All Kelsier wanted was a cake.
Well, not a cake. There was one cake specifically. At the moment it sat inside one of the better guarded buildings in the known world.
"We shouldn't be doing this," said his brother. Lord Ruler, what a killjoy. Kelsier considered saying it aloud, but he still remembered who had won all those wrestling matches when they had been younger.
"We definitely should." They were both wearing blacks and greys. Kelsier didn't want to pull his mistcloak on just yet, though. The fluttering streamers might draw the wrong sort of attention this early in the heist. The... cake heist.
"Is it still a heist if it's to steal a cake?" he asked.
"I think so, yes." Kelsier burnt copper, then tin. His brother's exaggeratedly resigned sigh was made even more heroic by his sharpened hearing, but he was using tin for another reason.
"There," he said. "They've opened the doors to the guests."
"Finally," Marsh said. He tugged on the line to check it was fastened before beginning to descend. "Just... don't do anything unexpected."
"When have I ever done anything unexpected?" Kelsier asked as Marsh slipped down to the ground. He himself just burnt pewter and jumped.
"There are other ways to start a house war," Marsh whispered as they crept through the gardens towards the back of the mansion. "And they're all easier."
"None of them have this kind of style," Kelsier said. The mansion was hosting a wedding party this evening. The groom was a known tineye from a reasonably important house. The bride's family was very, very rich and very, very well connected. The removal of the wedding cake- and yeah, okay, poisoning the groom's father- would create so much speculation and suspicion that the murder Kelsier planned for next week would probably be enough to tip the system over the edge. He and Marsh squeezed through some tall ornamental plants. They had been grown by a thoughtless gardener to provide perfect cover for somebody trying to break in through the back window.
The room beyond was unlit. Kelsier burnt steel. He swore.
"The lock isn't made of metal."
"You can't pick it?"
"Well, I mean, of course I could, but it would take ages." He shrugged. "We'll have to break the window."
"You'll do no such thing. Boost me."
Marsh wasn't very heavy. Kelsier burnt pewter anyway, holding his brother up as he inspected the catch on the window.
"I need a very thin wire," Marsh whispered after a moment. "It's a wooden clasp."
"I don't have a very thin wire on me right now," Kelsier said. "Do you?"
"No metal, just like we agreed," Marsh said. "I could do the same thing with a thin stick, a length of... strong cotton, maybe? and about an hour."
"This is an elaborate and time sensitive cake heist," Kelsier said. "We don't have an hour."
"I could do it faster if there was some light around," Marsh said.
"Oh," said Kelsier.
"You forgot not everybody can burn tin again, didn't you?" Marsh said. He huffed. "Typical."
"We could try another window," Kelsier said.
"Or you could burn steel and find me a thin wire," Marsh replied. "This is an elaborate, time sensitive cake heist, after all."
"Ugh, fine." Kelsier inspected the local population of blue lines. He tugged on one and was rewarded with a nail shooting towards him from a nearby gate. Not that one. He found a few more nails and somebody's lost button.
"How about a paperclip?" he asked. He grabbed it out of the air rather than pushing it away the way he had the others. He wondered what a paperclip would be doing outside.
"Maybe," Marsh said, reaching down. "It might be thin enough."
"Make it work."
Marsh didn't answer. He leant against the window frame and began folding the paperclip into a series of sharp bends.
"I'm not getting any younger down here," Kelsier said. Marsh ignored him.
"Done," he said. "Now, I need to get up about another metre." He clambered up until he was sitting on Kelsier's shoulders.
"I'm going to run out of pewter, you ingrate."
"We'll find you some cutlery to chew on." There were some clattering noises, and a long and drawn out squeak.
"Do you want me to sound a foghorn, or-"
"Open," Marsh said. He hoisted himself up into the now open window, his weight vanishing from Kelsier's shoulders. He hesitated a moment before reaching down a hand. It wasn't a particularly necessary gesture, but Kelsier accepted it anyway. Marsh heaved him up.
They were in some kind of library, it looked like. Faint blue lines sparked in Kelsier's vision, showing the whereabouts of gold inlays and pen nibs. Rows of books and scrolls lined the walls.
"What a bunch of nerds," he said.
"The plan, Kelsier." Marsh's ordinarily stern expression had a bit of anxiety to it.
"Yes, alright, fine." Kelsier peeked out through the door. "Mask?"
"On," said Marsh, his voice muffling as he donned it. "Mistcloak?"
"On," said Kelsier, fastening it. "The kitchens are downstairs."
"I'll meet you in the ballroom," he said. Marsh patted the vials tied at his waist. One was bronze flakes. The other was cyanide.
"Sure. And... don't mess those two up."
"Please," said Marsh. "I'm not like you."
Kelsier liked sneaking. It was harder in a building filled with people, but since all the people were in the ballroom, or wanted to be in the ballroom, hardly anybody was about to see him creeping through the halls. It was easy enough to reach the festivities, sticking to shadows and the corners. There was one incident where he had to cuff somebody over the back of the head so that they didn't scream. He propped them in a corner and hoped people would assume they had just had too much to drink.
He found the back stairs and ascended to the balcony, where a string quartet were playing something boring. From here, he could see the whole room- the long table where the wedding party sat, the couples dancing, the people hanging around the walls to spectate and gossip. The string quartet, involved in playing whatever boring song they were playing, paid no attention to the very quiet Mistborn peeking over their shoulders. And there it was. The cake he'd been waiting for. On, get this- on a metal plate.
"Somebody up there loves me," he said aloud. One of the violinists looked back at him. She dropped her bow.
"I was wrong," he said. He bounded to the edge of the balcony and Pushed off a cello. It slammed into the rear wall with a loud crash. He felt kinda bad about that, but what was he supposed to do. They're probably not expensive, anyway. He Pushed off some cutlery to stop himself hitting a wall. That put him almost directly over the wedding party's table. He dropped onto it, pewter-strengthened legs cracking the wood. There was a lot of screaming going on, most of which he ignored.
"I'll take that," he said to nobody in particular, lifting the cake. Lord Ruler, these people didn't do things by halves. It was a heavy cake.
He hoped Marsh had gotten to the poisoning bit in time. He sprinted for the door, cake held out before him. He wasn't sure how he was supposed to open any doors like this.
"You idiot," said Marsh, falling in beside him.
"Did you get to the poison?"
"Lord Ruler, no. I was trying to rescue my moron of a brother."
"I don't need rescuing," said Kelsier as a whole cadre of Hazekillers poured out of the doors behind them.
"I'm sorry, should I leave?"
"NO." Maybe that had been a bit too desperate sounding. "Could you open the door for me?"
Marsh opened the door. "Better?"
"And could you hold the cake?"
Tales of Marsh's sigh would be told for generations to come. "Give it here." Marsh winced under its weight. "Could we have stolen a lighter cake?"
"A cake that could start a house war is surprisingly hard to find," Kelsier said, pulling a hail of cutlery from the dining tables towards the Hazekillers. Three or four of them dropped. The others were smarter, using their wooden shields to protect themselves. That left a lot of metal things wedged into something strapped to their arms, though. Kelsier braced himself against the wall and Pulled them towards him. They fell over themselves in a series of embarrassing trips and loud wooden clattering sounds. He grabbed a few butter knives out of the air.
"Venture's were better," he said.
"Come on," said Marsh, halfway down the following corridor already. He ducked so that Kelsier could impale an angry man with duelling canes with a butter knife. The knife did damage the top of the cake.
"Whoops," said Kelsier. He threw open the front doors and the two of them sprinted out into the night.
"The wall," Marsh said suddenly.
"You said this was an elaborate cake heist, but I'm getting the feeling you didn't plan this," Marsh said.
"Well, I mean- it's a cake. Why would you plan to steal a cake?"
"If anybody would, it would be you," Marsh said darkly.
Kelsier still had a knife left.
"We can jump," he said suddenly.
"You can jump," said Marsh. "If I sneak around to the rope around the back-"
"They'll find you," Kelsier said as coins began to ping around them. He began maintaining a light Push backwards. He crouched down. "Climb on my shoulders."
"There is no way in-"
"Do you want to wake up tomorrow full of coins, or do you want to enjoy a delicious cake with the crew?"
"Fine," Marsh said. Cake held precariously out before himself, he managed to clamber on top of Kelsier's shoulders. "There. Just like old times."
Kelsier flared pewter to stand. He'd thought Marsh had been heavy before, but that had been pre-cake. This was ridiculous. He grabbed Marsh's legs. "Ready?"
"They're bringing out crossbows," Marsh said, looking backwards.
Kelsier threw down the butter knife and Pushed on it harder than was strictly necessary, throwing he, his brother, and an impressively large cake into the air. He politely ignored the noise that Marsh made. There was a long lead cap on a roof up ahead. That would do.
"Hold on!" he yelled as they began to fall.
"I can't, I'm holding a cake!" Kelsier Pulled on the lead cap, changing their trajectory. He burned up the last of his pewter on impact. Marsh slid off his shoulders like a pile of wet laundry.
"Your cake," he said solemnly, dropping the plate on the roof. It was almost all still there. The top tier had been blown off somewhere, and Kelsier dearly hoped it had landed on somebody's head. That would be hilarious.