Mistborn the final empi.., p.27
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.27

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 27

  something goes wrong, I’ll probably be able to catch you. ”

  “Probably?” Vin asked nervously, strapping on the belt.

  Kelsier smiled, then dropped a large metal ingot at his feet. “Put the ingot directly below you, and remember to Steel-push, not Ironpull. Don’t stop Pushing until you reach the top of the wall. ”

  Then he bent down and jumped.

  Kelsier shot into the air, his dark form vanishing into the curling mists. Vin waited for a moment, but he didn’t plummet back down to his doom.

  All was still, even to her enhanced ears. The mists whirled playfully around her. Taunting her. Daring her.

  She glanced down at the ingot, burning steel. The blue line glowed with a faint, ghostly light. She stepped over to the ingot, standing with one foot on either side of it. She glanced up at the mists, then down one last time.

  Finally, she took a deep breath and Pushed against the ingot with all of her strength.

  “He shall defend their ways, yet shall violate them. He will be their savior, yet they shall call him heretic. His name shall be Discord, yet they shall love him for it. ”


  VIN SHOT INTO THE AIR. She suppressed a scream, remembering to continue Pushing despite her fear. The stone wall was a blur of motion just a few feet away from her. The ground disappeared below, and the line of blue pointing toward the ingot grew fainter and fainter.

  What happens if it disappears?

  She began to slow. The fainter the line grew, the more her speed decreased. After just a few moments of ?ight, she crept to a halt—and was left hanging in the air above a nearly invisible blue line.

  “I’ve always liked the view from up here. ”

  Vin glanced to the side. Kelsier stood a short distance away; she had been so focused that she hadn’t noticed that she was hovering just a few feet from the top of the wall.

  “Help!” she said, continuing to Push desperately, lest she fall. The mists below her shifted and spun, like some dark ocean of damned souls.

  “You don’t have to worry too much,” Kelsier said. “It’s easier to balance in the air if you have a tripod of anchors, but you can do ?ne with a single anchor. Your body is used to balancing itself. Part of what you’ve been doing since you learned to walk transfers to Allomancy. As long as you stay still, hanging at the very edge of your Pushing ability, you’ll be pretty stable—your mind and body will correct any slight deviations from the base center of your anchor below, keeping you from falling to the sides.

  “If you were to Push on something else, or move too much to one side, though…well, you’d lose your anchor below, and wouldn’t be pushing directly up anymore. Then you’d have problems—you’d tip over like a lead weight on the top of a very tall pole. ”

  “Kelsier. . ” Vin said.

  “I hope you aren’t afraid of heights, Vin,” Kelsier said. “That’s quite a disadvantage for a Mistborn. ”

  “I’m…not…afraid…of…heights,” Vin said through gritted teeth. “But I’m also not accustomed to hanging in the air a hundred feet above the bloody street!”

  Kelsier chuckled, but Vin felt a force tug against her belt, pulling her through the air toward him. He grabbed her and pulled her up over the stone railing, then set her down beside him. He reached an arm over the side of the wall. A second later, the ingot shot up through the air, scraping along the side of the wall, until it ?ipped into his waiting hand.

  “Good job,” he said. “Now we go back down. ” He tossed the ingot over his shoulder, casting it into the dark mists on the other side of the wall.

  “We’re really going outside?” Vin asked. “Outside the city walls? At night?”

  Kelsier smiled in that infuriating way of his. He walked over and climbed onto the battlements. “Varying the strength with which you Push or Pull is dif?cult, but possible. It’s better to just fall a bit, then Push to slow yourself. Let go and fall some more, then Push again. If you get the rhythm right, you’ll reach the ground just ?ne. ”

  “Kelsier,” Vin said, approaching the wall. “I don’t. . ”

  “You’re at the top of the city wall now, Vin,” he said, stepping out into the air. He hung, hovering, balanced as he’d explained to her before. “There are only two ways down. Either you jump off, or you try and explain to that guard patrol why a Mistborn needs to use their stairwell. ”

  Vin turned with concern, noting an approaching bob of lanternlight in the dark mists.

  She turned back to Kelsier, but he was gone. She cursed, bending over the side of the wall and looking down into the mists. She could hear the guards behind her, speaking softly to one another as they walked along the wall.

  Kelsier was right: She didn’t have many options. Angry, she climbed up onto the battlement. She wasn’t afraid of heights in particular, but who wouldn’t be apprehensive, standing atop the wall, looking down at her doom? Vin’s heart ?uttered, her stomach twisting.

  I hope Kelsier’s out of the way, she thought, checking the blue line to make certain she was above the ingot. Then, she stepped off.

  She immediately began to plummet toward the ground. She Pushed re?exively with her steel, but her trajectory was off; she had fallen to the side of the ingot, not directly toward it. Consequently, her Push nudged her to the side even farther, and she began to tumble through the air.

  Alarmed, she Pushed again—harder this time, ?aring her steel. The sudden effort launched her back upward. She arced sideways through the air, popping up into the air alongside the walltop. The passing guards spun with surprise, but their faces soon became indistinct as Vin fell back down toward the ground.

  Mind muddled by terror, she re?exively reached out and Pulled against the ingot, trying to yank herself toward it. And, of course, it obediently shot up toward her.

  I’m dead.

  Then her body lurched, pulled upward by the belt. Her descent slowed until she was drifting quietly through the air. Kelsier appeared in the mists, standing on the ground beneath her; he was—of course—smiling.

  He let her drop the last few feet, catching her, then setting her upright on the soft earth. She stood quivering for a moment, breathing in terse, anxious breaths.

  “Well, that was fun,” Kelsier said lightly.

  Vin didn’t respond.

  Kelsier sat down on a nearby rock, obviously giving her time to gather her wits. Eventually, she burned pewter, using the sensation of solidness it provided to steady her nerves.

  “You did well,” Kelsier said.

  “I nearly died. ”

  “Everybody does, their ?rst time,” Kelsier said. “Ironpulling and Steelpushing are dangerous skills. You can impale yourself with a bit of metal that you Pull into your own body, you can jump and leave your anchor too far behind, or you can make a dozen other mistakes.

  “My experience—limited though it is—has been that it’s better to get into those extreme circumstances early, when someone can watch over you. Anyway, I assume you can understand why it’s important for an Allomancer to carry as little metal on their body as possible. ”

  Vin nodded, then paused, reaching up to her ear. “My earring,” she said. “I’ll have to stop wearing it. ”

  “Does it have a clip on the back?” Kelsier asked.

  Vin shook her head. “It’s just a small stud, and the pin on the back bends down. ”

  “Then you’ll be all right,” Kelsier said. “Metal in your body—even if only a bit of it is in your body—can’t be Pushed or Pulled. Otherwise another Allomancer could rip the metals out of your stomach while you were burning them. ”

  Good to know, Vin thought.

  “It’s also why those Inquisitors can walk around so con?dently with a pair of steel spikes sticking out of their heads. The metal pierces their bodies, so it can’t be affected by another Allomancer. Keep the earring—it’s small, so you won’t be able to do much with it, but you could use it as a weapon in an emergency. ”
r />   “All right. ”

  “Now, you ready to go?”

  She looked up at the wall, preparing to jump again, then nodded.

  “We’re not going back up,” Kelsier said. “Come on. ”

  Vin frowned as Kelsier began to walk out into the mists. So, does he have a destination after all—or has he just decided to wander some more? Oddly, his affable nonchalance made him very dif?cult to read.

  Vin hurried to keep up, not wanting to be left alone in the mists. The landscape around Luthadel was barren save for scrub and weeds. Prickles and dried leaves—both dusted with ash from an earlier ashfall—rubbed against her legs as they walked. The underbrush crunched as they walked, quiet and a bit sodden with mist dew.

  Occasionally, they passed heaps of ash that had been carted out of the city. Most of the time, however, ash was thrown into the River Channerel, which passed through the city. Water broke it down eventually—or, at least, that was what Vin assumed. Otherwise the entire continent would have been buried long ago.

  Vin stayed close to Kelsier as they walked. Though she had traveled outside cities before, she had always moved as part of a group of boatmen—the skaa workers who ran narrow-boats and barges up and down the many canal routes in the Final Empire. It had been hard work—most noblemen used skaa instead of horses to pull the boats along the towpath— but there had been a certain freedom to knowing that she was traveling at all, for most skaa, even skaa thieves, never left their plantation or town.

  The constant movement from city to city had been Reen’s choice; he had been obsessive about never getting locked down. He usually got them places on canal boats run by underground crews, never staying in one place for more than a year. He had kept moving, always going. As if running from something.

  They continued to walk. At night, even the barren hills and scrub-covered plains took on a forbidding air. Vin didn’t speak, though she tried to make as little noise as possible. She had heard tales of what went abroad in the land at night, and the cover of the mists—even pierced by tin as it now was— made her feel as if she were being watched.

  The sensation grew more unnerving as they traveled. Soon, she began to hear noises in the darkness. They were muf?ed and faint—crackles of weeds, shuf?es in the echoing mist.

  You’re just being paranoid! she told herself as she jumped at some half-imagined sound. Eventually, however, she could stand it no more.

  “Kelsier!” she said with an urgent whisper—one that sounded betrayingly loud to her enhanced ears. “I think there’s something out there. ”

  “Hum?” Kelsier asked. He looked lost in his thoughts.

  “I think something is following us!”

  “Oh,” Kelsier said. “Yes, you’re right. It’s a mistwraith. ”

  Vin stopped dead in her tracks. Kelsier, however, kept going.

  “Kelsier!” she said, causing him to pause. “You mean they’re real?”

  “Of course they are,” Kelsier said. “Where do you think all the stories came from?”

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