Welcome to the Navel, center of all things bizarre! Here you’ll find whatever you need, including conflict? Lost your conflict, did you? I can’t really blame you for letting it go. In the end, you must have found that you needed it, huh? You remind me a bit of a boy I once knew. He needed his conflict, too, much as I tried to ease it. Perhaps I was taking a part of him away. Now that’s funny. I usually offer people pieces of themselves back. What? You want to know about my conflict? I try to avoid it. I left the Temple of Directions because I was conflicted. Wandered the world at my Mireille’s side. Who was Mireille? Someone very special with her feat on the ground, her ears open, and always moving. Her destiny took her in a different direction than me. I wandered a bit more, only to find myself here. Where is here? Why, the Navel! This very shop with its shelves filled with treasures disguised as trinkets. I came to Omphalos, this particular Omphalos, only to discover this shop waiting for me. Perhaps it was a lost part of me, eh? I had an unhappy boy at my side, trying to escape from other people’s plans for him. I took charge of the Navel and made Damian my assistant. A very good assistant he was, yet he didn’t enjoy it. One day he wandered out and brought another boy with him. Introduced that boy to his Aunt Duessa as my son. I played along with it, yet somehow, looking into Christopher’s wide eyes, sensing his need to belong in this world, well, my heart went out to him. Perhaps he, too, was a lost part of me, even if I sensed something dark and dangerous in him. There was also…and still is immense innocence and potential for good in that boy. I never regretted taking him in. When Damian left us, it’s like he took part of our hearts with him. I’m not sure if Christopher or I would have gotten over that, if we hadn’t had each other. There was a vacancy in the Navel and in our lives. I put out a call for help, hoping the Navel would provide. Peter showed up on our doorstep in response. He’s no Damian, but he’s himself, which is all the better. He stepped into our vacancy and into the void in our hearts. At the same time, he’s like Damian in the reckless way he treats himself. It’s very hard to retain the neutral attitude the Navel demands me to maintain when he, Damian, or Christopher do reckless things. One of my duties as proprietor is to respect the choices others make, even if they’ll destroy them. Otherwise I’d be no different than Rafaelle or Michaela at the Temple of Directions, deciding everyone’s way, fate, and what’s good or bad. Forcing people to choose the ‘right’ way, imprisoning or tormenting them when they don’t. I swore I’d never be like that. This is why I respect others’s choices, even when they break my heart. I just have to bear with it, accepting this is the cost of the path I chose. For there’s always a cost for every choice. I’ve just got to make certain mine are worth it.