Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story so Far: Yuriko's second shot at high school seems to
be getting weirder, as the mysteries that are her daily lunch and her homeroom teacher
come to the fore.
Volume 1, Issue 17
Yuriko awoke smiling. She was feeling happier than she'd been in a
while, although she couldn't say why. Perhaps Ruriko-sensei's company had been the cause.
She really was a lovely woman - and she danced very well indeed.
Moving briskly through her morning ablutions, Yuriko dressed,
gathered her things together for school and was out the door faster than she had been all
She walked the last few blocks to school wondering about the sense
of general unease that had filled her recently. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she
made a resolution to find the answer before the weekend.
Abe-sensei was absent. Yuriko had tried to find him yesterday before
she left school for the day, but he hadn't been seen since science class. When homeroom
was about to begin, the Principal entered.
"Abe-sensei has had to take a short leave of absence due to
personal concerns. He'll return as soon as possible," the Principal's deep voice
rumbled. "Until a substitute can be found, science class will be self-study. Thank
you for your cooperation." After the Principal left, Sato stood and took attendance.
Yuriko turned to Sayaka, "I told you something funny was up
with him. Does he drink or anything like that?"
The girl shrugged indifferently. "No - well, not that I know
of." She looked at the blonde curiously. "Why do you want to know, anyway?"
"I don't know - there's something about him...."
"Oh." Sayaka said blankly.
Yuriko gave her a hard look. "I'm sorry about running out on
Sayaka kept her eyes on her notebook. "It wasn't that. I could
see Aya was upset - and I think it was nice of you to go after her. It's just
that...." her voice faded out.
"Just what?" asked Yuriko.
Sayaka's face scrunched up a little, as she tried to frame her
words. "Up until yesterday, you've treated me like an equal. But when I asked you
about...you know, all of a sudden, I was just a little kid."
Yuriko was speechless. "I...I don't know what to say. I'm
Sayaka waved her apology away. "No, you see - you were right. I
went home last night and thought about it. You're being really nice to me, calling me
"sempai" and all, but," she paused, "really, you've become my
sempai." She looked up and smiled at the older woman. "I realized just how much
I look up to you - and we've only known each other two weeks. It surprised me."
Yuriko considered that. "Remember that conversation we had when
we met, about me never fitting in? All my life people have had very strong reactions to
me, one way or another. My friend Mari's fiancée calls it my "magic power."
Sayaka laughed at that. "Like Sawako-sensei?"
"Or Yamamoto-san. I've come to rely on it, because without the
friends I make, I'd have no family at all." She smiled at the girl. "My
friends," Yuriko spoke deliberately, "*are* my family."
Sayaka looked up and met Yuriko's eyes. "Thank you," she
said after a moment, then smiled.
Today's lunch was a cold noodle dish - it even included two homemade
cookies. A few of the girls from the basketball team had joined them for lunch, including
Noda Mikan, her team sempai. They all watched the "opening of the bento"
ceremony with great interest and many comments of jealousy.
"I wish someone did that for me!" Mikan said, as she
looked at her own ungainly bento in disapproval.
"Become a famous idol and maybe someone will," another
girl said. Mikan made a face.
"So," the third girl asked Aya, "there's been a new
lunch every day this week?"
Aya nodded vigorously. "It's the biggest mystery in the
school," she said.
"No it's not," the second girl, Yuriko recalled her name
as Emi, from her first day in school. "What happened to Abe-sensei has to be first
"Thank you!" Yuriko chimed in. "I figured I couldn't
be the *only* one that was worried!"
"Worried?" Mikan asked. "Why would you be
"Aren't you? He's looking terrible, he disappears...."
Yuriko looked from one face to another, but no one looked more than slightly intrigued.
"Maybe, " the third girl, Natsuki, said, "he's having
trouble with his wife...or a mistress. Or both."
Most of the heads at the table nodded. "It's probably just
something sordid like that." Sayaka commented.
Yuriko looked around again. She'd forgotten this about high
school...if it didn't affect you personally, it wasn't important. Oh well, she'd figure
that out eventually, too. Add it to the growing list of mysteries.
Today was the day to go over the writing club interview questions.
It had been decided that each member would come up with a question to be asked of Yuriko.
The actual interview would take place at the next meeting, presided over by Ogawa and
filmed in the school studio by the television crew. Each student spent this meeting
formulating the question that would best allow their own and Yuriko's individuality to be
expressed in the interview.
All in all, it was a challenging assignment. While most of the club
members had heard many media interviews - and knew how boring and lackluster they were -
few had ever tried to write for one.
Yuriko pitched in, trying to come up with a question of her own that
would best convey herself as a writer - and as a performer. When the club's time came to
an end, more than a few heads wagged in regret.
Ogawa handed Yuriko the papers, shaking his own head. "That was
a lot tougher than I thought!" He laughed. "I'd better practice that more if I
want to be in journalism."
"Is that what you want to do?" Yuriko inquired. The boy
"Definitely!" His eyes lit up with enthusiasm. Yuriko
could see Sayaka trying to listen without being obvious, but she could also see something
Sayaka could not. Behind the club president stood another member, one who watched her with
the same expression she watched Ogawa. Yuriko grinned internally. There was nothing she
loved more than a challenge.
Mari leaned forward earnestly. "So, Yuriko, what led you to
Yuriko's lip curled. "Really? That's so...average."
Mariko looked at the paper in front of her and shrugged.
"They're only high school kids, after all."
Yuri looked down at the paper she held in her hand and read,
"'What was one of the defining moments of your life?'" She nodded. "That's
not half bad."
Mari agreed. "What *was* one of the defining moments of your
life?" she asked curiously.
Yuriko considered. "Well, meeting you was one." She smiled
at her friend. "Would you mind if I answered with that story? I think it would make a
"Sure!" Mari said, and laughed. "It was pretty much
one of my defining moments, too."
"And then there was the day I met Junko..." Yuriko sighed
nostalgically. "And of course, the day I was thrown out."
Mari nodded slowly. "That was a day, all right. I remember it
like it happened yesterday."
"Me too," Yuriko said. She gestured to the pile of
questions Mari held. "Next."
Mari flipped through the next few, looking for one that stood out.
"Role model, that's alright, favorite color...oh, wait, here's a really odd
one." She pulled out a sheet and read, "'If you could be any kind of material,
which would you be?'" Mari pointed to the signature. "Look! It's from your
little fan, Mie."
Yuriko shuddered, but thought about the question. "Silk,"
she answered at last.
Mari raised an eyebrow. "Would you care to elaborate on
"No," Yuriko said firmly and shot her a look.
"Aren't we all uptight?" Mariko teased. "When was the
last time you went out on a real date, anyway?"
Yuriko stared at her friend in surprise. "Do you know? I can't
remember!" She slapped her hands on her knees as she counted back the days.
Mari laughed at her. "That would explain why you've been so
tetchy lately..." she giggled at Yuriko's shock.
"I have not been tetchy!" The blonde insisted. She stopped
for a moment, and considered. "All right, I have been. Am I really that bad - two
weeks without "companionship" and I'm crawling out of my skin?" She caught
the look in Mari's eyes.
"Yes." Both women said simultaneously and laughed.
"Well," Yuriko stood and walked over to the closet,
"that's easily rectified." She reached into the inner pocket of her jacket and
pulled out a business card. Picking up the phone she said over the mouthpiece to Mari,
"I'm sorry, I won't be able to make dinner tomorrow with you and Hachi...I'll have a
previous engagement." She smiled at the phone and asked for the waitress from the
When Mari spoke, it was too soft for Yuriko to hear. "That's
okay - Hachi and I weren't going out tomorrow anyway."