|Flying Without Wires|
|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Original Release||November 20, 2017|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Flying Without Wires is the 253rd chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Kyoko finally learns all about Kimiko and what type of person she is from Erika's bodyguards. And she is mad. It seems Kyoko may be finally taking Erika's bodyguards' Love Me request seriously!
Kyoko stares in shock at the two men gossiping in the bushes, the sentence they just said reverberating through her mind. That Kimiko is gushing over another man at the moment so she should have no interest in Ren Tsuruga. She then frowns at them, as she ponders the words wondering if she heard it correctly... Erika's bodyguards, Sakazaki and Todo, continue on gossiping unashamedly about Kimiko not seeming to notice that Kyoko's own conversation has cut off. They debate between themselves about the ring case which is still a mystery. They wonder what kind of scheme did Kimiko cook up to get Ren Tsuruga to get her a ring? Todo reminds Sakazaki that that woman doesn't shed blood or tears so he's sure she used some underhanded trick beyond their expectations. She's not called Niko-chan for nothing. Sakazaki gleefully remarks that everyone they have met calls her that nickname behind her back. Todo smirks saying that apparently it's a play on her name that instead of Kimiko it's Niko because she's heartless and doesn't have the capacity to show sympathy. Isn't that funny? Kanae and Kyoko look on from behind still listening in with confusion on their faces. Kanae doesn't get the play on Kimiko's name but Kyoko does as she realises the radical that means 'human' was removed from Kimiko's name leaving with the two symbols Niko. Inwardly she gasps in realisation for she must have heard the nickname and now she finally understands where it came from. Kanae's face is set into a neutral expression as she turns to leave. Kyoko is alerted by her movement and follows her, saying her name questioningly. Kanae explains that she doesn't want to be involved so she's leaving. Kyoko lets out a noise of surprise. Kanae continues to walk away saying that if she recalls correctly those two men were part of Erika Koenji's crew right? Kyoko automatically goes to confirm that this is true then gasps as she remembers Erika's request for secrecy instead she answers ambivalently that she's not so sure. Kanae tells her with an irritated expression that she would love to forget them if she could but they've been following her around for ages. Kyoko agrees that this is true. Kanae stops walking as she realises something. Kyoko glances up in surprise and peeks around at Kanae's face while saying her name and inquiring if something is wrong. Kanae replies that it just occurred to her that if they're here then maybe she's here too. Kyoko blinks at this and agrees inwardly that there's a high possibility that this is the case. Kanae lets out a sigh as she states that it doesn't matter anyway. She looks over at Kyoko and asks what is she going to do. Kyoko wonders what she's asking about. Kanae says she's going back to the standby room but why doesn't she stay and ask the two flunkies for some information? It seems like they know a lot about the relationship between Ren and Kimiko from a ridiculous amount of investigating they've done. Kyoko stares at her, taken aback at the suggestion.
Back in the gym Kuresaki has explained how Kyoko passed the test to Kimiko via getting a signal. Kimiko is chuckling saying she knew there must've been some sort of trick to it. So that's how Kyoko was able to perform perfectly, even though it looked like she wasn't listening to the instructions. That's amazing. Unfortunately for her she hasn't studied much samurai etiquette so she doesn't think she would've done as well in the same situation she adds with a self-deprecating laugh. She thanks Kuresaki for explaining it to her for she just couldn't figure out how Kyoko did it. Kuresaki looks at her quietly for a beat then says her name and asks if she was watching Kyoko's performance. Kimiko looks contrite and admits that she was and she's very sorry. She got too curious, so she went up to the second floor... Kuresaki looks at her darkly as he tells her that what she did was against the rules. Jouji is looking from Kimiko to Kuresaki with a concerned expression. Kimiko has a regretful expression as she answers the she knew it was. Kuresaki tells her with distinct emphasis that he really dislikes foul play which Kimiko acknowledges. She tells him that she's heard a lot from her uncle about how much he values honesty and integrity. No matter how much she wanted the role, she crossed a line that shouldn't have been crossed and broke the rules. She looks up at him sadly and Kuresaki stares back displeased as she states that she is prepared to accept her fate.
Outside the gym Yashiro gapes at hearing the news from Kimiko's manager that Kimiko is going to withdraw. It seems like she intended to withdraw whether or not Kuresaki had caught her slip about watching Kyoko. Kimiko's manager informs Yashiro that after she saw Kyoko's performance she apparently lost the will to fight. Yashiro frowns at this statement, confused. He recalls Kimiko's expression as she came down the stairs after watching Kyoko's performance. That's not what he would call that expression and it certainly didn't seem like it she had 'lost the will to fight'. No, that was definitely the face of someone who had completely lost their temper.
Outside the gymnasium Erika and Sayou are watching on as Kimiko, Jouji and Kuresaki converse. Sayou comments that they're taking a while to start. Maybe Kimiko Morizumi is complaining again. What a selfish woman! She's always causing trouble for others! Erika continues to watch silently when someone replies to Sayou's comments that apparently Kimiko is announcing her desire to withdraw from the audition. Both Sayou and Erika jump at the unnoticed arrival. The man continues explaining that his subordinate called and told him. He had left him on-site in his place. He excuses himself and acknowledges that she must be the daughter of the head of the Koenji Group correct? Miss Erika right? If his memory serves him well, he recalls that she entered the previous audition under a different surname. He starts to reintroduce himself as one of The Lotus in the Mud's Producers but Erika cuts him off. She states that she remembers him. Nihashi was one of the judges. She explains that she didn't want any bias affecting the audition because of the Koenji name. All of the personal information she used came from a cousin on her mother's side. She had planned on telling her father about it once successfully obtaining the part. Nihashi sends her his condolences regarding that. He had heard that she was struck by an unfortunate accident, he is glad to see she is safe now... Erika looks saddened by his words. She says that since he went through the trouble of leaving the examination site to come out here...She's assuming he has business with her? Nihashi lets out a surprised oh then says that it's nothing serious he just received an urgent order from the main office. They said the daughter of the president may be in the vicinity of the audition site, so they were to search for her immediately and show her the utmost hospitality if found. Erika looks shocked at this and also confused. Why was such thing reported to the producers she wonders. Nihashi explained that apparently her father was in a very panicked state when he contacted them. He said something along the lines of 'my daughter has disappeared from the mansion! she might be at the audition site! please check for me!' Erika blushes furiously in embarrassment upon hearing this. Nihashi adds that he also said that none of his calls to her caretakers would connect. Sayou goes ashen upon hearing this and inwardly mutters uh-oh. For he just recalls that he turned his phone off because they were on a convert infiltration mission. He had meant to turn it back on right after they scoped things out...but he forgot. Trembling he apologises to Erika. Although inwardly he wonders even if he was unavailable why couldn't Todo or Sakazaki be reached? What in the world are those two doing?!
Outside in the garden Todo and Sakazaki have finished telling Kyoko the summation of their investigations into Kimiko. They inform her that this is that most current and up to date information they have right now. They looked it all up themselves! They don't blame her for ignoring Kimiko's blog even after noticing it existed. Because judging from her blog she's still at the early stage regarding the guy she's interested in so all she's posting about are random thoughts like, 'I'm so addicted to this dessert!' But that is in fact her ultimate goal. She blends herself into a crowd of ordinary fans, and then she catches the guy's attention somehow. All of those irrelevant blog posts are a necessary step in her plan to develop that scenario. In actuality she does make moves to close the distance between them gradually but if the other party decides to make first contact, that's the final step for her. Once that happens, she'll probably drop a bunch of bragging posts like, 'he came and talked to me!' or 'we're friends now!' They are sure she used the same under handed tactic on Ren Tsuruga back then too. When it didn't go as planned with Ren Tsuruga she gave up and left Japan but she came all the way back here just for this audition and the reason for that is because it was necessary in order to hook that special someone she's set her sights on. And because she failed to get the role of Chidori, she went for the role of Momiji instead and then she stole it from their Miss Erika. Since she couldn't win it with her own skills, she decided to take what she wanted even if it meant physically harming her opponent. That's the kind of woman she is. She's not normal.
Erika gazes on as Kimiko bows humbly to Kuresaki and the other ans smiles sheepishly as she withdraws from the audition all the while radiating a charming aura. Erika's gaze sharpens and she glares at the unknowing Kimiko. As if deciding something she addresses Sayou and tells him she has a favour to ask.
Outside Todo and Sakazaki have let their temper and outrage run away with them and are now simply ranting about Kimiko. That disgusting and dastardly woman did such a horrible thing to their Miss Erika! And now she's about to steal the part of Momiji! We can't let her get away with this! They fulfilled her wish right Love Me Member?! they told her everything they knew about Kimiko Morizumi! Now it's her turn to grant their wish! Kyoko isn't looking at them she's staring at the ground in an almost defeated posture. Sakazaki and Todo demand that she wins the part of Momiji and while she's at it go ahead and curse her and kill her! Kyoko suddenly looks up, glaring at them. He killing intent is so fierce it immediately silences the two lackeys as they clutched each other in fright. Slightly frazzled they watch Kyoko who has a dark aura around her, inwardly they think her murderous intent is even more stronger than the time when they accidentally admitted to trying to harm Kanae. Kyoko immediately matches back to the gym with purpose while holding her swords in each hand, dark fury written on her face. Both of them wonder out loud after she departs if she is now interested in cursing her?
Characters in Order of Appearance