Mistborn the final empi.., p.45
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.45

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 45

  Kelsier was amidst them a second later. Daggers ?ashing in the darkness. Men screaming. Then all was silent.

  Vin stood surrounded by death, bloodied coins dribbling from her stunned ?ngers. She kept a tight grip on her dagger, however—if only to steady her quivering arm.

  Kelsier lay a hand on her shoulder, and she jumped.

  “These were evil men, Vin,” he said. “Every skaa knows in his heart that it is the greatest of crimes to take up arms in defense of the Final Empire. ”

  Vin nodded numbly. She felt…wrong. Maybe it was the death, but now that she was actually within the building, she swore that she could still feel the Lord Ruler’s power. Something seemed to Push her emotions, making her more depressed despite her copper.

  “Come. Time is short. ” Kelsier took off again, hopping lithely over corpses, and Vin felt herself following.

  I made him bring me, she thought. I wanted to ?ght, like him. I’m going to have to get used to this.

  They dashed into a second corridor, and Kelsier jumped into the air. He lurched, then shot forward. Vin did the same, leaping and seeking an anchor far down the corridor, then using it to Pull herself through the air.

  Side corridors whipped past, the air a rushing howl in her tin-enhanced ears. Ahead, two soldiers stepped into the corridor. Kelsier slammed feet-?rst into one, then ?ipped up and rammed a dagger into the other’s neck. Both men fell.

  No metal, Vin thought, dropping to the ground. None of the guards in this place wear metal. Hazekillers, they were called. Men trained to ?ght Allomancers.

  Kelsier ducked down a side corridor, and Vin had to sprint to keep up with him. She ?ared pewter, willing her legs to move faster. Ahead, Kelsier paused, and Vin lurched to a stop beside him. To their right was an open, arching doorway, and it shone with a light far brighter than that of the small corridor lanterns. Vin extinguished her tin, following Kelsier through the archway and into the room.

  Six braziers burned with open ?ames at the corners of the large, dome-roofed chamber. In contrast to the simple corridors, this room was covered with silver-inlayed murals. Each obviously represented the Lord Ruler; they were like the windows she had seen earlier, except less abstract. She saw a mountain. A large cavern. A pool of light.

  And something very dark.

  Kelsier strode forward, and Vin turned. The center of the room was dominated by a small structure—a building within the building. Ornate, with carved stone and ?owing patterns, the single-story building stood reverently before them. All in all, the quiet, empty chamber gave Vin a strange feeling of solemnity.

  Kelsier walked forward, bare feet falling on smooth black marble. Vin followed in a nervous crouch; the room seemed empty, but there had to be other guards. Kelsier walked up to a large oaken door set into the inner building, its surface carved with letterings Vin didn’t recognize. He reached out and pulled open the door.

  A Steel Inquisitor stood inside. The creature smiled, lips curling in an eerie expression beneath the two massive spikes that had been pounded point-?rst through its eyes.

  Kelsier paused for just a moment. Then he yelled, “Vin, run!” as the Inquisitor’s hand snapped forward, grabbing him by the throat.

  Vin froze. To the sides, she saw two other black-robed Inquisitors stride through open archways. Tall, lean, and bald, they were also marked by their spikes and intricate Ministry eye tattoos.

  The closest Inquisitor lifted Kelsier up into the air by his neck. “Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin,” the creature said in a grinding voice. Then he turned toward Vin. “And…you. I’ve been looking for you. I’ll let this one die quickly if you’ll tell me which nobleman spawned you, half-breed. ”

  Kelsier coughed, struggling for breath as he pried at the creature’s grip. The Inquisitor turned, regarding Kelsier with spike-end eyes. Kelsier coughed again, as if trying to say something, and the Inquisitor curiously pulled Kelsier a bit closer.

  Kelsier’s hand whipped out, ramming a dagger into the creature’s neck. As the Inquisitor stumbled, Kelsier slammed his ?st into the creature’s forearm, shattering the bone with a snap. The Inquisitor dropped him, and Kelsier fell to the reflective marble ?oor, coughing.

  Gasping for breath, Kelsier looked up at Vin with intense eyes. “I said run!” he croaked, tossing something to her.

  Vin paused, reaching out to catch the coin pouch. However, it lurched suddenly in the air, shooting forward. Abruptly, she realized Kelsier wasn’t throwing it to her, but at her.

  The bag hit her in the chest. Pushed by Kelsier’s Allomancy, it hurled her across the room—past the two surprised Inquisitors—until she ?nally dropped awkwardly to the ?oor, skidding on the marble.

  Vin looked up, slightly dazed. In the distance, Kelsier regained his feet. The main Inquisitor, however, didn’t seem very concerned about the dagger in his neck. The other two Inquisitors stood between her and Kelsier. One turned toward her, and Vin felt chilled by its horrifying, unnatural gaze.

  “RUN!” The word echoed in the domed chamber. And this time, ?nally, it struck home.

  Vin scrambled to her feet—fear shocking her, screaming at her, making her move. She dashed toward the nearest archway, uncertain if it was the one she had come in through. She clutched Kelsier’s coin pouch and burned iron, frantically seeking an anchor down the corridor.

  Must get away!

  She grabbed the ?rst bit of metal she saw and yanked, tearing herself off the ground. She shot down the corridor at an uncontrolled speed, terror ?aring her iron.

  She lurched suddenly, and everything spun. She hit the ground at an awkward angle—her head slamming against the rough stone—then lay dizzily, wondering what had happened. The coin pouch… someone had Pulled on it, using its metal to yank her backward.

  Vin rolled over and saw a dark form shooting down the corridor. The Inquisitor’s robes ?uttered as he dropped lightly to his feet a short distance from Vin. He strode forward, his face impassive.

  Vin ?ared tin and pewter, clearing her mind and pushing away the pain. She whipped out a few coins, Pushing them at the Inquisitor.

  He raised a hand, and both coins froze in the air. Vin’s own Push suddenly threw her backward, and she tumbled across the stones, skidding and sliding.

  She heard the coins pling against the ?oor as she came to a rest. She shook her head, a dozen new bruises ?aring angrily across her body. The Inquisitor stepped over the discarded coins, walking toward her with a smooth gait.

  I have to get away! Even Kelsier had been afraid to face an Inquisitor. If he couldn’t ?ght one, what chance did she have?

  None. She dropped the pouch and jumped to her feet, then she ran, ducking through the ?rst doorway she saw. The room beyond was empty of people, but a golden altar stood at its center. Between the altar, the four candelabra at the corners, and the cluttering of other religious paraphernalia, the space was cramped.

  Vin turned, Pulling a candelabrum into her hands, remembering Kelsier’s trick from before. The Inquisitor stepped into the room, then raised an almost amused hand, ripping the candelabra from her hands in an easy Allomantic Pull.

  He’s so strong! Vin thought with horror. He was probably steadying himself by Pulling against the lantern brackets behind. However, the force of his Ironpulls was far more powerful than Kelsier’s had ever been.

  Vin jumped, Pulling herself slightly up and over the altar. At the doorway, the Inquisitor reached over to a bowl that sat atop a short pillar, pulling out what appeared to be a handful of small metal triangles. They were sharp on all sides, and they cut the creature’s hand in a dozen different places. He ignored the wounds, raising a bloody hand toward her.

  Vin yelped, ducking behind the altar as pieces of metal sprayed against the back wall.

  “You are trapped,” the Inquisitor said in a scratchy voice. “Come with me. ”

  Vin glanced to the side. There weren’t any other doors in the room. She peeked up, glancing at the
Inquisitor, and a piece of metal shot at her face. She Pushed against it, but the Inquisitor was too strong. She had to duck and let the metal go, lest his power pin her back against the wall.

  I’ll need something to block with. Something that isn’t made of metal.

  As she heard the Inquisitor step into the room, she found what she needed—a large, leather-bound book sitting beside the altar. She grabbed it, then paused. There was no use in being rich if she died. She pulled out Kelsier’s vial and downed the atium, then burned it.

  The Inquisitor’s shadow stepped around the side of the altar, then the actual Inquisitor followed a second later. The atium-shadow opened its hand, and a spray of tiny, translucent daggers shot at her.

  Vin raised her book as the real daggers followed. She swung the book through the shadow trails just as the real daggers shot toward her. She caught every one, their sharp, jagged edges digging deeply into the book’s leather cover.

  The Inquisitor paused, and she was rewarded by what seemed to be a look of confusion on its twisted face. Then a hundred shadow images shot from his body.

  Lord Ruler! Vin thought. He had atium too.

  Not pausing to worry about what that meant, Vin hopped over the altar, carrying the book with her as protection against further missiles. The Inquisitor spun, spike-eyes following her as she ducked back into the hallway.

  A squad of soldiers stood waiting for her. However, each one bore a future-shadow. Vin ducked between them, barely watching where their weapons would fall, somehow avoiding the attacks of twelve different men. And, for a moment, she almost forgot the pain and fear—and they were replaced by an incredible sense of power. She dodged effortlessly, staves swinging above and beside her, each one missing by just inches. She was invincible.

  She spun through the ranks of the men, not bothering to kill or hurt them—she only wanted to escape. As she passed the last one, she turned around a corner.

  And a second Inquisitor, his body springing with shadow images, stepped up and slammed something sharp into her lower side.

  Vin gasped in pain. There was a sickening sound as the creature pulled his weapon free of her body; it was a length of wood af?xed with sharp obsidian blades. Vin grasped her side, stumbling backward, feeling a terrifying amount of warm blood seeping from the wound.

  The Inquisitor looked familiar. The ?rst one, from the other room, she thought through the pain. Does. . that mean that Kelsier is dead?

  “Who is your father?” the Inquisitor asked.

  Vin kept her hand at her side, trying to stop the blood. It was a large wound. A bad wound. She had seen such wounds before. They always killed.

  Yet, she still stood. Pewter, her confused mind thought. Flare pewter!

  She did so, the metal giving her body strength, letting her stay on her feet. The soldiers stepped back to let the second Inquisitor approach her from the side. Vin looked in horror from one Inquisitor to the other, both descending upon her, blood pouring between her ?ngers and down her side. The lead Inquisitor still carried the axelike weapon, its edge coated with blood. Her blood.

  I’m going to die, she thought with terror.

  And then she heard it. Rain. It was faint, but her tin-ears picked it out behind her. She spun, lurching through a door, and was rewarded by the sight of a large archway on the other side of the room. Mist pooled at the room’s ?oor, and rain slapped the stones outside.

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