Chapter Nine

Peach, Iggy, and Anna slowly made their way to the entrance hall. A terrible scene met their eyes.

Toadstools were cowering in corners, and Bowser was stomping around roaring and growling angrily.

"May I help you?" Peach yelled to be heard above the noise.

Bowser turned to glare at her. "WHERE IS MY CHILD?" He snarled, flames escaping from his mouth as he shouted.

Iggy gulped. "Here I am, dad." He said timidly.

"IGGY?" He growled. "WHAT IS GOING ON?"

"It's okay, dad. I'm fine."

"YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE AT HOME! WHY AREN'T YOU?" Bowser was furious. Peach had never seen him so. She glanced over at Anna, who was shaking. "KAMMY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING YOU! KAMMY! COME HERE NOW!"

A POP! and Kammy appeared out of nowhere. She looked flustered as she turned to face Bowser. "You called, Your Mightiness?" She said.

"I DID! WHY IS MY CHILD HERE INSTEAD OF AT HOME?" Bowser roared.

"I told you, Your Greatness, I believe Kamek was involved in this. A plot against you, and your children."

This did not please Bowser. "KAMEK! COME HERE!"

Another POP! and Kamek appeared on the opposite side of Bowser. "You called, King Koopa?" He asked smoothly.

"I DID! WHY IS MY CHILD HERE INSTEAD OF AT HOME?" Bowser's mood seemed to be getting worse.

Kamek looked around, and spotted Iggy. "I see you found the missing child. How fortunate."

"WHY IS HE HERE?"

"I cannot say, King Koopa. Perhaps if you asked the child, he might be able to.

"WELL?"

"I was playing, and got lost, and the Princess Toadstool found me and kept me safe and let me stay in her castle for a while." Iggy explained nervously.

Kammy laughed. "You just happened to wander all the way from the castle to here? I highly doubt that." She turned on Kamek. "You brought him here and hid him to make me look bad!"

"You don't need any help from me." Kamek replied smoothly.

"You did it! You knew he was here! You brought him here!" Kammy shouted.

Bowser glared at Kamek. "IS THIS TRUE?" He asked angrily.

Kamek bowed towards Bowser. "May I remind you, King Koopa, that my allegiance has ever been to you and your family. I have sworn to protect you and yours with my life."

"ANSWER THE QUESTION!" Bowser roared.

"Why should I take the blame if Kammy cannot keep track of your children and keep them safe? Especially when it is, as she so elegantly put it, such a ridiculously simple task? It would do me no good to simply whisk away one of your children, place him in the castle, and tell him to stay here."

"He didn't do it, dad!" Iggy spoke up. "He didn't! Honest!"

Bowser looked over his son. "Very well." He said, calming down a little. He turned back to Kamek. "My children are not tools for you to work your own purposes with."

"Of course, King Koopa." Kamek bowed again.

Bowser turned to Kammy. "And you!" He growled. "You cannot even keep the children under control for one day! Things will return to the way they were before." He eyed Kamek. "For both of you."

Kamek bowed yet again. "As you wish."

Kammy scowled, and for a second Peach thought she saw a smirk on Kamek's face, but it was gone before she could be certain.

"As you command, My King." Kammy said sulkily.

Bowser turned to Iggy. "Let's go!"

Iggy frowned. "I don't want to go. May please stay?"

"WHAT?" Bowser roared.

"I want to stay."

"OUT OF THE QUESTION!"

Iggy crossed his arms. "I'm not going!"

Bowser looked enraged. He turned to Peach and opened his mouth. She was sure she was going to be toast in a few seconds.

"King Koopa, it would not be wise to blame the Princess if your son is young and," he paused ever so slightly, "impressionable. One could hardly expect him to act otherwise after the amount of time he has spent here."

Bowser shut his mouth and frowned. Then he looked slightly sheepish. He growled. "Well, then, what do you propose to do, Kamek?"

Kamek turned to Iggy. "Surely you realize you cannot stay here?" He asked softly.

"Why not?" Iggy asked. "I like it here."

"It is not your home. These are not your family. It is not your place."

"But-"

"I know." Interrupted Kamek. "But sometimes we must put aside what we want so that what is needed can be done."

"I know." Iggy said sadly. He looked at Peach. "Thanks for letting me stay and being so nice and stuff. It was fun."

Peach smiled, tears coming to her eyes. She would miss the koopaling, even if he was one of Bowser's children. "It was fun. Take care."

"You too." Said Iggy.

"Come." Said Kamek.

And with one more POP! the four disappeared.

"Well," said Anna, "that went better than I thought it would."

"Yes, it did." Said Peach sadly. "Do you think he actually was lost?" She asked.

"No." Said Anna. "I think Kamek was taking care of something."

"Like what?" Asked Peach.

Anna shrugged. "Who knows? I'm just glad we weren't reduced to smoldering ashes."

"Me too." Agreed Peach.

THE END