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