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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

The doors on both sides of the walkway were rattling now. “They’re coming!” Inej said.

Wylan secured the diamond bit to the makeshift drill. It made a scraping sound as they placed it up against the glass, and Jesper began turning the handle. The progress was painfully slow.

“Is it even working?” Inej cried.

“The glass is thick!”

Something smashed into the door on their right. “They have a battering ram,” Wylan moaned.

“Keep going,” urged Inej. She toed off her shoes.

Jesper turned the crank faster as the drill bit whirred. He began to move it in a curving line, sketching the beginnings of a circle, then a half moon. Faster.

The wood of the door at the end of the walkway started to splinter.

“Take the handle, Wylan!” Jesper shouted.

Wylan took his place, turning the drill as fast as he could.

Jesper grabbed the fallen guards’ guns and pointed them at the door.

“They’re coming!” he yelled.

On the glass, the two lines met. The moon was full. The circle popped free, tipping inward. It hadn’t even struck the floor before Inej was backing up.

“Out of the way!” she demanded.

Then she was running, her feet light, her silks like feathers. In this moment she didn’t mind them. She’d duped Heleen Van Houden. She’d taken a little piece of her away, a silly symbol, but one she prized. It wasn’t enough—it would never be enough—but it was a beginning. There would be other bawds to trick, slavers to fool. Her silks were feathers, and she was free.

Inej focused on that circle of glass—a moon, an absence of moon, a door to the future—and she leapt. The hole was barely big enough for her body, she heard the soft swish as the sharp glass rim sliced through the silks she trailed. She arced her body and reached. She would have only one opportunity to grab for the iron lantern that hung from the ceiling of the enclosure. It was an impossible leap, a mad leap, but she was once again her father’s daughter, unbound by the rules of gravity. She hung in the air for a terrifying moment, and then her hands grasped the lantern’s base.

Behind her, she heard the door in the walkway burst open, gunfire. Hold them off, Jesper. Buy me time.

She swung back and forth, building momentum. A bullet zinged past her. Accident? Or had someone made it past Wylan and Jesper to shoot at her through the hole?

When she had enough momentum, she let go. She hit the wall hard. There was no graceful way around it, but her hands clung to the lip of the stone ledge where the ancient axes were displayed. From there it was easy: ledge to beam to lower ledge, and down with a dull clang as her bare feet struck the roof of a massive tank. She slid into the metal dome at its center.

She turned one knob then the next, trying to find the right controls. Finally one of the guns rolled upward. She pulled on the trigger, and her whole body shook as bullets rattled against the enclosure glass like hail, pinging off in all directions. It was the best warning she could offer Jesper and Wylan.