Amid new threats and unsettling discoveries, hope still perseveres.
The Hybrid Magic Chronicles Book 3
by Cristy L. Bowlin
Genre: YA Fantasy
**Don’t miss the other books in the series!**
The Hybrid Magic Chronicles Book 1
The Hybrid Magic Chronicles Book 2
Lilith crossed the street and pushed on the apothecary’s door, only to find it locked. “How hard is it to find a healer in this town?” she grumbled.
A voice behind her said, “I’m a healer.”
Lilith spun on her heel. A girl who was probably a couple years older than Lilith stood there, wearing a blue dress and an apron. Thick wavy brown hair framed her face. “My name is Hazel.”
“I’m Lilith. My…cousin got hurt inside the tavern.”
Hazel narrowed her dark eyes. “I thought you said he was your friend. That was some speech you gave in there.”
“You’re right, he’s not my cousin,” Lilith admitted. “I just wasn’t sure if anyone inside the tavern would be willing to help us after what happened.”
Hazel’s mouth twisted into a smirk. “Did you really think your little performance was going to make people listen to you? Your speech sounded like something straight out of a sermon. The people who frequent our town’s tavern aren’t much for listening to fancy oration, even at worship services.”
Lilith’s face flushed. “I don’t have time for this right now. Aaron needs me. I’ll find another healer.”
Hazel stepped into Lilith’s path, stopping her. Lilith’s heart pounded faster as she wondered if this girl might sympathize with the views of the Defenders.
“You don’t have to do that. I’ll help. You can’t trust many people in this town. We don’t have much in the way of law enforcement anymore. Ever since my father passed away six years ago, there have only been two old constables, and they hardly do anything to keep the peace.”
Lilith took a step back and crossed her arms. “Is that supposed to make me consider you trustworthy?”
Hazel shrugged. “It’s up to you if you want to trust me. We’ve had quite a few Defenders of the True Four come through here recently. That couple that confronted you are the latest bunch. As far as I can tell, most of the people who live here are completely apathetic on the matter, but there are a handful who eagerly read their pamphlets.” Hazel crossed her own arms, mirroring Lilith’s stance.
It was difficult to read this girl. The way she spoke made it sound like she was among those who could care less about what the Defenders had to say, but Lilith got the sense that she was hiding something. Lilith glanced in the apothecary’s window and saw a woman standing at the kitchen table chopping vegetables.
Lilith banged on the glass windowpanes. “I need a healer!” The apothecary was probably more trustworthy than this strange girl from the tavern. Lilith could also do without more of Hazel’s criticism, even if the older girl made a valid point.
The woman looked up from her work and set down the knife. “We’re closed! Come back tomorrow.”
Lilith cursed. She knew Theo’s magic would prevent Aaron from getting any worse, but Aaron was probably in a lot of pain.
“Looks like you’re stuck with me if you want someone’s help tonight,” said Hazel.
When they returned to the tavern, at least two dozen birds were now surrounding the back door. Hazel tried to scare them off, but they just flew a few feet away before finding somewhere new to perch. Lilith noted that most of them were carrion birds.
Hazel stared at the birds. “I hope this doesn’t mean someone died in there.”
Cristy L. Bowlin is an English professor at Oxnard College and author of The Temple Dancer’s Diary and The Hybrid Magic Chronicles, set in the fantasy realm of the Deravine Commonwealth. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband, daughter, and pet cat. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is most likely dancing, hiking, or getting invested in (another) TV series.