It was a peaceful day in the Pridelands.
Kion was doing a patrol in Hapuna Valley.
Suddenly, Twiga came running up to him.
"Hi Kion" Twiga said.
"Hi Twiga" Kion said.
"How's Marigold?" Twiga asked.
Kion smiled warmly at the mention of his favorite niece.
"She's doing well." He said.
"Where's the rest of the Guard?" Twiga asked.
"They're patrolling in Ndefu Grove" Kion answered.
Twiga moved closer to Kion and stood beside him.
"How's Kiara?" She asked.
"She's doing fine" Kion answered.
He glanced up.
"I gotta go meet up with her" Kion said.
Kion bounded off.
Meanwhile, Simba was settled down on the peak of Pride Rock.
"I wish you could be here with us, Dad" Simba said quietly.
Nala padded forward and brushed her muzzle against his cheek.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
Simba nodded distractedly.
Nala leaned forward until her cheek pressed against Simba's feather-soft chest fur.
"Are you sure?" She pressed gently.
Simba sighed and turned towards her.
His heart warmed at the glow in her eyes and he leaned over to press his muzzle to her cheek.
"I'm just thinking about Dad" Simba said.
Nala's expression softened and a mixture of compassion and understanding began to dawn in her eyes.
"Do you want go hunting?" She asked.
"Sure, I'd like that" he said.
They stood up and entwined tails.
"Let's go ask Mom and Sarabi if they'd like to join us" Nala suggested.
They headed inside the den.
Meanwhile, Kiara and Kion had met up at The Meadow to spend time together.
They were settled underneath a baobab tree.
"Kiara, why doesn't Nona ever talk about Mom's dad?" Kion asked.
"I don't know, Kion. Mom says that her father died during Scar's reign. Nona was heartbroken and relied on Nai Nai and Mom to comfort her" Kiara said.
"How'd he die?" Kion asked.
"I think it was starvation. You've heard the stories of Scar's reign. It wasn't easy for anyone" Kiara said.
"Kiara why don't we know anything about Grandfather and Granny?" Kion asked.
"We get most of our information from Rafiki and he wasn't around during their reign. Dad does remember Granny a little bit." She said.
"Nada says that the Ndona pride roamed before their reign" Kion said.
"That's right" she said.
Kion pressed against Kiara's side affectionally.
Kiara glanced down at him with a warm glow in her reddish-brown eyes.
"Do you want to hear a story?" She asked.
"Tell me about Yeh-Yeh and the drought." He said.
"Don't you want to hear a different one?" She asked.
Kion shook his head.
"I want to hear about Yeh-Yeh and the drought" he insisted.
Kiara chuckled and began the story.
Meanwhile, Kata had met up with Nita and Marigold.
"Grandma, I'm glad we get to spend time you" Nita said.
Kata smiled warmly and bent to nuzzle Nita's cheek.
"I'm glad too." She said.
Marigold mewled and pressed closer to Nita's side.
Nita draped her tail around Marigold.
"Kia and Belee went on the hunt with Nana and the other lionesses" Nita said.
Kata's eyes hardened at the mention of the hunt.
"Did Vitani go with them?" She asked coldly.
Nita shook her head.
Kata glanced down at Marigold.
"Where's your aunt, Nita?" She asked.
"Aunt Maya's inside" Nita said.
"Let's go inside and see what she's doing" Kata said.
Nita nodded excitingly.
Kata stood up and bent to grasp Mari's scruff.
She and Nita headed inside.
Meanwhile, Clea and Vitani had decided to meet up at Hapuna Valley.
They were settled down underneath a mango tree.
"I'm glad you decided to skip out on the hunt to keep me company" Vitani said warmly.
Clea leaned over and nuzzled Vitani's cheek.
"You're my sister, Tani and I love you." She answered.
"What's wrong?" Clea asked
Clea moved closer to her sister and wrapped her tail over Vitani's flank.
She leaned into Clea's embrace.
"Tell me what's wrong" Clea insisted gently.
"Kata and Maya hate me" Vitani said.
Clea's expression softened and she leaned over to press her muzzle against Vitani's cheek.
"Tani, I'm pretty sure that the whole pride knows that " Clea said softly.
Vitani sank her claws into the moss underneath her.
"Really?" She asked.
Clea nodded reluctantly.
Vitani growled quietly.
"Do my daughters know?" She asked.
"Nita does" Clea said.
"Kora can't do anything about it." She muttered.
"Why not?" Clea asked.
"He's intimated by Kata's influence" Vitani explained.
Meanwhile, Belee and Kia had met up with Rafiki and Nita at Rafiki's Tree.
They were watching Nita sort herbs.
"Rafiki, why don't we know anything about Grandfather and Granny?" Belee asked.
"I wasn't around during their reign." He explained.
Belee and Kia exchanged a glance.
They watched Nita bent her head to count juniper berries.
"Grandpa says that Granny was alive during his early childhood" Kia pointed out.
"I know that, Kia" Rafiki said patiently.
Nita sighed and began organizing borage leaves.
"What's wrong, Nita?" Belee asked kindly.
"Grandma and Aunt Maya's resentment towards Mom hasn't changed despite Mari's birth" Nita said.
"Nita, the whole pride knows that " Kia said softly.
Nita turned to Rafiki.
"Why do they dislike her?" She asked.
"I don't know if I'm the right one to explain this." He said gently.
Belee and Nita exchanged a glance.
"Please, Rafiki" Nita said.
Rafiki's expression softened and he beckoned them closer.
"Kata and Maya dislike your mother because she was raised in the Outlands " He began.
"So was Dad" Belee pointed out.
Nita and Kia exchanged a glance.
"Uncle Kovu's royalty, Belee" Kia said.
"Go on, Rafiki" Nita said.
"Simba told me about your little adventure into the Outlands, Nita. You know what a dangerous environment it is" Rafiki continued.
Nita shivered and pressed closer to Belee's side.
"They are resentful towards her because she places Simba and Nala above them in your lives" Rafiki went on.
"Mari and I love the affection that Nana and Papa give us" Nita said.
"There's nothing wrong with Gran and Grandpa loving you. You're family" Belee said comfortingly.
Rafiki leaned forward and placed his palm on Nita's shoulder.
"I'm sorry that you and Mari have to be in the middle of their feud" Rafiki said gently.
"Mari doesn't know about it. She's not old enough to see the hostility" Nita said gratefully.
"You're both lucky to have so many that live you and are willing to protect you" Kia said warmly.
"Kion hasn't stopped fawning over Marigold since she was born" Belee added.
"Aunt Clea told me that Mom had a nasty encounter with Aunt Maya the other day in front of Mari" Nita said mournfully.
"Grandpa and Gran defended her" Belee said.
"Why don't they dislike Uncle Kovu?" She asked.
"He's royalty Nita, Kovu didn't have to prove his place amongst the pride. He and Kiara united the prides and defended their love" Rafiki said.
"I've heard the story. Nai Nai loves telling it" Nita said fondly.
"I love that story" Belee added.
"Rafiki, why should Aunt Tani have to prove her place amongst the pride?" Kia asked.
"Mom became friends with her after Zira's death. Grandpa learned to trust Aunty because Mom was friends with her." Belee said.
"Kion was the first one to use Nuka's nickname for her" Kia added.
Rafiki whistled approvingly.
"How'd you know all that?" He asked.
"Pula told us" Kia said.
"Rafiki, I'm glad Mari's not old enough to see the hostility that Grandma and Aunt Maya
have for Mom" Nita said.
"Nita, I think we're running low on borage leaves" Rafiki said.
"I'll gather some" Nita sighed.
"I still wish we could know Grandfather and Granny" Kia said.
"I know" Rafiki said gently.
Meanwhile, Denahi had met up with Sitka at Hapuna Valley.
They were settled underneath a mango tree.
"How's Marigold?" Sitka asked.
Denahi smiled warmly.
"She's doing fine, Mari's already got the whole pride doting on her" Denahi said.
"I've heard that Kion adores her." Sitka said.
"It makes sense. She's the youngest cub and Kion's the oldest" he said.
"Isn't Kiara expecting you?" Sitka asked.
"I gotta go." He said.
He bounded off.