Part 1: Doubt
"I'm sorry, Redeemer, but I'm afraid I cannot let her through." The saint of Heaven's gate told the angel.
"She has been through so much. And we have never seen a soul from the Underworld as pure as this." The Redeemer gestured to the blond child sitting amongst the clouds, looking downward to where she'd rather be…and who'd she'd rather be with.
"Surely an exception can be made?" The angel asked.
St. Peter raised his eyebrow in small surprise. "It is unusual to see you pleading against Heaven's judgment, Redeemer."
The angel warrior avoided meeting the saint's eye. "I mean no disrespect, great saint, it's just…I have seen the sacrifice around this girl. Her power, perverse demon spawned that it is, she gave up with no hesitation to her brother, though he threw every last bit of his envy at her in hatred. She gave her life to save his. And when facing the demon HIM, the young Reaper redeemed himself, staying behind to stall the demon so that we could escape. So much has been given so that we could come to this point."
St. Peter flipped through his book. "According to our observants Clockwork has taken the boy away from where HIM can reach him and placed his soul back into Halloweentown, Lord only knows why." He meant that last part quite literally.
"I know it is not my place to question the rules our Lord has laid down." The Redeemer apologized again. "But aside from her single sin, is she truly unworthy to pass our gates?"
St. Peter sighed, his heart heavy because of what he knew he had to say. "Your reasoning is valid and your heart speaks truth, warrior. If it were not for this one sin you would not have even had to stop at the gate for me to allow you inside. But lust is one of the deadly sins, including the lust for a sibling, no matter how many sacrifices have been made it their name. I'm sorry, Redeemer. Believe me, I am. But she cannot enter."
The angel warrior could see it on the saint's face. This was something he did not wish to do, but like the Redeemer, he had no choice in the matter.
"Where is she to go now?" The angel asked as he looked over to her, her back still towards the both of them. "Back to the Underworld?"
"No, that'd be too dangerous. As HIM said the girl is the key to controlling the creature. If he or some other tyrant were to reacquire her the results would be catastrophic, and that's nothing compared to if the creature itself were to devour her."
The Redeemer looked at him with shocked eyes. "Then…to a realm of purgatory?"
The saint tilted his head downwards in shame. "It is not a fate she deserves, but it is the only option we have to keep not only her safe, but the rest of existence as well."
"And what about the creature?"
"The Lord knows Clockwork's plan and is allowing him to go through with it. He trusts the ghost of time, so we'd be wise to do so as well."
The conversation was over. The angel warrior hesitated greatly to turn around so that he could go over to Minnie.
This ruling was not out of the cruelty of anyone's heart. Lust could not be allowed into the kingdom of Heaven and sending her back home would only cause further harm to befall her. But still…to send this child into purgatory…a limbo of sorts between Heaven and Hell, a place where no one could reach her…it was a place where suffering would cleanse her of her sin, but…the angel warrior knew with all his heart she never should even be considered to go there. Though the love she sought was a form of lust, she sought it with the purest of intentions. She did not deserve this.
For one of the first times ever the Redeemer considered lying to the child. Lying that while she could not enter past the gates, she was welcome to return home and help her sibling. It would go against everything he'd ever believed in to lie and defy Heaven's judgement. But it would also go against everything he'd ever believed it to allow a pure soul to suffer unjustly.
He stood still by the saint, not lifting his feet, knowing that as soon as he moved he would have to make his decision.
"You know, there is a third option you haven't considered."
The angel and the saint bolted upward at the voice, recognizing it instantly. They looked and saw from above the gate an angel descend to join them. The blond angel landed with the grace of the dancer she'd once been.
"Guardian Deedee!" The saint said, surprised by her sudden appearance.
The Redeemer placed his hand over his chest to give salute. "Angel of purity, you honor me with your presence."
"Why thank you, Redeemer." Deedee lifted her dress slightly to do a formal bow to the angel. "I was just eavesdropping in on your conversation and thought you might like it if I chimed in."
A glimmer of hope filled the angel's eye. This woman, this guardian angel, she was high up in Heaven and close to God. If there was anyone who could find salvation for Minnie, it would be her.
"You said something about a third option." St. Peter asked, hopeful for anything good.
"Yes. The third option which is that you guys are completely wrong." Deedee stated.
It took the saint and the angel a moment to process her words. "…Come again?" Peter asked.
"I'm saying that there is the possibility that your judgements over the girl are wrong." Deedee clarified.
St. Peter was not sure what to say. "I mean no offence to your wisdom, guardian, but I am simply following the rules that are laid out for all souls that wish to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Rules created by the Lord himself. I'm well aware of how cruel it must seem to bar her from our safety simply for her lust for her brother, but I fail to see how-"
"But that's the problem right there." She interrupted him. "You both keep labeling her feelings as lust. But what if that's not what it is?"
The saint raised his hand to comment but then stopped. He thought for a moment and started to see what she was getting at.
"How can we know for sure?" He asked. The Redeemer stood between the two, not quite getting it yet.
"Let me talk to her." Deedee requested. St. Peter nodded and she walked over to where Minimandy sat.
She placed her hand softly on the child's shoulder, startling her slightly and getting her attention.
"Hello, I'm Deedee. You're Minnie, right?"
"Ye-yes." Minnie said, in slight awe of the angel before her. In the past few hours she'd seen nothing but death, destruction, and sin. It felt strange to her to be with a being who seemed to be radiating kindness and sanctuary.
Deedee sat down next to her on the cloud. "Wow, you really do look like Mandy. Everyone got really worried when they heard she was going to be a mother, but I think they underestimated her."
Minnie was uncertain of this woman. "Please, I do not mean to rush you, oh blessed angel, but Heaven's ruling….what fate have they deemed?"
Deedee remembered that this girl usually had a much more formal manner of speaking. But judging from the pleading look in her eyes, formality was taking a back seat to her fear over what was happening in the Underworld.
"They're still deciding that." Deedee said with a half-truth. "Given what happened back in the Realm of Flesh and Blood…and the things that came to light from that…they have a bit more to talk about."
Minnie looked down in sadness, knowing exactly what the angel referred to.
Deedee placed a hand on her back to comfort her. "You kept this hidden for a long time, didn't you?" She asked softly. "One, because you knew you shouldn't feel this way about him, and two, because you were afraid he wouldn't feel the same way. Am I right?"
Minnie placed her fingertips together, struggling internally with what to say and also how to feel.
Deedee hated that she was making the child feel like this. "May I ask you a question?"
It took her a minute but eventually Minnie gave a small nod.
"Do you love your brother?"
Minnie remained silent still.
"You aren't sure, huh?" Deedee said, sympathy in her voice. "Yeah, Heaven's not sure either. They're banking more on it being lust and by the look of things, you're not entirely sure if they're wrong."
Minnie shut her eyes tightly, waiting for the final nail to be struck in.
"Would you like to find out for sure?" Deedee asked.
Minnie opened her eyes back up. She looked at the angel. "To find out…?"
"I…I don't…how?" Minnie finally asked.
Deedee smiled and got up. "Let's go talk to the Wingmaker."
The Redeemer overheard their conversation. "The Wingmaker? Are you sure?"
Deedee turned to him. "He probably would be the best person to judge her soul directly, unless of course you want to bring her directly up to the big guy."
Minnie got between them. "My apologies for interrupting, but who is this Wingmaker?"
Deedee answered her question. "He's a bit of a lesser known angel from up here. You know that old expression "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings"? Basically he's the guy who listens for that bell."
"…I…I am a tad confused by your meaning." Minnie said.
Deedee nodded. "Yeah…I think he'll be able to explain it better than I can." Deedee grabbed Minnie by the arm and they started flying. "So let's go see him!"
Minnie held on tightly to the angel's arm as they ascended upwards, not yet used to flying by the strength of someone else's wings. The Redeemer followed closely behind.
For several miles they soared through the clouds, each layer becoming whiter and whiter as they made their way up. Finally they broke through a top layer and landed upon it. The sun warmed the ground of the cloud pleasantly and basking in its rays was a single small cottage. Deedee went up to the door first and knocked. "Mr. Wingmaker?" She called out.
Shifting noises were heard within the home. "Deedee? That you, girl?" An old and gruff voice asked. The group could hear footsteps approaching the door. "Where ya been at, child? It's been a while since you visited me." The door opened and the Wingmaker stepped out, smiling as he saw Deedee, but his eye then instantly caught sight of Minnie. "…Well I'll be…"
Minnie looked up at the Wingmaker, not quite sure what she expected him to look like. The best way to describe him was…well…he looked kind of like how most people would describe Geppetto in a Pinocchio story; half-moon spectacles, overalls, white hair with a moustache. The difference here being the Wingmaker looked like Geppetto if he'd been put through a taffy puller, as he had a height and limb length that would match perfectly the towering heights of her father and uncle. Minnie stood back carefully from this man, wary of the look he was giving her. That however did not stop him from reaching his long arms out to her and suddenly lifting her up by her armpits high into the air.
"Oh-ho! Minimandy! It's been a good long never since I last saw you!" The Wingmaker exclaimed happily. "How have you been doing? Other than being dead, I mean."
Minnie was in noticeable uncomfortable confusion. "I…fine?" She said quickly, hoping the old man would put her down.
The Wingmaker looked puzzled as to why she was skeptical of him until Deedee tugged on his shirt.
"Uh, sir, she doesn't know who you are, remember?"
The Wingmaker looked off to the side as he racked through his memories. "Oh yeah." He set the child back down. "Sorry about that, Minnie. It's just…well, I've always wanted to meet you. You and your brother. Admittedly I was afraid I was going to meet you ten years ago, given how my grandson took the news of your mother cheating on him. Ah, but good old Grimmy. Took you in as his own and raised you proper, he did. I was endlessly proud of him for that."
Minnie was a bright girl and it didn't take her long to put the pieces together. "Lord Death…he is your grandson?"
"On his mother's side, yep. Which makes me your great-grandfather!" The Wingmaker looked for no permission as he quickly grabbed Minnie and hugged her tightly, his tall build causing him to lift her quite far off the ground again. Minnie just kind of let him as she wasn't sure what to do otherwise.
The Redeemer scratched the back of his head. "Great Wingmaker…we did come here for a reason."
"Does it have anything to do with why my great-granddaughter's wings are not showing?" He asked. Minnie herself had forgotten all about them. They'd been present when Junior had reaped her but they were not with her anymore.
"They vanished after HIM got ahold of her." The Redeemer explained.
"HIM?!" The Wingmaker exclaimed. "What the bloody hell did you get involved in that put you in that bastard's line of sight?!" He asked Minnie.
"Well…what happened was-"
"No, shut up, I have a faster way." He interrupted. He set Minnie back down and turned her around. He pushed his finger lightly against her back and, like a Pez dispenser, a feather popped out.
"What are you-" The Redeemer started to asked.
"Again, hush. I'm doing a thing." The Wingmaker plucked the feather out and held it before himself. The feather started to glow and out from it shot several orbs of light, each showing different events of what had happened throughout the day, from Zero informing Minnie of her brother's trouble to Deedee bringing her here. The one orb that the Wingmaker focused the most on showed the Nergalized Grim Jr holding his sister's soul in his arms, having just freshly reaped her.
"Interesting design choice for the wings." He commented. "A bit too metal for my taste but not bad for a first try."
Minnie watched the orbs as they floated around them, seeing the hulking Demon Reaper as it decimated her uncle's beloved town.
The feather finally evaporated into the air and the orbs went with it. The Wingmaker walked back to his door. "Come on inside. You two can inform me on what Minnie's soul could not show me."
Author's notes: Sorry about the slow start but it gets better from here. I thought it was about time for me to write a more Minnie centered story and I figured Heaven's judgement of her soul would be the best place to start. This won't be as long as some of my other stories, but I do hope it'll be good.
I'll try to update frequently because, believe me, I know it can be a pain waiting to find out what happens next it a story you're reading.