|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami, Momiji, Shizuma, & Chidori|
|Original Release||January 20, 2018|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Flying Shock is the 255th chapter in the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Kyoko successfully acts out Momiji for the Chidori audition using Ren and Kimiko as her inspiration. She worries when she gets too emotional during her performance for she deviates from the script and perhaps the judges idea of the character of Momiji. But Kuresaki says nothing and still requests for her to assist again in the next Chidori audition however this time he changes the allocated scene. Everyone is surprised by the scene change for it is a scene that does not have Momiji in it or even an easy substitute for Kyoko to play, there are only elderly, high-brow men and Chidori present. Jouji and Koga discuss how Kuresaki allocating this scene to Kyoko shows that he has made up his mind. Kyoko practically has the role of Momiji. In fact the difficult decision for Jouji and Kuresaki will not be about the role of Momiji but on who will get the role of Chidori.
Meanwhile not believing that Kimiko's withdrawal means she's backed down, Erika follows Kimiko and her manager to a coffee shop where Sayou and her have her staked out. Erika strongly suspects Kimiko will do something and this time she's ready.
Kyoko places herself into the character of Momiji by bringing forth the image of Ren with Kimiko as she looks on. The man Momiji loves has another woman in his heart and knowing that she is a girl who is the same age as herself should no doubt cause a burning jealousy within her. The man, as Kyoko imagines Ren, being the earnest and sincere person he is, almost certainly shows complete transparency of his feelings towards her, opening his heart to her. And so he gently, and tenderly, caresses her as Kimiko's image joins Ren's. Why? Why...? Kyoko wonders in frustrated despair as she reaches out with her hand and captures Momiji's spirit. No matter how many times she casts them away these 'hopeless feelings' just keep flooding back... Why does she still...? Eyes closed Kyoko pulls her fist down in a swift motion from her head to her heart and presses it against her chest. When she opens her eyes Kyoko is completely in character of Momiji, her spirit having taken over and before her she sees not Ren and Kimiko but Chidori and, her master, Shizuma.
The audition scene starts with Chidori leaving a ramshackle house and dashing into a darkened forest. She is stopped when sharp needle-like blades are tossed at her feet. Chidori gasps and glances upwards to where the blades came from. Momiji is sitting above her in a tree gazing down at her coldly and asks where does she think she's going? Chidori looks like she's been caught out doing something rash but she responds defiantly that she is going to her lord, Sakagami-sama's side! Momiji's face darkens upon hearing this and states that Shizuma-sama's orders are absolute, that they are to begin their trek through the mountains just before dawn. She will not allow her to do as she pleases. She should be headed East, not West. Now cease this folly and turn back. There is only one path that leads to Minazuki Tower. She would have to be a complete fool to lose her way. Chidori is confused. Then why... Why does she stay here? Why does she not return to Sakagami-sama's side?! Why her?! Why does Momiji stay with her when she knows there is no need to worry for her safety?! She could just leave...- Momiji's expression narrows at this and she leaps down from the tree suddenly causing Chidori to flinch and cry out, unsure what she is going to do, however Momiji lands in a crouch a distance away from Chidori, head bowed as she mumbles in annoyance and anger. Worthless, she spits out. Let the night bandits take and slaughter her for all she cares! 'Tis naught her concern, she wouldn't bat an eyelash. Inwardly Momiji thinks that unfortunately he feels differently... No matter how envious she is of this woman... No matter how much she wishes she would just disappear from existence... Bringing pain to her Lord would be against her own heart. Momiji tells Chidori that its ridiculous. How dare she think that she would escort her of her own volition?! Never, if it were not for her Lord's orders!! Chidori is taken aback by the outburst but is moved by it for even at a time like this when he should be worrying about himself, he still prioritises her safety. Chidori grips the weapon that presumably Shizuma gave her tightly during this, then hugs it close in a fit of a emotion. She finds even more resolve and reason to be near Shizuma and makes a dash in an attempt to pass Momiji. Momiji's face is tight with fury as she lunges at Chidori with her swords drawn while yelling at her once again to head East now! Chidori blocks Momiji's blow and yells back that she doesn't care how many times Momiji tells her to go! She is no longer a weak woman who needs to be protected like before! If she stays by his side, she may be able to aid him in some way! Momiji growls in anger, her face a mask of fury. She shouts at her to shut up and curses her as she twists free from the block while simultaneously pushing Chidori to the ground. Chidori winces as she hits the ground then gasps for she is vulnerable and Momiji is standing over her with both swords raised as cries in a rage that Chidori doesn't even know how to kill a person, because she's a stupid, naive, little girl!!! Inwardly Momiji is filled with jealousy and hate for those clothes of Chidori's have never been stained with blood before!! As she recalls an image of Shizuma standing in front of Chidori in a distinctly protective posture. She's always standing there comfortably, being protected like it were a matter of course! Momiji falls down on top of Chidori and slams her swords into the ground on either side of her head. Chidori's face is ashen with fear for she is completely at Momiji's mercy. There is a beat as they both stare at each other. As the rage clears from her mind Momiji wonders what in the world is she doing here right now? Why is she here? She should be at Shizuma-sama's side right now. He needs her now, more than ever. What has she been working so hard for up until now as she recalls all the blood she has spilled and the lives she has taken... Momiji focuses back on Chidori's face below who is still staring at her although looking slightly less afraid. If only this woman would just listen to her, then by now she would be hurrying over to Shizuma-sama's side...
Koga looks up from A Lotus in the Mud manga he was reading alongside the scene that Kyoko and the current Chidori auditioner, Asahina, were acting out. Kyoko and Asahina are in the same position with Kyoko on top of Asahina with her blades out. Kyoko as Momiji yells at Chidori frustrated that if she really wishes to aid him in some way then just don't do anything!!! Chidori looks shock at this and a little sad. Momiji becomes overwhelmed, frustrated by her own ineptitude and her feelings, and starts to cry startling her partner, Asahina, and the judges for it's not part of the script as revealed when Koga peeks again at the manga. Annoyed at herself Momiji jumps off Chidori and stares up into the sky angry as she wills away the tears. Kuresaki watches on as Kyoko ad libs this part, his face impassive. Koga looks on to the next scene in the manga, showing Chidori under Momiji's knives still indignantly accusing her. The acted scene is different due to Kyoko's divergence. Asahina looks on Kyoko's back, her Chidori portraying sympathy at Momiji's moment of weakness but not giving in. She glances towards her weapon and then deliberately provokes the already unstable Momiji telling her to go ahead, follow Sakagami-sama's orders for the rest of her life, do as her loyalty wills of her. Momiji turns around snarling at her, how dare she mock her... Only to be cut off by a blow to the stomach which causes her to collapse to the ground. Momiji sends Chidori an accusing glare as she tries to get up. Chidori tells her it is useless, she was trained by Sakagami-sama himself. She will not be able to move anytime soon. Chidori bends down on her knees and addresses Momiji softly saying that she has decided that she really will go to Sakagami-sama's side so please, will she follow his exact orders to a T and come chasing after her? There's almost a sad kindness and understanding in Chidori's gaze for she knows exactly why Momiji acts the way she does. The manga that Koga is reading ends the scene by showing the darkened forest again where Chidori has no doubt run off into.
Kuresaki calls a stop to the scene, telling them good work. He asks Asahina to return to the Chidori waiting room for now. He then turns to Kyoko and addresses her. She stands to attention immediately. He asks if she thinks she can continue on and act as Nitta's partner as well. Kyoko confirms she most certainly can. Kuresaki then tells her the assigned scene the 'Butterfly of Minazuki Tower' which causes both Koga and Jouji to pique in interest. Kuresaki reminds her that it's the scene at the High-Ground Gate. Kyoko looks momentarily confused but quickly covers this up with an enthusiastic affirmation. Judging by Kyoko's reaction, Koga muses that it sounds like he changed the assigned scene all of a sudden. The Chidori assistant commiserates softly for poor Nitta as Kyoko leaves the gym. She thought going last was advantageous because one has more time than the others to prepare... Koga says it does happen. Occasionally there will be an audition where they will suddenly change the assigned scene. It's rare for the audition place not to have a copy of the script on hand. Jouji shakes his head at Kuresaki's antics. He is working her hard right off the bat. The Butterfly of Miazuki Tower, the scene at the High-Ground Gate... There are virtually no roles made for a female teenage actress in that scene. Apart from Chidori that is. They all look over as Kuresaki calls in Nitta to the gym. Koga realises that that is indeed true. The scene is full of high-brow, stern, old men after all. Even he'd be a little off-put if he was suddenly told to act out the scene. He'd still do it, though. Jouji explains that therein lies the meaning behind Kuresaki choosing that scene.
Kyoko is outside the gym looking depressed. Kanae looks flabbergasted by her demeanour. Then she becomes stern when Kyoko explains why. She cried? Yashiro looks on worriedly. Kyoko states that she couldn't help it for she was overcome by the feeling of 'frustration'... Momiji is not the type of person to easily cry in front of another, nor was she raised that way. She somehow managed to hold them in, but she's pretty sure everyone could tell that she had tears in her eyes... Kyoko worries internally if she might have given off the impression that she's a 'weak' little girl. Kanae sighs, and? What did Producer Kuresaki say in response to that? Downcast Kyoko relays that he didn't say anything about her acting. He just asked if she could also be the next Chidori's partner too. And he assigned the Highground Gate scene for 'the Buttterfly of Minazuki Tower'. Both Kanae and Yashiro look taken aback at this. Obviously they understand how difficult the scene will be.
Inside the gym Koga asks for explanation behind Jouji's statement. The 'meaning' behind Kuresaki choosing that scene? Jouji states that it means he's decided as they all watch Kuresaki inform the unfortunate Nitta about the change in assigned scenes. There's no doubt left in his mind. Yuki has decided to have that girl cast as Momiji. Despite all the trouble they have had, he would say Yuki's most difficult decision, difficult even for himself, is not going to be for the role of Momiji but actually for the role of Chidori. Kuresaki calls Kyoko for the Nitta's Chidori audition.
Meanwhile in a cafe in midtown Kimiko and her manager are unwinding since her withdrawal, or so it seems. Erika and Sayou are watching her from afar. Sayou comments that she hasn't moved an inch from where she is. Erika confidently replies that she'll move, she's sure of it.
Characters in Order of Appearance