She rode up to her childhood home full of apprehension. Her beloved father was dying and he had sent for her. She was very nervous about his reaction to her. When she was a young girl her mother died suddenly and he brought her up as he would a son. He taught her all the skills of a young boy, riding, shooting, fencing and hand to hand combat as well how to effectively use a whip. Louisa was a natural at it all and her father was truly impressed with her prowess and skill. Then suddenly when she became fourteen years old he realized she was not what a young man would consider acceptable wife material with all her manly skills, so he sent her off to a boarding school to help her become a young lady.
Now five years later her father was dying and had suddenly sent for her. Louisa was very confused by what he wanted from her. She knew he loved her but the real Louisa was the tomboy he brought up. The young woman who was now being handed down from her carriage was what her father seemed to have wanted her to become. As she looked around her, she smiled inwardly and shook her head, she had secretly kept up all her skills, and she knew for a fact that she could out fight and out ride every man in the City of Angels. She had practiced everyday of her exile secretly in the barn of the school but since she knew that the school was sending progress reports to her father she did try to become what the school taught though she knew it would never be the real her.
Her Cousin, Altabon, a man she had always despised was now the temporary Acalte' since her father was too ill to continue with his duties. He was a snobby, egotistical and cruel boy and she knew from the letters she received from her father he had grown into a worse man. He was waiting to greet her as she entered her front door.
"Altabon," She said politely slightly nodding her head from behind her fan. She was wearing a traditional veil and the fan in front of her face concealed her looks from the man's sight much to his annoyance. He wanted to see if she was beautiful so he could marry her off and be rid of her.
"Louisa, lower the fan so I may see how you fared in your looks as you aged," He demanded.
A dark eyebrow rose on her tan face behind the fan. She kept It firmly in place she wasn't going to give the twit an inch. Her tendency to be outdoors and be tan and lean was looked down on by the school but since she complied to all the other rules the matrons allowed her the solitary rides that seemed to be the only way the young girl would be at least content if not happy in they're school. This was who she is and they adjusted to it, as did the rest of her classmates. She was now nineteen years old, tall beautiful and elegant. She had long raven hair that she usually wore in a pony tail and pale laser like blue eyes. Those eyes could be full of warmth or Icy fire, right now it was the latter as they focused on her cousin in a disgusted glare.
"You are not my father nor do you have any authority over me. I am independent woman, you have no right to order me about," She said to the despised man in a deceptively calm voice.
"I am now the head of this family now that your father is on his death bed." Looking at his cousin who had now been helped out of her traveling cloak and veil, he said smugly, "You have aged well I see. You should be able to bring honor to our family by finding a suitable husband. That is of course if you have finally given up your horrible tom boy ways that would scare any suitable male."
"Gee, Thanks so much for the verdict. I'd like to see my Father now." She replied in disgust as she brushed by the tall lean man.
He stopped her by grabbing her arm, "He is very ill, I don't think?"
She easily released her arm from his grip and glared at him as she interrupted his orders, "I don't care what you think! I want to see my Father and that is exactly what I am going to do. Please leave my home now, Altabon before I throw you out," She brushed by him and headed up to where her father's bedchambers were.
He glared at her back but he left the house with a bang of the front door.
A small diminutive blonde descended from the public carriage in the center of the plaza of the City of Angeles. She had a kind but very determined look in her sharp green eyes as she asked where the nearest place to stay was. Once directed to the mission she settled her things and rested. It was going to be exhausting facing all she had to alone so she knew she needed to rest before she faced what was to come.
Louisa entered her father's bedchambers and barely recognized the man who raised her. He was now a frail, thin old man. How could someone change so much in such a short time, She thought to herself as she approached his bedside.
"My Louisa?" Was the reply in the barely audible wheezy voice of her beloved parent.
"Yes Daddy, I'm here," She said as she gently took his hand.
He kissed the top of the hand and brought it close to him as he replied, "Sweetheart, I am so sorry you have been away from home so long. I should of let you alone. I should of let you stay home and be yourself. Altabon is trying to get rid of me?"
"What?" asked Louisa, rage making her warm blue eyes become suddenly like ice, "What do you mean?"
"He has slowly been poisoning me. I only just figured out what was happening to me a few days ago. It's too late?"
"No, I'll get a doctor?"
"Sweetheart, He has paid off all our doctors. He is in control?"He coughed again spasmodically. Louisa grabbed some water but sniffed to be sure it was not poisoned before she gently offered it to the sick man. It wasn't tainted and she will fire everyone who hurt her father and throw out anything that is tainted after she makes sure her father was all right. She was resolute on that.
Her father drank the water gratefully and then pulled back and said softly, "Sweetheart, I'm sorry. I should have accepted you for what you are. You are a wonderful person and I love you so. My stupid old-fashioned values cost me your company for five years and I have missed my baby. I am so sorry?"He broke down crying.
Louisa grabbed the water and embraced her father gently, "No Daddy, It's ok. I'm here now and I'm going to help you. I swear it?"
"No, It's too late for me. I want you to help our people, Here?"He slipped an envelope from under his pillow and handed it to her. Then he started to cough again and couldn't stop. She tried to help him, holding him tenderly in her arms rubbing his back but then he stopped breathing, "NO!!!!" She yelled, crying she tried to breathe for him but it was no use he died in her arms.
She was crying as the door opened, She looked up and saw the man responsible. All the hate was reflected in her face and in her ice-cold blue eyes as she growled, "What do you want?"
She threw the glass of water at him and yelled, "Get out!!!!" The man left with hatred in his eyes.
Louisa gently lowered her father to his pillow and got up and paced in front of him with the envelope in her hand. "Daddy, I will get justice for you. I promise. I promise." She looked down at the envelope in her hands and put it into her bodice of her dress. She then straightened herself to inform the staff of her beloved father's death. She would arrange his funeral and take over the estate but most important of all she would make Altabon pay for what he had done.
Louisa was in her bedchamber; she had changed to riding pants and a white silk blouse that she preferred in private. She opened the letter reverently and read her fathers last instructions to her.
My Darling Daughter,
I am so sorry I was such an old fool and didn't allow you the freedom to be yourself. I knew at the time I sent you away that I was wrong. I was allowing my old fashioned male values to blind me to your true talents. Now I pray to the dear Lord that you still possess them. I have kept a secret from my youth from both you and your mother.
I was the masked crime fighter Zorro. Once I defeated my cruel adversary and became the Alcate' I put my dear friend into permanent retirement. I saw no reason that he would ever be needed again since Los Angeles was now run in a fair and equal way. Now since I have become too weak to run our village your cousin has taken over. He is a cruel dictator who controls the army and rules our people by fear. I now know that it is he that made me so sick slowly through my food on his frequent visits.
My dying wish, my dear child is that if you can still do all the wonderful things you could before I sent you away, that you would become Zorro and protect our people from your cousin's tyranny.
Whether you do or don't know that with each breath I take I love you even more dearly. You are my angel and I love you so and trust that you will do what is right.
With all my love your foolish father,
Don Pedro De Vega
Tears poured from beautiful blue eyes as she read the second page explaining where Zorro's costume was hidden in his closet. She put the letter in her lap and looked sightlessly across the room toward the window. "Daddy, I will do as you wish. I love our people too. I love you more now more then ever. I always did despite our differences. All I ever wanted was your love and respect. I guess I had it. I wish you told me in person a long time ago on one of your visits. I would have felt so much better." She got up and walked to her verandah and looked toward the village and said quietly, "I love you Daddy and I will do as you wish. I will be Zorro." She went to her father's rooms to find her father's secret hiding place in his closet.
The blonde revolutionary Celeste entered the Town square and approached the Plaza of free speech. She was dressed elegantly in a white dress with a green traveling cloak that matched her eyes. She wore a hat perched far back from her face and her hair in the current fashion of Boston where she is from. She is very beautiful and receives many admiring glances from both peasants and soldiers she passes on the way to the center of the plaza. She steps up to the podium where she knows she would be temporally free to say what she had to the people of the City of Angels. There was a determined glitter in her eyes as she turned and addressed the many faces looking up at her.
As Celeste began to try to reach the common people with her voice asking them to fight tyranny, that it is their choice and that they do have a voice against their oppressors, Altabon watches her from a café' across the way grimly. He signals one of his personal hench men to him and directs him, "As soon as that little trouble maker steps out of the plaza arrest her. I will not have anyone spreading such rumors among the people. I can't afford trouble before my election." The man nods and speaks to the soldiers that are closest to him informing them of their orders.
Unseen yet a figure in black approaches the plaza, Louisa is now clothed in her father's clothes as Zorro. Her hair is tied tightly in a ponytail and is well hidden in her hat, because of her height and muscles she appears to me a man in the cloak and dark clothes. She had ridden at full speed to the Plaza for a show down with the man who killed her father, and she was stealthily approaching just as Celeste was stepping out of the Plaza. Celeste is arrested and immediately tied with a rope by a solider that starts to drag the young woman toward the fort.
A loud battle cry is heard as a figure lands next to the soldier and with a raise of sharp elbow to the man's jaw knocks him out. With a swift movement of her foil she releases Celeste from the ropes and then proceeds to fight off the entire regiment of soldiers. In a deceptively low voice she whispers to Celeste "Get out of here now!" Then she fights till she sees the young woman is safe. Then again in a low voice she says loudly, "As long as I am around tyranny will not succeed!" She uses her foil to leave the mark of Zorro on the Plaza wall and then in such a fast movement no one could of stopped her, she threw a dagger right next to Altabon's head, "Next time dictator, that blade will hit the mark!" And she grabbed the rope next to her and swung back to the top of the house she had descended from and was gone in a blink of an eye.
Celeste now safely back in her rooms watches her leave with fascination as a war cry was heard and the masked figure rides out of town at break neck speed.
That evening there is a welcome home party for Louisa in that same Plaza. Celeste watches all the towns gentry show up in their finery in the open area below her balcony. Louisa arrives as herself with a carriage and the appearance of a landowner. She smiles and nods in a charming manner as was taught to her in school. She knew that this training had to be good for something if she could fool them into thinking she was one of them then she could get some good information of what was happening and protect the people that her father had loved. She was dressed in a lace blue dress that showed off all her assets to perfection. The blue made her eyes sparkle even more then they naturally did. She wore her hair up in combs left to her by her late mother. She looked like a lady and was a shining beauty that no one could avoid admiring.
Celeste admired the beauty seeing Louisa as only one of the Landowners. She thinks to herself, What a beautiful peacock. I think she may be someone I could approach to try to get to see how wrong the tyranny of the Landowners is and maybe I can form an alliance with her. She nods to herself that it would be a good plan. She would find out who she is and then approach her tomorrow. She reached out to get a drink from the table beside her, missing the steely gaze that Louisa herself was using to appraise the crowd and her surroundings. Much to Louisa's disappointment she didn't see any of her friends from childhood. She sighed to herself and decided she would have to seek them out later she would need there help against Altabon.
Louisa approached her cousin and slightly bowed her head in greeting, he replied in kind. They are under Celeste's balcony and since there is no music yet the young woman could hear everything that is being said, she listens carefully so she can learn the beautiful Landowners name so she could approach her later with her proposals. She is not at all prepared for the confrontation she is about to hear.
"Well Cousin it seems our people have a new enemy."
"Yes, that's very true. Don't worry though I intend to make sure you don't win the election as Alcate'"
"That's very funny, Louisa. You know I meant, Zorro."
"Oh he is not my enemy, Cousin. I think he is wonderful for the people. I love what he did today. He stopped you from arresting an innocent woman and showed everyone what you are. I heard all about it and I loved every detail."
Hatred blazed in the man's eyes as he asked, "What am I?"
"That's easy," Replied Louisa with amused blue eyes as she explained, "You are a cruel, self centered, fool who thinks he's a God because he has money and a tiny bit of power."
"Well this fool will capture and kill this upstart, this so called Zorro."
Louisa laughed in his face and shook her head, "Yes, I already heard how you and your army fared against the lone fighter. Just step down and let someone else take the position that can handle it. I have never cared for you but I wouldn't want you to get hurt because of?"
"I'm not the one who is going to get hurt," Said Altabon as he stormed out of the party.
Louisa laughed and took a sip of wine from a goblet she was just handed, "Want to bet on that?" She went to speak to older family friends as appraising eyes descended on the tall beautiful woman. Her opinion of the woman was now completely different, this was no peacock. This was an intelligent, formidable woman who was not afraid to speak her mind. There was something else, Her voice, It strikes a cord with in me. I have heard that voice before tonight, but where? Celeste thought as she went inside to go to sleep. She would speak to the woman tomorrow but she had an entirely different plan of attack then she had when she first saw the exotic beauty.
Louisa is going through a series of movements with her foil. She is as fast as lighting and her trusted servant Paco waits patiently for her to finish her routines. She is dressed in black trousers and white silk blouse and high leather boots. Her hair is in a braid down her back. She is moving with cat like grace at break neck speed delivering a series practiced thrusts that would fell any soldier in the fort. When she finishes Paco clears his throat and says, "Well done."
Louisa smiles and bows at the waist, "Thank you my man."
Paco laughs at his employer and friend's antics, He had been with her the whole time she was at the school. He had helped her hide the fact she was practicing her drills and her many horseback riding adventures from the schools staff.
"If your through with your latest antics, there is a young woman to see you."
Louisa lifted an eyebrow, "Oh, Who?"
"The young woman who was arrested in the square that El Zorro saved."
Both of her eyebrows shot up as she turned away to put her foil in its case as she asked, "Oh, Why would she want to see me?"
"I don't know, Ma'am I think it would be best if you asked her."
"Mmm, yes I guess it would. Ok Paco, Send the young lady out here." Said Louisa as she sat in a chair and poured herself some water from a carafe. She took a deep sip of water but her eyes came up as the blonde beauty entered the garden. She put down the goblet and smiled sweetly, "You wished to see me, Senorita?"
Celeste noted the deep voice, though now she heard the feminine lilt, it still sounded very similar to the one she heard whispering to her at the Plaza. "Yes, I?Um you sound awfully familiar, have we met?"
Louisa almost choked to death she had just taken another swallow of water as the question was asked and since she knew they had indeed met, she almost lost it. She took another sip to clear her throat and wiped the tears from her eyes from choking and then shook her head no. "No, I don't believe we have. My name is Louisa De Vega and you are?" She said as she held out her hand to gently shake hands with the lovely young woman.
"Celeste Murray, I'm from Boston. Are you sure we haven't met? I ?you feel familiar some how." Celeste is sure that the tall woman and the masked crime fighter are one and the same. She could feel it in her bones.
Louisa still had Celeste's hand with in her own after the introduction and she found she didn't want to release it. She found herself caught in the vortex of Celeste's beautiful green eyes and she had to shake her head to release the hold those eyes had on her. She answered the question quietly, "No, I don't think so."
Celeste is just as caught in the beautiful blue eyes and she replies with determination, "Not formally maybe but I have had the pleasure of hearing your voice twice."
"Twice?" Now Louisa was completely befuddled by this. She knew she might remember her voice from when she rescued her from the soldiers, but twice?
"Yes, the first time was in the Plaza when you saved me from the soldiers and the second time was under my balcony when you were talking to the Alcate'"
"I?.You?I don't know what you mean." Said Louisa suddenly nervous as she rose from her chair and crossed to the other side of the garden.
A deceptively strong Celeste instantly catches her arm and she is turned toward the smaller woman who whispers passionately, "You are Zorro?"
"No?I?"She tries to break out of the grip but she doesn't want to hurt the other woman.
"Please let me help you. I believe in the same cause, I want to end tyranny?"
Blue eyes suddenly held green in a strong grip of their own. The blue eyes were intensely searing into the green, it felt to Celeste like the intense young woman was examining her to her very soul. What surprised Louisa was that she found that she could not only trust this woman but that she was being drawn to her by a power she did not expect or really understand.
"I'll trust you. I don't know why but I feel like?like I know you." Said Louisa quietly.
"I felt that connection since I first heard your voice in the Plaza?"
"What could it be?" Asked Louisa as she was drawn even closer to the young woman.
"I don't know I have never felt it before," Celeste replied her eyes unable to leave the hypnotizing blue.
"Neither have I, "Louisa said as she suddenly felt her arms move of their own accord bringing the smaller woman into an embrace, Her head slowly dipped down drawn to slightly parted inviting red lips which she suddenly had the need to taste. She brought the smaller woman even closer as she deepened the kiss when she felt the small woman respond with equal need and passion.
When they separated Celeste brought her hand up to caress a sculpted cheekbone and said, "I think I was put onto this earth to help you."
"I was put here to love you and protect you"
"I love you too, How is that possible we just met?"
"I don't know but I can't fight this?"
"Do you want to?"
"No," Said Louisa as she kissed her again and picked her up to carry her up to her bedchambers.
One frustrated blonde was pacing in front of a very calm brunette in Louisa's bedchamber. Louisa was sharpening her father's broadsword as she watched with amusement as her lover tried to think out a plan of attack.
"What are your ideas for how we will depose your cousin?"
"We are not going to depose my cousin, I am. He killed my Father and for that I will destroy him bit by bit."
"I want to help you?"
"You can help me by staying safe?"
"That goes everything I have stood for my whole life. I have never taken the safe route. If I had I would never of left Boston or met you," Suddenly she was face to face with taller woman trying to will her to see things her way.
Louisa put down her sword and gently put a hand on each shoulder, "Celeste, Altabon is an idiot and a tyrant but he is a great fighter. I will not let you get killed?"
"And I won't let you fight him alone?"
"That is my destiny as a Vega?"
"That is pure bull and you know it. I don't believe that your father wanted you to do this alone?"
"My father always fought alone?"
"How do you know that?"
"I know the legend of Zorro."
"So do I. I was brought up on those stories from my Father. Those tales never said that he didn't accept help only that he fought bravely and?"
"Well you are not going to do it alone. If you love me?"
"Oh no you don't. I do love you and this is not a test of my love?"
"Well I think it is a test of mine?"
"Louisa, I am going to help you and that's final. I would rather do it with your knowledge then sneak around but if you force me I will sneak behind your back to help make sure you live!"
Two sets of eyes fought a battle of wills. They both surrendered at the same time and looked away from each other. There was a quiet knock on the door.
"Come in, "Said Louisa quietly.
Paco looked at the two women and he knew something was wrong. He was deeply devoted to his mistress but felt there was something very special about the small blonde. He knew he would devote himself to helping them both.
"A message from the Alcate', Ma'am."
"What does the bastard want?" Asked Louisa gruffly as she crossed the room with the broadsword in her hand to put it away in its case.
"He wishes for you to attend his inaugural ball as Alcate' "
"I'd rather attend his funeral." She swirled around with rage shining in her now ice blue eyes, "The bastard kills my Father then demands that I?"
"Louisa, this is an opportunity to?" Celeste tried to reason with the angry woman.
"To what celebrate the bastard killing my beloved father!?!"
"No, Listen to me. We can get close to him and find out his plans."
"Celeste, My Sweet, He hates me. He always has ever since we were kids and he discovered he couldn't intimate me with his size and I beat the crap out of him several times. I know he wouldn't tell his plans to me if?"
"No, but maybe the other landowners will. I saw them other night they all like and respect you. You could charm it out of them." Celeste suggested reasonably.
An elegant eyebrow rose and a small smile formed on the taller woman's mouth, "Hmmm, Yes that's true. They were all very nice to me. They were as patronizing as hell but I could use that to my advantage." She smiled at the blonde and caressed her cheek. "Ok Celeste, Point made. You are an excellent strategist it doesn't prove to me though that you will be able to help me in the midst of battle."
"Ma'am, She can help in many other ways as can I?"Suggested Paco respectfully.
Blue eyes swiftly looked into calm brown and triumphant green then closed as she counted to ten. She opened them and said with her eyes heaven ward, "God help me." Then her eyes went to her two trusted friends and shook her head, "Ok you two. I know that you are both doing this out of love. You both can help me but when it comes to swords drawn I want you both to hightail it out of there. If you see a rifle or sword out I mean it I want you out of their range. You two got me?"
Green eyes met brown and a silent understanding passed between them, they replied simultaneously, "Of course."
Louisa just shook her head and sighed, "Oh yeah sure, I can see total agreement from you both, " She closed her eyes and leaned heavily on the wall behind her. Green eyes met with brown and instantly agreed they would do what they had to do to keep this beloved woman alive.
The tall beautiful landowner escorted the vibrant blonde revolutionary into the party.
"Where do you think your going with that rabble rouser, Louisa" Altabon had seen them arrive and had steamed over to head off his determined looking cousin.
"Into the party of course. This is my new secretary," Said Louisa with a wide smile.
"She was helped by Zorro, that makes her the enemy. You are giving a position to an enemy and I will not allow it I?"
"Your enemy not mine. She is my friend. Now do you want me in there or not?"
Altabon stiffened he needed his hated cousin's appearance of support at least, "She can not spout her lies."
"Oh I promise you not one lie will leave her lips," Said Louisa with a smirk.
Altabon stepped back and Louisa led Celeste into the ballroom of his Villa. "Ok my love, now we talk to my fellow landowners and get some information."
Celeste nodded, "So whats the plan of attack?"
"Easy, Charm and conquer."
"I can do that."
"Oh, I know from experience that you can."
"Louisa you look beautiful as ever," Said a very old friend of hers as she approached the tall handsome man. He looked at her in the exquisite black taffeta dress that seemed to caress each curve on her long body. Louisa smiled up at one of the few men in the village who was taller then herself. He was in traditional clothes worn by the gentry but some how Diego Ortez always seemed to stand out in a crowd.
Louisa smirked as she gave the handsome man the once over meeting amused gray eyes, "Thank you. You look well as always too. So do you really want my ass hole cousin to take over my Father's position?"
Diego laughed and shook his head at her earnest, honest approach, "You still come on like a bull in heat I see. You know damn well that I don't. He controls the army and we can't go against him and his cutthroats as well as our own army."
"Hmm, If the army should suddenly desert him?"
"I would skewer the little weasel myself."
Louisa smiled wickedly and said with a smirk, "That's all I needed to know, Old friend." She headed back across the room to collect Celeste, she had just created a new plan of attack.
Two women riding one tall black mare entered the army fort and headed straight for General Tomas Ortega's quarters. The two men guarding the fort recognized the Landowner and allowed her entry with no escort since she was a childhood friend of their leader.
Louisa briskly entered her old friends quarters leading Celeste by the hand to the soldier in the center of the room by his desk.
"Louisa, " Said the soldier holding his hands out to hug his old friend. Over her shoulder he eyed Celeste suspiciously recognizing her from the incident at the plaza. "My dear girl, your pretty friend is not welcome by the Alcate'. Should you bring her inside our fort?"
"The temporary Alcate', Altobon is not fit for my Father's post. You damn well know it. Celeste is my friend and I trust her so trust me old friend she will not bring any harm to your precious fort. How can you back the son of a bitch? Were you not always a supporter of my Father?"
"You know I was?"
"Then how can you support his murderer?"
"Murderer?Louisa, Your father died of natural causes.'
"Tomas, Daddy told me it was Altabon who poisoned him but he was too weak to fight it by the time he figured it out."
Tomas stared at Louisa and slowly sunk down into a chair, "No. It can't be."
Louisa nodded her head and sat down next to her old friend. She motioned for Celeste to come close, she took the smaller woman's hand in her own and said, "I will not allow Daddy's killer to take his post. Will you?"
Tomas looked into searching blue eyes, as he answered, "No, I won't either Your Father was the most benevolent leader this village has ever known. Are you sure it was murder?"
Louisa nodded her head again, tears fell down her cheeks and she leaned into Celeste's body for support. She looked at her old friend and cleared her throat. "Yes, Will you back Diego Ortez as Alcate' "
"He is a good man, Yes?"
"Good, Now all I have to do is convince him that he is the right man for the job." Said Louisa as she rose and said to her friend, "I'll be in touch."
"Bye Louisa, Good luck," He replied as he watched the tall woman lead the small blonde to the next step in their mission. He walked over to his bar at the side of his office and poured himself a stiff drink as he sat down in a chair next to the bar he said toward heaven, "May God bring us all luck."
Diego Ortez was in his study reading when Lady De Vega was announced. Louisa entered leading Celeste by the hand they stop at the entranceway and Diego asked, "What brings you here at this time of night?"
"You now have the backing of the army."
"How did you manage that?"
"I simply talked to Tomas."
Louisa shrugged and said, "That's all."
She led her love to a comfortable couch and watched as the tall man paced. She held Celeste's hand firmly in her own. She was now her lifeline and she couldn't seem to let the little hand go. Celeste didn't want her to. She was so proud of her brave warrior she just couldn't believe how she was working to bring this about and that it seemed to be working.
"So now what do I do, Louisa? Do I just tap him on the shoulder and say that I'll take over now."
"Now where is the fun in that? No his rigged election is tomorrow, we'll do it then in front of all the people in the village of Los Angeles. The army will desert him in front of everyone and you will take over as our rightly elected leader."
"And where will you be during all of this?"
Louisa smiled and squeezed Celeste's hand affectionately, "Oh don't worry old friend I will be around."
"No, I won't?"
"Yes, You sure as hell will?"
"I love you and I won't?"
"I love you too that's why your going to stay here nice and safe with Paco." The taller woman stood in front of the smaller one a hand gently on each shoulder looking intently into her eyes begging that she would do this for her.
Since the fateful day of their first confrontation they had not been apart but now Louisa was pleading that Celeste stay safe at her Villa. Louisa now sat down on the bed and watched as the smaller woman paced in their room. Celeste had torn away with a look of fury in those green eyes, she was trying to calm herself and Louisa was giving her the freedom to do it. Louisa watched as the beautiful flowing white nightgown billowed like a sail behind her as the woman paced back and forth.
"Celeste, I need to know your safe. I can't be worrying about you and fight at the same time. I need to focus on the battle at hand. Please understand."
"I don't want to stay here all safe and sound, while your out there in such danger. The army is now on Zorro's side but Altabon's thugs are not."
"I can take them, I swear I can."
"Not alone you can't?"
"Oh Sweetie, Believe me I can. I can take the whole army on by myself if I have to." Said Louisa with a wicked look in her eyes.
"You must think I'm just some useless appendage that can't be of any help to you or anyone, huh?"
"NO! You are very important to me, which unfortunately makes you the perfect hostage for his thugs. Please stay here where I know you will be protected. I trust my men."
Celeste finally came to rest in front of the pleading woman and her green eyes fell to the floor, "I'll stay here." Then the fiery green eyes met calm loving blue, "Under protest."
Louisa smiled and caressed a beloved cheek as she said quietly, "That is duly noted. Now come to bed I need some sleep if I'm going to battle my Father's murderer. " She embraced the smaller woman and kissed her passionately, she began to take off that becoming night gown since she had a few ideas on how Celeste could use up some of that pent up energy before they went to sleep.
Altabon was up on the podium in the Plaza preening around like a prized peacock much to the gentry's embarrassment. All of the Landowners with the exception of two were up there showing support for the newly elected leader. Louisa and Diego were both absent and Altibon was very angry with his cousin. He knew she hated him but family was family and she should be here.
He walked to front of podium and addressed the peasants and merchants gathered below, "My friends, I am here to humbly accept the position recently vacated by my beloved?"
"I can not and do not accept you in that position, Altabon." Altabon looked down into the gray eyes of Diego Ortez who calmly looked up at him from across the square.
"Do really think it's worth having the wrath of the army fall on your head?"
"I don't think I have to worry about that, Do you Tomas ?" Diego addressed this to the shadowy figure in the doorway of the town bakery.
Tomas smiled at Diego, "No, my old friend, The army now backs Diego Ortez."
Altabon turns to his so-called elite guard knowing they would be loyal to him, turning red he yells, "Kill them!"
Suddenly there is a familiar war cry as a figure in black lands on the podium behind Altabon. There is a glint of steel and a knife is suddenly against the man's throat. "Order your men down, Altabon and I might not slit your slimy throat," Louisa whispered grimly into his ear.
"Yep, Now order your God Damned men down or I'll kill you. You murdering slime."
"I don't think so. I did expect some trouble from you, though not this. I have a bit of a surprise for you my sick little cousin," He whistles and one of his thugs comes out of the woods on a horse with Celeste in front of him and a knife glittering at her throat.
"Celeste!" Yells Louisa in momentary panic though she does not lower the knife, in fact she tightens her hold on the loathsome man. Louisa met fearful green eyes but she also saw determination and Louisa's love for Celeste and her determination to win this battle intensified. "You so much as prick her skin and I'll slit your throat wide open." She growled at the hated man.
"I don't think you will do a damn thing with that knife at her throat, "Said Altabon smugly sure she would have to let him go and then he would have her where he wanted her.
"Your absolutely right, I won't," Suddenly Louisa pulls out her whip and wraps it around the fingers of Celeste's assailant's hand and pulls so the knife flies out of it. Celeste sees her chance and surprises even herself with her next move. With a pretty good copy of Louisa's war cry she flips off the horse and runs over to Tomas who had been sneaking up on the man to try to save Celeste. He helps her onto his horse and smiles at Louisa who winks back. She smiles at Celeste and nods to show she did a good job then turns her attention to the man she still had by the throat, "Now you were saying that I wouldn't do something?"
"Louisa, I will put him on trial," Said Diego from below her.
"He killed my Father, Diego. This is justice"
"We will get justice my friend, Let him go."
Louisa eyes met Diego's then they sought out Celeste's and a silent communication was transmitted between the two lovers. Louisa bowed her head and handed the knife to Diego, throwing the hated man toward a waiting solider to take him away. "I put him in your custody. Please see that justice is done."
Diego smiled and signaled that soldier should bring the former Alcate' to the fort for trial. "It will be I promise."
Louisa and Celeste were back at the villa. As a guest in the villa Louisa had given Celeste her own room so she could have privacy when she required it. Until the day after the showdown the small blonde had never shown much interest in it but that morning she had been in there for several hours thinking. There was tentative knock on the door she opened and smiled up at the tall woman as she said, "El Zorro ?"
Louisa smiled and tilted her head to the side asking in her low voice, "Senorita, may I enter?"
"Of course," She said as she stood aside and allowed the tall muscular woman to enter her room. Louisa strode to the center of the room, she had her normal clothes for day to day, a white silk blouse, black trousers and long leather boots, her hair pulled back in a simple pony tail. Celeste smiled inwardly she looked like Zorro right now minus the hat, the cape and the mask.
Louisa looked at the beautiful blonde who looked as fresh and young as she did the first day she saw her on the podium of the plaza. She had a white muslin dress on and her traveling things were all packed neatly at the side of the room. Louisa glanced at the traveling case and asked, "Celeste, what are your plans now?"
"I go to the next town that needs my help."
"You couldn't see yourself staying here and being with me, huh?"
"No, I don't. They don't need me here. Please forgive the rudeness of this my love, but they don't need you here anymore either. Couldn't you see yourself coming along with me?"
"What about my Father's lands? I can't desert the people who counted on him. I have to make sure they are ok?'
"Won't Diego take care of them?"
"Don't you trust him?"
"Yes I do but?"
"Don't you want to be with me?"
"Of course I do?"
"Won't Zorro be needed else where?"
Louisa stood stock still as amused blue eyes met with determined green, "Ok my love, Point made. So El Zorro is going to travel with us too, huh?"
Celeste came closer and put her arms around the taller woman's neck, "I think El Zorro would be very helpful for us don't you?" She reached up and kissed a tanned nose.
Louisa smiled and kissed the smaller woman's lips, "Are you trying to romance me into taking old Zorro with us?" She asked looking into sparkling green eyes.
"Mmm, yes is it working?"
"Yep, it's working all right. Keep going you will get there I promise you that," Replied Louisa as she picked the smaller woman up and deposited both of them on the bed.
"That is my intention I want to help you to get there, "She said as she passionately kissed the woman beneath her down her neck unbuttoning the small pearl buttons of beautiful woman's shirt.
"I think we will reach the pinnacle any minute now, my love." Said Louisa as she unbuttoned the back of dress of the beautiful woman who was driving her mad with desire, She was panting and tasting and kissing any skin that came into contacting with her mouth.
"Mmmm, take your time." Said Celeste as she began to float away on a cloud of happiness and sensual pleasure.
Two woman were heading toward Santa Barbara side by side on two horses, their hands clasped together as they traveled at a leisurely pace. There were some Conquistadors from Mexico making it hard on the farmers to deliver their crops and they thought Zorro might be of service to them.
"So little one now that we are on our way are you happy?"
"As long as I'm with you I am happy."
"Then I guess you will be happy forever."
"That will suit me just fine," Said the smaller woman looking up into the smiling eyes of the tall woman beside her as they rode into the sunset, together.