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Delphi, as always, had to be quick.  She ducked past a few stalls set up that morning, and ran towards the edge of the nearest stoa.  Shouting followed her, but there was always shouting here, and it got lost in the noise.  Delphi slumped against a wall and got her breath back. Then, she grinned.  She loved this place.

You could buy anything here.  Any food, any furniture, any perfume.  Anything.  Products came from all over the world, and not just objects.  Delphi could see the huddle of people gathered around the city’s main slave market.  You often saw slaves doing the shopping in Athens, but she had never really felt that comfortable about seeing other people buying them.  But that was just what happened in Athens.  She looked the other way instead and the excitement came rushing back to her.

It was truly the centre of the world.  Indeed, the Altar of Twelve Gods, which sat in the square in front of the Temple of Ares, was the point used to measure distances to all other places.  All roads seemed to meet here.  Look up and you can see the Acropolis, the Areopagus, the Pnyx.  Look around and you can see everything else Athens is.  The Agora was the beating heart of Athens – but it said a lot about Athens that she wasn’t welcome here, and never would be. Girls weren’t supposed to be in the Agora.

She took a breath and wondered which way to go.