I only own the OCS!
Leopard the Warrior of Africa
Shere Khan prowled the jungle's floor this night, his golden eyes scanning the jungle. His black stripes blended in with the shadows of the trees, his orange fur matching closely of the path he walked on, his tail twitching with his ears at any sound. The Bengal tiger stopped for a moment before looking around.
Something wasn't right.
"Probably just from climbing out of that lava pit," Shere Khan said, walking onwards, only to stop again. There where voices nearby. From what he could tell, female voices, three to be precise. Hiding into the bushes towards the voices, Shere Khan soon saw in interest a sight to his eyes.
Banga leapt down from the branches onto the ground, her violet eyes turning back to Chi and Akita. She herself was a golden leopard, her spots a much harvest orange color. In fact, her spots and light purple eyes were the only non-golden color on her. "And what exactly are we to do, Chi? Warn every other animal in all the jungles? I say it's bad enough while we're still out here, the three of us, out here in India, a place where no one ever taught us correctly to live in, with this Shere Khan running about from what I'm hearing," she said with a Southern American accent.
Chi looked at her with her green eyes, on lime green the other jade green, with narrowed eyes. She was some kind of viper, what kind, no one knew. Her scales were a medium gray, a black stripe running from her forehead to her tail, and her scales from her chin and underbelly were a bright bloody red. "Well, I say that we do our best to survive, and to leave well alone then. If this Shere Khan ever meets her, we'll let it be. It's not our business, and if it goes all for the best, Shere Khan will win," she said also with an American accent, but from more northern parts, as she slithered along with the leopard.
Akita, with her aqua eyes, bronze gold fur, black ears and tail, looked at Chi with a small humph in her tone. "Our best to survive, Chi? Why the moment any stranger will see your red belly, even the dumbest animal alive will know best to be wary of ya. And mind you, no wolf pack ever goanna trust in me fully if they even let me join them, and Banga here doesn't even have a chance to catch anything. And mind either of you; I honestly think we're already stuck in this business. Its how we're supposed to deal with it is the question. Do we ignore her coming here into India at all, nevertheless this part, or do we warn anyone that we can," she replied to either of the other two's remarks. Banga and Chi looked at her before looking at each other.
Banga sighed and looked to the trees. "What do we do then?"
"Well, if we do try to warn everyone we can, I'd say we start making friends with the local, pass the word onto them, and hope to survive. Maybe if we also make friends with locals, they can help us survive," Chi said, coiling up on a rock.
Akita looked around, her ears perked towards behind the three of them. "It's not much, but that's the first good idea you've made since we got shipped here, Chi." Banga looked into the trees as the other two talked.
"We'll have to split up. I can try the trees, and Chi can find anything that moves between ground and where I can get. Akita, you can find anyone that's on the ground. Hopefully, we'll be able warn enough of the creatures of her." The leopard stated, climbing back up into the trees. Chi and Akita looked at each other before Chi slithered up a different tree and Akita walked off. "Be careful you two!"
Akita looked back up at Banga before walking off. "Same to you, Banga. Same to you."
Shere Khan raised an eyebrow at this as he watched the three females part before moving out of the bushes. "Interesting," he noted to himself. He found it odd though, that none of them had named whoever the other female they were talking about. "Must be someone with a good status to but fear into them," he said to no one but himself before walking off. The tiger turned to go back to his patrol before noticing tracks that he had not made early.
Shere Khan sniffed them. Female clearly, but a tiger, not the leopard he had seen talking with the viper and wolf. As he looked at the paw prints, he could see it was a very small tigress though, barely even two or three years old by the looks of it. He sniffed the tracks again, taking note of anything he could tell. This tigress was not in heat, nor have or had any cubs in her life (which made him think she was only two to three years old more at this fact now), and clearly not a tigress not from India. The tiger stood up more alertly now. Was this the female those other three had been talking mostly about?
Kaa looked down at the ground from the tree he was in. He had made a deal a few days earlier. If he was to give this feline information, he wouldn't have trouble from Shere Khan again. 'Finally,' he had thought back then, 'I don't have to worry about him interrupting my lunch.' Now though, he glanced worry about. He had been waiting all morning. Perking his head, Kaa smiled at the sound of light footsteps.
"Hello? Miss? Is that you?" he asked out into the jungle's growth. He lowered his head down to look about, turning his head this way and that to see who he was to meet that day.
"Of course, Kaa. I am here," a tigress said, appearing from the other side of the tree Kaa was in. She spoke with a Hindi accent before lying down. Kaa smiled and moved so that he was on the side of the tree she was. The python took a moment to get another good look at her, finding himself still confused by her appearance. She was a petite tigress, very small compared to Shere Khan, in fact, even smaller than half compared to the male tiger. 'Must be due to age and gender difference,' Kaa kept thinking to himself. Her fur was a darker orange though, than the male tiger Kaa knew and despised, and her stripes were a honey brown color. Her tail was far curlier, and on her forehead were two honey brown dots, along with a very small fur tuff. Her eyes were a greenish-light blue color (Kaa had found this very useful the last time she had met him, for every time she seemed to be angry or miffed, her eyes would be light blue and it was the only warning he had to make sure he didn't get hurt or killed by this tigress).
Kaa, after getting another good look at the tigress, cleared his throat. "Well, I'm sure I have all the information you need. Now, of course, you do um, remember our deal?" he said, tilting his head forward to the female with a smile. The feline smiled and perked her head up dainty.
"Yes. I remember well of deal. In fact, I like to consider… how do you say it… sweetening the deal a bit?" she said, looking at her claws before lifting her eyes to Kaa's. Kaa leaned his head forward.
"Well, if you tell me of where you got info that you did not have at first and what weaknesses of Shere Khan is, I be considerable to be your guardian. So, if Shere Khan threatens your or family, just tell him to see me or send for me and I'll take of it. And if I happen to need your help again, I will tell you clearly of my motives. If you are having lunch at the time, and lunch escapes, I will gladly hunt lunch for you," she said, smiling in a lady-like manner. Kaa smiled in surprised and nodded.
"Oh, I like the s-s-s-s-sound of that very much. Very much indeed," Kaa said, bowing his head down. "I'll tell you everything I know and where I got the information I didn't know."
The tigress perked an ear up and laid her head down to listen.
"Well, I should get the personality down first. Shere Khan is a tiger that's ss-s-suave, mysterious at times, aggressive most of the time, powerful, deadly, ss-s-s-s-stubborn, and polite when he wants to, s-s-sophisticated, physically s-s-sturdy, graceful, greedy, and spoiled when he and I were younglings. He's a ss-s-slender tiger though, a lighter orange than you Miss-s-s, black stripes, golden eyes, but he has very long claws and has a lot of muscle in the shoulder area. You'll need to watch out for that of course. He has a dis-s-slike for humans, and will only kill them because of it. Now personally, I find that very disrespectful, at least eat what you kill, or give it to someone who needs foods. And I made s-s-s-sure I wasn't the only one who saw it. I asked everyone in the jungle to confirm it, and they all agree. The vultures told me he even cheated and attack a man-cub in their s-s-swamp and later attacked their new friend, Lucky, a few years later. Shere Khan did used to be afraid of fire and man's gun, but he's gotten over those fears. I've tried to get any info on what his new weakness is, but the best I can come up with is-s-s-s only a theory, I'm afraid," Kaa said, coiling up onto the ground next to the tigress. The female smiled and bore a curious expression towards the snake.
"May I ask what theory is, Sir?" she asked, placing her head onto one of her paws.
Kaa shrugged and went on. "Well, you ss-s-see, there's no other tiger territory for miles. If anything, Shere Khan has the largest tiger territory that anyone knows of. Not even female tigers like yourself have territories that overlap his. S-s-s-so, I won't find it surprising if that when Shere Khan sees you, he'll try his best to charm you no matter what, due to the fact that.."
"That I am the tigress?" she asked, although her tone made it sound more like a statement.
"Yess-s-s-s-s. All my info has been either personally experience, from the vultures, the monkeys, and after trying to convince Bagheera the black leopard and Baloo the sloth bear I was only looking for more info," the snake finished, a smile on his face. The tigress smiled at Kaa and stood up dainty.
"Thank you, Sir Kaa. I have helped me much," she said, walking off into the shadows.
Kaa smiled and climbed back up the tree to rest. Today, he knew, was when everything changed.
Mowgli, Shanti, and Ranjan walked through the jungles carefully as they went to meet Baloo and Bagheera. Ranjan was in front, laughing as he looked for the black leopard's tail. Mowgli carried a stick, in case they happened to meet Kaa along the way, and Shanti carried a large basket of fish and fruit for lunch they were all going to share. Ranjan soon saw a tail feline tail, and almost gave a childish roar before stopping. Mowgli and Shanti soon bumped into him.
"Ranjan?" Mowgli asked his foster brother. Ranjan ran behind the older boy before pointing at the tail. "Tiger!" Shanti gasped and went to pick up another stick as Mowgli held his in a whacking position.
"What do you want now, Shere Khan!?" Mowgli yelled out, his dark eyes narrowed before realizing something. The stripes on the tail weren't black like Shere Khan, nor the right pattern.
"Now, that is very rude. You don't even know who I am and you already call me Shere Khan, who I am not?" a female voice said before it's owner jumped down from it's hiding place. The three human stared at the feline before them. The tigress smiled and drew nearer to them, her greenish-light blue eyes gleaming in the jungle's light. Mowgli noticed the darker orange fur and the honey brown stripes she had and took a step back. The tigress chuckled before setting her sight on Ranjan. The small child whimpered a bit, hugging onto Mowgli.
"Oh, you have mini-cub? Oh, so precious indeed! Why," the feline drew closer to examine Ranjan, "he is like little tiger cub!" she exclaimed. She looked up at Mowgli and Shanti also examining them. "And you two are still the younglings yourself. Why away from Man-village?" she said, circling them in such a manner. All of them were quiet at this feline's behavior.
Shanti spoke up after some silence. "We're going to see Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther." The tigress nodded her head in acknowledgement. "I see. Well, if I may ask one more question, what do any of you know of Shere Khan? You know him well?" she asked, sitting down.
"He's been trying to kill me for years. He went after Shanti here twice, and Ranjan once. Last any of us ever saw of him, he was trapped in a tiger head statue in a lava pit."
The tigress raised an eyebrow, yet had a look of shock in her eyes. "What? But you are all cubs! Now, if you were adults, I would understand, but cubs?" Ranjan was looking at the feline with a curious expression. The tigress sighed and looked back at Ranjan to meet his dark eyes. "Do you three need any help getting to your friends?" she said looking at Mowgli.
"No, we've gone here tons of times to visit them."
"Well, I think it should be best that I stick with the three of you, in case someone happens to try and make a meal out of you three." She picked Ranjan up and placed him on her back.
Shere Khan followed the tracks of the intruder to the tree Kaa usually slept in. The tiger smiled to himself at the sight of the snake's tail and pulled on it. Kaa's head looked down and around to see the tiger and backed away a bit.
"Good day, Kaa. I hope I'm not interrupting anything, but I've happened to notice some tracks by this tree that are of an intruder. Would you like to explain to me of why's that?" he said calmly as he examined his claws.
Kaa gulped and chuckled nervously. "Oh, I… um… I didn't see any tigresses. No sir, no," he said before covering his mouth.
"I never said it was a tigress. Now, what can you tell me about her, Kaa? I'm sure she was bound to speak to you."
"I'm s-s-s-sorry, but I really don't know what you're talking about," the snake replied, slowly going up back to the rest of his coils. Shere Khan lifted his eyes to him and grabbed the serpent's neck.
"I'm sure you do, Kaa. Now, tell me who she is, where she went, and what did you say to her," the male feline said, his golden eyes narrowed as a wicked grin crept onto his face. Kaa tried to gulp and opened his mouth to speak.
"I... I… don't know where s-s-s-she went; she's a three year old tigress, her fur's a darker orange than yours, she has honey brown s-s-s-stripes, greenish-light blue eyes, she's a very petite feline, about one third of your s-s-size., and she's a very lady-like, polite, and understanding female. I… I told her everything about you!" Kaa said in a panic, trembling as he tried to get away. Shere Khan raised an eyebrow again and brought the snake to his eye level.
"And what, exactly, made you tell her everything about me?"
"She…. S-s-s-she promised me for protection, that s-s-she would make sure that you didn't interrupt me during my lunch time, threaten me or family, and if s-s-s-she would need to find and talk to me that she would tell me of her motives of why, and if my lunch escaped while she and I are talking, what s-s-she'd be glad to hunt lunch for me."
"She promised?" Shere Khan asked, looking at Kaa in disbelieve. Kaa smiled and nodded.
"She really knows how to make a deal."
"What makes you think that I know you're not lying?"
"Cause I know you'll lose either way, truth or lies-s-s-s."
Shere Khan glared at Kaa. If looks could kill, the python would have died hundreds of times just by Shere Khan's glare. The tiger leaned his face forward and snarled. "What else do you know of her?" he growled lowly, making Kaa shiver.
"Um… she doesn't made s-s-s-sharing the territory with you, and … she's a very beautiful, yet odd tigress. She has a Hindi accent. S-s-she told me that where s-s-she comes from she is also feared by man and s-s-she has also killed man. A noble tigress though, clearly. That's all," Kaa said, chuckling nervously.
"And her name? You haven't given it to me yet."
"Oh I don't really know. I've just called her 'Miss' the last few times I've seen her."
Shere Khan frowned deeply. He always found it best to track someone with at least knowing their name. "And she has never told you then?"
"No sir. S-s-she's never corrected me once." Kaa answered, shaking his head and hoping that the tiger would let him go soon. Shere Khan frowned even more deeply and after some thought let the snake go.
"Thank you for the little help you've given me, Kaa."
"Now we make a left at this tree," Shanti said, riding on the back of the tigress with Ranjan. The female did so and smiled as the smallest child hugged her neck. Mowgli couldn't help but be confused by the tigress. She was unlike Shere Khan by almost all circumstances. He wasn't going to complain any time soon though. Ranjan already seem to be enjoying her and the tigress the same toward his foster brother. The only two things Mowgli couldn't really get by at the moment was that the tigress hadn't told any of the three of them her name, and how come she seem to understand of hunting adults instead of cubs, unlike Shere Khan, who'd hunt and kill either.
"So, why do you think killing adult humans is better then killing man-cubs?" he asked finally as all of them kept going on towards Baloo and Bagheera. The tigress paused for a moment and seemed lost in thought.
"Promise you don't judge me for what I will say? All of you?"
"Cross out hearts"
The feline sighed again and looked forward. "Back in my mother's homeland, China, I was known as fiercest, most murderous tigress among man. I, like this Shere Khan I hear about in jungle, also hunted man. I have also killed man. But never once, in my life, have I ever found it useful to kill their young. Always to innocent I tell myself. I am afraid that when I decided to give up, and thought I had kill enough man, no one was willing to let me earn trust. I was captured soon; force to hunt for man shortly, to guard the younglings. I think that is why I like mini- man-cub here. He reminds me of many of those innocent little younglings."
Mowgli and Shanti both stared at the tigress. They had not really thought that she, who had talked so gently to them, and acted in a motherly manner to Ranjan, would have killed any humans. The tigress kept her eyes away from them, a small frown on her small muzzle. "I can understand if you do not trust me now."
"I'm finding that hard to believe as much as someone like you hunting man."
The tigress let out a chuckle and changed the subject quickly. "Shanti, how far are we from your friends?"
"Not that far," the girl said. Mowgli sped up a bit to stay at the same pace as the tigress before asking the next question. "So what's your name? You haven't even told us that at all."
The tigress looked over her shoulder at Mowgli, a smile on her face before speaking. "My name is-"
Aha! Left ya hanging there, folks! Wait up for the next chapter! And please review!