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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“I am their commander.”

Nina widened her eyes. “Then you must have bested many Grisha in battle.”

“There is little honor in a fight with such a creature. I’d rather face a thousand honest men with swords than one of those deceitful witches with unnatural powers.”

And when you arrive with your repeating rifles and your tanks, when you set upon children and helpless villages, should we not use the weapons we possess? Nina bit down hard on her inner cheek.

“There are Grisha in Kerch, are there not?” Brum asked.

“So I’ve heard, but I’ve never seen one at the Menagerie or in the Barrel. At least not that I know of.” Could she risk a mention of jurda parem? How would the girl she was pretending to be have such knowledge? She leaned into him, curling her lips into a wicked, slightly guilty smile, and hoping she looked eager for excitement rather than information. “I know they’re dreadful, but … they do make me shiver. I’ve heard their powers have no limits.”

“Well…” the drüskelle hemmed.

Nina could see he was debating something with himself. Best to stage a strategic retreat. She shrugged. “But perhaps that’s not your area of expertise.” She glanced over his shoulder and caught the eye of a young nobleman in pale gray silk.

“Would you like to see a Grisha tonight?”

Her gaze snapped back to Brum. All I need is a mirror. Did Brum have Grisha prisoners stashed somewhere? What she wanted was to hear all about Bo Yul-Bayur and jurda parem, but this might be a start. And if she could get Brum alone …

She swatted his chest. “You’re teasing.”

“Would your mistress notice if you slipped away?”

“That’s why we’re here, no? To slip away?”

He offered his arm. “Then shall we?”

She smiled and looped her hand over his forearm. He patted it gently. “Good girl.”

She wanted to gag. Maybe I’ll make you impotent, Nina thought grimly, as he led her out of the ballroom and through a terraced forest of ice sculptures—a wolf with a screaming double eagle in its jaws, a serpent wrapped around a bear.

“How … primal,” she murmured.

Brum chuckled and patted her hand again. “We are a culture of warriors.”

Would it be so dreadful to just kill him now? she considered as they strolled. Make it look like a heart attack? Leave him here in the cold? But she could endure Jarl Brum leering down the front of her dress for a little while longer if it meant keeping jurda parem from the world.

Besides, if Bo Yul-Bayur was on this Saintsforsaken island, Brum was the one to get her to him. The guards at the ballroom doors had let them past with little more than a raised brow and a smirk.

Directly ahead of them, Nina saw a vast, silvery tree at the center of a circular courtyard, its boughs spreading over the stones in a sparkling canopy. The sacred ash, Nina realized. Then they must be in the middle of the island. The courtyard was surrounded on both sides by arched colonnades. If Matthias’ and Wylan’s drawings had been correct, the building directly beyond it was the treasury.