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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

She felt the shift when Kaz’s heart took over its own rhythm. Then he coughed, chest spasming, water spewing from his mouth.

He shoved her off of him, sucking in air.

“Get away from me,” he gasped, wiping his gloved hand over his mouth. Kaz’s eyes were unfocused. He seemed to be staring right through her. “Don’t touch me.”

“You’re in shock, demjin,” Matthias said. “You almost drowned. You should have drowned.”

Kaz coughed again, and his entire body shuddered. “Drowned,” he repeated.

Nina nodded slowly. “Ice Court, remember? Impossible heist? Near death? Three million kruge waiting for you in Ketterdam?”

Kaz blinked and his eyes cleared. “Four million.”

“I thought that might bring you around.”

He scrubbed his hands over his face, wet coughs still rattling his chest. “We made it,” he said in wonder. “Djel performs miracles.”

“You don’t deserve miracles,” said Matthias with a scowl. “You desecrated the sacred ash.”

Kaz pushed to his feet, staggered slightly, drew in another shaky breath. “It’s a symbol, Helvar. If your god is so delicate, maybe you should get a new one. Let’s get out of here.”

Nina threw up her hands. “You’re welcome, you ungrateful wretch.”

“I’ll thank you when we’re aboard the Ferolind. Move.” He was already dragging himself up the boulders that lined the far side of the gorge. “You can explain why our illustrious Shu scientist looks like one of Wylan’s school pals along the way.”

Nina shook her head, caught between annoyance and admiration. Maybe that was what it took to survive in the Barrel. You could never stop.

“He’s a friend?” asked Kuwei in skeptical Shu.

“On occasion.”

Matthias helped her to her feet, and they all followed after Kaz, making slow progress up the rocky walls of the gorge that would lead them to the other end of the bridge above, and a bit closer to Djerholm. Nina had never been so exhausted, but she couldn’t let herself rest. They had the prize. They’d gotten further than any crew. They’d blown up a building at the heart of the Ice Court. But they’d never make it to the harbor without Inej and the others.

She kept moving. The only other option was to sit down on a boulder and wait for the end. A rumbling began from somewhere in the direction of the Ice Court.

“Oh, Saints, please let that be Jesper,” she pleaded as they pulled themselves over the lip of the gorge and looked back at the bridge festooned with ribbons and ash boughs for Hringkälla.

“Whatever is coming, it’s big,” said Matthias.

“What do we do, Kaz?”

“Wait,” he said as the sound grew louder.

“How about ‘take cover’?” Nina asked, bouncing nervously from foot to foot. “‘Have heart’? ‘I stashed twenty rifles in this convenient shrubbery’? Give us something.”

“How about a few million kruge?” said Kaz.

A tank rumbled over the hill, dust and gravel spewing from its treads. Someone was waving to them from its gun turret—no, two someones. Inej and Wylan were yelling and gesturing wildly from behind the dome.