Komboa, as promised, had returned the night before with all the meat they could have wanted, killing enough for six lions, let alone three, and dragging the large thing all the way back to the den for them. He was tired out by the time he got back, but he was pleasantly surprised to find a little bed waiting for him, made by Reghan and their new friend Rizardon. He at least felt like his efforts had been appreciated, as he passed out in the bed of soft leaves while the other two ate voraciously at the kill he brought them. He had not been able to eat any of the kill that night, since he passed out and did not wake again until late morning, but he at least enjoyed some of the left over meat the next morning and felt well rested at the end of it all.

Reghan and Rizardon were sleeping near him, Reghan near his head, facing toward him, and Rizardon behind him, facing away. The two seemed to know he was awake, though, and both woke slowly, stretching and yawning as he got to his feet and did the same, shaking out his fur and sighing contentedly. It had been a nice night, all told, and he was glad he had managed to meet this nice stranger. Rizardon seemed to make Reghan calmer, in an odd way. Maybe she just really needed to meet a friend outside the pride, or outside the little world she had been raised in so far. Komboa supposed he was not enough, since he did hassle her a lot about her choices.

He felt a little guilty about that now.

Reghan got up and looked at him, frowning to find him watching her, then glancing away to look toward Rizardon and grinning ear to ear at the sight of the big red lion. She bounded toward him while he was stretching out his muscles and getting ready to face the day, bumping into him with her head and nearly knocking him back down to the ground. He wobbled a bit but he managed to look at her while keeping his footing. The pretend frown on his face was difficult to believe, with the corners of his mouth curling upwards against his will.

“You ready for our fight today, big guy?” Reghan asked with a bounce, skittering away from him and turning around eagerly, swishing her tail behind her while she watched him. He nodded his head, sitting down heavily and yawning.

“Of course I am, that was the plan, wasn’t it? And good old Komboa here will keep us in line. What did we agree to do?”

“Some sort of point system you made up. You can’t remember your own rules?” Komboa shook his head at Rizardon, but was not entirely surprised, despite only knowing the big lug for a day. Rizardon was not the brightest, though the Slayer was trying to be diplomatic about it in his own mind, as if he was worried about offending his new friend just by thinking something vaguely mean.

Rizardon grinned and shrugged, indicating that he did not, in fact, remember what he had come up with. But he imagined they could make it up as they went along, and that together they would come up with some sort of a system to keep the fight fair, interesting, and not too violent. He did not want to hurt his new friend, after all, and he knew she was not interested in hurting him, either. This was all in good fun, and that was what made it so interesting and something he wanted to do. Reghan bounced toward Komboa now, head butting him in a similar manner to what she had done with Rizardon, though she successfully knocked the lighter, lankier lion off his feet. She laughed at him lightly, but helped him get back to his feet jovially. This was not the first time she had done this to him, it seemed, as he got up with a look of strained patience and a familiar air about him. He was doing something normal, it seemed.

“Alright, let’s get this fight running, then,” Komboa said, but Reghan shook her head.

“No, let’s find a nicer place for it! More open and flat,” she said with a firm nod, and the two males exchanged a look. There was nothing wrong with the clearing they had gone out to find and settled in to for the night, but she seemed intent on making them wander around again. Maybe she just wanted to hang out for a bit more, which Komboa and Rizardon could understand, though she did not seem capable of saying so.

And it was true. She was worried, mostly subconsciously, that Rizardon was going to leave as soon as their match was over, and she wanted to come up with excuses to keep him around. And maybe if he left, Komboa would come up with some reason to leave, as well, and all her friends she had managed to make recently would end up leaving her. She was, after all, the daughter of one of the leaders in the current war in the pridal lands. Maybe that would become important if she gave them a chance to think about it too much. Or maybe she was just thinking too much about things that were not going to happen.

She was not used to making friends, so it followed that she did not know how to keep them.

It did not occur to her that she was better at it than she gave herself credit, or that it was not as hard as she might have thought. She just needed to relax a bit more, and understand that her friends were with her because they liked her, and not because she was doing anything particularly unique to force them or keep them there.

“Alright, we can go find somewhere else if you want, even though this place is great,” Rizardon said evenly, and Komboa gave him a look, then relented a bit and nodded his head.

“Yeah, I think that would be fine,” he said with a sigh, though that meant leaving the rest of the meat he had spent so much time and effort getting for them, but he felt he had no room to argue, almost silently agreeing with Reghan’s unspoken theory of spending more time together rather than less. He stretched one more time and then nodded his head forward. “We haven’t explored this way yet. Let’s go see if there is a more… level and open area for the fight, hm?”

Reghan chuckled and bounced forward, walking leisurely enough for them to walk beside her on either side. She smiled because of that, shaking her head and trying not to feel too warm and fuzzy. After all, if her mom had her way, all of this kind of nice and easy stuff would be gone. It would just be Druids all the time, and they were not exactly the warmest bunch of lions around. It was nice to have a diverse group to draw from, Reghan decided. She was not interested in getting rid of all her friend just because some other lions could not get along.

For Rizardon, this was another great experience to add to his growing collection of fond and interesting memories. He was glad to have met these two, as much as he was all the other friends he had made in his journeys so far. He wished he could convince them to come back with him to his pride, but he imagined they were too imbedded in what was going on with the pride now, the war and all the trouble, to want to simply abandon their home and come with him to his. It was not something he could really ask of them, at least not so soon in their getting to know one another. yes, they were friendly and he liked them, but no, they did not know each other well enough for him to make big requests.

But hey, maybe some day, if he came back here and they were still well and in a good position to leave, he would ask them. It gave him more incentive to keep visiting, after all, though he didn’t really need an excuse. Really, he would want to see them again, anyway.

“Hey, you guys are going to be here for a while, right? I mean in this pride. So after I leave, I can come back, right? I kind of want to come back and, you know, see how things are going, since i can’t stay forever. And I’m worried about everything going on here, of course. And you guys.”

Komboa and Reghan looked over at Rizardon, and they both smiled in response to the question. Komboa simply nodded his head, while Reghan ventured a real response.

“We’re going to be here, and as much as I don’t want you to go, I’ll be happy to see you come back. But hey, we’ve got a battle coming up first, and look, this plain looks perfect.”

Word Count: 1,531 in Google Docs