Some parallel worlds have different time-flows, like the fabled dwelling-places of the elves: those who visit them under the hill for a night return to find that years have passed in this world. Perhaps it is the gate leading between the worlds which causes the alteration. If a gate were 'misaligned', the shift from '| |' to '| \' or '| /' as it were would lead to that difference, much as a light-beam split and bent by a prism ends up taking a longer path. There might even be a mathematical function linking degree of misalignment to alteration of time-rate.
How about a dragon how cheerfully rules over a kingdom; his people all know him for what he is, and dragons are looked upon as wise and benevolent creatures. Dragonslayers from other kingdoms coming to free it from 'tyranny' are likely to get beaten to death by peasants with cast iron skillets.