Just outside Los Angeles, 1821
A blue circle of light appeared just outside the pueblo of Los Angeles, depositing two very unusual teenagers. Then, the circle vanished. Ivy and Zack looked around them.
"Where are we, little bro?" asked Ivy.
"According to the Chronoskimmer," whispered Zack, "we're in Los Angeles, California, in the year 1821!"
"What does Carmen want that would justify her going back in time to 1821?" asked Ivy.
"I don't know, but we'd better find out," said Zack.
"Where should we start looking for answers?" asked Ivy.
"Well, in that time period, there would've been a tavern where people went to eat and talk," said Zack. "Let's look for a tavern in Los Angeles."
"Okay," said Ivy.
They passed the sign welcoming them to Los Angeles, and looked around. They stood in a plaza, with a numberof houses and buildings around them. One of the buildings was called, "Victoria's Tavern".
"Looks like that's the tavern," said Ivy.
"Wait a minute," said Zack. "Who is Victoria? And why would a woman run a tavern in 1820s Los Angeles?"
"Maybe she's good," said Ivy.
"But most women don't run taverns in the 1820s," explained Zack.
"Well, let's find out," said Ivy.
So together, they approached Victoria's Tavern. Once inside, they sat down at the nearest table they could find. A beautiful woman approached them and said, "Buenas tardes. I've never seen you here before."
"This is our first time here," said
Ivy. "My name's Ivy, and this is my younger brother, Zack."
"I'm Victoria Escalante," said the woman. "Welcome to my tavern."
"You own your own tavern?" asked Zack.
"Sí. It belonged to my parents," explained Victoria. "But my mother died some years ago, and my father died recently, so I now own it."
"Oh," said Zack.
"So, do you two have parents?" asked Victoria. "And what are you doing here in the pueblo de Los Angeles?"
The de la Vega hacienda
While Ivy and Zack were busy talkingto Victoria, Carmen had gotten up from the secret passageway before Felipe returned with the news that the guest room had been prepared.
Carmen had already been informed by Don Alejandro that Felipe couldn't hear or speak. She also knew that Felipe could hear, but did not wish to reveal her knowledge of that fact just yet, so she signalled to Felipe, "Gracias."
They were standing in the library at that time.
Don Alejandro and Diego emerged from the secret passageway. Between the time that Carmen left them and their leaving the cave, Diego had told his father that he planned to tell Victoria as soon as possible, preferably that night. He also revealed that he'd been wounded by a gunshot from one of Resendo's men while trying to rescue Tornado from Resendo.
They entered the library, where they learned the guest room had been prepared.
"Gracias for taking me in, Don Alejandro," said Carmen.
"De nada, señorita," said Don Alejandro.
Carmen noticed Diego holding his arm stiffly, so she asked, "Something wrong, Don Diego?"
The two gave each other a glance.
What should they tell the señorita?
Finally, Diego said, "It is a wound. I was practicing with a gun and clumsily let it go off and shoot me in the arm."
Carmen knew Diego was lying, but she said nothing.
Instead, she said, "I may have something for that."
"You do?" asked Diego.
"Sí," Carmen said. "While in Monterey, I met an old Indian treating a gunshot wound in a fellow Indian. I asked for some of the medicine in case I needed it, and he gave it to me. Here."
And with that, she withdrew the medicine she had actually stolen out of her coat pocket. She'd taken off the label, but she already knew it would work quickly.
Carmen said, "Show me your wound, Don Diego."
Diego hesitated, then rolled up his shirt, exposing the wound. Carmen poured out some of the medicine, and began to rub it in Diego's wound.
"I was told it would work very quickly, so quickly that in a few days, one would never know there was a gunshot wound," said Carmen.
"Gracias, señorita," said Diego.
"De nada," said Carmen.
"Father, maybe you can prepare dinner for the señorita while I go to the tavern," Diego said.
Carmen suspected Diego wished to tell Victoria the truth, however, and she wished to be present when he did.
So instead, she said, "I'd like to see this tavern."
Diego looked uncomfortable, so Don Alejandro said, "We'll all go. I'll escort Señorita Carmen Sandiego."
Diego agreed, and it was settled. None of them, not even Carmen, knew that the following events would make Carmen not a witness, but a participant in history.
Later that night, at the tavern
Ivy and Zack were sitting at the table, drinking orange juice and eating some of Victoria's chile con queso.
"This is good," said Zack. "This Victoria is a great cook."
"Yes," said Ivy. "And a kind woman. After we're finished eating, she's going to send us to the church to stay with Padre Benitez."
Zack had told Victoria that he and Ivy were from the United States, and that they had come with their parents to San Francisco on a business trip. But while in San Francisco, bandits made an attack.
In the confusion, Zack and Ivy got separated from their parents, and hid in a wagon that was heading to Santa Barbara.
Once in Santa Barbara, they walked to Los Angeles, hoping to get as far away from the bandits as possible. Of course, Zack wasn't telling the truth, but he had to tell something.
Victoria then explained the condition of Los Angeles to Ivy and Zack. She told how Alcalde Ignacio deSoto unfairly taxed the people of Los Angeles, just like Alcalde Luis Ramone did before him. However, he never got away with his taxation programs, because El Zorro always stopped DeSoto.
As Victoria spoke about Zorro, Ivy saw that the tavern owner had stars in her eyes. It was clear that she loved Zorro. Victoria then heard the door open, and turned to greet the newcomers.
"Don Alejandro! Diego! What a pleasant surprise!" Victoria said. Zack and Ivy turned as well -- and stared.
Standing there was an older gentleman with white hair and a small mustache, a tall man with black hair, and a black mustache -- and Carmen Sandiego!
"Buenas noches, Victoria," said Diego to Victoria.
Carmen watched Don Alejandro and Diego greet Victoria.
"Who's the señorita?" asked Victoria. "Do I know her?"
"No," said Don Alejandro. "This señorita -- and she is a señorita -- calls herself Carmen Sandiego. She was travelling to San Diego, where she was born, when she ran into a bandit attack on the way and lost all her companions."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," said Victoria. "Welcome to the pueblo de Los Angeles, Carmen Sandiego."
Carmen said, "Gracias."
"Oh, Don Alejandro, there's some other newcomers, from America, who also ran into some problems," said Victoria.
She turned to wave two teenagers over. Carmen recognized them at once. It was Ivy and Zack.
Ivy and Zack came over and Victoria introduced them to the de la Vegas and to Carmen. To Carmen's relief, Ivy and Zack gave no sign of recognition.
"Why don't we sit down with you, Ivy and Zack?" said Don Alejandro. "You are all alone here, and we must extend hospitality to you."
"Gracias, Don Alejandro," said Zack.
Ivy, Zack, Carmen, Don Alejandro, and Diego sat down and Victoria took the orders of the newcomers. Then she went to get them all what they ordered.
In a few minutes, she came back with the food and drinks -- beer for Don Alejandro and Diego, and orange juice for Carmen.
As Carmen sipped her orange juice, she happened to hear the door to the tavern slam open.
Looking, she saw a tall, average looking man who was dressed well. What she didn't know was that this man was to be the person who would cause her to take part in history, and not just watch it unfold.
"I want service!"
The voice startled Diego. Turning around, he stared.
Don Luis Alvarez! he thought to himself.
Victoria came up to him and asked what he wanted.
"I want a room and some supper!" Don Luis commanded.
Victoria led him to a table and began to take his order. Diego's eyes followed them.
"Something wrong, Don Diego?" asked his father.
"Sí," said Don Diego. "I think I should explain, both for you and for the other three, who don't know me.
"Carmen, Ivy, Zack, almost ten years ago, I went to the University of Madrid to study the sciences. I also was to study the sabre."
"Under Sir Edmund Kendall," Don Alejandro explained.
Diego continued, "While I was at the University, I met Don Luis Alvarez. He was from San Juan Capistrano."
"I think I've heard of the man," said Don Alejandro. "He left the University shortly before I sent for you, didn't he?"
"Yes," said Diego. "But he was forced to leave."
"Why?" asked Carmen.
"He was extremely reckless," explained Diego. "He provoked a few fights and would've provoked many more if I had not stopped them.
"Finally, he became fed up with my interference, and challenged me to a duel. I tried to calm him down, to keep the duel from happening, but I finally had no choice."
"How good was he?" asked Carmen.
"Very good," said Diego. "Fortunately, I got extremely lucky and defeated him."
In fact, there was nothing luckyin Diego's defeat of Don Luis. Diego won by means of his extraordinary skill. But Diego had to tell that lie to Ivy, Zack, and Carmen, since he had no idea they were from the future, and that Carmen knew of his skill.
"Don Luis became so furious over losing to me that finally he was forced to leave the University before graduation," Diego concluded.
"What happened to him?" asked Carmen.
"I heard he went to Mexico, and later heard that he was taking part in the strife between Spain and rebels in Mexico who wanted independence," Diego said.
"Do you think he's here to stir up trouble?" Carmen said.
"I don't know, but I think so," said Diego.
In fact, Diego suspected that if Don Luis was in California, Mexico was probably on the verge of independence, and therefore, he might be trying to bring about independence from Spain in California by means of force. And bloodshed.
Diego couldn't let this happen. Neither could Zorro. They finished dinner, then went to say goodbye to Victoria.
Victoria asked Diego to please escort Ivy and Zack to Padre Benitez, where they could stay until word could be found about their parents. Diego promised he'd do so.
Then he asked, "Victoria, are there any guests staying the night besides the newcomer?"
"No," said Victoria. "Just Don Luis Alvarez. That's what his name is. He's staying in one of the two upstairs rooms. That one," she pointed up the stairs to a room on the right.
"Thank you, Victoria," said Diego.
Then all of them left the tavern.
Later that night, outside the tavern
Carmen was glad she remembered how to ride a horse. And that she had brought some of her gadgets with her to the past.
She knew that at this point in history, Mexico was gaining its independence from Spain. She also suspected that Don Luis's coming to Los Angeles had something to do with the fight for independence. Don Luis was a violent person, who would probably prefer to bring this independence about by means of violence.
The idea repelled Carmen. She was nonviolent, and would rather use her wits than her fists to achieve her goals. That was another quality that she had in common with Zorro.
No doubt Zorro would be coming along soon to find out what Don Luis was up to. However, she planned to find out herself, and if he planned something extremely violent, it would have to be stopped. Even if it meant revealing the truth about herself to Zorro. It was time to get to work.
Carmen pushed a button on her left wrist. A line and hook latched itself around the balcony.
Carmen pulled herself up and over the balcony, then tried the window. It was locked and shuttered.
However, she knew the window locks were latch-hooks, and she could get past it easily. She just hoped Don Luis wasn't inside his room.
Carmen took a pick from one of her coat pockets and used it on the lock. It worked perfectly.
Carmen quietly opened the window and peeked inside. There was no one inside the room.
Good, she thought. I can sneak in and out before he knows I'm even there.
So, Carmen snuck through the window and inside the room. As soon as she snuck inside, a shadow emerged.
It was Zorro.