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Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko, Issue 53

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  • atheniag
    [For Issue 49: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/22092 For Issue 50: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/22432 For Issue 51:
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2007
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      [For Issue 49: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/22092
      For Issue 50: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/22432
      For Issue 51: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/22636
      For Issue 52: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/23087%5d


      Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

      The Story So Far: Yuriko's pleasant morning has come to a screeching
      halt in the face of a confrontational co-star.


      Volume 4, Issue 1

      "Winter Chill"


      "Are you making fun of me?!" Mayumi's voice was getting shriller with
      each repetition of the question. The singer's chestnut-colored hair
      flared out with every exaggerated motion she made, as she demanded an
      answer yet again. "Well?"

      "I..." Yuriko was completely taken aback at her co-star's reaction
      to...what? To something, obviously, but Yuriko had no idea what
      Mayumi was talking about. Desperately, Yuri thought back to her
      morning interview, trying to recall if she had said something that
      could have potentially insulted the other woman. "I...." Yuriko
      pulled herself together, stood to her full height and looked down at
      Mayumi with a mien that was composed, if not enlightened. "What on
      earth are you talking about, Mayumi-san?" She hoped she sounded
      calmer than she felt, but was pretty sure that her confusion and
      anger would show plainly on her face and in her stance.

      As if she had been struck physically, Mayumi recoiled at this. A
      moment later, she stepped forward belligerently, her finger pointing
      up at Yuriko. "That song – my song. You were dancing to *my* song!"
      she hissed angrily, her eyes red with fury. "I know what you are...I
      know you want me off this tour...don't think I don't." Mayumi's teeth
      were showing now, but there was no smile on her face. Yuriko expected
      the shorter woman to leap up and grab her throat in her teeth any
      second.

      "Mayumi-san," Yuriko's tone was vicious, using the other woman's name
      just to goad her. "I have no idea how me humming a catchy tune could
      in any way be construed as an insult. I know you..."

      "You don't know anything," Mayumi shot back at the blonde. "You don't
      know anything about me, or my work, or anything."

      "What is happening here?" The voice was clipped and precise, and
      heavily accented. Yuriko found herself breathing hard, her chest
      heaving and her hands clenched, as an enraged Mayumi whirled on the
      intruder.

      "WHAT is happening here?" Madame Sophia's voice was unrelenting, her
      eyes hard and black in her wrinkled face.
      "Little girl, is there some problem?"

      There was a long moment, as Mayumi seethed. Her mouth moved, but she
      said nothing. Madame Sophia turned her eyes to Yuriko, giving the
      blonde a glance no less intimidating. "And you? Do you have something
      to say?"

      Yuriko forced herself to take a deep breath and shake her head in the
      negative.

      "Good." Madame Sophia punctuated the word by slamming her stick into
      the ground with a sharp crack. "Then," her eyes glittered
      ferociously, challenging either of them to defy her. "We will begin."

      With this uncompromising pronouncement, something seemed to turn off
      in Mayumi. Instantly, she had returned to the usual detached manner
      to which Yuriko had become accustomed. The shorter woman's hands
      unclenched and her face went completely blank. Her eyes, which had
      been glaring with unveiled hatred, became cold and distant. The
      transformation was instantaneous – so much so, that Yuriko began to
      doubt the vision of her co-star she had seen a few seconds earlier.

      "Forget it," Mayumi said shortly, then proceeded past Yuriko without
      a second glance. Yuriko watched the other woman remove herself to a
      corner of the room, then turned back to the doorway, trying to
      recover her own composure.

      "I'm sorry," Yuriko said after she had joined Mayumi in the middle of
      the practice room, uncharacteristically trying to provoke a response.
      "I didn't mean any offense – I wasn't making fun of you."

      "No," Mayumi said without looking up. A barely-perceptible sneer
      crossed her wide mouth, "Of course not. You wouldn't ever do
      something like that." There was the slightest stress on the word
      "you," but when Yuriko looked closer, Mayumi was absorbed in her own
      warm-ups. There was no sign of any emotion on her sculpted featured;
      no sneer, no anger...no emotion of any kind at all. As if Mayumi
      wasn't human.

      Yuriko shivered with something close to fear. There was something
      here she didn't understand. No, that wasn't correct - she understood
      it well enough, she just could not understand why it should be at
      all. This wasn't a woman who disliked her - this woman *hated* her.
      Perhaps, if she could understand why.... But then Madam Sophia called
      them both to attention and she had to put aside whatever it was that
      she felt and become the consummate professional she was. Nonetheless,
      despite her will to put her personal feelings aside, Yuriko couldn't
      help but feeling like a small mammal forced to practice dancing with
      a very vicious, very poisonous snake.


      ***

      "Nine....ten....eleven...twelve. Good. Okay, you can rest." Rubi took
      the barbell from Yuriko and set it in the rest, while the blonde
      groaned piteously and flailed for towel and water.

      "Are you always this much of a whiner?" the trainer chirped
      cheerfully.

      "Always," Yuriko admitted. "I made a vow when I was a child to never
      publicly enjoy physical exercise." She took a long drink of water and
      wiped her neck. Smiling up at the woman who stood over her, muscular
      arms crossed across a generous chest, she finished, "At this point,
      it's a matter of pride."

      Rubi shook her head in disagreement. "I don't understand that at all
      – I really enjoy what all my hard work has accomplished." As if to
      prove her point, the trainer lifted an arm and flexed a daunting
      bicep.

      "Me too!" Yuriko grinned, ogling the flexed arm.

      "Seriously, though," Rubi continued. "Don't you care about your
      health?"

      Yuriko stood and stretched slightly, then moved to the next machine.
      She watched the young woman set the weight, grimaced when she noticed
      that it was set heavier than the last time, and thought hard about
      the question.

      "It's not that I don't care about my health it's just that I'm
      unbelievably lazy. When I was in high school," she laughed, "the
      second time around, I joined the basketball team. It's probably the
      best shape I've ever been in in my life. But no, I didn't really
      enjoy the workouts." Yuriko sat down on the apparatus and slid her
      arms into position. "And the coach was cute and everything."

      Shaking her head, Rubi smiled at the singer. "You're worse than some
      of the guys, you know?"

      Yuriko took a deep breath and flexed, bringing both hands towards
      each other. "I know," she grunted. "They pay me to be. And I work
      hard at *that.*"


      To Be Continued

      Saiyuu no Ryouko, copyright E. Friedman. All Rights Reserved.
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