|Rope of Hope|
|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Original Release||20 November, 2016|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Rope of Hope is the 242nd chapter of the Skip Beat! manga series.
Kyoko has started the second audition for the role of Momiji. She becomes concerned when most of the other participants have black hair. She wonders if she should have also dyed hers. Things get even worse when the producer, Yuki Kuresaki, walks in and dismisses Kyoko before she can even audition! What will she do now?!
In the Koenji residence, Erika's servant's set up for a meal for her however she is unresponsive and stares dully out of the window. All the servants are saddened by her lack of reaction but depart the room. Sayou remains telling Erika that he intends to go and watch the Momiji re-audition even though he knows she no longer has any interest in it for he wishes to see Kimiko Morizumi lose yet again to the Love Me member of all people. Erika twitches almost imperceptibly at the mention of Kyoko's participation in the audition. After Sayou excuses himself Erika shows emotion for the first time with her hand tightening into a fist on the armchair of her wheelchair and her faces fills with anticipation.
Kyoko, Kanae and Yashiro arrive at the studio where the audition is being held. Kyoko is amazed at its huge size. Yashiro informs them that its basically a small town for all the necessary conveniences have been installed and will most likely be used during the filming. Kyoko gets excited at the idea of spending lots of time with Kanae on set. Kanae says its unlikely for this film as a deserted location is more appropriate given the content of the story. Kyoko then gets excited at the prospect of a faraway on-location shoot with Kanae. Irritated that her suggestion merely spiked Kyoko's delighted fervor Kanae leaves her behind while walking with Yashiro. She grumbles to Yashiro about Kyoko wondering why and how she can be so happy today? What happened to her bout of weakness yesterday? It's like it never happened. Yashiro had also been wondering about it himself apparently and had ask Kyoko earlier to which she informed him that it was because she ate the Kinboshi Onigiri that morning so she's done everything possible to prepare herself. Kanae responds to this with a disgusted grumble about Kyoko's ability to bounce from negative to positive while simply blasting everyone with vibes. Yashiro is sympathetic for no doubt Kanae is often the recipient of said vibes. Kanae says that she can handle them but she can only accept them once in every five times. Kyoko is behind them looking up at the huge studio and then glances down at her wrapped katanas with a complicated expression. They go inside and the signs indicate that the Momiji auditions are upstairs on the second floor. Kanae tells her this is where they part ways now as she heads off for the Chidori audition but next time they meet will be as Momiji and Chidori. Kyoko smiles at this and they both bump fists in agreement.
Yashiro escorts Kyoko to the participants' room. Kyoko asks if he has to wait in the manager's waiting room but Yashiro insists on going see the participants so that he can help in Kyoko's strategy as the re-audition was decided quite quickly so most likely only the finalists from the previous Momiji audition would've heard about it and also a few like her who heard about it from their agency. His deductions impress Kyoko who dubs him 'Super Manager'. Kyoko takes a breath and then enters the room however none of the participants are able to recognise her and figure her to be a newbie. Kyoko immediately picks out Kimiko Morizumi, recognising her from her website picture however her overall look has changed as she has dyed her hair black and styled it to look more sharper. Kyoko guesses black probably suits Momiji's role more but she then notes almost every other participant has dyed their hair black which leaves her in a panic for perhaps she should've done so too?! She asks Yashiro if this puts her at a disadvantage and Yashiro merely smiles causing Kyoko to worry. Is that a yes or a no?!
Kimiko's manager notices Yashiro and informs Kimiko. Kimiko who was annoyed by the disruption is now interested and glances over to where Yashiro and Kyoko are and sees that it is true. Kimiko wonders about Ren, her manager suspects that Yashiro might be handling two clients. Kimiko disregards Kyoko to be of such calibre that requires Ren's manager as neither she nor anyone else seems to recognise Kyoko. Her manager says she probably hasn't starred in any television roles but if she has starred in any theatrical ones she couldn't say. Yashiro and Kyoko get settled, Kyoko is concerned that she came later than everyone else. Yashiro reassures her that since people are still standing it's fine and since there isn't a really influential actress here they don't have to worry. Kimiko approaches Yashiro and reintroduces herself. Yashiro pretends to not recognize Kimiko because of her dyed hair. Kyoko is surprised by Yashiro's behavior for he obviously knew who she was having just pointed out Kimiko earlier. Kimiko just laughs at this. Yashiro continues on complimenting her new look, her last image was cute and airy but this style is sharp and dignified. It's wonderful. Obviously pleased Kimiko smiles as she says that it fits the description of an Asian beauty right? For the Asian beauty is coming into trend so she took the plunge and went for an image change. Kyoko is confused by Kimiko's reasons, so her image change wasn't for the role of Momiji? Why then did she get the change? Kimiko's manager has now joined Kimiko's side and is staring at Kyoko with a concentrated expression. Kimiko's manager now suspects she has seen Kyoko somewhere before but can't figure out where and says as much. She queries Kyoko on her name. Kyoko says her stage name and her LME affiliation which draws a shocked reaction from all participants who are listening in. Kimiko and her manager fail to understand the other participant's reaction to this so she goes on to query Kyoko's career. Before Kyoko can say anything Kuresaki walks in.
Characters in Order of Appearance