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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

And then, through the musk of animals and the stink of their waste, he smelled the clean tang of salt water. He heard the rush of waves. He slipped and discovered the stones beneath his feet were damp. He was deeper in the tunnel than he’d ever been permitted to go. It must lead to the sea. Whatever Nina and her people intended, they really were taking him out of the bowels of Hellgate.

In the green light from the orbs carried by Kaz and the bronze girl, he spotted a tiny boat moored up ahead. It looked like a guard was seated in it, but he raised a hand and waved them forward.

“You were early, Jesper,” Kaz said as he nudged Matthias toward the boat.

“I was on time.”

“For you, that’s early. Next time you plan to impress me give me some warning.”

“The animals are out, and I found you a boat. This is when a thank-you would be in order.”

“Thank you, Jesper,” said Nina.

“You’re very welcome, gorgeous. See, Kaz? That’s how the civilized folk do.”

Matthias was only half listening. The fingers of his left hand had started to tingle as sensation returned. He couldn’t fight all of them, not in this state and not when they were armed. But Kaz and the boy in the boat, Jesper, looked to be the only ones with guns. Unhook the rope, disable Jesper. He’d have a gun and possession of the boat. And Nina can stop your heart before you’ve taken hold of the oars, he reminded himself. So shoot her first. Put a bullet in her heart. Stay long enough to watch her fall and then be done with this place. He could do it. He knew he could. All he needed was a distraction.

The bronze girl was standing just to his right. She barely reached his shoulder. Even injured, he could knock her into the water without losing his footing or doing her any real harm.

Drop the girl. Free the boat. Disable the shooter. Kill Nina. Kill Nina. Kill Nina. He took a deep breath and threw his weight at the bronze girl.

She stepped aside as if she’d known he was coming, languidly hooking her heel behind his ankle.

Matthias let out a loud grunt as he landed hard on the stones.

“Matthias—” Nina said, stepping forward. He scrambled backward, nearly landing himself in the water. If she laid hands on him again, he’d lose his mind. Nina halted, the hurt on her face unmistakable. She had no right.

“Clumsy, this one,” the bronze girl said impassively.

“Put him under, Nina,” commanded Kaz.

“Don’t,” Matthias protested, panic surging through him.

“You’re dumb enough to capsize the boat.”

“Stay away from me, witch,” Matthias growled at Nina.

Nina gave him a tight nod. “With pleasure.”

She lifted her hands, and Matthias felt his eyelids grow heavy as she dragged him into unconsciousness. “Kill you,” he mumbled.

“Sleep well.” Her voice was a wolf, dogging his steps. It chased him into the dark.