In general, Leonardo's fortunes were on the rise. He soon became painter and engineer to Louis XII, King of France. In 1507, while traveling in the surrounding countryside, Leonardo met the young Francesco Melzi. The boy was 15 years old. Melzi, a thick-haired boy with almond-shaped eyes, became one of Leonardo's most beloved "pupils," along with Salai. Later that year, in 1507, Leonardo had to return to Florence: when his father had died without a will, in 1504, his legitimate sons had claimed all of the inheritance; now, Leonardo's uncle Francesco had died, and had left a large amount to Leonardo. However, Leonardo's brothers again tried to cut Leonardo out of his share, and this time Leonardo took them to court. He even had Louis XII write to the court officials in Florence to speed up the legal proceedings. The dealings lasted nearly six months.
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