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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Why two checkpoints?” Inej asked.

Matthias stared at the black walnut slats of the floor and said, “It’s harder to bribe two sets of guards. The security at the Court is always built with multiple fail-safes. If you make it that far—”

We, Helvar. If we make it that far,” corrected Kaz.

The Fjerdan gave the barest shrug. “If we make it that far, the outer circle is split into three sectors: the prison, the drüskelle facilities, and the embassy, each with its own gate in the ringwall. The prison gate is always functioning, but it’s kept under constant armed surveillance. Of the two others, only one is ever operational at any given time.”

“What determines which gate is used?” asked Jesper.

“The schedule changes each week, and guards are only given their postings the night before.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing,” said Jesper. “If we can figure out which gate isn’t running, it won’t be manned or guarded—”

“There are always at least four guards on duty even when the gate isn’t in use.”

“Pretty sure we can handle four guards.”

Matthias shook his head. “The gates weigh thousands of pounds and can only be operated from within the guardhouses. And even if you could raise one of them, opening a gate that isn’t scheduled for use would trigger Black Protocol. The entire Court would go on lockdown, and you’d give away your location.”

A ripple of unease passed through the room. Jesper shifted uncomfortably. If the expressions on the others’ faces were any indication, they were all having the same thought: Just what are we getting into? Only Kaz seemed unfazed.

“Put it all down,” Kaz said, tapping the paper. “Helvar, I expect you to describe the mechanics of the alarm system to Wylan later.”

Matthias frowned. “I don’t really know how it works. It’s some kind of series of cables and bells.”

“Tell him all you know. Where will they be keeping Bo Yul-Bayur?”

Slowly, Matthias rose and approached the plans taking shape beneath Wylan’s pen. His movements were reluctant, as wary as if Kaz had told him to pet a rattler.

“Probably here,” the Fjerdan said, resting his finger on the paper. “The prison sector. The high-security cells are on the topmost floor. It’s where they keep the most dangerous criminals. Assassins, terrorists—”

“Grisha?” Nina asked.

“Exactly,” he replied grimly.

“You guys are going to make this really fun, aren’t you?” asked Jesper. “Usually people don’t start hating each other until a week into the job, but you two have a head start.”

They cast him twin glares, and Jesper beamed back at them, but Kaz’s attention was focused on the plans.

“Bo Yul-Bayur isn’t dangerous,” he said thoughtfully. “At least not in that way. I don’t think they’ll keep him locked up with the rabble.”

“I think they’ll keep him in a grave,” said Matthias.

“Operate on the assumption that he isn’t dead. He’s a valued prisoner, one they don’t want falling into the wrong hands before he stands trial. Where would he be?”