Mistborn the final empi.., p.43
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.43

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
 
Page 43

  She gripped the ?rst bar in her palm—she’d need it to soften her landing if she was wrong—then stepped up in front of the second pair of bars and launched herself into the air.

  She Pushed hard, ?aring her steel, throwing herself as far up into the sky as she could. As she ?ew, she ?ared her iron, searching for other sources of metal. They soon appeared— two directly north, and two more in the distance to either side of her.

  The ones on the sides are for course corrections, she realized. She’d have to keep moving directly north if she wanted to stay on the bronze highway. She nudged herself slightly to the left—moving so that she passed directly between the two adjacent bars of the main path—then hurled herself forward again in an arcing leap.

  She got the hang of it quickly, hopping from point to point, never dropping even close to the ground. In just a few minutes, she had the rhythm down so well that she barely had to do any corrections from the sides.

  Her progress across the scraggly landscape was incredibly swift. The mists blew by, her mistcloak whipping and ?apping behind her. Still, she forced herself to speed up. She’d spent too long studying the bronze bars. She had to catch up to Kelsier; otherwise she’d arrive in Luthadel, but not know where to go from there.

  She began to throw herself from point to point at an almost reckless speed, watching desperately for some sign of Allomantic motion. After about ten minutes of leaping, a line of blue ?nally appeared ahead of her—one pointing up, rather than down toward bars in the ground. She breathed in relief.

  Then a second line appeared, and a third.

  Vin frowned, letting herself drop to the ground with a muted thump. She ?ared tin, and a massive shadow appeared in the night before her, its top sparkling with balls of light.

  The city wall, she thought with amazement. So soon? I made the trip twice as fast as a man on horseback!

  However, that meant she’d lost Kelsier. Frowning to herself, she used the bar she’d been carrying to throw herself up onto the battlements. Once she landed on the damp stone, she reached behind and Pulled the bar up into her hand. Then she approached the other side of the wall, hopping up and crouching on the stone railing as she scanned the city.

  What now? she thought with annoyance. Head back to Fellise? Stop by Clubs’s shop and see if he went there?

  She sat uncertainly for a moment, then threw herself off the wall and began making her way across the rooftops. She wandered randomly, pushing off of window clasps and bits of metal, using the bronze bar—then pulling it back into her hand—when long jumps were necessary. It wasn’t until she arrived that she realized she’d unconsciously gone to a speci?c destination.

  Keep Venture rose before her in the night. The limelights had been extinguished, and only a few phantom torches burned near guard posts.

  Vin crouched on the lip on a rooftop, trying to decide what had led her back to the massive keep. The cool wind ruf?ed her hair and cloak, and she thought she felt a few tiny raindrops on her cheek. She sat for a long moment, her toes growing cold.

  Then she noticed motion to her right. She crouched immediately, ?aring her tin.

  Kelsier sat on a rooftop not three houses away, just barely lit by ambient light. He didn’t seem to have noticed her. He was watching the keep, his face too distant for her to read his expression.

  Vin watched him with suspicious eyes. He’d dismissed her meeting with Elend, but perhaps it worried him more than he’d admitted. A sudden spike of fear made her tense.

  Could he be here to kill Elend? The assassination of a high noble heir would certainly create tension amongst the nobility.

  Vin waited apprehensively. Eventually, however, Kelsier stood and walked away, Pushing himself off the rooftop and into the air.

  Vin dropped her bronze bar—it would give her away—and dashed after him. Her iron showed blue lines moving in the distance, and she hurriedly jumped out over the street and Pushed herself off a sewer grate below, determined not to lose him again.

  He moved toward the center of the city. Vin frowned, trying to guess his destination. Keep Erikeller was in that direction, and it was a major supplier of armaments. Perhaps Kelsier planned to do something to interrupt its supplies, making House Renoux more vital to the local nobility.

  Vin landed on a rooftop and paused, watching Kelsier shoot off into the night. He’s moving fast again. I—

  A hand fell on her shoulder.

  Vin yelped, jumping back, ?aring pewter.

  Kelsier regarded her with a cocked eyebrow. “You’re supposed to be in bed, young lady. ”

  Vin glanced to the side, toward the line of metal. “But—”

  “My coin pouch,” Kelsier said, smiling. “A good thief can steal clever tricks as easily as he steals boxings. I’ve started being more careful since you tailed me last week—at ?rst, I assumed you were a Venture Mistborn. ”

  “They have some?”

  “I’m sure they do,” Kelsier said. “Most of the Great Houses do—but your friend Elend isn’t one of them. He’s not even a Misting. ”

  “How do you know? He could be hiding it. ”

  Kelsier shook his head. “He nearly died in a raid a couple of years ago—if there were ever a time to show your powers, it would have been then. ”

  Vin nodded, still looking down, not meeting Kelsier’s eyes.

  He sighed, sitting down on the slanted rooftop, one leg hanging over the side. “Have a seat. ”

  Vin settled herself on the tile roof across from him. Above, the cool mists continued to churn, and it had begun to drizzle slightly—but that wasn’t much different from the regular nightly humidity.

  “I can’t have you tailing me like this, Vin,” Kelsier said. “Do you remember our discussion about trust?”

  “If you trusted me, you’d tell me where you were going. ”

  “Not necessarily,” Kelsier said. “Maybe I just don’t want you and the others to worry about me. ”

  “Everything you do is dangerous,” Vin said. “Why would we worry any more if you told us speci?cs?”

  “Some tasks are even more dangerous than others,” Kelsier said quietly.

  Vin paused, then glanced to the side, in the direction Kelsier had been going. Toward the center of the city.

  Toward Kredik Shaw, the Hill of a Thousand Spires. The Lord Ruler’s palace.

  “You’re going to confront the Lord Ruler!” Vin said quietly. “You said last week that you were going to pay him a visit. ”

  “ ‘Visit’ is, perhaps, too strong a word,” Kelsier said. “I am going to the palace, but I sincerely hope I don’t run into the Lord Ruler himself. I’m not ready for him yet. Regardless, you are going straight to Clubs’s shop. ”

  Vin nodded.

  Kelsier frowned. “You’re just going to try and follow me again, aren’t you?”

  Vin paused, then she nodded again.

  “Why?”

  “Because I want to help,” Vin said quietly. “So far, my part in this all has essentially boiled down to going to a party. But, I’m Mistborn—you’ve trained me yourself. I’m not going to sit back and let everyone else do dangerous work while I sit, eat dinner, and watch people dance. ”

  “What you’re doing at those balls is important,” Kelsier said.

  Vin nodded, glancing down. She’d just let him go, then she’d follow him. Part of her reasoning was what she’d said before: She was beginning to feel a camaraderie for this crew, and it was like nothing she had ever known. She wanted to be part of what it was doing; she wanted to help.

  However, another part of her whispered that Kelsier wasn’t telling her everything. He might trust her; he might not. However, he certainly had secrets. The Eleventh Metal, and therefore the Lord Ruler, were involved in those secrets.

  Kelsier caught her eyes, and he must have seen her intention to follow in them. He sighed, leaning back. “I’m serious, Vin! You can’t go with me. ”

  “Why not?” sh
e asked, abandoning pretense. “If what you’re doing is so dangerous, wouldn’t it be safer if you had another Mistborn watching your back?”

  “You still don’t know all of the metals,” Kelsier said.

  “Only because you haven’t taught me. ”

  “You need more practice. ”

  “The best practice is doing,” Vin said. “My brother trained me to steal by taking me on burglaries. ”

  Kelsier shook his head. “It’s too dangerous. ”

  “Kelsier,” she said in a serious tone. “We’re planning to overthrow the Final Empire. I don’t really expect to live until the end of the year anyway.

  “You keep telling the others what an advantage it is to have two Mistborn on the team. Well, it’s not going to be much of an advantage unless you actually let me be a Mistborn. How long are you going to wait? Until I’m ‘ready’? I don’t think that will ever happen. ”

  Kelsier eyed her for a moment, then he smiled. “When we ?rst met, half the time I couldn’t get you to say a word. Now you’re lecturing me. ”

  Vin blushed. Finally, Kelsier sighed, reaching beneath his cloak to pull something out. “I can’t believe I’m considering this,” he muttered, handing her the bit of metal.

  Vin studied the tiny, silvery ball of metal. It was so re?ective and bright that it almost seemed to be a drop of liquid, yet it was solid to the touch.

  “Atium,” Kelsier said. “Tenth, and most powerful, of the known Allomantic metals. That bead is worth more than the entire bag of boxings I gave you before. ”

  “This little bit?” she asked with surprise.

  Kelsier nodded. “Atium only comes from one place—the Pits of Hathsin—where the Lord Ruler controls its production and distribution. The Great Houses get to buy a monthly stipend of atium, which is one of the main ways the Lord Ruler controls them. Go ahead and swallow it. ”

  Vin eyed the bit of metal, uncertain she wanted to waste something so valuable.

  “You can’t sell it,” Kelsier said. “Thieving crews try, but they get tracked down and executed. The Lord Ruler is very protective of his atium supply. ”

  Vin nodded, then swallowed the metal. Immediately, she felt a new well of power appear within her, waiting to be burned.

  “All right,” Kelsier said, standing. “Burn it as soon as I start walking. ”

  Vin nodded. As he began to walk forward, she drew upon her new well of strength and burned atium.

  Kelsier seemed to fuzz slightly to her eyes; then a translucent, wraithlike image shot out into the mists in front of him. The image looked just like Kelsier, and it walked just a few steps in front of him. A very faint, trailing after-image extended from the duplicate back to Kelsier himself.

  It was like…a reverse shadow. The duplicate did everything Kelsier did—except, the image moved first. It turned, and then Kelsier followed its same path.

  The image’s mouth began moving. A second later, Kelsier spoke. “Atium lets you see just a bit into the future. Or, at least, it lets you see what people are going to do a little bit in the future. In addition, it enhances your mind, allowing you to deal with the new information, allowing you to react more quickly and collectedly. ”

 

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