[Cut to city street. A beefy looking man is hawking some sort of wares. The
basic dice game that I know of entails placing bets on whether the number
rolled will be "high" or "low,"  (i.e.-between 4 and 6 or 1 and 3).]

Man: Everyone, if you bet on the high numbers you can win big. If you bet on
the small numbers you will win small. Now, what is that you say? Big? then,
watch this. [He takes off his robe and picks up a bowl. I think he is a dice
shark, but I'm not sure. He pauses when he senses Jili staring at him]

Jili [looking at the man's physique]: Such a specimen of manhood. It's a
sight that is seen only once a century.

Man: [grabs Jili by the collar]: What's the matter? You haven't seen a man

Jili: Um... no, I've seen plenty of men, but I've never met one as stout and
strong as you. [The man tucks Jili under his arm and pins Jili's head
against his chest in a headlock]

Man: How do you know I'm stout and strong? Have you been following me

Jili [voice muffled]: Comrade, I was only giving you a few words of praise.
Can't I even do that?

Man: Fine. Let me warn you now. The one thing I hate most is when people
follow me around without telling me why, and you are now one of those
people, do you understand?

Jili: Don't think so much. Have you heard of General Hua Mulan?

Man: Hua Mulan? [Shoves Jili aside]

Jili: Yes.

Man: She only served in the army for her father. That doesn't have anything
to do with me.

Jili: Well, I am General Hua Mulan's closest advisor and second-in-command.
I handle all her recruiting.

Man: What does that have to do with me? I only want to play my dice, not
join the army. Get! [Turns attention to crowd] Okay, who wants to bet high?
[Jili pops back around again]

Jili: Are you sure you don't want to join the army?

Man [feigns great sadness and hugs Jili]: I've only wanted one thing in life
and that's to gamble. [Grabs Jili by the collar] Now if you come bug me
again I will slaughter you like a pig, understand? [Hurls Jili several feet
away] Okay, who wants to gamble? [Jili appears again, this time placing two
fingers under the man's chin]

Jili: You're really such a find, such an excellent talent. You have to serve
under General Hua's flag.

Man [takes Jili's neckerchief and starts to tighten it]: Are you going to
leave or not?

Jili [choking]: I'll leave. But only if you promise to join the army. If you
agree, I'll leave immediately.

Man: I'm giving you one final warning. I don't want to join the army, I only
want to gamble. Now, if you don't leave me so I can get on with my gambling,
I will stop being nice. Now go! [Shoves Jili aside] Okay, who wants to.[Jili
again jumps back in front of the man]

Jili: Is it true that your favorite thing in life is to gamble?

Man [exasperated]: You're not leaving, eh? [Whips out a cleaver and strops
it against his bare arm, then raises it and lowers it till it is an inch
from Jili's nose]

Jili: I have a gambling trick that is guaranteed effective.

Man [interested]: Really?

Jili: Of course it's real.

Man: Okay. I really believe you. [Jili faints to the ground] If you teach me
this trick I promise I'll join the army.

[The next scene shows a table set up with gambling symbols. All we can see
are three bowls. Under one of the bowls is a small pebble. The game looks
like the classic shell game. Two heads peek over the edge of the table. They
are Jili and the beefy man]

Man: Do you understand this game, too?

Jili: Yes, I do.

Man: [grabs Jili and places him in a headlock]: Now, you'd better not be
lying to me, because I fear no one. If your father was the Emperor himself,
I will straighten him out, too, do you understand?

Jili: Yes, I know. I'm going to show you a couple of my tricks. Give me some
money. [The beefy man glares] I only need two dimes; don't be so stingy.
[The man finally hands over some money to Jili. In the next scene, we see
Jili is twirling an entire strand of coins (remember Chinese money has a
hole in it, so you can string them like beads to make it easier to carry)
and sitting on the beefy man's back. The man is panting like a dog and would
wag a tail if he had one. He keeps eyeing the strand of coins Jili is
dangling in front of his eyes]

Man: Um...Teacher, could you teach your humble student some of your wondrous

Jili: Not a problem. I only ask that you join the army.

Man [salivating]: No problem! Absolutely no problem! I'd be willing to not
only serve as your ox or horse, but even as your dog or pig for slaughter,

Jili: I can teach you. But from now on, no matter what you do, you must
think before you act.

Man: Okay. Think before I act. Think before I act. [He excitedly jumps to
his feet, knocking Jili off his back. He looks around in a panic] Teacher,
where are you? [He runs off down the street, not noticing Jili is behind

Jili: [chasing him]: Student! I'm right here!

[Cut back to the recruitment tables. The booth for Mulan is sitting empty.
Mulan, who is dressed in civilian garb but as a man, walks over and looks
under and behind it to see if Jili is hiding somewhere. Not seeing anything,
she starts to walk away when another general greets her. She reluctantly
turns around]

Mulan: General Ma.

General Ma: Are you here to surreptitiously see how the recruiting efforts
are going? Are you afraid that too many people will try to enlist under you,
so you want to make sure only the masculine ones are chosen and the feminine
ones are omitted? [Mulan looks very uncomfortable and somewhat mortified at
his words because he is needling a sensitive spot] Well, that's to be
expected. I may not have the battlefield glory you have, nor the name
recognition you have, but it will be difficult to deal with all the men who
have enlisted under me. When it comes time to compete, you'll rack your
brains coming up with a strategy to handle us. General Hua, do you have any
pearls of wisdom to bestow on me? Do you think you could teach me a thing or
two? [Mulan looks like she just wants to get away from him, but is too
polite to simply walk away. Her self-confidence is obviously low, as she
seems to lack the usual fire she has. Jili comes on the scene and saunters

Jili: General Ma! Goes and stands between General Ma and Mulan] Have you
ever heard the saying, "There is no mountain so tall that an immortal can't
surmount it?" Having a lot of people is not necessarily a good thing. [Calls
to Beefy Man] Friend Zhu!

Zhu: Here! [Comes running over to Jili's side]

Jili [to Mulan]: This man is signing up to serve under your banner. [Turns
to Zhu] Now, give us a little demonstration. [Zhu gets into a fighting
stance and draws back his fist, but he accidentally gives Jili a hard elbow
to his gut, making him spit out a lot of water. He turns to Mulan weakly]
May I ask if he passes?

Mulan: Barely. [Turns to General Ma] General Ma, this is the standard I hold
my recruits to before I select them. [General Ma harrumphs and leaves. Zhu
sneers as he leaves, then turns around to catch Jili as he falls to the
ground in a faint]

[Cut to a local tavern, where Mulan's new recruits mill about a table.
Servants set the food out at the table, then leave]

Mulan: Go right ahead and help yourself. [The recruits grab some chopsticks
and are about to dig in when one of them, the former thief, calls out. He is
sitting on the counter nearby]

Thief: Wait a minute! You are all just too rude. [He jumps off the counter
and walks over to Mulan and Jili] General Hua, Brother Su, let us eat
together. [Mulan looks to Jili]

Mulan: Er... no need for such courtesies. Just go ahead and start eating.

Thief: In that case, if you'll excuse me. [He, along with the other
recruits, start fighting over the food. They eat voraciously. Mulan is
dismayed at their table manners and even Jili is looking askance at the new

Recruit: Hey, haven't you seen food before?

Second Recruit: But I've never had such wonderful food as this. [Everyone is
stuffing his mouth with rice and food] Hey, no grabbing!

Mulan [still looking dismayed]: If it was an eating competition then we'd be
all set.

Jili: Well, it's best to look at the silver lining of things. Perhaps the
Emperor really will consider that.

Mulan [shaking her head]: You don't need to console me. What am I going to
do? I still lack three more recruits.

Jili: No you don't. You lack only two if you include me.

Mulan [puzzled]: You?

Jili: Exactly. You're forgetting that you gave me this post as your
bodyguard? My name isn't on any of the military records.

Mulan: Boot camp is very difficult. Can you survive it?

Jili: You survived when you were a raw recruit. I just don't believe that
I'm not every bit as capable as you are.

Mulan: Jili, you don't need to help me this way. [She reties his neckerchief
for him]

Jili: Who's helping you? Being mortal is a little boring, so now that I have
something to do it keeps things interesting. Tomorrow is the last day to
enlist new recruits. I promise to get the last two recruits if I have to
kidnap them, okay? [Mulan smiles happily] So, are you going to join in the
eating contest back there? [Mulan shakes her head decidedly]

[Cut to Second Prince's quarters. He is sitting on a chair and watching several dancers
perform an elaborate dance for him. Eunuch comes in and bows before the SP]

Second Prince [tells dancers]: You are all dismissed. [They hurry out the door] So,
what have you found out for me?

Eunuch: Your Highness, that Hua Mulan still hasn't met her quota for new

Second Prince [chuckling]: It's just as I suspected.

Eunuch: Your Highness, there is one thing that your humble servant doesn't

Second Prince: You may speak freely.

Eunuch: Your Highness and Hua Mulan do not seem to have a grudge. Why are
you so happy to hear of her problems recruiting?

Second Prince: True. Hua Mulan and I do not have any long-standing feuds. However, my
brother thinks highly of Hua Mulan, therefore I hope she fails at whatever
she tries to do. This way, my father will see that my brother does not know
how to pick the wheat from the chaff and will make a poor Emperor.

Eunuch: Wow, your Highness. I tip my hat to you. I am certain that his
Majesty will be greatly disappointed in this Hua Mulan. [The Second Prince drinks
another cup of wine and looks well pleased at the world]

[Cut to city streets. Jili is dressed in his armor and looking high and low
for potential recruits]

Jili: How odd. I wonder what the big occasion is. It seems the street is
full of the elderly and infirm and women of all stripes. I can't find a
single fit man of draft age. [Looks up to the sky] Gods above, don't let
Mulan lose face in this. We only need two more to meet the quota. Just two
more. [Shuts his eyes] When I open my eyes again, the fit recruit will
appear before me. [He opens his eyes, then looks around carefully. He turns
around and sees a fortuneteller's stall. The fortuneteller is asleep on his
arm, so Jili tries to tickle him with a feather plucked from the feather
duster he is holding. The fortuneteller wakes up and swats Jili hard,
knocking him to the table]

Fortuneteller: What a huge fly!

Jili: I'm not a fly. I'm an immortal.

Fortuneteller [helps him up]: Comrade, you look like someone who wants to
have his fortune told but yet you don't have any money in your pocket.
[Ignores Jili's protests] Okay, I'll give you a few lines for free. You
are.[Jili stops him]

Jili: I'm not here to have my fortune told, but to help you make your
fortune. I will give you the chance to walk a glorious path.

Fortuneteller: Comrade, you look like you're here to dismantle my stall.

Jili: Oh no, no, no.  Based on your facial features, I think you are suited
for.joining the army.

Fortuneteller [laughs out loud]: You think I am suited to join the army?
Take a look at me! [He demonstrates his lanky build but Jili grabs him by
the collar]

Jili: If you join I guarantee you will advance surely and swiftly up the
ranks. With your demeanor attaining the rank of Emperor would not be beyond
your ken. [The fortuneteller smiles and caresses Jili's thick eyebrow, then
yanks out a few hairs]

Fortuneteller: You're just trying to hurt my business. Go away. [Turns
around and shouts to attract customers] Fortune-telling! Fortune-telling!

Jili [grabs his shoulder]: Tell me your birthsigns and I'll tell you your

Fortuneteller: I can't go telling random strangers my birthsigns! Now leave.
[Starts to holler for customers again]

Jili: You can tell me your address and residence instead!

Fortuneteller: Comrade, you're just toying with me, aren't you? Fine. I'll
tell you where I was born and stuff. I am from Shandong province, my family
home is at.[he rattles off the address and street and alley, which I won't
translate] So, can you tell me anything based on that?

Jili [grabs his palm and read it quickly]: That particular town's kitchen
god is Wang Daji. [Thinks a bit] What is your family ancestor?

Fortuneteller: Liu Jing.

Jili [talking to himself]: Daji mentioned this rascal before. [Clears his
throat] You were born into a wealthy family, but ten years ago something
happened that caused your family to fall on hard times. [The fortuneteller's
face falls at Jili's words] That's when you started to rely on
fortunetelling to support yourself.

Fortuneteller [dumbfounded]: How did you know that?

Jili: There are lots of things you don't know but I have the reasons behind

Fortuneteller: Sir, please tell me what you know.

Jili: Do you know why your family suddenly fell on hard times?

Fortuneteller: No, I don't know.

Jili: Well, it all started ten years ago in springtime, when your father was
returning home from collecting the rent. He found a huge turtle. Am I right?

Fortuneteller: Um.. I think I heard of that happening.

Jili [sighs]: Well, this turtle was sent from heaven to test people. If you
treated it well you would earn good karma and good things would happen to
you. Alas, your father enjoyed his food a little too well, so he ate the
turtle instead. This so offended the gods above that they started punishing
your family, hence the fall in your fortunes.

Fortuneteller: Oh... so that's what happened. Sir, what else do you know?

Jili: Also, when you were born you were a runt, short and skinny and small.
Your mother turned vegetarian to earn good karma to extend your life. Is
this true?

Fortuneteller: Oh... so that's why. Sir, you are amazing. [Starts to bow]
Please, take me in as your apprentice.

Jili [raises him up]: I really was originally a fallen immortal.

Fortuneteller: Sir, what is a fallen immortal?

Jili [gets teary-eyed]: What is a fallen immortal? Well, how do I explain it
to you? It's really complicated.

Fortuneteller: Sir, let bygones be bygones. You don't need to mention the
past anymore. The future is what matters. Sir, take a good look at me; do
you really think I'm suited to join the army?

Jili [looks at his face]: Hm... not bad. Your mustache would make the Emperor
envious. You have the visage of a ruler. [Walks off; the fortuneteller
starts to pose]

Fortuneteller [puts on parade voice]: My people.[He follows Jili to the
recruiting tables; Jili is filling out the enlistment application. He turns
around hurriedly and accidentally knocks down the fortuneteller. He helps
him back to his feet]

Jili: Comrade. Hey comrade, don't forget, tomorrow morning you must get here
on time, okay? [The fortuneteller looks dazed] And shave off that mustache.

Fortuneteller: I remember. [He falls to the ground unconscious]

Jili: I wonder if I accidentally hurt him? [Pulls out his sword from the
scabbard, but the sword is actually only a dagger in a sword's scabbard. The
dagger has blood on the tip] I need one more recruit. Where am I going to
find one more recruit? What am I going to do? [A recruit taps him on the

Recruit: I wish to enlist. My name is Yu Xiong [The recruit looks like
Yiren, but with a patch of latex on her cheek to simulate an old burn. Jili
grabs the recruit and drags him over to the table. Let's assume this is
Yiren is disguise]

Jili: Please fill out this application. [He accidentally shoves Yiren into a
large basket] Comrade, over here. The form please? [Yiren staggers around,
then falls to the ground] Comrade?

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters later that day. Mulan is sitting at
the table and reviewing the list of her recruits]

Mulan [sighs]: I'm expected to train these raw recruits into soldiers?
Someone must be joking.

Li Liang [walking]: Mulan. [Shuts the door behind him] Jili tells me that
you have met your quota. That's good. I was worried about you, especially
since you wouldn't let me help you out. [Sits down next to her]

Mulan: The Emperor set this up because he wanted to see our individual
abilities. If I let you help me, wouldn't that be cheating?

Li Liang [teasingly]: You, my dear, are just so damaned honorable all the time.
[Looks over the list of recruits] Is everyone fit for service?

Mulan [sighing]: Oh, they're fit all right. They have all their limbs. [Li
Liang gives Mulan a questioning look but decides against asking her anything

[Cut to large tent set up for the Emperor to inspect the new recruits]

Emperor [to Crown Prince]: What's the matter? Has Hua Mulan failed at achieving her
quota for recruits?

Crown Prince: Father, I have not heard that news. If she cannot meet the quota, she
should have come before you to make her apologies.

Second Prince [spotting Mulan and her recruits arriving]: Father, she's here. [Her
troops line up and stand at attention next to the troops of the other

Emperor: Hear this, all my generals! The competition will commence in two
months time. I want you to all exert yourself to your best effort. Do not
make me regret the hopes I have for you.

Generals [in unison]: Yes, your Majesty!

[Cut to barracks. Mulan's troops run inside and excitedly hop on to their
bunks. The Thief sits down on one with a smile of contentment]

Thief: Ahh.I finally get a bed to call my own.

Beefy Man [slaps the Thief on the shoulder]: Hey you, I want to switch bunks
with you.

Thief: Oh, so you want to switch bunks? Who do you think you are, eh? You
think you only have to say the word and I'll switch bunks? [The Beefy Man
grabs the Thief by the collar]

Beefy Man: What did you say?

Thief [tries to break his grip but can't]: Comrade, don't go around bullying
people just because you have more meat. I'm warning you, my name is Zhang Xi
and I detest beefy people with tiny brains. I REFUSE to switch bunks

Beefy Man: Fine! You've got balls! Now I'm going to teach you a lesson!
[Pulls back his fist to start hitting Zhang Xi but the Fortuneteller stops

Fortuneteller: Now, now, let's not have any fighting. Don't be mad. [Takes
his hand] Here, let me read your palm. [The Beefy Man jerks his hand away
and glares at him. Another recruit steps in]

Recruit: I'll swap bunks with you if he won't.

Beefy Man [shoves the Recruit away]: I don't want your bedding! [Grabs Zhang
Xi's collar again] Now, I'm asking you one last time. Are you going to swap
with me or not?

Zhang Xi: Oh, come now, let go of me and we'll talk this over like
gentlemen. [The Beefy Man releases his grip]

Beefy Man: That's more like it. A coward always shows his true stripes.
[Zhang Xi turns around and kicks the Beefy Man full in the stomach, then
lands a few more punches before the Beefy Man whirls aside] If I don't fix
you good today then my name isn't Zhu You!

Zhang Xi [dancing aside]: But you have to catch me first! [They dance around
and soon the entire platoon is in an uproar. Some are trying to restrain Zhu
You from thrashing Zhang Xi, others are just trying to stay out of the way.
Yiren is sitting on her bunk and snickering to herself]

Yiren: You want to compete with a bunch of rabid dogs like this? Hua Mulan,
I wonder where you're going to hide yourself in the future. [A pot flies
across the room and belts her on the side of the head. She rubs her head
gingerly and is shocked when she sees blood on her hand] Blood! It's blood!

[As the fight continues, Mulan and Jili walk in the tent. Mulan tries to
restore order but the fighting continues for a bit]

Mulan [shouting]: What's going on here? [The men continue to fight, so she
tries again] HALT! [Seeing they are still fighting, she slaps Zhang Xi on
the face. Stunned, he stands still and looks at Mulan wonderingly. She turns
and slaps Zhu You on the face. He glares at her]

Zhu You: You dare slap me?! [Lunges for Mulan, but she neatly blocks his
punch and flips him on his back with one arm. He lies there, gasping for
breath and surprised at Mulan's skill]

Mulan [sternly]: Who started it?

Recruits [all point to Zhu You]: He did! [Mulan kneels next to the fallen
Zhu You]

Mulan: You like to fight? [Zhu You shakes his head and looks in some fear at
Mulan] Get up! Go clean out the outhouse!

Zhang Xi [piping in]: The general gave you an order! [Zhu You picks himself
up] Ma'am, General, ma'am, this fatso is gifted with great strength but as
soon as he came into camp he showed no respect for anyone. Punish him!

Mulan: In the army, not only do people who start physical fights get
punished, but also those that start verbal fights. [Zhang Xi looks blankly
at Mulan] That's why you will BOTH go. Go now!

Zhang Xi [amazed]: You must be joking.

Mulan [roars]: Right now! [Zhang Xi and Zhu You head out the door, with the
latter gingerly rubbing his back where he landed. Yiren smirks at the scene,
then grimaces when she touches her sore head. Jili notices the blood and
walks closer for a better look]

Jili: Brother Yu, what happened. Oh my goodness, he's bleeding!

Yiren: It's nothing.[Mulan walks over and grabs her hand to see the blood]

Mulan [to Jili]: Take him to the infirmary to get that wound inspected.

Yiren: It's nothing. Really, it's just a superficial wound.

Jili [hauls her away]: Even a superficial wound can bleed so much you can
die. Now come along!

Mulan [to remaining recruits]: From now on, you are all soldiers! You must
follow all the rules! If any of you break them, then I will punish all of
you! Do you understand?

Recruits [mumbling]: We understand.

Mulan: Louder!

Recruits [yelling]: We understand!

Mulan: Does anyone have any other questions? [Sees an older recruit start to
ask, then hesitate] You can go ahead and ask me.

Older Recruit: I wanted to know when do we receive our rations? [The other
recruits break out into loud guffaws while Mulan shakes her head, then walks
away. They continue to josh each other]

[Cut to medic's tent. Jili is helping Yiren clean her head wound with some
medicine. She is grimacing in pain and getting fidgety]

Jili: It's a good thing this wound isn't very deep. You'll be fine after a
few days.

Yiren: Hey, could you please hurry up?

Jili: You can't rush wound cleansing, or it will easily end up rotting on
you. Hold still. [Yiren continues to fidget] I said hold still! [He finally
finishes and Yiren starts to raise her head. The fake scar on her cheek
catches his eye] You see, I bet ants caused that old wound. You didn't take
proper care of it so it left such a hideous scar behind. You look like
you're really suffering. Is it really that bad? [Yiren shies away and
grimaces, but Jili gets even closer to her face] I said, is it really that

Yiren [glaring]: Are you almost done?

Jili: I was done long ago.

Yiren [angrily]: Then why didn't you say so? [Storms out of the tent]

Jili: Hmm... I'll have to watch out for ants in the future.

[Cut to barracks at night. The other recruits are all asleep. Yiren has a
candle lit and is writing a letter on her bunk but has her blanket over her
head. She throws back her blanket so she can get more air. A coyote howls
outside. She takes a look around to make sure everyone else is asleep then
stretches to relieve her stiff neck. Donning her blanket, she resumes her
writing, using an ink brush (though I don't see any ink anywhere)]

Yiren [in her letter]: "Aunt, I have successfully infiltrated Hua Mulan's
platoon. Even though I have suffered greatly in here, for the sake of
Cousin's successful promotion to Marshal I can put up with a lot more. Based
what I've seen here today, Aunt, you can rest assured that they are all
unfit for the title of "soldier." There isn't even one likely looking
soldier, let alone enough to mount stiff competition with the other troops.
Seems to me even if Hua Mulan is a military genius she won't be able to make
much out of them. In future, she may never be able to raise her head in the
Emperor's presence again because of her shame. [Stretches and yawns] It is
late and I need to get some sleep. I will stop my pen here. Take care and I
hope to have more good news shortly."

[She places her pen down, folds up her letter, and blows out the candle. She
then curls up to sleep]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters. Li Liang and Mulan are asleep in the
middle of the night. Mulan stirs awake and tries to climb over her husband
to get out of bed, but he awakens at the motion]

Li Liang: Mulan, you didn't sleep at all?

Mulan: Er... no, that's not right. I just woke up.

Li Liang [chiding]: You're lying. Look at those bags under your eyes.

Mulan [hides her eyes]: Um... no.

Li Liang [takes her hands]: Mulan, you went down a size with worry over
whether you'd meet your quota. Are you stressing now that you have to train

Mulan [sighs]: You saw the group of recruits I have. How could I possibly
whip them into shape?

Li Liang: Now wait a minute. Remember how everyone looked down on the mess
troops, yet you turned out alright?

Mulan: We were different. We had a lot more drive than these men have.

Li Liang: Then what are you going to do? Give up?

Mulan: Now why would I do that?

Li Liang: Then you have nothing to worry about. Remember.

Mulan: "Do the best you can."

Li Liang [smiles approvingly]: There you go. I always said you were a smart

Mulan: You're the smartest. You always know how to cheer me up.

Li Liang [chuckling]: Come on, let's go to sleep. Tomorrow you must "do the
best you can." Get some sleep. [They both go back to sleep]

[Cut to barracks very early in the morning. Everyone is sound asleep when
the horn sounds calling everyone up. The oldest recruit (the one that's only
joining for the food rations) bolts out of bed and tries to wake everyone
else up, but the other recruits remain in their bunks. Mulan and Jili come
into the tent]

Mulan [sternly]: Why isn't everyone up?

Recruit: I already tried to roust them up, but they won't get up.

Mulan [annoyed]: Preposterous!

Jili [tries to calm her]: Don't be angry. Let me handle this. [He goes to
each recruit's bunk and gently tries to wake them up, but to no avail. The
oldest recruit watches Jili intently. Noticing this, Mulan speaks sharply to

Mulan: Hey, hurry and help him wake everyone up!

Recruit: Officer, you can see that I already got up when I was supposed to.
If you're going to dock our food rations could you please not dock mine?

Mulan [annoyed]: Would you stop fussing over your food rations?

Recruit: I can't. I have a family of nine that is relying on me to provide
for them.

Mulan [giving up]: Fine. [Waves him away]

[Jili continues to go bunk to bunk to shake each recruit awake. So far, no
one, aside from the oldest recruit, is out of bed]

Jili: Hey, get up. Get up. [He goes to Yiren's bunk and removes her blanket,
then belts her soundly against her butt. She jerks awake and screams when
she recognizes Jili, then slaps his face, sending him flying. She gingerly
shakes her hand with the pain of the blow] Hey, why did you hit me? If you
have the balls then let's have it out right now! [He gets into some sort of
fighting stance (fake kung-fu, if you will) and Yiren hurriedly ties her
robe more securely]

Yiren [sheepish]: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit you like that. I'm pretty
vicious when I'm half-asleep.

[Mulan sticks out her hand in Jili's direction, asking for the horn he
carried. He reluctantly hands it over. Mulan proceeds to blast a note in
each sleeping recruit's ear. They all stir awake one by one]

Mulan: Everyone, go and wash up!

Jili: That's right. Take your time. [Seeing Mulan's glare, he changes his
tone of voice] On the double! [The troops files out the tent to the
washroom. Noticing Mulan is quietly furious, he attempts to soothe her]
Don't take things so hard. We'll fix this later. [Mulan glares in
frustration at Jili, then stalks out of the tent]

[Cut to training field. Mulan is addressing her recruits on their first day
of training]

Mulan: From this day forth, you are all Sui soldiers. You must strictly
adhere to all military rules and laws. Anyone who breaks them will be
severely punished. Do you understand?

Recruits [mumbling en masse]: Yes.

Mulan: Louder!

Recruits: We understand!

Mulan: Now jog in place three revolutions! [The troops start to jog in three
circles in place, but they are all very uncoordinated and unenthusiastic.
Mulan shakes her head in dismay. You can see her developing a stress
headache the more she watches. General Ma comes jogging by with his
recruits. He stops his running to rib Mulan a bit]

General Ma: General Hua, you have quite a variety here. Tall, short, fat,
thin, you even have some effeminate ones. Looks like we will have to worry
about how to compete against you. [Chuckles]

Mulan [with dignity]: General Ma, since you already know your troops can't
compete against mine, then what's the point of training? You may as well go
home and rest.

General Ma: We can't compete against your troops, but we still need to
contend with the other generals' troops, so we still need to train. We don't
want to make a fool of ourselves, do we, General Hua? [He snickers at her;
Mulan remains silently seething] Troops, keep running! Don't make me lose
face! [He jogs off to join his men as they leave. Jili thumbs his nose at
the retreating General Ma, then approaches Mulan]

Jili: Do we need to keep running?

Mulan: What do you think?

Jili [turns to troops]: Everyone, keep running in place for six more
revolutions. [Mulan looks like she is about to hit Jili in frustration, but
the Fortuneteller comes over and interrupts them]

Fortuneteller [nervously]: I hate to interrupt, but could you tell me where
the outhouse is? My stomach really hurts.

Mulan: Get back to your running!

Fortuneteller [looking suddenly calm]: Oh... actually, that won't be necessary
anymore. [He returns to his place, while Mulan and Jili both suddenly notice
a stench. Jili starts to gag at the smell and leaves]

Mulan: Where the heck did we get these people?

[Cut to barracks. The troops are staggering into the tent, all loudly
complaining that they are tired]

Recruit: If I wasn't a failure as a farmer I would never have joined the
army. [The other recruits stagger to their bunks and flop onto them]

Another Recruit: My wife is so mean, but compared to General Hua she's warm
and tender. [Turns to Fortuneteller] Hey, can't you read fortunes?
[Fortuneteller nods his head] Can you read my fortune?

Fortuneteller [looking dazed]: Don't bother me now. I'm trying to catch my

Zhu You [chides both of them]: You are all pathetic! You run a few miles and
you're about to collapse. Getting stuck with you lot of useless cowards is
making me look bad.

Zhang Xi [chewing a straw]: Whom are you calling a useless coward?

Zhu You [dares him]: I am calling all of you useless cowards? Well, what are
you going to do about it?

Zhang Xi [to other recruits]: He just called us all useless cowards? What do
you say to that? [The other recruits roll over on their bunks to get more
comfortable. Zhang Xi sees no one is supporting him, so he shrugs his
shoulders] Oh well, I want to stick with what the team wants, so if no one
minds being called a coward then I'll also be a coward. [Walks back to his
bunk while Zhu You smirks]

[Meanwhile, Yiren is lying on her bunk and gingerly rubbing her sore back]

Yiren: Hua Mulan, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be here with these smelly
men suffering all these indignities. I promise I will repay you with
interest! [She turns too suddenly and her face twists in pain, making her
whimper] Oh... it hurts.

Zhu You [going to tent opening]: Teacher (i.e.-Jili), you're here. [Tries to
escort Jili to Zhu You's side of the barracks. Fortuneteller also tries to
drag Jili to the other side]

Fortuneteller: Esteemed One, over here, please.

Zhu You [irritated]: Hey, who do you think you are, dog? You dare interfere
with my talking with Teacher? [Tugs Jili in one direction]

Fortuneteller: Now wait a minute, an Esteemed One deserves esteemed company;
how can you ask him to sit with rough and uncultured people? Esteemed One,
please sit over here. [Tugs Jili in the opposite direction]

Zhu You: Teacher, you taught me the high art of effective gambling. Hence,
you are my Teacher. Please sit over here. [Tugs Jili's arm again]

Fortuneteller: Oh, Esteemed One, I see you know how to gamble, too. You are
such an accomplished personage. Thus, you must sit over here. [He tugs Jili
in the opposite direction]

[Both pull Jili back and forth a little longer until Jili shrugs both off,
then gets their attention]

Jili: Now listen up, you two. General Hua was very, very, very.displeased
with your showing today. I hope you will do better tomorrow. [Walks out the

Fortuneteller [waves]: Esteemed One, good bye.

Zhu You: Teacher, good bye. [They stare at each other for a few seconds, but
Fortuneteller breaks eye contact first, leaving Zhu You to smirk]

[Cut to washroom at night. Yiren is creeping in with a candle that she is
shielding from the wind (or maybe from other people's notice?)]

Yiren [talking to herself]: If I knew ahead of time these men were so
useless, I wouldn't have bothered getting involved and making life hard for
myself. [She strips her clothes off and prepares to take a bath. She tests
the water and shudders at the iciness] Brr.that's cold! If I were only back
at the General's Residence things would be so comfortable. [She shakes herself] Xu Yiren,
stop focusing on the small things. You must look at the big picture. Sooner
or later, Cousin will be mine. [We hear someone humming a little song and
entering the washroom. It is Jili, much to Yiren's chagrin]

Jili: Oh, some one is taking a bath? Great! I have someone to horseplay
with. [He walks over and we see Yiren feverishly putting on her robe and
dressing] Hey, comrade, have you finished bathing yet? If you haven't, then
want to join me in some horseplay?

Yiren [nervously]: Yes, I've finished already. Wow, that bath felt so good!
Well, I have to go now. [She hurries towards the door but Jili calls after

Jili: Hey, comrade, you forgot your towel. [He takes his shirt off just as
Yiren is taking her towel, making her scream and drop the towel. As she
bends to pick it up, Jili also happens to drop his pants, making Yiren
scream even louder this time. She is so shocked at the sight that her nose
starts to bleed. Jili, seeing this, leans over next to her in concern]
Comrade, why is your nose bleeding?

Yiren [weakly]: I saw a four-legged snake.

Jili: A four-legged snake? There's no need to have a nosebleed over that.
What did you see that made your nose bleed?

Yiren [cracking]: I saw a four-legged snake! A four-legged snake! [Starts to
whimper and bawl]

Jili: How big was it? [Yiren uses the tip of her pinky finger to indicate
the size of the "four-legged snake" she saw. Jili looks down on the ground
and hollers] Ahh!! It's that big? [He faints against Yiren's shoulder,
making her scream yet again and bolt out the door]

[Cut to training field the next morning. Mulan's recruits are going through
their routines, but they are all very disorganized and uncoordinated. Some
are running into each other, while others are brawling and shoving each
other. Jili hurries over to break up one fight while Mulan looks on in
dismay. The recruits continue to brawl, making her sigh and shake her head
in frustration]

[Cut to barracks. The recruits walk inside, some limping and others gingerly
holding aching arms and hands. They sit down around a table and refresh
themselves with some water from a teapot]

Older Recruit: I can't take this anymore. I really want to just go home and
be with my wife instead.

Other Recruit: Go home? It's a small thing if your wife throws a dish at
you, but deserting is a major offense. You'll go to jail for that. Do you

Fortuneteller: Esteemed One said that if I joined the army I would enjoy
great prosperity and fortune. If I can go home in one piece that alone would
be priceless.

Zhang Xi [scratches his neck with a straw, then starts chewing on it]: We
can't take this much longer. How about.[he looks inspired with an idea. He
draws the other recruits closer so he can share it with them. After a
huddled conversation, many nod their heads] So what do you think?

Old Recruit: No, no, we can't do that. If the general finds out she won't
give us our food rations as punishment. What will my family do if that

Another Recruit [scoffing]: You're such a fraidy-cat. the gods help me.

Zhang Xi [grabs him by the collar]: Then stay here and die of exhaustion and
overwork. How will your family survive then, hm?

Old Recruit [spits on the ground]: Do you think I'm going to willingly die

Zhang Xi: That's more like it. [Turns to Yiren] Yu Xiong, what do you say?

Yiren: Um.. .me? Of course I'm all for it. The bigger we make it the better.
[The recruits nod in agreement and they begin to plot out their plan]

[Cut to Mulan's quarters in camp. She is sitting at a table and looking over
a military handbook. She looks disenchanted and listless, sighing
frequently. Jili comes running inside in great excitement]

Jili: Mulan! We're in for it!

Mulan [disinterested]: Do you have any bad news that could make things even
worse? Go ahead and tell me.

Jili: The recruits refuse to leave their barracks for training.

Mulan: Is that all? What else did they say?

Jili: They say they're not feeling well so they're staying in bed. What are
we going to do?

Mulan: Um.. .how about you tell them to rest and stay in bed. Then instruct the
mess to bring them their meals and increase their rations, too.

Jili [incredulous]: Are you ill, too? Did you get addled because they pushed
you beyond your limits? [Reaches over to check her fever but she knocks his
hand aside]

Mulan [scowling]: What are you talking about?

Jili: What's wrong? You know they are only pretending to be sick. You not
only aren't going to punish them for shirking training but you're going to
increase their food rations? I don't think that's the right thing to do.

Mulan: And what good will it do to punish them? Will it make them suddenly
courageous and capable? It seems to me that these men won't improve no
matter how much they train, so we may as well let them enjoy themselves for
the remainder of the two-month training period. I consider it doing a good
deed; besides, it won't do us any good to make ourselves sick with
frustration and anger.

Jili [protesting]: But.but.if we continue on this way, you'll be the
laughingstock at the competition.

Mulan: Do you have a way to train them, then? If you do, speak up. I will
follow whatever you say. [Jili starts to say something but realizes he
doesn't have a viable solution either] Well? Don't have anything, do you?
Listen to me and let them rest in the barracks. Wait on them hand and foot,

Jili [defeated]: Yes. [Leaves the room. Mulan resumes her dejected demeanor
at her table]

[Cut to barracks. The recruits are discussing things]

Fortuneteller: None of us are warriors or have studied martial arts. It's
unreasonable to expect us to run such distances.

Zhu You: If Hua Mulan refuses to let us rest, what are we going to do?

Yiren: That's easy. We'll appeal to her superiors. We'll report that she.is
inhumane and cruel to her men. [She slaps her knee in glee at the idea]

Fortuneteller: My goodness, comrade, do you have a blood feud with General
Hua? How can you say such things? [The other recruits also shake their heads
at Yiren's words]

Yiren: I'm saying this for the common good. If we let her report us to her
superiors first, why, we'll be.we'll be thrown out on our ears!

Zhang Xi: That's right. Yu Xiong has a point. If that flower (pun on Mulan's
name) wants to punish us, then we have to strike first to gain an advantage.
We have to protect ourselves, right? [Zhu You claps his hands in approval,
but the other recruits are uneasy]

Recruit: No, that's not good. Don't you think this is going a little too

Old Recruit: If someone finds out, won't we lose our food rations?

Recruit [scoffing]: Would you quit it with your hot air?

Zhang Xi: Well, are you in or out? We can't just sit here and wait for
something to fall on our heads.

Zhu You: Right! Let's do it, then.

Recruit: Actually, the great General Hua isn't that bad. It's our own fault
that we are too weak for this kind of a job. We just aren't cut out for this
type of thing.

Fortuneteller: If we overturn the scheme of things like this, we'll have the
heavens down on us.

Zhu You [walks over to Fortuneteller]: Right now, no one wants to train. If
anyone still wants to train, then they have to answer to me, understand? [He
thumps Fortuneteller's chest a couple of times, making him cough]

Fortuneteller: Who wants to train? No one here wants to train. [Zhu You
looks at him approvingly. Yiren dashes in the tent excitedly]

Yiren: Su Jili is coming! [The recruits fall over themselves in a mad
scramble to return to their bunks. When Jili walks in the tent, he the
recruits surround him but don pained expressions on their faces to feign

Jili: Fellow comrades, I have some news for you. General Hua has agreed to
let you all stay in bed and rest. Furthermore, she has given instructions to
increase your rations and halt all training. [The recruits cheer loudly at
this news, but Yiren is struck dumb by Jili's words]

Recruit: We can eat, drink, and be merry!

Jili [soberly]: I wish everyone a speedy recovery. [He turns to leave. All
the recruits, except for Yiren, start to celebrate their good fortune]

Zhang Xi: Comrades, behold the power of banding together!

Yiren [sitting down, muttering]: That was too easy.

[Cut to lake bank, where Mulan is sitting and absently throwing rocks in.
General Li's troops are jogging by when he spots Mulan]

General Li [to troops]: Keep running! [He turns and heads over to Mulan,
then gently places his hand on her shoulder] Mulan, what's the matter?

Mulan: Nothing.

General Li: Nothing? Everyone else is increasing their training, yet you're
sitting here throwing rocks into the lake.

Mulan: All of my men have fallen ill.

General Li: What?! They must be deliberately disobeying orders. We have to
drag them to the brig and punish them.

Mulan: That's not necessary. They all enlisted for various reasons and not
because they wanted to serve. Beating them or imprisoning them won't ever
make them change.

General Li: Then what are you going to do?

Mulan: I made my bed and I'm going to lie in it. Since I can't seem to
attract capable recruits to serve under me, I'll just explain this to the
Emperor and accept whatever punishment he metes out to me.

General Li: Mulan.

Mulan [smiling brightly]: Don't worry about me. You'd best go and continue
your training. I won't get to be Marshal, but I can at least be Lady
Marshal, right?

General Li: Since there isn't anything you can do, I wouldn't worry too much
about it. Even more importantly, don't let what other people think bother

Mulan: I know. Better hurry up and catch up to your men, otherwise, they may
be shirking and you wouldn't know about it. [He nods, then heads back to
rejoin his men]

[Cut to brothel in the city. Li Liang walks over and the ladies working
there are trying to entice customers to enter]

Lady: Master Li, we haven't seen you in a long time! Come in and spend some
time with us! Oh, Master Chen, why have you been ignoring us?

[Li Liang turns to walk away, but one of the pimps stops him]

Pimp: Sir, do you want the company of cultured ladies? We have some that are
well-read, others that specialize in music, and even some that play chess.
Do you want to try them out? [Li Liang hastily pushes his way inside,
ignoring the pimp's proposition]

Li Liang: I'm here to find someone.

[He walks inside the brothel and keeps his face to the wall. He looks very
uncomfortable that he is in such a place, but he is determined to find
someone. He approaches a private room but is stopped by a servant]

Servant: Halt. Where do you think you're going?

Li Liang [whispering]: I'm General Li Liang. I wish to have an audience with
the Crown Prince.

Servant: No one can see him.

Li Liang: Well, then can you relay a message to him? He may be willing to
see me then.

Servant [stubbornly]: No means no.

Li Liang [annoyed]: You're not going to relay the message, are you? [Seeing
the servant is holding his ground, Li Liang starts to attack him. They fight
back and forth, while two more servants join the melee. Li Liang easily
dispatches them and sends them flying. The CP walks out from the private
room onto a balcony and claps in appreciation]

Crown Prince: Well done! Bravo!

Li Liang [kneels and salutes]: Your Highness, I apologize for disturbing you
because I was trying to relay a message.

Crown Prince: Rise, General Li. I didn't have anyone to talk to just now, so it's
perfect timing that you showed up.

Li Liang: Your Highness, about what just happened.

Crown Prince: Oh, don't worry about that. These are new bodyguards. They are all bluff
but no substance. I've long since wanted to teach them a lesson. I owe you
for helping me with this task. [To bodyguards] Aren't you going to apologize
to General Li?

Bodyguards [in unison]: General Li, sir, please forgive us!

Li Liang: Your Highness, thank you for clearing up this matter.

Crown Prince [waves his hand]: This isn't the palace, so you needn't be so formal
around me. Come here and have a couple cups with me.

Li Liang: Yes, your Highness.

[They go into another room where one lady is playing some music and two are
waiting on Li Liang and the Crown Prince. The table is laid out with some food, wine,
and chopsticks. They toast each other]

Crown Prince: Aren't the generals all vigorously training? What brings you here?

Li Liang: Your Highness, that's the reason I came to see you today. I have a
favor to ask of you.

Crown Prince [surprised]: You must be joking. No one knows more about training
recruits than you do.

Li Liang: Your Highness, it's like this. You've already seen the caliber of
recruits Mulan has.

Crown Prince: This is about Mulan? Go ahead, then.

Li Liang: Those recruits aren't made of very good mettle, nor are they
willing to train. I'm worried that the Emperor will blame her for their poor
showing at the competition.

Crown Prince: True. She can't be blamed for something like this. If you're only given
crooked wood how can you make anything straight? If my father insists on
pinning the blame on someone, I'll explain to him the extenuating

Li Liang [elated]: Thank you, your Highness!

CP: Come, stick around to drink with me. [Turns to ladies] Well, aren't you
going to pour for us? [The ladies pour wine into the bowls for both Li Liang
and the CP]

[Cut to empty storeroom somewhere. Mulan is leading her recruits inside. An
elderly man, whom I presume is the landlord, is showing her the premises]

Landlord: General Hua, treat this as your own home. If you need anything,
just let me know.

Mulan: Uncle (honorable title), sorry for the imposition.

Landlord: That's quite all right. If it wasn't for you and your troops, the
Tujue would have demolished our village. Our fields would have been rendered
unusable, also. We should be grateful for your help, not the other way

Mulan: You're too kind.

Landlord: Well, you must be tired. If you lack anything, just drop me a line
and I'll see that it gets taken care of. I'll take my leave now.

Mulan: Thank you. [The Landlord leaves the premises and the recruits start
to mill around]

Zhang Xi: General, you know how we are still weak with illness. Why did you
bring us here out in the middle of nowhere to train? If we relapse.

Mulan [holds up a hand]: Now, now, I didn't bring you out here to train. I
brought you out here so the other platoons wouldn't tease you.

Zhang Xi: General, you're terrific! I never thought you were so considerate
of your underlings. You make us glad we decided to enlist under you. Isn't
that right, comrades? [Cheers come from the other recruits. The Old Recruit
sidles up to Mulan and seems to want to ask a question]

Old Recruit: Um... General... um.

Mulan: You want to ask about rations, don't you?

Old Recruit: Um.. .yes.

Mulan: Don't worry. I will not shortchange your rations one bit. [He smiles
happily and heads out the door] Okay. It's been a long day. Get some rest.
[The recruits start to head out the door but she has one more piece of
advice for them] By the way, even though we aren't actively training, I
still want you on your best behavior around here. No getting into fights and
raising hell in this village. Anyone who disobeys will be severely dealt
with. Understand?

Recruits: Yes.

Mulan: I can't hear you.

Recruits [shouting]: YES!

Mulan: Okay. You're dismissed. [The recruits eagerly scamper out the door
for their new bunks. Jili is sitting on a low step and slowly rises to his

Jili: Mulan, I'm the one that recruited these men to enlist under you. Do
you blame me?

Mulan: I know you meant well. Do you think I don't know that? This is none
of your concern.

Jili: I don't have any magic anymore, nor am I skilled in martial arts. If I
were more like General Li, I could at least be a better example, right? [He
poses a few times]

Mulan: Stop blaming yourself. We've all done our best. Nothing is certain in
this world. Don't worry too much about it, please?

Jili: Oh. Well, I'm leaving now, then. [He turns and heads out the door to
the barracks]