The King of All Cosmos stumbles home in the dark. It really is quite dark out, much darker than it should be. It's a tad distressing, really, just how dark it is, but he can't quite put his finger on why. Because his fingers are very, very big, and he is very, very drunk.
It had been a fantastic night out on the Universe. First, there was open mike night at the local bar. He'd strummed his guitar, composed a trio of adorable haiku, found a word that rhymed with orange, and then finished it all off with a rousing Tom Jones medley. The crowd went wild and he graciously blew kisses to his swooning fans, autographing whatever was handy -- napkins, things you wear on your head, children.
After being crowned poetry slam grand champion, he got his picture taken for the weekly newsletter, had some punch, danced on the bar until his sash was filled with paper money, and then settled down to play a few hands of Aquarius Dwarf Hold 'Em with the Vice Duke of Underpants and the Prince of Fluffy Kittens. Normally he wouldn't be caught dead with those simpletons, but the King of Sandwiches was out of town and the King of All Cosmos had no one else to play with. He'd probably had a little too much punch when he shared this with the group. The Prince of Fluffy Kittens started crying. The waitress, obviously moved by his plight, swung by with a glass of milk and a pat on the head, then disastrously misinterpreted the King's request for more beer nuts as an appeal for a bowl of sardines.
The small salty fish made fishy noises from their bowl and the King shuddered and pushed them towards the Prince who stopped crying long enough to sigh and press his little pink nose to the tank.
Prince mollified, the card game resumed, boringly, until the King of All Cosmos won ten hands in a row, the Vice Duke of Underpants accused him of cheating, and the King was forced to pop him one, which, of course, started the Prince crying again. The King was cheating, but he had a reputation to uphold and besides, he did enjoy a little fist fight, a little fisticuffs. And so: The Vice Duke kicked him in the underpants. Pow! The King punched the Vice Duke in his squalid undercarriage. Sock! The Prince cried even harder. Wail! The Vice Duke threw him out the window. The King threw him out the window. The Prince continued to cry.
The King doesn't remember much after that.
There'd been a lot of noise. Some explosions. Had he -- played baseball? Done a little bowling? The King has his own sparkly purple ball, though -- he checks his pockets -- not with him. (He'd actually sent it in to the jeweler's to get the diamonds replaced.)
He vaguely recalls prowling back into the bar, alone, for a shot of victory punch. Obviously the Vice Duke of Underpants ran away like a little girl after the King trounced him.
"We showed him, yes we did," the King says to himself, cartwheeling around the corner. Under different circumstances, he would have taken the royal rainbow home, but, circumstances being what they are, he's forgotten where he parked it.
Two more cartwheels and his stomach threatens to produce a royal rainbow of its own. The King drops the chef's hat he's carrying and puts a hand to his enormous, super fabulous head. It aches. He wonders what other fantastic victories he achieved during his night out on the town. After all, it takes a super big night to give the King of All Cosmos a headache.
Mostly it's a super big blank.
Walking home is taking longer than it should, and he doesn't want to get ahead of himself, but there's a small chance he's lost. A teeny-tiny chance. So small. Very small. Smaller even than the King's tiny green Prince.
So what if nothing in this neighborhood looks familiar? He could blame that on the dark. It is, after all, very, very dark. Even the Cosmos are dark, and that seems wrong somehow. That seems not right. He passes under a streetlight and gets distracted by a grass stain on the knee of his tights. The Queen isn't going to be wild about that.
Then, several things happen:
The King stubs his toe on Mr. Kawaguchi. The small Japanese businessman curses and goes tumbling end over end into the darkness. The paperboy whizzes by and nails him in the head with the day's news: COSMOS MISSING AFTER KING'S DRUNKEN BENDER? The tiniest glimmer of the night's events breaks free and floats across the King's mind and he considers the possibility that he's totally screwed.
There is a small chance, oh so small, ridiculously small, smaller even than his royal nephew Nif (who can't even be seen with the naked eye), that the King may have, possibly, accidentally, completely without meaning to, destroyed the Cosmos.
It's just that the stars were so shiny! And he was in love! He'd only wanted to hug them! ♥
But now, disaster, shame, nausea. Grass stains.
It will be a good learning experience.
Fixing problems. Making stars. It builds strong bones, character, a sense of responsibility.
The King will make his pea-sized Prince do it.
But later, after he's found his way home. Right now, not a care in the universe, the King flops down on someone's lawn and passes out, blissful, serene, in a state of perfect happiness, dreaming about elephants, and string.