‘Now, young flyers, who knows anything cherubim and seraphim?’ asked Wing Commander Hygbald.
Petrona Punch stared out of the window.
Ararnia put both hands in the air. So did Ambrose Grey.
‘Yes, Mr Grey,’ said Hygbald.
‘They rhyme with each other, sir?’
‘Just as well cause nothing else does,’ said Tiberius.
Ararnia laughed. She still had her hands in the air.
‘Shush tots!’ said Wing Commander Hygbald and he raised his eyebrows and crossed and uncrossed his eyes. ‘Anything else, young flyers?’ he sighed.
Ararnia was still waving both hands.
‘Yes Miss er…’
‘Mist, sir. Cherubim have six wings, sir,’ she said, and she beamed at the rest of the class and gave a flick of her ginger hair. ‘And six ears too.’
‘Mostly right. That’s Seraphim. Cherubim work as servants and guards, have four faces and eyes in the back of their head. Literally. In fact they have an awful lot of eyes everywhere. Backs of their hands, backs of their legs, backs of their wings.’
‘What about on the back of their backs, sir?’ asked Tiberius.
Hygbald looked a little thrown, he raised his eyebrows. ‘Hmmph, yes most probably Mr er…’
‘I’m Sky, sir.’
‘Yes of course you are. Now what about Seraphim?’
‘Didn’t they stop people going into the Garden of Eden, sir?’ asked Normal.
‘Good guess, Mr er… hmmph… yes… but that was Cherubim again. They’re guards remember.’
‘I heard they travel on skateboards,’ said Ararnia, and Ocacia and Petrona giggled.
‘That’s cherubim again. They have four wheels and can travel in any direction without turning round. Sepraphim on the other hand fly – they use two of their six wings for getting about.’
‘Can they talk sir?’ asked Ararnia.
‘Yes, but not half as much as you, Miss er…’
‘Yes. Seraphim are stately creatures. They use their words wisely.’
Normal looked at Tiberius. ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ he muttered.
Tiberius looked blankly at him. ‘I’m not thinking,’ he said.
‘Shush tots,’ Hygbald said, and he wagged a finger at them. ‘Now anything else about Cherubim and Seraphim?’
‘I think we saw one, sir,’ said Normal, putting his hand up as he spoke.
‘No, a cherubim. We saw one last night.’
Hygbald raised his eyebrows again and crossed and uncrossed his eyes. ‘Hmmph,’ he said. ‘I very much doubt it young flyer, they live in the Sapphire Tower and don’t have much cause to come over this way.’
The end of lesson bell rang.
‘Right Q1, I am professor Bagriel, head of music here. Welcome to your first choir practice!’
‘Oh great!’ said Tiberius, sinking low into his seat. ‘I think I’d rather have another lecture about cherubim and seraphim.’
‘Would you Mr S?’ Professor Bagriel towered above him as he approached.
Tiberius shot upright and tried to look obedient.
Professor Bagriel was just about the tallest teacher the class had ever seen. He had long flowing blond hair and a strange electric device slung over his broad shoulders. Tiberius sat very still indeed.