Nothing happened. Calpurnius glanced
both ways before heading down the
street. The moonlight glinted off a
“Is it silver?” Popillia hissed.
Sextus squinted and waited for
Calpurnius to walk a little farther before
answering. “I think so. Either way, this
proves Volusius was wrong. Calpurnius
is certainly not a werewolf.”
“Still, what’s he doing out so late?”
Moonlight glittered in Popillia’s eyes,
giving her the same predatory look as
Diana on a hunt.
Sextus groaned. “Of course you’re
“I just want to know what he’s up to.
“Well, yes, but-”
Popillia let out a high whistle, like the
cry of a songbird.
Two shadows appeared, one climbing
down from the roof of the House of
Calpurnius, another slinking away from
the house’s back entrance. The two
shadows scurried across the street to
meet with the siblings. The figures were
the former slaves of the siblings’ father,
Marcus. Asella was an Egyptian, and
Fortis was Jewish, and both were loyal
to the bitter end to Popillia and Sextus.
The four had saved one another’s lives
during the flight from Pompeii’s
destruction, and the siblings had
granted their slaves their freedom.
However, they were still living in the
same apartment, and worked as
investigators for anyone willing to pay
them. After all, they had not left each
other during the desolation; they were
not about to leave each other now. Their
most recent employer was Quintus
Volusius Maecianus, a business partner
and close friend of Calpurnius the
banker. He claimed to have seen
Calpurnius walking the streets of Rome
late at night, despite the danger of being
hit with emptying chamber pots or
running into robbers, gamblers, or
regular thugs. Then, when Volusius
heard a wolf howling one night, only to
see Calpurnius exhausted the next day,
he decided something was up.
Therefore, he hired the four Pompeiians
to investigate. “Follow him,” was all the
siblings said to their ex-slaves.
The four split up, Popillia and Asella
going to one side of the street and
Sextus and Fortis to the other. They
slipped off their sandals and hurried
through the shadows after Calpurnius.
They moved noiselessly, bare feet
padding quieter than mice.
They soon caught up with Calpurnius.
They had to be extra careful as they
walked past a noisy bar, where
gambling and other illicit pastimes of
the poor occurred. A chamber pot was
emptied above Sextus’s head, and Fortis
had to pull him back in a flash to
prevent it from hitting him. The sound
of the pot’s contents hitting the ground
caused Calpurnius to look back, but they
ducked into doorways, and he