The Present Day, 12:00 Noon
"So, this is it." The Masai Crown Prince said, as he surveyed charts of the Imperial Court and Armed Forces hierarchies. He had gotten used to seeing these charts, but what he wasn't used to was the idea that by birthright he was second only to the Emperor and Empress themselves in said hierarchies. "That's right, Vituo." The prince's father, the Emperor of the Masai Kingdom, confirmed. "And after today, the next step of your royal training truly begins. How do you feel?" The father figure asked. Vituo had no idea what to feel, besides trepidation.
"Like I may not be prepared. Like I could potentially shame our clan name if I don't live up to the example of the previous head of the Masai Five." Vituo said solemnly. The Emperor chuckled. "I thought exactly what you're thinking 30 years ago; when my father told me this same thing on my 18th birthday. I remember standing there and thinking exactly what you're thinking, and feeling exactly what you're feeling." The Emperor remembered, though the picture of the previous Masai Five caused the Emperor's mood to dip just a bit. It was hard to believe that he was the last remaining member of that iteration of the Masai Five; the death of Nguvu's mother 8 years ago was still one of the only moments the Emperor ever actually broke down in public.
"To think, Nguvu would follow in his mother's footsteps, even after what happened 8 years ago…" Vituo pondered, to which the Emperor was quick to change the subject to a lighter, if more interesting note. "And with him and his brother Imani joining, this marks the first time in a hundred years that the Masai Five has been all one gender." He observed, to which Vituo began to counter. "Father, that's hardly true-" But then Vituo stopped. He realized that, of the 4 subordinate members he chose, not a single one of them was female. Kasi, Jicho, Nguvu and Imani were his closest friends and the ones he could trust the most with anything.
"Oh… I see." Vituo realized. The Emperor feigned disappointment. "Now, Vituo, what have I told you about your whole 'no girls allowed' mentality?" He chastised in a sarcastic voice, clearly trying not to laugh. "I'd say Jicho is feminine enough for two teams. So technically…" Vituo joked. The Emperor laughed at this; he remembered how often his former squad often joked about his less than masculine hobbies.
However, after a few moments, Vituo became deadly serious. "Father, when they get here…" The Emperor also stopped laughing. "We'll address that after the ceremony."
The Masai Emperor said with finality.
5:00 P.M, the Imperial Palace Promontory
Animalistic roars and screeches sounded from below; even Vituo was surprised at just how many people turned out for his coming of age ceremony. He wondered if he'd be able to keep this popularity and adoration for his ascension ceremony; it wasn't surprising for the Leader of the Masai Five to have lost more than half his approval rating by the time he was to become Emperor. Though his own father, his grandfather and his great grandfather avoided such a situation, Vituo knew exactly how they had managed to do so. He only hoped to replicate at least some of that feat as he drunk in the atmosphere of his adoring public.
"To think… We'd be standing here…" The man next to him said, clearly in awe at the gathering. Vituo had to remember that he was the only of the current Masai Five to be high-level nobility within the Masai Kingdom, let alone outright royalty.
"Get used to it, Jicho. As of today, we for all intents and purposes outrank even the Emperor in some matters. Not the least of which are the war and the diplomacy councils." Vituo said silently to the only member of the Masai Five who was in fact younger than him.
Jicho Matarasa was only about 5 months younger than Vituo, meaning his 18th birthday wouldn't be until the coming summer. He was also the only one amongst the incoming Masai Five whose clan could not claim even distant royal lineage. Whenever Vituo would visit the Matarasa residence, he was coldly reminded of the vast difference in wealth between even the elite warrior caste and low-level nobility and how guilty that made him feel for being born a prince. Jicho stood 5'10 and weighed in at 180 pounds; a part of Vituo believed that the prodigal sorcerer would have matched him in conditioning if he were allowed to focus on his physical prowess as opposed to studying to improve his lot in life.
"Oh, I don't think we're ever gonna get used to this one." Kasi said. Standing at 5'6" and weighing a wispy 150 pounds, even Jicho seemed to dwarf the heir to the Ncorongo Clan's fiefdom. Vituo found it odd that Kasi was so small, given he could not remember seeing any other male from his clan an inch under 5'9" or a pound under 170. However, Kasi's size was by no means a hindrance to him; the Masai Prince wondered if Kasi's affinity for Speed and Fire Conversion stemmed from the same genetic outliers that caused him to be so leanly built.
"That said, we stand where most never will. Beside the next Emperor." Imani continued with an optimistic chuckle. Vituo stood exactly 6 feet tall and weighed a solid 210 pounds, so he well and truly felt like the centerpoint of the Masai Five. His central position on the promontory simply highlighted that the Jubei Brothers were the two largest members of the new Masai Five. Unlike Kasi, Imani was by no means out of the ordinary for his clan. Standing 6'3'' and weighing a solid 230 pounds of muscle, it was quite clear that Imani shared ties with the clan that ruled the Yorura Kingdom.
Nguvu pointedly had nothing to say, even during this occasion. Vituo wondered if talking wasn't a chore, given the light blue, metallic filter-mask that muzzled the hulking warrior. Seeing that mask and the almost saddened blue eyes was a reminder that despite the extreme physical power the 6'5", 300 pound Demolitions Corps leader was capable of, there was a very sensitive soul housed within. Vituo knew why Imani's younger brother needed that mask; the Masai Prince could only hope that he could one day save him from his grief and anger.
In fact, Vituo hoped to one day be able to solve all of the problems the Masai Kingdom faced. Even if it had to be just one problem at a time.