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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

The soldiers didn’t blink as Nina and Brum passed, merely offered a tight salute. Brum pulled a chain from his neck; a strange circular disk hung from it. He slid the disk into a nearly invisible indentation in the door and gave it a turn. Nina eyed the lock warily. This might be beyond even Kaz Brekker’s skill.

The barrel-vaulted entry was cold and bare, lit by the same harsh light as the Grisha cells in the prison wing. No gaslight, no candles. Nothing for Squallers or Inferni to manipulate.

She squinted. “Where are we?”

“The old treasury. The vault was moved years ago. This was converted into a laboratory.”

Laboratory. The word formed a cold knot beneath Nina’s ribs. “Why?”

“Such an inquisitive little thing.”

I’m nearly as tall as you, she thought.

“The treasury was already secure and well-positioned on the White Island, so it was a logical choice for such a facility.”

The words were innocuous, but that knot of fear tightened, a cold fist now, pressing against her chest. She matched Brum’s steps down the vaulted hall, past smooth white doors, each with a small glass window set into it.

“Here we are,” Brum said, stopping in front of a door that seemed identical to the others.

Nina peered through the glass. The cell was just like the ones on the top level of the prison, but the observation panel was on the other side—a large mirror that took up half of the opposite wall. Inside, she saw a young boy in a bedraggled blue kefta pacing restlessly, gabbling to himself, scratching at his arms. His eyes were hollows, his hair lank. He looked just like Nestor before he’d died. Grisha don’t get sick, she thought. But this was a different kind of sickness.

“He doesn’t look very menacing.”

Brum moved up behind her. His breath brushed against her ear when he said, “Oh, believe me, he is.”

Nina’s skin crawled, but she made herself lean into him slightly. “What is he here for?”

“The future.”

Nina turned and laid her hands on his chest.

“Are there more?”

He blew out an impatient breath and led her to the next door. A girl lay on her side, her tangled hair covering her face. She was dressed in a dirty shift, and she had bruises all over her arms. Brum gave a sharp rap on the little window, startling Nina.

“Look alive,” Brum taunted, but the girl didn’t move. Brum’s finger hovered over a brass button embedded next to the window. “If you really want a show, I could press this button.”

“What does it do?”

“Beautiful things. Miraculous, really.”

Nina thought she knew; the button would dose the girl with jurda parem somehow. For Nina’s entertainment. She tugged Brum away. “It’s all right.”

“I thought you wanted to see a Grisha use her powers.”

“Oh, I do, but she doesn’t look like much fun. Are there more?”

“Close to thirty.”

Nina flinched. The Second Army had been nearly obliterated in Ravka’s civil war. She couldn’t bear to think that there were thirty Grisha here. “And are they all in that state?”