Categories > Movies > Mulan > The Betrothed

Chapter 10

by lightbird 0 Reviews

[AU] Mulan returned home after the war, her secret undiscovered, now preparing to marry the man that she was betrothed to as a child, who turns out to be Shang. Things get complicated when they're ...

Category: Mulan - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance - Characters:  - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006/08/06 - Updated: 2006/08/07 - 1638 words

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Chapter 10

Mulan paced back and forth outside of her tent, her stomach knotting and clenching with the anxiety that was building up inside of her as she wondered what could have possibly happened for Shang's attitude toward her to change so abruptly. The only explanation that she could come up with for him being so livid at her was that somehow he had discovered the truth about her.

Shang returned from his brooding by the lake finally, after almost an hour, and he now summoned the troops to line up. Once they were assembled in the middle of camp, he announced that they would be leaving in the morning.

"Everyone is to be packed and ready to move out after breakfast tomorrow."

He called out to the other three lieutenants and they glanced at Mulan, obviously wondering why her name hadn't been called out as well.

"Report to my tent in half an hour."

They acknowledged his order.

"Lieutenant Hua."

Mulan's stomach began to churn, but she kept her face impassive.

"Report to my tent right after the troop is dismissed."

"Yes, sir," she answered firmly.

The troop was dismissed and Mulan waited nervously for Shang to disappear inside his tent before composing herself and following.

"Captain," she addressed him when she was at the entrance.

"Enter," he answered, gruffly.

She stepped inside and stood at attention, meeting his gaze firmly. There was a map spread out on the desk.

"At ease, Lieutenant. Have a seat."

He pointed to the map after she sat down across from him and explained that according to a dispatch he had just received from the general, they had information that the princess was now across the northern border, outside of the Great Wall. They had orders to move out and meet up with the general's troop just below the border, where they would be given further instructions and information.

"Then she is no longer in Chinese territory," Mulan remarked. "Which means that we will be trespassing into an area that isn't ours."

"I didn't ask for your opinion, Lieutenant. Or your remarks," he snapped.

"Sorry," she muttered, feeling her face flame with humiliation and indignation at the unfairness of his treatment of her. Never before had he put her down for speaking up about strategy, or about a situation that the troop was involved in. In fact, he had always welcomed her point of view and her suggestions.

He closed his eyes and sighed, appearing to be calming himself. He opened his eyes again after a minute and stared down at the map.

"But you're right," he conceded quietly. "We will be entering foreign land; and there is a constant struggle for power in the area where we are going, among the different tribes there. The leadership changes with the wind. We must be vigilant and prepared for anything when we are there."

"Yes, sir," she responded, secretly feeling a little smug that, whatever his problem was with her, he still had to admit that she knew her stuff and had some things to say that were worth while.

"Alright, Lieutenant, that's it for now. You're dismissed. Report back to me with the others in half an hour."

She stood up and saluted, then turned to leave. She changed her mind and turned back to face him bravely. She didn't want to wait. She had to know whether he knew or not; and if not, what exactly his problem was with her that he was suddenly behaving so obnoxiously toward her.

"Sir, have I done something to offend you?"

He was silent for a full minute before finally responding.

"I already told you before," he answered coldly, buried in paper work all of a sudden and not looking up. "You are too casual and familiar with me."

"Sir, last night you told me that we are friends and it is okay to call you by name when we are off duty...and now you have suddenly..."

"That's enough, Lieutenant," he replied curtly. "You're dismissed."

She was silent for a moment, staring at him. He looked up and stared back at her.

"I said /dismissed/."

She steeled herself for the consequences of what she was about to do and took a deep breath, beginning to speak to him calmly but firmly.

"Captain, you can kick me out of the army if you want to, but not before I've had my say."

He stood up abruptly, knocking the chair backward, and towered over her, his face beginning to contort into an expression of angry disbelief at the fact that she was standing up to him in this way.

"This is a perfect example, Lieutenant!"

"We've..."

"You are insubordinate and I should beat you within an inch of your life for defying me like this!"

Her eyes widened in anger and shock at the suggestion that he would beat her.

"Oh, I'd like to see you try!" she retorted, setting herself into a fighting stance.

His eyes widened now and he looked like he wanted to kill her. When he spoke again his voice was calm but disdainful.

"You little brat."

"How dare you?" she shouted at him, furious.

His jaw dropped and he gaped at her, flabbergasted. She ignored his look and went on with what she had to say, no longer shouting but speaking in a strong, clear voice.

"We've been friends for awhile now, Captain, and if I have done something to offend you, if I have wronged you in some way, I deserve for you to tell me what it is that I did."

"Will you leave now?" he demanded, pointing to the exit.

"And if you don't have the guts to tell me," she continued, "then you don't deserve the true respect that I have for you, that I have always given you. And you especially don't deserve my friendship."

Having had her say now, she turned and strode hurriedly out of his tent before he had a chance to respond.

xxxxxxx

"Well, as you already know, since we are leaving camp tomorrow, you won't have to worry about the medical exam," Mulan whispered to Huang as they sat together in her tent. "No one knows the details about anything yet, other than me and the captain..."

"But there is news of my sister?"

"Not too much, but we are moving north. The information that we received is that she is now over the northern border, outside the Great Wall."

Huang looked extremely troubled at that. Mulan continued.

"Based on what you know about the situation, does that seem plausible? If not, please let me know. The Imperial army has already been on one wild goose chase; another one would waste energy, time, and money, and would be of no help to your sister."

"I don't know for sure," she admitted, frowning.

"But it's possible that she would be there?"

"I guess," she answered with hesitation. "Anything is possible."

"Do you have any idea who she might be with?"

Huang nodded. "I know at least one person she might be with, but there are probably many more people with them. He wouldn't have gone off with her alone; there would be a gang of men with them."

Mulan stared at her in surprise.

"Mulan, you have kept my secret and proved yourself trustworthy. I will tell you something because I think it is necessary now, but you must promise to keep it to yourself. It is very personal."

"I promise."

"You're right. My sister did run away. But...it would seem to me that she would have gone in a different direction."

"Not north?"

"No. Unless she is thinking that no one would expect her to go that way, so she did go that way. Maybe she is more clever than I gave her credit for."

Mulan stared at her questioningly.

"My older sister is the beautiful one," Huang explained. "Of course, it may have not been her idea to go that way," she added, thoughtfully.

"Can you tell me why she ran away?"

"Many men from all over the land want her hand in marriage, but one has been arranged for her already. She doesn't want to marry the man that she has been betrothed to."

"But...she is the Emperor's daughter. She knows her duty, doesn't she...?"

"Yes, of course. But my older sister can be quite foolish and unrealistic at times. And she is easily influenced by others, including those who may steer her in the wrong direction."

"Is there...?" Mulan stopped herself. This was the Emperor's family and the question on her mind would be much too personal.

"You want to know if there is someone she does want to marry. There is."

Mulan nodded. It was as she expected.

"I promise you that this will go no further than me. For all I know, I'm about to be kicked out of the army anyway."

"Why? What happened?"

"I don't want to talk about it. If I am kicked out, I'll come and talk to you. I may take you up on your idea to ride off and look for your sister on our own then. But assuming that I remain here, I will keep my promise, and I will come and talk to you first if I need to make the captain aware of anything. Whatever your wishes are then, I will abide by them; but I'll tell you honestly if I believe that continuing to keep this a secret will in any way hinder the mission or risk the lives of your sister or anyone else."

"Thank you, Lieutenant Hua Mulan. You are truly honorable and noble. When we have made it through this and can all return home, I will make certain that my father knows of everything you have done for me."
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