"Hey, wake up." Wally, who was sleeping on top of Vic's stomach, opened his eyes to see a grey lion.
"Whoa!" Wally flew back in surprise and landed on the dirt, waking Vic up in the process. The meerkat sat up and rubbed the back of his head. "Well that was a wake up call I never want to have again." Vic chuckled and rolled over onto his feet. Raven rolled her eyes, her patience running thin.
"Have either of you seen Logan? I've been looking everywhere for him." Wally raised a brow.
"Wasn't he with you? Don't tell me there's trouble in paradise already," the rodent commented.
"He was, but we had a slight disagreement and now I can't find him," Raven replied. There was a sound from above and she looked up to the tree. "Kori! Rich! What are you doing here?" Both monkeys dropped onto the ground, smiles on both their faces.
"Hello Raven. I'm afraid you won't find Logan here," the red baboon replied. Raven looked to Rich.
"She's right. The king has retuned," the black monkey stated. Raven's eyes widened slightly and then a small smile spread across her face.
"He's gone back." Wally and Vic gave each other a confused look.
"Gone back where?" asked Wally.
"The Pride Lands. Home," answered Raven with a wistful smirk.
******* Logan walked through the now destroyed Pride Lands, a look of shock and horror playing across his face. He couldn't believe that in just two years things had gotten that bad. All the trees and plants were dead and the sky was a perpetual grey. Skeletons littered the ground as Logan stepped around them onto a rock that jutted out of the ground. It looked worse from the view up there. Logan turned his head at the sound of steps behind him.
"It's awful isn't it?" Raven asked sadly. Logan nodded.
"I can't believe it. So much has changed."
"What made you come back?"
"A monkey with a stick," Logan replied. "Besides its time I stopped hiding and started acting like the king I'm supposed to be." A proud smile spread across Raven's face.
"Then I'll be right beside you. No matter what."
"It's going to be dangerous," Logan said with a smirk.
"Danger? My middle name is danger," Raven replied, using his words from the Elephant Graveyard.
"Hey don't forget about us!" Both lions turned to see Wally and Vic. "So…we're going to fight your uncle for this?" Wally asked looking around the Pride Lands. "Well, alright then. So what's the plan?"
***** "Hyenas. I hate hyenas," stated Wally nervously. All four of them were hiding behind a ledge examining Pride Rock, which was covered with hyenas. "So what's your plan to get by them?"
"Live bait," Logan replied.
"Good idea!" Wally commented, but then the whole meaning hit him. "Hey!" Raven spoke up.
"Come on, you two need to create a diversion so Logan and I can get by."
"What do you want us to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?"
If you're hungry for a hunk of fat and juicy meat
Eat my buddy Vic here because he is a treat
Come on down and dine on this tasty swine
All you have to do is get in line
Wally sang as Vic sat there with an apple in his mouth. Now this certainly got the hyenas attention as their mouths started to water and they sauntered toward the duo. Raven and Logan took this opportunity to sneak past.
Are you achin
For some bacon
He's a big pig
You can be a big pig too
Wally and Vic took off in a flash as the meat eaters took off after them. Logan stopped Raven in the shadow of an overhanging rock. "Raven, find my mother and get the other lionesses together. I'm going to find Slade." Raven nodded and headed for the crowd. Logan was slinking around when he heard Slade call his mother's name.
"Marie!" Logan looked around from his hiding spot and saw his mother, head held high, making her way through the mob of hyenas, which were snarling and snapping at her heels. Logan watched with a sad expression.
"Slade," she said in monotone. Slade scowled down at her. He was not in a good mood.
"Where is your hunting party?" he asked. "They're not doing their job," he said pacing as he spoke.
"There is no food. The herds moved on long ago," Marie replied.
"No, you're just not looking hard enough," the orange lion tried to reason.
"Its over. We need to leave Pride Rock and search for a new home."
"We are not going anywhere!"
"Then you have sentenced us to death!"
"So be it then."
"You can't do that Slade!"
"I can do anything. I. Am. King!"
"Marcus was twice the king you-" Marie was cut off when Slade slapped her across the face, knocking her to the ground.
"I am ten times the king Marcus ever was!" Logan couldn't take it anymore. There was a huge roar and then he jumped to his mother's side. "Marcus? No, you're dead!" Slade stepped back away from the lion he thought was his supposed-to-be-dead brother. Logan nudged his mother. She looked and her eyes went slightly wide at the sight of Logan.
"Marcus?" she asked. Logan shook his head.
"Mom, it's me."
"Logan? You're alive? How…how can that even be possible?" She was truly baffled. Logan smirked and nuzzled Marie.
"Logan, what a pleasant surprise to see you…alive," Slade said, sending a pointed look at the hyena trio, who gulped and backed away from Slade's sight. Logan started to walk toward Slade.
"Give me one reason why I shouldn't rip you apart," Logan threatened. Slade didn't seem at all intimidated.
"Well the pressures of ruling a kingdom are quite hard. Surely, dear boy, you understand that."
"Those pressures are no longer yours then. Step down Slade," Logan stated as he stared eye level with his uncle.
"I would love to, truly, I would. But there's one problem. Look up." Logan did and saw a hoard of hyenas watching with varied interest. "You see they think I'm king," continued Slade, regaining Logan's attention.
"Well we don't." Both lions turned to see Raven and the other lionesses. Slade glared at the grey lion with utter contempt. "Logan is the only rightful king."
"The choice is simple dude. Either step down or fight." Slade stared at Logan.
"Well I see you haven't changed at all Logan. Still acting as naïve as a cub." the orange lion walked passed Logan "And I hate to be responsible for the death of a family member." Slade looked over his shoulder with a devious smirk. "Right, Logan?" He smirked slyly at the green lion.
"That isn't going to work Slade, that's behind me," Logan snapped. Slade looked over at the lionesses.
"What about them, have they put it behind them? Hmmm?" Raven stepped forward with a confused expression.
"Logan? What is he talking about?" Logan's face showed a look of guilt and sorrow. Slade couldn't have been more delighted.
"Oh, so you haven't told them your shameful secret. Well my dear nephew, now's the time to tell everyone here. Who is responsible for Marcus's death?" Raven, Marie and the other lionesses stared at Logan. The green lion gave a deep sigh, and sadly said, almost so low no one could hear,
"I am." The lionesses gasped and Raven stood there stunned. Marie went to Logan with so much grief in her eyes.
"It's not true," she begged him. "Please tell me it isn't true." Hearing his mother's heartbroken words made Logan flinch. The green lion regretfully looked into Marie's eyes.
"It's the truth."
"He admits it! Murderer!" Slade shouted as lightning flashed across the sky.
"No, It was an accident!" Logan yelled. Slade began to circle Logan.
"If wasn't for you, Marcus would still be alive. Do you deny it?" Logan quickly replied,
"No." Slade snarled.
"Then...you're...guilty!" Logan shook his head.
"No! I'm not a murderer!" the green lion desperately defended himself. Slade, with the hyenas following him, started stalking Logan, making him back up onto the ledge of Pride Rock.
"Logan, it would seem you're in trouble again. But this time daddy isn't here to save you. And now everyone...knows...why!" On Slade's last words Logan slipped over the edge, hanging onto it for dear life. Lightning struck at the dead trees below Pride Rock, igniting fire under the green lion.
"Logan!" Raven shouted, as she tried to get to him, but the snarling hyenas blocked her path. Slade sat there looking at Logan with twisted amusement.
"This looks familiar," he hummed, acting like he was thinking. "Now I remember, your father had the same fear in his eyes before he died." Slade grabbed Logan's paws with his claws, and then the orange lion leaned in to whisper, "Like father, like son. And let me let you in on my secret... I...killed... Marcus." Logan's eyes widened, as he played the events of that day all over again. The sound of over one million hooves running, the thick choking dust, and his father yelling as he fell to his death.
"Nooooooo!" Logan roared and with strength that he didn't even know he had, managed to leap back up and pin Slade beneath him. Everyone was caught completely by surprise, even Slade, but he covered it up quickly. Logan growled showing his teeth.
"You! Tell them the truth! NOW!" Slade smirked.
"Truth? What truth...ggkkk!" Logan pressed down on Slade's throat.
The orange lion gagged "Alright...I did it." Slade said it in a low voice. Logan snarled.
"Louder!" Slade, with a stern face yelled,
"I KILLED MARCUS!" That's when the hyenas tackled Logan off of Slade, and the lionesses quickly rushed into attacking the hyenas with their teeth and claws. Raven swiped at the hyenas on Logan, who quickly got back on his feet. The green lion and Raven both began fighting off the hyenas. Suddenly something went charging through the crowd of meat-eaters, sending them flying into the air.
"Excuse me! Pardon me! Hot stuff, comin' through!" shouted Wally as he and Vic came barreling in. Vic stopped and Wally hopped off Vic and quickly kicked a hyena in the face. Then the duo went their way, helping out wherever they could.
*** Logan grabbed a hyena and tossed him a good few feet away. From a cliff above, a hyena jumped onto Logan and bit him on the neck causing the green lion to roar in pain. Then something smacked the hyena off him and Logan looked up to see Rich with a familiar looking stick in his hand. The black monkey shouted a battle cry and flipped into a group of hyenas. They lunged at Rich but he kicked one in the face, and then whacked another with his stick and Rich quickly smacked three more. The monkey looked around at the beaten hyenas as he spun the stick in his hand.
"I'm starting too really like this stick," Rich said proudly. A hyena was sneaking behind him when someone threw a rock and hit the hyena's head making it yelp. Rich turned around and punched him, effectively knocking him out. "Thanks Kori," the black monkey said, looking to the top of a nearby cliff where Kori was, rocks ready to throw. She smiled.
"You are welcome friend Rich."
*** Wally ran for his life as Jinx and Mammoth chased after him, snapping their teeth. The meerkat ran into the den and saw Garth.
"Let me out! Let me out!" shouted the hornbill from his cage.
"Let me in! Let me in!" Wally screamed back and went inside the cage with the two hyenas behind him. Jinx and Mammoth started to lick their lips as Wally and Garth both gulped, believing that this was the end.
"Back away from the snacks!" yelled a voice. Jinx and Mammoth turned to see Vic standing at the entrance.
"Who's the pig?" the big hyena asked gruffly. Vic raised a brow.
"Are you talking to me?"
"Uh-oh, he called him a pig." Wally whispered to Garth
"Are you talking to me?" Vic asked, raising his voice.
"He shouldn't have done that…" Wally said warningly as he pointed at Mammoth.
"Are you talking to ME?" shouted Vic.
"Now they're in for it!" said Wally, rolling his eyes at Vic's overdramatic-ness.
"They call me 'Mr. Pig'!" Vic screamed, as he charged toward the two hyenas. Gizmo was outside the den looking for his crew, when he heard a loud crashing sound coming from the den. Seconds later Mammoth and Jinx came storming out and slammed into Gizmo and with that the trio ran away. Vic, Wally and the freed Garth appeared out of the den cheering. "Booyah! That's what I'm talking about!" Vic shouted happily.
*** Pride Rock glowed orange from the fire as the smoke was reached high into the sky. The hyenas began running away from the kingdom figuring the battle wasn't worth being barbequed. Logan searched for Slade, scanning the rocks above and around him. The green lion looked over at the path that led to the top of Pride Rock and saw something in the shadows. Just then lightning flashed, revealing Slade sitting there and when the lightning struck again, Slade had all but vanished. Logan snarled and chased after him. The green lion jumped through a wall of flame to reach the top and came face to face with Slade who was standing by the edge, waiting with a cold stare. Logan walked over to him glaring as he did.
"Slade, you tormented what's left of my family and destroyed my home, this ends tonight."
Slade scoffed "I assure you dear boy, that I had nothing to do how the Pride Lands becoming a barren wasteland. Those filthy, mangy, low brain-celled hyenas did all that." Unknown to Slade was that Jinx, Mammoth, and Gizmo were standing behind the wall of flames and heard every word. The trio growled and backed away.
"No, Slade. I blame you." Logan stood in front of Slade, staring hatefully at his uncle, "You made me believe that I had killed my own dad." The orange lion was not intimidated and calmly asked,
"So what are you going to do now? Kill me?" Logan took a deep breathe.
"No. That would only prove I'm as bad as you, Slade. I want you to run. Run away... and never come back." After hearing those words, Slade slowly started walking away.
"As you wish..." Slade looked down and saw a pile of burning ember by his paw. "..you're Majesty!" He swiped his paw through the embers and sent them flying in Logan's face. With a cry of surprise and pain, Logan tried to wipe away the embers but Slade tackled him down onto the ground, biting at Logan's throat. Suddenly something knocked Slade off. The orange lion turned to see Raven, who now stood between him and Logan.
"Get away from him!" she threatened between bared teeth.
"Ah, dear Raven, perfect timing as usual." They began circling each other and Slade swiped at her but Raven swiftly dodged and pounced on him, which Slade managed to overpower her and pin the grey lioness to the ground, knocking the wind out of her. "And to think I wanted you to be my queen. It almost pains me that I have to kill such a promising young lioness," Slade said coldly. "Almost." Slade heard a roar and then was knocked off of Raven by Logan. "Get off me!" Slade shouted and tossed Logan off. Raven got up and clawed Slade right across his face. The orange lion snarled and hit Raven with the back of his paw sending her back down to the hard ground. Slade lunged at Logan again but this time the green lion was ready for him. The two lions were now standing on their hind legs, clawing at each others shoulders.
Logan hit Slade's face hard as the orange lion attacked without mercy with a swipe across the face then another. The force of the last one made Logan land on his back next to Raven. Time seemed to slow down as Slade leaped into the air with his claws out, ready to finish them both.
"Logan, flip him!" Raven yelled. Logan nodded at her and Slade just about had the younger lions when they managed to push the older lion over the edge of Pride Rock. Logan and Raven walked over to the edge and looked over to see that Slade had landed on a rock where the fire had not been able to reach. But what surprised them the most was that Slade actually survived the fall. Slade got up and looked around and from out of the smoke appeared the hyena trio, staring coldly at Slade.
"Ah, my dear friends," Slade said in a relaxed voice. Jinx gave a humorless chuckle.
"Oh so now we're your 'friends'? Earlier you said we're nothing but filthy, mangy, low brain-celled hyenas." Slade's eye widened.
"Yep that's what I heard," agreed Gizmo.
"Mammoth?" both Jinx and Gizmo asked. The giant hyena started licking his chops and gruffly said,
"I say we stop talking and start eating." More hyenas started to appear, laughing and licking their lips as they moved closer to Slade. The white-manned lion had nowhere to run, and was too weak to fight. But if he was going to die he wasn't going beg for his life like a coward. So he closed his eye with his head held high as the hyenas lunged at him and began eating him alive. Logan and Raven looked away from the grizzly sight.
"It's over," Logan said softly. Raven nodded her head in relief and managed a smile at Logan. Rain started to pour down upon the Pride Lands, putting out the fires and soaking the land in what it had been missing for so long. Raven and Logan climbed down to the base of Pride Rock where the other lionesses were waiting for them. Logan nuzzled his mother, happy that she was safe. Raven smiled at him and he nuzzled her, which she returned. Marie and Arella smiled at the two and shared a knowing look. Someone cleared their throat politely and Logan looked up to see both Rich and Kori standing on the path that led to the mouth of the landmark. Kori gestured to the peak, and Logan smirked slightly. He took a deep breath and began to ascend to where the monkeys stood, and once there he pulled them both into a hug, catching them off guard. It didn't take Kori long to return it with ten times the strength.
"Ok…Kori…can't…breath!" Logan and Rich both managed to choke out. Kori quickly let go and rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly, sending them both an apologetic look.
"It is time Friend Logan," Kori stated, after she regained her composure. Logan nodded and started to make his way to the peak of Pride Rock as all the lions, Wally, Vic, and Garth watched with satisfied smirks on their faces. Logan looked up at the sky and smiled before he roared, which all the lionesses joined in on, as rain continued to fall.
"Yeah! That's our little bro!" Vic yelled as he cheered on Logan. Wally rubbed his nose as his eyes started to tear up.
"I promised myself I wasn't gonna cry!" he said before he started to cry into his arm. Both Vic and Garth shared a look before they both rolled their eyes at the yellow and red meerkat.
**** Time passed, and Pride Rock once again was full of life, grass, and water. It was no longer a desolate wasteland full of bones. A crowd of animals was gathered at the base of Pride Rock looking up at Logan, Raven, Wally, and Vic. Raven looked over at Logan who was looking at her before he nuzzled her. She smiled.
"Told you you're the king, Elf," she said playfully. Logan rolled his eyes in the same manner. They smiled at each other.
"I think its time we introduce someone," Logan stated, smiling proudly. Raven nodded and they both turned to see Kori, with Rich right behind her, holding a small grayish-green cub. She smiled at them before holding up the baby for all to see. The animals went wild.
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life