Fellowship Of The Helmet 6: The Fellowship All Together
Disclaimer: Nothin belongs to me! I swear! So, don't even THINK about sending me those lawyer letters!
"Dear, DON'T give me that look! I'm fine! I can ride perfectly!"
"Mulan. You're pregnant. You are NOT riding Khan."
"Popo! (Mother-in-law) He's doing it again!"
Li Wan sighed as she shook her head at her son. "Shang, you know very well Mulan is perfectly capable of riding! I've never seen a healthier woman in my life!" Mulan grinned at her mother-in-law and smirked triumphantly at her husband.
Shang rubbed his head. "Mother, she's carrying a five month old child, OUR child, mind you, in her! If she gets injured...!"
Li Wan had quickly learned that her daughter-in-law had the same power she had over Shang. After a few days, she had warmed to Mulan and taught her all the expressions that Shang simply could not resist. When the two women combined their individual talents, Shang was completely hopeless. Now was one of those times. Li Chen who was now nine, snickered.
"You're losing, big brother!"
"I am not!"
Shang grumbled under his breath. Mulan crossed her arms. "I'm riding Khan and that's that."
Li Wan stifled her giggles at Shang's despairing look. "You should know better than to deny a pregnant woman her wants, son."
"Fine. But, we're going slowly, you hear me? SLOWLY."
Mulan grinned and hugged her mother-in-law. "Thank you, popo!" She picked up her nine-year-old brother-in-law and squeezed him as well. He giggled and demanded to be put down. Doing so, she walked to the stable and brought out the loyal stallion. After getting married four years ago, Fa Zhou had bequeathed him to his daughter as a small wedding gift.
Shang didn't marry Mulan immediately as he still had to go through a period of mourning for his father. It took three years. By then, his good friend, Xin Soong had quickly married Shu Fang and already had a bright two-year-old boy for a son. He was named after Shu Fang's brother, Lei.
To say that Xin Soong's parents were shocked when he gave the news that he was going to be married was an understatement. But they got over the fact that A) Xin Soong was now the emperor's godson and B) he managed to get engaged to Shu Fang without bringing shame to the family and had a grand wedding since this was the emperor's godson we're talking about here.
Ying Ching Kun didn't know what to make of the whole thing but since he couldn't exactly refuse an emperor's decree, he agreed. After all, Xin Soong was a respectable Captain and a godson of the emperor. It couldn't hurt. Lung Yin went home, disgraced. Shu Fang never saw him again. A rumour was that he had moved to South China with his two wives.
Straight after the wedding, the gang of three traveled back to Mulan's village with Shang to send her home and to meet their girls. It took them a while but after six months of getting to know each other better and sending letters back and forth, the gang of three proposed all at once, on the same day, in the same spot, at the same time.
It was during a small picnic in a nearby meadow chaperoned by Mulan (Ling and his pals had pleaded her to come since Madam Lien trusted the heroine to look out for An and her two nieces). Then, while she went off to 'look around', Ling, Yao and Chien Po gulped, thrust out their fear and spat out their words in such a flurry that Huan Yue, Qing Yuan and An looked confused.
They repeated their question to which all three girls answered "Yes!"
Mulan came rushing back at their squeals of delight and congratulated them. It took the rest of the year to ask their parents for permission, sorting out the details and making sure Chien Po didn't grow any bigger. In the end though, the Gang Of Three settled down with their girls and resided together in the Imperial City.
And as for the now 19-year-old Shen Shing, he hadn't expressed any feelings towards any girl. He was busy getting the top in the academy and was working towards becoming a Palace Guard. Although Shu Fang could've sworn she saw him talking to her cousin, Yun Cyn (A/N: ;; I couldn't resist!) during their wedding...
The Fellowship was quite near each other, what with the Li's staying in the Imperial City along with the Gang of Three (they moved) and the Choongs' only three day ride away. One day, Xin Soong decided it would be nice to see all of them again, so he invited them to come and have dinner and maybe spend a few days at his home. Mulan and Shang had agreed to meet up with the gang of three and their wives before setting off to see Xin Soong. This time, they brought tents and everything they needed to be comfortable and rain-free.
Shang had almost refused to let Mulan go but one miserable face was all it took for him to groan and weakly said yes.
Huan Yue herself was three months pregnant. She was bringing her three year old daughter with her. Ling was rather proud of his little dumpling whom he'd named Jiao meaning beautiful.
An and Yao had twin boys, named Sying (after the orphan boy who was now living with a kind family with his sister in Louyang) and Shaiming.
Chien Po and Qing Yuan had their own little bundles of joy. Both their daughter, Feng and son, Liang were only a year apart.
And ALL of them were coming to the Choong home. Needless to say, the three days on the road were not peaceful and definitely not stink free. But they made it and they were welcomed warmly by Xin Soong and Shu Fang. Shen Shing was there as well grinning at the state his friends were in.
But, when all the toddlers were settled and sleeping, all of them breathed a sigh of relief and sat down to a late dinner. They exchanged stories of what they'd been doing. Shang had been promoted and was busy training the new recruits for Palace Guards, Shen Shing included. Xin Soong, served as his Captain helping him out with most paper work and with Shang gave his new godfather, the emperor their opinions on most things in court.
Yao and Ling started a restaurant with Chien Po as chef. It was quite well known for it's wine and pleasant service. (Excluding the several incidents where Yao had punched the lights out of some people who were rude to him or his friends OR anyone related to them)
"We've come a long way, haven't we?" remarked Shang as he put a slice of meat into Mulan's bowl.
Xin Soong smiled. "Never dreamed we would come to this day, eh?"
Ling laughed. "That's our captain!"
Chien Po smiled broadly. "You mean general!"
Shu Fang grinned. "Oh, Shen Shing. I received a letter from Yun Cyn yesterday. Did you know she's coming to visit me?"
He coughed. "Oh, really." Everyone snickered at the rate his face was blushing. "Uh, when?"
"She's due tomorrow." More coughing and the rest burst into laughter.
His elder brother finished laughing first. "Shen, Shen. Please don't repeat me and Shang's hesitation! I couldn't bear to go on another journey like that again!"
Mulan smiled. "Really? What hesitations?"
With a wink at Mulan and Shu Fang, Huan Yue spoke up. "Yes, tell us! What happened when General Li decided to go after Mulan?"
Ling grinned and recounted the times where Shang had seemed so lost, how they'd given him the idea of the helmet, how dense he had been...
Shang glared at him. "What about Xin Soong!? He was in the same wimpish state as well!"
Yao laughed heartily. "Oh, yeah! He almost strangled Ling twice!"
Xin Soong punched him lightly on the arm. "Hey, speaking of Yun Cyn, she was the one who'd give me that idea about asking Mulan to help out..."
Shu Fang grinned. An giggled. "Well, it looks like you have her to thank, Xin Soong."
"So, tell us more, Chien Po! What happened? We still don't know much, you know." said Qing Yuan smilingly.
The merriment continued well into the night. Yun Cyn arrived the next day and much of the teasing surrounded Shen Shing and HIS hesitation. The gang of three, Shang and Mulan stayed for a few more days then went on home.
Several weeks later...
"Shang! Mulan! Madam Li? Anyone in?"
Mulan came running out. Her eyes widened to see Xin Soong and his brother at the gate. "Xin Soong! Shen Shing! What're you doing here?"
The younger Choong looked embarrassed. "Um..."
Xin Soong sighed. "Maybe we'd better talk to Shang inside and you also. Is he in?"
"Um, yes. He just came back. Please come in."
Once inside, Shang was surprised to see his old friend and over tea, Shen Shing hesitantly spoke up.
"Uh, Um...." he looked at his elder brother for help.
Sighing, Xin Soong looked at Shang. "He needs our help."
Xin Soong raised an eyebrow. "He wants to go and ask Yun Cyn's parents to let him marry her."
Suppressing a wave of laughter, Shang struggled to keep his face straight. "R, really?" Mulan shot him a look that said he better not laugh.
"Yes. And since he's not as brave and cocky as he is in the Palace, he needs our help to go and get her."
"Does that mean we're going on another trip?"
Shen Shing spoke up quickly. "If you're willing. We've already been to see Yao, Ling and Chien Po. All three of them said they'd go."
"I can't leave Mulan-" He was cut off.
"I think you should go with them, dear."
Shang stared at his wife. "What?!"
"Popo is here and like I said, the baby isn't due for some months. You should go."
"And what about my job?"
Xin Soong mumbled something. "Godpa" could be heard somewhere.
Shang groaned. "You twisted his highness's arm and got me a few days' leave. Is that it?"
He grinned sheepishly. Shen Shing looked at him hopefully. "Well?" Shang looked at his wife who was smiling.
"If I don't go, you'd kill me, wouldn't you?"
Mulan cheerfully nodded.
"Fine. I'll go start packing..." Mulan shook her head as she followed behind him to help.
The Fellowship was back in business.
A/N: Alright, it's the end! I apologize if this chapter and the last one was crappy and I'm sorry again for the LOOONG delay! Thank you to Traum, Lynn and Princess Mulan and also to the would-be reviewers! Thank you and goodnight! See y'all again real soon!