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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Jesper looked down at his plate and moaned. “Kaz, if you want me dead, I prefer a bullet to poison.”

Nina scrunched her nose. “When I don’t want to eat, you know there’s a problem.”

“We’re here for the view, not the food.”

From their table, they had a clear, if distant, view of the Ice Court’s outer gate and the first guardhouse. It was built into a white arch formed by two monumental stone wolves on their hind legs, and spanned the road leading up the hill to the Court. Inej and the others watched the traffic come and go through the gates as they picked at their lunches, waiting for a sign of the prison wagons. Inej’s appetite had finally returned, and she’d been eating as much as possible to build her strength, but the skin atop the soup she’d ordered wasn’t helping.

There was no coffee to be had so they ordered tea and little glasses of clear brännvin that burned going down but helped to keep them warm as a wind picked up, stirring the silvery ribbons tied to the ash boughs lining the street below.

“We’re going to start looking conspicuous soon,” said Nina. “This isn’t the kind of place people like to linger.”

“Maybe they don’t have anyone to take to jail,” suggested Wylan.

“There’s always someone to take to jail,” Kaz replied, then bobbed his chin toward the road. “Look.”

A boxy wagon was rolling to a stop at the guardhouse. Its roof and high sides were covered in black canvas, and it was drawn by four stout horses. The door at the back was heavy iron, bolted and padlocked.

Kaz reached into his coat pocket. “Here,” he said and handed Jesper a slender book with an elaborate cover.

“Are we going to read to each other?”

“Just flip it open to the back.”

Jesper opened the book and peered at the last page, puzzled. “So?”

“Hold it up so we don’t have to look at your ugly face.”

“My face has character. Besides—oh!”

“An excellent read, isn’t it?”

“Who knew I had a taste for literature?”

Jesper passed it to Wylan, who took it tentatively. “What does it say?”

“Just look,” said Jesper.

Wylan frowned and held it up, then he grinned. “Where did you get this?”

Matthias had his turn and released a surprised grunt.

“It’s called a backless book,” said Kaz as Inej took the volume from Nina and held it up. The pages were full of ordinary sermons, but the ornate back cover hid two lenses that acted as a long glass. Kaz had told her to keep an eye out for women using similarly made mirrored compacts at the Crow Club. They could read the hand a player was holding from across the room, then signal to a partner at the table.

“Clever,” Inej remarked as she peered through. To the barmaid and the other patrons on the terrace, it looked like they were handing a book around, discussing some interesting passage. Instead Inej had a close view of the gatehouse and the wagon parked in front of it.