Extreme close-up of the testicles being sliced off of a fresh goat carcass. I so did not need to see that. But I'm better off than Octavian, who has the sliced-up delicacy presented to him at breakfast with his mother. Suddenly I'm recapping Fear Factor. While Octavia skulks behind the foliage in the courtyard, Julii Cooper tells her son, "Eat them while they're warm, my dear. They'll put oak in your penis." Ow, that sounds painful. Oh, she means from the inside. Octavian and his new, less Christopher-Atkins-ish haircut refuse. Julii Cooper insists, "You've been developing a distinctly feminine anima and I do not like it." Octavian says that he's normal for his age, but Julii Cooper says that there wasn't a slave girl safe when her grandfather was Octavian's age. If she has to go back four generations, it's not such a strong argument, I'm thinking. She says Octavian's not leaving until he eats his testicles like a good boy. Julii Cooper's cook Demeter arrives in time to receive Julii Cooper's instructions for no shellfish: "And be sure the lampreys are not overcooked. Boil them long enough to kill them, no more." How much worse than the cuisine Octavian's used to can goat testicles be? Realizing his mom's not bluffing, Octavian takes a bite and gags almost immediately. Julii Cooper leaves him to it, satisfied that her instructions are being followed. As usual.
Now that Octavian's alone at the table, Octavia comes out of hiding to ask her brother nervously whether Julii Cooper had Glabius killed. Octavian says that he can't prove a negative, but he's as sure as he can be that Julii Cooper is innocent. Of this, at least. Octavia makes him swear on Jupiter's stone: "If she did kill him, by the Furies, I'd open her throat with my teeth." She leaves Octavian sitting there with his three and a half testicles, wondering if it's too late to change his answer.