Mistborn the final empi.., p.100
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.100

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 100

  Kelsier ignored the question. “Why only one of you?” he demanded.

  The creature’s smile deepened. “I won the draw. ”

  Kelsier ?ared pewter, dashing to the side as the Inquisitor pulled out a pair of obsidian axes. The square was quickly becoming clogged with soldiers. From inside the carts he could hear people crying out.

  “Kelsier! Lord Kelsier! Please!”

  Kelsier cursed quietly as the Inquisitor bore down on him. He reached out, Pulling against one of the still full carts and yanking himself into the air over a group of soldiers. He landed, then dashed to the cart, intending to free its occupants. As he arrived, however, the cart shook. Kelsier glanced up just in time to see a steel-eyed monster grinning down at him from atop the vehicle.

  Kelsier Pushed himself backward, feeling the wind of an axehead swing beside his head. He landed smoothly, but immediately had to jump to the side as a group of soldiers attacked. As he landed, he reached out—Pulling against one of the carts to anchor himself—and Pulled against the fallen iron door he had thrown before. The barred door lurched into the air and crashed through the squad of soldiers.

  The Inquisitor attacked from behind, but Kelsier jumped away. The still tumbling door careened across the cobblestones in front of him, and as he passed over it, Kelsier Pushed, sending himself streaking into the air.

  Vin was right, Kelsier thought with frustration. Below, the Inquisitor watched him, trailing him with unnatural eyes. I shouldn’t have done this. Below, a group of soldiers rounded up the skaa that he had freed.

  I should run—try to lose the Inquisitor. I’ve done it before.

  But. . he couldn’t. He wouldn’t, not this time. He had compromised too many times before. Even if it cost him everything else, he had to free those prisoners.

  And then, as he began to fall, he saw a group of men charging the crossroads. They bore weapons, but no uniforms. At their head ran a familiar form.

  Ham! So that’s where you went.

  “What is it?” Vin asked anxiously, craning to see into the square. Above, Kelsier’s form plunged back toward the ?ght, dark cloak trailing behind him.

  “It’s one of our soldier units!” Dockson said. “Ham must have fetched them. ”

  “How many?”

  “We kept them in patches of a couple hundred. ”

  “So they’ll be outnumbered. ”

  Dockson nodded.

  Vin stood. “I’m going out. ”

  “No, you’re not,” Dockson said ?rmly, grabbing her cloak and pulling her back. “I don’t want a repeat of what happened to you last time you faced one of those monsters. ”

  “But…”

  “Kell will be just ?ne,” Dockson said. “He’ll just try to stall long enough for Ham to free the prisoners, then he’ll run. Watch. ”

  Vin stepped back.

  To her side, Breeze was mumbling to himself. “Yes, you’re afraid. Let’s focus on that. Soothe everything else away. Leave you terri?ed. That’s an Inquisitor and a Mistborn ?ghting—you don’t want to interfere with that…. ”

  Vin glanced back toward the square, where she saw a soldier drop his staff and ?ee. There are other ways to ?ght, she realized, kneeling beside Breeze. “How can I help?”

  Kelsier ducked back from the Inquisitor again as Ham’s unit crashed into the imperial soldiers and began cutting its way toward the prisoner carts. The attack diverted the attention of the regular soldiers, who appeared all too happy to leave Kelsier and the Inquisitor to their solitary battle.

  To the side, Kelsier could see skaa beginning to clog the streets around the small courtyard, the ?ghting drawing the attention of those waiting up above at the fountain square. Kelsier could see other squads of imperial soldiers trying to push their way toward the ?ght, but the thousands of skaa crowding the streets seriously slowed their progress.

  The Inquisitor swung, and Kelsier dodged. The creature was obviously growing frustrated. To the side, a small group of Ham’s men reached one of the prisoner carts and broke open its lock, freeing the prisoners. The rest of Ham’s men kept the imperial soldiers busy as the prisoners ?ed.

  Kelsier smiled, eyeing the annoyed Inquisitor. The creature growled quietly.

  “Valette!” a voice screamed.

  Kelsier turned in shock. A well-dressed nobleman was pushing his way through the soldiers toward the center of the ?ghting. He carried a dueling cane and was protected by two beleaguered bodyguards, but he mostly avoided harm by virtue of neither side being certain of wanting to strike down a man of obvious noble blood.

  “Valette!” Elend Venture yelled again. He turned to one of the soldiers. “Who told you to raid House Renoux’s convoy! Who authorized this!”

  Great, Kelsier thought, keeping a wary eye on the Inquisitor. The creature regarded Kelsier with a twisted, hateful expression.

  You just go right on hating me, Kelsier thought. I only have to hang on long enough for Ham to free the prisoners. Then, I can lead you away.

  The Inquisitor reached out and casually beheaded a ?eeing servant as she ran by.

  “No!” Kelsier yelled as the corpse fell at the Inquisitor’s feet. The creature grabbed another victim and raised its axe.

  “All right!” Kelsier said, striding forward, pulling a pair of vials from his sash. “All right. You want to ?ght me? Come on!”

  The creature smiled, pushing the captured woman aside and striding toward Kelsier.

  Kelsier ?icked the corks off and downed both vials at once, then tossed them aside. Metals ?ared in his chest, burning alongside his rage. His brother, dead. His wife, dead. Family, friends, and heroes. All dead.

  You push me to seek revenge? he thought. Well, you shall have it!

  Kelsier paused a few feet in front of the Inquisitor. Fists clinched, he ?ared his steel in a massive Push. Around him, people were thrown back by their metal as they were hit by the awesome, invisible wave of power. The square—packed with imperial soldiers, prisoners, and rebels—opened up in a small pocket around Kelsier and the Inquisitor.

  “Let’s do it, then,” Kelsier said.

  I never wanted to be feared.

  If I regret one thing, it is the fear I have caused. Fear is the tool of tyrants. Unfortunately, when the fate of the world is in question, you use whatever tools are available.

  34

  DEAD AND DYING MEN COLLAPSED to the cobblestones. Skaa crowded the roads. Prisoners cried out, calling his name. Heat from a smoky sun burned the streets.

  And ash fell from the sky.

  Kelsier dashed forward, ?aring pewter and whipping out his daggers. He burned atium, as did the Inquisitor—and they both probably had enough to last for an extended ?ght.

  Kelsier slashed twice in the hot air, striking at the Inquisitor, his arms a blur. The creature dodged amid an insane vortex of atium-shadows, then swung an axe.

  Kelsier jumped, pewter lending his leap inhuman height, and passed just over the swinging weapon. He reached out and Pushed against a group of ?ghting soldiers behind him, throwing himself forward. He planted both feet in the Inquisitor’s face and kicked off, ?ipping backward in the air.

  The Inquisitor stumbled. As Kelsier fell, he Pulled on a soldier, yanking himself backward. The soldier was pulled off his feet by the force of the Ironpull, and he began to streak toward Kelsier. Both men ?ew in the air.

  Kelsier ?ared iron, Pulling against a patch of soldiers to his right while still Pulling against the single soldier. The result was a pivot. Kelsier ?ew to the side, and the soldier— held as if by tether to Kelsier’s body—swung in a wide arc like a ball on a chain.

  The unfortunate soldier crashed into the stumbling Inquisitor, smashing them both into the bars of an empty prison cart.

  The soldier toppled, unconscious, to the ground. The Inquisitor bounced off the iron cage, falling to its hands and knees. A line of blood ran down the creature’s face, across its eye tattoos, but it looked up, smiling. It did
n’t seem the least bit dizzy as it stood.

  Kelsier landed, cursing quietly to himself.

  With an incredible burst of speed, the Inquisitor grabbed the empty, boxlike prison cell by a pair of bars, then ripped the entire thing free of the cartwheels.

  Bloody hell!

  The creature spun and hurled the massive iron cage at Kelsier, who stood only a few feet away. There was no time to dodge. A building stood right behind him; if he Pushed himself back, he’d be crushed.

  The cage crashed toward him, and he jumped, using a Steelpush to guide his body through the open doorway of the spinning cage. He twisted within the cell, Pushing outward in all directions, holding himself in the metal cage’s exact center as it smashed into the wall, then bounced free.

  The cage rolled, then began to skid across the ground. Kelsier let himself drop, landing on the underside of the roof as the cage slowly slid to a halt. Through the bars, he could see the Inquisitor watching him amid a sea of ?ghting soldiers, its body surrounded by a twisting, dashing, moving cloud of atium-images. The Inquisitor nodded its head to Kelsier in a slight sign of respect.

  Kelsier Pushed out with a yell, ?aring pewter to keep from crushing himself. The cage exploded, the metal top ?ipping into the air, the bars ripping free and bursting outward. Kelsier Pulled the bars behind him and Pushed the ones in front of him, sending a stream of metal shooting toward the Inquisitor.

  The creature raised a hand, expertly dividing the large missiles. Kelsier, however, followed the bars with his own body—shooting himself toward the Inquisitor with a Steel-push. The Inquisitor Pulled himself to the side, using an unfortunate soldier as an anchor. The man cried out as he was wrenched away from his duel—but he choked off as the Inquisitor jumped, Pushing against the soldier and crushing the man to the ground.

  The Inquisitor shot into the air. Kelsier slowed himself with a Push against a group of soldiers, tracking the Inquisitor. Behind him, the top of the cage crashed back to the ground, throwing up chips of stone. Kelsier blasted against it and hurled himself upward, after the Inquisitor.

  Flakes of ash streaked past him. Ahead, the Inquisitor turned, Pulling against something below. The creature switched directions immediately, instead hurling toward Kelsier.

  Head-on collision. Bad idea for the guy without spikes in his head. Kelsier frantically Pulled against a soldier, lurching downward as the Inquisitor passed diagonally overhead.

  Kelsier ?ared pewter, then crashed into the soldier he had Pulled up toward him. The two of them spun in midair. Fortunately, the soldier wasn’t one of Ham’s.

  “Sorry, friend,” Kelsier said conversationally, Pushing himself to the side.

  The soldier shot away, eventually smashing into the side of a building as Kelsier used him to soar over the battle?eld. Below, Ham’s main squad had ?nally reached the last prison cart. Unfortunately, several more groups of imperial soldiers had pushed their way through the gawking skaa crowds. One of them was a large team of archers—armed with obsidian-tipped arrows.

  Kelsier cursed, letting himself fall. The archers set up, obviously preparing to ?re straight into the ?ghting crowd. They would kill some of their own soldiers, but the brunt of their attack would be borne by the ?eeing prisoners.

 

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