Part 2: Trial
They all sat inside the Wingmaker's cottage. He'd poured them all tea while the Redeemer explained the entire situation.
"So not only are they barring her from the gates, but they're going to send her into purgatory?" The Wingmaker asked the angels to clarify.
The Redeemer nodded. "It may be the only safe option for her."
"I wouldn't exactly call a realm where people are cleansed through suffering safe." The old man retorted, sight anger in his voice.
"Neither would we, which is why we've come to you." Deedee explained.
The Wingmaker stroked his chin. "I see… Deedee, you don't believe that what she feels is lust and that she should be allowed in. Redeemer, you simply do not wish to allow such a pure soul to suffer and are looking for anything to save her from that fate." The two angels nodded. The Wingmaker looked over to his great-granddaughter, who had been sitting in silence this whole time. "And Minnie…you don't care about either of these things, do you? You just want to go home."
Minnie looked sadly into her cup. "I can feel it…that my brother is in trouble…"
"Well of course he's in trouble, dear, there's a giant monster stomping around that wants to eat everyone in existence. If it wasn't for the fact that we're all souls up here with no actual biology we'd all probably need a good change of pants."
"Then please, thee must then understand!" Minnie pleaded. "I fear the worst may beest happening to mine brother at this very moment, and so much time hath been lost already! If't be true thy words can changeth anyone's mind…!"
The Wingmaker held up a finger to pause her. "Time works differently up here than it does down there. It can be difficult to explain how sometimes, but a general rule is that anyone who leaves from here will always arrive just in time to wherever they've headed. We can take as much time as we need. Your brother will see you when he needs to."
Minnie clung to these last words. "So you will help?"
The Wingmaker sat quietly for a few minutes, as though he was pondering something. "I've seen the events your soul has experienced. Tell me, Minnie, do you know why your wings are gone?"
"I imagine the sin HIM filled me with corrupted and destroyed them." She guessed.
"Trick question, sweetie." He said. "They're actually still there, just too weighed down to see anymore."
Minnie tilted her head slightly, waiting for him to go on.
"My title is a bit misleading." He explained. "I do not make wings, for every soul already has wings when it is formed. Every pure deed makes the wings lighter and every sin makes them heavier. My job is to make the adjustments accordingly. Eventually I got associated with wings growing out and so people started calling me the Wingmaker. I never bothered to correct them because, well, I come from a time before names were a thing. Wingmaker was the closest I ever got to having a real name other than 'daddy'.
"You laid down your life for your brother before your death." He went on. "Twas the noblest thing you could have done, so of course your wings were in full bloom when he reaped you. And when HIM tried to take you for his own he weighed your wings down by the sins of lust and wrath. And thus, here we are."
"So what happens now?" Deedee asked.
"Now…" The Wingmaker said, not looking away from Minnie. "I check the adjustments. Normally I let it be an automatic process (saves me a lot of time), but considering the situation, and that I'm allowed to occasionally play favorites, I shall do it personally."
"And should you find your soul to be pure and her wings reveal themselves again, we she be able to pass through Heaven's gates?" The Redeemer questioned.
"I make no promises." The Wingmaker said sternly. "I can only tell you what may happen, because the consequences will be great regardless of what happens and you deserve to know what may come, Minnie." He looked straight at her with grave expression, letting her know how serious this was. "If your wings come back and your soul is strong and pure enough, then perhaps it will be safe (relatively speaking) for you to venture back down into the Underworld to aid your family, as your soul could be great enough to resist any of the forces that would wish to ensnare it to control the beast. This is a big maybe.
"However, this adjustment will come with great risk to you. I will be looking deep into your soul, deeper than the gates of Heaven seldom choose to. I will see every sin from every corner of your life, including those buried deep within yourself that perhaps you yourself don't even know of. These sins will weigh on your wings. And if the sin becomes too great for them to bear, you will fall, in the VERY Biblical sense."
Deedee and the Redeemer's eyes went wide. "She could-….she could become a fallen angel?" The warrior asked in fear. The thought of Hell getting their hands on a soul such as hers…
"Would you be able to stop the adjustments before it gets to that point?" Deedee asked.
"Are you asking me to be unfair?" He asked her bluntly.
"She's your great-granddaughter."
"It is my great-granddaughter's choice as to what will happen." He said with crossed arms. "She knows that there are things that happen for a reason with a reason. No, I cannot stop my adjustments until we are done. What she will experience as a fallen will be far worse than what she'd experience in purgatory and that is why I am giving her warning. She can give up now and hope that Clockwork's plan will save her kin or she can risk her soul on a love that may be nothing more than a delusion. It is her soul, her sins, her choice."
He looked right at her. "What do you choose?"
Minnie looked right into his eyes and clenched her fist.
"I wilt pass any trail I must to save my brother." She said determinedly.
The Wingmaker studied her carefully. "I'll be the judge of that."
He got up from where they sat around the coffee table and walked over to his trunk in the corner of the room. From there he pulled out a small two-sided scale. He set it on the table and went over the Minnie, placing his hand on her back and pulling out a feather, just as he had before. He placed the feather on one end of the scale. He reached into his pocket and pulled out another feather and placed it on the other end.
"This feather represents your soul." He pointed at the feather he'd plucked from her. "Your virtues will cause this end to raise above the other feather. Your sins will cause it to sink."
"Tis like the scales of Justice in ancient Egypt." Minnie pointed out.
"Where do you think Ma'at got the idea?" The Wingmaker said proudly before returning to a straight face. "I'll ask you once more, for when we begin we cannot go back, are you sure you wish to do this, Minnie? I will ask you many things you'd rather not answer and the trail of the soul brings to light many things about yourself you'd rather not know. Are you sure?"
Minnie took in a deep breath and nodded. "I am close to mine goal. Thee sayeth I may regret mine decision, but I wilt for certain be in regret if 't I nev'r taketh this risk and simply wonder what could has't been."
She had made up her mind. It was time.
The Wingmaker nodded back, respecting her determination. "Alright then, Minnie. First question: how often do you masturbate to the thought of your brother?"
The Redeemer and Deedee both spat out their tea and Minnie turned a shade of red so bright that she might have passed out if she was still alive.
"GREAT SAINT! SHE IS BUT A CHILD!" Redeemer yelled, having momentarily lost his head over the unexpected question.
"What? It's a simple and straightforward question." The Wingmaker responded, completely unfazed. "Now Minnie, your ans-"
"NEVER!" She screamed with great insistence. "I HAVE NEVER ONCE ENGAGED IN SUCH AN UNDIGNIFIED AND FOWL MANNER! HEAVEN WEEPS FOR THE DAY THAT I WOULD EVER EVEN CONSIDER SUCH-"
"Alright, alright, settle down." The Wingmaker said. "Look." He pointed at the scale. Minnie's feather had been lifted above the other. "You speak the truth. See? That wasn't so bad."
Deedee scratched her head in embarrassment. "Wingmaker…was there really no other question you could have asked instead of that one?"
"Sorry, but I figured that question would be the best one to help put you all a little at ease."
The Redeemer looked around at the redness of the girls' faces. "I do not think it worked."
"One of the big things you all were wondering was if Minnie's feelings towards Junior are love or lust, right?" The Wingmaker asked. "Lust is mainly sexual and physical desire, the want for that kind of pleasure. She is a child, yes, but she is a child of the Underworld and these kinds of things are certainly not kept hushed up around children. She knows what it is, but has never done it, not even to simulate what it would be like to be with him. Thus that gives a pretty big clue that she does not want to be with him purely out of sexual desire. Could it still be lust that drives her feelings and not love? Possibly, but it's not as likely now when you think about it."
Minnie sat across from him, looking straight down into the floor, heat radiating off her blushing red face. "Thee didst warn of harsh trials. I nev'r could has't imagined this would beest one of them."
The Wingmaker adjusted his collar. "Well…I don't know if this will make you feel better or not…but the next few questions will not be as much fun…"