The Next Royal
by Lucki Starz, aka Laura
In the sweet African grass lay King Simba. Grey was now streaked into his mane and he had stings in his muscles every time he tried to hunt. He knew there was no use denying it. He was getting old.
Nala was a bit stronger. She could still hunt, but if she tried to hard, she would collapse. Silver sparkled among the tan hair of Nala’s fur. She too was showing age.
Simba padded slowly toward the base of Pride Rock. Kiara was there playing with a newborn cub of one of the pride members.
“Kiara?” asked Simba. “Can we talk?”
“Sure, daddy.” Kiara then turned to the little cub. The cub was asleep.
“Well Kiara,” began Simba, “You know you are going to have your own cub someday, maybe a full litter. But my time is coming, and I want to see the heir to the throne after you. So if you want, you can have your cubs now.”
Kiara opened her eyes wide. She had always thought that she was supposed to have her cubs once Simba and Nala had joined the other royals of the past. Now she could have her cubs early and they would have grandparents!
Kiara leapt for joy. “Oh daddy, that’s wonderful! I must go tell everyone that I will be having a cub soon! Wow! Kovu’s gotta hear this!” Kiara took the cub in her mouth and bounded lightly up the rocks of Pride Rock.
Simba smiled. He went to go find Nala at the water hole.
Sure enough, Kiara was pregnant. Her stomach bulged and she and Kovu were so excited at the thought of greeting their new cub. The whole pride, especially Simba and Nala, were looking forward to the arrival of the next royal.
Finally, the day had come. Kiara and Kovu’s cub was here…but it was not alive.
Kiara began sobbing and Kovu was on the verge of crying. Simba buried the cub near Pride Rock.
Kiara and Kovu were not the only ones who grieved. Simba, Nala, and the rest of the pride were heart broken.
Kiara soon discovered that any cubs she had would be still born. This ruined all hope of a future queen or king. The pride was ecstatic. This was the most terrible thing that could ever happen.
One night, Simba was talking to his father under the stars. Nala joined him. “Oh Simba,” sighed Nala. “This is terrible. Kiara and Kovu will never discover the joy of parenthood. And the pride…what should we do? The pride is still under our authority till Kiara becomes official queen. They are looking to us for answers and I don’t know what to say,” Nala nuzzled Simba. Simba looked into her eyes.
“Well…I don’t know really what to do. Give me more time.” Simba sighed. Nala knew she should let him think. She walked away.
That night, a lioness gave birth to a daughter. The daughter was small but strong. The mother died from giving birth.
As king, it was Simba’s decision (as well as Nala’s) to decide what to do about the orphan cub.
The pride held a meeting. Kovu led Kiara away. “Kiara,” he whispered. “Why don’t we adopt the cub? We can’t have anymore children and this cub can become the next queen!”
Kiara smiled and nodded. They returned to the pride.
“Simba,” addressed Kovu. “Kiara and I would be honoured to adopt this cub as one of our own.”
Simba looked at Kiara, surprised. Kiara nodded.
“Well, there is a solution to both our major dilemmas. We now have a family for the newborn cub, and we have a cub to carry on the throne.” The pride smiled.
Under the stars that night, Kiara and Kovu cuddled their new daughter. “What should we call her?” asked Kiara.
Kovu looked baffled. “I’m not great at choosing names,” he admitted.
Kiara smiled and looked down at the cub. “How about Wilku?” asked Kiara.
“What does it mean?” Kovu wondered aloud. “It sure sounds pretty.”
“It means white African flower,” answered Kiara.
“Then that’s prefect.” Kovu smiled.
They looked down at their new cub and whispered, “She is now one of us. She is one with us, with her parents. She must never know about her true mother. She must feel royal to be royal.”
Wilku yawned. She didn’t yet know what it would be like to not know who she really was.