[Cut to room inside nunnery. Li Liang escorts Mulan inside the hallway to go
to the room where Li Liang's mother is staying. She is pouting and looking
very reluctant about participating]

Li Liang: Hey, Mulan, listen to me. When we first go in, start off acting
unyielding. Later, after I scold you and discipline you, act devoted and

Mulan [pouting]: I want you to know that I'm doing this all for you.

Li Liang: I know. I remember everything you do for me. Come on, let's start.
[Raises voice and gets stern] Come with me! [Mulan starts to protest but
holds her tongue] My mother spent so many difficult years raising me. I
intend to let her live her twilight years in comfort and ease.

[Inside the room, Yiren and Li Liang's mother are excitedly awaiting Mulan's
arrival. Li Liang and Mulan walk in the room]

Li Liang: Mother, Mulan is here. [Sternly to Mulan] Aren't you going to
apologize before my mother?!

Mulan [stubbornly]: I don't know where I erred, so how can I apologize?

Li Liang's mother [sadly]: Forget about it, Li Liang. My life is a bitter
one. You should let me become a nun, lest I stay at home and have to put up
with indignities.

Li Liang: Mother... don't do that. [Sternly] I intend to let her (Mulan) know
today that there is a pecking order in our family. [To Mulan] Mulan, you
went too far this time. It doesn't matter if you erred or not. I'm your
husband, so you must listen to everything I say. She is your popo. You must
listen to her without question, understand?!

Mulan: Then you're saying that I have no status in the family?

Li Liang: What status do women have in the family?

Mulan [protesting]: So even though you know she's in the wrong, you won't
say anything?

Li Liang: There are no imperfect parents in this world. Nor are there any
imperfect husbands or popos. (I think he means imperfect in a figurative
sense) Who do you think you are? [Mulan looks away and continues to pout]

Yiren: He's right, Cousin-In-Law. The most important thing for women is to
be demure and meek. What family wants a woman whose heart is made of iron
and body is made of bronze?

Li Liang's mother [sadly]: Since she won't apologize to me, I'll have to
become a nun. Don't stop me. I'll spend the rest of my days saying prayers
against the prosperity for my next reincarnation. [Mulan's face hardens in
stubbornness to Li Liang's mother's entreaties]

Li Liang: Mulan, you are being way too unreasonable now! My mother is about
to become a nun! All you need to do is... [swallows his pride] admit you were
wrong and everything will be all right. I'm warning you! If you don't
apologize I'm going to... [raises his hand as if to strike her; instead, he
whispers quickly] It's about time for you to apologize.

Mulan [whispering back]: I can't do it. Go ahead and hit me.

Li Liang [loudly]: Fine! I'm warning you one last time, I'm going to... [Raises
his hand again but pauses]

Li Liang's mother: Don't strain yourself. I don't believe you have it in you
to do it. [Starts to weep] You may as well let me go my own way!

Li Liang [angrily]: Who said I don't have it in me to do this? [Raises hand
again but just as he is about to strike a voice echoes sternly from the

Empress: Halt! [She walks in with the Crown Prince and her servants. Li
Liang and Mulan greet the Empress. In shock, Li Liang's mother and Yiren
quickly follow] Everyone, on your feet so I can talk to you. [They meekly
stand up and await the Empress's instructions] Li Liang, you truly have

Li Liang: Your Majesty, I know I did wrong.

Li Liang's mother: Your Majesty, please listen to your humble servant's
explanation. Mulan may have done great things for the empire, but inside the
home she has been disrespectful to me as her popo. Li Liang lost his
patience, so he.

Empress [shortly]: You shut up! I overheard the entire conversation. You two
want Mulan to wait on her popo and husband, regardless of right and wrong
and without any objections or protests. Isn't that right? If someone doesn't
adhere to these rules, then they have committed a sin beyond measure in your
eyes. Isn't that right?

Li Liang's mother: Yes. Ever since olden days, men and women are treated
differently and hierarchy is important to maintain order. A woman who
doesn't follow these rules is a brazen hussy.

Empress: In your eyes, I must be the world's most brazen
hussy, then! [Li Liang's mother and Yiren nervously look away] Humph! When
the Emperor fought in the his wars and accomplished so many things, although
I had no official power, if I hadn't offered my assistance none of it
would have gone as smoothly as it did. The things you consider faults in Mulan
I happen to greatly admire! Aside from maintaining the traditional household order,
you also have to look at the truth of each matter. How am I to allow you two
(Li Liang and Li Liang's mother) to wrong and mistreat Mulan so?!

Mulan: Your Majesty, please don't get mad at them. Actually, I have been
somewhat in the wrong, too.

Empress [sighs]: Supporting your husband is an honorable duty, but you must
not blindly do it. [Sternly] Li Liang, if I find you acting rashly and
rudely like this again, I will not forgive you quite so easily. Now go and
apologize to Mulan.

Li Liang [salutes]: Yes, your Majesty. [Turns to Mulan and salutes] Wife, I
was too rash just now. Please forgive me. [Mulan nods in some embarrassment]

Mulan: Your Majesty, thank you for digging into the truth of the matter.

Empress [turns to Li Liang's mother]: Madam Li, are you dissatisfied with

Li Liang's mother: Um... no...no.

Empress: If you don't like Mulan's brazen ways and insist on becoming a nun,
I will personally grant you your wish. What do you make of that? [Yiren is
shocked and chagrined. Li Liang's mother is still looking at the ground]

Li Liang's mother: Your humble servant isn't yet pure enough of heart to
become a nun. It would be an awkward existence.

Empress: In that case, I give you leave to return to the Generals'
Residence. If I find out that you and your son join forces to mistreat Mulan,
I will immediately issue a writ for you to become a nun!

Li Liang's mother [head down]: Your humble servant understands. [She shoots
a look of hate to Mulan]

[Cut to sitting room inside Generals' Residence. Jili is still in his armor
and sitting at a table on a raised dais. He has a pot of incense burning and
he is singing in an operatic falsetto to his imaginary friend]

Jili: Not high enough? Okay, I'll sing it a little higher. [He warbles
another line or two, then suddenly stops when he sees Li Liang's mother and
Yiren come in the room. He mutters to his imaginary friend] I'm sorry. I
need to leave you alone for a little while. [He walks over to Li Liang's
mother, who looks away as if she doesn't even want to give him the time of
day] Madam! Madam! You don't know a treasure when you see it. The Empress
offered to let you join the nunnery, so why didn't you agree to it? If you
agree to it, then in three years time...um, yeah, three years should be
enough, you could become the capitol's most famous Tao priestess. At that
time, the name General Hua Mulan will surely be beyond your ken.

Yiren [angrily accosts Jili]: What did you say?!

Li Liang's mother [quietly]: Yiren, don't bother arguing with him. Haven't I
made a big enough scene for one day?

Jili: Good rumors never spread far but bad rumors easily cover a thousand
miles. Haven't you heard the saying "the woman who threatened to join the
nunnery and was surprised when her offer was taken up?"

Yiren [livid]: You!

Jili [bouncing around]: What about me? [Goes over to Li Liang's mother's
side] It's not as serious of an issue if you made a fool of yourself, but if
it affects General Li's career advancement, then that would make things very

Li Liang's mother: Ignore him. Yiren, let's go. [The walk quickly and leave
the room. Before Yiren leaves, she gestures at Jili rudely, then storms off]

[Cut to courtyard where the Crown Prince is laughing at Li Liang and Mulan]

Crown Prince: So, you two did this whole charade to make your mother happy?
I never would have imagined it.

Mulan: Your Highness, could you say a few words for us in front of her
Majesty? I am afraid she will get the wrong impression about Li Liang.

Crown Prince [grins at Li Liang]: You see how much Mulan cares about your
career advancement?

Li Liang [demurs]: Your Highness is teasing me.

Crown Prince: I'm not teasing you; I'm envying you. If I knew that Mulan
would treat her husband so well I wouldn't have been content just serving as
a go-between. [Mulan starts to blush a little at the praise]

Mulan: But your Highness, we are really worried about this incident.

Crown Prince: How about this? I will go explain things to my mother and then
you needn't worry anymore, will that do?

[Cut to Li Liang's mother's quarters back at the Generals' Residence. Li
Liang's mother is sitting inside with Yiren at her side. Li Liang and Mulan
come to her door]

Li Liang [pounding on door]: Mother! What's the matter? [Hearing his voice,
Yiren hurriedly helps Li Liang's mother wrap herself in a blanket. She
starts wailing and moaning] Mother! Please answer me!

Mulan: Popo, do you want us to go fetch a doctor for you?

[Li Liang's mother continues to wail, but she nods to Yiren to have her go
open the door. Yiren opens the doors for Li Liang and Mulan, but stops them
from entering the room]

Yiren: Wait! Aunt doesn't want to see either of you right now. If you don't
want her to feel even worse, I'd suggest you leave and not come here with
your false displays.

Li Liang [shoves Yiren aside]: What false displays? [Walks over to his
mother's bedside] Mother, what doesn't feel well?

Li Liang's mother [moaning]: Gods above, let me die and be done.
Don't let me continue to live and suffer indignities daily.

Mulan: Popo, if you aren't feeling well then we need to fetch a doctor.
Crying isn't going to help.

Li Liang's mother: What good is seeing a doctor if I just don't want to live
anymore? Who knew you had the gods and spirits on your side? If I turn
around you'll somehow find the Empress and tell her I'm ill and trying to
blackmail you. She'll have me executed as soon as look at me.

Mulan [impatiently]: You think I can fetch the Empress at will? I don't have
that kind of influence!

Yiren [sarcastically]: If you can do something, there's no point in false
modesty. General Hua's name has spread across the land. My aunt and I have
to take lessons in that department. But Aunt truly is ill this time. Why
don't you do a good deed and not tattle to the Emperor this time. Give her
the chance to recuperate. For that, we'll both be eternally in your debt.
[Li Liang looks exasperated at everything. Mulan gives him a look, then
storms out of the room]

Li Liang: Hey! Mulan! [Glares at his mother] Mother! [Turns to Yiren] And
you, Yiren! [Imitates her voice] "Eternally in your debt." [Scolds] You're
just adding fuel to the fire! [Walks off after Mulan. Yiren and Li Liang's
mother exchange satisfied smiles]

[Cut to Mulan and Li Liang's quarters late at night. They are lying in bed
in their white underclothes. Li Liang turns around on his side because he
can't sleep]

Mulan: You haven't gone to sleep yet?

Li Liang [sitting up]: How can I?

Mulan [also sits up]: Perhaps I'm really not a suitable daughter-in-law.

Li Liang: This doesn't concern you. I guess I'm not used to being the man
stuck in the middle.

Mulan: If I had my druthers, I'd rather go out to battle and wage war than
face your mother. I really can't handle her.

Li Liang [muttering]: You only have to put up with one. I have to put up with

Mulan [absently]: Did you say something?

Li Liang: Uh...no, I was saying that I agree with you, I'd rather go out to
battle and wage war. [Mulan sighs] It's late. Let's get some sleep.

[Cut to the palace. The Second Prince is pacing back and forth, holding a
scroll in one hand. He angrily dashes it against the floor]

Second Prince: It was only a trivial thing, a bird. Mother actually ordered
me to stay in the temple and recite the prayer for the newly departed. It's
absolutely preposterous and belittling to make a mountain out of a molehill.
It's just an excuse to find things for me to do.

[A eunuch runs in the room and bows]

Eunuch: Your Highness, Eunuch Zhang requests an audience with you.

Second Prince: Send him in. [The eunuch goes back outside. Eunuch Zhang
walks in the room and bows] Did my mother send you to fetch me back?

Eunuch Zhang: No, your Highness. I wanted to see how you were doing, since
it has been many days since we last met. [Second Prince turns away in

Second Prince: How has the palace been lately?

Eunuch Zhang: The Crown Prince has spent all his time with the Empress. No
one else is able to get a word in edgewise.

Second Prince [nettled]: That's outrageous! He's taking this opportunity to
do me grave mischief.

Eunuch Zhang: Your Highness, please don't be angry. In future, you might
want to be more careful, lest the Crown Prince has another chance to grab an

[The Second Prince doesn't say anything, but his mouth is set grimly]

[Cut to a sitting room in the palace. The Crown Prince and the Empress are
playing weiqi. She places one chip down on the board and starts laughing out
loud. The Crown Prince looks chagrined at this]

Empress: How's that? You lost again. My son, I'm wondering why your chess
skills lately have been so poor.

Crown Prince: Mother, playing chess and discussing chess strategy is not
something I take a great interest in. My brother would be a worthy opponent
for you.

Empress [shortly]: You needn't keep trying to put in a good word for him.
You're both my flesh and blood. Do you think I don't know each of your
strengths and weaknesses? Your brother is very intelligent, but he tends to
do things recklessly and without forethought.

Crown Prince: True, my brother is often impatient and impulsive, but he
never does anything horrible. Last time when he accidentally killed that
bird it was an accident. Mother, you've already punished him for that. Why
don't you let him rejoin us?

Empress [relenting]: Well, since you seem to care for your brother's welfare
so much, I consent to let him return.

Crown Prince [grinning]: Thank you, mother.

[Cut to the Empress's quarters. She is sitting and being waited on when a
eunuch bows before her]

Eunuch: Your Majesty, the Second Prince requests an audience.

Empress: Send him in.

Eunuch: Yes, your Majesty. [The eunuch leaves and sends the Second Prince
inside. He walks before the Empress and then kneels to greet her] Did you do
what I told you to do?

Second Prince: Mother, while I was away I recited the prayers for the newly
departed on behalf of the bird each night. I did not dare omit it once.

Empress [nodding]: From now on, remember to think before you act. Also
remember that the gods above honor those who respect all life. Don't
accidentally harm living things in the future.

Second Prince: I will remember your lesson, mother.

Empress: Originally, I didn't intend to let you return so soon, but your
brother spoke on your behalf. You must treat him with more brotherly love
from now on, or else you'd be wasting the care and affection your father and
I have bestowed on the two of you.

Second Prince: Yes, mother. [He looks down to the ground, but there is a
bitter and angry smile on his face that bodes ill for his brother]

[Cut to tavern. Mulan and Jili are sitting at a table with a few dishes of
food and a wine flask. Mulan is knocking back cup after cup of wine]

Jili: Don't...don't drink anymore.

Mulan: No more? [Sees the flask is empty] Waiter! Some more wine!

Waiter: Coming right up!

Jili: No, we don't need anymore!

Mulan: Why not? It's still early. Let's drink a few more rounds before we go

Jili: No... let me help you drink it. [He takes a shot then puts the cup down.
Mulan starts to pout] I know, I know, your popo is a difficult woman to deal
with, but staying out on the streets daily is not the solution.

Mulan: If this isn't a solution, then can you tell me what is a solution?

Jili: I'm not an immortal anymore, so I can't really help you with much, but
I understand how you feel.

Mulan: If I knew this ahead of time, I would never have gotten married.

Jili [alarmed]: You haven't been married very long; you mustn't say such
discouraging words.

Mulan [sighs and lays her head down]: I'm so sick and tired of it all.

Jili: You know, this may be just a passing phase. After you get over this
hump everything may become a lot easier to deal with. Like when I first
became mortal, I wasn't happy, but look at me now, I'm fine.

Mulan [sitting up]: How can that be the same thing? That was a problem with
only yourself. This is something that concerns... [Her words are drowned out
with the sounds of men fighting. They both turn to see what the commotion is
coming from]

Jili: What's that noise? I'm going to check it out. Come with me. [Tugs
Mulan's sleeve but she shakes her head and refuses to budge. Jili tugs her
other arm and she reluctantly follows. They walk to the main section of the
tavern and see several soldiers fighting each other in a drunken melee. The
proprietor is vainly shouting at the men to stop fighting. The men are
destroying tables and chairs as they fight. Jili confronts the proprietor]
Proprietor, why are they fighting?

Proprietor: These gentlemen have gone from tavern to tavern raising hell
ever since they came back from victorious battle. Every business that sees
them come in knows they're trouble. [Starts shouting at the men again] Stop
fighting! Stop fighting!

Mulan [muttering]: Going from place to place drinking and fighting? [She
jumps into the knot of fighting soldiers and starts to separate them and
knock them to the ground. They try to fight back but are too drunk to do

Drunk Soldier: Who hit me? Who hit me?

Mulan [glares all of them down]: If anyone of you isn't satisfied with such
treatment, they can come here and I'll settle them!

Drunk Soldier [eyes wide in fear]: It's... it's Hua.

Jili [walks to Mulan's side]: On your knees! Can't you see you're in the
presence of General Hua? [The soldiers are all suddenly sober and drop to
their knees]

Mulan [sternly]: You are all soldiers, yet you broke the army's rules and
drunkenly fighting! How do you think I should punish you? Jili?

Jili: Yes, ma'am!

Mulan: Take down all their names and I'll take care of them later.

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters late at night. Mulan is sitting at a
chair in front of a mirror preparing for bed when Li Liang walks in and
shuts the doors]

Mulan: Is Popo asleep?

Li Liang: Yes. [He walks over to the table and pours himself some tea]

Mulan: Is she still mad at me?

Li Liang: She'll be fine in a few days. Where have you been the past few

Mulan: These past few days? I've visited each and every tavern in the

Li Liang: What? Were you trying to drown your sorrows?

Mulan: I was the first couple of days, but all the days after that I was
investigating some army issues.

Li Liang [puzzled]: Investigating army issues?

Mulan: That's right. I found that every division's soldiers have become
undisciplined and lazy ever since we came back victoriously from battle.
They drink and fight day and night and raise havoc.

Li Liang: How did this happen?

Mulan: Not only that, but everything seems completely disorganized and
chaotic. I intend to file a report with the official in charge of the army.

Li Liang: That's just as well. I'll go with you tomorrow.

[Cut to the gate of Three Mile Camp. The camp looks rather forlorn and not
very well-kept. Mulan and General Li walk inside the gate]

General Li: Only two months have elapsed. I never thought that our well-trained
troops would go to seed so quickly. [Points at surroundings] Look at the
camp. It's a mess and dreadfully chaotic.

Mulan [to guard]: Send the word out to all the soldiers in camp to assemble

Guard: Yes, ma'am!

Soldier [from behind]: General Li! General Hua! [Both Mulan and General Li turn

General li [surprised]: Sergeant Ho?

Sergeant Ho [salutes]: You got here just in time.

General Li: Does the Emperor have any instructions for us?

Sergeant Ho: No instructions. The Emperor is calling all his generals for an
immediate summit.

[Cut to the palace. The Emperor is sitting on his throne and all of his
generals are kneeling before him. General Li and Mulan are in the first row. He
angrily thumps a large booklet on his table]

Emperor: This is outrageous! I gave you jurisdiction over my armies, yet it
hasn't even been three months since you've returned from battle and the
armies are in disarray and behaving like a pack of wild dogs. You've let me
down! You've let down the millions of citizens of this empire!

Generals [as one]: Your humble servants know we've done wrong.

Emperor: You know you've done wrong? Do you think that's all you need to

[General Li looks to Mulan in worry; she looks down towards the ground]

Emperor: Well, why isn't anyone responding?

General Li [saluting]: Your Majesty, it's not too late to collect the wayward
sheep and cattle. After returning victoriously from battle, we got careless
and undisciplined, so our level of preparation for battle dropped. We accept
responsibility for this lapse in readiness, but we would like to request the
chance to resume training the soldiers so we can regain our former glory.

Emperor: That's a given. If the Tujue were to attack again how would we
defend ourselves? Retraining the existing troops is a forgone conclusion.

Crown Prince: Father, there must be an additional condition.

Emperor: Right. Aside from retraining the existing troops, I want each of
you six generals to recruit new soldiers and train them. In three months
time I will have a competition to see whose troops are the best. The winner
will be rewarded handsomely.

Second Prince: Father, ever since Marshal Li died in battle his post has
remained vacant. Why don't we use the competition to pick a new marshal? The
winner will get the title of Marshal of our armies.

Emperor [nods]: You have a point there, son. [To generals] Everyone, get up.
[The officers all rise] In one month's time after I hold the competition, I
will choose a new marshal. May the best general win. I will severely punish
anyone who completely flops in this assignment. [The generals all salute]

Mulan: Your Majesty, I have something to report.

Emperor: General Hua, what do you have to say?

Mulan: Since your Majesty is basing your decision for Marshal on the results
of training new recruits, I do not feel qualified to participate.

Emperor [smiling]: General Hua, are you hesitant to join because you feel
being a woman would somehow damage your credentials?

Mulan: Your Majesty, you are very observant. I may have served in the army
in my father's place, and have already been pardoned for that, plus been
granted the post of general in your army. I am grateful beyond measure for
all these things. However, picking a Marshal is a matter of grave importance
to the country.

Crown Prince [interrupts her]: Father, our empire uses people according to
their talent and ability, thus men and women should have equal

Second Prince: Father, while that may be so, the post of Marshal carries a
heavy responsibility with it. If a woman were to serve in that capacity.[He
trails off his sentence and doesn't finish it]

Emperor [scoffs]: My son, your words are just a little bit too early. [To
Mulan] Hua Mulan, don't refuse to participate in this competition. I for one
want to see just how much ability you have.

Mulan [protesting]: Your Majesty.

Emperor: I have only heard of your military prowess secondhand, but never in
person. This is a chance for me to see firsthand just how good you really
are. I want to see the best you can give; don't let me down.

Mulan [salutes]: Yes, your Majesty!

[Cut to city street. Four soldiers are hurrying down the street with scrolls
of paper in their hands and large brushes. They scatter the people hovering
around the public bulletin board and start to affix new notices. The notices
say, "Bienguan alert, Tujue threat imminent, the country needs new troops to
reinforce her armies; all fit young men sixteen years old and above must
join, in service of their country."]

[Cut to Generals' Residence where Li Liang's mother is sitting at a table
having tea. She sips it slowly and savors each sip. Yiren comes bustling in
the room]

Yiren: Aunt, the dispatch is here.

Li Liang's mother [to maids]: You are dismissed. [They curtsey and leave the
room. Li Liang's mother unfolds the dispatch to read it]

Yiren: Aunt, it looks like Cousin is going to train new recruits. How come
he had his underlings spread the word?

Li Liang's mother: If it were only your cousin training new recruits and
competing for the position of Marshal I wouldn't worry about it. However,
since his bride is also competing, I didn't want it to be so obvious what I
have planned. In future, we must be discreet about what we know. The walls
have ears.

Yiren: To tell you the truth, that Hua Mulan is already a handful. If she
were to become Marshal, she'd outrank Cousin. That would be a

Li Liang's mother: Yiren, come over here. [Yiren walks over and sits on Li
Liang's mother's lap] There's no one else around. I want you to tell me
truth now.

Yiren [smiles weakly]: What about?

Li Liang's mother: Have you given up hope about your cousin?

Yiren [uncomfortable]: Aunt, why are you asking? Cousin has already taken a
wife. I'd be forced to give up hope even if I hadn't already done so.

Li Liang's mother: So what if he already has a wife? What man nowadays
doesn't have three wives and four concubines (an idiom for multiple

Yiren [offended]: Aunt! I know that I may not be in huge demand, but I think
I'm worth more than being a mere concubine!

Li Liang's mother: Not concubine. How about a wife of equal rank?

Yiren: Wife of equal rank?

Li Liang's mother: That Hua Mulan is rough and tumble. She doesn't have an
ounce of warmth in her. I predict it won't be a year before your cousin will
tire of her. At that time, I will say a few opportune words and then your
cousin's heart will be all yours. [Yiren starts to squirm and blush in
embarrassment at her aunt's words]

Yiren: Aunt!

Li Liang's mother: What's there to be embarrassed about? If you like him you
like him. But you, my dear, will have to give this your best effort and
exert yourself on his behalf.

Yiren [puzzled]: Do things for him? [Li Liang's mother nods sagely and looks
at Yiren significantly]

[Cut to sign-up tables set up along a city street. Several sergeants are
there, each representing one of the six generals. Jili is sitting
cross-legged on the table for Mulan and is holding up a sheet of paper. He
is also starting to nod off. Mulan is dressed in her gray civilian outfit
(the one she used to wear when in the army) and approaches Jili. She taps
his shoulder]

Jili [mumbling]: Please fill out this form to join the army.

Mulan: How has it been today? Has anyone signed up?

Jili [shaking his head]: No. No one has signed up. [Wakes up more thoroughly
and sits up, then he hops off the table and stands up straight]

Mulan [poking his head]: Could you put a little more enthusiasm into it?
Don't keep falling asleep like that. [Sees Jili nodding off again] Hey!

Jili: I don't mean to fall asleep, but there hasn't been a single person who
even inquired about joining today. I've been sitting as still as a Buddha in
meditation and it's so boring. It's stifling.

Mulan [whispers]: Maybe no one is coming to this side because they don't
know I'm also recruiting. Why don't you go over there [points to tables next
door] and pull some recruits over.

Jili [walks to Mulan's other side, then shouts in her ear]: But Hua Mulan
has such a huge reputation! How could no one know? [Mulan hurriedly puts a
hand on Jili's mouth to hush him. She is mortified at his antics and drags
him aside, ignoring the stares of the recruits in line. They walk to the end
of the table for Mulan and crouch on the ground]

Mulan: Are you going to go?

Jili [muffled]: No. [Mulan smacks the back of his head]

Mulan: Are you going?

Jili [still muffled]: Yes. [She lets him go; Jili immediately runs into the
end of the table] I can't go. It's blocking my way.

Mulan [shoves him]: Around the table. Now go! [She gets up and he minces off
to the other tables and accosts one recruit]

Jili [puts arm around recruit]: Comrade, you wish to join the army, right?
[The recruit nods] That's good. I real man should be willing to serve and
protect his country, plus you get a good salary and plenty of food in the
army. [Mulan is watching Jili with great interest] So, do you know whom you
want to serve under?

Recruit: Either General Li or General Liu. [Mulan's face falls at his words]

Jili: Have you considered serving under General Hua? Not only does she treat
her men well, but she is skilled in various weapons and shrewd and brave. If
you serve under her, I guarantee you will rise quickly through the ranks.
[Mulan smiles at Jili's words of praise] I am not making a mistake
recommending this for you.

Recruit [annoyed; he starts to talk with a Tianjin accent]: What's the
matter with you? You're asking me to take orders from a woman? [Mulan's face
falls again]

Jili [copies his Tianjin accent]: No, she's a woman that is second to none.

Recruit: Well, she's still a woman, and the bottom line is that I refuse to
take orders from a woman.

Jili: But this is the great Hua Mulan, the one that served in the army for
her father. Don't you respect that?

Recruit: I do respect that. But even if I respect that I refuse to take
orders from a woman! [Walks away]

Jili [muttering; still in accent]: I think you'd better head back to
Tianjin. [He sighs and walks back to a downcast Mulan] Well, you saw what

Mulan: I'm sorry. I shouldn't have accused you like that.

Jili [pats her shoulder]: It's okay. I don't blame you. However, the
deadline for getting new recruits is almost upon us. If we can't get enough
to meet our quota, what are you going to do?

Mulan: Er... you don't need to worry about me. Just stay here and see if anyone
shows up, okay? [She pats his shoulder then walks away. She walks down the
street and doesn't notice Li Liang standing nearby. He spots her ahead of
him and sees her sad expression. His first instinct is to go to her to offer
comfort, but he senses that his presence wouldn't necessarily be welcome, so
he stays]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Li Liang's mother is busily arranging flowers
when Yiren comes running in, brimming with excitement]

Yiren: Aunt, guess what? [She stops when she realizes there are two maids in
the room with Li Liang's mother]

Li Liang's mother [to maids]: Oh. Can you go make some tea and take these
inside? [The two maids obey and leave the room. Li Liang's mother walks over
to Yiren excitedly] So, how is the recruiting process going?

Yiren: That Hua Mulan is not as great as we thought.

Li Liang's mother: No one is willing to serve under her?

Yiren: Exactly! All the other generals have full lists. They are now picking
and choosing the best and brightest. Only Hua Mulan doesn't have a single
recruit! The recruitment time period is almost up. I want to see how she
will live this one down!

Li Liang's mother [sneering]: And I thought she was somehow special. Turns
out she only appears capable. The other generals are only so-so. It looks
like Li Liang will win the marshal's post handily.

Yiren: If Cousin becomes Marshal.

Li Liang's mother: And then takes a second wife, then that will be two
auspicious occurrences at the same time! [Yiren blushes at her aunt's words]

Yiren: Aunt.

Li Liang's mother: Silly child, you said you were going to marry your cousin
ever since you were a little girl. Why be shy about it now? Happiness is
something you grab, my dear. [Yiren nods in approval]

[Cut to dining room in the Generals' Residence. Li Liang's mother and Yiren
are seated at the table, while Li Liang is pacing back and forth. Jili comes
inside still wearing his uniform]

Li Liang: Did you find Mulan?

Jili [shakes head]: No. I already checked with General Wang and General Liu.
Neither has seen her.

Li Liang [worried]: Where the heck did Mulan go? [Li Liang's mother pulls
him to his seat]

Li Liang's mother: What are you worried about? You didn't marry a regular
weak and soft woman. She can handle anything that comes up, be it heavenly
or diabolical. Why worry? I'd think the people she runs into have more to
worry about, that's what.

Li Liang [shortly]: Mother, stop acting like that. Mulan is under enough
stress right now.

Li Liang's mother: Stress? What does she need to stress over?

Yiren: That's right! The Empress thinks highly of her. The Emperor insisted
that she join in the competition. Everything is going along fantasticly.
What's there to stress over?

Li Liang [giving up]: Fine, fine, fine. Just don't ask anything, okay? When
she gets back don't say anything to irritate her.

Li Liang's mother: Who dares to irritate her? She might pull out the head of
the Li family again, or even the Empress herself.[Stops when she sees Mulan
walk in the door]

Mulan: Er... Popo, it's dinnertime. You best start without me. I will be right
back after I go change my clothes. [She starts to head to the bedroom to
change but Li Liang's mother gets up and stops her]

Li Liang's mother: Now, you don't need to do that. We're all family here.
Stay and let me have a good look at you. [Li Liang's mother and Yiren both
eye Mulan up and down. Mulan starts to feel very uncomfortable under their
gazes because she is dressed as a man] Hmm... you really do look like a man. No
wonder you were able to stay in the army all those years and no one was the

Yiren: Aunt, Cousin-In-Law is really a seldom-met once-in-a-lifetime unusual
person. [Mulan is quietly taking the ribbing while Li Liang shakes his head]
If she were to become Marshal then she'd be even more special!

Li Liang's mother: Of course that's true! If she became Marshal, as her popo
I would have to start wearing borrowed feathers, too! Oh, Mulan, how did the
recruiting go today for you?

Yiren: Oh, Aunt, need you ask? The great General Hua Mulan's name is so
influential that I'm sure she emptied the streets. Cousin-In-Law, it must be
so difficult to pick one out of thousands.

Jili [jumps up in Mulan's defense]: Are you two quite finished?!

Li Liang's mother: Oohh, look at how glamorous the great General Hua's
sidekick is. How impressive... how impressive.

Yiren: Exactly... a dog follows his master, so no wonder.[She hints at things
but doesn't say them]

Mulan [quietly]: I think I better go change. [She walks out of the room. Li
Liang walks over to his mother]

Li Liang [scolding]: Didn't I tell you two not to irritate her?

Li Liang's mother [innocently]: What? I only made polite conversation. What
did I say that was rude?

Li Liang [exasperated]: Fine, fine, whatever.  I'm going to get changed,
too. [He hurries off after Mulan. Jili gives Li Liang's mother and Yiren a
dirty look. Li Liang's mother and Yiren exchange amused glances]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters. Mulan is tossing and turning in bed.
Li Liang is not next to her. She sits up and sighs, obviously stressed over
the recent events. Hearing the bedroom door creak, she hurriedly lies back
down and feigns sleep. Li Liang walks in fully-dressed and sits on the bed]

Li Liang [gently]: Mulan? [Shakes her] Mulan?

Mulan [sits up]: What is it?

Li Liang: Mulan, I know that your recruitment efforts haven't been going
very smoothly for you. Do you want me to help out?

Mulan: Oh, it's not much really. I don't really want to be Marshal, anyway.

Li Liang: But what if you can't get enough people?

Mulan: How would that happen? I only need ten people total. How could I not
get enough? I'm feeling a little tired and want to get some sleep. [She
turns over on her side and pretends to go back to sleep. Li Liang tucks the
blanket more firmly around her and leaves the room. After he is gone, she
turns around and looks quite worried about her predicament]

[Cut to recruitment tables in the city. Again, the other tables have lines
in front of them but no one is signing up to serve under Mulan. Jili is
trying to recruit people from other tables. There is a fast-forward sequence
where he is physically dragging recruits from the lines at the other tables,
but each one returns to their respective lines. Having no success with this
method, he whips out a small dagger and threatens the recruits, but the same
thing happens. Mulan is watching with deepening concern. You can see the
longer she goes without having a recruit sign up the less hope she has. Jili
is out of breath from his exertions. He spots Mulan]

Jili: Mulan! [When she notices he has spotted her, she turns tail and dashes

[The next scene shows Mulan and Jili off in the forest somewhere. It looks
like it is nighttime and the woods are full of a ghostly glow]

Jili: Mulan, you have to believe that I have done my best already. [Looks up
at the sky] How come it suddenly started snowing? Mulan, let's go home. If
we have anything else to discuss we can do it there, okay? Let's go.

Mulan [depressed]: If you were in my shoes, how would you feel? Maybe you'd
better stop; it's just making me a bigger laughingstock. It's no use.

Jili: Wait. There's still three days left to recruit new soldiers. Don't
give up so soon. [He shivers as it gets colder]

Mulan: You know better than anyone else what it's like trying to recruit
people. There's not a single person who wants to serve under my banner. I'm
such a failure.

Jili [vigorously shakes his head]: No! That's only because those people
don't have any foresight. If someone is born female, does that mean they
can't recruit soldiers and train officers? [He paws the snow with his feet]
Keep a stiff upper lip and put up a good and beautiful fight to show them

Mulan [annoyed]: Fight? Fight what? There's not even one new soldier I can
call my own.

Jili: Mulan, but.

Mulan: Stop trying to make me feel better. Let me have some peace and quiet
so I can think of a good excuse to give the Emperor that's less shameful.

Jili: But Mulan.

Mulan [covers her ears and shuts her eyes]: Don't say anymore! Let me have
some peace and quiet! [She crouches down on the ground in anguish]

[Cut to palace. The Emperor, Crown Prince, Second Prince, and a few eunuchs
and handmaids are walking into a courtyard together]

Emperor [to Crown Prince]: How goes the recruiting of new soldiers for our

Crown Prince: The quotas are almost met, but General Hua.

Emperor: What about General Hua? What's the matter with her?

Crown Prince [hesitantly]: Um... General Hua.

Second Prince [interrupting]: Brother, you can't just report good news and
not bad news. Father is not someone that wants to hear only good news.

Emperor: My son, are you hiding something from me?

Crown Prince [saluting]: I wouldn't dare. It's just that Hua Mulan is having
some recruitment problems. I was going to wait a few more days to see if
anything changed before I gave you a report, Father.

Emperor [surprised]: General Hua is having problems recruiting?

Second Prince: Father, as of yesterday, General Hua had yet to recruit even
one soldier to serve under her flag.

Emperor: What's the problem?

Crown Prince: It could be that most of the commoners still hold deep-seated
beliefs that men are superior to women; if is difficult to change such views
in a short time.

Second Prince: Brother, do you think it's because General Hua does not
command respect in the army?

Crown Prince: Brother, General Hua is well-respected in the army for the
care and concern she bestows on her soldiers.

Second Prince: Maybe it's a case of rumor blowing things out of proportion.
Perhaps her accomplishments were exaggerated in the retelling.

Emperor: If no one is willing to serve under her, then it will be very
difficult for her to continue in her position as general.

Crown Prince: Father, our empire has always used people for whatever they
are most suited for. Perhaps we should.

Emperor [interrupting]: Now, now, this is all speculation and it's too early
to say. If at the deadline for getting new recruits arrives and General Hua
still has no one to serve under her, then I will take care of things then.
[The Emperor walks away, leaving a worried Crown Prince and a secretly
delighted Second Prince]

[Cut to city street. A young man falls to the ground, then picks himself and
keeps running. He is dressed like a street urchin and is probably either a
pickpocket or thief. He is getting chased by a few storekeepers]

Storekeepers: Damn knave! Halt! Stop running! [The young man doesn't listen
and keeps running and hiding]

[Meanwhile, Jili is still faithfully calling for new recruits at the tables]

Jili: Come one, come all! Anyone who wishes to join the army please sign up
here! Serve under General Hua's flag. Come over here and sign! [The young
man sneaks up behind Jili. When Jili suddenly turns around, they end up
kissing by accident. Both spit in disgust] Hey, comrade, you want to join
the army, right?

Young man: Yes.

Jili: That's wonderful! Now, all you need to do is put down your name, age,
and address here. [The young man leans over the table and puts his face
against the paper. He looks like he is trying to hide from his pursuers]
Um... sir, you don't need to make your own ink. (I think he is referring to
the young man looking like he is constipated and trying to "relieve"
himself). We have ink here for you to use. [He tries to pull the young man
upright but the young man cries out in pain] How can you write standing like

Young man: Um... I can see better this way.

Jili: You didn't fill out your address. Why not?

Young man: Brother, I just arrived in the city so I don't have a place to
stay yet. [His face is still pasted against the application]

Jili: You don't have a place to stay because you just arrived? No problem!
General Hua will provide you room, too.

Young man [stands up]: You're saying that if I join with you I'll have a
place to stay?

Jili: Yes. Once you join we'll cover everything. We'll even provide board on
top of your room. You know, just between you and me, none of the other
generals will give a fig about you. But General Hua is the most supportive
and caring officer of them all. I guarantee you she'll let you idly sit
around and loaf.

Young man [interested]: Is that for real?

Jili: It's for real! Now, all you have to do is fill out this application
and I'll take you immediately to get some rest and relaxation. [Sees the
young man is doubled over again to fill out the application] Um... are you sure
you don't need to use the outhouse first?

Young man: No, that's alright. Everything's securely plugged in place.

Jili [muttering]: If things are plugged up, then maybe you ought to see a

[Cut to a study in the Generals' Residence. Mulan is sitting at a table
littered with crumpled pieces of paper. She crumples another one and looks
very frustrated]

Mulan [sighs]: How am I going to write a note of apology for failure to the
Emperor? Am I supposed to say "No one will serve under me because I'm a
woman, hence it's not my fault?" [Pouts. A knock is heard from the door, to
which she responds in a nettled tone] I'm not eating, not having any tea,
and don't come bugging me again!

[She turns to see Jili is at the doorway. He walks in anyway and ignores
Mulan's frown]

Jili: You're not eating? You can't last very long doing that, you know. Let
me go fix you something to eat. [He turns to go but Mulan grabs his arm]

Mulan: I already had breakfast. I just didn't want anyone else bothering me.

Jili [sitting down]: Don't wear yourself out, Mulan. Even the biggest
problem in the world has a solution. If you ruin your health it's not worth

Mulan [eyes him tiredly]: I know that, Mamma Su.

Jili: You think I'm fussy? I'm not a fussy person. I'm... just concerned about
you, that's all.

Mulan: I know. If you have something to tell me can you spit it out? I still
need to finish this note to the Emperor.

Jili: You don't need to write it. You don't need to write it anymore,
because today someone joined!

Mulan [eyes light up]: Really? How many? [Jili triumphantly holds up his
index finger]

Jili: One. [Mulan's face falls when she sees it]

Mulan: Only one?

Jili: Only one? Hey, the accumulation of a few here and there make many.
Recruiting soldiers requires a bit of this. [He gestures with his hands; I
think he's simulating taking baby steps one at a time]

Mulan [exasperated]: My dear sir, do you realize what today is? There are
only three days before the deadline to recruit new soldiers! Three days!

Jili: But I've already got one. And, I have a new grand scheme to
recruit more that is guaranteed to work.

Mulan: Grand scheme?

Jili: Exactly. Now, until recruits begin their formal training, they do not
receive any salary or food rations. Many men join the army because they
don't have any food to put in their cookpots at home. Now, don't you think
this scheme will work? [Mulan nods her head approvingly]

[Cut to recruiting tables. Jili has another recruit, an older man about
fifty years old]

Jili: May I ask if you are joining the army or your son is joining the army?

Man: Of course I am. I'm only 29! Why wouldn't I be able to?

[Jili looks the man up and down, then pinches cheeks to stretch out the
wrinkles, then lets go]

Jili: It's sagging. May I ask, what part of you is 29 years old?

Man: I'm really only 29 years old! If you don't believe me you can ask any
of my relatives and friends and neighbors and they will vouch for me. I'm
really only 29 years old.

Jili [thinks briefly]: Okay. Fill out this application.

Man: Thank you! Thank you!

Jili [muttering]: If he's only 29 years old, then I just turned a month old
yesterday. [Chuckles at his own joke. Another older man walks up to Jili]

Second Man: Mister, you look like you have a kind face. I want to join the

Jili: And how old are you?

Second Man: A nice round number. I'm 18.

Third Man: And I'm 16.

Jili: Will you two gentlemen please wait a minute? [He turns around, then
faints with a crash]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Mulan is wearily walking into her study with
Jili following close behind]

Jili: Mulan. Hey Mulan, what's the matter? You were worried when no one
enlisted to serve under your flag, but now that you do have recruits you're
still unhappy. What's the matter?

Mulan: Didn't you see the caliber of recruits we have? How can I not be

Jili: Well, true, they are a bit lacking in some regards, but hey, beggars
can't be choosers. Our first goal is to make sure we get enough recruits to
meet our quota, right? I mean, that's the most important thing right now.
We'll worry about their caliber later.

Mulan: We're still going to be short of ten people, no matter how we loosen
our standards.

Li Liang [walking in]: How many are you short?

Mulan: You'd better look after your own troops first. I'm a hopeless case.

Li Liang: Now, how can you say that? I've got plenty of recruits. [Yiren
happens to walk by the opened door and overhears the conversation] Just pick
a few good ones from amongst them and transfer them to your troop.

Mulan [protesting]: How can I do that? These people joined because of your
reputation. If I force some people to join my troop no one will like that.

Li Liang: Why not? My wife is a brave and chivalrous soldier. The only thing
I'd worry about is that after serving under you for a fortnight you won't be
able to beat them away with a stick.

Mulan [teasingly]: You are one silver-tongued character. Now go back to your

Li Liang: Now remember, these lips speak only to you. No one else will
listen. [Yiren looks disgusted at the idea that Li Liang is potentially
cheating for his wife's sake] If you need any help, just let me know.

Mulan: I will. I just really don't want to rely on plucking recruits from
your group.

Li Liang: Think what you will. Regardless what happens, if you need help,
don't forget your husband is still at your side/ [Mulan smiles happily
at his encouraging words. Jili clears his throat to interrupt]

Jili: Okay, okay, I'll pretend not to notice your lovey-dovey words to each
other. I'll just step outside until you're done. [He heads out the door.
Yiren, who is still eavesdropping, hurriedly scoots out of his way and ducks
out of sight when she hears him coming. Jili walks out the door, looks
around, then heads down the hall. After he leaves, Yiren comes out of her
hiding place and scampers over to a sitting room. She hurriedly shuts the
door and peers out to make sure no one followed her. She doesn't realize her
aunt is inside the room. Li Liang's mother walks up to Yiren and looks out
the door, too]

Li Liang's mother: Yiren, what are you looking at? [Yiren jumps suddenly, as
she thought she was alone in the room]

Yiren: Oh, Aunt, it's you. You gave me a turn! [Drags her aunt inside the
room away from the door]

Li Liang's mother [mystified]: Who was outside?

Yiren: Aunt, that Su Jili almost caught me eavesdropping outside the study.

Li Liang's mother: Did you hear any new developments?

Yiren: I don't know what good luck has befallen Hua Mulan, but there is
actually someone who enlisted to serve under her.

Li Liang's mother: Is that person even a man? How could he condescend to
serve under a woman's directions? If she manages to get enough recruits in
time, I wonder if Li Liang will be able to beat her?

Yiren: I'm not worried about that so much as Cousin possibly giving in to

Li Liang's mother: That won't happen. Li Liang wouldn't be so careless.

Yiren: I'm not so sure. Usually, Cousin is as honest as the morning sun. But
just now, I heard him say that if Hua Mulan didn't have enough recruits he'd
let her pick some of his men to make her quota.

Li Liang's mother [annoyed]: That Hua Mulan! I don't know what spell she's
cast on Li Liang; it's made him so careless and confused. Yiren, you must
continue to spy on the enemy and keep track of developments. We must not let
her grab the Marshal's post! [Yiren nods her head vigorously]