Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Inej heard a loud thunk, the plunk and clang of gears turning. The tank roared; the sound was thunder trapped in a metal drum, clamoring to be let out. It rolled back on its treads, then surged forward. They charged ahead, building momentum, faster and faster. The tank jounced—they must be out of the enclosure.
“Hold tight!” shouted Jesper and they slammed into the Ice Court’s legendary, impenetrable wall with a jaw-shattering crash. Inej and Wylan flew back against the cockpit.
They were through. They rumbled over the road, the smatter and pop of rifle fire fading behind them.
Inej heard a chuffing noise. She righted herself and looked up. Wylan was laughing.
He’d pushed out of the niche of the dome and was looking back at the Ice Court. When she joined him, she saw the hole in the ringwall—a dark blot in all that white stone, men running through, firing futilely at the tank’s dusty wake.
Wylan clutched his middle, still snorting laughter, and pointed downward. Trailing behind them was a banner, caught in the tank’s treads. Despite the smears of mud and gunpowder burns, Inej could still make out the words: STRYMAKT FJERDAN. Fjerdan might.
They emerged from the darkness, soaked, bruised, and gasping in the bright light of the moon. Nina’s entire body felt like it had been pummeled. The remnants of the baleen clustered in sticky gobs at the corners of her mouth. Her dress had frayed to nearly nothing, and if she hadn’t been so desperately, giddily happy to be alive and breathing, she might have worried about the fact that she was standing barefoot and practically naked in the gorge of a northern river, still a mile and a half from the harbor and safety. In the distance, she could hear the bells of the Ice Court ringing.
Kuwei was coughing water, and Matthias was dragging a limp, unconscious Kaz out of the shallows.
“Saints, is he breathing?” asked Nina.
Matthias flipped him onto his back none too gently and started pressing down on his chest with more force than was strictly necessary.
“I. Should. Let. You. Die,” Matthias muttered in time with his compressions.
Nina crawled over the rocks and knelt beside them, “Let me help before you crack his sternum. Does he have a pulse?” She pressed her fingers to his throat. “It’s there, but it’s fading. Get his shirt open.”
Matthias helped tear the drüskelle uniform away. Nina placed one hand on Kaz’s pale chest, focusing on his heart and forcing it to contract. She used the other to pinch his nose shut and push his mouth open as she tried to breathe air into his lungs. More skilled Corporalki could extract the water themselves, but she didn’t have time to fret over her lack of training.
“Will he live?” Kuwei asked.
I don’t know. She pressed her lips to Kaz’s again, timing her breaths with the beats she demanded of his heart. Come on, you rotten Barrel thug. You’ve fought your way out of tougher scrapes.