Every new drill Elesis put Elsword through was a test of endurance that went on until he dropped. Each exercise felt more like torture than actual conditioning. First it was doing push-ups, sit-ups, and chin-ups early in the morning until he couldn't go on without a break (and five minute one at that). Then it was several drills on sword techniques until the set had set, and now…
"Come on Elsword, let's move!" Now it was a jog through Ruben Forest while carrying a log on his back. Last time it was a pile of heavy sticks, but this time Elesis upped the ante and had him carry a log that felt like a thousand pounds. His sister wasn't kidding when she said she was going to push him to his limits today. Every time he fell down she just propped him back up and made him continue the exercise. It was both encouraging and infuriating. At the very least he was thankful the trees in the forest provided some shade for him as he ran, it was just barely keeping the hike tolerable. "Is this all you got little bro? It's only been eight miles, don't tell me you're tired yet."
"Says the one that isn't carrying the log!" He shot back, running faster after his Elesis. She only laughed as he started catching up.
"Ha, if you got enough energy to talk, you got enough energy to run, come on!" Elesis picked up the pace, widening the gap between the two. "You can stop if you pass me." Elsword held back a groan. That was an almost impossible goal. Elesis had been keeping a distance of a least twenty yards since the beginning of their run, and was only getting further now that Elsword was starting to feel the exhaustion set in. Her challenge just felt like a cruel taunt to him. As irritating as it was to admit, Elsword just couldn't keep up.
He felt himself slowing down. The weight of the log, the burning feeling in his chest. His legs were starting to give under the weight of it all. No, not yet! I can still keep going! He stopped for only one moment to suck in a large breath before sprinting ahead. He'd pushed himself further, ignoring how much his body was screaming for rest. He wasn't going to let his sister get the last word, not like this.
"Haaaaah!" He ran faster, quickly closing the distance between him and his sister. He refused to be left behind. "Get back here!" Elsword got a bit of satisfaction seeing Elesis's surprised face as he was to catching her. He would had gloated a little, but he wasn't going to waste energy speaking.
"Don't get cocky, runt!" She gave a grin, sprinting ahead. Elsword scowled. Again, she had only been holding back for his sake. It annoyed him to no end. He knew it wasn't done out of malicious intent, but it drove him nuts seeing how far the gap between them was. Every time he thought he was getting closer to her she just took another leap forward, and this time it was practically literal. Dammit! He felt himself slowing down again under the weight of the log. Elesis was getting further away again. That last bit of energy he used to sprint forward was running out fast. His sprint immediately slowed into a jog, then into a slow stride, then to a walking pace, and finally a complete halt as he fell over, dropping the log as he did. His body was done, even though his spirit wasn't. He laid there glaring at the ground as he mentally scolded his body for giving out. Another milestone unpassed, again. "Dammit…" He growled. Was his sister just an impossible wall to climb?
Soon, a shadow towered over him, and he looked up to see his sister standing before him. He looked away, unable to face her. She said nothing, but he could feel her gaze on him. "I…" He began, but was cut off as Elesis got on her knees and started to ruffle his hair.
"Ten miles while carrying about 30 pounds. That's a new record Elsword." His eyes widened, staring at Elesis in shock. She was smiling, seemingly proud of his performance. Wait, why is she…?
"Yeah, I know I said you had to pass me, but that was just to push you." She explained. "Last time you went six miles while carrying 15 pounds of wood, so this is definitely progress." She pulled her hand from his head. "You did good Elsword, I'm really proud of you."
"I don't feel like I did good." He turned onto his back and sighed. Elesis laid next to him, catching her breath. Elsword turned to his sister and raised an eye. That was surprising, she didn't look like she was getting tired during their jog. Was she just putting on a brave face for him?
"Oh trust me, you definitely gave me a run for my money. If you didn't drop first, I definitely would of." Now that Elsword doubted, but he didn't argue with her on it. "You're a strong kid Elsword, and I'm proud of how much you've grown." His face to a slight shade of red. That was… unexpected. He had expected a scolding of some kind, or at least another lecture about knowing his limits.
"Uh, thanks sis." He was quiet after that, unsure of what to say next. "Hey sis?"
"Tomorrow we got nothing planned, right?"
"Yeah, that's our resting day, then the next day we have one final training session, and after that I leave for Velder."
"Oh…" He sat up. The remind of Elesis's leave stung a little. This might be my last chance to be with her for awhile. "You think we could change our final session as a mock battle?"
"Oh?" Elesis sat up as well now. "Sure thing little bro, our last bout to see if anything we worked on stuck before I go." She began to stand, offering a hand to Elsword. "Why the change? Think you can handle your big sis?" Elsword grabbed Elesis's hand and pulled himself.
"Honestly, not really." He admitted. "But, this is gonna' be my last chance to see where exactly I stand compared to you for a while, so I don't want to waste it." He tightened his grip on Elesis's hand, looking her straight in the eye. She stared back at him for a moment before giving her usual cocky grin and clenching Elsword's hand tightly in return.
"That's nice look in your eyes little bro. Wanna' beat me that bad?" She pushed against him, sizing him up, but he didn't budge. "Okay, I'll give you a fight to remember before I go then."
"Back at you, sis." Elesis then pulled her hand away and ruffled Elsword's hair again.
"Well well, like at little Elsword talking tough." She started walking back home, Elsword following close behind her. "Come little bro, let's go home and take a bath, gods know we both need one."