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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“See that? Hidden depths.” Kaz tapped his gloved fingers over the crow’s head of his cane. “And I don’t want our only leverage against Van Eck cooling his heels in Ketterdam while we head north. Wylan goes with us. He’s good enough at demo, and he’s got a fine hand for sketching, thanks to all those pricey tutors.”

Wylan blushed deeper, and Jesper shook his head. “Play piano, too?”

“Flute,” said Wylan defensively.

“Perfect.”

“And since Wylan has seen the Ice Court with his very own eyes,” Kaz continued, “he can help keep you honest, Helvar.”

The Fjerdan scowled furiously, and Wylan looked a little ill.

“Don’t worry,” Nina said. “The glower isn’t lethal.”

Jesper noted the way Matthias’ shoulders bunched every time Nina talked. He didn’t know what history they were chewing on, but they’d probably kill each other before they ever got to Fjerda.

Jesper rubbed his eyes. He was low on sleep and exhausted after the excitement of the prison break, and now his thoughts were buzzing and jumping at the possibility of thirty million kruge. Even after Per Haskell got his twenty percent, that would leave four million for each of them. What could he do with a pile of scratch that big? Jesper could just imagine his father saying, Land yourself in a pile of shit twice as big. Saints, he missed him.

Kaz tapped his cane on the polished wood floor.

“Take out your pen and proper paper, Wylan. Let’s put Helvar to work.”

Wylan reached into the satchel at his feet and pulled out a slender roll of butcher’s paper followed by a metal case that held an expensive-looking pen and ink set.

“How nice,” Jesper noted. “A nib for every occasion.”

“Start talking,” Kaz said to the Fjerdan. “It’s time to pay the rent.”

Matthias directed his furious gaze at Kaz. Definitely a mighty glower. It was almost fun to watch him pit it against Kaz’s sharklike stare.

Finally, the Fjerdan shut his eyes, took a deep breath, and said, “The Ice Court is on a bluff overlooking the harbor at Djerholm. It’s built in concentric circles, like the rings of a tree.” The words came slowly, as if speaking each one was causing him pain. “First, the ringwall, then the outer circle. It’s divided into three sectors. Beyond that is the ice moat, then at the center of everything, the White Island.”

Wylan began to sketch. Jesper peered over Wylan’s shoulder. “That doesn’t look like a tree, it looks like a cake.”

“Well, it is sort of like a cake,” Wylan said defensively. “The whole thing is built on a rise.”

Kaz gestured for Matthias to continue.

“The cliffs are unscalable, and the northern road is the only way in or out. You’ll have to get through a guarded checkpoint before you even reach the ringwall.”

“Two checkpoints,” said Wylan. “When I was there, there were two.”

“There you have it,” Kaz said to Jesper. “Marketable skills. Wylan is watching you, Helvar.”