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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Inej was glad she hadn’t had to ask. She pushed up her sleeve, baring the peacock feather and mottled skin beneath it.

It took the barest second, the softest brush of Nina’s fingertips. The itch was acute but passed quickly. When the prickling faded, the skin of Inej’s forearm was perfect—almost too smooth and flawless, like it was the one new part of her.

Inej touched the soft skin. Just like that it was done. If only every wound could be banished so easily.

Nina kissed Inej’s cheek. “I’m going to find Matthias before things get bad.”

But as she walked away, Inej saw Nina had another reason to depart. Kaz was standing in the shadows near the mast. He had a heavy coat on and was leaning on his crow’s head cane—he looked almost like himself again. Inej’s knives would be waiting in the hold with her other belongings. She’d missed her claws.

Kaz murmured a few words to Nina, and the Grisha reared back in surprise. Inej couldn’t make out the rest of what they said, but she could tell the exchange was tense before Nina made an exasperated sound and vanished belowdecks.

“What did you say to Nina?” Inej asked when he joined her at the rail.

“I have a job I need her to perform.”

“She’s about to go through a terrifying ordeal—”

“And work still needs to get done.”

Pragmatic Kaz. Why let empathy get in the way? Maybe Nina would be glad for the distraction.

They stood together, gazing out at the waves, silence stretching between them.

“We’re alive,” he said at last.

“It seems you prayed to the right god.”

“Or traveled with the right people.”

Inej shrugged. “Who chooses our paths?” He said nothing, and she had to smile. “No sharp retort? No laughing at my Suli proverbs?”

He ran his gloved thumb over the rail. “No.”

“How will we meet the Merchant Council?”

“When we’re a few miles out, Rotty and I will row to harbor in the longboat. We’ll find a runner to get word to Van Eck and make the exchange on Vellgeluk.”

Inej shivered. The island was popular with slavers and smugglers. “The Council’s choice or yours?”

“Van Eck suggested it.”

Inej frowned. “Why does a mercher know about Vellgeluk?”

“Trade is trade. Maybe Van Eck isn’t quite the upstanding merch he seems.”

They were silent for a while. Finally, she said, “I’m going to learn to sail.”

Kaz’s brow furrowed, and he cast her a surprised glance. “Really? Why?”

“I want to use my money to hire a crew and outfit a ship.” Saying the words wrapped her breath up in an anxious spool. Her dream still felt fragile. She didn’t want to care what Kaz thought, but she did. “I’m going to hunt slavers.”

“Purpose,” he said thoughtfully. “You know you can’t stop them all.”

“If I don’t try, I won’t stop any.”

“Then I almost pity the slavers,” Kaz said. “They have no idea what’s coming for them.”