Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story so Far: As Yuriko's second week at Mitsukawa high moves along, she seems to be the only one to have noticed her homeroom teacher's collapse. She's still getting mysteriously appearing lunches, and love letters…but at least she's doing better in Japanese class.


Volume 1, Issue 15

"Return to Zero"


Yuriko finished putting away the cleaning equipment and headed for her seat. She could hear some of the early arrivers chatting amongst themselves. They appeared to be discussing some new pop group. Pop music wasn't her gig; she sang it, but didn't like it much.

As she passed, one of the girls called out to her, followed quickly by the others. She stopped and smiled down at them.

"Yuriko-san," a slightly heavy girl asked her, "you like music right?"

Yuriko nodded pleasantly.

"What's your favorite song?" a girl with very long hair asked.

"Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor."

The girls found this hysterical. When they stopped giggling the heavy one said, "No, really, Yuriko-san. What's your favorite?"

Yuriko looked at her, puzzled. "That *is* my favorite."

For a solid second, there was dead silence, then the long-haired girl broke in. "But you know that new band, right? The Threetones?"

Yuriko shook her head slowly. "I don't…oh, wait! Are they three girls, they look twelve, all have nose pierces?"

The girls all nodded enthusiastically.

"Well," Yuriko admitted. "I've never actually heard them. I just saw them at the studio last week."

The girls boggled at her. "At the studio…?" the heavy girl asked.

"Well, sure. I had to check in, see my agent, do an interview…" Yuriko stopped as she realized what she was saying. The girls stared at her wide-eyed and starstruck all over again. She sighed internally.

Smiling brightly, she came up with a brilliant suggestion. "Hey, I have to stop by again in a week or so - would you like to see the studio? I can probably arrange for a tour…" the cries of delight drowned out her last words. In mere seconds every new person entering the class was informed of the tour…and Yuriko was beating herself up for opening her big mouth. She slunk over to her desk, nodding politely to anyone who asked a question.

Aya entered and came directly over. "Is it true?"

Yuriko looked up wildly. "What? That I'm losing my mind? Definitely."

Aya giggled. "No, that you've offered to take us on a tour of your studio."

"Oh, that." Yuriko waved nonchalantly. "I actually offered to set up a tour, but the way my luck is running, I'll be leading it myself." Looking at the cameraman who stood immediately on her left, filming a close-up, she had a thought and buried her face in her arms. "And they'll film it, won't they?"

Aya patted her shoulder shyly. "It won't be that bad, I'm sure."

Yuriko thanked her and waved as Sayaka entered.

The girl waved back as she came over. "I've already heard." She smiled. "You're very impulsive, you know?"

Yuriko looked at her seriously. "You sound just like my friend Mariko."

"You talk about her quite a bit - how long have you been friends?" Sayaka looked thoughtful.

"Since we were kids," Yuriko said. "We were neighbors when we were very little." She smiled gently. "We've been close from way back. Someday I'll introduce you. I think you'd like her and vice versa."

When Abe-sensei entered, Yuriko took a long, relieved breath. He didn't look any worse - and maybe even a very little better. At least he didn't look as if he'd slept in his clothes, and his face wasn't gray anymore. She sent up a general sort of prayer for him, just glad that he hadn't gone and done anything rash. Mariko was probably right in the end, he must have just had an illness in the family.

When he called her name, Yuriko smiled at Abe-sensei and was rewarded with the tiniest of smiles in return. No, Mari was most likely right after all.


It's been a long week, Yuriko thought, but at least Sawako-sensei hasn't been overtly hostile. After last Saturday's blow-up, he seemed to have calmed down to a low simmer. Class wasn't any easier, but he seemed to have tired of abusing her specifically.

Until today. By the time math class was over, Yuriko had a pounding headache in the middle of her forehead. He had called her to the board eight times. She had gotten six of the problems right, but he still didn't seem satisfied. She blew out a frustrated breath and rubbed her temples as she sat for the last time. She wondered if she had any aspirin on her and decided that she probably didn't.

When class ended, Sawako-sensei called Yuriko up to the front of the room. Bristling at her from under heavy brows he spoke to her in a low, threatening tone. "If you think you can get through my class without working, you're wrong."

She bit back the reply that sprang to her lips. Clearing her throat she said, "I'll do my best," and gave him a thin smile.

His face grew tight, his lips pursed and he stared hard at her. "That won't be good enough," he said and dismissed her.

She sank back down in her seat, defeated.


"So, what's for lunch today?" Aya asked brightly.

Yuriko held up today's mystery lunch. "Feels like a sandwich." She hefted the box a bit.

"And you still don't know who's leaving them?" Aya was amazed. "You'll have to come to school at the crack of dawn to find out."

"I am asleep at the crack of dawn," Yuriko said. "And I don't plan on changing that." She unwrapped the bento, and noted that she had been correct. A very nicely made sandwich greeted her. She picked it up with some relish. "Man, I am so hungry."

"After your workout with Sawako-sensei, I'm not surprised." Sayaka joined them with a tray of food. She placed a can of tea in front of Yuriko and one in front of Aya, then took the last for herself.

"Thanks!" Yuriko said and took a gulp of the tea. "Whoever it is who's leaving these," she said with a grin, "makes lunch much better than I ever would. I'm grateful to whomever it is."

Three girls walked past Yuriko and she glanced up to smile at them. Two waved slightly, but from the third all she received was a frigid stare.

"Whoa," Aya whispered, "what did you do to Yamamoto-san?"

Yuriko waited until the three girls passed out of hearing. "I honestly don't know!" Her nerves were more frayed than she realized and her voice cracked a little. She sighed. "You'd think I'd seduced her older sister or something."

Without noticing the looks on the two girls' faces she continued. "Maybe that's it! I hadn't even considered that...does Yamamoto-san have a sister?" She looked from one gaping girl to another, then again and finally ended with a lame "What?"

Aya was the first to break. Her eyes were huge and more than a little scandalized as she stared at Yuriko. "How could you say such a thing?"

"What?" Yuriko asked, a little confused.

Sayaka's reaction was completely different. Her face was red with embarrassment as a wave of nervous laughter took over.

Yuriko backtracked in the conversation, then flushed. "Oh, sorry...I wasn't thinking."

Aya stood suddenly. "That was really thoughtless," she said coldly and left the table.

Yuriko stared after her for a moment then turned to Sayaka who was gazing after her as well. "I am sorry," she began, "but what was that all about?"

Sayaka shook her head. "I don't know." Turning to Yuriko, she asked, all gossipy. "Have you really had so many lovers that you can't remember them all?"

Yuriko gazed at the girl. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything," she apologized.

"But..." Sayaka began.

Yuriko held up a hand to stall her. "No. I'm sorry. We really can't have that conversation. Excuse me." And she stood, bowed, then left, following in Aya's footsteps.