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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Muzzen hummed happily as he rowed. Nina knew him only in passing—a bouncer and an enforcer, like the ill-fated Big Bolliger. She avoided the Slat and the Crow Club as much as possible. Kaz had branded her a snob for it, but she didn’t much care what Kaz Brekker had to say about her tastes. She glanced back at Muzzen’s huge shoulders. She wondered if Kaz had just brought him along to row or because he expected trouble tonight.

Of course there will be trouble. They were breaking into a prison. It wasn’t going to be a party. So why are we dressed for one?

She’d met Kaz and Muzzen at Fifth Harbor at midnight, and when she’d boarded the little rowboat, Kaz had handed her a blue silk cape and a matching veil—the trappings of the Lost Bride, one of the costumes pleasure seekers liked to don when they sampled the excesses of the Barrel. He’d had on a big orange cape with a Madman’s mask perched atop his head; Muzzen had worn the same. All they needed was a stage, and they could perform one of those dark, savage little scenes from the Komedie Brute that the Kerch seemed to find so hilarious.

Now Kaz gave her a nudge. “Lower your veil.” He pulled down his own mask; the long nose and bulging eyes looked doubly monstrous in the fog.

She was about to give in and ask why the costumes were necessary when she realized that they weren’t alone. Through the shifting mists, she caught sight of other boats moving through the water, carrying the shapes of other Madmen, other Brides, a Mister Crimson, a Scarab Queen. What business did these people have at Hellgate?

Kaz had refused to tell her the specifics of his plan, and when she’d insisted, he’d simply said, “Get in the boat.” That was Kaz all over. He knew he didn’t have to tell her anything because the lure of Matthias’ freedom had already overridden every bit of her good sense. She’d been trying to talk Kaz into breaking Matthias out of jail for the better part of a year. Now he could offer Matthias more than freedom, but the price would be far higher than she had expected.

Only a few lights were visible as they approached the rocky shoal of Terrenjel. The rest was darkness and crashing waves.

“Couldn’t you just bribe the warden?” she muttered to Kaz.

“I don’t need him knowing he has something I want.”

When the boat’s hull scraped sand, two men rushed forward to haul them farther onto land. The other boats she’d seen were making ground in the same cove, being pulled ashore by more grunting and cursing men. Their features were vague through the gauze of her veil, but Nina glimpsed the tattoos on their forearms: a feral cat curled into a crown—the symbol of the Dime Lions.

“Money,” one of them said as they clambered out of the boat.

Kaz handed over a stack of kruge and once it was counted, the Dime Lion waved them on.