"Amon?" Bolin repeated. Slowly, it dawned on Mako.
"Team Amon? Are they crazy? Naming themselves after the Equalist leader?" Mako growled.
"I thought you said Amon was someone on the team…" said Korra.
"Let's hope not…"
"Maybe it's to throw off the other teams," Bolin suggested nervously.
"I'll say," agreed Korra. "But that's stupid. How are they even allowed in the tournament?"
"I guess it doesn't matter what the name of the team is…as long as they bend." Mako shook his head. "They do bend, right?"
"Well, if they don't, won't we win?" Korra pointed out.
"Not if they're chi-blockers," said Bolin.
"Then they can't get close enough to affect us. It doesn't matter. We treat them as any other pro-bending team. We need to practice. Bolin, you and I are up."
"Okay. Try not to be too impressed, Korra."
"I won't, Bolin, I promise." Korra smirked and grabbed a weight ball, practicing keeping it up with a steady stream of water a safe distance from their makeshift pro-bending field. It was boring work, but stamina was one of her weak points since she tended to put so much force into her bending. Her hands worked the water into intricate shapes just to spice things up, but even then, her attention wandered to the much more interesting match between the two brothers.
It was obvious that Mako tried to hurt Bolin as little as possible, mostly using his fire-bending as a threat rather than a weapon. The frequent slices of flame pushed Bolin back, but at every available break between Mako's attacks the younger brother would jump back to the front. Bolin evidently had no qualms about hitting Mako—earth was flying everywhere, jutting out of the ground at incredible speeds and occasionally encasing the fire-bender until he burned it away.
Korra didn't notice her concentration was entirely diverted until the weight ball landed on her foot. "Ouch!" she murmured as quietly as she could, sitting down to rub her toe and continuing to watch the match. Unfortunately, Mako realized she had ceased to practice as well, but he had just locked eyes with her when Bolin sent him flying with a well-timed jab. Mako landed hard on the floor far outside the third zone while Bolin cheered.
"Yes! I'm officially the best! That means you guys have to treat me to dinner! Haha, Mako, maybe having Korra on the team is too much of a distraction for you. Bad idea to put such a pretty girl on the team, huh?" said Bolin cheekily.
Mako turned bright red and curled his hand into a fist like he was about to fire-bend the smile off Bolin's face, but then stopped like he'd been slapped. "…Yeah. Maybe it was. I'm gonna get some water." Without turning to look at her, he walked to the other end of the gym.
"Wait…Bolin? I didn't mean to stop, I was just—I thought it was okay for me to watch for technique and stuff—if he wants, I can keep doing the stupid—I mean, the weight ball thing—"
Bolin waved it off. "Nah, don't worry. He's just mad that he lost."
"He didn't mean that, right? It being a bad idea to have me on the team?" Korra asked slowly.
"Nope. He'll be fine. Trust me, the last time he liked a girl—"
"He doesn't like me!" Korra interjected. "…But what happened the last time?"
Bolin grinned. "Never mind. If he doesn't like you, I guess you don't have to worry about it, right?"
"And now, for the match of the evening...the Fire Ferrets vs. Team...Amon..."
A wave of unease rippled through the crowd.
"Don't let them get to you," Mako warned through gritted teeth. It was much easier said than done. Their opponents were all wearing the mask of Amon, and they stood eerily still, like statues. Korra shuddered, and Mako glared at her. "I said don't."
"I heard you, they're just...I don't like this."
The match had begun, but the cheering was practically non-existent. The Fire Ferrets gave it their all, as usual, but Team Amon refused to do anything but dodge their attacks. It would've been a slaughter if they hadn't been so agile.
"What-are-they-doing?" grunted Korra between punches.
"I don't know, but I have a feeling they're trying to tire us out before they start bending. Stand your ground but ease up on the power, try to get more breadth than force," instructed Mako.
Korra did as he said, covering as much area on the opponent's side of the field as she could with jets of water. All three of the benders on Team Amon were jumping, dodging, and flipping like crazy. Korra did her best not to let it bother her until one of the team members slid right in front of her to avoid one of Mako's flames. His eyes were colder than ice-they froze her to the spot and pierced her very soul-
The bender rounded off onto another area of the field, but left her unsettled. She felt like bending was taking more effort than usual, like it was-
Someone was screaming. Bolin. Bolin was screaming. Korra looked over and saw that the same bender who'd stared her down now had her teammate in some strange headlock, with his unused hand pressing on Bolin's forehead and temple. Now everyone was screaming, the entire stadium had erupted into chaos. The strange man let go and simultaneously, all members of Team Amon jumped into the water, swam to the exit, and disappeared.
The announcers tried in vain to calm everyone down while Korra and Mako ran to Bolin, who was pounding on the ground. At first, Korra didn't realize why, but then Bolin looked up at Mako helplessly.
"I...I can't bend..."