#TeamDecoPunk - Part Six: Blades of Mannahatta - @LadyAmanita

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Love Guides The Wandering Star - Part Five - Holly_Gonzalez

She detached from the relentless mind of Nicholas Lott and returned to the certainty of Inge-Margritte Helmrich. Links between the four previous trials clarified in her memory, each a piece of herself and of the other people she'd become. She remembered Fray's words and focused them into a thought sequence. The Psychometer resonated above. Psi-force flowed about her like a shimmering cocoon. Faint scents of smoke and spiced cologne wafted to her nose. A dark gateway spun before her inner eyes, the connected symbols aswirl in gossamer threads around it.

Flames to cleanse, to purify. I carry them inside of me now.

When the judges spoke, she imagined the psi-force intensifying around them.

The female judge folded her arms. "A destructive element surfaces again. The Fraulein's inner nature is vain and fractured. And still no trace of American devotion. I--"

The judges let out startled cries when the panel desk sparked and smoked before them.

Margritte grinned and projected more psi-force at them. The psi-portal expanded, and power from the multiverse flooded through it, bending to her will. Flames burst forth and danced across the desktop.

The stage crew rushed out with extinguishers and smothered the fire.

"What's the meaning of this?" one of the judges bellowed. "Has the Psychometer malfunctioned?"

The Professor shot Margritte a sidelong glance. "It must have been some faulty wiring. Let's cut to a small break."

While the crew fixed the supposed electrical mishap, the Professor hovered near Margritte. He whispered, "Don't do that again. Control yourself, or I'll set the Psychometer to high voltage and fry the last of your insolence away."

Margritte uttered a small laugh and answered in her native language, lowering her voice. "I see through you, German deceiver. Your accent gives you away just as mine does. Let me guess. You faked your identity and your defection. And I suspect you love the Fuehrer enough to bring this mind-melting machine into his enemies' midst. Confess."

The Professor's lips twitched into a slow smirk. He muttered in flawless German, "If you survive the final trial unscathed, we'll see who wins." He turned his back and ignored her glare.

The judges resumed their places and called for the last trial.

I'll show them all. This time I'll drag the truth through the portal with me.

"Your final episode is the trial of retribution," the Professor said. "We'll find out who--or what--you consider your greatest opposition and the nature of your soul's conflict."

The Psychometer resumed. A new psi-space, a new vessel to inhabit. Elements from every trial poured in. Too much at once. She tossed in her seat and tried to shout, but her voice became a static pulse. A bright field of light engulfed her. She trembled, her body alight, rings of force gliding around the Psychometer and shooting toward her in spidery bolts. Her flesh blinked in and out of existence, her skeleton visible through the brilliant shock waves. She disappeared from her own reality in a blinding flash.

When her senses returned, she was immersed in psi-space. She stood on a darkened city street. Overhead, auroras undulated in vast rivers of luminous color. Structures rose toward the night.--towering, proud, and immovable. Skyscrapers. They shouted and summoned her to fight. Her awareness splintered into many facets, each embodied in a tall pillar, their heads in the sky and their booted feet planted firm in battle stance. The buildings laughed, wept...were they really alive?

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