Royal Lovers

Royal Lovers

Postby Arbarano » January 14th, 2011, 2:05 am

Love moves in mysterious ways. No one can predict it, and no one knows where they will find it. Years before the tales of Simba and Nala, or Kovu and Kiara, another lion and lioness find this out for themselves…


Chapter One - First Sight


Spoiler: show
It was mid-morning, though the blazing sun was attempting to say otherwise, as Mohatu crossed the parched earth that bordered the northern reaches of the Pridelands; his kingdom, with his daughter alongside him. A few days ago, Zuri, his hornbill major-domo, had returned to Pride Rock in a fluster, prompting his aged body to his paws in order to investigate. She had just returned from the Upper Eastlands, a lush kingdom not dissimilar to his own, that lay just beyond these wastelands. After regaining her breath, the cyan bird imparted her message: Queen Feruzi had given birth to twin boys, and had asked if he would like to visit.

Three years ago—about six months before he discovered that he was going to be a father—Mohatu had met with her husband, Elimu, in order to create their Code of Laws. Three simple, easy to follow and maintain rules that changed their lands for the infinite better. Together, they agreed to outlaw the slaughter of cubs and the banishment of rogues or adult lions without proper reason, as well as creating the distinction between ‘mates for life’ and ‘mates for cubs’, and extending the right to the former to all pride members. Their good relations had made it all possible, and they had remained friends ever since. Thus, Mohatu was only too happy to oblige their invitation.

However, he also saw his daughter’s face rise excitedly as the news reached her ears, and he made sure that she would be welcome to join him. Zuri was not especially thankful of this. He glanced to his left, where the adolescent was striding beside him. Her muzzle titled slightly downwards to spot any sharp ridges so she would miss them. My little Uru…

They shared the same warm, auburn eyes and rich, bronze pelts, but she was so much more…dainty than him. He was believed to be the largest lion in the area for decades and had an appropriately stocky body, but, while she wasn’t small, Uru took her lithe frame from her mother. She also had the same adorable smile as Latifah when she was excited or curious. As his thoughts turned to his wife, Mohatu let out a small sigh.

Though she was also on good terms with their neighbours, Latifah elected to stay at home and take care of the kingdom while he was away. He wondered how she was doing back at Pride Rock; it was the first time he had left the kingdom without her since the Great Drought.

During those terrible years, the Pridelands wilted until they almost resembled where they were walking now, and just under a year into his reign he had been forced to leave his wife and kingdom in search of water. Though he did eventually stumble upon a large river, and the rains soon returned, he never forgot the longing in his heart for her to be at his side for those two weeks, or the look of tearful relief on her beautiful face when he returned. He vowed never to put her through anything like that again.

His russet mane stirred briefly as he shook his head, trying to rid himself of the momentary despair. Come on, Mohatu, you big softie. She’s fine. She’s absolutely fine. She wouldn’t have let you go if she wasn’t… A small smile dawned on his large muzzle as his mood lifted, and he turned back to look at his daughter. They had been silent for a little while, and he had something to ask her.

“So, are you looking forward to seeing the cubs?” It wasn’t the question he meant to pose, but it was a start.

-------

At the sound of her father’s deep, gently rumbling voice, Uru popped out of the little bubble that the quiet had made. She gave him a smirk as they continued to walk.

“Course I am, Daddy,” she said in her lighter tones. “Can’t you tell?”

The elder lion chuckled. “Yes, sweetie, but there is something you haven’t told me yet.”

“And what’s that?” she asked, trying to guess at what he was talking about by her father’s expression. It was curious, but relaxed, and there was something of a smile playing on those lips.

“What was going on with Jirani earlier?” he asked, calmly.

Uru’s mind went blank for a moment. Jirani was one of her childhood friends, but for the past couple of months he had been a little more than that. She had first realised this when they shared a moonlit stroll through the Pridelands, and tenderly nuzzled each other under a lone acacia. She had felt her passions being stirred as she gazed into his gorgeous blue eyes that sparkled in the pale light, and she loved the witty remarks he made as they spent the remainder of that night stargazing, her brown pelt snuggled against his flawless tan.

But, in the last few days, her heart had become more and more still in his presence. The more time she spent with him, the more she felt repelled by his arrogant, lofty tendencies, and she sometimes couldn’t help but feel that he was trying to dictate her. He was mostly a nice, and certainly charming lion, and she still wanted to be his friend, but…he wasn’t for her. Not in the way he hoped. She had told Jirani this that morning, before most of the pride were awake. No one had slept late after that.

“I don’t know,” she replied, frowning slightly. “I just… You know how you said there’s a spark when you love someone?” Her father nodded understandingly. “Well…”

“What is it, sweetie?” he asked, after she had left the sentence hanging for far too long.

“I just don’t feel it anymore. He’s really arrogant sometimes, and a bit…pushy-”

“He didn’t try anything with you, did he?” Mohatu butted in, half-joking, half-unusually serious.

“Oh, of course not, Daddy. He’s not that kind of lion,” she assured with a slight chuckle, and his brow instantly relaxed. “But he did try and stop me practicing my hunting technique so much, and…there were a few times where he ignored what I was saying.” Her voice had dropped to a whisper by this point, and she felt a strange heat behind her eyes, along with a comforting, gentle nuzzle.

“Oh, Uru…” her father whispered, and she pressed against his side. She realised then that they had both stopped, but this thought became clouded as his heartening scent flooded her nose.

“I’m sorry, Daddy-”

“Don’t be.” Uru blinked away the little moisture in her eyes, and looked at her father in surprise. He sighed, and then smiled at her. “I just want you to be happy, sweetie, and if Jirani isn’t the lion for you, then so be it.”

Her mood quickly brightened at his wide beam, and she nuzzled the side of his face, this time with her usual vigour.

“Thanks, Daddy. You know, I do still like him, I just…don’t love him anymore.”

“Don’t worry about it, Uru,” he said softly, still gazing fondly at her. “You’re only young…there’ll be someone out there for you. Now come on,” he continued, his voice stronger this time. “We’ve got to keep going if we want to be there before midday.”

The pair resumed their steady pace, as Uru tried to focus back on the cubs. What did they look like? Had they opened their eyes yet? Were they as utterly adorable as she thought they would be? She tried to think about all of these, but instead she found herself thinking about lions again. More specifically, she thought about what she wanted in one. She could definitely remove ‘arrogance’ and ‘controlling side’ from her list of likes. No, what she wanted was a lion who let her be herself, and loved her for who she was. Who was kind, sincere and gentle, but could also be passionate and funny. Someone who would listen as she rambled on about this and that, as she was prone to do, but would also appreciate her more flirtatious side. And, if this lion also had a different side to his normal self, she didn’t want to be repulsed by what she found there. Jirani had done almost everything on that list, except for the last part. And the listening. And being gentle; his humour was quite brutal at times. But it had still made her laugh. Plus it was obvious that he cared about her, and he had those deep, loving, beautiful eyes, that she had threatened to lose herself in…

Oh Jirani…why did you have to be such an arse?

“And besides,” Uru once again found herself being pulled from her thoughts by her father’s voice. This time, he was the one smirking at her. “There might be some cute lions waiting in Elimu’s pride, huh?”

Her previous trail of thought obliterated, Uru let out a giggle. “Stop it!” she chided, grinning at her father. “And anyway, aren’t we meant to be seeing the cubs when we get there?”

“True,” her father said, dropping his voice to a murmur, “but they aren’t going to want to marry you, are they?”

They both laughed at this, with her lighter giggles occasionally piercing her father’s throaty chuckles, and they went back to talking about the cubs. Fairly soon, the scenery began to change, as the cracked, dusty ground gave way to bountiful savannah, and soft hills sprouted in the distance on either side. The sun even felt less overbearing, and the grasses was pleasantly cool under her paws, even if it did tickle on the odd occasion. They had reached the next kingdom.

They passed several groups of animals on their way to Haven: the largest hill in the kingdom and home to the Upper Eastland pride. Most of them didn’t notice their presence, some nodded in greeting, but a few took one look at the massive lion and stopped, awestruck. One or two even dipped their heads lowly in respect, which the king politely returned. Mohatu’s reputation preceded him, and Uru squirmed a little under her fur as she saw one leopard nudge another after spotting them.

She was meant to succeed him one day, and she couldn’t help but think that she would be a disappointment…

No. Now’s not the time to think about that, she told herself firmly. Her lips pursed in a small frown, but this was reversed at her next thoughts. Anyway, Mum and Daddy said they would always be proud of you. Plus, would you want to go through what they did, just to get all those animals bowing at you? She let out a quiet snort at this, and shook her smirking head.

“What are you laughing at?” her father asked, one eyebrow raised.

“Nothing,” she said innocently, and her thoughts were at ease for the rest of the journey. As they reached the base of the hill, they found someone was waiting for them. A solidly-built lion with sunny-yellow fur, whose dark mane was lightly flecked with grey. His wide face creased with an equally broad smile as they approached.

“It’s been too long, old friend,” he said in a surprisingly light voice, though it still held a regal weight.

“Right you are, Elimu,” Mohatu returned, bumping heads with the slightly smaller lion, who then turned his somewhat angular muzzle to Uru. His amber eyes widened.

“Surely this can’t be Uru?” he said, apparently surprised, and glanced at Mohatu. “What happened to the tubby little cub that I could hold with one paw?”

“She’s grown up, Mister Elimu,” she replied with a smile, already used to the lion’s affable nature; it had only been a few months since she had been here last. Sure enough, he returned hers warmly, nodding.

“She certainly has,” he said, stepping forward to give her a gentle head-bump. “And how is our little Princess this morning? Your father said you were quite eager to see my cubs.”

“I think I may have understated that, Elimu,” Mohatu interjected with a grin, as Uru looked at the King sheepishly, shifting a little on her paws. She felt a little better when she saw that his smile hadn’t faltered.

“Well now,” he continued, turning to gaze up the great hill, and gesturing with a huge forepaw to one of the hollows on it. “You see that cave there, a little below the largest one?” Uru nodded. “They’re in there with their mother. I’m sure she won’t mind some visitors…”

“Thank you, Mister Elimu, and congratulations on having them.” The edges of his mouth extended further back as he nodded in thanks, and she began to make her way up Haven. However, she soon stopped. Realising that something, or rather someone, was missing, she turned back to face the two lions. “Aren’t you coming too, Daddy?”

“I will in a moment, sweetie,” he called up to her. “I just need to have a word with Elimu first.”

“You go on up, Uru,” chimed in the other, “I’ll make sure we’re not too long.” Spurred on by their encouraging expressions, the adolescent lioness set off up the slope again.

The hill was surprisingly free of other lions for the centre of a kingdom; there weren’t even any hyper cubs to run around her paws, and definitely no ‘cute lions’ for her to bump into as she made her ascent. However, she did spot a few lionesses at a nearby waterhole from her new height, so she guessed that the most of the pride must be elsewhere. She remembered that many pride members at home were away from Pride Rock by this time. Soon enough, she entered the cave that Elimu had pointed out.

“Good morning, Uru dear,” came a smooth voice from within, and after a few moments of blindness she could she the speaker. A brown lioness in late middle-age, lying on the ground that she almost blended in with, her cream-toed forepaws folded in front of her. She was gazing softly at her visitor with green eyes.

“Hey, Miss Feruzi,” she greeted, and trotted over to the queen as quietly as possible; she could guess at what was under her protective forelegs. They shared a brief, friendly nuzzle, before she continued quietly. “How are you?” and the lioness smiled at her.

“A little tired…” she said, sounding like it, “but it’s worth it to have these two.” She gently unfurled her paws slightly, revealing two lion cubs. Each had inherited the pelt of one of their parents, and both had their little chins resting softly on her leg, their bodies curled up and soundly asleep. Uru felt her jaw slacken and heart melt at the sheer cuteness.

“Aww,” she breathed. “What’re their names?”

Uru could almost see the adoration spilling from Feruzi’s eyes as she bent her muzzle down to gaze at her cubs. “The brown one is Umeme, and his little brother is Ahadi,” she whispered, running her tongue lovingly across his yellow head. It stirred slightly at her touch.

“Oop, I think he’s waking up,” she uttered, excitement creeping into her voice. The two watched from their opposite sides as Ahadi awoke from his slumber, though his eyes remained shut. The cub’s head rose a little shakily from her forelimb, and took a few sniffs at the air, before it dropped back into the brown fur. He seemed to calm down once he took another breath of his mother’s scent.

“How’s Mummy’s little angel?” Feruzi cooed, nuzzling her son with utmost gentleness, her eyelids softly meeting. Then, Uru noticed something looked different about the cub’s face.

“I think he’s opening his eyes!” she blurted in her quietest squeal, and heard the other lioness let out a soft sigh.

Together, they waited with growing, excited smiles and bated breath. A tear even slipped out of Feruzi’s eye as her son began to open his. The cub’s yellow eyelids moved with tiny flickers, exposing a little more of his vision at a time, until his eyes were finally open. They seemed to be unfocussed, and he gave a few slow blinks while craning his face in different directions, before the little orbs finally focussed on something.

Uru.

She jumped. She was the first thing that the little boy had seen. Despite feeling of delight, and a little bit of pride at such a special moment, Uru couldn’t help but feel that she had taken something away from the motherly lioness before her. The first thing a cub sees should be their parents, right? What would they think of her?

“What colour are they, dear?” Feruzi asked, her happiness removing all the substance in her voice and demolishing all negativity in Uru’s mind. With her son facing away from her, she hadn’t yet seen, but had probably judged from Uru’s slight spasm of surprise that they were open. With something of a grin, the adolescent peered back at the cub’s adorable little face.

“They’re green.” A little lighter than the grass outside the cave. More importantly, they were the same as his mother’s. The elder lioness licked the top of his head once again, before pulling her face back, her expression one of pure joy. This prompted the cub to crane his own upwards and turn onto his back.

Their identical eyes met, and Ahadi raised one of his forepaws. It came to rest against her round, overly-fuzzy chin, just beneath her wide smile that grew at his touch. “Oh…my little boy,” she whispered, and the cub let out a little giggle as her words moved his paw. Once again, Uru felt her heart twinge contentedly.

Feruzi shifted her head to nuzzle him, and her rubs gently rolled him back onto his front, earning a little grunt from the cub. Uru saw that he was peering up at her again, his eyes wide and curious.

“I think someone wants to say hello,” the queen said warmly, and Uru bent down until she was almost lying on the ground, her muzzle barely a paw-width from his. She saw a flash of yellow, and felt soft, tiny pads pressing against her nose.

“Hi there, Ahadi,” she murmured, and the cub pushed against her muzzle to bring himself a little upwards. She suppressed a giggle of her own as his tiny face bobbed just above her nose. “I’m Uru.” She brought her face further downwards so he could let go of her safely, and he flopped down onto his mother’s foreleg. Almost instantly, he began to curl up again, but instead of closing his eyes he began to inspect his paws. “He’s adorable, Miss Feruzi.”

“Hmm, isn’t he just,” and the queen gently butted his side with her nose before letting out a sigh. “If only his father was here to-”

“Why? What did I miss?” said a jovial, but slightly frantic voice from the entrance, and all three turned to face it. At first, Uru blinked, as she only saw her father standing there, the edges of his pelt seeming to sparkle in the golden light, but a much brighter-furred lion then stepped out from beside him. Elimu glanced between his wife and Uru in quick succession, before finally resting on his son. The keenness in his amber eyes faded away and he began to blink rapidly. For a moment, his jaw trembled, but his warm smile held firm.

“Oh, Ahadi…” he gasped, and rushed to his mate with speed that seemed unnatural for a lion of his size and age, forcing Uru to step to her side. After they tenderly crossed necks, with him bending his forelimbs so as she didn’t move and disturb the cubs, he shifted around and lay down next to her. His yellow pelt pressed softly against her brown side, and the king nuzzled his wife. The two elder lions stared deeply into each other’s eyes, before tilting their gazes downwards at the fruits of their love.

“He has your eyes, dear,” he whispered, his own glowing, and he brought his great head down to nuzzle the twin cubs.

As Uru watched the display of unbridled joy and affection, she found a smile once again worming its way across her muzzle, having been lost when she sidestepped the charging lion. But, against the great tide of happy thoughts, one niggling doubt crossed her mind. Will I ever get to feel that…

“Well?” came her father’s whisper in her ear, and once again her worry was quashed. “Are they as adorable as we thought?”

She turned to face him, her smile morphing into a smirk. “Why don’t you take a look for yourself?”

Her father grinned, and together they slowly made their way back to the new parents, with whom they spent the rest of that special day; one that Uru knew she would never forget.



Right, I know some of you were probably expecting a Lost and Found update from me, but...I couldn't get this out of my head. The idea took my concentration hostage midway through re-reading my biology notes, and with my exams a few weeks away, I decided to give into its demands.

Anyway, this idea has been in there for a few months now, but I've been mainly focussed on Lost and Found so I haven't really had time for it. I'm not sure when I'll be able to update again, but as it is a story I have been planning, I do intend on completing it. One day.

That's enough from me, so I hope you enjoyed it and leave a review if you have the time :)

(By the way, this chapter hasn't been beta'd; I honestly don't think it's worth bothering Aquaman52 about, so there may be a few errors, but I think I did a reasonably good job. Why not let me know ;) )
Last edited by Arbarano on January 16th, 2011, 1:04 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Royal Lovers
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Re: Royal Lovers

Postby Pixie » January 15th, 2011, 10:41 am

Awesome. Like it.
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Re: Royal Lovers

Postby Azdgari » January 16th, 2011, 6:26 am

Nice! Certainly a creative (and to me at least, somewhat daunting) idea. Good knowledge of the TLK past-universe thar! I'm also a sucker for cub romances, so you've got me hooked. =P

It wasn't betaread, and from author to author, I'll be honest, it showed a little. Really only because Lost and Found sets such a high standard that even the slightest mechanical flaws stick out like a sore thumb. It's difficult to pinpoint them, but there are a few fragments (after the semicolon in the first sentence is one, actually) and some subject/pronoun confusion in a few places (she replied with a smile, already used to the lion’s affable nature; it had only been a few months since she had been here last. Sure enough, he returned hers warmly, nodding. <- took me a few rereads to figure out what this was referring to) but these really don't do much to take away from the story; I only mention it because I'm trying to find some constructive criticism for you. =P

Always great to see an update from one of MLK's great authors! I'd love to see either this or Lost and Found updated when the inspiration strikes! ^^
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Re: Royal Lovers

Postby K0PA » January 18th, 2011, 9:51 am

Nice do more pleas
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Re: Royal Lovers

Postby Arbarano » March 20th, 2011, 8:52 pm

Chapter Two - Time Flies

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The Sleeping Cave was teeming with sound, even though there were only three within its earthen walls. Most of the noise was being provided by the two Princes, who huddled together in one of the hollow’s corners, whispering feverishly and stealing occasional glances at their mother. The brown lioness was lounging on her side near the back of the cave, just in front of the little passage that lead to their sleeping area. The only sounds the Queen made were of deep breathing, or the occasional chuckle as a part of her sons’ conversation wafted into her ears. A knowing smile spread across the elder lioness’ whitening muzzle.

It never failed to amaze her how they thought she couldn’t hear them. She had been leading the hunting party for almost half her decidedly long life, and over the years had honed her hearing accordingly. When she could detect the faintest trace of swaying grass against a gnu’s leg, she had no trouble deciphering her sons’ intentions, though some of their words were blurred by their own echoes. However, it was clear that they were beginning to learn; this time they faced away from her as they plotted, unlike the first morning they tried to run off. She remembered that their father had stopped them that time. Feruzi had difficulty stopping her thoughts from turning to the yellow lion.

Like most days, Elimu had left early, though not before tenderly nuzzling her and their cubs farewell. Today, however, rather than meeting with a herd leader or patrolling the border with one of the other lions, he had a different destination in mind. A rare event had happened that morning; Ishara, their hornbill major-domo, had no news for his King. Without any scheduled meetings or emergencies in the pride to attend to, Elimu had taken the opportunity to visit Mohatu and Latifah.

Feruzi had no trouble with him going; after all, it had been nearly six months since the King of the Pridelands had visited with his daughter. But, now that he had gone, she was struggling to keep her thoughts from wandering back to her husband. The sight of his stocky, yellow body leaving the Sleeping Cave just after the sun had risen, or even before it had crested the horizon, was so engrained into her life that normally she barely thought of it. However, with the arrival of their little angels, looking after them meant that they spent more time in each others’ company. Usually, they lay snuggled together, keeping watch over their cubs as they played, but sometimes they would sneak up on the pair and join in, laughing and cavorting as if they were half their age.

At that moment, she was pulled from her rumination as the whispering fell silent around her. Almost instinctively, Feruzi got to her weary paws, and gave a little stretch to relieve her joints of their niggling aches. She felt the knowing smile return as she saw two little bodies, one brown and the other yellow, giggling and sprinting for the entrance.

“Come on!” exclaimed one of them. She could instantly tell that it was Umeme, as the voice was slightly deeper and a little more raspy than that of his brother. “Last one there’s a great big pile of rhino-”

“Boys.”

Feruzi’s gentle, if slightly stern voice cut through the cubs’ giggles like claws through her prey’s pelt, and she trotted closer to them. By the time the Princes had near-skidded to a halt, shot a glance at each other, and slowly turned around to face her, she was close enough to see the wideness of their eyes and the deceptively sharp teeth peeking through their open mouths. She had to stop herself from sighing at how adorably guilty they looked. “You weren’t running off without telling me, were you?”

The cubs’ expressions relaxed once they saw her lips curling wryly, and it was Ahadi who spoke first. “Sorry Mum,” he said, and rushed to rub his head against her foreleg. As the strands of yellow briefly mixed with brown, Feruzi felt her chest swell with contented warmth. “We weren’t gonna go very far.”

She bent down and ran her tongue across the top of his head, through the little black tuft he was quick to dub his ‘mane’. “I know, sweetie. Just tell me when you’re leaving next time, all right?”

“Yes Mum,” chimed in Umeme as Ahadi nodded, and she nuzzled both of them softly.

“Good. Now you two go and have fun, and remember to look after yourselves,” she finished, looking at Umeme in particular, who flashed her a sheepish smile.

“We will,” they chorused with beaming grins, before running off into the savannah that was as bright as their expressions. Feruzi chuckled and her lips creased in a warm smile, as she saw Ahadi almost climb over his brother while they raced up the hill and out of her sight. My special little boys…

-------

“I’m gonna beat you this time!” Ahadi called back to his brother, whose head was bobbing alongside the sprout of black fur on his tail, as they ran to the tree outside the shaman’s cave. As the yellow Prince looked ahead once again, he could see the spindly acacia looming ever closer.

“This isn’t fair; you had a head-start, Ahadi!” the slightly stockier cub shouted back. Ahadi could see that his older brother’s grin was holding up against the look of focus in his amber eyes, and his began to work his little legs harder. The dry grass whipped at his limbs and occasionally one of his paws landed on a sharp pebble, but he was too stoked about finally winning a race against Umeme to care.

“Just try to keep up, tubby.”

They continued to taunt and tease each other as they climbed higher up the steep slope of Haven. Their cubbish energy knew no bounds, and the tree grew a little bigger with each step. As he drew close enough to see the individual leaves, Ahadi felt the excitement building in his chest reach near unbearable levels, and he let out a joyful squeal as he firmly landed his paw on the gnarled bark. After one or two deep gulps of air, he turned back and, if it was possible, felt his grin grow even more.

There was Umeme, his muzzle pointed to the ground and his forelegs bent as he too tried to catch his breath. At first, his older brother put on a pouting expression and narrowed his eyes, but this soon gave way to a smile that rivalled his own.

“It’s about time, Ahadi,” he gasped alongside a laugh, bumping his head against Ahadi’s shoulder before slumping onto the ground next to him.

For a few moments, the cubs relaxed in the grass that seemed much softer and more comfortable now that they weren’t dashing through it. As he waited for his breath to return to him and the dull soreness in his legs to settle down, Ahadi looked out across the savannah that his dad was king of. With no clouds to stop it, the mid-morning sun cast a warm, golden light over the kingdom. Down below, Ahadi could pick out small clusters of acacias, and strange plants that bloomed in all the colours of the rainbow and swayed in the slight breeze. It was such a pretty sight that it almost made him blurt out, “wow!” but Umeme beat him to it.

Pretty?

For some reason, a pair of warm, reddish-brown eyes twinkled at him from one of the recesses of his young mind. However, the silence was broken and the image disappeared as quickly as it came.

“So, do you want to go find the others?” Umeme asked, still smiling. From their vantage point, Ahadi spotted the other cubs in the pride chasing each other around the waterhole.

“Why,” the yellow cub began, turning to face his brother, “scared of getting beaten again?” His green eyes almost glowed as he smirked at Umeme, but his expression faltered as the fuzzy, brown face opposite him grinned.

“Not really,” Umeme replied, pushing himself to his paws without taking his eyes off his brother, and he casually began to walk down the slope. The dark tip of his brown tail was almost out of sight before Ahadi realised what he was doing.

“Hey, wait up!” he nearly stumbled in his rush to get to his paws. Umeme looked back at him, a playful grin stretched across his broad muzzle, and the two cubs ran off back down the hill. Between the laughing and the chasing and the fact that they were running downhill rather than up it, it seemed that the waterhole came into view in no time at all.

Their three friends, Aida, Kwasi and Fujo, sat in a huddle by the edge of the water, evidently talking about something. As they drew nearer, Fujo turned her tan-furred head away from the other two, and her creamy muzzle spread in a smile as she spotted the Princes.

“Hey guys!” she yelled, and quickly rushed over to bump heads with them. The fact that she didn’t have to bend down masked the fact that she was about two months older than them. “What took you so long?” she asked in her more natural, high voice.

“Our Mum was keeping watch over us,” supplied Umeme.

“Actually, it was more that we didn’t ask if we could go,” added Ahadi, and he saw his brother smirk.

“Well, if you didn’t want a race to Zuwena’s cave we might have got here sooner.”

Ahadi had to concede that his brother was right, and he bit back the retort accordingly. “So what’s going on here?” he asked Aida, who had just walked up to her twin sister’s side.

“We were just gonna go play hide and seek,” the slightly larger, beige-furred cub answered, her green eyes glowing mischievously. “Are you playing too?”

“Sure!” Umeme said with a beaming smile, “who’s It?”

Kwasi, the little golden cub about a month younger than Ahadi and his brother, stepped forward. His stubby muzzle held a wide grin.

“You are.”

Ahadi glanced at his brother, and watched as the brown cub almost deflate once he realised what he had done. Sometimes, Umeme would challenge being told that he was It first, but this time his brother just huffed.

“Fine,” he grumbled, and he strode past them to the water’s edge, where he lay down on the slightly damp ground and placed his forepaws over his eyes. “One, two, three…”

The four others quickly scampered away, trying to find hiding places in the little portion of the savannah that they were allowed to run free in. As long as they stayed close enough to Haven that the lionesses could keep an eye on them, they could go where they wanted, and they quickly rooted out their usual places.

The rest of the day passed in a flurry of running away from the waterhole, hiding in logs or behind trees, trying to stay as silent as possible while the other cubs skulked around close by, and, if they had been found first, counting to one hundred before beginning their own chase. Ahadi was having so much fun that he barely noticed that the sun had blazed most of its path across the sky, and he could now see it hanging low above the horizon.

Umeme was It again, and this prompted Ahadi to look beyond his normal range of hiding spots. It was getting late enough to possibly make this the last game, and whoever Umeme found first would be It for the first game tomorrow. He bounded further away from the waterhole, streaking past the log that he had wedged himself into earlier, and the tiny rise that he had been hiding behind last time. He could faintly hear Umeme counting past ninety, and his breath nearly caught in his chest. Where else is there?

“Ahadi, over here!”

He stopped, feeling his mane flop back onto his head, and glanced around for the source of the familiar voice. A pair of bright blue eyes peered out from under a prickly-looking bush, and he smiled.

“Fujo!” he gasped, and rushed over to where the tan lioness was crouched, “can I hide with you?”

She giggled, and poked her grinning face out from behind the branches. “Why would I call you over if you couldn’t, silly,” she chided.

Before Ahadi could reply, he heard Umeme’s voice again. “Coming, ready or not!”

Even though Fujo moved back as far as she could, it was a tight squeeze to get into the bush. The yellow cub’s face screwed up several times as thorns snagged against him, and he almost had to bite his tongue to stay quiet, but he eventually pulled his tail into the plant’s confines. He lay down next to the tan she-cub, and fell silent.

There was hardly any room to breathe between the spindly, seemingly dead stalks, and Ahadi felt something flutter deep inside him as Fujo brushed against his flank.

“Sorry,” she whispered as he shot a glance at her, “my legs were falling asleep.” She shifted a little more until they were resting against each other, and Ahadi quickly felt the strange sensation fade away.

They stayed in the bush for quite a while, with the yellow cub keeping his ears pinned for the sound of approaching paws. However, for the most part, all he could hear was the occasional gasp that either he or Fujo made after too long of taking short breaths. As the air around them started to get cooler with the setting sun, Ahadi had to admit it was nicely warm and cosy with the she-cub laying next to him.

Suddenly, his ears perked as he heard heavy footfalls getting closer, and he waited with bated breath as he scanned the land around them for any sign of the brown cub. He raised an eyebrow as he saw that the grasses were empty, and he looked to his side instead. Amber eyes stared back at him, but they belonged to a big lion with the same colour fur as him, and they were crinkled slightly by his warm smile. “Dad!”

He burst out of the bush, disregarding both the thorns and Fujo’s cry of, “no!” and rushed over to butt his father’s cheek with his head. After the rather forceful affection, the great lion started chuckling.

“Whoa, calm down, Ahadi.” His father sat down, the cub and pushed himself to the tips of his toes as a massive forepaw gently ran through his mane and along his back. “I’ve only been gone for a day.”

Ahadi looked up and matched his father’s smile. “I know, Dad,” he mumbled, “but I really missed you.” He rubbed his head against his father’s foreleg, immersing himself in the warm scent of the yellow pelt.

“Found you!”

Ahadi eyes widened as the voice reached his ears; he had completely forgotten about their game! Slowly, he pulled away from the larger lion and turned around. Sure enough, Umeme was standing before him, a triumphant smile shining through despite his deep panting.

The brown cub looked up at their father. “Hi Dad.”

The lion’s smile grew even further. “Well, what’s going on here, then?” he asked, his warm eyes glinting as he cocked his head.

“We were playing hide and seek,” interjected Fujo, pulling herself out of the bush. After momentarily stopping to unhook her hind leg from a stubborn branch, she continued, “until someone ruined it.” Ahadi looked at his squirming forepaws, trying not to catch the she-cub’s fiery gaze. Once again, he heard his father chuckle.

“Come on boys,” he said, and Ahadi felt his father gently butt his shoulder with his muzzle. He turned to face the elder lion, and saw that the he was smiling. “I think it’s time we all went home.”

-------

Later that night the two Princes were curled up against their mother, soundly asleep against her soft middle. The brown lioness was looking back at her children, smiling softly as they slept peacefully.

They’re growing up so quickly…

After waiting for so many years to have cubs—not that she and Elimu hadn’t been trying—she was savouring every moment of motherhood. As her eyelids gently met, she could picture the first steps that they took, their stubby legs trembling as they slowly tottered between her and their father. She remembered Umeme tripping over his podgy foreleg, and calming his sobs with soft coos before setting him back on his paws. She faintly heard the first words that escaped their lips, that worked hard to form, “mummy,” before issuing giggles as she nuzzled them tenderly with tears budding in her eyes. Tonight was the first time when neither of them (usually it was Ahadi) had asked if they could suckle. They merely ate their share of the gazelle that she and her pride-sisters had brought down, all the while bombarding their father with questions about the Pridelands. They had finally been weaned.

Though the queen felt a little ripple of sadness at how fleeting all of it seemed, for it seemed only moments ago that they had their baby spots and were wrapped snugly in her forelimbs, this was more than negated by the immense pride that warmed her to the very core.

“How are they, dear?” asked a jovial voice to her right. Feruzi turned to the yellow-pelted lion it belonged to, and felt a great warmth pulsed through her again.

“I don’t think they’ve ever slept better,” she murmured, returning her husband’s smile.

“I‘m not surprised; they have been running around all day,” he countered, and her smile briefly became a smirk. They shared a tender nuzzle, careful to avoid disturbing the cubs, during which she remembered her thoughts from that morning. Elimu was quick to notice the frown that blighted her muzzle.

“Something wrong, sweetheart?” he asked, concern appearing in his warm gaze. She stole a glance at their cubs, and then looked back into his deep, amber eyes.

“I was thinking…next time there’s a day when no one needs you to be King…”

“Yes?” A small but infectious smile was beginning to return to her beloved’s muzzle. It spread to Feruzi’s before she continued.

“How about we spend it together? You know, all four of us.”

Elimu held her green gaze as he nimbly stepped around her, laying down on the opposite side to their cubs. She could feel his gentle heartbeat as their sides pressed softly together, and she purred as he leant in to nuzzle her again.

“I’d love to,” he whispered as he caressed her cheek with is own, “I missed you as well, today.”

The lioness chuckled quietly and licked the end of his nose before resting her head on her folded forepaws. “I love you,” she murmured, barely loud enough for the lion to hear it. She heard him quietly return her affections before the realms of sleep finally enveloped her.

-------

Over the horizon in the Pridelands, Mohatu was making his way back up the side of Pride Rock, having slipped out to the waterhole for a quick drink. He was about to enter the warmth of the den, when his auburn eyes spotted a familiar, tan-coloured shape at the end of the promontory. The King’s brow furrowed curiously, and he trotted along the protrusion to his wife.

“Hey honey,” he said as he set his haunches down at her side. “What are you looking at?”

Her turquoise eyes met his, and she gave a quiet snort before licking the droplets that clung stubbornly to the fuzz on his chin. “Our little Princess,” she chirped with a warm smile, before pointing her muzzle back out across the savannah.

Mohatu followed her gaze. In the silvery moonlight, he spotted two felines resting against each other, not unlike himself and Latifah, on a small hill nearby. He instantly recognised the darker one as his daughter, and she was cuddling up to a tan-furred lion who seemed very familiar…


It's ALIIIIVE!

Well, it's been nearly three months since I wrote anything to do with The Lion King. As it turns out exams, writing a long essay, re-writing the same essay and the two movies being taken off youtube are all great motivation-killers.

However, I have started to get back into the writing groove, so expect to see some more updates from me soon :D

As always, thanks for reading and (possibly :lol: ) reviewing.
Last edited by Arbarano on March 21st, 2011, 11:36 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Royal Lovers
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Re: Royal Lovers

Postby Azdgari » March 20th, 2011, 11:15 pm

Ahh, lovely! I always enjoy seeing the cubs play their games, and it was pretty cute to see Ahadi getting cuddly with Fujo. Admittedly this chapter was pretty fluffy; not much happened in the way of plot. But I strongly believe there's nothing wrong with just writing to explore your characters and see how they interact and develop.

I really enjoyed your word choice in this chapter especially! Words like 'niggling', 'podgy', 'rumination'... they make the story that much more fun to read and give it a distinct flair. I'm sorry I don't have all that much criticism for you! There are a few very minor grammatical errors sprinkled around... one that I remember near the end was

The lioness chuckled quietly and licked the end of his nose, before she rested her head of her folded forepaws.


That doesn't need a comma. So minor I feel goofy bringing it up, but I figure I have to give you something. xD

It's great to have you back, Arbarano! Your work is a lot of fun to read and I'm sorry it doesn't get more comments; it certainly deserves them. Hope to see more from you soon!
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