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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“The Council will have my head.”

“They’ll sing your praises once you have Bo Yul-Bayur safely hidden away wherever you intend to keep him.”

“Novyi Zem.”

Kaz shrugged. “You can put him in a coffeepot for all I care.”

Van Eck’s gaze locked on his. “You’ve seen what this drug can do. I assure you it is just the beginning. If jurda parem is unleashed on the world, war is inevitable. Our trade lines will be destroyed, and our markets will collapse. Kerch will not survive it. Our hopes rest with you, Mister Brekker. If you fail, all the world will suffer for it.”

“Oh, it’s worse than that, Van Eck. If I fail, I don’t get paid.”

The look of disgust on the merch’s face was something that deserved its own DeKappel oil to commemorate it.

“Don’t look so disappointed. Just think how miserable you would have been to discover this canal rat had a patriotic streak. You might actually have had to uncurl that lip and treat me with something closer to respect.”

“Thank you for sparing me that discomfort,” Van Eck said disdainfully. He opened the door, then paused. “I do wonder what a boy of your intelligence might have amounted to under different circumstances.”

Ask Jordie, Kaz thought with a bitter pang. But he simply shrugged. “I’d just be stealing from a better class of sucker. Thirty million kruge.”

Van Eck nodded. “Thirty. The deal is the deal.”

“The deal is the deal,” Kaz said. They shook.

As Van Eck’s neatly manicured hand clasped Kaz’s leather-clad fingers, the merch narrowed his eyes.

“Why do you wear the gloves, Mister Brekker?”

Kaz raised a brow. “I’m sure you’ve heard the stories.”

Each more grotesque than the last.”

Kaz had heard them, too. Brekker’s hands were stained with blood. Brekker’s hands were covered in scars. Brekker had claws and not fingers because he was part demon. Brekker’s touch burned like brimstone—a single brush of his bare skin caused your flesh to wither and die.

“Pick one,” Kaz said as he vanished into the night, thoughts already turning to thirty million kruge and the crew he’d need to help him get it. “They’re all true enough.”

 

 

 

4

 

INEJ

 

Inej knew the moment Kaz entered the Slat. His presence reverberated through the cramped rooms and crooked hallways as every thug, thief, dealer, con man, and steerer came a little more awake. Per Haskell’s favored lieutenant was home.

The Slat wasn’t much, just another house in the worst part of the Barrel, three stories stacked tight on top of each other, crowned with an attic and a gabled roof. Most of the buildings in this part of the city had been built without foundations, many on swampy land where the canals were haphazardly dug. They leaned against each other like tipsy friends gathered at a bar, tilting at drowsy angles. Inej had visited plenty of them on errands for the Dregs, and they weren’t much better on the inside—cold and damp, plaster sliding from the walls, gaps in the windows wide enough to let in the rain and snow. But Kaz had spent his own money to have the Slat’s drafts shorn up and its walls insulated. It was ugly, crooked, and crowded, but the Slat was gloriously dry.