The Scorching Desert

Once upon a time, in a land of golden dunes, a hero travelled. Through the endless seas of sand grains he marched with unwavering determination. But be wary, dear reader, as he is no ordinary hero, and many could not mirror his courage and strength. He has emerged victorious in countless battles, he has endured many treacherous lands, and has seen many heroes like him pass. But he always remained triumphant. This hero is named: Fredèrico.

Water is scarce in the desert, which makes travelling difficult. For this journey, Fredèrico has set his sights on ensuring a supply of liquid. If else, this expedition could come to an end quite soon. With the stakes weighing heavy on his back, and thirst creeping up on him, the hero began to waver. A splitting ache at the back of his head bit through the contrasting numbness he felt. His vision was blurred, he felt exhausted.

The Red FruitHis eyes might be deceiving him, not long in the distance stood a statue like structure. Adorned with an ethereal glow, the fiery beams of sunlight reflected on the cold drops of blissful liquid that slowly gathered on the surface of the structure. He hurried to approach. The image of something reminiscent of a red fruit became more obvious the closer he got. The thirst finally took over his sensibility and he attacked the object. Liquid came seeping out and evaporated immediately on the hot sand. He drank as much as he could until his energy had been restored.

With his strength regained, Fredèrico continued. He could do nothing but walk. The sweltering desert seemed to have no end, neither in front of him nor behind him. He chose this path, and it might be leading the wrong way, but he was ready to take that risk. On his side, if he focused he could see the line of blue sea far in the distance, crashing against the gentle slope of the sand.

He encountered a strange, small hill in the middle of the evenly shaped dunes. Fredèrico knew when things were amiss, so he kept his distance. He held his stance, ready to flee or fight depending on the outcome. The strange hill shifted slightly. The silence that followed was maddening, but did not last long. The hill began to shake, the sand fell off with each jerk to reveal a yellow-ish surface. Fredèrico stood motionless, mouth agape in disbelief, despite his years of experience of wandering. Two bead-like black dots popped up from the surface, together with a bunch of legs.

The Sand CreatureFredèrico spoke to the creature. He asked what its intentions were. The creature told him he was merely here to find food, walk around and find another place to hide. It spoke with a wondrous voice, something the hero had never heard before. It spoke with wisdom, but it did not look like it had an abundance of experience. The creature introduced itself as a crab and told Fredèrico: It is best not to look at the path behind you, for you will find nothing but regrets. It pointed him further, towards hills in the distance. He would find something legendary, the crab told him. Fredèrico thanked him, and continued on.

As he arrived at a set of high dunes, he looked up. To his expectation, what was awaiting him did not come without risk. To his horror, the risk was greater than he thought. The ground shook with every step they took. Sand slid down from under Federico's feet. He had encountered giants before, and every time he met them, they seemed to behave in a different way. This time, they stood remotely still, changing their poses every so often. Fredèrico waited, he had a plan.

The legs of the giantsThe giants started moving again, kicking at the sand. They stopped moving, and Fredèrico lept, racing as fast as he could over the hot grains of sand. He planned to stay unnoticed, but one of the giants let out a shriek. It kicked at the hero, a wave of sand emerged from the movement. It quickly built up, ready to crash back down, enveloping Fredèrico under a heap of sand. But he was quick, he dashed towards the feet of another giant. When he landed, the giant kicked up in panic, launching Fredèrico in the air. He took advantage, he pushed off of the giant's foot and jumped as far as he could.

He landed with a thump on the ground. He was covered in sand and his whole body felt heavy. This journey had been nothing but tiring. It would make so much sense to turn around and get back to where he came from. He could go back to the comfort of safety, but he had made a promise. Fredèrico would not look back. He shook the sand off, and put a step forward, climbing up the hill.

When he reached the top, the sight was breathtaking. Castles made entirely out of sand, stood side by side across the otherwise empty plains. Intricate forms and shapes shimmered in the sunlight. High towers reached towards the sky. Each of them had its own design with patterns etched into the walls as signs of ancient civilisation. Fredèrico stood in awe, glad that he never turned back.


The herd driving away from the beach

Written by: Riley van Westen
Illustrations by: Friky
Copyright: © 2024 Regular Labs