Mistborn the final empi.., p.47
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.47
 

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson  
Page 47

  Kelsier nodded.

  “I arrived too late, I think,” Sazed said. “When I found her gone from Renoux’s mansion, I came to Luthadel as quickly as I could. I used up an entire metalmind to make the trip with haste. I was still too late…. ”

  “No, my friend,” Kelsier said. “You’ve done well this night. Far better than I. ”

  Sazed sighed, then reached over and ?ngered the large book he’d set aside before beginning the surgery. The tome was wet with rainwater and blood. Kelsier regarded it, frowning. “What is that, anyway?”

  “I don’t know,” Sazed said. “I found it at the palace, while I was searching for the child. It is written in Khlenni. ”

  Khlenni, the language of Khlennium—the ancient, pre-Ascension homeland of the Lord Ruler. Kelsier perked up a bit. “Can you translate it?”

  “Perhaps,” Sazed said, suddenly sounding very tired. “But. . not for a time, I think. After this evening, I shall need to rest. ”

  Kelsier nodded, calling for one of the apprentices to prepare Sazed a room. The Terrisman nodded thankfully, then walked wearily up the stairs.

  “He saved more than Vin’s life tonight,” Dockson said, approaching quietly from behind. “What you did was stupid, even for you. ”

  “I had to know, Dox,” he said. “I had to go back. What if the atium really is in there?”

  “You said that it isn’t. ”

  “I said that,” Kelsier said with a nod, “and I’m mostly sure. But what if I’m wrong?”

  “That’s no excuse,” Dockson said angrily. “Now Vin is dying and the Lord Ruler is alerted to us. Wasn’t it enough that you got Mare killed trying to get into that room?”

  Kelsier paused, but he was too drained to feel any anger. He sighed, sitting down. “There’s more, Dox. ”

  Dockson frowned.

  “I’ve avoided talking about the Lord Ruler to the others,” Kelsier said, “but. . I’m worried. The plan is good, but I have this terrible, haunting feeling that we’ll never succeed as long as he’s alive. We can take his money, we can take his armies, we can trick him out of the city…but I still worry that we won’t be able to stop him. ”

  Dockson frowned. “You’re serious about this Eleventh Metal business, then?”

  Kelsier nodded. “I searched for two years to ?nd a way to kill him. Men have tried everything—he ignores normal wounds, and decapitation only annoys him. A group of soldiers burned down his inn during one of the early wars. The Lord Ruler walked out as barely more than a skeleton, then healed in a matter of seconds.

  “Only the stories of the Eleventh Metal offered any hope. But I can’t make it work! That’s why I had to go back to the palace. The Lord Ruler’s hiding something in that room—I can feel it. I can’t help thinking that if we knew what it was, we’d be able to stop him. ”

  “You didn’t have to take Vin with you. ”

  “She followed me,” Kelsier said. “I worried that she’d try to get in on her own if I left her. The girl has a headstrong streak, Dox—she hides it well, but she’s blasted stubborn when she wants to be. ”

  Dockson sighed, then nodded quietly. “And we still don’t know what’s in that room. ”

  Kelsier eyed the book Sazed had set on the table. The rainwater had marked it, but the tome was obviously designed to endure. It was strapped tightly to prevent water from seeping in, and the cover was of well-cured leather.

  “No,” Kelsier ?nally said. “We don’t. ” But we do have that, whatever it is.

  “Was it worth it, Kell?” Dockson asked. “Was this insane stunt really worth nearly getting yourself—and the child— killed?”

  “I don’t know,” Kelsier said honestly. He turned to Dockson, meeting his friend’s eyes. “Ask me once we know whether or not Vin will live. ”

  THE END OF PART TWO

  PART THREE

  Children of a Bleeding Sun

  Many think that my journey started in Khlennium, that great city of wonder. They forget that I was no king when my quest began. Far from it.

  I think it would do men well to remember that this task was not begun by emperors, priests, prophets, or generals. It didn’t start in Khlennium or Kordel, nor did it come from the great nations to the east or the ?ery empire of the West.

  It began in a small, unimportant town whose name would mean nothing to you. It began with a youth, the son of a blacksmith, who was unremarkable in every way—except, perhaps, in his ability to get into trouble.

  It began with me.

  16

  WHEN VIN AWOKE, THE PAIN told her that Reen had beaten her again. What had she done? Had she been too friendly to one of the other crewmembers? Had she made a foolish comment, drawing the crewleader’s ire? She was to remain quiet, always quiet, staying away from the others, never calling attention to herself. Otherwise he would beat her. She had to learn, he said. She had to learn….

  But, her pain seemed too strong for that. It had been a long time since she could remember hurting this much.

  She coughed slightly, opening her eyes. She lay in a bed that was far too comfortable, and a lanky teenage boy sat in a chair beside her bed.

  Lestibournes, she thought. That’s his name. I’m in Clubs’s shop.

  Lestibournes jumped to his feet. “You’re awaking!”

  She tried to speak, but just coughed again, and the boy hurriedly gave her a cup of water. Vin sipped it thankfully, grimacing at the pain in her side. In fact, her entire body felt like it had been pummeled soundly.

  “Lestibournes,” she ?nally croaked.

  “Notting as the now,” he said. “Kelsier wasing the hit with my name; changed it to Spook. ”

  “Spook?” Vin asked. “It ?ts. How long have I been asleep?”

  “Two weeks,” the boy said. “Wait here. ” He scrambled away, and she could hear him calling out in the distance.

  Two weeks? She sipped at the cup, trying to organize her muddled memories. Reddish afternoon sunlight shone through the window, lighting the room. She set the cup aside, checking her side, where she found a large white bandage.

  That’s where the Inquisitor hit me, she thought. I should be dead.

  Her side was bruised and discolored from where she’d hit the roof after falling, and her body bore a dozen other nicks, bruises, and scrapes. All in all, she felt absolutely terrible.

  “Vin!” Dockson said, stepping into the room. “You’re awake!”

  “Barely,” Vin said with a groan, lying back against her pillow.

  Dockson chuckled, walking over and sitting on Lestibournes’s stool. “How much do you remember?”

  “Most everything, I think,” she said. “We fought our way into the palace, but there were Inquisitors. They chased us, and Kelsier fought—” She stopped, looking at Dockson. “Kelsier? Is he—”

  “Kell’s ?ne,” Breeze said. “He came out of the incident in far better shape than you did. He knows the palace fairly well, from the plans we made three years ago, and he…”

  Vin frowned as Dockson trailed off. “What?”

  “He said the Inquisitors didn’t seem very focused on killing him. They left one to chase him, and sent two after you. ”

  Why? Vin thought. Did they simply want to concentrate their energy on the weakest enemy ?rst? Or, is there another reason? She sat back thoughtfully, working through the events of that night.

  “Sazed,” Vin she ?nally said. “He saved me. The Inquisitor was about to kill me, but. . Dox, what is he?”

  “Sazed?” Dockson asked. “That’s probably a question I should let him answer. ”

  “Is he here?”

  Dockson shook his head. “He had to return to Fellise. Breeze and Kell are out recruiting, and Ham left last week to inspect our army. He won’t be back for another month at least. ”

  Vin nodded, feeling drowsy.

  “Drink the rest of your water,” Dockson suggested. “There’s something in it to help with the pain. ”

&n
bsp; Vin downed the rest of the drink, then rolled over and let sleep take her again.

  Kelsier was there when she awoke. He sat on the stool by her bed, hands clasped with his elbows on his knees, watching her by the faint light of a lantern. He smiled when she opened her eyes. “Welcome back. ”

  She immediately reached for the cup of water on the bed-stand. “How’s the job going?”

  He shrugged. “The army is growing, and Renoux has begun to purchase weapons and supplies. Your suggestion regarding the Ministry turned out to be a good one—we found Theron’s contact, and we’ve nearly negotiated a deal that will let us place someone as a Ministry acolyte. ”

  “Marsh?” Vin asked. “Will he do it himself?”

  Kelsier nodded. “He’s always had a…certain fascination with the Ministry. If any skaa can pull off imitating an obligator, it will be Marsh. ”

  Vin nodded, sipping her drink. There was something different about Kelsier. It was subtle—a slight alteration in his air and attitude. Things had changed during her sickness.

  “Vin,” Kelsier said hesitantly. “I owe you an apology. I nearly got you killed. ”

  Vin snorted quietly. “It’s not your fault. I made you take me. ”

  “You shouldn’t have been able to make me,” Kelsier said. “My original decision to send you away was the right one. Please accept the apology. ”

  Vin nodded quietly. “What do you need me to do now? The job has to go forward, right?”

  Kelsier smiled. “Indeed it does. As soon as you’re up to it, I’d like you to move back to Fellise. We created a cover story saying that Lady Valette has taken sick, but rumors are starting to appear. The sooner you can be seen in the ?esh by visitors, the better. ”

  “I can go tomorrow,” Vin said.

  Kelsier chuckled. “I doubt it, but you can go soon. For now, just rest. ” He stood, moving to leave.

  “Kelsier?” Vin asked, causing him to pause. He turned, looking at her.

  Vin struggled to formulate what she wanted to say. “The palace… the Inquisitors…We’re not invincible, are we?” She ?ushed; it sounded stupid when she said it that way.

  Kelsier, however, just smiled. He seemed to understand what she meant. “No, Vin,” he said quietly. “We’re far from it. ”

  Vin watched the landscape pass outside her carriage window. The vehicle, sent from Mansion Renoux, had supposedly taken Lady Valette for a ride through Luthadel. In reality, it hadn’t picked up Vin until it had stopped brie?y by Clubs’s street. Now, however, her window shades were open, showing her again to the world—assuming anyone cared.

  The carriage made its way back toward Fellise. Kelsier had been right: She’d had to rest three more days in Clubs’s shop before feeling strong enough to make the trip. In part, she’d waited simply because she had dreaded struggling into a noblewoman’s dresses with her bruised arms and wounded side.

 
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