|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Original Release||April 20, 2017|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Survivor Combat is the 247th chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Kyoko's stage combat test has begun and her extensive audience is watching with baited breath to see how she will get through it. As expected by the other Momiji audition participants, Kyoko doesn't stick to the script but starts to ad-lib mid-way through. She ad-libs so magnificently that it actually makes her look even more impressive.
It seems Producer Kuresaki has already made his mind up about Kyoko's fate but what will it be? Pass or fail? Will the fact that she didn't stick to the script be a negative or a positive?
In the gymnasium Kyoko's stage combat test has begun. Erika and her servant, Sayou, are watching from a side window on the ground floor confused by the going-ons inside the room. Sayou wonders aloud what is going on, could it be a re-audition of sorts...? Erika ponders the possibilities. If Producer Kuresaki has found out the truth about the girl's position as a Love Me Member then the real reason why he is making her do this must be to test her. To see how well a Love Me Member performs when they work as an actress. The proof that Producer Kuresaki is testing her is evident in the fact that Kyoko has been copying the earlier group-enacted combat scene move-for-move. Sayou gapes at her then looks back at the scene in the gymnasium. Amazed, he can't believe Erika can remember the entirety of that crazy brawl from before but really as expected of their Erika! Absolutely wondrous! Erika muses that it appears as if Kyoko really has memorized it.
Inside the gymnasium hiding on the mezzanine level, the other Momiji participants observe Kyoko's routine, noting no deviations from the script yet either. The audition participant with the shoulder-length hair watches closely thinking that it was probably somewhere in the middle that Kyoko shouldn't be able to remember from because she wasn't watching it at all. A stuntman lets out a ferocious yell and slams a blow down only to be blocked by one of Kyoko's blades. The girl continues murmuring that she thinks it was right around this point. Kyoko switches her hold on her blade then ducks below the crossed blades into a crouch then using the extra leverage gained by this position throws the man off. He loses balance and falls back whilst dropping his sword. Kyoko uses her right foot to stop her forward momentum and lands lightly on her left foot. She assumes a fighting pose and takes a breath.
She then dramatically flips her blades into an upright position. This was not in the scripted version as all watching know thus the Momiji audition participants release a startled gasp. They along with the judges even Kuresaki are wondering what she is going to do?! Kanae has an inkling what Kyoko might be about to do recalling the move she showed her at Kotetsu's. Kyoko shocks everyone especially the stuntmen when she tosses her blades into the air!
Not pausing to give them time to recover she leaps though them while doing a cartwheel with a side round-off then leads straight into a back-flip. She lands in time to catch both her blades and then launches into a vicious offensive attack on the stuntmen who are still a little in shock.
The Momiji audition participants look on with reluctant admiration. The audition participant with the high ponytail wonders if this was how the original routine went? The girl with the shoulder-length hair disagrees for although she doesn't remember the exact routine it definitely wasn't like this. The original routine didn't have this feel of Momiji going completely on the offensive.
Koga is watching the routine, his mouth open in amazement. He says to Kuresaki that she doesn't remember anything from part way through the routine does she? Kuresaki frowns as he agrees that this is the case. Koga lets out a small laugh. So because she doesn't remember she's completely changed the role from 'getting attacked' to 'going to attack' and she's making the professionals deal with the aftermath. She's pretty darn bold! Koga laughs again, he really likes this girl! Jouji states that it was the correct decision for there was no way an amateur could match up and take initiative against professionals however it occurred to him after seeing the girl's action when she intruded on the audition that it seemed as if she'd undergone a certain amount of training as a ninja. She most likely understands the gist of how to perform stage combat. Jouji glances at Kuresaki whilst saying he must have realized it too right Yuki? The moment he decided not to immediately cut her off even though he knew she was a 'Talent', his mind was already made up.
The Momiji audition participants continue to watch Kyoko and wonder how is it she is not pausing at all during the routine? Not even for a single second. Not even to look an opponent in the eye. That's just impossible...how is she doing it? Kimiko is also looking confused at this. Down on the gymnasium floor a stuntmen yells as he starts to swing his katana at Kyoko who is only half turned towards him.
Kyoko recalls her training, returning to a moment when Kotetsu whipped her on the bottom for not reacting. Kyoko is in tears for it hurt! Kotetsu reprimands her calling her a dimwit for when someone is about to swing at her, don't just stand there in a fancy stance waiting to take the hit! It looks unnatural! Don't try and remember every single movement in a routine either! Light memorization only! The stuntsmen who is training with them looks nonplus at their weird argument. Kyoko protests at this for if she doesn't memorize it her mind will go blank and she'll end up interrupting the sequence! Kotetsu explains that this is the number one thing she cannot do! It's worthy of slitting one's stomach! Stopping is equivalent of killing her co-star opponent as well! That's how grave a sin it is! Kyoko gapes in horror at this. So he is telling her to not memorize the routine perfectly but still keep the sequence flowing? How is she supposed to do that? Kotetsu states that it is done through feeling. Kyoko feels that this is an incredibly light explanation given the subject matter. Is she supposed to be psychic or something? She tells Kotetsu that he is asking for the impossible for as an amateur she doesn't have high level psychic powers like a professional samarai. Kotetsu argues that it's not impossible and they do not use psychic powers! He explains that as long as the blade is single edged one assumes that it is going to cut something, then if it raised above the head then it has to continue to swing through thus coming straight down. As long as 'Stage Combat' does not embrace a serious aim to kill the opponent, no irregular actions will occur. There is no need for them to occur. Even if there were a case where irregular actions were allowed, that is left up to the chosen actors and actresses only. Chosen persons such as the protagonist and the protagonist's opponent, or roles such as her Momiji, roles of importance. There is a tacit vow within the world of stage combat and that is to listen to the opponent's voice and watch their movements closely. By watching their hands, their blade movements, and how they move their body one will naturally gain a handle on their swordsmanship. Does she understand now? Never forget this lesson. Stage Combat was not meant to make a show of battles to the death. Stage Combat's main purpose in period dramas is...
Kyoko quickly blocks the stuntmen aiming for her. Another one lets out a yell behind her and prepares to strike. She throws the guy she has at cross swords to the ground with a solid push all while pointing her other blade at the man behind her. She changes her hold on her blade and ducks behind him and rams him to the ground. A Chidori looking on whispers her amazement at the display. Kanae too is also looking stunned. Kyoko is hurriedly scanning the remaining stuntmen and their whereabouts. Spotting a gap between the men she realizes she can do it! That position, she can do it there! She falls back slightly into a fighting stance raising her right blade to shoulder height, holding the blade horizontally with the sharp edge facing outward and spinning her left blade at a low angle.
Everyone gasps realizing she is about to do something again and wondering again what it could be?! Kyoko runs at them with both swords hilts held together at chest height, blades facing outward. She then jumps in a spinning motion and lands taking out two stuntmen in a rapid whirl. She then leaps forward again arrowing her body through the stuntmen all the while spinning like a tornado with her blades out. She lands on her feet and all the stuntmen fall to the ground.
Panting slightly Kyoko stays in her fighting stance with her blades at the ready, her expression fierce and intense.
Characters in Order of Appearance