Mistborn the final empi.., p.42
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.42

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 42

  Sazed paled visibly. “You were chatting with Lord Elend Venture?”


  “Did he ask you to dance?”

  Vin nodded. “But I don’t think he meant it. ”

  “Oh, dear,” Sazed said. “So much for controlled anonymity. ”

  “Venture?” Vin asked, frowning. “Like, Keep Venture?”

  “Heir to the house title,” Sazed said.

  “Hum,” Vin said, realizing that she should probably be a bit more intimidated than she felt. “He was a bit annoying— in a pleasant sort of way. ”

  “We shouldn’t be discussing this here,” Sazed said. “You’re far, far below his station. Come, let us retire. I shouldn’t have gone away to the dinner…. ”

  He trailed off, mumbling to himself as he led Vin to the entryway. She got one more glimpse into the main chamber as she retrieved her shawl, and she burned tin, squinting against the light and seeking the balcony above.

  He held the book, closed, in one hand—and she could have sworn that he was looking down in her direction. She smiled, and let Sazed usher her to their carriage.

  I know that I shouldn’t let a simple packman perturb me. However, he is from Terris, where the prophecies originated. If anyone could spot a fraud, would it not be he?

  Nevertheless, I continue my trek, going where the scribbled auguries proclaim that I will meet my destiny—walking, feeling Rashek’s eyes on my back. Jealous. Mocking. Hating.


  VIN SAT WITH HER LEGS crossed beneath her on one of Lord Renoux’s ?ne easy chairs. It felt good to be rid of the bulky dress, instead getting back to a more familiar shirt and trousers.

  However, Sazed’s calm displeasure made her want to squirm. He stood on the other side of the room, and Vin got the distinct impression that she was in trouble. Sazed had questioned her in depth, seeking out every detail of her conversation with Lord Elend. Sazed’s inquiries had been respectful, of course, but they had also been forceful.

  The Terrisman seemed, in Vin’s opinion, unduly worried about her exchange with the young nobleman. They hadn’t really talked about anything important, and Elend himself was decidedly unspectacular for a Great House lord.

  But, there had been something odd about him—something Vin hadn’t admitted to Sazed. She’d felt… comfortable with Elend. Looking back on the experience, she realized that for those few moments, she hadn’t really been Lady Valette. Nor had she been Vin, for that part of her—the timid crewmember— was almost as fake as Valette was.

  No, she’d simply been… whoever she was. It was a strange experience. She had occasionally felt the same way during her time with Kelsier and the others, but in a more limited manner. How had Elend been able to evoke her true self so quickly and so thoroughly?

  Maybe he used Allomancy on me! she thought with a start. Elend was a high nobleman; perhaps he was a Soother. Maybe there was more to the conversation than she had thought.

  Vin sat back in her chair, frowning to herself. She’d had copper on, and that meant he couldn’t have used emotional Allomancy on her. Somehow, he had simply gotten her to let her guard down. Vin thought back to the experience, thinking about how oddly comfortable she’d felt. In retrospect, it was clear that she hadn’t been careful enough.

  I’ll be more cautious next time. She assumed that they would meet again. They’d better.

  A servant entered and whispered quietly to Sazed. A quick burn of tin let Vin hear the conversation—Kelsier had ?nally returned.

  “Please send word to Lord Renoux,” Sazed said. The white-clothed servant nodded, leaving the room with a quick step.

  “The rest of you may leave,” Sazed said calmly, and the room’s attendants scampered away. Sazed’s quiet vigil had forced them to stand, waiting in the tense room, not speaking or moving.

  Kelsier and Lord Renoux arrived together, chatting quietly. As always, Renoux wore a rich suit cut in the unfamiliar Western style. The aging man kept his gray mustache trimmed thin and neat, and he walked with a con?dent air. Even after spending an entire evening among the nobility, Vin was again struck by his aristocratic bearing.

  Kelsier still wore his mistcloak. “Saze?” he said as he entered. “You have news?”

  “I am afraid so, Master Kelsier,” Sazed said. “It appears that Mistress Vin caught the attention of Lord Elend Venture at the ball tonight. ”

  “Elend?” Kelsier asked, folding his arms. “Isn’t he the heir?”

  “He is indeed,” Renoux said. “I met the lad perhaps four years ago, when his father visited the West. He struck me as a bit undigni?ed for one of his station. ”

  Four years? Vin thought. There’s no way he’s been imitating Lord Renoux for that long. Kelsier only escaped the Pits two years ago! She eyed the impostor, but—as always—was unable to detect a ?aw in his bearing.

  “How attentive was the boy?” Kelsier asked.

  “He asked her to dance,” Sazed said. “But Mistress Vin was wise enough to decline. Apparently, their meeting was a matter of idle happenstance—but I fear she may have caught his eye. ”

  Kelsier chuckled. “You taught her too well, Saze. In the future, Vin, perhaps you should try to be a little less charming. ”

  “Why?” Vin asked, trying to mask her annoyance. “I thought we wanted me to be well liked. ”

  “Not by a man as important as Elend Venture, child,” Lord Renoux said. “We sent you to court so you could make alliances—not scandals. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “Venture is young, eligible, and heir to a powerful house. Your having a relationship with him could make serious problems for us. The women of the court would be jealous of you, and the older men would disapprove of the rank difference. You’d alienate yourself from large sections of the court. To get the information we need, we need the aristocracy to see you as uncertain, unimportant, and—most importantly—unthreatening. ”

  “Besides, child,” Lord Renoux said. “It is unlikely that Elend Venture has any real interest in you. He is known to be a court eccentric—he is probably just trying to heighten his reputation by doing the unexpected. ”

  Vin felt her face ?ush. He’s probably right, she told herself sternly. Still, she couldn’t help feeling annoyed at the three of them—especially Kelsier, with his ?ippant, unconcerned attitude.

  “Yes,” Kelsier said, “it’s probably best that you avoid Venture completely. Try to offend him or something. Give him a

  couple of those glares you do. ”

  Vin regarded Kelsier with a ?at look.

  “That’s the one!” Kelsier said with a laugh.

  Vin clinched her teeth, then forced herself to relax. “I saw my father at the ball tonight,” she said, hoping to distract Kelsier and the others away from Lord Venture.

  “Really?” Kelsier asked with interest.

  Vin nodded. “I recognized him from a time my brother pointed him out to me. ”

  “What is this?” Renoux asked.

  “Vin’s father is an obligator,” Kelsier said. “And, apparently an important one if he has enough pull to go to a ball like this. Do you know what his name is?”

  Vin shook her head.

  “Description?” Kelsier asked.

  “Uh… bald, eye tattoos…”

  Kelsier chuckled. “Just point him out to me sometime, all right?”

  Vin nodded, and Kelsier turned to Sazed. “Now, did you bring me the names of which noblemen asked Vin to dance?”

  Sazed nodded. “She gave me a list, Master Kelsier. I also have several interesting tidbits to share from the stewards’ meal. ”

  “Good,” Kelsier said, glancing at the grandfather clock in the corner. “You’ll have to save them for tomorrow morning, though. I’ve got to be going. ”

  “Going?” Vin asked, perking up. “But you just got in!”

  “That’s the funny thing about arriving somewhere, Vin,” he said with a wink. “Once you’re there, the only thing you can
really do is leave again. Get some sleep—you’re looking a bit ragged. ”

  Kelsier waved a farewell to the group, then ducked out of the room, whistling amiably to himself.

  Too nonchalant, Vin thought. And too secretive. He usually tells us which families he plans to hit.

  “I think I will retire,” Vin said, yawning.

  Sazed eyed her suspiciously, but let her go as Renoux began speaking quietly to him. Vin scrambled up the stairs to her room, threw on her mistcloak, and pushed open her balcony doors.

  Mist poured into the room. She ?ared iron, and was rewarded with the sight of a fading blue metal line, pointing into the distance.

  Let’s see where you’re going, Master Kelsier.

  Vin burned steel, Pushing herself into the cold, humid autumn night. Tin enhanced her eyes, making the wet air tickle her throat as she breathed. She Pushed hard behind her, then Pulled slightly on the gates below. The maneuver swung her in a soaring arc over the steel gates, which she then Pushed against to throw herself farther into the air.

  She kept an eye on the trail of blue that pointed toward Kelsier, following him at enough of a distance to remain unseen. She wasn’t carrying any metal—not even coins—and she kept her copper burning to hide her use of Allomancy. Theoretically, only sound could alert Kelsier of her presence, and so she moved as quietly as possible.

  Surprisingly, Kelsier didn’t head into town. After passing the mansion’s gates, he turned north out of the city. Vin followed, landing and running quietly on the rough ground.

  Where is he going? she thought with confusion. Is he circling Fellise? Heading for one of the peripheral mansions?

  Kelsier continued northward for a short time, then his metal line suddenly began to grow dim. Vin paused, stopping beside a group of stumpy trees. The line faded at a rapid rate: Kelsier had suddenly sped up. She cursed to herself, breaking into a dash.

  Ahead, Kelsier’s line vanished into the night. Vin sighed, slowing. She ?ared her iron, but it was barely enough to catch a glimpse of him disappearing again in the distance. She’d never keep up.

  Her ?ared iron, however, showed her something else. She frowned, continuing forward until she reached a stationary source of metal—two small bronze bars stuck into the ground a couple feet from each other. She ?ipped one up into her hand, then looked into the swirling mists to the north.

  He’s jumping, she thought. But why? Jumping was faster than walking, but there didn’t seem much point to it in the empty wilderness.


  She walked forward, and she soon found two more bronze bars embedded in the earth. Vin glanced backward. It was hard to tell in the night, but it seemed that the four bars made a line that pointed directly toward Luthadel.

  So that’s how he does it, she thought. Kelsier had an uncanny ability to move between Luthadel and Fellise with remarkable speed. She’d assumed that he was using horses, but it appeared that there was a better way. He—or perhaps someone before him—had laid down an Allomantic road between the two cities.

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