Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
She moaned as they hit the ground.
“Did we win?”
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
He must be running. Her body jounced painfully against his chest with every lurching step. He couldn’t carry her and use his cane.
“I don’t want to die.”
“I’ll do my best to make other arrangements for you.”
She closed her eyes.
“Keep talking, Wraith. Don’t slip away from me.”
“But it’s what I do best.”
He clutched her tighter. “Just make it to the schooner. Open your damn eyes, Inej.”
She tried. Her vision was blurring, but she could make out a pale, shiny scar on Kaz’s neck, right beneath his jaw. She remembered the first time she’d seen him at the Menagerie. He paid Tante Heleen for information—stock tips, political pillow talk, anything the Menagerie’s clients blabbed about when drunk or giddy on bliss. He never visited Heleen’s girls, though plenty would have been happy to take him up to their rooms. They claimed he gave them the shivers, that his hands were permanently stained with blood beneath those black gloves, but she’d recognized the eagerness in their voices and the way they tracked him with their eyes.
One night, as he’d passed her in the parlor, she’d done a foolish thing, a reckless thing. “I can help you,” she’d whispered. He’d glanced at her, then proceeded on his way as if she’d said nothing at all. The next morning, she’d been called to Tante Heleen’s parlor. She’d been sure another beating was coming or worse, but instead Kaz Brekker had been standing there, leaning on his crow-head cane, waiting to change her life.
“I can help you,” she said now.
“Help me with what?”
She couldn’t remember. There was something she was supposed to tell him. It didn’t matter anymore.
“Talk to me, Wraith.”
“You came back for me.”
“I protect my investments.”
Investments. “I’m glad I’m bleeding all over your shirt.”
“I’ll put it on your tab.”
Now she remembered. He owed her an apology. “Say you’re sorry.”
“Just say it.”
She didn’t hear his reply. The world had grown very dark indeed.
“Get us out of here,” Kaz shouted as soon as he limped aboard the schooner with Inej in his arms. The sails were already trimmed, and they were on their way out of the harbor in moments, though not nearly as fast as he would have liked. He knew he should have tried to secure some Squallers for the journey, but they were hell to come by.
There was chaos on deck, people shouting and trying to get the schooner into open sea as quickly as possible.
“Specht!” he yelled at the man he’d chosen to captain the vessel, a sailor with a talent for knife work who had fallen on hard times and ended up stuck in the lower ranks of the Dregs. “Get your crew in shape before I start cracking skulls.”
Specht saluted—then seemed to catch himself. He wasn’t in the navy any longer, and Kaz wasn’t a commanding officer.