Within a dry forest there was what used to be a human camp. Now 2 largely consumed human corpses lay by the long extinguished fire along with several partially eaten zebras, all of which feed the lion pride which was temporarily recuperating there. It was early morning, most of the pride was asleep , but not their prisinor Cameron who roamed trough her prison, being caged wasn't the only factor that drove her over the edge, her hunger was now more agonizing than ever, she felt like her body was eating itself from the inside. She lay down in an almost fetal-like position, her combined anger, phisical pain, fear and agonizing hunger put her in an enourmeous mentally asphyxiating ordeal. Then she noticed Raja watching her. He threw a zebra hindquarter trough the bars and told her that this was her breakfest. Getting up she glared daggers at him " You did something to it didn't you! You found some poison from the humans and pored it over it! You're not fooling me!" Raja chuckled at her angry accusation " Of course not. I`m mearly being a good host, I don't want you deteriorating before your execution." he said as he left. Cameron would not let herself be feed by him out of pitty, she was better than that, she wanted to throw it out, but couldn't as she was watering in the mouth and every instinct in her mind was forcing her into doing it.
Raja laughed to himself as he saw her attacking the zebra limb as if it was still alive and bite out and gulp down huge chunks of meat like a raving glutton. But his cheerful mood was short lived as he noticed that Ryan still hadn't returned. The lion was growing suspitious, and sent Razoul on a mission to track down the boy and see what he's up to. Razoul obeyed as usual, but found that his target was nowhere near in close proximity, his trail made a bee line towards that mountain range, was he meeting the shaman there though Razoul?
He wasn't. Breathing heavily from exitment Ryan broke a rock into pieces with another one to form his spear tip, the only thought in his mind was to get his quarry. He started giggling as he proudly observed his handy work "That zebra won't know what impailed her!" he started giggling to himself before noticing 2 of the vultures arriving carrrying a wooden shaft together in their talons. " Sorry for the delay boss, not a lot of wood on the plains..." they drooped the stick as they dodged a swipe from Ryan " Don't give me exuses you worthless feather brains give me results!" he yelled at the frightened birds who flew out of reach. After calming down ( relatively) Ryan started admiring the piece of wood saying that it would do fine, he then told his helpers to gather fire wood, the vultures didn't feel like arguing but one them timidly spoke " Sure....just can you...eh stop doing that thing with the eyes...." his almost entirely black eyes were creeping them out, Ryan didn't take kindly to the request and made a loud roar causing the birds to scatter "We`re going! We`re going!" Now alone Ryan finished his spear before wondering about a way to carry it while leaving his hands relieved, he quickly got an idea as he tore of his loincloth and used the fabric to tie the spear to his back.
He was soon back on the herds trail, which led him to the foothills of the mountain range, on his way he stumbeled upon a trio of black backed jackals feeding on a mostly stripped carcass of a familiar foal, Ryan soon barged into their feeding freenzy, with one swipe he slammed one of them against a boulder. Growling another one lunged at Ryan only get grabbed by the throat and lifted of the ground. Ryan felt the exuberant feeling of power and dominance listenting to the canines cowardly whimpering as he swung him by the neck and slammed him into the other jackal. The 2 ran away yelping, as Ryan aproached the carcass, he picked up a bone and gnawed the remaining flesh of it, he forgot how tasty zebra meat was. Those mutts may have beaten him to the small kill but he still had the big one to take down. Looking up he saw a huge cave opening at the bottom of the mountain and the migrating heard was going trough it. Swinging trough the tree tops Ryan climbed up the clif wall getting a birds eye view of the herd, and there she was, he spotted the zebra that beared a familiar set of claw marks amongs the herd, looking rather blue. Finding a crack in the stone wall Ryan snuck trough it and quickly found himself inside the huge cavern, holding on to some stalagmites he positioned himself for his ambush.
" Look at those mindless,flat toothed, grass munching hoof for brains, blissfully unawear that a leopard is just 15 feet above them" though Ryan as he carefully watched the ungulates moving bellow him " I almost feel sorry for them. It must be horrible to be this dense. Oh there she is!" Spotting his target the predator shouted "Yoho!" to the herbivores bellow as they stopped in confusion. Instinctively Ryan dropped himself right on top of the zebra, and before she could react Ryan covered her eyes. The zebra panicked, as did everyone else in the herd, they started stamping out of the cave, Ryan`s victim however started kicking and bucking unable to throw him of. She started running blindly right into another tunel.
Ryan jumped of as the zebra ran for several yards before turning around. The angry equine stomped the ground as she charged at her predator to trample him, but he easily dodged the charge as the zebra continued running. Ryan quickly noticed her difficulty to see in the dimly light cave, which was no problem for his feline eyes, this was almost too easy he thought. " Over here slow pokes!" he mocked her, following the sound of his voice she charged at him again which he dodged once again " Slow in both mind in body, a veggie diet will do that to ya!". Now furious the zebra charged again, pulling out his spear he used it as a pole to jump over the charging zebra. She stopped, allowing Ryan to jab his spear into her side. Hearing his prey wailing in pain Ryan felt a huge amount of satisfaction while stabing the spear head deeper, but then it broke of into the wound. Looking at the now headless shaft Ryan backed of as the zebra tried to regain her balance admits the agonizing pain she felt. Looking up Ryan saw a large colony of bats hanging of the cliff wall, then to his side a small pass along the rocks leading to another cavern, time to improvise he thought. Snorting angrily the zebra stomped the ground ready to charge, Ryan shouted " Come on you stripped pony, you're not even trying to fight!" as the equine charged Ryan jumped atop a boulder and threw his shaft at the bats. Spooked the entire colony started sworming down, blinding and engulfing the panicking zebra. As the bats finally dissapeared she looked around for the predator until she spotted him standing by the crack in the wall. " Hey don't take it out on me that you lost your baby, predators gotta eat!" he said merrily, the enfuriated zebra charged at him, he jumped back as the zebra tried to ran trough the small entrance only to be stuck between the rocks.
"Gotcha!" said Ryan, the zebra strugled to break free as Ryan grabbed the biggest boulder he could lift, and and struck the zebra`s head with it. She collapsed unconcious,but still alive. It was time to make his kill, with child-like exitment Ryan slamed the boulder into the head of it's prey again and again, before he finally realized that his quarry was dead. Ryan started laughing and clapping before he made a triumphant roar which got enhanced in volume by the cave walls scaring the zebras and wildebeest cowering outside thinking that a much bigger and fiercer big cat was inside. A few hours later the vultures arrived carrrying the fire wood. The herd was still outside the cavern too scared to enter it, which gave them an idea where Ryan was. They soon found the zebra, who was missing a huge chunk out of her belly, and close to her was Ryan, his mouth and chest soaked in blood, sleeping peacefully. " I have a hunch that he won't mind if we take our share!" said one vulture to his buddies as started a feeding freenzy while Ryan continued sleeping like a stone.
It was way past noon when he finally woke up, the overfeed vultures were lounging around until they flew up in fright upon seeing him, however he was only mildly annoyed when he asked them why they were overeacting, much to the birds relief signaling that he was back to normal. Ryan quickly noticed that he was in the nude again " Ah crap. Not again" he sighned before noticing the stripped apart carcass and the memories started flooding back. " I took down a full grown zebra!" he remembered feeling proud of himself " This should show Cameron.... CAMERON!" he suddenly remembered clutching his hair (or head fur), she was still held captive and he wasted nearly an entire day chasing a zebra, he really was weak and let his instincts control him. As he kneeled down in despair one of the vultures came to him saying that he has to see what's on the other side of the cavern. Quickly making a new loincloth from the zebra skin and carrying the broken spear with him, he followed the last of the zebra and wildebeest crossing the underground path, Ryan came out at the other side of the mountain range and was astonished at what he saw.
A flowing river cut trough the landscape of lush, green grass. The green grassland housed many patches of broadleaf and palm forest as well as the gallery forest forming around the river, and further away Ryan could see wetlands of swamps alive with cranes, flamingos, storks, hippos and crocodile. The newly arrived zebra and wildebeest were peacefully grazing, joining them were a multitude of other herbivores like bushpigs, forest hogs, kudus, forest buffalo, elands, black rhinos, bongo and sitatunga antelope and even some okapis. It even had elephants, though these weren`t the savannah species, but forest elephant as evident by their straighter, downwards facing tusk. This place looked like paradise, Ryan was in awe for a few moments, before feeling guilty about how he and Cameron could have easily arrived here and made themselves at home, if he didn't insist on raiding the human camp.
Realizing that he was thirsty, Ryan arrived at the nearest pond to take a drink. Right then he thought he saw the shaman in the water`s reflection sitting high up on the nearby tree, but once Ryan turned around no one was there. This could not have been another hallutination, the shaman must have been here, Ryan was boiling with rage as he yelled " Stop playing games! Show yourself you lunatic!" but no response "Who are you yelling at?" a raspy voice said, Ryan turned around to see Razoul. The hyena soon informed him why he was here, Raja was getting impatient and Ryan knew he had to bide time. " Yes I did meet the shaman..." he lied " but....well he said he was very busy and told me that he would call me later to tell me when and where he could meet Raja. Haven't heard of him since" Razoul knew his master wouldn't like to wait more, but seeing that the hyena was buying this Ryan added ".....but he also said that he wouldn't bother seeing Raja if he hurt Cameron, the shaman despise such dishonesty and violence". Razoul knew his master would hate that request even more, but with nothing left to learn he had to go and inform him. Ryan sighed hoping that he got himself, and Cameron, some more time.
He was left wondering the forest alone, lost in his thoughts, if he wanted to take out an entire pride of lions he would need to set up a pretty grand and elaborate trap. His thoughts were interupted as he heard hooting and crashing in the vegetation, soon numerous gorillas appered some carrrying of their babies others pounding their chest doing their threat display. "Oh great I walked into a gorilla colony during feeding time" Ryan tried to back out of the area before he heard a loud roar as a towering silverback came crashing trough the bamboo stalks. Ryan dodged his massive fist and tried to run, but the silverback grabbed him by the tail and pulled him back, as the roaring gorilla raised his other fist to slam into him Ryan striked him across the face with his shaft. As he was let go Ryan tried to escape but had every exit blocked of by angry gorillas, as the silverback charged at him Ryan slipped beneath his legs and ran. He climbed up the nearest tree he could find, it wasn't a particularly big one and the silverback grabbed it's thin trunk and started shaking it. " Look I wasn't attacking your tribe, can't we talk this over" Ryan begged only to be suprised when the ape actually calmed down " A leopard trying to use diplomacy?" the silverback sneered " Never thought I'd see that" " But I`m being honest sir. As you can see I`m just a cub do you honestly think I would attack an animal as powerful as a gorilla. Even grown leopards don't do that" Seeing that the silverback was starting to believe him as he let go of the tree, Ryan cautiously climbed down ready to get out of here, but then the silverback growled demanding to know why he entered their territory " I didn`t know where I was going, I was lost in my thoughts, trying to evade some lions, and so...." Ryan tried to leave but was grabbed by the arm " What lions? There are no lions around here!" said the silverback towering over him, Ryan noticed the fear behind his stern tone. Ryan explained that a large pride was heading this way which got the whole tribe worrying. It wasn't hard to deduce why, with a huge pride of bloodthirsty lions around here life would be a lot more dangerous for them. Seeing an oportunity here Ryan told the silverback that he could help them deter the lions if they would be willing to trust him.
Convincing the entire tribe to assist him wasn't easy but luckily for Ryan their leader, the silverback, was willing to bealive his word knowing that while both lion and leopard were predators there was no love lost between them. Ryan had to admit that he was starting to like this gorilla, few animals he meet were this rational and willing to listen to reason, though while directing the gorillas to build his trap Ryan had an upleasent suprise when he came across human bones within the gorillas territory, acording to the silverback these were hunters that attacked his tribe years ago forcing him to kill them as it was his duty to protect his tribe. Nervously gulping Ryan agreed that he did a good job at it though Ryan soon found out that the humans deserted camp held some usefull stuff. Their guns were broken apart by the gorillas, but he found other well preserved weponary. Once they were finished Ryan sent one of his vultures to give Raja a message, the old bastard would soon get his just deserts.
It was dawn and Ryan patiently waited by the cave entrance and soon enough his dreaded enemy arrived with seemingly his entire pride by his side. He aproached the old lion telling him that the shaman awaited him in the valley on the other side and that they can`t keep him waiting. " He`s very eager to meet you, said something how he admired your intelligence and determination." said Ryan knowing that inflating the lions ego is the best way to blind his judgment. As the lions followed him inside, none of them noticed Razoul staying behind, he had an uneasy feeling about this but was certainly not gonna warn his boss, in fact he very much hope that this was a trap for the old bastard. Ryan lead the pride deeper into the cave, they were crossing a narrow tunnel when suddenly a large boulder was hurled down, squashing 3 lionesses at the far back of the group, everyone was in shock, Raja looked up seeing several gorillas disappearing into the darkness before noticing Ryan making a break for it. The lion growled , "I think this is a trap sir" said Zuri " No kidding you idiot!" he snapped at her before another boulder got hurled at them forcing them to run foward.
Running deeper inside they saw Ryan running trough another corridor, noticing the many lose rock piles around him Raja knew not to follow him but unfortunately his pride wasn't so savy when Ryan started mocking them about how they were fooled. "No! Stop you idiots!" yelled Raja after the lionesses, he saw other gorillas pushing the upper most boulders causing a huge rock slide that soon buried the pride. Raja himself suddenly had to dodged large rocks being thrown at him by the gorillas forcing him again to run foward. He ran over the newly formed rock pile to find Nyala and Zuri, the only ones lucky enough to escape being buried. "Oh just give up Raja, you`re as good as dead anyway" they heard Ryan`s voice but couldn't deduce where it came from as the cave started distorting it. Raja yelled for him to show himself and he did, as he appeared in front of them them they stared each other down, raising his empty hands up Ryan continued to mock them " This is way easier than I thought, I flattened some 15 lions in one go, I guess your kind really is all muscle and boasting and no brain". The 3 lions charged at him and he ran, at that point a gorilla above them let go of a vine he was holding, releasing a huge log suspended in the air by 2 vines which swung down towards them. Ryan ducked and Raja was quick enough to do the same, but the log struck Nyala and Zuri throwing them into the air and slaming them into the hard cave wall. As the log swung back over him and then foward again Raja crawled out of harms way. He saw Ryan running and chased after him.
Cameron walked in circles around the cage, just yesterday night one of the vultures arrived telling Raja that Ryan and the shaman would supposedly meet him at a specific location. He left with his entire pride at the crack of dawn leaving only Kira and Sabi to guard her. Both of them were currently lounging around having their backs turned on her. Then when she leaned on the cages door miraculously it just opened, the leopardess was stunned then noticing that the lock had been opened. "What? How?" she thought before she realized that this wasn't the time to think about it, with the lionesses remaining oblivious she quietly snuck away and ran...
Ryan stopped running once he realized that the lion wasn't following him. Hestopped and looked around, the many boulders and stalagmites made it hard to see far, when suddenly a light steping sound alerted him and he ducked as Raja pounced from behind a boulder. Looking at the boy the furious and exhausted lion growled " Games over runt" " Actually you still have the boss fight" said Ryan to the advancing lion who promptly got bodyslamed by the silverback. Picking himself up Raja saw the large gorilla pounding his chest while Ryan ran of further into the cave.
" You imbecilic, overgrown monkey! Why are you risking your miserable life for that abomination ?" growled the lion, " Not for him. For my tribe" answered the great ape " As the leader it's my obligation to protect them, and it seems you failed as a leader as you foolishly led your tribe to their demise". Enraged Raja pounced at him, clamping his jaws into the silverbacks throat, he in turn wrapped his arms around the lion and started chrushing him, Raja released the gorillas throat and started brutally clawing his body, causing them them to release each other from mutually inflicted pain. Raja attacked again but the silverback got a choke hold on his neack and threw the lion over him. As Raja slamed against the cave floar, the gorilla started pounding him with his huge fists but stopped when the lion slashed him across the face. Raja ceased the opportunity to jump on his oponents back and bite into his neck but the gorilla managed to grab hold of him and throw him foward. Raja picked him self up and dodged the charging ape and ran around him. He wasted enough time, he had to catch Ryan, but the silverback didn't follow, he`d done his part in biding Ryan time, now he had to help his tribe.
Following Ryan`s sent Raja found a small crack within the cave wall, the inside of it was lighted, he cautiously entered it, and found that it was a fairly small space, with a lot of straw colored grass and dried up branches stacked into it, but there was no sign of the runt. Suddenly Ryan came swinging down a vine holding a torch, strocking it across Rajas back and mane causing them to catch on fire. Horryfied Raja started rolling down on the ground to estinguish it but Ryan swung back and dropped the torch, before planting his feet against the rocky wall and climbing up towards an opening at the ceiling. Raja soon found himself surrounded by fire, blocking of his exit. " I`m not letting him take my life!" he growled as he sunk his claws into the wall. Nearing the opening Ryan was shocked to see the 600 pound lion pulling himself up, his intense rage giving him the will to forcefully climb upwards. As the lion followed him up they both emerged atop the rocky slope overseeing the green valley. Ryan jumped onto a nearby tree, grabbing something he left there, and lowered himself down. Raja followed and jumped down from the tree, landing on his feet.
A dense forest, his target could easily escape him now thought Raja until he saw a yellow blur moving trough the bushes. He grinned and charged full speed at him, only to jump back as something sliced across his mane. Ryan emerged carrrying a pocket knife in one hand and a machete in the other. Raja laughed " Do you actually intend to fight. You must have a death wish!" Ryan glared at him " I wouldn't laugh if I were you. You`re about to learn why the blade is mightier then the claw!" Ryan charged repeadiatly swinging his knifes at the lion, who jumped back, until Ryan finally slashed him across his shoulder. Backing of Raja felt the sting in his wound, suddenly staring to fear for his life. As Ryan charged again he jumped over him, and reacting quickly clamped his jaws around Ryan`s right arm, however Ryan swung his other one towards him and impailed his pocket knife into Raja`s shoulder. As the lion scremed he let go of Ryan who promptly backed of inspecting his wound. He saw Raja trying to pull the knife out with his mouth but couldn't reach it. Ryan charged and slashed the lion across his side, then across his right leg, and then across his neck, barely missing the jugular thanks to the lions thick mane. Raja swung his claws at him, only to get his paw slashed by the machete.
The lion backed of, now practically limping. Ryan now looked at him and saw the sorry state that the beast that nearly killed him several times was now in. " Aw the mighty Raja doesn't look so tough now..." panting the lion looked up giving him a death glare "... you had this coming for a long time. This is for Cameron!" roaring Ryan charged with his machete pointing fowards, but at the last moment Raja dodged and Ryan stabbed his machete deep into a tree trunk. As he strugled to get it free Raja bit into his leg and threw him several feet away. Walking towards him Raja chuckled " You have to be so stubborn, I told you what would happen if you disobeyed me, your friend is dead.." he hissed the last word, Ryan picked himself up glaring at the advancing lion "...... I`m gonna enjoy making her death as slow and painful as possible, but first I will have to beat some sense into you...." Ryan lunged at him, and got on his back, he pulled the knife out of Raja`s shoulder causing him to roar in agony from the pain. Clinging on to his back Ryan furiously tried to stab the lions throat, but couldn't penetrate his thick mane. Raja bit onto his tail and threw him of. Ryan rolled on the ground and imediatly got up just as Raja lunged at him. He forcefully pinned Ryan down but as he moved his gaping jaws towards his victim Ryan swung his knife into the lions left eye, and soon a blood curdling scream broke out scaring every animal within the area. Even on the other side Razoul heard it, hoping that the lion meet his end, failing to notice that someone was aproaching him from behind.
Ryan ran and pulled his machete out of the tree trunk and faced his enemy with both blades. After clutching his wounded eye for a moment Raja regained his composer and slowly walked towards Ryan who now got a good view of the lions empty and blood dripping eye socket. They stared each other for a while, until unexpectedly Raja burst out laughing, his dark and disturbed laughter creeped Ryan out as he yelled "What`s so funny!" the lion looked at him and spoke in a disturbinglly casual way " Alright, you proved yourself to be a strong opponent, I`m impressed. I realized now that I have nothing to gain by maiming myself further in this fight, so I`ll let you go this time", Ryan was dumbfounded by the lions reaction before sneering " Yeah right, you just want to save your sorry ass from being killed!" Raja remained calm and smiled " Call it whatever you please, but remember that you haven't seen the last of me. You won this fight, but the battle is anything but over!" and with that the lion ran of into the forest, leaving Ryan alone and confused on wheater he should feel triumphant or not. He meet up with the gorillas back in the cave to learn that they chased out two lionesses but the rest of them were certainly dead, when suddenly he heard a familiar voice screaming.
" Please I don't know anything!" Razoul`s screaming lead Ryan back to the entrance of the cave to find him pinned down by an angry Cameron, though she immediately forgot about him when she saw Ryan. The two quickly embraced each other in a hug, once the joyful reunion was over she asked him what had happened here, to which he told here that he taught Raja a painful lesson about messing with him and that most of his pride had been dealt with for good. Suprised Cameron asked if he actually did that all by himself but Ryan showed her that he had a little help as the gorilla tribe arrived after him, the silverback spoke " Never thought I would say this to a predator, but you earned our respect. I think most of the animals in the valley will be grateful to you for this as well. If you ever need help feel free to give us a call, that is as long as you and who I pressume is your mother never bother my tribe" Ryan was quite happy to give that promise, when he turned to Cameron she rolled her eyes " Fine, I detest monkey meat anyway". Her comment visibly annoyed the gorillas as Ryan whispered to her that they`re apes, not monkeys. The gorillas said their goodby as they ventured back into the cavern, while Razoul approached the two.
" Let me guess?" he asked timidly "There was no shaman here, and you made a fool out of Raja?" Ryan nodded " Oh it was more then that, I`m sure he`ll tell you in greater detail about what happened" "Oh no" sighed the hyena clucthing his face already knowing that Raja`s gonna be super mad and take it out on him. Turning back to the leopard Ryan lead her to the cave to show her their new home on the other side, knowing she would like it, and with nothing other to do Razoul followed them, hoping he could avoid Raja until he calmed down. As they walked Ryan told her about how managed to hold his own in a fight with Raja alone, which promted Cameron to say that she was proud of him, then something dawned on Ryan "Say Cammy how did you escape?".......