Heaven is For Real Part 2
A burst of light flashed within the sacred halls of Paradise. The light dispersed and five angels, completely unscathed by the magic light, stood in its replacement. The four soldiers kept close to their prisoner. The prisoner, Michael, the Archangel of Justice, opened his eyes and breathed in that heavenly air. He looked around the grand halls. He was home. Yet home to the archangel had now become nothing more than a stranger. The many times he left Heaven to be with those on Earth he felt like this home was distancing from him, or perhaps he was distancing himself from Heaven. Now he was an outsider forced to return to his place among the heavens. Mike thought back to how all those he left behind on that third rock from the sun. Anyone could easily discard those memories, never to look back. He was an angel, an archangel. His lifespan outweighted that of any mortal's. He would outlive them and they would all fade into memory.
But the new memories, the ones he cherished most, Mike was not willing to release. New bonds were forged between him and his youngest sibling, he grew connected with the few humans he interacted with, and even the demons he had met. Their names, their faces— Carmen, Rosie, Regan, and even Malaika —Mike did not want to depart from them all. The others of the Council would never understand, which is why now he needed to make them understand. He needed to win this trial, that was all that mattered now. He needed make the others see what he was trying to accomplish. This is how he will win. Defeat would result in one of two choices: a life sentence or excommunication. Both meant that he would never see those he cared on Earth again.
Peter and the guards marched and Mike marched with them. No word was spoken in the silent halls until a streak of gold lightning thundered through the air. The streak slammed into the polished, marble floors and in its place was a woman who wore a black leather jacket like Mike and a pair of shredded jeans. Her jacket was left open, which releaved her leather top and jewel-pierced navel. The sides of the woman's head were trimmed short and streaks of her blonde hair were combed towards her right side. Her wings were gold too, indicating that she too was an archangel like Mike. The Archangel of Strength. Mike's face lightened with a smile, recognizing the approacher as his sister Gabi, often nicknamed God's wild child by their fellow angels. Gabi, on the other hand, looked more worried for her older brother.
"Mike, I just heard what's went down." Gabi cried. Her wings faded and she ran towards the arresting party. "What is all this?" her tone grew harsher. "Is this really necessary? Uncuff him right now!"
"You know we can't do that, my lady." Peter answered. "We're under strict orders."
"Calm down, Gabi." Mike tried assuring his sister.
"Calm down?" Gabi snapped. "Like hell, I want to know who authorized this."
"Knew this would happen sooner or later." a second voice called behind Gabi.
Approaching the party was a third archangel, to which Mike and Gabi gave him nasty scowls. This angel was tall, towered both Michael and Gabriel and even the others by a foot more. His skin was much darker in tone than his older siblings. He also chose to wear his battle armor that was bright and polished. A short, spiked mohawk ran along the center of his head, and a pair of old scars marked along his envy green eyes, which glarned scornfully at both Mike and Gabi. What stood out the most was the angel's mechanized prosthetic arm replacement on his left limb. The gears whirled as his metal fingers crunched together into a blocky fist.
This angel, the third archangel, was none other than Raphael, or Raph as his siblings address him as, a nickname he so often dispised. But to the lesser angels he was known as the Archangel of Virtue. "Serves you right." he growled under his breath.
Gabi's fist smacked hard into her younger brother's shoulder. "You good-for-nothing rat! You did this, didn't you Raph? Should have known you'd narc sometime."
"He did not give the order to have your brother arrested, Gabriel," another voice boomed. "I did."
Another stranger made his appearance, who paced himself slowly, hands crossed behind his back. The stranger was fairly built despite looking elderly, passing off as a mortal in his mid-60s. A plain white clergy garbs laced with gold symbols of multiple cultures hid his very muscular physique. His hair was silver, knotted into a bulb on the back of his head. His beard was also knotted the same way. His aging eyes were grey as well yet full of life and light. On his chest was an insignia. It was not of a crucifix, or the Star of David, or the star and crescent of the Ottoman Empire. This symbol, stitched by threads of gold, resembled a sword puncturing through a shield with four lightning bolts projecting out of the hilt. To the angels of Heaven this was a symbol for valor, a symbol upheld by the Archangel of Valor of the Archangel Council. Yet Mike recognized the old angel as someone much more. His old master and teacher, the one who helped Mike become endowed as an archangel.
"Metatron?" Mike breathed as the elder angel stood before the group.
"I'm sorry it had come to this, my boy," the fourth archangel said. "It does pain me to see you in this condition."
"I have my reasonings for what I've done." Archangel Michael explained.
"I'm sure you do," his brother Raphael growled.
Gabriel snapped at her younger brother. "Just let'em talk, Raph!"
"You stay outta this, Gabriel! I don't know why you're not in handcuffs too."
"Enough, the both of you." Metatron ordered them both. "I will not have your sibling quarrels echoing in these halls."
"Then I should be arrested too," the Archangel of Strength justified. "I'm just as guilty as my brother. I too went to Earth without authorization."
"Only because I forced her into it." Mike protested. "This is all on me. Please Metatron, give me a chance to explain."
Metatron sighed. "A moment alone with the prisoner, if you will." he waved his hand, instructing Peter and his fellow guards to stand down. The guards obeyed and stood their place. Michael stepped forward to the elder archangel as Gabriel and Raphael remained with the other angels. Side by side the former teacher and student slowly paced down the lengthy halls, not too far from the other archangels or the arresting party. Mike was not worried about dealing with his teacher's wrath. He knew him all too well just as Metatron knew him, like how Metatron was not the type to lash out at his students. Mike also knew that if he needed someone to talk to Metatron always had an open ear.
"Were you hoping that I could bail you out like always?" Metatron asked.
"If you don't mind, that'd be great." Mike joked.
His old teacher recognized the joke, coughing up a small chuckle. "I'm afraid it won't be as easy this time. You have violated a sacred rule, one that was established by your Father and agreed upon by the Council-"
"But my Father is not here anymore," Mike interrupted. "He stepped down from his position a long time ago after the war, but not before he giving absolute rule over Heaven to the Council."
"The Creator works in mysterious ways. Perhaps this was His plan all along. It's hard to tell what He thinks." Metatron then smiled, reminiscing on a treasured memory. "You know, I remember the day your Father asked me to take you under my wing. I was quite honored, having you as an apprentice. I taught you all too well. How to fight, how to deal in politics, even how to dance for your prom night." the old man laughed. Mike couldn't help but laugh too. "You were like another son to me, especially after..." the smile on his old face vanished when he recalled a much darker memory.
Michael knew what he wanted to say. "You don't have to say it." he spared his old friend the daunting memories of the past.
Metatron glanced at his former pupil. His eyes thanked him for not having to finish his statement. Then he grimanced when he recollected more of that faithful memory. "Do you recall what else you said that day?"
Mike nodded. He remembered what he said that day long, long ago. "I said that I would be greatful to serve under your teachings, but only if you took my brother Lucifer under your teachings too."
"Your Father was displeased with the idea, but I accepted regardless. You and your brother were my prized pupils. I was proud of the both of you. It was a shock to me, as well as everyone else, when we discovered your brother pledged his alligences to the demons, the very foe we've fought so long against. That was my greatest failure in life. I'm hoping that what you are doing, Michael, does not result in my second greatest."
"What is the point of this?"
"The point, my boy, is that you were able to convince me to take your brother in that day. Convince me now why you believe you are guiltless of your actions. Why should there be a trial held?"
Mike thought long and hard of what he wanted to say. "After my brother's treachery," he calmly explained. "after the war, and after my Father stepped down and began wandering the universe, I've been feeling lost for some time. It was like my faith was fading. I served my duties well as an archangel but I could not help but feel that I needed something more in my life. This is not a feeling of envy. I'm not entirely sure what this feeling is but I had it bad for a long time. It was like a black hole circulating in my heart. A void of darkness that was a cancer to my soul. But then I learned what Lucifer has been doing of recently."
"Ah yes, we already know about that." Metatron irritatedly grumbled. "He married a mortal woman and is balancing a life between fatherhood and the ruler of Hell. Allow me to congratulate him if our paths cross again."
"I've kept an eye on him for a while. He's different now. He's not there living among mortals to cause some kind of havoc. Well maybe nothing, like, too chaotic but... he found something that made him whole. Something that turned his life around. Those three humans, The Gravelys, his family. I can see why he wished to be with them. They are so much more. Being with them myself gives me a sense of completion. In addition, I can offer the Council something no angel could do before. Something that involves the angels, the demons, and that family."
"And that is?"
"You'll only know once we go to trial."
The pair stopped walking. Metatron thought about his pupil's words. "Well Michael," he sighed. "I hope for your sake this trial is in your favor."
"So you agree with me on this?"
"For the moment. You will have your chance to try and convince the others of your reasons. Keep in mind that I may not be on your side all the way. This trial has to be fair and unbiased."
Michael bowed his head to his old master. "Thank you, Metatron."
Metatron smiled. "The least I could do for you, my friend. I will immediately inform the rest of the Council that we will have your trial. Would you like to make any requests? A little time to prepare? Do you need an arbiter in your defense? One can be provided for you."
"I appreciate it, but that won't be necessary. I can begin immediately, and I can defend for myself. I do, however, would like to inquire two requests."
"And they are?"
"First request: whatever happens after the trial, shall I be condemned for my actions, I ask you to leave my brother's family out of this. They are not to be questioned, and their memories are not to be wiped."
Metatron raised a brow, but he smiled again and shook his head. "You still protect him, after all this time. Very well. It can be done."
Michael continued, "Second request: I wish for my sister, Archangel Gabriel, remain at her seat during this trial."
"I said that this trial had to be fair and unbiased. Your sister-"
"She is innocent, and she only went along because of my insistance. It was meant to serve as an intervention for her drinking habits, which she seemed to work. She hasn't touched as single drink. Additionally, she's only been to Brimstone once, and as far as I know she has not revealed her angelic state to anyone but Lu's family. Besides, it can't hurt my chances, can it? One out of eight sounds like good odds to me."
The old archangel shrugged. "Then it shall be done." he agreed. He placed his hand between Mike's cuffed hands. Mike responded by grasping his teacher's hand and the two shook on the agreement. They then walked back to the waiting group members, who all looked at them for a decision.
"The trial will commence." Metatron announced to the other angels present. "We will begin immediately." He turned to the captain of the guards. "Captain, have the other members of the Council informed that we will meet in the Archangel Spire." He then faced Gabi. "Gabriel, you will partake in this trial as a deciding factor."
Raph scowled. "With all due respect, Metatron," he interjected. "She was also on the mortal world. She's just as viable-"
"Unless there is evidence of this, she can still serve her duty on this council." Metatron shot back. "Do you have evidence of which you speak?" Raph opened his mouth but no answer came. He then retreated back into silence.
Metatron, however, was not yet finished ordering the female archangel. "However, Gabriel, you will treat this like any trial before. Do not harbor on a single, biased side on this matter. Is that clear?" Gabi first looked at her brother, then looked back at Metatron. She wanted to continue siding with her eldest brother but it meant sacrificing a vote in his favor. All she could do was nod silently in agreement.
"Good then that case let us-" Metatron stopped his speech when a foul odor breathed through his nose. "What is that pungent odor?" he coughed. The odor grew stronger. It smelled like a rotten mixture of moldy corndogs and other ghastly meats. Shortly after getting a whiff of the stinking stench, the others sniffed the air around them. They took cringed in disgust when it flowed through their nostrils. "I'll send for a sanitation team later." the Archangel of Valor dismissed. "Lets get on the way."
The guards led Mike away toward the Archangel Spire, where the trial was to be held. The other three members of the Council, Metatron, Gabi, and Raph, follwed closely behind. Neither of them bothered searching for what made that awful stench that toxicated their senses. If they had they would have found two stowaways hiding behind one of the great pillars that held the temple ceiling up.
Two sisters, Rosemary and Regan Gravely, were alive and well after being caught inside the angelic teleporation spell that was cast earlier. But perhaps being well was far differnt than feeling well. Too weak and sick to move. All they could do was quietly moan and clench their stomachs as a fresh puddle of vomit saturated by their feet.