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ONI

What Moon considered his central body was currently sitting cross-legged within the first hole he had drilled when going under Max’s diamond wall. Very little of his focus was actually on this body, instead, it was currently being split in between the fifty-one bodies that were on the battlefield.

One of Moon’s bodies slammed Herah into the ground with a hypersonic punch, creating a crater that went deeper than the trees were tall. This was then followed up with another of his bodies falling atop Herah with all of its limbs transformed into drills that only dug her deeper into the ground. This body was moved to allow for a giant claw to enclose around Herah and whip her out of her hole and into the sky above the clouds. With the Cendruex now in the air, Moon sent four of his flying bodies after her. The first to arrive had their arms transformed into massive, spiked maces, which it preceded to use to slam Herah higher into the air. This one was then followed by two more bodies, both having their arms filled with holes to strike Herah in her front and back as many times as possible. The barrage of attacks were without mercy, though each punch only let out the tiniest of sounds and vibrations on contact. By the point these bodies were pulled back, they and Herah were surrounded by the black void of space with the planet of Bizarre now in full view below them. Herah’s momentum away from the planet was only slowed once the final body shot past and behind her before using his leg to catch her by the chest. Once that happened, this final body reared back his right hand and struck Herah full force in the stomach with a punch.

BOOM!

Just before 3 seconds went by, Herah struck the center of the first crater she had created. At her impact, a huge cloud of dirt and ash was kicked up into the stormy sky. Moon had the 46 bodies he was currently using to attack surrounding the edges of the crater before morphing two of their heads into giant fans and waving away the dust and ash cloud. Once cleared, all that Moon could see with his collective bodies was a hole in the center of the crater that was visibly very deep. A second later, Herah flew out of the hole and landed right next to it. The youngling angled her head towards one of Moon’s bodies before respectively calling out,

“You manage to punch me an entire kilometer into the ground, good for you.” Herah’s voice took on a more cocky undertone, “Too bad that didn’t actually do anything to me.”

Moon could only sigh at this while also focusing on Herah’s new look. Whatever she was wearing seemed to just absorb most of the force that she was supposed to suffer, while the amount left over seemed to just move her about.

‘This armor of hers is proving to be a problem.’ Moon thought to himself, ‘And Jeffery is doing his best to make my plan to combat it not come to fruition.’

Moon set his bodies back to work attacking Herah as his focus shifted towards 4 other bodies he had doing something at the very moment. 3 of them were darting around ripping as many trees as possible out of the ground and throwing them towards the final one who was floating in the air with a massive ball of black, shifting mass held above his head that only grew larger and larger with each added tree. The problem this group was facing was the near endless barrage of attacks that Jeffery would lay upon all of them, mostly the stationary body that was forced to use large chunks of the mass gathered to constantly heal itself.

“Father Jashin.”

The eyes of Moon’s main body snapped open as the sound of an Oni calling came to him. Keeping just enough of his focus on his other bodies to maintain proper control, Moon created a small tendril with an eye on the end of it to peak out of his hole and peer at a plain looking female Oni. She had grey skin and was on the short side, with her white hair short, messy, and dirty. She was dressed in a skirt of leaves and a bark shirt covered in moss.

“How may I help you my child?”

“I’m in need of a confessional, your holiness.”

Moon, for but a moment, showed a hint of surprise before quickly retracting his eye and telling the lady to sit before the hole and began her confession.

“In the name of the Log, and of the Seed, and the Leaf. This is my first confession.”

Moon heard the Oni let out a sigh.

“My name is Baka,” Moon blinked confusingly, “And I am ashamed to admit that I’ve lost faith in our lord. I have also been faking this faith since the loss of my mother. To be honest, I actually hate the Log. They’ve taken so much from me, they haven’t ever helped me, and at times I feel that they want me to suffer. I’ve come to question why I should even attempt to follow them, attempt to show them love, when I don’t feel like they’ve given me anything like that. Especially when my mother loved them so much, she idolized our creator. She would hear nothing bad about them. And most especially she loved them. Yet, she’s gone now and all I have left of her is a single photo. I question how could someone so dedicated and passionate towards the Log, be forced to suffer such a terrible fate. And sometimes I wonder if my mother loved me less than the Log, and wish, oh so terribly, that she loved me more. I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past.”

Moon felt tears run down his face as he listened to the Oni speak. She spoke with such shame and self-hate for the way she felt, it honestly just reminded Moon of himself. In fact, much of what she said hit an uncomfortably close distance to home.

Moon rubbed his eyes and gave a few sniffles before taking a deep breath and beginning his side of the confessional.

“To atone for your sins,” Moon couldn’t help but feel hollow as he said his words, “You shall-” Moon had to pause as he tried to find an answer he believed would help. After a brief moment of thought, Moon began speaking again. “You shall first drop these pretenses of faith, dishonesty of this magnitude with others is unacceptable. Next, you should do some self-reflection. This will surely help in the settling of your emotions and how you feel. After that, you should pray to the Log personally, to not just ask for forgiveness but to also lay your problems out in the air. This should help alleviate any remaining guilt and leave you bare enough to be an effective tool for our Maker. Once all of this is done (if we still remain), come back to me or whoever becomes priest in my stead and tell them you’re ready for your true atonement to begin.”

Now done, Moon let out a tired sigh as he waited for Baka to end her confessional.

“Aaahh False Priest, so you already know how to solve your problems.” The Log’s voice suddenly called out in place of Baka’s, causing Moon to leap up in surprise and for his eyes to widen as he sent an eye tendril back up and found the Log floating there, judgingly.

“Log-sama? Why do you manifest before me, if I might so humbly ask?”

“You know,” The Log began sounding rather happy, “I always find your shriveling before me far more entertaining than the Soothsayer’s. After all,” The Log’s voice took on a taunting tone, “I’ve always been able to feel the underlying hatred you hold towards me.”

Moon broke his main body down into black tendrils and then slithered out of his hole and before The Log before reforming.

“Why do you manifest before me?” Moon asked once again, sounding just a tad strained in his speech.

The Log shook with laughter before replying to Moon’s question.

“Because you might be dead by the end of this, and I figured I might as well finally talk to you about your problems with me.”

For a few moments, Moon could only stare at Norwe in stupefied awe. But once these moments passed, the priest felt just a miniscule fraction of the anger that he held for the Log finally slip.

“After all these years of me begging and begging for your reasons, for an answer, only now are you ready to provide such?” Moon asked, anger seeping into his voice, “Only now, when we stand at the edge of oblivion, do you wish to ANSWER ME!”

Moon at this point was glaring down at The Log who had stopped their shaking and now hung still in the air before the furious priest. After a few moments of silence, The Log gave a reply that Moon found frustratingly simple.

“Yup.”

CRACK!

Moon looked down to the wooden smithereens that remained of The Log, his expression having transformed into a furious snarl.

“IS THAT ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY! AFTER ALL THE BULLSHIT YOU PUT ME THROUGH, EVERYTHING YOU’VE TAKEN FROM ME! AFTER MAKING ME KILL M-Y MY-MY-”

Moon fell to his knees as tears began to pour down the sides of his face, grief filling him as he cried before the now reassembling pieces of The Log.

“Ah breakdowns, still I have yet to lose interest in them.” The Log said with a surprising lack of joy.

CRACK!

“TELL ME WHY YOU HAD ME KILL HIM!” Moon shouted with his eyes to the ground, his left hand buried in the already wrecked floor of the cathedral.

“Because just as he loved me, I loved him.”

Moon’s could only look at the ground in shock, The Logs words ringing through his head as his eyes slowly widened and his tears stopped pouring. And then a slight quiver ran through the priest’s body. This was then followed up by another.

Then another.

And another.

And another.

Until Moon was just quaking before The Log with his fist balled up and his tears gone with only their tracks left in place. And when Moon lifted his head to look upon The Log, all that could be found within his eyes were 1,594 years worth of rage.

“DON’T LIE TO ME!” He shouted, as The Log finalized their reassemblage before his eyes.

“You anger is understandable, but I’m being completely truthful when I say that I did love him.” The Log replied, an uncharacteristically seriousness carried in his tone.

Before even a second could pass, Moon morphed his left hand into a large mallet-like head and smashed The Log so hard that their entire being was pulverized into sawdust. Transforming his hand back into its normal state, Moon began to cry even harder than before as he shoved the same hand he used to crush The Log into his mouth and bit down.

CRUNCH!

Blood spewed into the air as every digit, excluding Moon’s thumb, was bit off and chewed a few times. The blood spray had managed to paint Moon’s face and mix with the downpour that came from his eyes, making it look as if he was weeping blood and tears. Moon swallowed his fingers before looking down at the ground and shouting in rage once again, this time at himself.

“DAMMMIT! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LOVE THEM LIKE HE DID?! WHY CAN’T YOU BELIEVE IN THEM LIKE HE DID?!” Moon focused his eyes on the bloody droplets that were beginning to pool below his head, memories of Diavolo’s bloody tears before his own death coming to the forefront of his mind.

“Because it’s kinda hard for any being to love someone who hurt them so unapologetically, especially in the way I hurt you.”

Moon slowly lifted his head to look back up at The Log, with another shout on the cusp of his lips.

“WHY DO-”

But he found himself at a lost for words when he saw that what greeted his eyes were not the form of The Log, but that of Norwe the Maker. The entity sat before Moon with his legs crossed and his two bottom pairs of arms laying atop of them, while his top pair were crossed before his chest. The black holes that Norwe used as eyes stared at Moon with an intensity that lacked any sort of joy or glee that was expected by the priest.

“Moon, I appear before you to put some demons of your to rest. So, calm down and ask away.”

Moon could only gape at the Maker before him, disbelief replacing his rage at the thought of what Norwe was offering. Cupping his hands (the fingers having grown back on the one he bit off) and dropping his head into them, Moon began a rhythm of steady, deep breaths. With each intake of air and subsequent release, Moon felt his anger drop and drop until it was just a simmer. Absorbing the blood that covered his face back into his body, Moon lifted his head and gave Norwe a hard stare.

“Why?”

“Why what?” Norwe asked, somewhat tauntingly.

“Why did you have me kill Diavolo? What is the full reason?” Moon asked, staring even harder at Norwe.

Norwe pat the ground before him and said,

“You should sit down, this isn’t a short explanation.”

Moon sat down before his Maker, not exactly sure of what to expect from them.

“So?”

“Tell me what goal did Diavolo pursue throughout his entire tenure as priest of your people, if you remember of course?”

Moon nodded without a single thought, “Of course I do. He sought to one day rest within the Palo Santo.”

“You’re both wrong and right in your statement.” Moon gave Norwe a confused stare, “You said what Diavolo told you, but not what he meant.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s not that Diavolo sought to go to Palo Santo, it’s that he sought to “Rest Within The Palo Santo.””

“What does that even mean?”

“It means to rise above your own mortal values and submit yourself entirely to me.”

Moon blinked at Norwe in shock, before frowning at the Maker.

“That sounds like Diavolo through and through already.” Moon gained a confuddled expression, “Why would he pursue something that he had already achieved?”

Norwe shook his head and said,

“Because while he had mostly the mindset for his dream, he ultimately failed to complete the steps required to achieve it.”

Moon began to rub his head in frustration. “What were these steps and why couldn’t he complete them?”

Norwe’s eyes began to sparkle with the stars that had fallen into them as the Maker answered Moon’s question.

“Well, Diavolo was able to complete all but one of the four steps required to “Rest Within the Palo Santo”. One, be barren enough to receive my word. Two, kill your predecessor in my name. Thr-”

“WAIT!” Moon looked upon Norwe with an astonished expression, “Diavolo would never kill Frozen Light, unless you willed it. Are you telling me that he was actually the reason that his master died?”

“Nope. Frozen Light died before Diavolo ever learned of that step.” Norwe said, throwing a hand out dismissively.

“Thank the Log,” Moon whispered to himself.

“You’re welcome,” Norwe replied, quickly shifting in and out of his Log state.

Moon blinked at his Maker a few times, before just shaking his head and saying,

“What were the other two steps then?”

“Three, decry you hold no ill will towards me and mean it. And four, you’ll know when it happens.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean it’s the only step that you can’t fail no matter what, and you’ll know what it is when it happens.”

“So are you not going to tell me then?”

“Yep.”

Moon looked back at Norwe with his mouth slightly agape, mild disbelief filling him at the Maker’s unwillingness to speak which quickly turned into grudging acceptance. Closing his mouth and taking a quick gulp of air, Moon blinked a view times and gave Norwe a long stare.

“Earlier you said you had me kill Diavolo because you loved him, but you just told me that he wasn’t able to complete his dream before death. Why would you have his life ended before he could complete his dream?”

Norwe leaned back and looked towards the ceiling before beginning their reply.

“The main catalyst has to do with how much faith Diavolo held in you.”

Moon pointed to himself, with his face crinkling up as he shook his head.

“What do I have to do with Diavolo’s dream?”

Norwe looked back towards Moon and a few more stars fell into his eyes and began to twinkle.

“Why the only reason that he died peacefully was because he figured that you would attain it for him.”

Moon’s expression became even more confused before he replied,

“But you’re only telling me this now! And, let me be honest with you, step three is currently not a possibility for me.”

“Oh I know,” Norwe said, the stars in his eyes twinkling brighter than before, “But I have an easy solution to it.”

“What would that be?” Moon asked with caution, trepidation filling him at Norwe’s words.

The stars in Norwe’s eyes began to twinkle even brighter.

“I’m about to let you talk with him.”

“What do-” But before Moon could finish his question, he saw Norwe disappear and felt a new presence within the cathedral. A familiar presence at that.

“Moon my child,” A matured and calming masculine voice called out from behind him, causing Moon to freeze at the familiarity of the voice and words, “Turn around and look at me. By your current look, I already know it’s been some time since I died.”

Taking a gulp of air, Moon slowly and stiffly turned to face the one speaking to him. As soon as his eyes landed on the figure, Moon felt tears well up as a hand went up to his mouth which began gnawing on his fingers.

Standing near the doors to the cathedral was a Keijo who stood just a bit taller than Moon, being 6,11 with green skin and a slim but muscular physique. Unlike Moon and String, this Keijo had long sharp ears that framed his head and a set of orange spiky hair that stood right up.  Atop his forehead was a clover-like design and his pupiless eyes were a distinctly bright, blood-red color. The Keijo’s expression was one of acceptance and pleasantness, his eyes showing a distinctly jolly stare and his mouth was morphed into a smile that just radiated satisfaction.

“Di- Di- Diavolo?”

Moon watched Diavolo’s image visibly warp and bend before the stopping before him with a single one of his hands now grasping Moon’s damaged one.

“I always did hate this nervous habit of yours,” Diavolo said, gently taking Moon’s hand from his mouth and looking down at it. Moon had already bitten his digits to the point that they were bloody and that bone was clearly visible. Diavolo frowned at this and gently placed his other hand atop of Moon’s chewed one. Green tendrils began to emerge from the appendage, seeping into Moon’s wounds and fixing the damage wrought on them. Within a second, all that remained of Moon’s biting was the green skin that had grown in to replace Moon’s own.

“Now,” Diavolo raised his face to smile at Moon, “Why don’t we- Hmph!”

Moon wrapped his arms around Diavolo tightly, before beginning to sob into the Keijo’s shoulder. Diavolo’s smiled deepened as he wrapped his arms around Moon and said nothing while the sound of his student crying filled the cathedral.

It was ten minutes before Moon’s crying had pittered out to the point of sniffles.

“I’m so happy to see you.” Moon said with a teary smile, after his last few sniffles left him.

“Same,” Diavolo said with a beaming smile of his own.

Backing away from Diavolo, Moon felt more tears began pouring from his face as he began to just let out everything he wanted to talk about.

“I’vebeensoconvusedsinceyoudied,sinceIcouldn’tfindagoodreasonastowhyithappened.I’vemadesomanymistakes,likegettingsomeofmyappprenticeskilled,tryingtofightMaxandHerahsoastoavoidaconfrontationlateron,butinsteadnearlygettingyouerasedandgettingabombdroppedonus-”

“Moon,” Diavolo caught the frantic priest by the shoulder, “Speak slowly, it wouldn’t do to exhaust yourself so quickly after we’ve reunited.”

Moon took a few deep breaths before smiling thankfully at Diavolo. The previous priest then sat them both down on the ground, with Moon sitting with his knees close to his chest and Diavolo with his legs underneath his body and his knees to the floor.

“Before you go any further, I want to know just how long its been since I’ve died.”

“1 century, 594 years, 15 months, 13 weeks, 57 days, 15 hours, 13 minutes, and seven seconds.” Moon said with no hesitation or struggle, his expression blank.

Diavolo let out a huff and began rubbing his chin, before dryly chuckling to himself and saying,

“Norwe-sama really does not have any sense of agency.”

“What do you mean?” Moon asked with a slightly confused look.

“I asked our wonderful Maker to let me speak to you after my death because I knew that you wouldn’t be in the best places afterwards and figured some words from me would help you out. I also had a request of you, but we can move onto that later.”

“Norwe already told me what you want of me and I-” Moon looked down and away from Diavolo, “I don’t think it’s possible for me to do such a thing. I’m sorry.”

“Hmm,” Moon felt Diavolo’s hand grasp his chin and lift it until their eyes were level with each other, the previous priest nodding his head with a small smile on his face, “I know you think you can’t, but I’m pretty sure I can help you get past that. Of course,” Moon watched Diavolo let go of his chin and look away from him with a small frown on his face,

“That’s only if you want to do it after you learn exactly why I asked Norwe-sama to have you kill me.”

Moon’s eyes widened at these words, the shock of Diavolo’s words running through him. Tears began to prick his eyes as feelings of rage and denial  began to fill him. As fresh tears began to leave his eyes, Moon began to furiously shake his head.

“What do you mean, you asked Norwe to have me kill you?” Moon asked, heavy sounding words rapidly shifting to a more frantic tone. “Why would you- Why would you- WHY WOULD YOU-” A sob left Moon as he shoved his other hand into his mouth.

CRUNCH!

Another spray of blood filled the air as Moon bit off more of his fingers and began crying harder. Stopping his head shaking, Moon took his wrecked hand from his mouth and rose to his feet before he began to shout at Diavolo.

“WHY WOULD YOU EVER WISH SUCH AGONY AND PAIN ON ME!?”

Moon shoved an unsurprised Diavolo (he having jumped up shortly falling Moon), the prior priest being launched off his feet and across the entire cathedral towards the door. Flipping his body upright, Diavolo slammed his feet into the already wrecked floor, adding another pair of gorges to it and slowing to a stop just before the entrance.

“WHY LEAVE ME TO DO WHAT YOU DID SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EVER COULD!?”

Diavolo’s image once again distorted and warped before stopping just in front of Moon, the furious priest slapping away Diavolo’s attempt to rest a hand on his shoulder.

“WHY WOULD YOU BE SO CRUEL!?”

Moon made to shove Diavolo again, but missed and stumbled as his predecessor stepped out of the way of the shove.

“WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE ME SO CONFUSED AND SO LOST!?”

Moon regained his footing and furiously swiveled to face Diavolo, one of his hands rising to point towards himself.

“DID I NOT MATTER TO YOU ENOUGH!?”

Moon pointed towards the stained glass windows depicting The Log.

“DID YOU LOVE NORWE MORE THAN YOU DID ME! OR-

Moon abruptly halted in all of his movements, tears now blinding his vision as he felt all of his anger and fury bleed out of him, leaving only despair as he fell back into his previous sitting position and shook his head.

“-Did you ever care about me in the first place?”

“Of course I care about you Moon,” Diavolo looked down and away from the weeping priest, “But I did ask Norwe to have you kill me for a reason.”

“Why?! WHY!? WHY!?” Moon begged, looking down and balling both of his fists up before smashing them into his knees until they were bloody paste on the ground.

“Because I’m selfish.”

Moon paused in his actions to look back up at Diavolo who had stuck out his hand to the point that it stopped just before Moon’s face. The appendage broke apart into green tendrils that began to repair Moon’s fingers and legs. Once done, the Keijo lifted his newly repaired hand and watched as his now green digits flexed a few times. Moon’s eyes drifted to his knee as his hands parted his robes slightly to allow for his now green kneecaps to be seen. Looking at all of this, Moon allowed himself a few breaths to calm down. Moon then looked back up to Diavolo and said,

“Explain.”

Diavolo let out a sigh before returning to his own seated position and resting his unhealing hand on its matching knee.

“My selfishness is something that shows itself in two ways.” Diavolo’s voice was quiet and somber, “The first has to do with me finally learning how to achieve my dream and realizing that I could not bring myself to do it.”

“To do what?” Moon asked, confusion ripe within his tone.

“That reason is very much connected to the second way by which my selfishness manifest, so I’ll tell you that when I get there.” Diavolo took a deep breath before renewing his speech, “When I realized I would be unable to ever complete my dream, I lost much of my reason to live.”

“What about your dream was so important that life wasn’t worth living!? Why does Resting Within the Palo Santo matter so much to you?!” Moon shouted, anger and frustration flowing throughout his voice.

“Because I know that achieving that state is the greatest insurance the Oni could ever have.” Diavolo answered, his expression now stern and serious. Moon gained a look of surprise at the deep stare that Diavolo now gave him.

“What do you mean?” Moon asked, his brows crinkling in frustration.

“To Rest Within Palo Santo is to submit your entirety to Norwe-sama, bare and unprotected.” Diavolo looked towards where Norwe had previously floated, Moon looking towards the same spot in response, “This is considered the greatest show of faith imaginable, which is why when doing such a thing Norwe-sama awards you by making you his avatar.”

“What does that entail?” Moon asked, a bit miffed by the continued increase in questions.

“It entails you the ability to manifest Norwe-sama’s one true power. To be an expression of what Norwe-sama is all about.” Diavolo turned back to face Moon, his seriousness still in full effect, “It entails you to CHAOS. With it, the world would contort and change from your mere Presence.” Diavolo let out a sigh and turned his eyes downward, “Being unwilling to ensure such a boon for us hurt me very deeply. It made me feel as if I wasn’t giving all that I could.”

CRACK!

“Bullshit!” Moon shouted, burying his fist into the floor before redrawing it and pointing accusingly towards Diavolo, “Your entire time as priest you gave all that you could for our people and Norwe. You helped lead and protect our people through two of our trials, helped to create an entirely new batch of followers in The Log, and helped to keep the morale of our people at its highest! You gave so much to everyone!”

“But that was not everything I could give,” Diavolo quietly stated, his voice filled with a gentle sadness, “Earlier I said one of my reasons were because I couldn’t achieve my dream. That was not the best way to state my point. What I should’ve said was that one of the reasons was because I felt I would be unable to rest peacefully and soundly if I didn’t somehow ensure the achievement of my dream.”

“If this was truly such a big thing,” Moon began still not fully understanding Diavolo, “Then why could you not carry it out? Why could you not complete what you worked your whole life to achieve?”

Diavolo let out another sigh before raising a hand and resting it on Moon’s shoulder. The prior priest closed his eyes for a moment and when they reopened Moon found them to be filled with a strange mix of love and disappointment.

“I found that the only other way to Rest Within Palo Santo was to kill you.”

Moon’s eyes widened in shock at these words, a gasp coming to his lips. Diavolo tightened his grip on Moon’s shoulder before he continued speaking.

“I found that replacing Frozen Light with you was a perfectly acceptable condition since they both accomplish the same task.”

“What- What would that be?” Moon asked, already sure of the answer.

“To be rid of the one that might most stand in the way of Norwe-sama’s will. It’s an exchange afterall, so why not trade the one who has the most sway on you?”

“But you love Norwe,” Moon asked in disbelief, “Why would you allow me to ever stop you from achieving what you so vehemently wanted?”

At this point, Moon saw tears began to creep out of the corner of Diavolo’s eyes as the previous priest gave Moon a wide smile filled with ambivalence, the two emotions being sadness and happiness.

“Because as much as I love Norwe-sama, I love you more.”

“What?”, Quiet shock filled Moon’s voice as he gave Diavolo a bewildered stare.

“I helped you grow for over a thousand years Moon, and during that time I came to view you as my child.” Tears began pouring from Diavolo’s eyes “And I’m not as carefree as Norwe-sama or as selfless as Stardust, so I knew I could never “Rest Within Palo Santo.”

“You really think of me as your own?” Moon asked, fresh teardrops springing anew from his eyes as a smile appeared on his face.

“That’s the main reason why I’m asking you to carry out my dream,” Diavolo said, his head tilted to the side as tears now poured sideways down his face, “So now it’s all out, and I want to know how you feel.”

“It makes me feel abandoned,” Moon started with a stark sharpness to his voice, a small sniffle coming from him, “It makes me feel betrayed. But,” Moon’s voice lost a bit of its edge, as tears increased even more in their downpour, “I understand, I can forgive you, but I can’t simply forget what Norwe has done so quickly.”

“Will you try?” Diavolo asked, a bit of worry creeping into his voice.

“Of course.” Moon answered nodding his head yes.

“That’s all I need.” Diavolo said with the widest of smiles on his face.

Moon and Diavolo then embraced each other while still sitting and cried tears of joy into each other’s arms. For a good long while, the pair just wept together enjoying each others company. But eventually, both of their tears dried and the pair separated with the widest of grins on their faces.

Rising to his feet, Diavolo let out a saddened sigh as he looked around him.

“I’ve missed this place, even if it does look like a wreck.” Diavolo looked back at Moon who had risen to his feet, “I hate that I’m going to have to leave it and you once again.”

The edges of Moon’s grin tilted downward slightly at these words as tears once again began to well up in his eyes.

“How much longer do you have?”

“Hmmm.” Diavolo rubbed his chin for a second before shaking his head, “I don’t know for sure, just not long.”

“I’m sorry that you have to go so soon-” Diavolo interrupted Moon in his apology by setting his hand on the priest’s shoulder.

“You shouldn’t apologize for what’s out of your control. In fact,” Diavolo flicked Moon on the head, “You should stop being so regretful for what you do. You’ll never find any semblance of personal peace if you don’t.” Diavolo gave Moon a stern look, “Do you understand?”

Moon just nodded, thinking over Diavolo’s words and attempting to take them to heart. Diavolo then embraced Moon once again, and this time the pair hugged each other in silence.

Then, with no further warning, Moon no longer felt the embrace of Diavolo.

He only felt painfully empty air.

Letting out a sigh as fresh tears ran anew, Moon shook his head as he felt Norwe reappear behind him.

“Thank you,” Moon said, his voice quiet and low, “For letting me see him again.”

“No problem.” Norwe said, before floating through Moon and stopping with their back to the priest. Quickly turning to face Moon, Norwe asked, “So is that third step still impossible for you?”

Moon gave Norwe a glare, though the priest knew that it had lost much of its strength after his talk with Diavolo.

“No, but it’ll still be a challenge.”

“Great,” Norwe clapped all six of their hands together, ” That’s all I need. Are you ready to get back to your battle?”

Moon’s eyes widened as he returned more of his focus back to his bodies and found the most puzzling of sites.

“Nani!?”

All of his bodies, no the entire world alongside them seemed to be going much slower than before.

“You can thank me for that,” Moon returned his attention back to his body that was dealing with Norwe, and returned to the sight of Norwe with his black holes twinkling again, “I sped up time within the cathedral instead of slowing it everywhere else because Alex would undoubtedly be annoying me by constantly speeding it back up, and I just don’t want to deal with that right now.”

Ignoring most of what Norwe was saying, Moon redirected a good chunk of his attention to the only other body he had that was currently not in combat with Herah or Jeffery and found that it was almost at its destination.

“I can’t wait to see how that’s going to go,” Moon once again directed his attention back to his central body finding Norwe’s eyes twinkling even more than before and their tone overtly joyful, “You mind giving a message to Owen when you see him?”

Moon gave Norwe an unsure look, before shrugging his shoulders and saying,

“Sure. What do you want me to say?”

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Thomas Loud
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