Not very many lions know that Simba had a cub before Kiara. That cub was me, Kopa. I didn't last very long, but my short life had a huge impact on my father. I wish things had ended differently, but I'm still happy that my pride is at peace once again. When I was still alive, the pride was ready to be torn apart.
I was born not long after the Pridelands had recovered from Scar's rule. My father used to say I looked just like him as a cub and I couldn't help but wonder if the other animals felt the same way. The certainly treated me as respectfully as they did my father. I may not remember too much about my early cubhood, but I do recall the many offerings my father's subjects brought him in the first few months after I was born. The lionesses absolutely loved to fawn over me too. I could hardly go a minute without someone trying to groom me. It wasn't until I grew old enough to explore outside the den that I met lions that treated me as they would any other cub.
I still remember how impressed I was after my father took me outside and showed me the kingdom for the first time. I don't know if I was more excited at the prospect of ruling such a large territory or overwhelmed by all of the creatures that would one day be my subjects. It took me a while to get used to the animals bowing to me all the time. Even the giraffes and elephants seemed to respect me than many members of their own kind. But not all of the animals stayed so formal.
The younger animals often seemed nervous around me at first. They always seemed to get tongue tied when I first approached them. Once I made sure they knew I just wanted to play, they always made me feel welcome. It's a wonder Zazu didn't have a heart attack when I was alive considering how many times I ditched him to play tag with the zebras or to explore with the cheetahs. I wish I could tell him how much I regret ditching him that last time, but at least I still managed to have more fun than most of the other animals in the Pridelands.
I didn't meet my best friend until my mane had finally started growing in. I don't know why Dad didn't introduce me to Nuka sooner, but we were as close as two lions could be. Of course he was quite a bit older than me, but for some reason I could always beat him at wrestling. If Dad was worried he'd hurt me, I was afraid of the opposite. Nuka was always skinny and even his mane looked scrawny. Nuka's sense of humor was so strong that I'm sure he could beat rogues with it. I think I almost died laughing when he told me that joke about the rhino and the elephant! I think those jokes were his way of blowing off steam. I've seen that poor lion cry for hours on end after his own mother beat him. I wish that evil lioness could have cared about Nuka as much as she did for his siblings. Then maybe he could have been stronger than me. I still wish the two of us could have ruled the pride together anyway. Dad always said I would have to cast out Nuka one day, but I think that would have been the meanest thing I'd ever done. I still can't understand why Dad had to be so strict about his traditions.
Nuka was the only friend I had with me when I died. The two of us had managed to outpace Zazu and had made it to the gorge. I knew it was said to be one of the saddest and most dangerous places in the entire kingdom, but I thought it was my duty as prince to at least have a look at it. We were just examining the broken tree where my father once clung for his life when Zira jumped down by us from a nearby ledge. Within a minute she had me pinned to the ground under one of her paws. Nuka tried to help me, but his mother smacked him in the face so hard he crashed into the wall of the gorge and got knocked out cold. I screamed for help as loud as I could as Zira mercilessly thrashed me. Before she killed me, she made sure to break as many of my bones as she could. During the whole ordeal she kept cackling and screaming about avenging Scar. When she finally slashed my throat open, I was relieved to join my ancestors away from blood and agony.
By the time Nuka woke up, his mother had long since left the scene of the crime. I cried from the heavens when I saw him weeping over my dead body. He must have spent hours trying to lick as much blood and gore off of my body as he could. As he gently carried my corpse in his jaws, I could still see tears trailing down his cheeks onto the hard, unforgiving ground of the gorge. Though his tears had finally dried up when he finally reached my father, his voice still hitched when he told him of my fate.
My father's cry of anguish and rage shook the heavens until I was almost certain that dozens of the Great Kings of the Past had echoed his screams. He actually pinned Zira in front of the whole pride and was about to kill her in front of her cubs. She was lucky my mother begged for the violence to end for the sake of Zira's cubs. Little did she know she actually extended the reach of the violence. My father banished Zira, her family, and her followers that day. Nuka's siblings were too young to understand what was happening, but Nuka was devastated.
Nuka tried to resist evil for a long time after I died, but eventually his mother's neglect was too much for him to bear any longer. Yet even after he resolved to kill my father, he still felt traumatized by my demise. All he really wanted was to be able to forget my death, but it stared him in the face for the rest of his life. As glad as I am that my sister helped reunite the prides and end the hate, I still wish Nuka had lived long enough to find peace too. Ironically, our siblings took on our dream and ruled side by side. Nuka is with me now and he too is happy to see peace in the Pridelands once more. But neither of our deaths was necessary. Thanks to his mothers hate and resolution not to let go of the past, we both have fallen.