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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Move along,” he said gruffly. Then added, “I … I may be at the party later.”

Nina ran a finger down his arm. “I’ll save you a dance.”

He grinned like a fool, then cleared his throat, and his stern expression fell back into place. Saints, Inej thought, it must be exhausting to be so stolid all the time. He glanced cursorily at Inej’s papers, his mind still clearly on the prospect of unwrapping Nina’s layers of blue-green chiffon. He waved her past, but as Inej stepped forward she stumbled.

“Wait,” said the guard.

She stopped. Nina looked back over her shoulder.

“What’s wrong with your shoes?”

“Just a bit big,” said Inej. “They stretched more than expected.”

“Show me your arms,” the guard said.

“Why?”

“Just do it,” the guard said harshly.

Inej pulled her arms free of the cloak and held them out, displaying the lumpy peacock feather tattoo.

A guard in captain’s stripes wandered over. “What is it?”

“She’s Suli, for sure, and she has the Menagerie tattoo, but it doesn’t look quite right.”

Inej shrugged. “I got a bad burn as a child.”

The captain gestured to a group of annoyed-looking partygoers gathered near the entry and surrounded by guards. “Anyone suspicious goes over there. Put her with them, and we’ll take her back to the checkpoint to have her papers reviewed.”

“I’ll miss the party,” said Inej.

The guard ignored her, seizing her arm and pulling her back toward the entry as the other people in line stared and whispered. Her heart began to pound.

Nina’s face was frightened, pale even beneath her powder, but there was nothing Inej could say to reassure her. She gave her the briefest nod. Go, she thought silently. It’s up to you now.

 

 

 

29

 

MATTHIAS

 

NINE BELLS

 

“What if I say no, Brekker?” It was mere posturing, Matthias knew that. The time for protest had long passed. They were already jogging down the gentle slope of the embassy roof toward the drüskelle sector, Wylan panting from exertion, Jesper loping along with ease, and Brekker keeping pace despite his crooked gait and lack of cane. But Matthias disliked how well this low thief could read him. “What if I don’t give you this last bit of myself and my honor?”

“You will, Helvar. Nina is on her way to the White Island right now. Are you really going to leave her stranded?”

“You presume a great deal.”

“Seems like the perfect amount to me.”

“These are the law courts, right?” Jesper said as they raced over the roof, catching glimpses of the elegant courtyards below, each built around a burbling fountain and dotted with rustling ice willows. “I guess if you’re going to be sentenced to death, this isn’t a bad place for it.”

“Water everywhere,” said Wylan. “Do the fountains symbolize Djel?”

“The wellspring,” mused Kaz, “where all sins are washed clean.”

“Or where they drown you and make you confess,” Wylan said.

Jesper snorted. “Wylan, your thoughts have taken a very dark turn. I fear the Dregs may be a bad influence.”