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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Before Inej could melt into the shadows, Kaz tapped her arm with his crow’s head cane. “Keep a watch on the rooftop guards. Geels may have them in his pocket.”

“Then—” Inej began, but Kaz was already gone.

Inej threw up her hands in frustration. She had a hundred questions, but as usual, Kaz was keeping a stranglehold on the answers.

She jogged toward the canal-facing wall of the Exchange. Only the lieutenants and their seconds were allowed to enter during the parley. But just in case the Black Tips got any ideas, the other Dregs would be waiting right outside the eastern arch with weapons at the ready. She knew Geels would have his crew of heavily armed Black Tips gathered at the western entrance.

Inej would find her own way in. The rules of fair play among the gangs were from Per Haskell’s time. Besides, she was the Wraith—the only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.

The lower level of the Exchange was dedicated to windowless warehouses, so Inej located a drainpipe to shinny up. Something made her hesitate before she wrapped her hand around it. She drew a bonelight from her pocket and gave it a shake, casting a pale green glow over the pipe. It was slick with oil. She followed the wall, seeking another option, and found a stone cornice bearing a statue of Kerch’s three flying fishes within reach. She stood on her toes and tentatively felt along the top of the cornice. It had been covered in ground glass. I am expected, she thought with grim pleasure.

She’d joined up with the Dregs less than two years ago, just days after her fifteenth birthday. It had been a matter of survival, but it gratified her to know that, in such short time, she’d become someone to take precautions against. Though, if the Black Tips thought tricks like this would keep the Wraith from her goal, they were sadly mistaken.

She drew two climbing spikes from the pockets of her quilted vest and wedged first one then the other between the bricks of the wall as she hoisted herself higher, her questing feet finding the smallest holds and ridges in the stone. As a child learning the high wire, she’d gone barefoot. But the streets of Ketterdam were too cold and wet for that. After a few bad spills, she’d paid a Grisha Fabrikator working in secret out of a gin shop on the Wijnstraat to make her a pair of leather slippers with nubbly rubber soles. They were perfectly fitted to her feet and gripped any surface with surety.

On the second story of the Exchange, she hoisted herself onto a window ledge just wide enough to perch on.

Kaz had done his best to teach her, but she didn’t quite have his way with breaking and entering, and it took her a few tries to finesse the lock. Finally she heard a satisfying click, and the window swung open on a deserted office, its walls covered in maps marked with trade routes and chalkboards listing share prices and the names of ships. She ducked inside, refastened the latch, and picked her way past the empty desks with their neat stacks of orders and tallies.