The desert was cool, the yellow moon offering no warmth in its deep purple sky, as thousands of stars glittered flawlessly, yet unheeded by the mortals below them.

They were walking in a single-file line, a lich taking the lead with a human girl, male goblin and a shapeless mass of shadow beneath a pink umbrella in tow. A breeze would brush past them every so often, nudging their clothing and chilling them slightly.

"My feet hurt", The enigmatic figure shrouded in darkness sounded close to tears, "And I'm reeeeally tired. Xykon, can we pleeeease stop?"

The girl of the party stumbled a bit, her tall boots hating the soft and giving sand. She swallowed, makeup gone, pigtails nearly out of her hair, looking less lively than one of her zombies. "I don't think I can walk any more," her voice was low and she spoke carefully, as if she had to work on finding the words to speak.

The goblin said nothing but yawned widely, sharp teeth glinting in the light.

"It's been two weeks," the lich, Xykon, snapped, "And we've hardly made headway at all."

"But we haven't made camp in four days!" The Monster exclaimed in despair as the sand around them was swirled by another soft gust of wind.

Four days? Huh. He hadn't noticed.

"I need... to sit down... for a second..." Tsukiko collapsed where she stood, sighing once more as the thump of her landing splattered the wretched grains on her short black dress. The Monster managed to take a few more steps before following her example, as did Redcloak.

"It'll just be a second…" Redcloak murmured, rubbing at his remaining eye with the palm of his hand, not trusting his present coordination enough to use his clawed fingers.

Xykon halted and turned to face them, opening his skeletal jaw to speak, and halted the action. The living members of Team Evil sat with their eyes closed, leaning against one another on the desert sand: Tsukiko-Monster-Redcloak. The Monster in the Dark sat upright, starting to snore a bit, with his umbrella propped against his neck, making the shadow's angle awkward yet not quite revealing himself, and on either verge a cleric was leaning heavily against his bulk. On one periphery, Tsukiko was on her side, legs half curled, arms limp, and her pale skin standing starkly against the umbrella-cast shadow. On the other, Redcloak reclined with his legs sprawled out before him and his arms folded loosely across his stomach, protecting the vulnerable area, with his mouth open slightly as he breathed slowly past his tusks.

The Monster's snoring became evident, and Redcloak's ears jerked suddenly at the obnoxious noise right beside them, but they were all so enervated none stirred.

The energy representing Xykon's eyes narrowed in annoyance, but he did not wake them; they were no use this Exhausted, and though rest did not matter to him anymore, he now recalled how vital it had been, and that making them all travel as long as they had without sleep had been a mistake on his part. They'd need several hours, perhaps even a day or so, to return to fully functioning creatures of various species. Well, they didn't have a day to spend lying around, so they'd have to suck it up if they needed more than... He shot a quick glance at the position of the moon. He'd give them until about Noon, but no longer.

He rose and drifted slowly through the air, picking a spot several yards away from the comatose trio to sit and keep watch. Considering all the eye could see in any direction was heaps of sand, sand and more sand, he figured it was going to be a long wait.