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Pride Lands

First Appearance: KINGDOM HEARTS II (2006)
Origin:
The Lion King (1994)

If you ever need a break from your two-legged adventures, the Pride Lands are the place to go if you don't mind being turned into a furry animal; it is to these plains that Sora and his friends go to next and find themselves with quite different appearances! While Donald takes on the form of a flying bird, Goofy becomes a turtle and Sora turns into a fierce little lion pup. They are immediately ambushed by three miscreant hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and their little colony before they are called away by Scar, who is the tyrant kind of the Pride Lands after he killed the previous king, Mufasa. The trio of heroes proceeds to venture deeper into the Pride Lands and rescue a lioness named Nala from Heartless; after she tells them of Scar's tyranny, the trio decides to dethrone him.

At Pride Rock, the gang sees the extent of Scar's rule: the lands are dry, food is scarce and everyone is very, very angry with the circumstances. Even with this little piece of hope of dethroning Scar that Nala has delivered to the residential wise man - monkey? - Rafiki, there seems to be no hope because a new king must replace Scar and this king must have all the right qualities, which Rafiki thinks Sora just does not have - but fortunately, there yet lives one last candidate who would be perfect for the job, Simba, the son of the dead king Mufasa who has exiled himself far away with his two friends, Timon and Pumba. Obviously, Simba is enthralled to see Sora, Donald and Goofy again and even more so to see Nala, though emotions are dampened when he refuses to go to Pride Rock to become king after she asks it of him. The reason for his refusal is built primarily on guilt; he feels that it is his fault his father died after being crushed by a stampede of gazelles and for this reason alone he can't bear the thought of replacing him because he feels it won't change a thing - but then his father comes to him in a nightly vision and repairs Simba's broken ego and the young lion decides to do what is right.

Simba confronts Scar at Pride Rock and after a cruel exchange of words Simba finally gets Scar to admit that he was the one who really killed Mufasa, not Simba. Unfortunately for the heroes, Scar makes a getaway while using the hyenas as a diversion, which allows the time window in which Simba chases Scar and faces off with him at the top of the rock before Sora and co. follow behind not too long after. Simba manages to throw Scar off the rock, thinking him dead, before a pesky Pete turns up and declares that Scar's anger turned him into a Heartless, which pops up at that exact moment and entices Sora's troupe into a fight. Though Scar's Heartless is very powerful with much magic at its command, it is no challenge for the little lion that is Sora and quickly fades into darkness. The act gives births a new king, Simba, and opens the door to the next world on Sora's list, signaling the end for the action in Pride Lands for the meantime.

~♥~

Sora, Donald and Goofy return to the Pride Lands to find that everything isn't going well for Simba; when they go to consult him they are confronted by a ghostly image of Scar, writhing in darkness, which is reason enough to be worried about Pride Land affairs. Unlike usual kings who are normally proud and courageous, Simba spends his days cowering inside his cave under the weight of his responsibilities; it takes a pep talk from all of his friends to liven him up and once he has his spirit back, they all go to see Rafiki to see what can be done about the ghostly projections of Scar. Rafiki tells Simba that in order to be a king, he has to believe in himself with his heart and that until then anything else is futile; he also drops a hint that the hyenas in the Elephant Graveyard might know a thing or two about Scar's ghost but not to go there since Simba is not yet ready for the hardships that lie ahead. As usual, Simba disregards Rafiki's warning and heads out to the Graveyard with his friends in tow.

At the Graveyard they happen upon Shenzi, Banzai and Ed who let on that they might know something about Scar's ghost, and entice Sora and his friends into a whirlwind chase around the ancient bones of huge, mammoth-like elephants. At the end of it, it seems that Simba's fear of his responsibilities and of being king are the major factors in the apparitions of Scar, and after taunting him, Simba runs away once again, but it is a problem that can be solved. After consulting with Rafiki - whose words are unsurprisingly true - it seems that in order for Simba to really be a king, he must face his fears head on. After some encouragement from Sora and friends, Simba manages to banish a Scar apparition away and realize his potential, which will be put to the test since Timon reports that ghosts of Scar are attacking at Pride Rock.

Once at Pride Rock, Simba banishes another ghost which is cornering Nala and Pumba; his confidence and determination force the other ghosts dotted around the plains to manifest into a single body, which is a gigantic Heartless by the name of Groundshaker. Though this beast has colossal, jaw-dropping powers, Sora struggles against it and finally sends it six feet under, an act which brings peace to the Pride Lands once and for all. Now with King Simba finally reinstated on his throne with the confidence he needs to rule, the gang sets off for other shores.

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