Something was off.
This thought was occupying Krusha's head as he stood there, examining his old friend Klump thoughtfully. As if… something was missing. But he could not ask, no. For the weary General had fallen asleep against the pedestal K. Rool's throne was located on, and the only thing he'd respond with would be snoring. He opened his narrow, fanged maw sometimes, murmuring something in his sleep, before drifting off again. The day had been long and tiresome, like they usually were, but especially for Klump. It's not every day you get your brain switched with a lady! And that's exactly what happened. Cranky Kong had made up a device that switched brains, and the General's action was mostly an accident and a bit of slowness on Krusha's part. But in the end, they thankfully got switched back – and Klump got a few tips on how to keep his skin soft, too – and they still got banana-slamma'd the dust out of them. After a tiresome journey back to their headquarters, they promptly fell asleep.
At least, Klump and K. Rool did. The latter had snuggled up on a recliner next to his throne, snoring peacefully in spite of his last defeat, cosily curled up in his own little personal space. Klump was even too tired to walk to his bedroom and just fell asleep against the pedestal. His chest was slowly moving up and down with every breath he took. Krusha realized that the day had been tiresome to himself as well and so, he went to sit down and snuggle up close to Klump, where he made himself comfy, carefully resting his head on the other's soft stomach.
They stayed like this for a few hours. Krusha had drifted off already when Klump woke up with a loud yawn. As he stretched out his arms, the other began to squeak a little because he was slipping off his 'pillow'. The General quickly apologized but gently coaxed the younger lizard to wake up as well. He was about to push him off when he noticed something.
As Klump felt his head, he knew he was missing something. It took him a while to comprehend exactly what, though. Even after looking around, he didn't see it.
"Duh, what's wrong?" Krusha mumbled, also yawning and blinking a few times. He heaved his head off the other's stomach and, sitting down next to his friend, rubbed his eyes.
Klump gritted his teeth. "My helmet," he uttered in panic. "My helmet's gone!"
Krusha tilted his head to a side, almost looking apologetic. And although he remained silent, his big blue eyes spoke volumes. Klump only pouted. "I… I…"
He could not finish his sentence. Instead, he ascended the elevated platform and gently poked K. Rool's shoulder.
"Yer majesty!" He whispered urgently. "Yer majesty…"
K. Rool snorted, yawned loudly in Klump's face, and turned onto his other side, smacking his lips irritably. Klump fanned away the terrible, putrid-smelling breath of his ruler before he waddled over to the other side to confront him face-to-face.
The King opened one eye carefully. He gave a sigh. "What is it, Klump?"
"I'd, er, ah…" The General was grasping for the right words at this moment. He folded his arms behind his back and rocked himself back and forth, his stubby tail waving along. "I kinda sorta lost mah helmet…"
K. Rool raised an eyebrow.
"It must've happened when I got mah brain switched… an'… an'… I dunno what I should do!" He began sniffling and whining softly. K. Rool growled.
"Big deal. I'll get you another one, you sentimental, slime-headed salamander," the King closed his eyes again. "Now leave me alone, I'm tired."
"B-but sir! Ya know that thing means more to me than jus' about anything! It-it was my dad's… an' he gave it t' me b'fore he… left."
Klump whined when he realized K. Rool was already asleep. He waddled over to his own room. Maybe he'd escort a search party for it tomorrow. Everything would be alright… yeah. The thought couldn't cheer him up. He sniffled all the way to his room, where Krusha meekly followed him.
The night was warm and humid. Klump slept in pretty quickly but Krusha sat upright in his bed. It was as if he wasn't tired at all. He looked to the bed right next to him where his friend was sleeping. He was curled up around his pillow and snored softly, almost as if he had forgotten about what had happened already. Apart from Klump's snoring, the room was quiet. You could hear a needle drop.
Krusha, who just couldn't fall asleep, slowly got out of bed without making any noise whatsoever, dressed himself, and silently slipped out into the dark jungles. The big blue 'gator was sure about whatever it was he was going to do.
The next day, Klump was awakened by a bright sunny day. He groaned and, once he sat up, rubbed his eyes.
"Rise an' shine, Krusha…" he said. Though when he looked over to the other bed where his friend was supposed to be sleeping, he saw next to nothing. Klump shrugged it off. He must've gone out to brush his teeth or something. Krusha always cared about his dental hygiene more than all other lizards. Yawning and stretching out his limbs, Klump stood up, clothed himself in his admittedly few clothes – except his helmet, of course – and went to the King's throne room.
"General Klump reportin' fer duty… sir."
K. Rool rolled his eyes. He was apparently occupied with making breakfast. He had just finished making himself a sandwich that appeared to be filled with centipedes, this one being the first from a large pile of them. He took a bite out of it and the bugs crawled and squirmed until they disappeared down the King's throat. "Yeah, yeah, alright. Cut to the chase. Anything interesting happening?"
A bit repulsed by K. Rool's poor table manners and not so much that he apparently enjoyed eating live centipedes, Klump crinkled his nose in disgust, but quickly shook it off. "Er… not much. 'cept I still don't have mah helmet and Krusha's gone. He'll probably join me in a bit."
K. Rool took another loud chomp. Some remains of the small bugs' cartilage dropped onto the floor and he swiftly managed to catch a stray centipede who was about to fall out of his sandwich, and put the bug in his maw where it was swallowed whole. Its little feet tickled the croc's throat as it slid down, to no avail. "He'd better." He offered another sandwich filled with squirming insects to his General. "Care for a bite?"
Minutes, no, hours passed and K. Rool still hadn't enough of his bug sandwiches. Some he'd swallow whole, not even taking his time to chew. Klump politely declined any more he got offered after he had two, because he was "tryin' t' watch mah diet, y'see..."
It took a while until the King was finally finished. He dabbed the edges of his long narrow maw with a napkin and patted his large, firm belly.
"Remember, Klump. Nothing wrong with fat. Fat is good. Fat makes you look… royal."
Klump just gave a sheepish grin. "But you're the King. It wouldn't be too flatterin' if I were bigger in the belly department, right?"
He gave K. Rool a tickly poke in the stomach with a giggle. Of course, he might've had a point, K. Rool thought. He covered his mouth with a single claw to muffle a belch. "Pardon me."
Now it was Klump's turn to roll his eyes. K. Rool's odd choice of manners always confused him. He was about to stand up and go march about like he always did when he heard the faint sound of footsteps, almost as if someone was hurrying towards him. It revealed itself to be none other than his buddy Krusha.
"Krusha!" Klump called out excitedly, leaving his King all alone – much to his chagrin – and promptly jumping off the raised platform. He immediately hurried towards his friend, gave him a well-meant hug but pulled back quickly. "Don't ever frighten me like that again, young man! I was worried sick!" He wagged his finger as if he were scolding a little kid. But when he saw Krusha's upset expression, he mellowed at once. "Aww… don't worry! It's okay. I just…"
Klump raised an eyebrow. All this time, Krusha hadn't said anything. It was almost as if he were hiding something… "What's wrong?"
"Duh… I got you your helmet."
From behind him he revealed Klump's prized helmet. He placed it on his head and smiled.
The General himself also smiled, adjusting his helmet a bit so it wasn't in front of his eyes. He almost began crying and was at a loss of words. "Oh! …Oh, Krusha! I… I don't know what to say!"
Instead of saying anything, he threw his arms around Krusha's neck and hugged him another time. He pulled back afterwards and gave his friend a soft nuzzle on the snout, tenderly petting his cheek.
"You're amazing." He whispered.
Meanwhile, K. Rool kept watching the two for a short time while munching on the last of his sandwiches. He was beginning to lose his patience. This little rendezvous was costing him so much precious time!
"You knuckleheads!" he bellowed, and gulped down his food. The two quickly straightened their backs and saluted. "Well… it's good to see you have your helmet again, General Klump."
For a moment there, he actually sounded sympathetic. But that was over quickly.
Another belch was muffled, he uttered another 'pardon me', and he stood up to show his superiority and to look stately. He raised his voice and Klump and Krusha both knew what was coming. They shot each other a sideways glance and winked as King K. Rool just shook his head and stomped on the floor of his plateau, yelling as he did.
"Find me a way to get me the Crystal Coconut!"