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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

The boy pulled his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. “He’s beyond your rescue. My father died when the Fjerdans tried to stop the Kerch from taking us out of Ahmrat Jen.” His voice faltered. “He was killed in the cross fire.”

My father. Nina translated for Matthias as she tried to take in what this meant.

“Dead?” Matthias asked, and his broad shoulders slumped slightly. Nina knew what he was thinking—all they’d endured, all they’d done, and Yul-Bayur had been dead the whole time.

But the Fjerdans had kept his son alive for a reason. “They’re trying to make you recreate his formula,” she said.

“I helped him in the lab, but I don’t remember everything.” He bit his lip. “And I’ve been stalling.”

Whatever parem the Fjerdans had been using on the Grisha must have come from the original stock Bo Yul-Bayur had been bringing to the Kerch.

“Can you do it?” Nina asked. “Can you recreate the formula?”

The boy hesitated. “I think so.”

Nina and Matthias exchanged a glance.

Nina swallowed. She’d killed before. She’d killed tonight, even, but this was different. This boy wasn’t pointing a gun at her or trying to harm her. Murdering him—and it would be murder—would also mean betraying Inej, Kaz, Jesper, and Wylan. People who were risking their lives even now for a prize they’d never see. But then she thought of Nestor falling lifeless in the snow, of the cells full of Grisha lost in their own misery, all because of this drug.

She raised her arms. “I’m sorry,” she said. “If you succeed, there will be no end to the suffering you unleash.”

The boy’s gaze was steady, his chin jutting up stubbornly, as if he’d known this moment might come. The right thing to do was obvious. Kill this boy quickly, painlessly. Destroy the lab and everything in it. Eradicate the secret of jurda parem. If you wanted to kill a vine, you didn’t just keep cutting it back. You tore it from the ground by the roots. And yet her hands were shaking. Wasn’t this the way drüskelle thought? Destroy the threat, wipe it out, no matter that the person in front of you was innocent.

“Nina,” Matthias said softly, “he’s just a kid. He’s one of us.”

One of us. A boy not much younger than she was, caught up in a war he hadn’t chosen for himself. A survivor.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Kuwei.”

“Kuwei Yul-Bo,” she began. Did she intend to pass sentence? To apologize? To beg forgiveness? She’d never know. When she found her voice, all she said was, “How fast can you destroy this lab?”

“Fast,” he replied. He sliced a hand through the air, and the flames from beneath one of the beakers shot out in a blue arc.

Nina stared. “You’re Grisha. You’re an Inferni.”

Kuwei nodded. “Jurda parem was a mistake. My father was trying to find a way to help me hide my powers. He was a Fabrikator. A Grisha, as I am.”