|Samurai and Hunter|
|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Samurai and Hunter is the 237th chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Lory & Jelly are driving Ren to Narita Airport in the RV. For the flight Ren is attired as Kuon. As Jelly drives Ren informs Lory that Kyoko intends to participate in the audition for Momiji. Lory is surprised that Kyoko is taking on such a low-brow role and recalls that the role is a female ninja remembering it from when he forced the other role upon Kanae. Ren explains her enthusiasm did take a dive when she realized that the role was Kanae's rival however her desire to co-star with Kanae won out in the end so Ren does not believe she will quit. Lory was worried that Kyoko's relationship with her mother may cause her some problems but it seems Kyoko is the type that even if she trips she gets up and keeps moving.
Jelly is reassuring Ren that she will be coming to meet him soon so make sure to meet up with her. They are on the home stretch now! Ren smiles and tells her he is looking forward to it. After a salute from Lory, Ren departs from the RV and heads into the airport terminal. The overhead speaker says for all those departing to Guam on the 10:45pm flight to please head to the security checkpoint. Ren is surprised by some mail on his phone and checks as he heads in to see who it is from. He is excited to see it is from Kyoko. Kyoko knows he's heading out for the final shoot of Tragic Marker in Guam. She sends her wishes and prayers that his time and shooting as Actor X goes safely. Hopefully Tragic Marker is a big success and she jumps the gun by sending him three cheers with emojis \(^o^)/\(^o^)/\(^o^)/. Although he got the emoji filled text message he yearned for, Ren gets an ominous feeling from the emojis she sent however he admits he isn't an expert on emojis. Basically he wanted them but doesn't know how to use or interpret them. Still he lets out a little laugh and looks up with determined smile on his face.
Jelly tells Lory that she believes that Ren has really loosened up since the last time he went to Guam. Lory confirms that this is true. Inwardly he thinks that both Ren and Kyoko have become lighter and freer, and if they have decided where they are going next then they should run wild and rampage to their hearts content.
Meanwhile in her room at Darumaya, Kyoko is reading the manga version of "The Lotus in the Mud" to get a better sense of her character, Momiji. She's in awe of the fighting scenes portrayed by the manga finding them easier to comprehend and visualize than when reading the novel. It shows Momiji fighting two assailants armed with katanas as she defends against them with her dual wielding style. She then uses a fast ninja move that involves a rapid swirling of the body and of her blades called "whirlwind flash fire!" that kills both men. Reading it Kyoko thinks this is so cool! She wonders if she'll be able to do something like this. She then glances happily at the reply Ren sent to her which thanks her for her support and tells her to not worry about the audition for he knows she can do it. Reading it again she is still confused by his use of this emoji ლ(ﾟдﾟლ). At first she was surprised that Ren used an emoji but now she can't figure out its meaning. For her it brings to mind Sho raging when someone thinks he is stupid or he wants something more. She gasps maybe that's what it means! She imagines that the emoji with its gimme arms is beckoning as though it wants more reports, is hungry for more news for if she looks past the cute emoji face it's kind of threatening. Maybe it's suppose to rile her up? She salutes the text telling it she will do her best. She notices the time on her phone and hurries off.
Kanae is reading a book and checks her watch. Kyoko comes hurrying up and asks if she is late. Kanae assures her she's right on time and wonders if she came here dressed like that. Kyoko who is in a tracksuit, reasons that she would have had to change anyway. Kanae thinks at least she attracts less attention than if she wore the Love Me uniform. Kyoko thanks her for giving her this opportunity to have this lesson. Kanae reminds her that it was Hiou that asked for her so she should thank him. Kyoko asks if he is around today but apparently his schedule wasn't very free so Kanae was only able to see him for a few hours. Kyoko wonders if this means that Hiou tries to see Kanae whenever he has a free moment and chortles at the idea. As they head in Kanae warns Kyoko to pay attention to her manners and etiquette for Kotetsu is very strict regarding these however she's not too concerned since it's Kyoko.
Ironically, Kyoko and Kanae walk in on Kotetsu harshly disciplining some students regarding this very same thing. Apparently they did not greet him properly for they are supposed to use "gyou" whenever passing someone of greater status. He yells at them loudly and is forcing them into the correct bowing position as they apologize and thank him. Kyoko is taken aback at this and wonders what "gyou" means. Kanae explains that she's learnt that "gyou" are the greetings used by samurai and warriors and used when the individual is in a palace or castle-like setting. It can also change depending on the other party's social status. At the training ground they pretend the teachers are people of higher social status so it's a lesson taught through real experience and sometimes feudal lords will appear without warning sending everyone into a panic. As they watch Kotetsu discipline the students, Kyoko asks if all the people here are actors appearing in historical plays which Kanae confirms. Apparently most of the time Kotetsu teaches at his personal "Stage Combat School" but he comes here from time to time if there is a collaboration request. He teaches historical drama related etiquette and manners and also comes as sword combat film scene specialist. The training ground is also used for historical drama shoots, Kanae mentions she saw Ren the other day shooting a commercial in the archery grounds so maybe he was performing archery? Kyoko sounds out the word "archery" as she imagines Ren dressed in a kimono holding a bow in his hand and taking aim. The very picture of dignified grace. She so wants to see it!
Another loud and irritated "HEY!" sounds from behind them causing Kyoko to jump. She turns around to see Kotetsu telling off another set of students for stepping on the edge of the tatami mat. He glances over their way startling Kyoko however he's face changes from stern and strict to happy and easy-going when he spots Kanae. He asks 'Kana-chan' if she has been waiting long which Kanae assures him she hasn't. When he turns to Kyoko his face turns irritated as he asks if this is the young lady who is Kanae's friend and forced her way in here by using Hiou to get her swordmanship lessons. Kyoko gulps at the sudden change in expression and apologizes for asking him to take on such an unreasonable request. Kotetsu dismisses her apology saying it sounds more like gratitude than an apology and he was reluctant but he took it on because Hiou asked. He heads into one of the rooms and takes a seat on the tatami mat. Kanae bows at the threshold and asks to be excused before she heads in. Kyoko recalls Kotetsu earlier scolding to use "gyou", as she approaches the room she sees the edges of the tatami mat and remembers Yayoi's lessons with a smile. Kotetsu watches her closely from his seated position, Kanae realizes Kyoko hasn't walked in with her and turns around to see what's kept her. Kyoko kneels outside the room and bows deeply while saying "please excuse my rudeness". She sits up again on on her knees, folds her toes under then slides her left foot forward and stands up and walks into the room while avoiding the edges of the tatami. Kotetsu tells both her and Kanae to sit, and mentions the etiquette style.
Kyoko confirms that this is the case. Kotetsu continues saying that "shin" mannerisms are only used when facing their lords, for it is the most respectful form of etiquette. He guesses that Kyoko must have learned the art of tea ceremony. Kyoko is amazed he can deduce this just from her manners. Kotetsu informs them that tea ceremony was born from the customs and culture of the samurai so it is not unusual to find the spirits of the samurai and their propriety closely linked to the world of tea ceremony. That custom truly lives in every bit of her conduct however they are completely useless for her role as a female ninja. Kyoko is shocked with this realization for its true, Momiji wouldn't need these skills to infiltrate wealthy circles for that doesn't occur in the script. Kyoko is a bit disappointed that her skills in this area will not be very helpful as they were with Choko and Ruriko. Kotetsu then demands Kyoko's name, she gives him her stage name "Kyoko" which is spelled differently to her normal one and her family name. Kotetsu states he will just call her Kyoko then which she agrees to and wonders why Kanae gets "Kana-chan". Kotetsu demands she say it louder is she an actor or what? Startled Kyoko agrees more effusively asking him to guide her and that she looks forward to working with him! Kotetsu then scolds her for yelling, he's not deaf like someone's grandpa! Kyoko is walking to the dojo thinking that no matter what she said to Kotetsu he hit with a deft counter-punch; everything she said was turned around on her and used to criticize her. She gets the feeling that even if she tried using good behavior and manners he would still think that it is more of an apology than etiquette, for she's still the girl who forced her way in here. It felt like he was thinking that every time and no matter how much she tried, so she's pretty sure he hates her. Thinking on it Kyoko doesn't blame Kotetsu for this for the way she got the appointment was rather shady and she made it last minute too.
Kanae interrupts Kyoko's thoughts by saying that Kotetsu's behavior is interesting for she thought he would take on the job without issue since the request came from Hiou. When he turned up all hostile, she didn't know what to make of it. Kyoko agrees but is glad that even though he is reluctant he is still teaching her. Kanae continues saying that its good that she got him to like her. Kyoko is shocked at this, likes her? With the way he has been treating her?! Kanae explains that it's because Kotetsu actually asked her for her name. For even though he teaches many students he never remembers their names so the fact that he asked for her name is something to be proud of. It was good that she demonstrated that samurai etiquette lives in her every action. Kyoko smiles in delight at this and Kanae smiles back. She tells Kyoko that they should hurry to the dojo for Kotetsu is frighteningly strict about promptness.
Characters in Order of Appearance