Mistborn the final empi.., p.31
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.31
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         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 31

  “Very well, Master Kelsier,” Sazed said with a respectful nod. Kelsier shot Vin a smile, then turned down a hallway, walking with his characteristically lively step.

  Vin watched him go, then followed Sazed down a different side passage, pondering the Allomancy training, her discussion with Kelsier in the carriage, and ?nally Kelsier’s promise just a few moments before. The three thousand boxings—a fortune in coins—was a strange weight tied to her belt.

  Eventually, Sazed opened a particular door for her, walking in to light the lanterns. “The linens are fresh, and I will send maids to prepare you a bath in the morning. ” He turned, handing her his candle. “Will you require anything else?”

  Vin shook her head. Sazed smiled, bid her good evening, then walked back out in the hallway. Vin stood quietly for a short moment, studying the room. Then she turned, glancing once again in the direction Kelsier had gone.

  “Sazed?” she said, peeking back out into the hallway.

  The steward paused, turning back. “Yes, Mistress Vin?”

  “Kelsier,” Vin said quietly. “He’s a good man, isn’t he?”

  Sazed smiled. “A very good man, Mistress. One of the best I’ve known. ”

  Vin nodded slightly. “A good man…” she said softly. “I don’t think I’ve ever known one of those before. ”

  Sazed smiled, then bowed his head respectfully and turned to leave.

  Vin let the door swing shut.

  THE END OF PART ONE

  PART TWO

  Rebels Beneath a Sky of Ash

  In the end, I worry that my arrogance shall destroy us all.

  9

  VIN PUSHED AGAINST THE COIN and threw herself up into the mist. She ?ew away from earth and stone, soaring through the dark currents of the sky, wind ?uttering her cloak.

  This is freedom, she thought, breathing deeply of the cool, damp air. She closed her eyes, feeling the passing wind. This was what I was always missing, yet never knew it.

  She opened her eyes as she began to descend. She waited until the last moment, then ?icked a coin. It hit the cobblestones, and she Pushed against it lightly, slowing her descent. She burned pewter with a ?ash and hit the ground running, dashing along Fellise’s quiet streets. The late-autumn air was cool, but winters were generally mild in the Central Dominance. Some years passed without even a ?ake of snow.

  She tossed a coin backward, then used it to Push herself slightly up and to the right. She landed on a low stone wall, barely breaking stride as she ran spryly along the wall’s top. Burning pewter enhanced more than muscles—it increased all the body’s physical abilities. Keeping pewter at a low burn gave her a sense of balance that any night burglar would have envied.

  The wall turned north, and Vin paused at the corner. She fell into a crouch, bare feet and sensitive ?ngers gripping the chill stone. Her copper on to hide her Allomancy, she ?ared tin to strain her senses.

  Stillness. Aspens made insubstantial ranks in the mist, like emaciated skaa standing in their work lines. Estates rolled in the distance—each one walled, manicured, and well guarded. There were far fewer dots of light in the city than there were in Luthadel. Many of the homes were only part-time residences, their masters away visiting some other sliver of the Final Empire.

  Blue lines suddenly appeared before her—one end of each pointing at her chest, the other disappearing into the mists. Vin immediately jumped to the side, dodging as a pair of coins shot past in the night air, leaving trails in the mist. She ?ared pewter, landing on the cobbled street beside the wall. Her tin-enhanced ears picked out a scraping sound; then a dark form shot into the sky, a few blue lines pointing to his coin pouch.

  Vin dropped a coin and threw herself into the air after her opponent. They soared for a moment, ?ying over the grounds of some unsuspecting nobleman. Vin’s opponent suddenly changed course in the air, jerking toward the mansion itself. Vin followed, letting go of the coin below her, instead burning iron and Pulling on one of the mansion’s window latches.

  Her opponent hit ?rst, and she heard a thud as he ran into the side of the building. He was off a second later.

  A light brightened, and a confused head poked out of a window as Vin spun in the air, landing feet-?rst against the mansion. She immediately kicked off of the vertical surface, angling herself slightly and Pushing against the same window latch. Glass cracked, and she shot away into the night before gravity could reclaim her.

  Vin ?ew through the mists, eyes straining to keep track of her quarry. He shot a couple of coins back at her, but she Pushed them away with a dismissive thought. A hazy blue line fell downward—a dropped coin—and her opponent moved to the side again.

  Vin dropped her own coin and Pushed. However, her coin suddenly jerked backward along the ground—the result of a Push from her opponent. The sudden move changed the trajectory of Vin’s jump, throwing her sideways. She cursed, ?icking another coin to the side, using it to Push herself back on track. By then, she’d lost her quarry.

  All right… she thought, hitting the soft ground just inside the wall. She emptied a few coins into her hand, then tossed the mostly full pouch into the air, giving it a strong Push in the direction she had seen her quarry disappear. The pouch disappeared into the mists, trailing a faint blue Allomantic line.

  A scattering of coins suddenly shot from the bushes ahead, streaking toward her bag. Vin smiled. Her opponent had assumed that the ?ying pouch was Vin herself. He was too far away to see the coins in her hand, just as he had been too far away for her to see the coins he carried.

  A dark ?gure jumped out of the bushes, hopping up onto the stone wall. Vin waited quietly as the ?gure ran along the wall and slipped down onto the other side.

  Vin launched herself straight up into the air, then threw her handful of coins at the ?gure passing below. He immediately Pushed, sending the coins streaking away—but they were only a distraction. Vin landed on the ground before him, twin glass knives whipping from her sheathes. She lunged, slashing, but her opponent jumped backward.

  Something’s wrong. Vin ducked and threw herself to the side as a handful of glittering coins—her coins, the ones her opponent had Pushed away—shot back down from the sky into her opponent’s hand. He turned and sprayed them in her direction.

  Vin dropped her daggers with a quiet yelp, thrusting her hands forward and Pushing on the coins. Immediately, she was thrown backward as her Push was matched by her opponent.

  One of the coins lurched in the air, hanging directly between the two of them. The rest of the coins disappeared into the mists, pushed sideways by con?icting forces.

  Vin ?ared her steel as she ?ew, and heard her opponent grunt as he was Pushed backward as well. Her opponent hit the wall. Vin slammed into a tree, but she ?ared pewter and ignored the pain. She used the wood to brace herself, continuing to Push.

  The coin quivered in the air, trapped between the ampli?ed strength of two Allomancers. The pressure increased. Vin gritted her teeth, feeling the small aspen bend behind her.

  Her opponent’s Pushing was relentless.

  Will…not…be beaten! Vin thought, ?aring both steel and pewter, grunting slightly as she threw the entire force of her strength at the coin.

  There was a moment of silence. Then Vin lurched backward, the tree cracking with a loud snap in the night air.

  Vin hit the ground in a tumble, splinters of wood scattering around her. Even tin and pewter weren’t enough to keep her mind clear as she rolled across the cobblestones, eventually coming to a dizzy rest. A dark ?gure approached, mistcloak ribbons billowing around him. Vin lurched to her feet, grasping for knives she’d forgotten that she’d dropped.

  Kelsier put down his hood and held her knives toward her. One was broken. “I know it’s instinctual, Vin, but you don’t have to put your hands forward when you Push—nor do you have to drop what you’re holding. ”

  Vin grimaced in the darkness, rubbing her shoulder and nodding as she accepted
the daggers.

  “Nice job with the pouch,” Kelsier said. “You had me for a moment. ”

  “For all the good it did,” Vin grumbled.

  “You’ve only been doing this for a few months, Vin,” he said lightly. “All things considered, your progress is fantastic. I would, however, recommend that you avoid Push-matches with people who weigh more than you. ” He paused, eyeing Vin’s short ?gure and thin frame. “Which probably means avoiding them with pretty much everybody. ”

  Vin sighed, stretching slightly. She’d have more bruises. At least they won’t be visible. Now that the bruises Camon had given her face were ?nally gone, Sazed had warned her to be careful. Makeup could only cover so much, and she would have to look like a “proper” young noblewoman if she were going to in?ltrate the court.

  “Here,” Kelsier said, handing her something. “A souvenir. ”

  Vin held up the object—the coin they had Pushed between them. It was bent and ?attened from the pressure.

  “I’ll see you back at the mansion,” Kelsier said.

  Vin nodded, and Kelsier disappeared into the night. He’s right, she thought. I’m smaller, I weigh less, and I have a shorter reach than anyone I’m likely to ?ght. If I attack someone head on, I’ll lose.

  The alternative had always been her method anyway—to struggle quietly, to stay unseen. She had to learn to use Allomancy the same way. Kelsier kept saying that she was developing amazingly fast as an Allomancer. He seemed to think it was his teaching, but Vin felt it was something else. The mists… the night prowling…it all felt right to her. She was not worried about mastering Allomancy in time to help Kelsier against other Mistborn.

  It was her other part in the plan that worried her.

  Sighing, Vin hopped over the wall to search for her coin pouch. Up at the mansion—not Renoux’s home, but one owned by some other nobleman—lights were on and people milled about. None of them ventured deeply into the night. The skaa would fear mistwraiths; the nobility would have guessed that Mistborn had caused the disturbance. Neither one was something a sane person would want to confront.

  Vin eventually traced her pouch by steel-line to the upper branches of a tree. She Pulled it slightly, tugging it down into her hand, then made her way back out to the street. Kelsier probably would have left the pouch behind—the two dozen or so clips it contained wouldn’t have been worth his time. However, for most of her life Vin had scrounged and starved. She just couldn’t force herself to be wasteful. Even tossing coins to jump with made her uncomfortable.

  So, she used her coins sparingly as she traveled back toward Renoux’s mansion, instead Pushing and Pulling off of buildings and discarded bits of metal. The half-jumping, half-running gait of a Mistborn came naturally to her now, and she didn’t have to think much about her movements.

  How would she fare, trying to pretend to be a noblewoman? She couldn’t hide her apprehensions, not from herself. Camon had been good at imitating noblemen because of his self-con?dence, and that was one attribute Vin knew she didn’t have. Her success with Allomancy only proved that her place was in corners and shadows, not striding around in pretty dresses at courtly balls.

 
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