|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Original Release||December 20, 2016|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Undead Monster is the 243rd chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Kyoko has been dismissed from the second Momiji audition but she refuses to give up until she has shown her Momiji to the judges, so she bursts in after Kimiko concludes her audition. The judges are impressed by her resolve and their interest is renewed after looking at her resume. Producer Kuresaki says something into the microphone that lights Kyoko's face up with challenge and determination. What did he say or ask Kyoko to do? Will Kyoko have one more shot to secure the role of Momiji?
Kyoko prepares her katanas, screwing on the counter-weights and taking off the stopper as she thinks back on the earlier conversation with Yashiro. Flasback: Kyoko lets out a aggrieved yell when she finds out that Yashiro knew that Producer Kuresaki really hates people who don't prepare and set-up for a role in advance. Yashiro confirms that this is so, that Producer Kuresaki is well-known for it. Apparently he is one of the most difficult people in the industry. Kyoko goes voiceless in shock and wonders where her "Super Manager" went. In tears she asks why he didn't tell her that earlier, since it was such an important detail. Yashiro smiles saying that he thought that it might help to leave a bigger impression. Kyoko doesn't care about bigger impressions, as it just got her kicked out of the audition! Yashiro nods, that was the point. This halts Kyoko's crying jag as she wonders what point? Yashiro tells her to think about it, is she really going to back down quietly because of this?
Kyoko slides her prepared katana into it's sheath with a determined expression. Yashiro crosses over the lawn to her and asks if she's all set. Kyoko is securing both katanas into an intricate cloth holster and she confirms that she is. There's only one thing left as she reaches into her bag and grabs a rolled cloth. She grabs the ends of the cloth and whips it in a fast motion to unravel it. She then ties the cloth around her forehead as a bandana with the ends trailing behind her. Yashiro informs her that the audition has changed locations to the first floor gymnasium so let's go. Kyoko nods yes with a grim yet fierce expression. As they depart Sayou, Erika's bodyguard pops up from the hedge. He is obviously here to spy on the audition for Erika. He seems impressed that Kyoko brought her own katanas. He thinks she must be very passionate due to this. He inwardly cheers her on hoping she pulverises Kimiko Morizumi for Erika.
Inside the gymnasium, contestant Takako walks in. She is surprised at how far away the judges table is set from the entrance and wonders why. She is told that she is Momiji so choose an appropriate katana from the selection provided. Takako muses that the key details about Momiji's katanas are that they are ninja katanas about 60cm long and makes her choice. In the waiting room Kimiko Morizumi wonders to her manager if they're going to be made to do the same thing as before. Her Uncle Jouji told her that they were apparently going to check their stage combat with a light exercise. Her manager thinks that with Producer Kuresaki on the job it most likely won't be exactly the same as before. Kimiko thinks the most important part of the audition should be the reaction test that takes place after the stage combat test right? The manager hums an agreement but doesn't Kimiko already know what they are looking for since she heard from her Uncle so she shouldn't have any trouble beating everyone in that category. Kimiko isn't happy despite this saying she would have rather her Uncle had passed the information during the Chidori audition instead. Or even during the first Momiji audition! If he had helped her and pulled a few strings the part would've already been hers during the first audition. There never should've been a re-audition in the first place. It should've ended like that, but now they have to go the long way round! On top of all that, this re-audition is simply for keeping good relationships with the sponsors. Inwardly she thinks especially when this part is going to be hers anyway! The manager guesses that because her Uncle didn't help her with the Chidori audition or the first Momiji audition she feels it was his fault too. So did he give her any tips this time? Kimiko gives a frustrated sigh as she says that her Uncle was probably told not to say anything by Producer Kurasaki so its the same this time around too.
Kimiko is then called over the P.A. system. She complains that they're just wasting time making her wait. She sees Takako on her way out of the gymnasium, who is rubbing her hands. Kimiko gives a triumphant smirk after she passes by. She knocks and enters the gymnasium. There are three judges at the table; the Director: Jouji Morizumi, the Lead: Hiromune Koga, and the Production Committee: Kouzou Futahashi. Producer Kuresaki also looks on from a standing position. Kimiko and her uncle exchange a knowing glance before he tells her that she is Momiji and to pick a sword and then approach them. Kimiko glances at the swords and inwardly reflects that this part seems to be the same as last time; to choose swords befitting of Momiji and then walk up before the judges. According to her Uncle there was already a huge difference between her and Erika Koenji by this time. For that girl did not just walk up but silenced the sound of her footsteps as a ninja would and utilised her training in classical ballet to tread lightly and then as if she were gliding, she dashed over. Kimiko takes her shoes off to copy this and runs towards to the judges table then stops. The rapid stop on the smooth floor causes her to slide the last few feet. It was intentional however it looked rather silly for Koga stifles laughter and her Uncle puts his head in his hands. Kimiko is irritated because she knows this isn't what it was supposed to be. It wasn't ideal but how else was she suppose to run and glide over like a ninja. It's better than doing nothing! Anyway the real test starts now. She's still grumbling that she doesn't notice Kuresaki reach for a sword. He shouts at her, questioning the character's motivation. Turning at the shout she is shocked to see Kuresaki coming at her with a now unsheathed sword as he again demands to know about the character. She puts up her swords to defend herself. She blocks the blow, stunned at how heavy it is. He keeps coming at her, repeatedly demanding. Kimiko is struggling to block the blows at the same time pondering how to answer him. A name?! She wonders inwardly if should she just give him her name. She then scolds herself for Momiji would never give her name to someone beating her down so then maybe she should give her alias? She yells out that her name is Kamaitachi! Just as she does she is knocked down and disarmed. Kuresaki looks down at her seemingly unimpressed, Kimiko is out of breath but he seems unfazed from all the exercise. Kuresaki gives her a narrowed look and there's a pause before he says 'Oh well good enough'. He then tells her to stand by in the waiting room she was in earlier. Kimiko looks a bit put out but says okay as she leaves. Still looking back at the judges as she departs Kimiko inwardly fumes at Kuresaki's unsure face and the fact that even her uncle and Koga are making it. Why?! She knows okay? That Momiji does not think well of the name Kamaitachi. It's because he kept attacking her like that while demanding an answer. What was she supposed to do? She looks down at her hands which are red from having to parry and block Kuresaki's fierce blows. Irritated she rubs them wondering if the man does not know how to hold back and against a woman too?!
The door opens with a dramatic swing before Kimiko reaches it. It's Kyoko, ready for battle. Kimiko is surprised to see her, amazed that she didn't go home. All the judges hear her exclamation and look up. Koga is pleased to see Kyoko. He laughs to Kuresaki that it must be a 'rise of the dead' for its been a while since he last saw someone who refused to go home after being read their last rites by Kuresaki. He wonders which of the three she was that went home. Kyoko walks in and passes by Kimiko. Kimiko tries to stop her but Kyoko merely ignores her as she yells out her self introduction. She states that she was disqualified from the audition but she has prepared her version of Momiji for this day and would like to at least show them what kind of Momiji she can perform, please tell her if that is possible! Whilst Kyoko is saying this Koga is reading her resume saying she originally piqued his interest so he was a bit disappointed to hear she was cut since Mio from Dark Moon and Natsu from Box "R" are completely different characters plus when one looks at her picture its hard to comprehend her transformation. Mio goes without saying but he would like to know how she created her role as Natsu. Doesn't Kuresaki wonder too? Kuresaki answers that he's never seen it for he has no interest in dramas aimed at kids. Koga tells him he is missing out for it's really interesting, watching this kid's transformation.
Koga leans back in his chair sighing in disappointed for he would really like to see this girl's Momiji. He bets she could make an entirely different character to Mio or Natsu. Kuresaki seems to stare at Kyoko as if measuring her worth, noticing that she brought her own katanas with an intricate sheath. He brings to mind Mio and her intensity. As if deciding something he picks up the mic and gives Kyoko a suggestion that causes Kimiko to gape. Even the judges look taken aback at it especially Jouji Morizumi. Yashiro is outside the gymnasium and only looks satisfied at hearing the suggestion, he glances up to see Erika who has arrived in time to hear it. Erika also looks ashen at hearing what Kuresaki asks of Kyoko. Despite all this Kyoko only smiles, her face alight with challenge, eagerness and confidence.
Characters in Order of Appearance