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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“And what will this valuable information cost me?”

“I don’t want your money. I’ll give you the plans for nothing.” It shamed Matthias to say the words, but he spoke them anyway. “If you let me kill Nina Zenik.”

The little bronze girl made a sound of disgust, her contempt for him clear, and the boy at the table stopped doodling, his mouth falling open. Kaz, however, didn’t seem surprised. If anything, he looked pleased. Matthias had the uncomfortable sense that the demon had known exactly how this would play out.

“I can give you something better,” said Kaz.

What could be better than revenge? “There’s nothing else I want.”

“I can make you a drüskelle again.”

“Are you a magician, then? A wej sprite who grants wishes? I’m superstitious, not stupid.”

“You can be both, you know, but that’s hardly the point.” Kaz slipped a hand into his dark coat. “Here,” he said, and gave a piece of paper to the bronze girl. Another demon. This one walked with soft feet like she’d drifted in from the next world and no one had the good sense to send her back. She brought the paper up to his face for him to read. The document was written in Kerch and Fjerdan. He couldn’t read Kerch—he’d only picked up the language in prison—but the Fjerdan was clear enough, and as his eyes moved over the page, Matthias’ heart started to pound.

In light of new evidence, Matthias Benedik Helvar is granted full and immediate pardon for all charges of slave trafficking. He is released on this day, ____________, with the apologies of the court, and will be provided transport to his homeland or a destination of his choosing with all possible haste and the sincere apologies of this court and the Kerch government.

“What new evidence?”

Kaz leaned back in his chair. “It seems Nina Zenik has recanted her statements. She will face charges of perjury.”

Now he did look at her; he couldn’t stop it. He’d left bruises on her graceful throat. He told himself to be glad of it.

“Perjury? How long will you serve for that, Zenik?”

“Two months,” she said quietly.

“Two months?” Now he did laugh, long and hard. His body twitched with it, as if it were poison constricting his muscles.

The others watched him with some concern.

“Just how crazy is he?” asked Jesper, fingers drumming on the pearl handles of his revolvers.

Brekker shrugged. “He’s not what I’d call reliable, but he’s all we’ve got.”

Two months. Probably in some cozy prison where she’d charm every guard into bringing her fresh bread and fluffing her pillows. Or maybe she’d just talk them into letting her pay a fine that her rich Grisha keepers back in Ravka could cover for her.

“She can’t be trusted, you know,” he said to Brekker. “Whatever secrets you hope to gain from Bo Yul-Bayur, she’ll turn them over to Ravka.”

“Let me worry about that, Helvar. You do your part, and the secrets of Yul-Bayur and jurda parem will be in the hands of the people best equipped to make sure they stay rumors.”