Within Lady Sumedha's Psychic Space
Lady closed her eyes and shut out the physical world. She projected her mind like a blanket over the entirety of Safeholme’s attendants and forced out the powerful foreigner. Predictably, he bore down this resistance, displeased by its very existence.
The psychic domain is strange and difficult for most to grasp. Every experience is filtered through one’s mind, meaning all experiences are limited to one’s knowledge, comprehension, and perspective. Everything that occurs there is a simulation of very real events. Telepathic messages can be heard as voices over a phone, or seen as watercolors on a canvas. An overwhelming number of thoughts can be presented as a tidal wave or collapsing mountain. A breaking mind could be signaled by the sound of shattering glass, or crumpling metal.
Psychics sufficiently skilled create avatars for themselves, typically their self image with minor modifications, but more outlandish egos opt for more outlandish presentations. The intruder inside Lady’s mind had chosen a wizened Chinese man in his mid fifties with neatly combed black hair over silver fox sideburns. A carefully manicured goatee framed smiling lips, and that smile crinkled intelligent eyes.
He began to speak in Chinese. A mute symbol appeared above his head. Clever, he said to her with his virtual avatar’s telepathy. He received, message failed to send, retry? A lost signal symbol popped up next to the mute symbol.
Realization that he had underestimated his potential target lit his dark eyes. So Lady claimed the offensive. Columns of ice curled into existence, locking him in place. Heat spread from him, sublimating his restraints. The ice turned to titanium and the sublimated steam gathered in a cloud that dumped torrents of rain into the man’s prison. In seconds it would be full and he would drown.
He did not flinch. The water boiled so quickly the steam obscured both his face and the floating symbols overhead, but the water level held steady. The metal cage began to glow.
Titanium entrapments turned to crystal and began to sink beneath the dark, featureless surface of this psychic field, dragging down the intruder.
The intruder took a Looney Tunes-sized bite out of the rock candy that ensnared him and grinned as he floated out of the sinkhole.
Weights caught his ankles then wrists and finally his neck, dragging him back down into the pit as the cloud fizzled out, ignored by both combatants. In a world of pure thought, a discarded thought was the most easily destroyed.
Ever in control of herself, Lady did not let her mental fatigue show. But they both knew she couldn’t win this without help. I just need time. She didn’t think these words so much as feel them like the instinct to eat or sleep.
A noise canceling headset popped into existence on the intruder’s avatar. He cast them right back onto Lady— and instantly clapped both hands to his ears as Lady’s psychic domain exploded with Swedish death metal cranked up to 11.
The intruder quickly recovered after stuffing some cotton in his ears. Lady had predicted this and summoned a squadron of tiny cupids to pick at him and fire tiny arrows that prickled and stuck to his skin. When the intruder called the winds to disperse them, Lady denied his efforts; this was her mental space, and her control was superior.
Then he tried again and Dr. Sumedha amplified the effect, blasting him off his feet and away.
While he had virtually moved a great distance, distance was nearly zero within a psychic domain. So she had no difficulty seeing him with perfect clarity as he plucked an arrow from his face and hurled it back as a ballista bolt. He struck his target dead center— a wooden target that sailed in a clean arc past Lady and carried the weapon into the oblivion that awaited all manifestations in the psychic realm.
Until this point their arena had been formless flat and matte black in all directions. Then the intruder shone a spotlight on the vastness behind her, and revealed the hapless glut of minds she was protecting.
The intruder attempted to taunt her only to be reminded that she had muted him. He pulled a second arrow from his shoulder. With some sleight of hand it became 100. They loosed simultaneously, screeching through virtual space, each aimed for a different mind.
A chainmail curtain sprang up, catching them all. The air shook with the force. Lady’s chin trembled and the muscles in her jaw spasmed.
There came the sound of cracks spiderwebbing through glass.
And then Lady, the curtain, and all those minds winked out and the mind space collapsed as Lady was shunted through a portal.
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