The Reformation
                                                                              Chapter Two

After lightly tapping at the door Don Alejandro entered the bedroom. The gentle fluttering of the window curtains were the only sounds he heard as he looked about the room. Closing his eyes Alejandro sighed with relief to find Zorro had gone. At least his son would no longer be in danger from Garcia and his men. Walking toward Anna Maria he felt a sudden tightness in his stomach as the light from the open window cast a pale shadow on her once cheery face. In the past Don Alejandro was appalled by Monastario's despicable behavior but since he learned of the commandante's hidden secret his heart softened. Sadly his eyes were drawn from Anna Maria to the bed where Monastario lay. He wondered how he would have behaved if his wife and child were taken from him in such a violent way. Ones position in life, wealth and respect would mean nothing without a loved one to share it.

"How is he?" asked Don Alejandro standing next to Anna Maria.

"Not well," she replied. "He has lost much blood and is not conscious. I fear that he will not be strong enough to survive."

"And Diego?" questioned the don.

"He is probably waiting in the sala as Diego right now," she said trying to smile.

"My dear, you must get some rest. The child you are carrying must come first. Bernardo can handle what needs to be done." Bernardo nodded in agreement as the don continued, "Leonar is waiting for news of the commandante. Please come with me to the sala. I think she could use a friend."

"Very well," she said turning to Bernardo. "Watch over the commandante and let us know if there is any change in his condition." Bernardo smiled and nodded his head again as the two left the room.

Diego had changed his clothes quickly and hurried downstairs to the sala. Putting on an air of surprise and relief he walked toward Leonar. Taking her hands in his he appeared shocked by her torn and bloodied clothes.

"Leonar, what has happened? Are you all right?" he said.

" Capitan Monastario has been shot by Don Miguel and he is hurt very badly," she said trying to hold back tears.

"How is this possible?" he inquired. "Don Miguel is the son of one of my father's closest friends."

"My son it is so," said Alejandro entering the room with Anna Maria. "Sergeant Garcia came to the hacienda this morning looking for Don Miguel. It is believed that he had something to do with the death of a woman from the tavern. We also learned that the commandante was married and his wife was murdered by Don Miguel."

"This is so incredible. Where is Ramirez now?" asked Diego acting as though all information was new to him.

"My lancers have taken him to the cuartel to be locked up," said Garcia. "The senorita was just telling me the events which took place. It seems Don Miguel still had a grudge against the commandante and took great pleasure in shooting him. Zorro made an appearance just in time to save both her and the commandante. We are now awaiting Corporal Reyes and the doctor's arrival."

"Don Alejandro," interrupted Leonar fretfully. "How is Enrique?"

All eyes turned toward Alejandro and Anna Maria. Taking a deep breath Anna Maria looked at Alejandro and stepped forth. "I am afraid his condition is quite serious. I am so sorry."

"I must see him," Leonar said her eyes filled with tears.

"Leonar, Sergeant, please come with me," Alejandro said hoping to give Diego and Anna Maria some time together.

Once alone Diego eagerly embraced his wife. Placing her head against his chest Anna Maria became overcome with emotion and began to weep. Feeling the pounding of her heart and the tension in her body Diego held his wife until the strength of his arms brought her comfort. Taking Anna Maria by the hand Diego led her out to the garden where they sat in the warm sunshine among the brightly colored flowers.

"Mi amor, I am sorry that I did not arrive sooner to stop Ramirez. No matter what differences I have had in the past with Monastario...I would not have wished this. I have seen a change for the better in him since his return. In his office I saw him looking at a picture he took from his desk of a beautiful young woman. It must have been his wife. He looked at her so...I do not know how I would react if something happened to you."

"Oh Diego, nothing is going to happen to me or our unborn child. Soon we will have a little one and you will be a most loving father just as you are a husband," she smiled. "Poor Leonar. She is deeply in love with the commandante. I wish there was something we could do."

"It is no longer in our hands. We can only hope for the best."

"I am very proud of you my husband. You are a courageous and loving man. I am a most fortunate woman."

The gate swung open as Dr. Avila, Padre Felipe and Corporal Reyes quickly entered and made their way directly to Diego and Anna Maria.

"Diego, Senora," said the doctor. I am here to see the commandante. Please take me to him."

"Si. Follow me and I will show you the way," said Diego releasing Anna Maria's hand. The doctor and Padre Felipe followed Diego into the hacienda while Anna Maria offered Corporal Reyes some refreshment on the patio. The doctor moved quickly passed Diego once the bedroom door was opened. Before beginning his examination the doctor handed his bag to Bernardo and peered over at Leonar.

"Senorita, I think it would be best if you and the others would wait in the sala," said the doctor. "Bernardo and I will do what we can for the commandante."

"...but I do not wish to leave him," she said.

"Leonar, I think we should do what the doctor requests," said Padre Felipe. Taking her arm he urged her to follow as Alejandro and Garcia stepped into the hallway. Leonar began to argue with the padre but reluctantly followed the others.

"My child, you need to change and freshen up," said Padre Felipe. "You would not want the commandante to awaken and see you this way. The doctor may be sometime. Go now."

"All right, but only if you promise to get me if there is any word."

"Of course my child, at once," said the padre with a reassuring smile. Leonar excused herself and went to her room to freshen up and change her clothes while Diego and the others remained behind.

"I will do whatever I can for Leonar and the commandante but I believe that Leonar could use the comfort of her father," uttered the padre.

"Si. That is a good idea," added Alejandro. "I will go into the study and write the governor at once. Con primiso."

"Sergeant, padre let us move to the patio to wait for word from the doctor," insisted Diego. "We can join Anna Maria and Corporal Reyes for some refreshment."

"Ah Don Diego, that is an excellent idea," Garcia replied eagerly.

Alejandro chose his words carefully as he sat in his study composing the letter before him. He did not wish to alarm the governor but urgently requested that he leave Monterey for Los Angeles for his daughter needed him. Soon after sending a servant into the pueblo to post the letter Alejandro pushed his chair away from the desk. Setting his pen down on the desk Alejandro leaned back in his chair. He would soon have to write another letter to his dear friend, Don Carlos, explaining the sad situation involving Don Miguel. This was going to be a hard letter to write but a necessary one. Before he did anything he felt he should discuss the situation with Sergeant Garcia so that his facts were clear. Leaving his study he made his way out to the patio where he saw Leonar and the padre sitting in a corner by themselves talking while the others remained in quiet conversation around table.

"Diego, has there been any word from the doctor?" questioned Alejandro hoping the news would be encouraging.

"No father, there has been no word. Did you manage to get the letter off to his excellency?"

"Si, Benito has taken it into Los Angeles. I was about to write Don Carlos can I tell him of his son?" inquired Alejandro.

"You would be the best person to write," replied Garcia reaching for the bottle of wine to refill his glass. "This will be a difficult task but it is necessary." No sooner did Garcia raise his glass to his lips then the doctor appeared. It was now late afternoon and everyone was eager to receive news of the wounded man. Slowly Leonar stood and walked with the padre toward the doctor. The others gathered around anxious for a word of encouragement.

"Senorita, the commandante is still alive. He has lost a great deal of blood and is extremely weak but thankfully Zorro and you managed to get him to the hacienda where Bernardo stopped the bleeding. I wish I could be more encouraging but only time will tell."

"Doctor, may I see him," asked Leonar.

"Of course child. You and the padre may go in. I must speak with Don Alejandro and then I will join you," smiled the doctor. Anna Maria led Leonar and the padre into the hacienda.

Remaining behind the doctor turned to the men and said, "I chose not to tell this to the senorita because she has more then enough to handle but there is something you should know about the commandante's condition. It was necessary to remove the bullet which was lodged in his back. If he survives he may be paralyzed."