A year after the King's death, the former Queen found herself walking through the gorge, checking out reports of jackals over-hunting. She hadn't found anything so far, but it was worth looking into. Of course, normally, this would be the King's job, but she'd insisted he spend the day with his mate Sarabi. He often seemed as distant and emotionless as Ahadi had once been, but Masilahi hoped his mate could help soften him up.

As she walked, she felt something rumbling under her paws. She froze, brow furrowed in confusion, then felt pebbles bouncing on her back. Feeling a rush of dread, she looked up.

A section of rock had collapsed from the gorge wall and was tumbled down towards her. She froze, remembering her mother's demise, so similar to this. No. Not like this.

She started to turn to run, but something else caught her eye. A figure, outlined by the sun, she couldn't see their coat color or shape. All she could see was the glow of two familiar emerald eyes, cold and cruel.

Masilahi froze, horror sending ice through her veins. Taka. Her son stared down at her, cruel and silent, watching as rocks came tumbling down toward his mother. In that moment, Masilahi knew. This was him. He had started the rockfall. He was trying to kill her. She understood now, he wasn't her Taka, not anymore. He was Scar.

Masilahi turned and tried to run for it, but it was too late. The first rock caught her leg, then she felt them crash into her shoulders, back, head. Pain seared through her body, then her head was hit, and she felt no more.


Darkness. Then a warm glow, the feeling of safety.

Masilahi rose, her paws knowing the path they must take. Through the Pride Lands, until she reached the place she always knew she'd have to go. Pride Rock, where a shimmering glow stood by the edge, waiting for her. She smiled, the first true smile in a year. "Ahadi," she whispered.

She broke into a run, clambering up Pride Rock as fast as her paws would take her, not stopping until she reached her love's side. They embraced, Masilahi burrowing her head in Ahadi's mane for the first time in a year. They stayed like that a long time, just taking comfort in each others' presence.

After what felt like ages, they pulled back. There was a gleam of sadness in Ahadi's eyes, and now, Masilahi knew why. She could feel his mind, his worries, and now she could share them. "Taka," Ahadi said softly. "He did this."

Masilahi sighed. "I know. And he will do more." Tendrils of the future drifted in her mind, and now she could see them. Nothing was very clear, just feelings. And she could feel dark times ahead, blood to be spilled, lies and betrayal, and the fear of a child.

Ahadi nodded, having heard her thoughts. "Our reign was only the quiet before the storm," he rumbled.

Masilahi closed her eyes, fighting a wave of guilt. There was darkness ahead, and it was their fault, but now there was nothing they could do. The sun had set on their time, and now it was time to move on.


And now it is the end. Sorry if it seemed a little rushed, and I hope you've enjoyed this story. A revamp of Fall to Hatred is next, which will be called Zira's Fall.