Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko's weekend began with a night of glamour and glitz - and a reminder that she's not the only one with problems.

Volume 4, Issue 3



When Yuriko awoke on Sunday morning, the world had completely altered. Where the day before seasonal rains drenched man, woman and child, today the city stood in stark clarity of bright summer sunshine, sans humidity or heat. As Yuriko dressed, she smiled at the television newscaster who was reporting on a clear sunrise from Mt. Fuji, and interviewing the crowds who had arrived in time to enjoy it. It made Yuriko happy just to know that there were people who would see sunrise from Mt. Fuji - even if she herself was extremely unlikely to ever join them.

She whistled happily as she combed her hair, her eyes fixed on the window and the bright, fine day outside. It was a startling contrast from the day before, when the downpour had caused the cancellation of an outdoor photo shoot. Dance practice had gone on as scheduled, however and that, she thought, had been rather...interesting.

Yuriko ran her fingers through her hair, pulling the longer strands into the customary position over her right eye, then settled her glasses on her nose. She stared into the eyes that looked back at her from the mirror, pleased with herself. She headed out to the kitchen area, made herself a cup of tea and waited. And thought.

With the tour becoming ever more imminent, everyone's tension level was notching up appreciably, When she had arrived at the studio yesterday, she had found Renzo in intense discussion with several key staff members, including the choreographer, stage director and musical director. The result was a few small alterations of the program to which she had had no objections. When the meeting had broken up, it had been the hapless stage director who had won the job of breaking the news to Mayumi. But apparently, all fears had been unfounded, and the stage director had been spared any backlash - at least this time.

Nonetheless, after the previous day's outburst, Yuriko had approached dance practice with caution. Madame Sophia arrived, announcing that they would be working on the new arrangement, and Yuriko and Mayumi had taken their positions with no extraneous commentary.

And then they had started to dance.

Something had happened, then. Yuriko wasn't sure what it was. Both she and Mayumi had been entirely professional with each other - no more or less than two women at the height of their careers should have been - but something had changed and Yuriko had felt it immediately. The tension that had always filled Mayumi, that had thrummed through her skin and jangled Yuri's nerves, was...different. It was still there, but there was something else, some sense of satisfaction or glimmer of passion, that gave it a life of its own. Instead of lying there, coiled under the surface and ready to strike, Mayumi's energy had filled the room, reaching out and gathering everything into its orbit. Yuriko found herself warming to it, being drawn in by it, and staring deeply into the other woman's eyes. The part of her that had not been captivated, screaming shrilly that it was a trap.

Yuriko drank her tea, humming a song about a spider calling for flies to join her and watched the clouds slip by idly.

Yuriko knew that it would never matter what Mayumi said or thought or did, as long as they put on a good show. And yesterday, they had. When they had finished dancing there had been a long moment of complete silence, then Madame Sophia's stick had struck the floor with enthusiasm./

"Yes!" The little, old Romanian had cried, pounding the stick into the floor beneath her feet in applause. "Yes, *that* is what it is supposed to look like."

Once again Mayumi had not been what she appeared, and Yuriko was no closer to understanding what or who her co-star really was.

It was just that today, in the light of a beautiful morning, with only weeks left before the tour, it simply didn't matter.


Midori pulled away from a "good morning" peck that had become something altogether different and smiled exultantly. "I'm going to have to come over more often in the morning," she said, laying a gentle kiss on Yuriko's cheek.

Yuriko returned the favor, then moved away to the kitchen. "Tea?" she asked. "Mari and Hachi ought to be here shortly."

"Please." Midori sat on the sofa. "Before I get distracted by you - or anything else," she grinned up at her lover, who laid a cup and saucer on the table in front of her, "I wanted to ask you if you knew what was up with Ritsuko?"

Yuriko cocked her head questioningly. "Haven't you heard from her?"

"Only a short phone message late Friday night - well, early Saturday morning, saying that she had something to take care of and that she'd call me later." The writer picked up the cup and brought it towards her lips. "I didn't feel like I had the right to pry."

"Mmm," Yuriko agreed noncommittally

Midori laughed. "It's okay, you know. You can say you agree."

"Well then, I think you're right - you don't have the right to pry." Yuriko smiled complacently. "Can one say 'I told you so' when one agrees with the other person?"

"No, and you'd better not try," Midori said firmly. "Seriously, though, do you know what's up? Or, I should say, I assume that you know more than I can guess. I can guess that she's with her lover, but other than that..."

Yuriko shook her head. "I can't really help you, I'm afraid, except in a general way." And she recounted her last few minutes in the pouring rain two nights previously, while a triumphant Ritsuko made her apologies and went off with the man who had been her lover. Yuriko was left to wait for her car, alone. "I kind of assumed she'd call you and let you know what was happening."

"And I assume that her not doing so is a particularly pointed form of revenge," Midori chuckled. "I think that, at some time soon, she and I are going to have to have a real talk about some things." Her smile broadened, "And I think I'm coming to quite like my little sister."

"Be sure to tell her that, and she might even come to like you too."

Luckily, just as Midori was about to retort, the door opened and Mariko entered with an appallingly cheerful greeting.

"Hi ho, my darlings!" Mariko swept into the room in a way that made Yuriko instantly recoil.

"Mari!" she said, scandalized. "Have you become a gay man while I wasn't looking?"

Mariko laughed and said, "No, I'm trying out being an early twentieth- century British mystery novel character for a change. How do you like it?"

"Hate it," Yuriko grumped. "Can't you pick, oh, I don't know, something less cheerful?"

"Perhaps a melancholic fairy tale princess?" Mari thought about it. "Midori-san, what do you think?"

"I think something American would suit you better - a power-hungry business woman from a romance novel, or a something from a nighttime soap opera."

"Oooh," Mariko said, her finger pressed against her lips. As the door opened and Hachi joined them, she whirled on her fiancée with a scowl. "Hachi, they don't like my new persona."

Hachi patted Mari's arm consolingly. "I told you that Yuriko would prefer something Heian." He shot the other two women a knowing look. "I tried for schoolgirl, for myself, but she wasn't having any of it."

"Well," Yuriko said, grabbing Hachi's free arm and tucking herself into it. "I think you're in luck today, because as were all indulging in Midori's terrifying hobby, I think we should *all* be high school students today."

"Oh no!" Midori said, "And I just had my nails done, too."



Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations copyright E. Friedman and Yurikon LLC. All Rights Reserved.