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|Not Your Typical Criminal|
An Epic Battle of Metal vs. Fire
9 October 2012 (release date)
Not Your Typical Criminal is writing contest.'s action one-shot for 's
Not Your Typical Criminal
"Chief," started a nervous officer in his typical metal uniform, "How do you wish to proceed?"
Toph Beifong, the esteemed, young chief of the Republic City Police Force had arrived at Avatar Aang Memorial Island with her most capable men after confirming from dozens of witnesses that some sort of monster had flown there and made the colossal statue of Aang its resting place. It always struck Toph as odd that they built a memorial to her friend while he was still alive, but she had no time for distractions like that.
The chief was about to respond to her officer, but was cut off by an ear-piercing shriek. While her cops jumped and whipped their heads around, she stomped the ground with her right foot, using Seismic Sense to locate the monster. Peculiarly, she couldn't feel any movement. That's when it attacked. Like a bolt of lightning, of flying beast soared from the hollow statue in a beeline for the officers, tackling two and knocking them into the water below. Nostrils flaring, it turned to two other men and opened its mouth, releasing an intense blast of fire that scorched them both. Shocked, Toph surrounded herself with a rock shield, protecting herself from any flames to come. The beast however, ignored her and set course for the city. Toph could only tell where it was going by the deafening sounds it was making, noises that could shatter glass.
She lunged her left arm forward, sending a long, metal cable the monster's way. To her relief, it wrapped around its leg. The chief attempted to reel her enemy in, but it only flew faster, yanking Toph off her feet and over the water. The cable stayed attached to the animal as its assailant was pulled in the direction of Republic City, her feet skimming the waterline. It took her a while to fully assess what was happening- never before had she been in pursuit of a dragon!
The chief, afraid that she could crash into something at any moment, quickly began to draw in her cable, which resulted in her body being zipped up to the dragon's leg. She wrapped the other cable on her right arm around her target's waist and released his foot, climbing onto the creature's spiny back. Struggling, she made her way to its strong, thick neck where she revealed the sharp edge that was concealed in her armor's right forearm. With all her might, she thrust it into the side of the dragon's neck- at least, she tried to. Toph's arm shook when her blow failed to pierce the creature's scales by even an inch. She had at it again, failing once more. By now the dragon was swooping without warning in every which direction and flipping randomly in an attempt to throw the woman off, but she held on with a death grip. For a third try, she attacked with her blade, this time coming at an by an angle. Miraculously, the tip lodged itself half a finger-length deep into the dragon's neck, making it shriek and toss around furiously. Toph assumed it was still a baby, given its lack of a ferocious roar. Still, the high-pitched yelp sounded unnatural. Come to think of it, the dragon didn't even seem to look like the ones Aang had described. It wasn't long like a snake, but one that stood up on two feet with claws, wings, scales, and a strong tail.
The chief hardly had time to make scientific hypotheses, however, as the beast crashed head-on through the glass window of a shoreline building. For the most part, Toph was shielded from the shards of glass, but her left shoulder should was cut and started to bleed. The people inside screamed in terror and panicked, but before long, the two combatants charged through another window, leaving in style. Toph, despite the immense pain in her shoulder, refused to let go. She had stop this beast before it caused too much damage. It was especially horrifying for her, though, given that she couldn't see where they were going. That's why it caught her so much off guard when the dragon spiraled down and plummeted into the street. Toph was flung off and fell back ten feet, her connection to the metal cable being severed. She landed with a thud, her impact causing a sizable fracture in the road. Some bystanders howled and cried, others got out of the Satomobiles and bolted, but most were paralyzed by fear and confusion.
The good news was that Chief Beifong was back on land were she could "see." Better yet, she could Earthbend. Fighting past her pain, she gritted her teeth and stomped the ground twice, following up with two outward kicks. The move hurled a couple of rock chunks directly at the dragon, and both hit their target perfectly. Toph gave a half-smile but quickly had to block an incoming breath of fire with a stone wall. She smashed through the barrier and pounded the street with her outer palm, sending an Earth column into the dragon's belly. It had a strange, unexpected reaction, twitching its head awkwardly and letting out two tiny shrieks. Again, it all seemed too unnatural to the police chief.
Peeved that no one was coming for her aide, Toph prepared her next attack. "I guess it's just you and me, buddy! Mano a mano- or whatever you are." She lashed out with her remaining cable to seize the scaled fiend's wrist, but it caught the line without much effort.
Toph gulped. "Hmmm. That was a bad idea, wasn't it?" Unfortunately, she was absolutely correct. The dragon grasped the cable with both hands and proceeded to spin rapidly. As a result, Toph was forced to circumnavigate him in the air, crashing through a picnic table's umbrella in the process. Finally, she was let go and flew into a parked Satomobile, forming a dent twice the size of her body. When Toph looked up, she was incredibly dizzy, and suddenly she could see three dragons instead of one. The chief also noticed that her lip was bleeding, but she couldn't give up... not yet. The woman took a deep breath before rolling out of another fire blast's path. She swiftly got up to her feet and ran, knowing the car would blow up within seconds. By the time the explosion occurred, Toph wasn't far enough away. She was propelled forward and landed flat on her stomach, immediately needing to elevate another rock aegis for protection from the dragon's built-in flamethrower. Instead of lowering it, she punched it, sending a rock to her opponent's face. It let out another irritating scream before it was hit by a mighty rock pillar and was knocked off its feet, flying back five yards and crashing throw a window pane. Toph chased after it, confident that the tides of the battle had turned.
Leaping through the window, Toph soon realized just what kind of building she had entered. The entire thing was metal. Metal conveyor belts, metal cranes, metal levers, all working to manufacture some kind of product. Outside, officers who had finally arrived at the scene were flabbergasted by their chief's entrance.
"Doesn't she know how dangerous that place is?" exclaimed an astonished cop.
"Chief Beifong isn't one to get scared by a few bombs," responded the officer next to him. "She'll blow up this entire block if that's what it takes to kill this thing."
"Are we going in after her, Sir?"
The man pondered the situation for a moment before answering. "No. We'd just endanger her even further."
Inside the volatile factory, an adrenaline rush powered Toph to relentlessly duke it out with her atypical sparring partner. She dug her hands into the massive crane next to her and ripped off a big chunk to use as ammunition. She hurled bits and pieces of every machine she got her hands on at the overwhelmed dragon, who kept stepping back and shrieking. Toph smiled and laughed. "Time for the final blow, buddy!" She pulled her arms back and stomped, preparing to fire a steel boulder. Chief Beifong then thrusted both hands forward with a grunt. The impact made the dragon fall back into a moving conveyor belt, loaded with explosive devises. The bombs toppled onto the floor and combusted as they hit the ground, causing a chain reaction of explosions through the factory. The chief gasped and turned back to the window she came in through, sprinting to her escape. She barely made it out in time, and the entire building collapsed just as she reached the outside where the rest of her force awaited her. Using her feet, she felt the walls collapse on themselves, priceless technology crushed and destroyed. It was a horrifying thing to behold, but it was over, and the terrible booming noises had subsided, Toph walked through the rubble, afraid to see that her scaled foe had survived. In a way, her fears came true.
Toph noticed a figure trying to come out from under a sheet a metal, and when it finally popped through, Chief Toph Beifong saw what used to be a ferocious dragon now without a head, and sparks flying from the robotic frame that had been hidden under its "scales." The entire thing fell apart, but to the shock of everyone in the vicinity, a man was revealed!
"So? You managed to destroy my clever invention?" The scrawny man glared at Toph with a crooked smile. He had a black eye, cuts all over his body, and blood spewed from his mouth. He swayed back and forth, looking dazed and nearly unconscious.
The officers behind the chief got in their fighting stances, but they were waved off. "Hold your attacks," ordered Toph. "This guy looks like he's about to die."
The bruised-up, middle aged man was taken back, as if he was offended. "No Chief, I'm not... But you are!" He swung his arms and produced a ball of fire that sped at the police officers in front of him. To his disappointment, they each evaded the blow, including Chief Beifong.
He simply let out a cynical, twisted cackle, coming close to losing his balance. "You Metalbenders are all the same! Think you're the Spirits' greatest gift to humanity. It's all about you! There are plenty of other benders who'd like to serve their city, you know!" He laughed again, his eyes narrowing. "But I knew you guys would just have to come investigate the almighty dragon."
Toph gasped. "That whole time, you were just trying to trap us?"
The man widened his eyes. "Oh wow," he said sarcastically, clapping. "You really are an amazing cop. It's just too bad you broke my little toy, but no matter. Because now... I'm gonna-" BOOM! He was cut off when his body was blown to bits by a bomb that had a delayed explosion, annihilating him instantaneously before he could utter another sound.
Toph dropped her guard and let out a heavy sigh; it was finally over.
"Mom!" Toph spun to hug her adorable young daughter, whose eyes were filled with tears.
"What's wrong, Lin?" The woman offered a smile to cheer up her child.
"I was so worried about you, Mom! I ran here as soon as I heard what was happening."
"Ah, but it's okay," reassured the chief with a faint chuckle. "See? I'm fine. I'm not even hurt."
"But Mom..." Lin stared at her mother quizzically. "How could you do all this fighting? You told me you had my baby sister in your tummy."
Indeed, Toph was pregnant- or at least, she had been. She was fully aware that the chance her child survived in the womb after a battle like that was slim. "Now don't you worry about that. Let's go home, okay?"
For the collective works of the author, go here.