My attention was riveted to this old man, and the multitude of brutes, including my master, whom I'd last left crouching in the bath, in a state of overheated distress, had entirely vanished from my mind, when a loud protestation erupted from the edge of the wash area. I turned to look, and the source, unmistakably, was master Kushami. The master's booming voice, gruff and offensive to the ear, was nothing new to me, but the place being what it was, I was more than a little taken aback. My immediate thought was that he'd steeped too long in the hot bath and finally lost his wits. If this were the case, and it was simply physical distress, then there was no point in reproving him. However, as will become clear from the particulars of the situation, however heated his head, he was in full control of his senses. He'd engaged the two boarding students, impertinent fellows to be sure, yet hardly worth troubling over, in a petty quarrel. "Back off there! I'll not have your rinse in my bucket!" This outburst, of course, is from the master. Depending on one's perspective, there are multiple ways of assessing a situation. The master's outburst, consequently, need not be consigned to simple heated delirium. The rare observer, perhaps, might fancy the master some modern-day Takayama Hikokurō, rebuking bandits on the mountain pass. The master, in fact, may very well see himself in this role, but the other party, of course, has no intent of playing the bandit and does not react as the master might have hoped. The lad under fire turns his head. "I was here first," he responds in measured tone. His reply is nothing out of the ordinary. He's merely holding his ground. The master, even with his heated head from the hot bath, and even though the reply may not be to his liking, must surely acknowledge that there's nothing in the lad's words or manner to invite a violent rebuke. However, there's more to the master's discontent than the lad's mere proximity. For some time now, both lads have been talking big, with hubris and pretension unbecomming of youth, and the master, it would appear, has had quite enough. Despite the lad's measured response, he's not about to let things lie and beat a retreat. "You're a blasted idiot! Splashing your own filthy water in another fellow's bucket!" With this parting roar he proceeds to relocate himself. I share the master's disdain for these lads, and I couldn't help but cheer silently as he dressed them down. At the same time, though, his words and actions were a bit over the top for an academic instructor. By nature he's too headstrong. His head is hard like a charred lump of coal.