BY: KRISTIN DURFEE
In the final book of the Four Corners Trilogy, Levi, Aura, Julia, and the rest of our group are split up and scattered across two worlds, but their goal remains the same: defeat Lady Grustmiener and secure the peaceful future of Earth. As they race to be reunited, new forces, both for and against them, come into play. Will they find each other in time, or will evil triumph once and for all?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In One Earth by Kristin Durfee, Levi Roberts is once again fighting for Esotera, only this time, his own world is also in peril. The evil and power-hungry Lady Grustmiener is still trying to take over both worlds, and thinking she has finally killed Levi—the Missing Link—she is more determined than ever to see her evil plan succeed. But she has underestimated not only the people of the Four Corners world, but the people of Earth as well. If she wants to rule the worlds, she is going to have to fight for it against people equally determined to see her fail. But Levi, Queen Aura, and the rest of the gang from Esotera will have their hands full stopping her in time.
As delightful as the first two books, this one is charming, intriguing, and full of twists and turns—an adventure you won’t want to end.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: One Earth by Kristen Durfee is the third and final book in her Four Corners trilogy. This time, the evil would-be ruler Lady Grustmiener stabs Levi during a battle in Esotera, and thinking she has killed him, hurries through a portal to Earth to claim her prize—the rule and dominion of both the Four Corners world and Earth. But it’s not quite as simple as she seems to think. Although mortally wounded, Levi was healed and survived, and he and Queen Aura refuse to allow this evil witch to rule their land. But wars are full of surprises, and this one is no different. Julia follows Lady Grustmiener to Earth, trying to keep tabs on her, while the rest of the gang tries to quell the fighting in the Four Corners world. But prophesies of an even larger battle are foretold by an animal that can see the future, and the defenders fear the war will soon engulf Levi’s home world as well.
One Earth is a worthy addition to the series, and as much as I enjoyed it, I am almost sad to see the story end. Well written, fast paced, and enchanting, this is a story you’ll enjoy reading over and over again.
Sweat began to gather under Julia’s arm pits and behind her knees. The cacophony of the noises that surrounded her made her ears ache. The battle had been loud, but it was nowhere near the din that bombarded her now. How was it possible that just moments before she had been in a magical land and now was walking on a busy street in her world?
The fighting she had left felt like a lifetime ago. She’d forgotten what her world felt like and wondered how long it had been since she’d left it—since the woman named Theirra came and took her away. Took her to the other place with magic and dragons. A place where she was not alone in her powers.
She turned her concentration and energy on gathering as many images as she could in her sight line. She could feel the coolness surrounding her brain that indicated Jada, one of the other kids that Theirra recruited to come back with her, was reading her thoughts and trying to figure out where she was. Julia didn’t know how much time she had, and she was desperate to relay where she was. She willed the woman in front of her to turn around, even just partially, for just a second so Jada could see who it was.
Lady Grustmiener knocked on a door.
“Who is there?” a deep voice asked.
“She is waiting for me,” she answered.
“Who is there?” the voice repeated.
“Oh, let her in, she has come from far away and worked hard enough to get here, Listrel.” The woman’s voice from inside sounded old, or possibly far away. Julia strained to hear.
Thankfully, just before she entered the building, Lady Grustmiener turned and her reflection caught in a mirror. Like a jolt, Julia felt her mind snap back to normal temperature, and she began to pant slightly at the sudden abandonment. The shock of seeing her must have done something to Julia’s mind and enabled her to break the connection with Jada. She’d never been able to beat him before. In all the times they practiced together, Jada was always able to break through. This time when Julia felt the coolness creep back in, she was able to push him away. She needed to concentrate now and didn’t have time for someone else to share her thoughts.
Sitting back against the brick wall, she tried to catch her breath and ignore the trash smell wafting from the can next to her. The last few hours had been a whirlwind. She’d followed Levi through the woods as soon as the battle had begun. While Julia knew that she should stay to help watch over the castle, she was tired of standing around and wanted to see some action. The fighting hadn’t come close to where she was stationed, and she suspected that her and Levi’s post there was more to keep them out of danger than the building itself.
She left some protections behind and rigged a sort of an alarm system to alert her if someone tried to cross into the castle grounds. She told herself that she would only follow Levi a short way and would return at the first sign of trouble but soon found herself walking farther and farther away from the place she was supposed to protect.
She hid behind trees and boulders, watching in horror, as person after person came at Levi. Several times when it looked like his foe had the upper hand, Julia lifted a branch or shifted the person’s weapon, so Levi was able to prevail. She was so absorbed in watching him battle a man and trying to figure out how she could help, she almost didn’t notice Lady Grustmiener in the distance.
Something caused Julia’s eye to shift, and she saw the woman standing a few yards away with burning hatred visible even from the distance they stood apart. Julia wasn’t proud of what she did next. She wheeled around and ran toward the castle, but after about fifty feet, she stopped and turned back. Levi was still fighting. He still had not seen what was approaching him. Julia tried to concentrate and push Lady Grustmiener back, but she was unable to even move a hair on the woman’s head. The power within the woman scared Julia even more. It was a resistance that she’d never felt before.
Afraid that if she yelled she would get Levi killed by a momentary distraction, she began to affect the people and animals that stood between the two of them, slowly brushing them away. It was exhausting work, a long way from the branches that Tab had her lift and lower in their training, but she got into a rhythm and ignored the ache in her mind from the effort. The path that was created gave Levi a direct line of sight to Lady Grustmiener, but he still did not see her. Unable to take it anymore, Julia summoned all the strength she had left and caused a root to reach up and grab the ankles of the man he was fighting, sending him backward. The man lost his balance, fell upon a rock, and did not get up. The path she’d created seemed to work, because, as soon as Levi looked up, he stiffened. It was clear he spotted Lady Grustmiener at once.
Julia began to back away quietly, unsure if she could watch the battle commence between the two, but was soon drawn to inch forward, unable to look away. She covered her mouth with her hands, not trusting herself not to yell out. She was terrified of breaking Levi’s concentration. She felt the tug of her defenses at the castle and wondered if it was from a friend or foe, but she didn’t dare return and leave her vantage point. Something in her told her that no matter what, this was where she was supposed to be.
Fear coursed through her. She felt a connection to Levi as soon as they’d met. He shared a lot of her insecurities and helped her in her training and confidence. As scared as Julia was, it seemed Levi was well equipped to fight the powerful woman. For a brief moment, Julia was sure that he was going to win. He’d borne down on her, even cutting her arm. Julia was just breathing a sigh of relief when the air around her seemed to shift. As if the world had slowed down and a wave of fury seemed to build in Lady Grustmiener. Before Julia could comprehend what was happening, the crazed woman began to advance with renewed fervor. In an instant, it all fell apart.
Levi’s attention was drawn to his left, so he didn’t see the spear as it moved directly toward his chest. Her hands still over her mouth, the air caught in Julia’s throat, and she forgot how to do anything, even to breathe or call to him. Before she had time to float a leaf into Lady Grustmiener’s eyes, only the hilt appeared outside of his body. A scream filled the woods, and for a second Julia checked that her hands still covered her lips, afraid it was unwittingly coming from her, but she made no sound. Lady Grustmiener pulled the weapon from Levi’s chest, and he fell in an instant. She began laughing as she retreated through the trees.
Without thinking, without waiting to confirm that Levi was truly dead, Julia followed the wretched woman. As she got closer, she could hear more laughter emanating from her. A sudden urge to wrap her hands around the woman’s throat made her fingers tremble, but Julia fought the impulse. She knew she couldn’t kill her, both physically and mentally. No matter how the ache of Levi’s loss punctured her, she had to admit to herself that her weakness overshadowed any thoughts of revenge. She felt slightly sickened to realize that she would not be able to avenge any of them. All she could do was follow and hope to trap his killer until someone else could come and finish her off.
Soundlessly, Julia followed as they moved into a part of the woods void of fighters. The quiet felt strange as the noises of the battle melted away from them. Several times she had to freeze and jump behind a tree or bush as Lady Grustmiener looked around. It was one of these times, perched behind a strange looking tree that resembled an evergreen but with a twinkling blue light, that another person came out to join them. Julia held her breath to better hear and, hopefully, not be heard.
“My lady,” the woman said. She was small, maybe only four feet tall, but it was obvious that power surrounded her, like waves of heat rising off asphalt in the summer.
“Have you done it?”
“I have. The portal will be open for only a few moments, then it will close again.”
“And where will I be once I go through?”
“In the place you described,” the woman continued. “I went through earlier today to ensure that the location was correct. Are you sure you do not want me to accompany you?”
“Travel with me?” Lady Grustmiener laughed. “What makes you think I have any continued use for you?”
“I can stay here then, wait for your return.” The woman seemed stung at the lady’s ungratefulness.
“Oh, no. No, my dear witch. I cannot have you telling others where I have gone or risk them being able to find me. No, that will not do.”
The witch—Julia knew there was something strange about her—cowered back a half step, but she was too late. Lady Grustmiener moved her arm in a sweeping motion, and the woman fell. Her blood, mixed with what still clung of Levi’s, covered the spear. Without looking back, Lady Grustmiener stepped through a shimmering spot a few feet to her right and disappeared.
Julia didn’t hesitate. She ran forward, and before she could fully think, before she could second guess herself or make a pro and con list about what she was doing, she flung herself through the same spot.
Sunlight blazed in her eyes and the honk of horns filled her ears.
© 2018 by Kristin Durfee