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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

The first day trekking was like a cleansing—little talk, the white hush of the north welcoming Matthias back without judgment. He’d expected more complaints, but even Wylan had simply put his head down and walked. They’re all survivors, Matthias understood. They adapt. When the sun began to set, they ate their rations of dried beef and hardtack and collapsed into their tents without a word.

But the next morning brought an end to the quiet and Matthias’ fragile sense of peace. Now that they were off the ship and away from its crew, Kaz was ready to dig into the details of the plan.

“If we get this right, we’re going to be in and out of the Ice Court before the Fjerdans ever know their prize scientist is gone,” Kaz said as they shouldered their packs and continued to push south. “When we enter the prison, we’ll be taken to the holding area beneath the men’s and women’s cellblocks to await charges. If Matthias is right and the procedures are still the same, the patrols only pass through the holding cells three times a day for head counts. Once we’re out of the cells, we should have at least six hours to cross to the embassy, locate Yul-Bayur on the White Island, and get him down to the harbor before they realize anyone is gone.”

“What about the other prisoners in the holding cells?” Matthias asked.

“We have that covered.”

Matthias scowled, but he wasn’t particularly surprised. Once they were in those holding cells, Kaz and the others would be at their most vulnerable. It would take only a word to the guards for Matthias to put an end to all their scheming. That was what Brum would do, what an honorable man would choose. Some part of Matthias had believed that coming back to Fjerda would return him to his senses, give him the strength to forsake this mad quest; instead it had only made his longing for home, for the life he’d once lived among his drüskelle brothers, more acute.

“Once we’re out of the cells,” Kaz continued, “Matthias and Jesper will secure rope from the stables while Wylan and I get Nina and Inej out of the women’s holding area. The basement is our meet. That’s where the incinerator is, and no one should be in the laundry after the prison shuts down for the night. While Inej makes the climb, Wylan and I scour the laundry for anything he can use for demo. And just in case the Fjerdans decided to stash Bo Yul-Bayur in the prison and make life easy on us, Nina, Matthias, and Jesper will search the top level cells.”

“Nina and Matthias?” Jesper asked. “Far be it from me to doubt anyone’s professionalism, but is that really the ideal pairing?”

Matthias bit down on his anger. Jesper was right, but he hated being discussed in this way.

“Matthias knows prison procedure, and Nina can handle any guards without a noisy fight. Your job is to keep them from killing each other.”