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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Slowly, Jesper lowered his rifle.

“Van Eck will send soldiers and Grisha to search for Kuwei,” said Matthias.

“He won’t find him. Or Nina.” Not in the Slat or any other part of the Barrel. Nowhere in Ketterdam. The previous night, Kaz had ordered Specht to take Kuwei and Nina from the Ferolind in the second longboat—the one he’d told Jesper was being repaired. They were safely stashed in the abandoned cages below the old prison tower at Hellgate. Kaz had made a few inquiries when he’d visited the harbor to contact Van Eck. After the disaster at the Hellshow, the cages had been flooded to purge them of beasts and bodies; they’d been empty ever since. Matthias had hated the idea of letting Nina go anywhere without him, especially in her state, but Kaz had convinced him that keeping her and Kuwei aboard the Ferolind would leave them exposed.

Kaz marveled at his own stupidity. Dumber than a pigeon fresh off the boat and looking to make a fortune on East Stave. His greatest vulnerability had been right beside him. And now she was gone.

Jesper was staring at Wylan, his eyes roving over the black hair, the golden eyes. “Why?” he said at last. “Why would you do this?”

Wylan shrugged. “We needed leverage.”

“That’s Kaz’s voice talking.”

“I couldn’t let you all walk into a hostage exchange thinking I was some kind of insurance.”

“Nina tailored you?”

“The night we left Djerholm.”

“That’s why you disappeared during the journey,” said Jesper. “You weren’t helping Matthias care for Nina. You were hiding.”

“I didn’t hide.”

“You … how many times was it you standing beside me on the deck at night when I thought it was Kuwei?”

“Every time.”

“Nina might not be able to put you back, you know. Not without another dose of parem. You could be stuck like this.”

“Why does it matter?”

“I don’t know!” Jesper said angrily. “Maybe I liked your stupid face.” He turned to Matthias. “You knew. Wylan knew. Inej knew. Everyone but me.”

“Ask me why, Jesper,” Kaz said, his patience at an end.

Jesper shifted uneasily on his feet. “Why?”

You were the one who sold us out to Pekka Rollins.” He thrust an accusatory finger at Jesper. “You’re the reason we were ambushed when we tried to leave Ketterdam. You almost got us all killed.”

“I didn’t tell Pekka Rollins anything. I never—”

“You told one of the Dime Lions you were leaving Kerch, but that you’d be coming into big money, didn’t you?”

Jesper swallowed. “I had to. They were leaning on me hard. My father’s farm—”

“I told you not to tell anyone you were leaving the country. I warned you to keep your mouth shut.”

“I didn’t have a choice! You had me locked up in the Crow Club before we left. If you’d let me—”

Kaz turned on him. “Let you what? Play a few hands of Three Man Bramble? Dig yourself deeper in with every boss in the Barrel stupid enough to extend you credit? You told a member of Pekka’s gang you were about to be flush.”