Mistborn the final empi.., p.101
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.101

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 101

  Kelsier dropped to the cobblestones. He reached to the side, Pulling against some discarded bars from the cage he had destroyed. They ?ew toward him.

  The archers drew. But he could see their atium-shadows.

  Kelsier released the bars and Pushed himself to the side just slightly, allowing the bars to ?y between the archers and the ?eeing prisoners.

  The archers ?red.

  Kelsier grabbed the bars, ?aring both steel and iron, Pushing against one tip of each bar and Pulling against the opposite tip. The bars lurched in the air, immediately beginning to spin like furious, lunatic windmills. Most of the ?ying arrows were sprayed to the side by the spinning rods of iron.

  The bars clanged to the ground amid the scattered, discarded arrows. The archers stood, stupe?ed, as Kelsier jumped to the side again, then Pulled lightly on the bars, ?ipping them up into the air in front of him. He Pushed, sending the bars crashing toward the archers. He turned away as men screamed and died, his eyes seeking his true foe.

  Where is that creature hiding?

  He looked into a scene of chaos. Men fought, ran, ?ed, and died—each one bearing a prophetic atium-shadow to Kelsier’s eyes. In this case, however, the shadows effectively doubled the number of people moving on the battle?eld, and only served to increase the sense of confusion.

  More and more soldiers were arriving. Many of Ham’s men were down, most of the rest were retreating— fortunately, they could simply discard their armor and blend into the skaa crowds. Kelsier was more worried about that last prisoner cart—the one with Renoux and Spook in it. The trajectory at which Ham’s group had entered the battle had required them to move up the line of carts, back to front. Trying to get to Renoux ?rst would have required passing by the ?ve other carts, leaving their people still trapped.

  Ham obviously didn’t intend to leave until Spook and Renoux were free. And, where Ham fought, the rebel soldiers held. There was a reason Pewterarms were also called Thugs: there was no subtlety to their ?ghting, no clever Iron-pulls or Steelpushes. Ham simply attacked with raw strength and speed, throwing enemy soldiers out of his way, laying waste to their ranks, leading his squad of ?fty men toward the ?nal prison cart. As they reached it, Ham stepped back to ?ght off a group of enemy soldiers as one of his men broke the cart’s lock.

  Kelsier smiled with pride, eyes still searching for the Inquisitor. His men were few, but the enemy soldiers seemed visibly unsettled by the skaa rebels’ determination. Kelsier’s men fought with passion—despite their other, numerous hindrances, they still had this one advantage.

  This is what happens when you ?nally convince them to fight. This is what hides within them all. It’s just so hard to release….

  Renoux exited the cart, then stepped to the side, watching as his servants rushed free from their cage. Suddenly, a well-dressed ?gure burst from the melee, grabbing Renoux by the front of his suit.

  “Where’s Valette?” Elend Venture demanded, his desperate voice carrying to Kelsier’s tin-enhanced ears. “Which cage was she in?”

  Kid, you’re really starting to annoy me, Kelsier thought, Pushing himself a path through the soldiers as he ran toward the cart.

  The Inquisitor appeared, leaping out from behind a pile of soldiers. It landed on top of the cage, shaking the entire structure, an obsidian axe grasped in each clawlike hand. The creature met Kelsier’s eyes and smiled, then dropped from the top of the cage and buried an axe in Renoux’s back.

  The kandra jerked, eyes opening wide. The Inquisitor turned toward Elend next. Kelsier wasn’t certain if the creature recognized the boy. Perhaps the Inquisitor thought Elend to be a member of Renoux’s family. Perhaps it didn’t care.

  Kelsier paused for just a moment.

  The Inquisitor raised his axe to strike.

  She loves him.

  Kelsier ?ared steel within, stoking it, raging it until his chest burned like the Ashmounts themselves. He blasted against the soldiers behind him—throwing dozens of them backward—and streaked toward the Inquisitor. He crashed into the creature as it began to swing.

  The discarded axe clicked against the stones a few feet away. Kelsier gripped the Inquisitor by its neck as the two hit the ground; then he began to squeeze with pewter-enhanced muscles. The Inquisitor reached up, grabbing Kelsier’s hands, desperately trying to force them apart.

  Marsh was right, Kelsier thought through the chaos. It fears for its life. It can be killed.

  The Inquisitor gasped raggedly, the metal spikeheads protruding from its eyes just inches from Kelsier’s face. To his side Kelsier saw Elend Venture stumble back.

  “The girl is ?ne!” Kelsier said through gritted teeth. “She wasn’t on the Renoux barges. Go!”

  Elend paused uncertainly; then one of his bodyguards ?nally appeared. The boy let himself get dragged away.

  Can’t believe I just saved a nobleman, Kelsier thought, struggling to choke the Inquisitor. You’d better appreciate this, girl.

  Slowly, with straining muscles, the Inquisitor forced Kelsier’s hands apart. The creature began to smile again.

  They’re so strong!

  The Inquisitor pushed Kelsier back, then Pulled against a soldier, yanking itself in a skidding motion across the cobblestones. The Inquisitor hit a corpse and ?ipped backward, up to its feet. Its neck was red from Kelsier’s grip, bits of ?esh torn by his ?ngernails, but it smiled still.

  Kelsier Pushed against a soldier, ?ipping himself up as well. To his side, he saw Renoux leaning against the cart. Kelsier caught the kandra’s eyes and nodded slightly.

  Renoux dropped to the ground with a sigh, axe in his back.

  “Kelsier!” Ham yelled over the crowd.

  “Go!” Kelsier told him. “Renoux is dead. ”

  Ham glanced at Renoux’s body, then nodded. He turned to his men, calling orders.

  “Survivor,” a rasping voice said.

  Kelsier spun. The Inquisitor strode forward, stepping with pewter’s lithe power, surrounded by a haze of atium-shadows.

  “Survivor of Hathsin,” it said. “You promised me a ?ght. Must I kill more skaa?”

  Kelsier ?ared his metals. “I never said we were done. ” Then, he smiled. He was worried, he was pained, but he was also exhilarated. All of his life, there had been a piece of him that had wished to stand and ?ght.

  He’d always wanted to see if he could take an Inquisitor.

  Vin stood, trying desperately to see over the crowd.

  “What?” Dockson asked.

  “I thought I saw Elend!”

  “Here? That sounds a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?”

  Vin ?ushed. Probably. “Regardless, I’m going to try and get a better view. ” She grabbed the side of the alleyway.

  “Be careful,” Dox said. “If that Inquisitor sees you…”

  Vin nodded, scrambling up the bricks. Once she got high enough, she scanned the intersection for familiar ?gures. Dockson was right: Elend was nowhere to be seen. One of the carts—the one off of which the Inquisitor had ripped the cage—lay on its side. Horses stomped about, hedged in by the ?ghting and the skaa crowds.

  “What do you see?” Dox called up.

  “Renoux is down!” Vin said, squinting and burning tin. “Looks like an axe in his back. ”

  “That may or may not be fatal for him,” Dockson said cryptically. “I don’t know a lot about kandra. ”


  “What about the prisoners?” Dox called.

  “They’re all free,” Vin said. “The cages are empty. Dox, there are a lot of skaa out there!” It looked like the entire population from the fountain square had crowded down to the small intersection. The area was in a small depression, and Vin could see thousands of skaa packing the streets sloping upward in all directions.

  “Ham’s free!” Vin said. “I don’t see him—alive or dead— anywhere! Spook’s gone too. ”

  “And Kell?” Dockson asked urgently.

in paused. “He’s still ?ghting the Inquisitor. ”

  Kelsier ?ared his pewter, punching the Inquisitor, careful to avoid the ?at disks of metal sticking out the front of its eyes. The creature stumbled, and Kelsier buried his ?st in its stomach. The Inquisitor growled and slapped Kelsier across the face, throwing him down with one blow.

  Kelsier shook his head. What does it take to kill this thing? he thought, Pushing himself up to his feet, backing away.

  The Inquisitor strode forward. Some of the soldiers were trying to search the crowd for Ham and his men, but many just stood still. A ?ght between two powerful Allomancers was something whispered about, but never seen. Soldier and peasant stood dumbfounded, watching the battle with awe.

  He’s stronger than I am, Kelsier acknowledged, watching the Inquisitor warily. But strength isn’t everything.

  Kelsier reached out, grabbing smaller metal sources and Pulling them away from their owners—metal caps, ?ne steel swords, coin pouches, daggers. He threw them at the Inquisitor—carefully manipulating Steelpushes and Ironpulls—and kept his atium burning so that each item he controlled would have a fanning multitude of atium-images in the Inquisitor’s eyes.

  The Inquisitor cursed quietly as it de?ected the swarming bits of metal. Kelsier, however, just used the Inquisitor’s own Pushes against it, Pulling each item back, whipping them around at the creature. The Inquisitor blasted outward, Pushing against all the items at once, and Kelsier let them go. As soon as the Inquisitor stopped Pushing, however, Kelsier Pulled his weapons back.

  The imperial soldiers formed a ring, watching warily. Kelsier used them, Pushing against breastplates, lurching himself back and forth in the air. The quick changes in position let him move constantly, disorienting the Inquisitor, allowing him to Push his different ?ying pieces of metal where he wanted them.

  “Keep an eye on my belt buckle,” Dockson asked, wobbling slightly as he clung to the bricks beside Vin. “If I fall off, give me a Pull to slow the fall, eh?”

  Vin nodded, but she wasn’t paying much attention to Dox. She was watching Kelsier. “He’s incredible!”

  Kelsier lurched back and forth in the air, his feet never touching the ground. Bits of metal buzzed around him, responding to his Pushes and Pulls. He controlled them with such skill, one would have thought they were living things. The Inquisitor slapped them away with a fury, but was obviously having trouble keeping track of them all.

  I underestimated Kelsier, Vin thought. I assumed that he was less skilled than the Mistings because he’d spread himself too thin. But that wasn’t it at all. This. This is his specialty—Pushing and Pulling with expert control.

  And iron and steel are the metals he personally trained me in. Maybe he understood all along.

  Kelsier spun and ?ew amid a maelstrom of metal. Every time something hit the ground, he ?icked it back up. The items always ?ew in straight lines, but he kept moving, Pushing himself around, keeping them in the air, periodically shooting them at the Inquisitor.

  The creature spun, confused. It tried to Push itself upward, but Kelsier shot several larger pieces of metal over the creature’s head, and it had to Push against them, throwing off its jump.

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