Mistborn the final empi.., p.111
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.111

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 111

  That’s it, she thought in a surreal moment, watching the mists on the ground before her, creeping through the shattered window wall, ?owing across the ?oor. Oddly, they didn’t curl around her as they usually did—as if something were pushing them away. To Vin, it seemed a ?nal testament to her defeat.

  I’m sorry, Kelsier. I’ve failed you.

  The second Inquisitor stepped up beside his companion. Then, he reached out and grabbed something at Kar’s back. There was a ripping sound.

  Vin dropped immediately to the ground, gasping for breath. She rolled, pewter allowing her to recover quickly.

  Kar stood above her, teetering. Then, he toppled limply to the side, sprawling to the ground. The second Inquisitor stood behind him, holding what appeared to be a large metal spike—just like the ones in the Inquisitor’s eyes.

  Vin glanced toward Kar’s immobile body. The back of his robe had been ripped, exposing a bloody hole right between the shoulder blades. A hole big enough for a metal spike. Kar’s scarred face was pale. Lifeless.

  Another spike! Vin thought with wonder. The other Inquisitor pulled it out of Kar’s back, and he died. That’s the secret!

  “What?” the Lord Ruler bellowed, standing, the sudden motion tossing his throne backwards. The stone chair toppled down the steps, chipping and cracking the marble. “Betrayal! From one of my own!”

  The new Inquisitor dashed toward the Lord Ruler. As he ran, his robe cowl fell back, giving Vin a view of his bald head. There was something familiar about the newcomer’s face despite the spike-heads coming out the front—and the gruesome spike-tips jutting from the back—of his skull. Despite the bald head and the unfamiliar clothing, the man looked a little like Kelsier.

  No, she realized. Not Kelsier.


  Marsh took the dais steps in twos, moving with an Inquisitor’s supernatural speed. Vin struggled to her feet, shrugging off the effects of her near-choking. Her surprise, however, was more dif?cult to dismiss. Marsh was alive.

  Marsh was an Inquisitor.

  The Inquisitors weren’t investigating him because they suspected him. They intended to recruit him! And now he looked like he intended to ?ght the Lord Ruler. I’ve got to help! Perhaps…perhaps he knows the secret to killing the Lord Ruler. He ?gured out how to kill Inquisitors, after all!

  Marsh reached the top of the dais.

  “Inquisitors!” the Lord Ruler yelled. “Come to—”

  The Lord Ruler froze, noticing something sitting just outside the door. A small group of steel spikes, just like the one Marsh had pulled from Kar’s back, lay piled on the ?oor. There looked to be about seven of them.

  Marsh smiled, the expression looking eerily like one of Kelsier’s smirks. Vin reached the bottom of the dais and Pushed herself off a coin, throwing herself up toward the top of the platform.

  The awesome, full power of the Lord Ruler’s fury hit her halfway up. The depression, the anger-fueled asphyxiation of her soul, pushed through her copper, hitting her like a physical force. She ?ared copper, gasping slightly, but wasn’t completely able to push the Lord Ruler off of her emotions.

  Marsh stumbled slightly, and the Lord Ruler swung a backhand much like the one that had killed Kelsier. Fortunately, Marsh recovered in time to duck. He spun around the Lord Ruler, reaching up to grab the back of the emperor’s black, robelike suit. Marsh yanked, ripping the cloth open along the back seam.

  Marsh froze, his spike-eyed expression unreadable. The Lord Ruler spun, slamming his elbow into Marsh’s stomach, throwing the Inquisitor across the room. As the Lord Ruler turned, Vin could see what Marsh had seen.

  Nothing. A normal, if muscular, back. Unlike the Inquisitors, the Lord Ruler didn’t have a spike driven through his spine.

  Oh, Marsh… Vin thought with a sinking depression. It had been a clever idea, far more clever than Vin’s foolish attempt with the Eleventh Metal—however, it had proven equally faulty.

  Marsh ?nally hit the ground, his head cracking, then slid across the ?oor until he ran into the far wall. He lay slumped against the massive window, immobile.

  “Marsh!” she cried, jumping and Pushing herself toward him. However, as she ?ew, the Lord raised his hand absently.

  Vin felt a powerful… something crash into her. It felt like a Steelpush, slamming against the metals inside her stomach—but of course it couldn’t have been that. Kelsier had promised that no Allomancer could affect metals that were inside of someone’s body.

  But he had also said that no Allomancer could affect the emotions of a person who was burning copper.

  Discarded coins shot away from the Lord Ruler, streaking across the ?oor. The doors wrenched free from their mountings, shattering and breaking away from the room. Incredibly, bits of colored glass even quivered and slid away from the dais.

  And Vin was tossed to the side, the metals in her stomach threatening to rip free from her body. She slammed to the ground, the blow knocking her nearly unconscious. She lay in a daze, addled, confused, able to think of only one thing.

  Such power. .

  Clicks sounded as the Lord Ruler walked down his dais. He moved quietly, ripping off his torn suit coat and shirt, leaving himself bare from the waist up save for the jewelry sparkling on his ?ngers and wrists. Several thin bracelets, she noticed, pierced the skin of his upper arms.

  Clever, she thought, struggling to her feet. Keeps them from being Pushed or Pulled.

  The Lord Ruler shook his head regretfully, his steps kicking up trails in the cool mist that poured across the ?oor from the broken window. He looked so strong, his torso erupting with muscles, his face handsome. She could feel the power of his Allomancy snapping at her emotions, barely held back by her copper.

  “What did you think, child?” the Lord Ruler asked quietly. “To defeat me? Am I some common Inquisitor, my powers endowed fabrications?”

  Vin ?ared pewter. She then turned and dashed away— intending to grab Marsh’s body and break through the glass at the other side of the room.

  But then, he was there, moving with a speed as if to make the fury of a tornado’s winds seem sluggish. Even within a full pewter ?are, Vin couldn’t outrun him. He almost seemed casual as he reached out, grabbing her shoulder and yanking her backward.

  He ?ung her like a doll, tossing her toward one of the room’s massive support pillars. Vin quested desperately for an anchor, but he had blown all of the metal out of the room. Except. .

  She Pulled on one of the Lord Ruler’s own bracelets, ones that didn’t pierce his skin. He immediately whipped his arm upward, throwing off her Pull, making her spin maladroitly in the air. He slammed her with another of his powerful Pushes, blasting her backward. Metals in her stomach wrenched, glass quivered, and her mother’s earring ripped free of her ear.

  She tried to spin and hit feet-?rst, but she crashed into a stone pillar at a terrible speed, and pewter failed her. She heard a sickening snap, and a spear of pain shot up her right leg.

  She collapsed to the ground. She didn’t have the will to look, but the agony from her torso told her that her leg jutted from beneath her body, broken at an awkward angle.

  The Lord Ruler shook his head. No, Vin realized, he didn’t worry about wearing jewelry. Considering his abilities and strength, a man would have to be foolish—as Vin had been— to try and use the Lord Ruler’s jewelry as an anchor. It had only let him control her jumps.

  He stepped forward, feet clicking against broken glass. “You think this is the ?rst time someone has tried to kill me, child? I’ve survived burnings and beheadings. I’ve been stabbed and sliced, crushed and dismembered. I was even ?ayed once, near the beginning. ”

  He turned toward Marsh, shaking his head. Strangely, Vin’s earlier impression of the Lord Ruler returned. He looked… tired. Exhausted, even. Not his body—it was still muscular. It was just his…air. She tried to climb to her feet, using the stone pillar for stability.

  “I am God,
he said.

  So different from the humble man in the logbook.

  “God cannot be killed,” he said. “God cannot be overthrown. Your rebellion—you think I haven’t seen its like before? You think I haven’t destroyed entire armies on my own? What will it take before you people stop questioning? How many centuries must I prove myself before you idiot skaa see the truth? How many of you must I kill!”

  Vin cried out as she twisted her leg the wrong way. She ?ared pewter, but tears came to her eyes anyway. She was running out of metals. Her pewter would be gone soon, and there was no way she would be able to remain conscious without it. She slumped against the pillar, the Lord Ruler’s Allomancy pressing against her. The pain in her leg throbbed.

  He’s just too strong, she thought with despair. He’s right. He is God. What were we thinking?

  “How dare you?” the Lord Ruler asked, picking up Marsh’s limp body with a bejeweled hand. Marsh groaned slightly, trying to lift his head.

  “How dare you?” the Lord Ruler demanded again. “After what I gave you? I made you superior to regular men! I made you dominant!”

  Vin’s head snapped up. Through the haze of pain and hopelessness, something triggered a memory inside of her.

  He keeps saying…he keeps saying that his people should be dominant….

  She reached within, feeling her last little bit of Eleventh Metal reserve. She burned it, looking through tearstained eyes as the Lord Ruler held Marsh in a one-handed grip.

  The Lord Ruler’s past self appeared next to him. A man in a fur cloak and heavy boots, a man with a full beard and strong muscles. Not an aristocrat or a tyrant. Not a hero, or even a warrior. A man dressed for life in the cold mountains. A herdsman.

  Or, perhaps, a packman.

  “Rashek,” Vin whispered.

  The Lord Ruler spun toward her in startlement.

  “Rashek,” Vin said again. “That’s your name, isn’t it? You aren’t the man who wrote the logbook. You’re not the hero that was sent to protect the people…you’re his servant. The packman who hated him. ”

  She paused for a moment. “You…you killed him,” she whispered. “That’s what happened that night! That’s why the logbook stopped so suddenly! You killed the hero and took his place. You went into the cavern in his stead, and you claimed the power for yourself. But. . instead of saving the world, you took control of it. ”

  “You know nothing!” he bellowed, still holding Marsh’s limp body in one hand. “You know nothing of that!”

  “You hated him,” Vin said. “You thought that a Terrisman should have been the hero. You couldn’t stand the fact that he—a man from the country that had oppressed yours—was ful?lling your own legends. ”

  The Lord Ruler lifted a hand, and Vin suddenly felt an impossible weight press against her. Allomancy, Pushing the metals in her stomach and in her body, threatening to crush her back against the pillar. She cried out, ?aring her last bit of pewter, struggling to remain conscious. Mists curled around her, creeping through the broken window and across the ?oor.

  Outside, through the broken window, she could hear something ringing faintly in the air. It sounded like. . like cheering. Yells of joy, thousands in chorus. It sounded almost like they were cheering her on.

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