Episode 34:

[Later, night has fallen and Jili is still on the road. He is sitting down
now, clutching a wine jug and fighting the demons in his mind. Mulan
approaches him]

Mulan [kneels next to him and speaks gently]: Jili, what's the matter?

Jili: I'm very sad and very upset. Why is the Jade Emperor being so cruel to
me? Why is he tormenting me so? Why did he let me see someone get killed?
Killing someone is so frightening! It's so frightening. I've been to hell.
I've been to hell, and the look in the eyes of someone who is killing
another is just like the look in the eyes of a demon. It's so frightening!
They don't look at humans as humans. But they came from humans. Why are they
so scary? Are they really human or are they demons?

Mulan: I don't know, either. Perhaps if they don't act this way, they will
become a wailing spirit at the hands of someone else's sword.

Jili: Have you done that, too? Have you killed someone before?

Mulan [remains silent for a while, then speaks]: It doesn't matter what
reason I have I must tell you the naked truth. I have killed people before.
[Jili's eyes fill with anguish at her words. Mulan gets to her feet]
However, I am very clear why I kill people. I kill not because of revenge
nor is it for personal glory. I do so to rescue even more innocent people
and lives. If I kill a soldier I may save ten thousand civilians. It's for
the greater good.

Jili [repeating Mulan's words]: Killing a soldier may save ten thousand

Mulan: Yes. If I live on this earth and can save innocents at the cost of my
own life, I will feel it is worth the price.

Jili [struggles to his feet]: Mulan! [Walks over to her side] Mulan.

Mulan: Ever since I strapped on this armor and stepped onto the battlefield,
I have reminded myself that my duty is to take my sword and kill the enemy.
A soldier's duty is to protect and serve his country. Killing is an
unavoidable means of fulfilling that duty. However, when I take off this
armor I'm just an average citizen. In truth, I hope that in the future I
will never need to wear this armor again, because the feeling of killing
someone is such a difficult one to bear. [Tears fill her eyes] I hate it so.
I really hate it.

[Cut to Tujue camp. The Tujue Khan is standing and watching his men wheel
what looks like a slingshot mounted with wagon wheels towards him]

Tujue Khan: It's here. It's finally here. [He walks over and lovingly
fingers the weapon] It's such a beautiful weapon. My secret weapon. I trust
it won't fail me.

Soldier: Everything is ready. There is only one exit from this valley. The
sound of it working will not echo outside. Sir, you can rest easy.

Tujue Khan: Then let's do a test. [They put a large stone ball in the sling
and send it flying across the field. It lands and blows up a large crater (I
don't know how it explodes without gunpowder, but just pretend for now). The
Tujue Khan marvels at the power of this weapon] It's truly something to
behold. So they are going to go up against my secret weapon with their flesh
and blood? There is no question of who will win or lose anymore; it's just a
question of how many soldiers will fall. [A lone Sui soldier is peering from
behind a tree. The Tujue Khan senses his presence and flushes him out. A
second Sui soldier also turns tail and starts to run, but the Tujue Khan
attacks them both and runs one through with a sword. Both fall to the
ground. He turns to his men] Dismissed!

[Cut to same area many hours later. One of the Sui soldiers is not dead and
manages to crawl to his feet. He is badly wounded but starts to make his way
slowly back towards camp]

[Cut to Mulan's tent late at night. She is reading a book when she sees a
shadow cross her doorway]

Mulan: Who's there? [Not getting a response, she opens the tent flap. She is
surprised to see her husband standing there] Brother Liang?

General Li: May I come in?

Mulan: If I said no, would you come in anyway? [He remains silent] Come on
in. Do you really think I'd say no to you? [He walks inside and stands
there] Did you come here just to stand around? [He turns around with a
sheepish look on his face]

General Li: Mulan, I came to discuss today's events with you.

Mulan: May I ask with what status you are speaking to me? Are you speaking
as the marshal or as my husband?

General Li [chagrined]: Do we really need to make it as clear-cut as that?

Mulan: It's very important to me to know.

General Li [sighing]: Why are you so strict?

Mulan: You used to praise my strictness for a good thing. How come now
you've flip-flopped?

General Li [impatient]: I don't want to discuss this with you right now.

Mulan: On the contrary, I think this issue is the most important thing we
need to resolve between the two of us.

General Li: I told you, I don't want to discuss this right now.

Mulan: You want to run away from it?

General Li: I'm running away? Fine. Mulan, this time we came to battle with
me as Marshal. I respect your viewpoints and opinions. I ask that you do the
same for me. In future, please do not disobey my orders no matter what the
circumstances. This is for the good of all parties involved.

Mulan: So you came here just to clarify our positions in the army?

General Li: That's not my intent at all. I just want everyone to get along.

Mulan: I understand. Marshal Li, if you do not have any specific orders for
me, your humble officer wishes to retire for the night. I'm sorry I can't
keep your company. [She turns away. General Li, seeing the set of her
shoulders, sighs and leaves. She looks deeply troubled at the chasm between
them that has sprung up lately]

[Cut to the outskirts of camp. The injured Sui soldier has managed to limp
and stagger back from his reconnaissance mission. He slumps to the ground in
front of one of the Sui guards]

Soldier [weakly]: I have urgent news to report. Take me to see the Marshal.
[As the guard leans over the fallen soldier, Second Prince's eunuch comes
walking by]

Eunuch: What's he saying?

Guard: He says he has urgent news to report. We should take him to see the
Marshal immediately. [The eunuch thinks quickly]

Eunuch: Take him to see the Second Prince. [Seeing the guard hesitate] Now!
Are you saying that the Second Prince doesn't have the authority to listen
to this news?

Guard: I wouldn't dare.

Eunuch: The Second Prince has numerous medicines at his disposal. He can
stabilize this man's wounds. Go now.

Guard: Um. Yes, sir. [He helps the fallen soldier back to his feet and leads
him to the Second Prince's tent. The eunuch has a smirk on his face]

[Cut to the Second Prince's tent. He is listening intently to the injured
soldier's account of the Tujue's secret weapon]

Second Prince [surprised]: Is this weapon really that powerful?

Soldier [weakly]: Yes, I only heard a sound of something like thunder, then
saw a small hut in the opening of the valley was blown to smithereens.

Second Prince: Such power. What kind of weapon is this? [Looks to soldier]
Are you the only one who knows of this?

Soldier: There is one other soldier, but he has already died.

Second Prince [turns to eunuch]: Has he seen Li Liang yet? [The eunuch
shakes his head. The Second Prince stands up and walks over to his sword in
its rack. He draws it and slays the injured soldier with one swift slash.
The eunuch is aghast]

Eunuch: Your Highness!

Second Prince: He has completed his mission. Let him rest now. Did any of
those guards hear what this soldier had to report?

Eunuch [dazed]: No, they didn't.

Second Prince: With such a fearsome weapon, I don't know what I would do if
I came up against it.

Eunuch [finally understanding]: Your Highness, are you suggesting what I
think you are suggesting?

Second Prince: I want to see firsthand how the world famous Hua Mulan
handles this. I may even be able to watch Li Liang's tears in person.

[Cut to barracks. Jili is asleep in bed when he is startled awake from a bad
nightmare. Zhu You and Xiangzi are all huddling around his bunk in concern]

Jili: I don't want to die! I don't want to die! [He jumps when Xiangzi calls
his name]

Xiangzi: Esteemed One, what's the matter?

Jili: I just had a nightmare. It was so scary. It was so frightening!

Zhu You [scoffs]: What's so scary about dreams? They're not real anyway. As
soon as you open your eyes everything is right in the world again.

Jili [shakes his head]: This dream wasn't the same. I think there's a
message or warning in this dream.

Zhu You: Hey, what did you dream about? Why did you keep mumbling in your
dream, "Don't die; don't any of you die?" Who was going to die?

Jili [ignores them]: I need to go and warn her so she can prepare. [He gets
up and hurries out the door. Zhu You turns to Zhang Xi]

Zhu You: Hey, can you figure out who is going to die? [Zhang Xi counts on
his fingers and then pauses when he gets the answer. Zhu You catches the
look on his face and starts to throttle him] You dare say I'm going to die?

[Cut to Mulan's tent. Jili comes running in dressed in his pajamas]

Jili: Mulan! Mulan, something terrible is going to happen! Hey, where is

[Mulan walks in the tent]

Mulan: Did you need me for something?

Jili: I have something very important to tell you.

Mulan: What a coincidence! I have something very important to tell you, too.

Jili: Really? What?

Mulan: Li Liang has just given the order. The main army marches in an hour.
We of the advance group must leave first.

Jili [blanching]: We're going out to fight the Tujue. No, we can't do it! If
we go out to fight the Tujue we'll all lose our lives!

Mulan [puzzled]: What are you saying?

Jili: You can't go and Li Liang can't go. None of us can go.

Mulan: Jili, what nonsense are you talking now?

Jili: I don't know how I know. It must be a sign from the gods.

Mulan [excited]: Jili, did you regain your powers?

Jili: Of course not.

Mulan [impatiently]: Then why are you saying if we head out we won't return?

Jili: I had an awful nightmare.

Mulan: You had a dream? Jili, stop joking with me.

Jili: I'm not joking. I dreamed that you and Li Liang went out to battle the
Tujue and out of the blue, a huge thing fell with a loud bang and it made
the everything go topsy-turvy.

Mulan: And then what happened?

Jili: You and Li Liang were blown to bits and your remains were turned into

Mulan [paling]: We're going to die such a horrible death, such that even our
corpses won't be intact? [Jili nods forlornly] Because of this dream, you
want me to flout a direct order and retreat? [Jili nods and Mulan sighs] Do
you honestly think I will do that?

Jili: You don't have a choice. It's the only path you have before you.

Mulan: Jili, I won't do it.

Jili: But why not?

Mulan [sternly]: We head out in one hour. Hurry back to the barracks to
notify our comrades to prepare.

Jili [protesting]: You know you're heading to certain death; why do you
insist on running to greet it with open arms?

Mulan [exasperated]: Do you want me to ask Li Liang to rescind an order,
send the entire army back to the capital, and accept defeat, just because of
your dream? If word got out the world would laugh at us!

Jili: I'm not joking with you! Every word of what I have said is the truth.

Mulan: Jili, I understand that you care a great deal for me and I know how
you feel.

Jili: You don't need to say another word! I can see you don't believe me. In
your eyes, I'm just a lowly foot soldier. You won't listen to me. Isn't that
right? Besides, I have no powers left.

Mulan: Jili.

Jili [holds hand up]: I'm going back to start packing to prepare to head
out. [He turns and leaves Mulan's tent]

[Cut to area outside of camp. Mulan has her troops ready as she prepares to
receive final instructions from General Li]

Mulan [saluting]: General Hua of the advance group is ready to march at your
command, sir.

General Li: Good job, General Hua. [The Second Prince walks over]

Second Prince: General Hua, I hope you encounter Shile very soon and beat
the stuffing out of him. When you return home victorious, I will hold a
great celebration in your honor. [Mulan nods]

[The next scene has General Li and Mulan walking down a road together, side
by side. He stops and pulls out the triangular charm Li Liang's mother gave
him earlier and hands it to Mulan]

General Li: This is the protective charm my mother gave to you.

Mulan [surprised]: Popo really asked you to give this to me? [He nods and
she takes it carefully from his hand. She looks at it wonderingly]

General Li [quietly]: Please be careful and take care of yourself. I will
await your return. [Mulan looks up at him and nods, then turns to walk away
to rejoin her troops. He watches her leave and can't quite seem to hide the
worry he feels]

[Cut to scene somewhere in the field. A large map is spread out and Mulan is
pointing at a landmark]

Mulan: Based on intelligence, the enemy is here. Our main objective is here.
[She points at a spot just east] Remember, the enemy is led by the cunning,
shrewd, and unpredictable Shile. When fighting against him, we must be on
our guard at all times. The easier the place to fight him seems, the greater
the danger. Everyone, do not act in haste and without careful thought. In
this battle, the archers are to provide the main support for the initial
attack. Zhang Xi, you are to lead the archers.

Zhang Xi [takes straw out of his mouth]: General, ma'am, don't worry and
just focus on charging ahead. I'll see to it that the enemy won't dare to
even show a hair on their heads.

Mulan [nods]: Those of you attacking on the flank are to stay back until I
give the order to engage. Is that clear?

Zhu You: Yes, ma'am!

Mulan: Jili, follow me. [Jili reluctantly walks over and starts to protest,
but is silenced with a glare from Mulan] That's an order!

Jili: Um. Yes, ma'am.

Mulan: Head out! [She starts walking down the road with her troops behind
her. They pause and Mulan hides behind a tree] Halt. The enemy is up ahead.
[Jili doesn't pay attention and continues moving forward, so Mulan drags him
back] I said, the enemy is up ahead.

Jili: Oh. [He keeps anxiously trying to peer for a closer look at the Tujue.
Mulan gets a wistful look on her face]

Mulan: Jili, do you regret joining the army with me?

Jili [shakes his head]: No, I don't.

Mulan: I have something I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart.

Jili: What is it?

Mulan: Meeting you is the single happiest and proudest event in my life. It
doesn't matter if you are or aren't an immortal; you'll always be my good
friend and comrade.

Jili: Same here. [He unsheathes his sword and starts running backwards while
emitting a bloodcurdling war cry]

Mulan: Jili, that way! [She points to the forward direction and then leads
her troops in the attack. Meanwhile, Zhang Xi and his fellow archers are
standing atop the rise so they have a clear shot against the Tujue soldiers.
Zhang Xi pulls out a leather visor with slits cut out for his eyes. It looks
like a sunshade of some sort]

Fellow archer: What is that?

Zhang Xi: General Hua gave this to me before we started on this trip.

Fellow archer: But what is it for?

Zhang Xi [puzzled]: I'm not sure. She just said that with it on, it wouldn't
matter if it was night or day my marksmanship would be equally accurate.

Fellow archer: Really? Then put it on and give it a try. Hurry! Put it on.
[Zhang Xi puts the visor over his eyes and draws back his bow]

Zhang Xi: Well, my sweet, Zhang Xi is here to give you a big warm welcome
(in Chinese, the term for "welcome" is "huanxi," a pun on his name).

[Below, Mulan and her soldiers are charging the enemy. Zhang Xi and his
fellow archers let fly with their arrows. A fierce battle ensues, with the
Tujue fighting Mulan's troops in hand to hand combat. Many Tujue soldiers
fall under the hail of arrows from Zhang Xi and his comrades. Zhang Xi aims
an arrow at the Tujue Khan but he catches it out of the sky. Soon, it
appears as if the Tujue soldiers are openly fleeing. Mulan's troops start
giving chase, thinking they are gaining the upper hand]

Jili: Hey, we're wining! We're winning!

Mulan [aghast]: Don't follow! [To Jili] Shile's troops couldn't possibly be
that poorly trained. [Her troops do not heed her warning, though, and
continue to pursue the fleeing Tujue soldiers]

Tujue Khan: Hua Mulan, farewell! [He gives the signal to use the secret
weapon. The mortars land with devastating effect on Mulan's troops. She
yells for them to retreat but she sees her men getting mowed down before her

Mulan [yelling]: Retreat! Hurry, retreat!

Tujue Khan: Attack! [His men attack anew, chasing after the suddenly
bewildered soldiers of Mulan's troop. One mortar lands at the feet of her
archers. Everyone looks up in horror]

Mulan: Zhang Xi! [He alone remains standing, but only for a few seconds,
then he, too, falls to the ground]

[Fierce fighting continues, but Mulan's soldiers not only have to contend
with falling mortars but also the suddenly capable foot soldiers of the
Tujue. Zhu You attacks the Tujue with renewed vigor, slashing left and

Tujue Khan [shakes his head]: These men don't know whether to live or die,
the dumb pigs.

[Zhu You throws his sword in the direction of the Tujue Khan, but he easily
deflects it. In that split moment, Zhu You runs over to the mortar and jumps
in front of it, preventing it from firing. The Tujue Khan tries to pull him
away but he stubbornly stays. His body is blown apart by the force of the
mortar firing, but he manages to prevent it from killing any more of his
comrades as the mortar is also destroyed]

Mulan: Zhu You!

[She turns and looks around her, seeing that all of her men are either
wounded or dead. The fighting starts to wind down when a figure flies across
the field (it's a show, so bear with me). The field is suddenly strewn with
dead or wounded men. The flying figure is the Tujue Khan, who is on his way
to fight Mulan in hand-to-hand combat. Two of her soldiers remain, including
Jili, and both try to help. Jili is knocked aside and so is Mulan, but
Xiangzi manages to jump on Tujue Khan's back. While he is thus distracted,
Mulan manages to thrust her sword in Tujue Khan. As he dies, he and Mulan
exchange knowing glances]

[Later, Mulan is standing alone in the middle of the battlefield. She is
still holding her sword and then kneels on the ground in a move reminiscent
of the old Marshal in his final battle. General Li has arrived with his men
and his initial impulse is to run to Mulan, but he stays back, realizing she
needs some space. He steps on a small charm which he recognizes as the
protective charm his mother gave Mulan, then pauses to pick it up. Mulan
looks bowed down by the weight of what has happened to her soldiers. General
Li is thankful that the charm has done its job. We see dead soldiers
everywhere. Xiangzi and Jili are sitting huddled together under their

Xiangzi: Esteemed one, all our comrades are dead. Didn't you say that we
wouldn't die? [He grimaces partly in physical and emotional pain]

Jili [dazedly]: They're not dead. They are all so strong. They will never
die. They will never die. They haven't died. They will always be strong.

[Cut to Generals' Residence, where Li Liang's mother and Yiren are happily
receiving General Li home from battle. Mulan is following on their heels]

Li Liang's mother [arm in her son's arm]: You're home! The only thing that
matters is that you came back safe and sound.

General Li: Mother, I hope you are well?

Li Liang's mother: I'm fine.

Mulan: Popo.

Li Liang's mother: I heard that you got into trouble for something and
almost lost your life.

General Li [warningly]: Mother.

Li Liang's mother: I'm talking to Mulan. Why are you interrupting? [Turns to
Mulan] You're okay, right?

Mulan: Just got slightly wounded. It's nothing serious.

Li Liang's mother: The battlefield is a dangerous and cruel place. No matter
how skilled you are, you're still a woman. You must be careful with
everything, okay?

Mulan [nods]: Yes, I will remember that.

General Li: Mother, and I thought you were going to. [Li Liang's mother
interrupts him]

Li Liang's mother: What, you thought I would criticize her?

General Li [sheepish]: That's not what I meant.

Li Liang's mother: Whom are you trying to kid? No matter what, Mulan is part
of the Li family now. I don't want anyone in the Li family to get into
trouble. [Mulan is grinning at this point] All right, everyone is tired.
Hurry up and get some rest. [She directs her son and Mulan to their quarters
to rest. Yiren pauses when she remembers something]

Yiren: Hey, what about Su Jili? [She turns around and sees Jili slowly walk
in the door. He has dirt on his face and uniform and looks very woebegone.
He quietly approaches the suddenly shy Yiren]

Jili: Yiren, I have returned.

Yiren: I know that. [Jili fishes out the grey bundle from his pocket. Yiren
recognizes the bundle and has a puzzled look on her face] You mean?

Jili: This is what you gave me right before I left.

Yiren [crossly]: Then what did you bring it back for?

Jili: I only took a look at it and touched it once. I couldn't bear to eat
it, but yet I wanted to eat it so badly. [Yiren smiles slightly] I didn't
know if I'd ever have a chance to eat it again.

Yiren [pouts]: Well, I didn't know that. [Turns around and coyly runs off]

Jili [sniffs the bundle]: I wonder if I can still eat it? It smells really

[Cut to a room in the palace. The Emperor is reading a report the Second
Prince wrote of the battle against the Tujue. He smiles at his son when he

Emperor: Good. Very good. The first time you went to battle and you managed
to eradicate one of the enemy's greatest generals. You didn't let my hopes
for you down, nor did you lose any face for me.

Second Prince [kneels]: Father, I do not dare speak lightly of this and take
credit for it. All I ask is for you to forgive me for my mistakes.

Emperor [chuckles]: Get up. It was a great victory. How can you say you made
any mistakes?

Second Prince: Father, this time although on the surface it looks like we
succeeded because we killed the enemy, it isn't really true. The reason we
succeeded this time is entirely due to your great influence and luck.

Emperor [smiles fades]: Oh? What's this all about?

Second Prince: I may have served as your representative on the battlefield,
but I did not have the authority to investigate why Marshal Li's mistakes in
tactics and strategy. He misused his troops and put Hua Mulan in a place of
extreme danger. We very nearly lost our army but for your great influence
and luck. It's only this way that Hua Mulan was able to snatch victory from
the jaws of defeat and escape with her life. She managed to kill Shile, thus
regaining some honor for our empire.

Emperor: Did this really happen?

Second Prince: I have followed your admonition to not take credit where it
isn't due and not tell tales and give you the straight truth. I have
followed every word you have told me.

Emperor [smiles]: Good. Even though it means punishment for you, it's good
to see you would rather not steal the limelight from someone else. You are
finally a man, my son. As for Li Liang. Humph! He has disappointed me

[Cut to throne room, where the officers of the Sui army are lined up before
the Emperor. He is holding the Second Prince's report and waving it around]

Emperor: I want to see the facts and hear the truth. I do not want to see
nor read nor hear this pack of lies! [The throws down the report] Li Liang!

General Li [salutes]: Yes, your Majesty.

Emperor: I want you to scram back to the Generals' Residence. You are under
house arrest. I want you to spend some time thinking about how you performed
as a marshal in this battle. I want you to think over how you fought this

General Li [puzzled]: Your Majesty, I don't understand.

Emperor: I realize you don't understand, which is why I'm ordering you to
return to your house to think it over until you do understand. Now get out!

General Li: Yes, your Majesty. [He shoots a questioning glance at Mulan,
then turns around to leave. Mulan watches him leave in great concern]

Emperor: Hua Mulan.

Mulan [turns around]: Yes, your Majesty?

Emperor: I am very pleased with your accomplishments. You killed a
heathenish Tujue. At least you regained some honor for me.

Mulan: Your Majesty, your humble servant only knows to do her utmost for

Emperor: That's a special thing you did. You managed to return home

Mulan: Your Majesty, I wasn't the only person responsible for this victory.
The entire army deserves to share the credit. For example, Marshal Li also
[The Emperor hold up his hand to interrupt her]

Emperor: You needn't say anymore. I am keeping track of all these things.
[Turns around to face her again] I hereby give you the title of "Number One
Warrior." Moreover, I'm giving you an additional salary of 5000 ounces of

Mulan [seeing she won't get anywhere]: Thank you, your Majesty.

Emperor: You are dismissed.

Mulan: Yes, your Majesty. [She salutes and then turns around to leave]

[Cut to hallway outside throne room. General Li is slowly walking down the
hall looking like a whipped dog. He hears Mulan calling his name and he
looks somewhat chagrined]

Mulan: Brother Liang! Brother Liang! [She runs to catch up with him] Brother
Liang, don't look so downhearted.

General Li: Then how do you want me to look?

Mulan: Let's both go see the Emperor and tell him the entire story, from
beginning to end.

General Li: And then what?

Mulan: Then we, uh. Um.

General Li: A gentleman tells doesn't tell jokes. Are you expecting the
Emperor to retract everything he just said and admit he was wrong? [Sighs]
Go back. [He continues walking down the hallway. Mulan remains where she was

[Cut to a pavilion somewhere. Mulan and General Li are in full armor and
standing before a large group of people. A government official is making an
announcement next to them]

Official: Everyone, Three Mile Village would like to recognize General Hua's
accomplishments on the battlefield. On this day, we'd like to present this
stone marker in her honor. [We see a large structure, several feet tall,
covered in bright red cloth]

Mulan: Everyone, I'd like to thank you for attending. Ensuring our country's
prosperity is everyone's responsibility. I only did my small part to help. I
really don't deserve this honor.

Official: General Hua, you're truly a special person because of your
patriotism and love for your country.

Mulan [bows]: Thank you. Thank you.

Official: General Hua, if you please? [Directs her attention the draped
structure. Smiling, Mulan walks over and pulls the drape off. A large stone
marker, with the words, "A woman without peer" is etched in it, along with a
column that says "General Hua Mulan" and some other stuff I can't read.
Everyone starts clapping and General Li is beaming with pride and begins to
clap also. Mulan thanks everyone while the clapping continues. A man comes
over to General Li and greets him]

Man: Master Hua? [General Li is jarred back into reality by his words and
grins weakly when he realizes the comedy of the situation]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters, where Mulan and General Li both sit
down for a breather]

Mulan: Those seniors were really too kind. Aside from the marker, they also
gave so many gifts.

General Li: After accomplishing great feats in battle, of course they are

Mulan: Enjoying a soldier's perks also entails bearing a soldier's burdens.
It's my duty to serve. Besides, this is my country. They really think too
highly of me. [Excitedly looks into the piles of gifts]

General Li [sighs]: What kind of talk is that? Tens of thousands of men set
out to fight, but how many of them actually make such a name for themselves?
But a mere handful, right?

Mulan [takes his hand]: Brother Liang, victory and defeat are common
occurrences in battle. Moreover, what happened last time is because the
Second Prince likes to attempt great deeds.

General Li: Mulan, you needn't try to make me feel better. I erred in not
successfully persuading the Second Prince into another course of action.

Mulan: That's all water under the bridge, so don't worry about it anymore.
We should continue training so the next time we meet the Tujue we'll thrash
them so well they won't dare return to our soil again.

General Li [nods]: That's right. Come one, come all, we'll thrash them all.

Mulan [stands up]: By the way, the Fourth Duchess has invited us for a
visit. You'd better change your clothes. [She takes the packages and places
them on the sideboard]

General Li [surprised]: What? Do you mean we have to go out again?

Mulan: Of course. How can we not go when someone shows us such favor?

General Li [starts to whine]: I don't think we need to go. Besides, people
want to see you and hear how you fought and slayed the enemy. I think I'll
stay home and rest. You go by yourself.

Mulan: If you don't go that wouldn't look very good.

General Li: But if I go, it'd only be to eat a little and nod my head
accordingly. Besides, these people can't even remember what my surname is,
so could you please let me off for this one?

Mulan [smiles]: Oh, so you're still upset over someone calling you Master
Hua today.

General Li: No, no, it's not that. Don't you think that only shooting the
breeze and having some wine is a little boring?

Mulan [sighs]: That's true. All right. I'll go by myself today. You needn't
join me.

General Li [grins]: Thanks. Don't drink too much, okay? [Mulan nods, then
heads out the door]

[Cut to courtyard, where Li Liang is practicing his swordsmanship. He is
rapidly whirling two swords in his hands and performing an elaborate routine
full of jumps, lunges, and complicated footwork. Li Liang's mother and her
maid are watching from the sidelines. After watching a while, she clears her
throat to get Li Liang's attention]

Li Liang [stops and walks over]: Mother.

Li Liang's mother [grimly]: Humph. Where's that precious wife of yours?

Li Liang: Um. She left early this morning for the Princess's Consort's
palace. The Third Princess wishes to chat with her.

Li Liang's mother [muttering]: If she's not going to the palace for one
thing she's gallivanting here and gallivanting there. Especially since she
returned victorious from war, she's even more smug than ever. Having her as
a wife is like having no wife at all.

Li Liang [protesting]: Mother, there you go again.

Li Liang's mother [sharply]: Have I not spoken the truth? Ever since she
joined our family, how many meals has she cooked for you? How many outfits
has she sewn? She's always heading out the door for one reason or another.
She doesn't have the sense to stay home and wait on her husband and popo.
Some people even think that taking her into our family was to steal some
limelight from her. Tut! Who wants it?

Li Liang: Oh, by the way, mother, I need to head out now.

Li Liang's mother: Where are you going?

Li Liang: I have an appointment with General Liu. [He grabs his outer cloak]
You needn't wait dinner on me. [He hurries out the door before his mother
can protest any more]

[Cut to city street, at a vendor stall. General Li is sitting down and
drinking a bowl of tea alone]

Li Liang [sighs]: How much longer before the sun goes down? [He turns when
he feels a hand on his shoulder. It is the Crown Prince] Your Highness!

Crown Prince [holds up hand]: Just call me Brother Yang.

Li Liang: Um. Okay, Brother Yang.

Crown Prince: What are you doing out here?

Li Liang: I, um.

Crown Prince: Tell you what. Come drinking with me.

Li Liang: I couldn't ask for anything better.

Crown Prince: Let's go then.

[They head to a local brothel and go to a private room. The Crown Prince and
Li Liang each have a lovely lady waiting on them]

Crown Prince [to lady with Li Liang]: Well, aren't you going to drink a
toast to General Li?

Lady: General Li, I toast you. [She tries to hold the cup for General Li
while he drinks, but he is so startled that he accidentally knocks the cup
aside and spills the wine everywhere]

Li Liang [flustered]: Miss, please remember yourself.

[Everyone else laughs at Li Liang's blushing demeanor]

Second Lady: Your Highness, General Li is such fun!

Crown Prince: You know, General Li is that rare breed of true gentlemen.
Don't tease him about his habits, okay? Here, let me toast you. [The drink a
toast together] Tell you what. In future, just call me Brother Yang. In
return, I'll call you Kid Brother Li. Is that intimate enough for you?

Li Liang: Your Highness, I. [Catches the Crown Prince's look] I mean,
Brother Yang, I would be honored.

Crown Prince: That's more like it. [To ladies] Well, aren't you going to
bring out the musical instruments and play some music for us to celebrate?
[The ladies bow and leave the table to begin playing music. The Crown Prince
proceeds to pour some more wine] When wine is plentiful a thousand cups is
not too few. If we don't get drunk we don't go home. Come. Let's start.

[They start to down cup after cup of wine]

Li Liang: Boy, that's good wine!

Crown Prince: Good wine has to go with beautiful women. Then, it has to go
with good music. Getting a little tipsy with wine is what's fun. Come, let's
have another.

[They down a few more cups of wine]

Crown Prince: Sometimes when I'm bored I want to have a little wine to pass
the time. Here, have some more.

[They continue drinking]

[Cut to Generals' Residence, where Mulan is pacing back and forth in
agitation that Li Liang has not returned home yet]

Mulan [to servants]: When Young Master left today, did he say where he was

Servant: He told Elder Mistress that he had a morning appointment with
General Liu.

Mulan [thinks a bit]: Go prepare the litter to fetch Young Master. [The
servants bow and start to leave but Li Liang's mother's voice cuts across
the room]

Li Liang's mother: Not so fast. [She enters with Yiren at her side] What's
the big deal over a man going out and being a little late? You want to send
people to fetch him? How do you expect him to face other people in the

Mulan [protesting]: Popo, it's almost midnight. When Brother Liang left no
one saw him leave.

Li Liang's mother [scolding]: Do you think your husband is good-looking but
ineffective coward? Stop worrying about him. He may not have your luck, but
he's still a VIP! You say nothing about your gadding about all day, but if
your husband is a little late coming home you gripe without end.

Mulan: Popo, I'm only worried about Brother Liang's safety.

Li Liang's mother [sharply]: And I already told you to save your concern for
someone else!

Yiren: Aunt, you shouldn't speak so. You know that Cousin is never this late
coming home. It'd be best to send some servants to fetch him just to be on
the safe side.

Li Liang's mother: Well. You have a point. [To servants] You two, go to
General Liu's residence and see if Young Master is there. If he is, do not
disturb him. [Muttering] We don't want people to laugh at us. [Turns to
Mulan and smiles smugly] I'm doing this for your good, too, lest people say
Li Liang took a vinegar pot to wife. That would make your stock plummet.

Mulan [demurely]: Popo, you really know how to look out for me. [To
servants] Well, aren't you going to leave? [They bow and head out the door
but see Li Liang himself returning. He walks in rather unsteadily]

Li Liang [sheepishly]: Wow. Everyone is still up even though it's late?

Mulan [shortly]: So you know it's late? Why didn't you send a message that
you'd be late? Didn't you know we'd all be worried about you?

Li Liang's mother [chiding]: Now, now, all he did was chat and drink with
his buddies. How is he supposed to keep track of time? What's the big deal
about coming home a little later than usual? You're making a mountain out of
a molehill. [Starts cooing] Now, go to bed and get some rest. [Turns to
Mulan] Well, what are you standing there for? Hurry up and go wait on him!
[Mulan doesn't say anything and walks after Li Liang, but her lips are set
and she doesn't look very happy]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters. Li Liang is washing his face when
Mulan comes over and hands him a small cup]

Mulan: Here, drink this. It'll help dissipate the alcohol.

Li Liang: What for? I only drank a little bit too much.

Mulan: Then why did you drink a little bit too much?

Li Liang: I was having a good time. If you don't like it, then I won't do it
in the future, okay?

Mulan: Who said I was banning you from drinking? But you have to get your
priorities straight. Don't you know that I'm going to worry about you if you
are this late coming home? What's even more aggravating is getting a
dressing down by your mother.

Li Liang [apologetic]: I'm sorry. Next time, I'll send someone home with a

Mulan: There's going to be a next time? I take it you had a lot of fun
drinking today?

Li Liang: What was fun about it? All I did was chat a bit.

Mulan [eyes him suspiciously]: Only you and General Liu?

Li Liang [doesn't look at Mulan]: Um. Yes. [Feigns a yawn and downs the
contents of the cup] Oh boy, I'm tired. I'm going to bed. [Mulan looks
puzzled at his actions]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters the next morning. Li Liang is reading
a book when Mulan approaches him]

Mulan: You're really not going?

Li Liang: Everyone at Mrs. Xiang's house is female. I fear if I go the
conversation will be stilted because of my presence. You'd best go alone.

Mulan: I'm afraid you will be bored at home.

Li Liang: I'll be fine. It's better than trying to make small talk with
people I don't know very well, right?

Mulan: Okay. I'm leaving now. If you get bored, go look for General Liu to
pass the time with. But you mustn't stay too late, okay?

Li Liang: I know. Go now. [Mulan nods and leaves the room. Li Liang resumes
reading his book. Li Liang's mother, with Yiren on her arm, walks in the

Li Liang's mother: Li Liang? [She sits down at the table while Yiren remains
standing at her side]

Li Liang [looking up]: Mother.

Li Liang's mother: Is that wife of yours gadding about with the wives of
VIP's again?

Li Liang: It's hard to say no to these things.

Li Liang's mother [scolding]: There you go again, making excuses for her.
Does she cut you any slack?

Li Liang [holds hand up]: Oh, mother, I just remembered that I have an
appointment to meet with my fellow officers back at headquarters. I should
be leaving now.

Li Liang's mother: Li Liang, wait! [Li Liang turns around] Does Yiren know
any of them? If she does, you should bring her along with you. [She doesn't
notice Yiren's shocked face] The more the merrier.

Li Liang [shakes his head]: Mother, that wouldn't do at all. They're all
men. If Yiren is there things will be uncomfortable. I'm leaving now. [He
darts out the door and ignores his mother's protests]

Li Liang's mother: Li Liang! [Sees her son is out of earshot] Yiren, have
you noticed that ever since he returned from war he hasn't seemed happy?

Yiren: Well, this battle cost a lot of soldiers' lives. Although the Emperor
didn't specifically blame or punish Cousin, it's small wonder Cousin will
still blame himself and feel badly over the events.

Li Liang's mother: I don't think it's that. Victory and defeat are common
events for soldiers. I think it's because he married a woman who's more
masculine than any man! If it weren't for her, the Emperor would put all his
emphasis on him instead.

Yiren: But this time, Cousin-In-Law not only saved Cousin, she also snatched
victory from the jaws of defeat. Of course the Emperor will bestow presents
upon her.

Li Liang's mother [checks Yiren for a fever]: Yiren, what's the matter with

Yiren [puzzled]: Aunt, what's the matter with you?

Li Liang's mother: What's the matter with me? What's the matter with you?
Ever since you came back from joining the army, it seems you are always out
of phase with my thoughts. Did Hua Mulan bewitch you, too?

Yiren [protesting]: How can that be?

Li Liang's mother: If you want to recapture your cousin's heart, you must
not show any softness towards Hua Mulan. You must seize the opportunity to
treat your cousin unusually well while he needs comforting. Do you

Yiren [weakly]: Yes, I understand perfectly.

[Cut to street right outside brothel. Li Liang is talking to one of the
attendants at the door]

Li Liang: Have you seen Mr. Yang yet today? [Before the attendant can
respond, the voice of the Crown Prince calls from across the street]

Crown Prince: I just arrived.

Li Liang [turns to salute]: Your High, I mean, Brother Yang.

Crown Prince: Kid Brother Li, I didn't expect you to beat me here today.

Li Liang: Brother Yang, you're mistaken.

Crown Prince: That doesn't matter. Since I have run into you, you must join
me in another drinking fest tonight. [He and Li Liang both enter the brothel

[Cut to scene outside where Jili and Xiangzi have taken up bachelor quarters
together. Xiangzi comes out the door and walks down the street. He walks by
Yiren, who is huddling in the corner, and doesn't notice her. After he
passes, Yiren hurries towards their quarters clutching a basket in her hand.
Jili is sleeping inside and she walks in]

Yiren [talking loudly]: Liu Xiangzi? Liu Xiangzi, are you here? [She minces
inside and smiles when she spots the sleeping form of Jili. She walks over
and gingerly pats him on the back] Liu Xiangzi? [Jili turns around and Yiren
feigns surprise at seeing him] Oh my. I'm sorry to disturb you.

Jili [gets out of bed]: He just went out. Did you need him for something?

Yiren: Oh my goodness, look at this place! You two have taken up bachelor
quarters for not quite half a month and it's already mussed up to this
point. [She starts to fold the clothing lying around]

Jili [protesting]: Hey, leave my stuff alone! You haven't told me what you
need to talk to him about.

Yiren: You just don't know how to take care of yourself. How about you talk
things over with our foster sister, my cousin-in-law, and arrange to move
back in with us so we can look after you properly? You can stop pretending
you know how to look after yourself. [Jili whips his index finger around,
then pokes Yiren on the forehead. She curtly responds] What are you doing?

Jili: I'm checking to see if you are ill. A cow head doesn't sport a horse's
mouth. You still haven't told me why you
want to see him? Don't go changing the subject and claiming you're here to
boss me around, all right?

Yiren [gets defensive]: I know you're the kind of person that only focuses
on eating but not on cooking. With the two of you rooming together, you
wouldn't possibly be eating proper food, so I made some dishes for you.
[Holds the basket in front of him] So would you like to try some?

Jili [surprised]: Oh ho! Here's a change of tune. You're thinking
of others for once?

Yiren [irate]: If you're just going to insult me, then I won't let you eat
any of this. [She moves as to take away the basket but Jili jumps on it]

Jili: No wait, I won't say anything anymore. [Takes the basket aside and
peers inside] So what goodies are here? Hey, it looks pretty good! [Picks up
a cookie] Did you make it yourself?

Yiren [smugly]: Need you ask? I don't mean to brag, but when it comes to
cooking, I'm pretty darn good at it.

Jili: Saying it is one thing. What counts is the taste test. [He gingerly
bites into the cookie. Yiren eagerly awaits his verdict] It's super! [Yiren
is positively beaming with pride] I never thought that even you had some use
in this world.

Yiren [concerned]: Don't wolf the food down! Take your time. My word, you
really ought to just move back in to the Generals' Residence with us and
have done with. You wouldn't have to worry about where your next meal was
coming from and you'd have servants to wait on you.

Jili [in between nibbles]: Do you think I'm daft? If I moved back in I'd
have to spend all day dealing with your aunt. It's not worth any amount of
food for that aggravation. [Yiren turns away in a huff] Or maybe it's
because you are unhappy I'm not around to receive your abuse?

Yiren [scoffing]: You? I lose my appetite when I'm around you.

Jili: Then why are you asking me to move back with you?

Yiren: I'm worried that you'll either starve to death or die of unsanitary
conditions. You see, as a human you're already a sight to behold; can you
imagine how frightening you'd be as a ghost?

Jili: I don't need you to boss me around. [Suddenly gets an idea] Don't tell
me that you [puts on Taiwanese accent] like me now.

Yiren [protesting]: Stop that pipe dream of yours. I'm not blind.

Jili: Humph. I wouldn't speak so soon if I were you. [He continues to munch]

Yiren: Never mind. I don't have time to squabble with you. I have things to
do, so I'm leaving now. [She hurries out of the room and Jili keeps munching

[The next scene shows Yiren hurriedly entering a room in the Generals'
Residence and shutting it behind her. She is patting her chest to calm
herself down]

Yiren: Stop jumping! Stop jumping, I say! Why is this happening? Unless?
[She blanches and sits down] How could I fall for Su Jili? But if you don't
like him, then why did you make pastries for him to eat? Wait. Didn't he
help me out in the army? Well, then I'm really just repaying a kindness,
like I ought. I'm only repaying a favor. There's nothing else to it. [She
relaxes after getting this point clear in her head]