I was willing to make us into a proper family; I was willing to put the time into it. I’ve sent your brother to fetch your mother, despite needing him elsewhere, in a bid to make you happy. But I don’t have time to play with you any more. Your friends are not the only ones who understand you’re replaceable. You’re alive only because I permit it, and I am fast running out of patience with you. So tomorrow evening, you will present yourself in the Great Hall an hour after sunset. You will wear something very pretty, and your best smile. And we will dine together, companionably.You will not try to stab me. You will not spit at me, or slap me. You will behave with decorum. In short, sweetling, you will make yourself special to me, or I will remove you from my game board. I need your brother, and I need the philtresmith. But I don’t need you. Bear that in mind. — Melinda Salisbury
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