Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Jesper checked on Inej every morning and every night. The idea that the ambush on the docks might simply be the end of her had shaken him. Despite Nina’s efforts, he’d been fairly sure the Wraith wasn’t long for this world.
But one morning, Jesper arrived to find Inej sitting up, clothed in breeches, quilted vest, and hooded tunic.
Nina was bent over, struggling to get the Suli girl’s feet into her strange rubber-soled slippers.
“Inej!” Jesper crowed. “You’re not dead!”
She smiled faintly. “No more than anyone.”
“If you’re spouting depressing Suli wisdom, then you must be feeling better.”
“Don’t just stand there,” Nina groused. “Help me get these things on her feet.”
“If you would just let me—” Inej began.
“Do not bend,” Nina snapped. “Do not leap. Do not move abruptly. If you don’t promise to take it easy, I’ll slow your heart and keep you in a coma until I can be sure you’ve recovered fully.”
“Nina Zenik, as soon as I figure out where you’ve put my knives, we’re going to have words.”
“The first ones had better be Thank you, oh great Nina, for dedicating every waking moment of this miserable journey to saving my sorry life.”
Jesper expected Inej to laugh and was startled when she took Nina’s face between her hands and said, “Thank you for keeping me in this world when fate seemed determined to drag me to the next. I owe you a life debt.”
Nina blushed deeply. “I was teasing, Inej.” She paused. “I think we’ve both had enough of debts.”
“This is one I’m glad to bear.”
“Okay, okay. When we’re back in Ketterdam, take me out for waffles.”
Now Inej did laugh. She dropped her hands and appeared to speculate. “Dessert for a life? I’m not sure that seems equitable.”
“I expect really good waffles.”
“I know just the place,” said Jesper. “They have this apple syrup—”
“You’re not invited,” Nina said. “Now come help me get her standing.”
“I can stand on my own,” Inej grumbled as she slid off the table and rose to her feet.
With a sigh, Inej gripped the arm that Jesper offered, and they made their way out of the cabin and up to the deck, Nina trailing behind them.
“This is foolishness,” Inej said. “I’m fine.”
“You are,” replied Jesper, “but I may keel over at any moment, so pay attention.”
Once they were on deck, Inej squeezed his arm to get him to halt. She tilted her head back, breathing deeply. It was a stone gray day, the sea a bleak slate broken up by whitecaps, the sky pleated with thick ripples of cloud. A hard wind filled the sails, carrying the little boat over the waves.
“It feels good to be this kind of cold,” she murmured.
“Wind in your hair, sea spray on your skin. The cold of the living.”
“Two turns around the deck,” Nina warned. “Then back to bed.” She went to join Wylan at the stern. It didn’t escape Jesper that she’d moved to the point on the ship farthest from Matthias.