Mistborn the final empi.., p.18
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.18

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 18

  He was halfway through the conservatory when he heard footsteps from behind. He turned to see the study ?ooding with ?gures. There were eight of them, each one wearing a loose gray robe and carrying a dueling cane and a shield instead of a sword. Hazekillers.

  Kelsier let the safe drop to the ground. Hazekillers weren’t Allomancers, but they were trained to ?ght Mistings and Mistborn. There wouldn’t be a single bit of metal on their bodies, and they would be ready for his tricks.

  Kelsier stepped back, stretching and smiling. The eight men fanned into the study, moving with quiet precision.

  This should be interesting.

  The hazekillers attacked, dashing by twos into the conservatory. Kelsier pulled out his daggers, ducking beneath the ?rst attack and slicing at a man’s chest. The hazekiller jumped back, however, and forced Kelsier away with a swing of his cane.

  Kelsier ?ared his pewter, letting strengthened legs carry him back in a powerful jump. With one hand, he whipped out a handful of coins and Pushed them against his opponents. The metal disks shot forward, zipping through the air, but his enemies were ready for this: They raised their shields, and the coins bounced off the wood, throwing up splinters but leaving the men unharmed.

  Kelsier eyed the other hazekillers as they ?lled the room, advancing on him. They couldn’t hope to ?ght him in an extended battle—their tactic would be to rush him at once, hoping for a quick end to the ?ght, or to at least stall him until Allomancers could be awakened and brought to ?ght. He glanced at the safe as he landed.

  He couldn’t leave without it. He needed to end the ?ght quickly as well. Flaring pewter, he jumped forward, trying an experimental dagger swipe, but he couldn’t get inside his opponent’s defenses. Kelsier barely ducked away in time to avoid getting cracked on the head by the end of a cane.

  Three of the hazekillers dashed behind him, cutting off his retreat into the balcony room. Great, Kelsier thought, trying to keep an eye on all eight men at once. They advanced on him with careful precision, working as a team.

  Gritting his teeth, Kelsier ?ared his pewter again; it was running low, he noticed. Pewter was the fastest-burning of the basic eight metals.

  No time to worry about that now. The men behind him attacked, and Kelsier jumped out of the way—Pulling on the safe to tug himself toward the center of the room. He Pushed as soon as he hit the ground near the safe, launching himself into the air at an angle. He tucked, ?ipping over the heads of two attackers, and landed on the ground beside a well-cultivated tree bed. He spun, ?aring his pewter and raising his arm in defense against the swing he knew would come.

  The dueling cane connected with his arm. A burst of pain ran down his forearm, but his pewter-enhanced bone held. Kelsier kept moving, driving his other hand forward and slamming a dagger into his opponent’s chest.

  The man stumbled back in surprise, the motion ripping away Kelsier’s dagger. A second hazekiller attacked, but Kelsier ducked, then reached down with his free hand, ripping his coin pouch off of his belt. The hazekiller prepared to block Kelsier’s remaining dagger, but Kelsier raised his other hand instead, slamming the coin pouch into the man’s shield.

  Then he Pushed on the coins inside.

  The hazekiller cried out, the force of the intense Steelpush throwing him backward. Kelsier ?ared his steel, Pushing so hard that he tossed himself backward as well—away from the pair of men who tried to attack him. Kelsier and his enemy ?ew away from each other, hurled in opposite directions. Kelsier collided with the far wall, but kept Pushing, smashing his opponent—pouch, shield, and all—against one of the massive conservatory windows.

  Glass shattered, sparkles of lanternlight from the study playing across its shards. The hazekiller’s desperate face disappeared into the darkness beyond, and mist—quiet, yet ominous—began to creep in through the shattered window.

  The other six men advanced relentlessly, and Kelsier was forced to ignore the pain in his arm as he ducked two swings. He spun out of the way, brushing past a small tree, but a third hazekiller attacked, smashing his cane into Kelsier’s side.

  The attack threw Kelsier into the tree bed. He tripped, then collapsed near the entrance to the lit study, dropping his dagger. He gasped in pain, rolling to his knees and holding his side. The blow would have broken another man’s ribs. Even Kelsier would have a massive bruise.

  The six men moved forward, spreading to surround him again. Kelsier stumbled to his feet, vision growing dizzy from pain and exertion. He gritted his teeth, reaching down and pulling out one of his remaining vials of metal. He downed its contents in a single gulp, replenishing his pewter, then burned tin. The light nearly blinded him, and the pain in his arm and side suddenly seemed more acute, but the burst of enhanced senses cleared his head.

  The six hazekillers advanced in a sudden, coordinated attack.

  Kelsier whipped his hand to the side, burning iron and searching for metal. The closest source was a thick silvery paperweight on a desk just inside the study. Kelsier ?ipped it into his hand, then turned, arm held toward the advancing men, falling into an offensive stance.

  “All right,” he growled.

  Kelsier burned steel with a ?ash of strength. The rectangular ingot ripped from his hand, streaking through the air. The foremost hazekiller raised his shield, but he moved too slowly. The ingot hit the man’s shoulder with a crunch, and he dropped, crying out.

  Kelsier spun to the side, ducking a staff swing and putting a hazekiller between himself and the fallen man. He burned iron, Pulling the ingot back toward him. It whipped through the air, cracking the second hazekiller in the side of the head. The man collapsed as the ingot ?ipped into the air.

  One of the remaining men cursed, rushing forward to attack. Kelsier Pushed the still airborne ingot, ?ipping it away from him—and away from the attacking hazekiller, who had his shield raised. Kelsier heard the ingot hit the ground behind him, and he reached up—burning pewter—and caught the hazekiller’s cane mid-swing.

  The hazekiller grunted, struggling against Kelsier’s enhanced strength. Kelsier didn’t bother trying to pull the weapon free; instead he Pulled sharply on the ingot behind him, bringing it toward his own back at a deadly speed. He twisted at the last moment, using his momentum to spin the hazekiller around—right into the ingot’s path.

  The man dropped.

  Kelsier ?ared pewter, steadying himself against attacks. Sure enough, a cane smashed against his shoulders. He stumbled to his knees as the wood cracked, but ?ared tin kept him conscious. Pain and lucidity ?ashed through his mind. He Pulled on the ingot—ripping it out of the dying man’s back—and stepped to the side, letting the impromptu weapon shoot past him.

  The two hazekillers nearest him crouched warily. The ingot snapped into one of the men’s shields, but Kelsier didn’t continue Pushing, lest he throw himself off balance. Instead, he burned iron, wrenching the ingot back toward himself. He ducked, extinguishing iron and feeling the ingot whoosh through the air above him. There was a crack as it collided with the man who had been sneaking up on him.

  Kelsier spun, burning iron then steel to send the ingot soaring toward the ?nal two men. They stepped out of the way, but Kelsier tugged on the ingot, dropping it to the ground directly in front of them. The men regarded it warily, distracted as Kelsier ran and jumped, Steelpushing himself against the ingot and ?ipping over the men’s heads. The hazekillers cursed, spinning. As Kelsier landed, he Pulled the ingot again, bringing it up to smash into a man’s skull from behind.

  The hazekiller fell silently. The ingot ?ipped a few times in the darkness, and Kelsier snatched it from the air, its cool surface slick with blood. Mist from the shattered window ?owed by his feet, curling up around his legs. He brought his hand down, pointing it directly at the last remaining hazekiller.

  Somewhere in the room, a fallen man groaned.

  The remaining hazekiller stepped back, then dropped his weapon and dashed away. Kelsier smiled, lowering h
is hand.

  Suddenly, the ingot was Pushed from his ?ngers. It shot across the room, smashing through another window. Kelsier cursed, spinning to see another, larger group of men pouring into the study. They wore the clothing of noblemen. Allomancers.

  Several of them raised hands, and a ?urry of coins shot toward Kelsier. He ?ared steel, Pushing the coins out of the way. Windows shattered and wood splintered as the room was sprayed with coins. Kelsier felt a tug on his belt as his ?nal vial of metal was ripped away, Pulled toward the other room. Several burly men ran forward in a crouch, staying beneath the shooting coins. Thugs—Mistings who, like Ham, could burn pewter.

  Time to go, Kelsier thought, de?ecting another wave of coins, gritting his teeth against the pain in his side and arm. He glanced behind him; he had a few moments, but he was never going to make it back to the balcony. As more Mistings advanced, Kelsier took a deep breath and dashed toward one of the broken, ?oor-to-ceiling windows. He leapt out into the mists, turning in the air as he fell, and reached out to Pull ?rmly on the fallen safe.

  He jerked in midair, swinging down toward the side of the building as if tied to the safe by a tether. He felt the safe slide forward, grinding against the ?oor of the conservatory as Kelsier’s weight pulled against it. He slammed against the side of the building, but continued to Pull, catching himself on the upper side of a windowsill. He strained, standing upside down in the window well, Pulling on the safe.

  The safe appeared over the lip of the ?oor above. It teetered, then fell out the window and began to plummet directly toward Kelsier. He smiled, extinguishing his iron and pushing away from the building with his legs, throwing himself out into the mists like some insane diver. He fell backward through the darkness, barely catching sight of an angry face poking out of the broken window above.

  Kelsier Pulled carefully against the safe, moving himself in the air. Mists curled around him, obscuring his vision, making him feel as if he weren’t falling at all—but hanging in the middle of nothingness.

  He reached the safe, then twisted in the air and Pushed against it, throwing himself upward.

  The safe crashed into the cobblestones just below. Kelsier Pushed against the safe slightly, slowing himself until he eventually jerked to a halt in the air just a few feet above the ground. He hung in the mists for a moment, ribbons from his cloak curling and ?apping in the wind, then let himself drop to the ground beside the safe.

  The strongbox had been shattered by the fall. Kelsier pried open its mangled front, tin-enhanced ears listening to calls of alarm from the building above. Inside the safe, he found a small pouch of gemstones and a couple of ten-thousand boxing letters of credit, all of which he pocketed. He felt around inside, suddenly worried that the night’s work had been for naught. Then his ?ngers found it—a small pouch at the very back.

  He pulled it open, revealing a grouping of dark, beadlike bits of metal. Atium. His scars ?ared, memories of his time in the Pits returning to him.

  He pulled the pouch tight and stood. With amusement, he noticed a twisted form lying on the cobblestones a short distance away—the mangled remains of the hazekiller he’d thrown out the window. Kelsier walked over, and retrieved his coin pouch with a tug of Ironpulling.

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