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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“We believe all these occurrences are the work of Grisha under the control of the Shu government and under the influence of jurda parem.” Van Eck scrubbed a hand over his jaw. “Mister Brekker, I want you to think for a moment about what I’m telling you. Men who can walk through walls—no vault or fortress will ever be safe again. People who can make gold from lead, or anything else for that matter, who can alter the very material of the world—financial markets would be thrown into chaos. The world economy would collapse.”

“Very exciting. What is it you want from me, Van Eck? You want me to steal a shipment? The formula?”

“No, I want you to steal the man.”

“Kidnap Bo Yul-Bayur?”

“Save him. A month ago we received a message from Yul-Bayur begging for asylum. He was concerned about his government’s plans for jurda parem, and we agreed to help him defect. We set up a rendezvous, but there was a skirmish at the drop point.”

“With the Shu?”

“No, with Fjerdans.”

Kaz frowned. The Fjerdans must have spies deep in Shu Han or Kerch if they had learned about the drug and Bo Yul-Bayur’s plans so quickly. “So send some of your agents after him.”

“The diplomatic situation is somewhat delicate. It is essential that our government not be tied to Yul-Bayur in any way.”

“You have to know he’s probably dead. The Fjerdans hate Grisha. There’s no way they’d let knowledge of this drug get out.”

“Our sources say he is very much alive and that he is awaiting trial.” Van Eck cleared his throat. “At the Ice Court.”

Kaz stared at Van Eck for a long minute, then burst out laughing. “Well, it’s been a pleasure being knocked unconscious and taken captive by you, Van Eck. You can be sure your hospitality will be repaid when the time is right. Now have one of your lackeys show me to the door.”

“We’re prepared to offer you five million kruge.”

Kaz pocketed the pistol. He wasn’t afraid for his life now, just irritated that this fink had wasted his time. “This may come as a surprise to you, Van Eck, but we canal rats value our lives just as much as you do yours.”

“Ten million.”

“There’s no point to a fortune I won’t be alive to spend. Where’s my hat—did your Tidemaker leave it behind in the alley?”

“Twenty.”

Kaz paused. He had the eerie sense that the carved fish on the walls had halted midleap to listen. “Twenty million kruge?”

Van Eck nodded. He didn’t look happy.

“I’d need to convince a team to walk into a suicide mission. That won’t come cheap.” That wasn’t entirely true. Despite what he’d said to Van Eck, there were plenty of people in the Barrel who didn’t have much to live for.

“Twenty million kruge is hardly cheap,” Van Eck snapped.

“The Ice Court has never been breached.”

“That’s why we need you, Mister Brekker. It’s possible Bo Yul-Bayur is already dead or that he’s given up all his secrets to the Fjerdans, but we think we have at least a little time to act before the secret of jurda parem is put into play.”