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|The Sand Travelers|
Aang and Starfire continued flying for a while, across what appeared to be an endless desert. The heat was like nothing Aang had felt before, not even the Si Wong Desert could match up. At least the Si Wong Desert had some sort of plant life like a few cacti here and there. This one had nothing. Nothing but tons of sand.
The heat was getting to Aang, making him dizzy. His vision blurred at some point, and his head started looking like a tomato, it was so burnt. Starfire wasn't liking this much neither. Her home world could reach pretty hot temperatures but not like this. She too was starting to sweat up a storm, but not to the point of burning like Aang. At one point Aang just had to land somewhere, anywhere! But it was too late...he suddenly passed out from the heat mid-flight!
"Friend Aang!" Starfire gasped. She quickly dove down after him and grabbed Aang just before he could land. As she was flying low, a group of sandfish suddenly appeared and one tried to jump at them. Starfire flew just out of reach.
"Starfire..." Aang sighed, his voice dry and raspy.
"Don't worry. I got you." Starfire assured him. Aang turned to where they were flying, and his eyes suddenly shot open. He could see an oasis of cool, inviting water! At least that's what Aang was seeing.
"What's wrong Aang?" Starfire asked.
"Water!...Land here!" Aang insisted. Starfire had heard about this. There truly wasn't an Oasis anywhere from her view, just sand and swimming sandfish.
"Aang, there's no water. You're seeing, as you humans call, an illusion." Starfire told him. Aang looked again and no longer saw it...she was right. It broke whatever spirit he had left and tears started down his sun-burnt face. He really thought he was gonna make it through this...now he's losing whatever hope he had left.
"Aang. Don't worry. I'll get us to safety."
Starfire remained true to her word later that night. She used her starbolt to create a hard yet safe site so they both could rest. The night was very cold, but a relief from the hot day. Despite the torturous sun, the moon was very calming towards the two traveling fliers. They didn't bother with a fire, having enough heat already. But what's scary was of the sandfish that circled the site, waiting for them to get close.
"Aang?...Are you okay now?" Starfire asked. She rubbed Aang's burned head but darted it away when she felt his skin all dry and kind of rubbery actually.
"A...a little," Aang groaned. He couldn't understand why he wasn't used to the desert. He'd been through Si Wong already and he felt fine throughout the whole trip. Why was he succumbing now?
"Aang?...Are all deserts on your planet this horrible?" she asked. Aang looked at her kind of confused.
"You don't know?"
"Not exactly. I'm not really human you see."
"I got that from your flying." Aang sighed. He started to fan his head, trying to cool himself.
"Sou don't happen to know anything that can cure a sunburn do you?"
"Sorry. I hardly understand the redness of the skin like yours. So, no," Starfire said. Aang groaned as he laid there next to her. They remained silent for the rest of the night.
The next morning they were on the move again, Starfire flying this time, carrying Aang. Again the blazing sun was getting to them. Starfire now was feeling the worst of it. Aang meanwhile was shivering! Which was very bad in the heat...he doesn't have anymore time left!
Starfire was trying her best to focus but she was having difficulty flying now...she was getting close.
That was all she could say before the heat finally beat her, and they both fell out of the sky. Starfire used whatever strength she had to shield Aang for the landing. They both hit the ground hard and skidded for half a mile before they both hit something hard. It wasn't a dune though - it was man made!
They skidded to the wall. The impact of the hit caused a bucket of dirty yet very cold water to soak them both, reviving them almost immediately as the bucket fell on Aang's now numb head.
"What?...Where are we?" Aang asked, taking the bucket off his head and looking around. It looked like a wooden room, seemingly abandoned by the hole they skidded through and the sand around. It looked like a storage room by the other buckets, crates, and other things around storing something...water...lots of water. What luck!
"Aang! We're saved!" Starfire gasped. Aang then realized something along with Starfire. His burn on his face where the water hit started to disappear! Amazed, Aang went over and poured a full bucket on him head, soaking himself. He waited a second or two and saw his burn fading away. Aang was cured!
"You okay Aang?"
"Okay?! I feel fantastic! All right! Yahoo!" Aang happily replied, doing a back flip for joy. Starfire chuckled from the kid's happiness. But then her thoughts turned back to the place they crashed into. She floated gently outside. It was a boat. A large sailboat!
"A boat? Boats don't travel beyond water." Starfire thought. She flew around it a few times, getting the full look over it.
"This is strange."
It was then that Aang skipped outside, seeing the boat he ran into. He got an idea.
"All right! A sand-bender ship!" Aang beamed. Starfire flew to his side as he removed the sand with a mix of air and earth bending.
"Is it supposed to be out here?" Starfire asked.
"Well back where I come from, desert travelers will use sand bender boats to get around much faster. I mean sure, this ship doesn't look like one but I bet it works the same," Aang explained. Starfire floated to the head of the boat as Aang got the sails ready. The Air Nomad then gave the sails a good blow of air bending and they were off! The ship was doing surprising well for being abandoned. They were on their way.
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