Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Water had a voice. It was something every canal rat knew, anyone who had slept beneath a bridge or weathered a winter storm in an overturned boat—water could speak with the voice of a lover, a long-lost brother, even a god. That was the key, and once Kaz recognized it, it was as if someone had laid a perfect blueprint over the Ice Court and its workings. If Kaz was right, Djel would spit them out into the gorge. Assuming they didn’t drown first.
And that was a very real possibility. The baleen only provided enough air for ten minutes, maybe twelve if they could keep calm, which he doubted they would. His own heart was hammering, and his lungs already felt tight. His body was numb and aching from the temperature of the water, and the darkness was impenetrable. There was nothing but the dull thunder of the water and a sickening sense of tumbling.
He hadn’t been sure of the speed of the water, but he knew damn well the numbers were close. Numbers had always been his allies—odds, margins, the art of the wager. But now he had to rely on something more. What god do you serve? Inej had asked him. Whichever will grant me good fortune. Fortunate people didn’t end up racing ass over teakettle beneath an ice moat in hostile territory.
What would be waiting when they fished up in the gorge? Who would be waiting? Jesper and Wylan had managed to engage Black Protocol. But had they managed to do the rest? Would he see Inej on the other side?
Survive. Survive. Survive. It was the way he’d lived his life, moment to moment, breath to breath, since that terrible morning when he’d woken to find that Jordie was still dead and he was still very much alive.
Kaz tumbled through the dark. He was colder than he’d ever been. He thought of Inej’s hand on his cheek. His mind had gone jagged at the sensation, a riot of confusion. It had been terror and disgust and—in all of that clamor—desire, a wish that lingered still, the hope that she would touch him again.
When he was fourteen, Kaz had put together a crew to rob the bank that had helped Hertzoon prey on him and Jordie. His crew got away with fifty thousand kruge, but he’d broken his leg dropping down from the rooftop. The bone didn’t set right, and he’d limped ever after. So he’d found himself a Fabrikator and had his cane made. It became a declaration. There was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken. The cane became a part of the myth he built. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he came from. He’d become Kaz Brekker, cripple and confidence man, bastard of the Barrel.
The gloves were his one concession to weakness. Since that night among the bodies and the swim from the Reaper’s Barge, he had not been able to bear the feeling of skin against skin. It was excruciating to him, revolting. It was the only piece of his past that he could not forge into something dangerous.