Cubone Without a Skull
The Pidove soared awkwardly through the air high above the lands and toward the disappearing sun. The tears filling the eyes of the weary Pokémon were clouded her vision but thankfully, there weren't any obstacles in the air.
Just a little longer. Just a little longer... and then I'll get to Aurora Town...
Though it brought her pain, the Pidove flapped harder as she passed over the edge of the cliffs to enter a large field with trees scattered about its vicinity. The bird couldn't tell if there were any Pokémon living among the fields, but she didn't bother trying to wonder. She was too busy focusing on trying to erase her mind of the horrors she had witnessed only moments ago.
She could still hear the screaming of the innocent. She could still see the ghostly forms of the ghastly creatures. She could still see their eyes as they pierced deep into her soul...
I can't take this. I can't. My wings...
The bird abruptly swooped down towards the grassy land, only for her tired wings to give out on her. The Pidove suddenly began to tumble through the air as a bright, pink aura surrounded her body. Moments later, the light died ceased to reveal Zekra in her Zorua form. With her illusion dissipated, she could only watch herself plummet to the ground.
She landed on her face seconds later.
While not as much of a rough landing as she expected, the Zorua still felt waves of pain shoot throughout her body. She fell over to the side and rubbed her nose and cursed at herself for not being able to keep up her illusion ability long enough.
She had been trying to learn how to master that talent of hers for a very long time, the talent only known by her kind and their evolved forms. However, she was never able to get it quite right due to it sapping away all of her energy too quickly. Her kind were supposed to be masters of disguise. The ability to pretend to become any Pokémon they saw and play with the minds of other Pokémon was a talent all Zorua and Zoroark took pride in.
Being a Zorua and not having full control over that technique brought a snarl to her face.
However, Zekra was quick to push the thought aside, for that was not a major concern at the moment. Right now she needed to find a place to rest for the night. She knew would have to walk to town the next morning and she'd need all the rest she could get. She knew couldn't become a Pidove again; she could only change into another's form if she saw them before her and even then, she knew she'd only repeat today's efforts if she tried again.
Struggling to her feet as water continued to leak out of her eyes, Zekra slowly wandered through the fields that separated the town and the valley she had fallen into. These were the Gray Lands, a flat land that stretched on for seemingly forever and was void of any towns. It was the only way to get to Aurora Town from where she was now.
As the sun continued to set, Zekra's mind continued to replay the events she had witnessed on those cliffs with those Pokémon. The memories seemed to become more gruesome as the night swept over the land. She kept thinking she could hear the screams of someone in the distance, but whenever she'd look, no one was there. She tried to shut out the screams, but they continued to call out to her, as if beckoning her to be with them.
Beckoning to have the only survivor with them.
She saw the fear in the victim's eyes before they were taken away from her in a quick instant. She saw the entire horrific event replay in her mind over and over again. Her friend's face came to the front of her mind with the same terror stricken expression she had last seen on the Torchic.
I'm sorry Chi... Zekra whimpered in her thoughts. I didn't know that I was going to get you killed… I-I just wanted to keep you safe!
The face wouldn't go away. It was soon crowded by the faces of others who she had seen traveling, all with that same look in their eyes. Zekra shook her head and dried her eyes with her front paw.
"No, I can't think about this anymore," Zekra muttered. "I have to get to Aurora Town. I have to."
Through the physical and emotional fatigue, the Zorua slowly made her way over to the nearest tree in the area. The images still raged in her vision, but she did her best to ignore them. Instead, she looked over at the tree. It was a somewhat large tree, but there weren't any branches sturdy enough to hold her nor were there any hollows in the trunk.
She'd have to sleep under the shelter of the leaves tonight.
Zekra sighed as she approached the tree and prepared to curl up next to the base of the trunk. Before she could however, she saw something next to the tree in the faint lights of the disappearing sun.
There, curled up and fast asleep, was a small brown creature. It had two, small pointy spikes protruding out of its back, a small tail, and a belly that was a lighter, tannish color compared to the rest of its body. The face looked similar to that of a baby Kangaskhan's, but it had the same brown shade as the majority of the creature's body. The eyes were also much more triangular than a Kangaskhan's', the muzzle a tiny bit longer, and having more horn-like ears.
It appeared to be a Pokémon, but Zekra couldn't tell what kind it was supposed to be despite knowing many kinds. Seeing it made Zekra's inner turmoil cease, if only temporarily, and become replaced with wonder.
What is that? Zekra wondered. That a wild Pokémon? And what kind? Looks kind of funny looking.
Curiosity got the best of her as she approached the snoozing creature and nudged it with her paw.
"Hey, wake up!" she said as she pushed the creature onto its back.
The strange Pokémon eyes squinted shut even tighter from the sudden disturbance. But then, slowly, he started to awaken. Blue eyes opened then blinked a few times tiredly. The Pokémon sluggishly sat up, rubbing his head.
"Where am I?" he asked Zekra.
"You're in the Gray Lands," the Zorua explained as she sat down in front of him. "It's not exactly all that gray, though, as you can tell."
She started to chuckle at the comment, but the Pokémon before her wasn't doing the same. Instead, his eyes grew wide before he suddenly started backing away frantically on his hands.
"You… You're a talking Zorua!" he shouted. "How are you talking?! Pokémon can't talk!"
"Well of course I can," Zekra said. "I don't know why you'd think that since you're a Pokémon too... whatever Pokémon you are."
The Pokémon stopped moving. He brought his hands up to his face, staring at the paws that had a mitten-like shape to them. He pinched his two claws together. His eyes grew wide as he continued to open and close his hands.
"Is everything okay?" Zekra asked as she made her way over to him. "You're acting really weird... like really weird. Are you insane by any chance?"
"What? No! I'm not insane!" he retorted as he checked over the rest of his body.
"Then why are you touching yourself like you've got imaginary Joltik crawling all over you? Pretty sure that's not a good sign."
"I'm not insane, Zorua! I'm just freaking out right now because... I'm supposed to be a human! But now I'm a Pokémon! A Pokémon!"
"Human?" Zekra repeated. "But there aren't any humans around here. They live overseas on different regions of the world... if the rumors are true as they say."
"Well I was one!" he shouted. "And now I'm just this... this…"
He never finished his sentence. He hyperventilated as he glanced down at his trembling paws.
"Umm, right," Zekra replied awkwardly. "Well umm, what's your name?"
The strange creature continued to keep his eyes glued to his hands, saying nothing. Zekra frowned as she poked him with a claw. He didn't move.
"Hey, I'm asking a question. What's your name?"
The creature slowly tore his gaze from his paws and looked at the Zorua. She could see his eyes shaking and felt a twinge of pain in her heart.
"I... don't remember," he replied.
"You don't remember?" Zekra asked, lowering her voice. "Is there anything you remember about yourself besides being human?"
The former human turned away. He seemed to meditate in his thoughts for only a few seconds before his pupils dilated to the extremes.
"No, I don't remember anything..." he finally replied. "I just know that I'm human. Or at least supposed to be. Now I'm what looks like a Cubone from what I can tell... I'm a Cubone without any memories... dear god, why?"
"Ohhhhh so that's what you are!" Zekra said as the epiphany came to her. "I thought your form looked familiar! I just couldn't recognize what you were since you didn't have a skull helmet! Or any kind of bone weapon! That's how most Pokémon are able to recognize Cubone and Marowak!"
The Cubone scowled at her, most likely annoyed with her reaction to his turmoil. He rose to his feet with some reluctance, wobbling in place until he managed to steady himself. Once he had done that, he let out a huff.
"Well it doesn't really matter anyway," the Cubone said bitterly. "I'm not a Cubone. I'm a human. Anyway, see you around."
The Cubone shot her a glare before he walked away. It took Zekra a moment to react at his unceremonious leave.
"Hey, where are you going?" she asked.
"Somewhere where somebody can help me," the Cubone replied. "Because quite frankly, I don't think you're going to help me. After all, you think I'm crazy, don't you? And why would you want to help a crazy Cubone who claims that he's human and has no memories?"
Zekra became stumped by the remark. The Cubone let out a snort as he continued to wander away from her. Zekra grit her teeth and clenched her claws around the grass beneath her.
"Who said I didn't believe you?"
Zekra saw the Cubone stop before he slowly looked back at her. Zekra released a long sigh as she shook her head.
"Alright look, I'll admit you sound kind of crazy right now," she said. "I mean, a human getting turned into a Cubone? That's pretty insane. But well, there's a lot of... crazy things I've seen that don't even compare to that. And you being a former human would explain a lot of things, like why you don't have a mask for one thing. Cubone and Marowak never take those things off, no matter what. They hate showing their faces for whatever reason I can't imagine. You being turned into a Cubone would explain why you haven't got one on you."
The Cubone stared at her for a moment, his eyes glazing over.
"You really believe me?" the Cubone asked.
"Yeah! That's what I just said," Zekra replied. "Sorry if I made it look like I didn't believe you, but I do. I really do."
The Cubone remained quiet, but nodded as he made his way back over to him. Zekra smiled at the sight and sat down on the cold ground.
"Oh yeah, forgot to introduce myself," she said. "My name is Zekra."
"Zekra? You're not just called Zorua?" the former human asked as he sat across from her.
"No, no one really calls other Pokémon by their species' name. We all have nicknames. It helps when there are multiple of the same Pokémon in one area. That way no one gets mixed up with somebody else. Why do you ask?"
"Just feels like I'm supposed to call Pokémon by their kind. Maybe it's an old habit of mine from my human days. But anyway, nice to meet you though, Zekra. I would tell you my name, but like I said, I can't remember it."
"Hmmm guess we'll have to give you a new name then until you remember your old one. That okay?"
"Sure, it's fine.
"Alright, let's see here. Well, I do have one idea if you're okay with it."
"What do you have in mind?"
Zekra smiled despite her heart sinking at the mere thought of the name.
"Terron," Zekra answered.
"That's a really strange name," the Cubone stated. "Where'd you get that from?"
"It's one of my friend's names. He was a Sandile that I grew up with. You just remind me of him is all. I mean, he didn't have amnesia and he wasn't a human at one point, but your personality is a lot like his. And well, you're both ground-types."
"So you want to give me a name that belongs to someone else because I'm like them?" the Cubone asked reluctantly. "I don't know about that. It just feels like I'm stealing your friend's name and… it feels like I'm pretending to be them. It's like I'm stealing their place in life by having their name."
"I don't think it's like that," Zekra replied. "Nobody can steal your own identity from you. Besides, I think my friend wouldn't mind having his name given to you. I think he'd like that actually..."
"Well, if you say so," the Cubone said as he shrugged. "I suppose that can be my name until I figure out my real name."
Zekra smiled at this. However, her happiness was short lived, as memories of her former friend soon flooded her mind. She cringed as she immediately imagined him being consumed by the demonic creatures and hastily shoved the thought out of her head.
"Alright," the Zorua said before she curled up. "Glad to know each other's names. So what are you going to do now, Terron? If you're human and don't remember anything, do you have any idea on how you're going to get your memories and become human again?"
"Well I don't really know," Terron said in a melancholy tone. "But, you said something about humans being in different areas of the world. What do you mean by that?"
"Oh, that," Zekra said as she remembered briefly mentioning that. "Yeah, supposedly there are humans in this world, but they live across the sea in distant lands. However, no one has seen any actual humans for who knows how long. So now they're just legends according to us Pokémon since we thought they went extinct already. But I guess you prove that humans are still around."
"Did Pokémon and humans ever live together in this region?"
"Well according to the stories they did. They all got along really well and used to do everything together."
She then paused for a moment as her pleasantness faded at the remembrance of the next part of the story.
"And then they just left one day. All of them just disappeared. And they never came back. Legends say that they went to other regions of the world, but no one's ever seen them. It took a lot of adjusting to them all going away, but everyone managed somehow. Everyone learned how to cope, but it's just so weird how they vanished without a trace. Even though no one really thinks much about humans anymore, I still kind of wonder sometimes about how something so important to us Pokémon could leave for seemingly no reason."
Terron remained silent. He seemed too marveled by the story he had just heard to give a proper response.
"But why did they leave and the stories not say why?" Zekra rambled before she looked over to Terron. "What do you think?"
Terron blinked, yet he didn't say anything. Zekra sighed again, realizing it was probably a strange question to ask.
"I'm gonna get some rest," Zekra said. "It's dark already and I was going to head to Aurora Town since it's the nearest town. If you want to find out more about yourself, maybe you should come with me and we'll find someone who can help you."
"You really think so?" Terron said in wonder.
"Well, only one way to find out," Zekra said. "Besides, where will you go anyway if you don't go there? There's nothing else out here that you want to go to. Just a bunch of grass. Lots of grass that goes on forever unless you go far east. Far, far east…"
Terron seemed to consider this for a moment before giving her a nod.
"Alright, I'll come with you," Terron decided. "I could use a guide and you seem pretty knowledgeable about this place. Sorry about trying to ditch you earlier; I was just really not thinking because... well... turning into a Cubone and all that."
"It's alright," Zekra said with a small smile. "We'll leave in the morning, though. So good night, Terron."
And with that, the little Zorua fell asleep in the grass.
Terron chose to stay awake and looked up at the sky high above. There wasn't a cloud to block the view of stars scattered throughout the sky like dust, each star having the brightness of the moon. Despite being millions of miles away, the stars seemed so close that Terron felt he could reach them if he had wings.
He fell onto his back as he continued to stargaze. He wondered if perhaps one of those stars was where he came from. Perhaps where he came from was a place that was so close to him right now, yet so far away. He looked at the brightest star he could find before putting his hands in front of his face and pretended to cup his paws around the star as if to catch it.
Where did I come from? Terron wondered. And why am I here now as a Cubone? Was I chosen to do something perhaps? Was all of this prearranged to happen?
He looked over at Zekra, who was sleeping quietly a few feet away. She seemed at peace.
Am I really going to stay with this Zorua after she takes me to Aurora Town? Terron continued. Sure I said I'd go with her since she knows how to get to civilization, but do I really need to be with her after that? I can take care of myself. I'm sure I can find the answers about who I am on my own. I'll just have to figure out how to tell Zekra that. It is pretty strange though how she immediately wanted to help me. Why would she want to help me? I'm nobody important to her. We barely met for five minutes and she already acts like we're friends…
Before Terron could think much further, he felt something furry snuggling against his side. He turned his head to find that Zekra was asleep beside him now. It seemed that she had wandered over to him while he was meditating on his thoughts. Unlike how he last saw her though, she had pained expression fixed into her as if she was having a nightmare. Terron could feel her nuzzling into him as she tried to find comfort from whatever was giving her grief.
Terron shook his head with an agitated sigh, but he didn't push Zekra away. He found he couldn't do it since he did feel pity for whatever was making Zekra suffer. He let the Zorua stay with him as he tried to relax.
After staring up at the stars for a few minutes, Terron finally went to sleep.