Next to Hunchback of being my most favorite, beloved Disney movie, the Lion King is right next to it. And I've finally gotten an idea for a single oneshot. The dramatic choice Nala makes for the Pride since the herds had gone for lush land. Scar's reign has been proved far too risky to even live. The Hyena's had taken advantage of the Pride. So, here it is. Do enjoy.
It was another hard evening. If we were able to digest twigs, we would fare but...there was just nothing left in our lands. The patriarch, Mufasa, I remember, he would always be sure the entire pride had their fill. Always. When he was with us, days would shine all through. We missed him and his son so much. His son, Simba...we would always play. We would always frolic and when we'd get in danger or trouble...he would always find a way out of it. Most of the time. That last night I saw of him...he was at the mercy of our angry King. The Elephant Graveyard was a mistake. I think back on it now and I have realized that if we had stayed home that day...our King and our Prince would still be with us. Why did it have to happen? Scar...whose name I was told used to be Taka...the brother of our real lord...disregarded us...never paid us heed, only when a scarce meal was found. Mufasa's queen, Sarabi. She had lost her strength to hunt now. Her heart is slow and her limbs burn when she runs. Like the cheetah, she can't run as long as she used to. Every once in a while, we would find meerkats burrowing...but they were quick snacks to catch, but it took a chore to snag one by mouth. Digging took a lot energy since we've been eating so little these passed months.
Food and the sun was what we lacked now. These days everything had become so dark and it made it hard to see when we scouted. We lionesses were overworked, hardly any rest since Scar's demand got greater. We were ordered to remain in our lands. Which was ridiculous! There was no longer any herds...hardly any water. How did he expect us to improve in our survival if just stayed in one spot? Growing up in such a state, I grew rebellious. I was sick of his stubbornness and pride. We were a family...not slaves. He would always lounge. We know males rely on us to hunt, but Mufasa would always remain by our sides, observing and sometimes if we were too slow, he would finish the hunt. Especially for those of us who were learning the ways. Mother would take me to the lessons with Simba and we would watch each lioness have their turn. Mufasa made sure we both understood. Patience and brute strength. Also, full focus. My mother taught me to actually hunt, now that I've grown...showing me techniques Mufasa showed her when she was young.
We were always on our own unless Scar gathered us for inspection for the hunt rations. But there was one morning when he took us by surprise...It was around the time after the Stampede. I found it hard to find happiness during those days. I lost a mentor and my best friend.
I was trying to occupy myself as mother was searching for a puddle of water. I sat beside a leafless bush looking at the cloudy sky. I missed the sun.
It all seemed very quiet until I heard heavy paw-steps. I gasped when a male's shadow loomed over me.
"Well...good morning, dear Nala." purred that ancient hiss of a voice.
My eyes widened as my stomach churned with nervousness.
"G-g-good morning...s-s-sire Scar..." I stammered.
He sneered down at me and continued to circle me, looking me over. I kept turning around, keeping his old face in my view. My fur was on end, fearing that he was to kill me. I didn't know what he was planning.
"Don't be skittish. I am only seeing to a cub who shall grow into a strong lioness."
"...uh...I..." I struggled before I heard my mother's running.
"Keep away from my cub!" Sarafina roared at the proud old King. She boldly stood over me in rage.
"Tsk... Temper, temper, Sarafina. Indeed, I was meaning no harm." Scar faked a kindly tone.
"You wish to kill her? Scare us even more?" Sarafina hissed. "What is it do you want, Scar?"
"I was in the area. And I found some spoils by the dry river. I suspect you are neglecting your jobs? All cubs are to be at Priderock. Understood."
"I don't trust you, Scar. I have been annoyed by feelings for you. All of them are not good."
Scar was unchallenged and smug. He merely chuckled, turning to leave. He enjoyed taunting them.
"Life was perfect when Mufasa was among us." Sarafina narrowed her green eyes. "And you know it."
Scar stopped and peered back at her.
"Never mention that name..." he hissed.
"...you know so." Sarafina ignored his order. "If you ever come near my cub again... I promise that blood will spill."
Scar was silent until he started walking again. "You have until sundown... You know the law."
I was terrified but mother gazed down at me and began to groom me.
"Don't be afraid... He won't torture us for long. Always stay near me. Do you understand, Nala?"
"Yes, mother..." I shook, still afraid.
"It's all going to be all right. I promise you, my baby." she nuzzled me. "Come...I found a little bit of water. It isn't much, but it's worth it."
I did exactly as I was told, but it was always hard. Scar had something in mind for me since then and I soon figured it out. He wanted to mate me... How sick. I would never mate with such a selfish, cruel male. Even the rest of the Pride did what they could to avoid him and when he got too close, he would get a claw in the eye. What truly made my fur rise was his treatment of the old Queen, Sarabi. He knew she was aged and frail, but he just kept ordering her to hunt. If we failed that day, he would scratch her legs and paws. But she was a brave lioness...full of courage and she dealt with each confrontation with a strong spirit. She was most like Mufasa in that way, which was who we needed. But when we were out in the open we would advise her to rest in the shade. We made sure it was away from Scar's eye. Her time was nearing and we needed the herds to return. The clouds were dry and they never dropped any tears for us. The grass was gone and water was rare. The air was dry and it made us pant for most of the days. There was no hope here. None.
I was digging for meerkats again, hoping that there were any left. My efforts were starting to get vigorous from my hunger and my sadness impaled me. We could not live like this. Our Pride was dying. Mufasa would order us to leave for greener lands. My mother came to me when she heard my roars.
"Nala! Nala! Calm down!" she fretted as I kept digging in fury. There was nothing in the ground.
"Mother! No...I won't! Not while we're living like this! Scar... This is all his fault... And how can all of you believe that the Stampede was an accident!?" I vented and kept digging.
"We don't know what happened, Nala. None of us were there."
"Scar did something. I know it! He took Simba that day. I remember." I thought and paced. "Said there was a surprise waiting for him. Something stupid like that!"
Mother watched me in shock.
"And what happens next...? Mufasa disappeared... Simba disappeared... You don't have to believe me, but I can't stand this anymore."
"I need to leave, mother. I'm sorry. I need to do something. Contact another pride...maybe they'll help us. Maybe even...let us live in their land. We're starving. Sarabi won't be here with us long. We need a real patriarch."
Mother, Sarafina just gazed at me with her eyes glassy and sad.
"...my baby..." her voice ran low and sad as she nuzzled me and licked me. "...I always knew you were so brave... And that you have put up with Scar's abuse all this time. But...but if you feel that this is right...th-then, you may go." she told me, with a weeping voice.
"Mother..." I nuzzled and cuddled her back. "...I...I promise, I will come back. Don't think that I won't. No family is to live in a land of shadow. I will come back. And we all will eat again."
Sarafina's shoulders were shaking. What if Nala was to be killed by a rogue male...or succumb to starvation? She had to hold hope. It was all they had.
"I have faith in you, my daughter." she licked me again.
I hadn't the strength to just leave like this. I gazed upon the once regal mountainous rock. Our home. I saw just how dark it was. No longer the peaceful landmark of Mufasa's rule. I looked mother in the eyes and took a strong breath. She nodded gravely at me and I turned round and ran. I couldn't look back. It would just force me to stay and we will all die. I might even die doing this...but it was the only chance we had. Shadowland, it will kill us all.
It was a hard thing to leave the Pride in such an awful state. When Nala left, there was little hope that she would come back, yet they did not expect Simba to return. If she had not done this... Dare I say it?