|Pale Fallen Leaf|
|Original Release||August 20, 2016|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Pale Fallen Leaf is the 239th chapter in the Skip Beat! manga series
Kyoko discovers that the mystery lady in the wheelchair is in fact Erika Koenji! A fateful accident has befallen her. The more Kyoko hears about Erika's accident, the more the strange circumstances and rumors surrounding the second audition for Momiji start to make sense.
Kyoko is addressed by a strange woman in a wheelchair who seems familiar with her. At first Kyoko doesn't recognize the woman at all and is confused at how she seems to know her, Kanae and the Love Me Section. She is only able to place her as Erika Koenji due to her three servants behind her. Kyoko is totally taken aback by the realization, for Erika has changed a lot; her hair is shorter, her face is haggard and her whole demeanor is defeated. Seeing the wheelchair, Kyoko wonders if she suffered an injury that may have caused the change. Her servants are very worried about her and attempt to get a reaction out of her by teasing Kyoko the same way they did back at the Curara CM. However, Erika remains silent.
Erika surprises everyone by speaking and requesting that Kyoko not tell anyone that she is in this state, especially "that girl." Kyoko guesses she means Kanae. Erika slaps Mizue-chan off her lap toward Kyoko and spins her chair around whilst telling her to make sure she keeps it secret. Koenji is helped by one of her servants to push her wheelchair while the remaining two stay behind with Kyoko. Kyoko wonders why Erika went out of her way to return Mizue-chan; if she hadn't she would never have seen her. Maybe she had something else she wanted to say?
Later Erika's servants perform a dogeza as a way of requesting Kyoko's help to avenge Erika and explain to Kyoko that the one seeking revenge for Momiji role is actually them on Koenji's behalf. She was in the original audition and won the role of Momiji with her own strength, without using money or her family connections. She apparently suffered a terrible accident during it. She fell onto the road without warning. The car coming toward her dodged her but unluckily her bag got caught under its low bumper and she was dragged along by it. Erika can't walk, although not due to her injuries—which are pretty mild considering what happened to her—but due to psychological trauma from the incident. This may be because it wasn't an accident, the passenger of the car stated that it looked as if Erika had been pushed onto the road by someone.
This incident is why the Momiji audition is being redone, for there wasn't enough proof to name a suspect. As a result, the Koenji Group threatened to pull their sponsorship of A Lotus in the Mud if the audition wasn't redone. Kyoko is suspicious that she is still the same using her wealth to gain everything since the Koenji Group is flexing its influence. The servants furiously deny this stating that Erika had stuck determinedly to Kotonami's challenge. Not revealing who she was in auditions and even insisting that they not come along for they gave away her identity. Kyoko is impressed that Erika kept the promise and how far she was going to improve herself. The servants are beating themselves up for if they had been there they might have been able to stop this accident or at least see what had occurred. They have a suspect in mind, another participant of the audition, but Erika refuses to talk about it. She was indifferent toward the news of a second audition for the Momiji role. The servants fear that even though the audition is being redone, it's only being done in name so as not to lose the Koenji Group support and "that woman" will secure the role of Momiji anyway. "That woman" is involved with one of the production members, so she has an inside influence.
Kyoko guesses that they were calling the Love Me Section in order for her to get the role of Momiji instead of this person they suspect. The servants think she is being rather full of herself. No what they wanted was her to cast a curse on the woman. Kyoko waves this off for she can't curse someone she does not have a grudge against. Why not, she has the power for she demonstrated it when they were trying to harm Kotonami. Sayou is re-thinking what she said and Kyoko getting the role would actually be the best option but he is cut off for Kyoko is wondering darkly what did they mean harm Kanae?!
Kyoko is in her room pondering Erika's situation and the audition. The servants actually hadn't known she had made it into the second audition of Momiji therefore enthusiastically they demanded she get the role for Erika-sama. Kyoko thinks that she wants to get the role for herself and if she had to chose she would say she doesn't really like Erika that much. She bullied Kanae for years. But... She followed her word and came all this way in the same field so that she could face Kanae. No, she does not like her Kyoko thinks while slowly unsheathing her katana but this chain of events...
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit