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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

This place felt wrong. The walls, floor, and ceiling were a white so clean it hurt to look at. Half of one wall was made up of panels of smooth, perfect glass. Fabrikator made. Just like the glass enclosure surrounding that vile display of weaponry. No Fjerdan craftsman could make surfaces so pristine. Grisha power had been used to create this glass, she felt sure of it. There were rogue Grisha who served no country and who might consider hiring themselves out to the Fjerdan government. But would they survive such a commission? Slave labor seemed more likely.

Nina took one step, then another. She glanced back over her shoulder. If a guard entered the corridor behind her, she’d have nowhere to hide. So move, Nina.

She peered inside the first window. The cell was as white as the hallway and illuminated by that same sustained, bright light. The room was empty and devoid of any kind of furniture—no bench, no basin, no bucket. The only break in all that whiteness was a drain at the very center of the floor, surrounded by reddish stains.

She continued to the next cell. It was identical and equally empty, as was the next, and the next. But here something caught her eye, a coin lying next to the drain—no, not a coin, a button. A tiny silver button emblazoned with a wing, the symbol of a Grisha Squaller. She felt a chill creep over her arms. Had these cells been crafted by Grisha slaves for Grisha prisoners? Had the glass, the walls, the floor been made to withstand Fabrikator manipulation? The rooms were devoid of metal. There was no plumbing, no pipes to carry water that a Tidemaker might abuse. And Nina suspected that the glass she was peering through was mirrored on the other side, so that a Heartrender in the cell wouldn’t be able to locate a target. These were cells designed to hold Grisha. Designed to hold her.

She whirled on her heel. Bo Yul-Bayur wasn’t here, and she wanted out of this place right now. She snatched the fabric from the lock and blew through the door, not stopping to make sure it closed behind her. The corridor of iron cells was even darker after the brightness that had come before, and she stumbled as she raced back the way she’d come. Nina knew she was being incautious, but she couldn’t get the image of those white rooms out of her head. The drain. The stains around it. Had Grisha been tortured there? Made to confess their crimes against the people?

She’d studied the Fjerdans—their leaders, their language. She’d even dreamed of entering the Ice Court as a spy just like this, of striking at the heart of this nation that hated her so much. But now that she was here, she just wanted to be gone. She’d grown used to Ketterdam, to the adventures that came with her involvement with the Dregs, to her easy life at the White Rose. But even there, had she ever felt safe? In a city where she couldn’t walk down the streets without fear? I want to go home. The longing for it hit her hard, a physical ache. I want to go back to Ravka.