The other figure stood up. He towered above everyone, even Professor Bagriel. His face shone a little as if someone had put a light bulb in his skull. He wore a bright silver suit, and carried a glowing sword attached to his golden belt.
Tiberius whistled quietly. ‘Wow!’ he said.
‘This is Gabriel, and I thought it would be timely for our new recruits to meet him and hear some of his exploits. So sit tight, and fasten your seatbelts. Gabriel, over to you.’ The head stepped back with a bow as he left the space at the front of the stage for the visitor.
For a moment the visitor said nothing, he just stood there, looking quietly at the expectant faces. Chairs creaked, one or two pupils coughed. Ararnia stifled a sneeze.
‘You know I remember being like you,’ he said suddenly and everyone jumped. His voice was big, like the blended sound of three people talking at once.
‘I was sat in the front row dreaming of greatness, wonder and midnight feasts. I recall sneaking out at midnight to see what went on in this place after dark.’ He looked straight at Normal, grinned and winked. ‘But I don’t advise that sort of behaviour, of course.’ He glanced at the headmaster who raised his eyebrows momentarily.
‘And what I’m here to tell you about today is a few of the missions I’ve been on. I’m what you might call a divine texter. I carry messages to people.’
Tiberius nudged Normal and grimaced, a few others muttered.
‘Yes – people! I have plenty to do with humans. It can be a dangerous business. Hence the weapon here.’ He patted the sword by his side and the metal glowed a little brighter.
‘Told you,’ whispered Tiberius, ‘well scary.’
‘There was a guy known in his world as Daniel,’ Gabriel went on. ‘Brave guy, faced down all kinds of sneaky people who wanted him dead. He had to be careful what he said and did, because he worked in a palace with a powerful king, and he could have been arrested for just saying the wrong thing. Anyway I went to see him one day and found him sitting in a den surrounded by lions. Up here lions get along fine with other creatures but down there, well, they’ve been known to rip folks to shreds. So I zipped around that lion’s den shutting lion mouths as fast as I could, it was hard work, no sooner had I closed one mouth than another snapped opening, slurping and snarling at old Daniel there. Had to keep going for quite a while till that powerful king spotted something was up and let Daniel out. Worse part of it was the amount of lion poo down there, I kept stepping in huge piles of the stuff. Silver suit got spattered something terrible. You know, I often seemed to come back from earth covered in something or other.
Like the time I went to see a young teenager called Mary, teenagers are young adult humans. I had to give her the shock of her life. I remember she was grinding flour to make some bread when I showed up.’ He whistled softly at the memory. ‘Biggest text I ever had to take to anyone, ever. The flour went everywhere. I was covered. Silver suit was ruined. She was well shocked. You see, I had to tell her she was going to have a baby.’