Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Zoya Nazyalensky—a powerful Squaller, gorgeous to the point of absurdity, and capable of reducing Nina’s confidence to ash with a single raised brow. Nina had worshipped her. Reckless, foolish, easily distracted. Zoya had called her all those things and worse.
“You were right, Zoya. Happy now?”
“Giddy,” said Jesper from the doorway.
Nina startled and looked up to see him rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. “Who’s Zoya?” he asked.
Nina slumped back in her chair. “No one. A member of the Grisha Triumvirate.”
“Fancy. The ones who run the Second Army?”
“What’s left of it.” Ravka’s Grisha soldiers had been decimated during the war. Some had fled. Most had been killed. Nina rubbed her tired eyes. “Do you know the best way to find Grisha who don’t want to be found?”
Jesper scrubbed the back of his neck, touched his hands to his guns, returned to his neck. He always seemed to be in motion. “Never gave it much thought,” he said.
“Look for miracles and listen to bedtime stories.” Follow the tales of witches and goblins, and unexplained happenings. Sometimes they were just superstition. But often there was truth at the heart of local legends—people who had been born with gifts that their countries didn’t understand. Nina had gotten very good at sniffing out those stories.
“Seems to me if they don’t want to be found, you should just let them be.”
Nina cast him a dark glance. “The drüskelle won’t let them be. They hunt Grisha everywhere.”
“Are they all charmers like Matthias?”
“I need to find his leg shackles. Kaz gives me all the fun jobs.”
“Want to trade?” Nina asked wearily.
The frenetic energy of Jesper’s lanky frame seemed to drop away. He went as still as Nina had ever seen him, and his gaze focused on Inej for the first time since he’d entered the little cabin. He was avoiding it, Nina realized. He didn’t want to look at her. The blankets shifted slightly with her shallow breaths. When Jesper spoke, his voice was taut, the strings of an instrument tuned to a too-sharp key.
“She can’t die,” he said. “Not this way.”
Nina peered at Jesper, puzzled. “Not what way?”
“She can’t die,” he repeated.
Nina felt a surge of frustration. She was torn between wanting to hug Jesper tight and scream at him that she was trying. “Saints, Jesper,” she said. “I’m doing my best.”
He shifted, and his body seemed to come back alive. “Sorry,” he said a bit sheepishly. He clapped her awkwardly on the shoulder. “You’re doing great.”
Nina sighed. “Not convincing. Why don’t you go chain up a giant blond?”
Jesper saluted and ducked out of the cabin.
Annoying as he was, Nina was almost tempted to call him back. With Jesper gone, there was nothing but Zoya’s voice in her head and the reminder that her best wasn’t good enough.
Inej’s skin felt too cool to the touch. Nina laid a hand on each of the girl’s shoulders and tried to improve her blood flow, raising her body temperature very slightly.