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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

Now he risked raising a hand in greeting. Anya showed no reaction.

“She can’t see you, moron,” laughed Rutger. “The glass is mirrored on the other side.”

Joost’s cheeks pinked. “How was I to know that?”

“Open your eyes and pay attention for once.”

First Yuri, now Anya. “Why do they need a Grisha Healer? Is that boy injured?”

“He looks fine to me.”

The captain and Hoede seemed to reach some kind of agreement.

Through the glass, Joost saw Hoede enter the cell and give the boy an encouraging pat. There must have been vents in the cell because he heard Hoede say, “Be a brave lad, and there’s a few kruge in it for you.” Then he grabbed Anya’s chin with a liver-spotted hand. She tensed, and Joost’s gut tightened. Hoede gave Anya’s head a little shake. “Do as you’re told, and this will soon be over, ja?”

She gave a small, tight smile. “Of course, Onkle.”

Hoede whispered a few words to the guard behind Anya, then stepped out. The door shut with a loud clang, and Hoede slid a heavy lock into place.

Hoede and the other merchant took positions almost directly in front of Joost and Rutger.

The merchant Joost didn’t know said, “You’re sure this is wise? This girl is a Corporalnik. After what happened to your Fabrikator—”

“If it was Retvenko, I’d be worried. But Anya has a sweet disposition. She’s a Healer. Not prone to aggression.”

“And you’ve lowered the dose?”

“Yes, but we’re agreed that if we have the same results as the Fabrikator, the Council will compensate me? I can’t be asked to bear that expense.”

When the merchant nodded, Hoede signaled to the captain. “Proceed.”

The same results as the Fabrikator. Retvenko claimed Yuri had vanished. Was that what he’d meant?

“Sergeant,” said the captain, “are you ready?”

The guard inside the cell replied, “Yes, sir.” He drew a knife.

Joost swallowed hard.

First test,” said the captain.

The guard bent forward and told the boy to roll up his sleeve. The boy obeyed and stuck out his arm, popping the thumb of his other hand into his mouth. Too old for that, thought Joost. But the boy must be very scared. Joost had slept with a sock bear until he was nearly fourteen, a fact his older brothers had mocked mercilessly.

“This will sting just a bit,” said the guard.

The boy kept his thumb in his mouth and nodded, eyes round.

“This really isn’t necessary—” said Anya.

“Quiet, please,” said Hoede.

The guard gave the boy a pat then slashed a bright red cut across his forearm. The boy started crying immediately.

Anya tried to rise from her chair, but the guard placed a stern hand on her shoulder.

“It’s all right, sergeant,” said Hoede. “Let her heal him.”

Anya leaned forward, taking the boy’s hand gently. “Shhhh,” she said softly. “Let me help.”

“Will it hurt?” the boy gulped.

She smiled. “Not at all. Just a little itch. Try to hold still for me?”