Entry for Prompt #59: Escape
at the avatar_500
. This one comes after Defying Definition
and before The Language of Grief
. Maybe I should name the series or something. The Adventures of Xing the Ex-Bender?
"What is going on here?" Korra stepped back from the man who had been dropped at her feet, hands bound behind his back and mouth covered with a stone gag. The onlookers murmured among themselves.
"I can explain, Avatar Korra." The middle-aged earthbender, who had just dragged the bound man to this square on a moving swell of earth, raised his arms in a gesture of surrender.
." She raised her own arms and water from the fountain flew out of its basin to freeze around the earthbender's feet, holding him in place. At a stomp of her foot the stone bindings fell from the wrists and mouth of the man writhing at her feet.
"My name is Zhen Tiao, Deputy Head Shaper at the Civil Engineering Department. This is my son Xing, an earthbender like myself. Or he would be, if it weren't for Amon."
"Oh." Korra gestured at the people around her. "That's kind of what I'm doing here, so why-"
"I told you I don't want it!" Xing got to his feet, rubbing his wrists.
"What?" Korra raised her eyebrows while a ripple went through the crowd. "Why not?"
"I don't need it." He crossed his arms. "I have plans of my own and none of them involves being an earthbender."
"Earthbending is a part of you. Why should you lose it forever just because that jerk Amon took it away?" Korra approached Xing. "Losing my bending was the worst feeling in my life."
"I'm not you." Xing shifted his weight as though to back away, but stopped himself with visible effort. "It wasn't much more than a nuisance to me. And who's going to study the effects of bending removal if everyone has their power returned?"
"Why would you want to study something that horrible?" Korra put a hand on Xing's shoulder. "I don't agree with your father's methods, but I don't think you're being rational here. First I'll give you your bending back. Then we'll talk."
She was lifting her hand to his forehead when he spoke.
"If you do this you're no better than Amon."
Korra flinched away like he was heated metal. "Amon took something away from you. I'm giving it back!"
"And my will doesn't figure into it?"
"Don't listen to him, Avatar Korra," Zhen pleaded from where he stood pinned. "Clearly the boy's cracked!"
Korra watched the two of them, her eyes narrowing in resolve. Zhen quailed when she turned to him, but the sweep of her arm only melted the ice around his feet into a puddle.
"Touch your son again and you'll have me to deal with, not to mention the police." She turned to meet Xing's eyes. "And I still think you're making a big mistake."
"Fair enough." Xing inclined his head and walked away through the crowd.
Korra watched him go before she left, ignoring Zhen's sputtering protests. She looked over her shoulder once, but Xing was already gone.