Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
“Demjin,” muttered Helvar. Kaz didn’t speak Fjerdan, but that word he knew. Demon.
Hardly. He’d learned sleight of hand from the cardsharps and monte runners on East Stave, and spent hours practicing it in front of a muddy mirror he’d bought with his first week’s pay.
Kaz knocked his cane gently against Helvar’s jaw. “For every trick you’ve seen, I know a thousand more. You think a year in Hellgate hardened you up? Taught you to fight? Hellgate would have been paradise to me as a child. You move like an ox—you’d last about two days on the streets where I grew up. This was your one free pass, Helvar. Don’t test me again. Nod so I know you understand.”
Helvar pressed his lips together and nodded once.
“Good. I think we’ll shackle those feet tonight.”
Kaz rose, snatched his new hat from the desk where he’d left it, and gave the Fjerdan one last kick to the kidneys for good measure. Sometimes the big ones didn’t know when to stay down.
Over the next day, Inej saw Kaz begin to move the pieces of his scheme into position. She’d been privy to his consultations with every member of the crew, but she knew she was seeing only fragments of his plan. That was the game Kaz always played.
If he had doubts about what they were attempting, it didn’t show, and Inej wished she shared his certainty. The Ice Court had been built to withstand an onslaught of armies, assassins, Grisha, and spies. When she’d said as much to Kaz, he’d simply replied, “But it hasn’t been built to keep us out.”
His confidence unnerved her. “What makes you think we can do this? There will be other teams out there, trained soldiers and spies, people with years of experience.”
“This isn’t a job for trained soldiers and spies. It’s a job for thugs and thieves. Van Eck knows it, and that’s why he brought us in.”
“You can’t spend his money if you’re dead.”
“I’ll acquire expensive habits in the afterlife.”
“There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance.”
He’d turned his back on her then, giving each of his gloves a sharp tug. “And when I want a sermon on that, I know who to come to. If you want out, just say so.”
Her spine had straightened, her own pride rising to her defense. “Matthias isn’t the only irreplaceable member of this crew, Kaz. You need me.”
“I need your skills, Inej. That’s not the same thing. You may be the best spider crawling around the Barrel, but you’re not the only one. You’d do well to remember it if you want to keep your share of the haul.”
She hadn’t said a word, hadn’t want to show just how angry he’d made her, but she’d left his office and hadn’t said a thing to him since.
Now, as she headed toward the harbor, she wondered what kept her on this path.