The Reformation
                                                                          Chapter Fourteen

The massive, dark clouds soon drifted away revealing a full moon that flooded the yard of the de la Vega hacienda with a bright golden light.  Don Alejandro, Bernardo, and Sergeant Garcia hid the hostages behind the carriage and watched as Zorro and the commandante fought with Pina and Ramirez.  In a matter of moments Zorro completed his assault on the ex-magistrado and placed him in Sergeant Garcia's capable hands.  However Monastario was not as fortunate in his objective.  Don Miguel dropped his pistol when surprised by the commandante but quickly turned to face Monastario with his sword in hand.  

The hate within Monastario raged as he studied his adversary.  It had been years but Monastario had not forgotten the man who with one cruel, violent action killed his wife and changed his life.  The capitan prayed he had recovered enough of his strength to see Ramirez receive the justice he avoided years before in Spain.  thus ending Don Miguel's hideous reign of terror.  Taking his sword from its scabbard, Monastario struck the first blow against Ramirez. 

"Finally, it is just you and me, Capitan," said Ramirez with a sardonic grin.  "If I must die at least I will have the opportunity to take you with me."

"You will die and I will enjoy every moment," said the commandante.  "My sword will be my avenger and when it is done justice will be served. 

Don Carlos was filled with regret as he watched the commandante and his son battle.  Sadly the elder don realized too late the extent of the crimes committed by his son.  Don Carlos now faced the truth; his son had killed Monastario's wife, the woman from the tavern and how many others.  All the riches and power Don Carlos possessed would no longer be used to protect his son.  Whatever the outcome of this engagement Don Miguel must pay with his life.

"Capitan," mocked Miguel, "You fight well but your injury makes you slow."

"Si but my hate will keep me strong," the commandante said with a quick cut and thrust that tore at Miguel's upper arm.

"Ah, first blood," retort Miguel, "But the last of mine you will see."

With lightening speed Miguel slashed and parried sending the commandante toward the open door leading to the patio.  Leonar leaned against her father as the cold clash of the metal sliced at her heart. 

"Mio dios," Leonar screamed. With each powerful move by Miguel, Leonar felt weak.  How far could Miguel press Monastario before complete exhaustion overtook the already fatigued commandante?

Meanwhile Sergeant Garcia found himself taken off guard by the looks shared between Anna Maria and Zorro when they thought they were unobserved.  What would Diego make of these tender moments?  Blinking his eyes Garcia shook his head while examining Zorro closely.  There was something familiar about Zorro, something he never saw before.  Zorro's height, smile, mustache, voice, the looks he exchanged with Anna Maria were all so familiar.  Oh no...could Diego and Zorro be one in the same?  Is that why the commandante was acting so odd...was he aware of the truth?  Garcia was torn between duty and his friendship with Diego; silently he wondered what his next move should be.

The fighting continued as Monastario remained on the defensive.  Miguel aggressively attacked pressing the commandante harder and harder.  The tense plight of the injured soldier did not go unnoticed by the onlookers.  Several times Don Alejandro and Bernardo found it necessary to hold Zorro back.  Fighting with the last bit of strength he had Monastario repelled the deep thrusts until he found himself falling back upon a chair which gave way under his weight.  Unable to stand the fallen soldier managed to ward off his attacker until with one swift cut Ramirez's sword sent Monastario's weapon flying across the patio.

Smugly Miguel reached out with his sword until it rested against Monastario's chest and shouted, "Stand back!  If anyone takes one step forward he dies.  I have nothing to lose."

"Do not listen to him," yelled Monastario.  "He will kill me no matter what you do.  Zorro, Sergeant Garcia you must not let him escape to hurt anyone else."

"No Enrique!" cried Leonar as her father grabbed her.

"Well, it looks like your lady has not given up on you but she will get over it," Ramirez said sarcastically.

"Let him go Don Miguel and I will be your hostage," said the Governor.  "Harm the commandante and you shall never go free."

"Very well," smirked Ramirez.  "I feel very strongly about my life just ask my father.  I think he has come to realize that I would do whatever is necessary to protect myself.  Now Governor and senorita walk toward me."

"No stay where you are," pleaded Monastario.  "Ramirez cannot be trusted."

"Be quiet you fool," added Ramirez pressing harder with his sword on Monastario.  "It would be a pleasure to take your life."

"Father please we must do what Don Miguel says," said Leonar.

Looking down at his daughter the Governor found himself in a quandary.  He knew the capitan was right for Miguel was unscrupulous but could he resist the pain in Leonar's eyes.  Bewildered the Governor turned to his old friend, Don Alejandro, for his advice.

"Do not do it your Excellency," said Don Alejandro.  "From what we know of Ramirez he is a killer."

"Father, if we do nothing he will kill Enrique," Leonar said soulfully.  "I am willing to take the chance."

"All right Ramirez, I will go with you but my daughter remains with the de la Vegas," said the Governor.  "There will me no concessions.  Do you want to escape or not?"

"All right," Ramirez answered.  "Now walk toward me slowly."

"Father...," Leonar said torn.

"Do not worry," the Governor said taking his daughter in his arms.  "I will be fine."

Smiling as bravely as he could the governor looked at his daughter and then began to walk toward Don Miguel.  Suddenly a pistol shot rang out.  Don Miguel lifted his sword and looked toward the governor then stumbled and fell.  The bullet had found its victim.  Don Miguel was dead.