Yawning loudly, Niani stretches out along a large boulder. She managed to catch herself a warthog for a meal, and while not her greatest catch, was still quite satisfying on her almost empty stomach. The sun is unbearably hot and the heat, plus her full stomach, is making her quite sleepy.
Looking around for any suspicious activity and finding none, she sees no problem with taking a small nap in another's territory. Besides, she plans to be out before getting caught.
Harufu could smell the lioness well before he spotted her. He could smell the kill too. Warthog wasn't his favourite meal but they certainly had a pungent odour. But what had him captivated was the smell of lioness. Hesitantly, he trotted over. He knew he shouldn't be creeping - even leopards knew not to creep up on each other - but it was hard to be bold and brave. Especially in a first time encounter. When he got to the edge of the boulder and put his paws up, examining the strange creature before him, he decided perhaps clearing his throat would be the best way to announce his appearance: "ahem..." That didn't work. The lioness seemed thoroughly asleep, and Harufu's throat still felt clogged up by nerves. So he said again, "AHEM!" Oops. Maybe that was a bit too loud...
Niani's eyes snap open and she snarls at whoever disturbed her sleep, now in a crouch position in case she needs to fight. Typically, she's not too bothered by being disturbed while slumbering. However, being in an unfamiliar territory could make someone more hostile and guarded.
Before her, is a male lion she does not recognize, looking more sheepish and friendly than angry like other lions that have chased her out of their territory. She sniffs the air and realizes that he must also be a stranger to the lands, seeing how his smell isn't marked on anything. Softening her glare, yet still keeping a stern gaze upon him, she speaks. "Who are you?"
Harufu ducked when the lioness growled. He hadn't expected such a hostile reaction, but he should have, idiot. "I'm Harufu," he said, in response to her question, and straightened up when he saw her face soften. "You're a lioness, right? I mean of course you are. You've got the tail tuft and everything." He reached forward, nose sniffing the air, sniffing her, or the meat. He wasn't sure. "What are you... where is... where are... I mean... what's your name anyway?" He flashed a quick, nervous grin at her.
She blinks, then can't help the small bubble of laughter that exits her throat. The lion known to her now as Harufu seems more harmless than anything. Well, at the moment. "I'm Niani. You're not used to being in the presence of a lioness, are you?" Niani asks, noting how nervous he seems.
"No! I mean... no," he said, the second no being much more casual. He hopped onto the boulder next to her, but not too close, his tail flicking nervously. "What I meant to ask before was: what are you doing out here? Are you alone? I mean, are there any other? ... Lionesses?" He looked out through the grass, as if expecting a dozen to leap out from behind the regular scrubby trees. "Because I'm alone too. I was looking for... a pride, or something. Because I'm a lion." He sat down, then looked her in the eye. "What's your name, anyway?"
"I've noticed that you're a lion. And don't worry, I'm without a pride too. So, I doubt any lionesses that pop in would be on my side. My name's Niani." The lioness yawns and shakes her head a bit. "Looks like you and I are the same. Both looking for a pride."
"Niani. That's cool. Sorry, I just asked that, didn't I?" He gripped his forehead with his paw, drawing it down his cheek dramatically. "I tend to say really dumb things when I'm nervous. Not that I'm nervous - maybe a little - but you just wait until I'm really nervous. It's like... verbal diarrhea, or something..." He stopped, realising he was about to stick his paw in it. For a while he just sat, listening to the wind in the grass, wondering what to say next. He wondered for a long time, watching the ants crawl in a line across the boulder beside him, risking a glance at Niani out of the corner of his eye. Then he cleared his throat and stood, stretching. "Weell... I know you just ate, but I was wondering: maybe you want to hunt? We could catch something bigger. Together. I mean, we could catch something bigger if we hunted together... is there anything big to hunt around here?"
"Why are you so nervous? I'm not going to bite you or anything." Niani grins in amusement. She never met such a lion. She could almost say he's adorable. Stretching, she stands up and nods. "And I saw a herd of zebra earlier. Are you up for that?"
"You're welcome." Niani smile and walks a little ways away, gesturing Harufu to follow her.After leading his a small ways, she spots the herd, grazing peacefully. She smirks when she catches sight of one with a small limp. "See what I see?" She asks, not glancing away from the intended prey.
"Yes, I do," Harufu said, peering through the grass. Then he looked to Niani. "I'll circle around. You approach from this side." He raised his paw to step through the tuft of grass, then paused and added, "Unless you have a better idea?"
Harufu left without another word, stalking widely, growing more and more cautious the closer he came to his prey. He knew a bit about Savannah hunting. Stay downwind of your prey. Get as close as you can before breaking cover. Then run, and try to sink your claws into the rump. Hold on while your partner caught up. It sounded easy, right? But looking at these zebras, with their long necks and legs and skinny rumps higher than he could reach made him trepidatious. There were stripey black and white horses everywhere on this savanna. Giraffes, he thought they were called. One of them was even injured. But if Niani wanted a zebra, she'd get one. Insects cricked as he crawled his way closer, closer still, until one of the zebra's ears swivelled towards him. He froze, watching as they nibbled from the acacia tree, then crawled while their ears were pointed elsewhere. When the ear moved he froze. Moved, froze. He was quite good at this! Then one of the zebras glanced in his direction and bolted, gliding away on long legs. Harufu waited not a moment to give chase as the whole here bolted, the white horses too. But Niani had said she wanted zebras, so he stuck to the heels of the tall, long-necked animals like a tail tuft to its lion.
"Oh dear." Niani says to herself, now in a sitting position as she watches the spectacle before her. She's honestly not sure whether to laugh or cry at the display.
A giraffe. He's going after a giraffe. A move that was either very bold, stupid, or both. Giraffes are very dangerous to hunt with their powerful kicks and how they can swing their neck as a defense. Not wasting anymore time, she bolts from her position and takes off after her new companion, determined not to let him get himself killed. Once caught up to him, she tackles him to the ground, in time to spare him from the creature's mighty kick.
Panting, she rises off of him and cautiously sniffs his form for any injuries. "Are you okay, Harufu?"
"I'm fine," Harufu said, pulling himself up. He didn't understand. Everything seemed to be going so well. He'd seen Niani running out of the corner of his eye and expected to see her leap at the zebra, but instead she leapt at him! "Umm... is something wrong?" He had this dreadful feeling he'd stuffed up, somehow.
"Well..." Looking at his hopeful expression, she didn't want to hurt his feelings. However, she has to say something. "That wasn't exactly the prey I had in mind. As in, that was a giraffe and a lot riskier to hunt. You're not used to hunting around here, are you?" Niani guessed.
"A giraffe... But you said you wanted to eat giraffe, didn't you?" He said, cocking his head. Then he pulled a sour face. "No. Zebras. You said you wanted zebras." He slapped his snout in embarrassment, then sighed. "Ok. Well, there's two reasons for that. One is I'm always getting words mixed up. Like... Um, well. Like zebra and giraffe, or leopard and cheetah. Second - and this is probably the biggest reason - I grew up in the congo, and we don't have zebras or giraffes there. Or lions... my parents were leopards. They're not really my parents... obviously... I mean they didn't give birth to me but they're like parents to me. Anyway so I've only been out of the Congo for like a week now, and... Yeah. Really sorry about the confusion." He sat there with his shoulders hunched, green eyes glancing at her from under the whisps of his black mane. Then he grinned lopsidedly. "Well, thanks for saving me from the zebra. Giraffe. I mean giraffe. The long-necked things. Gah. Who invented words anyway? I promise I'm not always this dumb."
"Not a problem. Besides, even though you didn’t know what you were doing," Niani gives him a quick nuzzle of appreciation. "I still think that you were sweet to try." She smiles then walks a little ways away, then gestures out to the Savannah. "Looks to me that I'm going to have to teach you how to survive out here. Do you want to travel with me for a while?"
Harufu didn't need a second invitation. His green eyes sparkled brightly and he trotted to Niani's side. "I would love to. If you're happy to have me. I don't want to come if you're just feeling sorry for me." He breathed out, then looked around. "So which way, o wise Master? I mean Mistress. Ugh, that sounds TERRIBLE." he slapped his snout again, then looked her in the eye. "Which way, o wise lady of the savanna?" He was quite proud of himself for having the foresight to realise 'wise woman' wasn't really flattering.
"First, you can relax around me. We're friends now, right?" She grins at his attitude, but feeling flattered nonetheless. "And we're gonna start off sweet and simple." Niani says, leading him to a nearby waterhole. "Flamingoes."
"Ok. Relax," he said, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, dramatically. "Don't worry. I'm sure given more time I'll relax." He followed her dutifully to the watering hole, and gazed curiously at the large pink birds. "Flamingoes. They sure are a flaming pink. Ok. So I have caught birds before, but they live in trees. How do you catch these ones?"
"It'll be easier for me to show you than to explain. Just wait and watch for now. If there's any confusion, ask when I return. Okay?" Niani gives him a brief nod before stalking away and blending into the tall grass of the Savannah. Patiently, she waits for a small group of flamingos to herd into to grass to eat. Once she was sure their guard was down, she stalks up behind them slowly, her eye trained on a specific one in the bunch. She stalks slowly, pausing her step whenever one showed any signs of being aware of her presence, before resuming when they continued their meal. Once close enough, she changes her stalking to a sprint, dashing towards the flock, causing them to start flapping their wings and run in an attempt to escape. However, they are quite clumsy and slow on their skinny legs, and she was able to catch one around the throat before it could reach the air. Quickly snapping it's neck, she carries the carcass over to Harufu and drops it at his paws. "Any questions?"
Harufu nodded, impressed. "No, not yet anyway. Ok my turn." He trotted off among the reeds, to a group of flamingoes grazing in reeds beside the lake, far enough away that they'd ignored the commotion down this end. The only problem was, he couldn't see how close he was until they all started flying away. Breaking into a sprint was nearly useless in the reeds too, and so he ended up looking up at the sky in consternation. But then he heard a grunting.
A short time later he was back, draging a red river hog behind him. "Hey Niani. Ifn't fis fe uglieft flamingo you've efer feen?"
Niani looks up from her pink snack and falls into a bout of uncontrollable laughter at the sight of him dragging in something that obviously wasn't a flamingo. Her laughter settles and she takes a deep breath. She has no idea if he was trying to be funny or not. "That's definitely not a flamingo, but your catch is more advanced. Good job!" After she finishes off her meal, she takes a glance at the young lion next to her. "We can finish up this lesson for today and do more tomorrow. For now, let's talk. I'm not exactly sure what to talk about, so you can ask me some questions if you want."
Harufu stood there grinning at her laughter. It made him happy to make other people laugh, even at his expense. It made him particularly happy to make Niani laugh. "Fanks," he said, putting the pig down. "We have these in the congo, along rivers. I HAVE hunted before, but the biggest thing I've killed is an okapi. My parents were leopards, so they hunted alone. Their way of teaching was to show you how it's done, then send you off to do it yourself. But I always wanted to hunt with them! That's partially why I left." Harufu dragged the pig over beside the flamingo. "They're kinda the same colour?" he ventured, raising an eyebrow and smirking. "I'm happy to talk. But I hope you don't mind me eating at the same time, because I'm starving." He settled down with his pig, opening it up. "So, if you don't mind me asking: What brings you out here all alone? You already kind of know my story, but don't let me pry. I won't be offended." He stuck his nose into the carcass and drew it out bloody, before twisting the carcass towards her. "Want some? It's like warthog, but the offal is less... pungent."
"I'm actually quite full now." Niani politely refuses the meal with a small laugh. Then she sighs. "My father, the old king of my old pride, died. It wasn't necessary for me to become a rogue, but the younger lion that replaced him was arrogant and reckless. He wasn't too awful, but his decisions were solely for the moment, and would hurt the pride in the long run. So, I decided to leave, either to join a new pride, or to perhaps meet someone whom I can start a pride with."
After her tale, she stretches out on the ground, then flops into a lying position. "Ah. Nap time."
Harufu listened as he ate, then settled down to rest as well. "So, it wasn't your brother who replaced the king? And how did you choose where to go, afterwards? Did you just pick a direction and start wandering?"
Harufu knew when not to push. He decided he'd leave his questions about the particulars of succession for another time. "This was the fastest way out of the congo," he said, in answer to her question. "It was either: walk three weeks in one direction, or walk three days in this direction." He shrugged, and glanced at her. "I'm glad to have bumped into you though. Lions don't have the best reputation in the Congo. But you seem one of the good'uns. Hope you don't mind me saying so." He smiled.