Part I: The Ugly Duckling
Hyoga stared out into the desert's barren landscape. Bleak though it was, he found it oddly calming-it had a soothing quality on his nerves. If there was a time that he needed to feel calm, it was now. With thousands-no, millions-controversial thoughts circling through his mind, he neede a place of escape-a place to bring it all together and for everything to make sense.
He watched the night winds shift the now palely illuminated sand. It felt bizarre-it was a different kind of desolate in comparison to what he was accustomed to.
He pulled his tattered blanket of tarp around him, hoping that it would warm him somewhat more. Common sense and experience told him that it would not. It was the thought of it possibly making him warmer that comforted him, though.
He heard rustling from behind him and, instinctively, turned around rigidly. It was Shun.