Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Come on, Kaz. I’m waiting on you. They all were. Nina had come charging into the room only minutes before, gasping for breath.
“Go!” she’d cried. “What are you waiting for?”
“You!” Jesper shot back. But when he asked her where Kaz was, Nina’s face had crumpled.
“I hoped he was with you.”
She’d vanished up the rope, grunting with effort, leaving Jesper standing below, frozen with indecision. Had the guards captured Kaz? Was he somewhere in the prison fighting for his life?
He’s Kaz Brekker. Even if they locked him up, Kaz could escape any cell, any pair of shackles. Jesper could leave the rope for him, pray the rain and the cooling incinerator was enough to keep the bottom of it from burning away. But if he just kept standing here like a podge, he’d give away their escape route, and they’d all be doomed. There was nothing to do but climb.
Jesper grabbed the rope just as Kaz hurtled through the door. His shirt was covered in blood, his dark hair a wild mess.
“Hurry,” he said without preamble.
A thousand questions crowded into Jesper’s head, but he didn’t stop to ask them. He swung out over the coals and started to climb. Rain was still falling in a light patter from above, and he felt the rope tremble as Kaz took hold beneath him. When Jesper looked down, he saw Kaz bracing himself to sling the incinerator doors closed behind them.
Jesper put hand over hand, pulling himself up from knot to knot, his arms beginning to ache, the rope cutting into his palms, bracing his feet against the wall of the incinerator when he needed to, then recoiling at the heat of the bricks. How had Inej made this climb with nothing to hold on to?
High above, the Elderclock’s alarm bells still clanged like a drawer full of angry pots and pans. What had gone wrong? Why had Kaz and Nina been separated? And how were they going to get out of this?
Jesper shook his head, trying to blink the rain from his eyes, muscles bunching in his back as he rose higher.
“Thank the Saints,” he gasped when Matthias and Wylan grabbed his shoulders and hauled him up the last few feet. He tumbled over the lip of the chimney and onto the roof, drenched and trembling like a half-drowned kitten. “Kaz is on the rope.”
Matthias and Wylan seized the rope to pull him up. Jesper wasn’t sure how much Wylan was actually helping, but he was certainly working hard. They dragged Kaz out of the shaft. He flopped onto his back, gulping air. “Where’s Inej?” he panted. “Where’s Nina?”
“Already on the embassy roof,” said Matthias.
“Leave this rope and take the rest,” Kaz said. “Let’s move.”
Matthias and Wylan tossed the incinerator rope into a grimy heap and grabbed two clean coils. Jesper took one and forced himself to his feet. He followed Kaz to the lip of the roof where Inej had secured a tether that ran from the top of the prison to the embassy sector roof below. Someone had rigged up a sling for those without the Wraith’s particular gift for flouting gravity.