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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

What if I’d gone to Ravka instead of Kerch? Jesper thought. What if I’d joined the Second Army? Did they even let Fabrikators fight, or were they kept walled up in workshops? Ravka was more stable now, rebuilding. There was no compulsory draft for Grisha. He could go, visit, maybe learn to use his power better, leave the gambling dens of Ketterdam behind. If they succeeded in delivering Bo Yul-Bayur to the Merchant Council, anything might be possible. He gave himself a shake. What was he thinking? He needed a dose of imminent peril to get his head straight.

He rose out of his crouch. “I’m going in.”

“What’s the plan?”

“You’ll see.”

“Let me help.”

“You can help by shutting up and staying out of the way. Here,” Jesper said as he hooked the rope over the side of the roof, letting it drop down behind a row of stone slabs lining the walkway. “Wait until I’ve immobilized the guards, then lower yourself down.”

“Jesper—”

Jesper took off across the roof, keeping low as he gave the lip overlooking the courtyard a wide berth. He positioned himself on the wall behind the guard.

As noiselessly as he could, he secured another section of rope to the roof and slowly began to rappel down the wall. The guard was almost directly beneath him. Jesper was no Wraith, but if he could just make the drop silently and sneak up behind the guard he could keep things quiet.

He tensed, ready to drop. Another guard strode out of the gatehouse, clapping his hands in the cold and talking loudly, then a third appeared. Jesper froze. He was dangling over three armed guards, halfway down a wall, completely exposed. This was why Kaz did the planning. Sweat broke out on his brow. He couldn’t take three guards at once. And what if there were more in the gatehouse, ready to ring the alarm?

“Wait,” said one of the guards. “Did you hear something?”

Don’t look up. Oh, Saints, don’t look up.

The guards moved in a slow circle, rifles raised. One of them craned his head back, scanning the roof. He began to turn.

A strange, sweet sound pierced the air.

“Skerden Fjerda, kende hjertzeeeeeng, lendten isen en de waaaanden.”

Fjerdan words Jesper didn’t understand crested over the courtyard in a shimmering, perfect tenor that seemed to catch upon the black stone battlements.

Wylan.

The guards whirled, rifles pointed at the walkway that led to the courtyard, seeking the source of the sound.

“Olander?” one called.

“Nilson?” said another.

Their guns were raised, but their voices were more bemused and curious than aggressive.

What the hell is he doing?

A silhouette appeared in the walkway arch, lurching left and right.

Skerden Fjerda, kende hjertzeeeeeng,” Wylan sang, doing a surprisingly convincing impression of a drunk but very talented Fjerdan.

The guards burst out laughing, joining in on the song. “Lendten isen…”

Jesper leapt down. He seized the closest Fjerdan, snapped his neck, and grabbed his rifle. As the next guard turned, Jesper slammed the butt of the rifle into his face with a nasty crunch. The third guard raised his weapon, but Wylan snagged his arms from behind in an awkward hold. The rifle dropped from the guard’s hands, clattering against the stone. Before he could cry out, Jesper lunged forward and rammed the butt of his rifle into the guard’s gut, then finished him with two strikes to the jaw.