Equine Seal of Approval

Hello everyone! Been a while since I posted in here. :) AT any rate, I hope you enjoy reading this. Warning for 'sy-ap'. It's not even sap, it's 'sy-ap', as in major toothache causing, candy floss fluff. But hey, candy once in a while is okay, ain't it? :)

Disclaimer: Mulan (C) Disney. (runs and cries)


Shang had problems.

Well, to be specific, he had a problem.

About two weeks ago, he had gotten on one knee, taken his beloved's hands in his and asked if she would take this lowly, undeserving soldier to be her husband.

Mulan's eyes had widened and she hd knocked him clean off his knees and flat on to his back when she had thrown her arms around his neck (even if she was about half his weight). There, she had made him the happiest man alive that day by saying, "YES!!"

Needless to say, his in-laws were more than willing to entrust him with their precious, only daughter. Fa Li had been just thrilled at the news. Her husband, Fa Zhou had just smiled in a very patriarchal manner and patted Shang's shoulder in congratulations. (Shang had asked his permission to marry his daughter just a week beforehand)

Granny Fa had tugged Shang down to her level and pinched both his cheeks with her hands. The grand lady had declared that once Shang was in the family, he was going be stuffed like all young men should. He was just too skinny for his own good! Shang had chuckled nervously at that but thanked her. He had a feeling his horse wasn't going to be happy with any weight gain he would go through.

Since he had no family left, Shang would move in with the Fa's. Or rather, he and Mulan would stay with her family for a little while until they managed to build or buy a house nearby. In the meantime, Mulan had led him on a tour and had proudly introduced him to everyone she knew. Everyone he had met had been polite, friendly and approved of the couple. (Well, except for a few who remembered Mulan's run in with the village matchmaker. Shang and Mulan had just ignored them.)

Except for ONE being who wasn't quite ready to give up his Mulan to another.

That being was currently chewing on a long blade of grass and pretending to be just another ordinary, run-of-the-mill, everyday warhorse.

That façade would have worked if it weren't for the fact that beneath the black fur and muscles, Khan had a tendency to kick his mistress's fiancé in the behind at every chance he got.

Basically, Shang concluded, Khan just HATED him.

Despite all attempts to make friends, ("Here Khan, have a nice apple… There you go, take the app- OW!!") and despite all tries to make peace ("Shang! What happened?!" "Horse… kicked… head…" "Shang!!") that dark horse still hated his guts.

Shang suspected it was because horses had LONG memories. And the fact that Shang had once nearly killed the very woman he was about to marry didn't seem to have faded. (The other fact that he had let her go didn't seem to have bobbed up in the horse's sea of memory.)

Logic dictated that he could marry Mulan whether Khan approved or not. He was just a horse after all.

Honour declared that this mere horse had saved both he and Mulan's lives at Tung Shao Pass. The attempts at gaining Khan's approval would call it even once the four-legged creature seemed to approve of him. And even if Mulan hadn't said anything, Shang knew Khan was more than a horse to her. He was a friend and somewhat an equine version of an older brother. It meant a lot to her that he got along with everyone she cared about, human or otherwise.

So, for the third time in two hours, Shang stood in the paddock trying to make peace.

So far, the scoreboard read:

Khan: 3
Shang: 0

The brave captain who had led his troops into battle with the Huns had been kicked twice in the backsides and tripped into the mud once.

Now, he was ready to try again. (After wiping his face clean of mud).

"Come on Khan, surely five kicks in two days is enough. Please?" Shang held out a handful of hay. "What do you say?"


"Khan, Mulan's already forgiven me for Tung Shao. And I did spare her…" His voice dropped lower at the last part. Guilt still hovered but he hadn't killed her. That was what was important, he supposed.

Lazy glance. Spin of the grass blade.


"Please, I don't know what else I need to do to get you to like me."

Khan cast one more glance at him.

Then the horse turned and whapped his tail in Shang's face.

As Khan trotted off, the captain restrained himself from grabbing a pitchfork and making soup out of Mulan's horse.


After Shang had cleaned up and had dinner with the Fa's, he and Mulan went out to sit under the cherry blossoms on the old, familiar stone bench. It was just after dark and a half moon hung by itself, surrounded by small twinkling stars.

"So, how are the peace talks coming?"

Sigh. "Your horse just doesn't like me."

Mulan smiled slightly. "Give him time. I guess it just takes a while to get used to you."

"I've been here long enough to get used to." Muttered Shang. "And he's had enough time to know me those days in Wu Zhong."

"That's when you were Captain Li Shang." Pointed out Mulan with a smile. "Now you're Li Shang, Mulan's betrothed. It's a big difference."

He couldn't help but smile at that. "Shang, Mulan's husband… has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"

Mulan chuckled as she leaned her head on his comfortable shoulder. "It does. And Li Mulan doesn't sound too bad either."

Shang already had an arm around her shoulders. He smiled as he leaned his cheek against her raven head and both looked out to the house where soft glows of candle light shone from within.

No, those names really didn't sound bad at all.



"Alright, okay, I'm awake! What happened?! Mulan ran away from home again, didn't she?! There's another war, isn't there?! She's gonna-"

First Ancestor's ghostly hand had clamped both Mushu's upper and lower jaws together. He glared at the dragon, a silent warning to Mushu to keep quiet or suffer dire consequences.

Mushu could never really take a hint.

"MMmmph! Mmmmph grmmm-!"


Unless the hint was a gong thrown in the face.

"Now pay attention. This latest development is something that requires, dare I say it, your assistance."

A dizzy Mushu was too busy trying to get his head to stop spinning to give a sarcastic reply.

First Ancestor settled on his stone. "Minor as it is, it requires attention. Mulan's honourable horse, Khan-"

The spinning having stopped, Mushu cut in again. "What horse?"

"The horse that has been with the Fa's ever since Mulan was twelve. The horse that Mulan took with her to Wu Zhong camp. The HORSE that helped save her life and the remainder of China's hope about three years ago-"

"Oh, you meant the heifer? The black one?"


"What about the strangely coloured cow?"


"Alright, alright. What about the horse?"

"It will be your job to settle his disapproval of Li Shang. He currently doesn't wish to have Mulan married to the captain."

Mushu raised an eyebrow. "Wait a minute, what do they care? He's a horse, LET him disapprove. He's not Fa Zhou!"

"Honour forbids Li Shang from marrying Mulan before he receives approval of Mulan's loved ones."

"Oy, the whole honour thing again…" muttered the guardian before straightening up. "What's it got to do with me anyhow? Mulan's not in any danger or anything. Sides', she's marrying a Li soon."

"One would think, Mushu, with the way you're acting," said First Ancestor with a raised eyebrow of his own. "That you didn't care for Mulan. And this has everything to do with you as you are her personal guardian and that this involves the happiness of your charge, also known as the scion of the Fa family ALSO known as the legendary heroine of China who till this day still is offered an invitation to the Forbidden Palace from the emperor himself. And regardless of her marrying a Li soon, she remains a Fa till the day she marries Li Shang. Do you understand?"

Mushu looked shame faced. "Alright, alright, you got me there… can I at least get an assistant to help me out in this? That cow's a tough nut to crack."

"HOR- Oh, never mind. You may take the gong ringer with you." First Ancestor waved a hand and a cricket hopped into view. He grinned a cricket grin at his old friend and high fived Mushu's claws.

"Cri-Kee! My man!!"


"Now, GO! Before my patience wears out!"

"Alright, alright! Sheesh, don't have a cow…"


"Okay! Okay! We're goin! C'mon Cri-Kee, before he bursts an artery or something…"

"Chirp chirp?"

"Good point. Say, CAN you actually burst a-"


"Gone, we're gone!!"



Mulan watched the proceeding events through a window.

Shang went up to Khan.

Shang extended an apple.

Khan didn't seem to care.

Shang still remained, presumably negotiating terms.

Khan was unimpressed.

Shang drew out his secret weapon: a fresh carrot.

Khan eyed the carrot.

Shang grinned and extended the carrot slowly.

Khan took the carrot.

Khan bit Shang's hand in the process.

Shang yelled and dropped both carrot AND apple.

Khan picked up the carrot and munched, looking satisfied.

Shang limped away, face a mix of fury and pain.

Mulan sighed. She had offered to convince Khan to give his equine approval to her fiancé but Shang politely declined, saying that this was a matter of honour between two males (even if they weren't of the same species) and that they would settle this themselves or die trying.

"It has to be a guy thing." Muttered Mulan to herself.

"Darn right."

Mulan turned around and broke out into a wide smile to see her old crimson dragon guardian and the lucky cricket hopping up onto the table.

"Mushu! Cri-Kee! What are you two doing here?"

"I," puffed up Mushu proudly. "Have been sent to solve this horsy problem of yours."

"… my ancestors took notice of this to send you? Really?"

"Hey, you prayed about it, right? Sides', if the horse doesn't give the okay, you're not getting married to Shang. And if you're not married to him, you're not happy. When you're not happy, your family ain't happy. And when your family ain't happy, that requires ancestral intervention, girl!"

Mulan blinked but smiled nonetheless. "Okay, so how do you plan to solve this?"

"Cri-Kee, the blackboard."

"Chirp!" The loyal insect hopped off and soon returned with a chalkboard in tow behind him. Mushu popped on a pair of glasses and brandished a piece of chalk. As he spoke, he started drawing on the board.

"First things first, we get to the root of the problem!"

Mulan stared at the chalk drawing. "… Mushu, Khan doesn't have horns and he doesn't have a cow bell round his neck."

"Girl, am I the guardian or you?"

She sighed and kept quiet.

"I thought so. Now, as illustrated by the illustration," Draw, draw, draw. "this means I and Cri-Kee go talk to Bessie there and get him to spill the beans. Y'know, give us the scoop on why he's not exactly warming to this boyfriend of yours."

"Fiancé. And you're NOT as tall as Khan. Neither do you have that many muscles."

"Oh, FINE!! I'll let YOU handles this, won't I? You're THE Fa Mulan after all!! Who needed, may I remind you, HELP from her dragon friend in the war to GAIN her that reputation and fame!!"

"Chirp chirp."

"And help from the cricket too."

"I didn't mean that…"

"Good. Now do you want my help or not?"


Mushu turned back to the chalkboard and continued to draw rapidly. "So, once we know what's his problem, we fix it, you and Shang get hitched and BAM! One serving of happy ending!"

Mulan smiled and suppressed a comment about how she didn't have such stick-like feet and Shang didn't really tower five feet above her as expressed by the chalk drawing.

"That sounds like a plan. Do you need any help from me?"

Mushu exchanged glances with Cri-Kee before looking back at her.

"We need someone who can speak to Khan. I know he's not in my fan club."

"Chirp chirp."

"Don't rub in the fact I don't have a fan club!"

Mulan thought for a moment, just looking at her guardian and Cri-Kee confer.

"… isn't there a horse guardian as well?"

Mushu stopped short and cringed. "Weell… yeah… "

"Then, ask him if he can talk to Khan." Mulan smiled. "Surely he'd be willing to help… right?"

Mushu's cringing just got worse. "Yeah." He squeaked.


"Go on!"

"Chirp chirp chirp-"

"I KNOW she doesn't like me and would rather bite off her own ears than see me much less help me out but we're desperate right?!"


"Exactly. Now go wake her up!"



Yaaaaaaawn… "What the… MUSHU?!"

"Uh… haha, hey ya, Ma, how you doing? Still got that flu you're suffering from last time? Haha, uh, you're lookin' good-"

"YOU!! YOU LIL'-!! YOU… That's it, I'm going back to sleep…"

Desperate, Mushu quickly got to the point. "NO! Please, Ma, you gotta help me out here! You're the only one around here that can talk to Khan!"

The horse of the Chinese zodiac narrowed her eyes. "After what you did to me, you think I'm gonna help you?"

"Uh… well, we, we uh…"

"That's it. I'm done. I'm gone."

Mushu quickly jumped the horse and begged. "PLEASE, MA!! Don't go back into suspended animation! C'mon! Just one simple spy job and I promise, I won't ever disturb you again! EVER!! Please?!"

Ma kicked Mushu off her with her hind legs but was silently considering it. A lifetime without ever having to see Mushu? Hmm…

"…Fine, Mushu. You have a deal. But let's make this clear. After this, I want NOTHING to do with you. I don't want you to come within 50 feet of me again after this. AND, this is just spying. After that, nada, niet, zippo, zip, zilch, nothin'. NO fireworks, NO getting dragged into the pond and NO going into his mouth!" Ma glared at the dragon, just daring Mushu to object.

Once again, Mushu exchanged looks with Cri-Kee. Cri-Kee sent him a resigned shrug. Sighing, Mushu turned towards Ma and nodded resignedly. What else could he do after that incident two generations ago with the chickens and the pondweed?

Although technically getting into Khan's mother's mouth was all MA'S idea in the first place…

About two days later, as Khan was grazing under the mid morning sun, a small white horse about the size of Mushu trotted up to the noble, sable head. Khan looked up at the newcomer and looked surprised. The small horse smirked a horse smirk.

Hello Khan, how are you?

Ma? I haven't seen you since I was a foal. How're you doing?

Ah, been sleeping a lot. I heard Mulan's been doing well though.

That she is. Saving China and all that.

Heard you were pretty heroic stuff too.

I was just doing my job, that's all. So, was this a social call or did you want to talk to me about something?

Pretty perceptive, aren't we? You were always a bright foal.


Anyway, since you've already hit the shoe nail on the head, I'll just get to the point. Just why are you being so hard on this Li Shang guy?

…what's that to you?

Come now, Khan. Indulge me for a minute. From what I've seen, he seems like a pretty decent, non-horse torturing man. What's up?

Khan chewed on a blade of grass for a moment before deciding to tell her. He tried to kill her once. That's one thing.

Mushu had told her about this. Well… he let her go, didn't he?

Only to let her freeze in the snow at the mountains,

retorted Khan. What kind of person does that to someone who just saved his life?

He returned the favour, Khan. You know that.

Well, it seems to me like he's just going to marry her because she's the heroine of China.

That's just it?

Prodded Ma further. No other reason?

Khan snorted. That and the fact that if he thinks he's marrying Mulan without me giving him a hard time, he better just continue dreaming. Snapped Khan in irritation. I'm just trying to protect Mulan.

…Khan, do I see over protectiveness in you?

What over protectiveness?

Alright, alright… well, I'll see you later. I got some work to do.

Khan made the horse equivalent of raising an eyebrow. …Ma, you're up to something, aren't you?

Me? I'm ALWAYS up to something, remember?

Khan snorted as the horse guardian cantered away. Good point.

"So?! So?!"

"Get OFF me."

Mushu hurriedly released Ma's mane. "Well?"

"Since Shang almost killed Mulan by nearly slicing her head off and leaving her to freeze in the snow, and suddenly wants to marry her, Khan thinks Shang's only marrying Mulan for her name and fame. He is, I quote, 'just trying to protect Mulan'."

Mulan looked incredulously at her. "Has that cow EVER heard of forgive and forget?"

"HORSE, Mushu. And don't you forget it. And if you ever let that horse know I was the one who told you, I WILL come and find you, Mushu. Me and four hard iron shoes."

Mushu winced. "Got it."

"Now, my work here is done." Ma sniffed. "Remember our deal. You-"

"Yeah, yeah, don't come within 50 feet of you ever again in my natural born life. I remember." Mushu rolled his eyes. "Move already."

Without another word, Ma swirled up onto her platform and back into a statue. Casting another roll of the eyes at Ma, Mushu ran out of the shrine and hurried towards Mulan's room where Cri-Kee was keeping her company.


"Okay, here's the deal!" announced Mushu as he hopped onto Mulan's bed. "Khan's not letting Shang marry you because he nearly killed you. And after that, he tries to marry you so the dude thinks you're being conned into something."

Mulan looked confused. "…come again?"

"Basically, that horse thinks Shang's just marrying you coz you're Mulan the heroine of China, not Fa Mulan."

"No! That's not it at all!"

"Hey, ain't my words."

"Chirp chirp chirp."

"Paraphrasing, Cri-Kee. That's called paraphrasing."

Mulan had gotten to her feet already. "That's it, I'm going to go talk to Khan about this. Even if I DON'T speak horse-"

"Nooo!! You can't do that!!"

"And why not?!"

"Because if you tell him, he'll know Ma told on him."


"Horse guardian." Said Mushu flippantly. "Anyway, if he knows and he tells Ma, MA will know it's ME who got Khan to know about MA telling on him. And if MA knows it's ME who got you to have Khan know about Ma telling on him, Ma's gonna come after me. And when Ma comes after me, as I hate to say it, I'm going to be kicked all the way to Mongolia."

There was a long pause that involved Mulan and Cri-Kee trying to work it out and failing. But since Mulan was pretty intelligent, she managed to figure that speech out.


"So… you mean I can't talk to Khan about this? Then what're we going to do?"

"He wouldn't believe you anyway. He'd think you're getting taken advantage of which would just make him even more determined to kick Shang's butt." Mulan twirled a whisker with a large grin. "But I've already got a plan, girl. Don't you worry about it. Since Khan thinks you're getting married to someone who doesn't love you, all you gotta do is make Shang show how much he loves you in front of Khan!"

Mulan raised an eyebrow. "And how do I do that?"

"Write this down, Cri-Kee." Mulan turned to Mulan. "Okay, the plan is, you get Shang to see you trip and fall into the mud. Then when he goes all concerned over you, Khan will realize just how much he cares! Boom! Suspicion disintegration!"

Mulan sighed. Cri-Kee grimaced as he stopped scribbling out the plans half way.


"Mushu, I'm not about to fall into mud. I've had enough of that three years ago. For another, I don't think me falling into mud and Shang helping me out is going to be enough for Khan."

"…good point. Scratch that, Cri-Kee. New plan…" Mushu paced back and forth over her bed for a minute before clapping his claws together.

"I know! We place you in front of a hungry tiger and just before you get eaten, we have Shang come in and rescue you!"


Cri-Kee hadn't even bothered to write that one out as he stared incredulously at Mushu.

"Well, I don't see you two coming up with anything!" retorted Mushu to their looks. Mulan just sighed in response. Well at least she knew one thing.

Khan cared. In a really over protective, warped sort of way.

"Chirp chirp chirp chirp!"

"That's even worse than the tiger!"


"And just HOW is Shang supposed to swim in his armour?!"

Mulan dropped her head in her hands.

Was she EVER going to get married?


Three days passed on by and still, Khan wouldn't let Shang near him. If anything, Khan seemed to have gotten even more paranoid and with every chance he had, tried to keep Mulan away from her future husband. Every chance he had, Khan would lead Mulan in a different direction whenever she was exercising him or the horse would take things even further and instill small hunger strikes if Shang was anywhere near Mulan in front of the horse.

On the third night, hidden in the house, Mulan sighed as she nursed a cup of tea. Granny Fa sat with her in the dining room. They were the only two awake in the house. Fa Zhou and Fa Li had slept already in their own room whilst Shang had also gone to bed in the guest room. So far, Shang's days had been filled with helping the Fa's with the farm chores as well as making trips to his hometown to settle his father's affairs.

Shang had lost his mother just four years before he and his father entered the war. Ever since then, the two men had taken care of themselves without need of servants or maids. He had inherited a medium sized house in the Imperial City that he then sold to an old friend of the family's. Adding the money from the sale to his pay as an army captain and Shang would be able to find a home of his own within a year or two. It was unusual for a man to move into his wife's family but as he had said, he was all that was left of his family.

Besides, what was it to you if he wanted to move into the family of his wife who had loudly proclaimed him a son even IF he hadn't asked Mulan to marry him?

The reason Shang had had time to do all this was because his duties as a captain were put off hold in peacetime. Hopefully, said Shang with a small smile, it would remain this way for some time to come.

Mulan had been preparing for her marriage as well. Sewing clothes and bedclothes with the help of her grandmother and mother as well as learning to cook properly AND help with the chores, her days were always so busy. Ever since that night they sat under the blossoms, she and Shang had only caught glimpses of each other or only spent a few minutes together. Both had been preoccupied with their work.

Granny Fa, holding her own cup of tea, looked at her grand daughter sidelong and shook her head with a smile. "Dear, is there anything wrong?"

Mulan plopped her chin into one hand and supported the elbow on the table. "I'm not going to get married."

"…dear, are you sure you're feeling alright? Because I distinctly remember you accepting a marriage proposal from, now what WAS that young man's name, I keep forgetting…"

"Granny, it's not funny." Mulan's face however smiled.

Granny Fa chuckled. "Come now, tell me what's going on?"

"Well…" The Fa scion sighed. "It's just that… Khan hasn't exactly warmed to Shang."

"…What, you mean Khan our horse, Khan?"

"Yes, Granny, that Khan. And until Khan actually likes Shang, I think I'm not going to marry him."

The old lady shook her head as soon as she had palmed her forehead. "My dear girl, you're not marrying your horse, you know. You're marrying Li Shang whether or not that creature approves."

"I know, I know… it's just that, you know how Khan is. We've been horse and girl ever since he was a foal."

"Mulan, he's just a horse. Not some childhood friend."


"…you're kidding."

Mulan sighed again. "Something like that, granny."

Granny placed a hand over her grand daughter's. "Mulan, I'm only going to say this once. SO I want you to listen very, very carefully. Are you listening?"

"Yes, granny. What is it?"

"You. Are. Marrying. Li. Shang. End of story." Granny sat back satisfied. "Regardless of whether Khan likes or dislikes your husband, Shang is still going to marry you. But if you're changing your mind about Shang, then that's a whole different-"

"Of course not!!" exclaimed a horrified Mulan. "I WANT to marry Shang!"

"Well then, that's settled. I don't understand why you're so worked up over a horse." Granny Fa winked. "Besides, childhood friends are supposed to support each other."

Mulan smiled. "Thanks granny."

"My pleasure, grand daughter. Now, is there anything else on your mind?"


"Lay it on me."

Mulan grinned weakly. "How are we going to sleep when we've both drunk three cups of tea each?"

"…oh dear."


The next day, after getting to sleep after all, Mulan awoke with a new plan in mind.

Khan didn't believe that Shang was marrying her for her and not her name. So, she'd make sure Khan saw that Shang was indeed, marrying her because he loved her and not for anything else. Perhaps if they spent some more time with each other in front of him, he could see that he wasn't conning her or anything.

That evening, just before sunset and dressed in her usual light green and yellow dress, she went to see if Shang could spare a few minutes from his work to spend some time with his fiancée.

She found him sitting against a fence, his shirt in a small pile beside him. His hair was slightly disheveled, some strands already coming out of his habitual topknot in its red ribbon and plastering to his sticky face. His eyes were closed as he rested from work.

Kneeling beside him, she drew out a handkerchief and started to wipe some of the moisture away. At the contact, Shang's eyelids fluttered open. His eyes met hers and a smile grew on his face. The same smile was the one that just made Mulan melt inside with its genuine happiness.

"Good evening."

"Good evening to you too." She smiled as she continued to dab at his forehead and worked her way to the sides of his face. "I guess you wouldn't be able to walk much after so much work."

"I think I can manage… although I wouldn't mind sitting here with you." His smile grew a little wider. "Thanks."

Mulan's own smile, though she thought it couldn't get wider, grew. "Shang, as much as I'd like to sit here beside you and wipe sweat off your face, I have a confession to make."

"What is it?" asked Shang absent-mindedly, losing himself in his fiancée's beautiful face.

"You stink."

You could practically see Shang's thought processes skid and crash into the side of his skull. All at once. "Wha…?"

"As in you smell like sweat. You need a bath." Grinned Mulan.

Shang's heart resumed beating normally. If there was anything that actually scared him, it was if Mulan couldn't stand being around him. "Don't ever do that again."

"Shang, do you honestly believe I think you stink?"

"With my kind of personality, yes."

Mulan leaned over and planted a kiss on his forehead. "Believe me, you're the best man I've ever known." Drawing away, she winked. "Alongside my father."

Shang grinned as he got to his feet and helped her up. "A rare compliment, that is."

The two headed slowly back to the house, hands clasped. Not much conversation was made as they just walked in the evening quiet, the day darkening as they enjoyed each other's company. Mulan gently steered their walk to pass the front of Khan's paddock where the horse still stood, grazing until Fa Zhou would lead him into the stable.

Khan had noticed Mulan and Shang coming from the corner of his eye and had snorted his disfavour at their closeness. He trotted near, wondering how to get Shang to let go of his mistress and maybe, step ten feet away from her. The sharp-eyed horse however, failed to notice two dark shadows close to the ground just by his feet.

As Mulan walked past, one long shadow darted out and pulled on her ankle, making her trip and fall suddenly. Bracing herself, she landed heavily on her elbows. Since Shang had been holding her hand, he too nearly fell but hadn't landed on the ground and just stumbled forward a little. He whirled around in alarm to see if she was hurt.

"Mulan, are you…"

Shang's mental processes came to a grinding halt when he saw Mulan kneeling on the ground.

He could feel the cold wind beating against his cheeks again.

My name is Mulan.

The sound of Chi Fu's accusatory voice in the background.


The pink of her face and skin against the brilliant white of the snow.

I did it to save my father.

Mulan's brows furrowed. "Shang? Are you alright?"

Please believe me...

The despair on her face as she bowed to her fate.

Shang suddenly found himself incapable of breathing properly.

Slightly bewildered at her fianc's reaction, Mulan scrambled to her feet and shook him slightly.

"Shang? Talk to me. Are you okay? Shang?"

Abruptly, the captain's hands whipped out and he took her into his arms, hugging her for all he was worth. Mulan, completely taken aback and pretty squashed, had moved on from being rather bewildered to utterly confused.


His voice came out low and slightly unsteady. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" The tone in Mulan's voice held the view that she thought her husband-to-be was going insane.

Shang buried his face into her hair, really not caring that 1) even if they were supposed to marry, he wasn't exactly allowed to get this close and 2) he was still squashing his fiancée.

"For… nearly killing you… I'm so sorry…"

"…Shang…" Mulan wrapped her own arms around his waist reassuringly, hugging him back. I thought we'd been through this…

"It was your duty… and… and you let me live. I'm here."

The guilt that had once hovered in the back recesses of his mind now weighed on his heart suddenly. He drew back and looked her right in the eye, hands still on her shoulders. Shang's voice had grown from low to just above a whisper.

"Could you marry a man who nearly ended your life?"

And even Khan, who had been about to jump the fence to kick Shang away, didn't miss Mulan's answer from where he was standing some two feet away from the fence.

"Then let me ask you this, Li Shang." Her pair of raven eyes looked back into his. "Could you marry Fa Mulan, the girl who isn't all that graceful, rather awkward and nearly always impulsive instead of Fa Mulan, the heroine?"

Shang, despite his sudden wave of self-doubt, slowly answered. "…You are one and the same. With all your so-called ineptitudes, you are a heroine in your own right, whether or not you saved the emperor of China. I would and I will marry you for whom you are. Not what you've done."

Mulan felt a warm rush of love towards him. "Then Shang, I'm not marrying the man who nearly ended my life. I'm marrying the man who tempered duty with honour, matched what he was supposed to do with what he felt was right." She smiled. "You did what you felt was right and you repaid your debt towards me. For that, I agreed to marry you. For that, I love you."

Without trying to see his face, she hugged him again. And as she felt his own arms go around herself and holding her securely and firmly, Mulan smiled.

"Feel better?"

A slight squeeze and a small contented sigh answered her. "You have no idea."

"…just tell me, Shang… why did you suddenly feel like I wouldn't marry you when I already said I would?"

"…when you were kneeling there…" Shang suddenly pushed her back slightly and looked her over frantically. "Are you okay?"

Mulan gave him an amused smile and a raised eyebrow. "I'm fine. Continue?'

"I guess when you suddenly fell and I saw you kneeling there…" he looked away. "I remembered what I almost did to you. And… although I knew you'd forgiven me… I guess… I was unsure again."

Mulan felt herself melt inwardly. Around this guy, that happened quite often. For all his tough, stern masks he had to put on around his job, once you removed them, you found a boy who wasn't too much older than her. A boy who had normal feelings of guilt, insecurity and could make her laugh as only he knew how. After all, they were barely out of their teens with her being nineteen and him, twenty-two.

They had grown up slightly and had learnt to accept their own faults and strengths ever since they had met three years ago. They also had had time to learn to adjust to each other's own little quirks and habits. Even now, Mulan and Shang found each other still learning and still acting rather like kids around one another. Somehow, the prospect of growing up and old together with him made her smile.

She placed a hand on his cheek. "Shang, can you promise me something?"

Shang turned back to look at her, taking her hand gently into his own. "What is it?"

"Never, ever think I won't marry you." Mulan jabbed him in the stomach with a finger. "Because I will, no matter what happens."

Shang grinned as he caught her other hand. "I promise."

The two exchanged sappy smiles as they stood there in front of Khan who was frankly, disgusted at the looks they were giving each other.

Nevertheless though, the powerful horse with a coat the same hue of a starless and moonless sky, found himself looking at his mistress's husband-to-be in a new light.

Changing your mind about him huh?

Khan didn't have to look behind to know it was Ma who had jumped onto his back. You know I still don't approve of her getting married.

Yeah, but even if it wasn't Shang, you still wouldn't approve anyway. That's the whole protective of your mistress instinct coming in.

Khan snorted in amusement. True.

There was further silence as they continued to watch the young couple gazing at each other without noticing the world around them.

…she looks very happy, doesn't she?

That she does.

…he looks like he loves her.

The way he's looking at her, I'd say he'd go to the ends of the earth and beyond if she wanted him to. Take it from me, Khan. This Li fella loves Mulan with all his heart and soul.

Khan emitted a horse version of a sigh. Well, there's only one thing left to do. I'm going to have to ask you to get off me, Ma. Grinned Ma as she hopped off.

Sure thing.

Khan crossed the two feet distance and whinnied twice to gain Mulan's attention. His mistress turned and smiled. As she came nearer and stretched out her hand to stroke his nose, Khan pressed against her palm slightly then turned to look straight at Shang.

The captain blinked in surprise as Khan made eye contact with him. But growing up in a general's family had also gotten him acquainted with horses and their habits. Khan wasn't mad at him. Instinctively, Shang stepped closer as well and slowly stretched out his own hand.

The noble horse nudged his palm in Mulan's direction and nodded slowly, bobbing his head up and down twice.

Shang couldn't have been more flabbergasted even if you put Chien Po, Ling and Yao into dresses again and had them dance in front of him. Mulan on the other hand just threw her arms around Khan's neck, hugging him. When she stepped back, Shang nodded his head back at the horse, a smile on his face.

"Thank you."

A small whinny acknowledged his thanks.

Mulan gave a last fond stroke on his neck before heading back into the house, her own hand clasped in Shang's. As he watched them go, he felt someone trot next to his right hoof.

Ma grinned a horse grin. Well, you did it after all. How's it feel?

…actually, rather glad.

Khan glanced at the horse guardian. But I'm going to miss her.

What do you mean? She's still going to be here.

No. Sooner or later, she's going to move out and start her own family. No more rides to the market, no more galloping off to war and such.

Khan smiled. My mistress is growing up, Ma. As humans will.

Khan, my boy, you've certainly grown up yourself. But I wouldn't worry about her. She can take care of herself. And I'm pretty sure her husband will make sure nothing happens to her if he can help it.

I know.

You gonna be okay?

Yeah. I will.

Want some company?

Khan smirked. You don't mind?


Ma cantered along beside Khan. As long as you pace yourself. I don't have as long legs as yours.

Got it.

And as Ma and Khan trotted over to the water trough to get a drink of water, the long dark shadow scurried back into the family shrine alongside his good friend.


"See Cri-Kee? TOLD you it would work."

"Chirp chirp chirp."

"I know Mulan. And I probed into Shang's mind just yesterday." Grinned Mushu.

"Chirp chirp!" Cri-Kee sounded reproachful.

"Hey, if it means he can marry her, I'll MAKE him go guilty."

"Chirp chirp chirp." The cricket wasn't letting up.

"Okay, so I tweaked his memory a little to make him remember again. It worked, didn't it?"

"Chirp…" relented Cri-Kee.

"And just what were you thinking bringing Ma back into the picture?"

"Chirp chirp chirp!"

"You mean she came alive herself?" Mushu raised an eyebrow. "Now why would she do that?"

"Chirp chirp chirp?"

"Her and KHAN?!" Mushu fell onto his back laughing hysterically. "You gotta be kidding me!"

"Chirp chirp."

"Well, that's true… they do have the same kinda temperament…" Mushu shrugged. "Ah whatever. This can only mean one thing."


"PARTY TIME!! My baby girl's getting married!!"


3 months later…






Cri-Kee slapped his tiny forehead. Mushu glanced at the ancestors who were wincing in unison. "I think it's goin' well, don't you?" Ma slapped him behind the head. Khan, who was in the paddock, glanced upwards but wasn't surprised and just looked resigned.


In the bride's room…

"I… am… so… dead."

"Bite your tongue!" said Granny Fa sharply. "And my granddaughter is not about to have her big day ruined…"

She surveyed the room.

"By spilled face paint and a mangled wedding dress…?" She finished with a questioning look at her daughter-in-law. Fa Li just sighed and walked over to help her daughter up to her feet.

"What happened?"

"I was trying to get into my dress when I tripped, fell and overturned the face paint." She explained meekly to her mother and grandmother, both of whom just sighed.

"Mulan!?" came a familiar voice from behind the door.

Mulan's eyes rounded as she scrambled to hide behind something. "Aaah!! I'm not dressed! Granny, help!!"

Shaking her old head at her granddaughter's antics, Granny Fa set to work and immediately shut the door of Mulan's room, leaving Fa Li to help her daughter get ready. Outside, she faced the anxious faces of both her son and her soon to be grandson-in-law.

"Mulan is alright, Li is alright, just a simple accident, no you may not go in and see her because she isn't ready and I suggest you go and get ready as well, young man as there isn't much time and Zhou, you go and help him."

Granny Fa drew in a deep breath as Fa Zhou and Shang exchanged looks.

"Very well, mother. As you say. Come, Shang." Fa Zhou smiled. "You might as well finish dressing."

"Uh… r, right. Thank you, General Fa." With one last worried glance behind his shoulder, Shang followed his soon to be father-in-law back into his room to get ready.

Granny Fa shook her head again and headed outside to where some of the Fa's closest friends stood awaiting the bride and groom. Since Shang had uprooted himself from his hometown and moved out here, everything would take place at the Fa's home. This included the ceremony and the following wedding banquet. Mulan and Shang had also invited their respective friends to come and celebrate. This of course, included the Gang of Three.

Granny Fa was currently ordering them about on the basis that they were very nice young men who wouldn't leave an old lady to organize a whole wedding by herself, would they?

Chien Po had immediately gotten to work. Ling and Yao had been made to work by their large friend.

Right now though Ling was mercilessly flirting with every single young maiden there was (and getting dragged away by Yao every time). Chien Po was helping out to cook the banquet.

However, everything came to a halt as a very nervous Shang emerged from his room and was instantly pounced upon by new friends and people he had only seen and said hello to about once. Congratulations, teasing, blessings, and all sorts of greetings bombarded him as he dazedly replied thank you. Never had the young, normally very focused, very controlled captain been so unhinged until today.

He was even MORE unhinged when a red veiled Mulan was led out in her red wedding dress by her smiling mother. Again, the crowd beamed and crowed out congratulations. The Gang of Three who had teased Shang to no end now cheered as Mulan came into view.

As she was led to stand beside him, Mulan silently took Shang's hand.

"This is it." She murmured so only he could hear.

"Yeah." He replied, tightening his hold.

"No regrets? Because you can still turn back now if you want-"

"Mulan, remember that promise about me not thinking you don't want to marry me?"


"Well, promise you won't ever think again that I'm not marrying you."

Mulan smiled under the veil. "Deal."


As merriment began and the guests ate, drank and laughed, the ancestors were also having their own party in the shrine. Two guardians however, were not in attendance.

They were in fact sitting on the fence of Khan's paddock, and watching the wedding banquet continue.

Ma, although still holding the preference to chewing off her own tail than be associated with Mushu, had unexpectedly decided that Mushu was to be forgiven for that incident two generations ago since he "cared enough to go through all that to make Mulan happy which probably means he wasn't all that bad."

Right now though, Mushu, Cri-Kee, Khan and Ma were just standing and/or sitting.

Well, there goes my mistress.

"Hey, Khanny, it ain't too bad! Mulan says they'll probably be living nearby so they can be near Fa Zhou and Fa Li. And besides she'll visit!"

"Chirp chirp chirp chirp!"

Ma chewed on a blade of grass. "And I heard Fa Zhou talking about perhaps bequeathing you to Mulan as a wedding gift."

And then who will help them out with the chores?

The horse guardian nodded towards a white stallion tied to a nearby post, looking half asleep. "Shang's own horse. Talked to him yet?"

Yes. He's a decent horse.

"Translated, he likes Mulan." Dead panned Mushu.

Yeah. He found my disapproval of Shang rather amusing. Apparently he says that if I really wanted to break Shang, I should've stolen his cape.

Ma snickered as Mushu and Cri-Kee exchanged looks.

"You horses are weird." Commented Mushu.

That landed him with a shove from both Ma and Khan into the dirt about five feet down.


Cri-Kee couldn't help snickering as well.

"And WHOSE side are YOU on?!"

As Ma, Khan and Cri-Kee continued sniggering, Mushu grumbled and dusted himself off when he looked up at the table where the newlyweds were seated. He saw through the veil, Mulan's glowing face as she chuckled at something. The look on her face was enough to make him break out into a large grin.

"Congratulations, Mulan." He mumbled as he continued to watch her and Shang exchange smiles. "You're truly one of a kind."

The End.