Categories > Movies > Mulan > The Betrothed0 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 ...
"The wound didn't reopen," the medic told him, stepping out of her tent once again. "I will change the bandage and check the stitches tomorrow."
The medic went off to give his report to Princess Hui-Ying and Shang entered Mulan's tent and knelt beside her where she lay.
"Shang, I couldn't tell you about her," she said, softly.
"I know. She's the Emperor's daughter. Her order out ranks mine. Do you know why she came here?"
"To hide from threats against her. And to be part of her older sister's rescue."
"Mm. I guess no one would be looking for her dressed as a male soldier, in an army camp."
"The Emperor knows?"
"Yes. He sent her to your camp because he knew I was here."
"She's waiting in my tent. I have to leave and go to speak with her. Mulan, you're both certain that her sister is with these men you ran into?"
She nodded. "They're Iraj's friends."
She began to help herself to sitting.
"Whoa, where do you think you're going?"
"I'm going with you to talk to Princess Hui-Ying."
"Mulan, you need to rest."
"I'm not tired."
"You lost a lot of blood. You're wound..."
"It's a little sore, but I'm okay. Shang, I kept trying to talk to you so many times. Why wouldn't you let me tell you who I was? Were you afraid Jun-Li would hear? It's not like he would have been hearing something he didn't know."
"I know. But I already knew who you were and I didn't need you to say it. It was enough that you were going to tell me the truth. And it wasn't just Jun-Li that I was worried about. I suspected Chi Fu was eavesdropping around camp, too. Of course, now I know why you weren't nervous when our parents brought us together to meet. You already knew me."
"You knew me, too."
"But I didn't know that. I thought I was marrying a girl that I didn't know at all. That was a little bit of an unfair advantage that you had, don't you think?" he teased.
"I guess," she answered. "It wasn't my fault though. I didn't know you were going to turn out to be my fiancÃ© when I was in your camp the first time."
She changed the subject, teasing him back with a glint in her eye.
"You knew who I was when you fell asleep in my lap that day."
"I see you're not feeling too bad to tease me right back," he answered, his face beginning to turn pink. "I'm sorry. I'm guilty, okay? But I didn't do it on purpose."
"I didn't say I minded," she answered, softly.
He stared at her in surprise, and she figured that he disapproved. She looked away from him, blinking back the tears that were beginning to form in her eyes.
"I thought after the first battle ended that it would be over and I would get married and become a traditional Chinese wife. Then I was specifically requested back and..."
He leaned over, his face only inches from her own, and she closed her eyes as he bent closer and kissed her forehead softly, then let his lips remain there for a moment. She opened her eyes again and looked up at him as he raised his head up and stared down at her.
"I know," he answered.
His hand moved up to tenderly brush back the loose strands of hair that had fallen into her face.
"It's okay. Somehow I don't think you could ever be a completely traditional Chinese wife."
He began to stroke her cheek gently. She reached out and placed her hand over his, pressing it against her cheek. They stayed that way for a minute, both of them remaining silent. Then she removed her hand and spoke of her next concern.
"Shang, now that all of the men know about me...they always had respect for me. Now that they know Lieutenant Hua is a woman, it's going to be different."
"You're still my best soldier and my second in command. And you're my best friend. I will make sure that no one in the camp gives you a hard time."
He removed his hand from her face and began to pull her blanket up around her and coax her to lie down again. She resisted, pushing the blanket away.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"I can help you plan a strategy. I should be there."
"You know I'm going to sneak out after you leave the tent anyway, so you might as well let me come."
Shang sighed. "You are so obstinate. Alright, I'll go talk to the princess and bring the meeting in here. That way you can participate and you won't be skulking around the camp with a chest wound. Will that satisfy you?"
"Yes. And that way I can help you come up with a plan. I'm responsible for her anyway."
"Yes, she came with a letter from her father asking me to look after her. So, you see? You can't leave me out."
"Captain, I must apologize for running off like that," Princess Hui-Ying began. "You are in command here, and while I was a soldier under your command I should not have taken it upon myself to take things into my own hands. I am glad that Lieutenant Hua will be alright. I feel responsible for her injury."
"Your Highness, Lieutenant Hua told me about Iraj and I did pass that information on to my father. He is aware that he might be able to lead us to her, which is why he took him as his guide, and I can assure you that he will do everything possible to take advantage of Iraj's knowledge."
"Thank you, Captain. However, I'm certain that the people that attacked us tonight are Iraj's friends, and that my sister is with them. They asked us why we were looking for Iraj, so they obviously knew him."
"I will meet you shortly in Lieutenant Hua's tent, Captain, and I will give you more details. Also, Chi Fu should be there. As angry as I am at his treatment of her, he is still my father's closest councilman. And he's good at his job. We could use his input."
"Your Highness, he withheld information about the betrothal from us. You are not worried about his loyalties...?"
"Not at all, Captain. I know he's contrary sometimes, but he is loyal to the Emperor. Any information that he withheld was either because he was ordered to do so or because he was being extra-sensitive to the private affairs of the Emperor's family. Nothing more."
"Come on guys, it's still me."
As soon as she had been revealed, Mulan knew that things would be different with the other troop members; but she had been hoping her three friends would be a little more open-minded.
After Shang left to talk to Hui-Ying they'd come in to see how she was doing, which was encouraging to her. It meant that they weren't too angry to care about her well-being. But now the three of them were sitting on the ground in her tent, fidgeting uncomfortably, not looking at her, not knowing what to say.
"It's just a little strange," Ling began finally, breaking the ice. "I mean, of course, you're still our friend. But we can't joke with you the same way."
"Of course you can."
"Those times we were talking about women the way we were, and about the brothel..."
"Oh, I didn't care! It's what guys talk about. It didn't bother me."
"Not even at first?"
"Well, okay, maybe at first. But I got used to it."
Chien-Po was the first to look her in the eye. "If we need to be a little more careful with what we say around you, that's okay. We're still friends."
"Well, me and Chien-Po will get used to it. I'm not sure about Yao," Ling laughed, elbowing his friend. "After all, he has more to be embarrassed about. King of the Rock!"
Yao shoved his friend. "Shut up."
Mulan instantly remembered the incident at the lake the first time she was at camp and began to blush, bringing her hands up to her face to cover her red cheeks. Yao turned to her and cleared his throat, appearing uncertain as to whether he should speak or not, his face turning three shades of red. He was at least as embarrassed as she was.
"I didn't know..." he began.
"It's okay, Yao. I didn't even look."
"No. I had my eyes covered the whole time. I was embarrassed, too, you know."
He released a sigh of relief.
"Feel better?" she asked, teasing.
Mulan began to giggle. The whole situation seemed ridiculous to her all of a sudden and she couldn't help it. To her relief, her three friends began to laugh as well.
"I must be the first person to get to her," Hui-Ying stated firmly.
"Your Highness," Shang began. "I'm responsible for your safety. I can't just let you go alone..."
"I'll go with her," Mulan interrupted. The four of them were gathered in her tent. Hui-Ying had already told Shang about Behrouz and that she believed her sister ran away with him. "I have been responsible for her safety all along, and I will continue to be. I am under order by the Emperor."
Hui-Ying grinned and nodded to Shang. "It's true, Captain."
"These men attacked us," Chi Fu said. "You want to walk right into their territory again?"
"They attacked us because they saw that we were wearing Imperial uniforms and they heard us talking about finding Iraj and Behrouz. If we go in plain clothes, I don't think we will raise suspicions," Mulan continued. "Iraj went with the general, so chances are his friends aren't moving. Not until he gets back to them. So we have a little bit of time to plan a way in."
"And Behrouz won't harm her," Hui-Ying added. "I would like to go in there and talk to her, without any fighting."
"Are you hoping she will come quietly, after she ran away?" Chi Fu remarked incredulously.
"Yes, I am. I'm hoping that I can convince her to come to her senses."
"What about her boyfriend? He may not want to let her go quietly."
"I don't like it," Shang interrupted them, shaking his head. "And even if you go in plain clothes, those men have seen you. They'll recognize your faces. And Lieutenant Hua is wounded. She shouldn't be going anywhere right now."
"Nonsense. I feel fine. The wound is just a little sore."
He grimaced at her.
"We don't have to go right away. We have time to plan this and time to set it up so that it's just right, with as little margin for error as possible. Captain, those men wouldn't recognize us if we went as ourselves. As women."
Shang blinked at Mulan in disbelief. "What?"
"Just an idea."
"She's right," Chi Fu began. "And they wouldn't see them as a threat either. They would have to go unarmed, though."
Shang shook his head. "No. No way. I'm not sending the two of you into the desert like that, to be picked off by these men. There has to be an alternative."
"We could take knives with us for protection. If we looked like typical women travelers in the desert, no one would question that we had knives."
"Or we could just look like we're helpless," Hui-Ying suggested. "Like we're lost. Then they wouldn't see us as a threat at all, and maybe they would take us in. We'd have to go on foot."
"This is a crazy idea! I'm not sending the two of you on a suicide mission by yourselves. Your Highness, I'm responsible for your safety."
"A team of men could go as back up. They would have to remain somewhat behind and unseen," Mulan suggested. "Chi Fu, you were at that spot. I'm sure you would be able to find your way back to it, wouldn't you?"
"Of course, I could find it again in the dark even."
"Chi Fu could direct the team to the spot. They can remain behind, but close enough to scope out the area and keep an eye on us."
"It's the most plausible plan for me to get in there and talk to my sister, Captain. I know the risk. And I'm willing to take it."
Shang sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm still not convinced. There has to be another way to do this, a way that won't be so dangerous for the two of you. But as you said, we have some time to plan. Maybe we can come up with an alternative in that time."