The neighbourhood (part 1)
Disclaimer: see previous chapters.
Change was on the plains, and it was not good – for the lions. Initially, the lion pride – headed not by one, but by two males – were the alpha predators on this corner of the African plain, but now this situation has changed.
Firstly, the solitary hyena family had gained a new head of the pack – a male head of the pack. Normally, among the spotted hyenas it is the females who are in charge, but this male hyena was rather large and powerful by the hyena standards, and so he became in charge instead. As a consequence, the hyena pack became more powerful, at the expense of the lion pride, naturally.
There was another cheetah as well – another female, though this one without cats. Big cats (aside from lions, of course) are not social animals, but cheetahs are big cats are by pedigree only, not by physique. Really, they are more long-limbed than anything else is, veritable lightweights of the carnivores’ world. Even two of them are not enough to challenge a single lioness, let alone a lion, but working together, they were more efficient, able to kill and eat a gazelle quicker than the lions (in any number) could arrive and threaten them away. This frustrated, rather than threatened, the bigger cats, but it was still an unpleasant thing.
And finally, there was a trio of things – not even properly shaped things – that lived in and around the water hole, smelling very strange and completely inedible, even dangerous. And lions – just like other animals – do not enjoy things are inedible, dangerous and unnatural. It makes them angry, and when lions in particular get angry, they roar...
...and that is what these two lions did. They roared louder than ever, not so much in anger, admittedly, as in challenge, declaring this territory to be still theirs – woe betide to any challengers!
And there came a challenger – from the sky. A griffin of Ra, bigger than a lion and swifter than an eagle, landed across from the lion pride and screeched in reply. Though only half a lion, and the hind half at that, the griffin was still lion enough to intimidate the two lions and their pride and cause them to flee for safety.
A family of cheetahs, lunging in the shade of an acacia tree sufficiently far away from the lions saw it all and began to retreat deeper into the tree shadow, away from the griffin’s keen eyes. But one of the cheetahs was actually coherently worried about the new arrival:
“Well, there goes the neighborhood...”TBC