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"Great, Hofu and Utti are on board with the plan." Jeuri looked at the smallest hyena. "And what about you Kidogo?"
She shifted a bit and anxiously looked between Vitani and her cackle. Seeing her look, Vitani exchanged her look of blank contemplation to a small grin.
Kidogo looked back at the others. "O .. okay ... sounds good ..."
The cackle made their way over to Vitani. Hofu took a step forward. "We'll follow you."
"All right. We're going to have some others coming with us too." Vitani said as she started to lead them.
"Wait, who else?" Jeuri demanded.
"The crocodiles in the swamp nearby." Vitani said. "The Outlands have been rough for them too."
"I imagine so." Hofu said, trying to keep up pace with her. "There's no food or water nearby."
"Trust me, I know." Vitani let out a dry chuckle. "I grew up here."
"Oh." Hofu frowned. "Really?"
"Yeah .." Vitani let out a wistful sigh. "It's been awhile since I've been back here, it's kind of ... scary ..."
"What made you leave?" Kidogo asked curiously. Her voice sounded like that of a cub.
"It's ... kind of complicated." Vitani bit her lip. "But in short, my Pride learned to put the past behind them, and united with our once enemy Pride."
She shook a bit thinking of the war.
Where's your pretty daughter, Nala?
I don't even feel like the same lion that said that ... She felt the chills multiply, and looked at the hyenas, trying to forget about it. Forcing a smile she continued, "But it's all fine now.
We are one."
"We are one ... I like that ..." Hofu smiled.
"Kinda cheesy, but I get the sentiment." Jeuri said.
"That's really sweet." Utii added.
"We are one! We are one! I love it!" Kidogo said, bounding forward. "We are one! We are one!"
Vitani laughed a bit. "I'm glad we've got some fans."
They all paused when they came into view of the other lionesses.
"This is my guard." Vitani said. "Sabaha, Kasi, Imara, and Tazma."
"I'm Hofu. I'm Aiube's mate." He said with a warm smile. "Nice to meet you."
"Jeuri." He said simply.
"I'm Kidogo!" She said, bouncing up and down.
"And I'm Utii. I'm kinda like Aiube's majordomo."
"Hey, Vitani, are we still gonna take those crocs with us?" Shabaha asked.
"Yeah, of course. Why?"
Shabaha let out a snort like laugh and looked at the hyenas. "You better be careful. Those things could take down a wildebeest single handedly.
Imagine what they could do to small fries like you four!"
Hofu, Kidogo, and Utii looked startled. Jeuri rolled his eyes and grumbled under his breath, "I'd like to see them try ..."
"Shabaha!" Vitani scolded.
"What?" She asked, still laughing a bit. "It's true!"
Vitani groaned and rolled her eyes. "You're scaring them."
She stopped laughing and looked at them. Even Jeuri under his rough exterior seemed unnerved by her comment. Frowning a bit, she quickly apologized, "Oh uh, sorry about that ..."
"Don't take it too personally." Vitani said. "She has a kind of morbid sense of humor, but she's working on it."
"Yeah, I sure am." Shabaha laughed more. "Like a crocodile about to strike its prey and ..."
This was met with more looks from the guard and she backed down.
"Let's just head back." Vitani said.
Her guard and the four hyenas stayed close behind her as they approached the swamp.
Vitani knelt by the swamp. "Hey, I'm back!"
The crocodile popped out of the water and was face to face with Vitani, causing her to stumble back in surprise.
"Hello." The crocodile said.
"Are you and your bask ready to go?" Vitani asked.
He nodded and got out of the water, followed closely by a dozen other crocodiles.
Vitani took the lead again, and took them all to The Pride Lands.