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Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko's first day of preparation for the tour is
turning out to be odder than expected. The staff for the production is
impressively international and quirky.
Volume 1, Issue 8
"Fit the First"
Yuriko put one hand to her head as she regarded Amba, whose smile
twisted slightly as she approached in her wheelchair. It was obvious
that she was waiting for Yuriko's next words and that this was as
much a test as Madam Sophia's "you dance now" had been.
She smiled a little unsurely and ventured, "I suppose I'm supposed to
either ignore that," she gestured at the wheelchair, "or say something
really profound, but frankly, I'm kind of at a loss for words."
Amba's face relaxed slightly, and Yuriko relaxed along with it.
"Actually, I was kind of hoping you'd do neither. It gets tired,
hearing pearls of wisdom dropped my way about enduring and moving
beyond my limitations." She looked down at herself. "I'm just your
average cripple," she said.
"Only cuter," Yuriko ventured. Amba looked up sharply, but when she
saw that Yuriko was not offering pity or cold comfort, she smiled
"Well, yes, there's that," the Indian woman agreed. She seemed to come
to a decision. "Let's get to it, then." Amba propelled herself up the
ramp onto the platform, turned the chair around and faced Yuriko.
Yuriko shed her jacket with dispatch. "You know," she joked, still a
little uncomfortable, "this is easier with music." She looked over her
shoulder to gauge Amba's reaction. The costume maker responded with a
hearty bump-and-grind riff. Yuriko grinned and turned around, lifting
her arms once again. Amba gestured for her to spin around slowly and
the blonde obliged.
As she completed her turn, Yuri asked, "How'd you get your hair that
color it's very cool."
Amba took one lock in her hand and gazed at it. "After the accident,"
she looked down at her legs, "my hair grew in white but just here.
When my parents turned me out, I figured I had nothing to lose and
started dyeing it." She shrugged. "It's purple now, but I think I'm
getting tired of it."
"Don't change it! It becomes you gives your eyes violet highlights."
Yuriko met those dark eyes as she spoke and she could see a little
color darken Amba's cheeks.
"Yes, well," Amba continued quickly, looking at her hair once again,
There was a moment of silence. "I was thrown out by my parents too,"
Yuriko said softly. "They didn't want a dyke for a daughter."
Amba's lips tightened, but she didn't say anything. Yuriko could see
that her sharpness was just a way of masking herself, but she seemed a
genuine enough person behind that mask.
"Anyway," Yuriko continued in a lighter tone, "it all worked out I
guess, because here I am, getting measured for clothes I'd never have
had if I was quote-unquote normal." She made the quotes motion with
her hands, finishing with a flourish.
"Then let's get down to business." Amba said. "Orders came down that
you were to be fitted with a bloke's suit and a lady's dress that
sound right to you?"
"Right. What colors are out?"
Yuriko thought carefully, "Orange, definitely no orange anything. I
like red, but don't look great in it, unless it's a car, um and I'm
not terribly fond of yellow-green."
Amba nodded. "What colors do you usually wear?"
"Fawns and grays, blues."
Another nod. Amba pulled a pad out of a pocket on the side of her
chair. "Men's-style shirts?" she inquired.
"Buttoned right or left?"
Yuriko smiled. "You have me there buttoned from the right."
Amba returned the smile. "You know why that is?" When the blonde shook
her head she continued, "It comes from European sword fighting. Since
you fought with the right hand, you had to be able to unbutton your
jacket or shirt with the left."
"I never knew that," Yuri admitted.
"You learn some really strange things here in costuming." Amba turned
back to the pad, "Collar?"
"Height one, no button down, not too tight over the tie."
"Damn, you're easy," Amba laughed. "Cuffs?"
"Let me make this as simple as I can," Yuriko said, sitting on the
edge of the platform. "Cuffs two button, one button on the tab,
watch on the left hand. One pocket, left breast, no button. Anything
Amba shook her head. "No that just about covers it, since you don't
"dress." She squinted at Yuriko, "You don't, do you?"
Yuriko shook her head with a laugh. "No, I don't."
Amba nodded. "Then all we have left is the actual measurements."
By the time Chiyako returned to the room weighed down with fast food
bags and cans of tea, she found Amba and Yuriko laughing together at
some of the singer's peers' more interesting foibles. Chiyako hung
back, wondering at the change of attitude from earlier that morning,
when Mayumi's presence had left her co-worker in a dark cloud of
bitterness. Maybe, she thought, this tour wouldn't be that dreadful
The door opened and Renzo entered, his apology already begun. "I don't
know when I became so consistently late," he said, "It's just dreadful
and I don't what to do about it!" He grinned cheerfully at Yuriko and
Kishi as he seated himself.
"That's alright, Ren-san, you're always worth waiting for," Yuriko
"Well, that goes without saying," the director replied with
self-deprecating sarcasm. "But since you're being so gracious today,
Yuri-san, I won't waste any more time than necessary." Renzo sighed
slightly and Yuriko noticed the lines at the corners of his eyes.
Kishi cleared her throat. "What were her demands?" she asked, cutting
through Renzo's hesitation.
The director gave the manager a slightly pained look. "The realistic
ones? Or all of them?"
Yuriko shook her head in wonder. "What goes on in that girl's mind?"
"Not much, from what I can tell," Renzo sighed again. "She's insisting
that you go on first, of course she persists in thinking of you as
her opening act." He shot the blonde a wry look as she laughed. "You
may think its funny, but she's serious. Anyway," Renzo ran his hand
through his hair as he often did when he was distressed, "let's get on
with this. We'll need to design a set for you, and a few songs for the
two of you to sing together. If it's alright with you, we're planning
on one set from each of you, then a half set to end with you both. So,
then, have you thought about what you'd like to sing?"
They ran through Yuriko's music, selecting and discarding songs until
they had picked what they thought would be the best possible set for
Yuri. The three sat back with a sense of satisfaction when they were
Renzo turned his cynical eyes on Yuriko once more as he said, "I hear
you've met our choreographer what do you think of her?"
Yuriko thought of her bizarre encounters that morning and gave a
chuckle. "She's barking mad."
Renzo's face split into a huge grin as he nodded. "Isn't she
To Be Continued
Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations copyright 2003, E.