Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: After a day of rest and shopping, Yuriko has finally met the man of her dreams - he'll be cleaning her apartment. She's ready to face another day of school, she thinks.

Volume 2, Issue 1

"A Pebble into a Pond"

Yuriko yawned as she approached the school. Waving at Uto and his gang, she wasn't surprised to get an earful of obscenities in return. Only Togai returned her greeting. Funny kid - he was too polite to be a punk. She wondered briefly why he hung out with them, then decided it was none of her business and dropped it.

Sayaka and Aya were already seated in the classroom. She greeted them and took her seat mere moments before the door slid open to reveal that  Abe-sensei had not yet returned. Today's substitute was an older woman, short, overweight and solidly dependable-looking. Homeroom was conducted with a minimum of fuss.

Aya poked Yuriko lightly and whispered, "Lunch?"

Yuriko nodded. "Yup."

Sayaka giggled. "Whoever it is, is really persevering - I'm impressed."

"Me too," Yuriko said, but privately she was a little worried. Mystery lunches were fine, but some poor kid was going to a lot of trouble to make them, and she'd like to thank them. She snapped her fingers.

Raising her hand, she asked the substitute if she could make an announcement before homeroom was over. The teacher nodded, and she stood.

"Last week, a tour of the studio I work at was mentioned and I said I'd see about arranging one." A vocal wave of curiosity filled the room. "I've arranged for a tour of up to 50 students to see the studio next Saturday. If you'd like to come, just let Sayaka-sempai know." Yuriko glanced a question at the girl, who flushed, but nodded. "Thank you." Yuriko bowed and sat. The background buzz continued as she turned to Sayaka.

"Sorry about that - I wanted to make sure the writing club was invited - and I have a few people on the basketball team I wanted to invite, too. Everyone knows you and you're popular," she pretended not to notice the other girl's embarrassment, "so I thought you'd make the perfect person to act as coordinator." She grinned, turning on the charm, "And you're so much more organized than I am...." Letting her eyes plead her case, Yuriko was pleased to see Sayaka succumb graciously.

"Of course, I'll be honored." Sayaka said, blushing at both the compliments, and the charm.

"I'm first on the list!" Aya said. "I don't care much about the studio, but I want to see Yuriko-kun off hours!" The girl laughed at the blonde's reaction. "What? You're famous - we all want to be seen with you."

Yuriko gave her head a jerk. "I hadn't thought of that - maybe I should charge extra for photos." And laughed at the expressions on the girls' faces.


Sawako-sensei had a charming little habit of beginning every week with a quiz. It was one of his better features, Yuriko decided, because at least it was predictable. She gnawed one set of nails when the pencil itself was in use, but was pleasantly surprised to finish the quiz with time to spare. She looked up as she finished, triumph visible on her face and caught the teacher's eye. Ha, you old windbag, take that, she thought, as she gave him her most impudent of grins. He gave no indication of having seen it, but simply went back to his papers.

"You finished pretty fast this time," Aya whispered as the papers were collected.

"I've been studying. I'm not going to let a pompous old beast like him ruin my day." Yuriko declared.

"Go for it!" Aya said, keeping one eye on the teacher, whose glance kept coming back to their group.

"Were you a good student when you were in school?" Sayaka asked furtively. Yuriko was impressed - she barely moved her lips as she spoke.

"Nope." Yuriko muttered. "Unless I couldn't help myself." She could hear Aya chuckling, but Sawako-sensei had wandered in their direction, so she didn't respond. The three women all stared at the front of the room innocently.


Yuriko swallowed the last bite of her pork dumpling with something like ecstasy. "That was the best nikuman I have ever had," she said with immense satisfaction. "If that wasn't homemade, I can't imagine what is." She looked around at the dozen or so faces that shared her table. "What?" No one would meet her eyes. "What?"

Mikan leaned over and grinned evilly at the blonde. "That must have been a world's record for speed eating." Everyone nodded in agreement.

"It wasn't so much the speed,, the gusto." Aya added critically.

"You mean the noise," Emi added with a giggle.

"Are you saying," Yuriko demanded indignantly, "that I was snorting my food?"

No one spoke for a moment.

"Like a pig." Sato was the one who broke at last.

As Yuriko looked around, offended, the entire table lost it and began to laugh. Yuriko smirked and took a loud slurp of her tea.

"So you really haven't found out who leaves them for you?" Yuriko had already noted that Yamazaki Jun had joined their group, but was surprised when he actually spoke up.

"No." Yuriko said, and drank some more tea. "I'm torn, actually. Someone's going to a lot of trouble to make these for me, and I'd like to thank him or her...but, oh well, I don't know - I like the mystery too."

"Maybe we could form a club, and watch your locker in shifts." A girl from the writing club piped up. Yuriko wasn't sure of her name.

"No, I don't think so, Hana-chan," Sayaka answered for Yuriko. "For one thing - this isn't an anime!" Everyone laughed. "And for another, I'm not sure it would be right to force this person out into the open. If they wanted to be known, they'd leave a note or something."

Yuriko agreed. "But," she reached into her pocket and pulled out an envelope. "I think I've figured out a way to thank my benefactor and maybe," she lowered her voice conspiratorially, "figure out who it is."

"What is it?" Several voices asked.

"A ticket to the studio tour." Aya answered. When everyone else turned to look at her she blushed. "I'm good at mysteries," she said by way of explanation.

"Exactly, Watson." Yuriko said. This evinced snickers from the writing club members.

"But if they're really shy, they may not come." Sayaka commented.

"Well, sure, that's always a possibility." Yuriko thought about it, then smiled. "No, I think I can get them to come." She pulled a pen out of her pocket and took a piece of paper. In a moment, she had written her daily note of thanks, slipped it in the envelope and after wiping the box clean, left the envelope inside. At that moment, the bell rang signaling the end of lunch. The crowd split up quickly, leaving only Aya, Sayaka and Yuriko.

Aya looked off in one direction. Yuriko followed her gaze and saw the receding figure of Yamazaki Jun. Aya seemed to come to some decision, turned to Sayaka and Yuriko and bowed. Making some excuse she left them and walked after the boy. Yuriko was pretty sure that her face mirrored Sayaka's surprised look.

"Does she know him?" Sayaka asked.

"Um," Yuriko agreed. "Apparently."

Sayaka smiled. "There you go - getting all adult on me again. If you're going to be a real high school student, you have to engage in more gossip than that." She laughed at her joke.

Yuriko glanced down at the girl with a smile. "When I get any good dirt, I promise to pass it on." She held her hands up stalling Sayaka's comment. "Really. I don't know anything worth sharing." She gave a small twitch of her head in the direction of the cameraman. Namba stood off to their left, following their progress into the school.

Sayaka started. "Oh!" She exclaimed, as if she had forgotten the camera's existence. She stopped and bowed deeply towards the blonde. "I completely forgot! I meant to ask you..." She stood and hesitated. "I was   wondering...that is... would you be free to join me for dinner with my  family one night this week? I'll understand if you're too busy..." The girl's face was pink and shiny with embarrassment.

Yuriko was charmed. "I'd love to!" She told the girl to stay put, jogged over to the PA, exchanged a few words and came back to face Sayaka. "I realize I'm not giving you much room to prepare, but would tomorrow night be alright? I have basketball practice tonight, and..." she seemed to reconsider. "Oh, well, I'll have to cancel..." her voice faded into a mutter.

"Oh, no! Don't cancel anything on my account!" Sayaka was horrified, but Yuriko patted her gently on the shoulder.

"Don't worry about it - it's easily reschedulable. No, really, I'm honored. Thank you." Yuriko bowed her thanks. "It is really very nice of you to offer. I realize I'm a big inconvenience."

Sayaka laughed. "It's purely self-preservation. My parents are dying to meet you. They want to know the face behind the name."

"Oh, great. You're taking me for an interrogation, aren't you?" Yuriko reached out for the classroom door and slid it open.

"Of course!" Sayaka answered without hesitation. "They need someone to blame for my willfulness and general misbehavior."

Yuriko nodded sarcastically, then began to laugh. "Of course."