Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
The royals were too well-protected to be of use to her, but not far away she saw another whirl of activity around a group in military dress. If anyone knew Yul-Bayur’s location on the island, it would be someone highly ranked in Fjerda’s military.
“Nice view, isn’t it?”
Nina nearly jumped as a man sidled up beside her. Some spy she made. She hadn’t even noticed him approaching.
He grinned at her and placed a hand at the small of her back. “You know, there are rooms here set aside for a little fun. And you look like more than a little fun.” His hand slid lower.
Nina plunged his heart rate, and he dropped like a stone, conking his head on the banister. He’d wake up in about ten minutes with a bad headache and possibly a minor concussion.
“Is he all right?” asked a passing couple.
“Too much to drink,” said Nina airily.
She slipped quickly down the stairs and into the crowd, moving steadily toward where a group of soldiers garbed in silver-and-white military dress surrounded a portly man with a luxuriant mustache. If the constellation of medals on his chest was any indication, he had to be a general or close to it. Should she target him directly? She needed someone of high-enough rank to have access to privileged information—someone drunk enough to make ill-considered decisions, but not so drunk that he couldn’t take her where she needed to go. By the ruddy look of the general’s cheeks and the way he was swaying on his feet, he looked like he might be too far gone to do anything but take a nap facedown in a potted plant.
Nina could feel the minutes ticking down. It was time to make her bid. She nabbed a glass of champagne then moved carefully around the circle. As a soldier separated from the group, she took a step backward, directly into his path. He slammed into her. He was light enough on his feet that it wasn’t much of a hit, but she gave a sharp cry and lurched forward, spilling her champagne. Instantly, several strong arms reached out to brace her fall.
“You clod,” said the general. “You nearly knocked her from her feet.”
And on the first try, Nina thought to herself. Never mind. I am an excellent spy.
The poor soldier’s cheeks were bright red. “Apologies, miss.”
“I’m sorry,” she said in Kerch, feigning confusion and keeping to the language of the Menagerie. “I don’t speak Fjerdan.”
“Deep apologies,” he attempted in Kerch. Then made a valiant attempt at Kaelish, “Much sorry.”
“Oh no, it was my fault entirely,” Nina said breathlessly.
“Ahlgren, stop slaughtering her language and fetch her a fresh glass of champagne.” The soldier bowed and hurried off. “Are you quite all right? Shall I find you a seat?” the general asked in excellent Kerch.
“He just startled me,” Nina said with a smile, leaning on the general’s arm.
“I think it might be best to get you off your feet.”