Laureen Burger Brooks
Lions who listen to the chattering of monkeys will never learn to roar!
Kopa, the son of Simba and Nala, is playing a game of I-dare-you with his monkey friends, Jambo and Kwaheri, when they dare him to jump across a dangerous gorge. At first, Kopa steels himself for the jump, but his fright causes him to run away and hide. While in hiding, he encounters Rafiki, who chastises him for refusing to feel fear, and informs him that both his parents have been afraid before. He then tells Kopa to ask his mother, Nala, about the story of Ni.
Kopa hastens to Pride Rock, where he asks Nala to tell him about Ni, and she agrees to tell the tale. Long ago, when she was still a cub living under Scar's reign, she went out to play with her two best friends, Chumvi and Kula. While playing, Chumvi dared Nala to talk to a strange rogue lion who was skulking nearby. Though frightened, Nala agreed to the dare, but just as she was descending to talk to the rogue, a roar from Pride Rock called the cubs back.
The three cubs returned to Pride Rock, where Nala's mother Sarafina warned them about the strange rogue lion. As she herded the cubs back to safety, Chumvi playfully mocked Nala for being too scared to approach the rogue. Indignant, Nala refuted Chumvi's claims and privately informed Kula that she intended to speak to Ni the next morning. A worried Kula tried to talk Nala out of the plan, but Nala remained indignant.
That night, Nala had a nightmare about the strange lion and jerked awake from the dream to find it still dark outside. She decided to seek out the rogue on her own, but on her way out of the cave, she was stopped by Kula, who tried to convince Nala to give up her plan. A stubborn Nala refused, though she accepted Kula's offer to eat before leaving Pride Rock. The two traveled to Kula's secret stash of food, only to find it empty. Kula blamed the rogue lion for the theft, but Nala defended him and insisted that she continue on her quest.
After leaving Kula on the side of Pride Rock, Nala set off to find the rogue, despite her own fears. Not long into her search, she happened across Kula's stolen stash of food. Just then, she heard a rustle behind her and took off in terror. As she was running, she saw the rogue lion appear before her and leap straight at her. To her surprise, he sailed over her and attacked a hyena that had been chasing her. As he fought, he yowled at Nala to run, and she obediently raced away, following the stranger.
However, Nala soon tired, and the rogue lion led her to an acacia tree, which they climbed to catch their breath. After a moment, Nala questioned the rogue as to why he did not attack her, and he replied that he would never attack another lion. The rogue then introduced himself as Ni, and explained that he had left his pride, having recently come of age. Nala then invited Ni to come meet her family, and though at first reluctant, he consented and followed Nala to Pride Rock.
While ascending Pride Rock, however, the pair were attacked by hyenas. Just as Ni was preparing to single-handedly take on the hyenas, Sarafina arrived, and she and Ni fended off the clan. After comforting her daughter, Sarafina scolded Nala for leaving Pride Rock alone, and Nala told her mother of how Ni had saved her from a hyena. Hearing this, Sarafina invited Ni to meet the rest of the pride, and once again, Ni consented. They finished the climb to Pride Rock, and Nala was reunited with Kula and Chumvi, the latter of which apologized to Nala for daring her. Nala forgave her friend, then proceeded to tell the pair about her adventure with Ni.
Later, Nala, Kula, and Chumvi spent time with Ni while the adults rested back at Pride Rock. When the sun was low, Ni announced that it was time for him to leave, much to his companions' displeasure. Nala invited Ni to visit the summit of Pride Rock before his departure, to which he complied. While at the summit, Nala confided in Ni, telling him that she feels afraid if she doesn't take a dare. At this, Ni told Nala that lions who listen to the chattering of monkeys will never learn to roar. He then left, while a confused yet somehow satisfied Nala looked on.
Nala concludes her tale, and when Kopa questions her, admits that she never saw her friend Ni again. This leaves Kopa curious, and he continues to ask questions about Ni, much to his parents' amusement. Just then, Zazu alights in front of the royal family and proceeds to give Simba the afternoon report, during which he informs Kopa that Jambo and Kwaheri are waiting for him at the terrace.
Hearing this, Kopa leaves to join his friends. Jambo and Kwaheri proceed to flip among the tree branches, then dare Kopa to do the same, but the lion cub refuses. Seeing the monkeys' confusion, Kopa quotes Ni, saying that lions who listen to the chattering of monkeys will never learn to roar. Just then, Kopa hears the clatter of gourds and looks for the source of the noise, but can find none. Unknown to the cub, an amused Rafiki is watching from a distance.
|The Lion King: Six New Adventures|