Birth of The Demon Dragon

There was an ancient man-shaped dragon living on a mountain, and by his side a girl who looked after him.

One day, the girl asked the dragon, "Please tell me more about you."

The dragon answered, "Okay, but it'll be a long story."

— A Spin-off Work of Mushoku Tensei by Rifujin na Maganote

-*-*-*-*-

On this continent, there's a mountain range that divides the land.

There's an exceptionally large mountain in the middle of this range.

Called Dragon's Roar Mountain.

Dragon's Roar is the innermost, highest mountain in the world.

Rocktops rise from the surface like trees, sheer cliffs prevent people from entering, and the red dragons inhabit the mountain peaks.

It is not a place where people can live.

High-level adventurers may visit the foot of the mountain, but they dare not venture deep.

But if one ventures up the summit, you'll encounter an unexpected sight.

A house.

There is a house by the hillside.

It is a strange sight.

Because there is a house in a place where people should not live.

If you approach the house, you'll be in for more surprises.

There's a girl.

A girl that shouldn't venture into the woods.

A blonde, long-eared girl is walking laboriously in front of the house, holding a tub-like object.

The girl repeats the action of carrying the tub behind the house, coming back inside and departing once more with the tub.

Apparently, she is carrying water to the backside of the house.

If you follow the girl to the back, you'll see a big cave.

It is a cave with a foreboding feeling, but the girl does not hesitate to enter the cave and proceeds further to the back.

Lying in wait is a reptile with a huge body and long neck, red scales, sharp fangs and claws.

It's a red dragon.

The girl pours the contents of the tub into a box placed near the Red Dragon.

Looking at the girl, the Red Dragon shows no hostility.

It simply keeps observing, with a gaze as if urging her to finish her work faster.

However, the amount the girl can carry and the size of the box are too disproportionate.

To fill up the box with water, she'll need to repeat this process many times.

However, this was the last time.

The girl laid the tub beside the box and stretched out.

"Hoo, I got the water!"

Declared the girl proudly, before lightly bowing towards the dragon.

As if returning the favor, the dragon wiggled its nose.

The girl triumphantly returned home.

It's a nondescript, wooden house.

However, those knowledgeable would see that the house was protected by a high level magical barrier.

"Master, master, I'm done with water!"

The interior of the house the girl entered was rather cozy.

Chairs, tables, decorative plants, bundles of paper, various knicknacks of unknown use.

The girl weaved through them all.

Because the person she called out to did not reply.

She quickly reached her destination.

The room at the back of the house.

This was the largest room where the master of this house stayed.

"Master?"

The girl opened the door and went inside.

Inside, there were bookshelves that were several times taller than the girl's height.

It was like a library.

The girl walked further past the tightly lined bookshelves.

Libraries were uncommon to this world.

But this book-filled environment was a familiar sight for her.

There was a man in this world of books.

With his back facing the entrance, he was writing something nonchalantly on his desk.

Mottled hair with a mix of silver and green.

An eerie hair color to be sure, but a familiar sight for the girl.

"Master!"

When the girl called, the man raised his face as if snapping out,

Gently spreading the wings on his back and looking back.

He recognized the girl.

"Oh, Rostelina. It's late, why haven't you slept? You have a lot of work tomorrow. You have to go to bed early."

"What do you mean it's late! The sun's been up for a while now! I even finished watering the Dragon."

"Ah, is that right?"

The man stood up.

The girl had to look up towards the man.

After all, the man's height was over 2 meters.

"Oh, watering is over. Thank you. You did well. Nevertheless, I see, a whole day has passed already."

"Master, please sleep properly!"

"Oh, I know."

Even though the girl nearly shouted, the man barely budged.

"No you don't! I don't think you slept the past two days at all!"

"...I don't have to sleep every day like you guys."

"Is that so?"

"Yes, I'm a long-lived race. I only need to sleep every few years or so."

The girl sighed in resignation to the man's reply.

But an instance later, she puffed up her cheeks again.

"I don't know anything about you at all, master!"

"That's right, you simply followed me without asking anything ."

"Please tell me more about you, master."

"That's fine too, of course. But my life has been long, the stories are many..."

The man squinted his eyes and looked around.

A bookshelf even taller than the man.

Packed to the brim with books.

These were all written by the man.

His records, his biography.

"I don't mind. Rather, is this a good time? Are you busy, master?"

"No matter, for someone like me who has a long lifespan, there's little need to conserve every second. I have time to talk to you."

When the man said this, he encouraged the girl to a nearby chair.

He himself sat down in his chair and put his hand on his chin.

"But if you want stories, I think it's more fun to talk about something different than me.

The story of a boy who traveled alone to defeat the Demon Lord.

The story of a hero who killed a giant monster and obtained the princess.

Or the story of a saint who was manipulated by a bad god and had to commit himself to a battle that he could not win.

...No, I think the last one was not a happy story."

"No! I would rather like to know more about you, master!"

The girl interrupted the man who was recalling various stories

Because otherwise, he'll certainly pick something else.

"Okay, fine. But what do you want to know?"

"...Everything."

"Everything?"

"Like how did master live up to now or for example why are you doing the work you do now?"

"I see... but that's not a happy story. There may be some interesting parts, but they all ultimately lead to a sad ending. It's a bad end, my life. It will leave you saddened. ''

"Doesn't matter!"

The man moved his hand off his chin, as if to signal surrender to the stubborn girl.

Then he looked up at the ceiling.

As if looking for his past self there.

"Yes. Okay. If you say so, let's talk. But, hmm, where do you want to start? I'm troubled as well, because I don't talk about the old times often."

"In any case, let's start from the very beginning. From the moment master was born and became aware."

"From the very beginning? Hmm.... I will try... but if it's not interesting, you might fall asleep. Don't fall asleep listening to my stories."

"I don't fall asleep from talking, and certainly not when talking with master."

"Haha, you're a good girl, alright then, let's talk."

The man closed his eyes.

The girl leaned forward and listened.

"First of all, rather than from the point I was born, let us begin with how exactly the world came to existence."

The man started talking.

A story from the mythical era, a long, long time ago.

-*-*-*-*-*--*-

There was a god.

Let's call him the Creation God.

He was old.

He had lived a long life and was said to be eternal. He had created many worlds, but his physical and mental limits had long passed him.

He knew that his death was near.

He decided to create one more world as his last work.

But he hadn't created any new world for a long time.

Maybe it was because of his advanced age, the resulting world was terribly distorted and unbalanced.

He had no power left to fix the world.

But he had the experience of creating many worlds.

So he created yet another world.

It was another distorted world, just like the first world.

He didn't mind, and created one world after another.

Six worlds in all.

An upside down world, inhabited by a powerful race of dragons.

A world of miasma and mirage, inhabited by a tough race of demons.

A world of rich forests and mountains, inhabited by a race with sharp claws and strong senses.

A sea world rich in life, inhabited by a race with gills, fins and scales.

A world of rocks floating in the sky, inhabited by a winged race flying freely in the sky.

A world of grasslands and plains, inhabited by a race with weak bodies but brilliant minds.

Each world with their own distortions.

Any imbalance in each world would quickly lead to their collapse.

So he stuck the worlds together.

By tightly joining the worlds together, a balance was achieved.

Thus, a unified world was formed.

But God was not satisfied.

The Six Worlds, with their joint, delicate balance, needed to be carefully managed until they settled and stabilized.

With his remaining strength, God divided his body.

Then, from these divided bodies came the existences tasked with managing the dangerous balances of each world.

Then God died.

No one knows what happened to his body after he died.

Or maybe there was no Creation God from the very beginning.

Because no one ever saw it.

Afterwards, among each of the Six Worlds and their inhabiting races was a special existence.

Because of their divine origins, we came to call them gods.

Each of the gods descended onto their own world.

They came onto their respective races in each world, working diligently to make them prosper.

However, it was not like every race was able to thrive.

In particular, the Dragon World and Demon World remained primitive for a long time.

Even though they were long-lived and strong, even survival had been difficult for them, let alone developing a civilization.

Because the worlds the dragons and demons inhabited were harsh ones.

It was not so easy to take the reins of a world where rogue dragons and demonic beasts roamed.

The dragon and demon tribes took a long time to dominate their worlds.

Then, whether out of pity or frustration…

One God made a suggestion.

"Why don't we meet on a regular basis and exchange information on our worlds? We can learn from each other and help them prosper."

The suggestion came from the Human God.

God of the human world.

The human race was a weak race with the shortest lifespan.

Even in a mere decade, many of them would die of illness and injuries.

However, the human world was mild, rich in nature and food aplenty.

Therefore, the human race thrived faster than any other race.

Their short lifespan forced them to learn quickly.

And thus their rapid generational change helped them to quickly accumulate knowledge and wisdom.

The Human God wished to share that with other gods.

Thanks to that, the dragon and demon tribes learned various things.

From words and letters, to communal living and forming a social order.

They gave the light of civilization to the races that once lived like beasts.

Of course, they were not merely on the receiving end of the human race's generosity.

Each also passed on their strength to the human race.

The dragon race taught how to use the inner power of the body.

The demon race taught how to empower and transform a weak body so as to withstand that power.

The beast race taught how to tame ferocious beasts.

The sea race taught how to purify water and keep it clean.

The winged race taught how to read the wind and control the weather.

The Six Worlds aimed to prosper together by helping each other.

While the human world was still the most prosperous, all the worlds were developing well.

All the gods were confident that they would thrive steadily over the next tens of thousands of years.

But no one knew at that time.

Not the Six Gods, not even the Creation God.

In the interior of the world, a being was quietly born...

That's how the world was born, and tens of thousands of years passed.

However, from the present point of view, it was still a long time ago.

For you, it was still a time of myths.

At that time, I was in a corner of the Demon World.

Of course, without a name.

I was this size and shape from birth.

No, maybe a little smaller.

One head, four limbs, transparent white skin, and wings on the back.

A corner of the Demon World.

It was a land of death, full of miasma and roaming demonic beasts.

I didn't know this at the time, but the demon race called it the edge of the world.

There in a cave somewhere was where I roosted.

Nobody knew when I first got there.

I don't know either.

By the time I became aware, I was already in a cave, eating demonic beasts to survive.

You said there's no way that could happen?

Even if you asked, I wouldn't remember it, and no one else knew about it either.

Perhaps I was born in a demon village and abandoned there.

Perhaps I was born in another world and teleported there.

Back then, strange things started to happen in the Six Worlds.

No one knew why.

Regardless, I didn't see anyone near me.

I didn't particularly question it either.

Because I didn't know anything.

Other people? How do they live? Talk? Learn? Magic? None of that.

I'm a little wiser than most people now, but without anyone to learn from back then, I wasn't.

When the sun rose, I crawled out of my cave and caught demonic beasts. When I was full, I returned to the cave and went to sleep.

Demon beasts are vicious creatures.

The size of a hill, big and strong, but surprisingly agile and able to move in groups.

The dominant species in the Demon World was, of course, the demon race.

However, even the demon race had a difficult time against these beasts without trapping them.

But even against such powerful beasts, I easily preyed on them.

Sneaking up quietly, pounced, bit, killed, and ate my fill.

All alone.

Yes, I was strong even then.

Easily overpowering a couple demonic beasts.

However, it took more than strength alone against the beasts, also widom.

The wisdom to build, set traps and deceive them.

That's why I lived freely in the corner of the Demon World.

I had no doubt that I would prey, live, and die by instinct.

However, there is a turning point to everything.

One day I found something.

What do you think it was?

It was a demonic beast family.

In front of the shaded area where I was laying in wait, the demonic beasts were huddling together, licking each other and playing with each other.

When I saw that, I had a difficult feeling.

A sudden sense of being alone in the world, with your chest tightened from anxiety and impatience.

Well, in a word, loneliness.

I killed the beasts and ate them, but the lonely feeling did not heal.

When I returned to my roost and laid down. My loneliness still did not heal.

Rather, the more I stayed in the dark cave, the more lonely I felt.

I stared at my hands and feet in the darkness.

Hands and feet, completely different from the demon beasts.

I was a different creature than demon beasts.

But I'd never seen someone like me.

When I realized that, my sense of loneliness overwhelmed me.

Without thinking I leapt out.

I raced out of my territory and began wandering without direction.

On the way, I killed many monsters.

There were various types of demon beasts.

Ones with eight limbs, ones with three faces, and ones like a bunch of small insects gathering together.

However, each was different from me.

I killed the demon beasts and kept wandering.

Then I found it.

A collection of square buildings surrounded by high walls.

Yes, a town.

A demon town.

There were creatures in the town that looked just like me.

One head, two hands, two legs.

Not everything was the same as me, and there were small differences between individuals, but they were more like me than any of the demon beasts I had seen.

There were many such creatures.

Living in a community.

I was excited.

I also wanted friends.

Maybe this will heal my feeling of loneliness?

I approached the town with my heart pounding.

But the first person to find me screamed and screamed.

"Monster!"

A big crowd quickly gathered in front of the confused me.

They all had weapons in their hands.

Why did they look at me and had that initial reaction?

I didn't know anything at that time.

After all, I'd never seen myself.

I didn't understand.

I was obviously different from the people in the town.

Claws and fangs?

No, not that. Many demons also had claws and fangs.

These golden eyes?

No, not only golden eyes. Demons had eye colors of all sorts.

What they thought the most taboo was my hair.

Look here.

My mottled hair of white and green.

Notice how when looked closely the mottled pattern seems to shift.

You may have become accustomed to it, but others find it disturbing, arousing a deep anxiety and discomfort.

For that alone, it's understandable that they thought I was a monster.

People, with weapons in their hands, surrounded me with definite hostility and murderous intent.

In response, I thought about how to show I was harmless.

Maybe I should have escaped.

But somewhere in my mind I thought I would be fine if I was attacked.

Even though I was surrounded by hostile people, I didn't think they're very strong.

In fact, if we really fought, did they think they had a chance?

But before that could happen, a person appeared.

They had a huge body and black skin. It was a man with six arms.

Yes, it's the Demon King.

It suddenly attacked me.

They were terribly strong.

I fought desperately, but I was knocked down, my claws smashed, and my wings broken.

It was impossible no matter how I resisted.

I had no choice but to escape, facing a stronger opponent for the first time.

Dragging my wounded body, I ran away.

Death is terrifying.

I didn't want to die.

But there was also sadness.

Sadness that people who looked like me could not accept me.

I dragged my tattered body back to my roost.

In the dark, quiet, messy cave, loneliness remained.

Pain, sadness, and loneliness.

That was all for me.

There was no anger.

The only question was why.

The questions grew and I asked myself many times.

I couldn't find the answer though.

I guess I might still be looking for the answer.

When the wounds healed, I headed back to the village.

I knew.

I'm sure the same thing will be repeated.

But I couldn't help but go.

Loneliness was much stronger than pain.

I went to the village, watching it with envy, and eventually unable to help myself from getting too close and was driven away.

That repeated.

This was something I didn't know at the time, but it seemed that I was feared by the demons as a "demonic beast in man form."

A powerful creature even the Demon King could not defeat, coming back persistently no matter how many times you drive it away.

Thus I lived for hundreds of years, lonely and hurt.

But everything has an end.

That one day I received a deadly injury.

Not defeated by the Demon King.

Not defeated by demonic beasts.

The opponent was a creature I had never seen before.

Its body was three times as large as a normal monster and much faster. It had many heads and spit fire and poison mist. It was far stronger than the monsters I had encountered so far.

No demonic beast, but a real monster.

The monsters of the Demon World were much stronger than the ones here.

I was burnt, pierced, beaten up, and barely escaped with my body.

I would usually go back to the roost, eat something and sleep, and let my wounds heal. But that time, my wounds would not heal and blood continued to flow.

Probably because of the monster's poison.

I instinctively realized that my death was near.

I didn't know anything, but I had some knowledge of death.

I'd killed and eaten many demonic beasts.

As a witness to tens of thousands of deaths, I knew what death meant.

As my consciousness began to fade, I knew I was about to die.

And that moment was not too far.

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I did consider various ways to survive but there was nothing to be done at that stage.

Nowadays I would have used a detoxification technique, but I didn't know anything at the time.

That's when he appeared.

"Hmm. I decided to come after hearing that there was a monster with the form of a man but... How interesting."

From my perspective, I could only sense that someone was there.

As I hung on the edge of consciousness, he stared down on me, still bleeding.

"A mixed race of demons and dragons. Where and how were you born?"

I looked up at the other person in a daze.

He looked like me.

One head and two limbs.

Wings on the back.

The eyes were golden.

His fangs and claws were long and sharp.

It was just like me.

The only difference was that his beard was silver and his skin was covered with silver scales.

"Is this also due to the influence of the monsters?"

He saw that I didn't even have strength to get up.

Then our eyes met.

His gaze was sharp, but filled with an unfathomable warmness, that sight I can still vividly recall.

Those eyes I never met before.

"Alright. If the Demon God neglected you for so long, he wouldn't mind if I just take you away, even though there are so many uses, what a waste..."

Of course, I didn't recognize what the words were.

However, I remember the sound of those words.

I could never forget.

So, after learning to talk, I recalled what he said and learned much later.

He gripped his fist just above me.

Sharp claws pierced his palm, and red blood began to flow.

The red blood dripped down into my wounds.

Then, the wounds, which had no sign of healing until now, began to close up.

When he saw the wounds disappear, he took off his cloak and wrapped me up.

I opened my eyes in surprise when the pain suddenly disappeared, and saw that he was carrying me out.

At the entrance to my roost there was a huge carcass of something.

I was surprised yet again.

I was familiar with it.

It was the monster that nearly killed me.

Turned into a tattered corpse.

Probably, after mortally wounding me... it was beaten by him.

"A monster… it's a relief that only a few have appeared in my world."

While he said that, my consciousness fell.

When I regained consciousness, my surroundings had changed.

No more poisonous swamps, miasma, or broken copper soil that I was familiar with.

What I saw were mountains.

And no ordinary mountains either.

Because they're upside down.

The mountain grew down from heaven.

"!"

For a moment I thought I was held upside down.

Or the world had inverted on me.

But it was different.

Gravity was pulling me downwards as usual.

But there's definitely a mountain above me.

And an endless sky below.

A clear blue sky and white clouds as far as I can see.

For a moment I didn't realize that was the sky.

Because the sky of the Demon World had always been gray.

There I found myself flying.

No, it wasn't me.

The person holding me.

Yeah, the man who placed me in a cloak and took me away was flying while holding me.

"You woke up? Don't go wild now."

The man said when he noticed that I had woken up.

I had never spoken words before, so I didn't understand their meaning.

However, I remember that I was afraid of the sky below.

I shrunk into myself.

The man was satisfied with it and sped up.

We flew in the sky like that for a while.

This world with inverted mountains and sky was a fresh scenery for me.

The man didn't explain anything, and I had no knowledge about it either.

But I knew that I had come to a place different from the world I lived in.

Not the world where I was alone and driven from the village, a completely different world.

From a world I feared that I could no longer return to.

When I thought about it, I felt a little nostalgic for that dark, messy cave, but the sights surrounding me quickly overwhelmed that feeling.

It wasn't a place to immerse oneself in nostalgia.

After a while, I saw a large mountain.

So tall that you couldn't see its peak.

The mountain came to dominate the view on our approach. Then without a flap or a noise from the man's wings, we began to descend.

Is there something below?

I looked down and thought, noticing something on the mountainside.

I didn't know what it was, but if I knew back then, I would have called it a "landing strip".

A stone slab protruded from the side of the mountain, leading to the entrance of a wide cavern.

The outcrop made of rock and wood was clearly artificial.

As I got closer, I found that there were many people on the outcrop.

They looked just like the man.

They're creatures with wings, scales, fangs, claws, and golden eyes.

"Dragon God!!"

"Dragon God has returned!"

"Everyone! Get ready to greet him!!"

…Yeah, his true identity was the Dragon God.

Ruler of the Dragon World and king of the dragon race.

They suddenly made a commotion when they saw the Dragon God.

And quickly lined up in neat order on the outcrop.

Many people.

Seeing so many of them all together, I shrunk into myself again.

In the Demon World, the memories of being driven away by the demons over and over again came flooding back.

I thought I might be attacked again.

"Welcome back!"

But, contrary to expectations, they didn't attack.

When Dragon God stepped down, his people lined up in a row with their arms crossed on their chests and their wings slightly folded.

Their expressions were full of pride and joy.

It was a look I had never seen, but I knew there was no hostility there.

"Dragon God, welcome back!"

There was a man with a slightly different color at the back.

A little bigger than the people that lined up, with a different aura.

His scales were slightly greenish, giving a calm impression.

However, his most outstanding features were his eyes..

In the same golden eyes as the others, instead of any softness a strong will laid behind them.

At a glance, I knew he was the leader of this flock.

But of course he was not the apex there, the Dragon God was.

When the Dragon God approached him, he crossed his arms before his chest and folded his wings.

A salute of highest honor for the dragon race.

"How was the meeting?"

"Szilard. Not much progress. How were things back here while I was away?"

"Not much has changed here either, but monsters did appear twice."

"How many people have died?"

"Three. Two by the first one and one by the second. Minor casualties… What's that?"

The person called Szilard noticed what the Dragon God was holding.

"I picked it up at the edge of the Demon World. It's a mixed race child of demons and dragons."

"I've never heard of any dragon race in the Demon World?"

"It may be related to the occurrence of monsters."

"I see. What's your plan for it?"

"I'll raise him."

When Dragon God said that, Szilard stared at me.

Perhaps he was wary of a child with such taboo hair.

But he didn't say anything about Dragon God's decision.

He worshiped and trusted the Dragon God the most, even among the dragon race. He would never doubt the Dragon God's actions.

As soon as he understood the situation, he relaxed his salute and took a step back.

Dragon God didn't elaborate further, and entered the mountain from the outcrop.

Of course, still holding me.

He walked down a dark, squarish passage.

My common sense said the deeper into a cave, the darker and narrower it became.

But contrary to my expectations, the end of the passage opened up to a great cavity.

The cavity was spanned by a number of thick pillars, with round buildings attached to the ground, ceiling, and pillars.

Moreover, a strong light source occupied the large center pillar, illuminating the cavern interior as bright as day.

Many people flew between the round buildings with their wings.

Yes, a town in the heart of a mountain.

The inside of the mountain was hollowed out and turned into a town.

The Dragon God jumped and spread his wings.

There were people flying about town, but everyone who met the Dragon God stopped moving and crossed their arms before their chest in salute.

Dragon God continued to fly without responding.

I immediately knew where we were going.

It was the largest building in the innermost part of the town.

From a distance, it was a simple, round building, but when I approached it, I found that reliefs were engraved everywhere on the building.

Dragon God landed on a slightly raised outcrop near the center of the building.

And he walked inward without hesitation.

The inside was as wide as it looked.

Great hall, bedroom, passages.

Each one was as luxurious as I've ever seen.

Dragon God silently walked down the stairs.

There was no hesitation in his movements.

It seemed that the destination was fixed.

Eventually, when we arrived in front of a room, Dragon God stopped.

Even though he stopped, it was only for a moment.

After that time, as if after a thought, Dragon God knocked on the door.

Gently tapping twice.

And opened the door.

"I'm back."

"Welcome back, husband."

I saw a soft cloth bed, a wooden table, a leather chair, and a person sitting on the chair.

It was a woman.

It was a woman with a completely different appearance than the people flying all around town and at the landing strip.

Her skin was white with a red tinge, without scales, and soft.

No wings or tail.

No sharp fangs or claws.

Her belly was slightly swollen.

She was a race that I didn't know of.

"Who is that child?"

"A child of a dragon and a demon. I picked him up near death on the edge of the Demon World."

"Oh, is that right... Will you raise it?"

"Indeed."

"Then you'll adopt this child?"

"Is that a problem?"

"No, everything is the will of Dragon God."

After Dragon God put me in the room, he turned to leave.

However, he was immediately recalled by the woman.

"Husband, what is this child's name?"

Dragon God looked back in response and shaked his head, slightly troubled.

"He doesn't have one."

"That's no good. Please name him properly. A father should name his child."

"Even one that I picked up?"

"Yes!"

He looked down at me.

I looked up at Dragon God and waited.

"... Laplace. Your name is Laplace."

Of course, I didn't understand him then.

It was the first time I had a genuine exchange of words with someone.

But I understood even then that the man in front of me had spoken a very important word for me.

"Laaa--- Laa Paa Laa Suuu."

That's why I repeated it desperately.

That word, my name, I would never forget it.

Thus I, Laplace, was born

-*-*-*--*-*-*-*-**-*-*-

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