Mistborn the final empi.., p.99
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.99

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 99

  Vin sat thoughtfully. “I suppose we could still seize the palace—that’s what Kell always wanted to do. But, if the Lord Ruler has been warned, the others don’t see that happening. Plus, it doesn’t seem like we have enough soldiers to do much in the city. Ham and Breeze never ?nished their recruiting. ”

  Sazed shrugged.

  “Maybe Kelsier plans to do something about the Lord Ruler,” Vin mused.

  “Perhaps. ”

  “Sazed?” Vin said slowly. “You collect legends, right?”

  “As a Keeper I collect many things,” Sazed said. “Stories, legends, religions. When I was young, another Keeper recited all of his knowledge to me so that I could store it, and then add to it. ”

  “Have you ever heard about this ‘Eleventh Metal’ legend that Kelsier talks about?”

  Sazed paused. “No, Mistress. That legend was new to me when I heard of it from Master Kelsier. ”

  “But he swears that it’s true,” Vin said. “And I. . believe him, for some reason. ”

  “It is very possible that there are legends I haven’t heard of,” Sazed said. “If the Keepers knew everything, then why would we need to keep searching?”

  Vin nodded, still a bit uncertain.

  Sazed continued to stir the soup. He seemed so…dignified, even while performing such a menial task. He stood in his steward’s robes, unconcerned with how simple a service he was performing, easily taking over for the servants the crew had dismissed.

  Quick footsteps sounded on the stairs, and Vin perked up, sliding off her stool.

  “Mistress?” Sazed asked.

  “Someone on the stairs,” Vin said, moving to the doorway.

  One of the apprentices—Vin thought his name was Tase— burst into the main room. Now that Lestibournes was gone, Tase had become the crew’s main lookout.

  “People are gathering in the square,” Tase said, gesturing toward the stairs.

  “What’s this?” Dockson said, entering from the other room.

  “People in the fountain square, Master Dockson,” the boy said. “Word on the street is that the obligators are planning more executions. ”

  Retribution for the Pits, Vin thought. That didn’t take long.

  Dockson’s expression darkened. “Go wake Kell. ”

  “I intend to watch them,” Kelsier said, walking through the room, dressed in simple skaa clothing and cloak.

  Vin’s stomach twisted. Again?

  “You all may do as you wish,” Kelsier said. He looked much better after his extended rest—his exhaustion was gone, replaced with the characteristic strength Vin had come to expect from him.

  “The executions are probably a reaction to what I did at the Pits,” Kelsier continued. “I’m going to watch those people’s deaths—because indirectly, I caused them. ”

  “It’s not your fault, Kell,” Dockson said.

  “It’s all of our faults,” Kelsier said bluntly. “That doesn’t make what we do wrong—however, if it weren’t for us, these people wouldn’t have to die. I, for one, think that the least we can do for these people is bear witness to their passing. ”

  He pulled open the door, climbing the steps. Slowly, the rest of the crew followed him—though Clubs, Sazed, and the apprentices remained with the safe house.

  Vin climbed the musty-aired steps, eventually joining the others on a grimy street in the middle of a skaa slum. Ash fell from the sky, ?oating in lazily ?akes. Kelsier was already walking down the street, and the rest of them— Breeze, Ham, Dockson, and Vin—quickly moved to catch up with him.

  The safe house wasn’t far from the fountain square. Kelsier, however, paused a few streets away from their destination. Dull-eyed skaa continued walking around them, jostling the crew. Bells rang in the distance.

  “Kell?” Dockson asked.

  Kelsier cocked his head. “Vin, you hear that?”

  She closed her eyes, then ?ared her tin. Focus, she thought. Like Spook said. Cut through the shuf?ing feet and murmuring voices. Hear over the doors shutting and the people breathing. Listen….

  “Horses,” she said, dampening her tin and opening her eyes. “And carriages. ”

  “Carts,” Kelsier said, turning toward the side of the street. “The prisoner carts. They’re coming this way. ”

  He looked up at the buildings around him, then grabbed hold of a raingutter and began to shimmy up a wall. Breeze rolled his eyes, nudging Dockson and nodding toward the front of the building, but Vin and Ham—with pewter—easily followed Kelsier up to the roof.

  “There,” Kell said, pointing at a street a short ways away. Vin could just barely make out a row of barred prison carts rolling toward the square.

  Dockson and Breeze entered the slanted rooftop through a window. Kelsier remained where he was, standing by the roof’s lip, staring out at the prison carts.

  “Kell,” Ham said warily. “What are you thinking?”

  “We’re still a short distance from the square,” he said slowly. “And the Inquisitors aren’t riding with the prisoners— they’ll come down from the palace, like last time. There can’t be more than a hundred soldiers guarding those people. ”

  “A hundred men are plenty, Kell,” Ham said.

  Kelsier didn’t seem to hear the words. He took another step forward, approaching up onto the roof’s edge. “I can stop this…. I can save them. ”

  Vin stepped up beside him. “Kell, there might not be many guards with the prisoners, but the fountain square is only a few blocks away. It’s packed with soldiers, not to mention the Inquisitors!”

  Ham, unexpectedly, didn’t back her up. He turned, glancing at Dockson and Breeze. Dox paused, then shrugged.

  “Are you all crazy?” Vin demanded.

  “Wait a moment,” Breeze said, squinting. “I’m no Tineye, but don’t some of those prisoners look a bit too well dressed?”

  Kelsier froze, then he cursed. Without warning, he jumped off the rooftop, dropping to the street below.

  “Kell!” Vin said. “What—” Then she paused, looking up in the red sunlight, watching the slowly approaching procession of carts. Through tin-enhanced eyes, she thought that she recognized someone sitting near the front of one of the carts.

  Spook.

  “Kelsier, what’s going on!” Vin demanded, dashing down the street behind him.

  He slowed just a bit. “I saw Renoux and Spook in that ?rst cart. The Ministry must have hit Renoux’s canal procession— the people in those cages are the servants, staff, and guards we hired to work at the mansion. ”

  The canal procession… Vin thought. The Ministry must know that Renoux was a fake. Marsh broke after all.

  Behind them, Ham appeared out of the building and onto the street. Breeze and Dockson were slower in coming.

  “We have to work quickly!” Kelsier said, picking up his pace again.

  “Kell!” Vin said, grabbing his arm. “Kelsier, you can’t save them. They’re too well guarded, and it’s daylight in the middle of the city. You’ll just get yourself killed!”

  He paused, halting in the street, turning in Vin’s grasp. He looked into her eyes, disappointed. “You don’t understand what this is all about, do you, Vin? You never did. I let you stop me once before, on the hillside by the battle?eld. Not this time. This time I can do something. ”

  “But…”

  He shook his arm free. “You still have some things to learn about friendship, Vin. I hope someday you realize what they are. ”

  Then he took off, charging in the direction of the carts. Ham barreled past Vin, heading in a different direction, pushing his way through skaa on their way to the square.

  Vin stood stupidly for a few moments, standing in the falling ash as Dockson caught up to her.

  “It’s insanity,” she mumbled. “We can’t do this, Dox. We’re not invincible. ”

  Dockson snorted. “We’re not helpless either. ”

  Breeze puffed up behind them, poin
ting toward a side street. “There. We need to get me to a place where I can see the soldiers. ”

  Vin let them tow her along, suddenly feeling shame mix with her worry.

  Kelsier. .

  Kelsier tossed away a pair of empty vials, their contents ingested. The vials sparkled in the air beside him, falling to shatter against the cobblestones. He ducked through one ?nal alleyway, bursting out onto an eerily empty thoroughfare.

  The prisoner carts rolled toward him, entering a small courtyard square formed by the intersection of two streets. Each rectangular vehicle was lined with bars; each one was packed with people who were now distinctly familiar. Servants, soldiers, housekeepers—some were rebels, many were just regular people. None of them deserved death.

  Too many skaa have died already, he thought, ?aring his metals. Hundreds. Thousands. Hundreds of thousands.

  Not today. No more.

  He dropped a coin and jumped, Pushing himself through the air in a wide arc. Soldiers looked up, pointing. Kelsier landed directly in their center.

  There was a quiet moment as the soldiers turned in surprise. Kelsier crouched amid them, bits of ash falling from the sky.

  Then he Pushed.

  He ?ared steel with a yell, standing and Pushing outward. The burst of Allomantic power hurled soldiers away by their breastplates, tossing a dozen men into the air, sending them crashing into companions and walls.

  Men screamed. Kelsier spun, Pushing against a group of soldiers and sending himself ?ying toward a prison cart. He smashed into it, ?aring his steel and grabbing the metal door with his hands.

  Prisoners huddled back in surprise. Kelsier ripped the door free with a burst of pewter-enhanced power, then tossed it toward a group of approaching soldiers.

  “Go!” he told the prisoners, jumping down and landing lightly in the street. He spun.

  And came face-to-face with a tall ?gure wearing a brown robe. Kelsier paused, stepping back as the tall form reached up, lowering his hood, revealing a pair of eyes impaled by spikes.

  The Inquisitor smiled, and Kelsier heard footsteps approaching down side alleyways. Dozens. Hundreds.

  “Damnation!” Breeze swore as soldiers ?ooded the square. Dockson pulled Breeze into an alley. Vin followed them in, crouching in the shadows, listening to soldiers yelling in the

  crossroads outside.

  “What?” she demanded.

  “Inquisitor!” Breeze said, pointing toward a robed ?gure standing before Kelsier.

  “What?” Dockson said, standing.

  It’s a trap, Vin realized with horror. Soldiers began to pile into the square, appearing from hidden side streets. Kelsier, get out of there!

  Kelsier Pushed off a fallen guard, throwing himself backward in a ?ip over one of the prison carts. He landed in a crouch, eyeing the new squads of soldiers. Many of them carried staves and wore no armor. Hazekillers.

  The Inquisitor Pushed himself through the ash-?lled air, landing with a thump in front of Kelsier. The creature smiled.

  It’s the same man. The Inquisitor from before.

  “Where’s the girl?” the creature said quietly.

 

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