The earth around them was torn and convex, with the bodies of the defeated chi-blockers limp atop the solid stone pillars jutting out from the ground. She turns the baton over in her calloused hand, examining the scrapes across its surface. It rolls from her fingers and into the softening wet dirt. Lin steps on it as she approaches her prey, wiping the damp hair out of her eyes.
“What else do you have left?” she asks him. His arms and legs shake as he struggles to lift himself from the ruined ground, and his eyes are wincing in pain behind the green lenses of his goggles. “No weapons, no lackeys, and no Amon. What does a leader like Amon see in a talentless screw up like you?” Lin struck the air in a wide vertical arc, swinging a thick metal wire from her hand.
The Lieutenant’s head shot upwards as if being tugged by a fishing lure. A spectacle of fluid scarlet and jagged green shimmered above him, seemingly suspended in the air before raining down around him. He collapsed into the dirt. Rain, blood, and broken glass all slapped the newly-exposed skin of his face. The equalist’s mask rested on his shoulders, split in two. The Lieutenant glared at the approaching metalbender and grit his teeth. The muscle behind his eyes was pounding.
“You’re worthless to your cause,” Beifong said, arching her brow further. She struck out another vicious wire at the injured equalist.
The Lieutenant held his breath. The frayed end of the metal whip was only inches from his face. The distorted air swept at his black hair as he threw at his arm at the wire.
He caught it.
His eyes widened and his lips spread into a wide, sinister smile. The Lieutenant clenched the wire with colorless knuckles, and with a triumphant tug of the metal whip, he had brought his enemy reeling towards him. She was stumbling forward. She was coming to him. The equalist kicked himself from the ground and hurled over the outstretched metal coil. He extended his foot at her, grimacing his face in excitement. This was it.
The wire spiraled around his hand and slithered up his arm. It constricted and chafed at his flesh like a murderous serpent. Lin tucked her feet up and dropped to her knees, momentum sliding her through the mud. She passed underneath the attacking equalist. Their eyes locked for a moment, and she watched his twisted grin dissipate like steam. Lin reeled her arm back and cracked the wire like a whip. She felt a satisfying snap trail through the coil, heard the agonizing cry, and watched the limp equalist body as it trailed the air in an arc, smashing into the ground.
He was still. Mud and water seeped through the back of his suit as he stared up into the murky sky with half-lidded eyes and lips hardly parted. He exhaled a prolonged breath from his aching chest. His lungs could barely muster the strength to draw in more air. The prospect of no longer being able to breathe didn’t bother him.
“Is that it?”
The Lieutenant turned his head to watch the coil of metal slip away from his broken arm like a snake’s tail. His eyes and jaw twitched as the slight movements shifted the injury. The wire lurked through the mud and snapped back into place at Beifong’s wrist. She stood tall, chest pronounced and shoulders broad.
“Pathetic,” Lin spat.