King Abjup, Abjup Junior, Sawa, Isira, Kaskazini, Kusini, Shimuti, Pedani, Ekim, and Notleh are made copyright by me in this story. Enjoy!
King Abjup Jr.
The two lionesses watched on from the back of the crowd.
“…but all reigns must come to an end. And now, finally the time has come, for me to pass on that beacon to the next in line, my son. Prince Abjup Junior, please come forward.”
All the animals watched silently as the young adult lion stepped forward and walked up to meet his majestic father on top of the rocks. Most of the animals remembered well seeing Prince Abjup Junior playing with the other cubs, rolling around in the dirt; it hadn’t been that long ago. Sometimes he still did it, but it was hard to tell, as his fur was dark enough that any wet dirt that got stuck on his coat didn’t show up.
“Raise your right paw and repeat after me,” his father said.
“He is making a terrible mistake,” Isira said in response.
A couple of animals in front of the two turned back to look at them.
“Sorry,” Isira whispered apologetically.
“I love King Abjup Senior, I mean, look at him, he’s a figurehead! Whenever I meet someone and say ‘I’m from the Chungwa pride,” they always reply, ‘Oh, you’re part of King Abjup’s pride’ and they’re always so cheerful about it! Why does he have to retire? I don’t even like Abjup Junior.”
“Don’t worry sis. Seriously, he’s King Abjup’s son, how bad can he be?”
Isira ducked as the herd of zebra she had been following galloped over her.
The final footsteps faded off and she raised herself back up looking over the grass.
“Hey!” she yelled over at someone she could see in the distance, “what the hell do you think you are doing?” she ran over and then stopped abruptly when she realized it was King Abjup Junior.
He made the rest of the way over to her.
“Hello Isira, what did you want?”
“That herd…just stampeded over me!”
“Well no need to get all moody about it. It’s not like it was my fault. Hey, Isira, did you hear? I’m King now!”
Isira just stayed there staring at him in disbelief, “Sir, I was at the ceremony ten minutes ago, it was required that we all attended, you really think I would have forgotten?”
He looked down, “No, I guess not, but still,” he looked back up at her smiling, “it’s pretty cool though ain’t it?”
Isira chose not to reply. “You do know that these are the hunting grounds, right?”
“Of course I do.”
“And that no animal is supposed to come on them unless they are hunting, right?”
“And that no animal is supposed to just aimlessly walk around here without a purpose as some lionesses may actually be hunting on the hunting grounds, and you could put their lives in danger, right?” she said with her teeth grinding now.
“So is there a genuine, honest, plausible reason why you were out here doing exactly that?”
“Yes there is,”
Isira paused, “You’re King.”
“Yes, you were at the ceremony weren’t you?”
Isira closed her eyes, “Oh my gods, sir…you can’t just expect to get away with anything, just because you’re King!”
“Isira, of course I know that, you’re being ridiculous.”
“Well why the hell…”
“Dad did it,”
Isira found herself ever more agreeing with Sawa, “Sir, has it ever came to your attention, that perhaps your dad only ever did it when there were no actual herds out here?”
King Abjup Junior took a second before replying: “Oops.”
Fortunately for the newly appointed King he was saved by a pop from the ground between both of them as a gopher, Kaskazini, appeared.
“Good morning sir! I’m sure you remember me, Kaskazini.”
“Yes I do,”
“So what could I do for you today sir?”
“Well would you mind just checking the south boundary for me, Kaskazini?”
“But sire, I’m a lot more familiar with the northern boundary.”
“I know, but it’s just that we haven’t been having as great relations as normal with the Smitu pride, it would just be a lot more helpful if you could check that for today.”
“As you command sir, have a great first day, I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
Kaskazini went back down his hole and headed off towards the southern boundary. Isira smiled at King Abjup Junior.
“That was a very wise decision you made just there,” she told him.
Abjup Junior opened his mouth to say ‘thank you’ but before he could get any words out another pop came from the ground below them.
“Hello Kusini,” the King said instead.
“Good morning sir,” the gopher said in a much higher pitched voice than was normal, “what can I do for you sir?”
“Would you mind going to check the northern boundary for me please Kusini?”
“I could sir, but you do know I’m a lot more familiar with the southern boundary, don’t you?”
Isira placed a paw over her eyes and shook her head.
“Yes, I do know that, but Kaskazini has already gone there I’m afraid.”
“Well okay sire, I’ll do my best!” and he went back underground.
Abjup Junior looked back up to see Isira’s expression.
Isira sighed, “Why?”
Isira shook her head again, “Sir…the boundaries…why did you mix them up?”
“I don’t quite think I understand you.”
“Why did you send Kaskazini to the southern boundary and Kusini to the north?” she said, frustrated at his lack of understanding.
“Kaskazini was here first and the southern boundary is a more urgent matter. It was common sense.”
King Abjup Junior walked away from her bewildered, while Isira just sat there still shaking her head.
“Your common sense…”
“Why are you sitting outside the den?” Sawa asked her sister.
“Waiting my turn,” Shimuti replied, “I’d prefer to be left alone.”
Sawa got the idea but listened for the groaning coming from inside the cave to confirm it. None came.
“I think they’re done,” Shimuti replied. She got up and King Abjup Junior and Pedani, a young adult lioness, came out.
Pedani continued to walk off and at first it seemed that King Abjup Junior was going with her.
“Sire!” Shimuti yelled to get his attention.
He turned back to look at her, “Yes Shimuti?”
Shimuti gestured her head towards the den.
“Yes, what about it?”
“You know,” she hissed, “it’s my time…”
“You’re going to die!?” he asked alarmed.
“No! M—my turn…” she whispered so Sawa or Pedani couldn’t hear.
Abjup Junior looked revolted, “Shimuti, she’s my mate!”
“Yes, but in the future, your son or daughter has got to have a mate and it can’t come from her also!”
“Well then you’ll have to find another lion.”
“You know I can’t do that! The only other lion’s your father and he’s…aged.”
“I see your point,” Abjup Junior started to think about it. It took a while though, and by the time he spoke again, Isira had come over to listen to what was going on. “We could just open ourselves up to other prides.”
The three lionesses stood still in shocked silence.
“Please tell me you did not just say ‘open ourselves up to other prides,’” Isira exclaimed in response.
“It could work. Think of all the peace we would have between prides.”
“Sir, you have got to be kidding us,” said Shimuti.
“Come on sir!” protested Sawa, “Use your common sense!”
Isira turned her head to face Sawa, “I don’t think you should’ve said that.”
“Why did Abjup Junior open the boundaries to all males? You know how many rogues we’re getting pass through here!” complained Isira.
“I know! Like, not too long ago I met a lion by the name of Daraka or something like that, just wandering around. Says he was looking for a lioness by the name of Sarafina. Well I don’t know no Sarafina!”
“Exactly, and then Shimuti said she was actually hanging out with a rogue lion not too long ago.”
“Did it go down well?” Sawa asked.
“No, apparently he was too obsessed with another lioness, Weusi or something like that, so she just gave up on him and now he’s left and gone somewhere else.”
“Still, it’s ridiculous how many rogues and missionaries and all that stuff we’re having pass through here.”
Suddenly a roar erupted from behind them making both sisters jump. King Abjup Junior was coming running across the grass towards both of them.
“Isira…Sawa,” he shouted between breaths as he ran, “tell the others…boundaries changed…we’re on land of hunters…men with guns…tell them…now!”
Isira and Sawa did as they were told. It didn’t matter who was King, an emergency was an emergency.
Sawa had gone to get a drink so Isira was on her own. These new lands that they were on were unfamiliar to them and definitely less beautiful, but they had water and a cave where they could sleep during the night, and that was all that mattered.
The sun was up high so it was hot outside. Therefore, Isira decided that it would cool her off to go inside the den. When she was only a couple of steps until she was inside however, she started to hear sobbing. No doubt it was coming from inside the den, but who could it possibly be? Her conscience came to her and she took the last few steps until she was inside and could see him crying.
Abjup Junior looked up and sniffed, “Hi Isira,”
“Sir, what’s the matter?” she came inside the den to get nearer to him.
“What do you think? Look at all the bad stuff that has happened just since I became King, even without having to make all of us move.”
“Sir, it will just take time. You can’t expect everything to go right straight away. Just think, how long have you been King for?”
“Exactly, and they’re going to be your three worst hours, your three most inexperienced hours. It will get better.”
“But my popularity rating’s at one hundred percent, how can I beat that?”
“How do you know that?”
“I took a poll.”
“I asked everyone how they thought I was doing, and they all said I was doing a good job.”
“And you really think someone’s going to say to your face on your first day that you’re doing a bad job? We have more loyalty in the Chungwa pride than that.”
“Oh yeah, about that, the name is now the Kijani pride.”
“Well I figured that since we moved our pride location we might as well get a new name for it.”
“It means green, it’s my favorite color. Chungwa meant orange.”
“Sir, you can’t just change the name of the entire pride!”
“Dad changed it to Chungwa actually.”
“Don’t you think he probably asked around first? Made sure everyone was okay with the name?”
Abjup Junior remained silent thinking it over for a few seconds, “Isira?”
“How would you like to become my advisor?”
Isira smiled, “I think Pedani would be better at that than I am, she knows you better.”
“But I know myself best, and I’m not really that capable of doing it on my own. Really, how much you know me, that has nothing to do with it.”
Isira sighed, “That’s probably true.”
“Isira, if you could give me one piece of advice though, what would it be?”
“Give it back to your father,” Isira suddenly stopped shocked at what she had just said.
“What did you say Isira?” Abjup Junior asked in astonishment.
“I’m really sorry sir, I didn’t mean to say it!”
“What did you say Isira?” he got up and turned towards her.
“Sir…I…” but then she was cut off by a loud sudden bang in the distance.
It sounded like a gunshot.
“Sir,” Isira swallowed trying to keep her voice and nerves down, “when you said that they’d moved the boundary…did you make sure that we were not still on the safe land to begin with?”
He didn’t respond.
“I—I may have made a mistake…”
“May have—may—sire, you just—you—you—YOU MOVED US THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BOUNDARY!?”
“You don’t know that,” Abjup Junior protested, “That gunshot could have been miles away.”
The pride ran for their lives.
“Back to our old lands!”
Behind them the sound of guns being fired into the air echoed around the savannah lands. It was still day, and it was still hot, and most of the lions felt that they could not run that far. Yet instinct was taking over them, their legs were in their own rhythm, had their own mind, and though all of them wished to stop that rhythm, they all knew it was necessary. Their breathing had to be heavy, and some of the elderly lions couldn’t keep up. Once it was all said and done, two lionesses had not been able to make it across the boundary, and instead had met the fate of the hunters.
“Sire,” Sawa walked into the den, where Abjup Senior was resting. It was now finally sunset outside, and most of the afternoon had been spent with all of the lions trying to get their breath back from the long run that they had had to make, “we need to talk sire.”
“About what Sawa?”
“Your son, King Abjup Junior,”
“Well…why do you want to talk about him?” he asked. His voice was very deep, and Sawa knew that she did not want to get in an argument with him.
“Two lionesses from our pride were just killed. I’m sure you heard what happened about the gun thing. Why we even went there in the first place?”
“Yes, Sawa, I did,”
“Sire, I don’t want to be cruel but…I just don’t think he’s made out to be King quite yet.”
Abjup nodded, “You’re right.”
“So…what are you going to do about it?”
“Why?” she asked bewildered.
“I knew he was crap when I gave him the position.”
Sawa was not expecting that answer, “Oh…well…”
“He is the worst thing that has ever happened to this kingdom. He has made such a mess of our pride that he’ll probably go down in the history books, there isn’t any pride left, in more ways than one.”
“Sire, you’re making no sense. You’re willing to accept that your son is the worst thing that’s ever happened to this kingdom, and yet to want to leave him in position?”
Abjup got up and placed his paw on Sawa’s shoulder. “Think about it Sawa…seriously…think about it. Were you happier when I was King, or now that my son is King?”
“I preferred it when you were King.”
Abjup gazed into her eyes, “Seriously?”
“Under your control, we prospered, we had pride in ourselves, we could go about our lives really happily, every day was a holiday, and every lion was a friend. It was fantastic.”
“But you focused on all the little problems, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I guess you could say that.”
“Where as now, under my son’s reign, you’re focusing on the bigger problems, aren’t you?”
Sawa thought about it, “So…what you’re saying is that now that things have corrupted…we’re supposed to realize what we had taken for granted before…and hopefully in the future we will not make the same mistake…and that we will never take things for granted again.
“We will be happy,” she continued, “we will enjoy every day of our lives, make every day worth living, know that our pride is worth fighting for when we need to go to war, stand up and say, ‘I am a proud member of the Kijani pride!’ and that we will pray to Aiheu every night before we went to bed, thank him for every little thing he’s given us. Thank him for our family, thank him for our lives, thank him for our water and our food, and thank him for allowing us to get through safely, successfully, and satisfied, and pray that he will allow us to continue to do so.”
Sawa finished and looked back down at Abjup who still had his paw placed on her shoulder. “No, that isn’t what I meant at all.”
“In that case you’ve lost me.”
“Shall we just accept that my son is crap?”
“Yeah, let’s do that.”
“Glad we’ve came to an agreement. Night Sawa.”
Simba woke up breathing heavily. From his side he heard Nala stir. He must have woken her up too.
“Did you have that bad dream again Simba?”
“You know, the one about King Abjup Junior and how you think you won’t be a good King?”
“Eh…no…why did you even bring that up.”
“Well…” Nala shrugged, “I don’t really know. I just figured that if I didn’t say something, somebody would probably complain that this story had nothing to do with the actual Lion King at all, you know, the movie.”
“Oh yeah…yeah…you’re probably right.”
“Well, I hope you can get back to sleep. Night Simba,”