The Hug

"Then take this," said the Emperor, placing his crest around Mulan's neck. "So your family will know what you have done for me. And this." He handed her the sword of Shan Yu. "So the world will know what you have done for China."

Mulan stared at the sword for a moment before throwing her arms around him. He was stunned for a moment. Then his face relaxed into a smile. It had been a long time since someone had hugged him like this.

His daughters, whenever he visited them, would always rush over to him, demanding hugs. Su, being the youngest, was the one who did this the most. This little form of contact lessened the older his daughters grew, and they learned that it was not proper for them to behave in that way.

He knew that Mulan wasn't supposed to hug him like that, but he missed the way his daughters used to do so, a long time ago. In some way, this young girl reminded him of his daughters.

The young Captain was gazing sadly at the retreating figure of Fa Mulan, having failed to speak with her. Perhaps some intervention was needed. The Emperor walked over to him and said, "A flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all."

"Sir?" Li Shang questioned. The Emperor resisted the impulse to roll his eyes. It was not very dignified, after all. What an idiot. "You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty." He could see the hope bloom in the Captain's eyes. As he walked away, he smiled secretly. No one had ever said he was not a romantic at heart.