|The Source of Agony|
|Character/s in the cover||Yukihito Yashiro|
|Original Release||20 October, 2016|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
The Source of Agony is the 241st chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Despite Kyoko's self-assurances that she doesn't count for a White Day gift from Ren, it continues to stay on her mind. Especially after she runs into Itsumi and hears that Ren has given all the Dark Moon female co-stars a White Day gift - except her.
It has been eight days since Yashiro offered to be Kyoko's temporary manager. He is currently waiting for her as she displays the results of her swordsmanship to Kotetsu and Kanae while sparring with two other attendants. Kotetsu and Kanae gape in awe as she demonstrates a back flip and then lands in a fighting pose. Kanae wonders in amazement at when she learned all that. Kyoko grins and says that she has been utilising the advantages of having a manager to the fullest. Kotetsu and Kanae subsequently glance at Yashiro who smiles back at them. Kotetsu looks impressed. He says there are a few areas that need working on but for a showcase sword she's done quite well. All that's left is for Kyoko to create her own Momiji as she sees fit. He looks to Kanae saying that the same applies to her as well. Kanae nods replying that she will secure the role of Chidori and then report back to him. Both she and Kyoko thank him for teaching them despite his busy schedule.
As they are walking out Yashiro asks Kanae if perchance she was heading to the Minato ward. Kanae is confused for she is but she does not recall mentioning it or did she? Yashiro tells her that this morning when she met up with Kyoko he overheard her say that she couldn't go to Nihyo with Kyoko for Kinboshi onigiri as she was going to Pull Bell. Pull Bell is a well-known beauty salon for even those in the acting industry. Kanae is still confused for this doesn't explain how he knew she was heading to the Minato Ward. Yashiro explains that of course an eternally dieting actress who is rising in the public eye and who is up to date and looking out for the latest in beauty and fashion would really be satisfied by something other than the main branch? Yashiro hit the bullseye but Kanae is really going because she hates looking like a poor person so a branch store won't do. Inwardly Kyoko is amazed that Yashiro was able to deduce Kanae's intended location merely from hearing the name of the place. What's also surprising is that a male was automatically able to recognise Pull Bell as a beauty salon. Kyoko herself thought Kanae had meant a bakery (LaLa Bell is the name of Kyoko's favourite bakery). Yashiro offers Kanae a lift since Kyoko's off to TBM next. Kanae seems a bit unsure about accepting however they are interrupted before she can answer by Yashiro's phone. Yashiro excuses himself to answer it.
Kanae asks Kyoko if she's doing Kimagure at TBM. Kyoko confirms she is. The atmosphere gets dark as she mutters that if Ren were part of a dark organisation then she might have been erased from this world without a peep due to how inconvenient that meeting was... She continues to mutter about the time she said she hated Ren as Bo and the confusion over the meaning of a phrase for being busy instead of dancing.... So inconvenient in many ways indeed. Kanae feels the dark atmosphere and wonders if was that bad? Kyoko continues saying she was deeply moved almost to tears when Yashiro offered to be her temporary manager but when the Kimagure shoot came around she began to get uneasy and scared. Kanae wonders what happened? Kyoko confesses that she still hasn't told Yashiro. She merely said it was a job she took as a Love Me member and that she's not allowed to reveal her identity, because of that she's not allowed to divulge details. Once she told Yashiro that he didn't pry and has kept his distance on the issue. Kanae becomes thoughtful as she ponders this and agrees that if one traces it back it all happened because she was forced into the job as a Love Me member so technically she's not lying. Kyoko thinks inwardly that it feels like she is being understood and even supported on a touchy subject that she doesn't want to talk about. She can understand why Yashiro was entrusted with the position as Ren's manager. Most likely the President was the one who decided it.
Kanae asks after the callouses on Kyoko's hands, are they less visible now? Kyoko delightfully says that they have gone down considerably thanks to her advice. She's been using the moisture pads on them everyday. It's amazing but she expected no less from Taizen pharmaceuticals. Kanae corrects her saying that it was actually Hiou who gave them to her while saying gruffly that actresses shouldn't get callouses on their hands. Apparently it was a return gift for Valentine's. So if Kyoko is going to thank someone she should thank Hiou since he's the one who taught her the cure-all method. Kyoko doesn't respond and keeps staring at Kanae who waves her hand in front of her face to snap her out of it. Kyoko is in tears saying she just saw an evil witch smash a plate on her lap and an image of a girl tragically crumbling to pieces - in other words she saw her own fate! Kanae is annoyed that she was daydreaming again instead of listening. Kyoko wonders what she should do, perhaps it's a prophetic vision telling her what's going to happen tomorrow? Kanae looks weary saying it's just another of her wild delusions though she hasn't the faintest idea about what is scaring her so much that Kyoko would plunge herself randomly into a nightmarish delusion. She''ll be fine. Even if the girl she mentioned enters the audition she's no match for Kyoko. Kyoko hears her but there is a thread of uncertainty in her mind. Before she was completely relaxed for it appeared that the producers were pushing for honor and impartial eyes but what if the producers and director knew Erika's identity? Sayou had said she had hidden it but the biggest sponsor was the Koenji Group so she would've been the first pick for the role if she had been known all along. If this were so was there any honor or impartiality at all...? Kyoko has gone quiet as she ponders this, obviously troubled. Kanae seems to understand that Kyoko is uncertain so she asks Yashiro if its still okay to accept the ride to the Minato ward which Yashiro says of course it is. Kanae says she would also like to make a stop along that way if possible, to a shop called Nihyo. At this Kyoko perks up and tears spring into her eyes as she flings herself at Kanae while crying out her name. Kanae does a neat side step dodging Kyoko entirely while still talking to Yashiro who is taken aback at the spectacle.
Kyoko buys the special Kinboshi onigiri which is apparently eaten for success in endeavours or exams. She is walking happily with it in a take out box with some for Taisho and his wife and tomorrow's breakfast. Yashiro drops her off at TBM and asks to let him know she's done. Heading in Kyoko sees a young lady with her back to her. She thinks the figure looks familiar... Kyoko recognises her as Itsumi Momose, her Dark Moon co-star. They greet each other saying it's been a while. Itsumi asks if Kyoko's off to work which Kyoko confirms she is. Itsumi says she's just finished but she's having some trouble getting in touch with her manager. Kyoko spies the heart charm on Itsumi's phone and compliments it, for its very beautiful. A true pretty princess type of heart so does she like these types of things too? Itsumi seems embarrassed by Kyoko's comment and demands to know if its weird?! Kyoko is confused. Itsumi asks if it's weird wearing it like an accessory? Kyoko is still confused but answers that she doesn't think it's strange. Itsumi is desperately trying to explain herself saying that it was originally part of the packaging wasn't it? Kyoko realises Itsumi is assuming that she knows what she is talking about. Kyoko asks her what is talking about with a package...? Itsumi looks stunned. She asks if she doesn't know? The return gift? Kyoko is still confused. Itsumi now looks worried as she asks Kyoko if she didn't receive one too? A return gift for Valentine's Day? From Ren? This hits Kyoko like a ton of bricks, and her eyes go blank. Itsumi informs Kyoko that Oohara also received a charm too but in a different style. She just assumed that Kyoko recieved one too especially since its something she would like... Kyoko's eyes are completely blank and she's trying to assure herself that White day means nothing to her. Itsumi is concerned about her. Kyoko explains that she did not give any chocolate to Ren on Valentine's. Itsumi is surprised for she saw her with chocolates and she gave some to everyone. So she had just assumed that she'd given some to Ren. Kyoko tells her that she knew Ren would receive a lot of chocolate so she went with a gelatin dessert. But due to this she has become irrelevant to Ren and his return gifts consequently she has missed out on being charm mates with Itsumi due to these circumstances. Itsumi does not understand, why would she be irrelevant? Kyoko explains that she did not give Ren chocolate but gelatin. Itsumi understands this but this doesn't change the fact that the Valentine's gift was filled with her heartfelt emotions. Itsumi muses that she doesn't think Ren of all people would ignore something like that. A creepy Kyoko asks Itsumi if she knows all the 100 rules of Valentines? Itsumi is confused by the question, 100 rules? Kyoko explains that if the receiver gets something other than chocolate on Valentines must they still give a return gift? Especially since return gifts have to be something other than chocolate and are now several times the cost of the original gift even under normal circumstances. For men who are wrung dry as Valentines targets this day would most likely be a huge burden and annoyance right?! Itsumi is shocked but sees the sense in Kyoko's argument. Females do have the advantage definitely. Itsumi decides that they do exist in that case, selective rules for return gifts. Kyoko perks up, for they must right? It would be very appropriate! Itsumi nods in agreement as she murmurs her assent. Kyoko grabs Itsumi hands and dances with her in jubilation for someone has confirmed that her 'rules' exist. They are interrupted by the arrival of Itsumi's manager.
Kyoko continues to reassure herself throughout the shooting of Kimagure Rock that these selective rules for return gifts exist in order to stop herself from worrying over the fact that Ren has not given her a White day gift. Especially now, since she cannot afford to be distracted for she has something important that needs her attention. She is walking to TBM's parking lot where she is greeted by Yashiro. In the car Kyoko looks solemnly at her katanas. Yashiro glances at her via the rearview mirror and tells her not to worry. If she is concerned about Kimiko Morizumi then she shouldn't be. He did say her skills weren't bad but that also means that she wasn't particularly worth mentioning. As someone who has seen her acting up close during a drama shoot he is certain that she is no match for Kyoko. Yashiro blinks as he recalls Kanae saying the exact same thing to her. He wonders if Kanae was also talking about Kimiko Morizumi too? Kyoko giggles as she confirms that this was the case. Laughing she thanks him for reassuring her. Boldly Kyoko states that she believes that too. Yashiro is taken aback by her confidence. Kyoko continues saying aside from Kimiko no matter who enters the audition she feels that she can portray a more natural Momiji than anyone else. An exceedingly real one. The only one capable of becoming Momiji is her. If only that evil witch of destruction had not revealed her powerful magic to her... What kind of strife and troubles will she face? Only time can tell what fate has in store for her tomorrow Kyoko ponders inwardly. Determined she states that this role will be her's.
Characters in Order of Appearance