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Zeus: The King, The Princess, and The Prophecy

Zeus: The King, The Princess, and The Prophecy

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Zeus: The King, The Princess, and The Prophecy

Longueur:
247 pages
4 heures
Sortie:
Mar 3, 2017
ISBN:
9781386116813
Format:
Livre

Description

After a meteorite crashes in the Congo, the animals undergo unexpected transformations including the ability to speak with the humans. Zeus, a lion and the king of the jungle, is charged with defending his pride and others from the hyenas. With help from his friends—and some he thought were foes—he prepares for war.

As tensions in the jungle rise, Zeus is shocked to learn that he is connected to Amanda, the daughter of one of the veterinarians studying and doctoring the animals. Young Amanda is able to see through Zeus’s eyes and together they learn an entirely new way to witness the world that they live in.

A prophecy deems Amanda is the key to winning the war so Zeus vows to keep her safe. However, as the battle begins, it could be Zeus who needs protecting.

Michael Huston's exciting debut novel takes the reader on an unexpected and often amusing journey as the animals and humans prepare for an intense battle.

Sortie:
Mar 3, 2017
ISBN:
9781386116813
Format:
Livre

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Zeus - Michael Huston

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CHAPTER ONE

In the early ‘60s, a meteorite slammed down in the middle of the Congo. Over a period of several months, weird things started to happen. The animal births started to increase and, without warning, the animals started to talk like humans. This had the African tribes nervous, thinking that the end times were upon them. The animals could still make their normal sounds—the ones that they usually made—but now they could also talk.

Local scientists tried to keep the effects of the meteorite quiet, so that everyone would not come to the Congo to exploit the animals.

A specialist from the New England area of the United States—a graduate of the University of UC-Davis—was one of the doctors doing the studies on this amazing phenomenon. She graduated at the top of her class in animal science, animal psychology, and animal behavior, and was quite possibly the sweetest person anyone could ever come across in life. Everybody loved her, but she was not without her faults—if only a lovable one. She was falling in love with some of her animal patients, which could prove dangerous, if not life-threatening.

One of her patients was a male lion, but not just an ordinary lion; he was the king—the head of his pride—and quite possibly the biggest lion in recorded history. Yes, Julia Roberts was getting too attached to her work, and, at times, getting too close to the lion she’d named Zeus after the mythological god whom Julia loved. Zeus was king of all.

This lion was tall and wide with a mane so full you could not see the rest of his huge body. When he stood on all fours, he was taller than any man and his weight, at their best guess, ranged from eight hundred to a thousand pounds. His height, from the ground to the top of his ears, was six foot five inches tall. He was not a nice lion. Every chance he got, he would lunge at anyone who got close enough.

Julia just loved the challenge, and it got to the point where her colleagues would start to worry because she took too many chances.

The morning was a hot and humid when the time came for the plains animals’ journey to the watering holes, where there was fresh, green grass and shrubs and wild berries growing after the big rains gave everything a drink.

Julia was really looking forward to going out with the animals to observe and to have fun. All doctors and veterinarians were going on this trip, even Julia’s father, Dr. Jim Roberts, who specialized in AE veterinary medicine. Although he did not share in Julia’s extreme excitement, he did enjoy being with the animals, but he had to admit he was afraid of Zeus.

Now, Zeus was wary of Dr. Jim Roberts as well, probably because Jim had a rifle with him all the time. Julia didn’t like her father carrying a gun one bit. She would always say that a real vet would never carry a rifle, which would invariably cause an argument that lasted for days. For whatever reason, Zeus made Dr. Jim Roberts very nervous.

You see, Zeus still had the battle scars from the most recent war between the lions and hyenas. There were tigers there as well, not to mention all the blasted crocodiles, which Jim did not like no matter how much Julia defended them.

She would say they kept the water clean. Of course, Jim did not agree with her reasoning. The way those two would fight, you would think that they hated each other, but that was just not the case.

Jim loved his daughter, and Julia loved her dad. They just loved to fight with one another to throw everyone else off track. They always fought when they were in a crowd, but when they were alone, it was just as loving and kind as you could ever imagine and they trusted each other’s judgment, even though Julia took crazy chances. Julia somehow knew when to back off and not to get hurt. Zeus, deep down inside, always knew she was there not to hurt him or his pride of lions, especially his mate, whom Julia named Rose, and their cub Samson, who was already bigger than any other cub his age. Even though Zeus was nervous about humans getting too close to his family, he trusted Julia.

Jim, on the other hand, wasn’t keen on opening his throat to the lions, so to speak. He was happy to keep his distance.

Rose was a very good-sized lion for a female, but still gave up several hundred pounds to Zeus. Rose was not as aggressive as Zeus; that is, as long as you weren’t messing with her young. Now, Zeus didn’t need a reason other than the fact that he just didn’t like you.

Zeus, a battle lion, came from a long line of warriors. His father, Thor, had been taught to live, fight, survive, and to lead his pride like a king should.

Thor taught his son from an early age how to hunt, but the most important lesson was to fight and to kill or be killed because that was the way it was. Zeus learned that lesson well, for he had been a witness to his father’s death. Without warning, Thor had been attacked from all sides, and even though he put up a valiant fight, he was killed in the battle. He lived on in Zeus’s heart.

CHAPTER TWO

Located in the Congo in Central African Republic, just north of the equator is the Zaire River—a very large and long water way and a main watering hole for just about every animal in Africa. This river runs from Banana Africa to Kisangani, DRC, Africa, and in places is almost a mile wide. The Zaire is loaded with some of the biggest crocodiles in the world—the largest one measuring forty feet and almost four and a half feet around the middle of his body. He’s the one Julia calls Tiny. Jim just calls him two-thousand pounds of teeth and muscle.

Now, the elephants are the most fascinating animals you can ever imagine, but what’s this? Did the matriarch have another baby? Julia and her dad have not seen the elephants for quite a few months, so it was highly possible that the big female was pregnant and no one noticed. Well, sure they noticed this baby, which didn’t look like a newborn now. As a matter of fact, after some precise calculations, this baby was a lot bigger at this age than any other newborn elephant.

What’s going on? they both asked. Could that meteorite have something to do with the freakish growth in six of the newborns over the last couple of years?

Julia said, Hey, Dad! What do you make of the size of this baby elephant?

Well, I would have never believed it if I hadn’t seen for myself. This is simply amazing, don’t you think?

Yeah, it’s really something. I would never have imagined this baby would be this big in this short of time.

Yeah, I know, said Dr. Jim, puzzled.

The one thing they were both noticing was how all the meat-eating animals were gathering at the water hole. Everyone felt the tension in the air.

Hey, Dad.

Yeah.

What do you think is going on?

Well, honey, if I had to guess, I’d say get ready for a round or two of war.

But, Dad, I thought the war was over. Julia sounded excited and worried at the same time because the hyenas and tigers seemed to be allies and trying to kill the smaller animals and the newborn babies. That was what they tried to do the last time they fought. Julia did not want to see any more killing, but she knew that what she wanted and what was happening were two different things. She was almost in tears.

The worst fight she’d ever witnessed was when Zeus took on three tigers at the same time. Although he took a beating, the tigers did not fare much better. One of the tigers died and another one was seriously maimed.

Another amazing sight was when the gorillas were fighting with the lions. That had never happened before. One particular gorilla was, again, her favorite, and she had named him Thaddeus. She thought that was a name befitting a fighter that loved to pound their victims into the ground, and that was Thaddeus.

For whatever reason, he loved to fight. Julia could not understand how the lions and gorillas could fight side-by-side and not have a problem. Their psychological behavior said just the opposite. Apparently, this was one instance where the science could be proven wrong.

Julia busied herself making notes to clarify what she was observing. While she was looking at the gorillas, she noticed the baby, only he was not a baby anymore. Although not as big as his father, he was not much smaller, either. Julia’s dad had noticed as well.

Hey, Jules! Can you believe how big that baby has gotten since we were here six months ago?

Yeah, I know! Dad…for the first time since we came to Africa, I’m scared.

Yeah, I don’t blame you for that. I’m a little scared myself. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say another fracas is ready to start again.

I know. Do you think that the meteorite has anything to do with their moods and the fighting?

I don’t know, but it’s something we can look into.

Everybody in the company—all the doctors and scientists—felt the same way. They all were uneasy and knew this night would be a night to remember for years to come.

Dad, what in the world is that baby holding on to?

From out of nowhere, their African guide came up to them and spoke, startling Jim. That, my dear, is what is called a poison rope.

A what?

A poison rope, or I guess you could refer to it as a cobra.

A cobra? Is that gorilla crazy? That cobra could bite him, and he could die.

Yes, but, if you hold the snake just right, even you could hold it.

No, thanks. I know my limits, and I don’t need to push my luck.

I know what you mean. I am not much for snakes myself, Joseph Mutumbo said.

Joseph, how are you doing? Why are you late? We’ve been here for hours.

Yes. Well, my vehicle is not running too good, and I had a flat tire. Did I miss anything?

No, not really, but there is a lot of tension in the air. Can you feel it?

Yeah, I would imagine the war is going to rage once more, as if the last one wasn’t bad enough, Joseph said.

While Julia, Jim, and Joseph were talking, out of the blue, they heard a voice come out of the direction of the gorillas. They all looked incredulous as they stood stunned, not sure if they had really heard what they thought they heard. Then, without a doubt, they heard and saw the young gorilla speak to his father. They all just stood there with their mouths open wide; none of them could talk. Then the baby spoke again.

Father, can I fight with you and Zeus this time?

No, my son, you’re still too young. I need you to help your mother with the younger brothers and sisters.

But, Father, I’m almost as big as you are.

I know, son. You are getting big, which is why you’re in charge at home. If anything attacks home, it is your job to protect our family, even if that means you have to kill something.

But, Father—

No buts, son. I need you to take care of home while I’m gone. Do you understand?

Thaddeus was very stern with his son, Zeke, and for good reason—he was training his son. If Zeke was going to have a family of his own someday, he needed to learn a few things first, and during war time, Thaddeus needed to know he could depend on Zeke at any cost.

As the three humans were watching the exchange curiously, they soon realized that what they heard was exactly what human fathers and sons told each other. They always knew that primates were intelligent, but now they had proof.

Julia started to walk up to Thaddeus and have a conversation with him. Out of the corner of his eye, Thaddeus saw Julia coming closer and didn’t know what to make of it. He saw that the male human had a long noisemaker in his hand, and as he recalled, the last time he heard the thing go boom, he saw a hyena drop dead. Now, ten feet away, Thaddeus tore out in Julia’s direction. She almost turned around to run, but stopped in her tracks. Thaddeus knocked her down and glared at her. When he saw the human raise the long stick, he backed away.

Then Julia spoke, Thaddeus, I’m not here to hurt you. Can you understand what I’m saying to you?

Yes, I can, but how is this possible? he asked.

Thaddeus, I believe that when the fire ball came from the sky, it changed a lot of things. Do you remember when that happened?

Yes, it almost killed me.

Yes, Thaddeus, I do remember when we brought you in to the park hospital.

Yes, I wondered how I got there. Can the other animals speak like I can? Thaddeus asked, kind of bewildered.

Yes, I believe they can. Weren’t you just talking to Zeus?

Who’s Zeus? Thaddeus asked.

He’s the lion you were just talking to.

Who named him Zeus?

As a matter of fact, I did. What? You don’t like it?

Well, it sounds kind of goofy.

As the gorilla and Julia were talking, a safari truck was approaching the campsite. It was one of the volunteers, Julia’s husband, Richard, and daughter Amanda.

Zeus, who was watching from a distance, suddenly got a feeling down inside himself and couldn’t shake it. Then, without warning, he jumped to his feet and started toward the vehicle. Everyone watching froze and did not even breathe. Julia, who does not normally give in to fear, just went cold to the bone as she watched the biggest carnivore in the jungle walk closer to the vehicle and her husband and daughter, she started towards the lion.

The driver had never seen the likes of Zeus before and was completely in awe, not to mention so scared he could not move. Richard could not even think, let alone try to protect his daughter, but Amanda was not scared. She stood up and looked Zeus right in the eye, which Zeus would have to admit surprised him, as well. As Zeus stood not two inches away, Amanda reached out and scratched the bridge of Zeus’s nose, which almost gave Amanda’s grandfather, Jim, a coronary. He then remembered his gun but, to his disgust, realized it was too late. Zeus, who did not understand what was happening, was, to his surprise, drawn to this child.

Then everyone gasped as he spoke. Hello, little one! What is your name?

She smiled her big smile and answered, My name is Amanda. Dr. Julia is my mom. What’s yours?

Dr. Julia calls me Zeus, he answered.

Where’s your mother, Zeus?

Oh, child, my mother has long since passed from this life … for that is the way of life … we live and we die.

Then, with tears in her eyes, she said, Well, I don’t want you to die, Zeus, ‘cause now you’re my friend.

Nor do I want you to die, little one. It would seem our spirits are intertwined, so I must protect you with my life.

Then confused, she asked, Why must you protect me?

Well, little one, there are evil spirits who would wish to do you harm, and I cannot allow that to happen. It is important that you stay safe. That is all I know for now.

Somehow satisfied with the answer he gave, she moved closer to him and threw her arms about him and hugged him.

Zeus stood there, not knowing what to do or how to feel. This was all brand new to him. While she hugged him, he just stared at Richard, who was busy being scared, and Julia, who was completely stunned.

As the afternoon drew on, the group of doctors sat observing the gathering of animals. They also noticed that there were more crocodiles in the river now than there had been that morning. They were getting ready for a feast. All the doctors were sitting around discussing how that animals had a sixth sense about life and death. They would ask the question, what is it that tells them something is about to happen? Can they actually smell fear, as Zeus says? Is there a chemical that’s given off that they can smell? They’d already proven that animals could smell food from miles away, so, they wondered, does fear and death work the same way?

CHAPTER THREE

When the doctors and scientists all arrived that morning, only Zeus’s pride was there. Since that time fifteen or more prides had arrived. That had never happened before, and it was not a particularly good sign. Something really bad was getting ready to happen. As the scientists were asking what no one really wanted to know, Julia finally asked the head doctor, her dad, what he thought. Hey, Dad! You’ve been here longer. Is this going to be a full-scale war?

I just don’t know. Something could happen tonight, or it may hold off for a while. I just don’t know.

Then Richard got into the conversation. Julia, I know you’re a doctor, but you’re a mother, too. I think you should take Amanda and go back to where it is safe. I can stay here with your dad.

Nice try, Richard, but you know I received grants for this expedition, and if I leave, I’ll have to give back the money. Besides, my mother is here, too. Amanda can go back with her.

Not wanting to argue and knowing she was right, he conceded, but to be honest, he was worried about Julia even more than he was worried about Amanda.

Richard was a person who was extremely misunderstood. Everyone took him for a coward, but Richard was just overly cautious. At first, Jim didn’t think he had the courage to even come to Africa. Well since then, Jim saw something that forced him to not only have respect for Richard, but admiration, too. About a month ago, Richard had saved his wife’s life from certain death by a crocodile. This was the same crocodile Richard killed with his bare hands, not that this croc was big, but he wasn’t small, either.

It was the same croc that had been terrorizing the villagers for some time, and they were pleased when they heard it was dead. Richard never went out of his way to show his bravery, but he was not afraid to show his sensitive side, either. That was the part that drove Jim crazy—guys being too sensitive. He always thought that sensitive guys were a little unmanly, but he did respect Richard.

On the other side of the river, they saw hyenas gathering as well, so many that as they looked across the plains, all they saw were hyenas. In his broken English, Joseph seemed bewildered and said, Where did they all come from? I have never, in all my days, have seen so many hyenas in one place.

Have you ever seen animals fighting like this? Jim asked.

No, not like this. This has never happened.

Has your mother ever seen this, Joseph?

I do not know. She never talks about it. She seems afraid of the bad spirits lurking around.

Do you believe in those spirits, Joseph?

Not like my mother does. I believe my creator is a spirit, but not a bad spirit like my mother believes. Lately, she has been more nervous and spending more time with the spiritual leader in our village.

Well, I believe we will see what happens soon enough, Jim said.

Every time the team went on an excursion like this, they always brought a

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