Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko may have lost the bet with her lover, but she's still got a surprise or two of her own planned.

 

Volume 4, Issue 4

"On The Mat"

 

The building looked, from the outside, much like any other building. Featureless walls broken by the occasional opaque window, gave the casual viewer no hint of the activity within. Not that there would be too many casual viewers in this isolated field near Yokohama.

Yuriko held the door for the others, and they entered a freshly painted lobby. The requisite professional receptionist greeted them and asked, with exquisite politeness, what their business was.

Stepping forward, Yuri handed over a card, and introduced herself. She muttered a few low words to the receptionist, who nodded.

"You are expected," the woman said in dulcet tones. "Please have a seat. It won't be a moment."

The four had hardly settled themselves into their seats when a woman approached them, her face wreathed in a smile. She was short, but her shoulders were visibly wide and strong. From where they sat, she looked very much like the proverbial immovable object.

Yuri bounced out of her seat, grinning. She reached out to shake the woman's hand, made a comic grimace as the woman's hand engulfed her own and staggered as the woman slapped her lightly on the shoulder.

"Long time no see, eh?" When the woman spoke, her voice was surprisingly pleasant - not at all gruff or mannish.

Yuriko laughed. "It's been a pretty long, strange trip for both of us, I guess." She turned to her friends, "Everyone, I want to introduce you to an old classmate of mine. Asahara Keiko, these are my friends."

"Asahara...san?" Mariko was clearly in shock. "Little Asahara-san? The one who started the judo club in junior high school?"

"This is amazing!" Midori said, clapping her hands. "I was at your debut match! Let's see - it was in Tokyo...against...Satou Honoko, right?"

Asahara smiled and nodded. "Exactly right." She turned to Mariko with a small bow. "On both counts."

Taking control of the situation, Yuriko formally introduced Midori and Hachi and waited as introductions were completed. "Okay," she said, clapping her hands briskly, "Asahara-san has offered to give us a tour of the training facility and be our own personal color commentator for the match."

Midori slipped her arm through Yuri's with a delighted smile. "How utterly wonderful - who knew you went to school with a professional wrestler?"

"I'm mostly doing tag team now," Asahara offered, as she held a door opened for the four of them. Hachigoro nodded his thanks as he passed, then turned to Mariko with a puzzled look. "What kind of high school did you guys attend anyway? A pop idol, a pro-wrestler..."

"...a brilliant game show producer..." Mariko supplied helpfully.

"And a genius game show producer," Hachi added dutifully. "I think the most interesting thing anyone from my high school did was go into banking."

"Don't feel bad," Midori leaned forward, "No one at my high school was very interesting either." She shrank from the withering glare she received from all three of her friends, but didn't look chastised too long.

"Asahara-san," Mariko interjected, "I remember you were into judo, but you moved away in the first year of high school."

"Mmm, right. I actually auditioned for GAEA that year." Asahara agreed.

"Asahara-san is the youngest woman ever to become a professional wrestler!" Midori added.

"Wow." Yuriko was looking around her as they walked. "It kind of looks like a regular gym here."

"It is. There's weight rooms, therapy rooms, showers, saunas, all the usual. Here's the main room, though." Once again, Asahara held open a door and immediately they were assailed by the sound, sight and smell of combat.

Only Midori moved in towards the ring that stood in the middle of the room. Smaller matted areas were filled with pairs of women practicing various techniques. The other three hung back, Mariko's face pulling back in an expression of slight distaste.

"Is it as painful as it sounds?" she asked, as a woman fell to the mat with a scream, directly in front of them.

Asahara laughed. "Only about a third."

Midori had already made it to the center ring, watching with enrapt fascination as two of the league's most popular wrestlers practiced a series of painful and difficult maneuvers. Midori turned to her friends and waved them closer, then back to the ring, her eyes shining.

"She wasn't kidding," Hachi commented, as they picked their way across a floor crowded with screaming wrestlers. "She's really into this stuff, huh?"

"As far as I can tell," Yuriko shifted to avoid a woman whose momentum as she rolled carried her past the mat. "She's completely insane," she said happily, as they joined the writer at ringside.

The next few minutes were filled with the screams of two professional warriors using honed skills, and finely trained muscle and sinews to take their opponent down. Every time a particularly brutal technique was landed, Midori clapped and cheered, while Mariko edged a little further away. At first Yuriko watched her lover, enjoying the sight of the usually mature and collected Midori jumping up and down like a child, but more and more, she found her eyes straying to the ring, noting the footwork, the timing - the sheer athleticism of the wrestlers.

At last, the two women parted, and returned to their corners to wipe sweat and blood from their faces. Asahara stepped up to the ring and grabbed a rope. Turning to Midori, she gestured with her chin. "So, you wanna try?"

Midori stared for a moment, open-mouthed. "Me? Try?" She laughed. "I don't think so, but thanks."

"Come on," Asahara reached out to grab the writer's wrist. "We'll teach you something simple."

"Really?" Midori asked the wrestler. "Would it be okay? Will I be okay?"

"Promise," Asahara stuck out one pinky, crooked to make a promise. "We won't hurt you."

"What do you think?" Midori glanced at the singer by her side.

"I think that you're barking mad for enjoying any of this," Yuriko said cheerfully. "So, you'll probably do it, learn some horrible killer technique and then write it up and win some sports journalism award."

"Why don't you join us?" Asahara grinned at the idol. "Unless you think that Yukano-san can take you in a fair match."

Yuriko lifted her hands in a gesture of defeat. "I don't think - I *know* she can."

"Oh, come on, Yuri! It'll be fun!" Midori reached out to pull the singer closer. "I'll do it, if you do."

Yuriko looked at the leering face of her former classmate, the pleading look on her lover's and the wry expressions worn by Mari and Hachi that spoke volumes. The blonde ran a hand over her face and caved.

"Okay, okay," she capitulated reluctantly. As she gave Midori a lift into the ring, she turned her head towards Mariko and said, "Don't say it - don't even think it."

Mariko shut her mouth and crossed her arms. "I wasn't going to....well, yes I was, actually." She watched Yuriko lift herself into the ring fluidly. "I'll tell you what," Mari grinned. "If you win - I'll take it all back."

Yuriko spun to face her lover, whipped her glasses off and set a fierce snarl on her face. "Ya hear that?" she growled. "I got ta defend my pride. I'm takin' you down."

"Not bad!" Asahara slapped Yuriko on the shoulder and placed some pressure on her feet. "Stand up straighter, and look down at her more, like you're six feet taller than she is. There, you got it - now say that again."

Obediently, Yuriko scowled and repeated her speech. She narrowed her eyes, as much to be able to make Midori out as for effect. When she was done, she sneered. "The Blonde Bomber is takin' you down."

Midori clapped her hands once again. "No fair!" She cried. "I'm no actor." She gestured at Asahara, "What do I do now?"

Asahara walked over, whispered a few words that Yuriko couldn’t hear and stepped away with a grin.

Midori lifted one hand to her head and pushed her hair back from her face. The other hand came up in a gun shape pointed directly between Yuriko's eyes. "Bang" she said in a breathy whisper. "You're dead." The hand that held a strand of hair, pushed back an imaginary hat, and the gun came up to pursed lips that blew imaginary smoke off the top of the "barrel." "I'm Minami Midori - baddest gun in the West. And you're mine."

Spontaneous applause from around them broke both Midori and Yuriko's concentration and they grinned like complete idiots at each other. Asahara joined in the applause, congratulating them both.

"If either of the two of you can wrestle as good as you act, you might want to consider a change of career," she offered.

"Oh, hey thanks," Yuriko said cheerfully. "Because I was thinking about leaving my nice cushy job as singing idol to millions of cute girls to work covered in sweat and blood as a professional wrestler."

"Just for that," Asahara nodded, "I'm going to make sure that I teach Yukano-san my finishing technique." She smiled at Midori who mimed an elbow to the gut.

"Death Valley Bomb!" the writer yelled, while Yuriko grimaced.

"How on earth do I get into these situations?" she asked.

"That was a rhetorical question I assume?" Hachi responded. "Because the answer is usually something to do with a pretty girl."

"Oh, right," Yuriko agreed. "Yeah, that's usually it."

 

Continued

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