Isekai? I Hardly Know Her! Take My Waifu From Another World, Please!
With an excited grin on his face, the man led Denny into the city of Brenlet. His name, Denny learned, was Walter, and he was the youngest son of a large farming family, who had been conscripted to guard the gate after all the Yeomen left. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect to meet a bard from another world, least of all in a sleepy domain like Brenlet.
Leaving the gate completely unguarded, he guided Denny to a nearby well to quench his thirst, then to the duke’s mansion. As they walked through the city, Denny could feel all eyes on him. From the sleepy residential district to the bustling market square, everyone was curious about the otherworldly bard. Denny was equally curious about them. Now that he’d had some time to accept things, he wondered exactly what kind of isekai experience was in store for him.
If he didn’t have special powers, he wouldn’t have to fight, and honestly, he preferred that. Perhaps this was an isekai where he’d rise to the top by inventing things that were commonplace on Earth? Unlikely. He wasn’t the first person to be transported here, so all the easy stuff had probably been taken. Denny also wasn’t very sharp. He had little idea how things actually worked.
For a brief moment, Denny hoped he would get a harem. As he looked around at the women in the city, however, his hopes were quickly dashed. They were hardly ugly. In fact, they looked better than he would expect of medieval peasants, but they were hardly the buxom, scantily-clad waifus of a harem isekai. They looked like normal people who had been worn down by a lifetime of hard living.
This left Denny at a loss. If he wasn’t going to be a powerful fighter, pass modern inventions off as his own, or have a harem, was this really even an isekai? Perhaps this was one of those shoujo isekai. He didn’t know much about them. They were based on otome games, right? He’d never played one, but he hadn’t seen any bishounen around either, so he figured he could rule that out. What about josei isekai? Did those even exist?
By the time they arrived at the duke’s mansion, Denny still hadn’t come to any conclusions, but he wasn’t too worried. He had only just arrived in this world. He had plenty of time to figure things out.
The mansion was by far the most impressive building in the city, but it was smaller than Denny expected. The front door was wide open, and there was no butler to greet them. Walter breezed right in as if it were the most natural thing in the world and led Denny to a drawing room. A well-dressed man sat, reclining on a sofa, and Denny could see why Walter had mistaken him for a lord when they first met. The man wore an expensive modern suit, making him look just like a politician or businessman from Earth.
Walter dropped to one knee to kneel before the duke, and Denny did the same.
“Denny Fritz, m’lord,” Walter introduced him.
“Raise your heads,” the duke commanded. “I am Duke Brenlet. If you truly are an isekai bard, regale me with a tale from your world.”
“Sure,” Denny said, putting on his stage smile. “How about the tale of the maiden Michiru, who awoke one day to find herself transformed into a beastkin?”
He proposed this story in part to see if there were beastkin in this world. If so, perhaps there was hope for his harem yet. When the duke nodded, Denny related the story as best he remembered it.
“I believe you are who you say you are,” Duke Brenlet sighed, “but you are a poor storyteller.”
“That’s not really my thing,” Denny said. “I’m more of a comedian. Let me show you my routine. What do you call an ojou-sama’s investments? Her oh-ho-ho-holdings!”
The duke looked at Denny with a shocked expression, but as he considered what Denny had said, it was replaced by a smile. “Very clever,” he chuckled.
“Wow, great audience tonight,” Denny continued. “I got a million of ‘em. Did you hear that Iruma got arrested by the IRS?”
“Excuse me,” the duke interrupted. “What are you doing?”
“Stand up comedy,” Denny replied.
“I’m not familiar…” the duke murmured. “Oh, yes, I’ve heard of this. Doesn't it require two people, a tsukkomi and a boke?”
“Varies by region,” Denny told him. “Where I’m from, it’s just one person telling jokes.”
“Perhaps you’re valuable after all,” the duke mused. “Very well, I will feed and shelter you. Walter, go conscript some more farmers. If you come across any mercenaries, send them to me. Once the word gets out about my bard, someone is bound to try to steal him.”
“You’d go to war over me?” Denny asked, his eyes wide. “No offense, your dukeship, but a few farmers—”
“I’m perfectly aware,” the duke snapped. “I have no hope of keeping you for long, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to just give you away. I’ll make them pay handsomely for you. Now tell me, do you know the ballad of Kirito Kirigaya? How does it end? Does he win his freedom? Does he win Lady Asuna’s heart?”
“He does,” Denny smiled. His first instinct had been to crack a joke about the infamous web novel chapter, but he didn’t know if that would offend the sensibilities of the people living in this world. As much as this looked like medieval England, its culture obviously differed. Who knew what they might be prudes about? So he decided it was best to say as little as possible.
“Good,” the duke grunted. “It’s funny. I know Kirito’s not real, but he’s been a big part of my life. When the last bard came, Kirito’s tale was still being written in your world. I’ve spent the years since worrying about him.”
“Yes,” Denny said with an awkward smile, “it’s scary how much stories can affect us.” He wasn’t personally a fan of that work, in fact, quite the opposite, but he also didn’t like to belittle people for what they enjoyed. He’d been on the receiving end of that kind of thing too often.
Life in the duke’s mansion was hardly comfortable, but Denny could tell he had it much better than the peasants. He got three meals of surprisingly decent food a day, and best of all, the duke laughed at his jokes.
But he knew it couldn’t last forever. He was awoken one morning by the sound of an alarm bell reverberating throughout the town. From his bedroom in the mansion, he could see a small army approaching the city, and somehow, he didn’t think the farmers would be able to stop them.