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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“You’re a Fabrikator,” Matthias said grimly.

“Just barely.”

“You either are or you aren’t,” said Wylan.

“I am.” He jabbed a finger at Wylan. “And you’re going to keep your mouth shut about it when we get back to Ketterdam.”

“But why would you lie about—”

“I like walking the streets free,” said Jesper. “I like not worrying about being snatched up by a slaver or put to death by some skiv like our friend Helvar here. Besides, I have other skills that bring me more pleasure and profit than this. Lots of other skills.”

Wylan coughed. Flirting with him might actually be more fun than annoying him, but it was a close call.

“Does Nina know you’re Grisha?”

“No and she’s not finding out. I don’t need lectures about joining the Second Army and the glorious Ravkan cause.”

“Do it again,” Kaz interrupted. “And hurry.”

Jesper repeated his effort on another bar.

“If this was the plan, what was the point to trying to smuggle in those lockpicks?” Wylan asked.

Kaz folded his arms. “Ever hear about the dying man whose medik told him he’d been miraculously cured? He danced into the street and was trampled to death by a horse. You have to let the mark feel like he’s won. Were the guards studying Matthias and wondering if he looked familiar? Were they looking for trouble when Jesper went into the showers with paraffin sloughing off his arms? No, they were too busy congratulating themselves on catching me. They thought they’d neutralized the threat.”

When Jesper finished, Kaz took the two slender lockpicks between his fingers. It was strange to see him work without his gloves, but in moments, the lock clicked open, and they were free. Once they were out, Kaz used his picks to lock the door behind them.

“You know your assignments,” he whispered. “Wylan and I will get Nina and Inej out. Jesper, you and Matthias—”

“I know, nab as much rope as we can find.”

“Be in the basement by the half chime.”

They split. The wheels were in motion.

According to Wylan’s plans, the stables were adjacent to the gatehouse courtyard, so they would have to backtrack through the holding area. In theory, this section of the prison was only supposed to be active when prisoners were being processed in or out, but they still had to be careful. It would only take one wayward guard to ruin their plans. The scariest part was traversing the walkway through the glass enclosure, a long, brightly lit stretch that left them completely exposed. There was nothing to do but cross their fingers and make a run for it. Then they headed down the stairs and to the left of the chamber where that poor old Grisha amplifier had tested him. Jesper suppressed a shudder. Even though paraffin on his arms always worked at the gambling dens, his heart had still been hammering as he faced her. She’d been thin as a husk and as empty. That was what happened to Grisha who got found in the wrong place at the wrong time—a life sentence of slavery or worse.