I ran down the slope of the bottom part of Pride Rock, elated by the idea of ruling all the Pride lands. I knew Dad and Uncle Scar didn't want me to go to the outlands, but my curiosity was too great. Besides, I wanted my best friend, Nala, to come with me. We'd been the best of friends since we'd been born. Though for some reason, she wasn't too popular with the other cubs. Neither was I; the others just rolled their eyes when I went past and muttered sarcastically, "His Highness approaches." But I don't know why they didn't like her; she was awfully nice. Though, it was fine with me; I knew I could trust Nala with anything.

From where I was on the slope, I spotted my mom and Sarafina. And in Sarafina's arms was Nala, being bathed by her mom and looking none too happy about it. I ran down towards two lionesses and my friend. "Hey, Nala!" I said brightly.

"Hi, Simba." She returned, looking slightly embarrassed at being caught being given a bath. My mother gave me a strange smile, causing me to blink, confused, before turning back to Nala. "Come on. I just heard about this great place." Nala's teeth were clenched and the creamy fur of her face took on a pinkish tinge. "Simba!" she tried to say through her teeth, "I'm kind of in the middle of a bath." I had no warning before my mother picked me up by the scruff of the neck, saying in my ear, "And it's time for yours."

I tried to escape, struggling as she licked my fur, "Mom!" I said, blushing pink myself, "Mom. You're messing up my mane!" I whined. Mom set me down after a few more seconds of embarrassing torment and gave me the same weird smile. I shook myself off and said, "Okay, okay, I'm clean." I looked at Nala, "Can we go now?" I looked at my mom and Nala's mom. "Certainly," Said Mom and Sarafina, exchanging a conspiratorial look.

Once Nala's bath was over, she looked at me excitedly, asking, "So where are we going? It better not be someplace dumb." I reassured her with, "No. It's really cool." Then my mother leaned toward me, her eyes sparkling with something I couldn't figure out. "So where is this 'really cool' place?"

I froze. "Uh…." I couldn't let Mom or Sarafina know where we were really going, so I said, "The water hole." Nala looked at me, surprised and slightly frustrated, "The water hole? What's so special about the water hole?" I leaned towards her and whispered, "I'll show you when we get there."

"Oh," she whispered back, her grey-blue eyes registering the message. She turned around and looked at her mom, "Uh, mom? Can I go with Simba?" Again with the conspiratorial glance between our mothers. "Hmm…" she said to Mom, "What do you think, Sarabi?" Mom glanced at the pleading look on my face and said, "Well…" "Pleeeeeease?" Nala and I said at the same time, giving our most convincing smiles. Mom looked at me again and said, "Well, it's all right with me." Nala and I could barely contain our joy, expressed with shouts of "Yeah!" and "All right!" Then Mom gave me her annoying "There's one little caveat," look. I knew there was going to be a condition. And my dread was confirmed when she said, "As long as Zazu goes with you."

All the joy evaporated out of me and turned to frustration as we stopped dead in our tracks. "No, not Zazu." I whined at Mom. The old banana-beak was the worst part-pooper known to lion. But sure enough, the overgrown toucan appeared nearby and said, "Hello Simba. I will be making sure you two do not come to harm." I glanced at Nala and saw the look of horror on her face as we thought in unison. Not him!