"Come, we'll stay and watch the gate" Luckily Aurora realized this was not a matter up for debate and she followed Mulan out of the room without question, to leave the mother and daughter to themselves.
Once they were alone Mulan turned to the princess "What were you thinking?!" she scolded. She had wanted to postpone this conversation until they were alone. It was one thing for her to correct her friend, but anyone else did best to treat the princess with nothing with respect or they would have Mulan to answer to. Plus, she had promised Snow to talk to her, so now she looked at Aurora with her dark reproaching eyes. Of course the princess immediately turned defensive.
"They are responsible for Philip's death and you left me to go and fight ogres with them. I thought we were friends and you were just going to leave me" Though she was mad at the other woman for scolding her like a child, she couldn't help but notice how the moon made the other woman's dark eyes glimmer. She had already forgiven Mulan for leaving her like that, but she was still mad, at the strangers, at the ogres, at the wraith.
Mulan walked closer to Aurora. She wasn't mad, but the princess had to understand the seriousness of the situation they were in, for both their sake. "I wanted you in the camp where you would be safe while I was carrying out the knight's orders. You can't fight ogres and the only weapon you brought was a knife meant for them" she nodded towards the cabin. "You could have been hurt" a tint of worry had crept into her scolding tone and Aurora looked at the ground, refusing to meet Mulan's gaze.
"Now promise me, you won't do anything like that again" the warrior asked
"I'm still angry" Aurora warned stubbornly. Mulan nodded, fair enough, she could understand and relate, this was nothing like either of them had planned it would be once Philip had found his princess.
"As long as you use that anger for a good purpose. Will you listen to me in future?"
"Only if you promise not to leave me again. I couldn't stay in the camp without you. Philip sacrificed himself for us, we are meant to take care of each other" she argued, trying not to show how insecure she felt. There was no doubt Mulan could protect her, but of what use was she to return the favor? She shyly looked up at Mulan. "You mustn't die" There were so many dangerous out here, wraiths, ogres and who knew what else and each time Mulan was more than happy to pick up her sword.
"Aurora, listen to me. I promised Philip I wouldn't let anything happen to you. I can't fulfill that promise if I die."
"Or if you just leave me" Aurora pointed out, now confident from Mulan's reassurance. Mulan made a small smile, content the princess was once again in high spirit.
"I promise, I won't leave you again" at this Aurora smiled back and for a moment they just watched each other. The princess and the warrior, so different, in the beginning even rivals for Philip's affection, but now. Mulan had never felt so confused and so sure all at once of a connection with another human being. She had come to admire the girl, woman, who, despite being raised for a whole different life, was unafraid and capable. If she just learned to handle a sword and some kicks there was no limits for what she could achieved.
Aurora thought back on the moment when she had mistaken the two strangers for friends and not mother and daughter. It had been an easy mistake, the two women looked to be about the same age. But it was just like her and Mulan. People often referred to them as friends and yet they were something else entirely, even if she at the top of her head couldn't come up with what exactly. Mulan seemed a bit uncomfortable and Aurora was about to ask her what's the matter when a dark voice was heard.
"Mulan" they quickly turned to where the voice had come from and saw Lancelot approaching them with quick steps. "I heard about the ogre attack. Where is Snow?"
"In there, with her daughter" Mulan answered a bit confused over Lancelot's sudden appearance. "You came alone?" Lancelot hardly paid her any attention, but looked towards the door.
"There was no time. I need to speak with Snow. Why don't you go and get us some food?" he asked without looking at them and headed for the door.
"Sure" Aurora answered, glad to get away from the strangers and to show she could be useful. She took Mulan's hand and started walking towards the forest. For a moment Mulan just indulged the other woman and appreciated the feeling of their fingers entwining, but there was a feeling that had suddenly come over her. They had barely reached the trees when Mulan stopped, stopping Aurora with a jerk.
"Wait" Aurora turned annoyed to her friend, but when she saw Mulan's face she got a horrible feeling in her stomach "Something isn't right. We need to go back there"
After the fight Mulan was furious. Furious she had been fooled by Cora, angry because anger was easier than the grief she now felt over the fallen knight. She remembered what she had told Aurora earlier about vengeance and justice and now felt grateful that sometimes the two could occur simultaneously.
When Mulan blamed herself like that, Aurora's heart ached and she sent her a look that was meant for comfort. Still she knew Mulan would not appreciate any reassurance that it wasn't her fault and since she couldn't contribute to any practical plan she kept quiet. Even when Mulan directed the question of what they would tell the others almost solely at her. Only when Mulan began to talk about how they had to protect the kingdom did she intervene, the "we" of Mulan's words had worried her.
"Who is going to lead us? You?" even though Aurora would never admit it and no one else could tell, Mulan heard the tint of doubt in the princess voice. Touched she knew it wasn't her ability that Aurora doubted, but that she was worried.
"No" she answered as gentle and reassuring as she could before turning to Snow "her" It was decided and the alliance was formed between the two women and Snow. Mulan turned to Aurora "Come" and though Snow and Emma lingered, Aurora and Mulan hurried out.
Once again outside Mulan smiled at Aurora "I'm proud of you" Aurora looked back at her, as serious as she had ever been
"And I of you" she wetted her lips, still holding Mulan's gaze "It will be tough, dangerous"
Mulan nodded gravely, but the corner of her mouth twitched. Somehow she couldn't feel any fear when she saw the courage and determination in the princess's eyes. "Are you afraid?" she asked almost teasingly, already knowing the obvious answer.
Aurora shook her head "No. I know perhaps I should be worried, but" and then she couldn't hold back her smile either "since you have promised me you won't leave me again, I know I don't have to worry about you"