughs, he opens his eyes and frowns ready to pounce on Malka if he makes another bad move, Kovu gets as up all four of his brawny legs shake, Malka lied to them, to all of them, and Kovu wasn't letting him get away with it,
"Why did you do this Malka! Why are you working for him?" Kovu shouts growling loudly, he was talking about the golden furred lion which attacked him, the lion Kovu thought was his father, the nameless lion which Kovu was lead towards only be disappointed and attacked.
"Because hetold me where I can find Tama!" Malka shouts back above everyone else, ringing fear into everyone as he does. The air saddens around them; time almost stops for the queen Nala. A single salty tear falls out of Nala's deep blue eye, she remembers back to the adventure of eight, long ago in the Daggermouth Gorge, the dam broke the logs fell, Tama was swept away, all because Nala saved her younger brother Mheetu instead. Nala can still hear the cries of the young Tama in hear head: 'Nala! Don't leave me!' the young Tama's last words before the unforgiving waters swept the oldest cub away never to be seen again. Nala falls apart, her eyes stream tears, remembering that fateful day in the gorge, she looks deep at Malka as she can read the emotions of lion just by looking at their. Nala has read emotes before, she knows these things and Malka was not lying. The queen stands there, dazed at what she just heard, but her tears were not ones of sadness, but of rejoice, Tama was alive! Kovu stands with Ni as he introduces himself the new prince and Nala wipes her tears; she asks Malka all about this nameless lion who attacked Kovu, why he lied to everyone and more importantly what's happened to Tama all this time. But Malka himself did not know all the answers, the nameless lion made a deal with Malka, he was to him in order to get the information he needed to find Tama, Malka explains part of the deal was that nobody got hurt. Malka needs to find her in order for Tama to finish that sentence she said in the Daggermouth Gorge before it all collapsed, for so long he has being searching for his love. Malka then regrets ever lying to Kovu; he proves it was not him who started the fire in the Pridelands with a simple gentle apology. Malka always enjoyed returning to the Pridelands to play with Simba after their first encounter as cubs. Zazu would pick him up once a week from his own pride just to be sure he wouldn't get lost again just like Simba promised. After a month's passing, Simba and Malka grew to become close comrades. Malka misses those times, he sighs sadly realising he can't show his face in the Pridelands again for a very long time and so Malka departs once more leaving on his own long journey to be reunited with Tama.
Nala, Kovu and Ni gather together and all hurry back to Priderock to save the Lion King, Kovu shows them the way through his old home, bidding farewell to the Outlands for the very last time, it was sad for him, but the Pridelands were his home now, and one day he can have his own family, with new memories. Regretfully he did not find his real father, but his real father could be watching Kovu from the stars and smiling, perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.
The future of all the Pridelands was under threat. But the dramas of the Outland remain a mystery to Simba as he stands upon the very top part of Priderock, in the wind, rain and thunder in hopes to find anyone. Zazu haphazardly swoops down, the wing knocking him of course as he flies straight into the stone right infront of Simba, almost in hysterics the majordomo takes a few deep breathes before reporting his news: "Sire! The Lionesses are spread out across the Savannah without Nala to lead them they have no direction, and still no sign of prince Kovu, but there's an unknown rouge lion approaching Priderock at speed!" Zazu takes a few deep breathes, gasping as he stops with the king for awhile as they realise they are not alone atop the throne. There is a low growling as Simba turns his head around to see another adult lion. Zazu stops dead as Simba turns around to see a lion with battle scars across his forelegs slowly walking towards him. Simba's eyes widen worryingly, his blood runs cold. Suddenly everything was about to change, sudden flashbacks of the past flood his mind. Recurring lost memories of a dreadful act which lead to the separation of the Pride and the shadowy image of a long forgotten cub. The forgotten prince, Vitani's prince, when she was a princess crowned to become the new queen, the prince who was taken away from her by her mother's dreadful acts, the cub she used to spend time with inside the cavern in the secret cave which meant so much to them, the other cub painted upon Rafiki's tree trunk now stands before Simba as a fully grown adult, as his growls turn into a sombre smirk,
"Hello father," he smiles sincerely over to Simba as tears stream from his brown eyes, Simba freezes in disbelief. This is, his son, prince Kopa, brother to Kiara, grandson to Sarabi and soul-mate to Vitani. Simba shakes as he rushes up to his son and wraps his arms around him, as father and son reunite. Just at that moment Nala, Kovu and Ni finally reach the top of Priderock, all of them looking distressed and disappointed. "It is really you, Kopa?" Nala blinks in doubt; Kopa gives a small embarrassed laugh from his mom and nods his head slowly, Nala runs to her son embracing him once more, this was by far the biggest shock to her so far, but as the two hug atop Priderock, Kopa's eyes turn to sadness as he backs away from his own mother. With both his parents full of more questions on the top of Priderock, Kopa lowers his head, his sadness suddenly turning to anger,
"You all forgot me, Never even once mentioning my name as was your secret pact made long ago: you tired to cover me up! You made it look like I never even existed! Even you forgot me, mom," Kopa yells as sudden blast of lightning strikes the side of Priderock. But even his anger cannot hide the tears of the young Kopa he sobs as both Simba and Nala rush over to their son despite his anger, his mother holding him tight as a single ray of light shines down upon them. A long discussion insists on the top of Priderock, Simba tries to explain what happened: "After Scar's defeat, after the great migration, the Pridelands recovered from the dark king Scar's reign. Zira was distraught from Scar's death, she wanted revenge for the death of her loved one, she sought revenge through Kopa, that terrible day Kopa was stolen and a dreadful act was committed, Kopa was deemed dead. A pact was made, to protect future generations, we wouldn't talk about that day openly, for fear that our children might suffer the same fate; I tried to protect Kiara as much as I could, in the end I was over-protective and I didn't want to lose her as well. I'm sorry Kopa," Simba sighs to himself explaining all followed by an apology to his own son. Then Kopa shakes his head and gathers his thoughts, wondering just what happened to Zira and his cubhood love Vitani, as Kopa gets his hopes up smiling broadly and remembering the good old days, happy memories of his cubhood with his friends, he looking around in the rain but then looks directly at Kovu and his hopes drop, realising his worst fears have become real.
"They're two princes..." Kopa says to himself. Suddenly everyone wonders the same problem, Kovu was the new prince now, he took the place Kopa, and times have changed:
"Is that why you made Malka lie, so you could hurt him Kopa? To stop him becoming prince?" Nala asks using a kind voice, never once getting mad or angry at her caring son,
"He's a half-breed mom, he doesn't even have king's blood, I'm the first born and I'm the real prince here!" Kopa acts almost selfish as Kovu growls at him now pushing everyone else out of the way, Kovu worked so hard for this throne, after all he's being through he is not going to let Kopa take his place on the throne like this.
"At least I'm not a momma's boy!" Kovu suddenly outbursts with an evil smile on his face clearing referring to Kopa's immature behaviour.
"Why don't you try telling your father that?" Kopa roars back as Kovu makes the first strike and pounces upon the forgotten prince his sharply developed claws drawn as the two prince's fight atop Priderock in the confrontation was what always meant to be. Everyone panics and tries to help as Kovu slashes widely at his rival. Suddenly Kopa dives on the stronger Kovu as the two prince's fall off the end of Priderock. Rolling down the side of rocky monument they still fight, Kovu grabs Kopa's mane and bites into his neck slightly as Kopa retaliates by kicking Kovu in the gut sending faint claws across his brown darkened fur. The two land upon the hard ground, roaring in great pain as they land in a heap. Both weakly trying to get up to continue their battle, Kovu gets up first; he circles Kopa who is still lying on the floor weakly. "She died Kopa! Right in Doti's paws, Vitani fell down the falls!" Kovu yells destroying all hope within the older Kopa as the darker lion approaches the hopeless Kopa with a killing look in his eyes; it's at that moment Kopa see's the darkness within Kovu. For just a moment Kovu looks just like his adopted father Scar, gritting his teeth Kopa shuts his eyes fearing the worst as Kovu lowers his paw, striking Kopa's face mercilessly scratching a huge red scar down his right eye. Kopa howls in pain holding his eye with his paw breathing heavily only increasing his rage. A large lightning bolt strikes the Pridelands flashing up the whole sky which roars with anger just then Kovu goes for another strike to end it all lowing his paw once last time...
"Stop it!" The sudden familiar voice of a lioness roars above the clashing thunder itself. Kopa slowly opens his eyes and Kovu lowers his paw harmlessly to the ground, they both look over for standing firm in the distance is Vitani.
Kovu gawps to see his sister standing in the rain and steps back slightly but more importantly Kopa floods with optimism. His face lights up as he gases upon Vitani, the cub he loved and the cub who he wanted to be his queen. A lionesses he hasn't heard of or seen of in a very long time. Muttering her name in his head Kopa shakes his head in disbelieve but rushes directly towards her. Vitani smiles for the first time in a long while and the two of them run together before finally embracing eachother in an almighty nuzzle.
"I thought you were dead," Vitani says as they lovingly nuzzle one another,
"I thought you were too," Kopa smiles filled with hope and joy, a final salty tear trickles down his cheek. Simba and Nala both rush down from Priderock to see the two old mates nuzzling one another they smile together as Zazu swoops down and Rafiki appears from the cavern, Kovu looks in surprise but only scowls and remains in the shadow of Priderock. Everyone smiles accept Kovu, it's only at that moment the dark storm clouds divide apart above Priderock and a single ray of light blasts through the grey clouds shining down solely upon Kopa and Vitani. The successor has returned, marking a fresh era for everyone in the Pridelands; perhaps this is merely the beginning of a far larger plan in the great Circle of Life.
To Be Continued...
End of Episode X
End of Book One