|Violence Mission, Phase 9|
|Character/s in the cover||Ren Tsuruga and 16 year-old Kuon Hizuri|
|Arc||Violence Mission arc|
Violence Mission, Phase 9 is the 165th chapter of the Skip Beat! manga series.
The near-accident with the car stunt causes Ren to slip into a PTSD episode.
Flashback to Kuon, on foot, stopping and turning around in the street at the sound of car brakes being slammed. He sees a car with a smashed windshield and a dark-haired man in the air. He hits the ground hard and rolls. The blonde woman following screams while Kuon stares in wide-eyed, open-mouthed shock.
It's the same expression on Ren's face now. Dark Moon crew are rushing to the car Ren was driving, calling his name. The first one to reach it opens the driver's door and asks Ren if he's OK, but gets no response. Ren stares straight ahead, completely unaware of his surroundings.
The grandmother, mother, and crying son are unhurt. The adults are apologizing profusely to Ogata, who's just relieved that they are fine, and urges them to go to the hospital to be checked out anyway. They decline, stating that they were only frightened and a doctor isn't necessary.
The onlookers are murmuring in awe at the ability of both drivers to avoid hitting the child and spinning repeatedly without crashing into each other. Kyoko arrives in a noticeable state of extreme concern. She spots Ogata and rushes toward him. Ogata explains that the cars spun out without hitting each other or the child and he assumes Ren is unhurt.
Kyoko and Ogata come upon Igarashi, Kijima's stunt double who was driving the other car. Ogata thanks him for avoiding the child and Ren's car. Igarashi demurs. It was just his job, his is unhurt... but Ren... there's something wrong with him.
Kyoko and Ogata go running to Ren's vehicle, asking for a status update from the crew around it. They are told that Ren's eyes are open and he's conscious, but it's as though he can't see or hear anything. Through the windshield, Kyoko stares are Ren, her expression almost an exact copy of his. She recognizes that Ren looks just as he did when he'd nearly hurt Kei in the street fight as Cain.
The crew member talking to Ogata starts to panic, wondering if it had been right to left Ren up off the steering wheel. Maybe he has an injury to his head? Ogata leans in through the open driver's door, trying to assess what's going on with Ren.
The metaphor "a lifeless shell" feels all too real now. It's as though Ren's soul has floated off somewhere.
We flashback to the blonde woman holding the man who'd been struck by the car, screaming, "Don't die, Rick!" Kuon is motionless and staring. His shirt is covered in blood, but it had been before Rick got struck. Kuon is thinking that he needs to stop the blood or it will all flow out of Rick. He looks down to see his feet being surrounding by Rick's blood, flowing up the ankles and higher. It feels cold. Kuon begins to freeze. He can't move.
Characters in Order of Appearance