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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Nina?” Matthias whispered.

“Move,” Nina said, and she saw her voice in the air.

She sensed the Heartrender in the crowd, the movement of his throat as he swallowed his dose. He would be the first.

 

 

 

41

 

MATTHIAS

 

“Two … one…”

Matthias saw Nina’s pupils dilate. Her lips parted, and she pushed past him, stepping down from the tank. The air around her seemed to crackle, her skin glowing as if lit from within by something miraculous. As if she’d tapped a vein of Djel directly, and now the god’s power flowed through her.

She went for the Heartrender immediately. Nina flicked her wrist, and his eyes exploded in his head. He crumpled without a sound. “Be free,” she said.

Nina glided toward the soldiers. Matthias moved to protect her as he saw rifles raised. She lifted her hands. “Stop,” she said.

They froze.

“Lay down your arms.” As one they obeyed her.

“Sleep,” she commanded. Nina swept her hands in an arc, and the soldiers toppled without protest, row after row, stalks of wheat felled by an invisible scythe.

The air was eerily still. Slowly, Wylan and Inej climbed down from the tank. Jesper and the rest followed, and they stood in stunned silence, all language dissolved by what they’d witnessed, gazing out at the field of fallen bodies. It had happened so quickly.

There was no way to reach the harbor unless they walked over the soldiers. Without a word, they began to pick their way through, the hush broken only by the faraway bells of the Elderclock. Matthias laid his hand on Nina’s arm, and she released a little sigh, letting him lead her.

Beyond the quay, the docks were deserted. As the others headed toward the Ferolind, Matthias and Nina trailed behind. Matthias could see Rotty clinging to the mast, jaw slack with fear. Specht was waiting to unmoor the ship, and the look on his face was equally terrified.

“Matthias!”

He turned. A group of drüskelle stood on the quay, their uniforms soaked, their black hoods raised. They wore masks of dully gleaming gray chain mail over their faces, their features obscured by the mesh. But Matthias recognized Jarl Brum’s voice when he spoke.

“Traitor,” Brum said from behind his mask. “Betrayer of your country and your god. You will not leave this harbor alive. None of you will.” His men must have gotten him out of the treasury after the explosion. Had they followed Matthias and Nina to the river beneath the ash? Had there been horses or more tanks stationed in the upper town?

Nina raised her hands. “For Matthias, I will give you one chance to leave us be.”

“You cannot control us, witch,” said Brum. “Our hoods, our masks, every stitch of clothing we wear is reinforced with Grisha steel. Corecloth created to our specifications by Grisha Fabrikators under our control and designed for just this purpose. You cannot force us to your will. You cannot harm us. This game is at an end.”