Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
“One hour, maybe two,” Nina said without turning.
Inej halted in shock. “You heard me approach?” No one heard the Wraith, especially over the sound of the wind and sea.
“Don’t worry. It wasn’t those silent feet that gave you away. I can hear your pulse, your breathing.”
“And you knew it was me?”
“Every heart sounds different. I never realized that before.”
Inej joined her at the rail and handed over Nina’s coat. The Grisha put it on, though the cold didn’t seem to be bothering her. Above them, the stars shone bright between silver-seeded drifts of cloud. Inej was ready for dawn, ready for this long night to be over, and the journey, too. She was surprised to find she was eager to see Ketterdam again. She wanted an omelet, a mug of too-sweet coffee. She wanted to hear the rain on the rooftops and sit snug and warm in her tiny room at the Slat. There were adventures to come, but they could wait until she’d had a hot bath—maybe a few of them.
Nina buried her face in her coat’s woolen collar and said, “I wish you could see what I do. I can hear everybody on this ship, the blood rushing through their veins. I can hear the change in Kaz’s breathing when he looks at you.”
“You … you can?”
“It catches every time, like he’s never seen you before.”
“And what about Matthias?” Inej asked, eager to change the subject.
Nina raised a brow, unfooled. “Matthias is afraid for me, but his heart thumps a steady rhythm no matter what he’s feeling. So Fjerdan, so orderly.”
“I didn’t think you’d let those men live, back at the harbor.”
“I’m not sure it was the right thing to do. I’ll become one more Grisha horror story for them to tell their children.”
“Behave or Nina Zenik will get you?”
Nina considered. “Well, I do like the sound of that.”
Inej leaned back on the railing and peered at Nina. “You look radiant.”
“It won’t last.”
“It never does.” Then Inej’s smile faltered. “Are you afraid?”
“We’ll all be here with you.”
Nina took a wobbly breath and nodded.
Inej had made countless alliances in Ketterdam, but few friends. She rested her head against Nina’s shoulder. “If I were a Suli seer,” she said, “I could look into the future and tell you it will be all right.”
“Or that I’m going to die in agony.” Nina pressed her cheek against the top of Inej’s head. “Tell me something good anyway.”
“It will be all right,” Inej said. “You’ll survive this. And then you’re going to be very, very rich. You’ll sing sea shanties and drinking songs nightly in an East Stave cabaret, and you’ll bribe everyone to give you standing ovations after every song.”
Nina laughed softly. “Let’s buy the Menagerie.”
Inej grinned, thinking of the future and her little ship. “Let’s buy it and burn it down.”
They watched the waves for a while. “Ready?” Nina said.