Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
It didn’t seem right to argue or to apologize, so she said the first thing that popped into her head.
“Jer molle pe oonet. Enel mörd je nej afva trohem verret.” I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.
Matthias had stared at her in shock. “That’s the drüskelle oath to Fjerda. How do you know those words?”
“I tried to learn as much about Fjerda as I could.”
She’d wavered, then said, “So I wouldn’t fear you.”
“You don’t seem afraid.”
“Are you afraid of me?” she’d asked.
“No,” he’d said, and he’d sounded almost surprised. He’d claimed before that he didn’t fear her. This time she believed him. She tried to remind herself that wasn’t a good thing.
They’d walked on for a while, and then he’d asked, “What’s the first thing you’re going to do?”
“Everything. Stuffed cabbage, potato dumplings, black currant cakes, blini with lemon zest. I can’t wait to see Zoya’s face when I come walking into the Little Palace.”
Nina had stopped short. “You know her?”
“We all know of her. She’s a powerful witch.”
It had hit her then: For the drüskelle, Zoya was a little like Jarl Brum—cruel, inhuman, the thing that waited in the dark with death in her hands. Zoya was this boy’s monster. The thought left her uneasy.
“How did you get out of the cages?”
Nina blinked. “What?”
“On the ship. You were bound and in cages.”
“The water cup. The handle broke and the lip was jagged beneath. We used it to cut through our bonds. Once our hands were free…” Nina trailed off awkwardly.
Matthias’ brow lowered. “You were planning to attack us.”
“We were going to make our move that night.”
“But then the storm hit.”
A Squaller and a Fabrikator had smashed a hole right through the deck, and they’d swum free. But had any of them survived the icy waters? Had they managed to make their way to land? She shivered. If they hadn’t discovered the cup’s secret, she would have drowned in a cage.
“What do drüskelle eat?” she asked, picking up her pace. “Other than Grisha babies?”
“We don’t eat babies!”
“Dolphin blubber? Reindeer hooves?”
She saw his mouth twist and wondered if he was nauseous or if maybe, possibly, he was trying not to laugh.
“We eat a lot of fish. Herring. Salt cod. And yes, reindeer, but not the hooves.”
“How about cake?”
“What about it?”
“I’m very keen on cake. I’m wondering if we can find some common ground.”
“Oh, come on, drüskelle,” she said. They still hadn’t exchanged names, and she wasn’t sure they should. Eventually, if they survived, they would reach a town or village. She didn’t know what would happen then, but the less he knew about her the better, in any case. “You’re not giving up Fjerdan government secrets. I just want to know why you don’t like cake.”