bonus chapter in bound!
Don't worry, a new chapter will still be posted this Wednesday, but I just couldn't help myself. I know how it is to wait for and updated story, so this is just a little icing on the cake for this new series.
Ok, moving right along.
Remember, please review at the end of each chapter. Whether it's noticed spelling errors or pointing out something important that I missed; I welcome it all!
(Just keep it clean. Ok?)
either way, Reviews give life to this story and my muse.
Ch. 2 Viewing the Past
Simba and his family continued to walk eastward, not stopping for anything. Soon the land they journeyed through began to change from green and ripe, to dry and barren. Many memories flooded Kovu's mind as he viewed and felt the land around him. The coarse wind, the rocky terrain, the cracked ground: it all reminded him of the terrible home he once lived in. Still, there were patches of grass here and there, so there was still signs of life, but to Kovu, it still reminded him of his past life that he once lived in with Vitani and Nuka.
She was pretty much all that he had left from his old life. True, living in the Out Lands, struggling to survive, made everyone in Zira's pride band together, but Vitani was his sister. She was one of the very few who he could sit down and talk to whenever he was feeling down, or needed some company after Zira's training. Looking back at the past few months he admitted that, he had been spending a lot of time with Kiara and Simba and less time with his sister. Maybe... that's why she wasn't as adjusting as quickly as the others in the pride. She was just... missing her brother.
Suddenly, the sound of Simba's voice snapped Kovu out of his daydream.
"Are you alright, Kovu? You are very quiet this morning." Kovu looked over at Simba and nodded, "Yes sir. I just… I've just had a lot on my mind lately. But remind me again why you guys are up so early in the morning?"
"Son," Simba replied, "it is our family's duty to rise with the sun before anyone else."
"Then how come Timon and Pumba slept in today?" Simba just grinned at Kovu's responded.
"Those two don't really care much for Rafiki's place. Timon still thinks that if he get anywhere near him Rafiki will whack him on the head with his stick."
"Who can blame him?" Kovu replied, "That guy still gives me the creeps at times."
"Oh, don't worry dear," Kiara said, listening in on her father and Kovu's conversation, "Stick by me. I'll keep you safe."
"Heh, yeah?" Kovu asked moving in close to Kiara's personal space, "The same way you protected me from that snake the other day?" Kiara blushed and became annoyed when she saw a sly smile come on Kovu's face, knowing very well what he was talking about.
"Hey! That thing could have killed me!" She snapped back. Kovu busted out laughing, knowing very well that wasn't the case.
"He was just a foot long, and he wasn't even poisonous!" In saying that, Kovu wrapped his tail around hers, and gave her a lick on the cheek, which made Kiara blush, "Still I thought it was cute."
"Cut it out you two," Nala scolded, in a kind motherly way, "There will be time for that later; we're here." As the group of lions looked up ahead, they saw it, The Tree of Life. Everyone was lost for words. Kovu had never seen such a massive tree in his entire life. Kiara had seen it before when she was young, but Simba would not allow her to go anywhere near it; for it was very dangerous back then to travel from Pride Rock to the shaman's home. But now that the danger was gone, Simba decided to show everyone where the old shaman lived and what he did there.
"Woooow!" Kovu exclaimed excitedly as he looked the tree. Simba couldn't help but smile as he looked at Kovu's energetic expression. It was like looking at an overgrown cub who had just learned about the Great Kings of the Past. Kovu quickly walked up to the tree, marveled by its size and majesty. "It's so huge!"
"Wait until you see the inside!" a voice called out. Everyone looked up to see a young mandrill sitting on one of the many outstretched branches. He had blue stripped cheeks, red running across his forehead and down his nose, and yellow rings around his eyes. It was clear that he was much younger than Rafiki, seeing as how he was smaller, spoke in a different accent, and had small patches of black hair on his head, running down to his chest. He must have been Rafiki's apprentice.
"Hello Marifa," Simba greeted, "Is Rafiki home?"
"Of course he is," Marifa replied, "but what are you doing standing out there? Come on in and make yourselves comfortable."
"That's a joke right? Kovu asked as he raised an eyebrow, "Do you expect us to climb up? We're not leopards you know."
"Oh… I knew I forgot something," Marifa said jokingly while he slapped himself, "How silly of me. I forgot to unlock the door." In saying that, Marifa leaped from his branch and began to freefall.
Everyone, except for Simba, gasped; thinking that Marifa was going to crash. But before he hit the ground, he grabbed on to a nearby vine that was hanging down from the tree. The young apprentice slid down the vine with both speed and grace. When he got to the bottom and planted his feet firmly on the ground, he gave a quick tug on the vine. Then something clicked inside the tree, and a section of it opened, revealing a secret passage way inside.
Marifa then gave a polite bow, motioned to the entrance and said, "After you." Simba and his family cheered at Marifa's performance.
"Pffft! I knew he was going to do that." Kovu said while rolling his eyes.
"Of course you did, dear." Kiara chided, in a rather sarcastic tone, "Still, I thought it was cute." Using her boyfriend's choice of words from before earned her a disgruntle, yet playful, growl from Kovu. Yep, now they were officially even.
One by one, the lions entered into the narrow passageway that spiraled upwards to the center of the tree. As they walked, Kiara asked her father, "Hey, Dad Just out of curiosity, why are we here again?"
Simba looked back at his daughter and said, "Today, I'm going to show you all, where we store our history, and the keeping of such histories." As they got to the top, everyone gazed in awe at the room they were in. All around the walls, there were pictures of animals. There were zebras, kudu, elephants, buffalo, wilder-beast, and of course, lions. As Simba and his family gazed upon the endless wave of pictures, Marifa came walking in carrying his own staff, which had feathers tide on the tip instead of fruit.
"Welcome everyone!" he announced, "To the Tree of Life, and its' Hall of History!"
"Oh Marifa," Nala gasped, "This place… it's amazing!"
"It's beautiful!" Kiara said.
"Eh," Kovu shrugged, less than impressed, "it's nice, but if you ask me, the monkey has to much time on his hands."
"Please, please hurry," Marifa motioned, leading the group further through the tree, "Master Rafiki is waiting for us." As the group walked through the halls, Simba decided to ask the young apprentice, "What has Rafiki been up to lately?"
"He has been very busy," Marifa stated, "He has been working on his latest drawing for the History Wall. It is almost complete, but as you know, these things take time." As they walked, a certain picture caught Queen Nala's eye. She stopped and looked at the picture for a moment. Quickly, she realized who it was.
"Simba! Come see this!" she called. Simba and the group stopped and went to see what Nala was shouting about. When they got to where Nala was, she pointed out a certain picture on the wall. Simba smiled when he saw the familiar face. The golden fur, that red mane, that faint stain of pink paint across the top of the lion's forehead; it was a picture of himself.
"Well, hello handsome." he said as he got right up next to the picture and posed by it. Everyone laughed in response.
"Wow Dad," Kiara said, "is that you?" Marifa noticed that this section of the History Wall had caught the attention of the group, so he said, "Yes ma'am. This wall here is the history of your father, King Simba."
"Hey look! There I am!" Kovu exclaimed, noticing his picture on the wall.
"Me too!" Kiara followed, noticing herself on the wall as well. Soon everyone was crowding around Simba's section of the tree, trying to see if they were on it. Kovu had to admit, Rafiki did a good job in capturing how he looked.
While everyone was focused on Simba's section of the wall, Kovu suddenly felt a gust of wind blow across his cheek.
He turned his attention to where the wind blew and for a moment, swearing that he heard his name being called. Then his attention fell on the wall on the other side of Simba's. It felt like he was in a completely different place entirely. Though the entire tree was filled with sunlight and well kept paintings, right across from Simba's wall was another wall that was covered in vines and shrubs. For some reason, Kovu couldn't help but be intrigued by how this wall stood out from the rest.
As Kovu got closer to the wall, another small gust of wind blew through his mane as well as the shrubs on the wall. As the loose vines calmly swayed back and forth, Kovu could just barely make out a few bright colors underneath the vines. They were paintings, but Kovu couldn't tell if they were old ones or if they were simply unkempt.
"You would almost think the monkey was trying to hide something." Kovu stated in his mind as he stood just a foot away from the wall itself.
"Master Kovu." Kovu jumped when he heard Marifa's voice come right from behind him.
"Jeez! Don't scare me like that!"
"Sorry, sir," Marifa apologized, "But tell me, what is so interesting about this wall?"
"I think there's some kind of painting behind it." Kovu stated.
"Hahahaha!" Marifa chuckled heartily, in response, "I think the sun has gotten to your head sir. I've lived here with Master Rafiki for many years and I can assure you that no-" Tired of Marifa doubting him, Kovu ripped some vines off the wall with his claws, revealing a part of what seemed like a faint painting. Kovu smirked as he watched Marifa's jaw drop in astonishment. The young mandrill had never noticed that part of the tree before, and now he was beating himself up mentally for never addressing his Uncle about it.
"What is this?" Marifa whispered almost inaudibly to himself. Pushing Kovu aside, he began to pull off the remaining foliage around the wall.
It wasn't long before Simba and his family noticed what the mandrill was doing, and soon the room became completely silent as they walked over to where Kovu was. As Marrifa continued to clean the wall, many different pictures began to appear. many of them were old and faded, impossible to tell what they once were, but the one painting that was just barely able to make out was a lion cub who resembled Simba greatly. Marifa was almost done cleaning it when he heard Rafiki call for him.
"Ay!" the shaman shouted as he walked into the room, "I did not send you to get side tracked, I sent you to… by Mufasa's mane!" Marifa had finished cleaning the last part of the wall, and was quite shocked as to what he saw: there were several animals surrounding a golden lion cub who looked exactly like Simba, except he didn't have a mane, but instead a pink streak across his forehead.
"Unbelievable," Simba said as he stared at the wall, "I would never imagine that this would be here… it's been so long."
There was complete silence throughout the room. All eyes were fixed upon the wall, especially Marifa. It was Rafiki's job to maintain and keep the histories of the Pride Lands; that included furnishing and maintaining them, and yet this one particular picture was ill kept and the person in it was unfamiliar to them. But what baffled them the most was that the lion showed a very distinct resemblance to Simba's picture.
"It's been so long," Kiara suddenly stated as she walked up to the wall and stared at the one lion who was in the middle of the other animal pictures, "I can't believe it. I never thought he would end up here."
"Who?" Kovu asked. Kiara smiled back at Kovu as she answered, "Him. Kion. He was the leader of the Lion Guard."
"The Lion Guard?" Kovu repeated the name, trying to remember who they were. "Sounds familiar."
"They were a group that were chosen to protect the Pride Lands." Kiara explained, "Traditionaly, the group was made up of lions, but Kion chose to make his guard up of several different animals. They were all good friends of mine when I was a cub. I even considered them like family." She then started to list them off. "The badger was Bunga, Fuli was the cheetah, Ono the egret, my brother Kion, and the hippo…"
"What?!" Kovu exclaimed in response, "Wait, wait, wait. You have a brother?!" Kiara answered him with a nod. Kovu sat down and took this piece of information in. Kiara had a brother, why couldn't he remember him? Why was he on this particular wall, and why hasn't anyone else talked about him?
Then it hit him. That group that he ran into so many years ago. That cub who's roar was so powerful it sent his family flying to the other side of the Out Lands.
That was them.
"Kovu?" Kiara asked, seeing him turn a bit pale, "Are you alright?"
"Y-Yeah," he answered, trying to sound genially surprised, "I'm fine. But… you have a brother! I never would have known. Where is he? What happened to him?"
"Curious as ever I see." Rafiki stated with an upbeat tone. "You see young Kovu, years ago, Simba and Nala had another child, but unlike Kiara, he did not get presented to the Pride Lands. The reason being, was that Simba did not want Zira to find out he had another son. Later on, Mufasa chose Kion as the new leader of the Lion Guard, a group dedicated to protecting the Pride Lands from any dark force that dare try to upset the Circle of Life. Unlike his predecessors, whose guards were all lions, young Kion made his Guard up of different animals. For many long years, he and his guard protected the Pride Lands, but one day, when Kion was just a teenager, Mufasa sent him on a quest so dat he could continue his training as a Lion Guard. We have not seen them since, but we are all believing that they will come back soon!"
"And how long have they been gone?" Kovu asked.
"Two and a half years," Simba stated with a depressed tone in his voice. "A day doesn't goes by without us thinking about any of them, but we know they will come back one day." He was happy that Kovu was curious about Kion, it showed that he cared; but the Lion King's heart was heavy, for his daughter unknowingly mistaken the cub in the painting for her brother. Though she was right in her assumption, she was also so very wrong. Then he looked back at Kiara and stated, "But Kiara... this cub... it's not him."
"What?" Kiara asked in surprise. If it wasn't Kion then...
"Then who is this lion?" Kovu asked, realizing no one had said a word about the painting other than himself and Kiara. The room fell silent as everyone looked at the painting of the lion. At this point, Kiara admittedly did not know who this lion was. Her first thought was that he was a friend of Kion, but then again, Kion was the only male cub in the Pride Lands at that time. So this cub was a stranger to her. Suddenly, Nala stepped forward, having a sorrowful look on her face as she gazed up at the painting.
"Without him, Kovu," she stated with a cracking voice, "Kiara, and Kion would probably not even be here." Before Kiara and Kovu could pondered what she meant, Nala began to let out small, quiet sobs. All Kiara and Kovu could do was watch in shock as the queen cried. Simba hugged his mate to comfort her. In response, she buried her face in his shoulder.
"Oh Simba…" she softly gasped as her tears started to flow freely down the king's bright red mane.
"I know, dear. I know." was all he said as he too began to let a few tears flow from his amber eyes.
"What was going on?" Kiara and the others thought. It was one thing to see the king and queen break down and cry, but now a few tears were even seen running down Rafiki's face. He never cried. Everyone stared at Simba, Nala, and Rafiki, not understanding what was going on. But it was clear that only they knew who this lion was.
"Uncle?" Marifa finally asked, "Who is this lion?" Another tear streamed down the old baboon's face, as he slowly approached the wall and placed his hand nest to the painting of the lion.
"He was a kind hearted prince," he said with a sad tone in his voice, "who managed to change everything."
"That doesn't exactly tell us who he is." Kovu interrupted. Kiara could tell by Kovu's tone of voice that he was annoyed, and seeing how Rafiki, Simba and Nala were in an emotional mood, that attitude was not going to get them anywhere.
"What Kovu is trying to ask," Kiara said, quickly stepping in for Kovu, "is who was he? Really." Nala pulled her head from Simba's chest, trying to compose herself in front of her children. She looked up at Simba with her bright blue eyes and said, "I think it is time they knew, dear." Simba took a deep breath, knowing in his heart that he had avoided this conversation for some time.
"Before I answer your question," he began, "let me ask you both something." He turned to Kiara first and asked, "Kiara, do you know why I made Timon and Pumbaa follow you wherever you went when you were a cub?"
Kiara thought for a second before answering, "No, not really. I just thought you were trying to be protective."
Simba sighed and said, "Well… that was part of the reason." Then he turned to Kovu and asked, "Did your mother ever tell you about what happened right after I came back and defeated Scar?"
"Of course," Kovu responded, surprised by such an obvious fact that nearly everyone knew, "She said you banished her and her followers because they were still loyal to Scar."
"True…" Simba said, "But she did not have followers to begin with and she served under another before that time." Kiara and Kovu now stared at Simba, wondering what point he was trying to get at. The Lion King then gazed up at the picture and stared at it for some time. Though he smiled as he looked at the picture, his slump posture showed that he was struggling on the inside; as if he was carrying a heavy burden. In his mind, Simba tried to find the right words for what he had to say. It was very important that he explained exactly what was happening.
After a moment of silence he explained, "That lion in the picture… his name is Kopa." He then glanced back at Kiara and Kovu, "You both were only infants at the time, but there were other cubs who entered our pride shortly after my return to the throne. Kopa was one of them." Simba then drew his gaze towards his daughter as he continued. "I... had such a hard time during my early years as king, but Kopa was able to encourage me to keep pressing on, even when things were hard. He was such a kind and compassionate cub; always seeing the good in people, even when no one else could. He even befriended a hyena, and they both did some pretty amazing things together." Simba then turned his gaze back up at the picture and sighed, "Kopa actually used to spend a lot of time with you after you were born, Kiara. How he would have loved to see the beautiful young lioness you have grown into."
"You're kidding…" Kovu said, intrigued by what Simba said, "A hyena loving cub that none of us even heard about ended up on the History Wall? What other secrets are hiding in here?" Kiara elbowed Kovu while giving him a disapproving look for what he just said, but at the same time, she was thinking about what Simba just told them.
The name "Kopa" sounded familiar, but unlike Kion, Kiara had no idea who he was. Kiara glanced back at her father with suspicion. The way he spoke… it completely baffled her. It was clear that, by the tone of his voice, he and this Kopa guy must have been close; but the fact that he had never talked about him before confused her; not to mention the name itself was nagging at her head, like she should actually remember this guy.
Then it hit her. The dreams that she had been having. That blurry figure of a cub that would always come and see her in it. Could that have been Kopa? Kiara still wasn't entirely sure it even was him, but still… there were other questions going on in her mind that she needed to answer before jumping to conclusions.
"I'm sorry Dad, but I never heard of this… Kopa before. Rafiki said that he was a prince, so… was he from another pride? Were his parents close friends of yours? Who exactly was he?" Simba's smile instantly turned into a frown. He looked at his curious, happy, daughter; knowing that what he was about to tell her would probably make her hate him.
"He…" Simba stuttered, trying to find the best way to put it gently to her, "He was… Kiara… *sigh*…he was your older brother." The words that came out of Simba's mouth seemed to echo in the minds of everyone in the tree. Kiara's eyes widened; Kovu's jaw dropped; to think… Kiara has two secret siblings. All the while Rafiki stated in his mind, "So, Mufasa… that's what you were trying to tell me."
"I… I have another brother?" Kiara gasped, still trying to take it all in, "Why didn't anyone ever tell me I had an older sibling?"
"Sweetie," Nala said while walking up next to her daughter, "please understand, we only wanted what was best for you, we didn't…"
"What?!" Kiara agitatedly asked while backing away from Nala, "How is not telling me I had an older sibling considered looking out for me?!" Kovu stepped aside. He knew how Kiara got when she was frustrated, and right now, she was about to blow her top off. Simba, however, stepped in and tried to explain this to her the best he could.
"Kiara," Simba said softly. He gently placed his paw on her shoulder; which caused her to look back at him with a glare that would make even a rhino nervous, "Please, just listen. Yes… we kept your brother a secret, but there was a reason for that." He then looked at Kiara with pleading eyes, hoping that his daughter would understand what he was trying to do. "You see Kiara, your mother and I… we just wanted you to experience the childhood that we never had the pleasure to have. We didn't want you going through life having the burden of never knowing someone who cared about you. And it was not just us Kiara. Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu, the entire pride didn't want to see our precious little girl, sad and miserable, because her big brother wasn't there with her. I'm… I'm sorry that you are just learning about him now."
Kiara turned away from Simba, unable to look her father in the face. She was furious at him for keeping her in the dark; but, for some reason, his words kept on ringing in her head over and over again. The more she heard it, the more she could see what they were trying to do; and in her heart, she realized why they did it.
She thought about what her father and mother just told her. She knew that this must have been hard for not just her parents, but for her entire pride as well. They took it upon themselves to carry the burden of no longer having a friend… no… a family member around with them; a feeling that they shielded her from ever having.
Thinking about that, made her think back to the day Kion told her that he and the Lion Guard were leaving. It broke her heart to see her brother go off, not knowing if he would ever come back. She grimaced as she imagined how she would have reacted as I child if she learned that her older brother had left her. Knowing that her father was probably feeling terrible at this point, Kiara raised her head and looked at him straight in the eyes.
Simba expected a hateful glare from Kiara, but to his surprise, her eyes were not full of hate… but forgiveness.
"Daddy I…" she choked, trying to find the words, "I understand." Everyone was surprised by Kiara's answer, especially Simba. He was about to say something, but Kiara continued, "You and Mom were just trying to look after me… like you always have. I'm sorry I-"
"No honey," Simba interrupted, "I'm sorry. I should have told you about Kopa a long time ago. It would have probably prevented all this confusion you're experiencing." Having said that, Simba put his paw on Kiara's shoulder and pulled her in close to his chest. Knowing that her father was sorry, Kiara did the same and hugged her father back.
"I love you Kiara," Simba said, "Don't you ever forget that." Everyone else just sat around watching this touching moment between Simba and his daughter. Nala and Rafiki smiled, relieved that Kiara was taking this well. Marifa was also happy, but touching moments always made him cry for some reason. As he sniffed and tried to wipe the tears from his eyes, Kovu, who was right next to him just patted him on the shoulder.
"Um… Dad?" Simba lifted his head and looked at Kiara, who was now smiling gently at him. "I know this might be a sensitive subject… but… what exactly happened to Kopa?" Before Simba even had a chance to answer, Rafiki stepped in.
"What happened?" He exclaimed with glee, "Everything good and wonderful, dat's what!"
"What do you mean?" Kovu asked. Rafiki then motioned to everyone to come in close to him.
"Although he didn't get de chance to leave us a legacy of a king, he did leave us a most interesting tale as his time as a prince." As Rafiki talked, everyone gathered around to hear the story he was about to tell.
"Dis is de story about not one, but three princes. One, who had to learn how to step into de role as a king." in saying that, Rafiki gestured to Simba, "De other, shared his love with others, both friend and foe," he then gestured to Kopa's painting, "and de last was a prince who had everything he needed to succeed, yet threw it away for his own selfish ambitions. Dis my friends is de rise of King Simba.
"De best place to start any story is at de beginning. Our story begins years ago, right after Simba returned to de Pride Lands and dethroned de evil King Scar. As de sun rose on Simba's reign, so too did it rise on de life of a new member in de Pride Lands. For you see, Nala became pregnant with Kopa not long after and it would not be long before she bore de Pride Lands and heir. Ah… I still remember dat peaceful morning."
End of Chapter 2
Well now, seems as though there is more to Rafiki's tree then meets the eye, no?
Well, the cat is out of the bag, Kiara is a middle child. Glad she is taking it well though.
FINALLY! Story time with Rafiki! I can't wait to see how 'peaceful' that morning really is.
Anonymous: Yeah I know the first chapter was posted early. I was going for a Santa Clause approach to it: Getting a present ready for when everyone wakes up they have something to look forward to.
yingyangmaster: Glad you like it and thanks for the support. Since this will be more of a flashback kind of story, Kion will probably not have much of a role to play in it, but that doesn't mean the Lion Guard won't have a role to play. :P.
Same with Vitani, she will be in it, but she won't exactly have a major role in the story as a whole. But you can't count on her being in it.
Carol: appreciate it, and I hope you keep up with the upcoming chapters.