Luck of the Irish
Chapter Five - May the Wind be Always at Your Back
"A leprechaun?" Garcia sputtered. His eyes were as large as saucers and his mouth hung open in shock.
"Aye, a leprechaun. You have been most fun to play tricks on," he laughed devilishly.
"Tricks? What tricks? No one has played tricks on me." Garcia sputtered and looked bewildered. Zorro was afraid that the sergeant’s knowledge of English was almost exhausted.
"Aye, and the best was the one early this morning when you thought that Zorro was dead. Oh, the look on your face was grand, it was." Bran hooted and slapped his knee. Sgt. Garcia just looked more bewildered. "And if not for that black-cloaked demon, curse him, I would still be having fun with ye," Bran said indignantly.
"I do not understand you, Señor Leprechaun," Garcia said softly. "What is this about Zorro?"
"Sergeant, what our friend, the leprechaun, is saying, is that he tricked you into believing I was dead," Zorro said in Spanish.
"Zorro!!" Garcia exclaimed. "But you were dead. I saw you... And, and...and I do not know what is going on anymore. Corporal Reyes said he saw Don Diego in San Fernando this evening."
"The only reason the leprechaun is here now is because I caught him, looked him directly in the eye and made him do what I asked, which was to explain the very devious trick he played on both of us," Zorro explained. "I also made him give me the payroll money. He had stolen it from the bandits and hidden it in his cave."
Glaring at Zorro, Bran said, "Aye, you have caught old Bran Muldowney fair and square, you big black devil. And all I wanted to do was have some fun. There is no fun at all in this beastly dry land," Bran sputtered. "And that silver was nice to have in me pot, as well."
Zorro smiled. The Irishman was playing his role to the hilt. The outlaw translated for the acting comandante. "Sergeant, you know how devious these leprechauns are," Zorro said softly. "And that they are magical as well."
"Sí, Señor Zorro. Señor Fitzpatrick said they were. But it looked so real," he said shaking his head. Looking at Bran, he said, "You mean it was all a joke? He is not Don Diego?"
Bran started laughing again and laughed until he almost fell off the trunk. "And he is not dead either!!" the Irishman shouted with glee, slapping both knees.
"Sí, praise the Saints, he is not dead," Garcia said with a slight smile on his face. Then he looked up at the outlaw as his smile grew broader. "Señor Zorro, you are not dead. And you are not Don Diego?"
"Sergeant Garcia, you insult me." Zorro said indignantly. "I have seen Don Diego fight. If I did not like you so much, I might take umbrage and challenge you to a duel." The Irishman was still sitting on the trunk, laughing.
Suddenly a banging on the door interrupted them. "Sergeant Garcia, are you all right? What is that noise," came a voice on the other side of the door.
"Oh, it is just Zorro, Corporal, and a leprechaun." Then the sergeant put his hand over his mouth in shock at what he had just said.
"Zorro?" Corporal Zapata said. "Zorro is here! Lancers! To arms! Zorro has captured Sgt. Garcia!" The lancer started throwing himself at the door.
While Garcia was grabbing for his pants, Zorro motioned for Bran to hide under the bed. He slipped out the window like a wraith just as the door burst open. Splinters flew everywhere and the soldier ran to the window just in time to see Zorro slip over the far roof.
"Sergeant Garcia, did Zorro hurt you. Do you want us to chase after him?" Zapata asked.
Garcia shook his head while struggling with his boots. The bed frame shrieked in protest, bouncing up and down with his efforts. "No, Corporal. You would not catch him anyway. But Zorro said he found the payroll money. Search the cuartel for the chest!" he shouted. The sergeant ran out of the room after his soldiers, still trying to get his boot to slide over his heel.
Climbing down from the roof, Zorro swung in the window and peered under the bed. "Señor Muldowney, are you all right?" he asked softly.
"Aye, but only barely," Bran said with a slight groan.
Zorro helped him to his feet. "Now let us leave," he said to the little man. The pair stealthily made their way onto the roof and across to the back wall, where the outlaw whistled for Tornado. By the time the soldiers had found the payroll chest, Zorro and his ‘leprechaun’ were long gone. It was of no consequence, however, because they were all lined up waiting for Sergeant Garcia to count out their pay. And the sergeant didn’t mind accommodating them, even at two o’clock in the morning.
Late at night, several days later, a dark-clad man and a very small man silently stole aboard a ship bound for Europe. A non-descript padlocked chest was stored in an unobtrusive corner in the hold and the little man stowed away in the cabin that would belong to the only Irish passenger on board.
"I thank you. If I were a real leprechaun, I would give you your wish gladly for helping me to get me back to my homeland," Bran said.
"I am just grateful to you for helping to protect my identity. Vaya con Dios, my friend and good luck to you in your homeland," Zorro responded.
"Aye, and may the wind always blow at your back," Bran said softly as the outlaw turned away and silently glided out of the cabin.
The next morning Alejandro and Diego took Sean Fitzpatrick to San Pedro to board the ship that would ultimately take him back home. As the ship sailed out of the harbor, the pair returned to their carriage and rode sedately back toward their hacienda. "Father, shall we stop at the tavern for a moment. I wish to see how Sergeant Garcia is faring after his little adventure."
Alejandro laughed. "I still wish I could have seen that, my son. The way you told it.... Ah, I can just picture Sergeant Garcia. Do you think that Sean will figure out that Bran Muldowney is not a leprechaun?"
"Probably, or Bran will tell him when they have gotten to know each other a bit better. But what Sean and Bran have told me makes me wonder if there really is such a thing as the fairy folk. I have seen many strange things since I donned the mask and began riding at night," Diego mused.
His father nodded sagely. "That is very true, my son."
When they walked into the tavern, they were greeted by the big booming voice of the acting comandante. "Come sit down with me, señores. It is a beautiful morning, is it not?" Garcia asked. When they had sat down, the sergeant leaned conspiratorially toward them and said, "Did I tell you that Zorro found the payroll and brought it to the cuartel?"
"Sí, Sergeant, which is why the men have been so happy these past few days, Alejandro explained. "It is about time, too."
"And we found the bandit leader as well. He had a bit too much wine and was ranting and raving about a little man taking the payroll chest from him and hiding it. The other bandits identified him. So now we do not have to worry about this group of robbers," Garcia said smugly as he finished the wine in his glass. "And all of my men reported back to duty when they heard about the return of the payroll."
"Ah, Sergeant Garcia. I do believe that you are a most lucky, as well as a very efficient, acting comandante," Diego said brightly.
"And speaking of luck, did you know that I found out why Zorro is so lucky all the time?" he paused dramatically.
"No. Why is he, Sergeant?" Diego asked.
"It is because he had the help of a leprechaun," Garcia whispered.
"Seriously? Well, that is most interesting. Sean Fitzpatrick told me the same thing. Perhaps that is why he made up the little poem he told me this morning," Diego said, a slight smile on his face. He sat back and sipped his wine.
"Well, Don Diego, are you going to tell us?" Garcia wheedled.
"Sí, he called it a limerick," Diego explained. "It is a funny type of poem." He paused to remember.
"There once was an outlaw in black,
Alejandro smiled and raised his wine glass. "To Zorro," he toasted. "Who, it seems, has the luck of the Irish to go with his skills." The others laughed and raised their glasses as well.
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