Upelelezis journey cover

Lion King 4: Upelelezi's Journey (Chapter 3)

Upelelezi froze when the rock that she rested her paws on breathed into her face.

“Oh no...” she whispered.

Upelelezi took her shaking paws off of the gigantic horn, and stepped as quietly back from the rhinoceros as she could.

“Zazu,” she squeaked, trying to be loud, but not too aggressive-sounding, less she provoke the animal.

The rhino took a step forwards, brandishing his horn at the cub. Just then, lightning lit up the sky, and Upelelezi gasped, getting a good look at her aggressor. At the sound of rolling thunder, the rhino stuck his horn under Upelelezi's chest, and flipped her over. Upelelezi leaped to her feet and bounded away from him, eyes tight shut, less she look and see how close he was to her.

“Zazu!” she yelped, “Help me! Help!”

“Upelelezi!” Zazu called, “I can't see. Help me to find you!”

Zazu shook his wings, and took to the air, trying his best to see through the rain. He listened closely for Upelelezi's voice.

“Zazu! Zazu!” she squealed, “I'm over here! There's a rhino!”

She was sprinting to keep a distance from the rhinoceros, who swished his horn, angrily. Upelelezi clenched her teeth, trying not to scream, when the he flung his horn under her back legs, and flipped Upelelezi onto her back.

“Zazu!” she yelped.

Zazu was finally close enough to hear her perfectly clearly, and flew to Upelelezi's aid.

He swooped down to the rhinoceros, and Zazu dug his talons into the rhino's eyes. It reared up in pain, swishing his horn from side to side, in an attempt to frighten the bird away. His horn slammed right into Zazu's stomach. Luckily for Zazu, it wasn't the tip of the horn, but the side. Zazu was thrown to the ground, just as the rhinoceros' huge hooves came crashing down. One smashed down on Zazu's right wing, shattering the fragile bones with a loud crunch. He shrieked out in pain.

The bird's scream, combined with the crack of the lightning striking a nearby tree, was more than enough to frighten the rhinoceros. With a swish of his horns, the rhino stomped away, leaving the gasping bird and trembling lion cub all alone.

Upelelezi stepped over her babysitter, protecting him from the rain as best as she could. Zazu coughed.

“We need to... to get to... somewhere dry,” he moaned, “'s not gonna... stop raining... raining for a while...”

“Okay, Zazu,” she said, sniffling, “Don't worry, I've got you.”

She gently picked Zazu up in her mouth, trying to ignore his obvious pain. Upelelezi squinted through the rain. From what she could see, there was nowhere for them to rest, at lease nowhere nearby. She walked as quickly—yet carefully—as she could, without causing Zazu too much pain.