Voice of the Earth #14
Apr. 27th, 2010 @ 08:17 pm
We're steadily making our way towards the worst parts of the fic. You thought it was bad before? Or maybe you thought it was just tolerably bad? Just you wait a few chapters.|
Here's a chapter link.
We pick up the chapter with Jet bullshitting the bandits some more. He finally strikes a deal with a man named Li, and remarks to Mai that he meets an awful lot of Li's. This is one of the few moments where the fic's humor actually succeeds. However, Jet realizes that Li isn't the gang's true leader. That would be the sinister-looking fellow in the background, the one with the eyepatch.
We switch to Aang in the Spirit World. Buckle your seatbelt, we've got a bumpy, mansplainy road ahead of us. He sees Lian Shen lounging about with Zuko napping on her lap. And then, something miraculous happens: Aang says something in-character!
Aang stepped forward to sit on a nearby moss-covered log. The moss felt like silk beneath his hand. "Nice place you have here, Lady Lian Shen," he said, glancing about.
Can't you just imagine Aang saying that??? But it doesn't last, sadly. Lian Shen decides that she wants to seduce Aang, too, and busts out some pheromone flowers.
"Yes, it is, isn't it?" she replied, casting about a glance of her own. "It could use a little more color though, now that we have special company." She waved her hand idly, and a myriad of tiny flowers began to bloom colorfully in the grass around them. Large, exotic vines began to drape themselves from the trees, unfurling spectacular flowers whose scents made Aang's head begin to swim.
"Isn't that better?" she asked, her melodious voice wrapping around him like strands of soft candy.
"Yes," he heard himself answer, aware that he was slipping into some kind of altered state. Was it the flowers? Was it her voice? Was it her beautiful tawny eyes, the color of a rich sunset? Was it the deep red of her hair, like strands of spun copper? Was it the exotic shade of her skin, the color of new leaves on a spring morning? Aang gradually became aware that he was drooling just a little.
He shook himself back into the clarity of the avatar state. "My Lady Lian Shen," he began in a chastening voice, "shame on you. Working your wiles on the avatar himself!"
(Love that last paragraph, there.) Lian Shen's response is basically, "LOL, well, ya can't blame a girl for trying!" Damn, I kinda like this Spirit. I know we're meant to hate her and think she's a dirty hussy, but that just makes me like her all the more!
Swampy's lonely, you see, so she brings humans to her world to keep her company. Lian Shen bemoans the fact that she can't keep her ever-so-entertaining humans with her for very long, though-- they go batshit if they stay awake in the Spirit World, and they're not much fun while asleep. Unless you like watching and/or fucking with their dreams, which just so happens to be Lian Shen's favorite hobby.
Aang lectures her on her behavior-- no, really, he honest-to-God lectures her. He sternly tells her that it's "not very polite" to manipulate people's dreams, and that it's "not ladylike to hold hostages" (Lian Shen briefly considers holding on to Zuko so Toph will have more incentive to find an heir for Bumi other than herself). Ugh. Who the fuck are you and what have you done with my sweet little Aang??? >:(
Swampy reluctantly sends Zuko back, and delivers some scathing parting words for Aang: She shot a dark look at Aang. "Avatar, you are no fun at all anymore," she snapped. "I liked your past lives much better—you were less preachy." I couldn't have said it better myself, Swampy. She clues him in to the fact that Mai and Jet are in danger, and he departs.
Meanwhile, Jet and Mai are kicking the bandits' asses. Except for the leader-- Jet tries to reason with him, and they're about to depart when Leader says something under his breath that flips Jet's RAGE switch. Jet tackles the man, nearly slits his throat, and whispers something in the man's ear. Whatever passed between them, it scared the piss out of Leader Man. They ride off on their treegeckoes.
Back in the Healer Hut, Zuko's finally awake. He won't be going anywhere any time soon, though. Jet and Mai wind up right back where they started, at the swamp village, and the chapter ends with them sinking into despair. Jet comforts Mai, who has gone totally to pieces-- which is odd, since the things she goes through in the series are way more intense than anything she experiences in this chapter. If sexist tropes weren't such a theme in this fic, I'd pass it off as a harmless scene of one character comforting another, but combined with the rest of the fic it comes off as "Strong, Stoic Man taking care of Emotionally Weak Female". The fact that he "speaks soothingly" to both Mai and the skittish treegeckoes is kinda weird-- could be sexist tropes, could be lazy and repetitive writing.
Wut :O *another super-sized facepalm*