A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » July 21st, 2013, 1:28 pm

Dark Huntress wrote:I think it would be ruined because it would be WEIRD for her and Mohatu not to sort of get together for a little bit.


Not if... oh, I don't know... she gets killed off? :cutesimba:

Also, I know you never did, but it feels as if they are going to kinda being together, even not permanently.


That is the way I intended it to be. That doesn't mean that's what will happen, though.

Dark Huntress wrote:Plus, if he was king, he probably just had all of the lionesses :P


Good point. :nehneh:
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby cleargreenwater » July 21st, 2013, 4:29 pm

They all have such alterior motives going on under the action of the plot I'm still not super sure what each one's respective game is honestly D:

I mean it's good in a "keep guessing" sort of way, but by this many chapters it also makes it a little difficult to frame future consequences in the plot.

Still a fun ride, I just gave up on trying to figure out how their encounters with other players will impact the story in the future. Just have to take your word for it in subsequent chapters!
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » July 21st, 2013, 4:45 pm

You mean, I've overdone it? xD

I'm guessing part of the reason for that is because all the main characters have multiple, dynamic motives throughout the course of the story. I suppose I could try to clear things up in the next chapter or two, especially if there's any one issue in particular that isn't explained very well.

Anyway, thanks for your feedback. :)

---

Edit: I'm glad you said something about that; I just realized there was something very important that I thought I explained, but never did. I'm going to have to dedicate an entire chapter to that, now. xD
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Chizuna » July 23rd, 2013, 2:12 am

I'm really liking this story especially the way you've built up Mohatu and Mari as characters. The way they act and think are so realistic that I think this is the first time I've ever not wanted two main characters be in a romantic relationship because what you've already written is great already. Not everyone has to be in a relationship to have a fulfilling connection with another person and I'm glad you've pointed it out in your writing.

I think that the plot is great too, it's so elaborate and detailed that admittedly I do get lost/confused a few times but it also makes it exciting ;)
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » July 23rd, 2013, 3:39 am

Thanks! :D

When I first started writing the story, I spent quite a lot of time trying to make Mari as developed of a character as I could. With Mohatu, I sorta just went along as I wrote it. xD

I'm glad you like that relationship part as well; I wanted it to be as interesting as possible, and that is a message that I really needed to add in there.

Chizuna wrote:I think that the plot is great too, it's so elaborate and detailed that admittedly I do get lost/confused a few times but it also makes it exciting ;)


Are there any specific parts that need clarification? I mean, if there's anything in particular that just doesn't make sense, I'd like to know so that I can elaborate on it in one of the chapters that I'm writing now.

Chapters 21-25ish (at least) are going to be focusing on the ancient kingdom from the perspective of Rex's followers, which should hopefully answer any questions regarding those two groups.

But, if it's more in the general sense:

I've had this story planned out for so long, and it's gotten so complex that I've even struggled to keep myself organized with it all. I've created my own encyclopedia that I use to reference characters, events, and locations as I think them up and write them down.

There's so many different events, and many of the important ones aren't exactly introduced in chronological order, either. I know I've also given even minor characters their own names, which probably adds to that confusion as well.

As slow as the pacing is for this story (being at 98,000 words and all, which is pretty insane for a fanfic), I'm going to try making it even slower from here on out.

I also think the way I write may be a bit difficult to interpret, just the syntax in itself, but that's probably the hardest thing to fix. xD

Anyway, glad you're enjoying it, at least. The fact that anyone has read this far into it is quite humbling. :peaceful:
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Carl » July 23rd, 2013, 8:16 pm

I would have given feedback already, except for lack of knowing what to say. :ha:

It's a great story, and on Saturday evenings after work it's nice to sit down and read for a while and focus on something outside of life. (Well, it's nice to focus on things other than life anyway, thus my writing and reading other fics a lot more frequently since I've been doing "grown-up" stuff.) Anyway, on to the point of this:

Not only have I been reading each chapter as it comes out to see what else you've cooked up for these characters (who are as someone else pointed out, very well developed), but I have been also trying to take notes of things you do that work so I can become better at writing myself. For example, I've begun putting more effort and time into the planning stages of my works, something I don't usually spend a lot of time on. Also I try to become better at making characters more three-dimensional since I've been reading this fic.

That said, I should take this moment to admit that, as much as I like Star Wars and gaming, I really have not played KOTOR enough to know the story. I just didn't like the gameplay. So, though I do know the gist, reading this is still proving very interesting (of course I know the events in your story aren't going to be the same, but you get what I'm saying, no?)

To wrap this up, you're doing an excellent job of making the story interesting and providing it with depth. The characters are interesting, the plot's interesting, and the fact that it always keeps your readers guessing is spectacular.

You should write something original to you (if you're not doing so already!) and see if you could get it published. I think you could make money from your writing. Keep it up!
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » July 24th, 2013, 12:26 am

This is kinda long, so I'm putting my response in a spoiler tag to keep the thread clean.

Spoiler: show
Julie Skywalker wrote:Not only have I been reading each chapter as it comes out to see what else you've cooked up for these characters (who are as someone else pointed out, very well developed), but I have been also trying to take notes of things you do that work so I can become better at writing myself. For example, I've begun putting more effort and time into the planning stages of my works, something I don't usually spend a lot of time on.


That's just me being me. The amount of planning I put into everything I do is ridiculous. :P

If you're curious, I never just write one chapter, then post it. After I started to consider the intricacies of the original plot idea, I started writing the story (that was back in June 2012). Once I was about halfway through, I scratched it completely and started over (that was in December 2012).

That might seem stupid, but it actually worked out pretty well. Basically, instead of writing and publishing the story chapter-by-chapter, I wrote half the story, and then refined it.

After I had the idea, I wrote every key event of the plot, right up to the point where Mari told Mohatu that he was Leo. I got writer's block, so I stopped there.

When I went back to post the first chapter, I realized that it was nothing but plot. Even though it was written as a story, it was basically just a skeleton. This happens in this chapter, then that happens in that chapter, and so on. It had no... life to it, I guess. It didn't seem like an actual living, breathing world that I wanted to imagine.

So, that was why I went back and re-wrote it. After I had the key events of the plot in mind, I was able to develop the characters. I added scenes between scenes, to foreshadow events, and add in what the characters thought of each event. It also helped me to find and patch up plotholes.

From there, everything just started to fall into place. I already had the key events written, so I was free to explore the world that I created. Naturally, the chapter length went from about ~1000 words each, to ~4000 each. That was when I really started to enjoy it, because I went from writing with a specific purpose, to just writing freely, basically. Chapters 2, 3, and especially 5 spawned out of thin air, that way.

At that point, I was finally satisfied enough to upload what I had. What was originally the first two chapters turned into the first three, and what was originally the first five turned into the first eight. What was once 5000 words turned into something that was 40000 words.

After I posted the first three chapters, I went back to re-writing what I already had. I elaborated on the key scenes and added many more. All of chapters 7 and 8 were created without any original planning, along with chapters 14 and 15 as well.

Since the first few chapters were posted, what I've been doing is writing 2-4 chapters at a time. I'll write one, then move on to the next, and then the one after that. Then, after about a month, I'll go back and re-read it, adding anything that I think needs to be added. Then, if it's good, I'll leave it alone until Saturday. On Saturdays, I read through the one chapter again, and fix any more errors I find before I finally upload it.

From what I've noticed, after writing the events that follow a scene, it's far easier to approach the scene in question with an open mind. There were a few times, where I had to completely add/remove scenes to a chapter, because I found that they either contradicted the chapter before or after it, or just didn't work very well.

Chapter 15 was a perfect example of that; originally, Mari had met another lion, who knew who Leo was. Mari was forced to explain, when the other character called Mohatu by his real name. It didn't fit Mari's character at all, so I removed it.

Instead, I switched the other lion to a more familiar character, Rafiki. That's what really helped me to establish Mari as a character, from my point of view. After I did that, I liked what I had so much that I split it into two chapters, from 14 to 15. By that time, 16 had basically planned itself out, and I hardly even had to think to write it.

Also I try to become better at making characters more three-dimensional since I've been reading this fic.


It's a good thing that seems to be working. Sometimes I don't know if my characters have too many dimensions, or what. What I've been doing is having them act different in different situations, which is exactly what 'real' people do. So far that seems to be working pretty well, based on what others have said.

That said, I should take this moment to admit that, as much as I like Star Wars and gaming, I really have not played KOTOR enough to know the story. I just didn't like the gameplay. So, though I do know the gist, reading this is still proving very interesting (of course I know the events in your story aren't going to be the same, but you get what I'm saying, no?)


The only thing that's similar to KotOR is the plot. The player begins training to become a Jedi and kill Darth Malak, and sets out on an adventure to find the ancient star maps which lead him to the Star Forge. On the way, the player character finds out he was Darth Revan, but had his memory wiped. Ultimately, it gives the player the choice between reclaiming their identity as the most powerful Sith and crushing the Republic with the Star Forge, or destroying the Star Forge, killing Malak, and returning to the Jedi order.

I sorta borrowed that idea, with Mohatu being the player, and the great kings of the past being the Rakatan Infinite Empire (the builders of the Star Forge). As such, the philosophies of the ancient kings in my story are very similar to those of the Sith, which is what I'm working on developing right now. I'm looking to sorta merge that philosophy in with what is already established in TLK: the circle of life. You'll see how I do it.

I originally didn't want to copy the plot idea, so I tried to come up with a plot of my own. The thing is, I never liked any of my own plots long enough to stick with them. I kept going back to the KotOR plot idea, because even as cliche as it is, it just works. I don't think I would have been satisfied with anything else, because this was what I wanted to do to begin with.

It kinda feels like I'm 'cheating' at times, by using an idea that isn't entirely my own, but this is a fanfiction so I can't really give too much of a flip.

Much of the rest of the story is my own, with Mari and Mohatu (to a large extent) being my own characters. Mari, obviously, is nothing like Bastila or Carth, and Mohatu's character is already established (somewhat) within the Lion King universe.

In fact, I originally started writing Mari's character to be much like Nala and Sarabi, but not nearly as strong (mentally). If she was a clone of Sarabi, she wouldn't have the same sort of ongoing internal struggle that makes the story as interesting as it is.

I sorta just developed Mohatu as I went along, and a lot of his character is actually an adaption of Mari's. In the context of the story, it actually makes sense for me to do that.

Hopefully, I'll be following the same patterns with king Rex and queen Minerva, who will appear in the coming weeks. I'd rather not have Rex be as bland as Darth Malak, and I already have something interesting planned for Minerva.

As a final note, there's also a few Assassin's Creed references in here, as I took a lot of inspiration from AC: Revelations as well. At one point, I even wanted to give Leo a sort of an assassin's hidden blade, but I figured that would be too humanized. I went with the idea of giving Rafiki a sword, instead. It seems to fit pretty well, considering the way he uses his stick in the final battle of TLK. I just need to find a way for Rafiki to lose his sword, before the story is over. :nehneh:

To wrap this up, you're doing an excellent job of making the story interesting and providing it with depth. The characters are interesting, the plot's interesting, and the fact that it always keeps your readers guessing is spectacular.


Glad you like it. It really helps to know what everyone else thinks of the plot, perhaps more so than anything else. Since I already know what's going to happen, it's nearly impossible for me to gauge how predictable or unpredictable the plot is on my own.

You should write something original to you (if you're not doing so already!) and see if you could get it published. I think you could make money from your writing. Keep it up!


lol, my main concern for now is finishing this story, just in itself. This really is the first story I've ever written, aside from a few one-shots. As much as I've enjoyed writing this, I don't think I'd ever go through the effort to get something published of my own. This started off as being nothing more than a fun little project, and I'd like to keep it that way.

If I can still find the time to keep writing after I'm done with this story, I'll probably still be sticking with TLK fanfiction (I have a few other ideas). For what it's worth, writing stories about humans just isn't as interesting to me. I can't actually explain why, but it just seems weird. We have too many social rules and crap, which make writing character interactions quite a bit more complex, in comparison to animal behavior.

That probably doesn't make much sense (or does it?), but that's the gist of it. I appreciate your praise, but having something published isn't really a goal of mine. Writing has become a hobby, more or less; as it stands now, I neither care about the money nor the fame of actually having something published outside of the internet.

But anyways, thank you for your feedback. It's all very inspiring. :tobeking:
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby cleargreenwater » July 25th, 2013, 11:13 pm

Yeah, sorry about that, I missed all of Page 4 of this the first time I gave it a read. No wonder I was lost, LOL.

I would still like to know why all of this maneuvering around Mohatu and why one is the villain when there's always been 2 brothers to choose from though :P

Unless I missed that, too D:
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » July 26th, 2013, 12:04 am

cleargreenwater wrote:Yeah, sorry about that, I missed all of Page 4 of this the first time I gave it a read. No wonder I was lost, LOL.


LOLz, you missed the most important part so far. :P

cleargreenwater wrote:I would still like to know why all of this maneuvering around Mohatu and why one is the villain when there's always been 2 brothers to choose from though :P

Unless I missed that, too D:


Leo was the stronger of the two, and far more influential--it was more important for Mari's pride to take him out first. Part of it was dumb luck for Leo, the other part was intentional, because that was Mari's plan.

In addition, Mari wasn't entirely sure that her plan would work. Trying it on both of them would have been too risky, so it was a sort of "this one first, that one later" type of deal.

Or, if you want to think about this metaphorically, Rex exists as the antagonist to serve the purpose of defining Leo's past. Rex is the continuation of Leo's rule. He essentially gives Leo an entity to overcome, so that the latter has a physical goal to work towards, in addition to his internal struggle.

In fact, they didn't even have to be brothers. All that really matters is that Rex was the prince when Leo was the king. Leo isn't the king anymore, so Rex represents what Leo once was.

There's more to it than that, but the rest won't be revealed until later. For now, just take my word for it: in the end, I'll definitely be going back to this idea.

It'll all start to fall into place over the next few chapters, once I get to start writing Rex into the story, along with how he relates to Leo.
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » August 4th, 2013, 12:56 am

chapter 21: show
A/N: I've completely rewritten this chapter six times, and I still don't like it that much. In fact, I hate it. I'm not entirely sure why, but this is probably my least favorite chapter so far (only because of the beginning, though). That's why it's as short as it is, relative to the past few chapters. :P


--- --- ---


A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu


Chapter 21: New Horizons


A small, bright sliver of light began to seep through the rocky ceiling of the cave. Up ahead, the opening only grew bigger, spreading from a tiny crack to an entire field of bright light.

The excruciating white blur was accompanied by the continuous sound of moving water, as a small mass of liquid flowed slowly into a sinkhole—the mouth of the cavern. It was one of many openings, part of an intricate framework of underground streams and rivers beneath the surface of Lea Halalela.

Two large felines emerged from the depths of the cave, blinded by their first sight of direct sunlight in days. They both stopped immediately in their tracks, bringing their paws up to cover their eyes.

On the surface, it was bright. It was too bright, far beyond overwhelming and nearly excruciating. The entire landscape above was little more than one bright, whitish-yellowish blur, causing both felines to sit still for several minutes in blindness.

As his vision slowly began to recover, Mohatu stepped out of the underground stream and started climbing up the edge of the sinkhole. His paws easily gripped into the layers of dirt and clay, making the ascent much less difficult than it looked. Mari followed behind as well, grabbing tight with her claws to assure herself that she would not fall back down into the subterranean river below.

When the lion's paws finally reached ground level, Mohatu threw himself forward onto the grass. He stood still for a moment, resting on the surface, before lifting his head up.

"Whoa..." the lion gasped.

"What is it?" Mari asked from below.

Eventually, the former king managed to catch his breath. "Hah," Mohatu almost laughed with disbelief as his feeling of déjà vu returned once again. "You're not going to believe this..."

Almost entirely blinded by the light, Mari placed her paws around Mohatu's bloody hind leg and used it to pull herself up to ground level. As her eyes slowly adjusted to the sun's powerful rays on the horizon, her jaw slipped open for several seconds.

The land ahead was mostly flat, with only a few trees, rocks, and shrubs to please the eye. They were still in the desert, no doubt, but three enormous structures occupied the majority of the horizon.

The structures were giant pyramids, constructed to geometric perfection by the ancient kings. Just the sight of the massive, artificial mountains was breathtaking in itself, but both Mari and Mohatu knew there was much more to be found within.

So much more.

The ancient secrets of a long-gone civilization rested under those pyramids, protected from the relentless forces of nature for several thousands of years. The duo could only assume that libraries of ancient knowledge and artifacts of untold power were sitting beneath, waiting to be uncovered by their so-called prophet.

"So, I guess that's Lea Halalela," Mari whispered, unable to believe her eyes. "I never would have thought that something like this could even exist..."

"I wonder what it actually is," Mohatu stated curiously, almost at the same time.

A few minutes passed, before Mari regained her ability to see and breathe normally. "Well, Rafiki told me the keys unlock the tomb of Regulus... which is here. I'm not sure if what we see is his tomb, though."

"But there's three of them."

"It looks like there are three pyramids," Mari stated, as a small flock of birds flew over from above. "But that doesn't mean there are three tombs. There could be, but they could all be connected."

"Hmm..." Mohatu pondered the situation for a minute. "So, I don't suppose we could just walk in?"

"That's what I was wondering," the lioness answered. "We could try..."

The golden lioness paused for a moment to gather her balance back on her paws, after she pulled herself up completely. "But something tells me we'll need all the keys to find what we're truly looking for. Nothing is ever as easy as walking in."

"Yeah."

"For now, maybe we should split up... although I'd rather not say that, after what happened last time," Mari suggested.

"Hah," Mohatu chuckled. "Are you crazy?"

"Possibly," Mari admitted nonchalantly. "But I do think it's a good idea, considering how much we have to explore out here."

As the lioness's eyes continued to scout across the horizon, she found several smaller pyramids surrounding the three massive ones. "In fact, it looks like there's even more than three of them... I think we should look around, just to see what all we can find. You know there are probably even more monuments that we don't see, hiding behind these pyramids."

"There's a lot to explore behind us, too," Mohatu added in agreement. "That might not be a bad idea."

"Okay," Mari nodded. "I'll go this way... you go that way, and we'll meet back here in a little while."

"Actually," Mohatu tilted his head, suddenly beginning to reconsider the idea as his stomach growled. "Maybe we could get some food, first."

For a brief moment, Mari observed the male's lithe form carefully, noting his obvious scars and degenerating muscles. "Yeah... you're right. Maybe we'll be able to think better with a full stomach. It's been days..."

"That sounds good," Mohatu added, salivating at the mere thought.

Mari scanned across the horizon once again, noting the distinct patches of desert sand and lush vegetation behind them.

The three massive pyramids rested ominously in the desert background, with equally enormous shadows covering the dry ground below them. That half of the horizon was dry and rocky, covered with only a few scattered trees and shrubs.

Yet, part of the landscape was ripe and abundant with life, as a slow, winding river delta coated a share of the land with wet and fertile soil. The two completely different biomes kept a strange, delicate balance, contrasting directly as they met in competition across the landscape.

"There is this river here, that this stream is connected to," Mari explained, gesturing toward the fertile land behind her and Mohatu. "I'm sure hunting won't be too difficult. Wherever there's water, there's usually meat."

"Yep," Mohatu nodded, beginning to drool from the corner of his mouth.

"That might be a bit problematic, though..." the lioness continued. "If I remember correctly, Rafiki told me a pride lives out here, and they're loyal to the king. I don't think we've been very far, so it's probably the same pride we already fought."

Mohatu jolted suddenly, while he raised a brow. "Hmm?"

Mari continued to analyze her surroundings, trying to see if she could find any lions sitting in the open, by the water. "Well... it could be tricky, trying not to get caught again."

"Who would have thought?" Mari asked rhetorically, continuing where she had left off. "I mean... we're out in the middle of nowhere, and there's these pyramids... and water, and possibly even other lions. It's nothing like I expected," the golden lioness explained.

"I'm sure this place probably has some spiritual significance to the kingdom," Mohatu thought aloud. "That would explain why they're here."

"You're probably right," the lioness agreed. "That would make sense."

"In fact," Mari continued, pointing her paw across the horizon, over to the marshland surrounding one of the visible waterholes. She found several leonine figures, lounging around casually in the distance. Although they were rather far away, they still seemed close enough to pose a threat. "We're definitely not alone."

Mohatu sighed, upon seeing the same group of lions. "This won't be easy."

"No..." Mari sighed. "It won't."

"Maybe we should wait here, until tonight," Mohatu suggested. "Then, it will be easier to sneak around."

"True," Mari replied. "But I'd rather not wait that long. As long as we're careful, we should be okay."

"I guess..."

"I'm not waiting until tonight," the lioness kicked her forepaw through the soil below her, watching as a cloud of dust filled the air. "We're hungry, and at this point, that's more important than anything else," she tried to convince herself.

"Okay," Mohatu replied. "So, what's the plan? You go look for food, and I'll see if I can find an entrance to the pyramids?"

"I'm not going to hunt alone," Mari insisted. "I'll do the hunting, but I'll need you as a spotter."

"So much for splitting up," Mohatu laughed.

Mari looked back over to the group of lions for a moment, watching hesitantly to make sure they weren't approaching. "There's no way we're splitting up out here," she stated. "It's too dangerous. I need you to watch my back."

"I..." Mohatu began to smile. "I have no problem with that."

Mari stood still for several seconds, as Mohatu's words began to seep into her mind. When she finally turned around, Mari carried a smirk across her muzzle.

"Psh!" the orange lioness rolled her eyes, dragging her paw closer to her companion for a moment. "Of course you're going to say that," she retorted, placing her pawtoes up to the lion's nose playfully.

Mohatu crossed his eyes for a moment, pulling his muzzle back. In his sudden state of confusion, the lion could only wonder if Mari was annoyed by the comment, or if she actually enjoyed the attention. "What did you expect me to say?" he asked.

"It doesn't matter," Mari answered, as she began to feel a burning emptiness develop in her gut. "I'm hungry, you're hungry... we need food, dammit! We're carnivores—we're not supposed to live like this!"

Mohatu shook his mane, regaining his balance as he shifted himself back into a more comfortable stance.

He continued to stare at the lioness, almost losing his mind in her frayed and rugged beauty, as she began to walk off. In fact, he could almost imagine her carrying big chunk of fresh zebra, dangling from her muzzle in all its savory glory...

That was the simple mind of a lion, no doubt.

"Are you coming?" Mari asked, pausing as she looked behind her. Apparently, she had already started walking off, leaving Mohatu behind with only her pawprints.

Mohatu shook his head, his mind returning to reality. "Yeah..."


--- --- ---


Mohatu looked up to the wispy sky above, walking parallel to the river with the pyramids of Lea Halalela behind him and the lioness. Aside from the painfully dry heat, it was actually a rather nice afternoon. The water was equally calm and clear as the sky, and all the various trees on the horizon rested peacefully without motion.

"This looks like a good spot," Mari stopped, watching intently as a herd of African buffalo crossed through part of the river. The water was slow and shallow, but hills coated both sides of the narrow river valley, providing for an excellent ambush opportunity.

It was a small herd, actually, with no more than twenty or thirty in the group. Fortunately, that was irrelevant for the duo; only one was needed to make a meal.

"Okay," Mari fixed her eyes on the lion beside her. "Stay here, and be on the lookout for any other lions. I'm going to see if I can bring one of these guys down."

"And... what if I see one?" Mohatu asked.

"I don't know..." Mari replied. "Throw rocks at them?"

Mohatu scratched his chin with his paw. "How does that help?"

"I mean... try to distract them, without letting them know you're here," the lioness clarified. "If I go after one of these guys, the whole herd is going to go nuts. Then, if there are any other lions around, we're going to have to haul our tails outta here as quickly as possible."

"Okay," Mohatu nodded. He looked behind him, but did not see any other creatures, aside from the prey. "You're all clear, now."

"Good," Mari whispered, beginning to walk down into the river.

Mari hid most of her body under the murky surface of the water, so that only the tip of her muzzle was exposed. She could still see and breathe, but she could not be seen easily. It would be a stealth attack, for sure.

But even if she could not drown her prey quickly and silently, she would still have the advantage if the target tried to climb up out of the valley. It was a near-perfect plan, without any major flaw—except one little problem.

"Also..." Mari began, looking back up at the lion. "Let me know if there are any crocodiles around here. I'd rather not bump into one of those."

"You're fine," Mohatu replied. "I don't see anything."

Mari focused her mind back onto the herd ahead, concentrating on approaching as silently as possible. It was the only thought that mattered, as she closed the distance, slowly but surely.

After a few minutes of looking across the new horizon, Mohatu managed to comprehend the massive size of the pyramids. He had walked a great distance, but the structures still remained in the background. They were simply enormous, with the smallest of the three easily being as tall as Pride Rock itself.

Yet, as massive as the pyramids were, Mohatu almost did not even care. As usual, the brown lion's mind was fixed on something else entirely. Not surprisingly, he kept looking back at what Mari had said the night before.

Now that they had been separated by the uncompromisable force of hunger, all Mohatu wanted was to relive his old memories with Mari. In fact, the lioness's companionship was all that he had ever wanted, right from the very beginning.

Yet, no matter how hard he tried, he could not bring himself to remember his previous life. All he could do was try to recall what all she had told him. Mari had mentioned several memories of hers, of course, but those memories were hidden.

They were shattered and broken, buried far beneath the sands of Mohatu's own damaged mind. Uncovering those memories was going to be just as much of a challenge as getting underneath Lea Halalela in itself, he knew for sure.

The brown lion stepped closer to the water beside him, trying to think of something else.

Mohatu looked down into the glassy, reflective surface of the stream for a moment, waiting for his reflection to settle. He examined his appearance carefully, before wetting his paw and cleaning up his fur a bit. Although his mane was still a bit ragged and unkempt, that was hardly the worst of it.

For the first time, Mohatu saw the wound on his hind leg, along with many other less severe injuries. A big stain of dried blood covered most of his fur around the underside of his knees. The injury itself had already begun to heal, but it looked much worse than it actually was.

After all, he was Leo; he could take a beating and still live.

Mohatu turned his head around quickly, cleaning up the messy patch of fur with his tongue. The oddly familiar, metallic taste of blood filled his mouth, but he continued to clean the fur around his wound anyway.

He did not necessarily need to look clean and sharp, because being seen wasn't part of his plan. Yet, sitting casually by the water was oddly relaxing in a way, while the pleasant thought of food brought him a blissful moment of happiness.

Although it would be difficult to avoid contact with any other felines, he knew the situation was finally starting to look a bit brighter. Two of the king's minions were already dead, and all the secrets of the kingdom were about to fall into his paws. For the first time, the struggle almost appeared to be coming to an end.

Although, admittedly, maybe that was just because Mari was with him.

Mohatu took a break from grooming himself for a second, looking back across the riverbank for any other lions. Thankfully, both sides of the marshland were still clear from any living creatures.

To the lion's relief, he looked back at Mari. The lioness's head was barely hanging above the water's surface, waiting to strike one of the weaker animals.

The herds were moving rather slowly, walking as a cluster through the murky water. They all seemed to follow each other, in a strange, zigzag path. All Mari needed was one small enough to kill easily, and the duo would be satisfied for at least two or three days.

Yet, the kill would still attract buzzards, or even hyenas, provided that any of those were still alive.

Perhaps, Mohatu thought, that was why Mari was hunting at the river: if the kill fell into the water, it would not be spotted as easily. And, even if the carcass was found, no lion would expect the killer to be another lion, in such a crocodile infested territory.

Mari knew what she was doing, certainly.

Mohatu continued to watch the lioness, swimming slowly but intently right up beside one of the younger buffalo. It was a straggler, most likely already half-dead to begin with.

He watched impatiently, with great anticipation, as Mari lunged out of the water. She began wrapping her deadly forepaws around the target's head, and started to push it under the water's surface. Although the beast had horns for protection, Mari managed to use them to her own advantage, wrapping her paws around them to secure a tighter grip.

Before the creature could yell out a cry of pain, the entire head fell under the water with a cluster of bubbles rising to the surface. Eventually, Mari stepped onto its back, crushing it underneath her weight and forcing it below the water's glassy surface.

A hint of red seeped into the water, but faded away as the current continued to flow and dilute the concentration of blood. Within seconds, the buffalo appeared to be dead, for it no longer struggled to escape the lioness.

Unfortunately for Mari, one of the other nearby horned beasts rammed toward her, knocking her away from the kill.

"Mari!" Mohatu whispered instinctively, as the lioness tumbled backward into the water. A large splash engulfed the two figures, sending droplets of water flying in every which direction.

The lion looked down at the ground below him for a moment, wondering if she was actually hurt. If she was, then she probably needed his help to get to safety. If she wasn't, then she would be at risk of being discovered if Mohatu left his guard post.

With that thought in mind, Mohatu turned around, checking his surroundings once again for any sign of movement. Thankfully, no other lion seemed to be around. As such, Mohatu gathered himself onto his paws, preparing to help Mari out of the situation.

Fortunately, before Mohatu began to approach, Mari climbed out of the water on her own. In consequence, the brown lion allowed himself to breathe a delighted sigh of relief.

Now safe on dry land, the golden lioness shook herself off, with a delicious chunk of meat in her mouth. She swallowed it immediately, before wiping the water out of her eyes and looking around for Mohatu. Although she had grabbed a bite to eat, she was unable to carry the dead animal out of the water for Mohatu to munch on.

As the eyes of the two felines met, Mari shook her head sadly at her companion, before swiftly stepping into the heavy grasses on the riverbank. Within a matter of seconds, she disappeared completely into the tall field of green, shadowed by various clusters of palm trees.

Naturally, Mohatu considered following the lioness's path, but something...

Something was wrong.

Did she see another lion? Mari obviously ran into the grasses to hide, but she had no clear reason to do so. She was running, but running from what?

Mohatu's eyes darted around the horizon once again, quickly scanning the area for any other lions. The herd had already scattered and ran, but there was no other sign of movement anywhere else.

Meanwhile, Mari continued to sneak through the grasses. After a few moments, the lioness began to lift her head up slightly, looking back to watch the situation unfold behind her. "This is bad..." Mari muttered to herself.

Mohatu twitched his ears, trying to listen in for any sound of movement. His heart accelerated rapidly, and his skin nearly began to boil with anticipation. A creature was indeed approaching, right from across the river.

Immediately, the brown lion turned his head around, meeting another lioness eye-to-eye.

As Mohatu's eyes caught sight of the female, he quickly noticed that the lioness was a very light beige in color, very much unlike Mari's vivid coat of fur. The native's nose was dark, sharp, and pointed, outlining the harsh, yet elegant appearance of her face. From the ground up, she was very rugged, but much less so than Mari after her journey.

The native lioness walked slowly but intently, carrying a slight expression of curiosity as she examined the unfamiliar male lion.

From the look of it, the lioness had no idea who Mohatu was. Although she did not appear to be friendly by nature, she did not look as if she was about to strike Mohatu down, either.

Quickly, Mohatu began to devise a plan. He stiffened his posture up on his paws, trying to think of a way out of the situation. If he ran, he would attract even more attention, and Mari would be left alone. If he stayed, he would have to confront the native lioness, instead.

Mohatu would then have to explain what he was doing, and why he was there. The risk was obvious: if she thought he even looked a bit suspicious, he would have to face another direct confrontation with Rex's followers. Clearly, that wasn't a very pleasant option.

Perhaps, Mohatu only needed to act casual. As long as he wasn't being blamed for the recent death of Ganji, he would probably be fine.

"There's nothing to see here," Mohatu convinced himself, leaning down to get a drink of water in an attempt to act as natural as possible. "Just go away, so I can eat..." he whispered.

As his eyes rolled back up across the horizon for a brief second, the lioness never ceased to approach. She continued to walk closer, leading up to an inevitable confrontation.

Mohatu stood up straight, trying to relax as he prepared himself to speak to the lioness. Without looking, he knew that Mari was hiding in the grasses, ready to strike if the situation got violent. "It's going to be fine," he told himself, under his breath.

Considering the circumstances, it was much better that the native lioness saw him, instead of Mari. Mari was a murderer—well known for being Leo's assassin. Mohatu, in contrast, was not nearly as famous. Every lion seemed to think Leo was dead, so there was only a small chance that any of the king's followers would recognize him for who he truly was.

Eventually, if the duo stayed at Lea Halalela for a few nights, they would have to confront the native pride, anyway. That was only a matter of time. If Mohatu could actually convince the lioness that he was a wandering rogue lion, it would be for the best, he decided.

Yet, he almost began to wonder if it even mattered. If he was once the king, could he instead use that to his advantage? If he could prove to the pride that he truly was Leo, would they follow his command once again? Where did the kingdom's loyalties truly lie?

Mohatu began to grin slightly, thinking of all the possibilities. That would be option zero, he decided quickly. First, he thought it best to play it safe and try the subtle approach.


--- --- ---


A/N: Yeah... hopefully this should give you a good idea about where the story will be going from here. ;)
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