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Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko, Issue 58

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  • atheniag
    [For Issues 1-54: http://www.yuricon.org/snb For Issue 55: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/23835 For Issue 56:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2008
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      [For Issues 1-54: http://www.yuricon.org/snb
      For Issue 55: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/23835
      For Issue 56: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/24279
      For Issue 57: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yuricon/message/24564%5d

      Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

      The Story So Far: Yuriko's day of relaxation in and out of the
      wrestling ring has worked wonders. Midori's suggestion that they live
      together for the next few weeks before the tour hasn't hurt, either.
      Yuriko faces a long, difficult week with a positive outlook.


      Volume 4, Issue 6

      "Standard Operating Procedure"


      Yuriko's hand hesitated over the handle to her dressing room door. She
      could hear movement within. As she focused on the sound, she could
      also hear a voice muttering quietly to itself. Resigning herself to
      whatever awaited inside, Yuri took a deep breath and slid the door open.

      What awaited was, in fact, nothing that she could have even remotely
      imagined. Her dressing room had always been a little tattered and
      ratty, despite her star status. The furniture was worn from years of
      use by various people, the lighting fixtures a little too old, the
      bulbs a little too dim. Yuriko knew that she was entitled to more, but
      as spoiled as she was, it had never really occurred to her to demand
      more. What was the point, really? Oh sure, she had, in moments of
      depression, imagined throwing a tantrum and screaming for rare
      hardwoods and luxurious materials, but as soon as the thought even
      crossed her mind, she always seemed to run into Mayumi. Face to face
      with the stereotype of the tantrum-throwing diva, Yuriko would content
      herself with being the "good" one.

      So, it was with considerable surprise that she walked in on a dressing
      room that had been completely refurbished. The furniture looked
      new...and, from their rich sheen, made of rare hardwoods. New
      materials, pillows, even new lighting greeted her. She had to
      consciously tell herself to close her jaw at least twice, as she stood
      in the middle of this bizarre, yet extremely welcome, transformation.

      "Whew," Yuriko whistled breathily. "What happened here?"

      From beside the new sofa (now covered in a luscious pile of deep
      burgundy pillows, a far cry from the stodgy flower pattern of the
      previous incarnation), straightening up from where she was placing the
      finishing touches on an arrangement of white flowers -lilies, Yuriko
      noted with some amusement - stood Kitazawa Haru. The older woman
      looked at Yuriko for a long moment then, in a fluid and abject motion,
      bowed nearly double.

      "I offer my very sincere apologies for the misunderstanding between
      us, and I hope that it will one day be possible for you to forgive me."

      Yuriko cocked her head at the older woman. Keeping her face completely
      straight, she asked, "One day? Hmmmm." She took a step forward, then
      another. Quietly, she leaned forward towards her dresser and
      suggested, "How about we just get it over with today?" Standing
      upright, she gestured to the room. "If this is how you say you're
      sorry, then maybe we should disagree every once in a while, just to
      keep the room fresh." For once, the good humor in her voice wasn't
      pretense.

      There was a pause, and a deep breath, then Haru stood upright. Yuriko
      sighed, as the woman's face cleared and a small, admittedly nervous,
      smile appeared for the first time on her face.

      Haru opened her mouth, but Yuriko raised her hand to interrupt. "I
      won't have you apologizing over and over again, Haru-san."

      Shaking her head, the dresser bowed slightly. "Would you like some
      tea?" was all she said.

      "Yes," answered Yuriko, with audible relief. "Yes, I would absolutely
      love some tea."


      ***

      Dancing practice was grueling, but Yuriko had to admit that she and
      Mayumi were looking pretty good. Madame Sophia had only grunted single
      word corrections or, more and more, just to remind them where they
      were in the choreography, something that Yuriko now understood meant
      that she was pleased.

      The two women were drenched with sweat by the end of practice. Madame
      Sophia allowed a look of satisfaction into her face as she announced.
      "This is much better, I think. Big girl, you are sharp now, more
      concentrating, little girl, you are more responding to your partner.
      Together, apart, you look like dancers." The old woman nodded as she
      tapped her stick thoughtfully on the ground. "Yes. Tomorrow we bring
      in other dancers to practice. You understand?"

      Yuriko nodded. She understood. Mayumi gave no sign of having even
      heard, but Yuri knew that she too, understood. It was time to work
      with the ensemble dancers, to block out the movements of both group
      and stars.

      "Good. We will start early tomorrow." Madame held out two pieces of
      paper. "This is address of place. Be there one hour earlier. We will
      be there all week." Yuri glanced at the paper. She didn't know the
      address immediately, but guessed it was a large hall or other venue
      with a stage.

      Yuriko tugged on the hair in front of her eye. An extra hour early?
      Bleah. On the other hand, she could feel a little nervous thrill move
      through her. This, more than anything, made Yuriko feel that this tour
      was actually going to happen. They were leaving the cocoon, on their
      way to becoming butterflies.

      She looked up, her eyes far away. Something inside her began to burn,
      something slow, filling her with heat. She had a vision of the crowd,
      the music, the lights, and she could feel her breath quicken. The tour
      was coming. Very soon now, she would be standing in front of the
      largest crowd of her entire life, giving everything she had to give
      them the best three hours of their lives. She could feel the flame
      inside of her grow into something palpable – a presence of its own, a
      desire so strong that she felt like she would explode.

      Shaking her head slightly, Yuriko pulled herself together. She smiled
      at Madame Sophia and assured her that she'd be there. As the blonde
      turned to leave, she caught a brief glimpse of Mayumi's face and was
      surprised to see a look of burning anticipation. Involuntarily,
      Yuriko's hand rose to her face, wondering if she looked as hungry as
      Nakamura Mayumi.

      ***

      Walking down the hallway, Yuriko found herself responding with extra
      enthusiasm to the usual greetings of tour and studio personnel. There
      was a spring in her step, and a smile on her face and, as goofy as it
      was, she was prepared to spend the day in shockingly good mood.

      As she turned the corner to head towards her dressing room, Yuriko
      decided to be impetuous and make a quick detour. A few moments later,
      she was standing in front of the costuming department. A quick knock
      received a muffled answer, which she took as an affirmative. Yuri slid
      the door open and stuck her head in, in case they had company.

      "Hello?" she called out to the apparently empty room. "I'm coming in."

      "Hello!" a still-muffled voice came from the back of the room. Yuriko
      craned her neck, but she was unable to make out the speaker.

      "Do you think you could lend me a hand?" the voice had the slightest
      edge of panic and Yuriko leapt forward into the room. As she stepped
      past the platform the costumers used, she could make out the assistant
      with one hand up, holding several large rolls of material off of her,
      as they threatened to topple, while she balanced several other items
      with her other hand. Yuriko jogged up and took the large rolls and
      shifted them backwards to lean on the wall.

      "Oh, thank you!" Chieko wiped her forehead quickly with a hand. "It's
      my own fault, I was trying to get the one in the back, and was too
      lazy to move them all out of the way." She looked up at Yuriko, a
      good-natured smile on her face. "Amba-san is always yelling at me
      about it, because I end up making a bigger mess this way."

      Yuriko took half of the pile from the other woman's arms, and looked
      around. "Where is your master today? Off? I don't believe it - she's
      the kind who works weekends and holidays. I'm willing to bet on it."

      Chieko laughed. "You'd lose that bet!" Walking over to her work table,
      she dropped the materials she was carrying on an empty corner, then
      took the remainder from Yuriko's arms and set them on top. "She's
      still upset about last week, I think."

      "Oh?" Yuriko looked up from where she had been thumbing through some
      swatches of something that felt like sandpaper, but looked very shiny.

      "Oh!" Chieko blushed. "I probably shouldn't have said anything. Forget
      that I said it, okay?" She waved her hand to dispel interest or attention.

      "You can't leave me hanging like that," Yuriko chided gently.

      "It's nothing. Just that the Princess," the seamstress lowered her
      voice on the nickname, "and Amba had some words. It got heated.
      Nothing that we haven't dealt with before."

      "So, Amba-san's sulking?"

      Chieko laughed at that. "Hardly. She's probably hungover."

      "Three days later?" Yuriko's eyebrows rose at the thought.

      "No, the day after. When Amba-san goes on a bender, she really goes on
      a bender." The young woman leaned forward, her cheeks adorably pink.
      "But you did not hear that from me."

      "Mum's the word." Yuriko pressed her finger to her mouth and smiled.



      To Be Continued.

      Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situation copyright E. Friedman.
      All rights reserved.
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