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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“My condolences.”

“It has yet to surface anywhere on the world market.”

“Maybe your thief already had a buyer lined up.”

“A possibility, of course. But I’m inclined to believe that the thief took it for a different reason.”

“What would that be?”

“Just to prove that he could.”

“Seems like a stupid risk to me.”

“Well, who can guess at the motives of thieves?”

“Not me, certainly.”

“From what I know of the Ice Court, whoever stole my DeKappel is exactly who I need for this job.”

“Then you’d be better off hiring him. Or her.”

“Indeed. But I’ll have to settle for you.”

Van Eck held Kaz’s gaze as if he hoped to find a confession written between his eyes. At last, Van Eck asked, “We have a deal then?”

“Not so fast. What about the Healer?”

Van Eck looked baffled. “Who?”

“You said you gave the drug to a Grisha from each Order. Mikka’s a Tidemaker—he’s your Etherealnik. The Fabrikator who mocked up that gold was a Materialnik. So what happened to the Corporalnik? The Healer?”

Van Eck winced slightly, but simply said, “Will you accompany me, Mister Brekker?”

Warily, keeping one eye on Mikka and the guards, Kaz followed Van Eck out of the library and down the hall. The house dripped mercher wealth—walls paneled in dark wood, floors tiled in clean black and white, all in good taste, all perfectly restrained and impeccably crafted. But it had the feel of a graveyard. The rooms were deserted, the curtains drawn, the furniture covered in white sheets so that each shadowy chamber they passed looked like some kind of forgotten seascape cluttered with icebergs.

Hoede. Now the name clicked into place. There’d been some kind of incident at Hoede’s mansion on the Geldstraat last week. The whole place had been cordoned off and crawling with stadwatch. Kaz had heard rumors of a firepox outbreak, but even Inej hadn’t been able to learn more.

“This is Councilman Hoede’s house,” Kaz said, skin crawling. He wanted no part of a plague, but the merch and his guards didn’t seem remotely concerned. “I thought this place was under quarantine.”

“What happened here is no danger to us. And if you do your job, Mister Brekker, it never will be.”

Van Eck led him through a door and into a manicured garden, thick with the new nectar scent of early crocuses. The smell hit Kaz like a blow to the jaw. Memories of Jordie were already too fresh in his mind, and for a moment, Kaz wasn’t walking through the canal-side garden of a rich merch, he was knee-deep in spring grasses, hot sun beating down on his cheeks, his brother’s voice calling him home.

Kaz gave himself a shake. I need a mug of the darkest, bitterest coffee I can find, he thought. Or maybe a real punch to the jaw.

Van Eck was leading him to a boathouse that faced the canal. The light filtering out between its shuttered windows cast patterns on the garden path. A single city guard stood at attention beside the door as Van Eck slid a key from his pocket and into the heavy lock. Kaz put his sleeve up to his mouth as the stink from the closed-up room reached him—urine, excrement. So much for spring crocuses.