I'm back with the epilogue and I think the terrible part about this is that I'm going to take a long break from the TLK community for a while. I'm still going to be reading some stories and reviewing, I just won't write for a while. The other two stories will come out, just, maybe in like September or something? I want the summer for some relaxation here and writing for other communities there. Not to mention a college search. Anyway, I hope you will all enjoy this and I hope to see you in Prophecy of a Prince. Read and review!
The matriarch watched as several of her hyenas carried away another elephant corpse towards the graveyard. It didn't take long for them to trip and fall causing her to sigh in exhaustion. It's already been a whole week since the battle was quelled but there was still resentment from both sides towards the others. This was barely a truce; it was more like a ceasefire. It wouldn't be long for one manipulative and charismatic lion or any animal to convince the dark-furred ones to go back to war with the light-furred ones.
"Someone could easily rally the hyenas to stage a coup against the kingdom either" the matriarch muttered.
"What was about a coup?"
The hyena turned around and faced the king but she wasn't intimidated or afraid of him and he didn't try to look threatening to her. "I was just thinking about the resentment between our clans as well as the division of lions in your pride" she answered. "It's incredibly unstable, one misstep and everything falls apart on both of us."
Mohatu nodded in complete agreement with the matriarch. "That is exactly why I think we need more communication between us. My most trusted advisers agree with me as well."
"I don't think that'll be a problem for me" she stated. "But there is discontent in my pack as well. We're going to be divided and there's nothing I can do about it sire. No one wants us here anyway."
"So what? You don't plan on leaving do you?"
"I don't think I have much of a choice but we won't be far and I'll keep my pack reminded of your kindness and compassion. We just need to hold an annual conference between us so we can work out good relations with us."
The king looked over to a group of lions whispering about some hyenas ripping apart a gazelle and then devouring it greedily. Despite the fact that the hyenas were performing their favorite activity, eating, Mohatu noticed that they seemed uncomfortable with being watched by lions. "Agreed…But what of the rest of your pack? The ones who still want to fight? I doubt they'd think that leaving the Pride Lands was a choice made by you."
"They want to split then they can, what am I supposed to do about it? They plan on living where we're taking these elephant corpses, you know, that place with that one giant mammoth skeleton? Are you okay with that?"
It was then that the matriarch noticed the king's majordomo attached to his shoulder. She huffed in exasperation, she may not have any problem with the king or any of the lions in the pride but she couldn't stand the 'flying rat with wings' as she called her. Then again, it's not like the hornbill ever liked anyone of the matriarch's species.
"Absolutely not!" Zuzu exclaimed. "Filthy poachers living on the Pride Lands' border? That is simply appalling to think about!"
"So is digesting your ugly beak but it doesn't stop me from wanting to do it" the matriarch retorted.
Zuzu gulped nervously and looked over to the king for assistance with pleading eyes.
"Okay, both of you stop it!" Mohatu told them both. "Zuzu, there is nothing wrong with the hyenas; we'll just have to keep an eye on them. Matriarch Sheila, you don't have to worry about anything, they can live there for as long as they want. Just be sure to tell them that there will be a new law put into place stating that they are to leave my pride and any lions from my pride alone."
"Right, they can stay as long as they aren't bothersome, got it" Sheila nodded. She was just about to get moving when she was reminded of something. "Hey, you take care of that daughter of yours. She's one special lioness."
While Zuzu took it as some sort of subtle insult directed towards the princess, the king smiled. "I know."
Two male lions were inside a dark cave as the rain poured heavily outside. The dark-furred lion sat, trying to stay awake as he had been for the last two days while his lighter-colored companion lay unconscious beside him.
The darker lion placed a paw on the sleeping one's forehead and sighed sadly. "You're fever hasn't gone down at all…"
He examined the leaf blanket he had placed over the sick lion and adjusted it so that it covered him better. He felt that the two of them could not have gotten into a worse situation.
'If only he grabbed my paw back there, we wouldn't be in this mess. Ugh, why did he have to be so stubborn?! I just hope the others are doing okay without me. But they're probably worried sick.'
"They're just fine, Kovu."
The scarred lion blinked and whirled around. "Who's there?"
There was a moment of silence and then a glowing lioness made her presence clear to him. There was something about her that seemed ethereal about her with her glowing outline and soft voice that delicately danced through the air. Despite having snow white fur, there was something that made Kovu think that it should've been darker and something about her face reminded him of a certain lioness.
"Do not be alarmed Kovu" the lioness said to him.
Kovu didn't dare approach her despite knowing she meant no harm. "Who are you?"
"I think you know me very well" the mysterious lioness smiled gently. "I remember meeting your grandmother many years ago."
"My grandmother?" Kovu blinked, having never met anyone in his family aside from his siblings and Zira. "What are you talking about? You're not making any sense."
The lioness walked closer to him and looked from him to the other young lion in the cave. "She wonders where she went wrong with her daughter but she is so happy about how you and Vitani turned out. The two of you have made her so proud."
"…I'm serious here, who are you?"
"Are you honestly saying you don't recognize me?"
Kovu blinked and his muscles visibly relaxed from their tense state. "You're the lioness that saved me and Jua from drowning in that river back there. I thought that was just a dream." He then took a closer look at the spirit. "You look a little like Kiara…"
"That's because I am her grandmother."
The lion was dumbstruck as he gaped at the lioness in front of him. "You're…The Warrior Queen Uru." The first thought for some reason wasn't amazement that he was standing in front of a dead lioness but the fact that his sister was going to be so jealous that he got to meet her heroine.
"It is nice to meet you Kovu."
"But wait…What did you mean by my grandmother? You knew her?"
Uru shook her head. "Not like Ahadi did."
"You're leaving the Pride Lands?" Ahadi asked, stopping the lioness from taking another step.
Uru walked up beside him and there were three other lions watching from afar as well. "Mystery, I know you feel you don't fit in here but not a lot of us do. You can stay here for as long as you want and it's really no trouble for us at all."
"No…That's not it…" Mystery replied.
"Then what is it?" Ahadi asked. "Mystery, you've been there for me ever since I met you and you always stood by my side. If you left now, then how can I ever repay you for all the kindness you've given me for all these years?"
Mystery couldn't help smiling; it was so typical of Ahadi to say something like that. "You don't have to repay me for anything. Besides, being with you has been a lot of fun but being here, it doesn't have anything for me to gain."
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe I should rephrase that" Mystery giggled. "What I meant was that I always wanted a family of my own, more than anything else in the world. And I don't think I can achieve that here. Not because no one trusts me or because I simply don't fit in but because I feel like the one for me isn't here but out there."
"Aw, how sweet" Panda smiled as she approached. "I think you should do it if you believe that so much. Maybe it's true."
Giza came over and gave Panda an estranged expression. "Are you really the same Sunrise from Renegade's forces?"
"Shut up" Panda glared at Giza. "As if I need you input on anything."
"It's better than your opinions."
"You know what-!?"
"Okay, both of you stop it!" Nuru shouted. "There is no need for an argument when our friend is about to leave us. I think we should all be focused on her at the moment instead each others' throats. Do you two understand?"
Nuru heaved an exasperated sigh. "You two are more alike than you think."
"No we're not!"
Ahadi and Uru began ignoring them soon enough and returned their attention back to Mystery. "I didn't know you wanted a family" Ahadi started. "Does that mean you already have some idea of what you would name your cubs if you had any?"
"Well…I always imagined having a daughter. Hey, maybe one day, I can come back here and you will meet my cubs!"
"That would be great" Ahadi chuckled. "But about that possible daughter of yours. What would you name her?"
"Oh right…" she said. "Well, I always wanted a daughter named Zira."
"Zira huh, that's a beautiful name."
"Yes, I think so too."
"Shujaa, what are you doing?" Pumbaa asked his fellow shaman.
The lion looked away from the stars and over to the warthog. "I was just seeking guidance from the great kings of the past, hoping they would be able to relieve us of some of the pain of not knowing our future. The prince of the Pride Lands is still lost and so are we in fighting this war." Pumbaa stopped mid-step as Shujaa looked back up to the night sky once more. "But the stars are as silent as they were yesterday."
"As much as I'd like to believe you" Pumbaa sighed. "Are you sure you're not watching them?"
Shujaa didn't have to turn in order to see what the insectivore was gesturing towards. Not far from where they were standing sat a lion and a lioness, the former was Tau and the latter was Imara. They were just talking about the cubs and Mara's shared past with Vitani.
Shujaa shrugged and turned back to watch them. "So you caught me."
"I know I may be overstepping my bounds but if I may ask; are you in love with Imara?" Pumbaa inquired.
"Why don't you tell me?" Shujaa chuckled. "Even I am unsure of my own feelings towards her. I had believed that I only saw her as my friend since I had been devoid of any since my youth aside from my master but now I'm not so sure. I had heard that you own the title 'Shaman of Love' so perhaps you can help clear it up for me."
"Ah…Well, I'm still kind of new at it though."
"Any help is better than none at all."
Pumbaa sighed in exasperation as he looked down towards the other pair. "I've never been in love myself but I know how it feels from what I hear from other couples. Tell me, does your heart start racing whenever you see Imara? And I don't mean in the eyes or because you just bumped into her after running but I mean just a simple glance."
"When I think about it, yeah."
"How do you feel whenever you talk to her? Are you afraid of saying the wrong thing?"
"All the time."
"Do you think about her whenever the two of you are pushed apart by long distance?"
Pumbaa smiled; almost amused that Shujaa was unable to see for himself. Then again, Shujaa probably wasn't the only lion who was confused about his feelings when it comes to romance. "I think you are in love with Imara."
"But…" Shujaa trailed off. "I think Imara may be love Tau."
"What makes you say that?"
"She was once in love with him, I know that for sure. She told me that she gave up but somehow, I keep thinking that's untrue."
Pumbaa shook his head. "That's just you trying to avoid confronting your feelings. Love comes in many forms and I know how each of them looks like despite not having experiencing all of them and I can see that she loves Tau only as a friend."
"…Is that so…Thank you Pumbaa, you've really helped me."
A month has passed since the battle ended and like every other day, Panda was arguing with Giza while Nuru was trying to separate them. It seemed as though some things, no matter how much time passes, never change. Finally, Panda broke off from them and stamped off, noticing a certain dark-furred lioness lying in the grass.
Panda approached her, not even stealthily, almost purposely trying to make her presence known but the princess was so distracted, she didn't even notice. "Uru, what are you doing?"
Uru legitimately jumped an inch in surprise when she heard her name called. She exhaled in relief when she saw it was only Panda trying to get her attention. "Hey Panda, I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to ignore you or anything."
"It's fine" Panda giggled. "But you've been really distracted lately and some of the other members of the pride, including me, are starting to worry. So what's up?"
"Nothing, you don't have to worry about it."
Uru got back up and tried to leave in order to drop the conversation but everyone in the Pride Lands, correction, in the Eastern Kingdom, knew that Panda was not the type of lioness to just forget something and move on. Panda looked over to where Uru's eyes were on before she moved and stopped the princess from taking another step.
"Hold up Uru" Panda said firmly. "You were looking at a certain lion and daydreaming about him, I totally get it now. But why have you been keeping this from me? I'm your best friend right? Then you should tell me about these things. Especially if you're crushing on someone."
"That's why I didn't tell you!" Uru huffed.
Now Panda was perplexed. "Because I'd make a big deal out of it?"
"No" Uru groaned. "I meant, I didn't tell you because you're my best friend."
"Well that doesn't make any sense" Panda trailed off as she soon realized why the princess was so frustrated. "I get it now. You don't want to make a move on him because we have a past with each other and you think it'll be like betraying me if you love him."
"Well I hate to tell you this honey but that is just plain stupid."
Panda sighed and pulled Uru back to the spot where the princess was daydreaming before and they both looked down to Ahadi who was talking to Hondari about something, who knows what.
"I mean, that's an even dumber reason for not talking to me about it" Panda reiterated. "If you're confused on whether or not I still feel something for Ahadi then you should talk to me about it. And I will clear up that confusion right now, I don't. Ahadi and I are just friends, I promise you that so you have nothing to worry about."
"And how do I know you're not just saying that because you're my best friend?"
"Okay, now what are you going on about?"
They two lionesses stared at each other as if they were both looking for an answer from examining each others' faces until Uru finally continued speaking. "It's just, what if you're just saying that because you want me to go for it?" the princess blurted out. "What if you still have feelings for him and you just want me to be with him because we know he loves me and you just want me to be happy and all that? I don't want to be hurting you just to make me happy. I'd rather be alone than have you be miserable."
"…Oh Uru…" Panda sighed. "Okay, you make a point. But the fact is, I'd rather be miserable than knowing that I ruined the chance of happily ever after for you."
"That's why I didn't want to say anything to you."
"But…Just go for it already" Panda restated. "Trust me, I'll be fine. I've already found another lion I'm in love with and I assure you, I'd rather see you smile than cry."
"Oh, for crying out loud!"
Panda should've known that the princess was way too stubborn to just stick with whatever someone else says. Uru needed a motivational push, or shove, sometimes literally too and Panda knew that.
Uru watched as Panda took a step forward with an irritated expression on her face. "What are you going to do?"
"Ahadi!" Panda roared as loud as she could in her best panicky voice. "Quick, Uru needs you so get your butt over here, NOW!" She then jumped back and shoved Uru forward, hard before running away at top speed.
"Panda!" Uru had no time to say more when Ahadi rushed over, Hondari respectfully watching in the distance.
"Uru, what happened?" Ahadi asked her.
"Uh, well…" Uru trailed off. Her heart was beating like crazy and she wasn't quite sure what to say but she knew what Panda wanted her to say. "Nothing happened; Panda just wanted you to come here so that I could tell you something really important."
"What is it?"
Uru kept mentally yelling at herself to stay calm and not be so nervous. "Well, it's been a whole month and I've realized that I still haven't given you an answer when you asked me to be your mate…"
"You're acting so shy, it's so unlike you" Ahadi remarked.
"Hey, I didn't say it was a bad thing" he chuckled. "I like every side of you Uru."
Uru blushed underneath her fur and finally, she just couldn't take it anymore. She bumped her head against his chest and rubbed up against him. "Ahadi, I love you, I've been in love with you for a long time now and I just haven't been able to tell you."
Ahadi was struck speechless for a moment but then he returned her loving gesture with a smile. "I've been waiting for so long to hear those words from you. I love you too."
They spent the rest of the day together, without anyone to bother them or to suddenly join in. By nightfall, Uru made her way back to the den and went over to Panda.
"Panda, you shouldn't have done that earlier today!" Uru practically shouted before calming down instantly. "But thank you, so much."
Panda giggled. "No problem, what are friends for?"
"Now, let me return the favor. So how are we going to get you and Giza together…"
"What?!" Panda gaped. "What makes you think that the lion I was talking about earlier was Giza?"
"It's pretty obvious."
"Are you serious?"
"My friends and I have been watching over the Pride Lands for quite some time" Uru sighed. "We've seen everything that's happened and we couldn't believe how some things have played out just as we have predicted. It scares me to think that the Pride Lands are participating in another war."
"Yeah, I know what you mean" Kovu sighed. He then looked over to Thimba, who shivered a little from the cold. "Uru…Can you tell me why Jua hates me so much? I just don't understand, I mean, we barely even communicated with each other but he seems to despise me anyway. It can't just be because Scar chose me to be his heir, right?"
Uru shook her head. "I can't tell you specifically why he dislikes you but just know that it has nothing to do with my misguided son. Only Jua can tell you."
Uru looked upwards as if some celestial being above the clouds was calling her. She looked back to Kovu with a sigh. "Is there anything else you want to ask me? Because after this, I have to leave and you won't see or hear from me ever again I'm afraid. I'm barely allowed to be here right now."
"Just a few more things" Kovu said. "If you know everyone in the afterlife, then, how are Scar and…my father, Neo."
"Taka and Neo watch over you every single day" Uru smiled. "My son wants to apologize for everything he put you through and your father just wants you to know that he is so very proud of you. They also wish you the best."
"Well…Can you tell Taka that it's okay what he made me go through because if he hadn't, things might not have turned out as great as they did" Kovu chuckled. "As for my father, tell him I wish I could've met him and that Vitani misses him so much. And I trust Vitani's judgment so I know that he must've been a great lion."
Uru looked skywards and laughed a little. "I think they already know. Is there anything else?"
Kovu's smile dropped and he was once again, very serious. "Do you have any idea what the future holds for the Pride Lands and well, the rest of the Great Kingdoms?"
"I'm afraid not. I'm sorry but destiny isn't something we spirits know but something you living write out for us to read. We don't control fate; we simply act as guides to help you along the right paths."
"Don't be sorry, actually, that's good" Kovu sighed.
"Yeah, I've been thinking lately that I'd really hate it if my fate was up to someone else. I'm glad that I'm the one who writes it."
"That's true. I wouldn't like it if my fate was controlled by someone else."
The sky rumbled and they could see that storm was approaching.
Kovu chuckled as he looked from the sky back the apparition. "I think it's time you should go back."
"Yeah" Uru nodded. She was just about to take her leave when she noticed a pile of wood nearby. "What's this?"
Kovu looked from the pile of wood to Jua beside him who seemed to be shivering violently now. The oncoming storm brought along a ton of strong and cold wind into the cave. "Oh, I was trying to make a fire to warm up Jua but I couldn't really do it." He looked down to his paws. "And you probably know why."
Uru smiled at the kindness of this young lion. "Well, maybe I can help with one last thing before I go." She faced the pile of wood and clicked her tongue, a spark could be seen in the pile and soon a fire was beginning to start. She faced the outside and clicked her tongue again and stones came flying in and then circling the fire. "There, that should do it."
Kovu was left in awe but he was still capable of giving a grateful smile. "Thank you, for everything, Uru."
So, this was the epilogue. I'm not sure when the date for the next story will be so pay attention to the summary box, I'll add it there. Right now, it is most likely to be in September but it is susceptible to change. I hope you all enjoyed this crazy ride but it's time to get off for a while. I'll see you all next time and don't forget to leave a review for me. It'll be the last one for these series until Prophecy of a Prince comes out. I'll see you then!