|“||My plan is already in motion. One by one the non-bender businesses will fail, and we will drive them from our home! We will set right the imbalance in the world! Cranefish Town will become a city that belongs to benders alone!||„|
|~ Liling to her supporters|
Liling is the main antagonist of the Imbalance trilogy, the sixth comic book trilogy taking place between Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. She is an earthbender, factory owner, and member of the Cranefish Town Business Council who secretly plotted to drive out non-benders from Cranefish Town and assert the supremacy of benders by any means necessary.
Liling originated in the northwest area of the Earth Kingdom, roughly where Cranefish Town would eventually be built. Because of the effect of the Hundred Year War, however, she fled to Ba Sing Se and eventually had two daughters. She fled once again with her daughters after Princess Azula and the Dai Li led a coup against the Earth King, instilling Liling with the belief that Ba Sing Se fell because a non-bender was too weak to stand up to benders.
Once the war with the Fire Nation ended, Liling returned with her daughters to settle in Cranefish Town where she opened a factory and joined the town's business council to help the town grow and prosper. However, many of the other factories, including the Bei Fong owned Earthen Fire Factories, began developing new technology to give non-benders an advantage in the work force and make bending obsolete. Fearful of this change, Liling began organizing a rebellion against non-benders.
Liling was present during the Business Council meeting where Avatar Aang was invited to help mediate. When Aang offered to establish a police force for the town as an alternative to banning bending altogether, Liling offered to provide her factory's security team to them for police training. The proposal was unanimously passed and Liling offered further services to Aang for the future.
Behind the scenes, however, she had ordered her daughters Ru and Yaling to hire thugs with bending to sabotage factories owned by non-benders in order to intimidate them. After one of the thugs Ru and Yaling tried to dispose of was saved by Aang, the two immediately started blaming each other before Liling reprimanded them, reminding them that they needed to stay united as a family if they were going to succeed.
The next day, when Team Avatar visited her home, Liling introduced them to her two daughters, whom Toph figured out were the ones behind the sabotages. Liling offered further support to rebuild the factories to keep Aang off her track.
Liling later hosted a secret rally with several of the town's benders, fanatically declaring her anti-bending mantra and rallying her supporters to push non-benders out of Cranefish Town. Team Avatar, who had snuck into the rally, took down several of the benders, then defeated and arrested Liling while her daughters escaped.
While imprisoned, Toph suggested that Aang should do what he did to Fire Lord Ozai and take her bending away to make an example out of her. With his friends on opposite sides of the debate, Aang tried reasoning with Liling, only to be met with more resistence and subtle threats from Liling. She was kept inside Earthen Fire Factories until Yaling created a diversion and rescued her. When reunited with her daughters, she angrily chastized Ru for trying to pack everything and leave, reminding them of what it was like to have to leave Ba Sing Se after Azula and the Dai Li took over. Liling further states that bender supremacy over non-benders is just how the world works, even though Ru is a non-bender herself.
Liling and Yaling led a group of benders to Earthen Fire Industries to drive out Team Avatar and non-benders out of town for good. Team Avatar was prepared, however, and they quickly defeated many of the thugs before Yaling and Liling fought Toph and Aang respectively.
Upon seeing how quickly her forces were defeated, Liling was shocked to learn Ru sold them out to Team Avatar in order to stop the conflict. Angry at her daughter's betrayal, she attempted to use her bending to kill Ru before being stopped by Avatar Aang. Ru angrily tried persuading Aang to take Liling's bending, but Aang chose instead to simply arrest her without taking her bending, reasoning that it was not Liling's bending that was the problem but her bigotry. Liling was last seen imprisoned alongside Yaling.
- Faith Erin Hicks pitched Liling as a "bad mom" character to Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, a twist on the many "bad dads" in the Avatar franchise, such as Yakone, Hiroshi Sato and, of course, Ozai.
- Amon can be seen as the polar opposite of Liling, as he was a non-bending supremacist who hated benders. (Although Amon himself was revealed to be a Waterbender.)
- She was specifically designed with her face always partially covered to imply "she has something she's hiding"