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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“I didn’t know he’d go to Pekka. Or that Pekka knew about parem. I was just trying to buy myself some time.”

“Saints, Jesper, you really haven’t learned anything in the Dregs, have you? You’re still the same dumb farm boy who stepped off the boat.”

Jesper lunged for him, and Kaz felt a surge of giddy violence. Finally, a fight he could win. But Matthias stepped between them, holding them each back with a massive hand. “Stop. Stop this.”

Kaz didn’t want to stop. He wanted to beat them all bloody and then brawl his way through the Barrel.

“Matthias is right,” said Wylan. “We need to think about what’s next.”

“There is no next,” Kaz snarled. Van Eck would see to that. They couldn’t go back to the Slat or get help from Per Haskell and the other Dregs. Van Eck would be watching, waiting to pounce. He’d turn the Barrel, Kaz’s home, his little kingdom, into hostile territory.

“Jesper made a mistake,” said Wylan. “A stupid mistake, but he didn’t set out to betray anyone.”

Kaz stalked away, trying to clear his head. He knew Jesper hadn’t realized what he was setting in motion, but he also knew he could never really trust Jesper again. And maybe he’d kept him in the dark about Wylan because he wanted to punish him a little.

In a few hours, when they’d failed to make contact, Specht would row out for them in the longboat. For now, there was nothing but the flat gray of the sky and the dead rock of this miserable excuse for an island. And Inej’s absence. Kaz wanted to hit someone. He wanted someone to hit him.

He surveyed what remained of his crew. Rotty still hovered by the wreckage of the longboat. Jesper sat with elbows on knees, head in hands, Wylan beside him wearing the face of a near-stranger; Matthias stood gazing across the water in the direction of Hellgate like a stone sentinel. If Kaz was their leader, then Inej had been their lodestone, pulling them together when they seemed most likely to drift apart.

Nina had disguised Kaz’s crow-and-cup tattoo before they’d entered the Ice Court, but he hadn’t let her near the R on his bicep. Now he touched his gloved fingers to where the sleeve of his coat covered that mark. Without meaning to, he’d let Kaz Rietveld return. He didn’t know if it had begun with Inej’s injury or that hideous ride in the prison wagon, but somehow he’d let it happen and it had cost him dearly.

That didn’t mean he was going to let himself be bested by some thieving merch.

Kaz looked south toward Ketterdam’s harbors. The beginnings of an idea scratched at the back of his skull, an itch, the barest inkling. It wasn’t a plan, but it might be the start of one. He could see the shape it would take—impossible, absurd, and requiring a serious chunk of cash.

“Scheming face,” murmured Jesper.