Father shoots me a look before fading away. I don't even have the time to be astonished because everything is rushed. Where am I supposed to stand? Has my father even accepted the strangers' help? Even if he hasn't, they haven't waited for his approval. They are already fighting. This is going to end in a blood bath, and the lionesses will most likely all be dead. I don't know how they could survive this.

All I know is that I have no intention to fight with them. I don't understand how Father can accept their presence. They are strangers. We know nothing about them. They could be here to overthrow him for all I know. That wasn't very wise of him.

I look around and see the war raging on. I try to spot Nala, but she's vanished, too. Sarafina arrives next to me, out of breath. Her beautiful golden fur is covered in dust and has lost all her shine.

"Nova, get out of here!" she says. "Find a place to hide."

"I'm not going to hide and look at all of you die."

"No one's going to die," she promises me, but we both know that she's lying. I'm old enough to be told the truth, I believe.

She keeps urging me to find a place to hide, but I would feel like such a coward if I did what she wants me to do. I can't hide. I have to fight. Regardless to the fact that I will fight on the same side than the lionesses that want my father dead. I think that I can deal with them later. Now, we need to join forces to make sure that they don't overthrow my father.

I shake my head no. "Sarafina, I can't. It's my home that they want, too."

She gives me a sad smile, but she nods and quickly runs to help Sarabi who's struggling with two male lions. How is that even supposed to be nice of them? They're trying to kill lionesses! That's just insane. Males aren't supposed to fight with females. Especially not with Sarabi and Sarafina.

I think that they will be okay, so instead, I jump in the fight to help Zira, my father's mate. She is a really good fighter, though, so she doesn't really need much help, but she won't say no.

We've put the male K.O. after a couple of minutes. I am against killing them because that would be going as low as them, and I believe that we are better. If they think that they can just show up here and take everything that's ours, they are wrong, so damn wrong, and we'll all show them.

I suddenly spot the lion that asked my father if he needed help earlier. He's not even fighting. He's walking around, observing everyone, making sure that things are going well. He's not even paying attention to his surroundings. Anyone could jump on him right now and try to kill him. He's an easy prey. Making sure everyone's very much occupied with their own battles, I slowly walk toward him, using my claws and teeth from time to time against other lions that are fighting the lionesses from the Pride Lands.

I'm about to jump on him, but I am suddenly crushed on the ground. I feel a heavy weight on me, preventing me from getting up again. I try to bite, but my claws don't close on anything else than the wind. I try to scratch, but it isn't working either. Instead, I growl loudly, and that's when I hear another roar answering to mine. It's not a familiar one, so it must belong to one of the unknown lions. A paw is suddenly pressed hard against my throat, trying to have me choked. I try gasping for air, but I feel like my throat is being crushed, too.

I hear a familiar roar and the weight is taken off my corpse. It's Sarafina. But the lion that was on me doesn't even look at her. He's already back on his paws and he's looking straight at me. He's tall and lanky. His fur is the exact color of the sand while his mane is dark brown. Curious thing, his eyes. They're some deep orange color. And all of a sudden, it's like I'm taken back into the past. They ring a bell, somewhere in my mind, but I don't have the time to find out because he's already rushing toward me, all claws out. I won't give up without putting up a really good fight.

I'm about to start running toward him, too, when I hear Sarafina, "Nova!" she yells. "Watch out."

I turn my head back to see what's coming, and there's no one. It's just the big lion, the one that I suspect is the leader of those lions that are attacking us. He's watching me very carefully, and I get why Sarafina was scared: everything in his body indicates the will to jump and rip my head off. Where have I seen those eyes before? I wonder.

I only remember too late that there's another lion rushing toward me. I wait for the impact, but it never happens. When I turn my head back at him, I see him studying me, frowning, wondering.


I cock my head to the side. Why does this sound so familiar?

"Who are you?"

"It's me," he says taking a few steps forward. "Don't you recognize me?"

I shake my head no. "You're mistaken me for someone else." Meanwhile, I try to tell Sarafina to do something, to just knock out the lion while he's not paying attention. But she doesn't move. She's just there, looking at them, completely frozen.

"I don't think so. It's me. Jelani."

Jelani. My eyes open widely as I take one step forward. "Jelani?"

He nods, and turns to the other lion. "Father!" he says. "It's Nova."

"I know," his father snaps.

"You know?"

It's Jelani's turn to be all confused.

"Why do you think we're here? I've been looking for her for years."

Jelani smiles suddenly as he rushes toward me and rubs his head against mine. I'm scared to admit it, but … this, him, it feels like home.

pink penguins: Oh, thank you! :) sorry it's taken me forever to update!