*scenario one (in the wake of an avalanche and the fury of the Hun leader)*

The sword slashed through the thick fabric of her tunic like the plow of a boat through water. Mulan felt the cold sting of harsh metal on opened flesh and she struggled not to scream. Blood flowed, she felt it leave her body and with it, warmth. The frost around her invaded her pores, but she lunged to her feet as the Hun warrior bellowed his rage and ran for her life. Shang had been running toward her, she allowed herself a brief respite to appreciate such touching protection before grabbing onto his hand and pulling him along with her to escape the quickly advancing snow.

Kahn galloped up beside them and Mulan leapt onto his strong back. She flung out a hand to pull Shang onto the horse with her, but the snow lifted him off his feet and swept him away from her grasp.

Mulan watched in horror as he disappeared beneath a white wave of ice. She pulled on Kahn's reins with every ounce of strength she had left in her rapidly depleting wells. One-tenth of a second passed before she realized that – outcome being what it may – she couldn't leave Shang to fend for himself. She couldn't take the chance that he might not…

"Shit," she muttered under her breath. "Kahn, please, don't let me down."

They plunged through the cold, clinging desert of snow, flying towards a cliff that grew more threatening by the moment. Mulan shoved the fear clinging to her heart deep down, to where she could begin to ignore it.


Yao, Chien-Po, and Ling watched with frozen expressions of terror on their faces as Ping turned his horse into the force of the avalanche and towards a fall of over a hundred feet.

"We have to help him," Yao muttered, fighting off the stifling dread.

He pulled a rope from around his waist, uncoiling it quickly into a long strand of thick harness. Ling, understanding his intentions, reached for a bow and arrow off his back. The stocky man looped the rope onto the arrow's shaft and pulled the bowstring taut. Apologizing under his breath, asking for some sort of redemption for what he was about to do, hoping his aim would be true, he sent the arrow soaring.

"Ping!!!" he yelled, and his voice snapped like a gunshot.

She looked up at the sound, forgetting for the moment her battle with the snow underfoot. The arrow sailed into her shoulder, and Mulan bit back a howl of pain. Feeling her stamina fade, she fought back the nausea, drove the fatigue into the deepest recesses of her mind, and broke the thin wood of the shaft.

"Shang," she whispered, paralyzed with fear.

Watching his head disappear again in the endless ocean of white, she felt a panic bubble up inside her.


She tore the wood free, tied one end of the rope to her saddle and the other to a piece of flint and, praying desperately, threw.

Shang heard his name on the wind. Faintly, it carried, but with desperate hope he fought the smothering snow and watched a rock sail through the air to land a foot away from his face. His eyes traced the rope attached, and alighted on Ping, struggling to keep his horse calm in the onslaught of sound and force. He fought to reach the rope, and felt relief burst as he closed his hands around it.

Mulan watched him, holding her breath, as he first saw the lifeline then made for it. At the sight of his hands gripping the coiled rope, she let out a huge whoosh of thankful air. Her hands, raw now and slick with her own blood, clutched the rope and pulled him slowly to her as Kahn struggled and slipped on slick and powerful snow. She dug her heels into the horse's flanks, even as she dragged Shang closer to her and Kahn and their precarious safety.

Shang pulled himself onto her horse as she grasped the reins and manuevered them towards Yao, the group, and the rock ledge that protected them from murderous ice.

Finally they reached shelter, and stood panting as the snow hurtled off the eave above them into depths so narrowly missed. Mulan was exhausted, suddenly, her adrenaline having left with the anxious terror of the ordeal, and she slid off Kahn's back, limp. Shang ordered everyone back, giving her room to breath, to regain the strength she'd sacrificed so completely.


He noticed for the first time, the blood pouring from her shoulder and from her lower chest. Shang's breath caught painfully in his throat as he watched her try to smile, to reassure, after all she'd gone through. Tears pricked his eyes, salty hurtful, at the sacrifice made in his name.

"Ping," he whispered, hoarse.

He looked up at the soldiers gathered around him.

"Someone call for help!!" he yelled, desperately. He turned back to his friend, the young man who had saved his life above his own and whispered. "Ping, you'll be alright. Just hang in there. Hold on…"

The last thing Mulan saw before drifting into blessed darkness was his face, his mouth, telling her to hold on.