Mistborn the final empi.., p.92
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.92

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 92

  Vin let the weapon go—it was just a distraction—as she slammed the second half of the broken arrow into Shan’s chest just beside its counterpart.

  This time, Shan dropped. She tried to rise, but one of the shafts must have done some serious damage to her heart, for her face paled. She struggled for a moment, then fell lifeless to the stones.

  Vin stood, breathing deeply as she wiped the blood from her cheek—only to realize that her bloody arm was just making her face worse. Behind her, the soldiers called out, nocking more arrows.

  Vin glanced back toward the keep, bidding farewell to Elend, then Pushed herself out into the night.

  Other men worry whether or not they will be remembered. I have no such fears; even disregarding the Terris prophecies, I have brought such chaos, con?ict, and hope to this world that there is little chance that I will be forgotten.

  I worry about what they will say of me. Historians can make what they wish of the past. In a thousand years’ time, will I be remembered as the man who protected mankind from a powerful evil? Or, will I be remembered as a tyrant who arrogantly tried to make himself a legend?

  31

  “I DON’T KNOW,” KELSIER SAID, smiling as he shrugged. “Breeze would make a pretty good Minister of Sanitation. ”

  The group chuckled, though Breeze just rolled his eyes. “Honestly, I don’t see why I consistently prove to be the target of you people’s humor. Why must you choose the only digni?ed person in this crew as the butt of your mockery?”

  “Because, my dear man,” Ham said, imitating Breeze’s accent, “you are, by far, the best butt we have. ”

  “Oh, please,” Breeze said as Spook nearly collapsed to the ?oor with laughter. “This is just getting juvenile. The teenage boy was the only one who found that comment amusing, Hammond. ”

  “I’m a soldier,” Ham said, raising his cup. “Your witty verbal attacks have no effect on me, for I’m far too dense to understand them. ”

  Kelsier chuckled, leaning back against the cupboard. One problem with working at night was that he missed the evening gatherings in Clubs’s kitchen. Breeze and Ham continued their general banter. Dox sat at the end of the table, going over ledgers and reports, while Spook sat by Ham eagerly, trying his best to take part in the conversation. Clubs sat in his corner, overseeing, occasionally smiling, and generally enjoying his ability to give the best scowls in the room.

  “I should be leaving, Master Kelsier,” Sazed said, checking the wall clock. “Mistress Vin should be about ready to leave. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “I should get going myself. I still have to—”

  The outside kitchen door slammed open. Vin stood silhouetted by the dark mist, wearing nothing but her dressing undergarments—a ?imsy white shirt and shorts. Both were sprayed with blood.

  “Vin!” Ham exclaimed, standing.

  Her cheek bore a long, thin gash, and she had a bandage tied on one forearm. “I’m ?ne,” she said wearily.

  “What happened to your dress?” Dockson immediately demanded.

  “You mean this?” Vin asked apologetically, holding up a ripped, soot-stained blue mass of cloth. “It… got in the way. Sorry, Dox. ”

  “Lord Ruler, girl!” Breeze said. “Forget the dress—what happened to you!”

  Vin shook her head, shutting the door. Spook blushed furiously at her out?t, and Sazed immediately moved over, checking the wound on her cheek.

  “I think I did something bad,” Vin said. “I. . kind of killed Shan Elariel. ”

  “You did what?” Kelsier asked as Sazed tisked quietly, leaving the small cheek cut alone as he undid the bandage on her arm.

  Vin ?inched slightly at Sazed’s ministrations. “She was Mistborn. We fought. I won. ”

  You killed a fully-trained Mistborn? Kelsier thought with shock. You’ve practiced for barely eight months!

  “Master Hammond,” Sazed requested, “would you fetch my healer’s bag?”

  Ham nodded, rising.

  “You might want to grab her something to wear too,” Kelsier suggested. “I think poor Spook’s about to have a heart attack. ”

  “What’s wrong with this?” Vin asked, nodding toward her clothing. “It’s not that much more revealing than some of the thief’s clothing I’ve worn. ”

  “Those are undergarments, Vin,” Dockson said.

  “So?”

  “It’s the principle of the matter,” Dockson said. “Young ladies do not run around in their undergarments, no matter how much those undergarments may resemble regular clothing. ”

  Vin shrugged, sitting as Sazed held a bandage to her arm. She seemed…exhausted. And not just from the ?ghting. What else happened at that party?

  “Where did you ?ght the Elariel woman?” Kelsier asked.

  “Outside Keep Venture,” Vin said, looking down. “I… think some of the guards spotted me. Some of the nobles might have too, I’m not certain. ”

  “That’s going to be trouble,” Dockson said, sighing. “Of course, that cheek wound is going to be pretty obvious, even with makeup. Honestly, you Allomancers… Don’t you ever worry about what you’re going to look like the day after you get into one of these ?ghts?”

  “I was kind of focused on staying alive, Dox,” Vin said.

  “He’s just complaining because he’s worried about you,” Kelsier said as Ham returned with the bag. “That’s what he does. ”

  “Both wounds will require immediate stitching, Mistress,” Sazed said. “The one on your arm hit the bone, I think. ”

  Vin nodded, and Sazed rubbed her arm with a numbing agent, then began to work. She bore it without much visible discomfort—though she obviously had her pewter ?ared.

  She looks so exhausted, Kelsier thought. She was such a frail-looking thing, mostly just arms and legs. Hammond put a cloak around her shoulders, but she appeared too tired to care.

  And I brought her into this.

  Of course, she should know better than to get herself into this kind of trouble. Eventually, Sazed ?nished his ef?cient sewing, then tied a new bandage around the arm wound. He moved onto the cheek.

  “Why would you ?ght a Mistborn?” Kelsier asked sternly. “You should have run. Didn’t you learn anything from your battle with the Inquisitors?”

  “I couldn’t get away without turning my back on her,” Vin said. “Besides, she had more atium than me. If I hadn’t attacked, she would have chased me down. I had to strike while we were equally matched. ”

  “But how did you get into this in the ?rst place?” Kelsier demanded. “Did she attack you?”

  Vin glanced down at her feet. “I attacked ?rst. ”

  “Why?” Kelsier asked.

  Vin sat for a moment, Sazed working on her cheek. “She was going to kill Elend,” she ?nally said.

  Kelsier exhaled in exasperation. “Elend Venture? You risked your life—risked the plan, and our lives—for that fool of a boy?”

  Vin looked up, glaring at him. “Yes. ”

  “What is wrong with you, girl?” Kelsier asked. “Elend Venture isn’t worth this. ”

  She stood angrily, Sazed backing away, the cloak falling the ?oor. “He’s a good man!”

  “He’s a nobleman!”

  “So are you!” Vin snapped. She waved a frustrated arm toward the kitchen and the crew. “What do you think this is, Kelsier? The life of a skaa? What do any of you know about skaa? Aristocratic suits, stalking your enemies in the night, full meals and nightcaps around the table with your friends? That’s not the life of a skaa!”

  She took a step forward, glaring at Kelsier. He blinked in surprise at the outburst.

  “What do you know about them, Kelsier?” she asked. “When’s the last time you slept in an alley, shivering in the cold rain, listening to the beggar next to you cough with a sickness you knew would kill him? When’s the last time you had to lay awake at night, terri?ed that one of the men in your crew would try to rape you? Have you ever knelt, starving, wishing you
had the courage to knife the crewmember beside you just so you could take his crust of bread? Have you ever cowered before your brother as he beat you, all the time feeling thankful because at least you had someone who paid attention to you?”

  She fell silent, puf?ng slightly, the crewmembers staring at her.

  “Don’t talk to me about noblemen,” Vin said. “And don’t say things about people you don’t know. You’re no skaa— you’re just noblemen without titles. ”

  She turned, stalking from the room. Kelsier watched her go, shocked, hearing her footsteps on the stairs. He stood, dumbfounded, feeling a surprising ?ush of ashamed guilt.

  And, for once, found himself without anything to say.

  Vin didn’t go to her room. She climbed to the roof, where the mists curled in the quiet, unlit night. She sat down in the corner, the rough stone lip of the ?at rooftop against her nearly bare back, wood beneath her.

  She was cold, but she didn’t care. Her arm hurt a bit, but it was mostly numb. She didn’t feel nearly numb enough herself.

  She crossed her arms, huddling down, watching the mists. She didn’t know what to think, let alone what to feel. She shouldn’t have exploded at Kelsier, but everything that had happened… the ?ght, Elend’s betrayal…it just left her feeling frustrated. She needed to be angry at someone.

  You should just be angry at yourself, Reen’s voice whispered. You’re the one who let them get close. Now they’re all just going to leave you.

  She couldn’t make it stop hurting. She could only sit and shiver as the tears fell, wondering how everything had collapsed so quickly.

  The trapdoor to the rooftop opened with a quiet creak, and Kelsier’s head appeared.

  Oh, Lord Ruler! I don’t want to face him now. She tried to wipe away her tears, but she only succeeded in aggravating the freshly stitched wound on her cheek.

  Kelsier closed the trapdoor behind him, then stood, so tall and proud, staring up at the mists. He didn’t deserve the things I said. None of them did.

  “Watching the mists is comforting, isn’t it?” Kelsier asked.

  Vin nodded.

  “What is it I once told you? The mists protect you, they give you power. . they hide you…. ”

  He looked down, then he walked over and crouched before her, holding out a cloak. “There are some things you can’t hide from, Vin. I know—I’ve tried. ”

  She accepted the cloak, then wrapped it around her shoulders.

  “What happened tonight?” he asked. “What really happened?”

  “Elend told me that he didn’t want to be with me anymore. ”

  “Ah,” Kelsier said, moving over to sit beside her. “Was this before or after you killed his former ?ancée?”

  “Before,” Vin said.

  “And you still protected him?”

  Vin nodded, snif?ing quietly. “I know. I’m an idiot. ”

  “No more than the rest of us,” Kelsier said with a sigh. He looked up into the mists. “I loved Mare too, even after she betrayed me. Nothing could change how I felt. ”

 

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