A streak of silver flashed from the folds of Leontine's tunic as she threw a dagger toward Valeria. The knife clattered harmlessly off a wall as Valeria ducked under its trajectory. With a dive and a roll, Valeria closed the gap between herself and Leontia before springing to her feet and seizing the startled Leontia by the throat. Gone now was Valeria’s denarius, and instead she held a dagger. Knuckles white as she clutched her weapon, she drew back her hand, ready to thrust her blade into Leontia.
“Only four of you this time?” Bruttia said as she put down her cup and wiped muslum from her mouth. “Your boss is either getting soft or running out of men.”
The four gangers paused and looked at one another, frowning. Then they looked at the assembled mass of drunks, whores and ne’er-do-wells that constituted the Pomegranate’s clientele. Maybe now, thought Bruttia, as they stand in one of the Subura’s most infamous tavernas whilst surrounded by the worst scum and villainy Rome has to offer, they realise they’ve bitten off more than they chew.
The Subura’s plebeians claimed the smell of Eurysaces’ freshly baked bread made the sun rise, Apollo himself eager to savour the baker’s new loaves. Indeed, Eurysaces—aware of this local legend and eager to please the deity—made a ritual of leaving one of his new loaves on his bakery’s doorstep every morning as an offering to the god. Granted, he wasn’t entirely sure Apollo took it, but it always vanished, nonetheless.