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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

He gave a sharp whistle. Nina glanced over her shoulder, and her gaze found Jesper’s. He flashed two fingers, twice, and she gave a quick nod. Had she known berth twenty-two was their real destination? Had Inej? Kaz was at it again, playing with information, keeping one or all of them blind and guessing. Jesper hated it, but he couldn’t argue with the fact that they still had a way to get to Fjerda. If they lived to board the second schooner.

He signaled to Wylan, and they continued to make their way past the boats and ships moored along the dock, keeping as low as possible.

“There!” he heard a voice shout from somewhere behind him. They’d been spotted.

“Damn it,” Jesper said. “Run!”

They pounded down the dock. There, at berth twenty-two, was a trim-looking schooner with Ferolind written on its side. It was almost eerie how much it looked like the other boat. No lanterns had been lit aboard it, but as he and Wylan bolted up the ramp, two sailors emerged.

“You’re the first ones here,” said Rotty.

“Let’s hope we’re not the last. Are you armed?”

He nodded. “Brekker told us to stay hidden until—”

“This is until,” Jesper said pointing to the men storming toward them on the dock and snatching his rifle back from Wylan. “I need to get to high ground. Keep them back and distracted as long as you can.”

“Jesper—” began Wylan.

“No one gets past you. If they take down this schooner, we’re done for.” The men gunning for them didn’t just care about keeping the Dregs from leaving the harbor. They wanted them dead.

Jesper fired at the two men leading the charge down the dock. One fell and the other rolled left and took cover behind the bowsprit of a fishing boat. Jesper squeezed off three more shots, then sprinted up the mast.

Below he could hear more gunfire erupt. Ten feet up, twenty, boots catching in the rigging. He should have stopped to take them off. He was two feet from the crow’s nest when he felt a hot blade of pain sear through the flesh of his thigh. His foot slipped and for a moment he dangled above the distant deck with nothing but his slippery palms clinging to the ropes. He forced his legs to work and sought purchase with the toes of his boots. His right leg was nearly worthless from the gunshot, and he had to pull himself up the last few feet with his arms trembling and his heart pounding in his ears. Every one of his senses felt like it was on fire. Definitely better than a winning streak at the tables.

He didn’t stop to rest. He hooked his bad leg in the rigging, ignoring the pain, checked the sight on his rifle, and began picking off anyone in range.

Four million kruge, he told himself as he reloaded and found another enemy in his sights. The mist made visibility poor, but this was the skill that had kept him in the Dregs even after his debts had mounted and it had become clear that Jesper loved the cards more than luck loved him. Four million kruge would erase his debt and land him in clover for a good long while.