The Lion King:
The Legend Continues
Note: The following is the recommended reading order of my fan fiction novels and short stories:
The Lion King: A Father's Concern (short story)
The Lion King: Sarafina (short story)
The Lion King: Mheetu (short story)
The Lion King III: The Lost Prince (book)
The Lion King IV: The Rogue Pride (book)
The Lion King: Responsibilities (short story)
The Lion King V: Man Comes to the Pride Lands (book)
You can find all my fan fictions on my profile page. Technically, Responsibilities takes place before The Lost Prince but I recommend reading Responsibilities last and then Man Comes to the Pride Lands because Responsibilities is a midquel of Mheetu with a final section that takes place after The Rogue Pride, so it will probably spoil some of the plot for Mheetu, The Lost Prince, and The Rogue Pride.
The sky turned scarlet off towards the east. All over the Pride Lands animals roused themselves beneath the disappearing stars and made their way towards the enormous kopje known as Pride Rock. The sun crested the horizon and rose slowly into the sky, following the same track as the procession of zebras, giraffes, antelope, and elephants. It was well into the late morning when the kingdom's entire populace finished gathering beneath Simba's throne. Out of sight of the kingdom, the lions oversaw the wedding of Simba's daughter, Princess Kiara, to the Outsider Kovu, once the distrusted stepson of Scar and now Kiara's beloved prince consort. The marriage completed, Simba and his wife Nala led their daughter and new son-in-law to the throne and presented the heirs to the kingdom. A celebratory roar erupted from the throat of every lion.
The Lion King III:
The Lost Prince
As always, it was a warm and clear day. Kiara bounded through a grassy trail that wound alongside the Zuberi River. Kovu followed close behind, his paws landing in his wife's footprints. Kovu glanced anxiously at the water, remembering with a chill that his mother and older brother had died at a dam in this very same river not too far downstream.
Not far behind the lions were Timon and Pumbaa, the loyal aides of King Simba. The meerkat rode atop the warthog's head, using Pumbaa's tusks as handles.
"Here we are," Kiara said over her shoulder, stopping near some bushes beside a large rock mound. Kovu watched as Kiara cleared the mouth of a cave by brushing aside the branches with her paw. "Go on," she said, motioning for Kovu to go in first.
Kovu looked quizzically up at the upper frame of the cave entrance, questioning its integrity. A pebble tumbled out of place as if on cue. A glance at Kiara's smiling face made Kovu's worry disappear and he entered the cave. Inside, a shaft of light shone down through a small hole in the ceiling, revealing the cave's interior. Kovu marveled at the artwork scratched into the stone wall of the cave. Lines swirled about the wall, branching off from each other to create the image of a tree.
"What is this place?" Kovu asked.
Kiara came up beside him. "This is our family tree," she replied. Using a claw, she pointed to a set of lines that split off of separate branches near the top and joined together. "Those are our branches."
Timon and Pumbaa observed from the cave entrance. "Genealogy," Timon sighed. "You know, I tried out that ancestry research stuff. Turns out my uncle's roommate's cousin grew apricots for a living. Whoopty do."
"I think it's cool," Pumbaa asserted. "According to my genealogy, I'm related to Jane Austen and Louis XIV."
Timon turned to the warthog incredulously. "What?"
Kovu stared at the line Kiara had indicated as his. It seemed fresher than the other branches, probably added not very long ago. Tracing his line backwards, he found its source in a branch he realized must have been his mother Zira. Two other lines branched off alongside his, which must have been for his brother Nuka and sister Vitani.
Kovu's attention then returned to the line that indicated his wife, which branched off the joined lines of her parents, Simba and Nala. Following the lines further down, he found the line of his stepfather, Simba's uncle Scar.
"So, we're sure you and Scar aren't related?" Timon asked Kovu.
The dark lion glanced down at the meerkat and nodded. "Like I've said before, he wasn't really my father," Kovu confirmed. "Does it matter at this point?"
"Uh, yeah!" Timon replied adamantly. Turning aside to the readers, Timon declared, "Parents, we do not condone incest here at Disney. Please stop sending the angry letters."
"Didn't they plan on making Scar Kovu's dad in the first draft of the script?" Pumbaa recalled.
Timon quickly grabbed Pumbaa's snout and forced it closed. "We never talk about that!" Timon hissed.
Kiara and Kovu did not notice Timon and Pumbaa breaking the fourth wall.
"Who made this?" Kovu asked, referring to the family tree.
"Rafiki," Kiara replied. "These are the lines of my grandparents," she said, gesturing to the four lines that wound below Simba and Nala. "These two are my father's parents, Mufasa and Sarabi. And these are the lines of my mother's parents, Sarafina and Leo…"
Kovu was momentarily distressed by the mention of Simba's father. It was Kovu's own stepfather who murdered Mufasa and Kovu knew, even now, that this relation troubled Simba, though the king was trying very hard to form a friendship with Kovu despite his ties to Scar. Hoping to get his thoughts off this troubling history, Kovu focused on Kiara's other grandparents. He'd met Sarabi and Sarafina at Pride Rock but this was the first he'd heard of Nala's father.
"He's a lion who lives in Rogue Haven," Kiara replied.
"Yes. All the males in our family live out there, except for the king and his heir. Even Scar lived out there for a while. My mother used to take me to Rogue Haven to visit my grandfather when I was young and sometimes they come and visit us here at Pride Rock."
"You mean your father doesn't banish the other males?"
Kiara shook her head.
Kovu sighed. "Scar did."
Kiara nodded. "I know. You see this line next to my mother's. This was her younger brother."
"I didn't know your mother had a brother," Kovu admitted.
"He was driven from the Pride Lands during Scar's reign."
Kovu nodded. "I see. Where is Rogue Haven?"
"Not too far. It's on the border of the Pride Lands in the direction where the sun rises each morning."
Kovu shrugged. "I'll have to check that place out sometime." Absentmindedly, he lifted his paw and stroked the branch for his wife on the family tree. As he did so, some dirt fell from the wall to reveal a hidden line beside her branch.
"What's that?" he asked.
Kiara moved closer to the tree. "I don't know. I've never seen that before."
"It comes off of Simba and Nala's branches like yours," Kovu observed. Then, his eyes widened. "Oh…"
"That can't be right," Kiara replied, not noticing the distressed expression on Kovu's face. "According to this, I have a sibling. But I don't have any brothers or sisters."
"Actually," Pumbaa began before Timon could cover Pumbaa's mouth a second time.
"Oh crap. Simba's going to kill us!" the meerkat mumbled.
Simba rested peacefully outside the entrance to the lions' den, his paws propped beneath his chin. Not yet fully recovered from the injuries he sustained in the battle with Zira, he savored this brief moment of rest before he would be called back to his kingly duties.
"Father," Kiara called.
Simba opened an eye and watched his daughter's hurried approach. Kovu trailed behind with a distressed look on his face.
"Kiara," Kovu protested, "he's resting. Let's not bother him right now."
Timon and Pumbaa huddled behind a rock. "Wow, things are about to get really messy," Timon whispered. "Way to go Pumbaa!" he snapped angrily at the warthog.
"Sorry," Pumbaa said guiltily. "What am I sorry for again?"
Simba lifted his head and yawned. Kovu stopped in his tracks at the sight of the king's inadvertently bared teeth. Although he once believed himself capable of taking on the king, Kovu had begun to notice the difference in their size more acutely since he became Simba's son-in-law.
Simba stood and stretched his limbs. "What's on your minds?"
"Kovu and I just visited the family tree," Kiara said.
Simba's face looked stricken.
"Kiara," Kovu said more forcefully. "This is not the right time…"
"We found a branch that I've never seen before."
Simba lowered his gaze to the ground.
"I'm sorry, Simba," Kovu said. "I didn't mean for her to find out. I didn't even know about this family tree until we got there…"
Kiara glanced at Kovu warily. "Kovu, do you know what's going on?"
"Kiara," Simba said in a shuddering voice, regaining his daughter's attention.
"Would someone please tell me what's going on?" Kiara demanded. "Is the family tree accurate? Do I have a sibling?"
Simba took an unsteady breath. "Yes, you did have a sibling," he confirmed.
Kiara sat down heavily. "Did?"
"You had an older brother."
Kiara shook her head. "Why didn't you tell me? How could you keep something like this from…"
"Kiara," Nala cautioned, exiting the den.
Kiara turned to her mother and saw tears in the queen's eyes. Looking back at her father, Kiara finally saw the tears trickling down his cheeks as well.
"I'm sorry you found out like this," Simba said, his voice quivering slightly. "Your mother and I thought it would be better for you. You wouldn't have missed someone you didn't remember?"
Watching the king being overcome with grief he'd suppressed nearly all of Kiara's life, the princess moved closer to Simba and nuzzled him beneath his chin. The king tenderly returned her affection. "Come," he instructed, leading Kiara away from Pride Rock.
Kovu and Nala did not follow. What could either of them do?
Simba and Kiara returned to the Zuberi River, and the king led the princess to a cliff a few miles down from the dam where Zira and Nuka met their deaths. The king looked over the edge into the churning water below.
"What was his name?" Kiara asked.
"His name was Kopa," the king sighed.
"Kopa," Kiara whispered, letting the name settle on her tongue for the first time.
"This accursed river has taken so many lives," he said softly.
"You mean Zira and Nuka," Kiara ventured.
"And…" Kiara began. "Kopa?"
Simba sighed deeply. "Do you know why I banished Zira and her followers to the Outlands?"
Kiara nodded. "They supported Scar…"
Simba shook his head. "That wasn't the real reason. You don't remember because you were still so small when it happened. After Scar's death, I tried to appeal to Zira. But nothing I could say would placate her. She wanted vengeance for her mate's death. And she took it…"
Kiara felt her eyes fill with tears.
"She lured Kopa here and…"
"No," Kiara wept.
Simba looked away. "I was too late. She threw him from this cliff - and just laughed, screaming Scar's name over and over. I struck her to the ground and still she would not stop laughing. I was ready to kill her but her cubs – Nuka, Vitani, and even little Kovu. They intercepted me and begged me not to hurt their mother." Simba raised his streaming eyes to the heavens.
Kiara pressed herself to Simba. She could almost feel his agony like the tremors of an earthquake.
"So I banished her – and every lioness who showed sympathy for her." Simba looked down at Kiara. "The rest of the story you know."
Three lives, Kiara thought. Not two. Three…
"I know you think I was too overprotective of you – but now you know why. I just couldn't lose you the way I lost your brother."
Maniacal laughter – it was that female again. Who was she? Why was she doing this? He backed away from her. All he could see of her were those wild eyes! Blood trickled from her injured ear. She lifted a blurred claw and swiped at him. He moved away – then he was falling! The world vanished!
Chaka jerked awake, inadvertently kicking the older lion sleeping next to him.
"Chaka?" Mheetu gasped, turning to his younger companion.
Chaka glanced around their small hollow, reassuring himself of his whereabouts. He looked at Mheetu, concern in the older male's eyes.
"Sorry," Chaka mumbled sheepishly.
"That dream again?" Mheetu said.
"Yeah." Chaka rose from the ground and stretched. It was still nighttime outside the cave "I'm gonna get a drink."
"All right," Mheetu replied, lowering his head.
Chaka left the den and walked to the edge of the river outside their cave. He leaned down and licked up a few mouthfuls of water, which soothed his burning throat. He sat and let the breeze cool his tense back.
As the last dregs of the nightmare cleared away, Chaka stared at his reflection in the river, aqua-colored eyes returning his stare.
The stars were full and bright. Chaka looked up and had the feeling that there was something he was supposed to remember about the stars. He struggled to recall what he was supposed to remember.
Continue to Chapter 2