Claws sheathed so not to scrap the ground. Paws stepping lightly so not to make a sound. A lone solitary figure, body low to the ground, trekked its way through the thick underbrush of the dense Jungle.
What little light that filtered through the thick canopy of trees above reflected down upon the light golden fur of the predator that silently stalked the prey it smelt on ahead of them.
Sandy-brown eyes peered through the leaves of the bushes in front of them to behold the prey they been searching for sometime. Shoulders squaring, the figure crouched themselves lower to the Jungle floor till their stomach pressed against the cool grass beneath them.
Keeping their prey within sight. The figure felt a smirk of victory slip over their muzzle. Taking deep but silent breathes through their nose. The figure prepared itself, counting down mentally in their head…five…four…three…two….
With a roaring laugh, a golden furred lioness leapt from the bushes at her prey. Landing on the back of a brownish-gold, dark brown mane lion who roared out in surprise when he felt someone jump onto his back. Their paws wrapped around his neck. He was prepared to throw them off when their giggling voice reached his ears.
Growling, he unwound the lioness's arms causing her to fumble from his back down onto the ground in a laughing heap. "Yamile! What are you doing all the way out here?"
The young lioness, Yamile, smiled cheekily up at her big brother from where she laid on her back on the leaf littered ground. Giggling, she swiped her paw at him which he only batted back at to keep it away from him.
Sandy-brown eyes clashed with green. "Oh Jaali, don't act like you got a stick up your butt all the time. Learn to lighten up and have a little fun."
Staring at his little sister, Jaali shook his head causing bits of his mane to fall into his face. "You're speaking to the wrong lion about that dear sister. I invented fun. You just cause trouble." Reaching out he nudged Yamile until the lioness finally rolled back onto her paws with a simply roll of her eyes.
"Yeah right…you act like a sore thumb most the time…" Raising her paw, Yamile knocked a stray leaf from her head that got tangled in the small tufts of hair atop her head. She hated her fur; she thought the hair made her look too much like a boy, something her sister Tufa and Jaali both teased her about.
The only ones that didn't tease her were her mother and the few lionesses that remained of their Pride. Her mother said she was as beautiful as she was the day she was born. But sometimes she had her doubts; she still thought she had too many boyish features which her siblings would never let her forget.
A smirk spread across Jaali's muzzle. "You know you can try and smooth that down all you like. It's never going to work." He chortled waving off the glare she gave him. Jaali knew he may have become more serious since he became King; it was something he took seriously, something that reminded him of his cousin.
For it was something that Zuri had lectured him about a day after the attack on her by the hyenas. The same attack that had taken the life of his mother's sister, his aunt Zakia. In the past lectures from his cousin would have blown right over his head and been forgotten. But that was before his first battle.
The battle for the Pridelands.
Where he had spent a majority of the night fighting a large pack of hyenas. Larger than he had ever seen in his entire life. All for the sake of his friend. A small smile tugged at his mouth at the thought of Simba. He missed his friend as much as he missed his cousin. Both Zuri and Simba had been the only cubs around his age and he had been sad to depart from them that day he left the Pridelands to lead his Pride back home.
He remembered the day he returned to the Pride. It had taken a good number of days to cross the desert to remember the way they had come in the first place. But Jaali had managed to get them all home safely. Each and every lioness. He was proud to say he hadn't lost one.
That was to say he was proud…but whether his father had been. He never had been sure. That was until the day of his Father's death. When Mansa had been bitten by the black mamba, it had sent the entire pride into a panic especially given the events happened around the time they had been given the news of the birth of Simba and Zuri's cub. A son they named Kopa.
The name when he heard it made him laugh but smile at the same time that the cub was named after his late Uncle Kopa. Who he missed everyday growing up. His Father had always been the strict one, Kopa the fun one.
Thinking back to his Father, Jaali had been shocked at how proud his father had really been. For right there on his death bed everything the old King held in for years came out in his last moments of life.
But as he was saying, he may have become a somewhat serious King, but Jaali still knew how to have fun. Even if his two sisters didn't seem to think so. Speaking of which he thought, turning to Yamile he asked. "Where is Tufa? I thought you two were supposed to be out practicing your hunting with Aida?" His brow furrowed as he asked this. Looking up and over his sister's head he stared into the Jungle in trying to see whether or not his other sister lingered out there. He figured if she was, she might jump him just as Yamile did. He began to think he would get a bad back before old age if that kept up. But so far it only seemed Yamile who appeared to like to be the one to jump him.
Tufa was much more reserved than Yamile but that didn't mean she didn't like to attempt at scaring him now and again.
Shoulders stooping, Yamile grumbled at the mention of what she was supposed to be doing at that very moment. Kicking a stray pebble on the ground with her paw, she looked off to the side pouting. "What's the point of it…I mean…it's not like we ever catch anything."
"Just because you don't catch anything right now, does not mean it's not important. You need these lessons if you are to become a member of the hunting party one day or lead huntress. Mom's not going to be able to do it for much longer and I have yet to find a mate." Jaali lectured eyeing his sister with a disgruntled look. "And just because you don't catch anything right now does not mean you won't…"
"Yeah right…." Yamile muttered under her breath giving her brother a critical look. He knew he was right. Over the last coming months hunting had become difficult in their parts of the Jungle. Animals became scarcer. Reasons why this happened was something they couldn't comprehend. But what animals they had managed to catch they got them talking first to know what was going on beyond their borders but all they ever got was stories of fires destroying lots of Jungles.
So the animals were moving deeper in or away from the Jungles to get to new homes.
"Plus I don't need to be leading Huntress. Tufa's got that down. I'd rather stay back and enjoy life." Yamile smiled, she wasn't much for a huntress. She didn't even like hunting. She preferred to stay behind and watch the pride or do patrol with her brother but her mother insisted that she learned and so did Jaali.
She didn't exactly think it was fair that only males could do the patrol. She thought she was just as qualified. Yamile was happy the times her brother would take her out to patrol with him. But he couldn't always allow her too, not when their mother spoke up and said she needed to learn how to hunt and become a vital member of the pride. She thought helping Jaali did make her a vital member of the pride.
Jaali shook his head, giving his sister a crooked smile he motioned for her to follow him as he began to start his rounds again. He knew his mother wasn't going to be happy if she found out Yamile had skipped out on another hunting lesson but he was happy for the company. He often missed the company he had from Simba.
Smiling, the golden lioness bounded on after her brother. Falling into a comfortable walk beside him, holding her head high. Along with her slightly boyish features, Yamile often complained that she was small for her age. Tufa who was born the same day as her was even taller then she was. Yamile herself just came up to her brothers shoulders just a tad bit.
The two of them walked in silence but it soon became unnerving for Yamile who stated to ask her brother an array of questions. "So have you thought of something of what we're going to have to do to find more food? Are we going to have to move? What if those fires we heard of head our way….ouch! Hey!" Rubbing her head with her paw, the golden lioness gave her brother a hard stare at the fact that he had hit her over the head with his paw.
Staring at his sister, Jaali sighed after a few moments and turned to face forward again. The two of them stopped at one of the borders of their lands, a place that Jaali knew well. It was the cliff that he, Zuri and Simba had jumped down that one day that ended up with them crossing out of their prides territory.
"Have you figured something out?" asked Yamile impatiently.
Looking at his sister again, Jaali tried to think of something to say. Then sighing, the Rasheda King looked up at the sky that could be perfectly seen from the cliff that down below separated two parts of the Jungle. He had to figure out something. He knew his pride was depending on him for an answer, they been asking him many times of solutions to come up with for the scarce food problem.
Every decision he had to make was a tough one.
He knew he couldn't just move the pride away from the home that had been their's for generations. But he also knew if they didn't find a solution to the food problem they may as well starve before the next rainy season hit their part of the Jungle. It was moments like these that he wished his father was still alive…he was sure Mansa would know exactly what to do.
Like he Jaali seemed at a complete loss. He was doing better at being King than he first thought he would. That and he had his mother along side him. But he couldn't rely on her help forever. He did have Jamine in the very beginning when he took the throne, but that had been short lived when Jaali had sent him to the Pridelands for an update on what was going on there.
Everyday since they parted he worried for his cousin. More so with that lioness…what was her name…oh yes Zira. Jaali didn't like her. There was just something in the way she looked at Simba and Zuri that made him uneasy. He wanted to know how the two of them were doing with their Pride and new roles as King and Queen. He wanted to know how their son was doing. He hadn't heard word about Kopa since that day Zazu visited them to tell them of the prince's birth.
But sadly Jaali began to think that Jamine never made it there. For he never made it back home either. Leaving Jaali without a majordomo. He would have found another but Jaali hadn't quite found himself looking for he didn't know what to look for in one. It was times like this, that though Jamine often annoyed him when he was young, it would make it better for him to have Jamine to help him when he got lost in his decision making.
In a way Jamine was like his father personality wise.
Closing his eyes he fell into silence as he went over the many options he had. Then opening them he turned his head to gaze upon his little sister who watched him expectantly. "I think I have an idea…but we're going to have to discuss it as a pride tonight. It's going to have to involve all of us to work…but I think it will work…"
"And what plan is this?" Yamile eyed her brother cautiously. She hoped his plan didn't involve moving. She didn't want to move from the Grove. It was so beautiful and had great place to live because of the caves made wonderful shelter for them during the good and bad weather. She wanted food but she also didn't want to leave. "We don't have to…"
"Move?" Jaali asked, he shook his head. "No…we're not moving…but we will have to do something new and drastic if we want to survive…"
"That is?" The golden lioness pushed leaning her head in close to her brother nudging him lightly with the corner of her shoulder.
Looking at her, and then looking down over the cliff at the other side of the river, Jaali nodded his head. Yes he knew what they had to do. With a grim face he spoke, "Something the pride hasn't done in years…we need to hunt outside the territory…" turning to face her he continued.
"It's our only way…we need bigger prey to survive…and for that we must hunter deeper…and together…meaning the whole pride…including myself…" Closing his eyes, his face became sombre. Turning his gaze out over the river he spoke firmly away that his sister was watching him with worrisome looks but he knew she would call him in any decision he made that would make sure the pride survived.
"We go for our survival."
Welcome to part three of my alternate Universe fan fictions. We start with a pride we haven't looked into since chapter 3 of His True Destiny. I hope you enjoyed and look forward to the story I have to tell.
Thank you for reading and please do review.