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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Is that what you prefer to be called?”

“Of course,” she said, then added, “Is Kaz Brekker your real name?”

“Real enough. Last night, when you approached me, I didn’t know you were anywhere near me until you spoke.”

Inej frowned. She’d wanted to be silent so she had been. What did that matter?

“Bells on your ankles,” Kaz said, gesturing to her costume, “but I didn’t hear you. Purple silks and spots painted on your shoulders, but I didn’t see you. And I see everything.” She shrugged, and he cocked his head to one side. “Were you trained as a dancer?”

“An acrobat.” She paused. “My family … we’re all acrobats.”

“High wire?”

“And swings. Juggling. Tumbling.”

“Did you work with a net?”

“Only when I was very little.”

“Good. There aren’t any nets in Ketterdam. Have you ever been in a fight?”

She shook her head.

“Killed someone?”

Her eyes widened. “No.”

“Ever think about it?”

She paused and then crossed her arms. “Every night.”

“That’s a start.”

“I don’t want to kill people, not really.”

“That’s a solid policy until people want to kill you. And in our line of work that happens a lot.”

Our line of work?”

“I want you to join the Dregs.”

“Doing what?”

“Gathering information. I need a spider to climb the walls of Ketterdam’s houses and businesses, to listen at windows and in the eaves. I need someone who can be invisible, who can become a ghost. Do you think you could do that?”

I’m already a ghost, she thought. I died in the hold of a slaver ship.

“I think so.”

“This city is full of rich men and women. You’re going to learn their habits, their comings and goings, the dirty things they do at night, the crimes they try to cover by day, their shoe sizes, their safe combinations, the toy they loved best as a child. And I’m going to use that information to take away their money.”

“What happens when you take their money and you become a rich man?”

Kaz’s mouth had quirked slightly at that. “Then you can steal my secrets, too.”

“This is why you bought me?”

The humor vanished from his face. “Per Haskell didn’t buy you. He paid off your indenture. That means you owe him money. A lot of it. But it’s a real contract. Here,” he said, removing Heleen’s document from his coat. “I want you to see something.”

“I don’t read Kerch.”

“It doesn’t matter. See these numbers? This is the price Heleen claims you borrowed from her for transport from Ravka. This is the money you’ve earned in her employ. And this is what you still owe her.”

“But … but that’s not possible. It’s more now than when I got here.”

“That’s right. She charged you for room, board, grooming.”

“She bought me,” Inej said, her anger rising despite herself. “I couldn’t even read what I was signing.”

“Slavery is illegal in Kerch. Indentures are not. I know this contract is a sham and any thinking judge would, too. Unfortunately, Heleen has many thinking judges in her pocket. Per Haskell is offering you a loan—no more, no less. Your contract will be in Ravkan. You’ll pay interest, but it won’t break you. And as long as you pay him a certain percentage every month, you’ll be free to come and go as you please.”