[Cut to empty field outside camp. Mulan is standing underneath a tree and yelling at the top of her lungs]

Mulan: Father! Did you hear the news? Did you hear that I earned the highest award in the army! I'll keep climbing… and climbing… and climbing until I become the Marshal!

[General Li walks over to talk to her]

General Li: Hua Mulan.

Mulan [looking sheepish]: General Li, sir.

General Li: What are you doing here talking to yourself?

Mulan: I'm telling my father the good news.

General Li: Silly goose. How could he possibly hear you if you yell from here? [Grabs her arm and leads her away] Come with me.

Mulan: Huh?

[Cut to General Li's quarters. There is a table inside with paper and ink ready. He puts down his basket and tells Mulan to sit down and start writing]

Mulan [puzzled]: Write? What do you want me to write?

General Li: That's between you and your father. That's none of my business. [Sees Mulan is still hesitating] You have an hour before the mailman leaves for his next stop. You'd best hurry and write that letter. Or, I could just tell him to make a quick stop at your family's home and personally relay the good news. Wouldn't that suit just as well?

Mulan [grinning]: Oh. Yes, that'd be great! I'll hurry and write this then. [She stops and thinks for a minute] On second thought, I don't think I should write anything.

General Li: Why not? Don't you want to tell your father the good news?

Mulan: I do. But I don't want to tell him I'm at Three Mile camp.

General Li: Why not?

Mulan: My father didn't exactly approve of my coming here in his place. I secretly took the draft papers at night and ran away from home. Then I went to Youzhou to report. I don't want him to know where I am.

General Li [surprised]: Your father didn't want you to serve in his place?

Mulan: My father really loves me. He didn't want me to suffer in the army.

General Li [sits down and scoffs]: Silly goose.

Mulan [protesting]: My father is very old. Plus, he has a bad leg. That's why I came to serve for him. What's wrong with that? Why are you criticizing me?

General Li: I wasn't criticizing you. I was referring to your father. Jade that is imperfect can't be used to make good jewelry. What's wrong with a man suffering a little? Besides, you are a talent. If you didn't serve, it would be the country's loss.

Mulan [smiles happily]: Really? It's that serious?

General Li [nodding]: Yes, it is a very serious issue.

Mulan: General Li, I think I'd best not write this letter. I'm going to wait until I make general rank, then return to tell my father the good news in person.

General Li: You're going to wait? Your father's going to have to wait several decades then.

Mulan: Didn't you just say that I was talented? I figure I only need three to five years and I'll have risen above you. A  haughty dog shouldn't sneer at a mere mortal.

General Li [pats her shoulder]: Such big words…and now you're calling me a dog, are you?

Mulan: I'm known for having ambition.

General Li [in mock severity]: Humph! That's enough bragging from you. Remember you're in the presence of the great General Li. You still owe me thirty to forty strokes. Aren't you worried I might come seeking that debt?

Mulan [teasing back]: I know. But I also know you don't have the heart to hit me. [Turns to leave] Alright, I'm off.

General Li [restrains her]: Wait a minute, I have something for you. [Goes the basket he set on the table and removes the cloth covering it. He pulls out a large cabbage and hands it to Mulan] This is a General Li specialty. Money can't buy this. Enjoy! [Mulan gratefully takes the cabbage and walks out the door]

[Cut to the storage tent in camp. Jili is sitting on the ground by himself when Mulan walks by. She spots him and comes toward him. He is sporting several bruises on his face and a most forlorn expression. She sits down next to him]

Mulan: Su Jili? What happened?

Jili [lifting up a dish with a flattened spongecake inside]: This was a cake I brought to you first thing this morning. I wanted to help you celebrate your earning lieutenant rank. I didn't know the other soldiers would yell at me and say I was a worm and that I deliberately fell down before the rest of you went to stop the massacre. They then beat me up and stepped on this cake and
flattened it. [He looks like he's about to start crying] Boss, you have to believe me. I really fell by accident last time. I didn't do it on purpose.

Mulan: I understand. Jili, if anyone else saw you crying like that, you'd be the laughingstock of camp.

Jili: But I'm only crying because I'm sad.

Mulan [getting angry]: Since Monkey and Pudgy were so cruel as to pick on you, let me go and teach them a lesson. Come on.

Jili: That's alright … that won't be necessary. How about I just make you a new cake for you to eat.  What kind of flavor would you like?

Mulan: Save your energy. If you have free time, you should spend it practicing your martial arts. [Grabs the smashed cake from the bowl]

Jili [protesting]: Wait, that cake is dirty. It's been stepped on.

Mulan: It would be a pity to waste it. [Takes a big bite out of the cake] Mmm…it's really good. Thank you, Jili. [She gets up and leaves him]

Jili: Wait, Boss…[sees Mulan has already left, so he starts to talk to himself] Loyal and filial…talented without peer…righteous and chivalrous… good and kindhearted…equally pious and devoted. To find a mortal with such a combination of traits is worthy of respect.

[Cut back to the barracks. Mulan's troops are sitting around a table drinking and toasting each other. Mulan walks in and tosses the cabbage and Golden Arrow she was carrying on her bunk. She then turns around to face her troops and has a stern look on her face]

Pudgy [hands a jug to Mulan]: General Li just sent over this wine. It's some bully nice wine. Try some. [Mulan turns aside slightly and refuses]

Monkey: This wine isn't cheap. Rumor has it that it cost General Li a month's stipend to buy it. You really ought to try some.

Mulan [turns around angrily and yells]: I don't want any! Why did you all pick on Su Jili? Moreover, why did ALL of you decide to gang up on him? Have you no shame?

Monkey [protesting]: Boss, he's the one who should feel shame. He's the one that ran off so he could avoid joining us in battle.

Mulan [unconvinced]: And you're basing this on…

Pudgy: Boss, he's normally as cowardly as a mouse. He only raised his hand to volunteer to join us because he was caught up in the moment. The more he thought about what he did, the more frightened he became. That's why he ran off the way he did. [Asks the rest of the soldiers] Isn't that right? [They all agree]

Mulan: Alright. Let's say you're correct and he really did bail on us. But he refuses to admit it. That demonstrates he still understands shame and can still be saved. Deep down, he wants to be just like us and courageously head off without fear. But he's scared. Not only do you not help him overcome his weakness you all decide to gang up and pick on him. Do you feel you did the right thing?!

[The troops all suddenly look very sheepish and shamefaced. Mulan continues to glare at them but she can see they have taken her scolding to heart]

[Cut to mess kitchen. Jili is sitting on a stool preparing the dough for bread rolls and spontaneously bursts into brief fits of laughter for no apparent reason. His nose is bright read and there are still bruises on his face from his beating. When he sees Mulan enter he hurriedly jumps up]

Jili: Boss!

Mulan [not looking at Jili, she glares at the troops following her]: Well? Weren't you going to say something?

Troops [mumbling to Jili]: We're sorry.

Mulan [to Jili]: For every blow they landed on you earlier, you have my leave to hit them back.

Jili: Umm… Boss, how about we just forget about the whole thing. I don't want to make a stink with these farmers.

Mulan [getting annoyed]: What do you mean farmers? They came here to apologize. You mustn't look down on them.

Jili: In that case, how about all of you step outside and slap your faces a few times.

[The troops all file outside for their punishment. Mulan remains behind with Jili]

Mulan [smiling]: Jili, we need to band together. After all, we all started out as mess soldiers and everyone looked down on us and considered us useless. From now on we have to stick together and help each other.

Jili: Yes, Boss! You have such an air about you, did you know that?

Mulan [still smiling]: Go on. Continue with your dishwashing.

[Cut to mess hall at mealtime. Mulan's troops are lined up to receive their rations when Mulan comes in. They gesture for her to cut in front of them but she shakes her head]

Mulan: No, I can't do that. Now that I'm an officer, I need to set a good example. I'll stand in line like everyone else. [She heads to the end of the line when Jili comes in with a large basket of food on his head]

Jili: Hey Boss, here to eat?

Mulan: Yes. Oh, by the way, the food you people have been preparing the last few days is too salty. Try to adjust it a little, will you?

Jili: Okay. By the way, there's something I want to talk to you about.

Mulan: What is it?

[Instead of answering, Jili puts down the basket of food and drags Mulan outside away from the mess hall. He stops amidst some tents and makes sure no one can overhear their conversation]

Mulan [getting annoyed]: What is it? Why do you have to be so secretive?

Jili [puts on his manly voice]: Do you consider me a very good friend of yours?

Mulan [puts a hand on his shoulder]: Oh…let me guess. You want me to help you get out of mess duty and join the regular forces, right?

Jili [reverts to his normal voice]: Boss, you are just too sharp and too quick for me. No wonder you have risen from the greenest of privates to lieutenant in only a few short months. But… ever since Pudgy and Monkey joined the regular forces I haven't had a single friend left in the mess. I'm so lonely there by myself. I find that my determination is becoming weaker and weaker.

Mulan: But I'm only a lowly lieutenant. I don't have that kind of clout…[Jili reaches over and grabs Mulan around the shoulders and pulls her toward him. She flinches at the contact and looks very uncomfortable]

Jili: But Li Liang and Yu Chenen have it. You and Yu Chenen are like brothers; you're now also very close to Li Liang. [Mulan squirms from his embrace but he grabs her again. This time, he also deliberately sniffs her a few times (I know, he's really weird)] All you need to do is say a word to them and it would be done.

Mulan [squirming away a second time]: I can't do that. How could I use my relationship with either of them for personal gain?

Jili: Then, are you saying I'm doomed to stay in the mess for the rest of my days and to have people call me a useless coward forever? [Mulan looks away uncomfortably from his gaze. Seeing she remains silent, Jili bursts out] You're not honorable!

Mulan [protesting]: That isn't about honor! As long as you work hard at your martial arts, you'll one day break free of the mess on your own abilities and you won't need my help.

Jili [unconvinced]: You're ignoring your honor!

Mulan [looking alarmed at the dangerous glint in Jili's eyes]: Calm down… calm down! [Jili ignores her pleas and grabs her neck as if to choke her. Mulan is so shocked she tries to squirm away but Jili refuses to let go. He looks like he is trying to kiss her but Mulan keeps turning her head aside. At this moment, General Li walks over]

General Li: What is this all about?

[Mulan and Jili suddenly break apart and stand looking very sheepishly at General Li]

Mulan [saluting]: General Li.

General Li: Have you eaten yet?

Mulan: Is there something you need?

General Li: The Marshal and I are going to inspect the public works at another camp. I wanted to know if you wanted to go with us.

Mulan: Sure!

Jili [at the same time]: He hasn't eaten yet!

General Li: In that case, go and eat instead.

Mulan: That's all right. I'll just bring a couple of bread rolls with me.

[General Li walks away while Mulan follows him, but not before she gestures at Jili with her fist, admonishing him not to take such liberties with her again. Jili stays behind then starts talking to himself]

Jili: Humph! Pushing me? You dare to push me around? If it wasn't for my saving you two last time, you wouldn't be here to push me around. You wouldn't be here to live it up.

[Cut to Marshal's quarters. The Marshal is addressing his officers about something when Colonel Yu storms in]

Marshal [to men]: Does everyone understand my instructions? [His officers all nod] Then that's the plan.

Colonel Yu [barging in]: Marshal, sir, I can't find Li Liang.

Marshal: Oh, you don't need to keep looking for him. He went off to find Hua Mulan.

Colonel Yu: He was the one that suggested going to Bienye to inspect things. How can he shirk his duty like this?

Marshal: He didn't shirk his duty. He came by earlier to ask leave of me to take Hua Mulan along with him.

Colonel Yu: Hua Mulan is only a lieutenant. What good would it do to bring him along?

Marshal [smiling]: Li Liang said Hua Mulan is general material. He asked me to give him opportunities to develop and prove himself. I for one want to see how this lieutenant does. I want to know if Li Liang has an eye for good stock.

Colonel Yu: Sir, you once said he was talented.

Marshal: Are you sore at me for not taking your word earlier and giving your friend a chance before?

Colonel Yu [ducking his head in humility]: Sir, I wouldn't dare…

Marshal: Hua Mulan's actions on the battlefield really stood out among the crowd. They earned him my favor. If I had singled him out for special treatment based on your earlier recommendations without any proof to back them up, I am afraid it would have
damaged your credibility with your men.

Colonel Yu: Then what of Li Liang supporting him now?

Marshal: Hua Mulan joined with Li Liang in stopping this recent massacre. If he had failed, he would have been killed in battle. If he had succeeded, he would still have to report to the military police for disobeying orders and be severely punished. But these two didn't think about that. They bravely risked their lives to do what they felt was right. Such action is worthy of our
commendation and emulation.

Colonel Yu: Earlier, when I first suggested we give "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," you and all the other officers agreed with this course of action.

Marshal [pats Colonel Yu's shoulder]: I still think it was a solid idea. I have never regretted making the choice I did at the time. But Li Liang sacrificed his own safety to save his men and then did something to spare tens of thousands of soldiers from needlessly dying in battle. In my eyes, he is a hero. Even though I am the marshal of the army, I salute him.

Colonel Yu: Sir, you are a generous man. I salute you!

[Cut to field outside camp. The Marshal, Li Liang, and Chenen are all in civilian clothing]

Li Liang: Sir, even though Tiele and I signed a treaty, we still need to make sure our defenses are secure. I have a plan that I would like you to consider.

Marshal: What idea do you have in mind? Let's discuss it.

Li Liang: Yes, sir. I want to fix the irrigation here. Firstly, because it will connect all the small canals we have into one unified system. Secondly, we can have our troops help grow their own food so we are better able to withstand a siege. We can kill two birds with one stone.

Chenen: I object! If we improve the irrigation systems here then the peasants will open up more land for agriculture, making it even harder to defend. Our soldiers are here to defend their country. They are trained for warfare. How can you ask them to lay down their arms and follow the plow instead?

Li Liang: Why not? For developing a soldier's strength and stamina, doing farm work yields better results than simply training with swords and spears.

Marshal: Stop bickering, you two. I think spending time on irrigation isn't a very good idea. However, I think helping grow our own food so we can stockpile it is a good idea. I want everyone here to go back to camp and think over General Li's plan.

[Cut to Colonel Yu's quarters late at night. He is sitting up reading a book when Mulan walks in]

Mulan: Brother Yu…

Colonel Yu: Is there something you needed?

Mulan: Are you mad at me?

Colonel Yu: Have you done something I should be angry about?

Mulan: You feel like you've lost face because I went and stopped that massacre. [Sees Colonel Yu remains silent] Brother Yu, I've been meaning to ask you. Why do we go to war? [Continues] Actually, the Sui empire isn't cruel and arrogant. We don't go to war because we wish to conquer more land, but only to defend ourselves from others. All we want is to keep our people safe
so we can all live happy and contented lives, right?

Colonel Yu [impatiently]: I already know all that. I don't need you to teach it to me.

Mulan: It's a good thing General Li's actions have brought peace to our countrymen. What's wrong with that?

Colonel Yu [grumpy]: There's nothing wrong with that.

Mulan: Then what's wrong?

Colonel Yu: I don't like Li Liang as a person. That's why I am not happy to see you getting so close to him.

Mulan [in surprise]: I'm getting close to Li Liang?

Colonel Yu: Maybe you think I'm being petty. But the truth is, I don't like to see my good friends get close to someone I dislike.

Mulan [smirking]: Oh, I see…someone's getting jealous… [grinning outright] You've fallen in love with me. That's why you are jealous of Li Liang.

Colonel Yu [looking a little embarrassed]: Go on with you. [Playfully hits the back of her head] Who would fall in love with a man?

Mulan: Actually, Li Liang isn't quite as irritating as you seem to think. He's a man who loves humanity.

Colonel Yu [frowning and crossing his arms]: He has always looked down upon me. He thinks I only attained my current rank because his uncle favors me. Humph! He should look at himself first. He's the one that depended on his uncle to get promoted. All his underlings give him the credit for things because they want to curry favor with his uncle.

Mulan: I don't think Li Liang is that kind of a person. Brother Yu, I think you and Li Liang have a misunderstanding.

Colonel Yu: A misunderstanding?

Mulan: Yes. Before, we'd often hear unflattering things about Li Liang and we accepted it as fact. However, in retrospect, those stories were often the result of gossip and hearsay.

Colonel Yu: Let me ask you something, then. How long have you known him, such that you feel qualified to judge his character?

Mulan: Um… based on those few days I was imprisoned with him at the Tujue camp.

Colonel Yu [grumbling]: Just based on a few days…

Mulan: Hey, don't look down on those few days. I feel it was plenty of time to get to know him. [Colonel Yu continues to frown] Brother Yu, trust me on this. I feel Li Liang is worthy of our friendship. [Sees Colonel Yu remains silent] Well, then… I'll take my
leave now. [She goes out the door and leaves Colonel Yu with his own thoughts]

[Cut to empty tent in camp. Jili is practicing his sword skills while Pudgy and Monkey watch. We soon see Jili isn't that great with a sword; his motions look frantic and uncoordinated. After flailing around for a while, the sword suddenly flies out of his hand and hits Monkey on the shoulder, but luckily, it's only the flat of the sword and not the edge]

Monkey [jumping in fear, he starts to stammer and looks ashen]: You… you…

Jili [running over]: Oh, I'm so sorry! Ever since I was a kid I've had sweaty hands, especially when I do anything physically strenuous. I lose control of my limbs and can't keep a grip on things.

Monkey [finally able to speak]: Jili, I think you should save your energy. [Pats him on the shoulder] Pudgy and I both agree you are best suited to remain a mess soldier.

Jili: But…no, wait, I can keep practicing. Just give me one more chance. Or two more chances.

Monkey: Jili, please…just spare us. [Hurriedly runs out the door with Pudgy right behind him]

Jili [talking to himself]: Humph! How dare you two look down on me! I'll see to it you have to eat your words. I'd best continue practicing. [Continues his fencing practice]

[Cut to mess hall at mealtime. Jili is sullenly serving out the rice to each soldier. When Sergeant Huang comes up for his serving, Jili tries to blow him off with a small scoop. When the sergeant impatiently taps his bowl to request more rice, Jili barks at him]

Jili: What are you, a pig or something? [Sees it's Sergeant Huang and suddenly starts to fawn] Oh, I was saying that since you're born in the year of the pig it was a sign of great fortune. This bowl you have is too small. I've already gotten a bigger bowl for your express use. [He reaches and grabs a huge bowl, about the size of a three quart mixing bowl, to replace the rice bowl the
sergeant originally had] Here, let me fill this up for you, too. [He hurriedly scoops a big portion of rice, then hands it over. The sergeant walks over to the tables to sit down and eat, so Jili follows him and sits down next to him] So sergeant, how is tonight's food? Does it meet your standards?

Sergeant Huang: Is there something you needed to discuss with me?

Jili: Oh boy, you're a sharp one, sir. No wonder you were able to rise from lowly private to sergeant in only a few short months. That's such an accomplishment.

Sergeant Huang: Cut the crap! I've been a sergeant for fifteen years already. Hurry up and tell me what's on your mind.

Jili: I wanted to challenge you to a fencing match. I've been practicing my family's famous style of fencing, called "Damned Fool," and wanted to see how I fare against you.

Sergeant Huang: I'm not hearing things, right? You want to challenge me to a duel?

Jili: Yes. But just a friendly match, alright? No drawing blood or anything. Is that alright?

Sergeant Huang [smugly]: Why not? You're obviously looking for punishment. [Throws down his chopsticks and gets up] Come on, let's go right now. I want to see what type of fencing skills you have. Let's go! [Tugs Jili's shoulder] Come on!

[Cut to empty tent where the soldiers normally practice fencing. Sergeant Huang walks in and draws his sword]

Sergeant Huang: I'll let you have three free attacks first. Bring it on.

Jili [still clutching his sword]: Wait a minute. [He draws his sword, then places it on the ground. He kneels before it and genuflects a few times. Magic enters the sword and it starts to glow (but I don't think it's visible to anyone else)]

Sergeant Huang [puzzled]: Eh? What's this?

Jili: I'm praying to Buddha to grant me a victory over you.

Sergeant Huang: No wonder everyone says there's something wrong with you upstairs.

[Jili doesn't say anything but you can see the sword has begun to shimmer. The magic then enters Jili through his nose and seems to give him great fencing ability. They begin to fence in earnest. It doesn't take very long for Jili to disarm Sergeant Huang and have him on the ground in defeat]

Jili: Actually, I could have asked either Li Liang or Hua Mulan to say a good word for me so I could join the regular troops, but I knew if I did that, others would talk about me behind my back. So, I decided to earn my own way to the regular forces,
practicing with every spare moment I had to learn how to fence well. So what do you think of the Su family's "Damned Fool" style of fencing?

Sergeant Huang: It's powerful. It's very powerful. [Shaking in fear because the sword tip is in his face] Could you please take your sword away? I'm afraid of accidents.

Jili [kneeling next to the sergeant]: Do you think my skills are good enough to join the regular troops?

Sergeant Huang: Yes. Yes, I do. Hoo boy, that was good fencing…[Jili helps him get to his feet and they walk towards the barracks of the regular troops. Sergeant Huang leads Jili inside. Jili is holding his sword in one hand and his broomstick horse in the other]

Jili [bowing to the other soldiers, who are all getting ready for bed]: Comrades, greetings! My name is Su Jili. Today's my first day here.

Sergeant Huang: How come none of you are asleep yet? It's past curfew. You'll be using that bunk [points to a bunk toward the end of the row]

Jili: Sir, which bunk does Lieutenant Hua use?

Sergeant Huang: The first one on the end.

Jili: Thank you. [He walks over, puts his stuff down, and climbs onto Mulan's bunk to sniff the bedding up and down (I know, he's really weird). Satisfied, he curls up and starts to go to sleep. The sergeant is looking on with great puzzlement]

Sergeant Huang: What are you doing?

Jili [sitting up]: It's getting really cold at night now. Don't you think it proper that we ought to warm our superior's bed up for them before he arrives? [The sergeant gives him a funny look] I can handle things here, sir. You can go and do your things now.

Sergeant Huang: Alright, then. No horseplay or carrying on. Go to sleep, do you hear? [To rest of soldiers] Everyone, go to sleep! [He leaves the tent. Jili then goes back to Mulan's bunk, sniffs it again, then curls up like a puppy and goes to sleep with a smile on his face]

[Cut to the wash rooms in camp. Several soldiers are bathing from tubs of cold water. Monkey and Pudgy are loudly complaining of the cold. You can hear the wind whistling through the rooms and the soldiers shivering as they hurry to finish bathing before they catch cold]

[Cut to Colonel Yu's quarters. Chenen is sitting at his table reading a book when a loud knock is heard]

Chenen: Who is it? [The loud knocks get more persistent] I'll be there in a minute. [He walks over to open the door and see who is his late visitor. He sees it is Mulan. She scurries in shivering and carrying a small bundle of clothing] Why are you here so late?

Mulan: I'll tell you inside. [He shuts the doors behind her as she tries to get warm] I wanted to borrow your room for a while.

Chenen: Borrow my room? What do you need it for?

Mulan: Don't you have a large wooden tub for taking baths? [Starts to grin]

Chenen [surprised]: Take a bath? You want to borrow my room to take a bath? [Mulan nods her and continues to smile impishly. Chenen looks at her with sudden concern] I hope this isn't the first time you've taken a bath since joining the army, is it? [Leans over to sniff her gingerly but she shies away]

Mulan [in a huff]: Of course not. How could it be my first bath?

Chenen: Oh. Then how did you take baths before? [Gets a shocked look on his face] You don't mean to tell me you used to bath with all those men around…

Mulan [protesting]: No, no, no. I used to wait till it was dark then head to a small stream behind the hill to bathe. But the past couple of days have been way too cold. Then, I suddenly remembered you had a room here. [Gets a wheedling tone in her voice] You won't turn me down, will you?

Chenen [resignedly]: Do I have a choice?

Mulan: Of course not. Brother Yu, since you're going to help me, then you should help me to the end. Could you ask one of your underlings to go fetch me some hot water?

Chenen [sighs]: Fine. [He goes out the door. Mulan is gleefully rubbing her hands in anticipation of a luxurious hot water bath]

[Cut to a short time later. Chenen has returned and has is pouring one last bucket of hot water into the tub. He then goes and sits down on his bunk while Mulan prepares to strip to take her bath. She eyes him warily]

Chenen: What's the matter? You'd best hurry and take your bath before the water gets cold.

Mulan: Why are you sitting there? Go outside and stand guard.

Chenen: It's freezing outside. I'm not going. I'll just turn around. I promise not to look.

Mulan: That's unacceptable. Go. [She grabs his arm and starts to shove him out the door] Go!

Chenen: What's the big deal? I already promised you I wouldn't look. Besides, there isn't much to look at. Can't tell if you're male or female.

Mulan [dangerously]: What did you say?

Chenen [chuckling]: I was only joking. Seeing the way you've taken to military life like a fish to water, I thought you had long since forgotten you're a woman.

Mulan: Oh, stop dithering around. The water's getting cold. Go outside! [He starts to go out the door then turns around and come back in] Now what?

Chenen: I want to get some books to read while I'm waiting.

Mulan: Well, take them and go. [Shuts the door behind him] Don't come back inside until I tell you it's okay. [She then heads to the waiting bath while Chenen sits on the steps to his quarters to start to read. Mulan is soon happily splashing in the warm water] This is sooo nice to be able to take a hot bath finally.

Chenen [hearing Mulan, he chuckles and talks to the sky]: Father sky, you sure know how to play jokes. Why didn't you just make her a man in the beginning? [To Mulan] Hey, crazy wench, you should keep it down in there. Don't make a big mess of my floor.

[Hearing this, Mulan deliberately splashes some water out of the tub and making noise]

Chenen: Crazy wench, could you please hurry it up in there? It's very cold out here.

Mulan: Just a little longer, alright? It's been such a long time since I got to take a hot bath.

Chenen: I know it's really nice, but I think you've enjoyed yourself enough. I'm almost frozen out here! If you don't come out soon I won't let you borrow my room to take a bath in the future!

Mulan [pouting]: I've never met such a petty man before…Fine, I'm almost done. [She starts to step out of the tub]

Chenen: What are you muttering about in there? Hurry up. [Starts to rub his arms to keep warm]

Mulan: I'm almost done. [Starts to dry herself off and put on her underclothes (a white version of the usual outer clothing) when she sees a mouse. She screams in terror]

Chenen [alarmed]: What's the matter? What happened? [He rushes inside and Mulan jumps into his arms (she is dressed but only in her underclothing) to bury her face in his chest] What is it?

Mulan: It's a mouse! Get rid of it for me please!

Chenen [spotting the mouse (actually, it's a hamster)]: You're surely joking, right? You're not afraid of a tiger, how can you be afraid of a mouse?

Mulan [still cringing on his shoulder]: But it was on my clothing! Get rid of it for me! Hurry!

[Chenen starts to chuckle at the scene of Mulan cringing because of a mouse and leaning his arms. Mulan, suddenly realizing what it must look like, backs away and hurriedly grabs her clothing and armor. Chenen also starts to blush and looks away. After Mulan has run off, Chenen notices she left behind some of her clothing (she had only grabbed her pajamas but not her thick winter outer clothing)]

[Cut to barracks. Mulan walks in with her armor in one hand. She sees her soldiers huddled around one of the bunks. She walks over and taps Pudgy on the shoulder]

Mulan: What's going on here? [Spots Jili on her bunk] Su Jili?

Pudgy: I don't know how he bamboozled Sergeant Huang to let him in the regular troops and get into our platoon, too.

Mulan [grabbing Jili's shirt and tugging]: Hey, Su Jili. [Jili continues to snore, but he does roll over and we see there are numerous ink drawings of turtles (symbolic of a coward, I think because they duck in their shells at the first sign of danger) on his face. Mulan sternly asks her soldiers] Who did this?

Monkey: It was only in good fun.

Mulan: Hand over the pen. [He gingerly gives the ink brush over] I was saying, you are all lousy artists. Let me show you. [She leans over and starts to add another design on Jili's face. He twitches and then wakes up, rubbing his cheek and sitting up]

Jili: Boss, I've been waiting her for a long time for you to return. I wanted to tell you some good news. [The soldiers all start to snicker because Jili hasn't noticed the drawings on his face yet. Mulan is struggling to keep a straight face and she still has the pen in her hand] I followed your advice and applied myself to getting out of the mess. I'm now officially part of the regular troops. We can live and eat together now. [The soldiers are giggling loudly now and Mulan is at her breaking point] Aren't you happy to hear that? [Jili starts to giggle himself and the soldiers giggle in response. Mulan finally lets herself smile a little]

Mulan: Of course I'm happy for you. Now, go and wash your face.

Jili: Wash my face? [He touches his cheek and sees the ink on his fingers, then he spots the brush in Mulan's hand. Seeing the look on his face causes the soldiers to erupt in loud laughter. Jili gravely asks Mulan] Do you think it's great fun to draw on other people's faces?

Mulan [contrite]: I'm sorry.

Jili [beaming again]: That's alright. If you like to draw, why don't you draw on the rest of me? [Opens up his shirt and Mulan looks away with a red face] Here, draw all over. [The troops all take it as a good joke and Mulan keeps looking away, but she can't help smiling a little at the good-natured way Jili is handling the teasing] Really, Boss, as long as it makes you happy, go ahead and draw. Here, start in my armpit. [Mulan can't bring herself to look directly at him and her discomfort is causing even more laughter]

Monkey [teasingly]: That's enough, Su Jili. Don't you know Boss doesn't like brown-nosing? You're making me sick.

Pudgy: In honor of Su Jili joining us in the regular troops, let's take him for an introductory bath! [The soldiers haul off Jili to the bathing rooms while Mulan sheepishly stays behind. She suddenly remembers the earlier incident where she found herself in Chenen's arms and blushes at the memory]

[Cut to washrooms. The soldiers have dragged off Jili and proceed to use a dipper to repeatedly splash him with cold water]

Jili [good-naturedly laughing]: Only my face and butt are thick-skinned (i.e. shameless); the rest of me is very sensitive.

[The soldiers start to splash even more water on Jili. He grabs the dipper and starts splashing water everywhere, causing the soldiers to scatter and leave the washroom. He grumpily puts the dipper away as he is now alone]

Jili [grumbling]: I only pretended to enjoy your ribbing, you oafs! [He sneezes violently a few times]

[Cut to camp the next morning. Mulan is walking about camp when she spots Colonel Yu step out of one of the tents. She quickly turns around and sneezes a couple of times. He walks over in concern]

Mulan [looking at the ground]: Colonel, sir.

Colonel Yu: What's the matter? Did you catch cold? Do you need to go see the camp doctor?

Mulan: No. It's nothing, really. I'll be fine. [She tries to walk away but Colonel Yu blocks her way] Is there something else, sir?

Colonel Yu: Did you still want the clothes you forgot at my quarters? [Sees Mulan start to blush] I need to see the Marshal to discuss some issues; come by my quarters this afternoon if you want to pick them up. [He turns and leaves]

[Cut to barracks. Jili is sitting on his bunk bundled in a big thick blanket, sniffling and sneezing. Monkey sees this and comes over to rib Jili]

Monkey: Oh, Su Jili, what's the matter?

Jili: Oh, it's nothing, really. [He lunges and grabs Monkey about the neck and starts to choke him] I just want to choke you to death! [Monkey struggles in Jili's grip for a few seconds until Pudgy comes over and forcibly shoves Jili away. Monkey gingerly rubs his neck]

Pudgy: What's going on, you ass-kisser?

Jili: Hey, who are you calling an ass-kisser?

Pudgy: You couldn't have possibly defeated Sergeant Huang to earn the right to join the regular troops with your three-legged cat skills (means "very pathetic"). You must have kissed a considerable amount of ass to get here.

Jili: I didn't kiss up. I defeated Sergeant Huang fair and square. I worked hard to get to where I am now.

Monkey: In that case, then prove it. Come on!

Jili: Come where?

Monkey: Come on! Let's fight, then.

Jili: Why? I have no quarrel with you.

Monkey: Well, I'm going to fight you! [Starts to choke Jili, who struggles to break Monkey's hold]

Pudgy: You can't even defeat Monkey yet you expect us to believe you beat Sergeant Huang?

Jili [tries to say something and barely manages to whisper]: You… better let me go, or I'll tell Boss on you!

Pudgy [grabbing Jili by the collar]: Don't you go using Boss to threaten me. In future, if you want to peacefully coexist with us in this platoon, you must stop raising hell and pissing me off! [Roughly shoves him away. Jili rubs his neck and sneezes a couple of times]

[Cut to the outhouses in camp. Jili is scrubbing chamber pots with a broom. He has a large white bandage wrapped around his nose and head, no doubt to filter some of the odors of the outhouse]

Jili [grumbling]: How humiliating that a god has to come down to scrubbing out the outhouse…[Sees Pudgy walking in to check on him] I heard that when you have a cold the best thing to do is exercise and sweat out the illness. It's better than taking medicine.

Pudgy: When you're done scrubbing the outhouse chambers, then go to the washrooms and clean them out, too.

Jili: Yes. Yes, I will. I'll take care of things here. You go on with your own things. [Pudgy leaves the outhouse. Jili mutters in Pudgy's direction] Damned fat cow. No matter. A real man can wait a decade and a day before exacting his revenge. You haven't seen what tricks I have up my sleeve yet…[Continues to scrub the chamber pots when a bright flash of light comes from
one of the chambers. He starts in fear as the Outhouse Goddess materializes and steps out]

Outhouse Goddess: What are you muttering about?

Jili: Humph! I'll mutter my things and you deal with your things. Oil and water don't mix. What business is it to you what I'm muttering?

Outhouse Goddess: You'd best watch your mouth when in my domain. If you don't show the proper respect to my premises I'll see to it you'll suffer so badly you'll wish you were dead!

Jili: You don't scare me. I'm on a special mission for Empress Wangmu. If anything happens to me you'll have to deal with her.

[A glow comes from above and both the Outhouse Goddess and Jili look up in surprise. Another goddess soon appears when she beams down from heaven]

Goddess: Kitchen God, Outhouse Goddess, what are you two arguing about?

Jili [tugging Goddess's sleeve]: Seventh Sister, what wind blew you here to the mortal realms?

Goddess: Empress Wangmu was very pleased to see Hua Mulan has become a lieutenant in the army. She sent me to give you a Celestial Peach as a reward for your efforts. [With another flash of light, a golden box about the size of half a shoebox materializes in her outstretched palm. She opens the box and a huge peach is sitting inside. Both Jili and the Outhouse Goddess
look at it with wide eyes. He reaches over and pulls the peach out of the box and looks at it lovingly]

Jili [to Outhouse Goddess]: Do you see this? This is a specialty of the Celestial Realms. Her Majesty must really love me. She really, really dotes on me, don't you think? [He deliberately waves the peach in front of the Outhouse Goddess and she follows the peach's movements with her eyes] Oh yes, Seventh Sister, you must report that the Outhouse Goddess has been abusing her power and neglecting her duties here. Not only does she act condescendingly to me, but she also does everything she can to hinder my mission.

Outhouse Goddess [protesting]: No! That's not how it is at all! Don't listen to his nonsense. Not too long ago, I caught him trying to throw away the Stupor-Inducing Flag down the privy! Luckily, I stopped him in time.

Goddess [in concern]: Is this true?

Outhouse Goddess: It's the full truth. If you don't believe me you can ask him. [Goddess turns to Jili and he starts to blush and stammer]

Jili: Well, actually, it's like this. I felt the flag had a design flaw. When I use it on people it turns their faces a sooty black, thus raising the suspicion of others. That, and I had a bit of a temper tantrum, so…[Sheepishly looks at the ground]

Goddess [surprised]: It makes people's faces black? It shouldn't. Maybe there really is something wrong with it. Go fetch it and let me take a look at it.

Jili: Oh, that won't be necessary. I carry it with me at all times. [He pulls it from his trouser leg and presents it to the Goddess. She looks at the flag in dismay]

Goddess: What have you done to the flag to make it so dirty and weird looking? No wonder it is malfunctioning and spitting out smoke! You need to keep it clean and take good care of it or it won't work like it's supposed to.

Jili: Oh… is that it. Thank you for your help!

Goddess: You two are both members of the celestial brotherhood. You should work together and help each other. In future, don't bicker anymore, please. [The Outhouse Goddess pouts a little but reluctantly agrees]

Jili [to Outhouse Goddess]: Did you hear that? Next time, don't be so mean to me. [The Goddess dissolves and beams back up to heaven. Jili and the Outhouse Goddess wave goodbye to her] Goodbye, Seventh Sister! Have a good flight! [He then turns to
the Celestial Peach in his hand. The Outhouse Goddess is greedily eyeing it] See this? You have no share in it! [She pouts and disappears in a flash of light. He resumes caressing the peach] Mmm…this peach is so nice! It takes three thousand years for the
flowers to form and another three thousand years for the fruit to ripen. If an immortal eats it, he will multiply his powers a thousand-fold. If a mortal eats it, he will gain eternal youth. [Takes a deep sniff] Hmm… why does it smell so bad? [Notices he is sniffing his dirty hands and not the peach] Oh. [Takes a deep sniff of the peach this time. He thinks a minute] Wait…eternal youth.
I know! [He runs off]

[Cut to the mess hall. Pudgy and Monkey are busily eating their meal at a table. Jili comes in and taps Pudgy on the shoulder]

Jili: Pudgy, have you seen Boss?

Pudgy: What do you want to see Boss for?

Jili: Don't worry, I'm not tattling on you two.

Monkey: He left in a big hurry a short while ago. I don't know where he went.

Jili [thinking]: Thanks, guys! [He leaves the mess]

Monkey: Don't mention it.

[Cut to Colonel Yu's quarters. He is sitting before a small brazier and fanning the flames. There is a small clay pot sitting on the brazier with steam rising from it. Mulan enters the room and taps on the door frame to get his attention]

Colonel Yu: Oh, you're here. What took you so long?

Mulan: Where are my clothes?

Colonel Yu: First sit down. [He grabs a cloth and removes the lid from the bubbling pot. He then uses a ladle to spoon some of the liquid into a bowl and hands the bowl to Mulan. She looks at him in puzzlement] This is some medicine for curing colds. Drink up. Watch out, it's still hot. [Mulan drinks the medicine down in one gulp and grimaces at the bad taste. She wipes her mouth on the back of her hand and starts to say something but stops. They look at each other sheepishly] Go ahead.

Mulan: No, you speak first.

Colonel Yu: How long do you intend to stay in the army?

Mulan [crossly]: Why are you always trying to get me to leave? I haven't let anyone discover my secret and I haven't caused you trouble. Why is it every few days you try to get me to leave? I'm not leaving!

Colonel Yu: I only want what's best for you. Originally, didn't you come here to make a name for yourself so your mother would stop looking down on you? You've already become a lieutenant and you've earned the highest honor in the army, the Golden Arrow. What else do you want? To become a general or marshal? That's impossible.

Mulan [pouting]: If you were in my shoes would you be satisfied with a lieutenant's commission and the Golden Arrow?

Colonel Yu [pacing]: Our situations are different. You can't compare the two.

Mulan: Why not?

Colonel Yu [sitting down]: Because you're a woman.

Mulan: Ever since I joined the army I have ceased to think of myself as either a man or a woman. I'm a human being. Besides, haven't I performed better than most other people here?

Colonel Yu: But you are a woman. And army life isn't suited for you.

Mulan: How so?

Colonel Yu [standing up]: Alright. Let's take bathing for an example. [Mulan looks away in some chagrin]

Mulan: Fine. Next time, I'd rather freeze to death out in the mountain stream and I still won't come and bother you again.

Colonel Yu [protesting]: That's not what I meant. You're mistaken. I don't mind you coming to my quarters to bathe.

Mulan: Then what's the problem?

Colonel Yu: But you're a woman. One day you'll get married and have children. Don't you think there is a problem with you cavorting about with men all day in this rough-and-tumble lifestyle?

Mulan: Heck, I don't need you to worry about me. I can take care of myself. [Walks out the door and leaves Colonel Yu with a host of questions]

[Cut to field in camp late at night. Jili is squatting on the ground and blowing and polishing the Celestial Peach in his hand. He spots Mulan taking a walk so he hurries over. She jumps when he approaches]

Jili: Boss!

Mulan [sternly]: What are you doing skulking around so late at night? [He looks left and right, then grabs her arm and pulls her off to talk to her in private]

Jili [handing over Celestial Peach]: Boss, hurry up and eat this peach.

Mulan [surprised]: What? You dragged me over here to have me eat a peach?

Jili: This isn't an ordinary peach. It's from the imperial orchards of the Empress Wangmu. It takes three thousand years for the flowers to form and another three thousand years for the fruit to ripen. If an immortal eats it, he will multiply his powers a thousand-fold. If a mortal eats it, he will gain eternal youth.

Mulan [grabs his ear]: Su Jili! Are you a mortal or an immortal?

Jili [crying out in pain]: Ow! Ow! Let go first…Ow, okay! I'm a man. I was only joking with you…[Mulan lets go of his ear and he rubs it gingerly] But seriously, eat this peach first.

Mulan: I just finished dinner. I don't have any room for this.

Jili: No problem! Fruit makes an excellent dessert. It helps with the digestion, you know.

Mulan [grabs peach and saunters off]: Fine.

Jili [calls after her]: Don't forget to eat it while it's nice and hot!

Mulan: I know.

[Cut to barracks. Mulan is asleep on her bunk when Monkey and Pudgy creep over. They gently prod her arm to wake her up]

Monkey: Boss, to commemorate your commission as a lieutenant we've decided to give you a hot bath! Come on. [Pudgy and Monkey both grab her arms] Let's go; we'll go take a bath together.

[Mulan protests and struggles against their grips. She flails her arms about and then we see she was only having a dream. She wakes up and sees everyone else in the barracks is asleep. She takes a look around then goes back to her bunk to go back to sleep. She doesn't notice that Jili is sleeping in her spot until she leans her head on what she thinks is her pillow. He pats her head

Jili: Don't worry. It was all a dream.

Mulan [jerking up]: What are you doing here?

Jili [hops up and puts a finger to his lips]: Don't panic. Don't panic. I saw you flailing around. You must be hungry.

Mulan: What were you doing there? And how did you know I'm hungry?

Jili: If you're hungry, then go eat the peach I gave you earlier.

Mulan: This late at night? You expect me to eat at this weird hour?

Jili: That peach is no ordinary peach. My elder brother sent a messenger to hand-deliver this peach to me. I hear this peach can increase your strength and stamina plus help increase your longevity. Boss, I owe you a lot. To repay this debt I saved this peach for you. Don't let my good intentions go to waste. Eat the peach. The night is long and it will be full of bad dreams for you

Mulan: Fine. I'll eat it. [Digs under her pillow and looks puzzled] I can't find it.

Jili [shocked]: What? What do you mean you can't find it? Where did you put it?

Mulan: I put it right here [points under her pillow] and it's not there now.

Jili: How could you be so careless? [Searches under the pillow himself but also comes up empty] Where is it? I've got to find it! [Gets off the bunk and rouses everyone else in the barracks] Hey! Everyone get up! Which of you took the peach I gave Boss? [Grabs Monkey and Pudgy by the collars] Who took it?

Monkey [sleepy]: What peach? Boss, what's this all about?

Mulan [embarrassed]: Oh, it's nothing…nothing at all. Su Jili gave me a peach and I kept it here but now I can't find it.

Jili [to Monkey]: Did you take it? [To Pudgy] Did you take it? One of you must have taken it!

Pudgy: No, I didn't take it.

[Jili starts questioning each of the soldiers, getting more and more frantic each time. He threatens to kill whoever took the peach. Alarmed, Mulan pulls Jili aside and tries to soothe him]

Mulan: Jili, calm down. It's only a peach. There's no need making such a fuss. Everyone still needs to get up early tomorrow morning for training.

Jili [in tears]: But that wasn't an ordinary peach.

Mulan [sternly]: I forbid you to make any more noise! It's only a peach. Everyone back to bed. That's an order!

[Everyone goes back to sleep. Mulan spots Jili leaving the barracks and stealthily follows him outside. He walks off to a deserted part of the camp. He gets on hands and knees and starts sniffing around the ground like a bloodhound to track down the missing peach. The Outhouse Goddess materializes and Jili starts growling at her like a dog]

Jili: You! I know you must have stolen my Celestial Peach. [Growls some more and sniffs her shoes]

Outhouse Goddess: We're all relatively low-ranking gods; you needn't bow to me like that.

Jili [furious]: You… I'm going to bite you! [Stands up and tries to attack her but a glowing shield pops up around the Outhouse Goddess and prevents Jili from getting too close]

Outhouse Goddess: My, my, my, that Celestial Peach is really something! I ate it and now my powers are many times stronger, plus I have all this energy.

Jili: Don't get so smug! I promise you I'll go to Empress Wangmu to rat on you. Even though you may have a lot more power now you can't avoid nasty consequences for your actions.

Outhouse Goddess [protesting]: You're the one who broke a celestial rule yet you want to bring forth a grievance against me? You should thank me for eating that peach and saving your skin.

Jili: Who said you saved me? And who said I broke a celestial rule? [Turns his back to the goddess]

Outhouse Goddess: You fell in love with Hua Mulan. Isn't that breaking one of the celestial rules?

Jili [stammering]: Who said I'm in love with her?

Outhouse Goddess: You try to make her happy with everything you do, find excuses to be near her, etc., etc. So touchy-feely…

Jili: I only did all those things because Empress Wangmu sent me on a special mission to help Hua Mulan make a name for herself.

Outhouse Goddess: Stop kidding yourself! If you didn't love her, how could you willingly give up this immensely precious Celestial Peach to her? You wanted her to have eternal youth so you could be with and spend the rest of eternity together.

Jili [loudly protesting]: I… I…I'm not in love with her! And what business is it of yours? You just take care of your outhouse stuff and don't bother with my stuff. You can't tell me what to do!

Outhouse Goddess [calmly]: I'm not telling you what to do. I'm only reminding you that any relationship between an immortal and a mortal is doomed. If Empress Wangmu hears you've fallen for Hua Mulan, I fear your punishment will be many times worse than mine for stealing your peach! [Jili looks worried and tongue-tied. Mulan starts calling for Jili and the Outhouse Goddess vanishes. Mulan keeps calling for Jili and soon spots him. She walks over to him and he turns his back to her]

Mulan: Jili, I know you mean well. But it was only a peach. Don't do this to yourself, please?

[Jili sadly turns around and smiles weakly. He then suddenly bolts in the opposite direction]

[Cut to barracks the next morning. Mulan is cleaning her bunk when Pudgy walks in and presents a bundle to Mulan]

Pudgy: I just finished preparing some fresh meat buns with some special ingredients for you. It's very tasty. Here, eat some while they're fresh and hot. [Monkey and a few other soldiers grab some buns and start to eat them. Pudgy angrily yells at them] Hey, those aren't for you!

Monkey: Just a little food like this won't hurt anyone. We should all share any good food that comes along. [Other soldiers agree with this sentiment]

Pudgy: I made these for Boss. Do you think your actions show him the proper respect? [Monkey and others look sheepishly at Mulan. Monkey offers his half-eaten bun to Mulan] Who wants to eat something you're filthy lips have already touched?

Mulan: That's alright. I'm not hungry. Why don't you all split the food? Come on. Eat up. [The soldiers start to eat the buns with great gusto] By the way, where is Su Jili?

Pudgy: He didn't come to bed at all last night. I haven't seen him since last night.

Mulan: That's odd. He is such a strange one…[Sees General Li enter the barracks so she and her troops all immediately stand at attention]

General Li: At ease. Hua Mulan, I have some business to attend to at the eastern fields. I'd like you to accompany me to provide some support while traveling through the mountainous terrain.

Mulan: Yes, sir! [Follows General Li out of the barracks. As they step outside they meet Colonel Yu]

Colonel Yu [sees Mulan]: Where are you going?

Mulan [looks at General Li first]: General Li asked me to go with him to the eastern fields. Is there something you needed from me?

Colonel Yu [handing a bundle of outer clothing to Mulan]: These are your clothes. They've been cleaned already.

Mulan: Thank you. [Colonel Yu grabs Mulan and pulls her aside to talk to her]

Colonel Yu: Can you get out of going with him? I want to talk to you about something.

Mulan: We can talk later. Here. [Hands back her clothing] Hold these for me until I get back, will you? [To General Li] Sir, after you. [General Li nods and walks off with Mulan in tow. Colonel Yu watches them go]