Title: Reflection's half
Rating: T for now M later, much later
Pairing: Shan-Yu/Mulan though this is much, much later. Some Shang/Mulan(Ping) flirting, though nothing will come of it except Shang being confused and not understanding what he's going through.
Summary: Mulan is unsure what her path is; she knows she isn't wife material and can't bring honor to her family that way, but...what is her calling? Maybe she'll find out when she takes her father's place as a warrior of China to fight off the Huns.
Chapter 2: Failure With The Matchmaker
'Stupid, stupid, speaking before I need to' Mulan scolded herself while following Tai inside. The door closed behind them, sealing them from those outside so she could "impress" the hefty woman without disturbance. She looked down at the ground like she was suppose to and because she really didn't wish to look up at the woman who was ultimately deciding if she was to be a future wife or not. When Tai put her hand under Mulan's chin, she had little to no choice when it came to having the matchmaker looking at her, examining her. Mulan flickered her head away so she didn't have to look at the larger woman's face, really she was a matchmaker and was judged other women to see if they were "wife" material?
"Huh, Hmm, too skinny" Tai noted aloud and started quickly jotted a few characters down on her portable note scroll. Inwardly, Mulan scowled at the comment.
'Too skinny?!' She screamed inwardly then felt a brief moment of depression hit her when Tai said, "Hmph, not good for bearing sons."
'Is that a bad thing really? My Mama only could have me...then again...' Mulan thought before noticing that the cricket had escaped the cage and lept onto Tai's shoulder while she was scribbling. Reaching out, Mulan caught it loosely in her sleeve covered palm and tried to put it back in the cage, yet...it leapt away from her and Mulan had catch it again and again until finally she quickly put it into her mouth, just as Tai turned around.
'Ugh' She thought as it started roll over her tongue, trying to escape, 'This could be bad.'
"Recite the final admonition" the matchmaker told her. Mulan smiled at her, she knew this...sort of. The young Fa pulled out a fan that was slipped into her dress sleeve and covered her face before spitting the cricket out without Tai noticing. Fanning her face, Mulan started to recite the bits she knew of the requested admonition.
"Fulfill your duties calmly and re...f-" she stumbled and quickly looked at her arm, which was smudged from her bath, luckily it was mostly readable down to the last bit, which wasn't what she really needed just yet, "respectfully. Reflect before you snack" she stopped for a moment when that didn't sound right and glanced back at her arm and quickly fixed her stumble.
"Act!" she said a little louder than she needed, getting Tai's attention to where the matchmaker marked her down for stumbling, "This shall bring you honor and glory!" Mulan quickly ran through the rest, sighing as she got through it without a huge mess up like she had thought she was going to make.
'Maybe I can get through this' she said as she became a little more cheerful and semi-relaxed then noticed that Tai was looking at her before she grabbed her arm and flickered it over to look at her fan before taking it and looking at both sides to make a note of it. The larger woman looked at Mulan and received a big, nervous smile, like the matchmaker didn't know that the young Fa was nervous, every woman was, but she couldn't reassure any of them, if they were bred and trained right they should pass her test. Tai pulled Mulan behind her over to the next proportion of the test and sat her down before releasing her arm, not seeing the ink smear onto her hand. She sat across from Mulan and started speaking again.
"Now, pour the tea" she sat the teapot in front of the younger woman and motioned with her inked hand, "To please your future in-laws you must demonstrate a sense of dignity" she said while rubbing her face a little with her hand and smearing the ink with her fingers to give her an image of a man's beard, which was causing Mulan to stare at her with utter horror and shock, spilling the tea in front of her, luckily it wasn't a big enough of a puddle to be noticed from where Tai was and quickly fixed it to where it was pouring into the cup.
"and refinement. You must also be poised" Tai stated to Mulan, believing that the young Fa could pass...barely. Mulan looked down when Tai was starting to reach for the tea cup and saw the cricket sitting in it and relaxing in the tea.
'Cào*!' Mulan cursed mentally as Tai picked up the tea and brought it towards herself.
"Um, pardon me" timidly Mulan spoke in a soft manner to get Tai's attention before she...drank the cricket.
"And silent!" was Tai's harsh comment to silence Mulan before she smelled the herbal tea with a smile on her face, making her seem like a nice person rather than a strict matchmaker. Hesitantly, Mulan reached for the cup while saying a little louder than her last motion to get the larger woman's attention for the problem in the tea, "Could I just take that back?...One moment." They tugged at the cup in either direction for a moment, Tai was wondering what the younger woman was doing, didn't she want to pass?, until she became angered when it slipped from Mulan's grasp and flew out of hers to land on her chest and soak her top.
A gasp was heard from the younger female while Tai glared at her and nearly spitting out, "Why you clumsy-" she paused when she felt something move in her top, tickling her skin and startling her. The matchmaker started jumping and flinching while trying to get whatever it was out of her top then accidently knocked over the pot of coals onto the floor and tripped herself to land on the coals in a sitting position. She cried out and jumped up, trying to cool her inflamed and stinging bottom, unaware of Mulan behind her, trying to help. That is...until her clothing flickered into being on fire, which made her scream at the sudden increase in heat and rapidly spreading flame. She ran towards the door, knowing that all the people outside could help her, but when Tai slammed into the door, and screamed for someone to put it out, she was met with a bunch of tea slashing in her face and clothing, which did put the fire out, but didn't soothe her anger now.
Tai caught Mulan putting the teapot in her hand and moving away, humiliated at the outcome, which suited the matchmaker just fine at the moment as she turned and watched with hateful eyes when Mulan moved to her family representatives and moved down towards her and snarled at her. She started shouting at the young Fa, "You are a disgrace!" In her anger, Tai threw the teapot against the ground, smashing it into so many pieces that it would never be put back together, "You may look like a bride, but you will never bring your family honor!" she stated, which was quite harsh, but she could care less right now, she was hurt, humiliated and just wanted to get cleaned up before she moved onto the next woman. The larger woman moved towards the entrance of her estate and slammed the doors behind after she entered, leaving Mulan at the hands of the town, who were speaking in hushed tones about the incident, making Mulan flush under her makeup in so much embarrassment that she wondered if it was showing through.
"Lets go, Mulan" Li said to her daughter, feeling her embarrassment easily just like Grandma Fa did, who was glaring at each person that was looking at them and trying to soothe her granddaughter. They went to Jun's shop and picked up Khan, passing more whispering and glances before they exited town and headed back to their family estate in the country. Mulan was silent as she moved to lean against the stallion as they walked. What was she going to do now? She failed, horribly, to be proven that she was bride material and even had the comment that she'd never bring honor to her family, publically!
'Maybe I should have stayed in bed today' Mulan thought, 'or better yet...' she started thinking of things that were overly negative before they switched to her father.
'Ohh Baba...I'm so, so sorry' she said mentally, she had basically promised that she wouldn't let him down and she had broken, no shattered was a better word. Mulan had shattered that right in the beginning! Right when she was almost late to her appointments. A sad air of depression fell upon Mulan as she went and leaned against Khan more, willing the stallion to slow their speed more. Even if she wanted to get home and hide from the embarrassing incident, she didn't want to face her father's disappointment.
Li and Grandma Fa stared at Mulan then looked at each other and sighed softly to themselves, had it been too much to ask for a little faith to be put into the girl? No, Mulan had done what she needed to do, things just...didn't go in her favor, much like everything else. Li lowered her head more and looked at the ground a little while Grandma Fa was thinking to herself to cheer herself up and maybe find a solution to cheer up Mulan.
'Being a bride probably wasn't her calling, the ancestors would have helped her more if it had been her calling...wouldn't they?' she asked herself, maybe she had angered the spirits of their ancestors earlier with stating that they were dead, but...they were dead, they couldn't help much other than give blessings, yet hadn't brought Zhou back from the war when he finished? Grandma Fa was conflicted and sighed to herself before letting it go, the ancestors knew what to do, if Mulan wasn't meant to be a bride then she wasn't mean to be one...simple as that.
'Simple as that' she said to herself softly before looking up to the compound of their home. Behind her and Li, Mulan closed her eyes so she didn't have to see the doors of the gate and stopped with Khan while the doors were opened by her mother and her grandmother stood next to her before she was coaxed into the compound grounds. She looked in and felt sadness wash over her when she saw her father standing in the front of the house, smiling at her. Mulan looked away in shame and moved towards Khan's stall while Li and Grandma Fa went towards the house to inform Zhou the...unfortunate outcome, and to give the young Fa some space.
Khan butted his head against Mulan a little, but she just rubbed his forehead and pushed him inside before removing his bridle from his mouth so he could eat without having to maneuver around the obtrusive device. The black and white stallion watched as Mulan moved away from his stall, grabbing the cricket cage, which held the little devil that had caused some of the mishap, though Mulan didn't blame the little bug for what happened, he was in a cage and had wanted out, much like she had felt when inside Tai's estate. She lowered herself towards a leaf and opened the cage, setting the little cricket free, then put it down on the ground so she could continue on, she'd pick it up when she went towards the house.
A sigh escaped her as she started to move towards the bridge that crossed over the large pond and carefully moved towards the middle and peered over the side. She looked at herself and saw...someone. Someone that was covered in a mask that wasn't her, white face, small bits of color, that was a different woman that seemed promising, that could potentially bring honor to her family and be a marvelous bride. Yet...it wasn't her, that mirror image on the water wasn't Fa Mulan, the failure, the dishonorable, an overall waste of life. She shook a little and tried not to cry as she started to remove the jewelry that Grandma Fa gave her. Breathing in a shaky fashion, Mulan looked over towards her family's ancestral protector, the Great Stone Dragon.
'I'm just a failure aren't I?' she asked the statue mentally while placing a soft hand on the stone dragon's leg. The large stone dragon didn't move, 'like it would have' Mulan snorted sarcastically, and Mulan leaned against it for a moment, feeling some comfort come from the stone protector before she moved towards the ancestral temple, crossing another small bridge. She hopped over to some of the railing then moving to the other side and hopping down to continue on. Landing, Mulan let go of the proportion of the dress she had lifted when she was hopping on the railing while she walked over the rest of the bridge then made a quick time towards the temple, even though she had been walking slowly.
Once she arrived at the temple, Mulan lowered herself to her knees and bowed her head in respect to the Fa family ancestors. She felt a little calmer after she looked up to the names of the past Fas and then saw her reflection, the painted woman. Using the sleeve on her dress, Mulan wiped half of the makeup off and saw half of herself then made face at it before wiping the rest of it away then saw the rest of herself.
'There. This is me. This is Fa Mulan' she thought while she reached forward and touched the engravings. Another sigh escaped her when she pulled back from it and moved her hands up to release her hair. In long, black waves, Mulan's hair fell down from the top of her head to her back and over her shoulders. She smiled lightly at the sight then stood up to leave, bowing her head at her ancestors once more as she left. The young Fa moved towards a seat in the garden and gracefully sat down on the stone seat that was perched before a blossom tree.
She sat alone for a while before she heard footsteps coming up the path. She could tell it was her father due to how the steps sounded and because there was the sound of his wooden cane that came along with one side from where he added pressure to the wood as he leaned on it. Zhou sat next to her and smiled at her, but Mulan looked away from him, feeling the shame come back as she sat in the presence of her father. A frown came across Zhou's face before he looked up at the tree and began speaking, "My, my, what beautiful blossoms we have this year."
Mulan gave him a soft look before she started playing with the ends of her hair, though she smiled a tiny bit as she realized her father was trying to comfort her. Her father continued when he saw a blossom that hadn't opened yet, "But look, this one's late. But, I'll bet that when it
blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all" he stated and smiled at his daughter while pulling a blossom down and putting in her hair, behind her ear. Mulan smiled fully now and turned to her father, giving him a heartwarming smile.
'There's the look I was looking for' Zhou thought as he moved closer to Mulan and hugged her softly. Mulan returned it and laid her head against her father's chest, much like she did when she had been a child. That small moment between father and daughter was broken when they heard noises coming from outside their compound, in the middle of the small community.
"What is it?" Mulan asked when she recognized drums being the noise they had been hearing.
'Drums...soldiers' she said to herself and moved with her father towards the gates, whatever the soldiers were doing here for, she had a feeling that it wasn't going to be good news since soldiers didn't come for a social greet.
"Mulan stay inside" was the first thing that she heard come from her mother since leaving town, this wasn't good. She turned to her grandmother and saw her motioning to a smaller ledge that was easy to climb and she quickly moved towards it and pulled herself up to peer over to see the soldiers gathered in two neat lines. a few carrying the flags of the emperor and a man on a horse that stood in the center of the gathering of the people in the community, all were looking at him just as he saw the last of the community men come out to greet him and hear his news.
"Citizens I bring you a proclamation from the Imperial City: the Huns have invaded China!" the man stated, giving away that he was important and was probably not far from the emperor himself so he was giving news that wasn't false. The community gasped and Mulan felt her eyes widen at it.
"No" she whispered softly, this wasn't good, they were gathering soldiers and...she looked over to her father and saw him clutching his cane, he knew what it was, he had been overly valuable in the last war he served in, having been a promising soldier that worked under General Li before his time was up and he had been sent home with his injury.
'No, no, no' Mulan thought as the man on the horse pulled out a scroll and started stating something that made her heart drop, "By order of the Emperor, one man from every family must serve in the Imperial Army" meaning, as he read from the list of names of the families in the community, her father...
'It, can't be. He can't return' Mulan thought as she moved off the roof and hurried towards the gate.
Me: Hiya! Glad that I have some readers on this and not doing this for no reason. ^^
Well as you see I'm not doing this quite like the movie, adding in things and changing some scenes up as such, heck this whole story is basically AR so I'm using my creative license and making it fit my look for it and, as it's put up in the summary and all that junk in the beginning, it's giving me a chance to take a closer look at the great villain Shan-Yu when the time arrives from what I see him as. So yea, I hope ya keep reading and enjoy this story :)
*Cào - 'Fuck' in Mandarin Chinese, can be used as a Sexual Intercourse profanity or like how I used it as to express something, this being a bad thing at the current usage ;)