Mistborn the final empi.., p.109
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.109

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 109

  “Sazed!” Vin cried out, pushing herself against the bars, trying to reach him.

  “It is all right, Mistress,” he said in a faint, frighteningly weak voice. “I just need a moment to…gather my strength. ”

  Gather my strength. Vin paused, lowering her hand, watching Sazed for a few minutes. Could it be…

  He looked so weak—as if his strength, his very muscles, were being drawn away. And perhaps…stored somewhere?

  Sazed’s eyes snapped open. His body returned to normal; then his muscles continued to grow, becoming large and powerful, growing bigger, even, than Ham’s.

  Sazed smiled at her from a head sitting atop a beefy, muscular neck; then he easily snapped his bindings. He stood, a massive, inhumanly muscular man—so different from the lanky, quiet scholar she had known.

  The Lord Ruler spoke of their strength in his logbook, she thought with wonder. He said the man Rashek lifted a boulder by himself and threw it out of their way.

  “But, they took all of your jewelry!” Vin said. “Where did you hide the metal?”

  Sazed smiled, grabbing the bars separating their cages. “I took a hint from you, Mistress. I swallowed it. ” With that, he ripped the bars free.

  She ran into the cage, embracing him. “Thank you. ”

  “Of course,” he said, gently pushing her aside, then slamming a massive palm against the door to his cell, breaking the lock, sending the door crashing open.

  “Quickly now, Mistress,” Sazed said. “We must get you to safety. ”

  The two guards who had thrown Sazed into the chamber appeared in the doorway a second later. They froze, staring up at the massive beast who stood in place of the weak man they had beaten.

  Sazed jumped forward, holding one of the bars from Vin’s cage. His Feruchemy, however, had obviously given him strength only, no speed. He stepped with a lumbering gait, and the guards dashed away, crying for help.

  “Come now, Mistress,” Sazed said, tossing aside the bar. “My strength will not last long—the metal I swallowed wasn’t large enough to hold much of a Feruchemical charge. ”

  Even as he spoke, he began to shrink. Vin moved past him, scrambling out of the room. The guard chamber beyond was quite small, set with only a pair of chairs. Beneath one, however, she found a cloak rolled around one of the guards’ evening meals. Vin shook the cloak free, tossing it to Sazed.

  “Thank you, Mistress,” he said.

  She nodded, moving to the doorway and peeking out. The larger room outside was empty, and had two hallways leading off of it—one going right, one extending into the distance across from her. The wall to her left was lined with wooden trunks, and the center of the room held a large table. Vin shivered as she saw the dried blood and the set of sharp instruments lying in a row on the table’s side.

  This is where we’ll both end up if we don’t move quickly, she thought, waving Sazed forward.

  She froze mid-step as a group of soldiers appeared in the far hallway, led by one of the guards from before. Vin cursed quietly—she would have heard them earlier if she’d had tin.

  Vin glanced backward. Sazed was hobbling through the guard chamber. His Feruchemical strength was gone, and the soldiers had obviously beaten him soundly before tossing him into the cell. He could barely walk.

  “Go, Mistress!” he said, waving her forward. “Run!”

  You still have some things to learn about friendship, Vin, Kelsier’s voice whispered in her mind. I hope someday you realize what they are….

  I can’t leave him. I won’t.

  Vin dashed toward the soldiers. She swiped a pair of torturing knives from the table, their bright, polished steel glistening between her ?ngers. She jumped atop the table, then leapt off of it toward the oncoming soldiers.

  She had no Allomancy, but she ?ew true anyway, her months of practice helping despite her lack of metals. She slammed a knife into a surprised soldier’s neck as she fell. She hit the ground harder than she had expected, but managed to scramble away from a second soldier, who cursed and swung at her.

  The sword clanged against the stone behind her. Vin spun, slashing another soldier across the thighs. He stumbled back in pain.

  Too many, she thought. There were at least two dozen of them. She tried to jump for a third soldier, but another man swung his quarterstaff, slamming the weapon into Vin’s side.

  She grunted in pain, dropping her knife as she was thrown to the side. No pewter strengthened her against the fall, and she hit the hard stones with a crack, rolling to a dazed stop beside the wall.

  She struggled, unsuccessfully, to rise. To her side, she could barely make out Sazed collapsing as his body grew suddenly weak. He was trying to store up strength again. He wouldn’t have enough time. The soldiers would be on him soon.

  At least I tried, she thought as she heard another group of soldiers charging down the rightmost hallway. At least I didn’t abandon him. I think… think that’s what Kelsier meant.

  “Valette!” a familiar voice cried.

  Vin looked up with shock as Elend and six soldiers burst into the room. Elend wore a nobleman’s suit, a little ill-?tting, and carried a dueling cane.

  “Elend?” Vin asked, dumbfounded.

  “Are you all right?” he said with concern, stepping toward her. Then he noticed the Ministry soldiers. They seemed a bit confused to be confronted by a nobleman, but they still had superior numbers.

  “I’m taking the girl with me!” Elend said. His words were brave, but he was obviously no soldier. He carried only a nobleman’s dueling cane as a weapon, and he wore no armor. Five of the men with him wore Venture red—men from Elend’s keep. One, however—the one who had been leading them as they charged into the room—wore a palace guard’s uniform. Vin realized that she recognized him just vaguely. His uniform jacket was missing the symbol on its shoulder. The man from before, she thought, stupe?ed. The one I convinced to change sides. .

  The lead Ministry soldier apparently made his decision. He waved curtly, ignoring Elend’s command, and the soldiers began to edge around the room, moving to surround Elend’s band.

  “Valette, you have to go!” Elend said urgently, raising his dueling cane.

  “Come, Mistress,” Sazed said, reaching her side, moving to lift her to her feet.

  “We can’t abandon them!” Vin said.

  “We have to. ”

  “But you came for me. We have to do the same for Elend!”

  Sazed shook his head. “That was different, child. I knew I had a chance to save you. You cannot help here—there is beauty in compassion, but one must learn wisdom too. ”

  She allowed herself to be pulled to her feet, Elend’s soldiers obediently moving to block off the Ministry soldiers. Elend stood at their front, obviously determined to ?ght.

  There has to be another way! Vin thought with despair. There has to…

  And then she saw it sitting discarded in one of the trunks along the wall. A familiar strip of gray cloth, one single tassel, hanging over the trunk’s side.

  She pulled free of Sazed as the Ministry soldiers attacked. Elend cried out behind her, and weapons rang.

  Vin threw the top pieces of cloth—her trousers and shirt— out of the trunk. And there, at the bottom, lay her mistcloak. She closed her eyes and reached into the side cloak pocket.

  Her ?ngers found a single glass vial, cork still in place.

  She pulled the vial out, spinning toward the battle. The Ministry soldiers had retreated slightly. Two of their members lay wounded on the ?oor—but three of Elend’s men were down. The small size of the room had, fortunately, kept Elend’s men from being surrounded at ?rst.

  Elend stood sweating, a cut in his arm, his dueling cane cracked and splintered. He grabbed the sword from the man he had felled, holding the weapon in unpracticed hands, staring down a much larger force.

  “I was wrong about that one, Mistress,” Sazed said softly. “I… apologize. ”
  Vin smiled. Then she ?ipped the cork free from her vial and downed the metals in one gulp.

  Wells of power exploded within her. Fires blazed, metals raging, and strength returned to her weakened, tired body like a dawning sun. Pains became trivial, dizziness disappeared, the room became brighter, the stones more real beneath her toes.

  The soldiers attacked again, and Elend raised his sword in a determined, but unhopeful, posture. He seemed utterly shocked when Vin ?ew through the air over his head.

  She landed amid the soldiers, blasting outward with a Steelpush. The soldiers on either side of her smashed into the walls. One man swung a quarterstaff at her, and she slapped it away with a disdainful hand, then smashed a ?st into his face, spinning his head back with a crack.

  She caught the quarterstaff as it fell, spinning, slamming it into the head of the soldier attacking Elend. The staff exploded, and she let it drop with the corpse. The soldiers at the back began to yell, turning and dashing away as she Pushed two more groups of men into the walls. The ?nal soldier left in the room turned, surprised, as Vin Pulled his metal cap to her hands. She Pushed it back at him, smashing it into his chest and anchoring herself from behind. The soldier ?ew down the hallway toward his ?eeing companions, crashing into them.

  Vin breathed out in excitement, standing with tense muscles amidst the groaning men. I can…see how Kelsier would get addicted to this.

  “Valette?” Elend asked, stupe?ed.

  Vin jumped up, grabbing him in a joyful embrace, hanging onto him tightly and burying her face into his shoulder. “You came back,” she whispered. “You came back, you came back, you came back…. ”

  “Um, yes. And…I see that you’re a Mistborn. That’s rather interesting. You know, it’s generally common courtesy to tell one’s friends about things like that. ”

  “Sorry,” she mumbled, still holding on to him.

  “Well, yes,” he said, sounding very distracted. “Um, Valette? What happened to your clothes?”

  “They’re on the ?oor over there,” she said, looking up at him. “Elend, how did you ?nd me?”

  “Your friend, one Master Dockson, told me that you’d been captured in the palace. And well, this ?ne gentleman here— Captain Goradel, I believe his name is—happens to be a palace soldier, and he knew the way here. With his help—and as a nobleman of some rank—I was able to get into the building without much problem, and then we heard screaming down this hallway…. And, um, yes. Valette? Do you think you could go put your clothes on? This is…kind of distracting. ”

  She smiled up at him. “You found me. ”

  “For all the good it did,” he said wryly. “It doesn’t look like you needed our help very much…. ”

  “That doesn’t matter,” she said. “You came back. No one’s ever come back before. ”

  Elend looked down at her, frowning slightly.

  Sazed approached, carrying Vin’s clothing and cloak. “Mistress, we need to leave. ”

  Elend nodded. “It’s not safe anywhere in the city. The skaa are rebelling!” He paused, looking at her. “But, uh, you probably already know that. ”

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