Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
“You don’t remember me at all, do you?” the boy asked.
“Not just yet.” That black thing flickered behind Brekker’s eyes.
“The deal is the deal,” said Rollins, eager to be done with this strange lot.
“The deal is the deal.”
When they’d gone, Rollins peered through the big glass window that overlooked the gambling floor of the Emerald Palace.
“An unexpectedly profitable end to the day, Doughty.”
Doughty grunted agreement, surveying the action taking place at the tables below—dice, cards, Makker’s Wheel, fortunes won and lost, and a delicious slice of all of it came to Rollins.
“What’s with those gloves he wears?” the bruiser asked.
“A bit of theater, I suspect. Who knows? Who cares?”
Rollins watched Brekker and his crew moving through the crowded gambling hall. They opened the doors to the street, and for a brief moment, they were silhouetted against the lamplight in their masks and capes—a cripple trailed by a bunch of kids in costumes. Some gang. Brekker was a wily thief and tough enough, Pekka supposed, inventive, too. But unlike those poor stooges at the Ice Court, Van Eck would be ready for Brekker. The boy was going into a real battle. He didn’t stand a chance.
Rollins reached for his watch. It had to be about time for the dealers to change shifts, and he liked to supervise them himself.
“Son of a bitch,” he exclaimed a second later.
“What is it, boss?”
Rollins held up his watch chain. A turnip was hanging from the fob where his diamond-studded timepiece should have been. “That little bastard—” Then a thought came to him. He reached for his wallet. It was gone. So was his tie pin, the Kaelish coin pendant he wore for luck, and the gold buckles on his shoes. Rollins wondered if he should check the fillings in his teeth.
“He picked your pocket?” Doughty asked incredulously.
No one got one over on Pekka Rollins. No one dared. But Brekker had, and Rollins wondered if that was just the beginning.
“Doughty,” he said, “I think we’d best say a prayer for Jan Van Eck.”
“You think Brekker can best him?”
“It’s a long shot, but if he’s not careful, I think that merch might walk himself right onto the gallows and let Brekker tighten the noose.” Rollins sighed. “We better hope Van Eck kills that boy.”
“Because otherwise I’ll have to.”
Rollins straightened the knot of his pinless tie and headed down to the casino floor. The problem of Kaz Brekker could wait to be solved another day. Right now there was money to be made.
I have a degenerative condition called osteonecrosis. This basically translates to “bone death,” which sounds kind of gothy and romantic, but actually means that every step I take is painful and that I sometimes need to walk with a cane. It’s no coincidence I chose to create a protagonist struggling with similar symptoms, and I often felt that Kaz and I were limping along this road together. We wouldn’t have made it to “The End” without a lot of wonderful people.