Lunch arrived quickly and the pride ate every last bit of meat there was to eat.
"Oh Kione! It's time!" Safi wailed as she put a paw to her stomach.
"Dotty go get Rafiki, Safi and I will be in the den everyone else stay outside the den." Kione ordered. He helped Safi step up the stair like stones leading to the den and lay next to his scared wife.
"Kione I'm scared." Safi cried.
"It's going to be alright, if millions of females in every species can do it you can too." Kione assured Safi.
"You think so?" Safi asked.
"I know so." Kione replied. Suddenly Dotty and Rafiki walked into the den; Dotty carried a turtle shell full of water and Rafiki carried the juices used to crown newborn heirs, they would be having the celebration of the new princess right after Safi gave birth. The turtle shell was big enough for Safi to sit in for she had requested to do water birth.
"Alright Safi are you comfortable?" Dotty asked.
"Yes well not really with these contractions." Safi answered. She was sitting in the large turtle shell and she leaned her back against both Kione and the den wall.
"Well Safi you're dilated enough to start pushing so when you feel a contraction push as hard as you can." Rafiki instructed.
"Okay." Safi nodded in a small voice. Safi grunted and started pushing as hard as she could; Kione was at her side and held her paw with support.
"Alright come on we can see the cub's head starting to come out." Dotty informed, "Keep pushing until the pain stops."
"You're doing great honey." Kione smiled. Safi let out a groan as the pain stopped and laid her head back against the wall.
"Alright at your pace the next contraction should be in about a minute." Dotty said to Safi.
"Oh! One minute my ass!" Safi said through clenched teeth.
"Keep pushing, the cub's head is almost out." Dotty ordered. This contraction was a bit longer than the others and Safi managed to get the cub's head and half of her shoulders out.
"Okay on the next contraction we're gonna try and get the shoulders out, sound like a plan?" Dotty asked.
"Yeah I can do it." Safi agreed quietly. The next contraction came and Safi let out a small cry of pain as the shoulders came out.
"Safi I can see her she's beautiful." Kione breathed as he moved to Safi's tail end.
"Is she almost out?" Safi asked breathlessly.
"We just have to get the belly, butt, and back legs out." Kione answered.
"How long have we been in here?' Safi asked.
"Almost an hour." Rafiki answered. Safi let out a small cry of pain as she felt another contraction, she pushed as hard as she could and squeezed Kione's paw as hard as she could also.
"Ow Safi, you got quite a good grip." Kione commented, shaking his paw as Safi let go.
"Sorry." Safi apologized.
"Alright Safi we just have to get the hips and legs out and I think you can do it on the next contraction so I want you to give it all you got in about 30 seconds." Dotty said.
"Alright." Safi said quietly. Safi felt the contraction and thrust her head forward with speed, head butting Kione's head in the process. Safi didn't acknowledge hitting Kione; she was too concentrated on pushing. However Kione lay on the den floor, groaning in pain.
"Keep pushing!" Kione yelled he sat up and rubbed his head, "Ugh you have no idea how much this hurts!"
Safi and Dotty both shot Kione a look that said "are you kidding me?!"
"Right, sorry." Kione apologized. Dotty gasped as a bundle of fur slipped into the water, she lifted the small, wet cub in her paws as she started to cry. Safi gasped as tears started to form in her eyes. The little cub had a golden leopard colored coat, it looked fluffy rather than coarse like a lion's, she also had a small pink pride lander nose, green eyes like her father, fluffy cheeks, and leopard spots around her belly, obviously from her mother.
"Can I hold my baby?" Safi asked, near tears.
"Of course." Dotty smiled. Dotty grabbed the turtle shell from under Safi and went to go dump it out.
"What should we name her?" Safi asked, still looking at the little cub.
"Whatever you want to name her." Kione smiled he started to lick Safi's hips and lower stomach to dry her off and Safi did the same with her newborn cub.
"Lulu, her name is Lulu." Safi smiled.
"The perfect name for our perfect daughter." Kione breathed.
"Now Safi if you don't mind I need to crown Lulu." Rafiki said quietly, he felt bad about interrupting Kione and Safi's moment.
"Of course." Safi grinned, holding Lulu out for Rafiki to grab. He did the same thing he did for Kione, Chika, and all the other royal cubs of the past. Kione, Safi, and Rafiki walked out of the den to an eager pride and a whole kingdom of animals. The pride walked down to where all the other animals were standing and waiting. Safi and Kione watched near the tip of pride rock as Rafiki stepped out onto the edge to present the cub to the kingdom and the great kings of the past. Sunlight broke through the clouds as a soft wind blew; everyone looked to the sky and saw a glimpse of Sarabi, Mufasa, Simba, and Kovu. Both Nala and Kiara smiled as their husbands appeared in heaven with all the great kings of the past. Lulu giggled as the wind blew against her fluffy fur; a flower blew in the wind by her face and landed in the small crease between her ear and forehead. She tried to grab the flower off her head but she just pushed it off her head, Rafiki cradled her in his arms again and grabbed the flower from the air; it was an African violet with white in the center that faded to pink. He placed the flower behind her ear and tied it to a longer piece of her fur; it stayed in place and made the new princess look even more beautiful than she already was. Rafiki walked back to the proud parents and let Safi grab the princess by her scruff. Safi nuzzled Kione with a smile and retreated to the cave; she was very tired. The pride swarmed in as they were allowed to by Kione, everyone was excited to see the new cub especially the other cubs. Safi greeted the pride with a tired smile and a soft 'hello'.
"Safi she's beautiful." Chika murmured.
"I know, she's so perfect; I've only known her for about an hour and I already love her more than anything in the world." Safi said dreamily.
Kione, who was sitting beside Safi, cleared his throat loud enough to get his mate's attention.
"Oh I love you too Kione but I think our daughter outranks you a bit." Safi teased with a playful shove. Lulu sat in her mother's paws fast asleep; Safi wanted to join her more than anything but she knew she had to stay up and get an eyeful of her precious cub. I love her so much if I had to I would die for her, maybe this is why my mother threw me out of harm's way when she died, because she felt a deep love for me.
"I'm so happy for you honey." Kamau grinned at his daughter.
"Thank you dad, you know I think she looks kind of like you." Safi commented.
"How? I'm dark as night with gold-ish eyes and she's golden with green eyes?" Kamau questioned.
"No I mean her facial structure is kind of like yours." Safi explained.
"Hm I guess you're right." Kamau agreed.
"Alright guys I think Safi and Lulu need some rest so I think it's best if everyone hangs out outside the den so she can get some peace and quiet." Kione ordered. The pride listened to their king and slowly migrated out of the den. Dima, Taj, Jao, Isis, Jina, and Tavi all hung out behind pride rock after the excitement.
"Did y'all see her? She was so cute!" Dima exclaimed.
"Yeah, I love cubs." Taj smiled.
"Really? You don't seem like the cub loving type." Tavi said with his head cocked.
"Well I am, back in the river pride whenever the new cubs would be born I always had to babysit; I used to hate it but I grew to love it." Taj explained.
"So you used to guard the cave and cubsit?" Tavi asked.
"Guarding was my night job and cubsitting way my day job." Taj answered.
"Seems like a lot of work." Tavi commented.
"Well over there everyone had to have a job for both day and night so no one would get bored." Taj said.
"When did you sleep?" Dima asked.
"There were shifts. Like I'd cubsit for half the day then sleep for the rest, then I'd guard for half the night and sleep when the other guard showed up." Taj answered.
"That must've been so tiring." Tavi commented.
"Yeah… But let's not talk about that." Taj suggested.
"Sounds good to me." Jao agreed. Dima noticed that almost every time the adolescents started to have an innocent conversation eventually the conversation would turn to the River pride and Daren. Luckily for Jina, Taj, Jao, and Isis the conversation turned to a happier topic: pride customs.
"Have you guys heard of those prides that kick out the males when they get around our age?" Jina asked.
"Yeah, why do they do that?" Dima answered.
"Well some males are really territorial and scared of younger males taking over their lands and breeding with their females so they kick out the young males. " Tavi answered as he began to groom his paw.
"That must be why there's so many rouges." Jao commented.
"Well there are those lions and lionesses that leave by choice to start their own prides." Isis added.
"True; someday I'd like to do that you know travel Africa, visit prides that wouldn't mind me, maybe find a mate and some other lionesses that would be willing to join a pride with me as the king." Tavi shared.
"That sounds fun, something I'd want to do." Jina agreed.
"Maybe we could travel Africa together." Tavi suggested with a smile, "And go where no lion has every gone, we could go to cold places beyond Africa."
"There are no cold places beyond Africa." Jina giggled.
"Yes there are! One time when we were cubs this leopard passed though the pride lands and told me and… Baya…" Tavi said quietly," That he came from a place where large striped lions called tigers lived and smaller grey leopards also lived."
"Okay…" Jina said with a doubtful smile that said 'I still don't believe you'.
Safi walked towards where Zazu said he spotted a fight between a young adult lion and a male leopard. Zazu had just come back from visiting all his family around Africa and now served once again as the majordomo. Rafiki had taken a large leaf and some vines to create a cub carrier thing for baby Lulu to accompany her mother on her queenly duties.
"Hey! You two!" Safi barked.
The young lion looked up from the leopard he was currently standing on, "Who are you?"
"I am the queen of these lands and I was sent here by my majordomo because of a fight going on here." Safi answered the young lion's question. She looked at the two; the leopard had the common golden pelt that most leopards had and eyes the color of honey, the lion was a dark golden color with a dirty blonde mane, he had indescribable green eyes they weren't bright green but more of a natural looking green, and his voice sounded very funny to her she'd never heard anything like it; but altogether Safi thought he was a very handsome lion.
"Look I'm sorry I didn't mean to cause any-"
"Save it, you're fine I just want to settle this calmly and rationally." Safi interrupted the lion.
"Why are you two fighting?" Safi asked. The young lion stepped off the leopard and dusted his arm off.
"Well I was just enjoying a peaceful meal," The leopard started, gesturing to a dead wildebeest a few feet away, "When this guy came and tried to steal it!"
"Why did you try to steal his food?" Safi asked the lion softly.
"I've been traveling since I was a young adolescent, because I was kicked out of my old pride, and I never get a decent meal anymore and I guess the hunger just swept over me and I reacted on impulse." The lion explained; Safi noticed as he was talking he said 'w' like 'v'.
"Did that give you the right to steal?" Safi asked with a look that a mother would give a child while scolding them.
"No, I'm sorry your highness." The lion apologized while looking at his paws.
"Don't apologize to me; I wasn't the one you tried to steal from." Safi said.
"Oh, right sorry Sir for trying to steal your food." He said to the leopard.
"It's fine I guess, can I go now your highness?" The leopard asked.
"Yes you may." Safi smiled.
"Can I go too?" The lion asked.
"No." Safi replied shortly.
"Why?" The golden lion asked with his strange accent.
"I want to talk to you, come sit by me." Safi ordered, "What is your name?"
"My name is Jager." Jager answered.
"I'm Safi, if you were wondering and you can call me that; I prefer it over 'your highness'." Safi said in a mocking tone.
"Okay Safi, what is it you want to talk about?" Jager asked.
"Why were you kicked out of your pride?" Safi asked without answering Jager.
"My pride leader thought I was too old and he feared I would take over his pride." Jager answered.
"Oh well are you looking for a new home?" Safi asked.
"Yeah but not a lot of prides take very kindly to a young male going into their lands." Jager answered.
"Well a male in our pride is going to leave soon and he's taking about 10 lionesses with him, would you like to join our pride?" Safi asked.
"I would love to join your pride but I have one question." Jager stated.
"What is that?" Safi asked with a smile.
"Why would you let a lion take your lionesses?" Jager asked with a very confused expression.
"Well in the pride lands no one everyone has a choice of what they want to do or where they want to go." Safi replied.
"That's strange but I like it." Jager smiled. Suddenly Lulu woke up from her nap and started to cry.
"I'm sorry hold on." Safi smiled in embarrassment.
"It's fine and might I say your cub is very cute, different but a good different." Jager complemented.
"Thank you; that might be because she's half lion and half leopard." Safi grinned; she placed Lulu by her stomach where she could feed.
"I see so your mate must be the king of these lands." Jager assumed.
"Yep, do you have any questions you want to ask me?" Safi asked.
"Yes, do all creatures in these parts talk like you and that leopard?" Jager asked.
"Yes, did your pride have the same accent you have?" Safi asked.
"Yes, my pride is a pride of feral lions who escaped from a German circus and that's probably why I sound different to you." Jager answered.
"Feral? What does that mean?" Safi asked while cocking her head slightly.
"It means that they were originally born in captivity but they escaped to the wild." Jager answered.
"How did they learn to hunt and fend for themselves?" Safi inquired.
"Well my mother, our queen, was the only one who wasn't feral and she taught all of them how to hunt and stuff." Jager answered.
"Is that place you said they were from close to Africa?" Safi asked.
"Kinda but not on foot, they were touring in Africa and escaped before the big show." Jager answered.
"Oh, well that's all the questions I have what do you say we go meet the pride?" Safi smiled.
"Sounds good." Jager grinned back.
A/N Sorry about the long chapter but I just couldn't stop writing! And if any of you were wondering Jager has a German accent and his name is pronounced Yag-er (It's a German name to match his German background). Please please please review, I'm beginning to think only like two people are reading this because no one really reviews or anything so you know who you are if you read and don't usually review. I just want to know who's reading this, thanks for reading though and have a great Valentine's Day! 3