Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Kaz’s grin was sharp as a razor. “Thank goodness we’re proper thieves. We’re going to do a little shopping—and it’s all going on Fjerda’s tab. Inej,” he said, “let’s start with something shiny.”
* * *
Beside the big glass dome, Kaz laid out the details of what he had in mind. If the old plan had been daring, it had at least been built on stealth. The new plan was audacious, maybe even mad. They wouldn’t just be announcing their presence to the Fjerdans, they’d be trumpeting it. Again, the crew would be separated, and again, they would time their movements to the chiming of the Elderclock, but now there would be even less room for error.
Inej searched her heart, expecting to find caution there, fear. But all she felt was ready. This wasn’t a job she was performing to pay off her debt to Per Haskell. It wasn’t a task to be accomplished for Kaz or the Dregs. She wanted this—the money, the dream it would help to secure.
While Kaz explained and Jesper used the laundry shears to portion out pieces of rope, Wylan helped Inej and Nina prepare. To pass as members of the Menagerie, they would need tattoos. They started with Nina. Using one of Kaz’s lockpicks and copper pyrite Jesper had extracted from the roof, Wylan traced his best imitation of the Menagerie feather on Nina’s arm, following Inej’s description and making corrections as needed. Then Nina sank the ink into her own flesh. A Corporalnik didn’t need a tattoo needle. Nina did her best to smooth the scars on Inej’s forearm. The work wasn’t perfect, but they were short on time and Nina’s calling wasn’t as a Tailor. Wylan sketched a second peacock feather over Inej’s skin.
Nina paused, “You’re sure?”
Inej took a deep breath. “It’s war paint,” she said, both to Nina and herself. “It’s my mark to take.”
“It’s also temporary,” Nina promised. “I’ll remove it as soon as we’re in the harbor.”
The harbor. Inej thought of the Ferolind with its cheerful flags, and tried to hold that image in her head as she watched the peacock feather sink into her skin.
The finished tattoos wouldn’t bear up under any kind of close scrutiny, but hopefully they would do.
Finally, they stood. Inej had predicted that the Menagerie would arrive late—Tante Heleen loved to make an entrance—but they still needed to be in position and ready to move when the time came.
And yet, they hesitated. The knowledge that they might never see each other again, that some of them—maybe all of them—might not survive this night hung heavy in the air. A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.
Inej looked at her strange crew, barefoot and shivering in their soot-stained prison uniforms, their features limned by the golden light of the dome, softened by the mist that hung in the air.