“Are the stories all true or not? Answer me!”
“Well… I expect the stories to be all true… no. They are all true, my lord.”
The stories were more of a shock to the royals and leaders of each nation. They had known Ian to be a great mage for a long time. They saw and heard things as well, and many had sources where they received their information. No one, however, expected Ian to be this big of a deal. No one definitely had expected Ian to be able to control the legendary dragon. Hector Coldwood let out a soft chuckle. Being the emperor and absolute leader of the Coldwood Kingdom, he was showing the biggest reaction in response to his servant’s report regarding Ian.
“Perhaps he could be a dragon himself? Or even better – a god?”
“My apologies, my lord.”
Hector had had his suspicions of Ian, so he had done some investigating that had gone on for a few months. The conclusion was that all the rumors were true. Every rumor and story were perfectly true and nothing to be mistaken.
“And on top of that… the brat’s got his eyes on me, huh?” Hector muttered.
“…” His servant didn’t reply.
“Who is he that my life should be in his hands…?”
“My, my lord. Please calm yourself-“
“AAAAAGGGGHHHHHH!” Hector let out a scream and threw over a table.
A shattering noise echoed all around the throne room.
“My lord!” The servant cried out.
“My lord, you have to calm-“
Hector pulled out a sword and pointed it at the servant who had made the report regarding Ian.
“Didn’t you hear me? Get. Out.” He continued calmly in a low voice. “Do you think lowly of me? Just like that brat does?”
“N-no sir! Of course not, my lord!”
“Then get out. Don’t stand there looking at me like that. Get out!”
“At.. at your command, your Majesty!”
With that, the servant immediately headed for the exit, fearing for his life.
“Dang it. DANG IT!!” Hector screamed and groaned as if he were in pain.
Hector couldn’t understand. How did it lead to this? Where did it go wrong? How can he change things?
“What…. What does he want me to do?”
Hector had been living a life of success, until he had made that one mistake of trying to start a war. Little had he known that that one decision would bite him back. He was now caught in the hands of the ‘monster’ that comes every thousand years- and he hadn’t expected himself to end up in the claws of such a monster.
“Grrrrggghh…!” Hector, the emperor of Coldwood, of blood and iron, was being driven mad by the second.
* * *
A few days before the new year had dawned, Terry Greenriver was presenting Ian with an award. He wanted to present Ian with the title as the nation’s hero, which he so deserved. Ian, however, had refused the title.
“I am honored, my Lord. But I cannot receive such a title like this.”
Emperor Terry Greenriver was in awe.
“Why? How? Pardon me for saying this Ian, but you have never refused a gift like this. You actually enjoy being presented with awards and gifts. That’s what made you likable all the more. You’re quite honest.” The emperor said half-jokingly.
The emperor had his reasons for making such comments. Ian never refused a prize that came his way. The same Ian who had never turned something down, even out of politeness, was refusing to be titled the nation’s hero. No doubt there was a reason for Ian to do so.
“There’s no particular reason for me doing so, my lord.”
Ian simply had a conscience, as surprising as it may be. This entire incident was Ian’s fault. After all, the dragon soldiers had attacked in the first place for the purpose of looking for Ian.
‘If I had not been here to begin with…’ Ian thought. Nothing would have happened if he hadn’t been around. How then, could he simply take the title as the nation’s hero?
‘Even if it is for me, I can’t take the title.’
As a matter of fact, he was in a position of feeling guilt towards the people of Greenriver for the rest of his life. However, he couldn’t bring himself to tell the emperor. Ian needed some other excuse.
“You like me for being honest, so may I be honest for refusing this title you now present me? I may sound a little arrogant.”
“Being arrogant is one of your charms. And you have the right to be arrogant. What is it you want to tell me?”
The emperor was quite unique in his own way. Most people would be careful around Ian once they got to know Ian’s abilities, but the emperor never changed how he treated Ian.
“There’s no point in receiving land and riches as a gift. I know that eventually, all of that would be returned to the empire through the Paige Organization that’s run by the Princess and my mother. Rather than you going through the trouble of distributing prizes, wouldn’t it be less of a trouble for me to receive thanks from you personally here in the palace?”
Ian didn’t need land. Ian had no need for riches, either. He had plenty of that.