Mustafa sat proudly at the back of the rock outcropping, a paw—with just enough claw extended make the warning explicit—held firmly on the back of Sarabi’s neck. The mandrill, that neurotic mystic, walked out to the edge of the outcropping and held up Mustafa’s infant son, Simba, for all the gathered animals on the ground to see. The signal. The lions, naturally the strongest and the acknowledged instigators, leaped into action, followed a few seconds later by the hyenas. The two factions tore into the group of frantic wildebeests, and the commotion kicked up dust and shreds of wildebeest hide. The meerkats activated and jumped into the collected pile of squirming grubs and bugs. The warthogs came after, alongside the meerkats, but soon the two groups vied against each other for control of the insect pile.
There were other fiefdoms that joined in, but the details of the battle were lost in the fog of war for all those gathered on the promontory. Simba, still aloft in the crazed mandrill’s hands, cooed and giggled at the chaotic Tennysonic battle below.
Mustafa smiled. It was an orchestrated war of all against all in homage to his heir’s future, and the future of his dynasty. His pleasure-sense heightened, and his claw involuntarily extended out farther into Sarabi’s fur. She whimpered and tried to evade the clamp down, which made him tighten all the more. What a wonderful scene, Mustafa thought, ignoring Sarabi’s pained cries. Wonderful. It will make a damn fine movie someday, if they would get it right.