Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Van Eck stared at Kuwei Yul-Bo—or the boy he’d believed to be Kuwei Yul-Bo. Kaz watched him wrestle with the reality of Wylan’s voice coming from Kuwei’s mouth. Jesper looked just as incredulous. He’d get his explanation after Kaz got his money.
“It’s not possible,” said Van Eck.
It shouldn’t have been. Nina had been a passable Tailor at best—but under the influence of jurda parem, well, as Van Eck had once said, Things become possible that simply shouldn’t be. A nearly perfect replica of Kuwei Yul-Bo stood before them, but he had Wylan’s voice, his mannerisms, and—though Kaz could see the fear and hurt in his golden eyes—Wylan’s surprising courage, too.
After the battle in the Djerholm harbor, the merchling had come to Kaz to warn him that he couldn’t be used as leverage against his father. Wylan had been red-faced, barely able to speak the words of his supposed “affliction.” Kaz had only shrugged. Some men were poets. Some were farmers. Some were rich merchers. Wylan could draw a perfect elevation. He’d made a drill that could cut through Grisha glass from parts of a gate and scavenged bits of jewelry. So what if he couldn’t read?
Kaz had expected the boy to balk at the idea of being tailored to look like Kuwei. A transformation that extreme was beyond the power of any Grisha not using parem. “It may be permanent,” Kaz had warned him.
Wylan hadn’t cared. “I need to know. Once and for all, I need to know what my father really thinks of me.”
And now he did.
Van Eck goggled at Wylan, searching for some sign of his son’s features. “It can’t be.”
Wylan walked to Kaz’s side. “Maybe you can pray to Ghezen for understanding, Father.”
Wylan was a bit taller than Kuwei, his face a bit rounder. But Kaz had seen them side by side, and the likeness was extraordinary. Nina’s work, performed on the ship before that first extraordinary high had begun to wane, was nearly flawless.
Fury lashed across Van Eck’s features. “Worthless,” he hissed at Wylan. “I knew you were a fool, but a traitor as well?”
“A fool would have been waiting to be smashed to bits on that ship. And as for ‘traitor,’ you’ve called me worse in the last few minutes alone.”
“Just think,” Kaz said to Van Eck. “What if the real Kuwei Yul-Bo had been on the ship you just turned into toothpicks?”
Van Eck’s voice was calm, but an angry flush had crept up his neck. “Where is Kuwei Yul-Bo?”
“Let us safely off this island with our payment, and I’ll gladly tell you.”
“You have no way out of this, Brekker. Your little crew is no match for my Grisha.”
Kaz shrugged. “Kill us, and you’ll never find Kuwei.”
Van Eck appeared to consider this. Then he stepped back. “Guards to me!” he shouted. “Kill everyone but Brekker!”
Kaz knew the instant he made his mistake. They’d all known it might come to this. He should have trusted his crew. His eyes should have stayed trained on Van Eck. Instead, in that moment of threat, when he should have thought only of the fight, he looked at Inej.