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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Nina,” Matthias said, jogging up behind her now. “Nina, listen to me. You need to stay with the others.”

“Leave me alone.”

When he took her arm, she whirled and clenched her fist, cutting off the air to his throat. An ordinary man would have released her, but Matthias was a trained drüskelle. He seized her other arm and clamped it to her body, bundling her tight to him so she couldn’t use her hands. “Stop,” he said softly.

She struggled against his hold, glaring up at him. “Let me go.”

“I can’t. Not while you’re a threat.”

“I will always be a threat to you, Matthias.”

The corner of his mouth pulled up in a rueful smile. His eyes were almost sorrowful. “I know.”

Slowly, he released her. She stepped back.

“What will I see when I get to the Ice Court?” she demanded.

“You’re frightened.”

“Yes,” she said, chin jutting up defiantly. There was no point denying it.

“Nina—”

“Tell me. I need to know. Torture chambers? A pyre blazing from a rooftop?”

“They don’t use pyres at the Court anymore.”

“Then what? Drawing and quartering? Firing squads? Does the Royal Palace have a view of the gallows?”

“I’ve had enough of your judgments, Nina. This has to stop.”

“He’s right. You can’t go on this way.” Jesper was standing in the snow with the others. How long had they been there? Had they seen her attack Matthias?

“Stay out of this,” Nina snapped.

“If you two keep fighting, you’re going to get us all killed, and I have a lot more card games I need to lose.”

“You must find a way to make peace,” said Inej. “At least for a while.”

“This is not your concern,” Matthias growled.

Kaz stepped forward, his expression dangerous. “It is very much our concern. And watch your tone.”

Matthias threw up his hands. “You’ve all been taken in by her. This is what she does. She makes you think she’s your friend and then—”

Inej crossed her arms. “Then what?”

“Let it go, Inej.”

“No, Nina,” Matthias said. “Tell them. You said you were my friend once. Do you remember?” He turned to the others. “We traveled together for three weeks. I saved her life. We saved each other. When we got to Elling, we … I could have revealed her to the soldiers we saw there at any time. But I didn’t.” Matthias started pacing, his voice rising, as if the memories were getting the better of him. “I borrowed money. I arranged lodging. I was willing to betray everything I believed in for the sake of her safety. When I saw her down to the docks so we could try to book passage, there was a Kerch trader there, ready to set sail.” Matthias was there again, standing on the docks with her, she could see it in his eyes. “Ask her what she did then, this honorable ally, this girl who stands in judgment of me and my kind.”