As time went on, Bambi's hunting skills got more and more proficient. He only ever went after small prey like mice and birds but nearly all his attempts were successful. Despite this, he always let them go and relied on the other lions for food.
Scar was not impressed. "You'll never be able to survive like this!" he would say, "What kind of lion are you?" Bambi never knew how to answer so didn't try.
He noticed that Scar was beginning to leave him on his own more and more. He didn't think much of it. If anything, he appreciated not getting yelled at. Sometimes, he joined other lions in their hunt. They were much more patient with him and he preferred their company over Scar's.
One day, he was out in the pride lands alone. Everywhere looked empty and he was getting bored. He glanced towards Pride Rock. "Might as well head in early," he thought.
He reached Pride Rock just as a lioness was entering the den. He peered in and saw her arguing with Scar.
"And he refuses to learn how to survive!"
"He's still young. He will learn in time."
"He's not fit to be in my pride, let alone be king! I'd be better off finding a new protegee."
"I know what that means. You will not hurt him!"
"How dare you defy me?!" Much to Bambi's horror, Scar tackled the lioness fiercely, forcing her to the ground. The lioness sprang up and raced out of the den, fear transfixed to her face. That's when Scar noticed his protegee. He glared at him with a cold expression.
"King?" asked Bambi nervously
"What are you doing here, boy?" asked Scar, "You're supposed to be out there, hunting."
Bambi wasn't so sure. "Ah, well," he began, "I wasn't really finding much out there and I, um... I thought maybe I would..."
"...come back early?"
Scar stared. "You think you can just defy my orders like that?"
"There was no point in..."
"No point? Do you know who you're talking to?"
Bambi hesitated. "The king?" he said at last.
"That's right." Scar approached the young lion. "And unless you get your act together, that's something that they will never call you! You're weak!" he roared and took a swipe at Bambi. He flinched but Scar didn't even touch him. "You don't even eat what you catch." His final words were calm but heavy. Scar returned to the back of the den and Bambi turned to leave.
He didn't appreciate being spoken to that way. "I didn't bargain for this," he muttered under his breath.
Simba woke the next morning, hoping it had been a bad dream. The forest surrounding him told him otherwise. His ears drooped sadly; he had no idea what to do now. His stomach grumbled, he still hadn't eaten anything. "Might as well start with a 'meal'," he thought. He stood up, knelt his head and very reluctantly, took a bite of grass. Simba didn't know what to expect. It was very... earthy. That was the best way to describe it. He had to force himself to swallow. His stomach, however, was still not satisfied so he took another bite. The initial shock was gone and swallowing was much easier.
As he continued to graze, he got used to the taste and by the time he was done, he didn't think it was that bad. "Earthy, yet satisfying," he thought.
Now that his stomach was full, Simba felt better. He took a moment to take in his surroundings. "If this is my home, now," he said to himself, "I might as well get used to it." So, with a little bit of a pit in his stomach, he wandered off.
He wandered around for a while, stopping once or twice for a drink. He came across a few other animals, most of which he had never seen before. They were fascinating to watch though he didn't dare bring attention to himself, especially since he didn't know what his predators were.
Eventually, the terrain rose sharply upward to make a small ridge, too big to step up but not impossible to get over. Something inside him told Simba to see what was up there. Besides, while he tried pouncing with his new form, he hadn't tried a simple jump and he thought now would be as good a time as ever to try. He leaped up the ridge easily. Simba was surprised not only because it was so easy but because it felt... good?
The terrain continued to climb upward. Simba followed the climb, going faster as he went. His walk turned into a trot and his trot turned into a prance. Simba couldn't explain why but prancing felt good too. There was a clearing at the top of the climb which over-looked the forest. It was a breath-taking view. "This is my home?" he thought out loud. He couldn't help but grin. He posed proudly over his domain.
Characters belong to Disney
Original art and concept by Sirzi (https://www.deviantart.com/sirzi)