“I know,” she said. “I believe you. But I don’t trust you.”

“What reason do you have not to trust me?”

“I’ve watched you,” she responded. “You’re a mercenary. You work for hire.”

“Yeah. To pay the bills and – ”

She lifted a hand. “You’ve made bargains with demons.”

“Nickel-and-dime stuff, nothing huge or – ”

“You traded yourself to the Leanansidhe for power.”

“When I was younger, and a hell of a lot stupider, and in trouble – ”

Her inhuman eyes met mine, penetrating. “You’ve killed.”

I looked away from her. There wasn’t much to say to that. My stomach turned, and I pushed the food a bit away from me.

Aurora nodded, slowly. “From the beginning, you have been meant to be a destroyer. A killer. Do you know the original purpose of a godparent, Mr. Dresden?”

“Yeah,” I said. I felt tired. “A godparent was chosen to ensure that a child had religious and moral guidance and teaching.”

“Indeed,” she said. “And your godmother, your teacher and guide, is the most vicious creature of Mab’s Court, more than Maeve’s equal, second in strength only to Mab herself.”

I let out a harsh laugh. “Teacher? Guide? Is that what you think Lea is to me?”

“Isn’t she?”

“Lea barely noticed me except when she thought she could get something from me,” I spat. “The rest of the time she couldn’t care less. The only thing she taught me was that if I didn’t want to get walked on I had to be smarter than her, stronger than her, and willing to do something about it.”

Aurora turned her lovely face fully toward me and regarded me with deep, quiet eyes. “Yes.” Unease gnawed at my belly as she continued. “The strong conquer and the weak are conquered. That is Winter. That is what you have learned.” She leaned closer and said, quietly emphatic, “That is what makes you dangerous. Do you see?”

Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Summer Knight.
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