Barrett had never really intended to stay at Academia very long. He'd planned to settle down back in Venice, and enjoy the rest of his life with his grandchildren. But something strange had overcome the school in recent years.
After the Alchemy professor had left the staff, a military man, Sanders—he'd remembered the name from the harsh remarks he'd heard in the classroom—had taken his position, and brought along his son.
He remembered the fearful look in his son's eyes, and worried for the students who were still enrolled in the school.
And he remembered Serena, the tough little girl who wasn't even allowed to leave her dorm room—it had been the Headmaster's orders, he'd heard.
Barrett was pushing fifty, but he wasn't too old to bend the rules one last time.
"Go," he said to the little girl with the bow in her hair. "Don't stray too far from the school, and make sure no one sees you."
But when he turned his back, he knew she was already setting foot through the gates.
Maybe she'd even get far enough to leave this school behind her.