Mistborn the final empi.., p.110
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.110

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 110

  Vin nodded, ?nally letting go of him. “I helped start it. But, you’re right about the danger. Go with Sazed—he’s known by many of the rebel leaders. They won’t hurt you as long as he vouches for you. ”

  Elend and Sazed both frowned as Vin pulled on her trousers. In the pocket, she found her mother’s earring. She put it back on.

  “Go with Sazed?” Elend asked. “But, what about you?”

  Vin pulled on her loose overshirt. Then she glanced upward… sensing through the stone, feeling him up above. He was there. Too powerful. Now, having faced him directly, she was certain of his strength. The skaa rebellion was doomed as long as he lived.

  “I have another task, Elend,” she said, taking the mistcloak from Sazed.

  “You think you can defeat him, Mistress?” Sazed said.

  “I have to try,” she said. “The Eleventh Metal worked, Saze. I saw. . something. Kelsier was convinced it would provide the secret. ”

  “But. . the Lord Ruler, Mistress…”

  “Kelsier died to start this rebellion,” Vin said ?rmly. “I have to see that it succeeds. This is my part, Sazed. Kelsier didn’t know what it was, but I do. I have to stop the Lord Ruler. ”

  “The Lord Ruler?” Elend asked with shock. “No, Valette. He’s immortal!”

  Vin reached over, grabbing Elend’s head and pulling him down to kiss her. “Elend, your family delivered the atium to the Lord Ruler. Do you know where he keeps it?”

  “Yes,” he said with confusion. “He keeps the beads in a treasury building just east of here. But—”

  “You have to get that atium, Elend. The new government is going to need that wealth—and power—if it’s going to keep from getting conquered by the ?rst nobleman who can raise an army. ”

  “No, Valette,” Elend said shaking his head. “I have to get you to safety. ”

  She smiled at him, then turned to Sazed. The Terrisman nodded to her.

  “Not going to tell me not to go?” she asked.

  “No,” he said quietly. “I fear that you are right, Mistress. If the Lord Ruler is not defeated…well, I will not stop you. I will bid you, however, good luck. I will come to help you once I see young Venture to safety. ”

  Vin nodded, smiled at the apprehensive Elend, then looked up. Toward the dark force waiting above, pulsing with a tired depression.

  She burned copper, pushing aside the Lord Ruler’s Soothing.

  “Valette…” Elend said quietly.

  She turned back to him. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I think I know how to kill him. ”

  Such are my fears as I scribble with an ice-crusted pen on the eve before the world is reborn. Rashek watches. Hating me. The cavern lies above. Pulsing. My ?ngers quiver. Not from the cold.

  Tomorrow it will end.

  38

  VIN PUSHED HERSELF THROUGH THE air above Kredik Shaw. Spires and towers rose around her like the shadowed tines of some phantom monster lurking below. Dark, straight, and ominous, for some reason they made her think of Kelsier, lying dead in the street, an obsidian-tipped spear jutting from his chest.

  The mists spun and swirled as she blew through them. They were still thick, but tin let her see a faint glistening on the horizon. Morning was near.

  Below her, a greater light was building. Vin caught hold of a thin spire, letting her momentum spin her around the slick metal, giving her a sweeping view of the area. Thousands of torches burned in the night, mixing and merging like luminescent insects. They were organized in great waves, converging on the palace.

  The palace guard doesn’t have a chance against such a force, she thought. But, by ?ghting its way into the palace, the skaa army will seal its own doom.

  She turned to the side, the mist-wetted spire cold beneath her ?ngers. The last time she had jumped through the spires of Kredik Shaw, she had been bleeding and semiconscious. Sazed had arrived to save her, but he wouldn’t be able to help this time.

  A short distance away, she could see the throne tower. It wasn’t dif?cult to spot; a ring of blazing bon?res illuminated its outside, lighting its single stained-glass window to those inside. She could feel Him inside. She waited for a few moments, hoping, perhaps, that she might be able to attack after the Inquisitors had left the room.

  Kelsier believed that the Eleventh Metal was the key, she thought.

  She had one idea. It would work. It had to.

  “As of this moment,” the Lord Ruler proclaimed in a loud voice, “the Canton of Inquisition is granted organizational dominance of the Ministry. Inquiries once addressed to Tevidian should now go to Kar. ”

  The throne room fell silent, the collection of high-ranking obligators dumbfounded by the night’s events. The Lord Ruler waved a hand, indicating that the meeting was ?nished.

  Finally! Kar thought. He raised his head, his eye-spikes throbbing as always, bringing him pain—but, this evening it was the pain of joy. The Inquisitors had been waiting for two centuries, carefully politicking, subtly encouraging corruption and dissension among the regular obligators. And ?nally it had worked. The Inquisitors would no longer bow before the dictates of inferior men.

  He turned and smiled toward the group of Ministry priests, knowing full well the discomfort the gaze of an Inquisitor could cause. He couldn’t see anymore, not as he once had, but he had been given something better. A command of Allomancy so subtle, so detailed, that he could make out the world around him with startling accuracy.

  Almost everything had metal in it—water, stone, glass… even human bodies. These metals were too diffuse to be affected by Allomancy—indeed, most Allomancers couldn’t even sense them.

  With his Inquisitor’s eyes, however, Kar could see the iron-lines of these things—the blue threads were ?ne, nearly invisible, but they outlined the world for him. The obligators before him were a shuf?ing mass of blues, their emotions— discomfort, anger, and fear—showing in their postures. Discomfort, anger, and fear. . so sweet, all three. Kar’s smile widened, despite his fatigue.

  He had been awake for too long. Living as an Inquisitor drained the body, and he had to rest often. His brethren were already shuf?ing from the room, heading toward their rest chambers, which lay intentionally close to the throne room. They would sleep immediately; with the executions earlier in the day and the excitement of the night, they would be extremely fatigued.

  Kar, however, stayed behind as both Inquisitors and obligators left. Soon, only he and the Lord Ruler remained, standing in a room lit by ?ve massive braziers. The external bon?res slowly went out, extinguished by servants, leaving the glass panorama dark and black.

  “You ?nally have what you want,” the Lord Ruler said quietly. “Perhaps now I can have peace in this matter. ”

  “Yes, Lord Ruler,” Kar said, bowing. “I think that…”

  A strange sound snapped in the air—a soft click. Kar looked up, frowning as a small disk of metal bounced across the ?oor, eventually rolling to a stop against his foot. He picked up the coin, then looked up at the massive window, noting the small hole broken through it.

  What?

  Dozens more coins zipped through the window, scattering it with holes. Metallic clinks and tinkling glass rang in the air. Kar stepped back in surprise.

  The entire southern section of the window shattered, blasting inward, the glass weakened by coins to the point that a soaring body could break through.

  Shards of colorful glass spun in the air, spraying before a small ?gure clad in a ?uttering mistcloak and carrying a pair of glittering black daggers. The girl landed in a crouch, skidding a short distance on the bits of glass, mist billowing through the opening behind her. It curled forward, drawn by her Allomancy, swirling around her body. She crouched for just a moment in the mists, as if she were some herald of the night itself.

  Then she sprang forward, dashing directly toward the Lord Ruler.

  Vin burned the Eleventh Metal. The Lord Ruler’s past-self appeared as it had before
, forming as if out of mist to stand on the dais beside the throne.

  Vin ignored the Inquisitor. The creature, fortunately, reacted slowly—she was halfway up the dais steps before it thought to chase her. The Lord Ruler, however, sat quietly, watching her with a barely interested expression.

  Two spears through the chest didn’t even bother him, Vin thought as she leapt the last bit of distance up to the top of the dais. He has nothing to fear from my daggers.

  Which was why she didn’t intend to attack him with them. Instead, she raised her weapons and plunged directly toward the past-self’s heart.

  Her daggers hit—and passed right through the man, as if he weren’t there. Vin stumbled forward, skidding directly through the image, nearly slipping off the dais.

  She spun, slicing at the image again. Again, her daggers passed through it harmlessly. It didn’t even waver or distort.

  My gold image, she thought in frustration, I was able to touch that. Why can’t I touch this?

  It obviously didn’t work the same way. The shadow stood still, completely oblivious of her attacks. She’d thought that maybe, if she killed the past version of the Lord Ruler, his current form would die as well. Unfortunately, the past-self appeared to be just as insubstantial as an atium shadow.

  She had failed.

  Kar crashed into her, his powerful Inquisitor’s grip grabbing her at the shoulders, his momentum carrying her off the dais. They tumbled down the back steps.

  Vin grunted, ?aring pewter. I’m not the same powerless girl you held prisoner just a short time ago, Kar, she thought with determination, kicking him upward as they hit the ground behind the throne.

  The Inquisitor grunted, her kick tossing him into the air and ripping his grip free of her shoulders. Her mistcloak came off in his hands, but she ?ipped to her feet and scrambled away.

  “Inquisitors!” the Lord Ruler bellowed, standing. “Come to me!”

  Vin cried out, the powerful voice striking pain in her tin-enhanced ears.

  I have to get out of here, she thought, stumbling. I’ll need to come up with a different way to kill him….

  Kar tackled her again from behind. This time he got his arms wrapped completely around her, and he squeezed. Vin cried out in pain, ?aring her pewter, pushing back, but Kar forced her to her feet. He dexterously wrapped one arm around her throat while pinning her own arms behind her back with his other. She fought angrily, squirming and struggling, but his grip was tight. She tried throwing them both back with a sudden Steelpush against a doorlatch, but the anchor was too weak, and Kar barely stumbled. His grip held.

  The Lord Ruler chuckled as he sat back down on his throne. “You’ll have little success against Kar, child. He was a soldier, many years ago. He knows how to hold a person so that they can’t break his grip, no matter how strong they may be. ”

  Vin continued to struggle, gasping for breath. The Lord Ruler’s words proved true, however. She tried ramming her head back against Kar’s, but he was ready for this. She could hear him in her ear, his quick breathing almost…passionate as he choked her. In the re?ection on the window, she could see the door behind them open. Another Inquisitor strode into the room, his spikes gleaming in the distorted re?ection, his dark robe ruf?ing.

 
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