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cause for the Council to re-evaluate your current position as Head of this school." The Headmistress in question bristled. In a tight voice, she asked dangerously, "Is that a threat, Professor Garbin?" The red-faced man looked slightly taken aback by the turn in conversation and Johnson continued. "I will not allow my actions to be dictated by anyone, Professor or Council. But I do agree that this situation needs to be taken seriously. With that aim in mind, I would ask you two gentlemen to leave me alone with Miss Weaver for a few minutes." Victoria's father and Professor Garbin rose and retreated from the room. Johnson settled back in her seat next to Victoria, fixing the first-year with an intense gaze. "Victoria, I don't believe that you were the one to hang the effigy of Professor Garbin.
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That being said, his 'evidence', while inconclusive, is convincing enough to land you in a lot of trouble. Maybe even enough trouble for you to be expelled from Winterwood . I need to know right now: do you have an alibi that you may have felt for some reason unable to share in front of your father?" "I'm sorry, Professor Johnson. I really don't have an alibi. I went to bed late on Easter night and slept until about nine on Monday. I had just gotten dressed when I was told to come to the library. No one saw me." Johnson sighed. "That's what I was afraid of." She stood and began pacing slowly. "I will fight to keep you from being expelled, but I need to tell you right now that the situation does not look promising." Rising from her seat as well, Victoria stopped the Headmistress. "No, Professor Johnson. I can't ask you to risk your job." Meeting Johnson's incredulous look with a shrug, she smiled sadly. "I mean, I would love to stay, especially with less than a month left of my first year. But you see, I kind of figured that something like this was going to happen eventually. You can't live somewhere that everyone hates you without someone putting a stop to it eventually. It was just bad luck that I don't have a way to fight this one. But there's no sense in you having to leave, too." Johnson patted Victoria's shoulder awkwardly. "Miss Weaver, even if there's nothing I can do for you and you end up leaving today, I want you to remember that you're not a charity case. You never were. If your feeling down unwanted or just alone and you don't think anyone cares just wait. Hold on to the glimmer of hope that you will find something worth having it may take days months years or even a decades but if you wait promise something amazing will happen and you'll be forever grateful and happy to have lived an amazing story. You have every right to live and belong in this world.” There was a knock at the door. Johnson called, "Yes?" Cedrick popped his head in, a confused expression scrunching his eyebrows slightly. "There seems to be a development in the case."
Wearing her own puzzled expression, Johnson waved the men back into her office. To Victoria's surprise, the librarian walked in behind them. "Mrs. Helen," Johnson said slowly. "Do you have some insight in this matter?"
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