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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

How many times had Kaz seen Pekka since that first glimpse in the gin shop? Never once had there been a flicker of recognition. Kaz wasn’t a boy any longer; there was no reason Pekka should be able to see the child he’d swindled in his features. But it made him furious every time their paths had crossed. It wasn’t right. Pekka’s face—Hertzoon’s face—was indelible in Kaz’s mind, carved there by a jagged blade.

Kaz hung back now, feeling the delicate weight of his lockpicks like an insect cradled in his palm. Wasn’t this what he wanted? To see Pekka brought low, humiliated, miserable and hopeless, the best of his crew dead on pikes. Maybe this could be enough. Maybe all he needed now was for Pekka to know exactly who he was, exactly what he’d done. He could stage a little trial of his own, pass sentence, and mete it out, too.

The Elderclock began to chime the three-quarter-hour. He should go. There wasn’t much time left to get to the basement. Nina would be waiting for him. They all would.

But he needed this. He’d fought for this. It wasn’t the way he’d imagined, but maybe it made no difference. If Pekka Rollins was put to death by some nameless Fjerdan executioner, then none of this would matter. Kaz would have four million kruge, but Jordie would never have his revenge.

The lock on the door gave up easily to Kaz’s picks.

Pekka’s eyes opened, and he smiled. He hadn’t been sleeping at all.

“Hello, Brekker,” Rollins said. “Come to gloat?”

“Not exactly,” Kaz replied.

He let the door slam shut behind him.

 

 

 

PART FIVE

 

THE ICE DOES NOT FORGIVE

 

 

 

 

27

 

JESPER

 

EIGHT BELLS

 

Where the hell is Kaz? Jesper bounced from foot to foot in front of the incinerator, the dim clang of alarm bells filling his ears, rattling his thoughts. Yellow Protocol? Red Protocol? He couldn’t remember which was which. Their whole plan had been built around never hearing the sound of an alarm.

Inej had secured a rope to the roof and dropped down a line for them to climb. Jesper had sent the rest of the rope up with Wylan and Matthias, along with a pair of shears he’d located in the laundry, and a crude grappling hook he’d fashioned from the metal slats of a washboard. Then he’d cleaned the spatter of rain and moisture from the floor of the refuse room, and made sure there were no scraps of rope or other signs of their presence. There was nothing left to do but wait—and panic when the alarm started to ring.

He heard people shouting to each other, a hail of stomping boots through the ceiling above. Any minute, some intuitive guards might venture down to the basement. If they found Jesper by the incinerator, the route to the roof would be obvious. He’d be damning not only himself but the others as well.