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Growing Pains

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Si-cham, Mithran master extraordinaire, occasionally actually admitted to himself that he had no idea how to handle children. He usually contented himself with treating them like miniature adults, and while they didn't always (or even frequently) rise to the challenge, well, that was what punishment duties were for. The boys were here to learn maturity, anyway.

Sometimes, though, Si-cham would look at a particularly troublesome young lad and think, I have no idea what to do with the boy.

He was thinking that right now, as a matter of fact. Young Thom, thirteen and angry with it, was glaring up at him, completely covered in mud.

Si-cham interrupted the boy's nigh-incomprehensible, squeaky rant with a raised palm. "That still doesn't excuse what you did, my boy." Thom glared harder. Si-cham rather thought it must be giving him eyestrain, which would explain quite a lot. "I don't care how many times the Nond boy tripped you into the mud patch, it's still not acceptable to magic him naked into a holly tree, especially not in the dead of winter." Si-cham paused as a thought struck him. "Where are his clothes, anyway?"

The grin that crossed Thom's face was neither nice nor reassuring.

Si-cham sighed. "Fine. In addition to the punishment I've already assigned you, you may go help the servants with the laundry for a week."

Thom's jaw acquired a particularly stubborn set to it.

"If you don't complete your punishments - all of them, including the ones the divination master assigned for your, ah, indiscretions last week - I'll ban you from the library for the rest of the year." Si-cham didn't like to threaten the lads, but sometimes you couldn't help it.

Thom's eyes widened. Sullenly, he gave Si-cham a stiff bow and trudged out of the room.

Si-cham sighed again. Young Thom would be the death of him; he was sure of it.