Chapter 3:

Feeling guilty, the person gets close to Diego and notices his injury.

"No, No!" Complained the person. "Don Diego, please wake-up!"

The stranger tried to make him regain consciousness, vainly. Playing with bad luck, the aggressor decides to treat him.

...

When he came to, feeling fuzzy, Diego got the surprise to find himself near his horse, to the entry of the De Castillos hacienda. The letter destined to Salena had been opened and deliberately left in his sight. Without thinking, he puts his hand to his painful head and felt a bandage under his fingers.

What the hell got to me? He asks himself while he was ordering his ideas.

He picked up the letter and remounted on his horse with difficulty after having untied it not without trouble. That's when he remarked on the sun setting.

I have to hurry home. He thought.

His head spun so much that he nearly fell off of his mount more than once.

"Most important, stay awake." He whispers.

On the way, he realizes that someone, something, is pursuing him without coming too close. And, as the hacienda is closer, the pursuer seems to have abandoned him.

A guardian angel? He asks to himself by turning his head as his horse stops in the back yard.

"Diego, where have you gone? What have you to the head?" Don Alejandro asks.

Before any answer, Diego staggered once again and fell down.

"Diego !" His father exclaims with worry while he rushes to him, while Bernardo came at his turn, alerted by the call of Don Alejandro.

Bernardo catches the feet of Diego and he made as if wanting to lift him up as he was staring at Don Alejandro to make him understand.

"Yes, Bernardo." He says, trying to lift his son, vainly.

"It's useless, Bernardo, Diego is too heavy for me, I'm afraid." Don Alejandro sighs.

Bernardo acted as if he heard nothing and continued a moment before stopping and putting up his finger to indicate a sudden idea.

The old hidalgo looks at him, puzzled, before focusing on his son which the pallor worried him.

Bernardo gets up and goes away by running, with a smile on his lips. Five minutes later, he comes back by continuing to make signs to two vaqueros.

"Patróns!" They exclaim by seeing Don Alejandro close to Diego still unconscious.

Good initiative Bernardo. Don Alejandro thinks by noticing the two vaqueros

"Help me to take him inside."

"Okay, Patrón."

A very short time after having lay down Diego on the sofa in the library.

"I know that it's late, Luis, but go get Doctor Avila."

"I go, Patrón." Says the vaquero as he hurries outside.

"Do you need anything else, Patrón?" The second vaquero, still here, asks.

"No, thank you, Benito. You can go home."

"Very well, Patrón."

Benito saluted him discreetly and went out. That's when Don Alejandro notices that Bernardo was missing. But as soon as he realized it, he saw him coming back with water and linen to refresh Diego.

However, at the time when Bernardo goes to take off the bandage, Don Alejandro catches his hand.

"No, Bernardo. We'd better wait for the doctor." Don Alejandro explains aloud.

Bernardo yet tries once again to take the bandage and Don Alejandro stops him once again, making a 'No' with his free hand. Bernardo acts as if he understood and he dabs at Diego's face which is not covered.

...

A good time after, Luis knocks at the library's door, Doctor Avila just behind him.

"Who is here?" Don Alejandro interrogated without turning.

"Doctor Avila is there, Patron."

"He can come in. Thank you, Luis."

Luis invited the doctor in, and then he goes out discreetly.

"Don Alejandro." The latter saluted.

"Doctor Avila."

"What happened? Who made this bandage for him?" The doctor asks.

"I don't know... He was still on his horse when I interrogated him. He had no time to answer then he lost conscious and fell off his mount. Luis and Benito took him inside to my demand. Since, we refreshed him but we have not touched the bandage."

"You did well."

The doctor goes closer to Diego and, cautiously, he removes the bandage which lets a red mark appear. Then, the doctor inspected Diego's head and notices a bump on his brow, quite notable but not explanatory enough on his loss of consciousness. Finally, he localizes the injury on the back of his head, which was carefully treated.

"It's some good work." Doctor Avila whispers.

"What do you want to say?" Asks Don Alejandro, which heard him.

"Someone has already taken care of him before me. The wound was closed. It's clean and correct. However, the bandage was too tight; it could explain his unconsciousness and also his fall. We're going to..." The doctor suddenly stops talking and turns to Diego whom was getting his wits back.

"What happened to me?" He questions him.

"That's what we'd like to know, Son." Retorts Don Alejandro by smiling.

Surprised, Diego blinked and turned his face to his father.

"Doctor Avila? Father?" He says while sitting up, but quickly unbalanced.

"Easy, Don Diego. You've been hit and you probably made a bad fall." The doctor explains.

"It's possible. I don't remember anything except to have regained consciousness close to my horse."

"So your aggressor wasn't a thief. Don Diego, tomorrow rest! If your health is degrading, don't hesitate to call me. Moreover, I'll come back in two or three days to see if the cicatrization goes well."

"The cicatrization?" Diego repeats, nonplussed.

"You have a wound on the back of your head. A third person took care of you before my coming. Try not to touch it, and put a bandage on it if you have to go out."

"Very well."

"Don Alejandro, my friend, don't worry too much and watch your son. It's useless that he do more than necessary during this time."

"This will not been very difficult, knowing him! ... Thanks for coming at such a late time, Doctor Avila."

"You're welcome. Goodbye, señores."

"Goodbye, Doctor."

Don Alejandro takes the doctor back to his carriage and then he returns close to his son always in the library.

"You really remember nothing, Son?"

"I'm terribly sorry, Father, I don't know more than before."

"Where have you been then?" Asks Don Alejandro as he tries to discover some more.

"I rode towards the family De Castillos property. Their sudden disappearing still intrigued me. I know it's been three weeks now but..."

"You went in their hacienda?"

"No, Father." Lies Diego whom memory was coming back slightly. "I have stopped near the hacienda, but after... I don't know anymore!"

"It doesn't matter, Son. Rest now." He says by putting his hand on his shoulder while Diego closes his eyes and he ended to fall asleep again on the library's sofa.

During the night, Diego's sleep was restless and he woke up with a start. Feeling dizzy, he sought to hold onto his bed, but he didn't find the usual supports. Puzzled, he studied the room lightened by the dim glow of the moon, once his eyes were used to it, and he found that he was in the library. Confused for a moment, his memories came back in shambles.

I have to go back in my bedroom, I can't stay here.

But as soon as he was standing up he found him sitting on his starting point, a throbbing pain to his head.

I hope it will fade away.

Slowly the pain is fading while Diego stretches out again on the sofa.

Well... I just have to finish my night here. He thinks by noticing that the pain is nearly disappeared in the lying position.

Willy-nilly he stays confined to the sofa and he ended to go back to sleep.

When the early morning rose, he was woken by the sun rays. Slowly, he stretches in his makeshift bed and he tries to stand up. After having noticed that his balance seemed to be normal, he ventured a first step, then a second, and accelerated little by little his pace. He stops nevertheless near the door a moment while the latter opened on Don Alejandro.