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Pride of the Plains by Colin Dann

Pride of the Plains by Colin Dann

Author:Colin Dann
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: RHCP
Published: 2010-10-24T16:00:00+00:00


—8—

Great News

The honey badgers grubbed around for insects and carrion and whatever small prey they could find. Clicker made sure she was well out of reach of the pride but Ratel ignored the presence of the lions while he was busy. Only Battlescars reminded him with a half-hearted roar now and then that he didn’t want the smaller animal to come too close.

Kimya was ready to move as the sun began to set. She licked her cubs fondly but she had no qualms about leaving them in Huru’s care. The sisters had raised their young together, sometimes suckling each other’s as well as their own. So all the cubs were just as happy with either lioness as guardian.

Ratel and Clicker trotted off in their usual sprightly way with the lioness plodding along comfortably in their wake. Every so often Clicker would glance behind to make sure she was still there and not planning some kind of trick. Kimya was perfectly content to follow and was at ease until she knew she was beyond the limits of the small pride’s territory. Then she trod more quietly and kept her wits about her. The honey badgers’ den was not actually very far distant; they had wasted days searching for the lionesses in the wrong direction. The three animals reached the rocky outcrop without incident and in thick darkness. Although it was a cloudy night and moon and stars were obscured, Kimya recognised fig tree rock at once.

‘How strange you should have settled here,’ she said. ‘It holds memories for me. It was the first real den my sister and I had in this area.’

Ratel wasn’t terribly interested. ‘The bird will probably be perching on the fig tree as light breaks,’ he informed her. ‘It sits there and waits for us to stir.’

‘But as you’ve been absent for a while perhaps it won’t still be around,’ Kimya suggested.

‘We shall see. I doubt if it’s shifted itself. It likes the way we hunt,’ Ratel growled bitterly. He and Clicker scuttled into their den.

Kimya climbed up the rocks. She lay down among the old fig’s trailing roots and thought for a while about Huru. She remembered how they had sheltered here together in the early days of their life in the savannah country. How close they had been then! Kimya felt sad as she pondered their present relationship. Was there an estrangement? If there was it could only be on the surface. She knew that if she were in danger Huru would be the first to come to her aid, as she would for Huru.

‘Males complicate things,’ she muttered, feeling the familiar twinge of jealousy as soon as Battlescars came into her mind. ‘They’re better off without me for the moment,’ she mumbled, ‘though I can’t stay here for long.’ Head on paws, she fell into a doze.

Day dawned bright and clear. The clouds had passed over and the temperature rose quickly. A shaft of early sunlight penetrated the sparse canopy of the stunted fig tree and fell on Kimya’s face.



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