A duel between Diego and Sir Miles had never been part of the plan. A duel between Sir Miles and Zorro was what Felipe had suggested that night at the mission. The plan was that Zorro meet Sir Miles in a sword fight, be disarmed, then Sir Miles could claim that he was the only one that wasn't an outlaw to ever beat Zorro, and thus, end up being plagued with the future hotheads that Diego was sure would show up. Diego hadn't anticipated that when Zorro had offered the man an invitation to fight, Sir Miles would remember their unfinished duel, and would want to finish it - his way. But Diego couldn't possibly fight Sir Miles. Such a fight would inevitably expose his fencing skills, and then where would he be? It had been pure luck that he had managed to hide such skills from a swordsman as masterful as Sir Miles that time they'd fought years before. Diego knew that kind of luck was very fickle; to rely on it a second time would be nothing short of extreme folly.
“I don't know, Felipe,” he sighed in defeat later that night. “When you outlined this idea at the mission, it seemed so simple.”
Felipe's hands waved through the air.
Diego gave a grim smile. “Yes, it would be foolish of me to fight Sir Miles; I can hide my skills for a time, but throughout an entire duel? Besides, he promised to kill me. My death is hardly conducive to Zorro fighting him later that same day.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “This situation is intolerable!”
Felipe's hands waved anew.
“That's the ironic part, isn't it?” Diego's smile showed through his agony for an instant. “If I'd just kept my mouth shut, we could have thought of something else that...”
An insistent pounding on the door cut him off. His lowered brows illustrated that he wasn't expecting anyone, and the looks on his father's and Felipe's faces said the same. He rose to answer the knock, but Felipe's hand bade him to sit back down as he strode towards the door instead.
“Be careful!” Don Alejandro admonished in a whisper just as Felipe reached the foyer.
They were all surprised when Victoria Escalante burst through the door before Felipe could even reach it.
“Señorita!” Diego exclaimed, relieved that their visitor was her and not Sir Miles. He rose in greeting.
She impatiently pushed him back down. “I've got a plan.”
“Another plan?” It was obvious just from Diego's dubious expression how this concept didn't particularly thrill him. “No offense, Victoria, but...”
“Just listen!” she hissed. Losing no time with being polite, Victoria pulled up the bench from the piano and, leaning in, whispered the idea that had been percolating at the back of her mind all afternoon.
Go on to part 14.
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