|Original Release||20 May, 2017|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Flying Shock is the 248th chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Kuresaki looks on as Kyoko finishes her stage combat test. All the stuntmen lie on the ground around her defeated. Koga murmurs in amazement all the attacks of the real Momiji that Kyoko managed to incorporate in the routine from "Dust Devil" Whirlwind to "Dragon's Claw Storm Fang". It's Momiji incarnate he says gaping. The Chidoris are also looking on. Kanae smiles with pride at Kyoko's accomplishment. Above them, on the mezzanine level of the gymnasium, the other Momiji participants are fretting between themselves at how well Kyoko went. The audition participant with the high ponytail says it was like she had read a script and knew what to do from the start. There's no way she could pull this off so cleanly just by ad-libbing, especially with so many actors to take into account. Don't they think so? The audition participant with the shoulder-length hair agrees that it's definitely not possible so then the only other explanation is that this routine was totally prepped in advance, right? The other participant exclaims at the unfairness of this. Kimiko is not listening but is looking down at Kyoko with a cold and furious expression on her face.
On the ground floor of the gym Kyoko is twirling her blades so she is holding them frontward. She then crosses them and raises them above her head. Only to then bring them both down on either side of her body in a quick swing. Koga says to Kuresaki that this move is "flicking blood" of her sword. Kyoko then twirls her blades again so that they are facing backwards and slowly sheathes her blades while letting Momiji's spirit go. Koga smiles as he also names this move "re-sheathing the swords". He lets his amazement show to both Kuresaki and Jouji as he continues saying it's inspiring to see how far she's gone to master and immerse herself in the role of Momiji. Kuresaki doesn't answer Koga but is watching Kyoko intensely for her next actions. Kyoko gives a deep bow to the judges then promptly turns to the stuntmen. She thanks them for switching their role to defending against an attack and aiding her in that act. Bowing to them she tells them loudly she was very grateful for it!
Looking on Jouji murmurs to Kuresaki that the girl most likely does understand the true meaning of it, doesn't she? The whole idea of what 'Stage Combat' really is and such. Kuresaki approaches Kyoko and asks if he can confirm one thing with her. Kyoko agrees. Kuresaki asks her what does she believe is the purpose of stage combat within a period drama? Kyoko recalls Kotetsu telling her never to forget this and proceeds to say to Kuresaki that the act of stage combat is not meant to make a show of people battling to the death. Stage combat's main purpose in period dramas is to display a sword dance of incredible beauty and intensity, such that those who see it instinctively find a desire to copy and imitate it themselves. And in order to perform such beautiful stage combat, one requires skill in wielding the weapon, in posture, stance, and footwork, all collectively referred to as a refined movement and demeanour. Kyoko adds that she also has her own opinion on the topic as a person with a background in the art of tea ceremony, it is her honest belief that it would be no exaggeration to say that stage combat is an indispensable practised form of beauty, among the traditional arts that make up the 'Heart of Japan'. And also there is one more very important point from the stand-point of a period drama story even if the side of "justice" were to be shown on the 'offensive', the definition of beautiful stage combat does not rely solely on the 'offensive' side. A great deal of it actually relies on the high skill and technique of the partners who are on the 'defensive' and getting cut down. She has been taught that their aid is the reason the 'offensive' role is able to shine in the spotlight. A truly captivating stage combat performance is created by both the attacking and defending sides working together. As Kyoko gives her answer the stuntmen blush hearing her give them credit for their skill and technique and role in creating perfect stage combat. Kuresaki remains unreadable. Kyoko states she always keeps this in mind, making sure not to lose sight of this fact. She recalls Kotetsu once again for it was he who told her this. This is her understanding of stage combat that she has learned during her short time training in the discipline.
Kuresaki stares at her for a beat but in the background Koga is smiling. Jouji glances over to check his friend's reaction and then smiles for Kuresaki is also smiling. Kyoko looks a bit stunned as Kuresaki tells her that she is absolutely correct while smiling.
Meanwhile at LME, Ren visits Lory in his office who is attired in a Shakespearean-like costume despite doing desk work. Ren is shown in by Sebastian who is attired in Arabian robes costume. Lory and Ren swap greetings then take a seat at the President's office bar where Sebastian (now attired as a bartender) is mixing them drinks. Lory can't believe Ren rushed through the last days of the Tragic Marker shooting so fast that he was able to come back two whole days earlier. Weren't Tai-chan and the others suspicious? Ren says they weren't really especially when he told them that he was bored since his little sister had gone home, so let's wrap it up. Don't they want to go home too? He did get called a pervert a few times but that was all. He doesn't believe that he deviated from the proposed image of Cain Heel. The other performers saw it as normal. Lory agrees inwardly that this was within the scope of their plan... Sebastian slides the finished drink over to Ren who thanks him. Lory baits Ren by saying that their misconception of him wasn't necessarily wrong was it? He must be worried. Ren looks over to Lory, worried? About what? Lory tells him not to play dumb, today's the day of the audition for Kyoko. Ren makes a small oh as he understands and explains that it was a coincidence that he returned today. Besides if he had planned to come back for the audition what would he even do there? Burst through the doors and start cheering for her? Like a helicopter parent? Lory gulps down the rest of his cocktail while Ren talks. Pensive Ren stares ahead as he states that he really is not worried about Kyoko at all because he is very sure that she will get the part. Ren sips at his cocktail while Lory hums his assent. Well still there would be someone there that would understand the situation if he really did burst through the door. Ren pauses in the act of taking another sip confused at what Lory meant, wondering if it was a round-about way of implying something. Lory explains what he means saying that right now Yashiro is with Kyoko as her manager. There's a beat of silence during which Sebastian slides Lory another drink. Ren is trying to absorb the information. What? Lory repeats himself. Ren is still a bit shocked and wonders when this happened. Lory tells him it started right after he went to Guam. Ren protests saying Yashiro never told him about it. Lory scoffs well of course not since Yashiro can't contact him when he is Cain Heel. Ren agrees with this but inwardly he wonders why Yashiro didn't mention it when he messaged him about his return to Japan.
Lory changes the subject telling Ren he has more news for there has been some progress in other places that he does not know about. This startles Ren. Lory gestures to Sebastian and asks him to bring it. Lory tells him that this was the real reason why he called him to the office immediately after he returned. Firstly because he wanted to hear about Guam and secondly because he had something he wanted to show Ren. Sebastian takes a bunch of photos out of a large envelope and places them on the bar facing downwards. Lory flips over the top one while asking Ren to take a look at it and to see if he can tell him with a straight face that he is not worried. So...can he? Ren looks at the photo and then looks at it more closely and his expression becomes shocked. His eyes widen. For Kyoko's in the photo. She is standing with her hands by her sides but her face is obscured by the head of a tall fashionably-dressed man who is bending over her whilst gripping her chin. They are in a position that suggests they are kissing but one can't see if they are due to the photo angle. One can't tell who the man is for his back is to the camera but it's a pretty safe guess who it is!
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit