A Chain of Beads
In the middle of the hall there’s this kid standing. In one hand he’s got a knife—the kind all the students keep to sharpen their nibs and carve their names wherever it’s the most pain in the ass to sand them out—but that’s not what’s got everybody frozen, because in his other hand the poor mad kid is holding all his beads.
Goodman Stone fled tragedy at home to build a new life doing odd jobs at a school in Frael. When one of the students does something unthinkable, Stone comes to his aid. He is helped by schoolmaster Caerel, and as the relationship between the two men deepens, Stone contemplates a decision that will once again reshape the life he's strung together.
This 7,800-word story was previously published in Shousetsu Bang*Bang.