Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
“Sleep is a luxury at Hellgate. It’s a danger. But when I slept, I dreamed of you.”
Her head snapped up.
“That’s right,” he said. “Every time I closed my eyes.”
“What happened in the dreams?” she asked, eager for an answer, but fearing it, too.
“Horrible things. The worst kinds of torture. You drowned me slowly. You burned my heart from my chest. You blinded me.”
“I was a monster.”
“A monster, a maiden, a sylph of the ice. You kissed me, whispered stories in my ear. You sang to me and held me as I slept. Your laugh chased me into waking.”
“You always hated my laugh.”
“I loved your laugh, Nina. And your fierce warrior’s heart. I might have loved you, too.”
Might have. Once. Before she had betrayed him. Those words carved an ache into her chest.
She knew she shouldn’t speak, but she couldn’t help herself. “And what did you do, Matthias? What did you do to me in your dreams?”
The ship listed gently. The lanterns swayed. His eyes were blue fire. “Everything,” he said, as he turned to go. “Everything.”
When he emerged on deck, Matthias had to head straight for the railing. All of these canal rats and slum dwellers had easily found their sea legs, used to hopping from boat to boat on the waterways of Ketterdam. Only the soft one, Wylan, seemed to be struggling. He looked as poorly as Matthias felt.
It was better in the fresh air, where he could keep an eye on the horizon. He’d managed sea voyages as a drüskelle, but he’d always felt more comfortable on land, on the ice. It was humiliating to have these foreigners see him vomit over the railing for the third time in as many hours.
At least Nina wasn’t here to witness that particular shame. He kept thinking of her in that cabin, ministering to the bronze girl, all concern and kindness. And fatigue. She’d looked so weary. It was a mistake, she’d said. To have him branded as a slaver, tossed onto a Kerch ship, and thrown in jail? She claimed she’d tried to set things right. But even if that were true, what did it matter? Her kind had no honor. She’d proven that.
Someone had brewed coffee, and he saw the crew drinking it from copper mugs with ceramic lids. The thought to bring Nina a cup entered his head, and he crushed it. He didn’t need to tend to her or tell Brekker that she could use relief. He clenched his fingers, looking at the scabbed knuckles. She had seeded such weakness in him.
Brekker gestured Matthias over to where he, Jesper, and Wylan had gathered on the forecastle deck to examine plans of the Ice Court away from the eyes and ears of the crew. The sight of those drawings was like a knife to his heart. The walls, the gates, the guards. They should have dissuaded these fools, but apparently he was as much a fool as the rest of them.