AGNPH Stories

My Name is Kaine by servussmith


Story Notes:

This is my EXCELLENT ADVENTURE! contest submission

Chapter 3

I woke to the warm rays of the morning sun stroking my face. Rolling, I turned from them to a more shaded part of the bed where I sought to further sleep, if only for a moment longer. Then it occurred to me that my room didn't have a window. Bolting upright I looked about myself in a panic. The room I was in was almost completely barren, its pale white walls completely devoid of decoration and the bunk I now sat in was the only furniture in the small room. Climbing to my feet, I snuck across the floor to the door. The old wooden boards underfoot creaking and causing me to wince at the thought of who might be within hearing.

As the door swung open under my gentle touch I caught a whiff of something being heated in the rooms beyond. It wasn't exactly good smelling, but I hadn't had anything to eat since yesterday afternoon and the odor was all it took to make my stomach growl. Then, in the space of a breath, all the events of the day before rushed back in.

The fight, the way Mr. Long had saved me, and the long journey out to this little town out in the middle of nowhere, Lincoln I think it was called. We had pulled into the drive of a large property on the edge of town with a tiny house and a large barn.

"Rise and shine Abel!" Mr. Long, or Uncle Abi as he was to be known as now, shouted from what must have been a kitchen. "We have a lot of work ahead of us."

Following his voice I found myself in a kitchen nearly as Spartan as the room I had slept in. A stove oven combo dominated the room, a minifridge and folding table the only other furniture in the room, though there was a large wash sink next on the wall next to the stove. On the stove was a pot of something grey, thick, and unidentifiable that Uncle Abi was tending to with a soup ladle. "What is that?"

"This is a pot of insta-brew emergency rations." He replied with a smirk, "All the nutrition of a full meal with none of the flavor. Just add water and heat."

Chuckling, I stretched and took another look around the room. "And what are we gonna put that in to eat?"

He just chuckles and reaches into a black gym bag on the minifridge and pulls out a storage cube. He points the subspace pocket generator at the table and a red beam shoots out of it. The beam quickly coalesces into a pair of large plastic mugs. I take one and bring it over to the stove. Uncle Abi dumps a couple dollops of the chunky grey substance into my cup. Lifting the cup to my lips I take a sip and have to fight to keep from gagging on the absolutely tasteless sludge. It's like trying to drink a muk, "That really is tasteless."

"One of the first things on our to-do list is gathering necessary supplies, one of which being a decent refrigerator and food to go in it." Uncle Abi replies with a chuckle as he walks over to the table and pours himself a glass of the sludge. He chugs it down in a single go and wipes his mouth on the back of his hand, "That stuff never goes bad, but it never tastes good."

"No kidding." I chuckle after trying to choke down a couple more swallows of the vile stuff. "I'm pretty sure that's why it is called 'emergency' rations, because there is no way you'd eat it if it wasn't an emergency."

Uncle Abi smiled, a bit sadly come to think of it. "So I've been told. How is the illusion coming?"

Closing my eyes I focused on generating the new me. Once I get an illusion down, it's easy to summon, but new tricks are a little more difficult. I open my eyes when I'm done and look at Uncle Abi. He bends over close to me and grabs my chin, turning it to the left and the right, "Good. The color of your eyes is a bit off though. You've let a little red into the whites. Makes you look like you've been smoking pot. Either that or you slept like shit."

I nodded, "Better?"

Uncle Abi gave me a thumbs up, "Finish your goop and let's get a move on. I already got everything out of the van while you were busy sleeping in."

"Sleeping in?"

"Around here, the day starts before the sun rises and ends a while after it goes down. Between school and training, you're going to need all the waking time you can get."

I choked down the rest of my heated emergency rations and followed Uncle Abi out to the van. "What are we doing today?"



Looking back, that was one of the longest days of my life. We had to go to several different towns to get all the clothes for me, the appliances, and a little furniture to make it look like we actually lived there. Might I add that that the towns were each at least an hour apart? By the time we moved everything inside and got everything hooked up the sun had gone down. I was ready to crash, but Uncle Abi had something else in mind.

"Come out to the barn with me. Your training begins tonight."

The barn was large, and mostly empty. It had a loft but other than the ladder up to that and the structural supports holding it up, the barn was completely open on the inside. Uncle Abi began unbuttoning his shirt and turned to me. "Your first lesson is in maintaining your illusion under stress."

As a janitor, I had never seen Uncle Abi wear anything but loosely fitting, button-up long sleeved shirts and jeans, but now I could see the body underneath. He was seriously ripped, not huge, but so sharply toned it looked like he had been chiseled out of flesh colored granite. He lowers his stance slightly, "While maintaining your illusion, defend yourself."

He gave me no more warning than that before he lunged at me. I leaped sideways and his fist shot past me so fast I swore it whistled. I bounced back several steps more steps out of his reach, waiting for his next move as my heart pounded in my chest. He merely straightened up and looked at me, "Resume your illusion."

I looked down at myself and, sure enough, I had dropped the illusion. I quickly restored my disguise and held up my fists, knowing full well that if he landed even a glancing blow, it would hurt like hell. He came at me again with hissing right hook that I barely managed to avoid. I continued to bob and weave and bounce just barely out of the older man's reach as he came at me again and again. However, I was so busy watching his fists that I forgot to mind my surroundings until it was too late, I had been backed into a corner.

My mind races as I quickly assess which side is more open, the left or the right. There is about a foot more to his right open than on his left and if he doesn't change the rhythm of his attacks in the next couple of swings, I may be able to slip by just outside of his swing. My focus zeroed in on his right fist as I lean out of the way of a left uppercut that easily would have lifted me off the ground had it connected. I could see his next move with perfect clarity, a straight jab with his right fist. I step into his attack, reaching out to push against the side of his arm so that I slide along the outside of his attack. Spinning to further lessen the blow, I didn't see his left elbow coming around until it was too late.

Uncle Abi had transferred the momentum of his jab into a spin and he caught me full in the chest with his other elbow. The sheer power of the blow lifted me off my feet and launched me backwards. I hit the ground hard and slid backwards across the dirt floor several feet. Gasping for air, I laid there barely able to groan as Uncle Abi walked over to me. He crouched down and grinned, "Congratulations."

"What?" I managed to wheeze out between gasps, but he just smiled and pulled me to my feet.

"You didn't drop the illusion."

I glanced down at my hands, and sure enough, I was looking at human skin. I had held the illusion. I smiled weakly as Uncle Abi helped me back to the house. As he opened the front door he chuckled, "That was the easy lesson. You need to be able to maintain your illusion no matter what. As long as no one knows your true strength, they will underestimate you. And since you were technically kidnapped, if you magically show up somewhere we'll have to move again." He walked me to my bed and I fell backwards onto the spring mattress. "Sleep well, because tomorrow, we start doing workouts."


The next morning, I was awakened by my bed being tipped over. I let out a groan as I propped myself up on an elbow, "What the hell?"

"Forgot to buy an alarm clock." Uncle Abi replied with a laugh, "So I figured this was the next best thing."

Crawling out from under the mattress I groaned, "What time is it?"

"0500 hours. Time for workout."

"Can't it wait for the sun to be up at least?" I groaned, trying to climb back onto the mattress. Uncle Abi just flipped it again as soon as I was on it. I crawled out from under the mattress again and sighed, "Okay, okay. I'm up."

I followed him outside into the dark of the predawn hours where he led me through one of the most hellish workouts I could have imagined. Sprints, walking lunges while carrying weights, up-downs, push-ups, crunches, we were doing all of those and only Arceus knows how many we did. Hell, he even had me running up and down the ladder in the barn for good measure. By the time the sun came up around 0630, I was about to pass out. My fur wasn't very long, only three-quarters of an inch, but I don't sweat. Between my fur and only being able to pant off heat, I was about to suffer a heat stroke, even in the cool morning air. Uncle Abi helped me to the back door step where I collapsed, panting hard.

A few seconds later I yelped as ice water was dumped all over me. Almost immediately steam began to rise from me. Uncle Abi took a seat next to me and handed me a bottle of ice water, taking a swig from his own bottle. "You did good." He told me with a smile as steam rose from both our bodies, "You did real good. You dropped your illusion when I dumped the ice water on though."

I chuckled and regained my illusion, taking a couple of gulps of water before I replied, "I'll work on that."

"As soon as you can, get yourself cleaned up and ready to go to school. There is a long handled, stiff bristled brush in the shower so you can clean your back on your own."

I was probably looking at him like he was crazy, because he laughed, "What? You need to get an education somehow or else you'll just be the most badass hobo on the planet."

I sighed and shakily climbed to my feet. "Fine."


School in Lincoln was one of the most unremarkable things I have ever experienced. I mean sure, there was some excitement about me since I was the new kid and all, but overall it was so uneventful that it doesn't bear mentioning. I just played the shy new kid routine, which wasn't all that different from the 'please don't notice me' routine I played back at Tatum Richards.

When I arrived home, Uncle Abi was not around, so I just sat at the kitchen table, which was still just a folding table, and did my homework. By the time Uncle Abi returned home, the sun was setting outside the kitchen window and I was just winding down my war against my math homework. "Welcome home, Uncle Abi."

"How was school?" He asked, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge.

"Boring." I replied, closing my math book.

He chuckled, "Then I'm guessing you could use some excitement, which is good because hand to hand training begins tonight."

I raised a brow, "You mean it didn't start last night?"

"No, but the same rules apply, maintain your illusion at all times." He told me, "Meet me in the barn after you change into a pair of running shorts."

I was still feeling a little rubbery from this morning, but I met Uncle Abi out in the barn after a quick change. He was waiting for me wearing only a pair of shorts himself and I was reminded just how powerful his physique was. He smiled at me, "The key to fighting at your most effective is to be brutally efficient. Waste no movements, preserve momentum as much as you can, and follow through with every motion."

I nodded, "Am I gonna be fighting you tonight again? Because I still hurt from last night and this morning."

Uncle Abi laughed, "No, no. Not until I feel you have grown strong enough. Tonight, I just want you to imitate me."

I grinned and shifted my illusion, going from 'me' to a copy of him, albeit smaller. "Like this?"

He just laughed as I shifted back to myself, the human me, and then the training began.


Morning workout, shower, scripture reading on my own, school, homework, combat training, and then a shower followed by passing out on my bed. Repeat. That was how it went for a long time, with the only difference being church on Sundays and an afternoon break on Saturdays. Then came the first day of summer vacation and with it the first day of weapons training.

The day started out like any other before it: workout, shower, and scriptures. Then Uncle Abi walked into my room, knocking on the door frame with a long wooden bokken. "I think it is time you learned officially how to use a weapon."

I set my Gospel down and hopped up onto my feet. "Bout time."

On the way out to the barn, Uncle Abi grabbed a long padded bag. Once there he set the bag down and took out a wooden spear bokken. He threw it to me and I caught it in one hand. "There is a common misconception about power spears, and that is that they are stabbing weapons."

I frowned, because apparently I had been holding a misconception as well, "They aren't?"

"No." Uncle Abi replied taking a second spear bokken out of the bag, "While that is one of the primary uses of a spear, the nature of power weapons is that they cut through just about anything. To take advantage of this, a power spear's head takes up a good third of the weapon's length. It is essentially a sword on the end of a staff."

Uncle Abi sets the bag aside and steps out into the middle of the barn. "Strike me."

I took a deep breath to calm myself and focus my mind. If my hand to hand sparring lessons were any indication, Uncle Abi would not make this easy for me. Lunging forwards, I stabbed out with the 'blade' end aiming for Uncle Abi's chest. Barely lifting his bokken, he redirected my weapon past him over his shoulder and I leaped backwards in expectation of a counter attack. Uncle Abi laughed, "That was smart of you to leap back, but right now, I want you to focus on hitting me. I'm not going to counter until you can hit me."

I nodded, taking another breath as I rolled my neck around. All out attack, now. I attacked again, this time with an over head slash. He knocked it aside with ease, but I whirled as I flew past him, making an attempt at a passing blow to his kidney but he was already spinning around to block my attack and it went wide. Shoving off with a frustrated growl, I lowered my grip and stabbed out again. Again it was deflected.

If I wanted to even touch the man it was looking like I would have to separate him from his spear. I did my best to roll with the shift in momentum, spinning the spear around so that it came down in a slashing arc over his shoulder. He brought up his spear to block, but I yanked my spear back towards me and then shoved it out so that is was between his spear haft and his chest. I threw myself into a full body spin, reversing the direction of my slash and slamming his spear. I thought I had him until he went to a one handed grip and let me spin pointlessly.

Snarling in frustration I kicked out at him. He caught my foot with his free hand, but I twisted my body around once more and landed a one handed slash against his side as he threw my foot away from him. I landed in a three point crouch with my spear held in front of me in line with my forearm and wearing a satisfied smile on my face. It hadn't been a hard hit, but it had been a hit, and if it had been a power spear it probably would have been disabling if not fatally wounding.

"Good, very good." Uncle Abi grinned, "You really are a natural fighter. Not only that, but you touched on something very important: The spear is not the weapon. You are the weapon. Let the spear become merely an extension of you and you will go far."

I was the weapon. It occurred to me then just how dangerous we Chimerans were. We had the power of pokémon at our almost instinctive disposal. We were children walking around with handguns in the waistbands of our jeans. Humans had every right to fear us.

"Now, defend yourself."

I instinctively leapt to the right out of the way of Uncle Abi's spear as it tried to skewer me. I barely had a moment to breathe before twisting over the blade of the spear as he tried to sweep my legs out from under me. That had been the wrong move as it left me off balance when I blocked the shaft from slamming into me. Tumbling head over heels I held tight to my weapon, bouncing back onto my feet in time to deflect an over handed slash.

My heart pounded, and adrenaline was flooding my body. Never before had I felt so alive. Going on the offensive I spun the spear around in an upward arc, but had to abort it halfway through in order to twist over another sweep. I landed firmly this time and pressed forwards, driving Uncle Abi back a few steps with a flurry of stabs and slashes. Suddenly I was flipped onto my back and the blade of Uncle Abi's spear thumped me in the chest. It had happened so fast I wasn't immediately sure what actually had happened, but he had managed to hook one of my legs with one of his and thrown me to the ground.

"Wow." I wheezed out with a breathy chuckle, having barely held my illusion when he put me on my back especially as the 'killing' blow had knocked the wind out of me. "When it ends, it ends quick."

"That tends to be true of a lot of things, especially in battle." Uncle Abi replied as he helped me to my feet.

I picked up my bokken and prepared myself to start again, "Let's do that again, but this time it is gonna be you on your back."

"Bring it on, Abel." Uncle Abi laughed before we started it all over again.

We went back and forth, sometimes with a series of parries and thrusts and other times whirling like dervishes. It was like some sort of violent dance, a dance that Uncle Abi led more often than not. The day became a blur of brutal training. In fact, the entire summer was a blur of bruises, soreness, and, most of all, laughter. I thrived on the energy of our fights and for the first time in my life, I felt free from the pain of the almost nine years since my family had died.

I had regained something that had been lost. I may have called him 'Uncle', and he worked harder than most grunts in boot camp, but Uncle Abi had become my father, and I his son. Although it was small, and very unorthodox, I had a family again.
Chapter End Notes:
Had to split the chapter again... sheesh
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