[Cut to field next morning. Colonel Yu is addressing his elite troops and telling them to lay waste to the Tujue villages on the border because the Tujue have done the same to the Sui villages]

Colonel Yu: When you enter a village, if you see a house I want you to burn it down. If you see a civilian I want you to kill him. Leave nothing standing when you leave. You must fulfill my orders to the letter, or there will be consequences. Do you understand?

Soldiers: Yes, sir!

[Cut to somewhere else in camp where Mulan and Jili are fixing a fence. Jili spots the elite soldiers marching by and sighs in envy]

Jili: Those guys are so lucky. They get women, more rations, and glory.

Mulan [turns to another soldier]: Comrade, what is going on? I just heard that Sergeant Huang and his troops are on a special mission and in return they get some pretty ladies as recompense.

Soldier [muttering]: Who told us to be incompetents? Go back to work…

[Mulan reluctantly goes back to fixing the fence, but she doesn't seem content with the soldier's answer. She is radiating curiosity about Sergeant Huang's mission, so she troops off to look for General Li. Knocking on his tent frame, she walks in as his "come in." General Li is sitting at a table, drinking and looking rather disgruntled about something]

Mulan: Where are Sergeant Huang's men going? They're leaving awfully early in the morning. Also, I heard they not only can achieve honors, they also are getting booty and women. What exactly is going on?

General Li [sourly]: Why don't you go ask your good friend, Yu Chenen?

Mulan: I did go look for him, but he just left with the Marshal to inspect something. [Sees General Li is still sullenly refusing to speak] I heard this was a special mission, and I originally wanted to join, but Yu Chenen refused to let me, saying I wasn't suited
for it. I don't get it; I'm just as skilled as any of his troops are. Why won't he let me join?

General Li: When Yu Chenen gets back, why don't you ask him?

Mulan: But you should know the answer. I want you to give me an answer right now.

General Li [glaring]: Get out!

Mulan: If you don't give me an answer, I refuse to leave.

General Li [raising his voice]: Hua Mulan! You dare disobey a direct order? Get out!

Mulan [unperturbed]: General Li, there is nothing people can do that is completely unspeakable. Even if Sergeant Huang has some secret mission no one is supposed to know about, he and his men have already left on their mission. There is no harm in telling me now. I just want to know the truth.

General Li [challenges her with his voice]: Fine. Tell me, are you willing to kill Tujue?

Mulan: Of course I am. Those Tujue have invaded our land and killed our people. I would kill one on sight.

General Li: Then are you willing to kill unarmed Tujue women?

Mulan: Are you referring to civilian women? [General Li nods grimly] Why do we need to kill civilian women?

General Li: Let me ask you something else. Are you willing to kill adorable and innocent Tujue babies and young children?

Mulan: This isn't a question of willingness. Why do we need to kill women and children?

General Li [gets up and faces Mulan]: Hua Mulan, you ask questions about such mundane things. That demonstrates you're not ruthless enough. And that, is why Yu Chenen refused to let you join.

Mulan [shocked]: So Sergeant Huang's men are off to kill Tujue civilians?

General Li [turns around and starts to pace]: The Tujue invaded sixteen of our villages and massacred large numbers of our people. Yu Chenen suggested to the Marshal we should give an eye for an eye and attack their villages. The Marshal commissioned a special force of men to obliterate the nearby Tujue villages, burning, killing, and looting to teach them a lesson.

Mulan: Including women and children? [General Li nods] How can we do such a thing? On the battlefield, we all know that we must kill or be killed. As soldiers in honorable combat, we accept this with a willing heart. To kill civilians is tarnish our souls. Do you agree with this mission?

General Li: I do not agree with it.

Mulan: Then why didn't you stop it?

General Li: The Marshal gave a direct order. How could I go against it?

Mulan: That's only an excuse! When Yu Chenen executed Xiaohei, you said you couldn't do anything because it was a direct
order. Order this, order that… are you saying, then, there is no higher law aside from military orders, no divine virtue anymore?  If you don't stop him, then you are condoning his actions. You are equally guilty of killing those innocent civilians. You're just as cruel and shameless as he is!

General Li [warning]: Hua Mulan! You dare slander your superior officer. Be careful I don't bring the law down on you and punish you accordingly!

Mulan: Don't bring up the law with me to defend yourself! I spit on it! You're just trying to use the law to intimidate me into remaining silent to not condemn you for your actions. But I'm not scared of you and I will condemn you anyway. You're a coward!

General Li: Shut up!

Mulan: Coward! Murderer! [General Li raises his hand as if to strike Mulan, but she stares him down and turns, then walks away]

[Cut to barracks. The troops are all watching a wrestling match between Monkey and Pudgy. Mulan angrily stalks in]

Jili: Boss, do you want to join in the wrestling?

Mulan [stands up straight and thumps her chest]: Tell me, do you consider me your Boss?

Soldiers: Yes, Boss!

Mulan: If I ask you to help me with something, even if it means using force, are you willing?

Soldiers: Yes, we will.

Jili: Boss, did someone pick on you? Do you want us to bring thirty people and go thrash this person?

Mulan: Think about what I'm asking you before you agree so easily. The task I want you to do may be very dangerous. The army may even punish you. I want you to think it through before you agree.

Pudgy: Boss, you taught us everything we know. Is there anyone among us who hasn't benefited from your kindness? You've always stood by us and supported us in everything. Now that Boss has needs of us, we will walk through fire a thousand times, without regret, if he requires it.  If anyone here is afraid of dying, then… then… he is...

Monkey: A worm! Everyone that wants to join in with Boss, raise your hand! [Raises his own hand. Everyone but Jili raises his hand] Hey, Jili, why aren't you raising your hand?

Mulan: Leave him alone. This decision is something he needs to make on his own, so don't pressure him.

Jili [looking embarrassed]: Who said I'm afraid of dying? I'm… I'm willing to follow Boss through thick and thin. [The soldiers all cheer]

[Cut to scene of Tujue village and the Sui soldiers slaughtering the civilians. Meanwhile, Mulan leads her fellow soldiers through the camp gate on their way to stop the massacre, ignoring the gate guard's request to halt. As they are running across the forest and towards the Tujue village, Jili twists his foot on a rock and goes down, yelling loudly. In concern, Mulan turns around to
check on him]

Mulan: Jili, are you alright?

Jili [clutching his ankle]: It's nothing serious. Go on without me! Time is of the essence! I'll just sit here a while and I'll join you later.

Mulan: You're sure? Well, very well. [She turns and hurries to catch up with her fellow soldiers]

Jili [to himself]: You're all a bunch of idiots. I'm not going to join in on this one. Even if you saved the civilians, when you get back to camp you'll all be beheaded anyway, so what's the point?

[Cut to camp, where a soldier is running up to General Li]

Soldier: General Li, Hua Mulan has led a troop of mess soldiers and run off.

General Li [angry]: Worthless scum!

[Cut to field outside camp, where Jili is slowly walking back with his sword on his shoulder. He literally bumps into General Li]

Jili [looking up]: Oh. General Li. Sir.

General Li: How dare you run away from camp! Aren't you afraid of being executed?

Jili: I didn't…you're mistaken…Hua Mulan said killing those Tujue civilians was immoral and completely inhumane. I only followed him because I was hoping to persuade him to reconsider and not go on such a foolhardy mission. But he wouldn't listen to me no matter what I said… so I decided to come home by myself… (little weasel!)

[Cut to Tujue village. Sergeant Huang's men are slaughtering the civilians when Mulan and her soldiers pour in. They immediately try to stop the massacre, with Mulan taking on Sergeant Huang]

Sergeant Huang: Hua Mulan! What are you doing?

Mulan: Aren't you ashamed of killing innocent civilians?

Sergeant Huang: We are under direct orders from Colonel Yu to take revenge on these Tujue.

Mulan: I don't care who gave the order. All I know is I intend to stop you from killing and raping and looting this village.

Sergeant Huang: You dare go against a direct order? Colonel Yu said anyone that disobeyed orders would be executed. Leave now while you can, or else you don't want to see the consequences. Go!

Mulan: I won't go until you go first!

Sergeant Huang: You… I think you're looking to die, aren't you? [Starts to attack her]

General Li [running into the village, he stands between Mulan and the sergeant]: Halt! You are both on the same side, let us have no internal fighting!

Sergeant Huang: Sir, it's not that I want to fight against my comrades, but that Colonel Yu gave me a direct order. Hua Mulan brought a bunch of soldiers with him to prevent me from fulfilling my mission.

Mulan: An army is raised for defending a country, not slaughtering innocents. If an order is immoral and inhumane, then we shouldn't follow it.

Sergeant Huang: I don't know about divine law, but I do know that if I don't complete this mission, the only road left for me leads to death.

Mulan: General Li, if you have even a spark of humanity in you, then stand with us in stopping this massacre.

Sergeant Huang: Sir, but I can't ignore Colonel Yu's orders!

General Li: Go back to camp now. I'll talk to the Marshal about this.

Sergeant Huang: I can't do that. Unless I get an order from the Marshal himself, I have to complete this mission.

General Li: You dare disobey an order from me?

Sergeant Huang [cringing]: Sir, I don't dare disobey your orders, but I also don't dare disobey the Marshal's orders. [To his men] Anyone who doesn't want to be punished by the army, keep killing!

[A huge flood of Tujue soldiers start pouring into the village. In the panic, General Li tells all the soldiers to hurry and leave while he handles the Tujue soldiers. The soldiers all run back to camp, but Mulan turns around and comes back to help General Li. They are outnumbered but hold their own for a while]

Mulan: Sir, there are so many Tujue soldiers. What are we going to do?

General Li: Keep killing!

[Mulan and General Li keep fighting for a while longer, but their luck eventually runs out and they are captured]

[Cut to Tujue jail. Mulan and General Li are tied with ropes that wind around their necks and behind their backs to hold their hands. They are roughly shoved into the cell and the guard uses a chain to lock the door. Mulan has a smug devil-may-care expression on her face while General Li is looking merely puzzled]

General Li: Hey, didn't you leave already? Why did you come back?

Mulan: What about you? You didn't need to come, so why did you come anyway?

General Li: Me? I came because I was worried that a fool would do something foolish.

Mulan [smiling]: Looks like you're a fool, too, then. [General Li laughs slightly] You don't look like such a cold-blooded person face to face. In fact, you seem downright human.

General Li: Thanks for the compliment.

Mulan: It must be because you've been in the army too long and have seen too much killing and death, otherwise you would not treat people like mere bugs. You should thank me for waking you up. Even a military man needs to know when to do what's right. Well, aren't you going to thank me?

General Li: Humph! You never let up, do you? Don't forget that I'm still your superior officer, so give me some shred of dignity, will you?

Mulan: I'm a person that always tells the truth and doesn't flatter.

General Li: Oh… in that case, that means I haven't been strict enough with you. When we get back, I'll have to make sure I personally paddle you. [Mulan looks alarmed at the prospect and hurriedly changes the subject]

Mulan: General Li, why didn't they kill us?

General Li: Usually, when a soldier is captured it is for one of two reasons. It's either to torture them to get military secrets or to hold them for ransom. I don't think it likely we're being held for ransom.

Mulan [paling]: You mean we're going to be tortured?

General Li: Oh, it won't be much. They'll probably just strip us and then whip us a few times, or burn us a few times with a hot iron. [Mulan starts to cringe and panic when she hears this]

Mulan: I can handle anything else they do, but do you think… they could not strip me?

General Li: What are you scared of?

[The guard returns and a voice is heard ordering the guard to open the door. Mulan jumps and scurries behind General Li to hide]

Mulan: Where are they taking us? I refuse to strip! [She is in complete panic at this point and literally shaking in her boots]

[The guards haul them off and roughly shove them into a tent with a large brazier]

Officer [ordering Guard]: Put them both on the rack!

Guard: Yes, sir!

General Li: Wait! Do you intend to torture us to find out military secrets?

Officer: Good. Tell me all you know and I won't have to torture you.

General Li [standing up straighter]: Do you know who I am?

Officer: Who are you?

General Li: I am a general of the great and boundless Sui empire, Li Liang.

Officer [nodding grimly]: So, you're Li Liang. Do you know how many of our warriors have died at your hands?

General Li: Then do you know who he is [gestures toward Mulan]?

Officer: And who is he?

General Li: He's a mere nameless private.

Officer: So?

General Li: So?! He's a private. I'm a general. You are treating us the same yet there is an obvious difference in our ranks. What is this? It's an insult to me! [Mulan's eyes are wide in surprise and fear for General Li; she tries to protest but no words come out] As long as he is around, I refuse to say anything!

Officer: Fine! Take him away. [The Guard hauls off Mulan]

Mulan: General Li…[The Guard hauls off Mulan]

Officer: There. He's gone now. Tell me all the news of your armies.

General Li [feigning ignorance]: Tell? Tell you what?

Officer: You said that as long as that private was here, you wouldn't say anything. Well, he's gone now, so speak up!

General Li: I said I wouldn't tell anything if he were around. However, I never said I'd tell you everything if he wasn't around.

Officer [angrily grabs General Li's collar]: You worm! You dare mock me? [Barks to Guard] Tie him up on the rack! [To General Li] I'll see to it you will be too broken to live yet too intact to die.

[He strips the armor from General Li's body and proceeds to whip him several lashes with the whip. General Li flinches and grimaces but does not call out]

Officer: Now, tell me! Tell me the truth! [General Li still refuses to answer, which enrages the Tujue Officer] All right, then, we'll see how tough you really are! [He goes to the brazier and pulls out a red-hot iron, then burns General Li with it. General Li grimaces and his face is contorted in pain] Are you willing to tell me what I want to know?

General Li [weakly]: Yes. Yes, I'll tell you.

Officer [sneering]: And I thought you were some sort of cast-iron hero that couldn't be broken. Well, I've shown it doesn't take much to make you bend to my will.

General Li: I'd tell you the truth, but I'm afraid you won't like it.

Officer: Speak up! Tell me. [He leans forward to better hear General Li's soft words]

General Li: You're…breath is foul… [He bursts out laughing. The Officer is livid and starts to punch General Li in the stomach. He lands blow after blow until blood starts to come from General Li's mouth]

[Cut to Marshal's quarters. Colonel Yu and the Marshal are discussing military matters when Sergeant Huang hurries in and salutes]

Colonel Yu: Did you finish the mission I assigned?

Sergeant Huang: Sir, I didn't finish the mission.

Colonel Yu: Didn't I tell you that if you didn't finish this mission you would be severely punished?

Sergeant Huang: The reason I didn't finish it is because General Li and Hua Mulan led a bunch of men to stop me.

Marshal [getting up]: My nephew?

Sergeant Huang: Yes, sir. General Li insisted that we stop the slaughter of the Tujue civilians. But I was afraid to go against your orders. We ended up fighting each other when the Tujue soldiers arrived and surrounded us during the confusion. I barely managed to escape with my life

Marshal [getting alarmed]: Then what about General Li?

Sergeant Huang: The Tujue captured both General Li and Hua Mulan.

[Colonel Yu and the Marshal both are shocked at the news]

[Cut to Tujue jail. The guards are dragging back General Li to the cell while Mulan is nervously waiting inside. She looks frightened and worried about what has happened to General Li. The guards roughly throw General Li back into the cell and he falls on his face. Mulan hurries over]

Mulan: General Li. [Helps lift his head]

General Li [weakly, with blood trickling from his mouth and nose]: I'm not dead yet. [Pauses for breath] I must look a sight.

Mulan: General Li, thank you.

General Li: For what?

Mulan: I know you did this to spare me from torture.

General Li: No. That's not why I did it. I've always wanted to travel the path of greatest honor. How could I let you steal my limelight? [He starts to cough violently]

Mulan [starting to whimper]: General Li, you mustn't die…you can't die. You have to make it…You promised to punish me when we get back to camp.

General Li: What are you doing? Real men don't cry. I forbid you to cry anymore. That's an order! [Mulan continues to weep while he lifts his hand to brush away the tears] See, you look awful when you cry. When we get back, I'm going to give you an additional thirty strokes as punishment. [He tries to laugh but ends up coughing violently, spraying blood everywhere]

Mulan: You promised. You must not break your promise.

General Li: I won't break my promise. [Coughs several more times]

Mulan: General Li… [She gently touches his face. He has fainted from the pain]

[Cut back to camp. Monkey, Pudgy, and the other soldiers are all getting paddled and are groaning and yelling in pain as each blow lands. Meanwhile, Jili is using his magic umbrella to leave camp astride his broomstick horse]

Jili [turning around to say a final farewell]: Brother Hua, now that you've fallen into the hands of the Tujue, I'm sure you're done for. Ah… I've finally completed my mission and can leave now. Three Mile Camp, I will never have to see you again. [Grins and neighs, then heads off]

[Cut to tavern down the road. Jili walks in with his treasures in one hand and his bag in another]

Waiter: Sir, what can I get you?

Jili: Waiter, I'd like your tavern's best dishes.

Waiter: Sir, all of our dishes are wonderful.

Jili: Then give me one of each, then. Oh, and don't forget wine.

Waiter: Which one?

Jili: Bring them all. Now that I've finished this big job for my big boss (i.e.-the Jade Emperor) and am on my way to get recompensed, don't you think I ought to celebrate first?

Waiter: Of course! I'll bring it right over…

[The waiter brings several dishes over and a jug of wine. Jili starts to dig into the food and talking to himself with a contented smile on his face]

Jili: Well, Mulan, I didn't expect that I wouldn't even have to lift a finger and you would send yourself to the Underworld without any assistance. [Chuckling] Even if you are the most capable person in the world, I doubt you'll get out of this mess alive. Jili, see that high official post in the sky? That's yours now. It's yours for the taking. [Grins and toasts himself, then gazes lovingly at the spread before him] Hmm… when I go back to the Celestial realms, I won't have another chance to eat and drink like this, so I'd best eat and drink as much as I can here. [Starts to eat when he gets a flashback of Mulan feeding him herbal medicine in a previous episode. He remembers her gentleness and care towards him and suddenly feels remorseful. He pauses in mid bite] How come I suddenly feel unhappy? The high post is yours now; you should be happy. [Turns to the wine jug and pours another cup and downs it. He gets another flashback of Mulan helping him and advising him to stop dabbling in voodoo arts in the future. This time, Jili asks the waiter for another jug of wine. He pours another cup, but there is no joy in drinking it] Jili, you're a coward. You're an out-and-out coward. You're useless. Mulan…wait a minute…[He runs out the door. The waiter calls after him asking for the bill. Jili continues on to the stables to fetch his broomstick horse. He grabs his horse and leaves. The hostler calls after him asking for his stable fee, but Jili ignores him, too]

[Cut to herb seller's stall in the city. Jili goes to the vendor who sold him two kilos of ba beans in a previous episode]

Jili: Proprietor, I'd like a kilo, please.

Proprietor: Let me guess. Ba beans, right?

[Cut to Jili in a distant field. He is looking very uncomfortable and keeps clutching first his stomach then his mouth as if he has an upset stomach. He squats over a patch of earth (and I suspect he is using the facilities here) and stands up again, looking much relieved. He hops back on his horse and talks to the horse, then neighs (maybe it's a magical horse?) and he's off towards camp]

[Cut to the Marshal's quarters. The Marshal and Colonel Yu are standing inside, with the former standing before his sword rack looking worried and the latter pacing nervously back and forth]

Colonel Yu: Sir, we can't wait any longer. If General Li breaks under torture and tells all our military secrets, we won't be able to protect Youzhou any longer.

Marshal: Li Liang is a tough hero. He won't give up anything that will hurt his country. I have faith in him.

Colonel Yu: But sir, he's still a creature of flesh and blood. The Tujue are cruel in their torture methods. How do we know he can tough it out without saying a word? We can't take that chance. We must attack them first before they can gain any advantage from that information.

Marshal [bursting out]: But Li Liang is in their hands! If we attack them now, they may kill him out of spite.

Colonel Yu: Stop kidding yourself. Do you think anyone that has fallen into Tujue hands could possibly survive this long? We must attack now. Hopefully, we can shorten their misery. Marshal, we need to look at the big picture.

[The Marshal doesn't say anything but there are tears in his eyes. He realizes he is probably signing his nephew's death warrant but he also realizes the wisdom of Colonel Yu's words]

[Cut to Tujue jail. Mulan and General Li are still inside, with the former standing around, waiting for General Li to wake up. The latter is sprawled on his stomach on the floor. He suddenly coughs and stirs. Mulan hurries over to help him sit up]

Mulan: General Li, you're awake. [Sees he isn't responding] General Li… General Li…

General Li [coughing]: Don't worry, I won't die from this. [Mulan gingerly wipes away the blood from his mouth with a towel] You still owe me a lot of strokes of the paddle. If I die, that would be letting you off too easily…[He coughs some more, then leans against the cell walls]

Mulan [alarmed]: General Li! General Li!

General Li [coughs some more]: Stop making so much noise. You can't help me that way.

Mulan [nervous]: Then… what should I do?

General Li: Ask me some questions. Just don't let me fall asleep, okay?

Mulan [taken aback]: What? What kind of questions do you want me to ask?

General Li: Anything. I need to keep my mind busy.

Mulan: Umm…what to ask, what to ask…Oh, umm… how old are you?

General Li: Ask me something harder; don't ask me such simple things.

Mulan: Oh… okay. Let's talk about your maternal uncle, then. Why did you help him sneak into camp with those prostitutes and other scams?

General Li: Don't mention that uncle of mine. I never condoned his actions. He often uses my name around camp to do slimy things. If my mother hadn't stopped me, I would have long since thrashed him soundly. [Gets excited and Mulan looks concerned at this vehemence]

Mulan: Calm down. Calm down. Okay, I won't mention him anymore…Oh. Have you fallen for a young lady yet?

General Li: No.

Mulan: Why not?

General Li: There are no women in the army.

Mulan: Oh. That's right. [Thinks for a minute] But you could go outside to look for a suitable lady. You're certainly old enough to be married. Why haven't you gotten a wife yet?

General Li: Don't ask this topic.

Mulan [grumbling]: Don't mention him… don't ask about that… then what can I ask you? [Thinks a moment] I have it! Do you have any heroes?

General Li: The Fei General of the Han Dynasty, Li Kuang.

Mulan: Then do you know the story of his life well?

General Li: Like the back of my hand.

Mulan: Good! Then I'll ask you questions about Li Kuang. [Raises her right fist] Why did he never use this hand to hold his sword?

General Li: Because he was left-handed.

Mulan: Nope.

General Li: Because… you're lying.

Mulan: Still wrong. Think some more.

General Li: I can't think anymore.

Mulan: It's because this is my hand. Why would he use my hand to hold a sword?

[General Li bursts into laughter and Mulan laughs along with him at her joke. A voice is heard telling the guard to open the cell door. The Tujue officer comes in]

Officer: Your death is at hand yet you still can laugh and joke?

General Li: If you took a page from my book and treated people with humanity and compassion, you'd be a real man, too. [Mulan is staring wide-eyed in fear at the Officer]

Officer [lunges forward]: Li! I'm giving you one last chance. When the Sui empire falls, you will not be the loser.

General Li: You're telling me the great Sui empire will fall at the hands of you barbarians? That's nothing but a pipe dream! All you know how to do is kill people. You have no skills at ruling an empire. Even if you were to conquer this land, what good would it do you?

Mulan [jumping up]: Exactly! Why don't you give up this dream and go home to look after your sheep and cattle! Otherwise, be careful of your comeuppance. Your children's children will suffer because of you.

Officer: Fine. I want to find out if your bones are harder than my sword! [To guards] Take them away!

[Cut to middle of Tujue camp. Mulan and General Li are tied to posts]

Officer: Since you called us barbarians, then I will treat you as a barbarian would. Today, I'm going to chop off one of your legs. Tomorrow, I'll chop off an arm. [Mulan nervously looks at General Li. General Li is leaning against a post and taking a nap] The next day… I'll let you choose which limb!

[General Li is almost snoring and outwardly showing no concern over his predicament. Mulan tries to get his attention but he keeps dozing. He finally stirs awake and addresses the Tujue Officer]

General Li: Hey, worm. Cut the idle chitchat. I won't tell you anything even if you begged me to.

Mulan: General Li, what are you doing?

Officer [to Mulan]: Are you asking for mercy, or are you concerned for your precious general?

Mulan: I was thinking that General Li was too polite in what he called you. If it were up to me, I'd curse your ancestors eighteen generations back (really a mean curse in Chinese!).

Officer [furious]: You're asking to die!

[He raises his sword and prepares to kill Mulan, but the sky is filled with sudden thunderclouds and a bolt of lightning comes out of the sky, hitting the Tujue Officer and electrocuting him. He falls to the ground dead. Mulan and General Li look on in great surprise as the thunderclouds just as suddenly roll away. We see Jili with the Thunder God and Lightning Goddess atop a hill]

Jili [salutes the god and goddess]: Thank you for your help.

Lightning Goddess: You needn't thank us. We applaud Hua Mulan's actions in serving in her father's place. We don't have the heart to let her die such an ignoble death.

Thunder God: Beside, Empress Wangmu has her heart set on making Hua Mulan a war hero.

Jili: But Empress Wangmu doesn't want to go against the Jade Emperor. He'll be mad when he finds out, so could we keep what happened today a secret? Empress Wangmu will remember what you've done, but there's no need to trumpet it around, lest the Jade Emperor find out.

[The Thunder God and Lightning Goddess nod in agreement, then vanish]

[Cut to tent in Tujue camp. Mulan and General Li are roughly shoved inside and still tied with ropes]

Guard: Fourth Duke, they're here.

[The Fourth Duke is dressed in rich furs and velvet and his hair is elaborately braided. He turns around and we see it is Tiele]

Tiele [starts when he sees General Li and Mulan]: You?

General Li: You?

Mulan: Ling Dabao?

Guard: Your Grace, do you know these people?

Tiele: Not only do I recognize these people, but General Li has even saved my life once before. [To an officer] Release them.

Officer: Your Grace, this Li fellow is a very skilled martial artist.

Tiele: I know what caliber of person General Li is. He won't escape.

[The guards release Mulan and General Li from their ropes. General Li is glaring at Tiele as he shrugs of his ropes]

General Li: I never would have guessed you were the Fourth Duke of the Tujue.

Tiele [smiles slightly]: Do you regret letting me go? You missed an opportunity to achieve a huge coup.

General Li [sternly]: Not only do I regret letting you go, I am disappointed in you. I didn't expect you to repay kindness with cruelty by leveling sixteen of our villages and killing all their inhabitants.

Tiele [nonchalantly]: That was my brother's doing. I had nothing to do with it. He now realizes you will repay everything he gives, giving an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Our troops are already dug in at Bienye and are thoroughly entrenched. I never thought you'd fall into our trap and get captured.

Mulan [rushes forward]: Stop acting so smug. If General Li and I hadn't tried to stop our army from slaughtering your civilians, we would never have gotten captured.

Tiele [taken aback]: Is that true?

Mulan: Every word is the truth, as the sky is my witness. Who knows? Maybe the gods above felt we were doing a good deed, so when one of your men tried to execute us, thunder and lightning came from the sky and struck him dead. Don't say I didn't warn you. You'd best let us go, before a great calamity befalls you.

Tiele [upset]: Nonsense!

Officer: Your Grace, the sky really did fill with thunder and lightning when we tried to execute these two.

Tiele [speaks sharply to Officer]: Shut up! [Looks toward Mulan] Anyone who continues to spread such blather is trying to hurt our army's morale and will be punished accordingly! Thunder and lightning are natural occurrences. It was pure coincidence that one of our men was struck. So what?

Officer: Your Grace, what shall we do with these two?

Tiele [walking towards General Li]: Li Liang, you are a genius of sorts. It would be a waste to execute you. Besides, you once spared my life. But if I let you go, it would be to my country's great detriment. The Tujue need talent like you. Join us and abandon the Sui empire. Help us and when the Sui empire falls, I will make you a duke! [Mulan is aghast at the proposal and
looks like she wants to say something but stops herself just in time] General Li, you are a smart man. You should know what to do.

Mulan [bursts out]: Stop dreaming! General Li is a genuine hero and man. He would never join the Tujue to become your lap dog at your beck and call! [General Li laughs out loud]

Tiele: General Li, what's so funny?

General Li: I'm laughing at your naiveté. Even if I were to join you what difference would it make? You still wouldn't be able to harm a hair on the Sui empire's head. Are you saying that your armies are enough to beat us? Humph! It's all a pipe dream…

Tiele: Our army is bigger and stronger than yours. I can't believe that our 400,000 men-strong army isn't enough to conquer your empire.

General Li: I'm not here to blow smoke up your skirts. I'm telling you now, that our army only needs half the men and horses that you have to utterly annihilate your men. [Mulan's eyes open wide at the audacity of General Li's words. She thinks he is either delusional or overconfident]

Tiele: Bull! That's complete bull!

General Li: Do you want to give it a try?

Tiele: Fine! Come with me.

[He leads General Li and Mulan into his chambers, with the latter looking very nervous and worried and the former looking very calm and confident. General Li and Tiele sit down at a low table while Mulan stands behind General Li. A Tujue officer stands behind Tiele and looks on. There are two bowls of stone chips and a large leather map on the table]

Tiele [picking up a chip]: Each of these is worth 1000 troops. We shall see who will triumph in this match. [Pushes a bowl of white chips across the table to General Li] Li Liang, here are your 200,000 troops.

General Li: Actually, when I said earlier that I only needed half as many troops as you, I was being overly cautious. [Reaches in bowl and grabs a large handful of chips. There are perhaps 30 chips in his hand] This many troops should be sufficient.

Tiele: Li Liang, I wouldn't be too cocky. I will see to it that your troops are cleared off the boards.

Mulan [leaning over to whisper in General Li's ear]: General Li, sir, we were already in a deep hole when you said we only
needed half the troops he had. Now that you've voluntarily reduced our numbers even more, I hope you have some sort of plan.

General Li [to Tiele]: Well, we shall find out if I'm being overconfident, won't we? After you.

[Tiele grabs a large handful of chips and plunks it down in the middle of the map. General Li calmly places eight chips in response. Tiele then places another handful on another area of the map. General Li places four chips to match. This continues a few more times, until General Li only places three chips against Tiele's handful]

Tiele [incredulous]: That's impossible. I have 40,000 troops there, and you are only sending 3000 men to meet them. How can you possibly hold up against my army?

General Li [sweeping the chips off the spot so you can see the map]: You're forgetting something. This place is Zhuifeng Basin. There are sheer cliffs on all sides. There is only one way out, making it easy to defend and difficult to breach. Now that your
troops are all stuck inside the basin, all I need to do is tell my men to push boulders down from the cliffs to seal off the only exit. Your army will be stranded and stuck. At that time, I can use either fire or swords to pick off your men.

Mulan: That is a sweet move, General Li. Actually, we could make do with just 2000 men, eh?

General Li [chides her]: We need to have some margin for error, don't we? It wouldn't look good if we lost.

[Tiele proceeds to put large handfuls of chips all across the map. At each spot, General Li puts only a few chips to go up against  the Tujue. Finally, Tiele takes all his remaining chips, about 120 or so, and dumps them on one place in the map]

Mulan [getting alarmed, she whispers to General Li]: Sir, we only have 4000 troops left. How can we go up against this 100,000+ men?

Tiele [smiling in triumph]: Li Liang, you'd best give up now and admit defeat.

General Li: I haven't even sent out my troops yet. How can you ask me to give up now?

Tiele: How do you expect to defeat me? My troops are in  Jinsa Gully. The river is already dammed, so everything is dry and open. How could your 4000 men guard such a large area?

General Li: Do you think I need 4000 men to guard Jinsa Gully? [Picks up a single chip] A pity  this is the smallest chip. Out of these men, I fear 900 of them aren't really needed.

Tiele: Li Liang, so you still won't give up, eh? How could your 1000 men possibly stand against an attack by my army of 100,000? We won't even need to use our swords. All we'd have to do is have each of my soldiers throw a bread roll and we could drown your men in bread.

General Li: I can defeat your men without losing a single one of my soldiers. Also, 900 of those men are sleeping.

Tiele: Impossible! That's absolutely impossible!

General Li: Do you know why Jinsa Gully is so dry?

Tiele: Why?

General Li: It's because further up from Jinsa Gully lies a river and a lake, both of which are dammed and have levees. In peacetime, they are used for flood control. All I need to do is tell my men to breach the levees and the dam and let the water flow. It will rush down Jinsa Gully and wash away not only your 100,000 men, but even if you were to put 500,000 men there they'd all be washed away. [Tiele looks chagrined and sits deep in thought, contemplating what General Li has said]

Mulan: That was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!

Tiele [getting upset]: This round doesn't count. I insist we start over!

Mulan: Hey! You already lost. How can you ask to start over?

Tiele: No! I must defeat you!

[Tiele is already clearing off the map and preparing to start another round against General Li]

General Li: Let him do what he wants. After you.

[They repeat the game with the same net results. This time, Tiele doesn't ask for another round]

Mulan [to Tiele]: Brother, you'd best give up all hope of defeating General Li. It's not going to happen.

[Tiele angrily looks at the board and then uses his arm to sweep the chips off the table. Mulan jumps back in alarm]

Tiele: Li Liang! You are a thorn in my side. I will kill you! I will kill you all!

General Li [calmly sitting]: So what if you killed me? It wouldn't do you any good. There are many people in the Sui empire who are my superiors at military tactics and strategy. Can you kill all of them?

[Tiele sits down in defeat with General Li looking contentedly at him and Mulan wondering what will happen next]

[Cut to area outside the tent where Mulan and General Li are sequestered with Tiele. Jili is standing outside when the Thunder God and Lightning Goddess reappear]

Thunder God [grabs Jili's shoulder]: Hey, what are you doing just gawking like that? Hurry and go rescue them!

Lightning Goddess: Or do you need help finding Hua Mulan? If so, we'll help you find her.

Jili: That's not it. She and Li Liang are in a tent over there with the Fourth Duke of the Tujue. They're playing a game of military strategy.

Thunder God: Then why aren't you hurrying to rescue them?

Jili: It's no use to try and rescue them anymore.

Lightning Goddess [in shock]: What? You mean they're dead?

[Cut to Tujue jail. General Li and Mulan are sitting on the floor but they are not tied]

Mulan: General Li, are there any other people in the Sui empire, aside from yourself, who can defeat Tiele?

General Li: I think there are. I'm not certain, though.

Mulan [raises her eyebrows]: What? I think you may have stretched the truth a little too much earlier with Tiele, then. If I were Tiele, I wouldn't believe your boast and would have you executed.

General Li: How do you know he won't have me killed?

Mulan [alarmed]: He wouldn't… would he? [Sees General Li isn't answering] alright, let's not panic… let's not panic. We have the gods on our side, remember?

[The door to the cell creaks open and Tiele walks inside]

Tiele [to Guard]: Let them go.

Mulan: Don't even think about having us executed. I'm warning you. We have the gods protecting us. If you harm so much as a hair on our heads, beware lightning doesn't come and strike you down like it did one of your soldiers!

Tiele [chuckling]: I've never believed in omens or gods. However, I never intended to kill you two.

General Li: Since you can't defeat me in mock battle I see no point in continuing to fight. You'd best give up your ambitious designs on the Sui empire.

Tiele: Stop the nonsense. Here, take this. [He hands a document to General Li]

Mulan: What's that?

Tiele: It's a treaty I signed for you to give to your Emperor.

General Li: Your Grace…

Tiele: General Li, I bow to your superior skills. I swear before you that as long as I live and breathe, the Tujue will not attack the Sui empire nor have any designs for conquest.

[Mulan and General Li look at each other and grin at the good news]

[Cut to field outside the Tujue camp. General Li is wearing his armor again and looking none the less for wear. Tiele hands a small piece of carved wood with a tassel on it]

Tiele: Take this imperial seal from me. Keep it at your side at all times. When a Tujue sees it, he will show you honor and not trouble you in any way. In fact, he will see to it you are fed and cared for no matter where you are.

General Li: Thank you, your Grace.

Tiele: A thousand mile journey begins with a farewell. I don't think I'll ever see you again. [Sees General Li's puzzled expression and smiles] Or do you want me to eat my words and come to meet you on a battlefield someday? [General Li smiles at this and Tiele turns and walks away down the road]

[When Tiele is out of earshot, Mulan comes over to General Li]

Mulan: General Li, are we dreaming?

[General Li doesn't say anything but he reaches over and pinches Mulan hard on the cheek. She hurriedly rubs her cheek in pain]

Mulan: Ow! What did you do that for?

General Li: I wanted to prove to you we're not dreaming.

Mulan [still rubbing her cheek]: Did you have to prove it that way?

General Li [hands over imperial seal]: Here. [He turns and walks down the opposite direction in the road. Mulan looks at the seal in some confusion, then hurries to catch up with General Li. Jili pops up from behind a tree and watches them go]

Jili: Didn't I say they didn't need my help?

Thunder God: How did you know Tiele wouldn't kill them?

Jili: I knew because he and Li Liang are birds of a feather. They belong to that group of extremely intelligent men known as idiots.

[The Thunder God and Lightning Goddess give each other a look as if to say Jili is completely insane]

[Cut to right outside the Marshal's quarters. Mulan's "gang" is kneeling outside on the ground when the Marshal walks out the door. He is surprised to see them]

Marshal [shortly]: What are you kneeling here for?

Monkey: Sir, Marshal, sir, Hua Mulan is our good comrade and he is currently missing-in-action. We heard you are investigating the situation and are planning to launch a massive offensive. We are willing to go out as an advance party to prepare the way.

[Sergeant Huang leans over and whispers something in the Marshal's ear. His eyebrows shoot up in surprise and consternation]

Marshal: So, you are the ones that accompanied Hua Mulan in that preposterous attack against our army. Haven't you done enough?!

Monkey: Sir, we know we did wrong. But Hua Mulan and General Li put endangered their lives  to force back the Tujue so we could all escape with our lives. Besides, we have all sworn a blood oath that we will do whatever it takes to rescue them from the Tujue barbarians. Sir, let us go rescue them! [He genuflects before the Marshal and the rest of the soldiers all follow his lead. The Marshal is shocked at this news and looks touched at the depth of loyalty he sees in the men before him]

[Cut to field in outside camp. Colonel Yu is mustering his men for an assault on the Tujue]

Colonel Yu: Sir, Marshal, sir, everything is ready. We can go whenever you wish.

Marshal: Set out immediately!

Colonel Yu: Yes, sir!

[They hear a horse galloping in their direction and everyone turns to see who it is. It is General Li and Mulan atop a black horse]

[Cut to Marshal's quarters, where the Marshal is hurriedly leading General Li inside and Colonel Yu is leading Mulan. The Marshal has a huge grin on his face because he is so relieved that his nephew has returned safely. Colonel Yu grabs Mulan's arm to ask how she is]

Colonel Yu: Did the barbarians violate you in any way?

Mulan [glaring]: That's none of your business. If you hadn't sent out men to massacre their civilians, I would never have been captured. If anything had happened to me it would have been your fault. [She turns her back to him]

Marshal [takes a good look at General Li and nods in approval]: Nephew, quickly, tell me how you managed to escape.

General Li: Sir, Marshal, sir, we didn't escape. Tiele let us go.

Marshal: Tiele?

Mulan: Yes. He was the spy that made his way into our camp before. It turns out he is the Tujue Khan's younger brother. He wields great power amongst the Tujue.

Colonel Yu: In that case, that's all the more reason why we should never have let him go. Li Liang, you let a dangerous person go so he could live to trouble us another day. This will bear evil fruit someday.

General Li: If I hadn't let him go, then Mulan and I wouldn't be alive today. Also, we wouldn't have lasting peace. [He pulls out the treaty Tiele gave earlier and hands it to the Marshal] Sir, please take a look.

[The Marshal opens the treaty and reads it] Tiele wishes to have peaceful relations with the Sui empire. Also, he swore that as long as he breathes, the Tujue will not attack our people.

Colonel Yu: Maybe this is another trick. They're only saying they will not attack us so we will let down our guard. It'll be easy to overpower us then.

General Li: Tiele strikes me as a trustworthy person. He will keep his word.

Colonel Yu: How can you trust the word of a barbarian?

General Li: Regardless, it's a fine thing if we can even have a temporary peace. We don't have to let down our guard, either. Only time will tell.

Marshal: How did things become this way? Who would have thought we wouldn't have to go fight and lay down our lives to have peace? [Smiles in happiness] That's just wonderful. [Whacks General Li's shoulder and he winces] What's the matter?

General Li: Oh, it's nothing. Just a slight wound. It isn't mortal.

Mulan: The Tujue tortured him so he has wounds all over his body. We'd best get the camp medic to look him over and tend his wounds.

Marshal [in concern]: If Tiele signed a treaty with you, then why did he need to torture you? [General Li doesn't say anything but smiles sheepishly]

[Cut to Colonel Yu's quarters. He is sitting at a table reading a book. He hears loud cheers coming from outside his rooms and he rolls his eyes in dismay at the noise. He gets up to shut the doors to block out some of the noise, but it still is audible. He looks very annoyed and chagrined as he returns to his books]

[Cut to field in camp. The Marshal is presenting awards to Mulan and General Li. Mulan's platoon is standing behind her and watching]

Marshal [handing General Li an arrow]: This is a Golden Arrow. It signifies the highest honor in the army for achievement. I hope you will climb even higher one day and surpass me.

General Li: Sir, I wasn't the first person to head out to stop the massacre. I can't accept this arrow with a clear conscience.

Mulan: General Li…

General Li [turns to Mulan]: Lieutenant Hua, this arrow belongs to you. [Hands the arrow to her]

Marshal: Lieutenant Hua, since General Li believes you deserve this, then please accept it. [She accepts the arrow from General Li and now has two arrows (I think the first one may have been her commission)]

[Cut to barracks where Mulan's platoon is celebrating]

Monkey: Come, comrades, let's celebrate! To the mess platoon finally getting to join the regular troops! Let's have a toast! [They all cheer noisily and down their bowls of wine. There is also a spread of food on the table and they start to eat. Jili walks in the barracks holding a plate of what looks like spongecake. He leans over Pudgy's shoulder to see what they are eating. Pudgy looks up and glares at Jili]

Pudgy: What are you looking at, worm!

Jili: Hey, who are you calling a worm?

Pudgy: I'm calling you a worm! Don't think we can't see through your little charade. You faked an injury so you could run back to camp and not join in our mission and you act cowardly as a rule. You are not fit to share this bunkhouse with us regular troops!

Jili: Who said I'm cowardly? If it weren't for me, Brother Hua would never have achieved such honor as he has today. [The rest of the soldiers burst out in loud laughter at this]

Monkey [chuckling]: Su Jili, if you didn't hurt your head when you fell of a horse then you must be absolutely shameless. [Pinches his cheek] You've acted like a worm and a damned bastard but you still have the gaul to come here and try to claim some credit.

Jili [trying to remain dignified]: I don't have time for this. Where's Boss? I need to find him.

[The troops all start laughing again at his dignified air. They then all start beating him up. His spongecake falls to the ground and gets stepped on a few times before he manages to scoop it up]