This is the next to last chapter, so now's the time to make your final guesses as to the secret identity of Don del Oro. Also, votes on what you'd like to see me do next!
Chapter Eleven: Face to Face
Quick recap, no new info, but Tomas gets his own section for the first time.
Flashback to the Legion chasing the water wagon. As before, the wagon plunges into the river, but its hollow construction means it floats. Zorro is able to smash his way out of the tank with a rifle butt. He swims to safety just as Ramon and the Legion arrive.
Back at the hacienda, Volita hands Diego a message. He discusses it with Ramon. Apparently the Indian the toughs used as a scapegoat last chapter is to be tried by the council for attempted gun theft. He's Kayla, a hereditary leader of the Yaqui and very popular within the tribe.
Ramon realizes the trial will be a farce, since Don del Oro will use his influence to make the council free Kayla. But Diego thinks this could be used to expose the mastermind. After all, the council members pleading for leniency will be the corrupt ones.
But at the council meeting, it is the conspirators that are "tough on crime." They demand the full penalty under law, and when that turns out to be a mere thrity days in jail, decide to retroactively make attempted gun theft a hanging offense. (An ex post facto change of the penalty for a crime is unconstitutional in the US, and while I haven't read the 1824 Mexican Constitution, I'm pretty sure the same was true South of the Border.) Diego finds himself forced to advocate a measure of mercy, especially given the political situation. Governor Felipe orders the public hanging of Kayla "as an example."
The conspirators' plan is to whip the Yaqui into a fury, starting the uprising even if the full supply of weapons didn't make it.
Zorro addresses his troops. He needs four volunteers to undergo a dangerous, almost certainly fatal mission to rescue Kayla and prevent the uprising. Since all the Legionnaires are muy macho everyone volunteers. Zorro anticipated this and prepared a jug full of white beans with four black ones. The non-chosen ones look mightily disappointed.
The next morning at the plaza, our chosen few stroll in wearing ordinary peasant garb. They see the hangman preparing the noose.
Diego and other hidalgos stand and watch nearby. The conspirators are up on the council balcony, eager to see the fun. The military escort Kayla to the scaffold, and we see two of the undercover agents perched on a wall behind it.
Kayla is marched up the steps to the gallows, behaving as a proper The Stoic. Just then a smoking wagon careens into the plaza! No, two smoking wagons, and they're loaded with explosives! The driverless wagons circle about, distracting everyone.
Once the executioner's back is turned, the two Legionnaires on the wall jump him. The other two rush to join them. Even the strong hangman is overwhelmed, and Kayla is freed. He is convinced by Zorro to jump off the wall and into the saddle of a getaway horse.
The "bombs" are revealed to be hollow fakes, and Felipe immediately realizes this is Zorro's work.
Zorro and Kayla perform the Blood Brother ceremony by cutting their arms and clasping hands. Zorro removes his mask to demonstrate his sincerity, no masks when the truth must be spoken! He reveals that Don del Oro is actually a white man using the god's form to trick the Yaqui into a bloody uprising for his own ambition.
Kayla believes that Zorro thinks Don del Oro is a fake, but is reluctant to accept this hypothesis. He will take Zorro, and only Zorro, to the hiding place of the golden god, there to put him to the test.
Ramon doesn't think Zorro should go alone, but the hero knows the risk is worth it.
(Remember way back at the beginning, I mentioned "redface"? Kayla, the "good" Yaqui, is rather obviously a white guy in dark makeup and a braided wig.)
Don del Oro's hideout is back at the ceremonial cave. When Zorro and Kayla arrive, the stone doors are open, and Don del Oro sits motionless on his throne. Zorro knocks on the armor and proves it's hollow; the superstitious Kayla isn't convinced until Zorro lifts the false god's head off.
Two Yaqui ceremonial guards enter silently. One of them throws a spear, which completely misses, but Kayla still falls to the ground. Zorro battles the guards, skewering one with his sword and maneuvering the other into a firepit. Kayla proves to be uninjured. (Probably Playing Possum to avoid fighting his own people.)
Smoke Signals are sent to gather the Yaqui. Kayla explains the situation, but his tribesmen are not convinced. Tarmac in particular wants to see Don del Oro's true form for himself.
But this time when they enter the cave, Don del Oro stands! The natives bow before his power. The golden one orders death to the unbeliever, and scoffs at Zorro's gun. (As well he might, with that heavy golden armor on!)
Zorro shoots anyway and attempts to flee. It's no good though—he's surrounded by spears, and the Yaqui push him bank, back towards the firepit and certain doom!
Be here next week for the Final Episode: Unmasked!