This is a work of fiction and is not to be sold in any way shape or form. It is simply for my amusement and the challenge of writing these characters in a strange and dangerous world. All the characters are owned by Disney and I do not claim ownership of any of them. Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Without further ado, welcome to The Kingdom.)
Simba strode briskly over the ground, the lost men reluctantly gathered around him, making sure to keep their distance, as they moved through the dense jungle. There was an eerie stillness around them, as if the forest itself were holding its breath. Mowgli, who rode atop Simba spoke in whispers to Timon who rode atop their other friend, a warthog named Pumbaa.
“How hard do you think this Pan person will be to convince?” asked Mowgli.
“Well considering you weren’t invited and you’re basically holding his people hostage,” started Timon,” I’d say he won’t just hand us the boat.”
“Fair point,” sighed Mowgli.
“I’m just glad we’re all still alive,” announced Pumbaa. “I was sure we were done for.”
“Don’t get too excited just yet,” said Simba. “This could all be an elaborate trap.”
“Let’s hope not,” said Mowgli.
They continued in silence until they came to a large cave. The whole group stopped as the man with the bow and arrow approached Mowgli.
“We’re here,” said the man.
“We’ll go in together,” said Mowgli.
“Pan doesn’t like guests,” said the man.
“I don’t like being tricked,” replied Mowgli. “And I’m the one with the lion so I guess I win this one.”
The man gave a cold expression but then motioned for the little garrison to head inside. The cave was dark and cold. Rocks buried into the wall glowed soft hues of red, green and yellow, lighting their path as they descended. They passed a little waterfall and continued down the trail until they came to a large cavern-like room. The room was dimly lit by an assortment of glowing rocks. In front of them was s steep set of stairs, on top of which was a high-backed chair, like a throne. In the throne sat a man who was older than any man Mowgli had ever seen. He had dull, wrinkled skin and grey eyes. A beard hung from his face all the way to his feet and his flimsy muscles seemed to barely hang from his brittle bones.
“Who dares call upon me, the great and powerful Pan?” asked the man. His voice was like a frog’s croak, barely audible save for the echo of the cavern around them.
“I do,” said Mowgli, leaping from Simba’s back to the cold rocky floor below. “Your men imprisoned these animals and were about to feed me to them. But I am stronger than them. I speak the language of the jungle and now I have come to you, seeking a way off this island.”
“This is Neverland,” said Pan. “This is the most powerful island in the world. For eons, this island kept me young and for centuries it has kept us all alive. Why ever would you seek to leave it?”
“I must get to the Kingdom.” Mowgli stood his ground, puffing out his chest to appear stronger.
“The Kingdom,” chuckled Pan. “I have not heard mention of that place in a long time. Why should I care whether or not you get there?”
“You shouldn’t,” said Mowgli slyly. “But I do. I have not known many men in my life, but the one man I knew from there was one of the kindest I’ve ever met. His family deserves to know that he died bravely. And they deserve to know so that they can protect themselves from the same fate.”
“Compassion,” said Pan plainly. “Something else I have not heard in a long time.” Pan ran a bony hand through his beard. “I don’t much care for being threatened boy. But what I do like are games. I’ll say. Let’s have a game. A bet if you will.”
“What kind of a bet?” asked Mowgli skeptically. For all he knew, being thrown into a lion pit was also a sort of “game.”
“There’s this horrible beasty that’s been giving my men the run-around on this island. It hides in the shadows and strikes when we least expect it. I’ll bet you can’t find it and live to tell the tale. You find the beast. You kill the beast. You bring back proof that the beast is dead. If you can do all of that, I’ll let you take my ship to your little Kingdom.” Pan smiled.
“And if I fail?” asked Mowgli. “Well if you fail, then you’ll be dead.” Pan gave a nearly toothless grin. “And that will mean that I am the winner. Do we have a deal?”
Mowgli thought it over for a moment and decided that if he declined, the men would most likely kill him where he stood. There was only one way out of this rabbit hole and it was to go deeper inside.
“Deal,” said Mowgli.
“Good,” agreed Pan. “Now the beast lives near the mountain to the North. He likes to hide in the shadows remember, so you’ll have to look for him there. Bring me back one of his teeth and we’ll call the deal sealed.” Pan sat back, the smile fading from his face. “Now go.”
The men as well as Mowgli and his animal entourage exited the cave the way they’d entered. The men led them to a path which headed up the mountain and then sent them on their way.
“Good luck,” laughed the man with the bow. Mowgli got the distinct impression that these men did not expect him or his friends to return. This only spurred him on further. He liked proving others wrong and defying expectations. It was what he was best at.
Together with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, they ascended the mountain. It was a difficult path, to say the least. The path was jagged and at times went through the thickest of jungle. Mosquitoes feasted on their skin and the mountain itself wore at their bones. After a day of walking, they finally made camp at the base of the mountain. They found a small cave where Mowgli lit a fire to warm the group, and then they talked and learned from each other late into the evening. They shared stories of their homes and of the evils they’d faced there. Mowgli told them of Shere Kahn, while Simba told him of an ill-tempered lion named Scar who had killed his father. They talked about what animals lived in their lands and how they differed and even reflected on the best hunting techniques. Before long, they all drifted into a deep sleep as the fire dwindled and eventually put itself out.
Mowgli awoke with a start. From the jungle just outside the cave, he could just make out an odd clicking noise followed by a low growl. Then more clicking, then another growl. He quietly pulled himself off the hard ground and went to the mouth of the cave, looking out into the darkness. The moon was nestled high above giving off a bit of light, but certainly not enough to see very far into the foliage around the cave. He took a quick look back at his new found friends, but decided against waking them. This was his quest, and his alone. If the noises he was hearing were this terrible beast, then he would face it alone.
He cautiously headed into the jungle. Every few steps, he’d look behind himself to make sure he was safe, and then he’d continue a bit further. The growling and clicking seemed to grow louder as he went, providing him a beacon for his search.
As he came to a large clearing, the clicking suddenly stopped and was replaced by a low, heavy breathing. He felt the little hairs on his arms stand up on end. There was something here with him and though he couldn’t see it, he could feel.
THWACK! Something slammed into his head and rolled to the ground. He grabbed at his forehead where the thing had hit and rubbed it, trying to make sure that nothing was permanently injured. “Ow,” he grumbled. He turned to see what the thing was and noticed a bright red apple laying on the ground near him. He went to it and knelt down, picking it up and moving it in his hands.
“What in the world?” he pondered. THWACK! Another one slammed into him. He stood and turned, angry now. “What’s the big idea?” he asked to the nothingness in the clearing. “Why don’t you come out here where I can see you and face me? I’m not afraid of you!”
There was a moment of stillness and then the ground seemed to rumble as if something very heavy was moving across it. Mowgli held out his hands to steady himself. As he did, something began to form out of mid-air. What once was invisible became visible. It started with a massive green head, and then a long neck, and then wings and a huge body and finally a tail. The creature lifted its head to Mowgli and stared into his eyes. Mowgli had seen creatures like this only in books and he had been told that they no longer existed in the world. Yet here and now, Mowgli found that fact hard to believe.
“A…dragon?” His body shook with fear but he stood his ground.
The dragon clicked its tongue and then gave a low growl.
“I…understand you,” said Mowgli. It was true. Though the creature did not speak in a normal animal language, he still seemed to be able to understand. “Your name is Elliot? I’m Mowgli.”
The dragon clicked and then seemed to smile.
“I’ve been sent to kill you,” said Mowgli somberly. “I’m trying to get to a place called the Kingdom. They said that if I killed you, they’d help me get there.”
The dragon gave a low purr and rolled its eyes.
“I agree. I think they’re lying as well,” said Mowgli.
The dragon gave a devilish grin and then growled playfully.
“They seem to only want to kill and hunt and fight,” said Mowgli. “You want to teach them a lesson?”
The dragon nodded gleefully.
“I like the sound of that,” said Mowgli. The dragon knelt down and leaned to the side, inviting Mowgli to mount the creature. He did so quickly and then held onto the fur on Elliot’s back. There was a sudden gust of wind as the beast took off into the air. They would gather Simba and the others and then they would make sure that the lost men and Pan never terrorized the beasts of the island again. No more hunting creatures of other lands. No more games. Mowgli was going to get that boat and he would do it without any more innocent animals dying. It was just like Shere Kahn had said. Men really did ruin the world. He mused as they soared into the air, what a joy it would be to never grow old.
Below them, in the bushes, the man with the bow glared upwards. He’d been sent by Pan to follow the boy and report back. Now he saw why. War was coming to Neverland, and he would be the hero who saved his men by warning them of the attack. He took off into the night, heading back to the cave.