Lesson One.

Based on an FB meme concerning the essential difference between poisoning and envenomation.

Lesson One in Mr Mericet's class at the Assassins' School involved getting the essential professional vocabulary right, with extra added mordant sarcasm, and an unforgettable classroom demonstration.

The seemingly ageless Alchemy and Poisoning Strategy msater made a soundless "Tcch" gesture, and glowered down at the hapless student who had got the terminology mixed up, and who had been volunteered to assist with the presentation of the lesson.

He deftly returned the Central Howondalandian Tree Frog to the appropriate holding-tank, and closed the door in its glass side. From the other tank, the Triple-Banded Brown Mamba looked attentively at the froggy dinners it could not reach. Doctor Smith-Rhodes had insisted on keeping the two portable habitats strictly separate when she had loaned the animals to Mr Mericet for this class.

"Unfortunately for the general level of intelligence and potential in this class, I have the appropriate antidotes. Regrettably, my contract of employment only permits me to inhume students in certain rigidly and specifically defined ways. And this is not for your benefit, Mr Goronwy-Jones. If you expired today, as a second year pupil, the School would be deprived of up to six years of ongoing fees revenue. The rules therefore say I have to inject the antidote. Do not mistake this for kindness, or a duty of care."

He bent down, old bones creaking, and did what was necessary for the prone student, with a minimum of kindness.

"Now, Mr Goronwy-Jones. Has it finally sunk into your minimal cranium?"

He rapped out the words written in large capital letters on the blackboard.

If you bite it and you die – it is poisonous.

If it bites you and you die – it is venomous!

"Now. The whole class. Repeat!"

The class dutifully repeated the mantra.