Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko's second week as a senior (once again)
in high school has begun with a mystery...she slowly learns the names and stories of the
people around her. More mysteries appear to be in the air.
Volume 1, Issue 12
"Brewing up a Storm"
Yuriko stopped outside Matsumori-sensei's office, her hand lifted to
knock at the doorframe. She could see two figures in the small room. One was
Matsumori-sensei herself, sitting at her desk. It took Yuriko a moment longer to recognize
the other woman. Having never seen Kaori smiling, it was a few seconds before Yuriko could
associate the laughing girl she now saw with the dour and intense figure she was familiar
with. Yuriko let her hand fall, as she observed the two.
Kaori was sitting on the edge of the desk, her head thrown back in
laughter. Color gave her face a lively look, and her eyes sparkled as she spoke to the
coach. Her hair was unbound, and fell thickly along her back - she was a very pretty girl
already, but in five years, she'd be a knockout. Her body was athletic and her natural
grace already apparent. Someone's heart would be turned to dust by Kaori pretty soon if
she wasn't careful.
Smiling at the thought, Yuriko knocked lightly on the door. Kaori's
reaction was instant. She leapt from the desk edge and stood uncomfortably. Upon
identifying the intruder, her face underwent a remarkable change. The color in her cheeks
faded and her eyes, which had been alight with pleasure, grew cold and hard. Bowing
towards Matsumori-sensei, she excused herself. As they passed, Yuriko greeted Kaori
warmly, but received no more than a grunt and the barest nod in return. Both of the older
women watched as the girl left the office stiffly.
"Whew..." Yuriko said, "is that an icy wind I feel?
Did I ever do something to her that I don't remember?"
Matsumori-sensei's face was sad and a little serious as she
answered. "I don't think so, but I think you'd better look elsewhere to make friends.
Kaori-kun is a lovely girl - dedicated, focused and very, very talented. Her blood type is
A, you know."
Yuriko nodded. "I would have guessed that. I'm an 'O,'
The coach laughed. "I would have guessed that."
"So, Matsumori-sensei..." Yuriko began.
"Ruriko, please." The woman smiled. "I feel strange
having you be so formal with me. I feel like we've known each other a long time."
"So, you're a type AB, then," Yuriko laughed.
"Got it in one!" The coach confirmed.
"So," Yuriko tried again, "you asked me to stop
"Well, there's two things, actually. I spoke to the principal
and the school basketball league board... and you're right. They won't allow you to play
Yuriko shrugged. "I'm not surprised." She forbore
mentioning how relieved she was. School was exhausting enough without having to be on a
competition training schedule.
"So, I've decided to let you only come to practice twice a
week," Ruriko-sensei continued.
Yuriko found herself sighing with relief. "I can't thank you
enough for that! My agent is beginning to think that I'm ignoring her out of spite. Now
I'll have an extra evening to schedule interviews and auditions." She ran her hand
though her hair. "That's a huge favor, thank you."
Ruriko-sensei gave her a nasty grin. "I wasn't finished. In
return I need a favor from you." The coach leaned forward with that conspiratorial
air Yuriko liked so much.
Behind the camera, Namba knew enough to pan away, pulling himself
out of the office...he might miss the dialogue, but the mystery would make a great ending
to an episode. Cliffhangers sold. He filmed from outside the office, through the window.
Yuriko listened to the teacher with a look of extreme surprise, then began to laugh.
Perfect, Namba thought. Just perfect.
"So, we hear you have a new project in the works." The
deejay sounded like he had a head cold.
Yuriko adjusted the awkward earphones and imbued her voice with a
warm smile. "Yes, and it's very exciting."
"Can you tell us about it?" The deejay looked as bored as
"Only a little. It's a new "reality" TV show...I'm
going back to high school."
"Oh," the deejay said unconvincingly, "that sounds
"It is!" Yuriko hoped she sounded more enthusiastic than
she felt. "After all, who wouldn't want to relive the best years of their
Mari was waiting for her with a can of tea. Yuriko juggled the can
as Mari tossed it, trying to keep it off the floor.
"'The best years of their lives'?" Mari asked,
Yuriko grimaced. "Kishi-san told me to say that. I think it's
one of the possible titles for the show. 'The Best Years of Our Lives' or something like
Mari nodded, sipping from her own can. "How horrible."
Yuriko nodded, distractedly.
"Hey," Mari asked, "are you okay, Yuri? You seem kind
of out of it."
Yuriko blinked a few times. "I don't know. I've been feeling
edgy all day. I'm not sure why."
Mari grinned. "Big test coming up that you haven't studied
Yuriko stuck her tongue out at her friend. "Funny."
Mari threaded her arm through Yuriko's. "Come on, I'll treat
for dinner. The canteen has an exciting new Dadaist dish you'll like."
Yuriko laughed. "It sounds appetizing."
"Probably not." Mari smiled and dragged her friend off
towards the canteen.
Yuriko pushed some of the unidentifiable food around on her plate.
"I like the lack of color - very washed out."
"Yes," Mari agreed, "A distinct muted feel. It cries
out in pain."
"So will we, if we eat it," Yuriko pronounced, shoving the
plate away. She gazed around the crowded room. People in fruit costumes sat at one table,
a samurai walked by with a tray of food. A new idol group where whispering in one corner -
they looked twelve, okay, maybe fourteen. She sighed.
"I feel like...like I don't belong here any more." Yuriko
Mari stared at her friend in surprise. "You don't mean that, do
"Yes, actually, I do. It's only been a week, but..."
Mari gave Yuriko a hard look. "Yuri..."
Yuriko looked abashed. "I'm sorry. I guess I'm just
Mari smiled at her friend. "Keep the faith, Yuriko. Even bad
jobs come to an end." When Yuriko gave her a small smile, Mari continued, "Now -
tell me more about the girls you sit with. I'm jealous of your new friends."
Yuriko grinned. "Well...one unrequited love and one mysterious
relationship - oh, and don't let me forget to tell you about the magical lunch!"
The two friends chatted away, while around them the crowd ebbed and