The rangers’ Jeep came driving across the plains, making sure that everything was all right. And so far, there had been no trace of poachers for a good six months now. Things were bound to be fruitful out there in the animal kingdom. Unless the Purpura (or the Plague as some liked to call it) were to spring up again out of nowhere, and nobody really wanted the animals to die one by one again. There had been a great loss of animals the last time it had happened.
One of the rangers peered outside his Jeep and observed the view of the wide-open plains, watching the yellow-tarnished straw swaying slightly in the warm African winds. It was rather peaceful to look at…
Until an odd shade of bright-blue appeared in his vision.
He asked the driver to halt the Jeep for a moment, and pointed in the direction of the blue. Whatever it was, it was coming their way…
And it seemed to be emitting music too.
The bright-blue happened to be the tinted colour of a 1965 model Chrysler 300 that was making its way through the fields towards the rather lush jungle over in the distance. In the car, a young man with rather bushy hair, wearing a white shirt, tan shorts and sunglasses with green lenses, was driving the car and singing to ‘Great Heart’ from Johnny Clegg & Savuka, an African favourite.
I'm searching for the spirit of the great heart to hold and stand me by
I'm searching for the spirit of the great heart under African skies
Sometimes I feel that you really know me
Sometimes there's so much you can show me
It turned out to be Trinity the Adventurer, enjoying a calm drive in Africa, heading towards the jungle for an apparent reason. But as he neared it, he glanced in the mirror and noticed the Jeep rolling towards him.
He stopped Slyder and turned off the ignition, climbing out of the driver seat and standing to face the rangers as they climbed out of the Jeep. While one ranger approached him, the others held guns at the ready in case there would be a possible threat.
“Excuse me, senor,” the ranger asked him. “But what are you doing all the way out here on this preserve? This area is restricted for the animals.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t recognize me, Tanner,” Trinity lifted his sunglasses up, revealing his deep-brown eyes underneath. “Even with only these shades on?”
The ranger jolted. “Trinity…! I didn’t realize, man!” Both he and Trinity laughed as they shared a sideways hug and patted each other’s shoulders. “That a new car you drive?”
“Yeah, for quite some time now,” Trinity nodded. “How’s things out here? Jungle still at peace?”
“So far, yes. Hasn’t been a poacher incident for a few months now,” Tanner indicated to his fellow rangers that this was just a friend and he had every right to be here. The other rangers’ drew back their guns and put them away.
“So why are you here, Trinity?” Tanner asked.
“I have a certain ‘meeting’ out here with an old friend,” Trinity told him. “Some friends will be coming as well, but you probably won’t see them coming this way. Code word is ‘silence’. Can you handle that?”
Tanner nodded. While he never minded doing a favour for his Adventurer friend, he had often wanted to know what Trinity got up to out there in the jungle. And since the jungle was often full of wild animals, it was a miracle to him that Trinity came out each time alive. Did the animals see him as friends or something? Tanner wondered if the powerful white lion that lived like the king over all the animals there had something to do with it.
“It’ll be like you weren’t even here, Trinity,” Tanner promised. “When you’re done, give us the signal as usual.”
“Cheers, Tanner,” Trinity slapped him a high-five. Then he gave a thumbs-up to the other rangers who returned it with grins to match, and he climbed back into the Chrysler and started it up.
As it made its way towards the jungle, the Jeep turned and rolled back across the plains, to issue their code for ‘silence’ so that Trinity could do his so-called ‘business’ in the jungle.
After he had passed a group of trees, Trinity stopped Slyder again, took his crystal out of the glove box, and climbed out. Then turning towards a nearby tree, he saw a rope that was hanging down from the tree above where he had parked Slyder. Taking hold of the rope, he pulled it downwards.
Where the rope disappeared into the treetop, the bushel of green that it led up to started to slowly lower down, since at first glance it looked like a treetop, but was actually a bush suspended in the air, and as Trinity lowered it down over Slyder, it seemed to camouflage the car entirely.
Once the car was secure, Trinity locked the rope with a safety catch, and then began walking further into the jungle, keeping his eyes out for the pathway that would lead him to where he was going.
The pathway that he knew not many people could often see…
Much less know that it led to the old ancient castle that dwelled deep in the jungle.
And it was there…
That his old ‘friend’ happened to live.
Eventually, Trinity spotted the old pathway and began following it, inhaling the fresh scent of the jungle as he casually strolled through it. Even if there were any eyes peering out at him from anywhere nearby, he felt no fear. He knew that nothing here would attack him when they saw him.
Because whoever saw him out here, knew who he was.
They had known him for a long time, in fact…
Eventually, the jungle seemed to open up in front of him, and a huge clearing revealed the old ancient castle ruins that still stood to this present day. Trinity stopped for a moment to admire its tranquil beauty, the way it blended in with the jungle…
And even as ruins, it still provided very useful for some.
Before he took another step, he cupped his hands out over his mouth and called out: “LEO!!!”
He listened to the echo of his voice, lowering his hands as he waited for a possible answer…
From within the ruins of the castle, a white figure leapt out of the darkness and stood out plainly against the grey stone, looking right in his direction. Trinity smiled and waved.
The adult white lion answered with a proud ROAR, and then bounded off the castle ruins towards him. Trinity immediately began running towards the white lion as well, happy to see his friend again.
The moment they reached each other, the lion leapt up and pounced on Trinity, easily pinning him to the ground. Trinity felt his breath get knocked out, but he didn’t mind…he was just too happy to see the lion as it smiled down at him and rubbed its whiskers against his head.
“Good to see you again, Leo,” Trinity spoke up at the lion.
Leo the White Lion nodded, and then spoke as well, “And you as well, Trinity.”
Trinity the Adventurer had known the Leo the White Lion and his kingdom ever since his adventures out in the vast universe had only just begun, basically, in the 1st Segment of his adventures. It had begun right when he and his Homeworld friends had gotten separated, and Trinity had found himself in Africa, whereupon meeting Leo and his jungle for the first time, he was surprised to find how much they already knew about him.
But there was a logic reason for this. They told Trinity that he had met them before when they had been younger, and Trinity realized that this destiny to meet friends in different periods of time was like a paradox-crossing; one would know about the other without the other realizing it. In this time period they knew who he was but he didn’t know them, but at some point in their past he had met and known them but they didn’t know him. It couldn’t have been that much simpler…a crossing of time-threads.
Eventually, Trinity did meet Leo in his younger years (he had been known as Kimba the White Lion at the time), and that was how their friendship had become solid and concrete. And because of all their adventures together, and helping others out in times of need, Trinity was known as a human friend that the African Jungle could turn to whenever they needed help that they couldn’t find.
And now it seemed, that the Jungle Emperor Leo, as he was known as now, had something to show his human friend here in this time period.
“Is it something special, Leo?” Trinity had to ask.
“Yes, very special,” Leo nodded as he guided the Adventurer around the castle ruins. “Ever since we have united all the animals here under our peaceful rule, we have kept a special honour of the white lion over the kingdom, ever since my cubs, Lune and Lukio were first born. Our cubs would walk together with me and Lyra beside them, under an archway of animals, to be granted the white lion’s honour, of a peaceful and prosperous life.”
“That sounds very nice,” Trinity nodded, impressed that Leo had united the animals here under such an instalment.
Then, as they made their way around a corner, Trinity stopped dead-still the moment he saw it. His mouth dropped open at what he was seeing.
There were all the animals, gathered together, all herbivore and carnivore related, amongst a group of stairs leading down the ruins. They were all spread out evenly on both sides of the stairs. Elephants had positioned themselves to arch their trunks out and arrange an archway above the stairs, just like Leo had told him about…
And then Trinity realized something. “Wait…you mean…”
“Yes,” Leo smiled at him. “We’d like to give you the honour of the white lion, Trinity the Adventurer, to walk under the arch and become a true friend to our jungle.”
Trinity felt as if he had just been set free from everything else in the universe. “My God…” he muttered. “It’s…it’s such an honour!” He collapsed to his knees and glanced at Leo. “Do you really think I deserve this?”
“Who else could we trust, Trinity?” a female voice made him look over. It was Lyra, Leo’s mate, walking over to greet him. She gave him a gentle lick on his cheek as she approached, and Trinity returned it with a kiss on hers. “Nice to see you again…Lyra, is it now?” He remembered in the past her younger name had been Kitty, and even while growing up she had changed it to Liya.
“Yes,” Lyra nodded, then she looked over at two young cubs standing nearby, wondering who this human was with their parents. “This is young Lune, and Lukio. Children, meet Trinity.”
“Hello,” the two young cubs, that looked almost just like their parents, took a step closer to meet the human friend that their parents had told them about.
“Nice to meet you both,” Trinity hesitated with his hands at first, letting them get used to him, before he finally petted their heads, and soon they were rubbing up against him, wanting him to play with them.
Then once they were done, Trinity got back up onto his feet, and looked at the animals gathered near the arch. Leo led him over to it, and waved his paw, indicating for Trinity to walk through it.
Trinity held back his emotion as hard as he could. “Will you walk with me?” he asked.
Leo nodded and came alongside him while Lyra mirrored him on the other side. As the cubs darted in front, Trinity began the walk of honour under the archway. Just as before, the elephants trumpeted and the hundreds of animals joined in making whatever noise corresponded to each one.
At the end of the arch stood Haguura, the prime elephant, and he bowed his head low to all three of them as he continued to trumpet. Then the noise slowly came to an end as all of the animals one by one stopped whatever noise they were making.
Trinity climbed half way up the stairs and turned around to face all of his animal friends.
And it was then that he finally spotted them…hiding in the nearby bushes, watching.
He grinned. I knew the Time Kids would come to watch, he thought.
* * *
“What an honour,” Shelly Blake grinned as she watched Trinity walking back down the stairs, under the arch of elephants.
“Yeah. He’s real fortunate to have Leo and the jungle as friends here,” Josiah nodded.
Ken Blake just stared. “Do you think we should walk out and say hi?”
“Not yet,” Shelly shook her head. “Maybe Trinity will introduce us later on.”
But suddenly, the bushes in front of them moved, and Trinity stood in front of them. “No better time for introductions than now, you guys,” he grinned. “Come on.”
He ushered the Time Kids out towards the crowd of animals. “Everybody, these are the Time Kids, a few close friends of mine,” Trinity spoke out loud. “Here is Josiah Clover, and Ken and Shelly Blake.”
Leo came walking up to them, and while the Time Kids felt a little uneasy at first having a grown white lion approach them, they calmed down when they saw he was smiling.
“You may already know,” Trinity told the Time Kids, “but this is Leo, king of this jungle. In my earlier adventures, he and I shared quite a few of them together.”
“Greetings to you all,” Leo nodded his head. “Any friend of Trinity is a friend of ours here.”
“Uh…thank you,” Josiah nodded out of respect for Leo.
Shelly reached out to pet Leo on his head, and she marvelled at running her fingers through the top of his mane. Leo allowed her to do so. “I can tell just by looking at you that you’re a steadfast human. Nobody would ever mess with you.” Shelly smirked at Leo’s comment; it was like he had sensed how tomboyish she could be at times.
Then Leo turned towards Ken, who still looked a bit nervous at being this close to an animal that might eat him. “No need to be afraid, young one,” Leo chuckled. “No animal ever eats any other animal here…not even humans.” He leaned forward and gave Ken a gentle lick on his cheek. (*1)
Ken nearly flinched, as the simple touch of the tongue on his cheek reminded him too much of the times that he had been teased by certain animals and dinosaurs before…
When Leo drew back and licked his lips, he thought for a moment. Hmm, this young one tastes quite nice too. I wonder…
But before the thoughts could go on any further, Trinity decided to intervene, seeing the intent in Leo’s eyes. “Uh…why don’t we get acquainted with the others?” He ushered the Time Kids over to where Lyra, Lune and Lukio were waiting with the other animals.
Trinity went along and introduced everybody to his friends. While the animals all gave their respects to all three of the Time Kids, Ken couldn’t help but notice that certain animals were also looking at him in that keen way, particularly Lyra, who seemed to sniff at him curiously, and her smile tweaked a bit, while a glint appeared in her eyes.
I have a very, very bad feeling about this…Ken thought to himself.
Eventually, when all was said and done, the gang went inside the castle ruins to rest and share some lunch together. All the while Ken hung around Shelly, Josiah and Trinity, keeping his eyes fixed on both Leo and Lyra, who appeared to be in the corner of the room for the time being, quietly gossiping to each other…
And when he noticed them glanced at him in the corner of their eyes, he knew they were plotting something to do with him. This could only mean trouble.
“Hey, uh…” he stared to say. “This has been fun and all, but I think we should probably get going.”
“Already?” Josiah blinked. “It’s a bit early still, don’t you think Ken? We’ve got all day before we need to return to the T.W.C.”
“But…uh, I don’t,” Ken stammered, trying to think of an excuse. “I’ve got to get back to the Ice Age…I think I forgot something there…”
“Ken!” Shelly slapped him over his head. “It’s not nice to leave just like this. Trinity’s been given a great honour and we should show our appreciation hanging around like the friends we are.”
Ken rubbed his head. “But I don’t like what they’re doing over there,” he pointed at Leo and Lyra. “I think they’re planning to do something to me.”
Trinity just laughed. “That’ll be the day,” he smirked. “After all the times that you’ve had to put up with dinosaurs from both the Ice Age and the Land before Time, what’s a mere white lion going to compare to them, Kenny?”
“That’s not funny, Trinity,” Ken frowned at him. “You don’t know the half of it.”
“Relax, I was only joking,” Trinity put his hands up in a defensive posture. He turned towards the others. “You know, maybe we should just let Ken go about his business. If he doesn’t like it, why try to make him stay? I wouldn’t mind, but he might let the animals down.”
Ken snorted. “Yeah, before they get a chance to give me a wedgie or pull down my pants!” He immediately got up and began walking off in a huff. Shelly and Josiah just sighed, deciding to let him be on his own this time.
Ken walked out of the castle grounds, and began to head back to where he knew the time buggies had been parked. He glanced back momentarily at the castle, half expecting either Leo or Lyra or any other animal to come after him, but when nothing seemed to be in sight, he dismissed it and went along his way.
But then, as he walked along the path, he suddenly noticed a pond nearby. With curiosity getting the better of him, he decided to check it out. Putting his finger in it, he found the water was warm. The jungle, after all, was a warm place.
Maybe I’ll just have a small dip, Ken thought. It’ll help me get over the worry of whatever Leo and Lyra might be planning to do with me.
So, he started to take off his pants, and was about to hang them upon a thin tree nearby…
When suddenly, “Eek!” he suddenly felt something grab at his under-shorts! Grabbing the tree instantly, he hung on for dear life as he felt whatever had hold of him tugging like mad.
“Ouch…ouch!” Ken gritted his teeth as he felt that familiar feeling once again…somebody was giving him a wedgie at a sideways angle! Looking backwards, he immediately saw that huge white form pulling at him, and knew it was Leo giving him a tight wedgie. (*2)
And I thought Momma was bad, Ken thought to himself.
“Leo, stop! Let me go!” he shouted. “That’s annoying!”
For a moment, Leo hesitated with his wedging Ken, then his eyes narrowed before…
He let go.
Ken, not expecting him to do it straight away, slipped from his grip on the tree and went “Oof!” on the ground. He groaned, and was just about to get up when…
“Oomph!” He felt two strong white paws hold him down, and a feline face grin above him.
“Going somewhere, young Ken?” Leo’s familiar voice asked innocently.
“Uh…would you mind letting me go, Leo?” Ken groaned. “You’re so heavy.”
“Heavy, am I?” Leo cocked an eyebrow. “I’m hardly even holding my paws down on you. Perhaps you should see how heavy I really am.”
Uh-oh, Ken thought, realizing he had just said something that would get him into more trouble…
But before he knew it, he suddenly felt the paws release him and suddenly…
WHUMP! A mountain of white lion fur flattened him even further into the ground. “Now this is me using my full weight,” Leo chuckled.
“Mmmmmmmmmph!” Ken’s muffled voice cried out, and Leo grinned as he got up from Ken, and the young Time Kid spluttered with his mouth full of dirt.
“Oh look,” Leo grinned as he pointed with his paw. Where Ken had been laying, there was a perfect Ken Blake-shaped print in the ground, with enough features in the ground to look like Ken was actually pulling a disgruntled face.
Not that Ken noticed, since he was rubbing the dirt off his face.
“Come on now, young one,” Leo shouldered him. “Perhaps you should go back to the rest of our friends now…it can be dangerous when there are all kinds of animals about. Staying with me will be the safest thing for you out here.”
Leo was actually saying this because he knew that any other animal in his jungle would very much want to have their own fun with the young Time Kid, but no animal ever disobeyed their king of the jungle for not letting him have his fun first.
But Ken didn’t believe what Leo said. “Not on your life, big tabby,” he coughed. “I have somewhere to go…would you mind letting me go?”
“But why leave in such a hurry?” Leo asked. “Surely it can wait…or shall I have to prove to my jungle that you should really have time for your friends?” He put up a playful stalking position, but to Ken it just looked too intimidating.
“YAHHHHHH!!!” Ken immediately turned tail and ran! He bolted away from Leo, despite knowing how fast a lion could be compared to his speed at full pelt. But he didn’t care…all he wanted was to get away. He glanced back at the huge male lion, noticing that Leo didn’t even seem to be making much effort to keep up.
Ken was in fact just turning his head back and about to call out for help when suddenly…
BUMP! Ken suddenly ran straight into another figure in front of him that he hadn’t noticed was standing there! He found himself staring at another feline face, this time a female. At first, all he saw was the big brown eyes mirroring his own, and then the face lifted before a big pink tongue swiped over his own.
“Urgh!” Ken grimaced as he realized it was Lyra. “Cut that out, lady,” he started to back off before he felt his back bump into Leo, having narrowed the gap quickly. Now Ken was caught between the two of them, with no escape route.
“Hello, young one,” Lyra grinned as she playfully nudged him under his legs, knocking him down. “You taste nice for a human…I wonder if you feel nice too. After ages of sleeping in the castle grounds with only a bedding made of straw, I’ve often wanted to sleep on something…softer.”
“Oh no…don’t you dare…” Ken tried to crawl away, but only found himself nose-to-nose with Leo, who kneeled down and blocked the way.
“You’re not going to let down my wife now, are you, naughty boy?” Leo teased. If there was one person he didn’t mind having a share of Ken first before him, it was his beloved Lyra. And he was not about to let Ken pass up the chance to be a nice human mattress for her.
He nudged Ken over and rolled him over back towards Lyra. “Whoa…” Ken felt dizzy as he was being rolled over the ground, before he found himself in front of the female’s huge paws.
He scrabbled to move away in time, but he was a second too slow…
A heap of lion fur came crashing down upon him and flattened him once again to the ground!
Ken struggled to get up, but Lyra’s weight easily held him down. He looked up towards her, annoyed.
But Lyra seemed to be enjoying it immensely, smiling warmly as she looked upon her human cushion. (*3) “I like you, young Ken. You’re much softer than anything I’ve ever felt before,” she playfully moved her body around a bit to adjust and annoy him a bit further.
“Well, it looks like you will fit in with us very well, young Ken,” Leo smiled. “We should perhaps give you the royal treatment, which is almost like our ceremony with Trinity earlier. If only our children were here to see you, they’d probably want you to stay around too.”
Ken was about to complain, but suddenly, he felt something strange upon his feet, and suddenly, “WOOOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” He suddenly burst out in ticklish laughter, wriggling underneath Lyra’s weight but unable to get away. “No! STOP! STOP! WHOOOOAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” He squealed but unable to stop laughing.
Curious, Leo walked up a bit closer, and then, for the first time, he noticed the two cubs, Lune and Lukio, having snuck up from behind earlier. They were curiously licking Ken’s feet from where they were sticking out from their mother’s fur, and providing Ken with constant tickling torture.
Leo grinned. It reminds me of that time when we met that yellow-haired boy from Down Under, when we were friends with Sabre. It was a shame that golden eagle had to take him away, though. (*4)
Then glancing back at Ken, he dropped the thought. What does it matter now…now that we have a kid of our own to play with? This will be fun while Trinity and his friends hang around for the rest of the day.
* * *
Some time later, Trinity was walking through the jungle with Shelly and Josiah, just enjoying a little walk. This jungle scenery that surrounded them never ceased to make the Adventurer feel at peace, almost like nothing else mattered anymore in his life. He held his crystal tightly in his hand, feeling its energy pulse through him and he stared up at the sun, feeling its warmth wash over him.
Ah peace, he thought quietly. Trees here and there, flowers blooming in the sun, water flowing peacefully from a nearby river, Ken Blake running straight at us with Leo and his family chasing him, ah lovely!
He stretched his arms out above his head before he twigged…Huh?
“Hey…is that Ken?” Shelly noticed as well.
“HELP ME!!!” Ken Blake bolted at them, hoping that his fellow friends would save him from this obsessed lion family. Unfortunately, he was so determined to be saved that he forgot to slow down in time…
“Whoa! Stop!” Trinity cried out as Ken ran straight into him and bowled both of them off their feet! They flipped over and landed on the ground. Trinity’s crystal came loose from his hand and sailed through the air. Trinity strained to catch it before it hit the ground.
But the moment he caught it, he felt a sudden pull of energy pulse from it…
And “WHOA!” A sudden FLASH from the crystal suddenly caused him to disappear from where he was! The sudden crash of Ken Blake into him had accidentally made him use its power to jump through space and possibly even time!
To both the Time Kids and Leo’s family’s astonishment, Trinity the Adventurer vanished right where he was, but to where he had gone, nobody could tell.
“Oh great!” Josiah sighed. “Now we’ve gotta go and find him!”
Leo glanced sternly at Ken. “Well now, if you hadn’t been running from us like that, this wouldn’t have happened. You ought to be punished for that, young Ken.”
Ken went pale, now frightened of what they were going to do with him.
Shelly just shook her head, not amused. “Okay, you guys keep an eye on him while Josiah and I go look for Trinity. Hopefully he won’t have gone far.”
Josiah agreed. “And maybe when we get back you’ll have learned your lesson by then, Ken.”
Leo, Lyra and the cubs all grinned at each other, as they all watched Shelly and Josiah head in the direction of the time buggies, before Leo picked Ken up by his undies once again and carried him away, towards the castle grounds where there would be no escape for him until the others came back.
“Oof!” he fell down hard, bruising his shoulder upon landing. Trinity shook his head, and blinked a couple of times before he started to get up. He looked around to see where he was. Wherever he was, he hoped it was somewhere familiar, where the Time Kids might think to look for him.
I swear when I get my hands on Ken, he’s gonna get it this time, he thought. Not content with having a bothering day, he had to bother mine!
Just then, a cry for help caught his attention. “Help!” the voice sounded young, and female.