Queen of the Jungle

Chapter 3 – A Big Cat’s Sense


    “So… How are you feeling, Timon?” asked Nala in a friendly manner, but with a slight smirk on her face. Timon looked pretty darn beaten and bruised after being the target for the two lionesses’ hunting practices the day before. “I’m doing just great!” he said sarcastically and angrily, as he walked along the forest floor weakly, “I’m glad that I could help you ladies with all your hunting exercises!” “Come on, Timon. It wasn’t that bad.” Kiara assured him. “You can say that. But, you don’t know the half of it!” Timon replied. “At least you had a good night’s sleep.” Nala contiuned. “Right… I would have if I could have slept on my back!” Timon yelled.

    “Sorry we had to put you through that, but you were just as the wrong place at the wrong time.”

    “Isn’t that the story of my life!?”

    “Come on, Timon. You had to have fun. Right?”

    “Well…”

    “Timon…”

    “All right. I did. Just don’t ask me to be the target of any more exercises while we’re here.”

    “Of course we won’t.”

    “Good.”

    Presently, Kiara heard a noise off in the distance. “Do you hear… a waterfall?!” she asked them. Nala and Timon then listened closely and heard it, too. “I think it’s this way. Come on.” Kiara ran in the direction of the noise, as the other two followed closely behind.

    Within a minute, the trio came across a huge lake surrounding by lush freshwater plants and a large waterfall on the opposite side, across from them. “Whoa…” they said in unison, as they were completely awestruck by its beauty. “I wonder how this lake got here.” said Kiara. “I don’t know.” replied Timon, “All I know is that I’m going in there and relax. Cowabunga!” Without hesitation, he jumped into the water with a cannonball-like posture. Kiara and Nala looked at each other briefly. Then, Kiara got an eager look on her face. “Looks like fun, mother! Wahoo…!” She followed suit with Timon, and jumped into the lake. Nala hesitated, but she thought to herself, “Oh… Guess it couldn’t hurt,” and she jumped in as well. The trio played around and splashed at each other as they took a break from all their hard work from yesterday. Timon looked especially relaxed as he gently floated on the water on his back. “Having fun, Timon?” Kiara asked him as she approached from the side. “Kiara… Any time I’m not running away from a predator, or anyone for that matter, is a relaxing time for me.” he replied. “If you say so.” Kiara answered. She started to move away from him, but she quickly turned around and splashed him with a good amount of water, which covered his entire body. “Hey! What was that for?!” he shouted. Kiara laughed. “Sorry, Timon. I couldn’t resist.” “Oh yeah. Watch this.” he declared. The two of them splashed each other back and forth.

    Meanwhile, Nala was at the waterfall, letting water gently hit her head, as she closed her eyes in a relaxed manner. “This is nice.” she thought to herself, “I can always this kind of break. If only there more waterfalls and lakes like this one in the Pridelands.” Suddenly, she sensed something strange. She could not explain it, but she could feel that something was wrong. She quickly got out of the waterfall, and ran towards the other side of the lake, where they had entered it. After shaking herself dry she stared out in the trees in front of her intently. “Mother… What’s wrong?” asked Kiara, as she and Timon swam up to her. Nala remained silent. “What’s the matter, your majesty?” Timon repeated. Nala still said nothing. Kiara got out of the lake, and shook herself dry. “Mother…” Nala finally spoke. “Kiara… Do you sense what I sense?”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “I sense that we have company not too far from here. I can’t say where it is, but I know for certain that they’re not too far away.”

    “Now that you mention it, I do sense something. What do you think it is?”

    “I’m not exactly sure. All I know is that we’re not alone in this jungle.”

    “Why do you think we can sense it?”

    “Because we’re big cats. Sometimes, our predatory instincts kick in, and we can sense the presence of either possible prey or competition.”

    “What competition are we talking about here?”

    “This competition would be referring to another predator; possibly another pride of lions and/or lionesses.”

    “So… Do you think it’s prey or competition for us?”

    “Again, I’m not entirely sure. I’m hoping it’s only prey. The last thing we need is another predator to deal with.”

    “What if it is?”

    “Then, we’ll have to deal with it when we come across it. I don’t know what kind of predator it would be, but… We have to show it that we’re the queens of this jungle.”

    “Yeah! We’ll show them who’s best around here!”

    Timon butted in. “Those guys, or girls, won’t stand a chance as long as we have you, Nala.” he declared, as he pointed at her, “You can take them on and beat them! You’ll send them home running for they lives!” He then started laughing hysterically. “He’s right, mother.” Kiara continued, “You are the best fighter in the Pridelands. You could take them on, if you needed to.” Nala nodded. “Thanks, Kiara. I hope it isn’t a fellow predator. However, if it is, I’ll be sure to beat them… for both of you.” Timon then got of the lake, and the trio walked back into the forest while on-guard for any possible signs of prey or competition. An hour passed, and the trio had still not run into what Nala and Kiara had sensed. Kiara’s stomach then began to growl. “Mother… I’m starving.” “Don’t worry, Kiara. I’m sure there’s got to be food around here somewhere.” Nala assured her daughter. “Umm… I hope I’m not ruining anything, but I haven’t seen any other animals in this jungle since we got here!” Timon stated. Nala looked around, as the trio could see nor hear any other forms of life. “Is this place deserted?” asked Kiara. “It can’t be…” Nala answered, hesitantly. Suddenly, a Capybara appeared out of the bushes next to them. It took a quick look at the two lionesses, and took off running back into the bushes. “This one’s mine!” Nala said quickly, and she chased after the prey into the brush. “Mother…!” yelled Kiara. “Don’t worry, Kiara. Your mother’s got this. Pretty soon, you’ll have food to last you through our departure from this jungle.” Timon replied. “I hope your right, Timon.” Kiara said, as she stared into the brush where her mother had leaped into to chase after the prey, “Please, mother. Don’t be long…”

    Nala continued to chase after the Capybara through the jungle, slowly gaining on it. However, a little ways into the chase, Nala would somehow lose sight of it. Nala looked quickly in all directions. Then, she closed her eyes, and heard what she believed were the faint noises of footsteps of her intended prey coming from her right. She sprinted in that direction. “I can’t let this one get away, and have my daughter and I starve. I won’t rest until it’s my dinner.” she thought to herself. She then disappeared out of sight…