blow himself. Now, two lions fought over her body. He winced as one beast sank its fangsdeeply into her thigh and began to drag her away.The other lioness sprang, and the two rolled and clawed at one another.A little girl in a ragged, soiled tunic ran screaming past the iron-gridded gate.Alexander gritted his teeth, trying to harden himself against the sound of those terrifiedcries. In trying to protect the girl, the child’s mother was taken down by a jewel-collaredlioness. Alexander’s hands whitened on the iron-grated door as another lioness racedafter the child. Run, girl. Run!The sight of so much suffering and death assaulted and nauseated him. He pressedhis forehead against the bars, his heart pounding.He had heard all the arguments in favor of the games.The people sent to the arena were criminals, deserving of death. Those now before him belonged to a religion that encouraged the overthrow of Rome. Yet hecouldn’t help but wonder if a society that murdered helpless children did not deserve to be undone.The screams of the child sent a chill through Alexander’s body. He was almostgrateful when the lioness’ jaws closed upon that small throat, extinguishing the sound. Helet out his breath, hardly aware he had been holding it, and heard the guard behind himlaugh harshly.“Hardly a mouthful in that little one.” A muscle jerked in Alexander’s jaw. Hewanted to shut his eyes to the carnage before him, but the guard was watching now. Hecould feel the cold glitter of those hard dark eyes shining through the visor of the polished helmet. Watching him. He would not humiliate himself by showing weakness. If he was to become a good physician, he had to overcome his sensibilities and aversions.Hadn’t his teacher, Phlegon, warned him often enough?“You have to harden yourself against those tender feelings if you are to succeed,”he’d said more than once, his tone ringing with disdain. “After all, seeing death is part of a physician’s lot in life.” Alexander knew the older man was right. And he knew that,without these games, he would have no opportunity to further his studies of the humananatomy.He had gone as far as he could by studying drawings and writings. Only by performing vivisection could he learn more. Phlegon had been well aware of his aversionto the practice, but the old physician had been adamant, closing him in a trap of reason.