Chapter Five

    Anna Maria sat in her room; her mind was full of images of the masked
man.  Her eyes glittered with tears as she thought about what had happened
that day.  She was standing so close to him and was about take of his mask.
She can feel a bit magnetism about Zorro, the same feeling she felt when she
met Diego…. How she wished that Diego is more like Zorro, he's handsome and
well manner, perfect in everything except for action.

" Oh, Diego, why can't you be.." She murmured.  She tied up her hair and got
dressed.  She saddled her mare and head towards the de la vega hacienda, she
feels like talking to Diego, he always knows what to say.

She opened the gate and walked into the de la vega garden, it was one of the
most beautiful gardens she had ever seen.  Rose petals flew around the garden
floor, she inhaled deeply to catch the scent of the roses, she felt better
already.  Before even knocking at the door, Bernado had already opened the
door for her.  She nodded with surprise as Bernado showed her in.

" Beunas Tardes, Senorita Verdugo," Don Alejandro greeted her warmly," I
didn't know that you were coming this afternoon."

" Beunas Tardes, Don Alejandro," Anna Maria smiled, " I've came to see Diego."

" Oh, this is just not the time Anna Maria, Diego just went to a friend to
visit, Bernado told me that it was an old friend that came from Madrid and
decided to stay a while, so Diego is showing him around." Don Alejandro

" Oh." Anna Maria's face fell, she wanted to talk to Deigo, he is the only
one that can understand him, he seems to be so close to Zorro, but then they
are both so different from each other, she couldn't understand it.

" Anna Maria? Are you alright?" Don Alejandro asked with concern.

" I'm alright Don Alejandro, I just wished to speak to Diego, I'll wait until
he returns, Adios, Don Alejandro." She replied with a smile.

" All right then, I'll tell my son that you have came to visit him."

" Gracias, Adios." Anna Maria said, turning to her mare and head back for
home.  While riding, she thought about Diego, she remembered the first time
she met him, he came to Monterey to do business with her father and actually
accused Don Verdugo as a thief leader.  They had a lot of misunderstanding,
but when it was all cleared, she had learned to like Diego.  At that time,
the young Don had captured her heart, but then Zorro appeared…. Her eyes
welled up with tears once again, in her hand she clutched a silver necklace,
on the necklace was a silver heart with a Z engraved on it.  She had planned
to give it to Zorro at the day he was to be unmasked, but she never got the
chance to give it to him, hoping she will soon, she arrived at her hacienda
and retired with a broken heart.

Back at the de la vega hacienda

" Bernado! Have you seen….bah….never mind," Don Alejandro said with
frustration, " I keep forgetting that you cannot hear…..Dear god where is
Diego? It has been five days since he left!" He mumbled as he stalked back to
the library to do some reading.  Bernado, pretending to dust a vase, he
checked if there was anyone around, he opened a cabinet and pressed a
specific place and then a secret panel revealed.  Checking once again, he
stepped in and went to the cave.  Diego was still unconscious, Bernado placed
a cold cloth on his forehead, he didn't know what else he could do for his
beloved young master, " Please Dear lord, do not let him die…" He prayed. As
he turned to get fresh water, Diego was stirring.  His head jerked up was
surprise and rushed back to his side.  Diego looked at Bernado with dazed
eyes.  Concerned, Bernado felt his forehead; it was burning with fever.  He
took off the cloth he had put earlier and changed a new one.

" Wh…What happened? How long have I been asleep?" Diego asked weakly.

Bernado signed that he had been unconscious for five days.

" Five days!!" Diego said with surprise, right now he was fairly lucid, "
What will my father think? Did he say anything about my absence?"  Bernado
tried to sign what he had told his father.

" I….walked, no, I went! Yes, I went to…visit a friend that came from…from
Spain?" Diego tried to guess as Bernado was explaining.  " I went to visit a
friend that just came back from Spain?" He repeated.  Bernado nodded.  " That
was a good reason, but now I have to think who it was!" Diego replied with a
grin.  Happy that his friend is awake, he went to get some medication and
begun to help Diego change his bandages.  Knowing how to break down the fever
he made Diego drink down some very unpleasant herb tea.  After swilling down
the tea, Bernado motioned that he has to go back to the hacienda before
anyone misses him.
" Go on," Diego replied while choking, " I'll be fine here." So Bernado left,
saying that he will be back soon.  Still very weak, Diego slowly sat up
although the pain on his shoulder was killing him.  His head was throbbing
but he can't help thinking about what happened that day.  " Jose Desoto, I
had never thought of seeing him again." Diego thought," Why is he still full
of hatred? It has been eight years since that tournament and when he took
away his servant, Bernado." He thought and thought, not knowing how long time
had passed, he heard footsteps rumbling in the cave.  It was Bernado.  He set
his dinner on a small table and went over to Diego, asking him if he wants to
eat.  But instead of answering that question, Diego asked," You do know who
that man was at the plaza the other day do you not?"

Shivering, Bernado nodded.

" I thought you do, why is he here in California do you know?"

Bernado thought for a moment, giving up he shakes his head.

Diego looked at him; his usually kind gentle eyes start looking as if fire
will come out any moment.  " Because of that fencing tournament eight years
ago and…you."  Bernado looked at him with startled eyes.  Understanding, he
shivered again.  Noticing the discomfort of him, Diego grinned weakly," Do
not worry my friend, I won't let him do anything to you."  Bernado smiled
back, thinking how lucky he has Diego as a patron and a friend.  He gestured
at Diego about his wound.  " Si, Si, I know about that." He said with
frustration," Just hope that I can be well enough to ride soon, I have to
find out where Desoto is hiding and get him away from Los Angeles…" Bernado
looked closely at Diego's face, he noticed something going on on his face and
started to sign madly.

" Ok, Ok," Diego said with a sigh, " I will wait until I have fully recovered"

Forgetting about dinner, Diego asked for water and fell into a fitful sleep
right after the drink.  Shaking his head, Brenda returned to the hacienda,
not noticing a grin on his friend's face.