A LONG KEPT SECRET
The very dark room was disturbed by a spill of light that escaped through a crack in the wall. The light brushed across Magnalena’s face, waking her from a peaceful sleep. She slowly rose and smiled as the sunlight touched her face. She walked into the garden outside the small pueblo where she lived. Picking up a small woven basket and placing flowers in it, she inhaled their sweet fragrance.
Her walks in the garden were the only happiness that she got each day since her father had died. Her mother had stayed at a distance since the day he was murdered. She missed her father terribly, and at times she missed her mother even more. This man hadn’t been just her father, but her best friend. She knew he would protect her from danger and would do anything for her just to see a smile rise on her face. She remembered the walks they took in this same garden. How he would tell her how much he loved her and that he wanted her to wed soon so he would know she would be provided for and be protected if for any reason he wasn’t around to do so. Well that day came, and now she’s all alone in the world. She felt her eyes sting as tears began to build up. She brushed them away. “No! I will not cry. Father would not want to see me sad. He would want me to be happy for what I do have.” She frowned, turning to look at the pitiful shack she lived in. “And what do I have father? Nothing...” A single window in the front of the pueblo was engulfed by her mother watching her with a sad, distant look on her face. She has done this many times before, but this time her eyes were telling her a secret she could no longer hide.
Magnalena entered the small pueblo and turned to her mother. Still looking out the window, her mother began to speak: “My Magnalena, I love you dearly. Never think I stopped loving you after my dear Joaquin died. You have grown to be very beautiful. Some say you are one of the most beautiful women in all California.” She paused as if she forgot what she was going to say. “We are not as poor as you may think, or were not supposed to be. You see, before you were born, your father was a Don. We had a lot of land, and we were very happy. We became quick friends with our neighbors, the Landivars. They had but one son who was around seven when you were born: Rimez Landivar. Don and Dona Landivar dreamed that one day you and Rimez would marry. We also loved the idea and signed a legal document stating that one day you and Rimez would wed. Months later, we woke to find some strange cattle not belonging to us grazing with our cattle. The Landivars seeing the cattle on our land accused us of stealing them. We had no proof that we didn’t steal them, yet we denied taking them. The Comandante Esteban took the Landivar’s side and stripped us of our title as a Don.” There was weakness in her voice as if she couldn’t bear to go on. “Just before your father died, he found evidence that the Landivars framed us. Their only goal was to be the richest Dons in all of Alta California. With our family making more money than they were, jealousy got the best of them. They would stop at nothing to take our title and our land.”
“Furious, your father left to talk to the Comandante about what he had discovered. Don Landivar knew this day would come. So in preparing for it, he hired some men to murder Joaquin on his way to town to keep us in poverty.” A small tear rolled down her dark face. Magnalena hugged her and sat in a small chair facing her mother.
“Don Rimez Landivars still has the document his father gave him stating
that you are to wed. He contacted me and demanded it be so.
Magnalena, I love you. You know this, but I have no choice on this
matter. Don Rimez is very rich. You will be happier and well
cared for with him. He asked that you come to his hacienda tonight
for dinner. I agreed that you would.” She looked sadly at Magnalena.
She didn’t have continue. The distant look on Magnalena's face told it
all. It showed the fear and anxiety she would soon endure, the hatred
for this man she would have to marry, and the sadness that she would never
again be with the only family she had left.
THERE IS STILL HOPE
After her afternoon siesta, Magnalena woke feeling more miserable than she had earlier that morning. Marry Don Rimez Landivar? The thought repulsed her and left emptiness in her that she hadn’t felt since her father had died. Her father had meant the world to her. So why would she marry someone who helped take him out of it?
She stepped out of the pueblo and squinted as the light hit her face. Carefully, she climbed onto her horse and took a trail that would lead to Don Rimez Landivar’s hacienda. She didn’t want to see him, look at him, or even be remotely near him. Even before she heard the truth about her father, she had been disgusted by Don Landivar. He had always said that they should be together, and that any senorita would be more than proud to marry one of the richest dons in Alta California. The thought made her sick. Why her? There are many senoritas in California much prettier than she is. The Senoritas even have a title of being a daughter of a Don. She had nothing to give him or to make him look better in the public’s eye, which is what he really seemed to want.
Her horse jolting to a stop broke her thoughts. Magnalena looked up and was shocked to discover that five men surrounded her. They all rode on their own horse, each with rugged saddles which were so worn down they only appeared to be a scrap of leather tied with a string. Their clothes were so dirty they appeared to be only brown in color. Their pants were shredded at the ankles and worn shirts. Some shirts were missing buttons and some not trying to keep their shirts buttoned at all. Their boots were so covered in mud and grass that you couldn’t tell if they were boots at all. The men who wore hats put them on so low that they cast shadows over their faces, concealing their identity. The remaining hatless men’s faces were concealed with thick beards and mustaches. Fear grew in her eyes as she realized there was no escape.
“Hello senorita, why don’t you hand me whatever you have in your pouch there?” One of the bearded men said giving her a smile that sent a chill up her spine. “If I do, will you promise not to hurt me?” Magnalena pleaded. “Of course, my beautiful Lilly. We won’t hurt you at all.” A man from behind said with an evil grin, as the others laughed. She slowly handed her pouch filled with the little money she had left to the man closest to her. A bearded man grabbed the pouch instead while the man closest to her grabbed her. She fell off her horse onto the dirt trail. The first man jumped off his horse and picked her up, pulling her toward him. “Now, like I said, this won’t hurt a bit,” the man said drawing her even closer.
Magnalena’s fear grew stronger. “No! Leave me alone! Let me go!” She pleaded.
“Oh, she is a feisty one, just the way I like them,” the man said as he moved his face inches from hers. Her face trembled with fear as she was fighting and clawing at his face, trying to break free.
Voices from behind made the man loosen his grip on her. “It appears to me that the lovely senorita said no. Now if you had any respect for a lady you would honor her wishes.” Magnalena gave a glad sigh. Standing before them was a masked man wearing black from head to toe. The horse he sat on was a magnificent beast. Its black mane and tail swayed in the wind. Its black coat glistened in the sun. Its dark brown eyes shone with anticipation for what his master was going to do next.
The man threw Magnalena on the ground and drew his sword. “You’ll have to fight me first.”
The masked man smiled at him and drew his sword. “Well if you want to do it the easy way.”
Magnalena ran back to the safety of her horse as the masked man took a step forward. The blades clashed. The man tried his hardest to keep up with the masked man; his only goal was to kill him. The masked man’s smile never left his face as he blocked every movement of his competitor’s sword. He was so calm and relaxed as if he were fighting a child. The man’s sword got knocked out of his hand and went flying through the air landing in the masked man’s free hand. He pointed both swords at the man. “I am sorry senior. I didn’t mean to scare the poor senorita,” the man said, eyes wide with fear. He stepped back and looked at his companions for help. His friends knew who this masked man was and knew that he had fought twice as many men, defeating them all. They knew he was called the fox or better known as El Zorro.
“I don’t need the apology. The senorita does! Now get on your knees and tell her that you are sorry for being inconsiderate and less than a man. Also, tell her that you will never bother her again.” Zorro’s smile faded as he looked at the other men. “This isn’t a one-man thing. All of you on your knees now!” All the men slowly moved to the ground and said their apologies. Zorro’s smile returned. He took Magnalena’s pouch and returned it to her. The sound of horses in the distance came closer and the dark blue uniforms of Spanish soldiers were in view. Shifting the dirt and dust around the hoofs of the horses made a cloud of dust that surrounded the group of soldiers. Leading the group was a rather large sergeant they called Sergeant Garcia.
“What is all the trouble here?” Sergeant Garcia yelled as he dismounted from his horse. Then he saw Zorro. “Zorro! Soldiers to arm!” Garcia commanded as Zorro smiled. Zorro knew that Garcia was not the brightest man and was easily tricked. Zorro used this to his advantage to escape many times. He knew there was a reward of two thousand pesos for his capture and Garcia made that his number one goal in life to get. “Sergeant Garcia! Thank the saints you came just in time!” Zorro said to the very puzzled Garcia. “Just in time, well of course, we’re just in time. You think a soldier of the king would be late?!” Sergeant Garcia said, trying to look like he knew what Zorro was talking about. “These five bandito’s disrespected the poor senorita and now must be punished for it, but you already knew that,” Zorro said, mounting his horse. “Um, yes, of course, I did. Soldiers take these men to Los Angeles and put them in the carcel.” He looked at his best friend Corporal Reyes. “Corporal Reyes, you better go along to make sure that nothing goes wrong.” The corporal nodded and helped take the men back to Los Angeles. A thick cloud of dust in the distance was the only evidence of the men being there at all. Magnalena took a few steps towards Zorro and his faithful horse Tornado.
“Thank you, senor for helping me. If there was any way I could repay you I would.”
Zorro smiled as he bent over his horse and kissed her lips. “Thank you for your kind words senorita but it wasn’t I alone that saved you. It was all Sergeant Garcia to thank.” He turned to Sergeant Garcia. “Sergeant Garcia. Since you have been such a help today, why don’t you escort the lovely senorita to Don Landivar’s hacienda. She has had a hard day and I wouldn’t want to see any more harm come to her.” He pointed to the direction of Landivar’s hacienda.
“It would be my pleasure. She is in good hands with Sergeant Garcia. But this doesn’t mean I’m in your favor Zorro. There will be other days and I will get my reward for capturing you.”
Zorro smiled. “I’m sure you will Sergeant you are just too fast for me.” He bowed at the senorita over his horse and rode off into the sunset.
MEETING THE TRUTH
It wasn’t long until Magnalena and Sergeant Garcia reached Don Landivar’s hacienda. Don Landivar was surprised to see that Sergeant Garcia had come with Magnalena and that she hadn’t come alone. Nonetheless, he presented himself as if he were happy to see them both. With a smile on his face and a single rose in his hand, he walked toward them. “Magnalena, my beauty! I’m so pleased you came to join me for dinner!” Magnalena poised a fake smile and extended her hand for him to kiss it. (Though it made her sick when he did.) She took the rose from his hand as he looked up at Sergeant Garcia. “I see you had not come alone,” he said, trying not to sound upset.
“Yes the poor senorita was attacked by some banditos. I came just in time! If it wasn’t for me the senorita . . .” He looked at Magnalena.
“It was El Zorro who really saved the day,” Magnalena said her face brightening thinking of the soft kiss.
“Well, yes Zorro helped...a little,” Sergeant Garcia said, feeling a little embarrassed.
“Ah...Zorro of course he would be around poising as a hero when he is really a bandito himself. He probably hired the banditos to attack you so he could come in the nick of time and act like a hero,” Landivar said, feeling uneasy that Zorro, his mortal enemy, was so near.
“Zorro is not a bandito! He is a hero!” Magnalena said, glaring at him.
“Enough about this Zorro. Why don’t we go inside and start on dinner and some drinks?” Landivar said, looking at Sergeant Garcia and hoping that would clue him to leave. Instead of leaving, the Sergeant licked his lips and rubbed his large belly. He had forgotten how hungry he was. “Thank you for your help Sergeant Garcia. I would ask you to join us but I’m sure you are very busy. With the new prisoners ,and Zorro still on the loose. You wouldn’t have time for a drink.” Garcia’s face fell. A drink, his favorite things to have. A nice glass of wine or brandy. How nice it would be. But he was right; he will be busy. With Corporal Reyes in charge who knows if the prisoners even made it to the carcel. “You’re right, Don Landivar I’d better be going then. I wish you well Magnalena.” He slowly climbed onto his horse and rode off leaving Magnalena and Don Landivar alone. She sighed; she wished he could have stayed. She didn’t want to be alone with Don Landivar.
Don Landivar led her into a very large dining room. In the center was a table beautifully covered with dishes and very expensive food. As the many servants he had were serving dinner, Don Landivar talked about their future together. He mostly talked about himself and how good it will make him look to marry one of the most beautiful senoritas in California, and how it will be good for her to marry a Don and be rich again.
With all this talk, Magnalena felt sick again. She pushed the
thoughts out of her mind. As he went on talking and not even once
letting her get a word in, her thoughts began to wander again. She
relived the moment when Zorro had kissed her. It was so pure and
so sincere that she knew that she meant something to him. The way he kissed
her It was almost as if he had known her before. Had he? Was
he a man she had met before? Or was he really just a stranger who
watched her from afar? Nonetheless, she knew there was closeness
between them that no one could take away. The look in his deep brown
eyes said it all. It showed the same love she was feeling for him
at that moment. Yes, it was true she was in love with El Zorro.
DON DIEGO HEARS OF A PLAN
Behind what appeared to be a moss- covered rock wall was really a very large cave, the lair of the fox. Candles of thick red wax lighted the lair. Tornado was safely kept in his pen. His silver saddle glistened in the candlelight. His long black mane swayed as he moved back and forth waiting for his master to arrive. A worn map lays on a desk with smudges of coal on the edges. The land and boundaries of Don Rimez Landivar are circled carefully in black ink. A long sharp knife is set to the right of the map while a picture of Senorita Magnalena Montez is on the left. A slight noise near the entrance made Tornado’s ears perk up. A masked man walked in and closed the entrance as quickly as he had opened it. He quickly walked over to Tornado and stroked his nose to calm him. He smiled, and then changed into his rich land owner attire. Very carefully he put his black garments into a secret cupboard. Touching a specific spot on the wall, it opened as if by magic. Grabbing a book, he walked through the entrance to be greeted by his mute servant Bernardo. Bernardo was the only man who knew the true identity of Zorro. He could not speak, but he could hear very well. Don Diego used him as a spy, so the world knew Bernardo as Diego’s deaf and dumb servant who could neither speak nor hear. Bernardo loved the role. He could go anywhere and the public would speak freely in his presence because they had no knowledge of his real hearing ability.
“Hello Bernardo, has my father tried to call for me?” Don Diego said putting on a long sash that all true landowners wore around their waists. Bernardo shook his head and put his hands on his cheek and tilted his head to the side to show that he meant sleeping. “My father thinks I am still asleep? That's wonderful. Thank you for your help through all of this Bernardo. The beautiful senorita Magnalena ran into some trouble and I had, I mean Zorro had, to save her.” Bernardo smiled and put his hand over his heart, sighed and pointed to Diego. “No, I am not in love with her,” he said blushing a bit. “I do find her very interesting though and do not trust Don Landivar’s intentions to marry her.” Diego sighed. “I better go downstairs. Mi Padre is probably waiting for me.” Diego bowed and left his room.
“Ah, Diego my son. Where have you been all afternoon? We have guests, or have you forgotten they were coming?” Diego smiled uneasily. “Forgive me father. I was reading and I must have fallen asleep. You know how I get when I read.” Diego’s father, Don Alejandro de la Vega, looked over at his guests apologetically. He was ashamed that his son’s only interest was in books, fine wine, and art. He had no intention of even picking up a sword to learn how to fence like a real man. Alejandro had sent Diego to a fencing school in Spain for four years. He had hoped that Diego would have returned with a suitcase full of medals. Instead, he came back with a suitcase full of books and a deaf and dumb servant.
“That is quite all right my son. Fellow Dons, I don’t believe you have had the pleasure of meeting my son, Don Diego de la Vega. Diego these are my friends and neighboring Dons of California.” Diego bowed to each of them as he took a seat and poured a glass of wine for himself. “Diego, we were just talking about the crime in California. Did you know that last night the senorita Magnalena was attacked by a group of banditos? If it weren’t for El Zorro she might not have been here today.” Diego tried to look shocked at the news.
“Ah, the poor senorita. I’m glad she is OK. Isn’t she to wed that Don Landivar fellow?” All the Dons looked at each other with the same thought of disgust. They all despised Don Landivar. Don Landivar cheated them all in one way or another in trying to steal their land.
“Yes, I've heard that,” Don Alejandro said with pity in his eyes for the poor senorita. “I have heard that she is marrying him by force.” One of the Dons said, “Well I heard that Magnalena and Zorro are quite smitten with each other and Don Landivar is using her as a trap to capture Zorro once and for all!” Another Don yelled. This news really caught Diego's attention.
“Oh really, now where did you hear this? Why would this snobbish Don Landivar want to capture Zorro? Couldn’t there be another way than using a pobre senorita?” Diego asked very interested at this point.
“Well on my way down here, I ran into Sergeant Garcia. He told me that he saw Zorro kiss her. He wasn’t sure if she had a part in it or not. Don Landivar’s first intentions on marrying the senorita was to make himself look good by marry one of the most beautiful senoritas in all California. Whether she was pobre or not, it did not matter. She will be a Dona when she marries him. Then he overheard the news of her and Zorro after she went back to her pueblo. His rage changed into an evil plot. ‘Why not kill two birds with one stone?’ he had asked. He wanted Zorro to know that she is not happy with Don Landivar and that she does love Zorro. Whether she does or not is beyond me, but it is all a trap to capture the fox. Quite clever I think. But no one has ever captured the fox and lived to tell about it! But two thousand pesos is a lot for one man.”
The man chuckled to himself and took a sip of wine. Diego was
a little shocked at first. He had a blank look on his face, but his
mind was quite alive with thought. How had Don Landivar known about the
kiss? Magnalena would never have told him. Did Sergeant Garcia?
I guess he wasn’t as dumb as he seemed to be. Maybe Zorro will have
to pay Sergeant Garcia a little visit to find out the truth, and maybe
get a little more information on just how Landivar plans to capture a fox.
That night when Don Alejandro was fast asleep Diego went into his secret lair. He quickly dressed in all black and took his horse Tornado out of his pen. “Come Tornado, we have a long night ahead of us,” Zorro whispered to his faithful horse. Tornado nodded as if he understood everything his master had said. “OK, then let’s go visit Sergeant Garcia. I have to clarify some news I just heard. Let’s go!” The horse took off in a dead run. Running over the hills in the moonlight made Zorro and Tornado look like a silhouette in the distance. They reached the cuartel in record time. Sergeant Garcia had a room all to himself. “Now Tornado, we don’t want to wake anyone, not yet anyway. So be very quiet and go very slowly.” The horse slowed its pace and moved its legs as if it were tiptoeing. “That's a good horse,” Zorro whispered. “Now stop here and let me off. You go and meet me on the other side of the building. If anyone comes to get you, run.” Zorro climbed off his horse and the horse ran until he was out of sight. Zorro smiled and slowly opened the door that he knew was to Sergeant Garcia’s room. Sergeant Garcia was safely tucked in his bed, snoring. He was in such a deep sleep he had not heard Zorro walk towards his bed. Zorro brushed his sword across Sergeants Garcia’s unshaved face. Garcia pushed it away and rolled to his side. Zorro brushed his sword across his neck, this time pressing a little harder. Garcia’s eyes twitched and then flew open as he saw Zorro standing before him. Garcia picked up his pillow and put it over his chest as if he thought it would save his life. Zorro laughed as he looked at the spot where the pillow used to be. In the spot were a few apples, some half-eaten, a chicken leg, and some crackers. Sergeant Garcia looked at the pile of food and shrugged. “Um, sometimes I get hungry during the night and . . . why is this your concern and why are you here anyway?” Garcia asked looking very worried. “Aren't I the one who should be looking for you?” Zorro ignored the question and pointed the sword towards his stomach. “I guess you get hungry every night don’t you?” Zorro smiled. “I have heard you have been very busy starting rumors about the senorita Magnalena and me. I could be mistaken but I want to hear it from you before I jump to conclusions,” Zorro said, pushing the sword harder against Garcia’s stomach. “Um, yes, what you heard was true. I did mention to a few of my men that you kissed the senorita. But don’t get me wrong, it was all in fun. I didn’t mean to anger you at all.” Sweat began to build up on Garcia’s forehead. “Well my Sergeant, you did anger me. You also put the poor senorita in more danger than she was when we last met. Don Landivar has heard of the senorita and me and now is using her as bait to get to me. Did you know of this too?” Garcia brushed his hand over his face removing some of the sweat. “I might have heard something about it...” Zorro’s sword became more threatening against Garcia’s stomach. “What did you hear? Do you know what he is planning to do?” Garcia took a deep breath. “Don Landivar came to me after he sent Magnalena home. He said all Magnalena did was sit there and stare off as if daydreaming. He asked me what happened with the banditos . . . and Zorro. So I told him the whole thing. He told me that he would now get rid of Zorro once and for all. He is planning to send Magnalena alone again to his hacienda. He knows you will meet her on the way. At that time he has asked me to get together all of my men and ambush you. There will be no escape. The Comandante Esteban was even asked to help. He declined, but approved the ambush. He wants to see you gone as much as Landivar does.” Zorro sighed. “Thank you for the information. Now if you want to live, you will tell no one else what you told me. Also, you will tell no one that I have talked with you.” As Zorro removed his sword and put it back in its case attached to his belt, Garcia gave a sigh of relief; he knew he would live for another day at least. “Si, Senor Zorro, I won’t tell anyone.” Zorro bowed his thanks and climbed out the window and onto the roof. As asked, Tornado waited on the other side of the building. Zorro jumped down onto the saddle and they rode off into the night.
A CRY TO THE DONS FOR HELP
Magnalena woke up bitter. The sun was shinning brighter than it has ever shone and she knew it was going to be a very hot day. She was asked by Don Landivar to come to his hacienda that afternoon to talk over plans for the wedding. He gave her a more expensive looking dress to wear that afternoon. How dare he, she thought bitterly. He gives her a dress to wear because he is ashamed of the fact that she is pobre. If only he were as considerate and as caring as Zorro was. She knew in a few hours she would be at the hacienda of Don Landivar whom she hated so much. She would be planning a wedding that she didn’t even want to attend to marry a man she didn’t even love. She ran to her bed and began to cry.
Zorro stopped Tornado at the front of his hacienda. He had been out all night trying to think of a plan to save the senorita from marrying Don Landivar and saving him- self from an ambush. There were many carriages outside of his hacienda. The other Dons he thought. As if lightning struck his head, he jumped off his horse and smiled to himself. He looked at his horse in the face. “Tornado, I got a plan!” Tornado stood on his hind legs and kicked his front ones in the air as if excited for his master. “Yes, now I just need the Dons help. Do you think they will help a bandito such as me?” Zorro asked his horse. His horse nodded a yes. “Well then I’ll go in there and ask them.” Zorro smiled and entered the hacienda. He knew there would be some shocks at first seeing him. But he meant no harm.
“Don’t be alarmed. I mean no harm to any of you. I came simply to ask for your help in stopping Don Landivar,” Zorro yelled, standing over the staircase so all the Dons would be able to see who was talking. A few Dons put their swords away when hearing Zorro’s words of assurance. Zorro told them all that he had heard from Sergeant Garcia. He told them about Magnalena and about the ambush. Then he told them about his own plan to stop Don Landivar for good. He told them he would have his own ambush against the soldiers. Not to hurt the soldiers, but to get himself and Magnalena out safely. Then he told them that Don Landivar had betrayed them all in one way or another. This was a crime all in its own. When being given the title of a Don you take on a solemn vow that you will treat every other Don equally and with respect. If you don’t, you might lose your title. All the Dons have proof of this betrayal. Even Magnalena’s mother, who was once a Dona herself, deserves to get her title back. While Magnalena is being returned to safety her mother and the rest of the Don’s will go to the Governor of California, not the comandante. The comandante and Don Landivar are almost like partners and both despise Zorro. The Dons loved the plan. They all left to go back to their haciendas to gather their proof of betrayal from Don Landivar. One man would go to the governor, along with Magnalena’s mother, while the rest would help Magnalena and Zorro.
In a few hours the plan will be underway, and Don Landivar will just be known as Senior Rimez Landivar. Zorro smiled at himself as he left to go to his secret hiding place to change into a Don again.
Don Alejandro told Diego of Zorro’s plans and asked Diego if he would like to help, eagerly hoping he would wear a sword as well. Diego told him he had a very bad headache and riding around chasing banditos and soldiers would only make it worse. He told his very upset father that it would be better for him to stay in case anyone stopped by asking for help in any way. “Then would you use a sword if someone did stop by asking for help?” His father urged.
“Well father, if it came to it, I might. But remember I am an inept swordsman. Everyone knows that.”
His father cracked a smile. “I know my son, I know.”
Once his father was gone, Diego quickly ran back into his lair and put
on his Zorro attire. He fed his horse Tornado and let him rest. His
horse needed all the energy he could get for the adventure they would be
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS
Magnalena climbed onto her horse sadly and slowly moved her horse onto the trail that led to Don Landivar’s hacienda. The further she went the more soldiers she saw trying very badly to keep hidden. She saw Sergeant Garcia trying to hide behind a tree. His very large belly sticking out, it was no mistaking it was him. But, why where they all here? She became uneasy and thought of turning around. Then she saw a black figure coming towards her. It was Zorro. Her heart skipped a few beats when she knew he came to see her. Then it hit her. It was all a trap. Don Landivar knew of her and Zorro’s feelings towards each other and used her to trap him. Go back! It’s a trap! Run away! Her mind screamed but nothing came out of her mouth. He was in plain view now. She knew the soldiers were just finding the right moment to shoot. “Senorita, why are you here all alone again? You remember what happened last time you tried that,” Zorro said, smiling at her but well aware of what was going on all around him. Magnalena moved closer to him. “That's just it Zorro. I’m not alone. And now you are in danger. There are soldiers all around us.” Magnalena whispered to him with shakiness in her voice. “Now listen here senorita; I already know about the soldiers. The fellow Dons of California are behind them unseen. They will save me. Your mother is with the Governor right at this moment along with another Don. They are putting a stop to all of Don Landivar’s plans and stripping him of his title. You will be a Dona again,” Zorro explained in a whisper so the soldiers won’t hear. A small tear rolled down Magnalena's face. “Is this really true? I don’t have to marry Don Landivar? I get to be back with my mother?” Zorro brushed off the tear on her face with his hand. “Yes my love. It is all going to be okay. You’ll see.” He was about to bend over and kiss her again but he knew that is how he got into that mess in the first place.
Zorro looked up and saw one of the Dons raising a red flag, stating that they must leave now before it is too late. Zorro pulled Magnalena onto his horse and told her to hang on tight. She slipped her arms around his waist as Tornado began to run. She had never seen a horse run as fast as Zorro’s horse could. In the distance she heard gunshots go off. She and Zorro left in the nick of time. When they got to the Governor’s office, her mother was outside with a few Dons. She was crying. Magnalena ran over to her and put her arms around her. Her mother smiled down at Magnalena. “Magnalena, my daughter, we’re not poor anymore. We get our land back. All of it!” Magnalena began to cry tears of joy as well. “Don Landivar is now just Rimez Landivar. He was stripped of his title.” More Dons began to join them. The sound of people cheering and saying ole was heard when told of Don Landivar. Magnalena looked around and didn’t see Zorro anywhere. Disappointment flooded her face. She walked sadly over to the deserted square. Everyone was over by the Governor’s quarters, celebrating. She sat down at the edge of a fountain and looked sadly in the water. She looked at her reflection and then saw another reflection. It was El Zorro. She became overwhelmed with joy. “Don’t look so sad my love. This is a happy time, for all of us.” Zorro took her hand and pulled her up to him. “Thank you for all you have done for my mother and me. You have done so much for me and I have little I can give you to repay you for all of it.” He smiled down at her. “Ah senorita but you have given me everything.” He bent down and kissed her lips, this time deeper and longer. “Oh, Senor Zorro. Can you please remove your mask so I can see who you really are?” Zorro smiled at her sweetly. “My beautiful Magnalena, in time you will know the truth. This isn’t that time. But one day you will know.” Magnalena looked up at him disappointed. He kissed her again reassuringly. “Don’t worry my love when the time is right you will know. I just hope you won’t be too disappointed when you do know.” He said uneasily. “Zorro, I love you. Whoever you are I will always love you. That will never change.” He gave her one last kiss and then rode off. She watched him as he reached the top of the hill. The sun was lowing turning the sky a bright red-orange. Zorro stood on top of the hill sitting on his faithful horse. Tornado stood on his hind legs as Zorro gave one last wave goodbye before he disappeared over the other side of the hill. A slight breeze blew across Magnalena face. The breeze seemed to whisper to her, it said, “In time you’ll know the truth, my love.”
Magnalena walked towards her new hacienda and opened the door, not just
to her new home but to her new future.