She nearly dodged his swinging leg as she jumped backwards. Her feet landed on the white mat with a thud. She had no time to recover as her brother charged her. He lowered his body and grabbed her around the waist. She was not strong enough to escape him and was lifted into the air.
He slammed her against the mat.
Saying the wind was knocked out of her was an understatement. She felt his body weight shift and he was soon standing over her.
She tried recovering her breath but all she could manage was short, choppy, intakes of air. She groaned and rolled over to her stomach. She pushed herself up and walked over to the wall.
Drop after drop of sweat landed on the mat. She leaned on the wall, and willed her lungs to take more air. With her left hand, she brushed back loose strands of curly purple hair.
"Better," her older brother, Johnathan Red, was standing in front of her with his arms crossed in front of his chest. His short red hair was soaked with sweat but his breathing patterns were back to normal.
He was not sucking in air like a dying fish as she was.
"But," she started for him. She straightened her back and let go of the wall. She leaned on one leg and crossed her arms over her chest, unknowingly mimicking him.
"But, it's not good enough if you are to beat my scores at the final exams," he said. He walked over to a bin and grabbed out two towels. He tossed one at her.
She mumbled a thanks as she caught it and wiped the sweat off her face.
She looked at her brother as he was drying his hair.
Sparing against him was unfair since he was like a tree trunk compared to her being a twig branch. His broad shoulders, muscular arms and legs, and developed abdomen, overpowered her easily.
The only way she could have an even match with him was by using her speed. If he could not grab her, he could not beat her. However, she always ended up tired or sloppy, allowing him to get his hold of her.
He was a spitting image of their father, red and all. They were perfection, and power hungry.
Their father was the leader of the Red section and he was training Johnathan to be the next leader after him.
Their mother was one of the best Healers and was a well respected member of the Blue section.
Cecilia was born into a well known family and it was always expected for her to excel in the Imaginary World.
She was naturally smart and was brought up to work hard for what she wanted.
And what she wanted was to be the leader of the Purple section.
Her father and brother were red, her mother and younger sister were blue. She was alone. She was sure her family loved her deep down, but for the most part, they hardly showed it. Her brother only trained with her because he thought it would benefit him in the end. Her younger sister hardly talked to her. Her father only talked to her to lecture her. Her mother was unaware that she spoiled her siblings more than her. She loved Johnathan since he was her firstborn and cherished Jaylin since she was the same color and the youngest.
Cecilia was mainly raised by her mentor, Lila Purple, who treated her like a grandchild. They could pass as grandmother and grandchild. Cecilia had shoulder length curly hair and Lila had wavy hair that reached passed her back and near her thigh. They both had plump lips and angular cheekbones.
Lila was one of the elders in the Imaginary World and would be consulted by the current Purple leader.
She usually would not have mentored Cecilia since she had stopped mentoring a long time ago but when her father asked, she could not refuse.
"I'm leaving now," Johnathan said.
"Okay," she said.
"Your exams are in a week," he said, "you better start getting serious."
She was always serious when it came to her goal but he would not know that since he never listened to her.
"Okay," she simply said.
She learned from a young age that she could not talk feelings with Johnathan. Johnathan did not have normal emotions. It was like he held no empathy. There were times every now and then that he did a kind gestures towards her. Now, for example, when he tossed her a towel.
Johnathan walked out the gym door with out looking back. She walked to the other side of the mat and grabbed her bag.
She pulled out a container full of water and finished it. She wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand.
Her breath was more or less back to normal.
She slung the bag over one shoulder and walked out the gym.
The Imaginary World was a glass city. Tall skyscrapers filled the land and patches of parks could be found scattered around the area. Outside of the city was a forest where Cecilia would run until her legs could move no longer.
That was where she was going now.
Like after every other time she spared with Johnathan . Everyday she ran in the evening to improve her speed and conditioning.
Every early morning she would practice her sword skills and magic. And during the day she went to class.
The good thing about her family not paying much attention to her was that it gave her that much determination to do better than them.
Not only was she a great leader like her father, her magic skill set included healing. She did not specialize in it enough to call herself a healer, but she could do it.
Her physical skills were 1. Wielding two swords at once, 2. Throwing shurikens and kunai knifes with a 98% accuracy, and 3. She was very agile and flexible when fighting.
Her magic skills were 1. Shapeshifting, 2. She had three swirls wrapped around both of her upper arms that she could expand and turn into anything she wanted, even giving the forms life, and 3. Healing.
She was top of her class and even with the results of the exams, there was no way anybody else in her class would top her.
Being top of the class was not a big deal to her. What mattered most was beating her brother.
He was also top of his class and his exam scores were near perfect.
So she had to be perfect.
She reached the outskirts of the forest. She placed her bag underneath the same tree she had been leaving it at since she started running, since she was a first year at the Academy.
She had scratched her initials into it, C.P. Cecilia Purple.
She broke out in a fast sprint, testing how far she could go before she was forced to slow her speed.
Her surroundings were pitch black at some places and she had to rely on her eyes adjusting. She barely skidded over a slimy rock.
She passed her 1 mile marker, still going full pace.
She ducked from a lower branch, dodged a tree, and continued. It was not until she reached her 2 mile mark when she had to go to 80%.
She ran 16 miles until she made her final route to the beginning tree. She leaned on the tree and used it as support for when she collapsed on the dirt ground.
Her legs had given out and she was like a dying fish all over again.
There were times when she woke up with every fiber in her body begging her to stay in bed. The voice in her head reminded her of her dream and on those mornings she did her routine all over again.
With her remaining energy, she used her magic.
She pictured a tiger, magnificent and big enough to carry her.
The swirls on her upper arms jumped off her skin and expanded and shifted until they took the shape of a tiger. The tiger was a lavender color with stripes that were so dark they could be thought to be black.
The tiger was still and she had to lean over to touch it. The moment her finger touched the fur, he came to life. He looked down at her.
"I need assistance," she said.
She used the tree to help her stand, her bag on her back. The tiger walked closer to her and knelled. She pulled herself on the tiger and rode him as one would a horse.
He started walking to her house that she still lived in with her family.
The night air was chilly and she welcomed it. She leaned forward on her tiger, holding him around his neck.
Cecilia and her tiger were about to walk onto city sidewalks. Not a lot of people were still walking around at this time but those that were did not take a second glance as her and her tiger moved along.
Weirder things had been seen on these streets.
Soon the two of them were in front of the house.
"Thank you for your assistance," she climbed off the tiger and her legs wobbled as her feet planted on the ground.
The tiger bowed before shrinking and returning to her arms as swirled lines. She pulled her house key out of the bag and unlocked the front door. She stepped through and everyone in the house was already asleep, or was not home. She was sure her mother was asleep, along with her younger sister. Her father might still be working, John might be with him.
What was certain, nobody was going to greet her. No one was going to ask how her day was.
She was thankful her room was on the first floor of the three floored house. She was not in a mood to crawl up stairs.
She slowly but surely made her way to her bedroom. She grabbed her showering supplies and walked back to the bathroom that was right in front of her room.