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Vitani made it just outside the den of Pride Rock.
Her guard hurried over to check on their leader.
"I see you found the hyena." Tazama said, frowning a bit.
"Yeah, what's with that look?" Vitani asked.
"Well uh ... we just uh ..." Tazama trailed off.
"... Didn't expect you to bring her here ..." Kasi finished.
Vitani tilted her head. "Why not? She's hurt and needs somewhere to rest."
The rest of the guard looked at each other, unsure what to say.
"Sweetheart ..." Tazama said, taking a step forward. "This pride is kind of ... biased towards hyenas, aren't they?"
Vitani looked even more confused. "That was a long time ago .... You know, before the whole we are one thing?"
The lionesses still looked unsure.
"All right .. if you say so .." Tazama said, giving Vitani a loving lick on the cheek.
Vitani gave her a soft nuzzle before heading inside the den, and setting Aiube down gently.
Nala, Kiara, and Kovu went over curiously, as Vitani's guard watched from the cave entrance.
"Is that ..." Kovu trailed off.
"A hyena?" Nala asked, in shock.
"I found her near the west border. She's injured and needs a place to rest." Vitani explained.
Kiara stepped forward. "She's more than welcome to.."
"No." Nala said firmly.
Kiara looked back at her. "Mom, what are you ..."
"No!" She said, this time a bit louder.
Aiube whimpered as she scooted herself closer to Vitani.
"Mom, she's hurt!" Kiara said.
"And?" Nala challenged.
Kiara wasn't sure what to say,and stumbled out the starts of a few unfinished sentences.
Kovu stepped in and looked at Nala straight in the eyes, his voice just as intense as hers was, "She has every right to be here ... we don't banish anyone from our pride anymore ..."
Nala let out a low growl. "You don't understand what the hyenas put us through! Either of you!"
Kovu got more irritated, "And you don't understand what Simba put us through!"
"Don't you dare talk about Simba like that!" She roared.
"Why not? Because you can't acknowledge he had faults as the king?" Kovu asked. "That's how my mo.... Zira thought of Scar. As a flawless ruler ... and look where that got her ..."
Nala roared more.
"Please , stop fighting!" Kiara begged, getting between them.
Nala looked surprised. "Did you hear what he said about your father!?"
"Yes." Kiara said, her tone turning serious. "And he's right .... Mom ... we have to put the past behind us ..."
Nala snarled deeply. "I can't believe my own daughter would ..."
"We are one." Kiara said sternly, still standing her ground.
Nala exhaled deeply through her nose. "I know, I know ..."
Kiara sighed and took a step towards her. "Mom, I'm sorry ... I know I'll never understand what you went through or what Scar's reign was like, but ....
We really want a better future for this pride, one where everyone can be accepted."
Nala sighed again. "I know sweetheart, and that's a good thing ... but ...it might take me awhile to get used to ..." She looked over at Aiube, who folded her ears back sadly. "... all this ..."
Aiube whined and hid her face in her paws.
VItani took a step forward. "She's not one of Scar's hyenas. She left her old territory to avoid battling with another cackle, and now she's hurt and needs protection.
" She looked back at the lionesses still gathered by the entrance of the den. "... and The Guard will do that."
Aiube smiled and managed to relax a bit.
The guard looked at each other, still unsure, but nodded in agreement and followed Vitani over to the hyena.
Nala sighed. "I'm sorry ... this is just gonna take time for me to get used too ..."
Kovu and Kiara frowned and followed her out of the den.
"Hey, do you need anything?" Vitani asked her, gently.
Aiube's eyes suddenly widened. "Crap!"
"What is it?" Vitani asked.
"My cackle!" She panicked. "They're still in The Outlands! They're probably worried sick about me!"
Vitani frowned. "If you want I can bring them here for you."
Aiube's eyes lit up. "Would you!? Oh thank you so much!"
"Hey, no problem." Vitani said with a soft smirk. "It's my job to help Pride Land animals."
Pride Land animals? Aiube thought in confusion. Am I one of them now? Is it that easy?
Feeling a warm, comforting feeling pass over her, as she relaxed and fell asleep.