I know I said I probably wouldn't continue, but I watched the second movie again and wondered if I could salvage Shang's dignity. So, I decided to continue! I know the second movie was a let down, but I'm hoping to be able to make Shang not seem so cheesy! So good luck to me, I guess ;)
My hands bit into the wood of the armrest. The clanging of pots and pans echoed from the kitchen. I could just imagine what the two women were concocting. Morning had passed quickly and cooly, congratulations and questions from her family. She had retreated to her room, promising to come back to me soon. I wasn't sure exactly how long had passed, but her absence seemed to magnify time. I heard excited voices drift from the kitchen once more, and I couldn't help but smile. I knew they were probably preparing something special in light of me and Mulan's engagement.
Mulan. It had nearly been four hours that we'd been engaged to be married. By some light, she had chosen not to reject me, and now, we were to spend the rest of our lives together. If we could only get through the wedding. I had to admit that getting up in front of a mass of people terrified me. I hated the thought of being on display for all of China to see. I didn't need an audience to start my life with Mulan. I had spent my entire life being analyzed by teachers, trainers, and even my father. I didnt' need to be judged further. No, a small wedding would be just right.
A hollow knock echoed through the house. "Shang?" floated a voice from the kitchen. "Could you answer the door? Mulan's parents and myself, mostly myself, have invited some friends over." I chuckled at the old woman's request. I hadn't even been engaged to her granddaughter for four hours, and I was already letting people into their home. I arrived at the door, and nearly jumped backwards in surprise.
The gathering crowd of women laughed and brushed past me into the house as I held the door open. I peered behind them. The throng of people was already starting to grow. I nodded as the last woman entered the threshold, and shut the door behind them. So much for no audience. I smiled to myself and approached the kitchen. The women were hovering over dishes and pots; odours were pouring thickly from the fire. "Can I assist you with anything?"
The women looked up and a flush of laughter ran through them. "You can retrieve your absent fiancè!" cried an elderly voice from the back. I smiled and blushed, rubbing the back of my neck in embarrassment, but followed the orders, as I always did.
Mulan's room was at the end of the hall, and I thought I heard voices drifting from behind her doorway, but as I approached, I heard only silence.
"Mulan...." I called. She stood before her mirror, absently gazing into it; her eyes sparkling with amusement. Her eyes shot up as I entered the room. I smiled.
"It seems your Grandma has decided to invited someone to help us celebrate the engagement." She too could sense the danger of her Grandmother's plans. Her nose crinkled in worry.
"Really?" she said hesitantly. "Who?" I laughed and took her hand, leading her down the hallway. As we reached the wall, I pulled back the door, and we both stuck our heads past the frame. The crowd had flourished, filling most of the yard.
"China." She elbowed me playfully in the chest, though my armour deflected the blow. The crowd seemed to notice our presence.
"Congratulations!" They cried, cheering and laughing. Mulan and I shyly walked to the front of the porch towards the crowd. I hate crowds.
Mulan's Grandmother floated past us, plates of rolls and porridge balanced on her arms. "Isn't it wonderful?" she proclaimed. Yes, absolutely peachy! I scolded the negative voice in my head. "Sorry it's a little slap-dash. It took us by surprise, you know." Ah, so she did know! I had suspected that she had predicted my proposal, but it escaped my mind how. We laughed.
She pushed through the crowd. "Make way for the happy couple!" Excellent. More attention. Just what I need. The mass of people bowed to us, and I felt myself growing more and more uncomfortable.
"Now thisis a battlefield," I muttered. I would have turned and ran right now if my life with Mulan, and my happiness, wouldn't be affected. She must of sensed my discomfort, because her tone turned easy and light, talking to me as if she were teaching the neighbourhood children.
"What's our strategy, General?" she teased. I knew the only way we could make our way through the mass of questions as quickly as possible would be to seperate, although I wanted her at my side.
"Divide and conquer," I teased back, wishing we could just turn and retreat inside and spend the afternoon quietly together. I had barely have a moment alone with her. I wanted to get to know my future wife better, seeing as I hadn't known her as a woman for nearly as long as I'd known her as Ping. But sadly, we were force to endure a rush of questions. I tried to stick to Mulan's side, but she was jerked away from me, and I was left to fend for myself in this unfamiliar environment.
"Will it be a big wedding?" Crowds? No thank you.
"How many children are you planning to have?" Many. I hated being an only child. I wanted my children to have what I did not.
"Do you have any names picked out?" No, I have never expected to survive battle, let alone get married and have children.
"Will you be moving to the Imperial City?" Never. And ask Mulan to leave her family behind?
"What type of food will you serve and the wedding?" I had ate a little too much spicy food during my school days, and hadn't cared much for flavoured food since.
"Have you thought about decorations?" No...
"Honeymoon?" Yes. I mean-
The gate burst open, and the people carved a path for the approaching horseman. I quickly found Mulan and pulled her to my side.
"General Shang! Fa Mulan!" cried the man. "Orders from His Majesty the Emperor." He handed each of us a scroll. My pulse quickened. The last time I had been given a mission from the Emperor, the country had been almost destroyed.
"Is there trouble?" I asked. Of course there's trouble! He wouldn't send someone just to check up on you!
"Yes, sir. Report to the Imperial Palace." I scanned the scroll.
General Li Shang,
You have been selected by His Majesty the Emperor of China to
carry out a mission for the name of your country. Upon receiving
this, report to the Imperial Palace to accept your mission...
I snapped shut the scroll. Mulan met my gaze, and gave a slight nod of conformation. I pushed my fist into my palm and bowed in respect.
"We'll leave at once."
Voila! Thanks for reading!