First chapter of first story so please R&R! Kind of turned out how I wanted, kind of didn't. If you read my profile you can see why I am doing things differently with this story than my other (non fanfic) stories. Pretty much I'm coming up with things as I go, so tell me if you think that's fine or if I should take time to think the story through before continuing each chapter.
I'm not going to do that whole copyright crap because I assume that people are normally smarter than to think that am trying to take ownership of some of these characters. If you're not smarter than that and start freaking out saying I'm claiming characters and settings are of my own inspiration, then go crawl in a hole and think things through next time. :D The world is too dumb and sue happy and needs to use their God-given brains more.
Chapter 1: The Pridelands
The sun crept over the horizon just enough for a little bit of light to leak into the cave where all the lions were still fast asleep. The lullaby of huffs and unconscious breathing set a relaxing tone that was enough to keep anyone from wanting to disturb it by even the slightest movement. Far toward the back of the cave, on their own slightly elevated pedestal, were the king and queen of the land and their young son. The king lied with his lower body flat on the ground but his upper body on its side, with an arm reclined on his mate. The queen was on her belly with her head resting on her paws and with every movement of her mate's paw, rising and falling in juncture with her smooth breathing, a smile seemed to form on her face. Between them, with enough space to be comfortable and little more, was their son. Despite the normal attitude of everyone in the cave, staying almost perfectly still, the young cub kept fidgeting around; either kept in an intense dream or anxious for something. It was soon obvious which it was for as soon as the sun's rays reached the cubs eyes, they shot open with the quickest speed. The cub shimmied out of his little pocket between his parents and stood on his father's back, looking out toward the cave opening with great excitement. His golden brown fur and dark tuft of hair on his head shone brighter and brighter in the rising sun. He began to step forward but slipped and rolled off his father and landed flat on the ground beside him. He turned to look if he had disturbed the mighty king's sleep but to his satisfaction, failed to do so. He took in one more look at his father. He was much larger than he was and seeing him sleeping away with a snore close to a low roar, the cub was slightly intimidated. He noted how dwarfed he was when standing next to him then continued on with one mindset. He slithered around the pack of sleeping bodies, trying not to disturb any of them as he made it outside. He ran to the tip of the protruding rock that hung over the base of the formation and overlooked the entire land. The sun's golden light made the land seem as if it was part of the sun itself. The cub's ears perked up as he took in a mighty gasp at the sight.
"Kopa?" A voice called from behind him. The cub was taken by surprise and jumped a bit.
"Vitani!" The cub exaggeratingly stated as he turned to see his good friend being the source of the voice. "What are you doing up so early?"
"I was going to ask you the same thing." She responded.
"I just like to see the sunrise. Come here, look!" He said as he motioned for her to join him.
"Whoa…" Vitani said with the same amount of awe as was in Kopa's initial expression. "It's beautiful."
"I know. And one day, it'll be all mine." Kopa stated with a bit of an ego in his voice.
"Let's only hope not." Vitani said with a smirk.
"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?"
"It means exactly as it sounds." She responded as she turned her tail toward Kopa and started headed back into the cave. Next thing she knew, she was back down on the rock with Kopa on top of her.
"You mean, you only hope not." He said with a smile.
"Ha, I mean we all do. The day you will be king will be a frightening one." Vitani said with the same tone and smirk as before. She shrugged Kopa off of her and continued back toward the cave until she was stopped by another voice.
"That it will be…if it comes."
"Hey Zira!" "Hey mom!" Kopa and Vitani said almost simultaneously.
"Don't you think it's a little early for you two to be wrestling? Barely sunrise and you two are already fighting." She said with an almost sinister tone.
"We weren't fighting. We were just playing." Vitani said with a chuckle as she walked over to her mother.
"Of course darling." She responded as she pat her daughter on the head. "Come on, off to bed. I'm sure you can still catch a little bit of sleep before the day begins."
The two turned and headed back into the cave. But before disappearing completely, Vitani turned and ushered a quick, "Bye Kopa." to the cub still standing near the edge of the cliff.
Kopa didn't seem to notice because he was already transfixed by the view behind him. He sat there for a good few minutes before greeted by yet another lion.
"Don't you get enough of that view during the day, to where you don't have to wake up early every morning to see it?"
"Hey mom." Kopa responded without breaking eye contact from the imaginary point somewhere off in the distance. The queen strolled up and nuzzled the cub as he sat there.
"You remind me so much of your father when he was young. Can't say how many times I caught him out here in the same spot, gazing at the same sun." She said as she sat next to her son.
"Oh yes. He would talk all the time of how he would soon be king and how all this land one day would be his." Nala chuckled. Kopa simply smiled at the coincidence. "Didn't your father tell you he would show you the Pridelands today?"
"Yes." Kopa said almost annoyed that his anxiety still had to wait a little longer before his tour of his future manor.
"Hmph, well don't count on him getting up anytime soon. I told him not to go out with Timon and Puumba last night but he was reluctant to listen. Something about a nice patch of grubs near the watering hole." Nala continued to say.
"Ewww. How can dad stand eating that stuff?" Kopa said with the sourest face, as if he just ate some grubs.
Nala gave a gentle but hearty laugh. "I have no idea. Come on, Zira was right. We still could get some shut eye before the rest of the pride wakes up." Nala brushed her paw around her cub and pushed him toward the cave until he finally got up on his own feet and started walking with her.
The little bit of rest that was provided after his morning view did close to nothing to solve Kopa's anxiousness. He was just as antsy as before but this time he had his father to slow him down.
"How could such a tiny little thing have so much energy so early?" Simba mumbled to himself, dragging his feet as he walked out of the cave. The bright sun stung the mighty king and his half-closed eyes seemed to shut just a bit more. "I knew those fermented fruits were a bad idea. I just hope your mother doesn't find out." He muttered under his breath.
"Come on dad!" The cub kept chanting as he was practically jumping before the king. Simba reluctantly followed slowly.
"Settle down." He chuckled as his son was moving frantically around before him, prancing (or trying to) on every little critter that seemed to be moving. "Over here son." He called. Kopa galloped over toward his father. They stood out on the edge of the rock that Kopa was sitting at hours earlier and looking out at the same view. "This is the Pridelands. Everything the light touches is our kingdom."
The young cub gave out a sincere "whoa" as if he's never seen the sight before.
"I remember when my father showed me the kingdom. I wasn't much older than you are now."
"Do you think grandpa is watching over us right now?"
There was a short pause before Simba managed to fumble together a simple response. "I know he is." There was another short pause before he got up and started moving down Pride Rock. He began to explain as he walked. "See, when we die we become sort of split. Our bodies turn into the ground and our spirits go to the skies to watch over future generations. It's all part of the circle of life. This is the most important thing you must understand as king; respect for that circle. Respect for the grass that our prey eats, respect for our prey, and respect for ourselves as we turn into the grass."
They were in the fields at this point and Kopa kept his eyes down toward the ground, trying to focus and comprehend what his father was saying.
"This last thing is something I learned on my own and is just as important. It's often over looked but we need to respect ourselves. If we have no self-respect, we are no better than those who do not respect others. We must pick and choose our own beliefs and those beliefs define who we are and whether we become good people or bad people."
Kopa continued to take in every word his father spoke to him as they approached the watering hole. "Look." Simba said as he nodded toward the water. "What do you see?" He asked his son.
"My reflection?" Kopa asked confused.
"Exactly. This is who you are. Your actions and beliefs reflect who you are. One day you will look at yourself and see a different person. Hopefully for the better." Simba said with a smile before bending forward and sipping up some water. Kopa followed suit. Once Simba finished, he turned and began to walk away from the watering hole. Kopa noticed this shortly after but quickly mimicked his father down to his very movements, trying to be exactly how he is.
After a while, Simba began talking again but changed from his previous informative tone to a more commanding one. "From here I'm going to show you the borders. Now this is very important because you are old enough to be out in the Pridelands on your own and that comes with a great responsibility. You must stay within the Pridelands, at all times. You are not to approach any rogues or strangers and you are not to venture outside the borders." Kopa got slightly distracted as a butterfly flew by and sat there batting at it with his paw. "Are you listening to me son?"
"What? Yes" He snapped.
"What did I say then?" Simba said very sternly.
Kopa let out a small sigh. "To stay in the pridelands, not to go near strangers and to not go outside the borders, I got it." He said with a drawn out, bored tone.
Simba stood motionless for a moment, fixed with the same stern look as earlier. "Alright. Remember that. That is very important."
They began to move further from Pride Rock. It soon became a silhouetted spire off in the distance. Simba showed Kopa the boundaries of the Pridelands as they continued on. It was obvious where the Pridelands ended and where the outlands began for the grass got dryer and harder, the ground became more rocky, and the homey sense of the Pridelands were drifting away. After reassuring that he clearly knew the boundaries of the Prideland and promising his father he won't come close to the outlands, they two began making their way back to Pride Rock.
"Well, don't mind me asking but…" Kopa began to trail of.
"What is it?"
"Well, Vitani was saying that her mom goes out to the outlands sometimes and she says that there is nothing there to be afraid of."
"Well Zira is a strong lioness. She can handle a lot of what's out there. I don't want you to get curious about it and venture out there. It is very dangerous, you understand me?"
"I understand. But, well….What is out there?"
Simba drew a long sigh before contemplating a response. "Many things, dangerous things. Hyenas, rogue lions and lionesses, but worst of all, desolation. There is something about the outlands that can drive even the strongest willed lion, mad. It is very important that you do not go out there."
"Oh…" Kopa said with a very silent draw to it.
"Do you understand how important it is that you don't go out there?" Simba had to reassure one last time.
"Yes dad, I get it. Don't go out into the outlands." Kopa said a bit annoyed at his father's repetitive connotation.
"Good. Now run off and play. I think that's enough for one day." Simba said more joyously. Kopa's face lit up. He nuzzled his father's front leg, his head just barely reaching Simba's elbow, before running off to go find his friends.
"I just hope you listen to me more than I listened to my father." Simba murmured.
"I'm sure he will."
Simba's head swiveled a bit before he finally rested his eyes on the light tan lioness, relaxing on a low branch of a nearby tree. Her tail dangled off the branch and swung consecutively like a natural metronome.
"And what makes you say that? When I look at him, I see myself as a child and we both know I didn't listen well as a cub." Simba posed.
"Well he is more focused than you were." Nala said as she jumped down from her post. "So I'm guessing it went well then?" She said, making her way over to her mate and nuzzling him.
"It went well." Simba agreed.
"Good. Now how's your head?" Nala asked. Simba looked puzzled.
"Yeah. I know you Timon and Puumba found some fermented fruit. Made sense whenever you took longer to get up." She chuckled.
"How'd you know?" Simba said with a smirk and a guilty tone.
"Timon was still a little drunk when he woke up this morning." She said with a smirk that matched Simba's. "Come on. I hear the watering hole's pretty nice today." Nala turned and slowly walked back toward the watering hole. Simba smiled and followed.