Episode 39:

[Cut to tavern. Xiangzi is sitting there with someone]

Xiangzi: General Hua has always treated me very well. Otherwise, I wouldn't
have gotten the chance to come here, now would I? [He is flirting with two
young ladies in the tavern]

First lady: How is General Hua as a person?

Xiangzi: One word: nice. In two words: very nice.

Second lady: You've been with General Hua a long time. You must know how
heroic and brave she is. [While Xiangzi is basking in the attentions of the
two young ladies, Jili is watching intently in some horror]

Xiangzi: Of course. Take this sword for example. General Hua gave it to me.
[The second lady puts her hand on it to admire it, while Xiangzi caresses
her hand]

First lady: Brother Liu, you're super!

Xiangzi: That goes without saying. Take these boots for example. While this
pair of boots doesn't look like much, after I had followed General Hua for a
long time she gave them to me. [Jili is looking daggers at Xiangzi but
remains behind a post, hidden from view]

Ladies: General Hua has treated you so well.

Xiangzi: That goes without saying. It's entirely because I have a lot of
ability and performed well. And also.

Second lady: Also what?

Xiangzi: Also. [He is interrupted when Jili comes barreling in and grabs
Xiangzi roughly by the collar]

Jili: Also this! [He punches him in the jaw then grabs his collar again]

Xiangzi: Su Jili, are you crazy?

Jili: Am I crazy? If I don't kill you today then I really will go crazy.

Xiangzi: Hey, don't hit me. I know that while you are in the throes of
depression it's very difficult for you to watch me enjoy such popularity
with women. But what can I do about it? My parents had a kid that everyone
likes. There's nothing I can do about it.

Jili: Right now, it's your popularity that is very unpopular with me. You're
not content taking away someone else's precious thing but now you're trying
to catch as many as you can.

Xiangzi [puzzled]: Whose precious thing did I steal? [His nose is starting
to bleed]

Jili: What else is Xu Yiren?

Xiangzi: What? Xu Yiren? [Jili draws back and punches Xiangzi a couple more

Jili [sneering]: You look mighty healthy to me! [Xiangzi slumps to the
ground, out cold. Jili starts to stomp on him and kick him several times]

[Cut to Jili's quarters. Xiangzi is lying on the bed either asleep or
unconscious. Mulan is checking his injuries. She stands up and Jili catches
her look. He sheepishly looks down at the ground. Li Liang is standing
behind Mulan. Both are looking soberly at Jili]

Mulan [sharply]: I want to know why you beat up Xiangzi like that.

Jili [mumbling]: He was riding on your coattails to attract the young ladies
on the street.

Mulan [annoyed]: He's not married, so if he wants to chat with the ladies
there's nothing wrong with that.

Jili: But he has ulterior motives. That shows he isn't pure of heart. So he
got what he deserved.

Mulan [shrewdly]: So did he make a move on the lady who has your heart?

Jili [blushes and stammers]: I don't know what you're talking about. [Walks
away from Mulan. Li Liang eyes him suspiciously. He puts his hand on Jili's

Li Liang: Jili, an honest man has nothing to hide. Who was it that caused
this rift between you two?

Mulan: Hurry up and speak! I for one do not want this to go on any further.

Jili [muttering]: Who knows the object of his affections is?

[At this point, Xiangzi wakes up. Jili comes over and start to try and
smother him with his hands. Mulan tries unsuccessfully to pull Jili away]

Jili: I'm going to kill you!

Xiangzi: Hey, I'm not the person Xu Yiren has fallen for! [Mulan finally
manages to pull Jili aside, but not before Xiangzi bites Jili's hand to make
him let go]

Li Liang [surprised]: What did you say?

Xiangzi [breathing hard]: I'm not the person Xu Yiren has fallen for. I'm
really not. [Mulan and Li Liang both turn to look at Jili, the former with a
tickled look on her face while the latter is quite stern. Jili looks
sheepish and tries to act nonchalant]

[The next scene shows Jili striding across a courtyard in the house. Li
Liang chases after him and grabs his arm]

Li Liang: Jili! This is nothing a real man would be afraid of. Go and tell
Yiren how you feel.

Jili: No. I'm not going.

Mulan: Jili, stop playing around. Liu Xiangzi already said there's nothing
going on between him and Yiren.

Jili: He said there was nothing between himself and Yiren. Who's to know if
there is anything between Yiren and him, though?

Mulan: Then go clear things up with Yiren. If Yiren really does like Liu
Xiangzi, she might be swept off her feet by your eloquence. Don't keep your
emotions bottled up inside.

Jili: You two know Yiren's temper. If she really found out that I liked her.
[He starts to laugh hysterically] she'd probably laugh herself silly.
[Sobers] Truth to tell, I've already accepted the fact that I have no
chance. You don't need to worry about me.

Li Liang: Jili, how about I go and tell her? If she laughs, I'll tape her
mouth shut.

Jili [protesting]: No, don't you go meddling in this.

Mulan: We just want to help you.

Jili [sighs]: No matter what, I'm still an immortal. I'm just having a
string of bad luck. But who knows when the Jade Emperor might call me back
to heaven? What then? Romantic love I something that pleases me just to
dream about. Don't waste your effort on me.

Mulan: How does Yiren feel?

Jili: I beat up Liu Xiangzi because I was afraid he would break Yiren's
heart. I've thought things over carefully the past several days. I'm not a
common man; I have no right to fall in love.

Li Liang [scoffs]: Even if the Jade Emperor changes his mind about you one
day, you could beg him to let you remain in the mortal realms. Then you and
Yiren can grow old together. [Mulan nods approvingly]

Jili [sarcastically]: You really think it's that easy? You just say the word
and it happens? Then what is the Jade Emperor for? The only one who can make
these decisions is the guy upstairs. [Points to the sky]

Mulan [quietly]: So you intend to give up?

Jili: What else can I do? The buck stops here. Don't let anyone else know
about this.

Li Liang: But what about Liu Xiangzi?

Jili: I'll explain things to him myself. Please, I beg you. Thank you. [He
bows and leaves]

Mulan: That's too bad, don't you think?

Li Liang: Perhaps Jili has a point. If there comes a day that the Jade
Emperor changes his mind and recalls him to the celestial realms, but Jili
and Yiren take the next step in their relationship, that would be an even
bigger mess.

Mulan: Well, that's true. [Gets a mischievous smile] You know, those two
make quite a pair.

Li Liang: Maybe that's what is known as fate.

[Cut to fortuneteller's stall. Li Liang's mother is visiting a different one
this time]

Fortuneteller: It's fate. It's nothing but fate.

Li Liang's mother: What do the gods have in mind?

Fortuneteller: You're consulting me because of events concerning your
daughter-in-law. The couple is a match made in heaven. They will never part
all their days. It is truly something to celebrate and revere.

Li Liang's mother [nettled]: Celebrate my ass! [Slams some coins on the
table and storms out of the door]

[Later, Li Liang's mother walks slowly into the sitting room looking rather

Li Liang's mother: Those two will never separate or give up on each other.
It looks like the Li family line will end here. [Sits down sadly] I never
imagined that after staying in the Li family twenty-odd years, observing a
virtuous widowhood and raising Li Liang, he would end up marrying someone
who is neither male nor female. [Shakes head sadly] It looks like I'm
destined to be one of those people doomed to suffer in the next life. The Li
family line is going to end here.

[Li Liang and Mulan walk in the room]

Li Liang: Mother.

Mulan: Popo.

Li Liang: Mother, yesterday you said you weren't feeling well, but then you
ran off somewhere early this morning. Where did you go?

Li Liang's mother: I went to make some offerings at the temple.

Mulan: You still should have asked someone to accompany you. What if
something had happened to you on the road?

Li Liang's mother [depressed]: Who cares if it did? I have nothing to look
forward to anymore. I may as well die and have done with.

Li Liang: Mother, why are you saying that again?

Mulan: Popo, did I do something to make you angry again?

Li Liang's mother [nervously stands]: Oh no. No, nothing. Um, there's
something wrong with this house's feng shui.

Li Liang [slightly annoyed]: And I thought it was something serious. Mother,
you can consult a feng shui specialist to look things over. We'll change
what needs changing and fix what needs fixing. We'll do whatever you want,

Li Liang's mother: Never mind. Leave me alone. I wish to rest. [She walks
back to the daybed and stretches out on it as if taking a nap]

Mulan [murmurs]: Do you think Popo is acting strangely today?

Li Liang: I think it's because she hasn't been here in a long time, so
things feel a little strange. She'll be fine in a few days. Let's go out.
[Mulan nods and the two of them head out the door. Li Liang's mother sees
them leave and sighs loudly]

[Cut to someone's home late at night. A general is sitting at a table. The
candle suddenly goes out and the general slumps to the table. Soldiers rush
into the room and discover that the general is dead. There is a trickled of
dried blood coming from his mouth, but otherwise, there are no signs of
violence on his person]

Soldier: General, is there something wrong? General, sir, are you all right?

[Cut to a city street in the capitol. A litter carried by several men stops.
The drape is lifted and we see yet another general is dead, also with no
obvious signs of violence]

[Cut to a country road. Jili is running full-tilt down it. He finally
reaches Li Liang and Mulan, who are sitting under a tree]

Jili [out of breath]: There's a letter from headquarters.

Li Liang [concerned]: What is happening?

Jili: It seems that several generals have been assassinated. The Emperor is
livid and wants you to return immediately to help investigate this.

[Cut to palace. Mulan, General Li, and several other government officials
are before the Emperor]

Emperor: General Li and General Hua, you have examined the corpses of these
generals. Have you discovered anything suspicious?

General Li [salutes]: Your Majesty, based on our investigation, there are no
signs of violence on the bodies. Also, there are no signs of poison.
However, that so many will die within two days of each other is truly
strange and not a coincidence.

Emperor: That's what I thought. That's why I ordered you two to return to
thoroughly investigate this. I want you to get to the bottom of this as soon
as possible. Until then, I cannot rest easy.

[Both Mulan and General Li salute the Emperor]

Mulan: Your Majesty, your humble servant has a request.

Emperor: Speak freely.

Mulan: I suggest that until we find out the truth of the matter, we beef up
security for all government officials. This will prevent civil unrest and
boost morale.

Emperor: General Hua has a point. [Turns to Chairman] Chairman Chen? [The
Chairman bows (he's in charge of the military, kind of like the Secretary of
Defense)] I want you to organize bodyguards for all high officials so we can
guarantee their safety.

[Cut to Marshal's quarters at headquarters. General Li and Mulan are
interviewing witnesses and anyone who spent time with the victims. Jili is
helping them take notes on everything. They next are in one of the general's
quarters, where the three of them check the contents of the teapot, books,
and other things, looking for any clues]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters late at night. Mulan and Li Liang are
poring over documents when Jili walks in]

Jili [sighs]: Stop thinking so much. Maybe it's just a coincidence that all
these people died when they did. Even if you were to cudgel your brains
until your hair turned white you wouldn't have a solution, so I suggest you
just give up.

Mulan [sharply]: Would you quit being a wet blanket?

Jili [sits down]: You really don't recognize my concern, do you? You two
have sat there all day without resting to eat or even move. Even if you're
only working your brain you still need to eat.

Mulan: If you want to eat, go right ahead. You can leave.

Jili: Fine. I'll go out and bring some food back so we can all eat together,
okay? [Gets up and almost runs into Yiren, who shrieks in surprise]

Yiren [crossly]: You almost scared me half to death!

Jili: What are you doing, sneaking around like that? Are you spying on us?

Yiren [muttering]: Got too much time on your hands? [Turns to Mulan and Li
Liang] Cousin, Cousin-In-Law, I brought some food for you. [She puts her
tray down on the table. Jili reaches over and picks up a biscuit, but Yiren
delivers a sharp chop with her hand on his wrist. A loud crack is heard and
Mulan and Li Liang look up in surprise. Two seconds later, the pain finally
registers in Jili's brain and he drops the biscuit. Yiren starts smirking at

Jili: Ow! What kind of kung-fu is that? It's very effective! It hurts a lot!
[He gingerly holds his hurt wrist]

Yiren [sweetly]: Did I say this food was for you? [Sternly] If you want any
food you can go fetch it yourself.

Jili [glares]: Xu Yiren! If you have any balls you'll remember not to ever
come asking me for help again. [He flips her off, then scurries from the
room. Yiren sits down triumphantly]

Li Liang: Yiren, you shouldn't be constantly needling Jili. You'll hurt his
feelings if you do.

Yiren [scoffs]: Him? Nah. He's like a large kettle drum. You need to beat it
regularly for best results.

Mulan [innocently]: You seem to understand him pretty well.

Yiren: Of course I do. If you don't believe me, go on the streets and look
for a tramp. You'll see he's just like that.

Li Liang [chides]: You're exaggerating. Jili isn't that pathetic. Don't give
up on him so easily.

Yiren [sighs]: Well, in my eyes, that's all he is. Oh, you two can eat and
work. I'll leave you two. [She walks out the door. Mulan sighs and moves a
plate aside so she can resume reading]

Li Liang: Mulan, since Jili hasn't made his feelings known to Yiren, I don't
think he stands a chance.

Mulan [smugly]: I wouldn't bet on that yet. Women love to play hard-to-get.
You can't believe everything she says.

Li Liang: Oh? Then tell me what things you told me in the past which aren't

Mulan: I'll let you figure that out for yourself. Let's change the subject.
What do you think about this case?

Li Liang: Hm. None of these corpses have any signs of injury, nor are they
any signs of poison. Plus, before this happened, there were no major
incidents in the empire.

Mulan: Are you saying that all these officials dying are just a big
coincidence? I find that hard to believe.

Li Liang: Well, let's not think about that now. We'll take it one day at a
time. All we can do is stay on our guard in case it happens again.

[At this point, a servant runs in the room and greets both Mulan and Li

Li Liang: What's happened?

Servant: I just received word from headquarters that something has happened
to Hu Silang. They request your immediate presence. [Mulan and Li Liang look
at each other, then hurry out the door]

[Cut to official's home. An official is lying asleep (or out cold?) in his
bed. A doctor is checking the man's pulse. He shakes his head and stands up.
There are several family members standing around awaiting the doctor's
diagnosis. In the sitting room outside, Li Liang and Mulan have just
arrived. The Chairman receives them. The doctor is with him. They greet each

Chairman: Marshal Li. General Hua. You have arrived just in time. The doctor
just checked his pulse.

Mulan: Doctor, how is Hu Silang?

Doctor: He has overexerted himself and caused his body humors to get
unbalanced. It's a good thing we discovered it early. I have already given
him some medicine. He's going to need a lot of time for recovery. Under no
circumstances must he push himself.

Li Liang [puzzled]: Hu Silang is in his prime. How come he came down with
this illness?

Doctor: Marshal, sir, even if someone is in their prime, this illness can
strike him. It is not age-specific. Only one in ten thousand people have a
predisposition for it.

Chairman: Do you think all the other generals' deaths are somehow related to
this illness?

[Li Liang and Mulan look at each other but remain silent]

[Cut to courtyard in the palace. The Emperor walks out to enjoy the night
air. Out of the shadows pop three assassins. They are wielding swords and
dressed all in black. They attack the Emperor, who tries to duck and dodge
them. He tries his best to evade the assassins, but he is eventually
cornered and run through with a sword. He yells in pain and we see the
screen become fuzzy. In reality, the Emperor is having a nightmare. He is
asleep next to the Empress and he starts yelling in his sleep]

Emperor: Guards! Someone! Come help! [The Empress is startled awake by the
Emperor's yells] Don't kill me! Don't kill me! [The Empress starts to shake
the Emperor vigorously to wake him up]

Empress: Emperor! What's the matter? [The Emperor suddenly wakes up and sits
bolt upright in bed]

Emperor: I don't want to die! [He takes large gulps of air as the nightmare
slowly leaves him. The Empress tries to calm him down]

Emperor [ashen]: I don't want to die. I don't want to die.

[Cut to throne room the next morning. The Emperor and Empress are seated
with a seer before them. He is counting on his fingers as if calculating the
future for their Majesties]

Emperor [impatient]: Seer, hurry up and tell us what these nightmares I've
had the past several nights mean.

Seer: Your Majesty, I have finished tabulating the results.

Emperor: Oh?

Empress: Is it a bad omen? Don't be afraid to speak up.

Seer: Your Majesties, please forgive me. This is definitely a bad omen. Your
Majesty, when you built this empire, the guilty and innocent were slain and
buried together.

Emperor [impatient]: Stop dickering around. Tell me the unvarnished truth.

Seer: Those people who died in spite of their innocence are trying to exact
revenge on your Majesty.

Emperor [thumps arm of throne]: How dare you! I unified this empire because
I had divine direction and blessings. Who dares to take revenge on me!

Seer [starts to shake and hurriedly genuflects]: Your humble servant erred,
your Majesty!

Empress: The Emperor built this empire because he has a responsibility to
rule it; the gods have willed it. If some innocent bystanders lost their
lives as a result it's nothing unusual. If we can somehow dissipate this
vengeful energy, wouldn't that be even better?

Emperor: Hm. You have a point. [Turns to Seer] Rise and answer my questions.

Seer [rises]: Thank you, your Majesty.

Emperor: Aside from the nightmares of my death I've been having recently,
numerous generals have died mysteriously, either from illness or some other
cause. Is this the work of vengeful spirits?

Seer: Your Majesty, these two things are most likely related.

Emperor: Is there some way to fix this?

Seer: Your Majesty, you can fix this by making offerings to the heavens,
asking forgiveness for killing innocents. This way, you will regain your
peaceful sleep.

Emperor: That's an excellent plan. I will leave the preparations in your
hands. No screwing up.

Seer: Yes, your Majesty.

[Cut to scene outside temple. A large drum is mounted on its side, while a
drummer in a bright red outfit is pounding away on it. Servants are standing
in a line, also dressed in red clothing. The Emperor and Empress walk down
the lane, accompanied by Mulan and General Li, as well as several other high
officials. The Emperor kneels before the temples altar and silently says a
prayer. Everyone else kneels also, following the Emperor's example]

[Cut to palace. General Li is receiving orders from the Emperor]

General Li: Your Majesty, you wish us to stop our investigations into why
the generals died?

Emperor: Exactly. It turns out the generals died either because of
repercussions from my empire building, or because they died unfair deaths,
hence the gods sent a judgment on us. Since we made that offering earlier
and dissipated the vengeful spirits, I trust all will be well from now on.

Mulan: But we think there is another reason for these events.

Empress: General Hua, I realize you and your husband are diligent workers,
but as of today you haven't found the root cause. Explaining things in terms
of spirits seems to work as well as anything else. You two should stop
wasting your time on this issue.

Emperor: General Hua, Marshal Li, the Empress hit the nail on the head.
Besides, the royal doctor has managed to save Silang's life. Perhaps his
illness is tied in with the deaths of all those generals. You have spent
many days investigating this without any fruit. Let's consider the case

Mulan and General Li [bow]: Yes, your Majesty.

Emperor: Chairman?

Chairman: Yes, your Majesty?

Emperor: Please end the additional security put in place for the military. I
don't want to waste resources.

Chairman: Yes, your Majesty. [Mulan and General Li look at each other in

[Cut to a dark room somewhere. A hooded figure is playing a bamboo flute.
Three figures come inside and kneel before the hooded figure. Looking
closely, the hooded figure has a black mask across her eyes and nose, but
her mouth is uncovered]

Masked Figure: Split up. Without my express commands you are not to meet up
with each other.

Figure: Master, Yang Jian (I think this is the Emperor's name) just
disbanded the additional security for his generals. This is the perfect time

for us to make our attack to clean them all up.

Masked Figure [sternly]: And who is the master and who is the apprentice?

Figure: Please forgive me, Master. I realize the error of my ways.

Masked Figure: Without my orders, if anyone acts of their own accord or
meets up with each other, I will execute them without delay. [Her voice
changes and becomes disembodied towards the end of the sentence (I'm not
sure why)]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters at the Generals' Residence. Mulan is
tidying up things and putting all the books and papers relating to the
deaths of the generals into a large basket. She picks up one scroll and
unfolds it. Li Liang walks in and notices her intent expression]

Li Liang: Mulan, what's the matter? Not willing to give up?

Mulan: Do you really think it's evil spirits acting up?

Li Liang [sighs]: Well, it's our own fault we couldn't come up with a
possible reason of our own. Maybe all these generals really did die because
of a judgment from above. [He reaches to the table and puts several more
books into the basket, then starts to carry it into the inner chamber]

Mulan [surprised]: You're not going to throw those out?

Li Liang: Are you willing to part with them? Besides, we might have a use
for them later. [He carries them inside. Mulan nods, picks up a few more
books, then follows him inside]

[Cut to Jili's rooms. Jili is sipping from a cup of tea while sitting on his
bed. Yiren is at the doorway and shyly peers in. She walks in and clears her
throat loudly to get his attention. He sees her, then spits out the tea he
was drinking]

Jili: Liu Xiangzi, there's someone here to see you.

Xiangzi [voice coming from outhouse?]: Who is it?

Jili: He wants to know who you are. You can tell him yourself.

Yiren [sweetly]: Liu Xiangzi, it's me. There's no hurry; I'll wait for you.
[Jili is looking very jealous, so he picks up a basket on the ground and
slings it over his shoulder. Yiren deliberately stands in his way] In a
hurry to go out?

Jili [sarcastically]: Well, what else am I going to do here? Keep myself

Yiren: Hey, didn't you say a while ago that you wanted to know whom I liked?

Jili [scoffs]: And how good is your taste, pray tell? However, Liu Xiangzi,
he is a genuinely good person. It's too bad that while the goddess is
willing the prince hasn't even dreamed it. If you really like him, then put
some more effort into it.

Yiren [puzzled]: You're telling me to put more effort into it?

Jili [quietly]: Yes. Even though our relationship isn't very good, we do
have some history together, and I know that Xiangzi is really a good man. I
hope you two make a match of it. However, I know that he prefers quiet and
demure women. In future, you might want to curb that tongue of yours and
tone down your actions. [Yiren nervously covers her mouth and looks
sheepish] Act a little kinder towards others and treat people with more
politeness. Don't be so peppery, okay? I wish you the best. [He leaves the
room. Yiren tries to catch his attention but he ignores her and keeps
walking. After he leaves, Xiangzi comes out of the outhouse]

Xiangzi: Miss Xu? [Yiren turns around] Miss Xu, you wished to see me about

Yiren: Um. Nothing much. I was bored so I decided to come over and shoot the

Xiangzi: Oh? [Starts to act shy and nervous] Miss Xu, there is something I
want to tell you.

Yiren [mutters to herself incredulously]: He isn't really falling for me, is
he? [Turns to Xiangzi and pastes a smile on her face] Oh, I just remembered
I have some urgent business I need to attend to. I'm sorry. [Starts to leave
but Xiangzi calls after her]

Xiangzi: Oh, it won't take too much of your time. Miss Xu, you are beautiful
and your spirit is lively. You also have two famous relatives, your cousin
and cousin-in-law. Whoever takes you for a wife is truly lucky beyond words.

Yiren [puts up hand]: Um. You can't just look at the surface of things. In
reality, I'm not pretty in the least. I've got rough facial skin; it's the
makeup that hides it all. When it comes to temperament I'm even worse. I
have a fiery temper and I have wild mood swings. And when it comes to birth,
well, that's even worse. If my parents were still alive and I had siblings,
I wouldn't have to rely on my aunt.

Xiangzi: My, my, my. I thought you were a pampered and spoiled daughter of a
wealthy family. I never thought you would have such a clear and honest view
of yourself. I'm sorry, Miss Xu, for thinking you were less than you are in
the past.

Yiren [puzzled]: Less than I am?

Xiangzi: To tell the truth, when Su Jili said you were falling for me [Yiren
blanches at his words in shock] I was extremely unwilling. Then, I heard you
belittling yourself like that I realized you are actually a very humble
person. You also know how to empathize with other people. You made yourself
seem so low so as to make me feel better. Miss Xu, from now on, I'm starting
over. I have decided to accept your love. [Puckers up his lips and closes
his eyes. Yiren jerks as if slapped]

Yiren: Um. That's okay. No need to be so polite. [She suppresses a little
shiver, then hurries out the door. Xiangzi still stands there with his lips
puckered. When he realizes Yiren is gone, he pats his lips]

Xiangzi [sheepishly]: Of course. She's shy. [Sighs in happiness]

[Cut to a tavern. Jili is sitting alone muttering to himself. He looks very
downcast and sad]

Jili: A failure. Jili, you're such a failure. [Shakes his head] As an
immortal you were low man on the totem pole. Now that you're a mortal you're
still pathetic.

[At this point, Yiren comes running into the tavern, looking high and low
for someone. She spots Jili and walks over, her face set grimly]

Yiren: Su Jili! [She swings widely with her left arm to try and hit him, but
he ducks. She then swings with her right arm and he blocks her blow]

Jili: As soon as I heard that tone of voice, I knew you had nothing good to
say. How did I offend you this time?

Yiren [sits down]: What nonsense did you tell Liu Xiangzi?

Jili: What did I say?

Yiren [leans forward and whispers]: Why did you say that I liked him?

Jili: I was spreading the good news. Why did you come and hit me?

Yiren [exasperated]: Stop meddling in other people's affairs.

Jili: I was afraid that unless Liu Xiangzi found out he would ignore your
good intentions.

Yiren [nettled]: I don't need your help.

Jili: But you have to understand that I'm trying to do good deeds. You made
a mistake falling for your cousin. I'm afraid if you make another mistake
like that you'll never get married.

Yiren [annoyed]: Right or wrong, it's my business. [Starts raising voice] I
don't need you to meddle in it. And even if I never get married in this
lifetime I promise I won't get in your way, so you can stop worrying about
me! [She stamps her foot in frustration, then runs out the door. Jili
remains behind muttering to himself]

Jili: If I didn't still like you the smallest iota, I wouldn't even bother
listening to you.

[Cut to dining room in the Generals' Residence. Li Liang's mother and Yiren
are sitting together eating a meal. Li Liang's mother sighs loudly and Yiren

Li Liang's mother [surprised]: What's the matter, Yiren? You sigh when I
sigh? You haven't been yourself the past few days. Have you had a
disagreement with that person (significant other)? Tell me if you did. I
have been down that road myself.

Yiren: Nothing happened.

Li Liang's mother [unconvinced]: Nothing? Men and women are meant to get
married. If you really are interested you should encourage him to propose.
The sooner you get married the sooner you'll settle down with life. That
will save me a lot of worrying. Bring him by to meet me sometime. That way
we can hurry things along.

Yiren [pouts]: Aunt? [Shakes her head decisively] I don't want to marry

Li Liang's mother [looks elated]: Oh, so you're at outs with each other?
Then that's all the more reason to bring him home. Let me scold him
thoroughly for you.

Yiren: I think I ought to handle this myself. You don't need to worry about
me. [Picks up her rice bowl and continues her meal]

Li Liang's mother [frowning]: Why so secretive? Who is the person you've
fallen for?

Yiren [soothing]: I'll tell you later. I promise I'll tell you later, Aunt.
By the way, why were you sighing left and right earlier?

Li Liang's mother [sighs]: It's this problem with the Li family line.

Yiren: Cousin hasn't even been married a year. You don't need to worry so
much, do you?

Li Liang's mother: The lucky ones already have one kid with another in the
oven. He can't even have a fit.

Yiren: Well, maybe Cousin-In-Law has been working too hard. She needs a
little more time.

Li Liang's mother [resignedly]: It seems that the chances of Hua Mulan
helping increase our family size isn't very hopeful.

Yiren: Aunt, don't keep saying that.

Li Liang's mother: Oh, you wouldn't understand. Come on, let's finish our
meal. [Yiren looks worried, but she doesn't say anything more]

[Cut to the chapel in the Generals' Residence where Li Liang's mother is
kneeling before the altar. She is praying and chanting a Buddhist chant when
Li Liang and Mulan walk in]

Li Liang: Mother?

Mulan: Popo?

[Li Liang helps his mother get to her feet]

Li Liang: Mother, you've been here quite often praying and chanting the past
few days. Is there something you are asking for?

Li Liang's mother: Are you saying I should ignore the gods unless I need
something, then beg them on hands and knees?

Mulan: That's true. You have to talk to the gods often so you will have
their ear. Popo, I don't need to go to headquarters tomorrow. I'll accompany
you to the temple to make some offerings.

Li Liang's mother: That's okay. I don't want to go.

Li Liang: Mother, Mulan has some free time, so you should go.

Li Liang's mother [shortly]: I already said I didn't want to go. I'm sleepy;
think I'll go to bed. Have a good chat amongst yourselves. [She slowly walks

out the door, looking dejected and quiet]

Li Liang: Mother, take care of yourself. [After Li Liang's mother leaves,
Mulan looks at Li Liang]

Mulan: Hey, hurry up and help me figure out what I did wrong to offend your
mother. [Li Liang thinks a second] Well, have you thought of anything?

Li Liang: There's nothing wrong. Maybe she really is tired.

Mulan: Popo has been acting strangely ever since we returned from the home
village. How can she be tired for so long?

Li Liang: Mulan, don't worry so much. Hasn't she treated you very well
recently? Besides, it's not as if you are that irritating to have around.
[He places a hand on her shoulder but Mulan continues to look puzzled and

[Cut to Li Liang's mother's quarters. There is a small ceramic monkey whose
mouth emits a stream of incense smoke. Li Liang's mother is sitting at a

Li Liang [calling from outside]: Mother, have you gone to sleep yet? [With a
sigh, Li Liang's mother gets up and goes to open the door. She looks around
and notices Mulan is not with Li Liang. She turns around without a word. Li
Liang enters and shuts the door behind him]

Li Liang's mother: What are you doing here so late at night?

Li Liang: Mother, it seems that ever since we came back from our home
village you've been sad and depressed. Mulan is concerned, so she asked me
to come over and see how you were doing.

Li Liang's mother [sarcastically]: So I assume your wife is disappointed
that I haven't been cracking jokes with her?

Li Liang: Mother, it's not like that. [Both sit down at the table] Mulan is
very concerned for you.

Li Liang's mother: That's enough. After all that where are you now?

Li Liang: Mother, if Mulan said something that offended you, tell me and I
will give her a combing down when I see her later. At least it's a lot
better than trying to read minds.

Li Liang's mother: Fine. I'll be blunt with you. I want to hold my grandson
in my arms. Can she grant my wish?

Li Liang [looks uncomfortable]: Um. Mother, this can't be rushed.

Li Liang's mother: What do you mean it can't be rushed? Do you remember your
sixth uncle's son? He is the same age as you. He got married a little
earlier and now already has two sons and two daughters. You've been married
about a year already and you can't even lay an egg. [Folds arms and frowns]

Li Liang [mutters]: If you want eggs, I'll buy them for you. I'll buy as
many as you want.

Li Liang's mother: What did you say?

Li Liang: Um. Nothing. Is that all?

Li Liang's mother: What do you mean is that all? Can you make me happy?

Li Liang: We'll do our best, okay? It's getting late, Mother. I'm going to
bed now. [He leaves her quarters]

Li Liang's mother [muttering]: Do your best. If only Mulan could produce a
kid I wouldn't be so worried.

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters. Li Liang walks in and Mulan expresses
surprise at seeing him]

Mulan: Brother Liang, where did you go? I turned around for a minute and
then you disappeared.

Li Liang: Nowhere in particular. I went to go have a chat with my mother.

Mulan: Is she feeling all right?

Li Liang: She is most displeased with you.

Mulan [worried]: Oh? What did I do wrong this time? [Grins broadly and
starts tugging on his arm] You know what it is. Come over and tell me what
it is. [They both sit down]

Li Liang [teasingly]: This? This is a very serious issue.

Mulan [nervous]: A serious issue? [Mutters] Did I forget to pay my respects
one day? No, I don't think so. [Her eyes open wide when she gets an idea] Oh
my, I must have said something wrong when we were paying our respects to the
ancestors. [She starts to run out the room but Li Liang grabs her arm]

Li Liang: Where are you going?

Mulan: I'm going to apologize to her. I don't want to live under a cloud of
disagreements like before.

Li Liang: Mother isn't angry at you for saying the wrong thing.

Mulan [puzzled]: She isn't? Then what is she mad about?

Li Liang: She's mad at you because.[He leans over and whispers in her ear.
Mulan starts to blush and stammer]

Mulan [blushing]: What business is it of hers?

Li Liang: Well, if continuing the family line doesn't concern you, then who
does it concern?

Mulan [starts to pout]: Having kids is not something that happens just
because I want it to happen.

Li Liang: I know that.

Mulan: Then what did you tell Popo?

Li Liang: I told her that we would try our best and give it our best

Mulan [playfully swats him]: How nauseating.

Li Liang [feigns a hurt look]: If I don't put it that way, then how else am
I supposed to put it? Go ahead, tell me. [Start to grin] Mulan, I'm quite
interested in seeing what our offspring will look like.

Mulan [teases]: Ideally, they should be like me.

Li Liang: Oh, so you're saying that I don't look that good?

Mulan: Your looks are well enough. But the way you are scared of your mother
is something that isn't good. [Starts to chase him and tickle him]

Li Liang: I might be afraid of my mother, but I'm even more afraid of you!
[They start chasing each other around the room]

Mulan: Afraid of me?

[Cut to army headquarters the next morning. Li Liang is sitting in a room
looking over documents and writing things down. Mulan walks in the room]

Mulan: Brother Liang, what are you up to today?

Li Liang: Mulan, Hu Silang hasn't yet fully recovered from his illness. The
Chairman has too much to do, so I'm helping him with some paperwork.

Mulan: Do you need me to help?

Li Liang: That's okay. You should go home and get some rest.

Mulan: And I was afraid you'd detain me. Well, I'm going home then. Don't
work too late, okay?

[Li Liang nods and Mulan leaves]

[Later, it is either late evening or night. Li Liang walks out the door of
the headquarters where a guard is standing]

Guard: General, sir, do you need a horse?

Li Liang: That's okay. I'll walk home.

Guard: Take care, sir.

Li Liang: I will.

[He walks out into the empty streets. As he walks along, he hears footsteps.
On the rooftop of a building an assassin dressed in black is perched. He
turns his head slightly at the sound but gives no indication that he is
aware of the assassin's presence. On the other side, a second assassin is
lurking. Suddenly, several darts with strings attached to them shoot at Li
Liang. He grabs an abandoned basket and uses it to block the darts, then
grabs the strings and yanks them to bring his attacker into the open. The
assassin on the roof jumps down and attacks Li Liang with a sword. He
disarms the second attacker and sends the first attacker flying. They start
to retreat and he tries to go after them, but a third attacker, the masked
ringleader we met earlier, joins in the fray to fight hand-to-hand with him.
They spar briefly, then she retreats, leaving Li Liang alone on the street]

[Cut to sitting room. Mulan is sitting up alone reading a book. A maid walks

Maid: Young Mistress, the sweet soup (dessert) is ready. Do you want me to
bring it in for you?

Mulan: Young Master isn't home yet. Please take the sweet soup to the
kitchen to keep it warm.

Maid: Yes, ma'am. [She curtsies and leaves the room. Li Liang's mother and
Yiren come in the room from the hallway]

Li Liang's mother: Li Liang isn't home yet?

Mulan: No, he isn't. Popo, you go on to bed. I'll wait up for him. [Yiren
helps Li Liang's mother sit down]

Li Liang's mother: He's my only son. How can I sleep not knowing he is safe?
[Sighs] Between his uncle (paternal) and my husband he's the only heir. I
don't even know when we'll have someone to carry on the line.

Yiren: Aunt, Cousin and Cousin-In-Law are both naturally brave and
courageous. How can you worry that they won't have any offspring? I would
worry that you'd have so many grandsons you wouldn't know how to handle them
all. [She tries to cheer her aunt up but Li Liang's mother is having none of

Li Liang's mother [even more gloomy]: If that were true it would be great.
Naturally brave and courageous? Men should act like men; women should act
like women. That way, yin and yang are in balance and you'll have a hundred
sons and a thousand grandsons. [She sighs again and looks significantly at
Mulan] After spending so much time in the army I think you don't know how to
act like a woman anymore. I don't know what you're lacking.

Mulan [sits down]: Popo, I know that I'm not quite built right, but you can
relax. I will do my best.

Li Liang's mother [sighs]: Just saying it is not enough. You have to gird up
your loins. You need to hurry up and pay the piper to plant the seed so as
to put a stopper in those brass lips.

Mulan [puzzled]: Whose brass lips?

Li Liang's mother: Oh, never mind. [At this moment, Li Liang walks in the
door. He has white powder on one side of his clothing]

Mulan [gets up]: Brother Liang, you're home. [Is puzzled with the powder on
his clothing] What's with that?

Li Liang: Oh, it's nothing much. On the way home I was ambushed.

Mulan: Who's responsible?

Li Liang: I don't know. However, based on the type of kung fu they used,
they are not Chinese. [Li Liang's mother walks over and starts examining him
for injuries]

Li Liang's mother: Are you sure you're not injured?

Li Liang: Really, I'm fine. See, there's nothing wrong with me.

Li Liang's mother: That's not good enough. I'm going to light some incense
before the ancestors. Yiren, come with me.

Yiren: Oh. [She hurries to follow Li Liang's mother. Li Liang tries to stop
his mother]

Li Liang: Mother, you don't need to go.

Li Liang's mother: You're the one that needs to be careful. The Li family
only has you remaining. I hope the ancestors will protect you and keep you
from harm. [She leaves with Yiren in tow]

Mulan: Brother Liang, how many people attacked you?

Li Liang: There were a total of three people. The last attacker looked like
their ringleader. He wore a mask and his martial arts skills are quite good
and my equal.

Mulan: Do you think these people have anything to do with the mysterious
deaths of those generals?

Li Liang [nods]: I was thinking the same thing. When they attacked me, they
used silk threads and darts. I'm sure those darts had poison on them.

Mulan: I think we need to tell the Emperor about this. Maybe we'll discover

Li Liang: Yes. Tomorrow morning we'll report this to him.

[Cut to dark room. The masked assassin is there with her underlings. The
underlings are kneeling before her]

Masked Figure: Wolf, Tiger, do you have any regrets?

Wolf and Tiger: Master, please have mercy!

Masked Figure: If you don't understand the criteria for rewards and
punishment, I can clarify it for you. You have been with me for a long time.
You should know how I think.

One Underling: Wolf and Tiger were to excited, so they slipped up.

Masked Figure [sternly]: Did I ask you for an excuse?

One Underling: Master, please forgive me.

Tiger: Master, Li Liang and Hua Mulan killed my brother and have my eternal
enmity. My only regret is that I didn't have the chance to kill them myself,
thus satisfying my brother's spirit. I wish to have the chance to do that.

Masked Figure: Hm. And what about you, Wolf?

Wolf: I have an elderly mother at home and small children. Master, please
have mercy.

Masked Figure: Well, since you can't start your journey with an easy heart,
I will personally escort you part of the way! [She flicks a white powder
from her hands into Wolf's face. He falls backwards, dead] I will take care
of Li Liang and Hua Mulan myself.

Tiger: Master, comrades, I salute you! [He hits himself in the forehead to
commit suicide (I know it's not realistic), then falls backwards, dead]

Masked Figure: You two, take their two bodies and give them a proper burial.

Underlings: Yes, Master!

Masked Figure: Li Liang, Hua Mulan, I'm adding this to our score.

[Cut to palace. General Li and Mulan are before the Emperor reporting the
attack. Several ministers are also there]

Emperor [surprised]: What? There was an attack last night in the streets?

Mulan: Your Majesty, the people who attacked Li Liang last night are all
trained. We feel they may have something to do with the mysterious deaths of
the generals recently.

Emperor: If they died at an assassin's hand, then they would have shown
signs of injury on their persons. Or, they would have shown signs of

General Li: Your Majesty, when I was fighting them, it seemed that their
kung fu was based on non-Chinese methods. If that is true, then the signs of
injury may be subtler than we expect. I suggest we exhume the bodies and
reexamine them. We might find something new.

Emperor: However, if we disturb the spirits? [Turns to seer standing nearby]

Seer: Yes, your Majesty?

Emperor: Is there anything we should worry about?

Seer: Your Majesty, this would not be convenient. [He looks rather
suspicious, as if he is deliberately trying to hinder General Li and Mulan's

Mulan: Your Majesty, if we don't investigate things thoroughly, then we may
have many more victims.

Seer: Generals Li and Hua, I think there is another explanation for these
events. The deaths of those generals and the attack on General Li maybe
completely unrelated. To exhume those bodies to further investigate would be
a most disrespectful act. It must only be done under the most dire and
urgent need.

Emperor: Chairman, what do you think?

Chairman: Your Majesty, these two events must be related. Last time, even
the royal doctor couldn't find a cause. Even if we were to exhume the bodies
and look everything over, it would be a waste of time.

Emperor: The Seer also spoke well. Generals Li and Hua? I want you two to
continue investigating this case. However, as to exhuming the bodies and
disturbing the spirits, I think you can skip that. [Mulan and General Li

[Cut to city street. Li Liang's mother and Yiren are walking along when Li
Liang's mother starts to hop up and down as if possessed]

Yiren [alarmed]: Aunt, what's the matter? [Sees that a passerby's two
children have accidentally stepped on Li Liang's mother's shoe, she starts
to scold] Why don't you watch what your kids are doing? Aunt, are you okay?
[The passerby starts to walk away but Li Liang's mother recognizes her]

Li Liang's mother: Hey, aren't you Mrs. Gui?

Mrs. Gui: Oh, if it isn't Li Liang's mother? It's been a long time, hasn't

Li Liang's mother: And how is Mr. Gui?

Mrs. Gui: Oh, it's a hard life but he's still doing okay. These two here are
my son's two sons.

Li Liang's mother: Then that means you're a grandmother, right?

Mrs. Gui: But I'm not nearly as lucky as you are. Your son is the Marshal
now. We're happy to have enough food on the table. However, neither gold nor
silver can make you laugh as much as having children will. What about Li
Liang? He's two years older than my son is. He should have a flock of
children of his own by now.

Li Liang's mother: I don't have your good fortune.

Mrs. Gui: Well, I don't have your good breeding. But, I'm content. I have my
children and grandchildren and we're all fed and cared for. That's pretty
good already. Now, tell us a bit about Li Liang. He has great fame and
fortune. There should be nothing beyond his reach. If he doesn't have kids
soon, and if something happens on the battlefield one of these days, well,
no, I won't speak of this anymore. You don't need to worry about continuing
the line with such fame and fortune at your disposal. [During this speech,
Li Liang's mother is trying to keep smiling but you can see it's getting
harder and harder]

Li Liang's mother: Thank you for reminding me of that. Oh, by the way, come
by the Generals' Residence when you have some time. I'll give you some of my
old clothing. You're dressed way too plainly.

Mrs. Gui: I'm sorry, but I must be going home now. [She leaves with the two
grandchildren. Yiren turns to her aunt]

Yiren: Oh, so that's the lady from the home village who used to always harp
about you never remarrying?

Li Liang's mother: Exactly. Did you see that smug and self-satisfied
expression she had when she found out Li Liang didn't have any kids yet?
It's all the fault of that Hua Mulan.

Yiren [surprised]: What? You can't blame this on Cousin-In-Law, can you?

Li Liang's mother: If I don't blame her, then whom do I blame? Tell you the
truth, the fortuneteller said she would never give birth to any sons.

Yiren: Wouldn't have any?