The first lesson the following morning, in fact the first lesson ever for the eight new intakes at Guardian Grange, was Communication Skills. Mr Quintius, the sandy haired teacher they had met on the first day turned out to be their communication tutor. The class sat in two rows of four, Tiberius and Normal on the right at the back, side by side, behind two girls. While they were waiting for lessons to begin one of the girls turned around and stared straight at them. Tiberius grinned, Normal looked a little nervous. She was obviously about to ask them a lot of questions. She had long ginger hair, slightly curly too, and quite a few freckles on her cheeks.
She opened her mouth to speak. Then the door burst open and in walked Mr Quintius, looking red faced and out of breath.
‘Sorry I’m late,’ he gasped. ‘Never good to be late for your first lesson. Now, where’ the register?’
He dropped a pile of books on his desk and rubbed his hands together. He was wearing the smart blue jacket he’d had on the day before, it was clearly what he wore for his school uniform.
He looked up and eyed the class. Then he opened a register, glanced down at it and slammed it shut again. He went around the class pointing at the eight intakes one at a time.
‘Ararnia Mist,’ he said at the ginger haired girl in front of Tiberius. ‘Ocacia Wings,’ he said looking at the girl with short brown hair beside her. They both nodded. ‘Ambrose Grey and Otto Breeze,’ he said pointing at the two boys in the desk beside them. Then he moved his attention to the second row.
‘Petrona Punch and Venus Tryflap,’ he said to the two girls sitting alongside Tiberius and Normal in the back row, ‘and you two I met yesterday. Mr Sky and Mr McCloud. You go well together. You know – sky, cloud, cloud, sky. Did Podium and Wagget take good care of you?’
‘Er… you could say that, sir,’ said Normal.
Tiberius wouldn’t have said it. But for now he said nothing, just rolled his eyes at Normal.
‘Good, good, right,’ said Mr Quintius. ‘That’s registration over. From now on you highly fortunate and unique eight first years will be going by the collective name of Q1. Q because I am Mr Quintius, and I am your incredibly noble and talented class tutor (here he gave a big cheesy grin) and 1 because, well, you’re not in year 2 are you.’ He laughed at his own joke, which was just as well, because no one else did. ‘Ahem, yes, anyway, now then,’ Mr Quintius paced the front of the classroom. He pressed his index fingers together and pressed them to his lips, as if he had something important to say but was holding it in.