Chapter 15

When Asani followed the scent trail of the hyenas, he didn't realize it was a trap until it was too late. The nasty beasts ripped him apart before he could lay a paw on them. His fellow lions came just in time to kill the hyenas, and bring Asani back home.

Now, he laid in the den, completely paralyzed by pain. Every bone, muscle, and organ felt like it was on fire. His vision was blurred by trickling, hot blood, and his head was very light. Breathing was getting harder and harder, and at one point, he wondered if he should just give up. The only thing he had to live for was his new family, Nyimba and Kefentse.

Nyimba…I wonder if she's even here right now, he wondered. He couldn't see much, but he thought he smelled her lovely scent. He knew she wouldn't care, so he wondered why he even kept living. She never wanted him as anything more than a friend, yet he was madly in love with her.

The painful thoughts hurt Asani even more, and then he passed out.

He woke up the next morning and was caught by surprise. He was no longer in fiery pain, but instead was very sore. He could see again, and saw Nyimba lying very close to him, fast asleep. Her beautiful body rose and fell softly while she peacefully slept. He painfully lifted his head from the ground, and rested it on her back. He closed his eyes and was so thankful that she cared about him enough to spend the night next to him.

When he was fully relaxed, however, she jumped up with a startled look. Asani's head hit the ground with a hard thud, making him let out a pitiful cry.

"Sorry!" Nyimba exclaimed. She got down on the ground next to him again, and put his head on her paws. She then licked his ear, which for some odd reason, felt lighter to Asani.

"What was that all about?" Asani grumbled. His head was stinging, even though Nyimba was licking it.

"Just a bad dream," she said. "More importantly, how are you feeling?"

Asani looked up into her green eyes and sighed. Her expression was completely a mask – she tried to seem like she was okay, but he could tell that she was grieving. "I'm sore, but alive," he replied.

The next thing he was took him by surprise. Her beautiful emerald orbs filled with tears and she cried, "Why did you have to go alone? You could have died out there! How could you risk your life so stupidly? Were you so eager to leave your family? To leave Kefentse behind? To leave…me?" She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. "I couldn't go on without you, Asani, because I love you."

Asani stayed silent. His heart beat irregularly and almost stopped for a second. Did she really say that, or am I dreaming? Did she really just say that?

"And not only just like a friend," Nyimba added. "I love you, and I want to be your mate."

That was all Asani needed to hear, but it was as if his tongue froze. He didn't know what to say, or even think about everything. He had wanted to hear those words for so long, but didn't know what to do now that his dreams had come true.

"I love you too," he finally blurted out.

Nyimba purred, "I'm glad." Then, she licked his shoulder softly until he fell back asleep shortly after.

"You idiots!" Chiku screeched. "You good-for-nothing, mangy fleabags! All I asked was to take care of a lion cub, but you all failed. I asked for the assassination of the Prince, but that couldn't be done either!"

"Well the Prince's friend and daddy showed up before we could finish him," Abasi growled. "I'm lucky I even escaped that mess!"

"Excuses!" Chiku snarled. "Now I have to come up with a brand new plan, when I've been working on the failed one for a year."

"Well, we could always get rid of the Princess. You know, that white lioness that is always with the Prince," Adimu suggested.

Chiku rolled her eyes. "We do not know who she is, though. She could just be one of the Prince's or King's little whores. We want to strike at the heart of the Southlander's so they will seem weak to the other lion pride," she growled.

"I know who she is," Abasi muttered.

"Do tell then," Chiku laughed sarcastically. She was the only smart hyena in the Clan, and she knew everything. Her stupid companions were just there to do her dirty work while she plotted. "Go ahead and amuse me with your knowledge, please."

"She's the Princess of the other pride," he said. Chiku burst out with uncontrollable laughter, and Abasi growled loudly. "Will ya quit actin' like you're the only one here with eyes and ears? I heard the stupid lions talkin' about it. That's my job, ain't it, to spy on the lions?"

Chiku stopped laughing and her expression hardened. "You're sure of this?" she asked. Abasi nodded. "Well then Adimu, my dear, it seems that your idea may actually be of use for us. We need to wipe out the little bitty Princess in order to start this bloody rebellion," Chiku giggled.

"Well if it's war we want, why not kill a few lions in the meantime? Ya know, reduce the numbers," Abasi asked.

"And maybe get some friends who are sick of the King," Adimu added.

Chiku smiled, showing her large canine teeth. Her eyes narrowed into little golden slits. "You are both dead on. These lions will pay for everything they have done to us. We will kill or drive out every last lion, even if we lose some hyenas in the process. There will be no peace until this land is free of lions!"

CLIFFFHANGERRR! :D This is the end of Book II. Now I shall take a break from this story and work on my Warriors story (which needs some reviews, guys).