The high sorcerers nodded to Ian’s request.  Instead of dismissing them, the Ivory Tower Lord who has reached the level of sorcery that was beyond imagination was treating them as his seniors, with great respect.  How couldn’t they feel good about something like that?  People’s emotions are simplistic and silly at times.

“Then except the high ranking sorcerers, the rest of you may clear the room.  The sorcerers who are standing by outside will lead the way.”

As per Ian’s instructions, Hailey, the princess, the servant girls and Kevin, the imperial palace’s sorcerer stood up from their seats.  Then they headed toward the large, iron gate in order to exit the room.

“Your highness.”

Then Ian’s voice caused the princess to stop. Were there any other issues that needed to be addressed? With her heart pounding, the princess turned to look back. But, something unexpected was being said to her.

“Please come this way and take your seat.”

“What?  How, how can I…..?”

“Your highness is a high sorcerer as well.”

That was right.  Although a few conditions have been placed on her, Hailey Greenriver, the princess, was being treated as a high sorcerer of the Ivory Tower.  She has earned the right to be present in these meetings.

“But, but I still do not know any…..”

“That is why I’m asking you to take a seat.  You would need to learn what you do not know.  What exactly is being done and how these things are being done, and what you have to do.  Do you not agree?”

“…..Ah!”

Was it because of the unsettled feeling that rose from the trial?

Her sense of comprehension has become quite duller than the usual.

***

The first council meeting of the Ivory Tower of the 509th anniversary of the empire’s founding. That event has come to a smooth closure.  Several matters of discussions were put forth after the trial and for the most part, all the issues were addressed in positive manner.  The dawn of the new-year was rather satisfactory.

Tuck, Tuck, Tuck…..

Ian was riding a horse carriage for the first time in a long while.  Was it because he has been counting on teleportation and like magic for a while?  Now, even the horse carriage ride seemed very unfamiliar.

‘Have I been living a very hardened life…..?’

Horse carriage ride wasn’t unfamiliar at all even in the former life. Of course the horse carriage ride wasn’t the only unfamiliar thing. The lady that rode the horse carriage with him was also unfamiliar. Well, rather than unfamiliar…..

‘…..Awkward.’

Ian took a subtle peek.  There he saw a picturesque profile of Hailey, the most beautiful woman, the princess, who even earned a conditional high sorcerer title.

‘Should have not been riding together’

It wasn’t Ian’s proposal. It was the princess’ request all along. He accepted her request without giving much thought. I didn’t realize how awkward it could be.

“Well…..”

Was the princess not able to hold herself much longer in this awkwardness? She began a conversation.

“Please speak.”

“…..Thank you.  Teacher.”

Her first words were a thank you.

“What about, your highness?”

“That you personally took control of the meeting..”

The princess was not dumb.  Ian did not need to step forward in his position, yet he came forward without any hesitation.  What could possibly be the reason?

“Thanks to you, the servant girls and Sir Kevin were spared from any punishments.  Although I am embarrassed to say, even I, who have committed the offense, got off free.”

“Your highness was not found innocent.  It has simply been deferred.”

“That- that is true, still…..”

Was it because of Ian’s cold response? Princess’ voice became smaller.

“Well, it’s good that you understand.”

“…..What, what?”

“That is, it’s good that you know why I stepped forward, and by me stepping forward, what benefits you’ve reaped.  Should I explain further?”

“No, no!”

The princess raised her voice without even recognizing it. The silence returned soon after. She must have been embarrassed about the response a moment ago.

“In fact.”

Ian smiled lightly upon seeing her that way.

“There is no need to be so thankful.”

“What are you saying all of a sudden….”

“Your highness has rescued my family, have you not?”

Princess Hailey had saved Ian’s family during the chaotic attack by the dragon soldiers.  Since he considers his family’s safety to be the top priority, above his own safety, that act was the ultimate act of grace for Ian.

“I should be the one to be thanking you.  Today is just a part of showing my appreciation.”

“That, that was just by my brother’s order…”

“While I’m at it, I would like to give you another token of my appreciation.”

“…..What?”

Out of the spatial pouch that was around his waist band, Ian brought out a blue robe.  It was the imperial robe artifact, the ‘Michel Greenriver Robe.’

“By tomorrow, the news of you, rising to the position of high sorcerer would be widely spread throughout the empire.  This robe has also found its rightful owner.”

Michel Greenriver Robe was left with a will that only allowed it to be passed down to a sorcerer in the imperial family line.  And today, almost 300 years later, a high sorcerer, representing the imperial family was born.

“But, but this is the item that was given by the highness…..”

“Act first, report later is one of the discretionary authorities of the tower lord.”

Ian continued to speak.

“I will give first and will report later.”

“…..”

Princess Hailey took the robe cautiously.  The artifact that is passed down generations to only the sorcerers of the imperial family was in her possession.

“And this is…..”

Ian’s repayment did not stop there.  In fact, this time around was the true form of repayment. It was none other than the staff of the Great Prairie. Only the communications tunnel at the end has been removed.

“About now, your highness should also have a staff of your own.”

Ian had received the staff, a master piece, created by Jerbio, the carpenter. He no longer had the need for the staff of the Great Prairie. Yet, it would be a waste to let it go rotten somewhere. It is much better than having somebody look after it.

‘It is one hundred folds better for the princess to have it.’

Thank you for reading

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