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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

She moved on to the next aisle of crates, following a mental map of the other attackers’ positions. First, she took down a girl holding a massive, unwieldy rifle, then skewered the man who was supposed to be watching her flank. His tattoo showed five birds in a wedge formation: Razorgulls. Just how many gangs were they up against?

The next corner was blind. Should she scale the cargo containers to check her position or risk what might be waiting for her on the other side? She took a deep breath, sank low, and slipped around the corner in a lunge. Tonight her Saints were kind—two men were firing on the docks with their backs to her. She dispatched them with two quick thrusts of her blades. Six bodies, six lives taken. She was going to have to do a lot of penance, but she’d helped even the odds a bit in the Dregs’ favor. Now, she needed to get to the schooner.

She wiped her knives on her leather breeches and returned them to their sheaths, then backed up and took a running start at the nearest cargo container. As her fingers gripped the rim, she felt a piercing pain beneath her arm. She turned in time to see Oomen’s ugly face split in a determined grimace. All the intelligence she had gathered on the Black Tips came back to her in a sickening rush—Oomen, Geels’ shambling enforcer, the one who could crush skulls with his bare hands.

He yanked her down and grabbed the front of her vest, giving the knife in her side a sharp twist. Inej fought not to black out.

As her hood fell back, he exclaimed, “Ghezen! I’ve got Brekker’s Wraith.”

“You should have aimed … higher,” Inej gasped. “Missed my heart.”

“Don’t want you dead, Wraith,” he said. “You’re quite the prize. Can’t wait to hear all the gossip you’ve gathered for Dirtyhands, and all his secrets, too. I love a good story.”

“I can tell you how this one ends,” she said on an unsteady breath. “But you’re not going to like it.”

“That so?” He slammed her up against the crate, and pain crashed through her. Her toes only brushed the ground as blood spurted from the wound at her side. Oomen’s forearm was braced against her shoulders, keeping her arms pinned.

“Do you know the secret to fighting a scorpion?”

He laughed. “Talking nonsense, Wraith? Don’t die too quick. Need to get you patched up.”

She crossed one ankle behind the other and heard a reassuring click. She wore the pads at her knees for crawling and climbing, but there was another reason, too—namely, the tiny steel blades hidden in each of them.

“The secret,” she panted, “is to never take your eyes off the scorpion’s tail.” She brought her knee up, jamming the blade between Oomen’s legs.

He shrieked and released her, hands going to his bleeding groin.

She staggered back down the row of crates. She could hear men shouting to each other, the pop of gunfire coming in smatters and bursts now. Who was winning? Had the others made it to the schooner? A wave of dizziness rolled over her.