Coming into China was a shuttlecock carrying two girls, Cherry and Peach inside. They looked all around them as they were going to China to become exchange students.
"Tell me again why we're becoming exchange students in China." Peach spoke up, sounding bored.
"Because Peach, I like Chinese food and this could be a learning experience for us both." Cherry smiled.
"Boring!" Peach yawned at the very idea of learning while away from home and school for a few weeks.
The shuttlecock stopped and the girls hopped out, grabbing their bags. Peach grabbed hers without harm, but Cherry's bags landed on top of her, flattening her on the ground. They looked around once Cherry got to her feet and saw a woman standing outside her home and stepped forward.
"Are you, Fa Li?" Cherry asked, looking at the paper.
"Indeed I am," the woman replied calmly. "Are you the students staying with us for a while?"
"Yes, I'm Peach and this is Cherry." the light brown-haired girl replied, smiling and eager to await an adventure.
"Nice to meet you," Li said. She looked restless and stressed.
"Are you okay, ma'am?" Cherry asked.
"Yeah, you look like Cherry when we do trigonometry in algebra back home." Peach teased.
Cherry glared at her, then calmly looked back at the woman.
"I'm fine, I'm just waiting for my daughter." Li told them.
"Aww, Cherry, she has a daughter for you to play with, talking about dreamy boys and to give makeovers with!" Peach nudged her friend's shoulder.
"I'm a tomboy just like you, Peach!" Cherry seethed.
"Yes, but between the two of us, you're better off as a girly girl." Peach laughed.
Cherry groaned, squeezing her eyes shut. She loved Peach, but sometimes the girl was nearly impossible to be around. They were indeed like typical siblings.
"Li, is your daughter here yet?" the bath house lady asked, stepping outside the doors. "The matchmaker is not a patient woman." she then went back inside her shop.
"Matchmaker?" the girls asked Li.
"Yes," Li replied, answering them. "It's an important tradition. Girls come to the matchmaker after getting dolled up and learn how to properly be with their soul mates when they wed the proper gentleman. Someday, maybe you girls will do the exact same thing when you're Mulan's age."
Both girls eyed each other, cringing at the very thought of arranged marriage, dressing up just to meet a guy and basically become slaves other than a bride. Suddenly, there came an elder lady with a tiny cage in her hands.
"You must be Li's daughter's grandmother." Cherry observed.
"Why? Cuz I got wrinkles and white hair you think I'm a grandmother?" the woman scolded her.
"I-I-I..." Cherry felt sheepish for her assumption.
The woman laughed and patted her head. "I'm only kiddin'! Yes, I'm Mulan's grandmother. Are you those girls coming to stay with us a little while?"
"Yes, ma'am." Cherry smiled.
"You remind me of my Nan." Peach giggled at the woman's enthusiasm at her age.
Li sighed sharply, looking around. There was still no sign of her daughter. "Of all the days to be late! I should've prayed to the ancestors for luck."
"How lucky can they be?" Grandma asked, rolling her eyes. "They're dead. Besides, I've got all the luck we need." she then showed her cage which had a cricket inside, chirping gently.
"Hey, little guy..." Cherry cooed, coming closer to look at the insect.
The cricket chirped at her, smiling.
"This is your chance to prove yourself." Grandma told the cricket, covered her eyes with her free hand and walked across the street without looking both ways as there were crashes coming, trying to avoid her and crashed.
"Grandma, NO!" Li cried.
Grandma uncovered her eyes and looked around to see she made it across the street safely. She turned to the girls on the other side. "Yep, this cricket's a lucky one!"
Cherry breathed wheezily, turning pale as Peach looked excited. "Cool! I wanna be just like her when I become an old lady!"
Suddenly, the girls finally got to meet Li's daughter, Mulan. She was riding a black horse, as she was dressed in a green outfit with a flower in her hair. She jumped down in front of everyone. "I'm here!"
Li gave her a strict, scolding look.
"What?" Mulan felt the harsh gaze. "But, Mom, I had to--"
"None of your excuses, now let's get you cleaned up." Li told her, moving her in. "You can introduce yourself to your new friends later."
Cherry and Peach shared a glance together, then walked inside the bath house with the Fa women.
Bath House Lady: This is what you got me to work with?
Well honey, I've seen worse
We're going to turn this sow's ear
Into a silk purse
Mulan was thrown into the tub and instantly shivered, holding herself. "It's freezing!"
"It would've been warm if you were here on time." Li smirked.
Mulan's hair then splashed as the bath house lady dumped a bucket of water on her to wash her.
Bath House Lady: We'll have you washed and dried
Primped and polished til you glow with pride
Just my recipe for instant bride
You'll bring honor to us all
"Mulan, what's this?" Li asked, noticing strange marking's on her daughter's arm.
"Notes?" Mulan shrugged, innocently. "In case I forget something?"
"Hold this," Grandma handed the cricket cage to Cherry. "We're going to need more luck than I thought."
After the bath, Cherry and Peach saw that two women were combing and braiding Mulan's hair as she sat still, or at least tried to.
Women: Wait and see, when we're through
Boys will gladly go to war for you
With good fortune and a great hairdo
You'll bring honor to us all
Cherry and Peach followed Mulan and her family to another place for Mulan's makeup designs. Mulan stopped as she saw a couple of men playing checkers. One man made his move while the other seemed stumped over his next one. Mulan moved for him to allow him to win the game. Li came over and pulled Mulan away as they went in to get Mulan into proper clothes and her makeup before she would meet the matchmaker.
Women: A girl can bring her family
Great honor in one way
By striking a good match
And this shall be the day
Mulan was now being dressed by a couple of women in similar clothes.
Girls: Men want girls
With good taste
Calm, obedient, who work fast pace
With good breeding
And a tiny waist
You'll bring honor to us all
Mulan, Cherry and Peach passed through yet another part of town. There were two boys having a sword fight match with each other. The little girl with them was playing with her toy, but one of the boys took it from her. Mulan didn't like that, so she grabbed the toy from him and handed it back to the girl who happily hugged it.
Chorus: We all must serve our emperor
Who guards us from the Huns
A man by bearing bonds
A girl by bearing sons
In the makeup room, Cherry and Peach watched as Mulan had make-up applied to her face. The make-up woman applied the lipstick and now Mulan looked suitable enough to earn herself a husband to bring honor to her family.
Make-up Woman: When we're through
We can't fail
Like a lotus blossom,
Soft and pale
How can any fellow say 'no sale'?
You'll bring honor to us all
The Make-Up woman handed a mirror to show Mulan, Cherry, Peach and Li the new and improved Mulan.
"There," Li placed a comb with a flower on it in her daughter's hair. "You're ready."
"Not yet!" Grandma spoke up, shoving an apple in her granddaughter's mouth. "An apple for serenity, a pendent for balance."
Jewel Woman: Beads of jade for beauty
Grandma: You must proudly show it
Now add a cricket, just for luck
And even you can't blow it!
Mulan went outside as her family and new friends waved her off.
"Are we going in with her, Li?" Cherry asked, following the Fa family to look after Mulan to meet the matchmaker.
"No," Li replied. "We must wait out here. It is all up to Mulan now."
"Good, if I have to smell any more girly things I'm gonna pass out." Peach grumbled. She then rolled her eyes once Cherry came out wearing a souvenir kimono. "You are SUCH a girl!"
"I am not!" Cherry protested, folding her arms. "I'm a tomboy like you!"
"You're a lot more feminine than I am, you get easily scared like a real girl."
"Hey, you're afraid of spiders too!"
Cherry raised an eyebrow. "What does my fear of clowns have to do with this?"
Peach smiled, rather teasingly. "Wussy."
"Oh, shut up!" Cherry snapped.
"Both of you be quiet, the girls are about to be announced." Li scolded them, putting a finger to her mouth to shush them.
Mulan and the other girls bowed with their umbrellas out. That was when the matchmaker came out, surprising Peach and Cherry.
"That dude looks like a lady." Peach whispered to Cherry.
"I think that IS a lady." Cherry clarified.
"Fa Mulan." the matchmaker picked the first name on her clipboard.
"Present!" Mulan raised her hand.
"Speaking without permission." the matchmaker jotted down, going inside with Mulan.
"I don't know about you, but I don't mind bearing sons when I get married," Peach turned to Cherry. "I actually want three sons."
Cherry rolled her eyes, then continued to keep quiet until Mulan would come back outside to join them and the family.