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Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: The tour is mere weeks away and Yuriko has a lot of
work to do. She'd be looking forward to it, if it weren't for one or
two little things.
Volume 1, Issue 7
"It's a Job"
"Are you listening?" Kishi's voice metaphorically rapped Yuriko on the
knuckles and she dragged her attention back to her manager.
"Yes of course I'm listening," Yuriko lied. In fact, her thoughts were
still back home in bed with Midori. They had spent all the previous
day together in a haze of self-indulgent laziness, enjoying the few
days they had left to them to do so. Yuriko could see the writer's
face clearly in her mind as she had left the apartment.
"Stop by my place tonight, if you can. I have a little going away gift
Yuriko smiled languidly, as she had at those words. Midori had laughed
and said, "Not that...well, maybe that too."
Yuriko's eyes snapped open and she turned a smile rapidly fading into
an embarrassed grin towards Kishi.
"Are you done fantasizing?" the older woman asked. When Yuriko nodded
sheepishly, Kishi continued as if there had never been a pause. "At
ten you'll meet the choreographer, at twelve, you're being measured
for clothes. I'll be back by the time you're done there and we have a
meeting with Haibara-san on the order of the music." She looked down
at her palm pilot. "He's done your arrangements, so he knows your
style. Maybe we can skip the preliminaries and move onto the stage
design and setup.
"Dance rehearsal every day from now until the kickoff concert you
start singing rehearsals next week after stage blocking is done
Kishi's voice faded in and out for Yuriko. She had trouble remaining
focused on the particulars. Turning to her manager she smiled. "I'll
trust you to tell me where to be."
"I am telling you where to be, so pay attention," Kishi's vocal
knuckle rap continued. "Tonight you're free as soon as the costumes
and clothes are done, probably by Wednesday we'll have the first set,
we'll start doing PR shots. You and Mayumi-hime," she used the
nickname for the other singer with a wry tone, "will be at Tokyo Tower
at night. Expect that for two or three nights. Hopefully two, if Her
As Kishi continued, the car pulled up to the studio gates, where
Yuriko glanced out the window into a multitude of young faces. She
idly wondered why they weren't at school, as three girls attempted to
cross the barrier and throw themselves at the car. She smiled and
waved at the fans, only peripherally hearing the shrill shrieks of
pleasure her action created.
The guard waved them through the gate and the crowds receded.
Yuriko stared down at the wizened crone in surprise.
"Yes, now you dance for me," the voice was heavily accented, and
tended towards commanding turns of phrase.
"Uh, what should I dance to?" Yuriko looked around, as if a band might
materialize suddenly in the small room.
"No, no," the crone snapped, driving the end of the stick she held
forcefully into the floor. "You do not dance to music." She sighed.
"Sing for me, and dance. As if you are alone."
Yuriko thought this over. "Like when I'm alone?"
"Yes!" The woman nodded. "Now sing."
Yuriko's mind went blank. With the little woman's grey eyes boring
into her, she was completely unable to remember a single note of a
single song. In desperation, she recalled only the words from a
Yuriko took a breath, closed her eyes and began to sing the doleful
tune, "Kagome, kagome..."
After a few words, Yuriko felt herself relax. The little woman seemed
content to listen to her sing this song, so sing she did. Yuri let her
mind wander backwards in time to her childhood, as she played the game
that went along with the song. Her limbs moved of their own accord, as
the tune altered slightly and the time sped up just perceptibly, which
allowed her to put more energy into her motions. As the song ended
Yuriko segued into a second childhood song, this one a chipper tune
singing the praises of sweet potatoes. She was about to launch into
another verse when a harsh voice cut her short.
"Enough!" The stick slapped against the ground again. Yuriko's eyes
snapped open in surprise.
"Was that alright?" she asked pensively.
The little woman nodded, her eyes sparkling. "You are good singer and,
better, a good dancer, yes? We will work well together." She nodded
again. "Yes, very good. Go now and come back tomorrow."
Yuriko gazed down in amazement at the top of the iron-haired head as
the woman bowed stiffly.
"You mean, that's it?" Yuriko could not keep the confusion out of her
"Yes." The woman had already turned away. "Tomorrow you return and
Madame Sophia will teach you to dance, yes?"
"Okay," Yuriko hesitated, but the crone was gone. She lowered her
eyebrows, which were in real danger of disappearing past her hairline
and left the room shaking her head.
Yuriko found herself facing a door marked "Costuming." She raised her
hand to knock, but the door opened before she could do so, a woman
stepping practically into her before drawing back in alarm.
"Oh!" The woman stood, a hand pressed to her chest. "I'm sorry!" She
flipped back long hair from a cheerful, round face.
Yuriko smiled reassuringly. "It's okay, I'm fine." She looked past the
woman into the room, "Um, I'm supposed to be here for measurement
this is the right room?"
A voice came from beyond the woman - deep, rough and very exotic
sounding. "Ah, speak of the devil."
The woman at the door turned with a grin and said over her shoulder,
"Yes, the Prince is here at last." With a laugh, she bowed slightly
and gestured Yuriko into the room. She waited a moment, then said.
"Amba-san will help you, I'll be right back. If you need me, call for
Chiyako, I'll come right back." She smiled again at Yuriko, then
slipped out the door.
Yuriko looked around the crowded room. Racks of clothes, partially
clothed dresser's dummies and bales of material vied for space with
sewing tables and a large ramped platform in the middle of the room.
A dark-skinned woman waved her forward, saying, "Come on then, let's
have a look at you." Her accent was rounded, with a little India and a
lot of England in it. Yuriko took a few steps forward, eyeing the
other woman as critically as she was being eyed. Amba sat at a sewing
table, her arms resting lightly in front of her. Short, dark hair
accented her sharp, high, cheek-boned features; while the front two
locks made a mockery of her classic looks, as they were dyed a vivid
violet. Dark eyes considered the blonde with a slight smile that gave
"So?" Yuriko asked sharply. She lifted her arms. "Anything you can
Amba gave a short bark of laughter. "Could be, love," she answered in
Yuriko smiled and said, "But there's room for improvement?" also in
Amba's eyes widened slightly, but the smile didn't fade. "Ah," she
spoke once again in Japanese, "our Prince is better educated than our
Yuriko's eyebrow rose inquisitively. "So you've met my co-star then,"
she said. It was not a question.
Amba nodded. "And a real joy she was, too." She sat back and dropped
her arms to her side. "Well, then, let's see what we've got." She slid
herself backwards from the table. To Yuriko's surprise, Amba's chair
moved with her, as she angled sideways, the forwards. She found
herself gazing down at the beautiful Indian woman, who looked back up
at her from a wheelchair.
To Be Continued
Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations copyright 2001-2003, E