The Warrior

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Honor. 

That's all I have ever wanted to give my family. I bear the Emperor's crest and Shan Yu's sword and the honor to last lifetimes from the Emperor. And I was back. Back with my father. Was it over? My family now has honor. My family now has honor. Honor from a warrior. Not the honor from his daughter. I was able to save my father from the conscription. But have I really made him proud?

A woman's job is to get married. To be the ideal bride. Face as artistic as a flower, gait as graceful as the drifting cherry blossom, and obedience of the leaves to the wind. My entrance in the war brought my family honor. But was it enough? I see my mother's sighs and know she would still want me married. But marriage to a man? I thought the war would rid me of these responsibilities. I was not a frail woman. But a warrior. And a warrior never bows down to its adversaries. Society could whisper words of their perverted wisdom and society would and there was nothing I could do to stop them. But as a warrior, I would not crumble to their sneers. 

I saved China. That is what the Emperor had said. I drew the enemy's sword. My sword now. I looked into the translucent glisten and saw a face of a porcelain doll. Not the face of a warrior. I did not understand. Muscle lined my arms and legs. And bruises and wounds marked my face. But what was wrong? Why did this fragile doll bear before me? And not a warrior? I was a warrior to China. Not to myself. When would my reflection show who I am inside?

"Mulan." Shang stepped into the garden. "You... forgot your helmet..." It was obvious my commander had grown a liking to me. To me. Was his affection towards the warrior battling on the inside linings of my heart or the facade. The facade that hid who I actually was. The facade that was this pathetic submissive creature that bore my face. His eyes resembled the soot from the gunpowder. Dark. Aggressive. Those same eyes looked at me with a shy lust. 

Was this man to be my husband? My dominant. Was I supposed to be his woman? A woman. A submissive. A magnolia. A doll. Someone who had the beauty of a goddess and the sweet words of a rose. Someone who was to nurture her kids and stay at home. Cook. Clean. What made a woman a servant? Property? I hated the definition of a woman. But I hated my being of one more. I was more than a mere concubine. I was less than a mother. What kind of woman was I? Was I a woman at all? For me, a warrior, to be so feminine... just seemed wrong. 

I bore a girl's body. I had a man's soul. 

It was missing. Never once, was my body my soul's body. There was something missing between my two legs. The months which I spent as a man in the army had been my best. Belonged. 

Shang still stood before me and I realized I left him in silence for too long. He stood uncomfortably just with his steady eyes upon me. Our eyes met. Silence. 

"So I will be going then..." Just as he was about to leave, my mother saw the handsome muscular man and invited him inside. She would wish for our marriage. It was evident that I would resort to marrying this man. 

I was sent to my room to prepare for dinner. There in front of me was the clothes I carried in the army. There was nothing that suited me more. I removed the illegitimate clothing off of me. The dress fell to the floor. And I dressed. I was a man once more. Hair tied up. Rough hands. Rough face. I bore the face of a warrior. 

I could never show myself to the public. Jia ya tou is what they called men like me. What would they call me? Someone who was supposed to be a woman. A fanchuan? Who was I? What was I? 

I didn't hear when Shang had walked in. He was standing in the corner of the room. He was unamused. He had been watching me look into the mirror in awe. 

Me. The warrior. The man. 

"What are you doing? Why are you covering your beautiful body?" He took a few steps towards me. I took a few back. I was silent.

"Don't act like you are not fond of me. I saw you looking at my body." He had mistaken my awe of his body for lust. He took steps forward. I took steps back. 

"Mulan. Don't be a freak. Cherry blossoms can't compete with your beauty. So natural. And sweet. There's no one else in this world for us. We belong to each other. Will you marry me?" Steps forward. I stepped back to the wall. I began to draw my sword. Shang noticed and he swiftly took my hands off the sword throwing Shan Yu's beauty on the floor of my bedroom. He took steps forward into a place where no steps were left. And I could not step back. 

"Mulan. Remember. A warrior shouldn't lose their honor. Ever." He forced himself onto me, pulling up his armor and throwing off mine. I was helpless but I punched his face, tried kicking his chest. But it was helpless. A warrior never gives up. Resistance. Elbows. Arms. But suddenly I felt a pain. It was over. I had lost the fight. I fell unconscious to the floor. 

My eyes were closed. But there was nothing left for me to see.

Honor.

That's all I wanted to give to my family. I knew now that I had to marry Shang. Marry my rapist. For my honor.

I was a man. But my reflection showed a woman. I was a woman. A woman should never lose her honor. But more importantly, a warrior should never lose their honor. And I. 

I was a warrior.