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|"What a disappointment you are. I can't believe the so-called greatest bender in the world would be stupid enough to side with a bunch of nonbenders. We're better than them!"|
|— Yaling to Toph Beifong.|
Yaling was an earthbender from Cranefish Town. The daughter of Liling, she assisted her mother in her plans by sabotaging the Earthen Fire Refinery and playing a key role in the bender supremacist movement.
Conspiracy against nonbenders
Following the end of the Hundred Year War, Yaling and Ru accompanied their mother when she returned to Cranefish Town from Ba Sing Se to establish a new factory. At their mother's direction, the sisters tracked down a group of firebenders that had been causing unrest in the city. After Yaling broke down the door to their hideout, Ru presented the group with a new and potentially profitable job opportunity, noting that they could join a movement to "benefit benders and their families across the world". The leader of the group, however, dismissed Ru's offer, angrily ordering them to leave. Seeing that another approach was needed, Yaling proceeded to earthbend a large wall of rock at one of the firebenders, catapulting him back as the others looked on in fear. Continuing her attack, she bent a pillar of earth under another firebender before striking another with a chunk of rock to his forehead. The remaining firebender directed a blast of fire at her, but Yaling easily dodged his attack and retaliated by striking him on the back of the head with a rock, knocking him to the floor. The firebender leader, seeing his defeated comrades, quickly acquiesced to the sisters's demands, to Ru's delight.
The sisters directed the firebenders to sabotage the Earthen Fire Refinery, ultimately causing a large explosion that destroyed much of the factory. They remained close by and watched as the criminals attempted to flee the scene. When the firebender leader was caught by Avatar Aang and trapped in a pillar of earth on the edge of a cliff, Yaling used her earthbending to fracture the cliff, causing the firebender to plummet into the sea below. Ru expressed concern at the necessity of killing him, but Yaling reminded her sister that, as their mother has requested, she was simply making sure there would be no loose ends. Their conversation was cut short, however, when they witnessed Aang fly up into the air, holding the rescued firebender.
Returning to their mother, they reported to her that the Avatar had captured the firebender leader. Yaling defended herself, noting that she had done what she could while Ru had not helped at all, though Ru retorted that Aang's interference was not her fault. Liling quickly silenced her daughters, noting that it was unfortunate but more important things were at stake. Ru and Yaling both apologized for their outbursts and agreed with their mother that the plans she had set in motion would require them to be united as a family.
The secret rally
When Team Avatar visited Liling's home the following day, the family's pet cat knocked over a clay figurine of Kyoshi while being chased by Momo. Yaling and her sister were introduced to the group by their mother, with the former using her earthbending to repair the figurine. Toph Beifong acted unimpressed, revealing her own metalbending. Yaling convinced Toph to teach her metalbending, although Ru asked if it was wise to hang out with the Avatar's friends. Yaling replied that Toph would eventually come round to their side, being a bender, and instructed Ru not to tell her mother about her plans with Toph.
The next morning, Toph met with Yaling at the beach to begin their metalbending lessons. Yaling had no success at first, but Toph told her to be patient, as she had only been learning for one day, noting that she once tried to teach Aang, but as an Air Nomad, he did not have the necessary fortitude or feel for metal, while an earthbender would have what it takes. The two earthbenders proceeded to talk about the meeting held earlier and Liling's efforts to help the nonbender-owned businesses, Toph claiming that she would not mind if the machines were not repaired immediately, and downplaying her friendship with Aang. Yaling told her that many people in Cranefish Town felt that things had gone wrong since the end of the Hundred Year War, with particular regard to the relationship between benders and nonbenders. She asked Toph if she wanted to attend the meeting Liling was holding that night, claiming that it was for concerned citizens who wanted to restore things to the natural order. Toph agreed, and Yaling told her the password.
Yaling was accompanied by Toph as she attended her mother's secret rally in one of the old mines under Cranefish Town. As Liling finished her speech, urging benders to work against nonbenders, Yaling and Toph approached her raised platform. Ru was shocked to see Toph there, but Yaling claimed that she supported their cause. However, Toph chose the moment to reveal her true allegiances, and attempted to detain Liling, prompting Yaling to attack Toph. She declared her a traitor and accused her of choosing the nonbenders over her fellow benders.
Yaling and Toph continued to fight, with the former calling the metalbender a poor teacher. Toph replied that she had taught an entire school of earthbenders to metalbend, and retorted that she was a terrible bender. Toph knocked Yaling back with an earth pillar, but Yaling got back to her feet, claiming that she was a better bender, with the other woman asking her to prove it, and the two of them charged at each other with earth gauntlets. Yaling landed besides Ru, before both sisters were confronted by Sokka and Suki. Sokka asked Ru how she could support her mother targeting nonbenders like them, but Yaling attacked before her sister could respond, with Suki chi blocking Yaling moments later. Liling attacked Team Avatar with a burst of powerful earthbending in the battle, before bending a tunnel and telling her daughters and supporters to escape while she held off the Avatar and his allies. Ru and Yaling protested, but Liling replied that the most important thing was for them to ensure that her supporters remained free to carry on their fight.
Ru assisted her sister walking on the streets, but Yaling dropped to her knees, traumatized over being chi blocked by Suki. Ru assured her that her bending would return, but Yaling worried that it would not, and that she would be like Ru. The nonbender appeared unhappy at the remark, before telling Yaling that they should head home and come up with a plan to rescue their mother.
Yaling recovered from being chi blocked by the following morning, and wished to rescue Liling. Ru informed her that she was being kept at Earthen Fire Industries, guarded by Team Avatar and Lao's security guards, proposing that they sneak in at night. Yaling rejected her sister's plan, instead proposing that they draw Team Avatar away from the factory and break in to rescue their mother.
After Yaling distracted Team Avatar with a fire at the Cranefish Town Business Council building, she showed up to the factory with a group of her mother's followers. Yaling was confident her group would win, seeing as the guards protecting the factory were nonbenders. Yaling commanded her group to take down Suki first because she was a chi blocker, and a fight ensued. While Suki attempted to chi block one of the benders, Yaling encased her in a pillar of rocks. When Sokka came to help her, he too was encased by rock walls. Yaling managed to take out a few more people with earthbending, and stole the keys to Liling's cage from one of the guards. She hurried inside, freeing her mother, and happily embraced her, saying she was afraid she would not see her again. Liling told her that she knew she would be able to free her, and that the two had lot of work to do back home, returning to an overjoyed Ru.
When Liling brought the bender supremacists to the factory during her final confrontation with Team Avatar, she commanded Yaling to go after Toph, and Yaling managed to knock Toph down by attacking her in the air. The two girls earthbent at each other, and Toph ran up the side of a wall, luring Yaling to the roof. Yaling sarcastically asked why Toph was not trying to say they could peacefully resolve things as she attempted to hit her with a long earth pillar. Toph responded that it was more of Aang's thing as she made a metal glove for herself, deflecting Yaling's pillar. As the two continued to fight, they eventually bust a hole in the roof and fell through. Yaling fell into the rubble, before continuing to fight, and managing to knock Toph off her feet. As Toph hit the ground, Yaling loomed over her with a large rock and called her a disappointment for being stupid enough to side with the nonbenders. Toph said she would never be stupid enough to think she was better than "him" just because he was a nonbender. Yaling was confused, and was suddenly hit on the back of the head by Sokka's boomerang. Liling and Yaling were subsequently locked up in a cage next to the refinery.
Yaling is dedicated to her mother, assisting in carrying out her plans even though it meant breaking the law. She is impressed by powerful bending, eager to learn metalbending from Toph Beifong, and was determined to prove herself as a better bender than Toph after she revealed her stance against the bender supremacists.
Graphic novel trilogies
- Imbalance trilogy
- Yaling and her sister's respective designs were intended to hint at their personalities: Yaling, as the fighter, was designed "big and tough" and wears "practical clothes that are better for fighting", while Ru's clothing is fancier as she "relies more on talking to get ahead".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Matera, Adele (colorist). Imbalance Part Three (October 1, 2019), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Hill, Ryan (colorist). Imbalance Part Two (May 14, 2019), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Hill, Ryan (colorist). Imbalance Part One (December 18, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ Grunenwald, Joe (May 7, 2019). INTERVIEW: Faith Erin Hicks and Peter Wartman on their latest AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER GN. ComicsBeat.com. Retrieved on May 13, 2019.