WORLD 1: MULAN
Allie fell further and further, in what seemed like an endless black hole. She looked down, and saw a light at the end of it, and suddenly began to fall even faster. She closed her eyes and screamed, and then landed with a thump in something leafy.
“Ow! Stupid fairy! What is this stuff anyway?” she whispered as she looked around at what she had landed in. It was a thorny bush. “Thorns? Really, was that necessary?” Allie said as she began to get up. Then, she noticed there was a window right above her, and so she ducked back down. Hiding in the bush, hoping nobody would find her, she glimpsed herself in a shallow puddle. She was now apparently Chinese, and was wearing a dress that looked like something out of her world history textbook. “I look like some Mulan character,” she said although she barely remembered the movie- she hadn’t seen it in years. The only thing that remotely looked like her at all in her reflection was her grey-blue eyes. Yet when she looked down at herself, she was still dressed the same as when she was in the glass castle. “Weird,”
“Quiet and demure, graceful,” a voice began. Allie looked around for the source of the voice, and realized that it came from the large round widow above her. She quietly maneuvered so that she was squatting in the bush, and peeked into the window. There she saw a Chinese girl sitting and eating rice, continuing her list of what Allie assumed were “Ways To Be A Good 1950’s Housewife”. She listened on. “Polite,” the girl said, sticking a wad of rice into her mouth “delicate, refined, poised, punctual” Suddenly a rooster crowed, making the girl realize she was late.
“It’s like it was on cue,”
Allie thought as the girl looked for her little brother. But then Allie remembered what the Blue Fairy had told her- she had to find the princess, and this girl was definitely not her. So Allie quietly got out of the bush and snuck out to the gate. From the main road, she was able to make her way to town (because she could suddenly read Chinese now too). By the time she got there, the girl had caught up to her on her horse. She rode up to a building that had a smashed cart in front of it, and started talking to a worried looking middle aged woman
“But mama, I had to-“
“Mulan, none of your excuses. Let’s just get you cleaned up!”
Allie thought. “I’m supposed to follow MULAN around? Like, into BATTLE? Great, I’m gonna die. You know, I’ve never died in a dream before . . .”
“Hey, you! Don’t you have an appointment with the Matchmaker?” questioned a woman from the building Mulan had just entered.
“The Matchmaker?” Allie answered, confused. Then she understood. “Oh, no, you must be mistaken. I’m too young to get married.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! You’re of perfect wedding age. Now, come along now- we’re only offering our services for free today!” the woman said as she approached Allie. She grabbed Allie by the wrist and pulled her to the store, where they made her look like a perfect little geisha or something. All the while they sang some song about honor and being a perfect wife, which she vaguely remembered the tune to. She finally caught up to Mulan when she was done, roaming about some courtyard. Mulan wasn’t done yet, but she had helped an old man win a game of something that resembled checkers, and given a little girl back her doll from two bullies. Allie was desperate to catch up to her, so she wiped off her makeup and clumsily jumped the short stone wall from the courtyard to the road, not an easy feat in a dress that tight. Then she joined the crowd that had gathered around what Allie thought to be the Matchmaker’s house. Some girls were walking in a row up to it, still singing about honor and being a good 50’s housewife. At the end of the row was Mulan, looking out of place.
The girls lined up in a row like clones, programmed only to make their honor-centric families happy. Then, out of the Matchmaker’s house came some lady who was, to put it more delicately, bigger than the mom from Hairspray
, holding some sort of ancient Chinese clipboard . “Fa Mulan,” she said, sounding bored.
“Present!” called Mulan, raising her hand.
“Speaking without permission . . .” the fat lady, whom Allie now assumed was the Matchmaker, muttered disapprovingly.
“Oops,” responded Mulan as she followed the woman into the house.
And then Allie remembered what was going to happen next.
“Holy crap! I’ve got to stop her from making a fool of herself!”
she thought. But it was too late. If she tried to go in now, she’d just mess Mulan up even more. So she just waited, worried, until she finally heard the fat lady screech. Suddenly Allie smelled something burning. It smelled like firewood. She looked for the source of the smell, and finally she saw it as Mulan and the Matchmaker tried to get outside. The building was on fire!
“That’s not supposed to happen,”
she thought. Suddenly she saw a glow out of the corner of her eye. She looked down and her eyes grew wide- it was her bracelet. And it was glowing black
. Someone was messing with the story! Allie leaped into action, The building was burning quickly, and she didn’t have time to be indecisive. Not caring who saw, she ran up to the doors of the house and unsuccessfully tried to unlock them. Finally, she just kicked them down, ripping her too-tight dress. Mulan and the Matchmaker were trapped in a ring of fire in the middle of the house, but Allie couldn’t find anything to put it out with.
“The teapot! Over there- hurry!” Mulan called to her, pointing to a low table with a teapot on it. Of course- tea would put out enough for them to escape! Allie grabbed the teapot and carefully put out enough of the fire for the Matchmaker to fit through. After they got out, she shoved them through the door of the burning building, just as a beam collapsed in front of it. She had to find another way out.
“Great! WORST DREAM EVER!”
she thought. She looked around for a solution, but there was nothing. Then she saw a pot full of hot coals and had an idea. She grabbed it and threw it at a the back wall, hoping it was wooden. It was, and it immediately caught on fire. So she threw the pot at the wall, and quickly rolled through the hole she had created. Immediately after, the back wall collapsed. Before anyone saw her and asked her who she was, she snuck quickly to Mulan’s house.
If she hadn't been in such a hurry, she would've seen the black-clad figure running in the exact opposite direction, into the dark woods beyond.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Allie went into Mulan’s garden through a round gate-like opening in the back (she didn’t know how she knew the back way, but she did). She snuck far away from the main house, and finally stopped to rest, putting her singed legs in a small brook. Luckily, she wasn’t very hurt- her foot was a little burned, and she had gotten scratched, but it was nothing that wouldn’t heal in a day. After relaxing for a moment, she hid behind a tree and changed into some emerald green acrobat clothing she had found. It was much more comfortable than the other two outfits she had worn.
Suddenly she heard a large gate open and shut. “Look’s like Mulan’s back,”
she thought. “I guess I should give her some privacy while she’s moping,”
So Allie went over to some sort of temple or shrine thing, and hid behind it to relax. She was so tired, that when she heard Mulan begin to sing in the distance, she decided to rest her eyes. Soon she fell asleep, only to be awoken later by the sound of loud drums. She started to creep closer, being carful to go slowly.
“What is it?” she heard Mulan ask her father next to the magnolia tree that the Blue Fairy had shown her. They both got up, and started for the gate. But Mulan’s mom wanted her to stay inside.
“Jeez, they don’t have to be so overprotective. They’re worse than MY family”
Allie thought. But Mulan’s grandma wouldn’t let her sit out. She pointed at a stack of crates by the stable where she could watch. By this time, Allie was so close to the gate that she was lucky they didn’t see her. She had herself pressed against the stone wall, and she could hear her heart beating as loud and quickly as the drums that had stopped moments before.
“Citizens!” called an annoying sounding voice, “I bring a proclamation from the Imperial City. The Huns have invaded China!”
Everyone gasped, and Allie had a flashback to the reason why she had hated Mulan when she was little. It was that evil gorilla shaped dude- what’s his name? Shen-yo? Well, it was him
who had scared her so much. Him and his freakishly yellow eyes that made him look like he had jaundice. “No wonder they’re gasping- that dude’s one evil bastard!”
“By order of the emperor,” continued the increasingly annoying voice, “one man from every family, must serve in the imperial army. The Zhou Family!” he called, and a man stepped forward to take his, what Allie assumed to be, assignment. “The Yi Family!” he continued. After telling his father to stay back, a young man came foreward.
“I will serve the emperor in my fathers place,” he said, taking the assignment. After that, Allie knew what would happen next.
“The Fa Family!” annoying guy called.
“No!” Mulan gasped. She looked over the stone wall and out at her father. Allie heard him hand his cane to her mother, and start to walk, with a slight limp, to get his assignment. Mulan hopped off of the crates and rushed out while Allie ran to where she had been to het a better view.
“I am ready to serve the emperor,” Mulan’s father said proudly. But right before he took the assignment, Mulan ran up to him.
“Father, you can’t go!” she said, putting herself between him and the soldiers. “Please sir,” she asked one of them, “my father has already fought for the emper-“
“SILENCE!” shouted annoying voice, who Allie saw belonged to an annoying-looking person. “You would do well to teach your daughter to hold her tongue in a man’s presence,” he told Mulan’s father.
“Mulan, you dishonor me.” her father told her.
After that, Allie couldn’t watch. She knew what it was like to be a screw-up. And she couldn’t bear to relive it through Mulan.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Later that night, Allie watched helplessly as Mulan prepared for war to awesome Manheim Steamroller-esqe theme music. She couldn’t stop her- that would ruin everything –and she couldn’t follow her. As she heard Mulan's family discover her absence, she felt like a failure. But suddenly she saw a strange blue glow coming from the shrine, and so she ran to investigate, getting pelted by the ice cold rain.
As she got closer, her bracelet once again began to glow black. She looked around, but there was no trouble in sight. Suddenly, a lightning bolt hit the dragon statue she was standing a few feet away from. The statue exploded, and Allie fell back. A great cry came up from the shrine. She crept closer and closer, and finally made to a window and peeked inside. All of Mulan’s ancestors were there, and they were outraged
at the dragon’s destruction.
“Who will go after that girl now?” said an angry looking grandma spirit.
“Ooh! I’ll do it! Me! ME!” said a little dragon- lizard thing, jumping with joy. “Is he even ASIAN? He doesn’t sound like it.” Allie thought. “Oh, wait, he’s Eddie Murphy. Nevermind.”
“Oh no you won’t Mushu!” said a fat old spirit, who looked like he was in charge. “You’ll only make everything worse. As of now, the family honor is DOOMED.”
All of the ancestors started arguing again, and Allie hoped they wouldn’t notice as she crept around the front of the shrine. Too bad fat guy did.
“Why are you
?” he asked, pointing a glowing, ghost-like finger her way. The ancestors immediately stopped arguing.
“Er, me? I’m just a passerby! I just, uh, lost my way, and was looking for shelter! Yeah, that’s it. Just looking for shelter from the rain!” she smiled the fakest smile in the history of the universe.
“Don’t try to fool me girl. We ancestors can see through your magical disguise. Now, who are you? Why are you in disguise at all?”
Deciding not to lie her way out of this one, Allie told the truth. “My name is Allie Knox. I was sent here by the Blue Fairy to protect Fa Mulan. There are dark forces running amuck, and I am to ensure that no harm comes to her.”
Then the ancestors started up again, this time looking at Allie with awe. They were whispering, as if they were afraid to speak in front of her. “SILENCE!” called the great ancestor. “If you speak the truth, why are you not with Mulan now?”
“I don’t know the way to the camp,” she answered. “And If I follow Mulan, the whole way, she’ll get suspicious.” Then Allie had an idea to help keep the story together. “It would be a great
honor if the, er, honorable
Mushu would accompany me, for I don’t know the lay of the land.”
“Are you sure you want Mushu
to come with you?” the ancestor asked. “Surely one of the other guardians would suit your purposes much better than him.”
“No, I believe that Mushu is the one for the job.” Allie answered with fake confidence.
“Very well, then. Mushu, accompany the most honorable Allie Knox on her quest to protect Mulan. And don’t
screw anything up.” Then he turned to Allie. “Disguse yourself as a soldier as well, and encourage Mulan to run away. This gold amulet,” he said, holding up a coin on a ribbon, “will make you look like a soldier, with a sword and all.” Allie took the amulet.
“Don’t worry about me most honorable one,” said the Eddie Murphy dragon-lizard as he climbed up to Allie’s shoulder. “I’ve got it all under control!”
“Good luck!” the ancestors called. And so Mushu and Allie headed off, following the same path Mulan had minutes before. Suddenly Allie heard a chirp. It was a little cricket sitting on a strange sea green gem. She picked him and the gem up, and quickly slipped the stone, which was glowing eerily, into the sash of her clothes.
“Oh no. This is guardian
business. No tagalongs!” said Mushu angrily.
“Calm down,” Allie said as she continued walking. “A little cricket isn’t going to hurt anyone. I bet he’s a lucky cricket!” The cricket shook his head yes.
“Oh yeah? If I pop one of those antenna off and throw it cross the grass, who’ll be lucky then?”
The cricket chirped again, as if to say ‘me’. “Oh, you thing you’re funny, don’t ya?” Mushu said, getting annoyed.
Allie laughed, and then smiled. The rain was letting up.
“This isn’t such a bad dream after all.”
★☆ To be continued . . . ☆★