Part 7

Disclaimers in Part 1

Cortez dismounted from his horse, two of his officers following. They strode purposefully towards the Alcalde. "Luis Ramon, I hereby arrest you in the name of King Ferdinand of Spain."

The Alcalde wasn't too thrilled. "Under what charges!" he exclaimed.

Pablo Cortez sighed. This guy was either playing dumb or he really didn't know he'd been doing anything wrong. Cortez believed the former. "Tyranny, attempted murder, robbery, soliciting, et cetera..."

Zorro arrived a few minutes later. The Alcalde looked up at him. "Don Cortez, are you certain that's not the man you want?"

Cortez shook his head. "The King said Luis Ramon."

"Buenos Dias!" Zorro exclaimed, riding over to the men.

"Zorro, it's good to finally meet you," Cortez said as the masked rider jumped to the ground.

Zorro nodded. "Forgive me for being a little surprised, but these good people have been cheated out of so much that they are not certain what to believe. Why has the King waited so long to stop this man?"

"Every moment I could, I would send Don Alejandro's letters to the King, but I recently found out that they had been intercepted. So, I rode to Madrid myself to speak with him. Our fathers were good friends and after I explained what had been going on over here, he immediately sent me out here. I was appointed as the new Alcalde of Los Angeles while Ramon is to be arrested and sent back to Spain."

"Oh," Cortez added with a smile, handing Zorro a piece of parchment, "I'm to give you this. It is a full and absolute pardon!"

The people of Los Angeles cheered. Zorro smiled at the man. "I thank you, Don Cortez," he replied, accepting the paper.

"Lancers, you are asked to either join my ranks or retire your muskets. No one will be held accountable for the Alcalde's actions."

Sergeant Mendoza stepped up to Cortez. "I would be honored to join you, Sir."

Only Zorro saw the flash of anger in Ramon's eyes. The former Alcalde jabbed one of the soldiers in the stomach. He was about to attack Mendoza, but Zorro suddenly stood between them.

"Alcalde, I don't think escape is your best option right now."

"You! You have always been a thorn in my side!"

Zorro smiled. "It's been fun while it lasted," he replied, punching him. Ramon went out like a light. Everyone cheered again. This was definitely a day to be remembered!

Zorro nodded at Cortez. "If you'll excuse me, Senor." He whistled for Toronado as he walked over to Victoria. "Would you like to accompany me, querida?"

She smiled. "Si! I would be happy to." Zorro saluted and they were off.

The people looked expectantly at their new Alcalde. "Lieutenant Sanchez, please see that Ramon is sent back to Spain in chains." Sanchez saluted and set to his task.

"People of Los Angeles! Gather your family and friends. There is to be a town meeting tomorrow afternoon. Sergeant, if you'll come with me."

"Si, Mi Alcalde!"

After things had settled down somewhat, Cortez took a walk through the pueblo, greeting people as they walked by. He finally spotted his good friend and headed over.

"Don Alejandro!"

The Cabarello grinned and shook his hand. "Don Pablo, it is very good to see you!"

"And you as well. I see you've survived Ramon's cruelty."

"There were days when I feared we would not." The two men went to the tavern for a cool drink. "Where is the lovely innkeeper you've told me so much about?"

Alejandro sat down and ordered two glasses of juice. "That's who Zorro rode off with."

Cortez nodded in understanding. "No doubt feeling free enough to tell her his identity. You know, Alejandro, he need not tell me who he is. I'd be just as content to have him help me now and then when things get too heavy for my soldiers."

Alejandro smiled and held up his glass. "If I were Zorro, I'd accept your offer!"