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 week.

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 you yesterday."

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 know, all of a sudden, I was just a little kid."

Yuriko was speechless. "I...I don't know what to say. I'm sorry."

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 place."

"Thank you!" Yuriko chimed in. "I figured I couldn't be the *only* one that was worried!"

"Worried?" Mikan asked. "Why would you be worried?"

"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 nodded.

"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 show business?"

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 good answer."

"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 that?"

"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 Chinese restaurant.

When Mari spoke, it was too soft for Yuriko to hear. "That's okay - Hachi and I weren't going out tomorrow anyway."