Chapter 10 – Buck & Rolf

It was then that Rod was walking through the desert as he was trying desperately to find some shelter that would provide him relief from the unbearable heat; he had been wandering for several days without any food or water and already he was exhausted. He was so tired of walking for so many miles and his heart was numb yet heavy with grief over his father's death and his energy levels were so dangerously low that he felt like he was going to collapse.

Finally just as he was several miles away from the nearest cactus, he finally collapsed on the ground from pure heat exhaustion and malnutrition and decided that it was best for him to just die and get eaten by the vultures.

He lay there for several hours as the sun was blazing over the hot and scorched sands and there were vultures and buzzards circling over the unconscious golden yellow cub as they were about to dive in and devour him. They soon swooped down onto the ground as they congregated around him and even one vulture bit on Rod's side as it was about to get its first bite of him.

Just then a couple of ion blasts zapped by as the vulture disintegrated into oblivion and more of the vultures and buzzards were in engulfed in the ion blasts as several of them began to scatter for cover and fly away from Rod.

"Go on! Shoo! Get away, you cowards!" a light brown donkey-like meerkat yelled as he was waving and brandishing his katanas around like a mad man as a darkish grey warthog named Rolf was charging at the vultures while continuing to fire away with his ion cannon. Finally, after several minutes, the vultures and buzzards finally fled from where Rod lay, and the two companions got their first look at the unconscious young cub.

"Ewww, it looks dead," Rolf grimaced as Buck shuddered in repulsion. "Yuck, it's disgusting; that thing looks like it has not eaten in days," he winced painfully as they stared at the fallen prince and Rolf cocked his head curiously before turning to Buck.

"Hey, Buck, can we keep him?" he pleaded to his friend as Buck balked at his request and shook him violently. "Are you nuts, arse? That thing would eat us if it would even awaken! He's one of those Salemite Pridelanders that pick on common lowlifes like us!" he shrieked at him impassionedly as Rolf frowned in disappointment.

"Awww, but he's so cute and he's so small…" he wheedled but Buck cut him off. "Yeah, he may be small, but he may be more dangerous when he grows up to be big and strong. He'll eat us all!" he shot back at him while pulling on his ears and whimpering in fear.

Rolf then pricked his ears disapprovingly as Buck paced around for a few minutes and that was when he got an idea. "Hey! Wait a minute! What if he is on our side? Then we can train him to eat bugs and other things we like to eat and he wouldn't feel so inclined to eat us!" Buck interjected while offering a suggestion to Rolf, who jumped for joy in excitement. "Yeah! That's a brilliant idea, Buck!" he squealed. "Hey, who's the brains around here, huh?" Buck smirked cockily while tapping at his head, making him cock his head to the side in confusion.

"I thought so," Buck scoffed as Rolf scooped up the lifeless Rod with his wide, enormous snout and cradled him gently as Buck hopped onto his back as they took off for shelter. "Come on, amigo; we better get to a place where we can find shade," he said as they kept on walking.

Finally, they reached some sort of oasis where they settled in front of a small puddle of water as Buck was splashing Rod in the face with it in an attempt to awaken him, but to no avail. Finally, Rod was startled by yet another splash of water and he perked up his head sleepily with his face dripping wet.

"Where am I?" he moaned as he peered at them exhaustively. "You're safe with us; my name is Buck, and this is my friend Rolf," Buck answered with a cheerful chirp as Rolf held out his hoof to shake. "Pleased to meet you," was his reply as Rod stood up to shake his hoof. "My name's Rod," Rod introduced himself in a rather cool and brisk voice.

"Rod, you say?" Buck chuckled good-naturedly while slapping himself silly with Rolf joining in. "That's a strange name for a kid." "Where did you come from, Rod?" Rolf asked him as Rod sighed while shaking his body briskly. "I don't want to talk about it; I did something terrible and I never want to come back," he muttered sadly as he started to walk away.

"Really? Well, have you heard about Hakuna Matata?" Buck mused with intrigue while peering at Rod curiously. "Well, no," Rod stammered as Rolf walked over to his left and sat down. "Well, it means no worries," was his answer.