Tom and Afjak reached the divide in the river.
"Now all we have to do is wait," Tom said. He smiled at Afjak. "You must be so excited to see Najarin again."
Afjak shook his head. "I am dreading it," he said.
"Don't," said Tom. "A lot has happened in the time you've been gone. So Najarin's a little angry with you, but I bet it's nowhere near the level of relief he feels."
Afjak looked at the sky. "So much may have changed, but some things still look the same. The sky isn't any different. Or the ground."
"It'll be okay," Tom said.
Afjak heard something.
"What?" asked Tom.
Afjak shushed him and listened. There was something coming their way. Afjak pushed Tom behind him and prepared to attack.
"Yo, bros!" Peyton wandered into the open.
"Peyton! I'm glad to see you," said Tom. "Where's Kaz?"
"He's right behind me," said Peyton.
"Tom!" Kaz ran up to them. "You okay?"
"We're fine," said Tom.
"I saw Afjak get sick," said Peyton. "What happened?"
"Tom is a very intelligent human," said Afjak. "He planned our escape."
"The whole thing was fake?" asked Kaz.
"You could have fooled me, Afjak," said Peyton. "I really thought you were gonna hurl."
"At least you're okay," said Kaz. He shuddered. "I don't want to think about what Najarin would do to us if something happened to you."
"Now was going to Lake Ken-i-po so hard?" asked Tom.
"Never again," Kaz vowed. "At least not by myself."
"There you are!"
They jumped and gasped. Von Bloot was hovering above them.
"I should have killed you. You are more trouble than you're worth!" Von Bloot prepared to attack. "At least I get to take out one of Chaor's favorites, too."
A fireball struck Von Bloot between the wings and he fell to the ground. Maxxor came charging into the clearing, grabbed Von Bloot and threw him into to the river.
"Tom!" Sarah was running up to them with Najarin on her heels. "Are you okay?"
"We're fine," answered Tom.
"I'll get you yet!" shouted Von Bloot, attacking Maxxor with an ember swarm attack.
Maxxor could have dodged, but Najarin stepped in, a blast of cold air dispelling Von Bloot's attack.
"Maxxor, take Afjak and the others and get them to safety," Najarin commanded. "I will deal with Von Bloot."
"Of course, Najarin," said Maxxor. He turned to the others. "Let's go."
Afjak and the humans followed Maxxor.
Najarin turned to Von Bloot. "You wanted to have your revenge? I am here now."
"Senile old fool!" growled Von Bloot. "You think you can defeat me by yourself?"
"Think? No," Najarin replied. "I know I can defeat you, Von Bloot."
"We are just going to leave him?" Afjak asked.
"He'll be fine, trust me," said Tom as they ran.
"You should have seen him when he found out that Von Bloot captured you," said Kaz. "Furious doesn't even cover it."
"I think we can stop for a moment," said Maxxor. He turned to the four humans. "You should go back to Chaotic. It's safe there."
"Not until this is over," said Tom.
"I'm staying with Tom," said Sarah.
"Ditto for me and Kaz," said Peyton.
"All right," said Maxxor.
They started moving again, this time walking instead of running for their lives. Minutes turned to an hour and they heard nothing from Najarin.
"Do you think he's okay?" asked Kaz.
"Of course," said Tom. "It's Najarin. I'm sure he's fine."
Maxxor heard something and stopped. "Najarin?"
Someone grabbed Tom and pulled him away from the group. "We have to stop meeting like this," Krekk hissed into Tom's ear, twisting his arm like he had before. "Ah, ah! I wouldn't, Maxxor."
Maxxor growled and lowered his hand.
"You think you're so clever, boy," Krekk said, enjoying Tom's pained whimper. "I am going to enjoy ending you."
Krekk and Tom pitched forward. Tom scrambled out of Krekk's reach and got to his feet. Krekk turned around to see what had hit him and saw Najarin.
"I'm out of here," he said and he flew away.
"Are you okay?" asked Sarah.
"I'm fine," said Tom, holding his arm.
They turned to Najarin. He was not injured, but he was tired.
"Afjak," he said. Afjak flinched. "Come here."
Afjak stepped forward, hanging his head. "Master, I—"
Najarin reached out and hugged Afjak. Afjak stood there, stunned, trying to make sense of what was going on.
"I don't understand. I thought you would be furious," Afjak said.
"No, I am not angry with you," Najarin said. "I was afraid you were lost forever, my son." Najarin pulled away. "Let's go home."
Afjak turned to Tom. "Thank you, Tom."
"Don't mention it," said Tom.
Najarin and Afjak flew back to Lake Ken-i-po.
"Well, I think it's time for you four to return to Chaotic," said Maxxor.
"Yeah, I've had enough for one day," said Tom. "See you around, Maxxor."
Back at the Port Court, the four friends watched a battle between two UnderWorlders.
"Today was exciting," said Sarah.
"Way to go on the whole faking Afjak was sick plan," said Peyton. "See, Kaz? I told you Major T would come up with a plan."
"Yeah," said Kaz.
"Hm? Tom, what's wrong?" Sarah asked.
Tom had the most peculiar look on his face, a cross between realization and astonishment. "Guys," he said slowly. "Did you hear what Najarin said to Afjak before they left?"
The three of them looked at each other and turned back to Tom.
"He said, 'My son.'"
Their jaws went slack.
"You mean," started Peyton.
"Afjak and Najarin?" Kaz said.
"Ha! Who would have thought?" Sarah said.
"Now that you mention it, they do look alike," said Kaz.
"Dudes, I feel like such a dunce," said Peyton. "How could we have missed that?"
"I don't know," said Tom. "But at least things are the way they should be."
In the UnderWorld, Gothos Tower
Von Bloot landed on the balcony. "They think they have me beat. No, it's not over."
"On the contrary, Von Bloot." Von Bloot turned around to see the hulking figure of Chaor. "I think it is."
Von Bloot took a step back, preparing to fly away. Chaor's faster and grabbed Von Bloot.
"No!" shouted Von Bloot.
Please, tell me what you think. I was trying to write this as an actual episode. I didn't know what to do with Von Bloot. I didn't want to kill him off, so let's just have Chaor capture him for the time being. I mean, the UnderWorld would be too quiet if Von Bloot wasn't around to start trouble.