Mr Quintius surveyed the eight cadets of Q1. Tiberius Sky shifted restlessly from foot to foot, everything about him larger than life and larger than the rest of the class. Otto Breeze was standing there holding his breath, his cheeks puffed out for the longest time. His face glowed bright red and Mr Quintius worried he might explode before too long. Next to him Petrona Punch stared off into the distance, daydreaming as ever, and beside her, Ararnia Mist twisted a finger through her bright ginger hair as it fluttered in the breeze. She looked bored. Ocacia Wings, her eyes narrowed behind her bright red glasses, was studying something on Mr Quintius left shoulder. A speck of dust probably. Next to her Venus Tryflap licked her thin green lips and blinked rapidly as a tiny fly flew past. It suddenly disappeared as she did so. Ambrose Grey looked at her and grimaced. He was rubbing his hands, looking keen to get going. And then there was Normal McCloud, looking both excited and worried at the same time. Clearly not yet settled in somehow. Still finding his feet. Still sorting things out.
‘Who’s heard of Icarus?’ Mr Quintius said.
They all looked blank. Except for Otto.
‘He flew too close to the sun,’ he said, ‘and fell to his death.’
‘Exactly. Icarus had no real wings. They were made of feathers and wax. Now like Icarus we don’t have wings. But unlike Icarus we can travel by flight. And we don’t have to worry about anything melting. We do however need these.’
Mr Quintius flicked his wrist and a shiny glowing ball appeared in his right hand. He held it up, spinning it on the tip of his fingers. As he did so his feet started to leave the ground.
‘Er, sir…. you’re…’
Mr Quintius smiled. ‘Well spotted, Mr Sky.’ He gripped the glowing ball and stopped it spinning. As he did so his feet floated down to earth again. ‘Clever, eh?’
He snapped his fingers and reached into the pocket of his waistcoat. He began pulling variously coloured glowing balls out and throwing them to the class. Somehow he had room in that tiny pocket for eight of them.
Normal held up a shiny purple sphere and started spinning it. Nothing happened.
Ararnia gave her blue sphere a flick and immediately began to hover off the ground. She laughed happily. Normal frowned, spun the purple globe again and tried his best. He didn’t move an inch. Ocacia and Ambrose meanwhile were both rising up a good six feet above the sports field. Petrona was gliding happily away from the group. But Venus and Otto were, like Normal, going nowhere.
‘You don’t need to flap your arms like a bird Mr Sky,’ Mr Quintius called out to Tiberius, who was indeed flapping his arms like an oversized seagull.
‘Mine doesn’t work, sir,’ he said, flapping his arms ever more frantically.
‘Just relax Mr Sky, and spin the ball smoothly and evenly, and concentrate on floating off the ground.’
Tiberius frowned and stared at the red ball in his hand. It looked tiny in his big fingers.
To be continued…