Title: Poisoned Part 1

Rating: PG

Disclaimers: All characters from the New World Zorro are property of people who aren't me.

Notes: With this fantastic series coming out on DVD this month, I've decided to do some editing on my past fics as well as looking to write more. I am working on a continuation of this one right now. Enjoy! :)

"Tell me, Senor Ramirez, how will you succeed where others, including myself, have failed?"

Ramirez grinned. "Alcalde, it's just a matter of getting close enough," He replied, showing him a small vial of white powder.

"What is that?"

"A very potent poison. It just needs to be breathed in, and unless one has the antidote, they end up dead within three days."

The Alcalde laughed. "Sounds intriguing. I take it you have a plan to get Zorro here?"

"I do. Zorro's dear love and I will be in danger. Of course, the bandits will be friends of mine and I will hold them off as long as I can. When Zorro arrives, he'll fight my friends. As soon as he's close enough, no doubt wanting to thank me, well, you know the rest."

Alcalde Luis Ramon nodded. This was going to be a night to remember.

Mendoza hadn't meant to over hear the conversation, but he had. He shook his head nervously as he headed over to the tavern. True, he had a duty to perform as an officer in the military, but poisoning Zorro?

Zorro was a constant in the people's lives. Even Mendoza knew that. He sat down with a sigh. He would just have to figure out a way to save the man he admired so much... not that he would admit it.

"The usual, Sergeant?"

He looked up to see the tavern owner, Victoria Escalante. "Si, Senorita." She smiled and turned. "Wait! There is something that I have to speak to you about. It is very important."

She eyed him warily. "This better not be some kind of plot to help you catch Zorro."

"Please sit and I will tell you what I know."

Twenty minutes later, Victoria stared at him with wide eyes. "Are you sure about this, Sergeant?"

He nodded. "Si! I would not lie about this. It is true I've tried to capture Zorro, but only because I am afraid for my life. You know how the Alcalde is."

"I do. Thank you for telling me all this. And do not worry; your secret is safe with me."

Mendoza sighed in relief. "I am so glad I got this off my chest. Now, how about some of your delicious tamales!"

"Right away!" Victoria replied. This man was the one who saved Zorro's life. She would get him whatever he asked for.

Diego was working on one of his many scientific experiments when Felipe rushed into the cave. He looked up to see a worried expression on his friend's face.

"Calm down, Felipe, I can't understand you. Two men are holding Victoria hostage? Saddle Toronado, we have to hurry!"

By the time Zorro had arrived at the tavern, it seemed that someone else was doing an excellent job of fighting. He watched for a few minutes before swooping behind one of the men and effectively knocking him unconscious. The second man was then dispatched by the stranger.

Victoria rushed up to him. "Zorro, this is a-"

Before she could finish, the stranger threw something at them. Victoria pushed Zorro out of the way. The powder stung terribly in her eyes.
"What have you done?" Zorro asked the stranger angrily.

"I-I'm sorry, I did not mean to do that to her! It was meant for you!"

Zorro grabbed him by the collar. "WHAT was meant for me?"

"The poison."

"There's an antidote no doubt?" Zorro asked, glancing at Victoria. Her face was flushed and she was breathing heavily.

He shook his head. "I made none. I really didn't think I needed to since I was going after you."

"Arrest Zorro!" The two turned to see the Alcalde, Mendoza, and three guards.

"I beg your pardon, Alcalde, but this man should be the one under arrest. He just poisoned Senorita Escalante." Zorro shoved the stranger towards the Alcalde and lifted Victoria off her feet before she fell to the floor. Whistling for Toronado, he ran out of the tavern.

Felipe grabbed Alejandro by the arm and pulled him outside. The Don just stared at the young man in confusion, and then nodded in understanding. Zorro was arriving and he had Victoria with him.

"Don Alejandro!" He exclaimed.

"Zorro, what happened?"

"She's been poisoned," Zorro said. "Dr. Hernandez is just behind me."

Alejandro nodded and helped him with Victoria. He could see the worried look in the masked rider's eyes. "Felipe, the door."

When Victoria was lying comfortably in one of the guest rooms, Zorro smiled warily. "Thank you, Don Alejandro. Now, I must depart. I daresay the Alcalde will look for me where she is. Besides, I have an antidote to work on."

Zorro had disappeared just as Dr Hernandez arrived. "Alejandro."

"Felipe, find Diego. He'll want to know about this." Alejandro turned to his friend. "Dr. Hernandez. I don't know what it is you can do for her. She's been poisoned. Zorro took what was left of the substance to find an antidote. I believe he's determined to find one."

"I don't doubt it for one minute," the doctor replied.

Felipe found Diego in the secret cave of Zorro. He was busily studying the poisonous powder. "If she dies I will never forgive myself."

He turned when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Felipe gestured to him. "You say it's not my fault? Then why do I feel as though it were?" He sighed. "I'd better go make an appearance. I'll be up in a few minutes, Felipe."

Diego rushed over to the guest room, nearly knocking over his father. "I just heard. Is she going to be all right?"

"Dr. Hernandez says there's nothing he can do for her. Our only hope is that Zorro can come up with the antidote."

"Zorro? He's the reason she's like that in first place!" Diego cried. He winced and so did Alejandro. He hadn't meant for it to come out like that.
Alejandro placed a hand on his son's shoulder. "Relax, Diego, he'll come through for her. He always does."

He nodded, taking a deep breath. "How is she doing right now?"

"She's very weak and she's running a high fever. Dr. Hernandez said she has until Friday evening." He watched as the color drained from his son's face. "Diego?"

"Excuse me, Father," he replied, stepping around Alejandro and into the room.

Alejandro shook his head. "If you ever wanted to tell her how you feel, my son now would be the best time."