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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Jesper was right. If you’re reading this, then you know how much I wish to have you home. Every letter had been a slap in the face to Wylan, a kind of cruel joke.

“He’s your son,” Jesper said.

“No, he is a mistake. One soon to be corrected. My lovely young wife is carrying a child, and be it boy or girl or creature with horns, that child will be my heir, not some soft-pated idiot who cannot read a hymnal, let alone a ledger, not some fool who would make the Van Eck name a laughingstock.”

“You’re the fool,” Jesper snarled. “He’s smarter than most of us put together, and he deserves a better father than you.”

“Deserved,” amended Van Eck. He blew the whistle twice.

The Tidemakers didn’t hesitate. Before anyone could draw breath to protest, two huge walls of water rose and shot toward the Ferolind. They crushed the ship between them with a resonant boom, sending debris flying.

Jesper screamed in rage and raised his guns.

“Jesper!” Kaz commanded. “Stand down!”

“He killed them,” Jesper said, face contorted. “He killed Wylan and Nina!”

Matthias laid a hand on his arm. “Jesper,” he said calmly. “Be still.”

Jesper looked back at the rocking waves, at the broken bits of mast and torn sail where a ship had been only seconds before. “I don’t … I don’t understand.”

“I confess to being a bit shocked, too, Mister Brekker,” said Van Eck. “No tears? No righteous protests for your lost crew? They raise you cold in the Barrel.”

“Cold and cautious,” said Kaz.

“Not cautious enough, it seems. At least you won’t live to regret your mistakes.”

“Tell me, Van Eck. Will you do penance? Ghezen frowns on broken contracts.”

Van Eck’s nostrils flared. “What have you given to the world, Mister Brekker? Have you created wealth? Prosperity? No. You take from honest men and women and serve only yourself. Ghezen shows his favor to those who are deserving, to those who build cities, not the rats who eat away at their foundations. He has blessed me and my dealings. You will perish, and I will prosper. That is Ghezen’s will.”

“There’s just one problem, Van Eck. You’ll need Kuwei Yul-Bo to do it.”

“And how will you take him from me? You are outgunned and surrounded.”

“I don’t need to take him from you. You never had him. That’s not Kuwei Yul-Bo.”

“A sorry bluff at best.”

“I’m not big on bluffing, am I, Inej?”

“Not as a rule.”

Van Eck’s lip curled. “And why is that?”

“Because he’d rather cheat,” said the boy who was not Kuwei Yul-Bo in perfect, unaccented Kerch.

Van Eck startled at the sound of his voice, and Jesper flinched.

The Shu boy held out a hand. “Pay up, Kaz.”

Kaz sighed. “I do hate to lose a wager. You see, Van Eck, Wylan bet me that you would have no qualms about ending his life. Call me sentimental, but I didn’t believe a father could be so callous.”