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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“So that’s what thirty million kruge looks like,” said Kaz.

Jesper gave a low whistle. “Hopefully, the longboat won’t sink.”

“Just you, Van Eck?” Kaz asked the man in merch black. “The rest of the Council couldn’t be bothered?”

So this was Jan Van Eck. He was leaner than Wylan, and his hairline was higher, but Jesper could definitely see the resemblance.

“The Council felt I was best suited to this task, as we’ve had dealings before.”

“Nice pin,” Kaz said with a glance at the ruby stuck to Van Eck’s tie. “Not as nice as the other one, though.”

Van Eck’s lips pursed slightly. “The other was an heirloom. Well?” he said to the Shu man beside him.

The Shu said, “That’s Kuwei Yul-Bo. It’s a year since I’ve seen him. He’s quite a bit taller now, but he’s the spitting image of his father.” He said something to Kuwei in Shu and gave a short bow.

Kuwei glanced at Kaz, then bowed in return. Jesper could see a sheen of sweat on his brow.

Van Eck smiled. “I will confess I am surprised, Mister Brekker. Surprised but delighted.”

“You didn’t think we’d succeed.”

“Let’s say I thought you were a long shot.”

“Is that why you hedged your bets?”

“Ah, so you’ve spoken to Pekka Rollins.”

“He’s quite a talker when you get him in the right frame of mind,” said Kaz, and Jesper remembered the blood on Kaz’s shirt at the prison. “He said you contracted him and the Dime Lions to go after Yul-Bayur for the Merchant Council as well.”

With a niggle of unease, Jesper wondered what else Rollins might have told Kaz.

Van Eck shrugged. “It was best to be safe.”

“And why should you care if a bunch of canal rats blow each other to bits in pursuit of a prize?”

“We knew the odds of either team succeeding were small. As a gambler, I hope you can understand.”

But Jesper had never thought of Kaz as a gambler. Gamblers left something to chance.

“Thirty million kruge will soothe my hurt feelings,” said Kaz.

Van Eck gestured to the guards behind him. They hefted the trunk and set it down in front of Kaz. He crouched beside it and opened the lid. Even from a distance, Jesper could see the stacks of bills in palest Kerch purple, emblazoned with the three flying fish, row after row of them, bound in paper bands sealed with wax.

Inej drew in a breath.

“Even your money is a peculiar color,” said Matthias.

Jesper wanted to run his hands over those glorious stacks. He wanted to take a bath in them. “I think my mouth just watered.”

Kaz pulled out one of the stacks and let his gloved thumb skim over it, then dug down another layer to make sure Van Eck hadn’t tried to bunk them.

“It’s all here,” he said.

He looked over his shoulder and waved Kuwei forward. The boy crossed the short distance, and Van Eck gestured him over to his side, giving him a pat on the back.