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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

The Ferolind felt like a ghost ship. Matthias was sequestered with Nina, and he’d asked for Wylan’s help in caring for her. Even if Wylan didn’t love chemistry, he knew more about tinctures and compounds than anyone in the crew other than Kuwei, and Matthias couldn’t understand half of what Kuwei said. Jesper hadn’t seen Wylan since they’d fled the Djerholm harbor, and he had to admit he missed having the merchling around to annoy. Kuwei seemed friendly enough, but his Kerch was rough, and he didn’t seem to like to talk much. Sometimes he’d just appear on deck at night and stand silently beside Jesper, staring out at the waves. It was a little unnerving. Only Inej wanted to chat with anyone, and that was because she seemed to have developed a consuming interest in all things nautical. She spent most of her time with Specht and Rotty, learning knots and how to rig sails.

Jesper had always known there was a good chance they wouldn’t make this journey home at all, that they’d end up in cells in the Ice Court or skewered on pikes. But he’d figured that if they managed the impossible task of rescuing Yul-Bayur and getting to the Ferolind, the trip back to Ketterdam would be a party. They’d drink whatever Specht might have squirreled away on the ship, eat the last of Nina’s toffees, recount their close calls and every small victory. But he never could have foreseen the way they’d been cornered in the harbor, and he certainly couldn’t have imagined what Nina had done to get them out of it.

Jesper worried about Nina, but thinking about her made him feel guilty. When they’d boarded the schooner and Kuwei explained parem, a tiny voice inside him said he should offer to take the drug as well. Even though he was a Fabrikator without training, maybe he could have helped to draw the parem out of Nina’s system and set her free. But that was a hero’s voice, and Jesper had long since stopped thinking he had the makings of a hero. Hell, a hero would have volunteered to take the parem when they were facing down the Fjerdans at the harbor.

When Kerch finally appeared on the horizon, Jesper felt a strange mixture of relief and trepidation. Their lives were about to change in ways that still didn’t seem real.

They dropped anchor, and when nightfall came, Jesper asked Kaz if he could join him and Rotty in the longboat they were rowing to Fifth Harbor. They didn’t need him along, but Jesper was desperate for distraction.

The chaos of Ketterdam was unchanged—ships unloading their cargo at the docks, tourists and soldiers on leave pouring out of boats, laughing and shouting to each other on their way to the Barrel.

“Looks the same as when we left it,” Jesper said.

Kaz raised a brow. He was back in his sleek gray-and-black suit, immaculate tie. “What did you expect?”

“I don’t know exactly,” Jesper admitted.