Harufu looked at Niani in confusion, then back at the gazelle. "Uhhh... can't say anyone's asked me this before... I think I'd just stay out of the way. You don't see gazelles defending grass from marauding buffalo, do you?" Then he had a thought, and his green eyes lit up. "That being said. An animal that ends up being worth more than his weight in meat, could... potentially... could find him or herself safe in the company of lions, I suppose. What do you think, Niani?" He winked at her, probably not very subtly, several times.
"I suppose we could take you in and protect you. I mean, if that's what you're insinuating, of course." She says, looking at the gazelle. "By the way, I'm Niani, and this is Harufu." She nods in the other lion's direction. "What's your name?"
Well my name is Usuki and it sounds like you'll adopt me. Umm can I call u mom and dad? The gazelle looks at them for a response. It would be great to have parents again...and be in a herd that cares about you. Instead of those that wanna eat you...and I don't think I taste good at all. Usuki shakes his head in agreement.
He then gives a big smile.So where will we live at? Will it have a water to take baths in--usuki pauses.
Harufu winced. Suddenly he felt very, very bad. "Look, Usuki. We aren't ever going to be your mum and dad," he said, looking to Niani for reassurance. "We eat your kind for a living. Plus travelling with lions is never a good idea. We're going to visit a pride. We'll be there in a few days. Once we get there you won't be able to stay with us anymore. We can't protect you from other lions. "But here's the thing:" he raised a poignant finger. "We need to eat meat. You are meat, which means that meat is much more likely to trust you. So IF you help us catch meat then I don't mind you coming with us until we find you some parents from the same species or something. But we really, really, really can't be your parents. Lions can't be good parents to prey animals. "So, what to you say? In return for our protection, you help us catch prey animals. Deal?" He extended a paw, but again his eyes drifted to Niani, to make sure he wasn't doing something she was totally against.
The gazelle lowers his head.I've already tried finding others to adopt me, no one will. They think I bring bad luck because hyenas or cheetahs and even lions show up anytime I stay in a place for too long.
He turns to Niani.
But the Hyenas and cheetahs won't fight lions, and any lion that shows up will be alone and outnumbered. So please say you'll adopt me, I can be of greater help to you, with me around I can tell you the whereabouts of anyone that lets me stay for a short while--wilderbeast,hippo, elephant,rhino--you name it and i'll help you find it.
He turns to Harufu I've already been kicked and head butted out of multiple herds.I really don't want to be kicked out again.
He lowers his ears as he looks towards Niani with his big yellow-brown eyes. Please... say yes.
His eyes widen even more towards her in his efforts to look adorable, hoping that she will agree to adopt.
With a small sigh, Niani looks between the two. "While I'm not sure how it's going to work, we could try. Besides, I heard a rumor that a meerkat and a warthog adopted a lion. If they can do it, then so can we. Well, we'll try, but if it doesn't work out, then you can't stay. Got it, Usuki?"
"A dirt bath, eh? Doesn't sound very clean," Harufu said, a little miffed at this tasty-looking interloper. "Well, if you're coming with us, at least make yourself useful, will you? What skills do you have anyway?"
"That's how they get clean, Harufu." Niani points out. "We use our tongues, and they use dirt or mud. It's more to help cool down and ease bug bites than anything." She says, then stretches a bit. "Also, he's still young. You can't expect too much out of him. I mean, he may have talents, but don't judge his worth so soon."
Well, I am able to be in other herds, for only a few; to eat and chat and stuff lkke that. They don't like having a "cursed" gazelle near them for too long though. Usuki thinks about any other skill he has.
I'm adorable, is that a skill? And I guess running if thats a skill.
"I think I can see his value right now," Harufu whispered, as Usuki tried to look cute. "About the value of lunch. Seriously. How did we sign up for this?"
Then Usuki mentioned running, and Harufu had an idea.
"Hey, Usuki," Harufu said with a grin. You see those giraffes over there? The horses with the black and white stripes." He pointed across the grassy savannah, between the trees. In the distance there were zebras grazing. "I want you to try something. Listen closely now, ok? I want you to walk around to the OPPOSITE side of those horse-things, then I want you to RUN at them as fast as you can screaming, 'HYENAS! HYENAS are chasing me!' Do you think you can do that, Usuki?"
"Harufu, don't you think we should explain why we want him to do this? This isn't some game." Niani points out. "I don't feel right if I have to expose a kid to something that might scar him for life."
Harufu sighed in exasperation. "Scar him? He's prey!" He looked at Niani as if this should explain everything, then turned around with a huff. "Ok. Usuki. What do lions eat? Hopefully you don't need Niani's permission to answer this question."
"No, of course not," Harufu said, looking anywhere but at the young gazelle. "Not the younger ones. Just the older ones. But if you want to live with lions, you've got to hunt with lions, kiddo. And seeing as those teeth of yours don't really look useful for taking down prey, we'll just have to go with your charm instead."
I'm not sure if hunting together is a family thing. And you want me to lie about being chased;lying is bad you know. Maybe we can do something else together, like taking a mud bath. Usuki turns to niani
Niani sighs. "I say the lions should do the hunting, and the tiny herbivore should be careful to stay out of trouble. If we're going to be taking care of you, Usuki, there has to be some sort of compromise here."
usuki thinks of a compromise.Hmm, I could show you how to eat grass, but I guess it would take awhile so let me show you a trick a zebra taught me.It has great uses for herbivores as it masks your scent, even the best predators get puzzled by it.We will need a lot of mud though.
"Great. So instead of eating we get to smell like mud. Can't imag ne what that's like to lick out of our fur." Harufu stood up and wandered off, in the general direction of the river. "I'm going to go stare at water for a while. Maybe then at least a crocodile will get an easy meal."
usuki moves toward harufu's side.Since when did a little mud stop your stomach from eating?usuki lifts his hoof to poke harufu where his stomach would be.Come on grumpymane, it'll be fun. Besides, you eat mud all the time.It's just none of the herbivores tell you.
And you get to smell like mud...just think about it, mud is just wet dirt. Plus, you can get very close to the zebras if you smell less like a predator and more like their surroundings.
Usuki motions towards harufu.Come on then mr.stomach, there is a mud pool nearby. I don't want you to get hungry. Just think of it as family bonding..a father and son type of deal.Except im showing you something instead of the other way around.
Niani do you want to come to or are you stsying to watch the zebras?
Well, you never know what will happen--maybe we will eat grass together.usuki gives niani a big grin. Or maybe you could teach me how to hunt, it looks like tag so it must be fun,maybe to realease my inner lion Usuki turns and yells "rawr" which breaks into a smile.
I've been practicing in secret--how did I do? Do I sound like a real lion?
"Maybe you can go and talk some zebras to death," Harufu said, before wandering off. He went to the edge of the water and sat down, staring at his own reflection. He needed to regathering his thoughts before going back there. Otherwise he might eat the chatty little morsel out of sheer frustration. Then what would Usuki say? He might be a killer, but he wasn't a... A killer killer. There was a difference between killing for food and killing to shut someone up anyway. Oh how he wished they could be alone again.
usuki,seeing harufu leave towards the edge of the water looks at niani.I wonder what's put his tail in a knot?
Usuki looks down to the ground for a moment.
'Maybe he's thinking of a way to play with me?What manner of game? Tag?Rock toss?a race?Maybe fatherly things to say to me?'Maybe to teach me hunting or stalking like a real lion? Maybe he is accepting me?maybe not?maybe he doesnt like me?Maybe they both don't like me?No,no that can't be right....
Usuki pondered with the thoughts in his head untilhe broke from his grounded gaze to look upon niani.