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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

What was wrong with her? She was the Wraith. She had nothing to fear from Tante Heleen any longer. Per Haskell had bought out her indenture. He’d freed her. She wasn’t a slave; she was a valued member of the Dregs, a thief of secrets, the best in the Barrel.

She hurried past the light and music of the Lid, and finally the Ketterdam harbors came into view, the sights and sounds of the Barrel fading as she neared the water. There were no crowds to bump against her here, no cloying perfumes or wild masks. She took a long, deep breath. From this vantage she could just see the top of one of the Tidemaker towers, where lights always burned. The thick obelisks of black stone were manned day and night by a select group of Grisha who kept the tides permanently high over the land bridge that otherwise would have connected Kerch to Shu Han. Even Kaz had never been able to learn the identities of the Council of Tides, where they lived, or how their loyalty to Kerch had been guaranteed. They watched the harbors, too, and if a signal went up from the harbormaster or a dockworker, they’d alter the tides and keep anyone from heading out to sea. But on this night, there would be no signal. The right bribes had been paid to the right officials, and their ship should be ready to sail.

Inej broke into a jog, heading for the loading docks at Fifth Harbor. She was very late—she wasn’t looking forward to Kaz’s disapproving frown when she made it to the pier.

She was glad for the peace of the docks, but they seemed almost too still after the noise and chaos of the Barrel. Here, the rows of crates and cargo containers were stacked high on either side of her—three, sometimes four, on top of one another. They made this part of the docks feel like a labyrinth. A cold sweat broke out at the base of her spine. The run-in with Tante Heleen had left her shaken, and the heft of the daggers in her hands wasn’t enough to soothe her rattled nerves. She knew she should get used to carrying a pistol, but the weight threw off her balance, and guns could jam or lock in a bad moment. Little lynx. Her blades were reliable. And they made her feel like she’d been born with proper claws.

A light mist was rising off the water, and through it, Inej saw Kaz and the others waiting near the pier. They all wore the nondescript clothes of sailors—roughspun trousers, boots, thick wool coats and hats. Even Kaz had foregone his immaculately cut suit in favor of a bulky wool coat. The thick sheaf of his dark hair was combed back, the sides trimmed short as always. He looked like a dockworker, or a boy setting sail on his first adventure. It was almost as if she were peering through a lens at some other, more pleasant reality.