Before long, carnivores called for a meeting. A meeting chaired by Hyenas. The head of Hyenas, Hues, spoke
“I know that I am from one of the least powerful group here but I called this meeting to draw our attention to the implication of Lion’s message. It will kill us if we move from carnivores to herbivores. We only know a few herbs which cure our ailments. We don’t know them as food. If we give Gyaas the nod, we are doomed. We are finished, we are done for. A mass funeral with our carcasses on display will be our portion”
All present said “May God forbid”
“Then either we talk to that Gyaas or find a way to make sure he losses. You know the latter is difficult to achieve as he has won all the herbivores over. Even among the omnivores he has a huge backing. Killing Gyaas and making sure all his family are extinct is not an easy task”
Python chipped in “The things you say Hues! Let’s just speak to Lion. I know he may have a solution. After all, he is part of our zone. Good to know you are thinking but that law could actually save you from Lions and your masters at your superior end of the food chain but I guess your greedy thirst will not make you yield to the freedom the law promises you. Let’s go and meet Lion Gyaas then”
All the carnivores marched to the den of Lion Gyaas and presented their case. Gyaas surprised them by laughing so hard upon seeing the serious faces they wore and listening to their grievances.
“My dear family. You know you are my family. Will I sit by and watch you die together with me? This is a game of thrones. We need to be the royal family. When we climb that stool, we will know how to go about our deeds. This time, all we need is their nodding. The more nods we get, the better our chances of hunting for more. Instead of going to hunt, they will bring their game selves to us. Don’t you get tired of playing hide and seek with your dishes before hunting them down? Just play along. This is a game in our favour. We need wisdom to succeed. He whom royalty fits must have a good head. We are in one class so understand. In the meantime, make sure no one sees you hunting another animal. Do that in secrecy to help me gain power. Power for me is power for us. Remember, even one hawk does not fear catching a chick in the midst of many fowls because of the power of strength. Strength coupled with all nods is absolute power. Who can fight against that?”
The carnivores heaved sighs of relief and shook hands with Lion and his wife; Striker, who had grown bigger in just a few hours, reeking of blood. The young ones came out with blood all over their mouths. The family head of Vultures, Opeteristas, stood on the far end of the tree close to the den and cheered them on silently.
Meanwhile, herbivores and some omnivores sang and danced to their hearts’ praises, loving the idea of freedom. While the other omnivores looked on, asking whether or not they would be able to quench their thirst for blood or curb their cravings for meet.
Crocodiles went into their seas and campaigned massively for Lion after Swans had campaigned. Even the water animals jubilated upon hearing the good news from the mouths of the propagandists who so differed in their choices of food and lifestyle. That every animal on land spoke for Lion won all nods even before the Nodding Day.
On the Nodding Day, every animal who could make it represented. The Nodding Day took place on the shores of the biggest sea which was barely a sea so all animals were able to represent. The land around that area was full, the sky around that area was full, and the sea was filled to the brim. Many sea animals travelled for days through the dirtiest of mud to be able to make it to cast give their nods. Even weak birds flew from North, South, East to the Western Palace Land to give their nods. Animals in the deserts walked miles on end to give their nods. In the end, Lion had the nods of all animals except Owl Watcher. But no one recognized his nod as anything important. At last, Lion Gyaas was king of the Jungle Kingdom. The first thing that happened was all animals bowing before him as he stood with his face into the sky as if telling God “I did it”.
Watcher asked those around him why they bow when they are all supposed to ascend the stool but they called him a disgruntled wizard of a bird who only loved catastrophe.
After the nodding, while all the animals moved to their original zones, King Gyaas made all grown porcupines his protectors, moving all the lion family to the most comfortable part of the jungle. He named the place, The Palace. Most of the animals were surprised and some started complaining. Hawk who was given the position of propagandist told a few animals that that was King Gyaas’ own way of studying the most suitable land and making in order to make the rest of the kingdom same for all. Within the day, almost all the animals had heard of this thought and praised the name of King Gyaas as the wisest king to rule Jungle Kingdom. Those who lived close to The Palace zones visited and were given water as the birds with the most beautiful voices serenaded them into complete reverence. They left with the song on their lips
“Gyaas is the King of Kings
The king who pain flings
The king who catapults fear in slings
The king who peace bell rings
Oh Gyaas is the King of Kings”
Meanwhile, Watcher made it his business to tell all those who cared to know that their king was the most cunning animal in the Jungle. He told Bat Bright
“You just study the carnivores in the night instead of hunting for food. And you will see what I am talking about. I will not open my mouth to tell why I am strongly against Gyaas and I won’t stop saying he is the worst thing that happened to Jungle Kingdom but I am confident you will find out soon enough.”
Three days after the nodding, three porcupines arrested Watcher in his sleep in broad daylight. The animals did not know what to make of the arrest. For no one had been arrested before in Jungle Kingdom. All animals were asked to sleep and not to wander around. Ant Ntat risked his life and stuck on one of the porcupines’ fur to know what all that was about. The protectors threw Watcher on the ground. Day burned his eyes as he struggled to see what was going on.
“So you go about talking ill of me huh?”
Watcher recognized the voice immediately. Gyaas’.
“You can fool all the animals in this jungle but you can’t fool me Gyaas”
Gyaas became angry. “What? Gyaas? You dare defy me by calling me Gyaas? This is pure treason. Tell me why you disrespect me so or pay with your life”
Ant Ntat regretted being stuck on a fur shivering like weak cotton in the winds. Gyaas’ voice had turned deep. He shook like he suffered from epilepsy and all his body decorations fell like on an order. He stood as himself, mane and all. Echoes of anger reverberating from him as his sweat poured from his mane. Something Ntat had never seen before.
“I know whatever I do will lead to my death. I see through you. I know your little secret. I got to know even before the Nodding Day. If those fools had listened to me, they would never have given you their nods. Angel in the day, hunter of souls at night”
Gyaas roared like he had never done before. The kingdom shook although none knew what had caused the King such anger. He roared and roared as the porcupines sought grounding so as not to fall.
END OF CHAPTER TWO. WATCH OUT FOR CHAPTER THREE NEXT WEEK
(Image taken from www.broadway.com)