I thought I'd create another story alongside To fight by his sword". I promise I will be finishing the first one for you. The reason I'm doing another is that I can't go and introduce new ideas "to the fight by his sword" saga without changing a lot of the original story- make sense?

So please wait a little more for the next chapter of "To fight by his sword!"

As you know I owe not a single speck of dust or skin flake from the cast/cartoons of Mulan...dammit!

The incense spiralled up towards the gold ceiling like a spectre, creeping its ghostly claws out towards the young maiden's face as she prayed. Silence reigned as she closed her eyes and channelled her thoughts into prayer. It's been along time since she last prayed to her ancestors and she was making up for it now.

She heard the sound of disgust and looked over to see a noble woman looking over her outfit.

Not clad in gold embroidered dresses or make-up, she wore the simple uniform of the Chinese army.

She was use to the reaction; it will never cease to amaze her that although she saved China from death, her people could never accept her for wearing a soldier's armour. Returning her attention to prayers, she closed her eyes only to be interrupted by the sounds of approaching footsteps. She knew who it was. She heard the gossip and seen the spectacle.

"I thought I find you here." The voice said. The figure knelt down and reached up to place another incense in the burner.

"Quite an arrival you made there Li Shang." Mulan replied, keeping her eyes closed and her hands together.

She heard him sigh and opened her eyes to look at him. He tugged off his helmet and placed it on the floor in front of him alongside his sword. "The emperor insisted on the lavish display to boast morale of the people. I only obeyed." He defended himself about the lively street entertainment and the splendid military spectacle that was still going on in the city below them.

"How are you?" he asked looking over at her, she turned her face back to look at the alter, not wanting to see his handsome face.

"I am well considering the massacre that was our battle." Mulan replied.

"I heard about that, the ambush was unjustified considering you just negotiated a peace treaty." Shang's voice sounded concerned. Mulan swallowed back her hurt, why he's concerned about her now after what he's done?

"You were lucky you escaped unharmed." His voice pierced her mind as she tried to push him away. She almost snorted with agitation, unknown to him she received yet another sword wound to add to her collection that dotted her body. The wound festered for days before she arrived into the hands of the doctors. She had hoped he would be there but only rumours greeted her.

A heavy silence fell over them as Mulan tried to pray, Shang's distracting presence made it more harder.

She heard him mutter to himself then a sharp hesitating intake of air told her, he wanted to talk.

"Mulan...we've been friends for a year since we left Wu Zhong camp." He started but paused.

"That is correct." Mulan replied.

"I need your help, I've done something bad." He cautiously said.

She waited for him to confirm what she had kept denying.

"I slept with another woman and she is now pregnant with my child." He breathed out, Mulan opened her eyes and realised a tear trickled out onto her cheek. Shang wasn't looking and she wiped it away.

"I know." She replied, not wanting to believe that the rumours circulating the court were true.

"You knew?" Shang jerked his head up, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"That's not the point." Mulan retorted, Shang looked upset as he nodded and turned his head to look at the alter.

"You must marry her." Mulan quietly said, she placed her hands on her knees and eyed the sword in front of her. Her father's sword.

"I know yet my heart belongs to another." Shang looked over at her, Mulan stood up and picked up her sword.

"Please help me." Shang said desperately.

"I will not dirty myself in your affairs. Goodbye." She calmly replied and left Shang alone at the foot of the alter.

Too many worries and troubles churned her mind as she strode through the palace with her head down in thought.

"Mulan!" a voice echoed.

She knew who it was, turned and bowed as the emperor smiled.

"Come, don't waste such time on me. You are not required of that!" The emperor waved her into his throne room that was empty.

"Have you spoken to Shang?" He eyed her, immediately catching her distraught face. "You know me so well don't you." Mulan weakly smiled.

"I have watched you grew older with maturity and wiser, I see things and I know there is something between you two. I am so sorry, I really can't believe Shang would do this." The emperor placed a gentle hand on her should as she limply nodded, neither could she.

Before they could speak any further, a commotion broke out in the passageway leading to the throne room. A group of people both men and women barged in then seeing the occupants hesitated in the doorway. A guard ran up to him and panted, "I tried to stop their rude intrusion."

"Don't worry." The emperor excused him and looked at the group, a small huddle of women looked at him if they were impatient. Wearing rich clothes and jewellery, Mulan could tell they were of wealth. The men surrounding them were buckling under their processions as they wheezed and panted.

"Allow me to introduce..." the guard stood straight.

"No, let them introduce themselves." The emperor stepped forward.

"I'm Wu Li and this is Zhang Bao." The lady introduced herself, she looked as if the emperor should know who they were.

"And what are you doing in my palace?" the emperor politely asked.

"We're here to stay and ensure justice is served for Zhang Bao here." Wu snapped.

"What you mean?" Mulan broke into the conversation. The woman looked astounded that another woman would dare wear men clothes replied curtly, "Bao is pregnant after a general forced his way into her bed. He is to marry her to prevent further injustice."

"That is true, let the guards take you to your rooms." The emperor smiled, the guard nodded and lead the party out the room.

"That was interesting, it seems that our friend Shang is being accused of rape." The emperor frowned he looked troubled. "Mulan. Something's not right. I insist you investigate into this quietly, not letting anyone know what you are doing. I have my doubts about this claim. I know I can rely on you to bring to me untainted evidence."

Mulan went to object when he gave her a look, "Your orders are my commands."

She turned and left the room, exhaling her frustrations. She looked to see the woman who was pregnant with Shang's child looking back at her. She nodded and closed her bedroom door leaving Mulan to stare at the inlayed wood.

There was no denying that the young woman was beautiful. She would attract many men's glances and would inspire many sexual fantasies.

Swallowing back her hurt, Mulan squared her shoulders up. Shang was a man he couldn't resist temptations.

But why another woman?

She waited for months in hope that the man she secretly loved and she knew he loved her in his own way, would be with her, would commit to her.

Punching the wall in a mixture of hurt pride and anger, she strode off to her room. She needed to be alone despite what the emperor says.