11:00 A.M., January 1st, 2013, Osai Beach

"So, this is it." The Matriarch of the Gimura Family said, as it was finally that time in her life. The time that her daughter becomes a woman. "This is how my daughter officially becomes a woman." Penelope said. After her husband's attempted coup, Penelope was fully prepared to live the rest of her days as a fugitive and had even managed to turn the Gimura Force Hideout into a domesticated and somewhat opulent mansion. Never did she think her daughter would be the next Grand Priestess, and at times she wondered how different her life would have been had she remained in America with the rest of her family.

But here she was, celebrating her daughter's coming of age surrounded by not only her family but also very high ranking members of the Imperial Court. "Not bad for a girl who didn't get to go to school…" Penelope thought aloud. "Mom?" She heard Imara's voice. "Happy Birthday, Imara!" Penelope said as she turned around. When she did, she felt a pair of dexterous hands start to play with her face and then an amused, childlike laugh sound off. "So glad you could make it too, Zume." Penelope said, as Zume continued to play with her face. He and Auri had the most innocent and precious of smiles; it was often just enough to make up for their floaty eyed stares.

"And it isn't just Zume and Auri who turned out for the party, either." Imara said, perhaps a little more used to the mute Nderu Siblings' usual greeting than her mother or brothers were. She directed the attention to the outside proceedings, and besides the Gimura Force there were also other members of the Imperial Court and Elven Sanctorum present, from the Grand Priest and the highest ranking Priests below him, to the current Chancellor and highest administrators in the Imperial Court, to the Grand Marshal and all 60 of the top generals in the Elven Armed Forces. They all cheered for the birthday girl making her appearance, but it was her brothers, Ron, Auri, and then Azuro that Imara saw first.

"My, the turn out…" She said demurely, though clearly enjoying the attention she was receiving. Auri walked up and began to play with Imara's face. "And so glad to see you too, Auri." Imara said as Auri laughed in the same amused, baby-like cadence that Zume laughed in. With this, she made her way to the birthday cake. There were 18 candles; representing not only the years of her life but also the number of wishes she could silently make on this day.

And she planned to use all 18 of them.

2:00 P.M That Same Day, Masai Imperial Palace War Room

The crown prince of the Masai Kingdom found his interest piqued by what he observed. "Hello…" He said weakly as soon as the birthday girl was shown in that very enticing, almost hypnotizing purple bikini. It was Imara Gimura and her partner for the upcoming Master Challenge Ronmaru Jotomatu that he had to observe, but even against all of his discipline and willpower the young prince found his male urges piqued when he saw the Grand Priestess in training in her less concealed state. He did not even observe Ron at this point, as he was more concerned with Imara and how she moved during the beach party games.

"Wow…" He said in a trance as his eyes followed the each and every contour of Imara's curves and committed every inch of her beautiful body to his mind. Her lips, currently pulled back in a smile as she was enjoying the company of her friends; her snake-like eyes, pointed nose and ears seemed to only enhance her beauty. "Beautiful, talented, a capable vassal and even a skilled warrior…" He said almost unconsciously as he watched her move to an impromptu training match with a member of her father's former bandit force.

"Vituo?" A feminine voice called out, snapping the Changeling prince out of his trance. "K-Kyanna?" He said, before clearing his throat and recomposing himself. "I was just preparing for the Master Challenge by observing my opponents. Specifically, the one who is most likely to pose the biggest and most unpredictable challenge to the both of us." He said, as though that were in fact what he was doing. The look on Kyanna's face was perhaps all one needed to see to glean how much she believed him.

"Her boobs are definitely going to be sources of distraction for you, aren't they?" She said in a snarky tone, and Vituo blinked as he realized that his monitor was still focused on Imara's chest. Vituo felt all the blood rush to his cheeks as he turned off the monitor. "Kyanna, I chose you as my partner for the Master Challenge. Remember that it is a privilege to be chosen over the other members of the Masai Five." Vituo attempted, but there was a reason the 5'3" future Imperial Shamaness before him was one of the few people in the kingdom that could freely call the Changeling Prince or his father by their given names.

"And don't forget that I taught you and the other Five everything you know as it concerns Sorcery and the many Conversions." She reminded. Vituo ran a clawed hand through his mane of dreads in exasperation. "When all is said and done, I will still need you to follow my orders and work with me. I need to win this, Kyanna…" Vituo said, and despite his brave face she could practically see the vulnerability in his voice.

"Win or lose, I highly doubt this'll affect what Ishaq thinks of you, Vituo." Kyanna reassured, in the way that perhaps only she could. "The last thing you need right now is unnecessary distractions. Your infatuation with that elf girl is going to be enough of a hindrance." She assessed. A leonine growl exited Vituo's system at this. "Don't you worry about who I fancy and don't fancy. On that, I do not require your input or your opinion." Vituo said, doing his best to keep a stiff upper lip.

"As you wish, your majesty." Kyanna said, as she turned and walked away. Vituo loosed an ursine growl when he saw that she put some swing into her hips as she did; that he expected her to not get a last taunt at him was perhaps what irked him more than anything else.

Kyanna simply laughed at his frustration.

6:00 P.M. Mujin Dynasty Stronghold, Training Course

All 50 targets broke in order; not a single shot was anything less than a bullseye as the young warrior who fired his tonfa-like arm cannons continued chasing this course's objective. It was a summoned Pteravian, and the phoenix-pterodactyl hybrid was about as elusive as you'd expect that to be as it continued hovering just out of his range no matter how fast the agile warrior ran. Said Pteravianl eventually flew over some concrete walls, but that was not going to stop him as he summoned Explosion Chi to the bayonets on the end of his arm cannons and smashed his way through all five walls with a shout.

"Get it, Torune!" The woman running just behind him screamed as the dust cleared. "I'm trying, Chagua! Shut up!" The disgraced Mujin yelled back to his cousin and Empress Malkia's only daughter.

Torune promptly used Explosion Chi Mode to add a boost in speed; he perhaps moved as fast as any member of the Blitz Corps, and perhaps could keep pace with Kasi himself. And yet, he still could not just close that small gap with the Ectobill he was chasing. After two more futile reaches, he finally pooled all of his Chi into his arm cannons and used them to rocket himself forward with a shout of determination.

However, it was not to be, as a hand reached out, caught the Pteravian and pulled it out of Torune's path, allowing him to fly through and tumble until he landed in a heap. "Agh! Damn it, Syn!" He called out in anger. "Hey! We had it!" Chagua complained. Synturo simply glowered at his sister and then at his cousin.

"Your speed is lacking. The both of you." He said sternly and coolly. Chagua hated when her older brother looked down at her, for it reminded her only too much of how their father would look at her and Azuro when he was disappointed, which was quite often. It didn't help that Synturo stood 6'3" and seemed to at once look like both Kato and Malkia; it was as if Chagua was being chastised by both parents at once.

"First off, you are not our father. In fact, you're only 4 years older than me, so do not speak to me like I am a child." Chagua said, and the irony of her immature tone was not lost on anyone present. Synturo's face did not so much as change as he responded. "But, I am your next Emperor and…" Chagua cut him off.

"No, you aren't. I did not submit to your little Mujin Legacy or whatever you called it. If anything, after you were disinherited, you technically answer to me now." Chagua haughtily and petulantly blurted out. Torune seethed as he stood up, but Synturo held up his hand. "I had zero problem taking our father's life and threatening the lives of our mother and younger brother. Do not make the mistake of believing our Mother's decrees or choice in heirs are of any consequence, especially right now." Synturo informed. Chagua placed her hands on her hips as she stood all of her 5'5" and glared at her older brother.

"Hmph! Just make sure he…" She pointed a finger at an indignant Torune. "Doesn't hold me back during the Master Challenge." She said, as she turned and walked away. Torune started to his feet. "I'll show you who's-" Torune threatened as he raised one of his arm cannons. Synturo stopped him, however.

"For now, play nice, Torune. Sister Dearest is our best hope of recruiting General Mansa's heirs to our side. Once Esau and Ranga join the Mujin Dynasty and bring their remaining outlaws to our ranks, we will have a decent counter to the next Grand Priestess." Synturo said.

"As well as the power of a Soul Reaper at our beck and call."