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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

He didn’t have to see Inej’s face to sense her shock. “You had a brother?”

“I had a lot of things,” he muttered.

“I’m sorry.”

Had he wanted her sympathy? Was that why he’d told her?

“Kaz—” She hesitated. What would she do now? Try to lay a comforting hand on his arm? Tell him she understood?

“I’ll pray for him,” Inej said. “For peace in the next world if not in this one.”

He turned his head. They were sitting close together, their shoulders nearly touching. Her eyes were so brown they were almost black, and for once her hair was down. She always wore it tied back in a ruthlessly tight coil. Even the idea of being this near someone should have set his skin crawling. Instead he thought, What happens if I move closer?

“I don’t want your prayers,” he said.

“What do you want, then?”

The old answers came easily to mind. Money. Vengeance. Jordie’s voice in my head silenced forever. But a different reply roared to life inside him, loud, insistent, and unwelcome. You, Inej. You.

He shrugged and turned away. “To die buried under the weight of my own gold.”

Inej sighed. “Then I’ll pray you get all you ask for.”

“More prayers?” he asked. “And what do you want, Wraith?”

“To turn my back on Ketterdam and never hear that name again.”

Good. He’d need to find a new spider, but he’d be rid of this distraction.

“Your share of thirty million kruge can grant that wish.” He pushed to his feet. “So save your prayers for good weather and stupid guards. Just leave me out of it.”

*   *   *

 

Kaz limped to the bow, annoyed with himself and angry with Inej. Why had he sought her out? Why had he told her about Jordie? He’d been irritable and unfocused for days. He was used to having his Wraith around—feeding the crows outside his window, sharpening her knives while he worked at his desk, chastising him with her Suli proverbs. He didn’t want Inej. He just wanted their routine back.

Kaz leaned against the ship’s railing. He wished he hadn’t said anything about his brother. Even those few words raised the memories, clamoring for attention. What had he said to Geels at the Exchange? I’m the kind of bastard they only manufacture in the Barrel. One more lie, one more piece of the myth he’d built for himself.

After their father died, crushed beneath a plow with his insides strewn across a field like a trail of damp red blossoms, Jordie had sold the farm. Not for much. The debts and liens had seen to that. But it was enough to see them safe to Ketterdam and to keep them in modest comfort for a good while.

Kaz had been nine, still missing Da and frightened of traveling from the only home he’d ever known. He’d held tight to his big brother’s hand as they journeyed through miles of sweet, rolling countryside, until they reached one of the major waterways and hopped a bog boat that carried produce to Ketterdam.