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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“If the Shu have the formula—”

“Yul-Bayur claimed he’d managed to mislead his superiors and keep the specifics of the formula secret. We think they’re operating from whatever limited supply Yul-Bayur left behind.”

Greed bows to me. Maybe Kaz had been a bit too cocky on that front. Now greed was doing Van Eck’s bidding. The lever was at work, overcoming Kaz’s resistance, moving him into place.

Twenty million kruge. What kind of job would this be? Kaz didn’t know anything about espionage or government squabbles, but why should stealing Bo Yul-Bayur from the Ice Court be any different from liberating valuables from a mercher’s safe? The most well-protected safe in the world, he reminded himself. He’d need a very specialized team, a desperate team that wouldn’t balk at the real possibility that they’d never come back from this job. And he wouldn’t be able to just pull from the Dregs. He didn’t have the talent he’d need in their ranks. That meant he’d have to watch his back more than usual.

But if they managed it, even after Per Haskell got his cut, Kaz’s share of the scrub would be enough to change everything, to finally put into motion the dream he’d had since he’d first crawled out of a cold harbor with revenge burning a hole in his heart. His debt to Jordie would be paid at last.

There would be other benefits, too. The Kerch Council would owe him, to say nothing of what this particular heist would do for his reputation. To infiltrate the impenetrable Ice Court and snatch a prize from the bastion of Fjerdan nobility and military might? With a job like this under his belt and that kind of scrub at his fingertips, he wouldn’t need Per Haskell anymore. He could start his own operation.

But something was off. “Why me? Why the Dregs? There are more experienced crews out there.”

Mikka started to cough, and Kaz saw blood on his sleeve.

“Sit,” Van Eck instructed gently, helping Mikka into a chair and offering the Grisha his handkerchief. He signaled to a guard. “Some water.”

“Well?” prodded Kaz.

“How old are you, Mister Brekker?”

“Seventeen.”

“You haven’t been arrested since you were fourteen, and since I know you are not an honest man any more than you were an honest boy, I can only assume you have the quality I most need in a criminal: You don’t get caught.” Van Eck smiled slightly then. “There’s also the matter of my DeKappel.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Six months ago, a DeKappel oil worth nearly one hundred thousand kruge disappeared from my home.”

“Quite a loss.”

“It was, especially since I had been assured that my gallery was impenetrable and that the locks on its doors were foolproof.”

“I do seem to remember reading about that.”

“Yes,” admitted Van Eck with a small sigh. “Pride is a perilous thing. I was eager to show off my acquisition and the lengths I’d gone to in order to protect it. And yet, despite all my safeguards, despite dogs and alarms and the most loyal staff in all of Ketterdam, my painting is gone.”