Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Kaz finished with his buttons, pulled on a charcoal waistcoat, and tossed her something. It flashed in the air, and she caught it with one hand. When she opened her fist, she saw a massive ruby tie pin circled by golden laurel leaves.
“Fence it,” Kaz said.
“Whose is it?”
“Whose was it?”
Kaz stayed quiet. He picked up his coat, using a brush to clean the dried mud from it. “Someone who should have thought better before he had me jumped.”
“You heard me.”
“Someone got the drop on you?”
He looked at her and nodded once. Unease snaked through her and twisted into an anxious, rustling coil. No one got the better of Kaz. He was the toughest, scariest thing walking the alleys of the Barrel. She relied on it. So did he.
“It won’t happen again,” he promised.
Kaz pulled on a clean pair of gloves, snapped up his walking stick, and headed out the door. “I’ll be back in a few hours. Move the DeKappel we lifted from Van Eck’s house to the vault. I think it’s rolled up under my bed. Oh, and put in an order for a new hat.”
Kaz heaved a sigh as he braced himself for three painful flights of stairs. He looked over his shoulder and said, “Please, my darling Inej, treasure of my heart, won’t you do me the honor of acquiring me a new hat?”
Inej cast a meaningful glance at his cane. “Have a long trip down,” she said, then leapt onto the banister, sliding from one flight to the next, slick as butter in a pan.
Kaz followed East Stave toward the harbor, through the beginnings of the Barrel’s gambling district. The infamous tangle of narrow streets and minor waterways known as the Barrel was bracketed by two major canals, East Stave and West Stave, each catering to a particular clientele. The buildings of the Barrel were different from anywhere else in Ketterdam, bigger, wider, painted in every garish color, clamoring for attention from passersby—the Treasure Chest, the Golden Bend, Weddell’s Riverboat. The best of the betting halls were located farther north, in the prime real estate of the Lid, the section of the canal closest to the harbors, favorably situated to attract tourists and sailors coming into port.
But not the Crow Club, Kaz mused as he looked up at the black-and-crimson facade. It had taken a lot to lure tourists and risk-hungry merchers this far south for entertainment. Now the hour was coming up on four bells, and the crowds were still thick outside the club. Kaz watched the tide of people flowing past the portico’s black columns, beneath the watchful eye of the oxidized silver crow that spread its wings above the entrance. Bless the pigeons, he thought. Bless all you kind and generous folk ready to empty your wallets into the Dregs’ coffers and call it a good time.
He could see barkers out front shouting to potential customers, offering free drinks, hot pots of coffee, and the fairest deal in all of Ketterdam. He acknowledged them with a nod and pressed farther north.