Already, the morning sky was beginning to be spotted with dark clouds, and, in the peril of the day, an ice-cold storm raged.
Lucius ducked under the various arches of the hypogeum, happy for the shelter, but he could tell, from one glance at her shocked expression, that Felicita was not happy.
The wind had risen from a whistle to a howl in a matter of seconds and Lucius ran through the tormented structure. Fat drops of rain began to spit down, hitting against his face with wet splashes whilst the stones seem to sway ominously. The whole structure threatened to topple.
“Lucius!” Felicita cried. Her dark hair was being pulled out of its elegant twist, and strands began to throw themselves against her face. “Lucius, we must go.”
“Not until we find the truth,” he called back over the raging weather.
The hurried into another enclosed half, listening with dread to the battering storm above. Creeping along, they knew little of what they were looking for.
With a screech, Felicita fell to the floor.
Looking back, Lucius spotted her sprawled on the floor, a sandal having been caught and yanked away. She grappled with something that had hooked itself around her foot: a piece of rope.
“What...?” Lucius whispered as he lunged to the object. “Is this…rope? Strangling rope?”
“Yes...it must be.”
“Strangled...” Lucius himself sounded like there was a rope against his throat. “Marcus Minius was strangled with this exact piece of rope.”
“Dei immortals...” Felicita swore to herself.
Suddenly, a loud groan responded from above. The whole structure seemed to wobble before their eyes. Lucius found himself diving for the archway once more.
A moment later, a voice roused him. The guard who had been standing by the door had come for them.
“Sturdy this place is. Very well built. There’s no chance of it falling. Don’t worry.”
Lucius steadied himself up, having been given the hand of the guard. He heard a sob from the side of a jutting rock formation; Felicita was still trembling to herself, her body a ball of arms and legs as she prayed to be saved from what she assumed was a falling formation.
“Come on, Felicita,” Lucius said, marching over and gently rousing her. With a squeal, she threw up her hands, but, after a second, nodded and let the two of them take her back through to the front entrance of the Coliseum.
“You two youngsters are more trouble than it’s worth,” the guard said.
“Felicita!” the doctor exclaimed, as if he had forgotten her.
“At least we have you here, safe. You see, the opening of the Amphitheatrum Flaviam will go ahead as normal.”
“It will?” cried a beaming Lucius.
“We’ve cleared up everything. It was M. Minius himself who didn’t want the Coliseum to be finished. It was he who killed himself. We found a copy of the plans that M. Minius had on his person. It turns out that he wasn’t as thorough as he thought.”
“I don’t understand why…” the doctor muttered.
“Change frightens some, and this change is one that will move our entire community.”
“So it was, after all, just suicide?” Lucius interrupted.
“Yes! No one else is to blame!” Felicita cried gratefully, and with that she rubbed her forehead and beamed.