|Lucky Number '24', Part 3|
|Character/s in the cover||Maria Takarada|
|Arc||Lucky Number arc|
Lucky Number '24', Part 3 is the 117th chapter of the Skip Beat! manga series.
On Christmas Eve at 7pm, Maria and Kyoko's 'Happy Grateful Party' begins. Maria is standing at the end of the entrance welcoming the guests as they arrive. Kanae arrives and is subjected to the 'European Continent Royal Court' welcome that's been installed by the President. This includes an announcer welcoming the person to the party by name, while streamers and confetti are launched at them and trumpeters sound a call. She tells Maria that it's super embarrassing, with streamers and confetti still hanging off her. A jaded Maria and her swap looks of mutual suffering for that's the stuff the President likes; every little thing blown out of proportion.They watch the object of their discussion, currently exchanging pleasantries in Arabic among a large group of racially diverse celebrities in the 'Castle Salon' setting. Kanae gasps at the weird aura that another group is emitting within the 'Evil Forest Village'. They are Maria's friends, consisting of weird Shinto priests and people who enjoy hexing others. Kanae grumbles that she arrived too early for now she has too much time on her hands. She wonders where the main organizer, Kyoko, is. Maria tells her that she is battling on the front-lines at the moment. The front-lines being the kitchens, where Kyoko is working as a chef making some of the courses herself. As the dishes were based off her recipes and designs the other chefs are checking the finished ones with her before sending them out. Noiselessly Sebastian appears at her side, shocking her, with a message from Kanae who wishes to see her. Kyoko says she can't leave the kitchen at the moment which Sebastian relays to her. Maria says she'll probably be done by 9pm but in the meantime she must come and see the entertainment that's been prepared.
Maria hurries off to attend to matters but on her way she meets Eltra Duris (aka Uncle Tiger) who was invited by the President to attend. Maria thanks him for coming. Eltra and Lory exchange greetings and Eltra wonders why he isn't organizing the party. Lory tells him its all going according to 'that child's' plan. Eltra is now super interested in meeting Kyoko, having heard about her from Maria, for not only is she a talented actor but she is apparently a gifted chef and organizer. Lory warily agrees to introduce them. Remembering, Eltra asks about the task that Lory assigned him, when is the best time to do it? Lory doesn't reveal what the 'task' is, merely answering that they will wait until the party is almost over.
Meanwhile Maria is up on stage and having changed outfits, is now attired in a beautiful dress. She is introducing her act which consists of three piano solos. Kanae listens thinking Maria isn't bad for a kid her age, while eating absentmindedly. She jumps when some kids scream that Bo is here. Curious she looks over, the kids are jumping all over Bo and the Bridge Rock actors are looking on amused. This causes Kanae to think back on her relationship with Kyoko, remembering the time she forced her to be Bo. She never would have imagined ending up here, for she really disliked Kyoko at that time. She smiles whilst reflecting on all the things that happened.
At 9:20pm Kyoko rushes out of the kitchen, whilst calling out to Kanae. She stops when Kanae throws her a vicious glare. Kyoko wonders what's wrong. Kanae devastates her by saying 'I hate you!', for if only she came out earlier she wouldn't have gotten carried away and eaten all the delicious food. Kyoko desperately tries to apologize however they both get distracted by what's happening on the stage. Great musicians that Maria had invited have joined in on her performance, playing the music in a comical fashion to make the audience laugh. Kyoko looks on contentedly, glad to see Maria smiling happily. Kanae asks her if she felt some responsibility towards Maria since her birthday was the day her mother died making her feel depressed. Kyoko ponders this for minute, saying it wasn't really 'responsibility' but more out of 'pity' at hating one's birthday. Maria was so angry and frustrated at celebrations that she was no longer able to gain joy from them. Because of her mother's death she won't celebrate her own birthday as she must blame herself for it still. Even though she would like to spend the day with the people she loves, to accept blessings on the day her mother died would be hard. So at least today she will able to spend it carefree, with the people she cares about, and enjoy this moment of happiness. For this isn't a birthday party but a grateful party. The changed name allows Maria not to feel guilty about celebrating on this day
Maria rushes off the dance floor to drag Kyoko over to meet her Uncle Tiger. Both Kanae and Kyoko wonder if he's a gangster with a name like that. However Uncle Tiger has gone missing. Meanwhile in another room, Lory is demonstrating how to burst out of a box dramatically to an unknown man and Eltra. He tells Eltra the first half will depend on him. Dramatically Lory wraps himself in a cloak, and dons a dark hat, and a mask while saying that that this Grateful Party is about to end, let's go!
Characters in Order of Appearance