Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
Jesper gave him a little shake. “Pull it together, kid.”
“Not a kid,” Wylan mumbled, batting Jesper’s hands away.
“Fine, you’re an elder statesman. Do you know how to shoot?”
Wylan nodded slowly. “Skeet.”
Jesper rolled his eyes. He snagged the rifle from his back and shoved it into Wylan’s chest. “Great. This is just like shooting clay pigeons, but they make a different sound when you hit one.”
Jesper whirled, revolvers raised, as a shape sprang into his peripheral vision, but it was just Kaz.
“Head east to the next dock, board at berth twenty-two,” Kaz said.
“What’s at berth twenty-two?”
“The real Ferolind.”
“The boat that blew was a decoy.”
“No, I took precautions. It’s what I do, Jesper.”
“You could have told us we—”
“That would defeat the purpose of a decoy. Get moving.” Kaz glanced at Wylan, who stood there cradling the rifle like an infant. “And make sure he gets to the ship in one piece.”
Jesper watched Kaz vanish back into the shadows, cane in one hand, pistol in the other. Even on one good leg, he was eerily spry.
Then Jesper gave Wylan another jostle. “Let’s go.”
“Didn’t you hear what Kaz said? We need to make it to berth twenty-two.”
Wylan nodded dumbly. His eyes were dazed and wide enough to drink from.
“Just stay behind me and try not to get killed. Ready?”
Wylan shook his head.
“Then forget I asked.” He placed Wylan’s hand on the rifle’s grip. “Come on.”
Jesper laid down another series of shots, sketching a wild formation he hoped would disguise their location. One revolver empty, he lunged away from the crate and into the shadows. He half expected Wylan wouldn’t follow, but he could hear the merchling behind him, breathing hard, a low whistle in his lungs as they pounded toward the next stack of barrels.
Jesper hissed as a bullet whizzed by his cheek, close enough to leave a burn.
They threw themselves behind the barrels. From this vantage point, he saw Nina wedged into a space between two stacks of crates. She had her arms raised, and as one of their attackers moved into view, she clenched her fist. The boy crumpled to the ground, clutching his chest. She was at a disadvantage in this maze, though. Heartrenders needed to see their targets to bring them down.
Helvar was beside her with his back to the crate, his hands bound. A reasonable precaution, but the Fjerdan was valuable, and Jesper had a moment to wonder why Kaz had left him in such straits before he saw Nina produce a knife from her sleeve and slash through Helvar’s bonds. She slapped a pistol into his hands. “Defend yourself,” she said with a growl, and then returned her focus to the fight.
Not smart, Jesper thought. Do not turn your back on an angry Fjerdan. Helvar looked like he was seriously considering shooting her. Jesper lifted his revolver, prepared to bring the giant down. Then Helvar was standing next to Nina, aiming into the maze of crates beyond. Just like that they were fighting side by side. Had Kaz left Matthias bound with Nina deliberately? Jesper could never tell how much of what Kaz got away with was smarts and planning and how much was dumb luck.