Episode 46:

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Xiaoqian is playing weiqi against Li Liang. Li
Liang's mother is watching and clapping each time Xiaoqian makes a good
move. Mulan walks in the house with Yiren behind her. She heads straight for
Xiaoqian and then slaps her face. Li Liang gets up quickly to restrain Mulan
while Li Liang's mother takes Xiaoqian in her arms]

Li Liang's mother [angrily]: Why are you hitting people for no reason?

Mulan: As long as I am still Mrs. Marshal Li, I have the right to hit her!
What kind of a woman are you? You give up the chance to become the Crown
Prince's Consort but come here to take Li Liang away! Just what is your
relationship with the Second Prince? What kind of conspiracy are you
involved in?

Li Liang [pulls Mulan aside]: Mulan, don't go too far.

Mulan [turns towards Li Liang]: I'm going too far? When we first got
married, what did you promise me? You said that if you ever forsook me, what
would you do? Those words that you uttered, have you forgotten them

[Li Liang turns away and doesn't say anything. Li Liang's mother approaches

Li Liang's mother: And who has forsaken whom? After Li Liang took you to
wife, how many of a wife's responsibilities have you fulfilled? How many
meals have you cooked? How many times have you paid me respects? How many
children have you had? How many clothes have you made for Li Liang and how
many shoes have you stitched? Well? [Xiaoqian pulls Li Liang's mother aside]

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, say no more. Young Mistress, it's all my fault.
Young Mistress, as long as you allow me to stay in the Generals' Residence
at Marshal Li and Elder Mistress's side, I don't care what names you call
me. How you treat me is immaterial to me. [She drops to her knees before
Mulan] Please, grant me this wish!

Yiren [arms akimbo]: Oh ho, you can stop with the crocodile tears. You're a
spy sent by the Second Prince. What else do you have to say for yourself?
What is your motive?

Xiaoqian [cries]: I don't have any!

Li Liang's mother [sternly]: Yiren! I forbid you to say anymore nonsense!

Yiren [protesting]: Aunt, this woman is not as simple as you think. Don't
trust her!

Li Liang's mother: There you go again! Xiaoqian has saved us each time she
had the chance. You and Su Jili have teamed up to repay her with such evil!
And now you're accusing Xiaoqian of such things! Scram!

Yiren [aghast]: Aunt, you have never yelled at me so viciously before! All
because of this woman, this woman whose history is a big question mark, you
want me to scram?

Li Liang's mother [repentant]: There's nothing for you here. Go back inside.

Yiren [tearfully]: Well, then I'm scramming! [She leaves the room]

Li Liang's mother [helps Xiaoqian up]: Get up. [Glares at Mulan] As long as
I am still around and kicking, I can still speak for you and vouch for you.
Hua Mulan. Since Xiaoqian has brought up the subject, there's nothing
stopping me from telling you plainly how things sit now. Whether you like it
or not, I have already decided to let Li Liang marry Xiaoqian!

Mulan [doesn't bat an eye and turns to Li Liang]: Li Liang, did you hear
what your mother just said? What do you say about it?

Li Liang: Mulan, we're both battle-tested veterans. We may be away from home
for years at a time. Mother is lonesome enough most of the time. What's
wrong with having another person at home to keep her company?

Mulan [sweetly]: Taking another wife to provide a companion for your mother.
My, it's certainly easy to be a filial son.

Li Liang: Tell me a man out there that doesn't have multiple wives. Besides,
it's great that Miss Xiaoqian gets along so well with my mother.

Mulan [cuts him off]: You don't need to explain it to me. Just answer me
this: are you going to take her to wife or not?

Li Liang: Since you and Su Jili have already spread the word far and wide
about what has happened here, if I don't marry her, how do you expect Miss
Xiaoqian to face anyone? [Li Liang's mother smiles smugly at Li Liang's
words. Mulan snaps in anger and tries to slap Li Liang, but he catches her
arm just in time] Mulan, have you gone insane?

Mulan [livid]: I'm insane? You're just using this difference as an excuse to
do what you truly want. You're even making it sound so honorable and
majestic. I had eyes but did not see! I certainly misjudged you! [She whirls
around and storms out of the house with tears in her eyes. Just before she
leaves, Li Liang's mother goes over to Xiaoqian]

Li Liang's mother: Xiaoqian, are you okay? [Mulan watches to see how Li
Liang will act]

Li Liang [looks at Xiaoqian]: Miss Xiaoqian, are you okay? [Seeing Li Liang'
s actions, Mulan's eyes flash in anger, then she turns and leaves the house]

[Cut to courtyard in the palace. The Emperor is walking around enjoying the
garden when the Empress sweeps into the courtyard. She is looking very

Empress: Emperor! Emperor! [Sees the Emperor hasn't heard her] Emperor!

Emperor [sternly]: Look at your flustered demeanor. Where's your dignity?

Empress: Eunuch Gui just informed me that the gossip on the street is Zhuang
Xiaoqian is head over heels in love with Li Liang. Zhuang Xiaoqian turned
down the marriage to our son for Li Liang, while Li Liang has alienated Hua
Mulan for Zhuang Xiaoqian. He also said that when the clamor over Xiaoqian's
marriage refusal dies down, Li Liang will take her as a concubine.

Emperor [grimly]: A pair of dogs that doesn't know any better. A woman who
refuses to become the Crown Prince's consort and instead would rather become
a concubine? A man who would take away the Crown Prince's love and alienate
Hua Mulan? Servants!

Eunuch Gui: Yes, Your Majesty.

Emperor: Go and fetch Li Liang, Hua Mulan, and Zhuang Xiaoqian back to the

Eunuch Gui: Yes, Your Majesty.

Emperor: I want to find out from them exactly what is going on. [Eunuch Gui
bows and hurries away]

[Cut to palace receiving courtyard later. Mulan approaches and speaks to the
eunuch at the doorway]

Mulan: Hua Mulan is here on the Emperor's orders.

Eunuch: The Empress would like to see other people at the same time. General
Hua, please wait a few minutes. [Mulan nods]

Another Eunuch: Marshal Li, this way please. [Li Liang and Xiaoqian come in
the courtyard from another entrance. Mulan glances briefly at them]

Eunuch: Marshal Li, my regards.

Li Liang: Eunuch Zhang, my regards.

Mulan: Eunuch Zhang, may we enter now?

Eunuch Zhang: Yes, you may. [He leads the way. Mulan follows after him]

Second Eunuch: After you, Marshal Li.

Li Liang: After you, Miss Xiaoqian. [Xiaoqian follows the second eunuch,
with Li Liang bringing up the rear. The group enters the throne room and
kneels before the Emperor and Empress to greet them]

Emperor: Rise and speak. [The group rises to their feet] Li Liang, word on
the street is you and Zhuang Xiaoqian have a secret relationship and that
this is the reason Xiaoqian refused an imperial writ. Is this true?

Li Liang [uncomfortably]: Um. Well. [Mulan looks at Li Liang anxiously to
see how he will respond]

Empress [shortly]: How dare you! While inside the palace you are not allowed
to speak in such a wishy-washy fashion. Is this or is this not true?

Li Liang: Um. It is true. [Mulan closes her eyes in pain at his words]

Emperor: Preposterous! The marriage between you and Hua Mulan took place
with my express blessings. It hasn't even been two years yet you dare cast
your affections in another direction? Moreover, the woman in question is
someone the Crown Prince has fallen for. Do you know the punishment for
being guilty of both of these crimes?

Li Liang: Your Majesty, your humble servant knows the consequences. However,
Miss Xiaoqian willingly gave up all chances at glory and prestige, plus she
was even willing to give up her life. I don't dare forsake her.

Mulan [unable to keep quiet]: So you'd rather forsake me?

Empress [snaps]: Well asked! Li Liang, how do you explain this?

Li Liang: Your Majesty, Mulan came first. She and I have love and affection.
Miss Xiaoqian came later, but I owe her for what she has done for me. I do
not plan to disown one wife so I can take another one, so how can you say I
am forsaking her?

[The Empress doesn't know what to say and turns to the Emperor. Xiaoqian
sees that things are at a standstill, so she drops to her knees]

Xiaoqian: Your Majesties, all these wrongs are my fault. It's all because I
couldn't control my own feelings. [Li Liang watches her with pity in his
eyes, but Mulan is silently glaring at her] If you must find someone to
blame, please blame me for everything. I can die with no regrets. [She
lowers her head when she finishes her speech]

Empress [grimly]: Good. Very good. I will grant you your wish, then. Guards!
Take her outside and hang her!

Li Liang [drops to his knees]: Your Majesty, please have mercy!

Xiaoqian [turns to Li Liang wistfully]: Marshal, since our fates will not
allow us to be together, then what's the regret about dying? These past few
months, just being able to earn even an iota of your care and love, I am

Li Liang: No! I can't let that happen. Your Majesties, if you will commute
her death sentence, I will willingly submit to whatever punishment you see
fit. [Mulan is shocked and saddened at the vehemence of his pleas. The
Emperor and Empress are also taken aback at his fervor]

Emperor: This woman first bewitched the Crown Prince, then she caused one of
my best generals to voluntarily submit to punishment. I fear this is just a
ticking time bomb. Guards! Haul her away and throw her in jail! [The guards
come and grab Xiaoqian, then drag her away]

Li Liang [desperately]: Your Majesty, please take back your command! Your

[As the guards drag Xiaoqian away, the Second Prince enters the room and
greets his parents. Li Liang and Mulan turn in surprise to see him arrive]

Second Prince: Sire. Mother. [The guards release Xiaoqian and walk away. She
remains standing next to the Second Prince] Sire, could you please
temporarily rescind your order?

Emperor: This woman is not auspicious. What's the regret in killing her?
[Impatiently] Don't meddle in this incident.

Second Prince [approaches the Emperor]: Sire, we can't kill this person.
Please check this out.

Empress: And why not?

Second Prince: Zhuang Xiaoqian refused to marry my brother. The news of this
is up and down every alley and street in the capital. Most people believe
that she did this because of her devotion and faithfulness and admire her
for it. If you kill her, everyone will believe you did it because you are
angry that my brother's marriage was called off.

Emperor: In other words then?

Second Prince: A grown man knows beauty when he sees it. [Turns to Li Liang]
We should let these two fulfill their dreams to be together. This will win
the admiration of all our subjects.

Mulan [desperate]: No! Your Majesties! We can't let them get married under
any circumstances.

Empress: Emperor, I agree. If we let these two get married, then what
becomes of General Hua?

Emperor: Yes. Yes, that's true! General Hua has done great things for the
Sui Empire. I will not allow her to suffer so without a good reason.

Second Prince: Sire and mother, I beg to differ. General Hua Mulan is truly
a deserving subject of our empire. But this is the exact reason why we
should let Marshal Li take a concubine.

Empress: And how is that so?

Second Prince [approaches Mulan]: General Hua has so many duties. If the
enemy attacks, she has to strap on her armor and go to battle. She'll worry
that no one is home to supervise the household. If she's worried about that,
then how can she serve her country with a clear heart?

Emperor: Then you suggest?

Second Prince: Let Marshal Li take a concubine that he cares for. It will
also allow General Hua to better focus on her military duties because she
won't have to worry about the household. Wouldn't this kill two birds with
one stone? [The Empress nods at her son's logic]

Emperor: You have a point.

[Li Liang gets up and brings Xiaoqian forward again]

Li Liang: Aren't you going to thank Their Majesties for granting our wishes?

Xiaoqian [kneels]: Thank you, Your Majesties, for granting my wish.

Empress: Rise. [Mulan watches with tears in her eyes. The Second Prince
looks strangely satisfied at the recent turn of events]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Li Liang and Xiaoqian are telling Li Liang's
mother what has happened. She is almost dancing with joy at the news]

Li Liang's mother: Thank our lucky stars! So you're saying that the Emperor
not only did not punish you, but he is allowing you two to get married? That
's really too good! I'm going to drag that fortuneteller back here to pick a
fortuitous day for you two to get married.

Yiren [coming into room]: Aunt! Not so fast!

Li Liang's mother [frowning]: Yiren, now what are you going to say?

Yiren [takes Li Liang's mother aside]: Aunt, I know you really want to have
a grandson to carry and you really don't much like Cousin-In-Law, but this
woman's origins are a big question mark. If we bring her into the family, it
'll be like bringing a fox into the henhouse.

Li Liang's mother [rebukes]: Be quiet! Are you quite finished? The Emperor
himself is allowing Li Liang to marry Xiaoqian. You allow a few words from
Su Jili to sway you so that you're constantly against her. In my opinion,
you've been so besotted you can't think straight.

Yiren: I'm so besotted I can't think straight? True, Su Jili doesn't really
have any pluses, but he would never frame an innocent person.

Xiaoqian: Yiren, I know you admire the Marshal. However, no matter how much
you tried you couldn't win his affection. The fact that I was able to
achieve what you never could as soon as I came on the scene is no doubt the
reason why you're unhappy. [Yiren's eyes widen I surprise at her words]
However, what I feel for the Marshal is true. I hope you can give us your

Yiren [smiles sweetly]: I think you are mistaken. You said I am jealous of
you? [Starts yelling] Do you have any compassion in there at all? You know
full well how Cousin and Cousin-In-Law have treated you! [Li Liang steps
between Yiren and Xiaoqian] How can you bear to be the cause of all this

Li Liang [sternly]: Yiren, stop this at once. Stay out of what goes on
between Mulan and I. [Yiren is livid but holds her tongue] It's true that
Mulan treats me well. But Miss Xiaoqian also has done great favors for me.
If you respect my mother and respect me, then I'll trouble you to keep a
civil tongue towards her.

Yiren [irate]: You want me to be more civil towards her?

Li Liang's mother: In a few more days she'll be your new Cousin-In-Law. Of
course you should start treating her with more respect.

[A loud voice comes from outside of the house]

Mulan's mother: Li Liang! [She comes barreling in the room wielding a large
cleaver with both hands. Her servants are arrayed behind her] You damned
insect! I'm going to fight you to the death! [She lunges towards Li Liang.
He steps back and tries to shield Xiaoqian. Li Liang's mother grabs Mulan's
mother from behind]

Li Liang's mother: Are you insane? Why did you bring a cleaver with you?

Mulan's mother [eyes Xiaoqian wildly]: So that's the evil vixen spirit? I'm
going to fight you to the death! [She attacks Xiaoqian, who runs behind Li
Liang to avoid her. Xiaoqian runs screaming towards Li Liang's mother. Li
Liang grabs Mulan's mother's arm and disarms her. He angrily throws away the
cleaver, which falls to the floor with a loud clatter] Fine! For the sake of
this woman, you're going to raise a hand against your mother-in-law? Gods
above, I hope you're watching! May lightning and thunder befall you! [She
winces and shakes her hand in pain]

Li Liang [shortly]: Mother-In-Law, could you please stop making a ruckus?

Mulan's mother [shocked]: What kind of tone of voice are you using with me?

Li Liang [sternly]: Don't forget that this is the Marshal's residence. I
forbid you to raise a stink around here. Go home and tell Mulan that if she
is at odds with me, to come here herself and not send you in her place as
the advanced attack group.

Mulan's mother: Fine. I see you have balls, although they are gutless balls!
Mulan can rule and lead thousands of soldiers and horses, so even if she
didn't have a cowardly husband as you, she wouldn't go hungry! [Whirls
around and points at Xiaoqian] I'm going to sit back and watch that evil
vixen spirit bring about your family's downfall!

Li Liang's mother [angrily gets in Mulan's mother's face]: I spit on that!
The Hua family is the one that's going down. The fact that your androgynous
daughter left our family is a sign of our luck turning!

Mulan's mother: I'll be watching from afar how you family will fall on hard
times! [Turns to her servants] We're going now! Hey, wait up for me! [They
leave the Generals' Residence with much noise and ado. Yiren reaches for a
jade pendant on the floor. She picks it up and gets a calculating look on
her face. She then turns and follows Mulan's mother]

Li Liang's mother: Hey, Yiren, where are you going?

Yiren: Um. She dropped this jade pendant. I'm going to return it to her.
[She scurries out the door. Li Liang's mother throws up her hands in

Li Liang's mother [muttering]: I declare, it was a waste of effort bringing
her up.

[Cut to Mulan's mother's residence. Mulan enters a sitting room where
Xiangzi is waiting]

Mulan: Where is everyone else?

Xiangzi: Um. Elder Mistress (Mulan's mother) took a group of people with her
to visit Generals' Residence and, um, discuss things.

Mulan [chiding]: Why didn't you stop them?

Xiangzi: She's your mother. I wouldn't dare try to stop her. [Mulan purses
her lips in displeasure but doesn't say anything else. Mulan's mother comes
in the room with her servants in tow. She looks sorrowfully in Mulan's
direction] Oh, Elder Mistress, how did it go?

Mulan's mother [starts to cry]: Oh, Mulan, your life is truly a bitter one.
I didn't love you while you were growing up, and now you're in an unlucky
situation, but I can't help you, either. I was wrong. I let you down. [She
starts bawling on Mulan's shoulder. Mulan smiles wanly at this]

Mulan: Mother, please sit down first. [They both sit down at the table]
Mother, please stop crying. What's the matter?

Mulan's mother: Oh, so you think I want to cry? But when I think about your
future, how can I not feel badly? [Sighs]

Mulan [puzzled]: My future?

Mulan's mother: Well, I already told them that if he marries that evil vixen
spirit that you would never return.

Mulan [protesting]: Mother! How could you go there and say those things?

Mulan's mother: Oh come on, it's normal for a person to get a little respect
back. I did it to help you let out some steam. [Looks worriedly at Mulan]
You're not mad at me, are you? I put up with so much for you and you don't
even appreciate it? In that case, I may as well die and have done with! [She
starts crying anew. Mulan seems at a loss what to do]

Mulan: Mother, that's not what I meant. I know you meant well. How about you
go wash your face and rest a little.

Mulan's mother: Oh. Okay. [Gets up] Well, don't feel too bad anymore. [Sighs
and stamps her foot angrily] That Li Liang is such a jerk! [Groans in pain]
For the sake of that woman he almost twisted my arm off. [Lectures Mulan
again] If he really marries that woman, don't go back so easily! [Barks to
the maidservants] Help me to my quarters! [The servants escort Mulan's
mother back to her quarters. Xiangzi shakes his head. Mulan sits down with a
sad sigh]

Xiangzi: General Hua, I really feel for you.

[Yiren comes running in the room grinning from ear to ear]

Yiren: Cousin-In-Law.

Mulan [surprised]: Yiren? [Yiren's smile fades when she sees Mulan's face]

Yiren: Cousin-In-Law, you look so weak and delicate.

Xiangzi: This is already pretty good. If I were in her shoes, I'd have long
since hung myself and committed suicide.

Mulan: Yiren, why are you here?

Yiren [frowning]: Your mother was just at the house making a huge fuss and
she dropped this jade in all the commotion. [She drops the jade into Mulan's
hands and starts grinning again] I used it as an excuse to come visit you.

Mulan: So what's been happening over there?

Yiren [annoyed]: When Aunt found out the Emperor agreed to this marriage,
you have no idea how happy she was! [Muttering] She was even happier than
when she found out about Su Jili and me. Right now she's anxiously finding
someone to pick out a good day for the wedding.

Xiangzi: I never imagined that General Li would be so fickle in his
affections. [Yiren shakes her head at Xiangzi, who covers his mouth in

Yiren: Cousin-In-Law, Cousin is just momentarily foolish. It won't be long
before he finds out this woman isn't someone he wants around.

Mulan [smiles wanly]: I hope that is so.

Yiren: However, I really don't want to go back there and see their faces all
day. How about I stay here with you for a while? Would that be okay?

Xiangzi: Of course that's not okay. The only way to guarantee victory is to
know the enemy well. You'd best return and find out all you can about how
things are.

Yiren: That's true. I'm going back right away, then. If I hear anything I
will report it to you right away.

Mulan: Be careful, especially against Zhuang Xiaoqian.

Yiren [smiles]: Don't worry. I once served in the army, and under your
banner, too. I'm off then. [She remembers something and turns around again]
Oh, there's one more thing. If you see Su Jili, tell him not to worry, that
no matter how things shake out I will always wait for him.

Xiangzi: Okay.

Yiren: I'm going then. [She turns around and leaves the room. Mulan
continues to stare blankly into space]

[Cut to night scene somewhere. Xiaoqian is meeting with the Second Prince

Xiaoqian: Your Highness, thank you for granting my wish in this marriage.

Second Prince: You and I needn't be so formal with each other. You helped me
pluck a nail out of my eye. I would have granted anything you asked, let
alone just the right to marry Li Liang.

Xiaoqian: The Crown Prince may have left the capital, but Their Majesties
will miss him since he is their own flesh and blood, and will no doubt send
for him. What then?

Second Prince: What then? I will have taken his place in the succession. My
sire and mother already believe he is an incorrigible cad. Even if he were
to return to the capital, it would be very hard for him to compete against
me anymore.

Xiaoqian: Your Highness, congratulations on achieving your goals.

Second Prince: This is entirely due to your assistance.

Xiaoqian: Once the leader finds out his bodyguards have already killed him,
right? If Your Highness hadn't discovered me I would still be in that
brothel trying to earn a living. How would I have been able to marry Marshal
Li then?

Second Prince: True. But I still have one more wish. Li Liang is a talent.
After you marry him, if you can persuade him to feel differently about me
and follow me, then I'll be as content as a tiger that has sprouted wings.

Xiaoqian: Rest assured, Your Highness. I will do my utmost to achieve your

[The Second Prince doesn't say anything but does laugh sinisterly]

[Cut to street near the army headquarters. Li Liang's mother is walking with
Xiaoqian and planning the wedding]

Li Liang's mother: The eighth of next month will be a good day. Let's make
that the day Li Liang brings you across the threshold. What do you think?

Xiaoqian: I'll leave everything up to you to decide.

Li Liang's mother [happily]: Look at you. Not only are Hua Mulan and Yiren
jealous of you, I'm feeling envious of you.

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, you're making fun of me. [Yiren is hiding around
the corner and has overheard the entire conversation. Xiaoqian and Li Liang'
s mother walk away]

Yiren [under her breath]: Bullshit! She hides a knife in her smile. Aunt,
why do you insist on falling for this kind of game? [She sees they are
getting far away, so she hurries after them, making sure to remain hidden]

[Li Liang's mother and Xiaoqian are walking down the street when they see a
beggar on the street]

Beggar: Sirs, do a good deed. [He sees Xiaoqian and Li Liang's mother
approach, so he stands up and goes before Xiaoqian] Miss, Madam, do a good
deed please.

Li Liang's mother [waves him away]: Go away!

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, I'm about to be married. Why not do a good deed
and give him a few coppers?

Li Liang's mother: Well, feel free then.

[She looks away briefly while Xiaoqian reaches into her sleeve for some
coppers. She drops it into the beggars plate, then picks up a small folded
piece of paper]

Beggar [bows]: Thank you, Miss! Thank you!

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, we can go now. [Li Liang's mother nods and the two
of them continue their journey. Yiren has watched the entire transaction.
Her suspicions aroused, she follows the beggar. He hurries down the street
and enters an alley. He looks around him, then lightly sprints down the
alley and knocks on the door of a big house. The door opens and he enters.
Yiren has been watching from behind a fence]

Yiren [shocked]: So Zhuang Xiaoqian has so many cohorts? Hmm. If I could get
my hands on that piece of paper she just received, that would be the
evidence I'd need of her intentions. Cousin will know that she is a toady of
the Second Prince. Perfect!

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Yiren enters Xiaoqian's quarters, where a maid
is folding clothing]

Yiren [clears throat]: Where's Miss Xiaoqian?

Maid: She finished freshening up when Elder Mistress sent for her.

Yiren: Oh. Okay. There's nothing here for you. You're dismissed. [The maid
curtsies, then leaves the room. After she leaves, Yiren starts to look
around] Zhuang Xiaoqian, you don't want me to find that piece of paper.
Look. Look. Look. [She starts rummaging amongst the embroidery supplies on
the table but doesn't turn up the piece of paper] Hm. What if I really can't
find it? [She walks over to Xiaoqian's bed and feels under the mattress for
signs of the paper. Her eyes light up when she finds something and fishes it
out. It is the piece of folded paper] Xu Yiren, you're really too clever.
Now let's see what this says. [She looks around to make sure no one else is
there, then unfolds the paper and hurriedly reads. Her eyes open in horror
when she finishes reading. She jumps when she feels a tap on her shoulder.
We see Xiaoqian has come in the room. Yiren is so shocked that her mouth is
still agape. She is paralyzed with fear (or maybe Xiaoqian hit a pressure

Xiaoqian [snatches paper away]: You saw something you weren't supposed to
see. Do you know what your fate is now? [Yiren can't move but her eyes
follow Xiaoqian. There is a great deal of fear in her eyes]

[Later, after night falls, Yiren dazedly walks into Li Liang's mother's
quarters. She almost looks like she is in a trance. She walks in the dark
towards Li Liang's mother's bed. Li Liang's mother is sound asleep but
suddenly jerks awake when she realizes someone is standing next to her bed]

Li Liang's mother [petrified]: Who is it? [Calms down when she realizes it
is Yiren] You scared me half to death. What are you doing here so late at
night? [Sighs] Are you upset that I scolded you earlier? Silly wench. You're
my only niece. How could I not love you? [Takes Yiren's hand and pats it
gently] However, you really  went too far today. [Li Liang's mother starts
to lead Yiren away. Yiren remains silent and in a trance, but Li Liang's
mother doesn't seem to notice] You see your Cousin fall for Xiaoqian and to
see Xiaoqian get along so well with me, and if she marries into our family,
that means the Li line will be safe. Don't feel bad and don't keep fighting
with her. I'll do whatever you like in the future, okay? [Yiren smiles
stupidly at Li Liang's mother and gibbers] There we go. That's a good girl.
Now go to sleep. [Yiren's demeanor suddenly changes and she glares at Li
Liang's mother]

Yiren: You stole my cousin! I'm going to kill you! [She starts to choke Li
Liang's mother, who starts screaming in fear] I'm going to kill you!

Li Liang's mother: Help! Save me!

Yiren: I'm going to kill you! [Li Liang comes running in the room. He tears
Yiren from his mother]

Li Liang: Yiren, stop! Let go! Mother, are you okay?

Li Liang's mother: Save me! [Shudders]

Yiren [wildly]: You stole my cousin! I'm going to kill you! [She attacks Li
Liang. He grabs her arms but she bites on his arm. With his other arm, he
lands a chop at the back of her neck. She is knocked unconscious and falls
into his arms]

Xiaoqian: What's the matter? Did Yiren go insane?

Li Liang: No. She's only out cold. Hurry and fetch a doctor.

Xiaoqian [to servants]: Go fetch a doctor! Hurry!

Li Liang: Let's take her inside. [He carries Yiren back to her own quarters]

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, are you all right?

Li Liang's mother: Yes, I'm fine.

[Cut to Yiren's quarters. She is sitting in a chair but is still
unconscious. Li Liang is supporting her. The doctor is checking her pulse to
diagnose her ailment]

Li Liang's mother [anxiously]: What's the matter? What illness is it?

Doctor: Her pulse is steady and strong. She doesn't appear to have any

Li Liang's mother: What?

Li Liang: Really? But just now she looked like she had gone insane. If she
saw someone she'd try to hit him. Also, her strength was greater than

Doctor: Is that true? Let me take another look. [He reaches over to check
her pulse again. Yiren bounces awake and tries to attack the doctor, but Li
Liang manages to restrain her]

Yiren: I'm going to kill you, you dog-faced thief! You killed my mother! I'm
going to avenge my mother! Let me go! [She struggles against Li Liang. Li
Liang's mother and Xiaoqian watch in horror at the sight. Yiren turns her
attention to Li Liang and starts to emote] You dog! You're trying to steal
the throne and assassinate me (the Emperor), aren't you? Guards! Arrest them
all and execute them! Do not spare a single one! Kill them all! Kill! Kill!

Li Liang [to servant]: Go get some rope so we can tie her up.

Yiren [continues to struggle]: Guards! [Li Liang and the manservant drag
Yiren away to another room]

Li Liang's mother: Doctor, just what the heck is ailing her?

Doctor: She is delusional. Keep her restrained for the next few days so she
can't hurt herself or others.

Li Liang [reappearing]: Doctor, is there any way to cure this?

Doctor: I've been practicing medicine for several decades and I've never
seen a case like this. I'll prescribe some tranquilizers for her. See if it
helps the situation.

Li Liang's mother [to maid]: Please escort the doctor out. Thank you Doctor.

[Cut to Yiren's quarters. The manservant is trying to tie Yiren's feet
together but she keeps struggling against the bonds. Li Liang enters and
tries to help out. The servant finally finishes, leaving Yiren bound hand
and foot. She is sitting up in her bed and glares at Li Liang when he stands
before her]

Li Liang [to servant]: You're dismissed. [The servant bows and leaves the
room] Yiren?

Yiren [irate]: I'm the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens! You can't be so
rude to me! Let me go! Let me go. Let me go. [Li Liang's mother and Xiaoqian
creep in behind and watch]

Li Liang's mother [tentatively]: Yiren?

Yiren [sits bolt upright]: You stole my cousin! I will never let you go!
[Starts to bawl] Give me back my cousin. Please. Give him back.

Li Liang: I'm right here. Yiren?

Yiren [still bawling]: Give him back. Give him back.

[Cut to jail cell where Jili is staying. The guard loosens the chains on the
door, allowing Mulan and Xiangzi to enter and visit. Jili is asleep on the
floor, sitting with his arms around his knees and his head on his arms.
Mulan walks over and gently shakes Jili]

Mulan: Jili? Jili? [He wakes up and gets to his feet]

Jili: Mulan. [Looks around] Where is Yiren? [Mulan nervously looks around]
She hasn't come by to see me in two days.

Mulan: Um. She hasn't been feeling well.

Jili [worried]: She must have caught cold. When you see her tell her to wear
more clothes and not spend all her time only worrying about how she looks.
[Xiangzi looks away sorrowfully]

Mulan: I will.

Jili: So is my case ever going to be tried? I can deal with it if they give
me a dishonorable discharge or cane me; I just can't stand being cooped up
in here all the time.

Mulan: Be patient. The storeroom inventory hasn't been completed yet.

Xiangzi: That's right. Brother Su? See? [He shows the basket he carried into
the cell and removes the lid] We brought roasted chicken, smoked fish, and
braised pork. Enjoy it while it's still hot. [He hands the basket over to
Jili, who eagerly sniffs it]

Jili: My, that smells wonderful!

Xiangzi: Go ahead and eat.

Jili: I'll forget about my worries for now and not think about them. [He
sits on the floor and pulls out half a chicken, then starts chewing it] I
can't eat this by myself. Come and help me eat. [He waves at Xiangzi. The
other soldiers in the cell look on hungrily]

Xiangzi [looks at Mulan uncertainly]: Um. [Mulan nods. Xiangzi smiles and
squats next to Jili, then reaches for some of the food, but Jili stops him]

Jili: Watch me eat first. If I can't finish it, then I'll let you eat.
[Xiangzi looks puzzled but stays silent. Mulan's eyes fill with tears as she
thinks of all that has happened recently]

[Later, Mulan and Xiangzi leave the jail. Both look forlorn and depressed]

Xiangzi [sighs]: Paper cannot keep fire contained. We can't hide Miss Xu's
true condition for long.

Mulan: At this point we have to take it one day at a time and hope Yiren
gets better soon so she can come visit Jili.

Xiangzi [sighs again]: I hope so. Just the other day when Miss Xu visited
you at your mother's home she was fine. How did she suddenly contract this
strange delusional ailment?

Mulan: I just heard on the streets today about her recent illness when I ran
into one of the maids from the Generals' Residence. Liu Xiangzi, I want to
go visit her.

Xiangzi: Oh. Okay. Well, let me accompany you. [Mulan nods]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Mulan and Xiangzi walk in, escorted by one of
the menservants]

Mulan [to servant]: How has Miss Xu been lately?

Servant: The past few days she's been either drifting in and out of
consciousness or ranting and raving. The doctor said she has contracted some
kind of delusional illness. Mrs. Gu in the kitchen says that a demon has
possessed her.

Mulan: I'm going inside to see her.

[Li Liang walks in from the hallway and is surprised to see Mulan]

Li Liang: Mulan?

Xiangzi [bows]: Marshal Li. [Mulan stays silent]

Li Liang: Mulan, is there something you need?

Mulan: I bumped into one of the maids on the street. She said Yiren is ill.
I'm here to see how she's doing.

Li Liang: That's good. Let me take you inside. [He starts to escort Mulan
and Xiangzi when Li Liang's mother and Xiaoqian walk in the main sitting
room. Mulan turns away in disgust]

Li Liang's mother: Li Liang.

Xiangzi [bows]: Elder Mistress.

Li Liang: Mother. Mulan heard that Yiren is ill, so she came by to see her.

Li Liang's mother: That's just as well. You (Mulan) have more in common with
her. Perhaps she will improve after she sees you.

Mulan: In that case, I'm going inside now, Popo. [Mulan turns and starts to
go down the hall]
Li Liang: Mulan, let me accompany you.

Mulan: Are you afraid that I won't remember the way? Liu Xiangzi can
accompany me. That will suffice.

[She turns and walks away. Li Liang looks a bit uncomfortable. Xiaoqian
watches with a bit of concern]

[Cut to Yiren's quarters. Yiren is still bound hand and foot on her bed. She
sits up and stares into space, silently mumbling on and on. Mulan walks in
with Xiangzi right behind her]

Maid [rising]: Young Mistress.

[Mulan walks over to Yiren's bed]

Mulan: Why is she tied up?

Maid: When she starts raving, even Young Master is hard put to restrain her.
If we don't tie her up she'll hurt someone.

Mulan [sits on Yiren's bed]: Yiren? Yiren? Do you recognize me? [Yiren
stares vacantly] I'm your cousin-in-law, Hua Mulan. [Yiren starts smiling in
her direction, but it's not a normal smile. When she sees Mulan, she starts
to panic]

Yiren: Sister Goddess! Come and rescue me! [Starts shrieking because she is
hallucinating] Ahh! The demons are here! They are trying to kill me, Sister
Goddess! [She starts to hyperventilate in fear]

Mulan: Yiren, don't be afraid. I'm here. Don't be afraid.

Yiren [slowly calms down]: Yes. I don't have anything to fear. Besides, I'm
the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens. [She starts to gibber] I am the
Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens, so what do I have to fear? [She smiles
insanely at Mulan] I'll pass the imperial throne to you. Do you want it?
[Giggles. Mulan watches in horror, while Xiangzi actually seems entertained.
He chuckles, making Mulan turn around and glare at him]

Xiangzi [sobering]: How did she end up like this?

Mulan: I don't know. [Yiren continues to gibber and mumble]

Yiren: I am the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens.

Mulan: Yiren, you must get better soon. If Jili knew you were like this he'd
be so sad. Do you understand?

Yiren [not hearing]: I am the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens.

[Mulan watches sadly while Xiangzi shakes his head at the sight]

[Cut to front door to the Generals' Residence. Li Liang is standing outside
when Mulan and Xiangzi exit. Li Liang approaches Mulan, but she promptly
looks away]

Li Liang [quietly]: Mulan, could I have a word with you?

Mulan [to Xiangzi]: You go on ahead to Sir Hou's residence. I'll be there
shortly. [Xiangzi bows and leaves] If you have something to say could you
make it quick? I have a lot to do.

Li Liang: Does our marriage have to end up to the point where we can't even
talk to each other?

Mulan [sharply]: You're forgetting that you single-handedly pushed it to
this point.

Li Liang: I admit that when I first found out Miss Xiaoqian liked me, I
rather reveled in the feeling.

Mulan [interrupts]: That's enough! I don't want to hear about your romantic

Li Liang: Will you let me finish? [Takes a deep breath] To have someone like
and admire me truly did make me happy. However, I never once considered
progressing beyond that or changing anything.

Mulan [turns away coldly]: You go ahead and do whatever you want. That way
you won't have to fight your own wants. You're the one that gave this
romance a chance to grow. If you could have maintained your distance, she
would have been like Yiren and given up any hope.

Li Liang [getting irritated]: Based on what you're saying, you don't bear
any responsibility at all?

Mulan: I? For what do I have to be responsible for? Is it like what Jili
said, to keep you tied to my side, not allowed to stray even a step?

Li Liang: Ever since this happened, you wouldn't give me the chance to
explain. Instead, you either post notices everywhere so the world knows or
you get your mother to come over and make a huge commotion. You're the one
that pushed Xiaoqian and I together.

Mulan: Humph! After being married to you for over a year, I finally
discovered how slick you really are and how skilled you are at spin.

Li Liang: I don't want to argue with you. I just want to resolve this issue.

Mulan [turns to Li Liang]: That's easy. The first thing to do is kick out
Zhuang Xiaoqian.

Li Liang [turns away]: No. The Emperor has already spoken.

Mulan: She was willing to turn down marriage to the Crown Prince for you.
Are you saying you can't turn her down for me? Just what do you want? Do you
want me persuade me to go home again, so you can have a harmonious house
with both wife and concubine? [Mulan gets up and storms away. Xiaoqian peers
from the shadows, a sly smile playing on her lips]

[Cut to Generals' Residence. Li Liang is sitting alone in a sitting room at
a table. He spoons some herbs into a pot of hot water. Li Liang's mother,
Xiaoqian, and a maidservant enter the room]

Li Liang [stands up]: Mother, how is Yiren doing?

Li Liang's mother [grimly]: Just the same as before.

Li Liang: Mother, don't worry so much, lest you make yourself sick. [She
sits down]

Li Liang's mother: I know. But I've raised Yiren ever since she was little.
I've always thought of her as my own daughter. How could I not worry about
her when she's so sick?

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, don't worry. Miss Yiren is a good person. The gods
will make it all right.

Li Liang's mother: It's easy to say that, but each day she doesn't wake up
is one day that I have no peace. There's something I wanted to discuss with
you two. With Yiren in this condition, I haven't the heart to plan out your
wedding. How about we postpone the wedding until Yiren is better. When she
is well again, we'll have the wedding then. What do you think? [Xiaoqian
looks slightly annoyed but quickly hides it]

Li Liang: Mother, I'll let you decide.

Xiaoqian [pastes a smile]: Elder Mistress, we'll do whatever you see fit.

Li Liang's mother [sadly]: Then that's what we'll do. [Sighs] I'm sorry to
burden you like this, Xiaoqian, with the situation as it is now.

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, actually, I am also quite concerned about Miss
Yiren's illness. Postponing the marriage is not a problem.

Li Liang's mother [takes Xiaoqian's hands]: Xiaoqian, you always did know
how to best look after others.

[Cut to Yiren's quarters. Yiren is sitting up in bed asleep. A maid is
asleep at the table, leaning on one elbow. Xiaoqian quietly walks in the
room and pulls a small bottle of some potion. She takes the stopper out and
wafts its fumes under the sleeping maid's nose. She inhales the fumes and
slumps to the table unconscious. Xiaoqian then walks to Yiren's bed and
gives her a whack on the back while covering Yiren's mouth. Yiren sputters
awake. Reason returns and she gasps when she recognizes Xiaoqian]

Yiren: You? [Yiren struggles against her bonds to no avail]

Xiaoqian: I should have killed you long ago. However, this way you're
getting in the way of my wedding. You should be kept alive but wishing you
were dead. But that would also get in the way of my grand goal. From this
day forth, I'll keep you half unconscious and half retarded. That way, this
will increase your suffering.

Yiren: You're an evil spirit. What kind of person are you?

Xiaoqian: What kind of person am I? Haven't you already figured that out?
Don't you already know?

Yiren [frightened]: You really are then? Someone, help! [Xiaoqian grabs
Yiren and covers her mouth. With her other hand, she whacks Yiren's back,
forcing Yiren to swallow a pill. Yiren coughs and grimaces, then glares at
Xiaoqian as the drug slowly pulls her into unconsciousness. After she falls
on her pillow, Xiaoqian gets up and leaves the room]

[Cut to Yiren's quarters the next morning. Xiaoqian is sitting next to
Yiren. This time, Yiren is coherent and awake. Li Liang's mother rushes in
the room when she recognizes Yiren's voice]

Li Liang's mother: Yiren, what's the matter?

Yiren: Aunt, be careful. She's really a.[Her words are cut off when Xiaoqian
hits Yiren in the back on a (presumed) pressure point. Yiren grimaces in
pain and struggles to get her words out] Aunt, she's not a good person.

Xiaoqian [humoring her]: Yiren, that's a good girl. I'm not a good person. I
'm an evil person. [Pats her on the back gently] Are you feeling better?

Yiren [livid]: Stop being nice to me! You're a devilish woman! A devil's
spawn! [Yiren continues to groan in pain. Li Liang's mother is very

Li Liang's mother: Didn't she just recognize me? Why is she talking nonsense
now? [Xiaoqian gets up and takes Li Liang's mother aside]

Xiaoqian: Elder Mistress, a person who has this type of delusional illness
is often like this. My father once treated someone with this ailment. The
symptoms display themselves in just such a fashion.

Yiren [furious]: I am not insane! She did this to me, Aunt! She's not a Sui
person. She's a spy. Go fetch Cousin to arrest her!

Li Liang's mother [tries to calm Yiren down]: Okay. Okay. [Suddenly, Yiren
seems to slip into a delusional state again. She eyes Li Liang's mother

Yiren: You traitorous concubine. You want to assassinate me (the Emperor).
[Although she is still tied hand and foot, she wriggles from the bed and
tries to chase Li Liang's mother. Xiaoqian comes over and restrains Yiren] I
'm going to kill you!

Xiaoqian: Yiren. [Yiren continues to thrash about, then just as suddenly as
the fit came upon her, it leaves. Her eyes roll into her head and she drops
back on her bed in a faint. Li Liang's mother watches in horror]

[Cut to sitting room. Li Liang's mother is walking with the doctor,
Xiaoqian, and Li Liang]

Li Liang's mother: Doctor, she recognized me just now. How come she started
muttering nonsense again? [Gestures to a seat next to the table]

Doctor [sits down]: It's a good sign that she at least had that brief moment
of clarity. You can't be impatient when treating this type of illness.

Li Liang: Doctor, can she recover completely?

Doctor: It's hard to say. However, she is already a little better. It will
take some time. [Li Liang's mother nods]

Li Liang's mother: Doctor, do you have any instructions for us?

Doctor: Oh yes. When she starts yelling at people, don't try to reason with
her. Agree with whatever she says. You mustn't further incite someone in her

Li Liang's mother [to Xiaoqian and Li Liang]: The doctor said that Yiren's
illness will take some time to heal, so I think we can't keep postponing
your wedding. So let's do this. We'll continue planning for the original
date of the eighth of next month. Hopefully when she sees things are settled
she won't have a trigger anymore. Perhaps then she will slowly recover. [Li
Liang looks sober as his mother says this, while Xiaoqian starts to smile

Li Liang [smiles at Xiaoqian]: Mother, we'll let you make all the decisions
about this.

Li Liang's mother: In that case, I'll start making preparations right away.
[Li Liang and Xiaoqian both smile at each other happily]

[Cut to Mulan's quarters back at her mother's house. She is asleep on her
arms at a table. There is a single red candle burning. Mulan's mother opens
the door and walks in]

Mulan's mother: You know, he's happily taking another woman as his
concubine. And look at you, falling asleep with your work instead. [Shakes
Mulan gently] Mulan? [Mulan sleepily sits up and Mulan's mother tries to
take a small parchment from her hands. Mulan hurriedly snatches it away]

Mulan [sharply]: What are you trying to do?

Mulan's mother [mystified]: I was only trying to help you put away your work
so you could be more comfortable as you slept. What's the matter?

Mulan: You didn't see anything?

Mulan's mother [eyes light up]: You have a treasure map? Here, let me take a

Mulan [frowns and hides the parchment]: This is a military map. If the Tujue
found out you knew its contents, they'd kidnap you and suspend you from the
ceiling and make you recite its contents. So, do you want to see it? [She
hands it to her mother, who nervously pushes it away]

Mulan's mother: I don't want to see it. Put it away. Put it away, please. So
this is what you've been working on lately?

Mulan: You want to hear details? Okay, let me tell you.

Mulan's mother [covers her ears]: I don't want to hear! [Mulan snickers
slightly at her mother. Mulan's mother removes her hands from her ears]
Mulan. You do things for your family and your country day in and day out.
When do you do something for yourself? This incident with Li Liang, you're
just going to forget about it? I heard that his mother has already selected
a day for the big event.

Mulan: Well, since it has the Emperor's blessing, then the sooner the

Mulan's mother [shocked]: What? So you're going to let him live it up like
that? [Stands up] When your father wanted to marry your stepmother, I fought
with him good and long. Although he managed to marry her finally, I still
held all the deeds to the Hua family land and house. While it's hard to
argue against an imperial blessing, but you should at least get something in
return. You have to think about your future.

Mulan [frowning]: Mother, I really don't want to talk about this.

Mulan's mother: I don't want to talk about it either, but we must. There's
no reason to lose both your husband and your property. You go back or call
Li Liang out here. If you won't discuss terms with him, then I'll do it for

Mulan: Um. That's okay. I'll do it myself.

Mulan's mother: Don't go saying that to put me off. When you get old you'll
realize that having children isn't as good as having cash to take care of
you. And as for husbands, they aren't worth a brass farthing.

Mulan [smiles]: Fine. I'll go right now. I'll strip it all clean. Let me
wash up first, then I'll do that first thing. [Mulan's mother nods, then
leaves the room. Mulan's smile fades after her mother leaves and she sighs
in discontentment]