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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Nina nodded, and Inej took her place to bandage Muzzen to look like Matthias.

“All right,” said Kaz. “Get Helvar on his feet.”

Nina crouched beside Matthias as Kaz stood over her with the bonelight. Even in sleep, Matthias’ features were troubled, his pale brows furrowed. She let her hands travel over the bruised line of his jaw, resisting the urge to linger there.

“Not the face, Nina. I need him mobile, not pretty. Heal him fast and only enough to get him walking for now. I don’t want him spry enough to vex us.”

Nina lowered the blanket and went to work. Just another body, she told herself. She was always getting late-night calls from Kaz to heal wounded members of the Dregs who he didn’t want to bring around to any legitimate medik—girls with stabbing punctures, boys with broken legs or bullets lodged inside them, victims of a scuffle with the stadwatch or another gang. Pretend it’s Muzzen, she told herself. Or Big Bolliger or some other fool. You don’t know this boy. And it was true. The boy she knew might have been the scaffold, but something new had been built upon it.

She touched his shoulder gently. “Helvar,” she said. He didn’t stir. “Matthias.”

A lump rose in her throat, and she felt the ache of tears threatening. She pressed a kiss to his temple. She knew that Kaz and the others were watching and that she was making an idiot of herself, but after so long he was finally here, in front of her, and so very broken. “Matthias,” she repeated.

“Nina?” His voice was raw but as lovely as she remembered.

“Oh, Saints, Matthias,” she whispered. “Please wake up.”

His eyes opened, groggily, palest blue. “Nina,” he said softly. His knuckles brushed her cheek; his rough hand cupped her face tentatively, disbelievingly. “Nina?”

Her eyes filled with tears. “Shhhh, Matthias. We’re here to get you out.”

Before she could blink he had hold of her shoulders and had pinned her to the ground.

“Nina,” he growled.

Then his hands closed over her throat.

 

 

 

PART TWO

 

SERVANT & LEVER

 

 

 

 

7

 

MATTHIAS

 

Matthias was dreaming again. Dreaming of her.

In all his dreams he hunted her, sometimes through the new green meadows of spring, but usually through the ice fields, dodging boulders and crevasses with unerring steps. Always he chased, and always he caught her. In the good dreams, he slammed her to the ground and throttled her, watching the life drain from her eyes, heart full of vengeance—finally, finally. In the bad dreams, he kissed her.

In these dreams, she didn’t fight him. She laughed as if the chase was nothing but a game, as if she’d known he would catch her, as if she’d wanted him to and there was no place she’d rather be than beneath him. She was welcoming and perfect in his arms. He kissed her, buried his face in the sweet hollow of her neck. Her curls brushed his cheeks, and he felt that if he could just hold her a little longer, every wound, every hurt, every bad thing would melt away.