Disclaimer: I do not own Mulan, Disney does; I think. Either way it is not mine, I am just having some fun with it for no money.
Story Notes: Welcome to 'Hachin' my most unexpected story to date. Those who follow my other stories may well be frustrated by me putting yet another fic out when I have yet to finish other lengthy projects. I had in fact intended to wait until one of my current stories was done before starting anything new. And my version f Master Cyclonis is likely to blast me for yet again pushing her debut back. *sigh*
Anyway, you have Jazzqueen to thank for this idea. This faithful journey started at work where during a break villains from movies we watched as lads came up. Shanyu was raised up as on of better scary Disney villains and it prompted me to watch the movie for the first time in years. naturally i went to to see what was there for Mulan.
I found the story "Mulan of the Ger" which share the opening concept of this story. Pleased at the idea and noticing some simple errors hampering that potential I offered some assistance to Jazzqueen. But don't try to find "Mulan of the Ger," it has been taken down by the author who lost the enthusiasm for the idea and instead offered the concept to me.
Having this baby handed to me was unexpected, but she is so cute I just can't leave her to gather dust on a shelf. Forgive me Cyclonis, just think how much your story will be improved by the time on the drawing board! *zapped*
Additionally Queen of All Oni is moving again, Zim's absence threw a wrench into the process, I am sadly quite dependent on feedback in my writing process. Regardless its coming along, again.
The Tung Shao Pass was a busy trade route but the coming of winter and war had left it as mature had shaped, cold and forbidding. The snow though was broken by spears and, morbidly, the occasional frozen hand. A testament to one nations disaster and another's saving grace.
The sole warmth left in this place so recently filled with the heat of war was presided over by the unlikely crafter of this momentous event. Over a meager fire, fueled primarily by arrows, Fa Mulan sat wrapped in a blanket watching the flames dance. Though she felt alone she was not without company. Her not so lucky blue cricket, Cri-kee warmed himself by snuggling into an edge of her blanket while she leaned back against her black stallion Khan.
Her most unusual companion sat before using yet another broken arrow to cook a dumpling on the flames. Mushu, would be holder of several titles, a little red dragon with tiny blue elk horns and an ego the size of the empire. Not the most impressive Guardian when he was smaller than a weasel and it turned out he wasn't even that.
The little dragon with his big talk, and often as not bad advice, had lied to her from the start. By his own admission no one had sent him, her ancestors even viewed him in disdain. Apparently he had a role in the infamous 'Folly of Fa Deng' The only reason he had helped was to atone for his failure to summon the true guardian and to try and regain his lost position as a Guardian.
Still, rather than being angry, as she knew she should, watching his tail twitch in discomfort she felt closer to the small dragon. He talked big because he knew no one else would praise him. Maybe he had risked her life to help himself, but she understood wanting to prove something so badly you would lie and keep lying just or a chance to get it.
The fire guttered as the wind picked up and Mushu turned to offer her the dumpling. She took it, the normally too hot bread a comfort in her hand. But the bite told her she had no stomach at the moment. So she offered it to Khan, the sole honest member of their company. He licked it from her hand and she patted his head.
"Ahh, don't worry about a thing baby girl, once we get back home we can hope that you don't get disowned by your father and the ancestors don' nail me to a tree," the red dragon tried to assure her. Mulan just sighed as the dragon tended to the pathetic little fire made from broken arrows. Hun arrows Mulan noted, she had seen enough of the army's arrows to recognize them. Like Mushu's words the little fire did little to comfort her, but the gesture was appreciated.
"I don't know I've gone off to war, cross dressed as a man, and was caught in the act. I don't know if I ever can look upon my father's face and see anything but disappointment," Mulan sighed hanging her head.
It had been a mad gamble, and honestly as much about her own life as her father's. And despite it having gone wrong could she honestly say she regretted it? As Ping she had faced challenges, but unlike Mulan's challenges Ping had overcome them. Ping had earned the friendship of Yoa, Ling, and Chien-Po after the grudges that had sprung up on the first day of training. The joy of Captain Shang giving his trust, when he had been so disgusted with her weakness at the start. As much as she loved her family, blood bound them.
What she had gained in the army she had earned. Ping had been the runt of the litter, the one who got them all in trouble the first day. But she had gained their recognition, they had included her in their talks of home, and their dreams for after the war. She would never forget how they passed the marching with talk of women, even that son of an unnamed goat, Chifu, adding his piece. Shang, the proudest, strongest man she had encountered, he had twice accepted her support in moments when he could not help but be human.
The Captain had longed to please his father; she recognized the despair he had felt after Chifu had threatened to deny him that. And her heart had clenched when Chien Po brought the General's helm, knowing without the gentle giant speaking the words. She had feared losing her father, and now Shang faced the nightmare she had risked so much to avoid. Yet he had rallied them from the despair of the charnel house that had once been a village like so many of them had come from. And even facing certain death he had encouraged them to face it with honor.
And for a moment her dreams had been surpassed. The Captain openly praised her as her comrades, the men who had once looked on her with so much contempt, cheered her.
And now it was all over like the Huns now dead beneath the snows. Shan-Yu from beyond death had taken her moment from her. Her wound exposed her secret and turned everything since she walked into that camp, strutting like an idiot, to ash. Her friends had tried to help her, but in the face of the law Chifu had embodied in that moment they stopped. Had they been angry about being tricked, she wondered? What would she have felt to find someone she trusted had kept such a secret? Shang had spared her life though, defying Chifu for the first time.
The regiment would parade through the Imperial City, Shang would be a hero and possibly become successor to his father, and the boys would either return home or stay on. They would all be celebrated for the honor they had brought to their families. But not Fa Ping, much less Mulan, one was left behind in disgrace in the snow while the other died here with Shan Yu.
At the very least unlike the invaders she could depart from this miserable place.
8 8 8
The wind and fire filled Mulan's ears; else she might have heard a man bellow in rage. The mighty Shan-Yu had dug his way from the frozen grave, but wolf like eyes had shown him his mighty army had not been so face was fierce, but not feral all attention seized by a pair of wolflike eyes which betrayed a predators rage that filled him at his perfect plans and victory so swiftly destroyed was given voice.
As if his cry held some power, what survivors there were gathered to him. Some ascended from wherever they had dug themselves out like he had, while others burst from whatever shelter fate had provided. The summoned survivors stood under the foreboding presence of their wolf eyed leader as he tried to press his rage onto a useful path.
At last his faithful Suren alighted on his arm, the hawk providing a measure of calm as the great war leader assessed his forces. So few, but the ancestors had granted him the best of what he had brought. A plan began to form before Ulaan the archer pointed behind him. Turning Shan-Yu raised an eyebrow, a thin but clear plume of smoke. They were not alone.
8 8 8
The Huns were not merely warriors like the Han soldiers, they were hunters and every hunter knows the best hunt is one where your prey dies before it realizes it has become your prey. But just now he desired information before death. The others hung back; their leader was in darker spirits than usual, if there was killing to be done he would be the one to do it.
Mushu had climbed up her blanket to assure Mulan and thus was looking over her shoulder, seeing Shan-Yu advancing on them like a tiger other Huns following like a wolf pack.
"Mulan they're alive!" Mushu screamed diving off as she surged to her feet. Too fast, she clutched her wound going back to her knees as Khan rose eyes flaring to face the threat.
"The horse," Shan-Yu commanded. The twins, Batu and Gaitan, seized the animal with the expert ease of their fathers, Shan-Yu himself advanced without break to seize the Han by the throat lifting him off the ground. His eyes widened as if another avalanche was upon him.
"You," He whispered, disbelief at this turn of events. The soldier who destroyed his conquest was now here in his hands.
"You stole my victory!" he roared raising his enemy higher still offering this life to Sun and Moon in thanks for delivering it into his hands. But the wind picked up again in that moment and ripped the blanket cloaking the soldiers shape.
Though it was only for a moment the warriors gathered that day would never forget seeing the unflappable warriors jaw drop. Regaining his composure he scowled and tossed her over her fire.
'Know that no man has the power to stop you from taking the old mans empire for your spoils,' the old shamans words echoed in Hun rulers memory. Thinking on this turn of
events his sharp ears caught steel being drawn.
"Shall we make her suffer then?" Shirchin asked beneath his helm.
"Some fun first I think, my spirits need lifting I know," Lasuluun stated, hands drifting to his belt.
Ulaan simply looked to him along with the twins, awaiting his will on this turn of events. Shan-Yu frowned at the Han girl coughing on the other side of the fire and then to the distant but oh so close Han capital. He wavered but a moment before deciding.
"The campaign is lost. We're returning, Gaitan bring the woman, intact if you can," Shan-Yu ordered. He noticed a Han blade laying on the snow, the girls no doubt. He heard her cry out as he unsheathed the steel, one question answered. Clearly no peasants blade, old and well kept, a family blade.
His own sword was lost beneath the snows, a plundered sword would do for now, he placed it in his belt. The burly Hun bound Mulan's hands and pushed her along as they began to march north through the pass, Mushu carried along as one enterprising Hun snatched up the sack to search when they stopped.
Shanyu did not bother to look back as he silently made his vow. He would return.
8 8 8
The Imperial Throne room was vast and ornate in red and gold, the dragon symbol of the imperial personage holding prominence over the throne the room was designed to draw all attention too. Which was perhaps fitting since to many the imperial throne was the very center of the world.
The old man seated upon that throne looked as one worthy to sit it. His hair had long since become snow white, his head near bare of hair while a well shaped beard fell to his chest. He was thin, likely never a warrior with the frame beneath his fine robes of gold and black. Yet the eyes set in his wrinkled face shown with great wisdom, narrowed at the moment as he conceded the momentous news.
The sounds of revelry penetrated even here, both the masses in the square and the closer banquets of the court. But his attention now was reserved to two men alone. The rodent like counselor in blue, who stood to the Emperor's left, and the young officer kneeling on the red carpet before the upraised throne.
"Captain Shang, you and Chifu tell an interesting tale, or could it be tales?" the sagacious emperor commented. Chifu was a bit unnerved at the words, Shang would normally have been, but the events leading to this day had left him drained. The young man felt old beyond his years and wished for little more than space and time to properly mourn and sort out his feelings on the revelations thrust on him. But duty did not allow for such personal matters to take precedence.
The emperor recalled how the father had knelt on that same spot at the beginning of this war, and now the son held that place telling him how it had ended. One could believe that all beneath heavens moved as a circle, he mused.
"The only matter you two seem to speak as one on is your mercy Captain," The Emperor continued. Chifu drew himself up at those words, and prepared to deliver a condemnation fit for an execution, only to be cut off by his sovereign.
"You acted well in this matter. While Chifu's intentions were lawful, if the law is not tempered by wisdom it swiftly becomes an empty tyranny.
"I think it would be best for us to bury the matter of Fa Mulan, the credit for this victory shall go to you personally Captain Shang and extend to the men who serve under you. This Mulan will receive neither glory nor condemnation," the Emperor announced. This stunned both the soldier and the courtier.
"But Sire!" they spoke up at the same time. Stopping they shared a glare before Chifu continued.
"This woman violates sacred law, her crimes only compounded-" Chifu protested,
"I know the laws, and I know she has saved our Empire from much bloodshed, and lifted the shadow to the north for the time being. I will not call down the displeasure of the Heavens by persecuting her for these acts," The Emperor cut him off. His attention shifted to the Captain granting him a silent permission to speak.
"Your majesty, my only accomplishment was not dying. I do not deserve the honor you would bestow," Li Shang protested politely. He did not say what his conscience was telling him, that someone deserved that honor more.
"True, you do not, but you will receive it regardless. Though the capital was spared, this invasion has left a trail of destruction to the north and cut the head from our army and its mightiest arm. The days ahead will see many probing, searching for weakness in the dynasty. The rebellions of old could flare anew with your fathers legend ended, and other barbarians may seek less ambitious raids.
"China requires a hero to show the Middle Kingdom stands strong and proud in victory, not trembling with weakness. You are that hero, the avenging son of a hero who brought me the sword of your father's killer.
"I did not-"
"The truth is not what is needed. While perhaps deserving a hero's praise, Fa Mulan would only divide our people between the wise and the foolish. Many would see a weak dynasty that needs a woman's protection, and my people would suffer anew.
"Your honor is a virtue, but to serve the greater good we must often do what is best rather than what we feel is right. You shall join the ranks of the storied heroes, and Fa Mulan will be left to live and pass on in peace and obscurity.
"But some reward is in order I concede, Chifu have a chest of silver prepared. A note from myself and the chest will be delivered to the Fa family, let prosperity if not honor be given to the family which has served China so well," The Emperor decreed. Chifu looked as if he had swallowed a lemon, but still wrote down the necessary words. He wondered what explanation would be offered for the whore's family receiving such gifts.
Li Shang breathed a sigh of relief, Mulan was a liar, but she deserved more than just mercy. If nothing else these gifts should allow her to regain a place in her family. A thought came to him, and he acted with the impulsiveness his father had often warned him of.
"Majesty, I would like to be the one to deliver your tokens to the Fa family," Shang spoke up. The Emperor raised an eyebrow to the request while Chifu watched the younger man with suspicion.
"It would hardly be fitting for the young hero to vanish in his moment of glory," The Emperor noted. Shang winced at the title, since he was a boy marveling at tales of his fathers deeds he had aspired to be counted as such a hero. But he could take no pride in this deception his majesty was weaving. Though Mulan had also deceived them, and some thought war a simple business.
"Fa Ping was close to several of my best men, they would appreciate a chance to part on civil terms, it would improve their morale," Shang offered. It was true, just not the entire truth.
"Then let those fools run off to the provinces, the Emperor has need for you here," Chifu countered. Which sadly was also true Captain Li would have to concede. The emperor stroked his beard considering the young man before him.
"A man may tend a grand and immaculate garden his whole life, only to be most moved by the flower of the field others would discard as a weed," the Emperor stated. The officer and the courtier exchanged a look, sharing confusion and realization at the words.
"Majesty I-" Shang tried to object. He was divided on this matter; half of him wanted to hate Mulan for deceiving him and violating the martial laws he had been raised to uphold. The other, was fixated on Fa Ping, the first person he had been able to think of as a friend. If he was seeking anything it was an end to this division, not romance, or so he told himself.
Chifu huffed shifting his writing board; his thoughts were more angry and vindictive than usual.
"Carry out this task and find whatever answer you need to put this matter behind you young colonel. Your absence will be credited with space for grieving, but do not tarry," The elderly ruler declared. Even as he indulged his vassal he reminded him of whose will was paramount in this an all other matters. Li Shang bowed acknowledging his task and that fact.
The Emperor dismissed him shortly to seek rest for the flurry the morning would bring. Making his way through the ornate halls avoiding the celebrations he started to regret his impulsiveness. Mulan was something none of his lessons had prepared him for; perhaps he should have left it with a bloodless sword in the snow?
Well there was no turning back now, though facing the Hun army again might be less daunting.
1). The Huns will usually refer to the Chinese as the Han, associating the people under the Empire with the ruling dynasty.
AN: So Mulan is in the hands of enemies while Shang and company head off in the wrong direction. Love it hate it, want to strangle me for not updating the stories you actually like? Feel free to tell me how you feel, meanwhile I'm back to work on Queen.