Kovu and Simba were out walking through the Pride Lands. They had just finished their final lesson on how to be a good King. Kovu had grown well, physically and mentally. He now stood equal with Simba. His dark brown mane was long and thick.
The animals respected him, and the Pride loved him. He would be a good King.
A lion came into veiw. He resembled Simba but had green-blue eyes like Nala. It was Kopa, the long lost Prince!
The Pride celebrated his return, and there was much joy and laughter until Kopa brought up the subject of the next King. Everyone fell silent, and all eyes turned to Simba. Simba thought then sighed.
"I'm sorry, Kopa, but you're not trained to become King. Kovu is. He will be the next King."
"What? It's my birth-rite!"
Kovu, sensing that things could get ugly very quickly, spoke up.
"Simba, I have a suggestion."
"Lets hear it."
Now all eyes were on Kovu.
"I suggest you wait two weeks, watch Kopa to see how he behaves, and then make you choice of which one of us will be King."
Simba smiled, for Kovu had spoken like a true King.
The celebration resumed, and Kopa made his way to his brother-in-law.
"Thanks. You didn't have to do that. You're taking the chance of not becoming King, ya know."
"I know, but it is your birth-rite, so you at least deserve a chance to get it back."
Kopa turned out to be different than anyone expected. He acted a lot like Simba had when he had lived in the jungle with Timon and Pumbaa. He was reckless, careless, selfish, and irresponsible.
Simba made his choice within three days.
"Kovu will be the next King," he announced.
The King looked at his son disapprovingly.
"Your behavior shows that you are unfit to be the next King."
Kopa stormed off, fuming.
Kovu sighed. Things hadn't gone as well as he had hoped.
A week passed, and Kovu and Simba were returning from their walk. Simba went to the waterhole, while Kovu continued to Pride Rock. There he ran into Kopa.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here? So Daddy let the 'chosen one' out of his sight for once?"
Kovu frowned but said nothing. He moved to go to the top to watch the sunset, but Kopa blocked his path.
"What's the hurry, Kov?"
The future King tried again to get by only to be blocked. He sighed.
"What do you want, Kopa?" he asked finally.
"My birth-rite that you stole from me."
The brown lion stared at his brother-in-law for a moment.
"Kopa, I didn't steal anything from you. Everyone thought you were dead."
"I don't care. It's my birth-rite. I should be King!"
Kovu shook his head.
"To be a King you must be just, wise, open in heart and mind, kind, fair, loyal to your subjects, and responsible. You are reckless, careless, and irresponsible. You're loyal only to yourself. You lack the qualities of a King, Kopa, that is why you were not given back the title of future King," Kovu said.
"If you won't step down I'll fight you for it."
Neither lion was aware of Simba arriving.
Kovu shook his head once more.
"I'm not going to fight you, Kopa. I'm certain you haven't been trained to fight, but I have. It wouldn't take too much for me to beat you."
"Nothing good will come of us fighting. If you and I fight then how long will it be before Kiara and Vitani fight and then others start fighting as well? It would only lead to senseless and useless violence."
Kopa growled, extending his front claws.
He lunged, but Kovu sidestepped the attack.
"Kopa, please stop!" he cried as he dodged attack after attack.
Simba watched, confident that Kovu could handle the situation.
"I'm not going to fight you, so please just stop!"
"Never! Not until you either step down or are dead!"
The Princes circled each other, Kopa snarled and panting.
"This won't prove anything, Kopa. Please stop."
Kopa hesitated, looking calmer, and Kovu slowly approached his brother-in-law.
Kovu fell back from the blow, and Kopa lunged. The brown lion merely kicked him over his head and jumped back up.
Kopa charged again, and Kovu had finally had enough. He stood his ground and waited for Kopa to be close enough.
With a well-aimed and well-timed blow to the side of the head, Kovu knocked the other Prince down.
"Fine. I give up," Kopa panted.
Simba finally made himself known.
"Well done, Kovu."
They looked at the exhausted Kopa.
"Kopa, why don't you train and become my advisor?" Kovu said.
The golden lion looked at the future King.
"You said I was reckless, careless, and irresponsible. Why would you give me such an important job?"
Kovu helped him up before answering.
"One, because you're family. Two; you didn't get your birth-rite to become King so you might as well get some sort of royal job. Three; with time and training, you'll learn to be more responsible and suited for a royal duty."
"Kovu's right, son. When I became King I was a lot like you, but as time went by, I learned how to be a good King."
Kopa thought for a few moments then smiled and nodded.
"Good. Training will start first thing tomorrow morning."
"Wakey, wakey, sleepyhead. Come on, time for your first lesson."
Kopa moaned sleepily as he was nudged awake. He blinked and looked at the one who had awoken him. To his surprise, it was Kovu.
"Kovu? Isn't Dad going to train me?"
"He will once I become King, but for now, I'm going to so we can spend time together and get to know each other."
The golden lion got up and followed Kovu out of the cave as the sun was rising.
Kovu ascended to the peak of Pride Rock and let out a booming roar. The Pride, including Simba and Kopa, roared back. He roared once more to make it official, declaring it to all the animals and the rising sun.
Kovu was the new Lion King.
He went back down to the others.
"Come on, Kopa. Time for your lesson."
"What's it about this time?"
"Race ya to the waterhole to find out. Ready, set, go!"
He took off running with Kopa not far behind, both laughing as they ran.
It was a new day, and a new beginning.