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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Nina restrained an arch of her brow. I just bet. But first I need to find out what you know.

“And miss the party?”

“You look pale. Some rest in one of the upper rooms will help.”

Saints, he doesn’t waste any time, does he? Before Nina could insist that she was perfectly well but might like to take a turn on the terrace, a warm voice said, “Really, General Eklund, the best way to garner a woman’s goodwill is not to tell her she looks sickly.”

The general scowled, his mustache bristling, but then he seemed to snap to attention.

“So true, so true,” he laughed nervously.

Nina turned, and the floor seemed to drop from beneath her feet. No, she thought, her heart stuttering in panic. It can’t be. He drowned. He’s supposed to be at the bottom of the ocean.

But if Jarl Brum was dead, he made a very lively corpse.

 

 

 

32

 

JESPER

 

TEN BELLS AND HALF CHIME

 

Jesper’s clothes were covered in tiny slivers and shavings of steel. His stolen uniform was soaked with sweat, his arms ached, and the headache that had burrowed into his left temple felt like it was setting up permanent residence there. For nearly a half hour, he had been focusing on a single link in the chain that ran from the left end of the winch into one of the slots in the stone wall, using his power to weaken the metal as Wylan sawed away at it with the laundry shears. At first they’d been cautious, worried they’d snap the link and disable the gate before it was time to raise it, but the steel was stronger than either of them had anticipated, and their progress was frustratingly slow. When the three-quarters chime rang, Jesper’s panic took over.

“Let’s just raise the gate,” he said with a frustrated growl. “We sound Black Protocol, and then shoot at the winch until it gives up.”

Wylan flipped his curls from his forehead and spared him a quick glance. Jesper could see the blood on his hands where blisters had formed and then burst as he hacked away at the link. “You really love guns so much?”

Jesper shrugged. “I don’t love killing people.”

“Then what is it about them?”

Jesper refocused on the link. “I don’t know. The sound. The way the world narrows to just you and the target. I worked with a gunsmith in Novyi Zem who knew I was a Fabrikator. We came up with some crazy stuff.”

“For killing people.”

“You build bombs, merchling. Spare me your judgment.”

“My name is Wylan. And you’re right. I don’t have any business criticizing you.”

“Don’t start doing that.”

“What?”

“Agreeing with me,” said Jesper. “Sure path to destruction.”

“I don’t like the idea of killing people, either. I don’t even like chemistry.”

“What do you like?”

“Music. Numbers. Equations. They’re not like words. They … they don’t get mixed up.”

“If only you could talk to girls in equations.”