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As Vitani marched into The Pride Lands, she was met with even more odd glances from the Pride Land animals.
It was like a parade, her leading her guard, the crocodiles, and hyenas, marching towards Pride Rock.
The animals were mumbling amongst themselves more than they were when Vitani just brought Aiube in.
"What's she doing?"
"Is she crazy!?"
"This is our lion guard?"
"Why is she bringing more hyenas in!?"
"She's putting us all in danger!"
"Ppfft, some protector ..."
"Is she a traitor?"
Vitani couldn't help but wince at their words as she made it to the base of Pride Rock.
She, and the other lionesses from her Pride had worked hard to shake their image of 'vicious, backstabbing, murderous Outsiders.' Her guard more than the others due to being their protectors.
She shivered as they got closer to the base of Pride Rock. The group made their way up and entered the den of Pride Rock.
Nala was taking a nap, snuggled against Kiara. Kovu was keeping an eye over Aiube, and looked up when Vitani and the others came in.
"Did you find them?" He asked, hopefully.
"Yes ...and a few others ...." Vitani said, as the hyenas and crocodiles came in.
Kovu paused, trying to process this.
Seeing his confusion, Vitani continued, "Remember the swamp by the border of The Outlands?"
Kovu laughed a bit. "How could I forget?" He let his gaze go over to Kiara, asleep, resting her head in the crook of her mother's neck, before looking back at Vitani.
The crocodile Vitani had talked to, took a step forward. "Hello, I am Njaa. Me and the others have been struggling for food for years in The Outlands. Your friend here ..."
"Sister." Kovu corrected.
"... Sister, told us, that your Pride was accepting of ... well ... outsiders ... and something about being one? We are one? Something like that ...
anyways we were wondering if we could join your pride ..." Njaa seemed a bit anxious, trying to explain himself to the king.
Kovu smiled gently. "You're right, we are one. You're welcome into our pride."
Kiara woke up and looked groggily at them. Noticing Vitani and the others were there she quickly got up and rushed over, almost tripping on her paws in the process.
"Oh, hey!" She laughed out anxiously. "Sorry uh, about that ..."
Stupid! You knew they were coming back and you fell asleep! Stupid! Stupid! You're the queen now, you need to be responsible!
Kiara forced a smile, trying to hide her insecurities. She looked at the group and noticed the crocodiles. "Oh! Hello there!"
"These are crocodiles from The Outlands." Kovu explained, noticing her confusion. "Remember that small swamp near the border?"
Kiara zoned out a bit.
My father said to never turn your back on an Outsider!
You always do what daddy says?
Bet you do! Bet you're daddy's little girl! Ha ha! An Outsider doesn't need anybody, I take care of myself.
H .. hey wh .. what about me!?
I'll distract them, run!
I did it ... I did it! Pffft!
We make such a good team!
She smiled at Kovu. "Yeah, I remember."
"They asked to join our Pride." Kovu explained.
"Oh, of course!" Kiara said. "Everyone's welcome in our Pride!"
Nala started to wake up and went over to the group. She froze when she saw the crocodiles and more hyenas. "Oh uh ... hello there ..."
"This is Aiube's cackle." Vitani said. "And a group of crocodiles from The Outlands."
"It's nice to meet you." Nala said, albeit, a bit anxiously.
The hyenas went over to Aiube and Hofu laid down beside his mate, nuzzling her close.
"Hofu ..." She groaned out, resting her head in his neck.
"I'm so glad you're okay ..." He sniffled.
"We all are!" Utii said, practically running over.
"What happened?" Kidogo asked.
"I tried to cross the swamp and got bit by a crocodile ..." She winced as she moved her lg into view for them to see.
"Crocodiles?" Jeuri looked at the group of crocs and snarled. "You did this!?"
Njaa looked startled and took a step back. "I ... I'm sorry ... please ... we were hungry and we ... we .."
"Please stop fighting!" Kiara nearly begged, stepping in between the both of them. "It's not going to help anything, just .... Try and put the past behind you ..."
They both looked at her oddly.
Uh oh. Was that not the right thing to say? Ugh, I'm a terrible queen, aren't I!? How can I rule if I can't keep peace between the Pride animals!?
"She's right." Kovu said, easing Kiara out of her anxious trance. "You need to get along if you want to live here."
Jeuri sighed. "Fine ... but if you even so much as look at my leader again ..."
Njaa backed away more.
Kiara sighed, this time getting more desperate, her voice practically shaking. "Please don't fight."
Kovu gave her a reassuring nuzzle, calming her down.
"Jeuri won't start any fights, now will you?" Aiube asked, giving him a glance.
"No, of course not!" Jeuri said quickly. "We are one, after all."
"Right." Nala said stiffly, glancing over at the hyenas. "We are one ..."