Jili [mumbling]: It's morning. Alright, it's morning. [Struggles to
get up] That's funny, how come my legs feel so wobbly? [He staggers around
for a bit, then bends over to pick up his Stupor inducing flag. He limps
out the door and staggers back to the barracks. Once inside, he walks over
to his bunk and kneels to fetch something from underneath his bunk] Oh
completed my mission. Soon, I will be home again…[notices the item he is looking for is missing] Wait a minute, what happened here? [Looks underneath his bunk] Hey, where's my luggage?
[Behind him, Mulan, Pudgy, and Monkey have snuck inside and tiptoe towards Jili. Mulan strikes him on the back of the neck to get his attention. He spins around in surprise]
Jili: Hey! It's you! [Sees Pudgy is holding Jili's magic sword and tries to grab for it, but Mulan blocks his way] That's mine!
Mulan: Surprised to see me, aren't you? [Jili doesn't say anything,
but attempts to grab Mulan. She deftly grabs his hand and bites down, hard.
He howls in pain but Mulan doesn't let go, so he bites her hand, also.
After a few seconds of a staring contest, they
break free. Jili is blubbering like a baby. Mulan looks at him with contempt] So, even a hardhearted person like you can feel pain. Pudgy, Monkey! Take him away! [They lead Jili out the barracks while he protests loudly]
[Cut to field outside. Pudgy and Monkey have Jili standing between them. His hands are tied behind his back with rope]
Pudgy: On the one hand, you profess loyalty to Boss…[Slaps Jili's face]
Monkey: While on the other hand, you go and work for Li Liang… [slaps Jili's face, also]
Pudgy: You're amoral! [Slap]
Monkey: You're amoral! [Slap]
Jili [whimpering]: Please, please, stop hitting me. It hurts! I'm afraid of pain. My face is about to fall off from all the blows…
Mulan [grabbing Jili roughly]: You damned fool! What benefit has Li Liang given you?! [Draws her sword and places the edge against his throat] Tell me now, or I will slice your flesh off piece by piece and throw it into the river!
Jili [panicking]: Don't… don't cut off my flesh! I'm afraid of blood! Please, please…
Mulan [sternly]: Tell me!
Pudgy: Tell us the truth from the beginning!
Monkey [shoving Jili away]: Who told you to act so dishonorably as to try to harm Boss?
[Pudgy and Monkey start to kick and punch Jili, who yells in pain and fear. He ends up flat on his stomach on the ground at Mulan's feet. She puts one foot on his back to pin him there]
Jili: Wait… you're not giving me a chance to explain.
Mulan: Speak! What quarrel do you have against me that warrants such actions against me?
Jili: I don't have any quarrel with you, but my master does.
Mulan: Your boss? You mean your master isn't Li Liang? Then who is it? [She kneels down next to him, then drags him upright to speak to him more clearly]
Jili: I'll tell you who my master is. [Gets his dramatic voice] My master is the Jade Emperor himself! [Mulan angrily flicks his ear. Jili flinches and reverts back to his usual whiny voice] Ow! I already told you what you wanted. Why did you still hit me?
Mulan: I hit you because you're toying with me.
Jili: I'm not toying with you. You offended the Jade Emperor in a previous lifetime, so he sent me to hinder your grand plans. He doesn't want you to make a name for yourself.
Mulan [whacks his head]: Stop talking nonsense!
Jili: Ow! I'm not talking nonsense. I'm telling you, the Jade Emperor sent me. I'm not mortal. I'm an immortal.
Mulan [whacks his head again]: Go on with you!
Jili: It's true. Empress Wangmu gave me a mortal body and sent me down
to help you out, but when the Jade Emperor found out, he ordered me to
hinder your plans. [Monkey and Pudgy look at each other when they hear
Jili's ramblings and shake their heads] As soon as I finish my mission
here, I can return to the Celestial Kingdom and become a high official.
I won't have to stay in the kitchen anymore as the Kitchen God. [Mulan
sniffs in contempt, clearly disbelieving his tale] If you don't believe
me, you can kill me. Only, I ask that you don't use either your dagger
or your sword. I'm afraid of bleeding, so could you please kill me by breaking
my neck with your hands? Try it. This will prove I'm immortal. I'm not
afraid to die. I'm sure I'll come back to life very quickly. I mean, I
should. [Sees Mulan is looking at him funnily] Go ahead. Or we can try
another way, if you don't want to kill me. But you need to loosen my bonds.
I'll use my magic to show you commoners my real abilities. [Mulan gives
a look to Pudgy
and Monkey as if to indicate she thinks Jili is insane]
Monkey: Boss, I think he's gone insane.
Jili: You idiots, you're the ones that are insane. Let me go. I'll show you my real powers.
Pudgy: Boss, it doesn't look like he's gone insane. I think he's possessed!
Pudgy: When I was little, my father told me that there is a type of martial art in this world that allows switching bodies to possess people. Practitioners of this art can not only pass on their martial arts skills to their victims, but also force them to do their bidding. If you're not careful, you end up attracting evil demons that possess the practitioner, with disastrous results.
Monkey: Oh my, that must be what happened to Jili. He was toying with that martial art and ended up getting possessed by an evil spirit.
Jili: I'm telling you, I'm the Kitchen God and I'm an immortal. My master is the Jade Emperor. Let me go. You don't want to cross an immortal, because the consequences aren't pleasant.
Monkey: Boss, we should go now.
Pudgy: Yeah, Boss, you don't want to toy with evil spirits. We should leave him here.
Mulan [looking concerned but curious]: You go on ahead. I want to stay and see just how powerful this spirit really is.
Pudgy and Monkey: Boss, we don't want to stick around. [They turn and leave for camp, leaving Mulan alone with Jili. As soon as they are gone, Mulan loosens the ropes that bind Jili's hands]
Mulan: Kitchen God, sir, what kind of magic are you going to demonstrate for me?
Jili [getting to his feet]: My Stupor Inducing flag is back in the barracks,
otherwise I'd show you how to possess people. I guarantee the sight would
scare you till you soil yourself. Here, give me back my Anti Demon sword.
[Points to the sword Mulan took from Jili earlier] Come on, hand it over.
[Reluctantly, Mulan hands over the sword] This Anti Demon sword is quite
powerful. With it in your hand, you are the equal of anyone in fencing skills. Even ten Hua Mulan's are no match for it. I need to say a chant first. [He kneels on the ground before the sword and bows a few times. Mulan, thinking he is insane, runs in the opposite
direction about twenty paces. He finishes his chant and picks up the sword again] So, do you want to have a match now? Tell you what, I'll demonstrate some moves for you.
[He heads towards Mulan and performs several flying jumps and wild slashes with the sword. He looks very untrained, even with a magic sword to help him. He slashes randomly in Mulan's direction, but his aim is atrocious and he doesn't even come close to hitting her. Watching him carefully, Mulan lands a kick squarely in his chest, sending him flying about twenty feet away. He lands roughly on his stomach with the wind knocked out of him]
[Cut to mess hall kitchen. Mulan is brewing some herbs in a pot. She is ladling some broth into a bowl when Pudgy and Monkey walk in]
Monkey: Boss, why are you even bothering with this guy (Jili)? He is always full of excuses during training, he won't learn proper martial arts and instead learns sorcery, then takes these blasphemous skills and uses them against you.
Pudgy: Exactly, Boss. He's usually cowardly and petty, and now he's crazy. Why waste time with him?
Mulan [continues to spoon the herbs]: He's still my friend, though.
How can I let him continue to dabble in the black arts like that? Besides,
how could you watch him hurt himself and not try to save him? [She covers
the bowl of broth and starts to carry it back to the barracks. Monkey and
Pudgy follow her back. They walk inside but can't find Jili. Mulan asks
some fellow soldier
where Jili is, but no one knows]
[Cut to the outhouses, where Jili is making lots of gassy noises. He tries to throw the Stupor Inducing flag into the privy (or maybe he's using it for toilet paper; I can't tell), but a bright light flashes and the Outhouse Goddess appears]
Jili [trying to get his pants back on]: Who are you? What are you doing here? This is none of your business!
Outhouse Goddess: How dare you try to throw Celestial treasures into
the privy pit! And for your information, I'm the Outhouse Goddess. I'm
in charge of this place. You better watch your mouth, because if you get
me mad, I'll see to it that every time you
visit the outhouse you will be severely constipated!
Jili: Okay, okay, Sister Outhouse. I'm sorry for saying that. Could
you step outside until I'm finished? You caught me at a very inconvenient
time. [She obliges and reappears outside the stall. Jili mutters as he
tries to get his pants back on] I can't believe it. I
am outranked even when I'm in the outhouse…
Outhouse Goddess: What are you mumbling about in there? Hurry up and come out.
Jili: I'm getting my pants on. [He finishes and then steps out of the stall]
Outhouse Goddess: You ate and drank too much last night, so what came out just now was a mess of over-rich foods. You polluted your body so, none of your magic chants worked today.
Jili: Is that real or do you take me for a fool?
Outhouse Goddess: Of course it's true. You forget that even though you
have a mortal body, you are still an immortal inside. To maintain your
powers, you must keep to vegetarian dishes and drink lots of water, not
go about eating such rich foods as abalone and sweetmeats. Plus you drank
too much wine. You're lucky you managed to pass out most of the filth you
yesterday. [Pats his stomach]
Jili: So when will my magical powers come back?
Outhouse Goddess: If you're in a hurry, nothing works better than ba beans (a laxative?). Otherwise, you'll be fine in a few days if you leave it alone. [Disappears in a flash of light]
Jili: Ba beans? How come even goddesses can only think of using ba beans
to solve such a simple problem (constipation?)? You'd think there are other
types of beans that would do the trick. [Suddenly bolts upright, then runs
back into the stall] Oh my,
it's loosened on me!
[Cut to snowy field outside the camp. Mulan is looking for Jili and calling out his name. She spots him sitting underneath a tree about thirty paces away. She walks forward, with Monkey and Pudgy behind her. They gingerly advance on Jili]
Mulan: Su Jili. [Jili, hearing them approach stands up and starts growling
and scraping his feet on the ground like a dog] Relax. Just relax. [She
gets him to sit like a dog and he ceases to growl] I made a big batch of
soup bones for you, plus some dates, so
the herbs shouldn't be so bitter anymore.
Jili [turns and starts scratching his hands as if they were paws]: I don't want to drink any medicine. It's too bitter tasting.
Mulan: But Jili, you're sick. You have to drink the medicine, otherwise how are you going to get well?
Jili [scratches the ground a few times]: I just saw the Outhouse Goddess. She said I polluted my body with too much good food and wine. That's why my magical powers have disappeared. I'm an immortal, not a human. I'll be fine in a few days.
Monkey [to Mulan]: You see, there he goes again…
Mulan [to Monkey]: Come on, help me capture him. [Jili turns and tries to run, but ends up running full tilt into the tree. Mulan smirks at this] We'll see how far you can run…
[Cut to mess hall kitchen. Mulan and Pudgy each have hold of one of Jili's arms and are dragging him inside]
Mulan: Bring him inside. Monkey, give me a hand and make sure he doesn't get away.
Jili: I'm telling you, I'm an immortal. The Jade Emperor sent me here on a mission. If you so much as harm a hair on my head, he will punish you severely.
Mulan: You know, back home the town gossips told of a way to exorcise demons, but I don't know if it's effective.
Pudgy: Whatever method it is, it's worth a try. Let's hurry and try it out.
Mulan: Monkey, take his arm and don't let go. [She grabs a pair of chopsticks,
then puts one of Jili's fingers between the
chopsticks and starts to squeeze them together. She addresses Jili in a stern voice] Are you a human or an immortal?
Jili [passing out briefly]: I'm an immortal.
[Mulan resumes pinching his finger and repeats her question, and Jili again claims he is an immortal. After a couple more tries, he changes his tune]
Jili: I'm a human. The demon that possessed me has already left the building.
Mulan [elated]: Jili, you're back with us?
Jili: Yes, I am. Now let me go! [He hurries to dunk his bleeding finger in a tub of water nearby, then he mutters to Mulan] You are much too cruel…
Mulan: You have the nerve to blame me? If you had only practiced your training like you were supposed to, instead of dabbling in the black arts, this would never have happened.
[Cut to a short while later in the mess kitchen. Jili is sitting next to Mulan, who is preparing some herbs for him to drink. He waves his injured finger before Mulan's face and starts to growl]
Mulan: Jili, are you a human or an immortal?
Jili [growls a bit longer]: I'm a… human.
Mulan [relieved and looking a little guilty]: That's good. For a minute there, I thought you were possessed again.
Jili: No, that spirit is long gone.
Mulan: That's good. Now, let me see your finger. [She gently picks up his injured finger and examines it. Pudgy brings in a small bottle of medicine and some gauze. Mulan dabs some medicine on Jili's finger and starts to wrap the gauze on]
Jili: Ow! That hurts…
Mulan: It'll only hurt a minute. Just bear with it. By the way, why
did you choose to dabble in the black arts? [Seeing he hesitates
to answer her question] Well?
Jili: It's because I knew I could never get as good as you in the martial arts even if I trained the next several years. I decided to resort to learning the black arts instead so I could beat you eventually. [Starts to cry] Don't blame me. Please, don't blame me.
Mulan [patting his shoulder]: Silly goose. Hasn't everyone done something that is forgettable? As long as you realize the error of your ways, then that's what matters.
Jili [in his thoughts]: If you could only act this warm and gentle to everyone normally, it would be so intoxicating…
Mulan [wrapping his finger in gauze]: There. It shouldn't hurt anymore. [Monkey comes in with a bowl of herbal medicine and Jili tries to reach for it with his injured right hand]
Monkey [notice Jili's right hand is shaking like a leaf]: Use your left hand.
Jili: My left hand is shaking just as badly.
Monkey [with great patience]: Fine. Let me feed you, then. [He leans over and starts to pour the bowl's contents into Jili's mouth, but Jili takes a sniff and pushes him away]
Jili: I don't want you to feed me. You reek of the sly fox. I want someone whose scent cries "good comrade" to feed me
Mulan: Um. I see, let me feed you then. [She starts to feed the bowl of medicine to Jili] Is it too hot?
Jili: Yes, it's hot. [Mulan blows on it to cool while Jili leans on her shoulder like a lovesick puppy. He dreamily eyes Mulan and mumbles] That smells so nice…(referring to Mulan)
Mulan: Smells nice?
Jili [with a start]: I meant, it's sweet. This (medicine) smells sweet.
Mulan: Oh. Well, then drink up. Next time, don't go tinkering with sorcery.
Jili: I won't. [Talking to himself] It's too bad she's so skinny. If she only had a little bit more meat that would be so beautiful…
Mulan [giving him a funny look]: Did you say something?
Jili: Um…I said I think I'm too skinny. It would be nice if I had a little more meat on me.
Mulan: Then you should eat more. Come on, drink some more of this. [Brings the bowl to his lips again for him to drink]
Jili [grimacing]: This stuff tastes so bitter!
Mulan [puzzled]: Didn't you just say it was sweet?
Jili: Oh yeah. I forgot. [He reluctantly drinks some more of the medicine, with his eyes on Mulan the whole time. She is smiling warmly at him and he is so enamored he ceases to notice the medicine]
[Cut to guest quarters in camp. Li Liang's mother is pacing back and forth nervously when a soldier walks in]
Li Liang's mother [to soldier]: Has the Marshal arrived yet? Have you sent him my message?
Soldier: Madam, the Marshal isn't here yet. I've already sent out your message to him.
Li Liang's mother: Well, then go send it again. [Soldier starts to protest] What are you standing around for? Go! Hurry!
[Just as the soldier is about to leave to transmit the message, the Marshal walks in. His face is stern]
Marshal [to Li Liang's mother]: You wished to see me?
Li Liang's mother [ushering him inside]: Marshal, please come in. Have a seat and enjoy some refreshments first. Oh my, this tea is already cold, let me get some fresh tea made. [She orders one of the soldiers to help fetch some tea. She is in a state of high nervousness and excitement]
Marshal [still stern]: What exactly did you wish to discuss with me?
Li Liang's mother [starts turning on the waterworks]: Big Brother, my
family is poor. My younger brother and I lost our parents when we were
young. He didn't have any male relatives to serve as role models and I
didn't have the ability to hire teachers to instruct him and help bring
him up properly. That's why he ended up the way he is now. He doesn't know
proper ethics and that's
why he got in this big mess in the first place (reference smuggling prostitutes in previous episode). [The Marshal gets up and prepares to walk out without a word, but Li Liang's mother grabs his arm and gets on her knees] Big Brother! He is the only line remaining in the Xu family! Please have mercy on him and don't drag him off to jail!
Marshal [picks up Li Liang's mother to her feet, then scolds]: Sister-in-law, your brother is just too much! How could he flout our camp rules and smuggle prostitutes in? A nation has its national laws and a family has its house rules. Hiding from justice is not the solution. Have him turn himself in to the magistrate's office!
Li Liang's mother: Big Brother, please don't haul him off to jail! He's
weak and frail. Plus, he's a merchant and couldn't stand to lose face.
He said he'd rather kill himself than go to jail. Big Brother, don't force
him to take the final step. Do it as a favor to me, since we're all relatives,
right? Don't cut off the Xu family line… [The Marshal looks very irritated
at Li Liang's mother's constant whining and pleading, but you can see he
also doesn't know how to refuse her request] Big Brother, please spare
him. I've already boxed his ears numerous times over this incident. I told
him that if he ever did such a thing again, I'd drag him to you myself
to let you slice him to pieces if you so wished. Big Brother, if you must
capture someone, then take me. It's my fault he
turned out this way. I was too inept to bring him up properly. He didn't commit a major crime, like murder or arson. [Grabs the Marshal's arm] Big Brother, take me! Take me instead! [She drags his arm back and forth until the Marshal is completely exasperated at her pleas]
Marshal: That's enough! I won't haul him off to jail. But he still must be punished to serve as an example to others.
Li Liang's mother [lighting up]: Big Brother, you're not going to have him arrested? You're not going to drag him off to jail? Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!
[Cut to street right outside Yiren's father's house. Li Liang is sitting on the front step looking bored when he pulls out a roll from his inside pocket. He is about to bite into it when the front door opens and Yiren steps out carrying a tray of food]
Yiren [in her coy voice]: Cousin…[looks at the tray]
Li Liang: That won't be necessary. I have this roll.
Yiren: Cousin, I really don't know where my father went. You'll just be wasting your time sitting here waiting for him.
Li Liang: Oh, I don't mind. I have two days leave. [Yiren's face falls when she hears this] Uncle (the Marshal) told me to spend the time thinking in a peaceful spot. This is a nice peaceful spot. I hope I'm not… blocking your way, am I?
Yiren: Cousin, even if you saw him, what could I do about that? You wouldn't have the heart to kill him, would you?
Li Liang [sarcastically]: He didn't commit a capital crime. He only flouted a major camp rule and smuggled prostitutes inside. That crime does not call for execution.
Yiren: But if you drag him off to jail, that would be the same as killing him. My father once swore that a merchant's biggest asset is his reputation. It's worth more than life. He always said he was a common man.
Li Liang: Stop making up sad excuses for him. If he really valued his reputation so much, he wouldn't be spending all his time cooking up shady deals and trying to cheat people. He even stooped to false advertising! Someone like him will never learn unless they are taught a stern lesson.
[A figure falls out of the sky right behind Li Liang with a loud thud. Li Liang walks over to see who it is. The person has their head stuck in a pile of grain sacks with their feet waving in the air. Li Liang grabs the person and pulls him upright]
Li Liang: Trying to escape?
Yiren's father [shakes off Li Liang's grip]: Humph! No matter what, I'm still your uncle. I'm still your… your… elder. If you've got balls, then hit me. Hit me right now. Beat me up.
Yiren [worried]: Cousin, calm down. [Starts waving her hands] Cousin, please calm down.
Yiren's father: Yiren, stay out of this. [To Li Liang] Li Liang, I know you have always looked down upon me as your… your… uncle. I admit I gamble excessively and am no good with book learning. All I can do is dabble a bit in business to support my family. If you've got the balls, then beat me to death here. Go ahead, hit me! [Li Liang doesn't say anything, but he takes the roll in his hand and shoves it in Yiren's father's mouth to shut him up]
Yiren [wringing her hands, she spots someone coming]: Oh good! Aunt is coming! Aunt is coming!
[Yiren and Yiren's father run off to greet Li Liang's mother and accuse Li Liang of threatening to kill Yiren's father. Li Liang remains standing in the same spot and doesn't say anything]
Li Liang's mother: Li Liang, what is this all about?
Li Liang: Mother, don't listen to his rambling. I just wanted to bring him back with me to camp so I can report to Uncle (the Marshal).
Li Liang's mother: That won't be necessary. I've already spoken with our uncle and he won't pursue this any further.
[Li Liang expresses great surprise, while Yiren's father and Yiren both light up with the news]
Yiren's father: Oh, my precious sister. My wonderful sister…To have a sister like you must have been the product of several generations of luck. [Yiren looks at Li Liang smugly, while he seems at a loss about the recent turn of events]
Li Liang's mother: You'd best not celebrate so quickly. Li Liang's uncle won't make you go to jail, but he still needs to punish you. He is confiscating all the grain in your warehouse and will distribute it to the peasants of the village.
Yiren's father [face falling, he starts to protest]: Sister! I'm a small-time businessman. I can't afford to lose all my product without at least getting something back. Sister, couldn't you go back…and ask him for another favor? Please? [He is begging Li Liang's mother in earnest now, but she remains unmoved]
Li Liang: Mother, you must not go. I'll be angry if you do. [Yiren glares at Li Liang]
Li Liang's mother: Did I say I was going to go? What are you making such a fuss over? [Li Liang and Yiren both end up pouting in displeasure]
[Cut to guest quarters. Li Liang and Li Liang's mother are sitting on a bench together. Li Liang is still pouting]
Li Liang's mother: What's the matter with you? Why did you speak to me so disrespectfully earlier?
Li Liang [still unhappy]: Mother, how come his (Yiren's father's) face is precious, but yours isn't? How come each time he gets into a mess, you are the one stuck making amends and taking the fall for him?
Li Liang's mother [smiling]: Oh, I thought you were mad at me. So you're actually just jealous of your uncle?
Li Liang: Why would I be jealous of him?
Li Liang's mother: I understand. Uncle may be my younger brother, but you're still my own flesh-and-blood. [Reaches over and pinches his cheek] You're still my precious son.
Li Liang [protesting]: Mother, I'm a grown man now. Don't do that anymore.
Li Liang's mother: But in my eyes, you're always going to be my little boy.
Li Liang: Mother, don't rescue uncle anymore when he gets into scrapes. Ever since I can remember, he's been getting us in trouble. He's taken all your hard earned cash to pay off his gambling debts.
Li Liang's mother [sighing]: It's my fault. I didn't raise him properly. I couldn't afford to send him to school, either.
Li Liang: Mother, you raised me, too. You couldn't afford to hire teachers for me, either. Since when have you ever seen me scheming and cheating people? Besides, he's a mature man now. He should be responsible for his own actions.
Li Liang's mother [soothing]: All right, I can tell this issue is really
nettling you, so I won't interfere any longer. Besides, this time he
was at fault. It will do him good to lose some money to teach him a lesson. [Sees Li Liang is still frowning] What's with the frown?
Smile for me. Smile for me, okay? [Li Liang manages a smile, then Li Liang's mother pats his head]
[Cut to practice fields, where Mulan's comrades are practicing wrestling.
Jili is teamed up with Pudgy and is unable to budge the
other soldier. Mulan comes over and pulls Jili aside]
Mulan: What's the matter? How come your wrestling skills are so poor?
Jili: Could you give me some private lessons?
Jili: I'm not as smart nor as nimble as the other soldiers, but I'm willing to work hard to overcome those deficiencies. Please, Boss, grant me my wish.
Mulan: Okay. [She smiles at him and he happily puts his arm around her shoulder]
[Cut to mess hall. Pudgy and Monkey are busily cleaning tables while
Jili is singing to himself while he wipes down a long table.
He is carefully making sure each speck is off the table and everything is squeaky clean. In concern, Pudgy and Monkey walk
Monkey: Su Jili, are you feeling okay? I've never seen you work so diligently at anything before.
Jili [grinning]: Let me tell you, then. It's a secret, so I can't tell
you. [Monkey and Pudgy shrug him off, assuming he is acting crazy
again. He resumes polishing the table. Mulan walks in the mess kitchen with a sword behind her back and a big smile on her face.
Seeing her, Jili bounces up and greets her] Boss, is today the day you give me private lessons?
Mulan [nodding]: Pudgy, take over his duties while I tutor him. [Jili
hands his wash rag to Pudgy and starts to head out the door]
Hey, where are you going?
Jili [puzzled]: Weren't we going to practice? Don't we have to go outside for that?
Mulan: No, we are going to practice in here.
Jili: We are? Let's go outside. There are too many people in here.
Mulan: What's the matter, are you embarrassed? Don't worry. Here [pats
his chest a couple of times] I'll loan you some of my
courage. You'll be fine. [He smiles weakly] I figure you're best suited to using the scimitar (Pooky, it's a big wide sword that
looks like a scimitar; it literally translates to "eight knife"). We'll start with that.
Jili: Okay. [He walks over and puts Mulan's hand on his while he holds
the scimitar, content to share such close contact with his
idol. She gives him a puzzled look]
Mulan: What are you doing?
Jili: Don't you need to hold my hand to show how to use this knife?
Mulan: That won't be necessary. Monkey. Come over here a minute. [Monkey
walks over and Jili accidentally pokes him in the
stomach with the sword] Monkey, show Jili how it's done.
Monkey: No problem. I'll do it slowly so you can follow. [He starts
a simple exercise using the scimitar, throwing in exaggerated
hip motions for effect. Jili is not really paying attention because he's too busy mooning over Mulan. She catches him about ready
to lean on her shoulder]
Mulan: Jili, did you catch all that? What are you doing?
Jili: Um… I'm afraid I won't remember all the moves, that's why I was thinking hard to try and memorize them.
Mulan: No problem. Monkey, go over the exercise again with him following
you. Remember to take it slow. [Pudgy hands Jili a
soup ladle to serve as a sword. Monkey resumes the exercise and Jili tries to follow along. Mulan watches for a few seconds,
then heads out the mess kitchen. Seeing her leave, Jili pauses in mid stride and stops to smell the ladle (I think there's leftover
food on it)]
Monkey: Jili, what are you doing? [Jili doesn't respond but just smiles and continues to smell the ladle and savor the odors]
[Cut to Sui villages on the border with the Tujue. The Tujue soldiers have attacked and are laying waste to each village, slaughtering civilians and burning building]
[Cut to the Marshal's quarters. Colonel Yu is sitting there with his fellow officers discussing the recent attacks]
Colonel Yu: Sixteen villages. They have lain waste to a total of sixteen villages! It's abominable! They raped and pillaged each of those villages. They are worse than dogs!
Officer: We must teach the Tujue a lesson. We have to give them a taste of their own medicine. [A chorus of voices agrees to this plan]
General Li: The Tujue attacked these villages to goad us into battle. We must be careful not to fall into a trap.
Colonel Yu: We can't just sit here and do nothing while they rape and pillage our people.
General Li: They have been on the march for a long time without actively engaging us in battle. Now, they've suddenly started attacking our villages. I think we should reinforce our defenses and thoroughly scout the enemy because I suspect some ulterior motive. Once we are ready, then we can plan a counterattack.
Colonel Yu: What is left there for us to investigate? Their motive is crystal clear. They wish to force the commoners living in Bienjiang to depend on the soldiers stationed in forts there for their defense. Those soldiers will be overwhelmed with the sheer number of civilians and chaos will result. The forts will run out of food quickly with so many people. I shudder to think of the results.
Marshal: Chenen's words make sense. If we do not do something soon, then it won't be many months before Bienjiang will be so weak that the Tujue won't need to expend many soldiers to conquer it. What do you think?
Colonel Yu: We must give them everything they've given our villages. The most important thing now is to maintain our army's morale. I think it's the only thing we can do.
General Li [standing up]: I disagree. How can we sit here calling them lower than dogs for using innocent civilians for military purposes, then consider doing the same thing? Besides, innocent civilians should not have to suffer the consequences of an army's trespasses.
Colonel Yu: Why do you speak of chivalry when dealing with barbarians? Are our own people not innocent civilians? Did these barbarians spare them a thought? All we are doing is returning tit for tat.
General Li: Regardless, I still disagree. I do not believe in fighting fire with fire. We are men, not animals. As men, we must differentiate between right and wrong, otherwise, we may as well be animals.
Colonel Yu: You constantly speak of their innocent civilians and how we must not fight fire with fire. Are you saying then that our people deserved to die and be raped and pillaged? When you first heard about these attacks against our people, did you not feel great rage in your heart?
General Li: I did not feel rage, but great sadness and pain.
Colonel Yu: Exactly! Then we must make sure the Tujue feel this pain when we rape and slaughter their people. That way, they will think twice before attacking our people again.
General Li: And can you guarantee they won't respond with even more cruel and more insane deeds?
Colonel Yu: If they are cruel, we can be even more cruel. If they are insane, we can be even more insane. This is the only way to teach them a lesson. [The other officers cheer this, but General Li continues to silently disapprove. He smiles at the support he receives, then salutes the Marshal] Sir, I wish permission to teach the Tujue a lesson and show them the Sui empire is not to be violated with impunity. [He kneels before the Marshal, as do the other officers except General Li] Sir, grant us this wish!
[The Marshal slowly nods his head. The officers all salute the Marshal loudly, but General Li looks on silently. His face shows he is worried about the direction the army is taking and he fears the consequences of Chenen's hotheaded rhetoric]
[Cut to training field in camp. Colonel Yu is addressing a group of soldiers]
Colonel Yu: You have all been selected for this mission because you are brave and capable soldiers. But bravery and skill are not enough. You must also be ruthless. From this day forth, you will receive harsh and stern training. I expect to see all of you complete it. Any infractions of army rules will result in death. Is that clear?
Soldiers: Yes, sir!
[Cut to Colonel Yu's quarters. He is picking up his sword and preparing to leave when Mulan barrels in the door]
Mulan: Brother Yu, I want to join your elite troops.
Colonel Yu: Why?
Mulan: I heard they are to receive special training to carry out an important mission. Why didn't you chose me to join?
Colonel Yu [walking away]: This mission is too dangerous. That's why I didn't choose you.
Mulan: I appreciate that you wish to protect me, but I joined the army in my father's place. I wish to win glory and make him proud. I want to serve my country and go head to head against those Tujue barbarians in combat. This is my big chance. I am determined to go.
Colonel Yu [places a hand on her shoulder]: Mulan, this mission is unsuited for you. I can't let you go.
Mulan: Why not? You don't think I can be victorious? You can get any soldier to spar against me to test me. If I fail, then I have nothing to say. But if I beat him, then you have to let me join.
Colonel Yu [getting impatient]: Stop being so willful. I know in my heart what kind of people I need to complete this mission. Regardless, I can't let you go.
Mulan [wheedling]: Why? You need to at least give me a reason.
Colonel Yu: I am a colonel. My job is to know my men's talents and skills and use them accordingly. I do not owe you an explanation.
Mulan [pouting]: Don't think you can put me off with a few words like that. You need to at least give me a satisfactory reason.
Colonel Yu [getting stern]: You are a soldier. A soldier doesn't need explanations. He only needs to do what he is told. Now I'm giving you a direct order. Leave now. [Mulan starts to protest, but Colonel Yu cuts her off] If you disobey, then I will punish you according to army rules. [Mulan glares at him, then stalks out the door]
[Cut to training field outside camp. Colonel Yu is with his elite group of soldiers. Each soldier is handed a live chicken, which they hold in one hand by the neck]
Colonel Yu: Each of you has a chicken. I want you to kill it with your teeth. [Seeing them hesitate] That's an order! [The soldiers all start to gnaw the chickens to death] You must be feeling remorseful about this. Well, you shouldn't! They are but beasts. If you don't even have the heart to kill a mere beast, then how can you kill the enemy in battle? [Pan to the soldiers, all with bloody mouths and grim looks on their faces] Remember, the enemy treats our civilians like beasts. Thus, we will treat them like we treated these chickens. We will treat them like beasts. You must not have an ounce of remorse or sympathy for them. Is that clear?!
Soldier: But, we hate the enemy. We like chickens.
Colonel Yu: On the battlefield, you must have complete faith in your commander and never question his orders. [To Sergeant Huang] Take him and give him a hundred strokes! [The sergeant leads away the soldier. Colonel Yu continues to address the remaining soldiers] Did everyone see what happens when you question your superiors? In war, you can't afford to ever question or give anything less than your all to your officers. Is that clear?
[Cut to mess kitchen. The dead chickens have been given to the mess crew in buckets with their once white feathers mottled with blood and gore]
Jili: My goodness, look at these chickens. We gave them a cage of live chickens and they return us a bucket of dead ones. They turned a bunch of healthy and spry chickens into this mess.
Pudgy [gingerly picking up a chicken]: What the heck did they do to them? They look awful!
Monkey: You know, I heard that Colonel Yu is training a group of elite troops. They are undergoing special training.
Jili: What's that got to do with killing chickens? Unless, that IS the training. If they want to learn how to kill chickens, they should have come to the mess crew to learn, right? Why go to anyone else?
Pudgy: You're asking me. Who am I going to ask?
Mulan [walking in]: Hey, what are you still here for? I've been waiting outside a long time for you. Has everyone forgotten we are supposed to be practicing our martial arts outside? Are you trying to shirk?
Monkey: Oh, we've been discussing these chickens. [He points to the pile of dead birds]
Mulan [puzzled]: Chickens? [She eyes the dead chickens]
[Cut to Mulan and Jili spying on the secret training Colonel Yu is leading for an elite force. They are both huddling behind a log that serves as the outer perimeter of the training site]
Jili: Sergeant Huang said this was a secret training site and that we were to all stay away. Aren't you afraid he might catch us? [He ducks behind the log]
Mulan: If you're scared, then don't stay. [Puzzled by what she's seeing] I thought he said they were training to fight the Tujue soldiers. How come they are training against dummies that look like women and children? [Jili peeks back over the log again, then hurriedly covers his eyes at the sight]
Jili: It's a good thing those are just straw dummies. If it were real people it be too horrible to watch. Brr…[He hides again and Mulan pulls him up]
Mulan: We shouldn't watch anymore. It will make us lose our appetites. Come on, let's go. [They troop off together]
[Cut to the elite troops training with Colonel Yu. He is ordering them on a quick run. They pass by a little boy hollering for help inside the nearby river. The soldiers all stop to watch]
Colonel Yu: I didn't give you leave to stop! Keep running!
Soldier: But sir, there's a little boy there that is drowning. We can't turn our backs on the helpless.
Colonel Yu: Keep running! That's an order!
[The rest of the troops resume their run, but this soldier drops his sacks and hurries off to rescue the little boy. Colonel Yu looks on in pale fury at the soldier's disobedience]
[Cut to field in another part of camp. Colonel Yu is giving the soldier a dressing down for flouting orders]
Colonel Yu: How dare you disobey my orders!
Soldier: But sir, the boy was drowning. I had to save him.
Colonel Yu: In battle, potential enemies surround you. You never know whom you can trust. The enemy could have planted that boy to lure us and take us off our guard. You jeopardized the whole mission! By saving that boy, you could have caused the deaths of many more of your comrades.
Sergeant Huang: Colonel Yu planted that boy to serve as a decoy to make sure you soldiers took this training seriously. You have sorely disappointed him.
Colonel Yu [sternly]: A military order is as unyielding as a mountain. Without discipline, there is no army. For disobeying orders, I order you taken to the central yard in camp. There you will be executed.
Soldier [falls to his knees]: Colonel, sir, please have mercy on me!
Remaining soldiers [fall to their knees]: Colonel, have mercy on him!
[Colonel Yu tells a parable about a famous general that showed mercy to his enemy and ended up losing his empire. He says that discipline in the army must be maintained at all costs (I'm not going to translate the parable as it's a bit dense to decipher)]
[Cut to Marshal's quarters. The Marshal is standing inside when General Li walks in hurriedly and excitedly]
General Li: Uncle! Uncle, Chenen is going to execute one of his men for disobeying orders. Please stop him!
Marshal [calmly]: Oh? Why?
General Li: Chenen had a boy pretend to drown to test his soldiers. One soldier resisted a direct order to continue running and instead jumped in the water to save the boy. True, this soldier committed a grievous sin when he disobeyed a direct order, but he doesn't deserve to be executed because he wanted to preserve a life. You gave Chenen this command, so there's nothing I can do about it. He won't listen to me. That's why I came here to ask for your help.
Marshal: So you wish for me to order Chenen to let this soldier go? If I step in now, it will harm Chenen's standing as an officer that I have overruled him. I fear that will jeopardize morale.
General Li: But sir, if an officer executes his men for such reasons, that will hurt morale even more.
Marshal [starts to pace]: For a common not to have discipline, it is harmful, but in the military, it is disastrous. If we do not heed our martial rules, then how do we expect to maintain discipline?
General Li [kneels and salutes]: Sir, I'm not asking you to overlook our laws and regulations. But we need to differentiate between serious and minor infractions. All I ask is that you pardon this soldier from his death sentence. If you do so, it won't hurt your stature as marshal, but instead all your men will understand that while you are strict, you are also merciful, and will revere you all the more.
Marshal [sighing]: Fine. Go and stop the execution and have Chenen report to me. I wish to have a word with him.
[General Li salutes and runs off to save the soldier]
[Cut to Mulan's barracks. She walks inside as her fellow soldiers are all discussing what has happened to the soldier that rescued the drowning boy]
Mulan [to Jili]: What's all the fuss about?
Jili: Haven't you heard? You know Xiaohei, the soldier that is part of our platoon? He was dragged to the central yard and ordered executed!
Mulan [shocked]: What? Xiaohei? What rule did he violate that called for the death penalty?
Monkey: He rescued a drowning boy; that's what he did. It's such a pity, because he has an elderly mother at home, and three small children. The youngest child is only two years old.
Mulan [sitting down at a bench]: How can someone be executed for saving someone? Is there any justice in this world?
Jili: At least if he had died on the battlefield, there would be glory and the satisfaction of knowing he died serving his country. But to die this way, such a terrible waste and so unfair! [The other soldiers chorus their agreement]
Pudgy: I heard that the drowning boy was a decoy put out to test if any soldiers would disobey orders and jump in to rescue him.
Mulan [disgusted]: That's absurd! It makes a game of people's lives.
Pudgy: But what is there we can do? An order is an order.
Mulan [standing up with a determined look on her face]: Was Xiaohei our friend and comrade? [All the soldiers shout "Yes"] Then, does he deserve to die? [The soldiers shout "No"] Then are you willing to follow me and do something about this? [They all shout "Yes" and then follow Mulan out the door]
[Cut to field outside camp. General Li is walking towards a body in the snow. It is Xiaohei's corpse. General Li is saddened to see he arrived too late to save the soldier. Mulan and her comrades come running up and there is a loud wail as the men realize their friend is already dead]
General Li [surprised, he looks at Mulan]: You know this soldier?
Mulan [grabs his shoulder and starts shouting at him]: Are you even a human? You're a beast! How could you not intervene to spare him the sentence? All he did was try to rescue someone; how can that be a capital crime? You will receive your just desserts from above for ordering his death!
General Li [protesting]: Are you quite finished? I didn't order this soldier's execution. It was your friend, Yu Chenen!
Mulan: That's just an excuse! In this camp, there is only one person with higher rank than you; everyone else is subordinate. It was in your power to stop this. Not stopping a crime is the same as being an accomplice. You bear some responsibility, too, but you don't seem to care about that. You aren't a man!
General Li [getting really angry]: Hua Mulan! [Mulan deliberately turns her back on him and addresses her fellow soldiers]
Mulan: Take Xiaohei back to camp so we can give him a proper burial.
General Li: Hua Mulan! You are out of line! You are insulting your superior officer! Now scram! [To soldiers] I will personally take care of this corpse.
Mulan [glaring right back]: Why should I believe anything a bastard says? I don't care if you want me to scram. I'm not leaving. If you've got the balls, then order me executed! [Turns and walks away. The soldiers lift Xiaohei's corpse and start to carry it back to camp. General Li looks on and makes no move to stop them]
[Cut to Colonel Yu's quarters. Chenen is inside taking a tub bath when Mulan barges in the door and promptly tries to force his head underwater and drown him. He sputters angrily when he emerges again]
Chenen: What are you trying to do, drown me?
Mulan: Oh, so you're afraid of dying, too? Your life is somehow worth more than anyone else's life?
Chenen: What are you talking about?
Mulan: I'm talking about Xiaohei. Why did you have to order him executed?
Chenen: Who's Xiaohei?
Mulan: He was one of the new recruits for your elite group of soldiers. You ordered him executed for disobeying orders.
Chenen: Oh. That soldier.
Mulan [sitting down]: All he did was try to save a little child. And then you order him executed for going against orders. Are you even human? Do you have a heart?
Chenen: It hurt me to have to issue the order for his execution. A life is a life. Yet I had no choice.
Mulan [still angry]: Stop giving me excuses! What do you mean you had no choice? You could have censured him, or given him several strokes to punish him for disobeying orders. Why did you have to take his life?
Chenen: If he did not die, then many, many more men would die on the field.
Mulan [muttering]: Bull!
Chenen: Let me finish. The most important thing in the army is discipline. Without it, an army has no hope of fighting as a unified whole. We can't have everyone running off in different directions just because they feel it's the right decision. In battle, one person's life isn't critical; it's the life of the whole unit that matters. Because of one person's selfishness, it could jeopardize all his comrades and result in losing the battle. I love my country; that's why I did what I did. [He is starting to shiver because his bath water is turning cold]
Mulan [chastised somewhat]: I realize discipline is important, but do you have to execute people so easily? It seems cold-blooded to me.
Chenen: I have to be cold-blooded. I picked these men because I wanted them to train them for an important mission. Before we started, I told them that breaking any rules would result in execution. But Xiaohei didn't listen to me, so I had to execute him. If I didn't make an example of him, then no one would ever heed my word again, and we would lose all discipline in the army. Let me ask you, if you were in my shoes and one of your men deliberately disobeyed you, what would you do?
Mulan [at a loss for words]: I…
Chenen: Please trust me on this. Making that decision hurt me more than it hurt anyone else.
Mulan: Well, I still think it was a cruel fate for Xiaohei and I disagree with it.
Chenen: But Xiaohei didn't die in vain. His death served to teach all
the other soldiers never to disobey orders again. I'm sure that as a result
we'll be able to win this war. Isn't that what we both want? [He starts
to sneeze. Mulan looks on in concern] May I come out now? [Mulan, realizing
his predicament, blushes and hurries out the door]