Episode 45:

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters. Li Liang and Mulan are asleep in bed
when a maid comes pounding on their door]

Maid: Young Master! Young Mistress! Miss Xiaoqian has committed suicide!
Young Master! [Li Liang and Mulan bolt awake at the noise and hurry outside]

[The next scene shows Xiaoqian being gently removed from a loop of cloth she
had thrown over a ceiling rafter. The servants bring her down slowly]

Li Liang's mother: Slowly. Gently. [Yiren and Li Liang's mother help her
stand when Mulan and Li Liang come in the room]

Mulan: Xiaoqian, why did you do something so stupid?

Xiaoqian [weakly]: Don't worry about me. Let me die.

Mulan: Xiaoqian, aren't you and the Crown Prince in love with each other?
Why do you want to die?

Li Liang's mother: If you want to prosecute someone take him to a court of
law. Silly child. If there is anything eating you just grit your teeth a
little and bear it. You have but one life. How can you throw it away like

[Cut to throne room in the palace. The Emperor and Empress are seated with
the Crown Prince and Second Prince standing before them]

Emperor [angrily]: I thought you said you two cared for each other. How come
the very day marriage is proposed she decided to try and hang herself that
night? Speak!

Crown Prince: Sire, I really have no idea why.

Emperor [sneers]: You don't know why? I think it's because you have too many
concubines already and you're not content with them. Then you went visiting
all sorts of brothels and it still wasn't enough. So now you have to resort
to strong-arming commoner women to suit your fancies?

Crown Prince: Sire, I really didn't force her to do anything.

Emperor: You still deny it?

Second Prince: Sire, before we get to the bottom of this, you can't just
blame my brother. Perhaps this commoner girl has some hidden sorrow. We
mustn't falsely blame an innocent man.

Empress [to Emperor]: This time our second son has a point. How about we
bring Zhuang Xiaoqian before us and ask her what she has to say about this?

Emperor: Fine. [To eunuch] Go fetch the commoner Zhuang Xiaoqian and bring
her back to the palace. [The eunuch bows and leaves. The Emperor glares at
the Crown Prince again] We'll see what excuse you can spin later.

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Xiaoqian is sitting at a chair in a sitting
room. Yiren is fixing her hair for her with a maid at her side. Xiaoqian
looks oddly quiet and resigned. Li Liang's mother hurriedly bustles into the

Li Liang's mother: Xiaoqian! Xiaoqian, are you ready? The litter to take you
to the palace has been waiting for you a long time already.

Yiren: Okay, okay, Aunt. She's just a little too pale. Hey, how about I put
on some more blusher? [She reaches for the blusher but Xiaoqian stops her]

Xiaoqian: That's okay. After I enter the palace, if the Emperor is
displeased and he chops off my head, what does it matter if I have more or
less blusher?

Yiren [aghast]: Xiaoqian, don't make it sound so scary.

Xiaoqian: I'm willing to end it all, so what's left to be frightened of?

Li Liang's mother [eyes wide in horror]: Yiren, take the maid outside. I
have a few words I want to say to Xiaoqian.

Yiren: Oh. [She hustles the maid out the door and follows after her, making
sure to shut the door behind them. After they leave, Li Liang's mother drops
to her knees before Xiaoqian. Xiaoqian jumps to her feet in surprise]

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, what is the meaning of this?

Li Liang's mother: Xiaoqian, our family hasn't treated you well. I know full
well why you plainly don't want to become the Crown Prince's Consort. You
can consider it a favor to me or a favor to Li Liang, when you see the
Emperor, you mustn't under any circumstances mention Li Liang's name!

Xiaoqian [kneels before Li Liang's mother]: Elder Mistress, even if the
Emperor slices me with a thousand knives, my decision to rebel against this
marriage is mine alone. How could I drag the Marshal into it? Please get up.

Li Liang's mother [nods and stands up with Xiaoqian]: Then that's a load off
my mind. [Sighs] Your going into the palace is something that may bode well
or ill; I don't know at this point, so don't beat yourself up over it.
Actually, Crown Prince is not in any way inferior to Li Liang.

Xiaoqian [earnestly]: Elder Mistress, ever since I first laid eyes on the
Marshal, I never wanted to marry anyone else or be anyone else's wife. If
the Marshal and I truly are meant for each other but fate gets in the way,
then what's wrong with dying? [Li Liang's mother's eyes fill with tears at
Xiaoqian's words] If I never get to see him again, could you please tell him
for me, that I will see him again in the next life. [Li Liang's mother
breaks down completely and starts blubbering in Xiaoqian's arms]

Li Liang's mother: You silly child. [She cries with Xiaoqian for a while. Li
Liang is watching from the doorway. He looks torn by his emotions. He doesn'
t notice Mulan is watching him also]

[Cut to throne room in the palace. The Emperor and Empress are seated with
their servants around them. Xiaoqian enters the room and kneels before them]

Xiaoqian: Your humble servant, Zhuang Xiaoqian, offers her respects to your

Emperor: Stand up so we can talk.

Xiaoqian [keeps eyes downcast]: Yes, Your Majesty. [She stands up and then
slowly looks to their Majesties]

Empress: Zhuang Xiaoqian, I have a question for you. How come as soon as His
Majesty gave you the honor of becoming the Crown Prince's Consort you
decided to try and kill yourself? [Sharply] Are you saying that the Crown
Prince is not worthy of you?

Xiaoqian: Your Majesty, I am not worthy of such a high honor. Besides, I
have long since sworn an oath as deep as the deepest ocean and high as the
highest mountain. That's why I'm in the predicament I am today. [The Crown
Prince and Second Prince look at each other in surprise and shock at her
words] Your Majesties, please investigate this to confirm it.

Crown Prince: If you swore such an oath with someone, then why didn't you
say so sooner? [Xiaoqian lowers her head and remains silent]

Emperor: Zhuang Xiaoqian, why aren't you saying anything?

Xiaoqian: I don't dare.

Empress: Is it because you had already promised someone else so you didn't
dare explain things with the Crown Prince?

Xiaoqian: No, it's not that. It's just that, um.

Emperor [sharply]: It's just what? Don't be so wishy-washy.

Xiaoqian [nervously]: Yes, Your Majesty. I already have someone in my heart,
and I told the Crown Prince so long ago. [The Crown Prince blanches in
shock] But, His Highness refused to listen to me.

Crown Prince [annoyed]: You're lying! I had no idea you had already fallen
for someone else.

Emperor [snaps]: Silence! This is not the place for you to shoot your mouth

Crown Prince [panicking]: Sire, I really had no idea she had already fallen
for someone else.

Second Prince: Brother, don't worry. Sire and mother will get to the bottom
of this.

Empress: Zhuang Xiaoqian, are you saying that even though you told the Crown
Prince this, he still forced his attentions on you?

[Xiaoqian hangs her head and nods slightly]

Crown Prince [livid]: You temptress! What is your plan?

Xiaoqian: Your Highness, you are a man of such high social stature in this
empire. You have all sorts of women to choose from. Please, let me go!

Crown Prince [furious]: Preposterous! You're smearing me! I'm going to kill
you! [He lunges for Xiaoqian but the Second Prince restrains him]

Second Prince: Brother, control yourself! Calm down!

Crown Prince [struggles]: Let me kill this worthless scum! I showed love and
caring towards you and you not only do not appreciate it, this is the thanks
I get! I'm going to kill you!

Emperor [barks]: Take this beast away! [Both the Crown Prince and the Second
Prince stare at their father in shock] Guards, take this beast away and lock
him the furthest reaches of the palace!

Guards: Yes, Your Majesty! [The guards come forward and take the Crown
Prince away. He protests mightily as he is hauled away]

Crown Prince: Sire, I was framed! Sire! Mother! Sire, I was framed! I was
framed! [As the Crown Prince is taken away, Xiaoqian continues to weep

Second Prince: Brother! [Turns to the Emperor] Sire!

Emperor [shortly]: Don't say a word!

Xiaoqian: Your Majesties, it's all my fault that you're upset and that the
Crown Prince is not acting like himself. Please kill me to punish me for my

Empress: Forget about it. This has nothing to do with you. Servants! Escort
Zhuang Xiaoqian out of the palace.

Xiaoqian: Thank you, Your Majesties. [She follows a eunuch out the door. The
Second Prince watches her leave with a look of satisfaction on his face]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Li Liang is in his study anxiously pacing back
and forth. Mulan is at the door and notices his nervousness but doesn't
enter. When he nears the door, she hides behind a post. He steps outside and
looks around, then returns to the study. Mulan peers out once more and looks
quite disturbed at his demeanor]

[Cut to scene of Li Liang standing outside at the front door to the Generals
' Residence. He is deep in thought. Again, Mulan is watching him but he
doesn't notice her]

[Cut to the study in the Generals' Residence. Mulan storms into the empty
study and starts talking to herself in anger]

Mulan: Li Liang, don't tell me that you really do have feelings towards
Zhuang Xiaoqian! [She takes a deep breath] Calm down. Calm down. [Breathes
again] Calm down. Zhuang Xiaoqian once saved his life. She is going to the
palace to turn down a marriage, so her fate is still unknown. Of course he
would feel worried about her. [She chuckles at herself] Don't be so selfish.
You're just making yourself jealous for no reason. [She walks over to the
desk and sits down] Don't go thinking nonsense anymore. There are a lot of
things to be done. Focus on your chores. [She opens a book and leafs through
the pages. She comes upon the poem that Xiaoqian wrote to Li Liang tucked
inside and reads it aloud]  [As shereads it, Mulan gets more and more agitated]
Li? Why, that's a poem with hidden meanings! [She slams the poem on the
desk in anger] Li Liang! You're good. You're real good.

[She reaches over for the sword on the rack and draws it out. The green
handkerchief flutters out on the desk. Mulan picks it up and puts it to her
nose to see if she recognizes the scent. She crumples it in her hand and
starts to cry when she realizes this is Xiaoqian's handkerchief]

[Cut to front door of the Generals' Residence. The litter carrying Xiaoqian
to the palace has returned with her. The litter carriers place the litter on
the ground and Xiaoqian alights. She looks up at the entrance and smiles,
then enters]

[Meanwhile, inside the Generals' Residence Li Liang's mother is silently
praying to the gods]

Servant: Miss Xiaoqian has returned!

Li Liang's mother [jumps up happily]: Hurry! Let's go see her. [She brings
the maid with her]

[In the courtyard, Li Liang is reading a book on a bench]

Maid: Miss Zhuang has returned! [At the news, Li Liang drops his book and
runs to the main entrance]

[At the main sitting room, one of the menservants is escorting Xiaoqian

Servant: Miss Zhuang, I bet the palace is really beautiful inside. [Xiaoqian
nods] You're so lucky to come home safely. You have no idea how worried
Elder Mistress and Young Master have been.

Li Liang's mother [barreling in the room]: Xiaoqian!

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress!

Li Liang's mother: You're all right, right?

Xiaoqian: I'm fine. I'm sorry to worry you.

Li Liang's mother [rebukingly]: This isn't the time to say things like that.
[Frowns] Drat that Su Jili and Yiren. By the time they find out the news you
've already come home. There's still no sign of hide or hair of them. [Turns
to maid] Go make some fresh tea for Xiaoqian to relax with.

Maid: Yes, ma'am. [Li Liang runs into the room and pauses at the doorway]

Li Liang's mother [to other servants]: You're all dismissed. [She pulls
Xiaoqian aside] I say, Xiaoqian, how did the Emperor treat you? Did you
mention Li Liang at all?

Li Liang [coming over]: Mother, why don't you let her catch her breath

Li Liang's mother: It's because Buddha was looking over things so she could
return safely. The Emperor really didn't blame us for anything?

Xiaoqian: Relax. He didn't.

Li Liang: Then what about your marriage to the Crown Prince?

Xiaoqian: The Emperor has rescinded his writ.

Li Liang: Oh. That's good.

Mulan [walking in]: What's good? Can you share it with me?

Li Liang: Oh, I was saying, it's good that this issue is resolved finally.

Mulan [smiles sweetly]: Nothing else?

Li Liang [puzzled]: What's that supposed to mean?

[Mulan pulls out the poem and the handkerchief and waves it in front of him]

Mulan: The things I have here, you tell me what they mean. [Xiaoqian and Li
Liang look at each other nervously]

Li Liang [tries to take it from her]: Mulan. Actually, um. [Mulan snatches
the items away from his grasp and glares at him]

Xiaoqian: Young Mistress, it's all my fault. It has nothing to do with the

Mulan [eyes Xiaoqian cooly]: When my husband and I are having a
conversation, we do not appreciate any outsiders butting in. [She turns to
Li Liang] Well? Still not saying?

Li Liang [stammers]: Um. Er. I can't stop how other people think.

Mulan: True. You can't stop how other people think. However, I really want
to know why you hid these items.

[Li Liang remains silent but Li Liang's mother saunters over]

Li Liang's mother [sniffs]: So what? Some love letters I got from an old
flame forty years ago I still keep hidden. Are you saying I haven't been
true to my widowhood vows? Besides, Li Liang is a man. So what if he is a
bit of a tomcat? It's quite common for a man to have multiple wives. If you'
re not comfortable with that, you can go kill yourself.

Mulan: Popo, you are also a woman!

Li Liang's mother: It's because I am a woman that I admit my fate. If Li
Liang's father hadn't died so early, I might have become the first wife
among several. Maybe he would have had three or five or even seven
additional wives to help him have more sons. That way Li Liang wouldn't have
to grow up by himself.

Li Liang [takes his mother aside]: Mother, let me handle this with Mulan.
Don't get involved, okay?

Li Liang's mother [snaps]: The problem with you is you're always letting her
have her way, otherwise, the very day Xiaoqian saved your life you could
have married her to reward her for rescuing you. If you had done that, we
wouldn't be in this predicament right now.

Mulan [aghast]: So all of you long since planned this out?

Xiaoqian: Young Mistress, please don't take it the wrong way. This happened
all because I couldn't control my own feelings. Don't blame Elder Mistress
and the Marshal.

Mulan [sternly]: I said that this is my family's affair; I'll trouble you to
shut up! Li Liang, you can ignore your mother's demands because they aren't
important. I just want you to say one thing: kick out Xiaoqian from this

Li Liang's mother [irate]: What do you mean he can ignore my demands because
they aren't important? Li Liang, do you see how she doesn't treat me with
the proper respect? That's one of the seven cardinal rules that she's
broken. Disown her!

Mulan [ignores Li Liang's mother and says sharply to Li Liang]: Say it! I
want you to say it!

Li Liang: Mulan, Xiaoqian just returned from turning down a marriage. Don't
you think it's too cruel to kick her out now? [Mulan's eyes widen in anger.
Jili comes in the room excitedly]

Jili: I can't believe it! [Yiren comes running in with him. Li Liang's
mother hurries to Jili]

Li Liang's mother: What is it? Did the Emperor change his mind and now wants
to arrest us all?

Yiren: No, that's not it. It's the Crown Prince. The Emperor has given him
his walking papers. He is banished from the capital. Without an imperial
writ, he is forbidden to return!

Mulan [livid]: What? [She glares at Xiaoqian, then storms out of the room]

Jili: Mulan? [Follows her] Mulan! [He turns and the rest of the family all
suddenly look subdued at the news of the Crown Prince]

[Cut to scene outside the capital. The Crown Prince is preparing to mount
his horse to leave. Mulan walks over and curtsies to the Crown Prince, whose
back is towards her]

Mulan: Your humble servant, Hua Mulan, would like an audience with you, Your

Crown Prince [quietly]: Go home. I don't want to see you.

Mulan: Your Highness, when will we meet again after today? Please, give me
the chance to escort you part of the way.

Crown Prince: Even if you escort me a thousand miles we will still have to
part ways, so why bother?

Mulan: This matter about the marriage. I have no idea how things ended up in
this huge mess. I really don't know how it happened.

Crown Prince [turns to Mulan]: You have no need to blame yourself. We've
known each other for years. Do you think I don't know your true mettle? The
only one to blame is myself for falling for the wrong person. I gave someone
the opportunity to hurt me. Zhuang Xiaoqian has repeatedly demonstrated her
true colors. You must be on your guard.

Mulan: I know.

Crown Prince: As I leave with the setting sun, I bid farewell with tears in
my eyes towards the capital. Mulan, go back. [He turns and leaves]

Mulan: Your Highness, please take care!

[The Crown Prince mounts his horse and whips it to make it gallop away.
Mulan walks back down the road and sees Li Liang waiting for her. His back
is to her as she approaches]

Mulan [shortly]: Why are you hiding here? The Crown Prince is leaving for
parts unknown and we don't know when he'll return. You don't even have the
courage to say goodbye to him? Is your conscience pricking you?

Li Liang [quietly]: I know you're still angry. I didn't know that the Crown
Prince had intentions towards Xiaoqian, much less that she would ask the
Emperor to call off this marriage. If I did.[His words trail off as he
struggles to come up with an excuse]

Mulan [interrupts]: Even if you did, what of it? Would you advise the Crown
Prince not to compete with you? Or would you advise Xiaoqian to marry him,
even though she has feelings for you?

Li Liang: Mulan, I admit that when Miss Xiaoqian confessed that she liked
me, I was touched. But this a common human emotion. Before, the way Su Jili
felt towards you, are you saying that you weren't touched with his devotion
in the least?

Mulan [icily]: I beg you not to get these two things thrown together into
the same bucket. I made it clear to Jili in the beginning that he would
never have a chance with me.

Li Liang [protesting]: And how do you know that I didn't do the same towards
her? I, too, told her this before, that she had no hope with me. I even
tried avoiding her, but I.

Mulan [interrupts again]: But she awakened things in you that couldn't be
wiped away and would always be there.

Li Liang: Mulan.

Mulan: You don't need to lie to me. And you don't need to lie to yourself.
Your eyes and actions have already told me the answer. [She turns and walks
away. Li Liang watches her go]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Mulan's mother comes storming into the main
entrance with hands flying]

Mulan's Mother: Where is that shameless hussy? Bring her out here so I can teach her a

[Li Liang's mother blocks her way as the servants watch]

Li Liang's mother [sternly]: This is my house! Who are you to raise a

Mulan's Mother: Oh? This is a "house?" I thought it was a private warehouse. You dare to
pull the strings from behind the scenes to help your son have women left and

Li Liang's mother [irate]: Watch that dirty mouth of yours!

Mulan's Mother: My mouth? It's nothing compared to that filthy heart of yours! You see
your son happily married yet you keep trying to tear it down.

[Meanwhile, Li Liang is riding a horse at a quick gallop. He arrives at the
Generals' Residence and dismounts. A manservant takes the reins from him]

Li Liang: Has Young Mistress returned yet?

Servant: No, not yet. However, Young Mistress's mother is surely here. [Li
Liang runs into the house when he hears these words]

[Inside the house, Li Liang's mother and Mulan's Mother are still having a war of words]

Li Liang's mother [sarcastically]: Why don't you blame that daughter of
yours for not rising to the occasion? If she had married into my family and
had had kids left and right non-stop, would I want my son to take
concubines? This old lady would worship her as a goddess if that happened!

Mulan's Mother: Not having sons isn't because Mulan can't rise to the occasion. It's
because your family's luck is too shallow. Take you, for example, a
foul-mouthed and foul-hearted woman. That's a big deduction on your family's
luck right there!

Li Liang's mother [livid]: You're insulting me?

Mulan's Mother: So what if I am? Bring her out here! [The two mothers start fighting
each other]

Li Liang's mother: What are you hollering about?

Mulan's Mother: Bring her out!

[They keep fighting each other as Li Liang rushes in the room. He manages to
separate the two women, but not before Mulan's Mother manages to land a slap on his

Li Liang's mother [aghast]: What? You dare strike an officer of the empire?
Servants! [She waves her arms to attract their attention] Arrest this insane
woman and take her to the magistrate's!

Mulan's Mother: Fine! Bring it on! And on our way, let's stop by at the Emperor's! Let
him see who snatched away the future Crown Prince's Consort. We'll save some
effort that way!

[Li Liang's mother glares at Mulan's Mother. Li Liang tries to soothe Mulan's Mother]

Li Liang: Mother-In-Law, please calm down.

Mulan's Mother: All right. I won't make any more noise. You're all helping that evil vixen,
 eh? Fine. Mulan already told me, and she's not someone to be trifled with
herself, that if that evil vixen doesn't leave then she isn't going to return!

Li Liang's mother [emotes]: Oh, I'm so scared! If she doesn't come back, I
won't be able to eat or sleep.

Li Liang [chides Li Liang's mother]: Mother. [Turns to Mulan's Mother] Mother-In-Law, I'
ll go directly to fetch her home now. [He starts to leave]

Mulan's Mother: Hold it right there! [Li Liang turns around in surprise] If that woman
is still here, and you dare set foot in my house, I will personally break
your legs! [Li Liang doesn't say anything] If you still want your wife then
tell that woman to hit the road now! [To her servants] Come on! Let's go!
[She leaves with her servants. After she leaves, Li Liang's mother is so
worked up she is hyperventilating]

Li Liang: Mother, calm down. Don't be angry.

[Cut to room in Mulan's Mother's residence. Mulan is unpacking a bundle of thing. Yiren
and Jili are at the door peeking at her. They tiptoe in the room, then walk
over to Mulan]

Yiren: Um. Cousin-In-Law, if you don't go back, isn't that giving up?

Jili: Exactly. Go back and straighten out Li Liang. It's a simple thing for
you to handle Xiaoqian.

Mulan [quietly]: If I have his body but not his heart, then what's the use?
I still have a lot of things to get done and I need to focus. I really don't
want to go back and bicker and fight.

Mulan's Mother [walks into room]: I'm furious! I'm absolutely furious! [Yiren, Jili, and
Mulan all stare at Mulan's Mother] Mulan, although you are otherwise intelligent, why
the heck did you have to pick that knave Li Liang? You've only been married
a little over a year and his heart's already elsewhere. [Mulan hangs her
head in sorrow at her mother's words] See, your father treated me better
than that. He at least waited for me to have four daughters before I
grudgingly let him take a concubine. Just now, I went to your home to look
for Li Liang and discuss things. And you know what? He and his mother are
helping that evil vixen by not letting me see her!

Mulan [protesting]: Mother! Why did you run off to the Li household?

Mulan's Mother [walks over to Mulan]: You've gone through so much. If I didn't go and
fight for our rights, are we supposed to sit here and cry into our pillows
instead? Write a letter to your father asking him to come home so he can act
on your behalf and straighten out Li Liang.

Mulan: Mother, I'll take care of my own affairs. You don't need to worry.

Mulan's Mother: What's a woman's maiden family to for? Their purpose is to resolve
issues like this. If you don't feel comfortable writing that letter to your
father, I'll have someone else write it for you.

Mulan: Mother. I haven't finished what the Emperor asked me to do. Don't go
riling things up for me now.

Mulan's Mother [surprised]: Government stuff? [Mulan nods] Well, that's more important,
then. Who knows, maybe the Emperor will like your work so much he'll give
you a promotion. Then when Li Liang and his mother see you, they'll have to
pay you respect. When that time comes and you fight, you can roar all the
louder. [She turns and spots Jili and Yiren still standing there] You two,
go have some tea. Don't bother her, okay?

[Jili and Yiren are surprised at her words]

Jili: Um. Ma'am, ever since you came in the room we haven't said a word to
her. [Yiren nods. Mulan's Mother sighs]

Mulan: Could you leave? I'd like to be by myself for a while.

[Reluctantly, everyone leaves the room]

Jili: Come on, we'll go have that tea.

[Mulan remains behind, looking very sad at the recent turn of events]

[Cut to Li Liang and Mulan's quarters back at the Generals' Residence. Li
Liang is reading over pamphlets late at night. He leans back and stretches
to relieve his stiff neck. He gets a vacant look in his eyes as he thinks
things over. Xiaoqian comes to the door and knocks against the frame to get
his attention]

Xiaoqian: Marshal? [She walks inside]

Li Liang: Oh. Miss Xiaoqian. I'm quite busy right now. If it's nothing
urgent, let's postpone this talk until tomorrow. [He turns back to his

Xiaoqian: I'm sorry. This is all my fault. I've already told Elder Mistress
of my plans to leave. However, she won't let me leave no matter what. I
think I'll wait a few more days until she is feeling better before I return
to my home village. [She turns to leave but Li Liang calls her back]

Li Liang: Miss Xiaoqian? If you head back to your home village under these
circumstances, I won't feel comfortable, let alone my mother.

Xiaoqian [sits down]: But what about Young Mistress?

Li Liang: Um. I'll explain things to her so she understands.

Xiaoqian [smiles sadly]: Fancy that. It might have been better if I had died
when the snake bit you. At least then you and Young Mistress wouldn't be
divided as you are now. The Crown Prince also wouldn't have gotten banished
from the capital as he was.

Li Liang: This isn't your concern. It's not your fault. By the way, when did
you and the Crown Prince.?

Xiaoqian [after a pause]: That time when I left the Generals' Residence
without a word, I met the Crown Prince. He thought I left the Generals'
Residence because I was getting persecuted, so he kept asking me what
happened. At the time, I had a crush on you and Elder Mistress was also
pressuring me to make a match, so I didn't explain things to him. Later,
when General Hua's letters were intercepted and the whole family was
arrested, I went to him for help. Little did I know that he would schedule
meetings with me many more times. I hinted that I only felt respect for him
and not love, but then he gave an imperial writ ordering me to marry him.
Drat it all. It's all because I'm too impulsive. If I had just gone through
the motions and became the Crown Prince's Consort, you wouldn't be in the
predicament you are now.

Li Liang [sighs]: Miss Xiaoqian, things are already done. Feeling bad about
it won't do any good. The Crown Prince is still the Emperor's own son.
Sooner or later he'll send for him. As for Mulan and I, this isn't the first
time we've had an argument. [Sighs again] Don't think so much. [Places his
hand on her shoulder] Don't feel bad, okay?

[Yiren and Jili are walking by the open door when they spot Li Liang and
Xiaoqian. They jump back in the shadows, then peer around the frame for
another look. They are shocked at the scene before their eyes]

Yiren: Oh my! Cousin really is interested? [She is about to storm in the
room when Jili holds her back]

Jili [whispers loudly]: Mulan can't even persuade him. What can you possibly

Yiren: Oh, so we're supposed to just let him have his way, then?

Jili: I won't let him off that easily. [He snaps his fingers and gestures to
Yiren to follow him]

[Cut to the chairman's residence. The chairman is leading Li Liang into a
sitting room]

Chairman: Marshal Li, please have a seat. [They both sit down at a table]

Li Liang: Chairman, did you have something in particular you wished to teach

Chairman: Oh, we're both good at what we do; the only difference is our
fields of expertise. Marshal Li, you are brave and heroic and you're an
excellent military leader. You have my respect.

Li Liang: Chairman, I am but a simple warrior. I prefer straight talk. If
there is something I need to correct, please tell me directly.

Chairman: Since you put it that way, I won't mince words. Confucius has a
saying, that honing the body, raising a family, helping the country, and
spreading peace in the world are items ranked in order of increasing
importance. Based on this, the family is of less importance than the nation.
However, if we look at things at the most basic level, if you can't even
keep your family harmonious, that would likely hurt a general's authority
over his men. This will also hurt our army's authority.

Li Liang [frowns]: Chairman, then I take it your meaning is? [The Chairman
hesitates, then pulls out a large leaflet from his sleeve. He hands it to Li
Liang, who unfolds it and reads aloud] "Forgetting the old love and
promises, chasing the new and shunning the old, Marshal Muzi (in Chinese,
this is "mu," as in Mulan, and "zi" as in male; this may also be a pun
saying he is "wooden" or "unfeeling")."

Chairman [shrewdly]: This Marshal Muzi refers to you.

Li Liang [awakens from his reverie]: Um. Chairman, I have some other duties
to attend to. I'll take my leave now. [He salutes, then hurries out of the

[Cut to scene on city street. There is a leaflet attached to the bulletin
board. Can't quite decipher all the characters, but it seems to contain a
poem that is a thinly-veiled criticism of Li Liang]

Bystander: Who is this Marshal Muzi?

Second Bystander: It must be Marshal Li. There aren't many generals who have
recently wed, especially one that married a unique and heroic woman. That
must be General Li.

Another Bystander: It can't be Li Liang. General Hua is so good to him. How
could she end up like this? This man is chasing the new and shunning the

Bystander: So what if it's General Li. He's still a person, isn't he?

Second Bystander: True.

[Li Liang is walking down the street and hears all the comments passersby
are making about the leaflet's contents. Meanwhile, Yiren and Jili are
hiding nearby watching the crowd's reactions]

Yiren: Is this doing any good?

Jili: Haven't you ever heard the saying it's hard to commit crimes when
everyone is frowning at you? Li Liang, we'll see if you dare keep Zhuang
Xiaoqian around any longer.

Yiren [approvingly]: Have to hand it to you. [They start to blow air kisses
to each other. After several, Jili turns to leave but Yiren continues to
smooch empty air. He comes back and puts his hand on her mouth]

Jili: We still have a lot more to post over there.

[Cut to Mulan's Mother's residence. Li Liang walks in the main entrance and a servant
greets him]

Li Liang [to servant]: Hurry and fetch the daughter of the house.

Servant: Yes, sir.

Mulan's Mother [walks in]: What's the matter, Marshal Li? Oh, you've kicked out that
evil creature from your house? You're here to take Mulan home?

Li Liang [dignified]: Mother-In-Law, I have something to discuss with Mulan.

Mulan's Mother: Mulan is at the duke's place discussing important military matters.
[Starts scolding him] You have no idea how good you had it! Our Mulan is
smart without peer and her martial arts are super. Even the Emperor looks at
her with respect. You married her and you don't know to appreciate what you
have. Don't say that I didn't remind you. If Mulan were to report this event
to the Emperor, there would be no guarantees for you, especially if you did
it for that woman of questionable origins. Is it worth it?

Li Liang: If she's not here, then I'm going to leave now. [He turns to leave
just as Mulan returns with Liu Xiangzi]

Mulan [turns away]: What are you doing here?

Li Liang [annoyed]: What am I doing here? And what have you done, pray tell?
No matter what I did wrong, it's still something that is our private affair.
You don't need to tell the world about it.

Mulan: I don't know what you're talking about.

Li Liang: Don't tell me that you had nothing to do with this. [He hands her
the leaflet. She opens it and reads it. Mulan's Mother comes over and reads over her

Mulan: I really don't know anything about this.

Mulan's Mother [takes the leaflet]: Oh my, this is really well written and to the point!
[Yells at Li Liang] You dare to do these things but you're ashamed to have
people talk about it? [Li Liang is furious but doesn't say anything.
Instead, he storms out of the room]

Xiangzi: Uh, Marshal Li?

Mulan [sternly]: Let him leave.

[Cut to Jili and Xiangzi's residence. Jili is sitting at a table while
pouring some tea for himself]

Jili: Hoo boy, I'm tired. I'm really tired.

Xiangzi: Where have you been these past two days? General Hua has been
looking high and low for you.

Jili: I've been busy doing stuff for her.

Xiangzi [skeptical]: You've been busy with her affairs?

Jili [sips from a small cup]: I predict that within two days Li Liang will
apologize to Mulan and beg her forgiveness, then ask her to return home.

Xiangzi [sarcastic]: So, you're super fortunetelling skills have returned?
They have just finished having a major argument!

Jili [pauses]: What did they fight about?

Xiangzi: Marshal Li said that General Hua has been telling everyone about
their private affairs, and moreover, that she was posting it for the world
to see. He was most displeased. [Jili tries to hide his eyes] But I've been
at General Hua's side the past few days. She's been sequestered at the Sir
Hou's residence discussing things. How would she have time to do something
as pointless as this?

Jili [sarcastic]: Your worship thinks this was a pointless act, don't you?

Xiangzi: Well, if we look at nothing else, just focus on the results.
General Li is throwing a fit over this incident. [Jili dashes out the door,
leaving Xiangzi talking to himself] General Hua isn't saying anything but
she's getting blamed for it. Don't you think it's pointless? [He notices
Jili has disappeared. He looks around and sees no one else is around] Now I'm
the one who's pathetic.

[Cut to city street at night. Jili is staring at a leaflet he posted

Jili: Li Liang, you don't know how good you have it. [He tears down the
leaflet] I hope this wakes you up to the error of your ways so you can fix
it. You had the gall to blame Hua Mulan for this and even hate her for it. A
hero lives his one life grandly. We'll see what you can do about it. I am
willing to pay the price for my own actions. [He crumples the leaflet in his
hand. He notices Xiaoqian walking down the alley nearby, then follows her.
She doesn't see him and instead meets up with the Second Prince]

Xiaoqian [curtsies]: Your humble servant, Zhuang Xiaoqian, greets you, Your

Second Prince [waves his hand]: Rise.

[Jili is so shocked by the sight that he is rendered speechless. He runs at
full speed back to the Generals' Residence. When he finally arrives, he is
out of breath. He hurries inside and looks for Li Liang. Li Liang is sitting
in his study with a pot of tea]

Jili [huffing and puffing]: Li Liang!

Li Liang: What's the matter?

Jili: I'm going to take you to see that woman's true colors.

Li Liang: What?

Jili: It turns out that Zhuang Xiaoqian and Yangguang (Second Prince) are in
 cahoots with each other. I saw her just outside town having a secret
rendezvous with Yangguang. If we go to her quarters right now and she isn't
there, then that will prove I'm telling the truth, right? [Grabs Li Liang's
arm] Come on! What are you waiting for?

[He drags Li Liang down the hall noisily. Li Liang's mother and Yiren come
from their quarters, wondering about the ruckus]

Li Liang's mother: It's late. What's all the fuss about?

Jili: Ma'am, you came here just in time. I'm going to take you to expose
that evil vixen's tail.

Yiren [crossly]: What the heck is going on?

Jili: I was just outside town when I saw with my own eyes Yangguang and
Zhuang Xiaoqian having a secret meeting in the dark. Although, if I were to
bring you there now, they'd probably have already finished their discussion.
However, if she isn't in her quarters, then that means I'm telling the
truth, right? You'll believe me for sure. [He claps his hands] Good, let's
go. [He hurries towards Xiaoqian's quarters with Yiren close behind. Li
Liang's mother gives Li Liang a puzzled look, but both reluctantly follow
Jili's lead. He throws open the doors to Xiaoqian's rooms and walks in. He
chuckles and points at the lump under the blanket on her bed] See, it's just
a fake. [He walks over and grabs the blanket] It's empty. One, two, three!
[He rips it off the bed and then we see Xiaoqian is startled awake. She is
dressed in her pajamas and is shocked that everyone is watching. Yiren, Li
Liang's mother, and Li Liang are aghast at what Jili has done] See, wasn't
it a fake? [He turns to look and does a double-take when he realizes he is
wrong. Xiaoqian hurriedly tries to hide]

Li Liang's mother [furious]: Su Jili! You! [She is so angry she can't find
any words to say, then storms out of the room. Li Liang has a look of
disgust on his face and follows his mother. Yiren hastily picks up the
blanket from the floor and hands it back to Xiaoqian]

Yiren [nervously]: Um. Sorry about that. Truly we are. [She grabs Jili and
pulls him towards the door]

Jili [protesting]: But this has to be a fake person. How come it's so

Yiren [scolding]: Still going on? [Smiles nervously at Xiaoqian] Good night.
[She keeps shoving Jili out the door]

Jili: But this has to be a fake person. How come it's so realistic?

[Cut to sitting room in the Generals' Residence. Li Liang's mother walks in
with Li Liang right behind her. Yiren and Jili follow soon after]

Li Liang's mother: Su Jili, how could you!

Jili [protesting to Yiren]: How could a fake person look so realistic?

Yiren [scolding]: That was so embarrassing!

Jili [puzzled]: But I just saw her on the outskirts of town at that
rendezvous. How could she have returned so quickly?

Li Liang [sternly]: That's enough! Su Jili, I know you treat Mulan very
well. However, this is our family's affair, so stop butting in. Also, don't
go around smearing people ever again.

Jili: You're saying I was trying to smear her? I could have said she was
actually a prostitute from Ten-Thousand Springs (name of local brothel) and
that she was a slut and house-wrecker. Why would I say she was a toady for
Yangguang? Do you think I have nothing better to do? [He flails his arms
about in frustration and two crumpled leaflets flutter from his sleeves.
They land on the floor and Li Liang's mother stoops to pick one up]

Li Liang's mother: Li Liang, what is this about? [She hands it to Li Liang.
He smoothes it out and reads it. He crumples it in anger and tosses it

Li Liang [furious]: And this is more of your doing?

Jili: Um. I only did this because I meant well. I was hoping you would
change your ways while there was still time. [Yiren nods weakly behind him]

Li Liang [icily]: Get out, before I lose my temper completely!

Yiren [gets between them]: Cousin, Jili wouldn't lie to you!

Li Liang: Get out!

Jili: Fine! You must be completely bewitched. A long and weary road tries
the mettle of a horse just as spending a lot of time with someone tries his
mettle. We'll see who gets the last laugh! [He stalks out the door. Yiren
tries to keep him]

Yiren: Jili!

Jili: Stay out of this! We shall see!

[He tries to storm gracefully out of the room but he trips on some wood and
goes sprawling. Yiren winces at the sight. He picks himself back up and
pretends as if nothing happened, then leaves without a backward glance]

[Cut to front entrance to the Mulan's Mother's residence. Jili is dozing against one of
the stone lions at the entrance. He drags it closer so it will provide more
support, but he keeps sliding down. Xiangzi comes out of the house and spots
Jili. He walks over and watches Jili continue to slide down the front of the
stone lion]

Xiangzi: Su Jili. [Jili doesn't respond, so Xiangzi raises his voice] Jili?
[Jili awakens to see a grinning Xiangzi. He scrambles to his feet]

Jili: Where's General Hua?

Xiangzi: General Hua? She's with Sir Hou discussing urgent matters.

Jili: I am also here to discuss urgent matters.

Xiangzi: No can do. If you have something to discuss with her, you'll have
to wait until they finish their meeting. [He turns to leave but Jili grabs
his shoulders]

Jili: So how much longer will they take?

Xiangzi: Um. That's hard to say.

Jili: Tell her that she has to come see me, no matter what. She must come to
see me.

Xiangzi: Okay. I'll go tell them now. [He turns to head back in the house.
Jili gives him a quick shove to help him on his way. He then drags the stone
lion back into place and gives it a brief salute of apology before running
down the street. Xiangzi picks himself off the floor and shakes himself
briefly] Now what did he just tell me?

[Cut to the army's storehouse. Xiangzi is carrying a lamp and leading Mulan
into the dark dungeons that also house the storehouse]

Xiangzi: General, it's right here.

Mulan: Oh. Did Jili say what this was about?

Xiangzi: No. He just said that as soon as you were finished with your
business to see him.

Mulan: Okay. [She looks around her] How come there aren't any guards for the
storehouse? [Xiangzi also looks around, then grins]

Xiangzi: Oh, that's right. General, do you know what Jili loves to do? He
loves to make a hotpot of pork on a cold and bitter night like this. He also
likes to share it with everyone so they can make the best out of a bad

Mulan [sternly]: What if they got arrested? Drat him. Go knock on the door.

Xiangzi: Oh. Yes, ma'am. [He knocks on the door] Open up! [He knocks again]
Open the door! [There is no response, but some smoke starts drifting from
underneath the door]

Mulan [alarmed]: Hey, look!

Xiangzi: Oh no! Su Jili! [He starts pounding on the door and trying to break
in] Su Jili!

Mulan: Jili! [The two of them put their shoulders into it and manage to open
the doors. There is a huge fire burning in the storeroom. Jili is
unconscious on the ground] Hey, Jili, is over here. Go save the others!
[Xiangzi hurries off to look for other victims. Mulan grabs Jili by the
shoulder and shakes him] Jili! Come on! [He doesn't respond, so she grabs
his shoulders and puts his arm around her shoulders to help him out the
door. Xiangzi helps another soldier out the same way. He puts one soldier on
the ground outside the door, then goes back in to look for others]

Xiangzi: Let him lie down there for a bit. [Mulan lets Jili slide off her
shoulder and fall to the ground. She hurries back into the fire. Xiangzi has
now slung another soldier over his back. Mulan bumps into him] General,
where are you going?

Mulan: Take him outside!

Xiangzi: General! [He then turns and heads out the door while Mulan
disappears from view. She finds another soldier and slings him over her

Mulan [hollering]: Liu Xiangzi! Come and help save some more people!

Xiangzi: Okay! [He comes in and picks up another soldier, then follows Mulan
back out of the fire. They collapse on the floor, coughing from all the
smoke and heat. Mulan watches the ceiling cave in for the storeroom]

[Cut to the burnt storeroom the next day. Things are still smoldering when
several government officials enter to inspect the damage]

Chairman: Hurry and tabulate how much food was lost in the fire. I need to
make a report to the Emperor. Hurry up. Hurry. [The officials go to start
documenting the damages. The Chairman sighs. Mulan walks in with Xiangzi
right behind her. They both are shocked at the damage they see]

Mulan: Chairman, how does the damage look?

Chairman: General Hua, it's a good thing you discovered this fire in time.
Otherwise, it would have spread and consumed the other storerooms, also. We
are already short of food stores as it is. And how are Su Jili's injuries?

Mulan: Nothing serious, thankfully.

Xiangzi: That's right. He's okay now.

Chairman: This fire was a serious incident. Su Jili lapsed in his guard
duties. I shall have to investigate this thoroughly and punish him as
necessary. General Hua, you must understand that.

Mulan: Chairman, please don't worry. Su Jili may be my foster brother, but
he is still a soldier and subject to martial law. I wouldn't dream of
shielding him.

Chairman: That's good.

[Xiangzi and Mulan exchange worried looks on their faces]

[Cut to jail. The other soldiers in the fire are dozing while sitting on the
floor and leaning against the jail walls. Their faces are blackened with
soot from the fire. Jili is also sitting there. The rattle chains signals a
visitor to the jail. Yiren enters and her face crumples when she sees Jili's
state. He jumps to his feet when he spots her]

Jili: Yiren!

Yiren: Jili. Are you all right? How could this happen?

Jili: There's nothing really wrong. I just inhaled too much smoke. The
doctor has already examined me and he says I'm fine. [They circle each

Yiren: Really? Then why are you here? What have you done now?

Jili: Um.

Yiren: Jili. [She opens her arms to hug him, but he goes right by her to
someone behind her. She blinks in surprise, then turns to see Mulan and
Xiangzi entering the cell]

Jili: Mulan, what happened to that storeroom?

Mulan [sternly]: How could you be so careless? You know you're not supposed
to start a fire to cook while you're on guard duty.

Jili [whines]: I didn't know it would turn out like this. I normally do that
and it never turns out like this. I only drank two mouthfuls of wine and I
started feeling dizzy.

Mulan: Disobeying the rules is disobeying the rules. Chairman Chen said that
as soon as they are done tabulating the damages, he would make a report to
the Emperor and punish you accordingly.

Yiren [gets between them]: Cousin-In-Law, please try to say something on his

Mulan [sternly]: Wrong is wrong. I can't just let it slide because he's my
foster brother.

Jili [pats Yiren on the shoulder]: No matter. I did this myself and I'll
suffer the consequences myself. I messed up, so I willingly accept the

Xiangzi: Miss Xu, don't worry. Brother Su has good relations with everyone
in the army. They'll all speak out on his behalf. The Emperor won't be too
harsh with him. [Yiren nods sadly and remains silent]

Mulan: Jili, until we get to the bottom of this, just stay here and stay out
of trouble, okay?

Jili: I know. Besides, I couldn't run anywhere even if I wanted to. It's a
good thing you came when you did, or my comrades and I would have been
roasted like pigs.

Mulan: Good. I have to leave now; I have other duties to attend to. [She
turns to leave. Jili tugs on her sleeve, then pulls her aside]

Jili: There's something else I need to tell you.

Mulan: What is it? [Jili leans over and whispers in Mulan's ear. She is
shocked at his words] Really?

Jili: Really. When we went to her quarters I had no idea she would have
already returned and was sleeping in her bed. That's unbelievable. That's
why I think you need to be on your guard against her.

Mulan [nods]: I understand. Don't worry. Liu Xiangzi? [Liu Xiangzi follows
Mulan out of the cell. Yiren stays for one last hug from Jili]

Jili [tearfully]: Yiren, I can't bear to part from you. [He then gives her a
quick shove out of the cell. She tearfully leaves, but not without numerous
glances back at Jili]