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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“I haven’t heard anything.”

“Of course you hear nothing. Too busy strutting around in stupid purple uniform.”

What was wrong with his uniform? And why did Retvenko even have to be here? He was Hoede’s personal Squaller and often traveled with the merchant’s most precious cargos, guaranteeing favorable winds to bring the ships safely and quickly to harbor. Why couldn’t he be away at sea now?

“I think Yuri may be quarantined.”

“So helpful,” Retvenko said with a sneer. “You can stop craning neck like hopeful goose,” he added. “Anya is gone.”

Joost felt his face heat again. “Where is she?” he asked, trying to sound authoritative. “She should be in after dark.”

“One hour ago, Hoede takes her. Same as night he came for Yuri.”

“What do you mean, ‘he came for Yuri’? Yuri fell ill.”

“Hoede comes for Yuri, Yuri comes back sick. Two days later, Yuri vanishes for good. Now Anya.”

For good?

“Maybe there was an emergency. If someone needed to be healed—”

“First Yuri, now Anya. I will be next, and no one will notice except poor little Officer Joost. Go now.”

“If Councilman Hoede—”

Retvenko raised an arm and a gust of air slammed Joost backward. Joost scrambled to keep his footing, grabbing for the doorframe.

“I said now.” Retvenko etched a circle in the air, and the door slammed shut. Joost let go just in time to avoid having his fingers smashed, and toppled into the side garden.

He got to his feet as quickly as he could, wiping muck from his uniform, shame squirming in his belly. One of the glass panes in the door had cracked from the force. Through it, he saw the Squaller smirking.

“That’s counting against your indenture,” Joost said, pointing to the ruined pane. He hated how small and petty his voice sounded.

Retvenko waved his hand, and the doors trembled on their hinges. Without meaning to, Joost took a step back.

“Go make your rounds, little watchdog,” Retvenko called.

“That went well,” snickered Rutger, leaning against the garden wall.

How long had he been standing there? “Don’t you have something better to do than follow me around?” Joost asked.

“All guards are to report to the boathouse. Even you. Or are you too busy making friends?”

“I was asking him to shut the door.”

Rutger shook his head. “You don’t ask. You tell. They’re servants. Not honored guests.”

Joost fell into step beside him, insides still churning with humiliation. The worst part was that Rutger was right. Retvenko had no business talking to him that way. But what was Joost supposed to do? Even if he’d had the courage to get into a fight with a Squaller, it would be like brawling with an expensive vase. The Grisha weren’t just servants; they were Hoede’s treasured possessions.

What had Retvenko meant about Yuri and Anya being taken, anyway? Had he been covering for Anya? Grisha indentures were kept to the house for good reason. To walk the streets without protection was to risk getting plucked up by a slaver and never seen again. Maybe she’s meeting someone, Joost speculated miserably.