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The White Butterfly of Phantomhive

Chapter Text

A young girl of fifteen years walked down the barely lit streets as she walked to the place she calls home. If one could call it a home. She had just finished school for the day, though it was a bit different than it usually was. Before the day ended, she called into the office by one of the administrators, once there, he told her that he received a call from her mother saying she will no longer be a student at Yomiyama North Middle School, and that she will be transferred somewhere else. She honestly had no idea where she'll attending now, nor why her mother cared enough to call them, but she didn't care. Wherever she'll go, it'll just be the same as anywhere else.

Her home, if you could call it that, was an odd place, to say the least. It was a doll shop/museum called 'Misaki M. Studio' where the hollow blue eyes are empty to all, in the twilight of Yomi. It was owned by her mother, Kirika. She's also the one who makes all of the dolls while her grandmother works as the receptionist for the place. Not many people come by the shop, mostly because they tend to avoid it as they believed the dolls might be cursed for some reason. Still, it hardly mattered to her or her mother.

The girl looked up and noticed a 'For Sale' sign of the window, a taxi, and a moving van outside of the shop. When her mother had called, she didn't expect to see any of this. She believed that she was just going to a new school, but also an entirely different place? This spiked her curiosity, but not by much. She walked through the front door and was greeted, kind of, by her grandmother who was sitting near the front of the store. "Welcome. I could put on some tea." She didn't bother to say anything to her as she was about to go up to her room when she took noticed that almost everything in the store was packed up into boxes and all of her mother's dolls were gone too. No doubt placed inside of the boxes.

"What's all this about?" She asked herself. Her question was answered by a young woman with long, dark brown hair, which is placed in a blue ribbon at the back of her head, and brown eyes. Kirika. Her mother. She came into the room carrying yet another box. "I'm glad you were able to show up. I had just finished packing."

"Packing? Why are you packing for?"

"I've gotten a wonderful job offer." She told her. "One of my beautiful dolls was featured in a toy shop in England and the owner of a very famous toy company has been very intrigued with them has given me a place." She explained. "I was so deeply moved; I took up his offer immediately."

"So, We're moving to England?"

"Of course. Master Phantomhive has send us tickets for a boat leaving tonight."

"I see." She said nothing else and went up to her room on the second floor. She went to her closet and pulled out her suitcase. She packed her clothes, books, art supplies and other necessary items to take with her. For suddenly knowing that they'll be moving, the girl was very calm about it. She couldn't care less about leaving. Since her second year of middle school was coming to an end anyway, she wondered if she can take her school uniforms with her. It can pass off as ordinary clothing, right?

 It's not like anyone's going to miss her or anything when she's got. The girl didn't have any real friends to say 'goodbye' to. She never understood as to why, but her classmates have always shunned her. Instead of calling her Mei Misaki, they call her a one-eyed freak, a creepy loner, and sometimes referring her as a 'thing'. They had gone so far to not even consider as a person and call her 'it' as well. Ever since Mei was in the fifth grade, she'd always been bullied by others. Well...that might not be entirely true.

They had been a few girls who were more generous and kinder to her than the rest of the class. They would talk to her everyday and spend a lot of time with her throughout the school day. Just this afternoon, they had heard that she was leaving and got her in a group photo. On the way home, they had given her the developed picture and told Mei to keep it as an memento of their friendship. They'd wished her the best of luck. Mei appreciated them for what they've done, but considering that she was always alone, Mei believed they were only nice to her out of pity. Still, it's the thought that counts.

Once Mei finished packing, she went back downstairs and found all the boxes were being stocked into the moving truck, and her mother and grandmother were settled in the taxi. Mei gazed back at the now empty shop which she spent the last fourteen years in. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't going to miss it. Yet, that's only half right. Maybe England won't be so bad. Mei placed her suitcase into the trunk and got inside the car. And off they went towards the harbor.

Mei gazed out the window, and watched silently as the small town of Yomiyama passed by. Unlike the great cities like Tokyo in Japan, she lived in a plain, boring countryside town with no extraordinary features nor does it have any fascinating landmarks. Clearly not even worth living in. Least in her opinion.

It was a little after eight o' clock and it was pitch black out, by the time they got to the harbor. Waiting for them was a ferry that was set a course for England, ready for them to hop aboard. The three ladies handed in their tickets and had their luggage taken care of by the crew members. Afterwards they went to their rooms, settling in for the night, the family set off to their new home.

Goodbye Japan...hello England.

 

Chapter Text

Considering that it'll take no more than fifteen days to get to London, Mei decided to use the time to learn about the English Language and history about her new home. There was a lot of information about the country such as the City of London is the historical core of the English capital. It roughly matches the boundaries the Roman city of Londinium and of medieval London. She was a smart student with decent grades back in school, so Mei was confident she'll get the hang of it. She had a few translation books in her room and have plenty of materials to study from.

"H-h-hello...m-my n-name is...Mei. Mei Misaki." She said, stuttering. "H-how...how d-do you do?"

Mei and her family were the only other people onboard the ship, and, much to Mei's pleasure, it was quiet and peaceful for the next two weeks. And, in a sense, had the whole ship to herself. Her mother was too busy making new dolls and her grandmother's not able to move around much. Mei was more than content with just exploring the ship. She walked down the hallways, walked around the dining area, and often lean against the railing, staring out at sea. As enjoyable as it was, Mei couldn't help but wonder what kind of person her mother's new employer would be. Was it a young man, an older gentleman, or was it a woman?

Well, her mother did use a masculine pronouns and the word 'lord', but she might've been assuming. Hmph, doesn't matter. She'll find out once they arrive. Maybe.

Two weeks have passed in a blink of an eye and the ferry finally docked at London's harbor. Feeling that she would be meeting Lord Phantomhive, Mei cleaned herself up and put on the only thing she'd considered a formal dress. A sky blue cotton Lolita dress with short sleeves, white thigh high socks, and blue bow Lolita shoes. She'd only hope they don't think of her as a strange girl. With her short, black, chin-length hair with long bangs and a ghostly complexion, her left eye being covered by a white eyepatch. Her right eye being reddish brown. Waiting there were two carriages, probably hired by her mother's employer. One of the young men hopped down the carriage and walked up to the young woman.

"Good evening ma'am. You must be Ms. Kirika, right?"

"Yes, of course, good sir." She said, surprisingly fluently.

"Well, Lord Phantomhive has prepared the perfect shop for you and your family. Lord Phantomhive is expecting your arrival at his manor, would you care to notify him?"

"That's very kind of him, and I would love to make his acquaintance. But I'm afraid I have to decline; I am more than ready to begin my work. My precious doll will go in my place." Kirika reached inside of her bag and pulled out an envelope, she turned and handed it to Mei. "Go and give this to Lord Phantomhive at his estate." She said.

Mei nodded and took the envelope from her hands. The two men helped Kirika load up her belongings and split up into the carriages. Kirika and her grandmother went off to their new shop/museum, and Mei left off to the direction of the estate. The ride was more farther away from the city than one would expect. The residents was in the outskirts of London and in a mist-covered forest. The vast expanses of the land outlined by a great quantity of bushes and trees, containing the gargantuan building of the manor. 'Looks like I won't be in the city. Good, I don't like crowded places.'  Mei looked out the window of the carriage and spotted another one in front of her. Was it another guest or a business associate? She didn't see any luggage at the top of the carriage, so it could just be a simple visit.

Mei finally arrived at the Phantomhive Estate. Just one look from it and suddenly she was getting chills. Something was odd about this place. It was making the eye under eyepatch tingle. Grand and bold. Noble, yet intimidating. And this is where Lord Phantomhive lives. The carriage then came to a complete shop. Mei grabbed both her suitcase and her briefcase book bag, and was about to exit the carriage, but then overheard two male voices outside.

"Oh, how impressive!" A man said in an Italian accent.

"This is called a stone garden. It is a traditional feature in Japan." Another man said in a smooth British tone. "Out of consideration for our honored guests, we believed that this would be appropriate for them."

Mei then heard footprints coming towards her carriage and opened the door for her. She was greeted by a tall, handsome adult with black hair, red eyes, and pale skin. He is dressed in a butler's outfit, which consists of black trousers, a six-button double-breasted tailcoat, and a gray vest. He has, what she assumed, the family's crest on his shirt cuffs and tie. He also sports white gloves, and a chained silver lapel pin bearing the Phantomhive crest. "It's an honor to meet you, my lady." He bowed at the waist.

"Thank you very much for having me." Mei said as she bowed, wanting to be polite as possible. The butler held out his hand for her, like a gentleman he is, and escorted her out. Mei turned her gazed to the stone garden. She noticed four other servants and was actually impressed how much work they put into, not only making it, but prepared it for her and the Italian man's arrival. Mei turned back to the handsome butler and said, "This garden is lovely, thank you."

 "Please think nothing of it, my lady."

The Italian man suddenly boasted out, "Ah, prodigioso! Wonderful! Truly an elegant garden." Mei looked at him and took note of him. He had short brown hair, a mustache, goatee, and dark blue eyes. He wears a clean, brown suit with a burgundy ascot tie.

"We thought it appropriate to serve dinner al fresco this evening. Allow me to escort you inside until the meal is ready." The butler said. Mei and the man from Italy were led inside by an elderly man with gray hair and a mustache. He wears a sophisticated suit, white gloves, and a monocle. The only thing that was very odd about him was that he was fun-sized compared to a normal person. Mei was confused but thought nothing else of it since nobody seem to be questioning it. The tall butler walked up and offered to carry her luggage for her, but she politely declined. She asked him who the man was and learned that he was the owner of the Poseidon Company's Indian Factory, Mr. Damiano, and was here to discuss business.

Mei knew she couldn't give the letter to Kirika's employer out of the blue since he was already busy, so she'll wait it out for a bit before handing it to him. They were taken up to the first floor and Mr. Damiano was brought to the Drawing room where he greeted Lord Phantomhive. Unfortunately, Mei couldn't see him. Not even a glimpse. The butler then escorted her to her new room where she'll be staying. As they walked, Mei couldn't help but feel even more cautious inside of the manor. She sensed something that was off about this place.

When she reached her room she was taken aback on how amazing it was. It was luxurious, yet it somehow held simplicity at the same time. It consists of a king-sized bed pale blue sheets and ivory pillows, mahogany bedframe. Rich mahogany chairs and table rested near two large doors leading to a balcony and pale curtains. A nightstand, a clean white carpet, and navy blue wallpaper, and of course, a mahogany wardrobe on the side. It was pretty. A whole lot better than her old room.

"This is a nice room." She said.

"I am pleased that the room is to your liking, my lady." He said, smiling at her. "I shall return shortly to inform you about the dinner preparations, so please make yourself at home."  

"Thank you." Before he had the chance to leave, Mei called out, "May I know your name?" The butler appeared to be surprised by her question, but nonetheless he smiled and gave her his name. "Sebastian Michaelis."

"Mei Misaki. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." She gripped the envelope and handed over to him. "I think Lord Phantomhive might be expecting my mother, but she sent me here in her place. I was supposed to give this to him, since he's occupied with something else, could you give this to him?"

 Sebastian took the letter and reassured her that the young master will receive as soon as possible. Once Mei was left alone, she slowly pieced things together. All of Kirika's time and energy will be placed on her new shop and making it a success, so she might've already requested that they prepare a room for her to stay in ahead of time. A place for her precious little doll. Why else would they have one already set up? There's no doubt Kirika's letter held the words 'taking care of my prized doll for me'. That'll mean she'll be living with here with Kirika's employer from now on. Great. This is just...perfect.

Seeing she had plenty of time before dinnertime, Mei decided to get settled in. She placed her luggage on her bed and began to unpack. She neatly arranged all her clothes in the wardrobe, and placed the rest of her belongings in the nightstand. Once she was done, Mei placed her suitcase inside the wardrobe. Mei then walked to the doors and stepped on into the balcony. Looking out, she had a grand view of the garden. Mei smiled softly. It truly was a garden. It was nice of them to create it and prepare a room for her. Maybe these were nice people after all.     

Mei walked back into the room, shutting the doors behind her and decided to pass the time by doing a little sketching. She pulled out her art supplies and sketchbook, and took a seat at the table. Mei turned to a blank page and began to draw. Soon, about ten minutes later, a knock came from her door. Sebastian opened the door and said, "Pardon the intrusion my lady, but dinner is served."

 "I see. Thank you." Mei put down her book and pencil, and followed Sebastian to the stone garden outside, where they'll be having dinner. "On the way, there Mei turned to Sebastian and said, "I want to thank you again all for preparing this...I really appreciate it."

Sebastian gave her a smile. "Your gratitude overwhelms me, my lady. If I couldn't prepare this for an honored guest, then what kind of butler would I be?"

Mei nodded and they continued their way to the garden. She was astonished by the beautiful flowers and lanterns that surrounded the garden and dinner table. Mr. Damiano and Lord Phantomhive were seated at each end of the table with one empty seat in the middle. Finally, Mei was able to see the head of the Phantomhive family...but he was unlike anything she thought he was. This was Kirika's employer? This was the owner of a toy company? He looked to be only three years younger then her!

He was a short, twelve-year-old boy with bluish-black hair and rich, deep blue eyes. His arms and legs are thin, his shoulders slim and his waist narrow. As expected he's dressed in a way that suits his noble standing, and he has a very extensive wardrobe. An interesting feature was the black eyepatch covering his right eye. Similar to her.

Mei walked over to her seat, with Sebastian pulling it for her. As she sat down, Sebastian announced what they'll be having tonight. "On tonight's menu is a dish of finely-sliced raw beef donburi courtesy of our chef Baldroy." Lord Phantomhive and Mr. Damiano for the most part, had no idea what that was, but Mei sure did. It was basically a rice bowl dish that's served with fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredients simmered together over white rice. Sebastian passed out their meals and Mr. Damiano stared in slight disbelief, he was expecting something a little more...grand.

"A pile of raw beef. And this is dinner?" He asked.

"Yes, but surely you have heard of it?" Sebastian asked. Mr. Damiano stuttered a bit before the handsome butler continued. "This, good sir, is a traditional Japanese delicacy, a dish offered as a sign of gratitude to someone who has accomplished important work. That, sir, is the wonder of donburi!" Sebastian explained, almost too dramatically. "This is a token from our master, to show his thanks for all your hard work on the company's behalf. He wanted you to know that it's much appreciated."

Mei raised an eyebrow at the Phantomhive's butler. He was certainly an...interesting character, to say the least. She prayed her thanks for her meal and began to eat. Lord Phantomhive had already picked up his chopsticks and was eating long before Sebastian's explanation. Mr. Damiano threw his arms up and boasted, "Excellent, what an inspired idea! The legendary Phantomhive hospitality in action!"

Sebastian walked over to a maid next to a cart with a small basket of wine. The maid had straight, maroon-red hair, which is tied in high pigtails and wears a pair of large, thick, and overly round glasses. Though, one of the lenses was cracked. She wears the typical maid's outfit: a midnight blue dress with matching buttons and white with ruffles around the shoulders. Additionally, she wears brown, knee-high boots, a white frilly cap, and long, black stockings.

"The vintage we are pouring tonight was specially selected to compliment the flavor of soy sauce. Mey-Rin." He instructed the maid to go pour wine for the man, but she just stood stiff with her hands clasped together and a smile on her face. Mei saw Sebastian whispered something in her ear, but ignored them and continued eating. She took a sip of water and gazed at the stone garden in front of her. It was so beautiful and serene, she was sure she could fall asleep just by looking. There weren't that many gardens in Yomiyama, so she'd hadn't seen anything like this. The flowers and lanterns really help make it even more enchanting.

She was so engrossed with the view, Mei visibly flinched when Mr. Damiano suddenly shouted, "Oh? Where did the tablecloth-a go?" She looked down at the table, and sure enough, the cloth was completely removed but everything else was still set in place and undisturbed. Mei turned and found Sebastian holding said cloth in his arms. How...how did he managed to do that without any of them noticing?

"A speck of dirt, most unsightly. I had the cloth removed so it wouldn't distract us. Think nothing of it." Lord Phantomhive said.

"Please accept my apologies, sir and Madame. Do continue. Enjoy the meal at your leisure."

"Oh, Oh my!" Mr. Damiano laughed. "Lord Phantomhive, once again you have truly impressed me. What an able butler you've acquired."

"Pay him no mind. He merely act as befits one of my servants." He told him.

"My master is quite correct about that. Naturally, you see, I am simply one hell of a butler." That caught Mei's attention. For some reason, she felt statement to be...a little unsettling. Like there was more to it. She recalled back her feeling when she first arrived to the manor. That chilling feeling. That was enough to cause her eye to twitch. She was sure she felt that feeling before...and it wasn't that long ago, but... No. She was just thinking too much. Maybe it was all in her head. Mei decided to forget it and continued with her meal, as did Lord Phantomhive and Mr. Damiano.

Once dinner was over, the three went back inside, going their separate ways. Mei to her bedroom and the two gentlemen to the Drawing room. The manor was as silent and still as the night. Mei decided to turn in for the night and washed up. She changed into a long, white nightgown that was soft to the touch and climbed into bed. She removed her eyepatch, placing it on the nightstand, and fixing her hair so that it was covering her eye. Mei soon fell into a deep sleep. The light of the full moon shined bright and shone onto her sleeping form. A few minutes later, Mei was brought out of her sleep by a loud thud. Mei was in a deep sleep, so she thought she was too tired and imagined it. She closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep.

Not even five minutes later, Mei bolted up when she heard a blood curdling scream that seemed to echo throughout the mansion. "Aghhhhhhhh!" Mei turned on the lights and stared at her closed door. Who on earth was that? Was that Lord Phantomhive's business partner? Was that Mr. Damiano? Mei got out of bed, opened the balcony doors and checked outside. Nothing. No one was outside. Then...where'd that scream come from? Suddenly a voice screamed out, "Mamma mia!" Alright, that was Mr. Damiano for sure this time.

Mei wanted to know what in the world was going on, so she rushed to the door and opened it. Only to find Sebastian standing right in front of her with a smile and a candelabra in his hand. "Mr. Michaelis?"

"Good evening, my lady. I had just checked on my young master and I wanted to see how you were doing." He said. He looked behind her and noticed that her balcony doors were wide open. "Oh dear, don't tell me you've been sleeping with the doors open. You might catch cold." Mei stepped aside as Sebastian walked in and closed the balcony doors. As he did, Mei stared at him with wide eyes in shock. What is this? What was she seeing? What was she even looking at? Besides the point, was it a coincidence that he was right outside her room the moment Mr. Damiano screamed?

Mei composed herself, regaining her calm demeanor. "I thought I heard Mr. Damiano. Is he in trouble?"

"Mr. Damiano had injured his leg. He had accidently fell down the steps. My master had called for a carriage to send him home. He will be fine, young miss." Sebastian said. His smile still plastered on his face.

Mei stared at him for a moment longer before nodded in understanding. They bid each other a good night and she went back into bed. But sleep didn't come to her so easily this time. Mei began to rethink what had happened. Mr. Damiano accidentally falling down the steps sounds reasonable enough, but the way Sebastian told her and the sound of his screams said otherwise. His scream suggested that he experienced great terror. Sebastian was right outside her door, coming to convince her he broke his leg and nothing else. From his smile, he was hiding something.          

Then there was...that. What was that on Sebastian? It was so unnatural. She should be used to seeing that sort of thing, and she was, but that was much more different. It was much more terrifying than anything she'd seen before. Mei fell into an uneasy sleep with those colors haunting her mind. She could've sworn she saw the colour of the raging flames of Hell itself on that man.

 

Chapter Text

It has only been a few days since Mei arrived at the Phantomhive manor, and Mr. Damiano hasn't shown his face around since his visit. However, things weren't as bad as initially perceived. Everything has been rather quiet around the manor, other than the occasional ruckus caused by the other servants. As Mei thought, in Kirika's letter, she had requested for her to stay/live with them while she and her grandmother worked in their newest shop/museum. Mei had found out about it as Lord Phantomhive had given her an extra key to the manor and had given his permission to explore the place whenever she wished. She had learned that his full name was Ciel Phantomhive.

To her surprised, he had already been notified of her request in advanced, which is why he had prepared a room for her to begin with. The two of them didn't exactly interacted with each other much, except during meal times, but other than that... They've barely spoke a word to each other. During the past few days, Mei had gotten acquainted with the rest of the servants of the manor. The first was Baldroy; an American with dirty blond hair and turquoise eyes. He dresses in a standard chef's outfit, which includes a long white apron. Based on the many times she'd seen him, Baldroy always has a cigarette dangling from his mouth and goggles hanging loosely around his neck. She grew accustom to hear explosions coming from the kitchen as she knew that was a sign of him 'cooking'.

The second was the gardener, Finnian. A young boy, only a year older than her, with large, turquoise eyes and pale skin. He has short, messy, strawberry-blond hair clipped back with five red bobby pins — two on his right and three on his left. Finnian wears a plain top with red piping around the collar and plaid pants along with black knee-high boots. He also sports a straw hat around his neck. Mei grew accustom to hear the various crashes and thuds, as well as the sound of crying from him, throughout the manor as she knew that was a sign of him messing something up.

Then there was Mey-Rin. The maid. From her, the crashes of glass, plates and other fragile items, and her screams indicated her sheer clumsiness. Finally, there was Mr. Tanaka, the fun-sized old man. He was the family's steward and the former head butler. He was old and quiet, so he didn't do too much, thus he didn't cause any trouble whatsoever. Despite that, he's quite reliable with simple tasks and pleasant to be around.

With Sebastian Michaelis, however, it was hard to explain. While they had their fair share of conversations from time to time, Mei couldn't help but feel a little uneasy around him. She didn't forget what she saw that night and wasn't sure how to process it. Mei had seen things similar to it, but that color was in a different league all together. She'd also been noticing that Sebastian had a unreadable look in his eyes whenever he stared at her. Still...Sebastian was always nice to her and treats her well. Maybe she's just reading too much into things.

Right now, she was with Ciel in the Drawing room with three other guests he had for the day having tea. He thought it would be better, and less of a hassle, if she were to be introduced as she was now a resident of the manor. Mei was properly introduce to Madam Red; a well-known doctor in the city, Lau; a Chinese nobleman, and his friend, Ran-Mao. Along with Madam Red's butler, Grell. Ciel  had just finished a meeting with several other nobles, including the police commissioner of Scotland Yard, Sir Arthur Randall. They were discussing of the possibility that one of the guests might be a smuggler.

"So, do you believe the drag trafficker you're after was one of your guests today?" Lau asked setting down his tea. Lau was a tall man with short black hair. As a Chinese nobleman, Lau dresses in sumptuous Chinese clothing, which includes a Changshan. What Mei found odd about him was that he never once opened his eyes. It's a wonder how he could see anything at all.

"Perhaps." Phantomhive said.

"Why not leave the extermination to Lau? A rat knows best where the rats' nest is, doesn't he?" Madam Red said. As her name suggested, she was cladded in red. She had red eyes and crimson hair that is kept in a bobcut. She is cladded in red lipstick and clothing, which consists of a red skirt and matching waistcoat, and a ruffled white blouse.

"I'm but a tame guinea pig dedicated to my lord." Lau told her as he walked to the earl's side and placed a hand on top of his head. "If the earl instructs me not to act, I'm bound to do nothing."

A split second later, Madam Red quickly sprang from her seat and grabbed the boy away from the Chinese man. "Watch it! You'd best keep your filthy paws off my darling nephew!" She growled, hugging the young boy protectively in her arms.

"You wound me." Lau said. Though he appeared to be more humored than apologetic. "I would never paw at him in his own home, dear madam."

"Are you saying you would if you were elsewhere? Careful, you're on thin ice now, sir!" Madam Red yelled at Lau as she dropped Phantomhive to the floor. Mei sat down her tea and walked over to him. Helping the boy up. He felt a headache coming in and he promptly left the room with Madam Red still raging at Lau. Not wanting to listen to their little squabble either, Mei followed Ciel out as well. She was on her way to the library when she heard, "Ms. Misaki."

She turned to see Ciel looking at her with an unreadable expression. During her stay, She had not once heard him call her name. "Yes?" Mei asked, curiously.

"I want you to come with me to my study. I wish to talk with you." He said as he walked away. 

"Huh?" For what reason would he want to talk to her about? "Oh, alright." She said. Mei rushed up to catch up the young earl as the head butler, Sebastian came in and said, "Master. Today's dessert is a deep-dish pie prepared with flesh apples and raisins. It will be ready soon. Would you like to eat with the rest of your guests?"

"Bring it to my study. I'm done here." He said. Ciel gestured for Mei to continue following him. Mei thought about it, and assumed this had something to do with Kirika's letter. Kirika herself was a strange woman who isolates herself making dolls. Mei wonders if her mother had written something she shouldn't have.

"Certainly, my lord." Sebastian said as he left to prepare the pie and tea for the young lord and lady. Ciel led Mei down through the long corridors towards his study. Once there, Ciel opened the door and gestured for her to go inside first. Mei did so. Honestly, she wasn't sure where this will go. He hasn't said anything and it's a little uncomfortable they were alone. Even if it's temporary. "Finally, some peace and quiet." Ciel said as he closed the door behind him. Seconds after he spoke, Mei heard his muffled scream. She quickly turned and before she knew it, everything went black.

*Later*

"...Aki...Misaki! Lady Misaki!" A voice called out. Mei opened her eye and saw a blurry vision of a man hovering above. Her vision soon cleared up and saw Sebastian staring down at her with a concern expression on his face. He was holding her in his arms. "Lady Misaki, are you alright? What on earth happened?" He asked.

"Wh...what do you mean...?"

"You were laying face down on the floor, unconscious. What happened and where is the young master?" He said.

Mei opened her mouth to speak, but quickly shut it when she felt a sharp pain through her head. But not just her head, her face hurts just as bad. What happened to her? Oh boy, she could feel a headache coming in. Mei placed a hand near the top of her and felt a large bump. Did she hit her head on something? She looked around and saw that the study was a mess; several books and papers were spilled all over the floor, the chair was toppled over, and the window was wide open. Alright, what happened here? 'This headache is helping either, all I can remember was that Lord Phantomhive wanted to-.'

Mei gasped in shock as she began to remember what had occur. Ciel was in danger. She turned her attention to Sebastian and told him, "Mr. Michaelis, Lord Phantomhive has been-!"

In the far East End of London's city, a manor stood above all else with an abundance of armed men around every corner. Security so tight, not even a small mouse can get through. Within the manor, Ciel laid against the wall. Bound up, beaten, and slightly bleeding from his nose and mouth. He remained motionless until a male Italian voice spoke up.

"The policeman of England's underworld, one of the nobles who have done the royal family's dirty works for generations. The Queen's guard dog, tasked with disposing of anyone who disagrees with her. Just how many nick names do you have, and how many families have you crushed, Ciel Phantomhive?"

Ciel lifted his head and glared at his captor. Damn it, he should've expected this much. "I thought it would be you. You shame your family, Azzurro Vanel." Azzurro has small eyes, a stubble on his chin, and shaggy, blond hair that he wears up in a ponytail. He has multiple piercings—one on his right ear, three on his left ear, and two on his left eyebrow—and a noticeable scar across his face. As a member of the mafia, he dresses nicely, in a clean, white suit, although he leaves his purple, button-down shirt worn underneath partially unbuttoned and wears no tie.

Up until this moment, Azzurro was a guest at the Phantomhive manor along with the other nobles. Although, he had pretended to leave and waited for the perfect opportunity to strike, kidnapping the young Earl. Azzurro lights up a cigar and smirked at the boy. "Haha. Come now, my little Lord Phantomhive. Do you know how hard it is for the Italian Mafia here? You Englishman have nothing but tea on the brain." He stalks closer to the boy and kneeled down to his level before continuing. "It's difficult to penetrate those small minds of yours, so we have to think outside the box to make money. So found the drug trade."

"The Pharmacy Act of 1868 listed opium as a restricted substance. It is the Queen's decree. And I will eliminate those drugs and the vermin who sell them." Ciel told him. Even when in this type of situation, Ciel remains so calm and collected.

Azzurro stood back up, placed a hand on his head and groaned in annoyance. "Ugh. You know this is-a why I hate all you Englishmen. The Queen this, the Queen that. You act like this-a woman is your own mother." He crouched back down and grabbed Ciel's chin, forcing him to look at him in the eye. "You line-a your pockets while pretending the whole time you're better than the rest of us. But in the end, we are no different from each other. Why can't we get along?"

"I've left orders about your key. If I don't come back, my servants will make sure the authorities get it." Ciel said, smirking. "I'm sorry, I have no interest in getting along with someone like you."

Azzurro stepped back and pulled out a gun. He was greatly irritated with his lack of cooperation. Though, Ciel was even fazed by the sight of the gun, he stared blankly at the man. "You brat, don't under estimate me. My men are already waiting at your estate. Where is the key?" He demanded. "Spit it out soon or your servants will start-a dying one by one. And I'll start with that creepy little girl you have staying with you."

Ciel's head perked up. "Ms. Misaki?"

"Oh? I see, I've gotten your attention. Will you start talking now." He hoped he would. After all, she did made an effort to try and protect him.

After he gotten Ciel in his grapes, Azzurro wasted no time and gave Mei a solid punch to the face before making his escape. Ciel eyes widen when Mei hit the floor with a loud thud. He bit Azzurro's hand, forcing him to let go. As he rushed to get to her side, Mei looked up and, without her knowledge, her body reacted on its own. Mei got up and pushed Ciel behind her, trying to protect the young Earl from the Italian mafia member. Unfortunately, luck wasn't on her side. Azzurro harshly slapped Mei back and then slammed her head against the desk, rendering her unconscious. Once she was down, he quickly punched Ciel in the gut, knocking him out as well. And with that, Azzurro escaped through the window with Ciel over his shoulder.

He hoped that after seeing her effort to save him, bringing her up would be enough to make him talk and hand over the key. However, what the boy did next only irritated him even further. Ciel gave Azzurro a surprisingly calm smile. "Oh, I think she and the others will be alright. But you'd better hope your lap-dogs know how to fetch." 

Azzurro stepped back. Took a deep breath and spread a calm smile of his own. Then within a blink of an eye, the blond haired man gave a swift kick to Ciel's face, sending him sprawling on the floor. He coughed up blood and tried to breath after having the wind literally knocked out of him. Azzurro stomped over to a phone on a nearby table and said, "Did you hear that? The time for talk is over." He slammed the phone into the receiver and stomped on his cigar.

Back at the Phantomhive manor, Sebastian and Mei walked down the hallway. Mei had told Sebastian everything on what had happened while he placed medicine and a bandage under her right eye, unfortunately she couldn't remember who it was that abducted Ciel. Whoever it was, Sebastian, for some reason, felt anger towards them. He hated that someone had the nerve to lay a hand on her like that. However, he had no idea why. Sebastian placed a hand on his chin as he began to ponder, still holding the pie he'd just baked.

"I'm sorry. I wish I could be more of use." Mei said.

"There's nothing for you to apologize for, Lady Misaki. You've done all you could do." He smiled at her. "However, this is most troubling. Where could the master have been taken?" As he began to think, he and Mei heard Mey-Rin shouting from across the hall. She was running towards them with a piece of paper in her hand. "Sebastian! *Huff-huff* I just found the letter, yes I did!"

"Address to whom?"

"Oh, to the servants of the Earl Phantomhive."

Mei suddenly felt chills down her back. Followed by the sinking feeling that they were being watched. She gazed at the window, but there was no one. Mei mentally scolded herself that she was being ridiculous. This was the second floor, so who would watch them from here? Mei walked over to the window in the hopes of finding some relief. She looked out and found nothing. No one. No one below or in the trees. Feeling satisfied, Mei walked away. She glanced up at Sebastian, who was gazing out the window himself.

Everything occurring straight afterwards went into slow motion. Sebastian tossed the pie into the air, grabbed Mei's wrist and ducked down with her, holding her protectively in his arms. A loud gunshot blasted through the window, shattering the glass and a vase into pieces in the process. The gunshot alone caused Mey-Rin to scream and collapse on the floor. Sebastian released Mei from his hold and held up his hand up his hand. Both the platter and pie landed right in place.

"Are you alright, Lady Misaki?" He asked.

"Yes, I'm fine." She told him. Though, she wondered on how he knew that was going to happen. The two of them got up and dusted themselves off. The handsome butler turned to the quivering maid and said, "Mey-Rin. the letter, please."

"Eh? Letter? Oh, yes sir!" She sprang up to her feet and handed it to the head butler. Mei tried to catch a glimpse of the letter as she wanted to know what it said, but failing as Sebastian was too tall. What she managed to read caused her to turn away in shock. "...If you want to return your Master safely, Come to Nova garden Bethmal Green as soon as possible. If you don't come before sunset, We will cut your Master's finger one by one, and send it ..." That alone was enough to make her wanna gag.

""If you want to return your Master safely, come to Nova garden Bethmal Green as soon as possible...". Goodness, what a dreadfully written letter." Sebastian said as Madan Red, Lau, Baldroy and Finnian came running down to them. The butler quickly slid the letter inside his coat as they were close enough.

"Sebastian." Finnian called out.

"What is going on here?" Madam Red asked.

Sebastian faced the group with a calm and cheery smile. As if nothing was wrong. Mei just stared at the man. Why is trying to hide something as serious as this? Ciel was in danger, shouldn't they have the right to know? "Sorry for the noise my lady. I assure you nothing is wrong. Please don't concern yourself." Madam Red and Lau both glanced at the shattered window and the broken glass scattered over the carpet. "Humph, nothing, are you sure?"

Sebastian ignored her question and turned to the other servants. "Everyone, I have business to attend to. Would you mind cleaning this up?" He handed the pie to Baldroy, and he and Finnian gazed at the yummy dessert with hunger as Sebastian walked past them. Mei now knew what Sebastian was planning. He was going to get back Ciel all on his own. She was already concern for Ciel's safety, but with Sebastian going all by himself.... Mei ran up to him and tugged on his arm, causing him to stop. He turned his head to look at her in confusion. "Lady Misaki? Is everything alright?"

She wanted to say that he shouldn't go on his own. Or at the very least bring some sort of back-up with him just in case. But something told her that she should trust the handsome butler. Mei shook her head and said, "No...I just..." She trailed off as she turned her gaze away.

"Yes?"

Mei took a deep breath as told him, "Be careful. I want you and Lord Phantomhive to come back safely." Mei felt somewhat responsible for Ciel's kidnapping and felt that it was her fault. If she were just a little stronger then none of this would've happen. Mei felt a hand gently petting her head, like a parent would do with a child. She looked up and saw Sebastian giving her a comforting smile. "Do not worry about a thing Lady Misaki. I give you my word that the young master and I shall return safe and sound." He told her. When he removed his hand, Mei lowered her eyes again. She still wasn't fully convinced if she can believe him. He was only a butler. Just one man. What could he possible do that no one else can't?

"Um. So, when you say clean uh... that means we can eat it, right? ....Sebastian?" Baldroy turned to face the butler but in a blink of an eye, he was gone. He had completely vanished from the manor.

Outside, a car was driving away from the Estate. Going down the road that led back to the city. The two men in the vehicle appeared rather agitated. The sniper was talking on the phone with Azzurro and explained their situation. "Sorry, I missed!"

"What do you mean you missed? You are complete idiots! Never should have hired-a scum like you. Just get back here."

The sniper was about to speak up again when he noticed something just out of the corner of his eye. It was faint and a bit far off, but it was undeniable. Something was following them and was closing in fast. "Um, sir, something is off. I see something. What's that!"

"Oh, what's-a wrong? You little girls see a bear in the woods?" Azzurro listened in on the man's quivering voice. He smirked and chuckled in amusement at the other's expense. He didn't show not even a hint of concern for his men. Instead, he found it entertaining. This quickly change when both men screamed in pure terror.

"Ahhhh!"

Azzurro realized the seriousness of the situation and became tense. He gripped the phone close to him as called out, "What is it? Did someone fined you? Talk to me." Who could've found them so quickly? In the forest, the driver made a sharp turn in an attempt to overthrow their pursuers, stepping on the gaze petal to escape them. They were overwhelmed with fear that they didn't even hear Azzurro's voice.  

"Ahhhh! Hurry it up! It's coming, closer..." They could just barely see a visible image of their pursuer. It only terrified them even more as the thing was chasing them in inhuman speed...was an ordinary man.

"That's it! I'd have enough of your games already." Azzurro yelled.

"No good, It's here! Aghhhhh!" The blood curdling screams of his hired men were the last things Azzurro heard from them. Tiers screeching, metal scrapping...then all fell silent after the car crashes. Static was all he could hear now. Azzurro was beginning to get anxious. He started to sweat, his mind swirling with questions. What's going on? What happened? Azzurro could hardly breath as he spoke, "Uh, hello? What's happened?"

Ciel smirked and started laughing. He greatly enjoyed seeing people like him cower in fear in something beyond their control and understanding. "Ha, Hahaha. That's too bad. Sounds like your little game of fetch is over." Azzurro snapped his head back at the young Earl with great malice. He placed the phone down and then proceeded to kick and stomp all over his body.

"Ugh!"

"Just shut your mouth, you damn brat!" Azzurro continued his assault until he was satisfied with Ciel so close to losing consciousness. The Italian man turned back to the phone, picked it up and yelled, "You listen to me! If one of you don't answer right now, I swear I will kill you!" He had expected one of his men to pick up and answer him right away. He wasn't expecting a smooth British voice to come from the other end. "Hello." The Italian man nearly choked on his spit when he heard this unfamiliar voice.

"Who's this?" Azzurro demanded.

"Pardon me, but I represent the Phantomhive estate. I was wondering if my master might be available." Sebastian asked him politely.

The only thing the mafia member could hear was his own beating heart ringing in his ears. His blood was running cold in his veins. He could barely speak. His words were stuck in his throat, he could choke them out. Azzurro glanced at Ciel's unmoving body as he tried to speak.

"Hello, is anyone there? Hello?"

"Ah...I.."

"Woof."

Everything fell extremely quiet after Ciel spoke so suddenly. It made his captor's heart stop. Just as quickly as he spoke, Sebastian smiled and responded to his young lord. "Very good, young master. I will come to get you momentarily." The call ended when Sebastian cut the phone line. On his end, the butler had destroyed the car, had two men petrified, and currently has said car balanced near the edge of a cliff. He gave a smile as he said, "Thank you for the use of your field telephone. And now there are few things I'd like to ask you about, if that's all right. First, I'd like to know who you work for." When they didn't answer, his smile only widens. "Hurry up now. I'm not exactly what you would call a patient man. And you do remember what happened to the Humpty-Dumpty, don't you?"

Realizing on what he planned on doing to them, the men turned as pale as a ghost. One quickly gave in and told Sebastian the information he wanted. "Ah, our employer's name is Azzurro Vanel. He has a hideout up in the city. It's in the East End." With no response and only smiling like the gentleman he claims to be, Sebastian stood up straight. Looking down at the two. The sniper made a desperate attempt to save their own lives. "We just work for him!"

"But of course, I understand. I'm very sorry to have interrupted your work, gentlemen. I'll let you go now. Have a safe trip." Sebastian jumped right off. The car tilted back, and went off the cliff. The men couldn't even scream. Fear was plastered on their faces as they fell further down to their deaths. Sebastian turned away and took out his pocket watch. He was slightly annoyed at how fast the day was going . "Oh dear. Look at how late it's gotten. If I don't move quickly, we shall never have dinner ready in time." Sebastian said to himself. He didn't even flinch when the car exploded as smoke and embers rose from the bottom of the cliff. Sebastian kept walking, after all, he needed to pick up the young master. Before dinnertime.

 

Chapter Text

"Listen up, the Phantomhive boy has help on the way! Move it! Tighten security at the gate! Not so much as a single rat gets through!" Azzurro yells out to his men. He demanded that every single one of them go to each corner of the mansion and have stop whoever was on their way to get Earl Phantomhive. While that phone call might have spooked him greatly, Azzurro wasn't going to give up that easily. He wasn't going to allow himself to bow down to his whims. He was stronger than that. Half of the men guarding the mansion were locked and loaded at the front gate. They were ready to shoot down anyone who passes them by. " My, my, what a splendid home." An familiar voice spoke. The men turned and were startled by the presence of a single man standing on the staircase, looking at the mansion in awe.

How-?! How the hell did he get past them without any of them knowing?! They were standing guard the entire time! "Hey, who the hell is this guy?!" The men then pointed their guns at the Phantomhive butler. Sebastian turned to face the men with a polite smile as he introduced himself to them. "Ah, my apologies. You see... I represent the Phantomhive household." And within a blink of an eye, Sebastian charges at them. 

Back at the Phantomhive estate, the servants were cooped up in the kitchen with Mei with them. Mei didn't know what she was supposed to do with the whole situation so she thought it be best to be with them. Though now she was questioning her decision as the servants were, more or less, dealing with a big issue. "Oh dear, we need Sebastian here... Where did he go now?" Men-rin asked.

"I wish I knew..." Finnian said.

"I don't care where he is right now or what he's doin'. This is all I'm worried about." Baldroy said as he kept his eyes locked on the pie on the counter. "Does "clean it up" mean we can eat the pie or not?! I have to knooow!" He shouted. Finnian glanced at the dessert with a smile and Mei thought he was going to drool. "I'm sure just one bite each would be okay." He said.

Baldroy immediately snapped his attention at the young gardener and shouted, "No, Finny! You know how Sebastian is! If we eat something we're not supposed to, he'll bake us into his next pie!"

He wouldn't really do that, would he? That's a little excessive, don't you think? Still, Sebastian is the main reason why this manor is still standing tall in the first place. So...guess Mei shouldn't be that surprised. Mey-Rin got up from her seat and went to the refrigerator and pulled a bottle of milk. She slammed the bottle on table towards the fuming chef. "You need to calm yourself down, Baldroy. A soothing drink might help. Here, give this a try!"

Baldroy scoffs at her and crosses his arms. He rolled his eyes as he said, "Milk... not that it's gonna help me."

"Milk is an important part of your diet! It'll help you grow strong bones, yes it will!" May-Rin yelled at him.

"AAAUGHHH!! My arm! He shattered the bone!" A man screamed as his arm was severely destroyed by that psychotic butler. From just the pain alone, he collapsed and passes out with the rest of the men sprawled around him. Either unconscious or dead. Which is worse? Sebastian gazed down the wounded men and said. "Pardon me, but I'm in a bit of a hurry." He then pulled out his pocket-watch and read the time. "5:34." Sebastian let himself in the mansion and began his search for his young master.

He soon found himself into the large dinning room. At first, he found it strange on how quiet it was, but he knew that the rest were in hiding. If they wished to fight, then he'll gladly give them one. As soon as he closed the door behind him, gun fired through the room. Sebastian was quick to use the sliver platter he brought with him as a shield as the the men fired from the second floor. He ran across the room and with one jump, Sebastian tossed the platter like a frisbee with enough strength to knock down at least ten men in a row. But he didn't stop there. He ran on top of the table while the men kept on shooting at him. Sebastian grabbed a few a plates off the table and tossed around. Aiming directly at some of the gunmen's head, rendering them unconscious.

"Move, damn it! Call in the boys in the west tower!" One of them ordered as the others went ahead to do just that. "We need to rip this bastard apart!"

Sebastian let out a sigh that was a mix of annoyance and tiredness. Pulling out his watch, he said, "An entire swarm of rats...I'll get nowhere at this rate." Oh well, a butler must do what a butler must do.

"That's it! I'm goin' to eat it!" Baldroy yelled, finally making up his mind. He turned to the others and said, "Mey-Rin, tea! Finny, go get the silver!"

"Sir, yes sir!" They said in unison. Mei had to agree with them here. The past few days, Mei could tell that Sebastian wasn't the type who would waste any refreshments or food of any kind. And if he does get angry, then she could just tell him that she had offered to give them some. Also...she was getting a little hungry. Finnian walked over to one of the drawers to get the utensils they'll be needing. "It should be right in here. What the?" He said.

"Is somethin' wrong?" Baldroy asked as he and Mey-rin walked over to see what was the problem.

"I don't understand. The silver supposed to be here, but I don't see a single knife or fork!" Mei looked over their shoulders and saw that they were, in fact, missing. Weird, where'd could they have gone? Who could've possibly had taken them and for what reason?  

Sebastian pulls out the silverware from his sleeves and prepared to attack. With a smirk, Sebastian leap into the air as he threw them like shurikens at his attackers. Each knife stabbed their necks. Each fork pierced their heads. Sebastian landed on top of one of the railings of the room and threw even more of the silverware, it seemed he had an endless supply as he tore them down one by one. 

"Who the hell is he?!" One of the men asked before a knife stabbed him through the head, falling dead on the floor. 

Sebastian heard his question and couldn't help but chuckle at it. "Now, now, if I couldn't do this much at least... then what kind of butler would I be?" He said as he continued his assault, all the while having a smirk upon his face as he did so. Within minutes each man who was in the room laid still. Most were dead, some were knocked out, and a few were still trying to stay awake. Meanwhile, Sebastian was on top of the chandelier, having upside down with his legs supporting him. He looked around the room and crossed his arms. A little dissatisfied on how long this attack of his took. "Oh dear...That took longer than I thought." Sebastian said as he slid down from the chandelier. Landing right on his feet without so much as a scratch on him. He took out his watch and read the time. "Already 5:43."

Goodness, it was getting late. He must finish this up quickly before dinnertime comes around. Not only that, but Sebastian had given his word to Mei that he and the young lord would come back safe and sound. And he wasn't a man who would break a promise, and he certainly wasn't a man who would tell a lie. With Azzurro, he stood in the centre of the room, a gun in hand. His whole body was shaking in fear as he heard footsteps coming ever so close to where they are. Azzurro could only imagine what kind of monster of a man was coming for him. He heard the gunshots earlier but they were quickly silenced. He didn't know if what he planned next was even enough to stop them. But the least he could do was try.

His breath hitched as the footsteps stopped right outside the doors. The doorhandles turned, and they opened up to reveal a single man in a butler's uniform. Sebastian stepped inside and gave a bow like the gentleman he was. "I have come to retrieve my master." He said.

Azzurro let out a breath as he looked at the butler before him. The hell? Wait. This was the one who's been causing him so much trouble? Seriously?! "Is this a joke? I was expecting a giant and instead I got-a some scrawny dandy in a tailcoat. Who are you anyway?" He said. "There's no way that you're just a butler."

"No, sir. You see, I am simply one hell of a butler... I promise." Sebastian smiled.

"Yeah, sure." Azzurro chuckled. "It does not matter anyway, I have no intention of fighting you. Not yet..." The mafia member walked towards Ciel, who was behind him, and grabbed him by the hair. He held him up as he placed the gun near his temple. "But you better have what I asked for!" So, this was his intention...in exchange for Ciel's life, Sebastian must offer the key to the storage house where it hold all of the illegal drugs for him and his goons to sell.

"Yes I do. It's right here." Sebastian says as he pulls the key from his breast pocket. Holding it up for him to see it with own eyes. However, before he could even step forward to him, Sebastian was shot in the head. Ciel's eye widened as he watched his faithful butler getting shot numerous, seemingly fatal times, and he falls to the ground with a loud thud. He looked over and saw that one of the portraits were ripped to shreds, to reveal hidden gunmen in a secret room. 

Azzurro let out a laugh at Sebastian's fate as he believed he had won this fight. "Oh sorry, dandy. I really am, but this round is mine! There's no way I was going up against the Phantomhive, lord of the games, without a trump card hidden." He said. He pulled up Ciel's head to face him as he smirked. He wasn't lying when he said he was going to let him live. However, that wasn't his problem. That's up to whoever's going to pay big money to buy a cute little Earl like him. "I damaged the goods a little bit, but that's all right. I'm sure you'll fetch a pretty price even in this condition." Azzurro said as he tapped Ciel's chin with his gun. He took off Ciel's eyepatch as he continued. "Don't worry, you have so many enemies. I doubt you'll be alive for that much longer."

Ciel didn't seem to care what he was saying as he was more focused on Sebastian. He suddenly told him, "All right, I'm tired of messing around." That caught Azzurro off guard. He didn't expect him to say something like that. "How much longer are you planning to play dead?" Sebastian's fingers twitched.

"Not long." They all immediately turned their attention back to Sebastian, who they believed was dead, was beginning to stand up, like a corpse raising from the grave. "But how?! How are you...! You just...!" Azzurro started to say as his eyes widened. The gunman starting back away in fear at the sight of him. "Guns today are so much more efficient than they used to be...They can shoot so many more bullets now." Sebastian stood back up to his full height and coughs out all of the bullets that in his body into his hand. "Perhaps you'd like these back." He smiles as he shows them the bullets.

His fear was returning and Azzurro quickly ordered his men, "What are you doing?! Kill him!" They raised their guns to shoot him again, but they never got that chance. Sebastian won't fall for that again. He rushed forward and threw the bullets right back at them with enough force to kill the last of Azzurro's men. With gone, Azzurro was left on his own with a dumbfounded expression. Sebastian dusted his hands as he looked down at his uniform. He was disappointed that it was slightly ruined as it was one of his favorites. "Oh dear, what an awful thing to do to a perfectly good tailcoat." He said, holding one of the corners of his coat.

"You could have avoided that, idiot." Ciel scolded him.

Sebastian turned his attention back to his young master and smiled. "Master, how unfortunate, they don't seem to have taken very good care of you." He said as he began walking towards them. Azzurro had started to panic. Sweat beaded down his face and he yelled out. "No, stay back!" He pointed the gun back to his head to show he wasn't messing around.

"You look like a helpless little child all bound up like that." Sebastian said as he noticed the belts that tied tight around his torso and ankles. "But then I guess that's appropriate."

"I-lf you come any closer, I will shoot him!" Azzurro threatened.

"Can we move this along? His breath smells awful." Ciel told him.

"But if I come any closer, he might kill you."

Ciel narrowed his eye. Ugh, he hated when he gets like this. He found it extremely annoying. "Well then, are you saying you want to break the contract?" He asked him seriously.

"No, of course not. Nothing has changed; I remain your faithful servant, lord." Sebastian said. His smile still on his face as he bowed at the waist.

"What the hell kind of-a nonsense are you two talking about?!" Azzurro yelled at them. What contract?! What are they even talking about?!

"Master, you know what you have to do..." Sebastian said as he tilted his head, raising a finger to his lips. "Now just say the words."

Ciel lowered his head for a bit before raising up with great confidence and strength. He opened his right eye. At first it was dull with so little color, barely containing any life in it. But then it glowed a dark purple color as a pentagram, with a some kind of magic ward around it, appeared. "This is an order. Save me now!" Ciel demanded. "No, it's over!" BANG!!!

The gun went off. Azzurro had enough of the insanity he was experiencing and shot Ciel in the head. At least, that's what he thought. His eyes were wide. He could barely breath. Could barely move. Ciel slowly turned his head to look at the mafia member in the eye. The boy wasn't dead. He was still very much alive. But how...Azzurro had shot him point blank. "What the... But that's impossible...!"

"Are you looking for this?" Sebastian said, holding the bullet between his thumb and index finger. What's even more shocking was that the butler was standing right behind. Azzurro didn't even see him move. "Here then, let me give it back to you." Sebastian dropped the bullet in Azzurro's coat pocket. He then merely moved his finger before Azzurro's arm was mangled. Twisting painfully around. Saying that it was broken was a huge understatement. "Aaargh! Ugh!" He screamed in agony.

Azzurro collapsed to the ground, giving Sebastian the opportunity to grabbed Ciel, picking him up as the young child Earl gazed the man wriggling in pain. "I must say, the game wasn't as much fun this time, Sebastian." Ciel said as his butler seated him on a nearby chair and began to untie him. Azzurro got on his knees, begging for his life and tries to bribe Sebastian. "No, wait! Work for me! Be my bodyguard and I will pay you ten times what he does." When he didn't answer, Azzurro doubled his offer. "All right then, twenty times! You can have all the liquor and-a women you want, too!"

Sebastian managed to shut him up by ripping the belts apart as easy as if they were wet paper. "I'm sorry, Mr. Vanel, it's an attractive offer, but I have no interest in such materialistic things." Sebastian tells him as he dropped the belts to the floor. The handsome butler rose up to his feet and he turned to Azzurro. He was still smiling...but it somehow looked a lot more eerie than what is was like before. "You see, I am simply one hell of a butler." That's when his eyes changed. They glowed a hot pink color and his pupils turned into slits.

"Ah... right, okay..." Azzurro says, nervously. Suddenly the entire room was getting dark. Not saying the lights were being turned off, no...the whole room was being engulfed by darkness as black feathers seemed to rain down out of nowhere. The room grows ever so darker as it seems Sebastian, Ciel and Azzurro are the only ones left in the world. "As long as my master holds the contract, I am his loyal servant. A wish, a sacrifice, and this..." Sebastian explains to Azzurro while Ciel sits on his chair like a king on a throne. Sebastian removes his glove with his teeth to reveal the very same dark purple pentagram on his left hand with a ring of thorns surrounded it. "All of these things keep me bound to Lord Phantomhive. Until the day I swallow his soul." Sebastian wasn't a human. He was a demon and is bounded to Ciel through a contract. But all contracts have a price to pay.

Azzurro only sat on his knees as he gazed at the two in shock. He couldn't move. Breath. Think. He was immobilised as he knew what was going to happen next. He knew...but he didn't do anything to stop it. There was nothing he could do anyway. "Unfortunately for you, this game is over." Ciel says as he ordered his butler to silence Azzurro, permanently. His being was consumed by darkness. 

Mei sat outside on the steps with a book in her hands. Though she couldn't concentrate on her reading. She had gotten a little tired being inside and thought she might feel a better going out. But that just made her more anxious. Mei couldn't focus on her book and kept her eyes on the pathway of the manor. The sun was setting and it will soon grow dark, and they have yet to return. Mei was worried if they'll ever come back at all. That was until she noticed something in the distance. She stood up and try to see who was coming at this hour. Mei felt the weights being lifted as she saw it was Sebastian carrying Ciel in his arms. They were back. They were home. 

Mei was about to go and greet them when Finnian and Mey-Rin opened the front doors and greeted them first. Quite loudly, she might add. "Master! Welcome home, sir!" Finnian cried out as he and Mey-Rin ran towards the two walking to the manor. Mei put down the book and followed them.

"Oh, dear!" Mey-Rin said as she saw the bruises on her young master's face. His clothes were covered in small tears and saw dried blood on him. "Master Ciel, you're injured!" Finnian said.

Ciel resisted the urge to roll his eyes and he calmly told his two servants, "I just tripped and fell. It's nothing to worry about it." When he looked back at them, Finnian and Mey-Rin were just staring at them with tiny smiles and blush covering their cheeks. "What, you don't believe what your master tells you?" Ciel questioned.

"Oh no, we do." Mey-Rin said. "It's just... you look so cute, being held like a baby and all..." Finnian told him. Ciel was about scold them when he noticed Mei staring at them with a slight surprised expression. He could just see a tiny smile on her lips. His eye widened as a red blush appeared on his face. "Put. Me. Down!" Ciel ordered Sebastian and he complied. Once he was back on his feet, Ciel stomped forward and told them. "Stop looking at me like that, honestly!" Mei gave out a small laugh as she and the others turned to see Sebastian bowing down to his knee, and hung his head. "Master... I'm so terribly sorry. I've committed a blunder unacceptable for a Phantomhive butler." He said, distraught as he had failed one of a butler's tasks. "How could I ever atone...? I hang my head in shame. Dinner is not ready."

 

Chapter Text

A few weeks had passed since Ciel's kidnapping and so far, no had been the wiser. Ciel played it off as he got his injuries by a simple trip, stating he had gone out for a long walk. The servants had believed him without question. Only the three of them knew what really happened, but Ciel had practically ordered Mei to not say a word about the whole situation. He didn't any room for an argument, not she was going to argue with him in the first place, so she decided to keep it to herself. After a while, Mei had went to Ciel once and asked him if he wanted to resume that conversation that never happened, but he surprised her by saying that she should just forget it about. Not only that, but he was also told her to call him by his name. Though she had no idea why he would.

Mei didn't think she could ask him, even now when they're sitting at dinner table about to enjoy some breakfast. Mei placed a napkin on her lap when she heard loud screaming that coming her way. "Nooooo! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Aaaaahhhhh!" The doors burst opened to reveal Grell Sutcliff, Madam Red's butler. He had brown hair tied with a red ribbon, and is dress in plain, black clothes. He was being carried away by the cart and he slammed right into Finnian with a loud crash. Breaking nearly all the plates and teacups, with the teapot landing on Finnian's shirt and burning him. Finnian jumped up, grabbing his shirt and screaming out, "Ahhh! Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot!" Grell eventually snapped out of his daze and realised on what he had done. Panicking, he ran up to Finnian and saying, "I'm so, so sorry! Ah, I'll wipe it off!" Grell reached up to grab a napkin off the table, but when he did, he had the horrible mistake of grabbing, not only the napkin, but also the entire tablecloth, dragging every thing down to the floor, ruining breakfast. Except for Mei's, as she picked up her plate before it escaped her.

When everything fell to the floor, Grell panicked again as he let out a cry of shock. Upon his actions, Ciel let out a sigh and pinch the bridge of his nose. God, he was so useless...but then again...he could be worse, probably. "Master, why did you agree to take in such a useless idjit?" Baldroy asked him, whispering in his ear.

"You're one to talk, Bard." Ciel sighed. "It didn't seem like such a bad idea." If your wondering why Madam Red's butler is within the Phantomhive household, is because just other day she stop by the manor and asked her young nephew for a "small" favor Grell's consideration. "Oh, Ciel darling. I have a problem. Grell is hopelessly incompetent. Could you do me a tiny favor and have Sebastian train him to be a decent butler? Can't refuse your favorite aunt can you?" That what she said to him on that day, and since she was right, Ciel had to take him in for Sebastian to train to be a more sufficient butler, however even with his help, his incompetence only served to anger and annoy Ciel and the other servants. Mei honestly thought that he was just fit to be a butler. Even the servants here aren't as hopeless as he was. Not only that, but she got a weird feeling from him. Every time she'd look at his direction, her eye would twinge under her eyepatch.

"I thought Sebastian would be the only one in convenienced. I never expected that I would be affected as well." Ciel said, holding up his head. Mei looked at him and asked, "Do you think that maybe Mr. Sutcliff isn't the type to be a butler, Lord Phantom...oh, I mean, Ciel?" She still hasn't gotten used to that. "That thought did cross my mind." He told her. Grell sank down to his knees, and hung his head in shame. "I'm so sorry for causing all this trouble. I simply don't know how I can apologise enough." He said. Suddenly he rose up to his feet and seemed to have some kind of breakdown as he suddenly pulled a knife out of nowhere and raised to his throat. "Wait! That's it! The only thing I can do now is die! I shall atone with my death!" He shouted. Wait, is he being serous?!

"Whoa! Calm down a second!" Baldroy yelled out, trying to stop him.

"Umm, Should we take the knife away?" Mey-rin asked.

Before Grell could take his own life, Sebastian stops him by placing a hand on his shoulder. Grell looked to the handsome man as he had a smile on his face, saying, "There is no need for that. Just think of the horrible mess you would make. It'd take hours to clean up the blood." Grell dropped the knife and he gazed at Sebastian as if he was God himself. He clasped his hands together and spread a smile. "Thank you Sebastian. You're so very kind." He said.

"That was kind?" Baldroy asked the others. Finnian and Mey-Rin vigorously shook their heads. Sebastian went ahead and picked up the teapot that laid on the floor. Now that he had taken a closer look at it, he was disappointed in him for bringing such weak tea for his master and guest. "Now what I like to know is how you could even think it was acceptable to serve the master and his honored guest such weak tea." He said to him. He put the teapot onto the cart and left to go get a more glamorous teapot as well as a few other supplies. Thus began a lesson on how to perfectly prepare a cup. "Watch me, A spoonful for each person and one more for the pot." He said as he placed three spoonfuls. With that done, he then poured in hot water. "Finally, add half a pint of boiling water and let it steep until dark." As he spoke, Grell kept his eyes off of him and held a dreamlike state in his eyes.

Soon the tea was finished and promptly served, Sebastian placing a cup for Ciel and Mei. As the young Lord of the House drank his tea, Sebastian then check his watch and told him, "Master, are you ready? It is almost time. I have the carriage waiting for you in the front drive now."

"Fine." Ciel said as he finished his cup and stood up. Mei blinked in slight confusion, but then she remembered. Ciel and Sebastian were going out into town to collect a new cane, because Finnian had accidentally broke the one he had. Sebastian turned to the others and told them, "As for the rest of you, I want this place absolutely spotless, Understand?" Once they given their word of confirmation, he turned to Grell, who was still sitting on his knees, and said, "Grell, perhaps you should sit there and relax, so you don't cause anymore trouble." Sebastian then turned to leave but stopped as he gave the bumbling fool a few parting words. "Oh, and if you do decide to seek your eternal rest, please see to it outside would you. And try not to make too much of a mess." With that, he left with his master.

Grell looked at Sebastian for a while longer before going into a prayer position. "What generosity. What great kindness." He said.

As they were leaving, Mei saw them out from the doorway as they left on the carriage. Ever since his kidnapping, Mei kind of developed a habit of always watching over them whenever they would leave the manor. They both noticed her habit, but decided against talking about it and allowed her to do what she felt like. Sebastian would give her a smile, while Ciel would give her a sideways glance. When they reached the city, it was bustling as always. People covered the streets, shops were booming with business, and other carriages went to and fro all around. What seem to catch their attention was a paperboy telling the latest news. "Get your paper here! All the latest News! Prostitute mysteriously murdered." Ciel had heard about a string of murders recently, and he awaits for the Queen to send in her orders.

The duo walked throughout a plaza till they eventually stopped at a shop that specialised in crafting canes. It went pretty smoothly enough, with the exception of the owner making a short comment about him. But other than that, there was no other issue. Once Ciel payed for his new cane, he and Sebastian left the shop and made their way back to the carriage. "That ridiculous strength of Finny's is a menace. How could someone accidentally break a walking stick? "It's a pain to special-order a new one."

"Certainly. What a pity to go through all that trouble. You haven't even had a growth spurt in years." Sebastian said. Disregarding the glare Ciel sent his way. "And speaking of trouble, I don't know how well Grell is going to work out. We shouldn't stay away for too long. I worry that Lady Misaki might be influenced by his incompetence and the other's stupidity."

"Right." Ciel said. Mei was the only other person in his manor that didn't annoy him too much. Well, then again, the two of them barely talk and she would isolate herself in the library or stay in her room half the time. "Look mama!" A little boy called out to his mother. He was looking through the window and was focused on the toys and stuffed animals that was being featured to the public. "It's a brand-new rabbit toy from Funtom see!" He said. Ciel took a glance at the shop before continuing on. He saw that shop featured one of her mother's dolls. It was beautiful but held such haunting eyes. The reason Ciel had wanted to talk to her before was about Kirika's letter to him. At first, nothing to give second thought, but when it talk about Mei...it was concerning. The way she wrote it, it was like she was talking about a doll rather than her own daughter. He wanted to discuss it with her, but when Sebastian had told him how worried she had been for him, Ciel thought against it.

Meanwhile back at the manor, Mei sat on a blanket out in the front garden. Sketching away while the others did their duties. Finnian was pulling out the weeds, Mey-Rin swept the leaves while Grell trimmed the hedges, trees, and bushes. Baldroy was there too, but he sat on the grass and watch the clouds roll by. Gazing at the manor, Mei turned to the others and asked, "If it's alright to ask, what kind of company Lord Phantomhive runs? I don't mean to pry, I was only curious."

"Oh, do not worry yourself, Lady Misaki. The Funtom company is the maker of toys and confection that has grown rapidly in the last three years." Grell happily explained to her. "And this estate testifies to the company's prosperity. The manor is magnificent, don't you think?"

"It...is rather nice. How long has it stood here?" Mei asked.

"Actually Ms. Misaki, the manor has only been around for about two years now." Baldrdoy told her. That caught both Mei's and Grell's attention. Two years? But that didn't make any sense. If the Funtom company has been around for, likely for generations, than shouldn't be much older than that? "What? But, it looks so stately and dignified." Grell said as he looked the manor. "Of course, it does. That was the intention." A new voice explained. They all turned and Grell freaked when he saw a elderly man of average height was standing there. "Aghhhh! Ugh!" He screamed. Mei looked at the man and thought he seemed familiar.

"Look, it's the real Tanaka!" Finnian said. Real Tanaka?

"We haven't seem him in months!" Mey-Rin smiled.

"This manor was specifically built to be an exact replica of the previous one. It is identical to every single detail. From the window panes, to the stairways, and even the cracks in the pillars." Tanaka said.

"Identical?" Grell asked.

"The original Phantomhive manor burned down three years ago. The entire estate was engulfed in flames. It was a great tragedy." Mei turned back towards the manor and starting piecing things together, the cold feeling she got when she arrived here that day. Why her eye was tingling when she saw it the manor in its glory. But that just it, why did her eye react...it can only do so when-. Wait...had something else happened. "Excuse me, I hate to ask, and I'm sorry for asking, but where are Lord Phantomhive's parents? I haven't seen them since I arrived." Tanaka slowly shocked his head and told her, "There is no need for you to apologise, my lady. Sadly, Master Ciel's parents both perished in the fire." Mei let out a small gasp. Now it all made sense to her.

Mei felt sympathy and sorrow for Ciel's loss. That must be why he appears as an arrogant and shrewd boy and why he's very strict, proud, and acts more like an adult rather be his own age. She heart ached as she knows the pain he must've felt when he lost both his home and family all at once. When you lost the one thing that made you happy. "How terrible, that poor boy." Grell said sombrely as he continued his trimming. Suddenly, Tanaka began to...deflate...?....and he shrunk back down to his fun-size self, sitting on his knees, asleep. Mei rose to her feet to see what's wrong as Grell exclaimed, "Ahh! On no, Tanaka!"

Baldroy came in and explained his little condition. "His energy and stamina levels are way below a normal person's. Being real Tanaka exhausts him. He just needs to rest himself for a while."

"Uh, that's interesting." Grell said with uncertainty.

"Ahhhugh!" Mey-Rin suddenly screamed. Not just her, but Finnian as well were paled as ghosts as Mey-Rin was pointing at the trees and bushes. Everyone turned around and jumped at the sight at what Grell had done. Somehow this idiot accidentally cut all of the trees and bushes into the shape of skulls. How...how was even possible?! "Why are they all skulls?!" Baldroy yelled.

"No! Not again! I've made yet another unexceptionable mistake!" Grell cried out. He ran towards a step ladder and place a noose, that was somehow placed on a nearby tree for some reason, and was preparing to hang himself!! "I can't go on any longer!" He cried again.

"Quit tryin' to die all the time!" Baldroy yelled as he and the other ran to the ladder, trying to stop him. "But I have to! It's the only way to redeem my honor!" Just then, the ladder was pulled out from Grell's feet, thus hindering his ability to breath as the noose cut off circulation. "Grell!!" They screamed out. Before Mei could move, she saw something coming towards her. It tackled her to the ground, letting out a squeal.

Ciel and Sebastian return to the manor within the next ten minutes, and Ciel had grown tired over the course of the trip and really needed to get inside. "I'm sure you're tired master. I'll prepare tea for you immediately." Sebastian said as he opened the door for him. Ciel had only taken a few steps before he looked inside and became shellshocked at what he was looking at. "Aghhh!" He shouted.

Sebastian sees his master's horrid expression and asked, "What's the matter? Ughhh!" He went as he looked inside as well. As a butler who kept everything in perfect order was mortified as the manor was made over with items like diamonds, hearts, and rabbits. Stuffed animals lined the floors, the staircase, streamers and ribbons covered the ceilings, and everything was sparkling. It looked like something from a five-year-old girls fantasy! "My mansion!" Ciel shouted, still shocked.

"What happened to this place? Why it's a disaster." Sebastian said. Just then Baldroy, Mey-Rin and Finnian all ran out from the salon and charged towards the head butler. "Sebastian!" The cried out. Baldroy gripped on Sebastian's coat while the other began crying on him. That when noticed that Finnian was wearing pink rabbit paws and ear, and Baldroy was wearing a light blue bib and headband with white frills. "What is going on here? And why on earth are you all dressed like lunatics?"

"She's crazy! Crazy!" Baldroy yelled as he pointed at the salon door. "Who is crazy?" Ciel asked him. He then heard someone choking coming from the room. The two peeked inside and saw Grell hanging from the ceiling, wearing a large orange bow and with a matching ribbon decorated with yellow flowers. "What are you doing now?" He asked him. "At the moment, I believe I'm in the process of dying Master Ciel." Grell answered in a weak voice.

"Ugh. Get him down, Sebastian." Ciel ordered. "Yes, sir." Sebastian walked over to untie Grell and get him back down to his feet when a young girlish voice called out, "Ciel!" And a blur of yellow and orange passed right by him and engulfed Ciel into a hug. She was a young teenage girl who has a petite body and pale skin. She has emerald green eyes, and waist-long, golden-blonde hair worn in two big drills, save for a slightly curled cowlick. She's the one responsible for the overhaul of the mansion. "Ciel, you're back, I missed you so much!" She giggled.

"Elizabeth, what a surprise!" Ciel exclaims. The girl, Elizabeth, pulled away from him, and said, "Oh, how many times do I have to tell you, call me Lizzy!" Her huge, joyful smile was still on her face and she hugged him again, nearly squeezing the life out of him and rubbing her cheek against him. "Oh, you really are just the cutest thing ever, aren't you darling boy, I could just eat you up!" Elizabeth squealed as she hugged him tight. Sebastian walked over to them, with Grell in his hand, and greeted the young girl. "Lady Elizabeth."

She finally let go of Ciel and she gave a small curtsy to the handsome butler, acting more calm than how she was a few seconds ago. "Oh, hello Sebastian. How are you?" Elizabeth then saw Grell in his hand and gave a slight pout. "Awe, you took him down?"

"Yes, he detracted from the beauty of the room." He said with a smile. Elizabeth let a gasp when he said that. "But, I made such a lovely decoration out of him." She told him. "A decoration?"

"Yes! Just look at it all!" She said as she opened her arms to show off all the cutesy decorations, jewels and stuffed animals that was in the salon, more than likely this was a small portion compared to the rest of the manor might look like. "Isn't the salon so cute now?" Elizabeth might have thought so, but Ciel had a different opinion. "Ugh, my mansion. It's so pink."

"From now on, only the cutest things belong in the Phantomhive manor." Elizabeth declared. "Aha, don't you agree, Antoinette?" Who the hell was Antoinette? They turned and saw that she had dressed Tanaka too. He wore a pink bowtie and wore a blonde wig with curls. Though, he didn't seem too bothered by it. "I have a present for you too." She told Sebastian. "Ah?" Before he could blink, Elizabeth had already tied a bright pink bonnet with small white flowers on the side on his head. Seeing him wearing such a thing, caused the servants of the manor to laugh under breaths. "You're always dressed in black, I though this would be a nice change." She said. "What do you think?"

Sebastian sent a deathly glare at them and they immediately stopped laughing. But it was not that easy to get away with it. As soon as they stopped laughing, Sebastian had punished them severely and left them on the floor. He turned his attention to Elizabeth and gave a bow. "I am deeply honored that you went to so much trouble for a humble servant. You're generosity overwhelms me."

"Happy to help."

Ciel was about to say something when he took a quick look around. His manor was dolled up, his servants and Grell were dressed up to what she thought was cute, but there was something missing...or rather someone. "Lizzy, where is Ms. Misaki?" He asked, hoping she didn't get to her too. "Ah! Misaki? So that's her name!" Elizabeth squealed. "Ahh, she was just the cutest thing ever, as soon as I saw her, I couldn't help myself!" She giggled. "Where is she?" Ciel asked her. Elizabeth pointed at the doors on the other side of the room and said, "She's in there. I made her so cute but when she heard you come in, she locked herself in. I've been trying to get her out." Elizabeth ran to the door and knocked. "Misaki! Please, come on out! Everyone deserves to see how cute you are!"

"I don't think I want to." Mei said through the door. She didn't want to be seen in this, it was embarrassing. "I'm not coming out." She said, firmly. Ciel sighed as he called out. "Ms. Misaki, you cannot stay in there forever. I'm telling you this now, that Lizzy is very stubborn when it comes to dressing up, so she's going to find a way to get in there." He was joking right? He has to be. Then again...this is the same girl who decorated the entire manor in less than ten minutes. Ugh...why her? The doorknob turned and Mei stepped out. She wore a deep red and black satin, sleeveless, floor length gown, it featured its red bandage with the neckline decoration, with a few ruffles on the skirt, long black gloves, low-heeled shoes, a red headband with a bow attached and wore a rose eyepatch. Her long lashes were vibrate and the light pink lipstick worked well with her complexion. Elizabeth squealed again as she went and hugged her.

"See, isn't she cutest thing!" Elizabeth gushed. Mei, feeling so embarrassed, turned away so they couldn't look at her face. She could feel their eyes on her as the three servants were spouting out compliments. Saying that she looks like a princess, pretty, and like a doll. Mei didn't know how to feel about it as she'd never been called any of the things they said. She didn't know if she should be happy or a little uneasy. Unbeknownst to anyone else, both Ciel and Sebastian were stunned. They couldn't take their eyes off of her. She was so...beautiful.

Ciel was beginning to feel his face grow warm to he quickly cleared his throat and went straight to business. He asked Elizabeth, "In any event Lizzy, what are you doing here? Aunty didn't let you come alone." Aunt? Oh, so they're cousins? That would make sense. Elizabeth let go of Mei and ran up to Ciel, holding his hands. "I sneaked away because I wanted to see you, silly." She says so cheerfully as she brought Ciel into a hug again. "You sneaked away? Don't you think you'll get into trouble?" Ciel asked out of concern for her. Grell walked up to Sebastian as he watched the two. "Sebastian, who is this girl?" He asked, adjusting his glasses.

"She, is the daughter of the Marquess of Scotney. Her full Christian name is Lady Elizabeth Ethel Cordelia Midford of Soctney." Sebastian explained to him. Grell had tried to say her name, but he completely became tongue-tied and couldn't say a title as long as that. "She is actually my young master's betrothed of several years." He added.

"Ah, his fiancé, yes of course." Grell said. But within seconds, he realised what he had process and stared at the emerald-eyed girl in disbelief. "Ugh!" Mei looked at the young couple for a moment before turning to Sebastian and asking, "Does that mean they're engaged to be married?" Sebastian nodded with a smile. The others were also in disbelief that this girl was their master's fiancé.

"Master!"

"Marrying!"

"Her?!"

"Lady Elizabeth is of the nobility after all. She is a daughter of a Marquess. Noble's marry other nobles. That is how it works." Sebastian told them. Mei processed his words and began to understand a little. She didn't really understand the nobility in this country, but she was no stranger in learning of cousins marrying. Back in Japan, it was allowed to marry your cousin, though it's somewhat ambiguous. "Ohh! I know!" Elizabeth suddenly said, clapping her hands together. Now that manor is decorated so prettily, why don't we have a ball tonight?"

"A ball? You mean a dance?" Mei asked her. "Exactly like a dance!" Elizabeth told her. She grabbed Ciel's hand and twirled themselves around. "You can be my escort and we'll dance around all night long, isn't that a wonderful idea?" She giggled.

"A ball? No!"

"You wear the clothes I picked out for you, won't you? Pretty please, they'll be so cute on you!" She wasn't even listening to him.

"Ughh! Listen I don't want to-"

"And of course, I'll be dressed to the night as well. You two come with me, I want to make you both even cuter than you already are!" She said as she quickly runs off with Grell and Mei to prepare for it. Though, she was more dragging Grell by the noose that was still around his neck. "Wait, I said no ball!" Ciel yelled out. But it was too late, it's happening, the dance was underway.

Elizabeth had already set up the main lobby for her and Ciel to dance, and she had-forcibly- dressed the men in feminine outfits, with the exception of Sebastian who was with Ciel the whole time, she even called in a full orchestra team to come to the manor. Right now, she was in Mei's room, dolling her up. "You're too cute! I just knew that this dress would suite you!" She giggled. Mei had said nothing the entire time and just allowed her to do what she wanted. Elizabeth noticed her somber expression and gently asked, "Misaki? Is something wrong?" Mei shook her head. "No, it's nothing important...I'm just not used to wearing this kind of thing. I'm not entirely sure if I do look nice in it."

"Of course, you don't look nice. You absolutely beautiful!" Elizabeth told her. She sounds so sincere, but Mei still wasn't sure. She never really paid too much on her appearance that much but she knew how plain looking she was. After she was done, she practically begged Mei to look at the mirror. She was dressed in a vivid royal blue colored dress with long, flowing sleeves, with a round neckline, the dress was completed with ruffles and lace. She had white gloves, small-heeled shoes and a blue rose choker. "I decided to leave that white eyepatch of yours on since it does go with it. I'm not sure why you're refusing to show what's beneath, but I won't force you. I'll be going downstairs, don't take too long Saki!" She said as she ran out the room.

It's Saki now? Hmm, anyway, Mei looked at herself in the mirror and was actually surprised by how she looked. For a minute, she thought she was seeing an different person. Was this how she looked. Did she always look like this? Now that she thought about, her friends in Japan would often drag her to go shopping with them and they always pick out several clothes for her, they would tell her how pretty she was. She felt bad about it now since she had disregarded those compliments, hope they weren't mad at her for doing it. She took one last look in the mirror and gave a small smile. Guess she was a little pretty.

Mei left her room and went straight for the lobby, feeling a little happy along the way. But then she heard Elizabeth whining about something, so she picked up the pace. Wneh she arrived, Mei heard Ciel shouted a demand from her. "Give it back!" His voice was full of anger. She looked over at Elizabeth and saw tears in her eyes. Then she got upset and threw a beautiful blue sapphire ring to the ground, breaking it. Ciel grew furious and stomps his way towards her, raising his hand to slap her but Sebastian stops him, handing him his cane instead. Sebastian then informs Elizabeth the ring was very special, as it was a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, family ring.

From hearing this, Elizabeth felt immediate guilt and regret for breaking such a special ring. She had tried to apologise to Ciel but he shocked everyone when he tossed the ring through the window. He said, It doesn't matter. It was nothing but an old ring after all. Even without it, I'm still the Head of the Phantomhive's and that won't change." Ciel dries his fiancé's tears as Sebastian began to play the violin from the staircase, prompting the orchestra team to play their instruments and Grell happily ran to the stairs to sing along with it, providing the music for Elizabeth and Ciel to dance to. The two of them dance together in perfect harmony. Matching each other's steps in order. After a while, Sebastian stopped playing the violin and turned to Mei, who was still standing beside him. Smiling, he walked over to and offered his hand.

"Hm? What?" She asked, confused. "Ms. Misaki, it's not fair for you to be standing here while they have all the fun. Would you do me the honor, my lady. May I have this dance?" He asked her. Mei took a step back. "No, I can't. I don't know how to dance." He chuckled at her. "I'm happen to be a very good teacher." Mei looked at him and hesitantly reached out and held his hand. 'His hand...it's so warm.' She thought. Taking her hand, Sebastian led her down the stairs and onto the dance floor. He brought her close to him, wrapped an arm around her waist and held her hand. The two of them danced along side Ciel and Elizabeth all night and Mei...felt happy. For the first time in a long while.

 

Chapter Text

"Young master, yet more letters for you have arrived today." Sebastian tells his master as he placed a large stack of envelopes on his desk. Ciel looked at the stack with great annoyance. Ugh, it's always the same thing, every time when the Season would come about. Every year, in May through August, when the weather is at its best, is known as the "Season," and aristocrats leave their manors to their London townhouses in order to attend social events. Like what's happening now, except...Ciel is not in the least bit interested in attending. "The Season is nearly over, damned idlers. Yet they're all in search of guest for their silly balls...nothing good happens in London." The blue-eyed boy said. Letting out a sigh. Well...time to reject these silly invitations.

"Earl Warwick...Baron Bath....Countess Gartland..." He said as he tossed the invites to the side, rejecting each one of them at a time. Sebastian had pulled out a notepad and began making a list for said invitations. Ciel had gone through all of the envelopes sent to him until he reach the final one. And it was one, where he was in no position to reject. This envelope held the royal seal of the Queen herself. With no other choice, as if he had one, Ciel rose up from his seat and ordered for Sebastian to ready the carriage.

"Of course. Master, should we inform Lady Misaki of our departure?" Sebastian asked him. Ciel was about to say so, but then thought back to Kirika's letter and how long he was going to be gone, Mei was going to be left alone with the servants. And God only knows how that'll turn out as she has no idea how to deal with them. Being the only other person who enjoys peace and quiet, and doesn't annoy him, Ciel thought that it might be best if she would come with them. Merely to have someone to have some kind of conversation during his mission. However, he'll make full certain she will NOT get involved in this.

"Actually, she'll be coming along. Once your done, go inform her of our trip." Ciel said. Sebastian was a little surprise at that, but he gave a bow and left to do what was asked of him. Meanwhile with Mei, she was in her room, reading a novel. But couldn't focus her attention on it. Since yesterday, Mei couldn't simply put aside what Tanaka had told her. The destruction of the manor, the death of Lord Phantomhive's parents, and of course remembering the color she saw on Sebastian that one night. Form the very start, she felt uneasy about the entire manor and the hellish colors made it worse. She was curious if there's something else going on, but she couldn't go act on it. As she refused to see it with her left eye, she swore to never remove her eyepatch for any other reason. Besides, they do say that curiosity kills the cat.

Mei was brought out of her thoughts when she heard a knock at her door. "Yes?" She said. The door opened to reveal the handsome butler himself, Sebastian. "Please, pardon the intrusion my lady. But the young Master wishes to invite you on his trip to the city." He said. Mei blinked. "The city? What for?" She asked him.

"Around this time of year, the nobility migrated to town from the country to attend social gatherings. Of course, there's no need for you to go to said gatherings if you don't want to. I believe will be beneficial for the both of you, seeing as you two are behaving like strangers. Perhaps, this will allow the two of you to become friends." Sebastian explained to her. Mei thought about and did thought that it might serve a little change of pace. Even she didn't want to be stuck in one place. "Alright. Are we leaving now?"

"Yes. Please don't worry. There's no need to rush." Sebastian smiled at her as he gave her a bow before leaving. Mei set down her down her book and went to pack up for the trip. Soon after, she met up with Ciel outside, and after getting a tearful...ughh....'farewell' from Finnian and May-Rin, they got settled in the carriage. With Sebastian taking the reins. When they got to the city, Mei looked out the window and was amazed by just how many people were there. No doubt, a whole lot of them were lords and ladies from all across London. They must really love this time of year. Mei looked back at Ciel and saw the envelope in his hands. He's been staring at it for a while now. She found it odd for him to be coming here in the first place since she wasn't told that Ciel almost never accepts an invitation to balls or anything of the sort. Must be a very important invitation for him to not reject it.

They all eventually arrive at Ciel's London townhouse, it wasn't anywhere near as big as the Phantomhive manor, but it was fairly big. Mei could guess that this was, in a way, London's version of a summer home. "It has been a while since young master last came to the Townhouse." Sebastian tell him. "I hate this, I wouldn't be here if not for 'that' letter. There are too many people in London, you can't even walk properly." Ciel said as they walked up the stairs to the front door. Sebastian went in ahead and opened the door for them. "It may prove a nice respite for you to leave the manor sometimes." The butler said, being positive about the whole thing, as they all walked inside, going to the upstairs lounge.

"It's a break from those four at least. We can enjoy a little peace and quiet for a time." Sebastian said, smiling.

"Some peace and quiet does sound nice." Ciel said, liking the idea of it. Mei nodded her head in agreement. If they could have that then whatever he was called for would be so worth it. Mei thought back to what Sebastian had said about being beneficial to the two of them into becoming friends than strangers. Ciel had told her to called him by his first name...so does that count for anything. They were relatively close to each other's age so it would be a big of a deal. But the word 'friend' made her feel a bit anxious as she never had much growing up, still not sure if those girls were 'real friends'.

Mei wasn't very confident in this type of thing and wasn't sure if this was a good idea but she asked him, "Lord Phantom....ahem, I mean...Ciel? Would....you like to play game later on?" Mei didn't know why she would ask him that so suddenly. Back home, she was so used to the other girls making the plans. Kind of saves her from being awkward about it. She was caught of guard when he answered, "I teach you the rules of chess. Hopefully, you're a fast learner." She blinked. 'Did he really just say that?' Mei thought. Maybe she was thinking about this whole thing way too much. Maybe she should just take everything in face value and accept them as they are.

As Sebastian opened the door to the lounge, the whole room was completely ransacked by Angelina Dallas (aka Madam Red), Lau, and Grell Sutcliff, who were in the process looking for tea in the house. "Urrgh. Goodness sake. Where do they keep the tea in this house?" Madam Red said as she looked through a cabinet taking out the books in it.

"I can't find it either." Lau said as he looked inside a very extravagant vase. Madam Red got annoyed by that and said, "Don't be silly, of course it's not in there! Ohh!" 'We can enjoy a little peace and quiet for a time.' had just broken into tiny pieces right there and then. So much for that idea, huh? How did they even get in here in the first place? "Either one of them has a spare key or the security isn't very reliable." Mei said. Alright, so she shouldn't take everything at face value. "Madam Red?! Lau?! Why are you here?" Ciel asked as he snapped out of his shocked stage. "Ciel, you're early dear." Madam Red said as they all turned to face them.

"Your sudden appearance here in town, must mean," Lau started.

"That the queen's guard dog has a new scent to follow." Madam Red as she gave a sly smile. Mei tilted her head in confusion. 'Queen's guard dog'? What does that mean? Ciel's the owner of Funtom, what does the queen have to do with anything? Does Ciel work for the queen or something? Madam Red looked over and smiled brightly when she saw Mei. "Mei, darling. So wonderful to see you again!" She said happily as she gave her a big hug. This action surprised Mei and she gave Madam Red a nervous pat to the back. "It's....nice to see you too. Madam Red." She said. 

"Well, let's not stand around now. Take a seat." Madam Red said as she lead Mei to the couch, despite the mess. Sebastian quickly gave a smile and said, "We apologise for not being able to greet our honourable guests. I will have elevenses ready momentarily, so please wait a while." 

Within minutes, Sebastian had cleaned up the drawing room and had prepared them all tea and snacks. As they all sat around, Mei had quickly learned the real reason why they're were here in the first place. They'd explained to her that Ciel works for the queen into stopping the criminal organisations that plague London and that letter was was sent by the queen herself, asking him to see into the horrific murders caused by a vicious serial killer.

The head of the Phantomhive family wanted to avoid speaking such things with her present, but from the looks of things, he didn't have much choice. "He struck again. Another prostitute was found gruesomely murdered in white chapel. These killings are far from normal. The level of violence we're seeing is unprecedented." Ciel began saying, while taking a sip of his tea. 

"The most recent victim was a woman named, Mary Anne Nickles." Sebastian contributed. "It appears there was a special type pf blade used on her. She was torn up beyond recognition."

"The murderers distinctive style of killing has earned him a unique nickname from the press. Jack The Ripper." Ciel said.

"A frightening name, eh?" Lau commented. He wasn't wrong. The name alone can send chills down your spine. 

"That's why I'm here earlier than expected. I hurried into town to look into the situation for myself." Ciel told them. Lau then gave an amused smile and said to the guard dog, "But are you sure you'll be brave enough to stomach the crime scene?" 

Ciel narrowed his eye as he glanced at Lau. Not liking where he was going with this. What was he trying to imply. "What do you mean by that?"

"The sight of the dismembered body will certainly be horrific. And one can only imagine the stench. Blood and gore everywhere." He said as he set down his cup and began walking towards him. "Surly it would be more than enough to drive some men mad. Are you prepared to see such a thing? You're just a young boy after all." Lau then placed a hand on his cheek, almost treating him like the child that he was supposed to be.

"I am the head of the Phantomhive's and service to my queen. Don't ask foolish questions." Ciel's voice was filled with confidence. There was no fear or hesitation. His eye was dull and cold. It's no wonder, he must've done this sort of thing over a hundred times if he's not fazed at all on this.

"You're right. So sorry." Lau said as his smile still on his lips. Mei wasn't sure how he had planned on catching this 'Jack the Ripper' person, let alone narrowing down a list of suspects. She's not a ace detective, but she knew this was a complicated case. Once they ate their snacks and drank their tea, the group left and went straight to the recent crime scene. There were a lot of people surrounding it. Likely wanting to see what was going on as they whispered amongst themselves. Standing at the front of the entrance, was a young man with shaggy, auburn hair, and blue eyes. He was dressed in a manner fitting of his role as an officer; his attire consists of a suit, a green tie, a dark-gray trench coat, and a bowler hat.

Mei stayed behind with Madam Red and the others, while Ciel went up to get information from the police. The officer was looking at reports when Ciel walked up to him. He gave him a smile and said, "Sorry my boy, I'm afraid a crime scene like this is no place for a child. Now why don't you just run alone home." He clearly had no idea who he was talking to. 

"I'm here to see the victim's body." Ciel said, bluntly.

"The body?!" The officer exclaimed. Why was this child asking to see the body?! Was this some kind of joke or something? "Surly you're kidding me."

"Aberline!" A commanding voice said. Coming out from the alleyway, was Lord Arthur Randall, the police commissioner of Scotland Yard. Mei could tell right away that this man was the definition of seriousness, professionalism, no-nonsense. He was a bespectacled man with small brown eyes, long dark-grey hair tied in a low ponytail, a mustache, and sideburns. "Well if it isn't Lord Phantomhive. What are you doing here?" He asked.

"You know this kid, sir?" Aberline asked his superior. Randall seemed to ignore his question and engaged in a conversation, if you could call it that, with Lord Phantomhive. "I'm here to help sir Arthur, it seems your investigation is dragging a bit." Ciel said as he held up the letter from the queen, rather smugly. "You know who sent me here of course."

'He must think that with the direct orders from the queen, there's no one who could tell him off. Though I'm not sure anyone can.' Mei thought. She looked over at Randall, who seemed a bit insulted that the queen didn't trust them enough for them to handle this case. Ciel then snatched the reports from Aberline's hands and read them over. He wasn't at all impressed. "It seems you haven't found any major clues yet." He said.

Randall took back the papers and said with a firm voice, "We at Scotland Yard are more than capable of handling this case I assure you. No need for you to interfere." All Ciel did was spread a confidence smile. He was so sure of himself and said, Splendid. Shall we go Sebastian?"

"Yes sir." They walked back to them, and they all left the scene. Now Mei was confused. Didn't he want to investigate the crime scene as well? Why did he let him tell him that he wasn't needed, despite what the queen said? "What now? Weren't you to coming here to investigate?" Mei asked him.

Ciel answered with, "They don't have what I'm looking for. So now we're going to go see someone, who may prove useful." Before she could ask who he was talking about, Lau had cut her off. He had this fearful look on his face and he went pale. "My lord, you mean-?" 

"Yes, indeed." Ciel said. Eventually, they found themselves in front of a dark, eerie-looking tall building with a rectangular-shaped sign on its front, which reads "Undertaker". The purple sign is embellished with a yellow lining and a skull. Cobwebs are on the projecting corner of the building. Along the front, there lies a coffin, a flag and tombs. What is this place?, Mei wondered. Lau gazed up at the building and turned with a carefree smile, asking, "So, where are we?"

"You don't know, then what was all that about?" Madam Red snapped at him for being an idiot. Grell raised his arms and tried to calm down his Lady. Paying them no mind, Mei asked Sebastian on where they were now. "It's a funeral parlour run by an acquaintance of my lord." He explained to her. 

"The Undertaker?" Mei mused. Now she wondered on what type of person Ciel would associate with. No doubt another person who is serious enough to be in a business as gloomy as this. Right? "If we're looking for answers then this is the place." Ciel said. Sebastian opened the door and everyone walked inside. Mei looked around the room, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was much nicer than it was outside. Granted, there was was a creepy vide to it and it was a bit unsettling. The interior of the funeral parlor consisted of a decent-sized room cluttered with coffins and shelves that hold various assortments line the inside walls.

Then a creepy laugh echoed around the room. Mei and the others looked around the room but couldn't pinpoint where the eerie sound was coming from. She didn't like the sound of it, what made it worse, was when she felt a pair of eyes staring at her. As if their were analysing her. "He he he he. Welcome, I thought I'd be seeing you before long. My lord, it's so lovely to see you." Mei was right next to one of the coffins and it began to open. She immediately backed out away from it and saw the person peeking through with a giant grin on his face. "Do I finally have the pleasure of fitting you for one of me coffins today?" He said, so cheerfully as if that was a completely normal sentence to say. Madam Red and Lau were frightened by his unsettling appearance had practically blue in the face. Grell had gotten so scared that he fell over.

'This is the owner? The...Undertaker?' Mei thought. Undertaker was a seemingly young, lean man, with long gray hair and a single braid on his right side. His bangs were long, so his eyes weren't visible. Undertaker has extensive black fingernails and a noticeable scar across his face, neck, and left pinky finger. His robe is predominantly black; additionally, his attire includes an incredibly long top hat, and a gray scarf strapped across his chest and knotted by the hips. He wears an emerald ring on his left index finger; he wears a band of prayer beads around his neck.

"No, that isn't why I'm here. I wanted to-." Ciel began to say before Undertaker hovered a hand over his mouth. He still held that grin as he said, "No need to say. I'm already aware. Very well aware. One of my recent customers was a bit unusual shall we say? I helped though. I made her look beautiful again." He calls the corpses his customers...well, that's not exactly wrong, but... It was disturbing.

"I would like the details please." Ciel said to him. 

"I see now. So the funeral parlour is only your cover business." Lau said as he caught on why their here. Since the police refused to say anything about the details of the victim, the Undertaker here, who specialised in this sort of thing, held all the information they needed. "How much is it, for information?"

Undertaker had made a beeline towards Lau and was really too close to his face. This action scared him, and Red and Grell badly. "I have no need for the queen's coins. There's only one thing that I want from you." He said. Undertaker then turned to Ciel with a twisted, gleeful smile. Undertaker ran up to him and cupped up his face, breathing heavily. "Please my lord, give it to me and I'll tell you anything." Ciel was clearly uncomfortable with him up in his personal space. "Give me the extraordinary gift of true laughter. Just one joke and all me information is yours!" He said, laughing like a mental person.

"Lunatic." Ciel said. Yeah, lunatic is the right word to describe someone like him. Seriously.... So they need to tell a joke to get him to hand out information...? That's so weird, Mei doesn't know what to say about it. Her only question is, who will be going first. That's when Lau stepped up and decided to make the first hit. Mei wasn't sure this will end well. "Leave it to me my lord. Here is my joke, it's a classic." He says as he began telling his joke. "On which side does a tiger have the most stripes? On the outside. Get it, ha ha?" ......Wow. That was horrible. "Ha ha."

Undertaker, who obviously didn't laugh at his so-called joke, taped Lau's mouth. Shutting him up to the time being.

 

Chapter Text

"My turn." Madam Red said as she stepped up. She seemed rather confident with herself. "I live for gossip. So this story will make you laugh so hard, you'll simply curl up and die." She said with a smile as Grell looked shocked as she went on with her tale. 'Huh? Why can't I hear anything?' Mei thought.

Before Madam Red opened her mouth, Sebastian had quickly placed earplugs on her as he covered Ciel's ears. Both his master and a lady of her age should not be hearing this. "So Alice's bow gave her the most extraordinary [censored] for her birthday. It was [censored] wide and so [censored] with thick veins running down the sh[censored] [censored]."

*Some time later*

With both Lau's and Madam Red's mouths being taped up, the only ones left to tell some kind of joke to make this maniac laugh are Ciel and Mei. In either case, they're totally screwed. Neither of them have any sense of humour whatsoever. "Now my lord, it looks like you're the only one left. I gave you a special discount last time but I'm not going to do it again."

"Urrgh." Ciel growled. Damn this insufferable man. Undertaker then took a glance behind him and his grin spread wider. "Or," He began. Ciel arched his brow in curiosity. Oh great, what is it now? "You can have that new friend of yours to try." Undertaker said, pointing at Mei. "Me?" The short-haired girl asked. Oh no....Please tell her there was a way to get out of this. "That won't be necessary." Sebastian said, walking up to the funeral director. "Sebastian?" Ciel said, looking up at his butler. Mildly surprised.

"Hmph." Undertaker let out.

Sebastian adjusted his gloves as he told the others. "Everyone, please wait outside." He then turned his head to face them as he said, in a very serious tone, "No matter what happens, do not attempt to listen to this." Before they knew it, they were all standing outside in an awkward silence. Made even more so by how quiet is was inside. Mei was a little confused as to how Sebastian was going to make that weirdo laugh. Is Sebastian even capable of humour

Mei turned to Ciel and asked him, "Are you sure Mr. MichaeIis is able to do it? After all, he's seems a little too serious to-"

"AHAHAHAHAHA!" A loud, boisterous laugh suddenly erupted from inside the parlour. It caused the sign to completely fall off from the building. What the was that? "You were saying?" Ciel told her with a cheeky grin. Mei said nothing more afterwards. The door than opened up to reveal the handsome butler stepping out with a bright smile. "Please do come back in now. I believe he will tell us everything we want to know." He will?! Sebastian held the door open for the others to re-entered and Undertaker was slumped over the counter giggling still, even twitching a bit. "Oh my...heh. I've now seen the face of ultimate bliss."

Mei was curious as to what Sebastian had said to this mad man...but at the same time, she didn't want to know. Yeah...think it's best not knowing. Once Undertaker had let all of his laughter out, he had done the courteous thing and prepared them some tea. Though, while she wasn't sure about the others, Mei only took it to be polite. There was no way she was drinking from a beaker. Who knows where'd this been. Or what he had used them for.

"An interesting pattern I've seen these days. I've often get customers who are incomplete. Heh." Undertaker said, his grin widening a bit.

"Incomplete?" Sebastian asked.

"Yes. The uterus is missing, which is quite, odd." He said as he pulled out an anatomy doll out of nowhere. That little piece of information had left the others speechless. They were aware that the killings were..eh, gruesome at best, but they didn't expect . "The killer makes a big mess of the body, but that particular part is always precisely excised."

"He did it on a road that was public though, not high traffic. Wouldn't an amateur have a difficult time carrying out such a complicated procedure quickly enough?" Sebastian said. Undertaker placed the doll next to a nearby shelf as he turned to grin at him. "You're a clever one, butler. This is exactly what I was thinking." Undertaker then walked over to the earl of Phantomhive and used him as an example. Wrapping his arm around him and held his hand close to his neck.

"You see, first he slits her throat with a sharp weapon. Then he rips into her right here, and takes her precious womanly part." He said as he poked Ciel's cheek. The blue-eyed boy was clearly uncomfortable with having his personal space be infiltrated by this creep. Undertaker got off of him and told him, "There will be more slain, I'm certain. Sadistic killers like this one don't stop until someone makes them. Will you stop him? Can You sniff him out, like a good little guard dog?"

"I am bound by the honor of my family. I eliminate any threat the queen asks me to, by any means I find necessary." Ciel said to him with great confidence. Afterwards Ciel had thank Undertaker for his information and soon they were inside the carriage and headed back to the house. At first Mei wasn't very confident with Grell taking the reins, but he proved to be competent in that category. While discussing around the topic that the murderer has been paying close attention to the victims' uterus with such accuracy, they came to the conclusion that that only a medical professional could know how to do it. Along with the probability that the removing of organs might be involved with black magic rituals.

 "This information narrows down our suspects." Ciel said.

"First of all we look at the necessary skill set, crossing out anyone out with an alibi for the nights on which this occurred. Removal of the organs would suggest some kind of gruesome ritual. We should concentrate our investigation on people involved with secret societies." Sebastian told them.

"As if that narrows the field? Why even I would have the medical skills necessary for this." Madam Red counteracted. She was right. She's a respected doctor of the Royal Hospital, so she's likely a suspect in all of this. But with how she is as an honest, successful woman, there's no way she's guilty. "Besides which, the season is ending soon. Any doctors who follow the nobles to the city will be returning to the country and then-." She began to say when Sebastian interrupted her.

"Then we'll have to conclude the investigation quickly." He said as he spread a crow-like smile. 

"Impossible." Lau said, doubting that they'll be able to located every suspected individual with the medical skills around the vicinity. "I should be able to do this much at least, otherwise what kind of butler would I be?" Sebastian said. "Uhh." Madam Red went.

"I think I failed to see how this going to be even remotely possible for you." Mei said.

"I'll make up a list of viable suspect and begin questioning then for you immediately my lord." Sebastian told his master as he opened the carriage door and was now hanging off the edge with that happy, nonchalant smile on his face. While Madam Red, Lau and Mei were shocked speechless, Ciel was just shooing him away. "Now if you would excuse me." Sebastian said as he leaped out of the moving carriage!!

"He knows that we're moving right?" Madam Red shouted as she and Lau looked out through the back window, highly concern that Sebastian had injured himself by doing such a reckless action. However, when they looked out, they saw nothing. Sebastian was there at all. It was if he had just vanished into thin air. How the hell did he do that? "Sebastian will take care of it for now. We can head home and have a cup of tea while we wait." Ciel said to them as he simply leaned against the side window.

"You really have a lot of faith in Mr. Michaelis, Lord Phantomhive." Mei said. Ciel let out a "Hmph." gave a small grin and said, "My butler is an able man. I was certain that you've noticed this beforehand, Ms. Misaki." Mei said nothing as she gazed down at her hands. 'An able man, huh?' Eventually, they arrived back at the manor and they had planned on having a tea whilst they awaited for Sebastian to returned with the list in hand, considering the idea that he might be gone almost the whole day. 

........HA!!

Lau opened the door and were about to step inside when-. "Welcome back everyone. I have awaited your return. The afternoon tea is ready for you in the drawing room." The handsome butler said as he greets Ciel, Mei, Lau, Madam Red, and Grell back at the manor. Seeing him appear so suddenly had greatly shocked the others, except for Ciel, as they had just saw him leave minutes ago!! Ciel handed him his top hat as he walked inside the manor. Snapping out of her shock, Madam Red yelled out exactly what the other's were thinking. "Hold on. How are you here?"

Sebastian turned to them with that smile still on his face as he simply said, "I finished up my little errand so I made my way home to edify you." So nonchalant and simplistic! Who is this guy!? "You made the suspect list already?" Madam Red asked.

"That was fast..." Mei said in slight awe. "Well. Yes I made a list of names based on what we discussed, and then I contacted them all and asked them the relevant questions." Sebastian told them as he was now holding three scrolls containing all...and I mean, ALL, of the suspects names. "Come now Sebastian, that's impossible even for you." Madam Red said, with a sly smile. Yeah, there's no way a man of his position could've gathered all that in a short amount of time. 

With the flick of his wrist, the ribbon holding the scroll was severed and the the paper had slide down to the floor as Sebastian had recited each name, their whereabouts and their alibis in perfect order and very quickly as the others were either shocked, awestruck or slightly amused. And of course, Ciel was being smug about the whole thing. Mei wasn't sure how much of this guy she can take. Who is he?! How is he doing this?! Anymore of his perfectness and she's going to faint. She's not even joking at this point. "Richard Oswald, doctor of the Duke of Bailey was at the White Horse pub with his friends, he has no connection to secret societies. Madam Heavitt, surgeon at the Royal London Central Hospital was at the Stipple inn, she has no connections to secret societies. William Somerset, doctor to Earl Chambers was at a party hosted by Viscount Harwood."

After five to ten minutes of...that, Sebastian had singled out one person who might a prime candidate in being their Jack the Ripper. "From this information, I have narrowed down our list to one possible suspect." He said, finally going through three scrolls. "Are you certain you're just a butler? Not a secret military intelligence officer?" Madam Red asked him, trying to make sense of all this.

The handsome, red-eyed man ,of course, spread a smile as he placed a hand on his chest. "See, my lady. I am simply one hell of a butler." He said. Later, everyone gathered back to the lounge and helped themselves to the tea and some cake. Sebastian stood before them as he read out the information he had on a man named, Alester Chambers.

""Someone well-versed in medical science and anatomy." "Someone with no alibi on the nights of the murders." And "Someone involved with a secret society or cult of black magic." Only one individual fulfills all of these conditions. The Viscount Druitt, one Sir Alester Chamber." Sebastian said. "He graduated from medical school, but does not work at a hospital or practice medicine. He has held several parties at his residence during the season...but..." He paused for a moment before continuing.

"There are rumours that he also hosts secret parties on the sides in which only he and only his intimate acquaintances may participate."

"The Viscount of Druitt, hm. Now that I think about it, I have heard rumours he's into black magic or something similar. The Rose something or The Golden something?" Madam Red said.

"So some kind of ritual is being conducted at those "secret parties"?" Lau asked him. "And the prostitutes may have been used as offerings?"

"Yes." Sebastian confirmed. "Tonight, there will be yet another party at the Viscount's residence beginning at 19:00 (7:00) as The Season will soon be coming to an end, it is safe to assume that this evening will be our final opportunity to steal in."

"Wait." Mei said, softly. "How exactly will you plan on exposing him and gaining your evidence? Like you said, only close intimate acquaintance are welcomed. And even then, how are you going to get an invitation?" Ciel set down his fork as he said, "There's no need for you to worry about that, Ms. Misaki. Madam Red, can you do something about it?"

Madam Red tossed her hair around as she gave her young nephew a smirk. "Really. Who do you take me for? I'm quite popular with men, I'll have you know. Obtaining an invitation or two will be child's play."

"Then it's decided. We'll do whatever it takes to get into that "secret party"." Ciel said. "But make certain to never use the name 'Phantomhive'. We may fail to catch them otherwise. This is our last chance."

Chapter Text

The Viscount's ball was extravagant to say the least. It was clear that the man had spared no expense. Food and drinks were being handed around endlessly. Many musicians were gathered to perform their wonderful music to fill the air. The ballroom itself was gigantic. Each and every corner was wiped clean and shined bright enough for the others to see their reflection on the clear surface. Above it, was a gorgeous crystal chandelier. And of course, many of wealthy nobles were scattered about. Gossiping and enjoying their time here.

All that combined with the fact that she's wearing a very fancy dress and that she's in a room filled with rich people... Mei was incredibly uncomfortable being here. True, no one knows a thing about her, but the point is that she's just some common girl and she just felt so out of place. The question that was going around her head was 'why did Madam Red bring her here?' Honestly, Mei hadn't had the slightest idea on what the point of bringing her to a place like this. She didn't belong here... Mei knew she was going to embarrass herself in front of these people.

Mei heard Madam Red calling for her, so she lifted up her skirt slightly and walked towards the others. Once she arrived at Ciel's side, Madam Red began addressing them their roles. "Lau is my young lover. Ciel and Mei will be my twin nieces visiting from the country. And Sebastian, will be my nieces' tutor. Oh, and Grell is my butler, per usual."

"Madam!" Grell cried out.

"And just why do I have to act like your niece?!" Ciel shouted as his face was red with embarrassment. Ciel was disguised as a girl with long hair tied in high pigtails with the bangs covering his right eye. He wore a pink dress, with white frills, a white petticoat, a pink hat with a long white bow tied around it and pink roses beneath it, a white bow on the chest with a pink rose, a white and pink neckband, and long, black gloves. Mei wore the same outfit and accessories, except hers was a soft blue colour with her long hair covering her left eye. Ugh, how he hated this.

"Because dear I've always wanted a girl! A daughter who looks wonderful in frilly dresses." Madam Red said happily as she was adoring how cute the two looked. "You're kidding me!" Ciel shouted at her. Oh...so that was her reason for this... Mei sighed as she understood why she was dressed like this, but she still had no reason to even be here. She doesn't really like these sort of things. And what does she mean by 'twins'? "And for the record, what do you mean by twins, Ms. Misaki and I don't look anything alike." Ciel asked.

Madam Red dropped her smile as she went over to the young Earl and took him to the side. She then told him, "You don't want them knowing you're a Phantomhive now do you? It would be disastrous for us all, right? In any case, if people were to see a one-eyed boy with a well-dressed butler, they would know it was you on the spot! So that it follows that this is the best disguise. Also, you and Mei actually have a few similarities and I'm sure that she'll be a good shield for you."

Ciel took in on what his aunt said and sighed in defeat. She had a good point. If he were to appear as himself, then their plans to get close to Aleistor would be difficult, if not impossible. Alright, fine. If this is how it'll take then he'll swallow his pride and bear wearing the dress. If Mei's by his side, she might actually provide some coverage for him. Then...Madam Red said this. "Besides, I've heard Lord Druitt has an eye for any pretty little thing in a skirt, and we do want to catch his eye right? He supposedly loves women of all ages, so it's better if you two are dressed that way."

"WHA...?!" Ciel nearly yelled out. It was one thing for him to be dressed like a girl but he has to practically woo him?! Not just him, but Mei as well?! For some reason, Ciel got angry at the thought of the Viscount putting his hands on Mei. Like hell, Ciel would allow him to touch her. Alright, now he was beginning to hate this. Especially since he didn't want to involved Mei to begin with.

""By any means necessary." You do remember saying that, do you not sir?" And of course, his butler had turned his words against him. Ugh, can this night get any worse for him as it goes on? Ciel felt a pair of arms holding his arm and he turned red when he saw it was Mei. She was too close to him...and with the way she looks... "Come on, sister. We should go." She told him.

"Ah..! Um, right." He said as he, Mei, Sebastian and the others split up, walking through the ballroom. Looking around for any sign for the Viscount Druitt. So far, there had been nothing yet. "First things first, we need to locate this murderous Viscount." Sebastian said as they continued to look around. "At least Elizabeth isn't here, I would never want her seeing me like this." Ciel said, sighing a bit of relief.

"Oh that dress is so adorable!" A familiar, happy voice shouted out. Ciel and Sebastian quickly turned around with shocked expressions when they saw Elizabeth standing just a few feet away from them. Luckily, she was talking with two other women and hasn't seen them... Yet! "I adore all the dresses here. They're lovely!" Elizabeth said, happily with a light blush colouring her face.

"S-s-s-s-s...!" Ciel stuttered as he was shaking like a leaf, silently freaking out. Knowing that if his fiancée were to see his face, she'll make a fuss about it and blow his cover. Yet, there was one thing that was even worse that losing Aleistor and having their investigation come to end. Mei and Sebastian placed their hands on Ciel's back and tried to calm him down. His panicking was going to make things worse. "Relax, sister. It'll be okay." Mei told him. "Sir, I uh mean mistress please calm down. Let's move quickly." Sebastian said as he ushered his young master to gain distance from Elizabeth.

"Ohh! You two in pink and blue, your dresses are just beautiful!" The blonde-haired called out. Not good. She saw them! Thinking fast, Sebastian placed his hands on their shoulders and had them speed walk away. "Moving this way now." They quicken their pace and tried to hide themselves amongst the many nobles. Eventually, they hid behind a large cake and waited till Elizabeth went in another direction. "Hmm, where are they?" Elizabeth asked herself as she walked away.

The three peeked over the cake and were given a chance to breath. They had lost her, but for how long till she finds them again? "This isn't good. I didn't expect her here." Sebastian said. Mei gazed at the blonde-headed girl and said to Ciel, "We may be in disguise, but if she were to catch a glimpse of our faces...to see your face," She trailed off. She didn't need to finished, Ciel's face turned pale as a ghost as he realised the full consequences of being seen as some kind of crossdresser! "If someone was to see the head of my family dressed this way..." Ciel began.

"The Phantomhive name would be ruined for generations." Sebastian finished for him. Ciel's face turned bright red as he gripped the table cloth, trembling all over. AAUGH! Never again! Never would something like this will EVER happen again! If he were to been seen, his family name will shamed for all eternity! Never will he be able to show his face before her majesty again! "Ahh! Let's go join Madam Red." Ciel told them. Sebastian nodded in agreement, however, Mei said, "That would be a bit of a problem." She pointed at Madam Red's direction. She wasn't helping out with the investigation in the slightest.

Instead, she's literally engrossed in the party. Being waited on hand and foot by a few of the men here. "Oh ha ha! You are such a dear!" She laughed, liking being treated like a queen. "Looks like she's having a grand old time." Ciel said bitterly. Mei was rendered silent as she kept her eye on Madam Red. She started to feel a bit dread as she turned her gaze to the young Earl in disguise. At times like this, she hated seeing that horrid colour. She was about to hold his hand when a woman had said, "Lord Druitt looks as gorgeous as ever tonight! His hair shines like the sun."

They turned and were mildly surprised to find the Viscount Druitt, Aleistor Chambers, only a few feet away from them. Aleistor was an extremely handsome man with lavender eyes and light-blond hair. He was dressed in elegant clothing which consists of a white suit, a pocket square, and an ascot tie, along with accessories such a brooch and white gloves. He was...younger than they thought he was.

"He's quite young..." Sebastian commented.

"We'll used a greeting as our front to get close to him." Ciel said as they got up from their hiding position. Ciel and Mei straighten their dresses as they prepared to put their "acting skills" to the test. Hopefully, this man wouldn't be a massive headache. Sebastian bent down to their ears and whispered, "I will observe from here because the presence of another man may make him wary. Please behave like a lady, as I have taught you." He said that last part to Ciel.

"...Yes, yes! All right!" Ciel angrily whispered as he took a deep breath to calm himself and took Mei's hand in his own. They made their way towards the Viscount as he was having a conversation with another guest. Mei knew that Ciel was unnerved by what they were about to do. She could feel how tight he was holding hand. Mei didn't know how to make him feel at ease. However, since she had actually tried to become friends with him and what she had seen when she looked at Madam Red, Mei planned to what she can.

Once they were close enough, they each held their dress and performed a curtsy. "Good evening, Viscount Dru-." They said in unison. But they were sadly interrupted when Elizabeth had spotted them again, "Ahh! There, found you!" Ciel flinched when he heard her voice and he grabbed Mei's hand once more. "Bloody hell!" Ciel shouted quietly as they made a dash to get away. Aleistor looked over his shoulder, but found nothing. Hm, that was odd. He was sure he heard something. Oh, well must've been nothing.

"I was so close!" Ciel said to himself as he dragged themselves through the oceans of people in an attempt to throw Elizabeth off her chase. But she was still so persistent. Just Sebastian came around and grabbed Ciel's arm. "Come this way my young mistress." He said as he dragged them away. While they running, Sebastian spotted a waiter serving drinks and quickly thought of the perfect distraction. "You man, that young lady over there requires lemonade." He told the waiter. "Yes certainly sir." They quickly ran as the waiter stepped in front of Elizabeth. "Lemonade, my lady?"

Finally, they managed to escape and found themselves out on the balcony. There, Ciel took the moment to catch his breath. This kept getting more and more exhausting for him. What's worse he's dragging Mei deeper into this. "Why do these things always happen to me?" Can this get any more worse? Beginning to think God is working against him, the sound of music began to rise up and they peered out the doorway. The orchestra had began to play and the guests had gotten a partner, dancing along with the elegant music. "Damn...!!" Ciel shouted. "Damn. We'll never get close to him."

Not exactly true. Sebastian tells Ciel that in order to get closer to Aleistor, they were going have to dance. Ciel really didn't want to dance in public, especially with someone like Sebastian. But without seeing any other choice, Ciel begrudgingly agreed. He turned to tell Mei to stay where she was but when he opened his eye, he was shocked to find her gone. "Wha-? Where did she go?"

'Good thing I left when I did. I don't want to dance in front of all these people.' Mei thought as she walked around the dance floor. The night was going way too slow for her liking and wished it was over already so that she would go back to her room, away from all this. She didn't here. She was no reason to be. It be better if she was just out of the way and be left on her own. Mei was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't realised that had bumped into someone. "Uh...I'm sorry." She said softly.

"There's no need to apologise, little doll. The fault was mine." The man said. Mei looked up and almost gasp when she saw Aleistor standing before her with a friendly smile. Though it appeared to be too friendly. Mei composed herself as she does a little curtsy. "Good evening, Viscount Druitt. It's an honour to meet you." She said. Aleistor gently took her hand and gave it a soft kiss. "Pray tell, with whom did you come this evening, little doll?" He asked.

Mei mumbled a bit as she tried to remember Madam Red's real name. She was sure Ciel had mentioned it to her. "Um...it was... My aunt Angelina who brought me here." She told him. "Madam Red? I see... are you enjoying yourself?" Aleistor asked her. Mei turned back to the dancers and said, "It's...really nice, but.... I'm not very comfortable with these types of things. Aunt Angelina has a lot more fun here than I do." Aleistor gave a small smile as he walked closer to her, wrapping his arm around her waist.

"Oh, what a shame. You didn't want to come here, did you? But you loved your aunt enough to come along anyway." Aleistor said. Mei eyed his hand and slowly nodded her head. "I do." Aleistor let out a chuckle as he gently pulled Mei closer. "How very considerate of you. Is there anything that you want me to do for you to make you more comfortable, my little doll?" He asked her with a tone that she didn't recognised. Mei's first thought was to gain some space from the Druitt till she remembered the reason the others were here. Maybe if she could find a small clue from him, she can go find Ciel. Mei was about to respond when she was grabbed by her shoulders and was pulled away from Aleistor.

Mei turned her head and saw Ciel at her side. Holding her in a protective grip. Ciel forced a sweet smile as he said, "Haha! Found you, sister. I win this time." He pretended to noticed the Druitt as he let her go and did a curtsy. "Ah, good evening, my Lord Druitt." Aleistor kept that friendly smile and he held his hands behind his back. "Good evening, little robin. Who might this young lady be?" Aleistor asked Mei. "She... She's my sister." Aleistor's smile widened. "Ah, twins. What a pleasant surprise."

"How amusing you knew that. Most people don't really realise we're twins." Ciel said as he pushed Mei behind him as Aleistor came and kissed his hand as well. "I do hope you're enjoying the party more than your sister, dear robin." Ciel internally gagged, but kept his calm, and happy demeanour. Ciel brought his hand behind his back and wiped it clean on his dress, as if getting rid of some kind of disease from the Druitt. "Oh yes, certainly. It's a wonderful party but my lord, I've been waiting to speak with you all evening." Ciel told him as Aleistor's eyes traveled up and down their physical appearance.

"Oh?" Aleistor enquired. Ciel moved to block his view of Mei and closed his eye, pretending to be fed up with the event as a whole. "I'm bored to death of dancing and eating." He told him. Aleistor smile widened again as he wrapped his arm around Ciel's waist, doing the same as he had with Mei and bringing him closer. "What a spoiled princess you are compared to your sister little robin. Looking for something more, entertaining." He said as he danced his fingers down Ciel's waist to his hip. By that point, Ciel was beginning to feel physically sick and he felt goosebumps forming. 

Normally, he would've called Aleistor out and get his hands off of him. But he must act like a lady and be polite with him. There's no getting out of this, not after those lessons he had to go through in that short amount of time. The fitting. The proper walk. The etiquette lessons. Everything! They even tied a rope around him so he wouldn't escape. 'Endure it. Ciel you can do this. You have no choice now. After all those horrible, horrible lessons. You can handle it.' Ciel thought. Besides, it's either him or have Mei take all of it. And he won't allow that.

"You know of other amusements? I'd be most interested." Ciel asked him with a smile. "Of course. I'd be happy to show them to you robin." Aleistor said as he then went over to Mei. She tried to step away, but he halted her by taking her in his arms and holding up her face. The way he was holding her made it seem like they were lovers. "But only if your lovely sister joins as well for she had told me that she felt so out of place. The sweet little thing."

"Lovely?" Mei asked him.

Ciel felt suddenly rage seeing Aleistor holding on to Mei like that. He had no right to hold her! He had no right to call her lovely. He had certainly no right be that close to her. Ciel didn't know why he felt so angry, but he needed him this Viscount to get away from her. 'Urrg! When this is all over I swear I'm going to kill this creep!' Ciel screamed in his head. Ciel struggled to remain calm as he said, "Oh really, like what?" 

'I have to find out his secret before this dance is over and get Ms. Misaki away.' Ciel thought as a plan formed in his head. He shifted his gaze on to the dance to see if it was going on. That's when he spotted Elizabeth standing on the other side of the room, staring at him with sparkles in her eyes and a bright smile. 'What? She sees me!' Oh, come on! "You want to know?" Aleistor asked him. "Yes, I'm simply dying to my lord. But I don't think my sister is really interested, right?" Ciel said as he turned to look at Mei. The two of them stared into each others' eyes as he was trying to tell her to say no. He hoped she get the hint. Soon Mei got it and said said, "Huh? Oh, right. I'm interested in any more entertainment."

'If Elizabeth comes this way, I'm doomed.' Ciel thought. "Might be a bit young yet. Are you sure the doll isn't interested in the slightest." Aleistor said as he took in Ciel's image as he began to think if he should take him to gain some real entertainment. Then again, his little robin is a little younger than most. Yet, there are some benefactors in it. That being said... He shifted his sight towards Mei, who was gazing down at the floor and deep in her thoughts. For someone so young, she was very beautiful. He liked her. 

'Hurry!'

"Now don't tease me, my lord, I'm a lady not a little girl. And I am certain she is not." Ciel said as he tried to convince Aleistor to take him and him only. 'Hurry.' Ciel turns back to the dance floor as he realised that the music had ended. Everyone had finished and were going they're separate ways, created a path for Elizabeth to come straight to him. One that happened, Elizabeth held her dress as she ran towards him. 'The dance is over, she's coming.'

"What has you so distracted, my little butterfly?" Aleistor asked as he turned Ciel's gaze back to him. He didn't look upset. Merely amused and interested. Ciel's face paled as he felt Elizabeth's presence growing closer. "Ah, it's nothing my lord." He told him. 'This is it. My life is over.' Just before Ciel's life came to an endSebastian appeared out of nowhere, kneeling down with a large cabinet storage at his side. His sudden appearance had stopped Elizabeth in her tracks. Sebastian was also wearing a white mask with a red design over his eyes. He rose to his full height as he began to say, "Ladies and gentlemen. If everyone would all please gather around, this evenings magic show will now begin."

The handsome butler in disguised turned to Lau and asked him, "Pardon me sir, would you kindly assist me?"

"Assist you? Certainly." He said. Seeing this caused Ciel to let out a small sigh of relief as Aleistor looked up in thought as he tried to remembered if he hired any magicians for tonight's party. So far he was drawing a blank. "I don't recall scheduling any parlour tricks this evening." He said. 'Nows my change.' Ciel turned to Aleistor and gave him the most adorable, pleading eyes he could muster up. "My lord, I've seen more than enough parlour tricks, Can we go please?"

Ah, this is awful!

"Yes, anything for you, my sweet." Aleistor said as he gave a flirtatious smile at Ciel. Once again, the boy broke into chilling goosebumps. "And of course, she'll be joining us as well." Aleistor suddenly said as he reached over and pulled Mei to his side. Wrapping his arm around her shoulder and guiding her to wherever he was leading them. Mei turned back to Ciel in concern and the boy responded in reaching out for her hand. "My Lord Druitt. My sister isn't very comfortable around men...so would you allow her to be next to me?" Ciel asked. Aleistor grinned and calmly took his arm back. while Sebastian was distracting the other guests, Ciel, Mei and Aleistor slipped away into the house. "Right this way, my dears." He tells them as he held the door open for them. The door he had lead them to was hidden away in the upper floor with faded lights a curtain.

Ciel gripped Mei's hand tightly and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Ms. Misaki. I need you to run away as fast as you can once things get too dangerous. Is that understood?" As always, he left no room for an argument. Mei stared at him before giving him a firm nod. "Yes. I'll run." She said. Gazing into her eyes for a minute longer, Ciel turned away and both followed Aleistor into the room.

 

Chapter Text

"A normal cabinet, once I've climbed inside, shut it tightly and bind it with these chains. Then simply run it through with the swords." Sebastian said as he told Lau on what to do on his part. Handed him the bladed weapons as he began stepping into the cabinet. When seeing what he had in mind, the crowd watched in anticipation. Both fearful, yet engrossed in the magic show before them.

"I shall emerge perfectly unharmed. This is no mere trick or illusion. Prepare for a performance of true magic." Sebastian said, reassuring the audience as he locked himself into the cabinet. The chains wrapped around in, and locking in place. Making any attempt to escape that much more difficult. Lau gazed at the sword in hand with uncertainty before saying, "Ah. Well here goes nothing." He then leaped up into the air and struck the top part of the cabinet first! 'HE AIMED DIRECTLY AT THE HEAD FIRST-!!?' The audience screamed in their thoughts and they were shocked by the sudden action by the Chinese nobleman. In blinding speed, Lau had stabbed every sword he was given into every part of the cabinet till it looked liked an oversized pincushion. Scaring the audience even more.

When Lau was done, he took a step back and he presented the sword-filled cabinet to the crowd. "I suppose that will do. Well. What do you say? Is he still alive?" He asked. 'He didn't hold back in the slightest!!' The chains were then removed and some of the swords had fallen off. The doors began opening that half the crowed were terrified to see the end result. To their amazement, Sebastian had walked out of the cabinet completely unharmed. They were still in shocked but they cheered for the outstanding magic trick they had preformed. Madam Red had come in, just as amazed, with a bright smile. "Sebastian! How incredible!" She told him.

"Yes, indeed. For a moment there, I thought I'd killed you." Lau said, smiling. "It actually hurt more than expected. I didn't think you would aim straight for my head. Anyone else would have died." Sebastian said, rubbing the top of his head as he stared to walk away. "So what's the trick to it anyway?" Lau asked.

"You stabbed him that many times without knowing!? Uh!" Madam Red shouted at Lau. How in God's name could he be that reckless?! Sebastian turned back to the two of them as he gave a smile. "Like I told you. There were no tricks or illusions, just magic."

In the another room, Aleistor opens another door for them as he said, "We're going somewhere I'm sure you'll find very amusing, I know I do. Please." Ciel and Mei walked in cautiously, surveying the area around them. It seemed normal enough, but then a strange smell began filling their noses. It was awfully sweet, yet way too strong for any normal person to handle. Almost causing the two to nearly gagged by just the first whiff. 'What is that smell? It's suffocating.' Ciel thought. Mei thought the same thing as she gasped at the creepy look Aleistor was giving her and took a step back. 'We... We got to get away.'

He didn't like this. Ciel's instincts were telling him that something was very wrong here and he needed to escape. He tried to speak and pushed Mei to run but they were quickly overcome by the gas. 'Ah.... Uhh.... Damn him.' Ciel thought as he took in the smile the Druitt gave them as they collapse onto the floor. "See, aren't you enjoying yourself? Little robin. Little doll." Aleistor said. Mei tried to stayed awake and make her way towards the door. Struggling to reach the handle and make her way back to the ballroom. 'I... need to get out of here... I have to tell...the others...' Mei's fingers only grazed it as she saw the Viscount walking over and reaching out to her. Then her world faded into black.

******

Mei soon had woken up, but she was still too groggily to be make any words come out. She found herself sitting in a dark room. Way too dark. Is this the way the room looked? Wait...she felt a knot tied in the back of her head. A blindfold? Not only that, but she also felt roped tied around her waist and both of her wrists were bounded. What happened to her? Where was she? Soon her memories came to her. They came to the Viscount Druitt's ball to try and investigate him...he lead her and Ciel in a room and-. 'Lord Phantomhive.... Where is he? Is he here with me?' Mei thought. She felt someone next to her and concluded that it might be Ciel.

"And now what you've all been waiting for, tonight's crowned jewel." Mei heard the Druitt's voice. He was close by, but where? Mei then heard a fabric of some kind being lifted and a crowd letting out 'oohs' and 'awes'. Where are they? And what does this lunatic had planned for them? Mei got her answer when Aleistor told the crowd, "I'm sure one of these twins would make a lovely decoration, or a sweet little pet. You can keep her whole and healthy, or sell her for parts if you'd like to. Her eyes are two different colours but for the discerning collector, that will add to her unique attraction."

'An auction?' Mei asked herself. Her heart sank as Aleistor said, "However, the eldest twin is far too beautiful to be sold in parts or be kept as a pet. I would highly suggest that you would have as an everlasting porcelain doll to have in display. Her beauty is only matched by her exquisite eyes... Yes, a doll is exactly what she should be. The bidding shall begin momentarily."

'What...? He saw my eye..? Is he really going to sell us..?' Mei thought as fear began to sink in. She was scared. Terrified at what was going to happen if she were to be sold to one of these people. What they planned to do to her. If she wasn't bounded by rope, she would've made a break for it and get Ciel to safety. But she was too drugged out to even move and felt herself getting sleepy. 'No... I can't...fall asleep...'

She heard a metal door open as she was gently dragged out from the cage she and the young Earl was placed in. Aleistor's female assistant had pulled her out and presented her to the bidding audience. Removing her blindfold and holding her tired face to them. Seeing her made the crowd shout out in glee. They wanted her even more now. "We'll start at 1,000 ginnies for this beautiful doll." Aleistor said as a second assistant came in to undo Ciel's blindfold.

"2,000." A man shouted.

"3,000." Another called out.

"3,500." And another.

"5,000" And another.

"Sebastian, come get me now." Mei heard Ciel's order before she finally passed out. The candles that lit the room all suddenly went out. Making the room pitch black. Aleistor and the others were startled by the sudden blackout as they were trying to make sense as to what was happening. Ciel sat in silence as he calmly listen to the people being knocked out, bodies falling to the floor, and heavy blows being delivered. Shortly afterwards, the candles lit themselves back up and their light revealed Sebastian standing above the now unconscious audience. 

When dusting off his hands, Sebastian let out a sigh and told Ciel, "Really sir. Are you good for nothing but getting yourself captured? How sad." Ciel didn't bother him with that remarked as he stayed so calm, watching his faithful butler walked up the stairs towards him. Ciel then says, "As long at the contract remains in place, you'll follow me everywhere whether I ask you to or not. Won't you?" He didn't need to ask. Ever since that day, when Sebastian placed his mark on him, he is bounded in chains close to him. Never being able to escape. Never being able to find salvation. Never to know any sort of existence besides the earthly realm.

"This type of contract is sealed by a mark a demon places on his prey. The more noticeably placed the mark is, the tighter the demon and prey are bound to one another. The demon serves," Sebastian says

"And in exchange the prey can never escape." Ciel finished for him. Sebastian walked up to his cage and, with his demonic strength, pulled the iron bars apart to create an opening for him. With a smile, Sebastian pulls his young master out of the cage. "Yes, I will be with you everywhere. Until the end. I shall be at your side no matter what. Even should I parish in this world, I'll still be there, in the very depths of hell my lord. This is how I differ from humans: I do not lie." He says. With a minor gesture of his finger, Sebastian cut the ropes that were restraining Ciel.

"Good. You will never lie to me no matter what. Understood?" The Head of the Phantomhive said.

"Yes, my young lord." Sebastian smiled. His red eyes then gazed down towards the young maiden on the stage's floor. He went to her side and carefully took her in his arms. Sebastian felt some relief when he found that Mei was asleep and that she didn't appear to have any sort of injury. Ciel felt the same way, though he was upset with himself that he couldn't protect her properly. The two gents turned their attention to the unconscious Viscount and decided that the Jack the Ripper murders end here.

"I have already contacted the yard, so they will be arriving at any moment." Sebastian told him.

"Then let's not dawdle. The chaps at the yard will be none too pleased to find us here." Ciel said as he let out a tired sigh. Sebastian looked at Ciel and he tried to stifle in a laugher. "Yes, especially with that appearance of yours... "My Lady.""

"Ahh! Th-that's right...!!" Ciel shouted out as he turned white as a sheet. Damn it, he had forgotten that he was still wearing that stupid dress of his. They needed to leave, now! Ciel cleared his throat as he said, "I suppose this solves the Jack the Ripper case. Well that was easier than I had expected." Sebastian gave a smile as he picked up Ciel in his arms as well. "In any case, we should take our leave. Well, miss, are you ready?" Sebastian leaped out of the room's window and landed on a nearby roof. Once they were finally out of the Druitt's party, they went straight home.

They arrived at the house in little time, and Ciel went to his room to be free from that dress and that godforsaken corset. He finally felt more free and much more lighter than he was prior. While he was in his room, Sebastian had just placed Mei on her bed. Lightly tucking her in, making sure she was comfortable. After, he... ahem, changed her into more comfortable clothing. But regardless, he made sure she was taken care of.

He had also checked her over and found that she had no injuries that would be cause for concern. Only that the gas that Aleistor used had just made her drowsy, much to his strange relief. Sebastian sat on her bedside as he gazed her sleeping form. Her peaceful expression. The soft look of her face. Almost like an angel. She is most likely in her dreams, the one place all humans go to where they could be normal and avoid the nightmare they call of life filled with lies and deceitful humans who will destroy to get what they want.

Sebastian couldn't stop looking at her face. His body began moving on its own and raised his hand to brush her bangs out of her face, him hovering above her. His fingers trailed softly down her cheek. His thumb gently caressed her lips. Sebastian wasn't quite sure, but he felt himself grow worry about Mei when he sensed her fear for a brief moment, and was relieved to have been there to get her out of that place. Sebastian felt his eyes glow hot pink as he felt a sudden urge within him. An urge whispering in his ear...he couldn't pick up most of what it was saying but he knew it had something to do with the sleeping lady beneath him. 

He leaned in close. His eyes glowing brighter. Opened his mouth to reveal his fangs.... He stopped himself when Mei made a soft noise in her sleep. Sebastian got off of her and covered his eyes, letting out a small chuckle. "My word, what is going on with me? I must be losing my mind." Naturally, Sebastian thought he should watch himself more closely. Sebastian stayed sitting on her bedside when he heard the door to her room being opened.

"Sebastian?" Ciel said as he stepped in. The handsome butler turned his head to look at his master before standing up from his seat. Giving a smile, he said, "Lady Misaki is perfectly healthy. She has no injuries that would be concerning, my lord." Ciel let out a small sigh as he walked over to her. Oh, seems as though his young master is showing concern. Ciel's eyes then took notice of a white, cotton sleepwear beneath her sheets and widened in disbelief.

"Wha-?! Sebastian, you didn't change her, did you?!" Ciel shouted at him. Sebastian continued to smile and raised a finger to his lips. Telling him to be more quiet. "Hush now, young master. The lady is still asleep. I was merely trying to help her as Lady Misaki was in no condition to do so on her own." Ciel glared daggers at him. Bastard. He can be a real demon sometimes. Ciel can never tell what goes through his head half the time. before turning his attention back to Mei. He gave out a huff as he ordered him to leave Mei to get some rest before leaving himself. Sebastian bowed at the waist and understood. He grabbed the candelabra that was beside her and walked out of the room. Sebastian took one last glance at her before he blew out the tiny flames.

With the arrest of Aleistor, it appeared that the killings would be over. Right. That's how it usually is. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long. The following morning, everyone gathered in the lounge, with the exception of Mei as she was still asleep, and they received the morning's paper, reporting the news of yet another killing being committed last night. The victim this time was a woman by the name of Annie Chapman. When Ciel read the headlines, he slammed his hands down hard on the table. "How could this be?! The Viscount didn't go anywhere last night!" He shouted, understandably, in rage. 

"If it becomes seemingly impossible for our lone suspect to have committed the murder. Then it does beg the question of a possible copycat... No, or even of there having multiple culprits from the very start." Lau tells the young Earl with the small smile. Though he can be a bit of an annoyance at times, he does bring up good points here and there. "In other words, we were off the mark in suspecting the Viscount?" Madam Red asked.

Ciel closed his eye and calmed himself down a bit. "We're back to square one... I'll narrow down the suspects again. Sebastian, the list." The loyal butler placed a hand over his heart and did a small bow. "Yes, sir." This investigation was going to be more troublesome than they originally thought.

 

Chapter Text

It was dark. The only thing that lit up the room was a single candle. Next the the candle, a phonograph was playing "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" from Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute." A woman was left sitting a chair, crying and fear filling her to the brim. She could believe this was happening. Being held hostage in her own home. She looked around the room in search for her captor, wondering where he might be. She frantically moved her hands to try and break free. But she couldn't move, for the strong rope kept her restrained on her chair. She couldn't scream out for help, for she was gagged to keep her from letting out a single word. Even if she could scream, she was too scared as she felt that her captor might rush in and kill her on the spot.

That's when she saw him. Out of the corner of her eye, her heart began to beat in a rapid pace. She didn't even hear him enter the room. As the man began to walk closer to her, the woman shut her eyes tightly, silently anticipating for what's going to happen. If he were to kill her, then she prayed he do it quick. Her captor reached out to her and undid her gag, allowing her to breath again. When she finally gained a breath of fresh air, her captor moved in close and whispered, "Shhh." Raising a finger to his lips. He did so calmly and so non-threatening. You would think he wasn't trying to hurt her, but the woman knew better. Clouds rolled in, and come fall the rain.

At Phantomhive Manor, Ciel was still looking through papers upon papers to find anyone that may pose to be a potential suspect in being Jack the Ripper. However, there hadn't been such luck. He's been going at this for a day and a half with no sleep. Even with Sebastian working by his side, they still hadn't found any clues. He leaned in back in his chair and sighed, feeling exhausted. The population of London alone is 4.5 million. And that swells further during the season. By simply relaxation the conditions, the number of suspects increases." Ciel says.

"Still at it, are you?" A voice said, catching the two males' attention. Madam Red appeared in the doorway with a bright smile on her face. "Madam Red." Ciel said. She appeared to be holding something behind her back and looked way too happy. "All work and no play makes Ciel a dull boy! What do you say you take a break for a round of this?" She asked as she pulled out a chessboard box set. Ciel's eye glistened for a brief moment when he saw the game. "The chess set, eh...? That takes me back." Ciel said, soberly. "Doesn't it just? I got it out of the storeroom because Ciel was coming." Madam Red said, happily.

Ciel gazed the chessboard before Turing away. He organised his papers as he responded with, "I have no time for games at the moment. I have to keep working." Madam Red's smile didn't falter. "I thought you might say that, because now I can say this wasn't my idea." She said. Ciel turned back to his aunt with a questionable look. "Oh really? Then whose?" He asked her. Madam Red stepped into the room, reached out from behind the door, and pulled out a very embarrassed Mei Misaki. Ciel let out a small gasp as his eye widened. Madam Red pushes Mei in front of her as she sets the chessboard in her hands. "Mei had come to me asking if there was anyway to help cheer you up because of what happened with the Viscount. When I asked if she knew anything you would like, she told that you were going to teach her how to play chess. But being the adorable girl she is, she asked me if I could go instead." Madam Red told her. So, that explains she happy attitude.

"You aren't going to refuse a request from her, are you dear?" Madam Red asked in a teasing voice. Ciel struggled for an answer as he tried to avoid making eye-contact with Mei. He was getting embarrassed now, why did Mei had to tell his aunt that?! But then again, she was just being concerned for him...right? "Well... I... I, uh... I suppose I could..." He started to say when Madam Red quickly moved in a shoved all the papers Ciel had right off the table in front of him. "Now, break time, break time!" She said, leaving no room for an argument. Mei timidly walked over and placed the box set on the table, then quickly said, "I'll go make tea." Before anyone could stop her, Mei turned and left towards the kitchen.

"Ahh, that girl is something special, you know?" Madam Red said. "I... suppose so." Ciel muttered. Madam Red eyed her young nephew closely. Ciel caught her staring at him and then she suddenly asks, "You like her, don't you darling?" In a teasing voice. Ciel blushed beet red and shouted, "Wh-what?! What do you mean by that?" Madam Red giggled playfully as she tried to hide her smile behind her hand. "Well, you were acting a bit protective over her at the ball." She had seen everything that night. She even caught sight of what appeared to be jealousy in the young Earl's eye when he saw the Viscount holding her. Ciel's blush deepened. "I was merely trying to keep her involvement to a minimum. That is all."

"It's perfectly natural for you to be smitten with a pretty girl. Don't worry, I won't tell Lizzie." Madam Red told him. "Argh, I am not smitten wit her! Let's just play the game!" Madam Red continued to smile and laugh as she played chess with her nephew. After a while, Ciel was much more relaxed and looked to be at peace now he was playing his favourite game. Mei had returned with the tea as promised and set it down for them. It was near the mid-point of the game and Madam Red had told Mei that it was her turn next when she's done. Mei nodded and was content in watching them play. Then she remembered something and left to go get it.

When she left, Madam Red turned to Ciel and then at Sebastian. This whole game might've been Mei's idea, but Madam Red had her own reasons for being here with him. She turned her gaze back at her dearest nephew and told him, "If Sebastian is an able man, you may as well leave the investigation of the Viscount's residence and the rest to him." She didn't want this life for Ciel. He may be the Queen's guard dog, but in her eyes...he was still only a child. A child who had lost everything all at once. A child that she...

Ciel stiffened when she said that and then said, "He is both my "might" and my "hands" and "feet". Sebastian is but a "chessman". And only I, the "horseman", can move the "horse"." He moved the horse chess piece and stolen her pawn. "I always give the orders... ...And without them, he has been disciplined to move not so much as a muscle. However, you might say the sole difference between Sebastian and this "knight" is... That he is a "knight" who can move to any square in one fell swoop. Like this." Ciel says as he took his knight and knocked the ivory king piece off the board.

"Ahh! That was against the rules you know?" Madam Red said.

"Indeed, it would be if this was a game. But rules such as that have no true meaning in the real world. This world is no chess game, where one cannot win if not playing by the rules. Without fail, players will break the rules and chessmen will betray the players." Ciel said. Madam Red leaned back into her seat as she stared at her nephew with sad eyes. Sitting across from her wasn't the same child she loved since his birth, but a boy who had grown up far too quickly and was fighting in the cruel, adult world. She felt her heart breaking apart in her when she continued to listen to him. "And if I'm to play games with their like on equal footing, I'd have no chance at victory if I didn't break the rules myself, right? On this chessboard of Great Britain that we call home, letting one's guard down immediately amounts to... Checkmate."

The woman still trembled with fear as he captor took a step back to walked to the table beside them. He grabbed a can of rose red make-up and stirred it lightly with a paint brush. He went back to his captive and gently painted her bottom lip. He needed to be careful to make this perfect. He would want to slip up now. A sudden flash of lighten bellowed in the sky and it made the woman jumped in fright. Her jump had caused him to smear the make-up down her lip. "Pff." He went. Damn it. He grabbed her face and forced her to look at him. All he asked for was her to simply not move. If she had only listen then he would've made her trip down into the River Styx more quickly. But now... He turned to his case that was filled with assortment of knives, scissors, small, hammers, a small, miniature axe, three types of pliers, and more.

Mei had came out of her room and went back to where Ciel and Madam Red were. She held a rolled up piece of paper her hand and silently hoped that Ciel would like it. Back in Japan, Megumi had told her that the best thing to cheer up a friend was to surprise them with a gift. Nothing too extravagant, but something that you put a lot of time and care into it. Mei had reached the doors and was about to knock when her hand froze in place when she heard Madam Red speak. "Surely there must've been another way for you to live, one that didn't involve you becoming the underworld's watchdog. I'm certain my elder sister, your mother, would've wished for it too. Despite that, here you are... Have you returned after all, to the underworld... Because you wish to avenge my murdered sister and her husband?" Mei's eye widened and took a step back. What...?

Ciel fell silent. His parents. His beloved parents... the ones who created him and loved him more than anything else in the world. The ones who were his world. He couldn't forget that night even if he wanted to. The night will always haunt him. Till the day his life comes to an end. Why did he came back, you ask? "Neither my sister and brother-in-law... Nor Lizzie and I would want that." Madam Red said.

"I... Have never once thought to avenge my parents or anything of the sort. The need for revenge is a funny thing. It won't bring back the dead, nor will it being them happiness."

"But then..."

"Calling it "vengeance" or a "battle of revenge" is just glossing over the truth. Such utterances amount to nothing more than the selfishness of the survivors, after all... A luxury of the living, wouldn't you say? So to answer your question, I didn't return to the house of Phantomhive for my parents, I did it for myself. I want to find the people responsible for what happened, and I want to make them experience the same pain and humiliation that I suffered." And with that, Ciel called checkmate. He won the game. Madam Red sighed and rubbed the back of her head. "That makes forty-six losses in a row for me. You've always been good at this kind of thing, and I've been losing to you since way back when."

Madam Red closed her eyes and gave a soft smile. She let out a quiet laughter as she recalled a memory from long ago. She cherished that moment in her life. "Hm. I still remember when you were born as if it were yesterday. I'd just started out as a nurse... and I don't know what to do during the delivery. As a newborn. you were so tiny and fragile. I remember thinking, 'no matter what, I have to protect him'. Though, in the end, I couldn't bear any children of my own... To me, you're like my real son." Madam Red said as she got up from her seat and walked over to her little Ciel. She placed a comforting hand on his head and, with the eyes of a mother to her child, told him, "And as a mother to her son, I want you to wash your hands of the underworld."

Ciel gently pushed her hand aside and said, "This is a task I've freely chosen, it's still my choice to make and no one else's. I don't regret my decision, and I won't be coddled. By anyone." Madam Red wanted to cry at that. But she understood why he had chosen this life. If he were to walk down this path, then there was nothing she could do to stop him. Not her, not anyone. But at the very least, there has to be someone to watch over him and make sure he didn't lose that kind and gentle side of him. "Now, if you will excuse me." Ciel stood up and placed a sweet kiss on his aunt Angelina's cheek. "It's been fun, Madam."

"I won't lose next time, Ciel." She winked at him. "Good night." Ciel smiled at her. Ciel left the room and planned to go rest up in his chambers. What he didn't expect to see was Mei standing beside the door with a crestfallen expression. His eye widen at the realisation that she must've heard everything that was said between him and Madam Red. He couldn't place her at fault, she just happened to be there at the wrong time. "Ms. Misaki.." He greeted. "Lord Phantomhive..." She said softly. Ciel saw the paper in her hand and asked, "What is that?" Mei then hid it behind her back and shook her head. "It's...nothing important."

"I see, well...have a good night, Ms. Misaki." Ciel said as he walked away, leaving her behind. Mei turn back to look at him, but said, "Good night." to him as well. Mei looked up and saw that Madam Red had walked out with Sebastian in tow. "Are you leaving?" Mei asked her. Madam Red smiled at her. "Yes, don't worry. I have a place to go to." She told the young girl. Sebastian and Mei walked Madam Red to the front door, where Sebastian helped her put on her coat.

"I have it now, thank you." She said. There was something in her mind that she wanted to say, and Sebastian knew it. "My Lady." He said, polity urging her to speak what was so important to her. Madam Red looked at Sebastian with firm eyes and told him, "I know I shouldn't ask this of you when we barely know each other... But, please, promise me, say you'll never leave his side. This is a dangerous world for a boy, make sure he doesn't lose his way and wonder alone."

Sebastian gave a small smile and kneeled down before her. Making this vow to her. "Fear not. I swear, I shall stay by his side until the very end." Madam Red smiled and thanked the handsome butler. She then turned to Mei and walked over to give her a loving hug. Mei, a lot less hesitant, returned it. Madam Red pulled away and placed her hands on her shoulders. "Mei, this may be selfish of me to ask this to someone like you...but... Please, stay by Ciel's side. Promise me, you'll be a loyal friend to him and watch over him for me." Mei didn't think it was selfish at all. She didn't know what to make of this odd, scary things around her...but she believed that she needed to hear that.

"I promise." Mei said as she held her hand just as Madam Red pulled away from her. "I'm sure you two will become close. After all, Ciel may not show it, I believe he truly likes you." Mei blinked in confusion after that one. Ciel...likes her? 'He must really see me as a friend.' She thought to herself. Sebastian opened the door for her and outside awaiting her was Grell, holding an umbrella for her. "I'm here to escort you back home, my lady." He said. Madam Red was grateful her back was turned to the others. She didn't want them to see the cold, soulless red eyes of hers as she left.

Ciel was back in his room recollecting his thoughts on this Jack the ripper case. The fact that the way these murders were committed weren't normal. How could a human have the efficiency to accomplish all this? He almost fell asleep when a knock came from his door. Ciel opens his eyes just as Sebastian entered his room.

"Well then?" He asked him.

"No matter how I look at it, the result it still the same." Sebastian says to him as he looks through his notes.

"Yesterday's murder, the Viscount didn't do it." Ciel said as he sat up in his bed.

"Exactly, none of the people in his mansion could have done it either."

"Indeed, no person could move that quickly. Anyway, tomorrow we'll start-." Ciel stopped himself as he recalled something. How could a human accomplish his crimes? How could a human move so quickly to carry them out? A human...no...no mortal is ever capable of doing something like this...it was near perfection. He turned to his butler in silent shock. "Sebastian, you did it."

Sebastian, with a wide smile, said to his master, "Of course I didn't my lord. I told you, I never lie. Now, involved in medicine. Ties to secret societies or black magic. Lacking albeit's the nights the bodies were found. The only human who fits our criteria is the Viscount Druitt."

Ciel glared daggers at him and said, "You know more about this than you're letting on, don't you?"

"But I'm simply one hell of a butler. As you know I only carry out those orders my master has given me." Sebastian says as he tosses the now useless papers into the air. "You need only say the words my lord and I become either your pawn, or your knight. Now master, move me to check...Master."

Sebastian and Ciel had come up with a plan on how to fully trap Jack the Ripper and were ready to go out now and get him. Sebastian handed him some very casual simple clothing. A white, long sleeved shirt, a brown vest, green pants with attached suspenders hanging loosely by the sides, laced up brown boots, a white eyepatch that resembles a transdermal patch, which fastens over his ear with two cords, and a paperboy's cap. Before they left, Ciel turned and asked Sebastian, "Where is Ms. Misaki?"

"I escorted her back to her chambers. I'm sure she's fast asleep by now." Sebastian said. Ciel nodded and accepted that answer. Good. This time, she is to stay here where it was safe and warm. She's asleep and she'll have no idea they were even gone. Ciel looked back up the stairs and said, "Good. I do not want her to get involved in this any further." Sebastian couldn't agree more. They quietly walked out and shut the door softly behind them. Tiptoeing down from the staircase, Mei had come down from her hiding spot and gazed the door.

"I have to keep him from seeing it. I don't want him to see her die." Mei said. Once she knew that they were gone far enough, Mei walked down the stairs and went out the door.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Ciel and Sebastian stood outside of the woman's house, from what they could see, she was most likely still inside as the light was on. Luckily, the rain had so they wouldn't be soaking wet, but the air was still so chilly. Ciel looked over at the house before retreating back in the corner. 

"He'll show if we steak out this place right?" Ciel asked Sebastian. "Yes." He said simply. Ciel leaned against the wall and folded his arms. There was something that's been bothering him since this whole investigation started. "You know, I've realised the murdered prostitutes have other things in common besides their profession."

"The most beautiful glossy black hair." Sebastian said. What? No. That wasn't it? "But I still don't understand why he had to kill them all." Ciel continued, ignoring Sebastian's odd remark. "So very lovable, it could almost be a sin." The butler said.

"And what's more I-"

"So soft, ahh so soft."

Alright, this was getting stupid! "Urggg! Listen when I'm talking to you!" Ciel yelled at Sebastian, who was currently kneeling on the ground with a black cat in his arms, meowing loudly by the sudden outburst of the blue-eyed boy. "Oh, I apologise sire but she's so beautiful, and soft." Sebastian says while rubbing the cat's paws.

"AAAHHHH!" A woman's bloodcurdling scream echoed in the night, it was loud enough for Ciel and Sebastian to hear from outside. Ciel's eye widened in shock as he began to think of the worst. Was it Jack? "How could somebody have gotten past us!" That door was the only entryway wasn't it? There couldn't be a back door, could there? "Let's go sir." Ciel and Sebastian ran as fast as they could to the door, since they had just heard her scream, that should mean that she could saved, right? Ciel rushed to the door and pushed it open. When he did, his left cheek was splattered with blood. He was rendered silenced and was shocked. He had found her.... Or perhaps... What was left of her anyway.... Let's just say, that it was way too horrifying to even describe. Her blood seemed to have painted the room quite nicely.

"You must not look!" Sebastian shouts as he rushed to covers Ciel's eye to prevents him from seeing anything more...but he saw more than enough. He was clearly visibly distraught. Even if he couldn't see it, even if his eyes were closed, her mangled corpse was still fresh in his mind. Ciel felt his stomach began to turn and swell up inside him. The rain had arrived again, falling from the clouds above. It certainly was appropriate for this setting. "Ah... Ah... UGH! Guh... ....Eh!" He couldn't hold it even if he wanted too, and threw up whatever contents were in his stomach. As Ciel struggled to catch his breath. Sebastian looks back inside the room and smirks. 

"You've made quite a bloody mess of things in there, Jack the Ripper. Or rather, Grell Sutcliff." Grell emerged from the home, and was covered head-to-foot with blood. He held such a scared, and confused expression as he tried to explain himself to the Phantomhive butler, reaching out to him, begging him to believe him. "No, no you're wrong. I... I heard the scream and rushed to help but-."

"You can drop the innocent act Grell. It's over. We have been keeping an eye on the sole path here all night. How in the world did you manage to enter that room at the end of this blind alley and evade us?" Sebastian said him, though he already knew the answer to that. "You know, this is actually the first time I've met someone like you in the human world. You played the role of helpless butler well. Your act had almost everybody completely fooled."

"You...you think so?" Knowing that this little facade of his is over, Grell then gave a wide grin. Showing his razor sharp, shark-like teeth. Along with the look of insanity in his now yellow-green eyes. "Hm hm hm hm. How, kind. That's great to hear, after all I am an actress. And quite a good one at that. Of course, you're not really Sebastian either are you?" He says as his whole appearance began to change. He lets his hair loose from the ribbon and took off his unattractive glasses. He took a comb from his coat pocket and gently brushed his hair, his long brown hair had now became a dark-red colour. Grell also put on longer lashes and a pair of red-framed glasses which are accessorised with a chain with skulls.

"'Sebastian' is the name my master gave me. So that is who I am, for now." The red-eyed butler said to him.

"Ahh. You're playing the faithful dog. Well you're handsome enough to get away with it. Anyway, here we are Sebastian. No, I'll call you Bassy. Let me introduce myself, the bannette butler, Grell Sutcliff. What do you say, let's get along." Grell says, blushing as he blew a kiss at Sebastian, which the latter had actually shivered with complete disgust. "Ah, it's so nice to talk to you in my true form. I admit, I was surprised when I first met you, I've never seen a demon playing a butler."

"I could say the same about you. I never thought I would find one of your kind playing a butler either. You're suppose to be in an intermediary between man and God. A Grim Reaper. Why would a divine being like you pretend to be a servant?" Sebastian questioned.

"Why indeed. For now, let's say it was out of love for a certain woman." Grell said vaguely. This had caught Ciel's attention, once he had gotten his breath back and stopped shaking. "And that woman would be?" Sebastian asks.

"You don't really need to ask. do you?" A familiar voice spoke out. The owner of the voice casually walked out of the house and shut the door behind her. She walked to Grell's side and crossed her arms as she started blankly at Ciel. The boy lifted Sebastian's hand away from his eye and stared back the duo of killers. Finally, he was face-to-face with the real mastermind behind these murders. His own aunt, Angelina, Madam Red.

"Madam."

Madam Red gave a pitiful smile as she said, "Well, I hadn't counted on this. I didn't think anyone would be able to tell who Grell truly is."

"Naturally, you were on the suspect list from the very beginning. But all of your alibis seemed flawless." Ciel told her.

"You mean you actually suspected your own aunt?"

"I was looking for a murderer. Degree of relation to me did not matter. None of the humans on the suspect list could have been responsible for all the murders; but if one of them had an inhuman accompanist that would change the game completely. It had to be someone who could enter and leave a room without being noticed. Someone who could travel from the Viscount's home to the East End instantaneously." Back at the party, Madam Red stayed where she was and blended into the crowd perfectly. She had her fun, ate her fill and kept herself at the ball till it was time. However, one thing that came to mind was that Grell was no where to be seen. He only appeared when they arrived and didn't show up again until Madam Red was being treated like a queen.

"In the end, you two were the only ones who could be Jack the Ripper. You Madam Red, and Grell Sutcliff. I began to look into what else the victims had in common beside prostitution, and then I noticed they'd all undergone a certain surgery at the hospital where you work. We made a list of all the patients. One, the only one who was still alive, was a woman by the name of Mary Kelly. We knew if you waited around here, you would come her eventually." Ciel's gaze sadly trailed back to the door. Getting a sudden feeling of emptiness as the body of that young woman was still inside. But we were...too late."

Madam Red gave Ciel a very sad expression. She didn't want things to turn out like this. This is exactly why she wanted him to quit in the first place. Madam Red didn't want him to see her like this. "My darling nephew. How unfortunate this turned out to be. If you had let it go, we could have played chess again. But now..." She clenched her fist so tightly, she could've easily drew blood. "You've taken everything!!" As she screamed this out in rage, Grell suddenly pulled a chainsaw from out of nowhere and reeved up the engine. He was about to slice Ciel in half, but Sebastian quickly moved in front of him and caught the blade between his hands. He shoved Grell away and they each jumped back to their respective "masters".

"What...is that?" Ciel asked.

"Grim reapers use tools for harvesting souls. That is his reaper scythe." Sebastian told him, placing an arm in front of him. Apparently, Grell took offence to that remark and began to whine about it. "Don't you dare call it that! This is so much more than a scythe, I worked very hard to customize it! This is a special death scythe of my own design. It can hack anyone into tiny pieces! I've been far too well behaved. I'm getting out of shape, I would love to exercise my skills. So? Shall? We? Play?"

Sebastian's eyebrow twitched in annoyance out of Grell's childish behaviour. "Perhaps you could be a bit more respectful of my position. I'm on duty after all." He said. Of course, this had only caused Grell to fawn over him again. Seems like he's in love with Sebastian. "What a stoic man you are! That makes you even more irresistible. You know, red is my favourite colour. It's prefect for hair, for clothes, for lipstick. So, I painted all those women with pretty, pretty red blood. So Bassy, now I'll make you even better looking than you are. I'll tear you up from the inside and trust me, I'll make you like it. You'll be as lovely as scattered rose petals." Grell said as he flirtatiously winked at his object of affection.

Sebastian couldn't care less about him as he turned away from his attempts, disinterested. "You're a Grim Reaper, you job is to quietly harvest the souls of the dying. And as a butler, your job is to follow your master like a shadow." Sebastian turned to his young master and took off his black coat and placed it Ciel, shielding him from the cold. "You have violated both of these expectations, and quite frankly, I find it sickening." He said as he turned back to Grell with a serious expression on his face.

Grell only gave a wide grin as he said, "Bassy, you wound me. You know, I'm more deadly officiant than I seem."

He had enough of this. It was time he put this case to rest. Ciel reached over to his eye patch and slowly removed it. "In my name and that of the Queen, I order you Sebastian, put an end to them." He commanded as the mark in his eye glowed a menacing light purple glow. Sebastian smiled as his own red eyes glowed a hot pink colour. "Indeed, my young lord."

Grell reeved up his chainsaw and rushed towards Sebastian, jumping high into the air and slamming his weapon to the ground. Forcing the two to separate as the ground beneath them was split apart. Now, that he was away from his little master, Grell can have Sebastian all to himself. For now, at least. He skilfully swung his chainsaw at the demon butler and he jumped and dodge to avoid getting hit. "Ohh! Yes, please run away! We can play tag Bassy!" Sebastian did a few backflips before he grabbed a light-post and rip it off the ground and used it to block the chainsaw before it came down on his head. Sebastian was trying to think of a way to beat this divine into dirt when he made the mistake of looking behind Grell. His eyes widen and let out a silent gasp at what... Or who he saw.

Grell took advantage of this and broke through the lamp-post as effortlessly as snapping a twig in half and pushed Sebastian back. He then pushed him up against the wall with Sebastian holding on to the spinning blade to keep it from killing him. But the Grell put more weight on it and tore up the top of his uniform. "But see what happens when you're not fast enough, you get cut! It's more fun when it hurts a little bit though isn't it!? The death scythe can slice right through memories, souls, dimensions and even demons!!" 

While they were fighting, Madam Red and Ciel were still staring at each other. A heavy weight in both of them. Wishing that this didn't have to happen. Had it been anyone else, it would've made things a lot more easier to handle. "You're still the queens guard dog, which means that now I'm your prey. But if it's hunt or be hunted," Madam Red said as she pulled out a knife from her sleeved and sprinted towards Ciel. "There's only one thing I can do!" She lunged at Ciel and the young boy had moved out of the way, but she was able to slash his arm. "Agh!" Ciel grunted as he held his bleeding wound. "You're a doctor, how could you do it?" Doctors were made to tend to the sick and injured. Doctors were made to save lives. Not taking them. So why would she, of all people, turn into a murderer?!

"You wouldn't understand if I told you." She seethed at him. "You're just a child! A brat like you will never understand!! Not ever!!" Just then the figure that Sebastian had saw, jumped out of hiding and stood protectively in front of Ciel with her arms outstretched. "Don't hurt him. Madam Red, please stop this..." Mei said to her. She had to stop this. She can't allow Ciel to know what she saw. She couldn't put him through that. Ciel's eyes widen as he stared at Mei. Why the hell was she even here? When and how did she even know where to find them? Did she follow them all the way here? "Ms. Misaki, what are you doing here?! You have to leave!" Ciel shouted at her, getting over his initial shock. Right now, he couldn't care. He has to keep her from getting further involved with him.

"I'm not leaving. I can't let you-." "Out of my way!" Mei was cut off when Madam Red came and smacked her across the face, being the lightweight she was, it knocked her across the alleyway and Mei felt blood trailing down her chine. "Mei!" Ciel cried out as Madam Red gripped his neck. Gripping tightly to nearly close off his oxygen. "You...you brat. I wish... I wished.... You were never have been born in the first place!" Madam Red raised the knife above his head and was to kill him right there, right now. But when he stared at her with those soft, innocent blue eyes of his, he form began to change. He looked older, his hair transformed into a long, golden blonde, and now wore an elegant wedding dress. This wasn't Ciel Phantomhive anymore, it was her elder sister, Rachel. He looked too much like her, and because of his face, Madam Red hesitates. "Ah, sister."

"Ciel!" Mei got back on her feet and wrapped her arms around Ciel, using herself as a shield to protect him. "Master!" Sebastian shouted. Blood had bursted out and spilled onto the ground and walls. Ciel's eyes widened as streaks of blood appeared before him. Right behind Madam Red, who was in complete distraught, Sebastian loomed over her. Reaching out towards her, and looking more like a demon. He wasn't going to let this woman lay a hand on his master, not while he's around. "Stop Sebastian! Don't kill her!" Sebastian's hand stopped within inches on grabbing Madam Red's head. He obeyed, and backed off. Madam Red chocked out a sob as she took a step back from the two, dropping the knife. Sebastian took this moment to catch his breath as he held his bleeding shoulder. Ciel took noticed of his injury. "Your arm." Mei said as she let go of Ciel to go check on the butler's wound.

"Ohh, how sweet you are Bassy. Really, what a prince; sacrificing your own poor limb to save those two kids." Grell said, smiling as he held up his blood stained Death Scythe. While they were struggling, Sebastian, from his perspective, saw that Madam Red was about to kill his master and Mei. Not caring about himself, he moved the scythe out of the way just a bit to get around Grell. Of course, it caught his arm in the process. Grell let out a "Tch." as he walked over to the others. "On the other hand, you're a disappointment Madam. Come not, hurry up and kill the brat already!"

Madam Red heard him, but she couldn't do it. She looked at her sweet, little nephew through the tears in her eyes. What... Was she...? Her mind had then recalled a long, lost, forgotten memory. A memory that was once filled with light and love. A memory where they were still alive and where Ciel's smile existed. "I loved my sister." Her beloved Rachel. "I loved her husband." The kind man who she had fallen in love with. "I loved their child." The boy she had known and loved since birth. How... how could she have...? "I can't, I can't kill him. I can't kill their beloved son." There was no way she could ever kill him. She could never bring herself to do it. If she did, she would never forgive herself and would spent the remains of her life in a deep, depression and guilt. 

"Really, you're getting soft hearted on me all of a sudden, after all those deaths? If you don't end him he'll end you." Grell said. He was getting impatient with her. After all the killings they've done, why would she suddenly gain a conscience now? Over some stupid boy no less. 

"Madam." Ciel called out.

"But, this dear boy..." At that moment, Madam Red had made her final decision. Whatever punishment she'll receive, she'll accept them and find a way to seek redemption. She was going to face the consequences and stay by Ciel's side. While she can never have her own, Ciel was by far the closest thing Madam Red ever had to having a son. And that's exactly what she sees him as. Her son. Her child. One that she should be protecting and love. "This child is my-!"

She never got to finish her final words before Grell stabbed her with his death scythe. This sudden, and horrible action shocked Ciel, Sebastian and Mei as they watched Madam Red die right in front of them. 'No!'

"Too late for that! How disappointing! What use do I have for you if you're just another woman!?" Grell shouted as he swung Madam Red's body of his Death Scythe. Before Madam Red hit the ground, out from her gaping, bloody hole, strips that resembled those of that of a film reel, flew out into the open. Mei reached her left eye as she felt a painful twinge.

"Is that her...?" Sebastian asked as he saw the strips swirl around them. "A part of a Reaper's job is to play and examine the memories of those who were on the To-Die List. From that, we determine what kind of person they were. We see from their own perspective what kind of life they've lived, and we decide whether they should live or die." Grell explained to him.

"Their lives flash...right before their eyes." Sebastian said.

"Oh please, that's such a pedestrian term. It is so much more than that. This is the Reaper's true power: the Cinematic Record." Grell said.

What pain? What heartbreak? What kind of agony does one go through to make someone into a once kind and ambitious person into a cruel murderer? What kind of life did Madam Red go through? Well... Shall we see it together?

"Anne! Angeliina!" Young fifteen-year-old Angelina Dalles was sitting in her family's gazebo in the garden when she looked up from her book to see her older sister, Rachel coming towards with a bright, but gentle, smile on her face. Angelina's face lit up when she saw her most cherished person in the world. "Sister." She greeted. Once she reached her side, Rachel said to her, "In here again, I see. Father is calling for you." Rachel leaned in and held her little sister's hand and began dragging her back inside. "He has a guest he wishes to introduce us to."

"Eh? But I'm dressed like this... And I haven't powered my nose!!" Angelina said, nervously. She honestly didn't want to see anyone, as she held no self-confidence due to her crimson hair. And with the plain, old clothes she was wearing didn't help. If she were to go, then their guest will go and make fun of her. Rachel looked back at her sister and began dusting her off and fix her hair. "S-sister?" She plucked a white rose from their garden and placed it in her hair. Rachel took a step back and look her over. With a smile, she nodded with approval. "There, all done. You look positively charming. You'll be fine." Rachel said as she winked at her.

Rachel held her hand and they both walked back to the house. "Were you reading again?" She asked her. Angelina nodded vigorously. "Yes. I want to study lost and become a doctor. I want to find a cure for your asthma, sister." She told her. Even since they were younger, Angelina dreamed of becoming a doctor. Everyday, seeing her beloved sister bedridden because of her asthma was near torture for her. She hoped to find a cure one day, so that her sister could finally run, and jump, and whatever else she wished to do for as much as she wanted. It was her only purpose in life then. "I'm unattractive, and I feel out of place at balls, so I may not be able to marry..." Rachel stopped walking and stared at Angelina like she was crazy.

"What are you saying?!" She asked. She turned and gave Angelina a reassuring smile and told her, "Anne is lovely and smart. You should have more confidence in yourself. And let's not forget..." She then walked behind Angelina...and proceeded to grab her breasts. "...You're awfully well-endooowed!" Angelina screeched as she tried to get her elder sister off of her. "Gyah!! Sister?!" Nevertheless, it did bring a smile to Angelina's face. Knowing that Rachel was trying to cheer her up and give her more self-confidence. Soon, both sisters were sharing a joyful laugh together.

"My elder sister's health was fragile. But she was kind and beautiful, and did not put on airs, and I loved her. I loved and envied her soft flaxen hair, which was just like our mother's. I met him when I was fifteen."

"Rachel, Angelina, come say hello to our guest, Lord Phantomhive." Their father said as he gestured towards the man sitting on the sofa. The former head of the Phantomhive family. Vincent Phantomhive. "How do you do?" He asked, politely. Angelina's eyes widened as she stared at him. She had never seen such a beautiful man before. Lord Phantomhive was a handsome, well-dressed man with short bluish-black hair, blue eyes, and a beauty mark under his left eye. Angelina's heart skipped a beat whenever she saw him.

"I despised my red hair, which was just like my father's. And I loathed the colour red. But..."

Soon, every other day, Vincent would come and visit her family. And whenever he was near, Angelina would keep her distance from him or hide from him as she was too afraid to speak to him. But one day that all changed. When she was out in the gazebo doing her reading, Vincent had surprise her by appearing before her. Angelina was utterly flustered as she tried to make some excuse to leave, but Vincent already roped her into having a conversation with him. Soon, he took note of her long bangs that were practically covering her face, as if she was hiding herself behind them. "Why do you keep your hair so long in front?" He asked her.

"I am no beauty like my elder sister, so..." She said. "And my hair is red as well..." Angelina had little to no confidence in her beauty and had believed that her hair colour is what made her so unattractive in the first place. But Vincent told her otherwise.

"You oughtn't be so ashamed of being different from others. It gives you character. Anne's red hair is truly beautiful. The colour of Spider Lilies, a colour that blazes the earth. Red really suits you...and you should take more pride in it." He said. That touched Angelina's heart as she felt her face grow warm. No one, other than her sister of course, had ever said that to her. Vincent's words were so exceptionally kind and made her do some serious thinking about her opinion on the colour red.

"And then I...cut off my bangs. I came to love it after all. I grew to love my red hair, which was was just like my father's. And I grew to love the colour red. I came to love him."

Angelina had her bangs cut just a few days afterwards. Now, whenever he would come and visit, she would wear the red that he had said suited her. She knew that Vincent was on his way here again, she couldn't wait to see him and she just had to look pretty for him. She powered her face to hide her freckles and wore a new red dress to signified her newly found love for the colour. "My lady. Earl Phantomhive is here." A maid told her. Angelina's face lit up brighter than the sun. He's here! "Comiiing!" She called out. Angelina took one last look at herself before skipping down the hall. She blushed happily at what Vincent was going to say when he saw her. "Will he complement me again, I wonder?" Angelina thought.

"And then I...cut off my bangs. I came to love it after all. I grew to love my red hair, which was was just like my father's. And I grew to love the colour red. I came to love him."

Angelina had her bangs cut just a few days afterwards. Now, whenever he would come and visit, she would wear the red that he had said suited her. She knew that Vincent was on his way here again, she couldn't wait to see him and she just had to look pretty for him. She powered her face to hide her freckles and wore a new red dress to signified her newly found love for the colour. "My lady. Earl Phantomhive is here." A maid told her. Angelina's face lit up brighter than the sun. He's here! "Comiiing!" She called out. Angelina took one last look at herself before skipping down the hall. She blushed happily at what Vincent was going to say when he saw her. "Will he complement me again, I wonder?" Angelina thought.

Angelina reached the room and when she opened the door, she was madly surprised to see Rachel already there with him... Sitting right beside him. Holding his arm. Smiling...lovingly towards him. And him sharing that same look. What was going on here? Rachel noticed her little sister's presence and called her over, "Anne, you're finally here. We have some wonderful news for you!" Angelina hid her shock and bewilderment behind an awkward smile. The man she had loved so dearly was going to marry the elder sister she loved so dearly.

She wore her favourite red dress to their wedding and she smiled throughout the entire ceremony. Even though she was brokenhearted that Vincent didn't ask her to marry him, she could never bring myself to hate them. Because...if the two people she cherished most in the world were happy... Then she too was happy. Or so she should've been.....

Angelina was just starting out as a nurse. And her first major assignment was childbirth, and her dearest sister Rachel was her first patient. She didn't know a thing about childbirth, but she wanted to aid her Rachel in anyway she can. She held her sister's hand. She reminded her breath and remain strong. Got water and lots of towels... Did whatever that was asked of her.

"Madam! It is a fine baby boy!" One of the midwives told her as she held the tiny infant in her hands. Rachel was barely able to keep her eyes open to see her child, but just hearing his little voice was more than enough for her. She was so exhausted. "I'm glad... That he was born to us. Anne. You hold him. He's your nephew."

The baby was passed onto her. One look at the baby's pure, innocent face and already Angelina  loved him so much. Her heart melted that such a sweet, tiny and fragile child could be made. As she held him close to her heart, she made a solemn vow to him. 'No matter what, I have to protect him'. Angelina looked up to her sister and said, "He's so precious..."

"When he grows up, please play with him a lot." Rachel said to her.

"Of course!"

Rachel smiled lovingly towards her son and gently tapped his little nose, saying, "Haha. Your nose is just like his!" Angelina then felt something break inside of her. Something that nearly shook her entire being.

"Once again, I hated the colour red. After that, I started attending the many social events that I had once hated. I flitted from one ball to another, wearing gorgeous make-up and bright red dresses. And soon people began calling me, Madam Red. But I also threw myself into my studies and...against my parents' wishes, obtained my license to practice medicine."

Whenever she had the time, she would visit her sister and, as promised, played with her darling nephew Ciel and his little cousin Elizabeth all the time. She was happy. She loved the days she spent playing with Ciel. His smile was the thing she loved most. Her sister, Rachel. Rachel's husband, Vincent. Her sweet nephew Ciel. And young Elizabeth. The people she held dearly in her heart. However, whenever she would see Vincent, old feelings always rise up. But she would only gaze at him from afar. Eventually,  Angelina met a man at a ball and had gotten married. Baron Burnett, a tall man with fair hair, and he dresses formally to reflect his position as a noble. She had told him that there was a man she could not forget. But he gave her the most gentle smile and said, "I don't mind."

To Angelina, he was pure and honest man. He cherished her. Treated her well and loved her with all his heart. And very soon... She had learned to love him just as much and found herself with a child of her own. "What do you think? A boy or a girl?" Her precious husband asked her as he kneeled down before her, wrapping his arms around her waist and pressed his ear on her belly. He was so excited to be a father, he could not stand it. Even though he could rush things, he still wanted to see his child's face soon.

Angelina giggled at him and said, "Aha, men are so impatient. How would I know that yet?" She smiled as she stroked his hair. Finally feeling happiness. It didn't happen the way she wanted it. But the fact that she was loved by such a pure man and was going to be a mother. Angelina couldn't have been more happier. Or....so she should have been.

"A run-away carriage just slammed into someone! Call for a doctor, quickly!"

Then it all slipped away from her hands. Before she could even give birth to her child, there was a carriage incident. The last thing she could remember from that incident was Baron Burnett screaming out her name as he tried to either save her or protect her. She woke up in the hospital hours later and was momentarily confused at what truly happened. She searched the room for her husband, then fear spiked up when she began to worry for her child. She looked down...and saw her flat stomach. What...?

A doctor came into her room and she immediately demanded to know what happened to her child and where her husband was. Clearly terrified and worried to death for their well-being. What the doctor told her next, shattered her sense of self. Rendering her silent for three days. "Your husband died instantly. And in order to save your life, we were forced to remove your uterus and your unborn child with it. I'm sorry but we had no choice."

 

 

 

Chapter Text

"Everything, everything slipped away from me."

When she heard the news, Rachel immediately went straight to the hospital and comforted her. She cried for Angelina's pain and visited her nearly every day to cheer her up and have her smile in the end. While she still had her sister, Vincent and Ciel in her life...the pain of her loss of Baron Burnett and her child had left a scar in her heart that would never heal again.

"Anne! I heard from the doctor! They say you'll be able to leave the hospital soon?" Rachel asked her, happily.

"Thanks to you." She told her.

"We must celebrate, then! I know! My son will be celebrating his tenth birthday soon. Why don't we celebrate your recovery together then too?!" Rachel suggested.

"B-but..."

"Don't worry! The correct way to celebrate a recovery is to drink and be merry with lots of people!"

In the end, she couldn't refused. Then the day had arrived, and Angelina found herself in a carriage heading towards the Phantomhive Manor for, what she was so sure, a grand party for Ciel's birthday and her recovery. In truth, she had no desire to go. For she had lost the man she had learned to love, and the child she had loved so dearly before it was even born. She had no reason to be happy. All she could do was from a façade so that the others wouldn't worry about her. The sad truth of it all is that saying you're okay is so much easier. Rather then explaining all the reasons why you're not.

Then all of a sudden she felt the carried being brought to a halt. That's odd. Angelina stepped out of the carriage and asked the coachman, "Why the sudden stop?" The coachman's was contorted with absolute terror as he shakily raised a finger to point into the direction up ahead. "M-madam. Th-there...!!" She will never forget it. The colour that dyed that grey December sky. The stain spread. It covered everything. That colour she so hated. The colour red. The manor was engulfed in flames and she desperately called out to them. "SISTER!! BROTHER!!" But no one answered back. They were gone...forever.

That day each and every Phantomhive lost their lives at the hands of some unknown individual. The manor was burnt to the ground. Angelina's sister and her husband were discovered in a terrible state. A child corpse was never recovered. She had lost everything that was precious to her. Everything had flown somewhere out of her reach.

"My sister was buried with the man she loved. If only...if only my heart had been buried in the ground along with them. I was sad. So sad.... But even more-so did I envy my elder sister... For being able to die with her beloved."

Why was she allowed to live? When the people she had loved so dearly was taken away from her so horribly? She had lost her first love. She had lost her precious husband and unborn child. And now she had lost the rest of her family in one fell swoop. Why was she left alive? Since their funeral, Angelina's eyes lost their light. The deaths of her family members had greatly traumatised her. But as always, she kept up a façade and returned to work. Trying her best to recover and to "be normal".

"Doctor!! Should you be back at work so soon?" A nurse asked her in the hallways. Angelina was on her way to meet with a patient to confirm the surgery she had scheduled with her. The nurse had heard about what happened and was, understandably, concerned for her. But Angelina gave a strong smile and said, "I'm all right. Work helps me take my mind off of other things. Besides, it's miles better than staying at home, doing nothing. Please, excuse me. I'm due for in surgery this afternoon." She looked at the file and her eyes widened in shock. What..? No... She can't possibly ask her to do this... She can't be seriously considering this, could she? Angelina rushed to see her patient and was met with a rather annoyed looking woman with blonde hair tied into a bun, and pale blue-grey eyes. At first, Angelina hoped to try and convinced the woman to reconsider her decision, thinking that maybe she was being forced into doing it and that she could help her.

But what the woman told her, had destroyed her sense of morality. "Honestly, a child would only be in the way. I don't know who that father is and my customers wouldn't like a child hanging around." Customers... Oh... She understood now. This woman was a prostitute... A whore... and she was going to abort her child just so she can keep her job. She was so willing to end the child's life just for her own selfish gain.

In the end, Angelina had no other choice but to do what she wanted her to do. And with her own two hands... She ended the child's life before it could truly begin. When the surgery was completed, the woman had the gall to be smirking and glade she was 'rid of such a nuisance." Angelina went to the washroom to clean the blood red stains off her hands. But no matter how much she cleaned them, the baby's blood would forever be on her hands. Angelina looked at herself in the mirror. She looked nearly half dead, her skin was so pale and she eyes were blank, and soulless.

"I hated them. I had lost everything in my life. That woman had what I wanted most. What I wanted. What I cherished. What I would never get the chance to have again, regardless of how much I desired it. And she threw it away without a second thought. What had I done to deserve that? Why did God make me suffer so? I only... Only..."

After all these years, after all the pain she felt, and after losing everything she loved.... Her sanity had finally been broken.

That night, she went out and searched for that woman. It wasn't that hard at all. As expected, she had finished the night with another customer and Angelina quietly stalked her back to her home. The woman soon took notice that Angelina was there behind once she reached the front door. She didn't think of it at the time. She didn't even noticed the look in her eyes. "Oh hello. You're that doc-." Angelina pulled out a sharp knife from her person. Her expressionless face soon contorted into that of pure, unadulterated rage. "Wha- what are you doing?" And she charges towards her like a wild animal. "No...! No, wai-!!"

HATE!! HATE!! HATE!! HATE!! HATE!! HATE!! HATE!! HATE!! HATE!!!

The woman didn't have a single chance to let out a scream before the knife was plunged into her. Blood and gore was splattered onto Angelina but she couldn't care less. All she cared about was staining her too. She decided to stain everything red. With her own hands. She was practically bathed in blood as she surgically removed the corpse's uterus. That's when she heard a disturbingly, cheerful voice say, "My my. That was quit a little show. I've had my eye on you... All this time." Angelina quickly turned around and saw him. Standing up in one of the tallest buildings was Grell. Grinning down to her from above.

"Thanks to you, the list of the dead for this district is jam-packed!" He told her. Angelina didn't know what to say. Hell, she could barely even think to process this man that had suddenly appeared before. But she knew that right away that he wasn't in the least bit human. Grell jumped from the building and landed safely on his feet as he walked towards her. Still grinning. "But I understand veeeery well how you feel. Those hideous broads deserve to die." Grell than kneeled to her and lovingly wrapped his arms around her. "I want a baby of my very own too, but it seems that me being male is a biiiit of a problem. You and I, we're like two peas in a pod. I... Will lend you a hand."

Afterward's Angelina went back home and cleaned herself off, and eventually cut her long red hair, which was caked with blood. And then...something else happened. A few months later, her missing nephew suddenly returned. Angelina was busy with work when she was called in. When she found out about Ciel was alive and was back home safely, she immediately dropped everything and left as quickly as possible to see him. She needed to his face again. She barged into the room, crying out, "Oh Ciel! Is it really you, Ciel?!" When she saw him at last, she almost broke down in tears... Her darling nephew was sitting right there in the flesh. He looked injured, but that was alright!! He's back home, safe and sound. She took a quick glance at the butler dressed in black beside him. "So you were alive all along!!"

Angelina ran to Ciel and gave him the biggest hug. She felt fortunate, since it meant she could have one thing back. For the first time in a long while, she finally gave a real smile. She felt as though a weight had been lifted off her chest. He was back. And this time, she's never to let him go ever again. "You're really safe! I got at least one thing back. Thank goodness. At least we still have you. Let me take a look at your darling face." She pulled away and cupped his cheeks, wanting to get a good look at his face. In spite of his emotionless expression, she saw the near image of Rachel. "Huh."

"The child of the man I loved, and my sister. I should've been happy that Ciel had been returned to me... But a sense of uneasiness weighed on my heart. If this child could come back, then why couldn't my beloved? Why was this child alive, while he died? His child was not him... That boy was the son of the elder sister who him away from me. Why wasn't I the one he chose to marry? Then, Ciel, who had succeeded him, finally came to capture Jack the Ripper. With that face that so resembled that of my sister.... Sister, what more are you going to take away from me? I finally decided that I would write all the wrongs I had been dealt. You've taken everything!" When she screamed that... it wasn't a scream of rage filled woman... But the shattered, desperate cry from a broken-hearted soul.

The Cinematic Record had come to an end, and Angelina's lifeless body had fallen to the ground with a thud. One last tear fell from her eye. Once Grell brought back his Death Scythe, he stared at Angelina with a look that might've been mistaken for pity. "How beautiful you were, died crimson and covered in your victims' blood. I loved you so." He said as he tossed his black coat into the air and forgotten by the winds. He walked to Angelina's body and continued. 

"What a disappointment you turned out to be in the end. I haven't the least interest in someone who gets carried away by silly emotions. I helped you set up your alibi too. And I broke even the rules that govern us Reapers, killing women not on the list, all for your sake. You were just the same as all those other women. You don't have what it takes to wear red." He removes Angelina's red coat from her corpse and wore it as his own. Wearing it as it slung off his shoulders, and the sleeves are up to his elbows "You cheap little melodrama ends now. It's over, Madam Red. Goodbye."

Grell then just walked away, not even bothering to pick another fight with them any longer as noticed by Sebastian. Mei walked to Angelina's side, went down on her knees and took out her handkerchief. Wiping away the blood and tears from her face. She couldn't believe what just happened. Mei knew Angelina was going to die and she wanted to keep Ciel from seeing that...but she hadn't expected something like this. When she was finished, Ciel came in and kneeled as well. He reached out and gently closed her eyes. Without looking up, Ciel said, "Well, what are you waiting for? I thought I ordered you to put and end to Jack The Ripper. It's not over yet." He turns to the red-loving Reaper who had stopped walking as Ciel spoke. "One is left. Stop standing there and kill him."

Sebastian was surprised by this, but he gave a smile and said, "Certainly." Not minding his injuries, Sebastian walked towards Grell for impending fight. "Oh, I was going to spare you. Professional curtesy and all that. But if you insist," He reeved up the engine. "I'll send you and the brats to Heaven together!" He shouted as he swung his Death Scythe, Sebastian ducking beneath the blade. "Heaven, you're joking." He smirked. He almost wanted to laugh. Sebastian jumped up into the air and instantly appeared behind Grell. Standing elegantly on his scythe. "Ah!" The Reaper cried out.

"I know nothing of Heaven." Grell quickly turned around and had barely managed to dodge a Sebastian's swift kick aimed for his face. When he didn't make contact, Sebastian jumped off and landed back on his feet. "Ah! You would kick a lady in the face? Where are you manners, sir?" Grell shouted at him with a high pitch voice.

"Terribly sorry. You see I'm simply one hell of a butler." Sebastian told him with his usual smile.

"Ha! You think a demon like you can beat a Reaper?"

"Certainly." He said as he turned to face his young master. "You see, if my master tells me to win, then I shall win." It was a simple as it sounds. "You care a lot about that puny little brat, don't you? I'm jealous. Demon or not, you'll still be destroyed if I reap you with my death scythe. Aren't you frightened?" Grell asked him.

"Not at all." Sebastian says as he placed a hand on his chest. "I belong to my master; my soul and my body, down to the last hair are his. The contract remains so I follow his every order. That's what it means to be a butler." Grell and Sebastian charged at each other once more and begin to fight all over again. As they were fighting, Ciel removed the Sebastian coat and placed it on top of Angelina's body out of respect to the dead. Mei stood up and walked over to Ciel wounded arm and tore off a piece of her skirt. As she kneeled beside him, she caught sight of a gun in Ciel's back pocket. Mei stiffened up a bit before turning her attention to something else. Ciel was caught off guard when she tended his injury. When she was done, Mei turned her gaze away and softly said, "I'm sorry." Ciel gave out a tired sigh. "So am I."

"Ahahahaha!!" Grell laughed as he swung his chainsaw at him again. Like a skilled acrobat, Sebastian leaped into the air, performing a mid-air backflip. "Here we are, a demon and a Reaper!" Sebastian landed back on the ground and tried to land another kick at him, but Grell jumped out of the way, making Sebastian run after him. "I suppose we'll never resolve this. These feeling that we have are forbidden. Oh my, it's just like Romeo and Juliet!" Grell's imagination began to run wild as he pictured themselves as the beautiful Juliet Capulet and the dashing Romeo Montague. His little fantasy almost have them give the other a passionate kiss, but Sebastian immediately cut fantasy short as he lowly growled, he had that disgusting image in his head as well.

Grell placed a hand over his heart and started to recite Juliet's lines from the play, but with his own mix into it. Acting so dramatic and behaving as the lovestruck idiot that he was. "Oh my dear Bassy! Wherefore art thou my sweet love, Bassy!?" He was really getting sick of hearing that nickname from his annoying voice. Sebastian glared daggers at Grell and rushed forward, delivering a high kick so that he would shut up! But Grell quickly dodged it and the two unearthly beings landed on the roof of a nearby building. "If you would deny thy master and refuse thy name, I know that we could be happy together."

Sebastian gave a rather wicked smile and said, "The moment my master uttered my new name, the word became our solum contract. I was rebaptised as his, and his alone. From that day, I have been Sebastian. Beyond the moon, I swear it."

"To swear by something as inconstant as the moon, how can I believe your words? Yet I see your eyes and know that they do what your lips and hands long to do. You undress my softly with your unworthy devilish gaze!" Grell grinned like a Cheshire cat as he looked into Sebastian's glowing hot pink eyes. Grell suddenly got the most pleasant chills running up and down his body and pressed himself up against the chimney, placing a hand on his stomach with a bright blush on his face. "Ohhh! Ah! It's too much Bassy! I would bare you children if only you'd let me."

Sebastian backed away from him slightly as he felt that disgusted shiver again. Ugh, he couldn't wait to beat him to ground and get him to shut up. "Please stop that, it is revolting." He said. "Oh, you treat me so coldly." Grell said as he started up his Death scythe. "Beautiful tyrant!" Sebastian braced himself, preparing for the Reaper's oncoming assault. Grell sprinted twoards him and swung his scythe at the demon butler, but he had jumped up and avoided it.

"Clean angelic!" Grell grinned and swung it swiftly around, barely missing Sebastian's neck if he hadn't ducked down in time. "My dove feathered raven!" Grell made another attempted but Sebastian managed to knock his hand off and slammed his foot on the handle, making the blade crash through the roof. "Oh Bassy! Bassy, my love. If only cruel morning would never come, then the two of us might go on like this forever. Our love permanently lit by the moon's seductive glow." Grell said as he leaned in closer to Sebastian, wanting to get a good look at his handsome, perfect face. Ahh, how he could stare at him for hours. "But no, I'm afraid our adventure ends here." Grell winked at him before he suddenly slammed his forehead against Sebastian's, drawing blood and knocking him back a bit. "Haha! Shall we part with a passionate kiss? No, then goodnight, my love! A thousand times goodnight!"

Taking advantage from his attack, Grell brought up his Death Scythe and sliced it down from Sebastian's left shoulder all the way to his right hip. Sebastian coughed up blood and more bursted out of his injury along with his Cinematic Record. "There now, surly your Cinematic Record will be far more interesting than any other human's." Grell had always been curious about what kind of life demons have. Were they always demons, or were they humans before coming a demon? If so, then what had made them become such creatures of darkness? Grell looked at his Cinematic Records and planned to find out just that. "Mm-hmm."

Sebastian's record begins to play and the first thing Grell saw was... a little old man holding a teacup? "Huh?" What the? The records then proceeded to show more of some...rather mundane events. Showing his time with Baldroy, Finnian and Mey-Rin, seeing the chaos they often (always) inflict on the manner, and his doing his daily duties as the loyal butler to the Phantomhive estate. "No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Who are these people, what the hell is this!?" Grell asked angrily. He intentionally cut Sebastian and was hoping to see something dramatic, not this crap!!

Sebastian gave an amused smile as he watched Grell getting annoyed from the lack of drama he so desperately wanted from him. He paused for a moment to take in a short breath and said, "Ah. That is what my life has been for the past two years after all."

"I'm not interested in seeing your daily chores! I know all that! Ahh! Come on, show me the good stuff!" Grell shouted at him. Then something in his records caught his eye. At first Grell has happy because he thought he had found something, but when he looked, his smile dropped instantly and his happiness and turned into bitter jealousy.

It was of Sebastian...in Mei's room...completely alone with her...hovering over her in her bed. He brushed her long bangs away and caressed her cheek and lips. The look in his eyes as Sebastian continued to look at the short haired girl. Sebastian leaned down and it looked like he was about to...to... Kiss her?!?! "What the hell is this?!?! Why is she here with you?!" Grell shouted out loud, making a gentle note that Mei was now at the top of his To-Die list.

Grell had been distracted by his jealousy and annoyance at the lack of drama, that he almost didn't noticed Sebastian, gracefully hovering around him, and stopping behind his back. He placed a finger to his lips in a 'shushing' manner with a smirk on his face. "So sorry. I'm afraid I charge for the juicy bits, and that section of Lady Misaki is highly private."

"Skinflint! Ahh!" Grell shouted as he had barely managed to dodge another one of Sebastian's swift kicks. When Grell jumped back, Sebastian looks down and was mildly upset that his uniform was ruined beyond repair and begins to unbutton his coat. "Uh. Look at that, my cloths are ruined again. This is passed mending." He said.

"You must be pretty confident to worry about your clothes right now. But of course, you know I always appreciate a sharp looking man. Well done Bassy." Grell said to him, smirking.

Sebastian removes his tailcoat and sent a cold, steely glare at the Grim Reaper's way. He didn't want to do this, he hated the idea of it, but what other option does he have? "There is one technique that I absolutely did not want to use. But I have no other choice."

Grell had gotten his excitement back and was eager to know what exactly Sebastian had in mind for what's about to happen. He was tingling all over and started up his chainsaw. "So, at last you're going to fight me seriously. Shall we send the curtain down with the next blow? I'll miss you terribly, but perhaps we'll meet again. Farewell!" Grell and Sebastian charge at each other. Locking their eyes onto one another. Grell swung his Death Scythe at him and it looked he was going to win, but then his scythe had made a distorted sound and looked down. His eyes widened in shock. Sebastian had used his coat to jam Grell's death scythe, rendering it useless. Sebastian jumped back to safety while Grell toppled over and slid a little down the roof, staring at his clogged weapon.

"What the hell?!" He shouted.

"That was my finest tailcoat. it was made of the highest quality Yorkshire wool. It was a very tricky fabric. Once it gets caught in something, it is exceedingly difficult to remove." Sebastian explained to him. Grell tugged at his coat to try and get it out from his scythe but no matter how hard he pulled, the coat was already lodged deep within it. "How could you do this to me!?" Grell shouted.

Sebastian held up his head, annoyed that his uniform was ruined again. He already to deal with it before when dealing Azzurro's goons, but this exceeds that. It was a pain to have a high quality uniform like that replaced. "I acquired that coat at the manner and I certainly didn't want to use it for something like this. But, you had already ruined it after all." Sebastian says as he walked towards Grell, who turns to find the demon with a cheerful smile of his face and cranking his knuckles. "So then, fisticuffs yes? That suits me quite well. I do have some expertise in that area."

Grell trembled with fear when Sebastian advanced towards him. Knowing what was going to happen and had no means to defend himself, Grell had told Sebastian to grant to him one simple request. "No, please! Just one request! Not...my face!"

......He went right for the face. Staring with a solid kick. Sebastian took great pleasure into finally beating the Grim Reaper into submission. Enjoying the feeling of a few selective bones breaking beneath his blows and aimed at every section of his body, but mostly his face. Sebastian landed one final punch and sent him flying off the roof. "I said no face! Please just stop!" Grell cried out as he fell. Ciel and Mei looked up and saw that Grell was about to fall on them, but Sebastian quickly jumped down and kicked him away, sending him skidding down the alley. His scythe landing beside Sebastian.

"I am sorry. I seem to have judged the distance, my lord." Sebastian said as he bowed his head. The two looked over the butler and Ciel simply said, "You look pretty awful." Mei stood up and went to Sebastian, asking him, "Are you alright?" Sebastian gave her a smile and told them, "He caused me a little bit of trouble actually."

Even with the horrid abuse inflicted upon him, Grell was still conscious and grumbled out. "I'll...show you some day."

"Oh dear. I suppose one can't kill a reaper with bare fists alone. Well then, I'll just try this. His very special reaper scythe." He said as he picked up the chainsaw and tore off his wool coat as he walked to the injured Grim Reaper with that same wicked smile. "There, that's unstuck. Now it should cut right through you."

"What? What are you doing!? No don't! " Grell had tried to crawl away and escape him when Sebastian came in, and stomping on his face. Preventing him from leaving and grinding his foot in. "Ahhh! Uhh!" Grell cried out in pain.

"I must say this is much nicer. I prefer kicking to being kicked." Sebastian said.

"That hurts! My beautiful face." Grell whined.

"Master, he's revolting but still a divine being. Are you prepared to accept whatever consequences come of killing him?" Sebastian asked Ciel. While he doesn't necessarily associate himself with Grim Reapers, at best he just avoids them all together, but Sebastian is aware of the dire consequences when it comes to killing one.

"Sebastian, do you need me to repeat my order?" Ciel asked him.

"No sir." He smiled, of course, he should've expected as much from his young lord. Sebastian started up the engine of Grell's death scythe as the reaper screams in fright. "We finally found something you're good at, screaming. Very well done. And as a reward I shall kill you with this cherished little toy of yours." Sebastian says as he lifted the chainsaw over his head. Mei felt chills run down her spin when she saw the most sadistic look on Sebastian's face.

"No, please stop! Don't kill me!" Grell begged him.

"So sorry."

"I can tell you who killed the kid's parents!" He shouted. That had caught Ciel's attention almost immediately. He knew?! This Reaper knows who murdered his family? Sebastian brings down the chainsaw and was about to kill him with his own weapon right there and then. However, before he can, a pruner, a type of gardening tool, with a monotonous colour had appeared out of nowhere and stopped him from doing so. It was two-toned, with the front half being silver and the back half being black. The others looked to where the pruner came from and found an unknown man standing at the top of the rooftop's chimney holding a very large book.

He was a tall man with short, neatly-combed dark brown hair and yellow-green eyes, just like Grell's. He wears rectangle-shaped glasses, which have four decorative lines on each arm of the frames. He is dressed in a dark suit, tie, black gloves, and dress shoes. "I apologise for interrupting." He said as he retracted his tool to its normal length. "Let me introduce myself, I am William T. Spears, an administrator at the Grim Reaper staffing association. I've come to retrieve that Reaper there."

"William! Oh William!" Grell said in a swoon tone when he saw who had come to "rescue" him. William jumped off the building as Grell crawled to reach to him. Smiling as he stared at his handsome fellow Reaper come down. "Did you come to save me-?" Grell was cut off as William landed of his head and smashed his, already bruised, face into the ground. It was evident that this new Reaper didn't care too much for Grell. William opened the large book, read through it and proceeded to speak of Grell's crimes.

"Attention, Reaper Grell Sutcliff. You have violated several regulations. First, you killed people not on the to-die list. Second, you used a death scythe that had been modified without authorization. And finally, you offered someone strictly classified information regarding the identity of his relatives murderer." When William told him of that last piece of information, he lifted his heel before slamming it back down his head. "Ahh!"

The book then vanishes from his hand and William jumps off of Grell and bows his head to Sebastian. "I apologise for all the trouble this retch has caused. Here, please accept my card." He says as he offered his card to him via his pruner. Sebastian takes it with a blank expression. "Honestly, I never thought I'd see the day when I had to bow my head to demon scum like you. This is a disgrace to all Grim Reapers." William says with disgust in his tone.

Sebastian took no offence to this as he gave a rather smug smile as he tossed the card away. "Then perhaps you should keep a better eye on your minions. So they don't trouble us. Humans are so easily tempted. They will do anything when in the grip of utter despair. They will grasp at any thread that promises to save them from unhappiness, though matter the consequences; you should know that." He tells William.

"That's a charming bit of hypocrisy, you demons capitalise on that quality more often than we do." William commented.

"That I cannot deny." Sebastian says

William turns to look at Ciel and saw the mark in his right eye. Hmm, so that's his new master, huh? Well, at least this demon is on leash in comparison to other demons. "Right now, you seem to be a tamed dog. That makes you far less dangerous than the rabid mongrels running around free." William's eye slightly rises when Mei placed herself in front of Ciel, shielding him from the Reaper's view. For some reason, William thought that she looked familiar.

William that grabbed Grell's hair and dragged him off. "Now, come with me Grell. We're leaving. "We're already short handed and here you've gone and landed me with even more overtime. The board is not going to be pleased." Sebastian watched them walk away for a moment before deciding to return Grell's death scythe, by throwing it at William's head. He had seen that coming and caught the chainsaw's blade between his fingers.

"I assume you'll want that, yes?" Sebastian said with a cheerful smile, tilting his head a little to the side.

"Yes, thank you." William said as he let go of the chainsaw and having it land on Grell's stomach. "Ohh!" He grunted. "Now if you'll please excuse us." And with that, the two Reapers had disappeared into the darkness. With them gone, Sebastian let out a sigh as he returned back to his master. "Hm. I'm sorry my lord. I allowed half of Jack The Ripper to escape." He said.

"It's alright. It's...done." Ciel said. His tone was soft and quiet. He sounded exhausted, Mei thought to herself. She wasn't surprised. Sebastian kneeled beside his and felt his cheek. "You're chilled to the bone master. Let's hurry back to the house now. I'll make some hot tea to warm you up." He said.

"That's a good idea.... Uh." Ciel wobbles when he stands and was about to fall. "Sir!" Both Mei Sebastian attempted to steady him, but Ciel slaps them away, sending them glares. He then says out, "No, stay back. I can stand on my own. I'm fine, just a little tired. That's all." He turns to Mei and firmly tells her. "Once we return to the house... You have a lot to explain yourself."

 

 

Chapter Text

The walk back to the household was unnerving at best. Mei wasn't sure how Ciel wanted to her say about what happened tonight. Normally she hated being questioned...but she'll make a special exception for him. She thought that it would be best if he knew. They sat down in the lounge and Sebastian prepared a warm tea for the both of them. Mei waited patiently for Ciel to speak.

When she reached for her tea cup, Ciel suddenly asked her, "Why did you go and put yourself in danger like that? Even if we weren't dealing with Grim Reapers, we were after a serial killer. So why risk it?" Mei looked up at him and tried to think of an answer. She couldn't lie to him. Realistically, she was terrible at lying. Mei took a sip of her tea before she answered him. "I...wanted to try and keep you from seeing that." She said.

"Seeing what?" Ciel asked her curiously. "Madam Red's death. I didn't want you to see it." Mei said it so simply. This sparked Ciel's and Sebastian's curiosity. From the way, she said that...it sounded like she knew Madam Red was going to die this night. But that can't possibly be the case. No one can foresee someone's death so perfectly. "Ms. Misaki, don't lie to me. You say as though you were well aware of Madam Red's fate before it even happened." Ciel tells her.

But then he began to think. No one could do that. No one human at least. Mei shook her head. "I'm not very good at lying. I've known it for a short while, but I couldn't tell you." She said. The looks on Ciel's tell her that he was yet to be convinced. She turned to Sebastian, but he had an unreadable expression. Mei thought he was closely analysing her to make sure she wasn't lying. So she opted for the next choice of action. Her eyepatch.

Mei took a moment to breath before asking Ciel, "Shall I show you?" This question surprised him. Show him what? Mei reached up to touch her eyepatch. "Shall I show you what's under this eyepatch, right here?" Ciel narrowed his eye. What did her eyepatch had to do with anything? Ciel wanted straight answers from her, but if this was how she wanted to play things, then he'll go along with it. Ciel gave her a nod, indicating that he has given her permission to remove her eyepatch.

Mei hadn't shown what's beneath it in a long time. She hardly ever takes it off, except when she bathes and goes to sleep of course. But not when she's around people. Only a small handful has ever seen it. And only four of them she had decided to trust. So...now, she was going to trust them. She was sure that they wouldn't tell anyone...she hoped. Mei closed her eye as she took off her eyepatch. She placed it on her lap and slowly raised her head...opening her eyes.

Ciel's eye widened slightly and even Sebastian looked a little surprised. Mei's eyes were mismatched. But that wasn't what caught their attention. Her left eye is prosthetic; A beautiful emerald colour. Mei gave them a pitiful smile and said, "My left eye is a doll's eye. But you can tell that. It can see things that should remain unseen, so I usually keep it covered."

This peaked at Ciel's interest. "What kind of things?" Mei didn't answer him as she turned to face Sebastian. Now that she was looking more closely, the colour on him was more vibrant and clear to her now. So, she wasn't seeing things. This colour, along with how he fought that Grim Reaper and what he called him.... Mei turned her attention to Ciel and asked him, "Mr. Michaelis. He's...not human, is he?"

Ciel and Sebastian looked at each other for a moment before the young Earl gave a sigh. She had already heard and seen everything, so there was no point in hiding anything now. Before Ciel could say anything, Mei put her eyepatch back on and said, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I think I've always known that, but I couldn't be sure."

"You seemed to be rather calm about all this." Sebastian said to her. Mei gave yet another pitiful smile and said, "I guess it's because I have always been surrounded by things like this... So, it's almost normal for me." Mei gave Ciel and Sebastian a small bow before excusing herself to her room. Before she left, she then says to them, "I'm still not sure what it is that's going on...but I won't tell anyone about it. I'll keep it a secret and you can keep mine." And with that, Mei went on to her bedroom. Leaving the Earl and his demon alone.

Sebastian turned to his master and said, "Young Master. Lady Misaki doesn't appear to be the deceitful type, a rarity amongst humans. I believe that we can put our trust in her." Ciel gave a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. "What good are petty words? Neither of us have any proof that she won't tell anyone. Why wouldn't she? Humans lie like it's second nature...myself included, of course."

Sebastian narrowed his eyes at him. "And what if she does speak? Would you want her killed too?" He was glad he had his hands folded behind him. He didn't want Ciel to noticed how tightly he was clenching them. Now, he would gladly follow any order Ciel would give him...but...if his order was to kill Mei... For some reason, he was feeling angry at the thought of actually harming her.

Ciel picked up his tea and stared at it for a moment. "One week. I shall grant her one week to stay quiet. If she's able to make it through without letting it slip, then I guess we can trust her. If not then..." He trailed off.

"Then?" Sebastian urged.

Ciel drank the rest of his tea and stood up. "I'm going to sleep. I'm too tired to deal with this right now."

Sebastian closed his eyes and simply said, "Yes sir."

The next day, a bell tolls in a chapel where a small group of people dressed in black and two horse carriages stood outside. Three children were running by it when two of the younger children stopped and looked over at the chapel. "Wait brother!" The little girl called out the older boy and she and her second brother stared at the monochrome group. "Hey look, the church is really crowded today." The young boy said. "I wonder why." The little girl said as she looked up at her eldest brother. The older boy looked at the church with unsure expression and simply said, "Don't know."

This didn't satisfy the two younger children as they both turned to their older brother and the young boy asked, "But you're older than us, doesn't that mean you should know?" The little girl pointed at the older brother and said, "You're stupid." Of course, this upsets the boy and he tries to defend himself to his younger siblings. "Ah! I'm still only twelve, it's not like I'm suppose to know everything yet!" He shouts.

"You have a point." A voice says to them. The three children turns around and see Undertaker leaning on the other side of the fence with a shovel beside him. "At only twelve it would be a shame if you did understand what's happening." He tells the children as he turns to give them a smile. "Let me explain it: today is a special noble woman's big day." The older brother was getting a little creeped out by the Undertaker and takes a few steps back while placing himself in front of his siblings. His younger sister wasn't at all terrified by him as she steps up to ask, "What do you mean mister?" Her brother quickly covers her mouth.

Undertaker kept the smile on his lips as he then says, "Well, it's the ultimate ceremony of any persons life. The funeral."

Inside the church, the funeral has gone underway. Everyone stood in silence and in mourning as the priest, standing beside the open coffin, prays for Madam Red as she ascends to heaven above. "She has departed from us now. As all mankind must leave Earth, as someday we all must. Her flesh will turn to ashes, but her spirit will remain with the lord." Elizabeth stands in front of her coffin, crying silently as she was to say goodbye to the aunt that had taught her how to behave like a proper lady and had filled her life with laughter. "Goodbye aunty An." Elizabeth says softly.

"Let god watch over her eternal soul and keep her safe..." The priest was cut off when the doors of the chapel open to reveal Ciel Phantomhive, who arrived late, holding a red dress. He had a red rose on his front coat pocket. By his side, Mei stood holding a gorgeous bouquet of red carnations and a single white rose. Sebastian stood by the door. "You're here!" Elizabeth called out in a quiet joy. She had believed that he wouldn't be coming. Ciel and Mei walked down the aisle as people began to whisper why Ciel would bring a red dress with him. "Is that the Phantomhive boy?"

"With a scarlet dress?"

"How inappropriate."

"Not so, think of how she loved the colour red."

When Ciel reached the coffin, he went and sat on the corner. The scarlet dress was lifted up  to drape over her from the waist down. Ciel gazes down at his aunt with a small smile and says, "White flowers and plain dresses didn't suit you in life and they don't now." Ciel took the rose off his coat as places neatly on her hair. "You belong in red. The colour of passion, the colour of spider lilies. Farewell aunt An." He says as he gently laid his forehead against hers. As Elizabeth and Mei looked on, the whole chapel suddenly began to fill with rose red flower petals that were drifting through. Everyone looked outside and saw that it was due to the courtesy of a hearse carriage outside.

Ciel's mind began to reminisce about good times he had playing with Angelina and his parents when he was a child. His most vivid memory was them playing London Bridge. His mother and Angelina would hold their arms up as is they were the bridge while his father watched with amusement. Elizabeth held his hand as they ran through. But every time, they would dropped their arms around Ciel and every time he would be in Angelina's arms. Hugging and feeling the warmth and love she had for him. Laughing the days away. It was sad to say goodbye to a wonderful surrogate mother like her. He honestly wanted the chance to play chess with her again. If they did, he would allow her a win. He stood up from the coffin's edge and looked at her sleeping face. "Rest peacefully. Madam Red." He said, solemnly.

When he stepped down, Mei walked up and places the bouquet on her hands. She went to her knees and gave a prayer for her. She knew that they were never together for very long, but Mei did know that Madam Red truly loved her family more than anything and felt sadden from the pain she had to go through alone. So now, the least she could do was pray that God would forgive her and finally allow to find happiness. 'I'm glad we had a chance to meet, Ms. Angelina. I will keep my promise.'

While at Phantomhive Manor, the servants sat together in silence as they could hear the bells ringing in the distance from the Manor. They began to comment on how sad it was now that Angelina was gone. "The funeral must be going on right now." Mey-Rin said to the others. "Madam Red won't be coming to visit anymore. It'll be so quiet here." Finnian says as looked down at the stones steps.

Baldroy turns to his friends and gives a voice of confidence and motivation. "Everyone, we need to get it together. A time like this is when the young master needs us the most, you know." Finnian and Mey-Rin turned to the American veteran with wide smiles. They were the servants of Phantomhive, they should be there, bright and happy, to give their emotional support for their young master. "Yes, you're right." Mey-Rin said. "You bet." Finnian said in agreement. Tanaka watches the three in slight amusement and sips his tea as he dryly laughs, "Ho ho ho." He sets his tea down and looks up into the sky. Momentarily being in his real, adult form. "So you've left us my lady. You'll be with your loved ones again now. May you find peace."

Elsewhere, a small team from Scotland Yard does a small sweep from the scene from the fight between Grell and Sebastian and the home belonging to "Jack the Ripper's" final victim. Abberline and his team were checking every corner of the scene, and what caught his attention was a small hole on the ground. What was left behind was several strands of dark-red hair. How odd... Abberline checks them over with a magnifying glass just as Sir Randal comes and sees him doing his investigation. "What are you still doing here? The investigation is over." He tells the young man.

Abberline took noticed of him and stood up to talk. "Are we sure? How can we be certain? The circumstances are all so shadowy I feel it's out duty to investigate further." Abberline says to the commissioner. Before he could any more ideas into his head, Sir Randal quickly shuts him down. "Our country has a long and rich history, and with it come a certain number of secrets. Secrets from which I would advise you to stay away. It has been decided boy, this case is part of the underworld and it will be solved in the underworld."

"Decided? But by whom?" Abberline asked his superior as he walked up to him. Who in the right mind would decide when and if a case is solved/handled with without any of them knowing about it first? Sir Randal adjusted his hat and turned to leave. Leaving Abberline these parting words. "If you want to know, get yourself promoted but I guaranty you'll regret finding out. Some rocks are better left unturned. Trust me on this Abberline." The man said nothing else as he gritted his teeth in anger and frustration.

"You're not going to report the true identity of Jack the Ripper to the queen?" Lau questions, back at the funeral with the others. "I don't think it's necessary. She simply instructed me to stop the incidences and now I have seen to that." Ciel answers him. As long as he had put a stop to the killings, he was sure that the Queen would find that satisfyingly enough. Lau's smile never faltered from his lips and said, "Your world is full of quicksand and you keep letting yourself sink further and further in. But even in you reach the point of no return, you'll still never call out for help, no none of us will hear Lord Phantomhive's pathetic screams. The queen's dog is too proud for that. Which makes you a formidable opponent, I'll have to be careful around you."

"Now that you mention it, odium dens are beginning to become a problem. If you want to get out, now's the time." Ciel warns the Chinese nobleman. "If I did that I'd have to think of another business to run and that sounds like more trouble than it's worth." Lau tells him as the young Earl puts on his top hat. "Well, you could always go back to your home country." Ciel says a matter-of-factly. He said it like it was the most obvious solution for Lau, but then again, it was the most effective. 

"Oh but I haven't exhausted my interest in this country yet. Or for that matter, in you my lord." Lau said as he placed a hand on his shoulder and directly said that last part to him. Lau turned to glance at Mei and he gave her a smile. He turned to leave but not before saying, "I fully expect more interesting challenges from you. I hope to see more of you, Ms. Misaki." Mei said nothing but she gave a small to him as he left. Ciel turned around and began walking away as well. "We have somewhere to go, come." He tells the two.

The three walked out to the cemetery and stopped before a grave with Undertaker waiting for them holding a bouquet of lilies. This grave was little..."special". It was the grave of Jack the Ripper's final victim, Mary Jane Kelly. "This is her?" Sebastian asked the funeral director. "Yes, indeed it is. My last customer from Jack the Ripper." Undertaker answered him with that amused smile on his face.

"Apparently she was an immigrant. She had no family in the country to claim her body." Ciel says as he stares at the grave. Undertaker's smile widen as he walked towards Ciel and poked his cheek his long nail. "So a kind-hearted earl here hired me to pretty her up. Even had his gravestone erected. A truly noble act on his part eh?" Undertaker said. Mei looked at Ciel with a surprised eye. "You did this for her?" She asked.

While Undertaker, and now Mei, thought it was noble and kind of him to do this for a lonely woman, Ciel thought otherwise and disagreed with that notion. "This isn't noble at all. The noble thing to do would have been to save her. And I could have, if I put her life first. But no, I had to catch them. Apprehending Jack the ripper was more important. I knew they intended to kill her. I knew, and I let her die. Along with my aunt." He said with a sad, monotone-like voice. Mei looked his way, feeling sympathy for him. 

She felt guilty throughout the entire night before and was feeling guilt now. She felt responsible for Angelina's death. Perhaps if she had told either Ciel or Sebastian, then maybe she would still be alive. "You regret what you did my lord?" Undertaker asked him. Ciel immediately answered. "No I don't. Jack the Ripper is gone forever and I've done exactly as her majesty asked of me."

"Victoria eh? I don't much like her. She just sits back and watched while you do all her dirty work for her. Doesn't seem fair to me." Undertaker stated. Honestly, what kind of person would just sit and relax, do whatever they want while others are compelled to do their own dirty work and stained their hands with blood? Undertaker dislikes her greatly. Ciel rises his family's ring and tells Undertaker, "That's what the Phantomhive's do, it's out duty. Passed down through generations along with this ring."

"That ring reminds me of a collar a master puts on a dog. You are forever tied to the queen by the leash of duty." Undertaker says, openly mocking Ciel's sense of duty to both his family and Queen Victoria. "I chose this life, stop!" Ciel shouts as Undertaker tries to grab him. He eventually takes hold of his tie and pulls him closer. "Lord Phantomhive, you should be wary of the path which duty will take you, that collar may choke you yet." Ciel struggled to get him to let go, and he did. But the struggle caused him to fall back. Sebastian quickly caught him, so he prevented him falling. Mei ran past Undertaker and looked Ciel to see if he was alright.

"We wouldn't want that now would we?" Undertaker asks as he places the bouquet in Ciel's arms. He then picked up his shovel and walks off to who knows where. "Do come by if you should need my assistance again. You, that hilarious butler of yours, and that little doll are always welcome. Hehehehehe." He laughed as he walked away. Mei watched Undertaker leave before turning her attention the Mary's grave. She gently placed the rose on the dirt and sat on her knees to pray for her. Ciel walked up placed the lilies on the grave as well, but he didn't disturb Mei. He found it a little sweet that she would pray for a woman none of them knew about.

Sebastian walked up to Ciel and placed his cloak over his shoulders. "It was noble." He said to the young boy. Ciel turns his head to Sebastian and again says, "Don't make me repeat myself. What I did wasn't noble." Mei finished her prayer and stood up. She didn't turn around to face Ciel but she did ask, "If that's the case, then why would you go through all this trouble to make a grave for her. You didn't have to do that, did you?" Ciel wanted to answer her but he could find the words.

"Lady Misaki and I think it was. But if you think not," Sebastian said as he leaned in close to Ciel. He gave a rather crow-like smile. "Then maybe it was weakness." He said. Ciel swiftly turned around to face and nearly shouted out, "What!?"

"Tell me, why didn't you kill her?" Sebastian asked him, making Ciel's eye widened in shock. Mei also turned around to hear what Sebastian had to say. The demon's smile held up as he continued on. "Your own aunt was threatening you. It seemed as if she was going to take your life. You could have stopped her. You could've defended yourself if you wanted to. But you wavered. Even then, you refused to draw your gun. Why master? Were you afraid of killing Madam Red, with your own hands? Would it have been easier for you if she was a stranger instead of someone who was your own flesh and blood?" He questioned.

To Mei, that would've made a lot more sense if he hesitated. Not that she could possibly blame him for that. If Madam Red was a complete stranger out to kill him, then Ciel would’ve most likely shot her without a second thought. But she wasn't. She was someone who he had loved and respect and vice versa. There was no way he could've killed her. 'He loved her till the very moment she died. After all, he also stopped Mr. Michaelis from hurting her as well.' Mei thought. She looked behind them and saw that two crows sitting on top of a gravestone were watching them intently. Her attention was taken back when Ciel started speaking again.

"I held back because it was your job." He said as he turned back to the grave. "I knew that you would protect me even at the cost of your own life. That's why I didn't draw my gun on her. Our contract demands that you serve me and that you protect me with your very life until I achieve my goal. Until that time, I will not worry for my safety. I imagine you demons know nothing or principles or loyalty, but you do know about deals. And so because of the deal we have made, you'll protect me no matter the circumstance. And I wrong?" Ciel deflects back at him.

Sebastian tilted his head a little and raised an eyebrow at the young Earl. "Of course not, but you stopped me form killing her as well." He pointed out. "When she moved to kill me there was hesitation in her eyes. I didn't think she'd be able to do it, not to me, a kin. Her sister's son. One wrong move can cost you your life, just like chess. She hesitated and lost sight of her next move. That's all there is to it." Ciel explains as he turned around and walk right past Sebastian. "That's why I don't hesitate." The sheer power and ice from both his voice and soul shook Sebastian to the core as his red eyes widen for a brief moment.

Sebastian turns towards the retreating form of Ciel and spreads a smile. "Now that's what I expect to hear. Always skilfully manipulate your pieces. That's how you survive. Use me, and Madam Red. Any piece within your reach, even if the bodies of your pawns pile up at the foot of your throne. Because if the king falls, his game is over." He says and Ciel came to a stop. "I won't hesitate. I won't regret the moves I've made. Sebastian," The Earl of Phantomhive turned around to face his demonic butler and says, "You, you're the one person who can never betray me. And you can never leave my side. That's an order."

Sebastian place a hand over his heart and kneeled down before him. Still smiling. "Yes, my young lord." With that vow, Ciel proceed to walk away again, calling for Mei to not dawdle. Sebastian stands back up and sees that Mei was giving one last prayer for Mary before rejoining them. Sensing her sadness, Sebastian asks her, "Is something the matter Lady Misaki." Mei shook her head. "No, I'm fine. I'm just...a little worried about Lord phan... I mean, Ciel. I don't know if he's really going to be okay."

Sebastian gave a small smile to her. "You care about him don't you?" He asked. "A little. I do want to try to be friends with him, and I made a promise to Madam Red that I would watch over for him." Mei said as she turns to look at him. "I'm also a little worried for you Mr. Michaelis." This caught Sebastian by surprise. He was a demon. Far more stronger and powerful than any human. Mei seems to know that now...so why would she be worried for him. Sebastian gave a rather awkward chuckle and asked, "Now why would you worried about me?"

"It makes me feel a little better about Ciel because you're here to protect him. But what happened with Grell...to me, it seemed to me, that he had the capability to seriously hurt you. So, I'm worried for your own well-being. A friendship with Ciel is still in the works, but I do consider you to be a friend too. Just promise me that you won't do anything reckless." Mei tells him.

If Sebastian wasn't surprised by her, and wasn't interested, he was now. Mei Misaki. Such a unique human being. She didn't appear to be the deceitful type. Was so calm upon finding out about his true nature and the deal with Ciel and was actually considering him, a demon, as her friend. Sebastian suddenly felt something warm and beating when he continued to look at her as he took in her words. He gave a surprisingly kind smile and said, "In that case, call me by my first name."

'I will be there, anywhere you wish me to follow. Even if your throne crumbles, your brilliant crown rusts, and a mountain of bodies piles at your feet, I will stay beside you. We will sit side by side atop your fallen pawns. Until the last bell tolls, I will be there.'

 

Chapter Text

"Holiday, holiday! We're going on a holiday! Holiday, holiday, we're going on a holiday!" The servants of Phantomhive sang as they all rode down a long stretch of road with nothing but mountains and grasslands as far as the eye can see. After the Madam Red's funeral, Ciel had received another message from the Queen. Mei didn't hear much, expect the servants told her that they're going to stay at the Queen's resort.

It sounded fun, but Mei held some suspicion that wasn't the case. After all, even if that was true the weather was slowly getting cold. So now, here they were. Riding in separate, open-air carriages to this...resort. Mei looked up from her book and glanced at the servants. At least they're happy about it. "This is so exciting, I can't believe it!" Finnian says with a cheerful smile.

"Spectacular! He's actually bringing us! We get to go on holiday at the queens own resort!" Mey-Rin said with so much enthusiasm as she cupped her cheeks. "It looks like the young master can be quite generous when the spirit moves him aye?" Baldroy asked his two companions, who both nodded happily.

Sebastian couldn't help but smile at the servants and told Ciel, "Do you hear how happy they are? They're very grateful to you. Such a kind young master." He recognise that annoying, teasing tone in his voice and Ciel resisted to roll his eyes at him. "I couldn't leave them there alone, I might come home to find the manor in shambles."

"Indeed." Sebastian says. Shortly there after, they reached the entrance to the "resort" and saw the towns' name. Which was slightly ominous. It was a near worn out sign that read "Welcome to Houndsworth" with a raven perched up on it and spiked dog collar with an attached chain just hanging off of it. "It seems we've arrived at the village everyone." Sebastian tells everyone as they made a quick stop.  "Oh wow!" The three other servants jumped from their seats to see the village, only to be greeted by skulls on the ground and metal dog collars and various sharp weapons hanging from bare trees. The sight of it alone was enough for them to scream. "Ahhhhh!" Which they promptly did.

"Oh yes, I forgot to mention something: the resort that the queen is planning is yet to be constructed." Ciel informs them. 

"Yes master." They said, rather disappointedly and were now a bit fear stricken. "Ho ho." Tanaka dryly laughed. Now to understand why they're really here for, let's rewind time a bit and go back to where Ciel first received a later from the Queen. Sebastian was with him delivering him his daily sweets when Ciel told him about it. "A Holiday young master, in this season?" Sebastian asked in confusion. Wasn't the weather getting a little cold for it? Ciel took a sip of his tea before answering him. "Yes indeed. Tell me, have you ever heard of a past-time known as bearbaiting?"

"The notion does sound entertaining, but I'm afraid I've not heard of it. Indulge me sir?" Sebastian asked, smiling. "A bear is chained to a fence, it is then surrounded by vicious dogs which slowly bite and kill it." Ciel explains to him. Sebastian's smile widens as he says, "That sounds like something, only a human would dream up." Still, he only expected humans to come up with something as gruesome as that. Sometimes, he believed that humans can be more vicious than demons.

"It was banned back in 1835 when the cruelty to animals act was instated, however there was still a loophole. The attack dogs that they used were not banned, so a new game developed." Ciel tells Sebastian. The demon butler went into some thinking and thought of an ideal replacement name they have come up with now since they weren't using bears anymore. "They used dogs to attack dogs. Let's see, would that be dogbaiting?" He asked.

"There's a village in which it's quite popular, known as Houndsworth. It is long been known for raising fierce hunting dogs. But they take it further." Because they can't use bears anymore, they turned against the very animals they've raised and trained since puppyhood to bite and kill each other in some sort of sick, twisted game for their own amusement. Thus begins they went over to this village under the pretext that she's looking a place to built the resort. "It breaks her majesty's heart. So we'll secure the village's land for a royal estate. A simple pretext to end the atrocities."

"A village full of dogs?" Sebastian questions. Ciel looks up at his butler and asked, "Yes, why?" Sebastian gave a pitiful smile as he placed a hand on his heart. "Well, please forgive me master, This seems a rather insignificant task for one of your station to take on."

"Sebastian, you should know by now that I have my reasons. This is indeed a task fit for a Phantomhive."

Back in the present, the group continued on the path into town and they couldn't help but noticed by how, almost but not quite, empty the village was. Mei felt her left eye acting up and felt as though something heavy was placed on her shoulders. She dropped her book and almost fell over due to this. Ciel noticed this and managed to keep her steady before she fell. "Ms. Misaki, are you alright?" He asked. Sebastian quickly turned his head to see her just as Mei was sitting up right while placing a hand her eyepatch. "I'm fine. This place...I have a bad feeling about it. We should be careful." After she thank Ciel for his help, and reassuring him that she was fine, Mei picked up her book and resumed her reading. 

As they went down the road, Finnian gazed just up ahead and saw the silhouette of an old woman. He pointed to her and said, "Look, somebody actually lives here." When they were getting closer, Finnian noticed that she had pushing a baby carriage, and it looked like she got the wheel stuck. "Ah, Tanaka stop!" Once they were right beside the old woman, Tanaka stopped the carriage and Finnian jumped right off. He went to the old woman and told her, "Let me help you granny." He reached for the baby carriage, and at first glance, it looked to be a sweet gesture for him to help her. But knowing who Finnian is, Mey-Rin and Baldroy had become extremely concerned for the infant's safety.

"No you shouldn't do that Finny! If you aren't careful, you might hurt the baby!" Mey-Rin shouted him. "What did you say?" Finnian says as he nearly tosses the little carriage high into the air. Mey-Rin's words finally registered in his brain and quickly brings it down, however, he did so roughly that he broke off the shaded cover. "Uh, I'm so sorry!" He cried out. Mey-Rin and Baldroy looked down at the carriage to see if the baby was safe from sustaining any injuries or anything of the sort. "This is awful, is the baby okay?" Mey-Rin asked. 

She and Baldroy looked down at the carriage before letting a horrified scream. "Ahh!" Inside the carriage, there was no baby, instead there was just an animal skull on top of a blanket. The woman gave a rather disturbing, pitiful smile as she said, "There is no baby. There is no baby anymore. The child was eaten by he." The woman pushed the carriage and walked away all while mumbling, "The white dog is a good dog, the good dog good. The black dog is a bad dog, the bad dog bad. He'll heat your flesh..." She kept this up until she had completely vanished into the mist.

"Huh?" "Eatin?" "Wha?" The three servants went. Ciel turned to them and offer a bit more information to them. "That's why we're here. Apparently a lot of the villager's have been violently killed or gone missing. The village has shrunk to a third of its size in the last ten years. A part of my task is to find out why and put an end to the problem." Well that explains why the village was practically empty and so eerily quiet now does it?

Eventually, they all managed to arrive at the small town and the servants were pleased to find just how 'normal' it is compared to his worn out sign and creepy tree back at the entrance. There was even a large clear lake to go swimming later on. The village was right next door to the lake and just a few more miles up the road stands a large manor. "Oi, it's starting to look like a place worth staying!" Baldroy said. When they entered the village, they noticed that the people weren't the most sociable type as they either sent cold glances their way or just ignore them all together. It seemed that no one in this village appeared friendly. Well...except for one it would seem.

They passed by a house to where they saw a young man, with auburn hair and eyes, playing with his dog. His voice catches Mei's attention as she glances over to him. "Sit, lie down, who's a good boy, my good boy!" He laughed as his dog jumped into his arms for a hug. He seems to greatly loves dogs and, from the looks of it, trains multiple of them. 

Mei's cheek turned pale pink when she sees the two playing. It reminded her of her 'pet-sitting' days with Naomi and the others back in Japan. ....Now that she was thinking about it, Mei begins to wonder if they're still going out to that same building to check up on them...and if Naomi had managed to find good homes for of them like she wanted. Mey-Rin was blushing too, but for a completely different reason. "Oh my! I'd let him pet me, yes I would, ahh!" She gushed.

Sebastian took a quick glance at the young man and once they were out of earshot, begins to say, "He manipulates the creature with rewards and punishments. He commands the mutts obedience but, the dog isn't blameless either. It fawns on its human and welcomes the chain around its neck. I can't understand it." Ciel took noticed of the tone in his voice and wonders if he meant something far more than he was letting on. He was willing to bet he was taking about the relationship between the two of them. "If you're trying to get at something deeper, then just say it." He tells the demonic butler.

"No, it's nothing of import my lord. Simply that, while I love cats, I'm not especially fond of dogs." Sebastian tells him. He then turns the young Earl with a smile and states, "To be completely frank, I hate them." Ciel stares at Sebastian for a moment before letting out a "Woof!" with a cheeky grin. Chuckling at the small victory of seeing Sebastian's eyebrow twitched, Ciel turns to Mei and asks her, "Which do you prefer Ms. Misaki? Dogs or cats?"

His question brought Mei out of her thoughts and she almost didn't hear his question. Mei thought about it and her mind went back to Japan. She turned to Ciel and simply tells him, "I really can't chose between them. I guess...I like both." Ciel gave her a nod in acknowledgment while Sebastian just glances at her. They reached a split lane, and went down the left path up towards the home of the man Ciel had came here to discuss with. Henry Barrymore. They eventually reached the Barrymore Castle and they are greeted by the Castle's maid. She bowed at the waist and asked, "I presume, this is the Earl of Phantomhive?"

"Yes." Sebastian tells her. She was a tall, slender young and beautiful woman. She had neck-length, slightly wavy, ice-blue hair, large amethyst eyes, and a pale complexion. She wore a lavender dress with a white apron and maid cap. "Welcome to Barrymore castle. My master awaits your arrival." She gave a kind smile, and in return, Sebastian gave her an unreadable expression. The servants, and Finnian in particular, however, seem enamoured by her beauty. "Heey." Baldroy said. "She's lovely, yes she is!" Mey-Rin said. Finnian was left completely speechless by her flawless face.

As the servants handled the luggage, the maid guided Ciel, Sebastian and Mei inside the castle to speak with Mr. Barrymore. Though, with how cold and empty the castle was, it wasn't exactly the most welcoming home. "This way." The maid tells them as she opens the door to the castle's study. Mei looked up and nearly jumped back when she saw that the walls were decorated with severed, stuff heads of animals. Ranging from bears, deers, elks, and boars... Mei felt sick just from looking at them. She briefly thought about Naomi giving this man a black eye for their sakes.

"AHH!" The maid's scream brought her back to reality and Mei turned to find a large man with black hair, thick sideburns, and dark brown eyes, wearing a plain suit with a tie, beating the poor maid with a whip. "Who the hell is this Chihuahua!? I told you to bring me the queen's guard dog when he arrived!" Barrymore shouted at her as he continued to beat the young woman. If the situation wasn't as serious as it was right now, Mei would have probably let out a giggle. By 'Chihuahua', Mr. Barrymore was obviously referring to Ciel. "Chihuahua?" Sebastian asked while Ciel looked mortified by the insult. Must be because being called that was also due to his short stature.

"Can't you do! Anything?!" Mr. Barrymore shouts at her, laying down the whip much more force now. Mei couldn't stand to listen to the poor woman's screams of pain and cries, so she ran up to her aid. Mei wrapped her arms around her and used her body as a shield to protect her. Seeing her show up, presumably out of nowhere, angered Mr. Barrymore even more and yelled, "You little bitch! Where the hell did you come from?! Get out of my way!" Hearing that made Sebastian and Ciel's blood boil. How dare he speak to Mei in such a manner? He raised his hand and was about to hit Mei with his whip when Ciel quickly said, "Move Sebastian." Mr. Barrymore's behaviour disgusted him.

In a blink of an eye, Sebastian appeared behind Mr. Barrymore and held a tight grip on his wrist. He was holding it so tightly, Sebastian was tempted if it was acceptable to break it. "Uh! What are you doing you filthy Doberman?! Somebody should train you better. Let me go right now!" Mr. Barrymore demanded.

"He's acting on my orders." Ciel tells him as he took a seat at the table. Mr. Barrymore finally acknowledged his presence and roughly asked him, "Who are you?" Ciel gave the large man a smirk, one mixed with mischief and spite. "From the sound of it, you've already received the letter I've sent. My name is Ciel, the Earl of Phantomhive."

Seeing that he was going to hurt her anymore, Mei carefully helped the maid get back on her feet and moved her away from her abusive master. Sebastian waited till Mei was out of his reach before letting go of Mr. Barrymore. The man held his sore wrist and he glared at the blue-eyed boy. "Do you mean to tell me a toy Poodle like you is the Queen's emissary?"

Ciel continued to hold up his smirk as he says, "You don't like small breeds Lord Henry? Now that's hardly fair." With the situation now handled more or less, Ciel and Mr. Barrymore sat down to tea as the young Earl explain his purpose for being here and handed him some papers. Mei didn't want to be in the way of their talk, so she decided on just standing next to Sebastian and the maid. She was curious of finding the library, but she really didn't want to walk down those halls alone. 

The maid tried to serve the gentleman, and Mr. Barrymore, tea but with her hands so heavily injured, she could barely hold onto the tea set without fidgeting. Sebastian took notice of this and whispered to her, "Please miss, allow me." The maid looked a bit hesitant, but she agreed and allowed him to take over. Mei looked at her hands and reached into her coat pocket. "Miss?" She asked. The maid turned to her direction. She and Mei walked off to the side and, without saying a word, Mei took out small, pocket-sized first aid kit and began to treat her wounded hands.

Sebastian glanced over at Mei before returning to his task. He served the tea and Mr. Barrymore tossed the papers on the table and firmly tells Ciel. "There's nothing to discuss. Under no circumstances, will I sell Barrymore castle to anybody."

"Why is that?" Ciel asks him.

Mr. Barrymore gave the boy a serious stare and looked at him straight in the eye. "Because of the curse." Mr. Barrymore says. As if that alone was more than a suitable answer. However, this caught Ciel's interest and goes in to get more information out of him. "Oh, what curse?" Ciel asked.

"This village and its dogs have existed for centuries. Anyone who interferes with us will be cursed, in a most horrible way. Even the queen cannot lift the curse! Your mission is pointless. Anyone who acts against the wishes of the Barrymore family is destined to meet and unimaginable, terrible end!" Mr. Barrymore explained to him. He had laid down this explaining of the curse that was haunting this village and it send most men who come to his castle packing and never return. He expected Ciel to do the same. But he gave a calm smile and said, "My, how interesting."

"What!?" Mr. Barrymore was taken aback by his response. "You've peaked my curiosity. I'd like to see this dreadful curse of yours Lord Henry." It was settled rather quickly. Until Ciel sees this 'curse' first hand, he won't be going anywhere. This realisation made Mr. Barrymore's blood boil as he sent hateful daggers at the young Earl.

Sometime later, the servants finished bringing the luggage inside the castle and met up with the maid, whom they learned was named Angela Blanc, in the kitchen and began talking. They were all greatly amazed by her. Apparently, all the work that goes into making sure the estate looks its best is all done by her alone. "Really, you're the only maid for this entire estate?" Baldroy asks her.

"That's amazing! I don't know how you get everything done Angela!" Mey-Rin says with awe. She wondered if she could learn a few tips from her to help make her be a better, more careful, maid for Phantomhive. Angela shook her head and gave a humble smile. "It's nothing that impressive, I promise you. I'm a mess most of the time." She tells them rather modestly.

"Just let us know if there's something we can help you with. After all, we servant's gotta stick together right? Finny, am I right?" Baldroy says as he turns to his friend, whom the latter was lovingly gazing at Angela. Finnian looks at Baldroy with a smile and nodded his head. "Mhm, of course."

"How kind of you to offer your help. Thank you all." Angel says as she breath a relieved sigh. Her amethyst eyes landed on her freshly bandaged hands and thought about the young girl who tried to protect her. Angel turned to the others and asked, "The young girl who's with all of you... the one with the eyepatch covering her left eye? Would she perhaps be the Earl's nurse or someone of that nature?"

"Oh no, she's not a servant. Her name's Mei Misaki and she's our master's honoured residential guest." Baldroy told her. "Residential guest?" Angela asked in confusion. Mey-Rin smiled and explained to her. "Her mother is a famous doll maker and the young master offered her a position in his company, and her mother sent in a letter to ask permission from the young master for her daughter to live with him."

"Ah, I see..."

"Lady Misaki is really a nice person. She may act like emotionless, but she does have a big heart towards others. Especially towards servants like us." Finnian says. His two friends nodding in agreement. Angela gazed down at her bandaged hands and whispered to herself, "Mei Misaki..." Her eye turned into slits before the sound of a bell snapped her out from her thoughts and looked up and saw that Mr. Barrymore was calling her. Angela got up and excused herself from the others. "I have to go right away, my master is calling. Please excuse me." She said before she left.

Night had fallen over the village of Houndsworth and most were now turning in for the night expect for a select few. Mei had already washed up and prepared for bed, but she couldn't sleep. She sat beside the fireplace with her sketch pad, thinking it would tire her out. It didn't. She's getting that haunting feeling again. It was similar when she first laid on the Phantomhive estate, but it felt much more greater. Ciel had mentioned that a lot of violent deaths have been happening around, so that might have something to do with it.

She was thinking of removing her eyepatch and taking a look outside...but thought against it. She didn't want to see something that'll only end in heartache. Just like always. A knock at her door made her look up and said, "Yes? Come in." The door opened up to reveal Sebastian. He had a look of concern on his face when he walked in. Mei put down her sketch pad and got up to greet him. "Hello, Mr. Micha..." She paused before she quickly corrected herself. "I mean, S...Sebastian. Is there something wrong?"

Sebastian walked till he was standing directly in front of her. Mei backed away just a bit when she looked into his red eyes. They were serious and stern, but she also saw worry in them. "That's twice." Sebastian says. Mei blinked in confusion. What? Twice..? What was he talking about? "Huh?" She went. "That's the second time you've put yourself in harm's way so willingly. Why?" Sebastian asks as he clenched his fists. "Why would you allow yourself to become a shield for others? Especially to one you barely know?" He, of course, was referring to Angela.

Mei now understood where he was getting at. He was worried about her. She looked down at the carpet floor and said, "I guess I did act a little reckless...but I...I guess it's because I wanted to know if I'm still capable of protecting someone." Hearing that made Sebastian curious. Honestly now, Mei wasn't like most humans he's ever encountered in his existence. "Still capable?" Sebastian asked. Mei nodded and went to sit down on her bed.

Sebastian sat down beside her as she began to explain. "When I was still living in Japan, there was one person who I cared about most in the world. She was... ...She was my cousin. We used to be together all the time. But then...one day, I saw something with my eye that I wished I hadn’t. I tried to protect her...but..." Mei trailed off. Another reason she wanted to know was because her three friends would always protect her from the bullies from school while she couldn't stand up against them.

"Oh...I understand. If what you saw was the same thing you saw on Madam Red, then you tried to save her from death." Sebastian says. He felt that he understood her a bit better now. It explains why she was so willingly to throw herself into danger. If she's able to protect someone, then she couldn't care what happens to her.

His eyes soften as he looked at her. Wait... Seeing things that should remain unseen. Trying to save her cousin from death... Sebastian's eyes slightly widened and asked, "Your eye. Can you foresee someone's death?" Mei tensed up before slowly nodding her head. "Yes." She said. Mei removes her eyepatch and stares at Sebastian. "This doll's eye...I can see the colour of death with it. Colour of things close to death." She could remember the day she first saw that colour. She was still so little when she attended a funeral of a relative, and while offering flowers to him, she was left speechless. The colour was death was so vivid and clear.

"What type of colour is it?" Sebastian asked her. Mei wordlessly shook her head. "It's a colour I've never seen with my right eye. It doesn't belong in colours like red and blue, it's unique. It's clearest in dead people and faint in those with serious illness or injuries. So...in some ways, I can tell when people are about to die. I can't understand how I see these things." Mei broke her gaze and then said, "But...after meeting you and Grell, my eye has begun to see things differently now." Then Mei let out a small squeak. Without any warning, Sebastian pushed Mei down to the bed, with him hovering over her. Where did this come from?

"To see things that should remain unseen. What colour do you see on me?" Sebastian calmly asked her. Mei stared at him with wide eyes but slowly went back to a blank expression. She took a good look at him and said, "I can not truly explain it. It's like the colour of death, but it's very different."

"Is it because, I am a demon?" He asked. "It might be." Mei says to him. Sebastian gave a soft chuckle and got off of her. Standing back in full height, he fixed himself properly and gave a bow to Mei. "I apologised for my behaviour, Lady Misaki. If I had frightened you, then I offer a thousand apologies." Mei shook her head. "No, it's alright." She then gave a small smile. "This might sound strange...but I trust you, Sebastian. I know you didn't mean to. You’re a good friend."

Sebastian gave a smile and excused himself. "Have a pleasant sleep, my lady." He said to her before leaving. Mei held up her smile and closed her eyes. "I trust him and consider him a friend... For a demon, he's surprisingly very kind. In his own way, I guess."

 

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, in Mr. Barrymore's room, Angela was sitting in a chair with an impassive, unimpressed look on her face while her "master" was kneeling on the ground before her. Rubbing her legs with his hands and cheek. Earlier today, Mr. Barrymore was abusive and cruel to Angela and she was so scared and submissive towards him...but now it looked like their personalities did a complete 180. "Angela, Angela. The queen wants to take my village from me. You understand what I have to do don't you? I must protect it, I must protect the village. Angela, my dear Angela. My sweet, darling angel." Mr. Barrymore says.

"Ahh! I shouldn't have seen! I Shouldn't have seen it at all!" Mey-Rin quietly whispers to herself. She accidentally witnesses this and she jumped back in shock, getting a bloody nose from the sight. Not wanting to get caught and accused of spying, Mey-Rin quickly ran away from the scene.

About a few hours later, Ciel was reading a book by the fireplace while Sebastian was tending with his coat. They both heard a knock and Ciel allowed them permission to enter. Angela enters his chambers, looking exactly as she was this afternoon. Timid and submissive. "I apologise for calling so late." Angela says as she walks in.

"What is it that you need, my young master is about to retire for the evening." Sebastian says to her as he puts away Ciel's coat in the wardrobe closet. Angela walks over to Ciel but still kept her distance. She was hesitant, but she worked up the courage to tell him outright. "I have a request to make. Leave the castle, leave the village completely. You mustn't stay here!"

"Why's that?" Ciel asks her, not looking up from his book to even speak to her. Angela turned her head to the side as she began to get anxious. "I can't say." Angela snapped her head up and her eyes widened in fear when a loud howl was heard from outside. Angela was now shaking like a leaf when she says, "No, the demon hound! It's coming!"

"The what?" Ciel asks as he stood up from his chair, wondering what in the world was a demon hound. Angela raised her head and was about to answer him when she looked at the window and screamed. "Ah!" They all turned around and saw the silhouette of a monstrous-sized head of a dog outside the window. "Sebastian!" Ciel ordered. The demonic butler quickly ran towards the window and threw open the curtains. But whatever was out there had already completely vanished. "What was that thing?" Ciel asked as he joined Sebastian's side and looked outside.

"Master, look there." Sebastian said as he pointed down. Ciel followed to where he was pointing to and saw shiny, blue-green footprints, indicating where the dog had been running. The footprints ran all through the village and because of the loud howl, everyone woke up and was beginning to panic. "It's the demon hound!" "They demon hound is here!!" "W-who is it?! Who's the bad dog?!"

Ciel, Sebastian and Angela went outside to see the footprints. Ciel kneeled down and swiped his finger across the footprint and rubbed it between his fingers "Hm." This was interesting. Shortly after, his servants all ran outside to meet up with him as they also heard the howling. "Master!" Mey-Rin cried out. "Angela!" Finnian said. "What's going on here? What's all the fuss about?" Baldroy asks them. Mei stood by the doorway with a wool shawl over her shoulders. Knowing that they already heard and seen this much, Angela decided to tell them the truth.

"The demon hound is here." Angela says. "Demon hound?" The servants repeated in confusion. Angela places a hand to her heart, as if trying to protect it as she says, "It brings great catastrophe to the village. Anyone who dares to defy my master, will be punished by the demon hound. That's the law here, there is no way to stop it."

As she says this, a mob of scared, angry and frustrated villagers with various weapons and torches came to the Barrymore Castle. A villager spotted Angela and tells her, "Angela! Please wake Lord Barrymore at once. That demon hound has come again."

"Who was the punished one?" Angela asked him. When they awoken Mr. Barrymore, the villagers lead them all down to a small house, the home of the punished one. They all showed them the dead body of the villager who they had just seen earlier today. His enitre body was covered in vicious bit marks, blood and scratches. His clothes were tattered and torn, and had a blue tie or collar or whatever tied around his neck.

"How awful." Baldroy said when they saw him. Ciel walked over to the villagers body and check him over. He lifted his arm and inspected the bit marks. He narrowed his eye and said, "So that's it then." First the footprints...and now this. Hmm. "Stand back, don't touch." Mr. Barrymore says as he cut through the mob. He made it to the front and saw the body. He recognised the man and said, "I see it was James then; he was the bad dog." A man beside nodded his and tells the him, "Yes, he broke the legal restriction on dog ownership. He had six dogs, one more than is allowed."

"A sixth dog. Then this was inevitable." Mr. Barrymore said. Completely devoid of any sympathy or grief or anything that indicated that he actually felt for the young man who had just been killed. Baldroy was thinking this as he couldn't believe he was just spouting this without regards for the dead. "That's all you can say?! Really?!" He asked.

"This village is under my rule and no other. The demon hound protects that rule. As the guardian of the Barrymore family, it punishes anyone and everyone who dares to challenge me!" Mr. Berrymore shouted at them. Then, as if they were under some trace, the villagers all together in unison began to say, "The white dog is a good dog, a good dog good. The black dog is a bad dog, a bad dog bad. He'll eat your flesh down to the bone down, to the bone. He'll gobble you up till you're gone, till you're gone. Lullaby the sun sets, lullaby and good night." As they said this, two of the villagers hoisted up James's body and carried him away, the mob soon left the area while still chanting that creepy saying.

"I was sure you outsiders were going to be its next prey. You were lucky to have escaped." Mr. Barrymore says to the group before walking away. Angela following close behind. "Well master?" Sebastian says. Ciel didn't like this. He knows that something else was going on in this village and he's going to find out what. Ciel orders for everyone to head on back to the castle but notices Mei standing by kennel. "Ms. Misaki, what are you doing there?" Ciel asked. He then took noticed of the small whimpers and saw that Mei was petting the one of dogs' head ever so gently.

Mei petting the dog's head as two more nudged her arms. She lifted her free hand to the dog on the right petted him too. Mr. Barrymore may shed no sympathy for James, but Mei did. When she saw him earlier in the day, she found him to be a rather friendly young man who loved his dogs. The dog he was playing with, possibly the sixth one, appeared to loved him just as much. The here in the kennel have yet to understand that their friend might not come to play with them anymore. "Who's going to take care you now?" She softly asked.

"I'm not going to leave these dogs here, they're coming home with me!" Mei smiled at that thought. Right, Naomi would definitely say something like that. She would take these poor pups with her and sneak them out if she had too. "Lady Misaki." Sebastian says as he placed a hand on her shoulder. Mei turned her head to look at him as he said, "It's time to head on back." Mei turned her gaze away and took one last look at the dogs before leaving. Praying that they would be taken in by a loving person.

The following morning, the servants were completely drained of emotional energy. They came looking for a good time, but because of previous day's happenings...this wasn't turning out to be as fun as they believed it was going to be. "This has got to be the worst holiday ever." Baldroy says. Mey-Rin agreed with him and said, "The worst, yes it is."

Sebastian then came around and walked towards them. He says to them, "What's the matter? You were so excited on the way here."

 "Yeah well, that was before." Baldroy tells him. Sebastian gave them all a smile and said, "Don't look so gloomy." He then holds up a picnic basket and a green striped swimwear. "We're on a holiday, it's a time meant for relaxing." The servants quickly caught on by what Sebastian was getting at. A trip down to the lake for swimming and a picnic lunch. This was sure to lighten up the mood right? "Yeah!" "Ah hahaha!" Well, Baldroy and Finnian seemed to agree with that notion. They ran down and dove into the water, having a grand ol' time. It was made even better when the realised just how warm the water was.

"I haven't been to a proper swimming hole in ages! The water is so nice and warm!" Baldroy says happily. Finnian nodded in agreement and turned his head back to shore, towards the changing station. Mey-Rin still hadn't come out yet. "Aren't you coming in too Mey-Rin?" Finnian asked her. Mey-Rin stuck her head out from the curtain with a massive blush on her face and says, "No! I can't go out there, it's too embarrassing!"

"Come on now! You don't get a chance to do this everyday!" Baldroy calls out to her. "Ughh!" Knowing that she wasn't going to win this argument, Mey-Rin reluctantly gave in stepped out from the changing station. Finnian and Baldroy were in a middle of a splash fight when the American veteran stopped abruptly and looked at Mey-Rin. "Hohoho!" Finnian peeked over his shoulder and saw Mey-Rin. She wore a primary white jacket that fell down to her thigh, the jacket had pink accents and matching white shorts. The collar of the jacket resembled that of a sailor's, had pink ribbons tied around her feet and legs, and had a matching pink and white hat.

"Oh, this is absolutely humiliating!" Mey-Rin said as her blush deepen and fell to her knees. Finnian and Baldroy came back to the shore and tried to cheer her up. "No worries Mey-Rin, you look lovely!" The turquoise-eyed boy tells her. Mey-Rin looked up at the two and stood back up on her feet, gaining a bit more confidence. "You aren't just saying that?" She asked. "I'd bet you look even better without the glasses." Baldroy says as he beings to tease her by acting like he was gonna take her glasses away. Hearing him say that, caused Mey-Rin to panic and run to the water for safety. "No no no no! I can't, the master gave them to me! Ahh!"

while they were playing in the water, Ciel sat on his chair in the sand with a table nearby and a cup of tea, reading a book. He was still dressed in his normal attire and wasn't in any rush to go in the water. Sebastian stood beside him with a smile. He took a glance at Mei who was playing by herself and thought she looked incredibly adorable. He then asked Ciel, "Don't you care to bathe with them young master?" Ciel said nothing to him as he flipped to a new page. He may have not said anything, but Sebastian quickly figured out why he wasn't going in. "Oh I see, is that the problem? The master can't-."

"I don't see why they're making such a fuss about this little pond. Just because you can bathe doesn't make it a resort." Ciel says interrupting Sebastian before he continued further. "You still intend to make this place into a resort then?" Sebastian asked them. "Naturally." Ciel said, simply.

"But what about this great demon hound?" Sebastian asked him, his smile dropping. Ciel lowered his book and closed his eye. "Surely you know as well as I by now, this demon hound is no dog." Sure enough, they were on the same wavelength and Sebastian gave a smile again. "Shall we discuss it further?" Ciel asked him.

As the servants kept playing in the water, Finnian turned back to the shore and waved his hand high. "Hi Angela!" He called out. Angela was sitting on a light blue blanket with Tanaka. She was holding onto a parasol and gave Finnian a happy smile and wave. He turned to Mei and called out her as well. "Lady Misaki! Aren't you coming in, the water's great." Mei looked up at Finnian and said, "In a bit." before turning back to the sandcastle she was making. Mei just wore her school swimsuits and a sun hat with a wide brim. She had collected a few smooth stones and seashells, and proceeded to decorate the outside of her small castle.

"Now go." Ciel commands Sebastian. He had whispered both his plans and orders to him and Sebastian gave his trademark smile and bowed to him. He planned to see this through in an orderly fashion. "Yes, very well master. You may consider it done."

"You're very cooperative. Especially for someone who hates dogs." Ciel stated as he returned to his book. "Yes, I detest them. Which is why I would like to finish this as quickly as possible. Preferably before it all goes to hell." Sebastian says as he takes off to perform his duties. Ciel goes to read his book but his eye shifted to Mei who was still playing by herself. Ciel let out a sigh, puts down his book and goes over to her. "Come now. You're three years my senior and you're doing something as childish at that?" Ciel says with his arms crossed.

"That's funny, coming from you. You like to eat sweets a lot and have habit of being exceedingly competitive." Mei says to him. This little fact causes Ciel to sputter and blushes a feint red. "Mm...everyone likes sweets." He said, trying to defend himself in some capacity. Mei looked up at him and gave a small laugh. "You can join me if you want." She says to him. Ciel let out a 'hmph' and bent down to work on his side of the castle.

"Is it hard handling the company at your age?" Mei asked him, thinking of a way to make conversation. "Hm? No, not really. It took some time for me, but I eventually got used to it." Ciel tells her as he created an entryway. "You must have your father's intellect then." Mei said. Ciel gave a small chuckle and said, "Perhaps. I'm aware your mother is a doll maker, but what does your father do for a living?" His question caused Mei's hands to flinch away from the sand. Ciel took notice of this, thinking that was a sensitive topic and was about to take it back when Mei answered him regardless. "I'm not quite sure. He was rarely in Japan. Kirika told me that they both discussed about moving here and that he would come. Eventually."

Kirika. She referred to her own mother by her first name. Ciel thought back to the doll-maker's letter and he really wanted to ask about her family life, but he decided against it. He didn't want to push anything on to her. "You're really lucky." Mei said. "Huh?" Ciel went as he blinked in confusion. He suddenly felt something under his hand from beneath the sand castle. "Madam Red told me a few stories. You came from a family who loved you...you're really lucky."

Ciel didn't know what to say to that. She sounded...so sad. Ciel opened his mouth to say something, but then Mei said, "You can let go of my hand." ....Huh? Ciel was, for a second, confused at what she said. But when he began to feel around, he realised that he was holding onto her hand underneath the sand. Ciel blushed deep red and quickly took his hand back. "Sorry!" He said. Mei laughed softly as she looked at his flustered face.

"We've got him! The bad dog's been caught!" A man shouted out. The two of them turned around and saw a small group of men running by. "We've got James' dog! Hurry, the punishment is about to begin!" Their punishment? Killing the 'bad sixth dog' in a dog fight. A bell-tower rang its bell as if to signal the commencement of the punishment. Seeing things are about to be serious, Ciel and Mei looked at each other and nodded. After everyone quickly changed back into their regular clothing, they followed the villagers to a man-made ring next door to the Barrymore Castle.

They had James's dog tied to the stone wall. He bared his teeth at the crowd and growled at them. He held no fear towards the other dogs and just sent daggers towards Mr. Barrymore's way. A man from the crowd then pointed at the dog and then yelled, "He's got something in his mouth!"

"Get it from him!"

A man walked towards the dog with a wooden stick and gripped at the cloth he had in his mouth. "Bad dog, let go! Bad dog give it to me!" The man shouted. He pulled the cloth as hard as he could, but the dog refused to let it go. He just bit down harder on the cloth. When he refused to obey, the man used the stick he had in hand to beat the dog with it. "Let go! Let go!" He shouted. He beat the dog, but he did not cry out at all.

Mr. Barrymore watches this with a complete expressionless stare and said, "What a bad dog. He deserves punishment. Get started." As the other people were cheering on and encouraging this horrid act of cruelty, the five men unleashed their dogs on him. The dogs charged at him and proceeded to bite, gnaw and tear through the dog's flesh while everyone were shouting at them to kill him. Ciel and the others arrived just in time to see it unfold.

Mei stood there shocked at what she was seeing. That was the dog that James had loved was in the process of being bitten to death and everyone was approving of all this. While Mei was utterly speechless, Finnian watches on, feeling completely appalled. He was shaking in his boots as painful, scarring memories begin to resurface into his mind. He remembers in vividly of the days, being tied up by horrible, horrible doctor to a medical table and being given forced injections. The sheer terror of those thoughts alone shook him to the core.

"Stop this. You can't do it! It's awful!" Finnian whispered to himself just as adrenaline kicked into overdrive and he shouted at the top of his lungs, so his voice broke through the crowd. "Just let the poor thing go!" Distressed, he runs and grabs hold of a thick post and swings it at the dogs, ordering them to stop. "Ahh! Stop this now!" When he did this, it caused the old woman from the previous day to scream in distress. "Ahhh!" She ended up fainting. Two of the men caught her before she could hit the ground. For the old woman's sake and seeing as how Finnian had disrupted their "righteous punishment", got furious with them.

"Finny!" Baldroy and Mey-Rin shouted out as they and the others ran to Finnian's side as he kneeled to the heavily injured dog. Mei kneeled down to the poor thing as the rest of the villagers began to surround them and yell at them with malice in their tone. "They interfered!" "They interrupted!" "Punish them!" They kept on shouting that they interrupted their "righteous punishment" and they call them "bad dogs." They then tie the servant up to a thick post, gagged them as well, chained Ciel to the wall and Mr. Barrymore held the tied up Mei with his arm around her neck. If he wanted to, he could’ve easily snap her neck or choke her.

"Not so powerful now, are you?" Mr. Barrymore asked with a smug grin on his face. Angela then took a step forward to Mr. Barrymore and held her hands together in a prayer. She looked at the man with pleading eyes. "Master I beg you, show mercy this one time, these people don't deserve the punishment." She tells him, desperately trying to get him to reconsider.

"You have a point. This little Pomeranian, is the queen's guard dog after all. If he can be made to see reason, perhaps I'll decide to let him go." Mr. Barrymore said to her as he turned to face Ciel. He then laid out his demands very clear to him. "Leave this village immediately and advise her majesty never to send her minions near it again!" He said as he grips Mei's head to further his point.

Like the mischievous little imp that he was, Ciel gave Mr. Barrymore a cocky smirk. "You're so pathetic! You rely on lowly tricks to retain your meeker power. If there's a stubborn dog here, I'd say I'm looking at him." Ciel mocked. Mr. Barrymore's smug grin dropped and gave Ciel a hateful scowl. He gave him a chance. "If that's your final choice, you can learn what happens to a dog that challenges me! Get him!" Mr. Barrymore shouts as has them dogs set on him.

"Ciel, no!" Mei called out. The dogs jumped up towards Ciel to attack. However, none of them were able to touch him. Something launched at one of the dogs' mouth and was sent back. Sebastian had showed up in the nick of time and stops the dogs from attacking by knocking them back. Mei let out a sigh of relief, thankful that he had arrived.

"You cut that close." Ciel tells him as Sebastian stood up in front of him. He turn his head to looked at Ciel as he adjusts his white gloves. "It won't happen again, trust me." He said to him as he smiles. Ciel let out a soft scoff at him. Mr. Barrymore grew even more angry now that this butler had shown up out of nowhere and once again disrupted them. "You dare to interfere dog!? Well what are you mange mutts waiting for? Kill both of them now!" Mr. Barrymore commanded the dogs.

The four of them bared their fangs at them and let out fearsome growls. Sebastian just stood there, looking disgusted by the dogs attitude. "Shameful, what course, noisy growls they have. One of the reason I despise these creatures." Sebastian glares at the dogs as his red eyes slowly burned hot pink. This glare, plus sensing the intimidating aura that surrounded him, the dogs quickly backed down and laid on the ground with their tails wagging. Shocked at what had happened, Mr. Barrymore shouted, "What the hell! What did you do!?"

Now that Sebastian had successfully subdued the dogs from making any further attacks, Ciel took the opportunity to reveal the truth of this whole 'demon dog curse'. "Your pitiful farce ends here Barrymore." Ciel tells him. Mr. Barrymore was cut off guard by his statement and this gave her an open window. With him momentarily distracted, Mei bit down hard on the man's hand and he yelled out in pain. "AH!!" He released her and as he held his wounded hand, Mei quickly ran to Sebastian and hid behind him. "Are you alright?" He asked her. "Yes."

Ciel yelled out to the entire crowd to tell them the truth. "Listen, there is no demon hound! It's all a lie! There's just him, an old man obsessed with power determined to keep it no matter what!" As he says this, Sebastian walked over to the dog that had knocked away first. "What! What evidence do you have?!" Mr. Barrymore shouted back at the young Earl. "There's this." Sebastian says as he took out the skull of a dog out from the unconscious dog's mouth. "We found it in your mansion. I took the liberty of confirming that the teeth marks on James match the teeth in this skull." When he presented this to them, the villagers all gasped in shock and horror.

"Do you see it now; the truth behind the demon hound?" Sebastian asks as he points up to the sky. They villagers turned around and saw a shadow of a monstrous-sized dog head, but it was nothing they had originally thought. The shadows that they had been seeing all these years nothing but an illusion created by a simple projection. "Its shadow is nothing but a projection. Just a transparent trick. The glowing is phosphorescent dust, sprinkled on a normal dog." To prove his point, Sebastian took out the bottle of the dust and poured it out. Revealing its bright glow. "The demon hound is merely an illusion, a story made up by an evil man. The man you let rule your village. This man, Henry Barrymore."

"No! It's all nonsense! You can't fool them, where's your evidence!" Mr. Barrymore shouted again. He was so foolishly stubborn, then again men like him hates losing, so they'll take any opportunity and conjure up whatever lie or trick to make sure they win. Ciel once again gave a smirk at the large man. Sebastian walked over the seriously wounded dog and kneeled down before him.

In a surprisingly gentle voice, Sebastian told him, "You can rest, your duty is done, I'll take it from here." He took the cloth from the dog's mouth as he stared up at him. If he were able to too, the dog would've cried. He let him take because he knew that he would make Mr. Barrymore pay for what he did to his best friend. He let out a small whimper, as if to say 'thank you', and closed his eyes. Sebastian stood back up and said, "What fine material. I wonder why the dog was eager to hold onto it until the last moment. Interesting behaviour, don't you think?" He turned around to their audience and held out the cloth. It was dark green with light brown patterns on it.

Mr. Barrymore's eyes widened in shock as he looked at the fabric in Sebastian's hands. "Wha...what the hell?" He says, backing away a bit and began to sweat. "Yours, a scrap of cloth from your pants. Torn off by James' dog when you attacked his master. You recognise it, yes?" Sebastian asked him. Mr. Barrymore knew where this was going to lead up and he turned to make a run for it, but his path was immediately blocked by the angry villagers. Everything that ha d happened. The curse, the threats, the deaths of so many people, which also included children....had been nothing but lies and were caused by him. "Give up Barrymore, it's all over now!" Ciel shouts out.

A group of men grabbed Barrymore while one lifted up his pant leg, and sure enough, there was the bit mark where James' dog had bitten him. They lifted him up above them and carried him away, chanting, "Punish James' killer! Punish James' killer! Punish James' killer!" After that was all over and done with, Sebastian unties everyone from their restraints. The servants were all glad it was over and were actually thinking of getting the heck on out here.

Mei turned to the dog who was still laying on his side. She walked over and went to her knees. Mei untied him from the chain, placed her hands on the dog and gently shook him. No response. She shook again with a little force. No response. Mei's eye slightly widened as she realised that the dog had died due to his injuries. She let out a noise that sounded like a strained sigh and lifted the dog's head to hold it. She wished this didn't have to happen. He worked so hard to protect his master and this was what he got in returned. But at least...he's reunited with him.

Sebastian looked at Mei with soft eyes. Normally, since he hated dogs, would’ve made a remark about this...but since this was Mei, he decided to stay silent and leave her be. Clouds rolled in and came the rain. Everyone went back to the estate, but Finnian and Mei stayed behind a while longer so they could make a grave for the dog. Looking out from his room's window, Ciel says, "Yet another case closed. We can leave the village when the rain lets up."

"Indeed." Sebastian says.

 

Chapter Text

Mei, once again, had trouble sleeping. She hoped this wouldn't become a pattern. But at least this time, she had something better to distract her. She sat near the window and gazed outside. She enjoyed rainy days, there were always so calming and put her mind at ease. "I hope we're leaving this place soon. Even if the resort does get built, I don't think I ever want to come back here." Mei said to herself.

As she continued to stare at the rain, Mei notices something moving around the grounds of the estate. Mei focused her eye and tried to get a good look. What she saw what it looked to be a young man, naked, staring right at her through her window. Feeling a little creeped out by this, Mei quickly moved from the window and closed the blinds. "What was that all about?" She asked herself. Okay...time to get some sleep.  

Down in a cell, begging to be let out, Mr. Barrymore was gripping at the bars and shouted as loud for anyone who could hear him to come and let him out. "Let me out! Oh please! It's coming for me, it's coming!" He was shaking in pure fear as he could practically feel it inching ever so closely towards him. He needed to get out of here, now!! "The demon hound, it's...it's coming to get me, I know it is. Please, let me go! Let me go I'm begging you! Please!" He cried and begged to let out, not knowing about the beast that was lurking right behind him. The thunder let out a loud clap and almost immediately, Mr. Barrymore's pleas were silenced.

"Whaaaaa!" Mey-Rin screamed. She had come down to deliver food and water to Mr. Barrymore, but the sight she was met with caused her to screams and she fell from the shock of it. As soon as she let out that scream, Baldroy, Finnian and Tanaka all ran down to see what was going on. "What the hell is going on down there?" Baldroy shouted out. When they arrived, they found the maid trembling and looked about as white as a sheet. "Mey-Rin what's wrong?" Baldroy asked her. Mey-Rin raised a trembling finger and pointed at Mr. Barrymore's cell. It was empty now, but had an inhuman amount of blood splatter all over the floor, and part of the wall torn out.

It wasn't long before Mr. Barrymore's corpse was found. It was found at the ring and the sight of him was quite gruesome. He had a permanent fixture of fear plastered on his face, was missing an arm and bleeding from his head. Everyone was wide awake now when they heard Mey-Rin screaming and Ciel, Sebastian, Mei and Angela all went down to see that state the cell was in. Before they could do anything to figure out what could've happened, a knock was heard from the door. Everyone returned upstairs and Angela opened the door. A townsman burst through and told them all that the demon hound has attacked again.

Pretty soon, they ran outside and go to where Mr. Barrymore's body was found, and find many of the townspeople apologising to the Demon Hound. Chanting that same saying over and over again none-stop with their dogs howling. Sebastian walked over to Mr. Barrymore's corpse and checked over his injuries as the townspeople were apologising profusely to the Demon Hound. Seeing her master in such a state, caused Angela so much distress that she actually fainted. When she collapsed to the ground, Finnian immediately ran to her side.

With no other option, they return to the Barrymore manor and held a meeting at the lounge. Angela was left out of it as she was put to bed by the others. Finnian was still visibly worried about her. "Well this is unfortunate master. To think, all this happening after the case was closed. I'm sure you're a bit...annoyed?" Sebastian says as he sent a smile at Ciel's way. "Are you quite finished?" Ciel shot back at him. 'He's annoyed.' Mei thought.

"This village isolated itself completely from the rest of society out of fear of the Demon Hound's curse. I thought for certain was an illusion created by Lord Barrymore so he could more firmly rule the village." Ciel says. "But with him dead, I need to rethink things."

"He was covered in bite wounds. Maybe the villagers' are right. Maybe it really was the Demon Hound." Baldroy added. He doesn't really believe in this sort of thing...but with everything that has happened so far, he was willing to give this legend a chase. "Maybe he's upset to being blamed for Lord Henry's misdeeds." May-Rin said.

"Yes, maybe. For now there's only one thing we know; It wasn't human." Sebastian says. "The Demon Hound then?" Mei asked. Ciel then told everyone to put this to bed for now and that they'll continue their investigation in the morning. Whilst preparing for bed, Ciel was very silent and was obviously worried about something. Sebastian sensed his master uneasiness and asked, "Is something the matter?"

"It's about what you said earlier, how you phrased it." Ciel answered almost immediately. "What you said was 'this wasn't human work'. What if...that bloody Reaper has gotten himself involved in this?" Ciel asked. He was referring to Grell Sutcliff from the Jack the Ripper murders. He was worried that somehow he was out and about causing trouble again. Sebastian smiled and said, "It seems you're learning faster every day. I'm so very proud of you sir." After finishing buttoning his sleepwear, Sebastian stood up and walked over to the blue coat on his bed. He picked it up and put it away in the wardrobe.

"But there is no need to worry. I believe Mey-Rin's thought was not wholly incorrect. The hound was after Lord Henry. I don't believe anyone else is in danger of becoming its next victim." Sebastian says.

"That's not enough for me to close the case." Ciel says to him. Oh. So he's still on about that? Should've expected as much, he was her guard dog after all. "Ah, such loyalty to your Queen." Sebastian said. "Quite touching really."

"That's not it. At least not all of it." Ciel then crossed his arms and gave a little smirk. "You're usually so calm and steady. But this case seems to have you rattled. I'm interested about this issue you have with dogs." Sebastian closed the wardrobes doors and turned his head to the young Earl. He gave a small chuckle. "As I said, you learn faster every day."

In Mei's room, she took up her sketch pad and worked on her drawing. This was turning into quite the mess. She briefly wondered what the Demon Hound even wanted in the first place. Did it hate the way Mr. Barrymore wanted things? Did it consent Mr. Barrymore's rules but felt that he took it too far? She honestly had no idea. Though Mei wasn't...entirely worried. 

Sebastian was basically a one-man army, so he could handle it with no trouble. Yeah, no trouble at all for him since he hates dogs. Mei checked the clock beside her and saw it was about thirty minutes till 11:00. "I should get to back to bed." Mei closed her sketchbook and set it down on the table. Glancing at the window, she nearly shivered when she thought about the man looking up at her.  She shook her head and tried to calm herself down. Maybe she'll feel better if she were to draw the curtains in. Mei walked up to the window and was about to close the blinds when she saw Finnian running outside and knocking down some trees. Mei blinked in confusion. "What's the matter with him?" Mei asked. "It's probably nothing."

 With that, Mei settled into bed and went to sleep. About an hour into the night, Mei's window opened up and a gentle breeze blew into the room. A figure climbed through the window and quietly made its way to Mei's bedside. It leaned in to look at her and a soft whining noise. It sniffed at her hair a few times before it made its way back to the window and disappeared into the night.

The following morning, Mei woken up and had completely forgotten about last night. She walked towards the dinning hall and joined Ciel for breakfast. She could smell it before she even set into the room. Ciel and Sebastian greeted her with a smile, and the young Earl said, "Good morning, Ms. Misaki. You seem rather well rested." Mei nodded. "I'm surprised that I got any sleep at all with all consideration." Ciel just let out a chuckle. Sebastian walked to her and pulled her chair for her. "Thank you." She said. "Of course my lady." He set down a plate of hot cakes with various berries in front of her. "For today's tea, we have a cabinet pudding which was made with local black berries." Sebastian said.

"You're certainly relaxed." Ciel says as Mei gave her thanks for the food. "Because we are in no hurry sir." Sebastian said. Before they could eat their tasty hot cakes, Mey-Rin and Finnian came in bursting in the room with the maid shouting out Sbeastian's name. The latter looked at them with a knowing/annoyed look and asked, "What's the matter this time? Do calm down please."

"We looked all over but we can't find Angela!" Finnian tells them. Baldroy blinked in confusion as to why they would be searching for her and tells them calmly, "Oh, is that all? Yeah, don't worry about it. She said there were some medical herbs growing out by the fen. She went there to go pick some up that's all."

"Right now? Why would she?" Finnian asked him. "She went all alone when there might be a Demon Hound out there!?" Mey-Rin shouted at the American veteran. When May-Rin mentioned the Demon Hound, Baldroy quickly caught on and his widen a bit. "Oh hell..." Finnian looked down in great concern. The possibility of Angela being out there all alone with a murderous demon hound roaming around the village was causing him great distress. "What was she thinking going out all by herself?" Finnian asked, mostly to herself.

"She said she was worried, you know, about you being sick n' all." Baldroy tells him. This surprises Finnian. This morning he did tell Angela that he had caught something of a flue, but he had no idea that his lie would cause her to venture out for his sake. "For me? She went for me?!" With no hesitation, Finnian ran out of the room, going out to find Angela. Baldroy, Mey-Rin and Tanaka followed close behind after him. Mei watched them leave and turned to the Phantomhive boy. "Do you think they'll be okay?" She asked. Ciel merely gave a shrug. "I'm sure they'll be fine." He said.

Mei let out a small "Huh" before the two resumed their meal in the peace and quiet. After all a while, Ciel places his fork down and wiped his mouth clean with his napkin. He turned to Sebastian with a cheeky grin and asked, "You know, I'm quite interested. What colour is your blood?" Ciel asked this because before they all ran off, Baldroy told Sebastian to come and help Finnian when he made no movement, Baldroy asked if he was a red-blooded man or not. 

Sebastian didn't say anything and Ciel picked up his cup. "At any rate, it looks as though we do need to hurry now." He says. Knowing what's going to happen now, Sebastian let out a sigh. Honestly, this brat could be such a cheeky little imp sometimes. Ciel drank his tea and said with a smile, "Go out there and put on a good show for me. Am I clear?"

"Perfectly. My young lord." Sebastian says.

Meanwhile with the servants, they found themselves searching in the swamp, calling out Angela's name. They had been at this for a while now but they have yet to find her. Suddenly Mey-Rin let out a scream and the others went to her side. When asked what's wrong, Mey-Rin pointed up ahead and they see a lot of what appears trees shaped like arms and legs. One of the rocks, though, has a real arm sticking out of it, with Mr. Barrymore's ring still on its finger.

They hear a dog howling and quickly hide behind a rock, when a naked man appears. He had shoulder-length silver hair, red eyes with slit pupils, fangs, and black finger and toenails. "Who's he?" Mey-Rin asked. The man walked over to the pile of limbs and sniffs Mr. Barrymore's arm. He takes it moves it slightly to the other side, sniffing it once more. Baldroy narrows his eyes at the man and says, "A trophy. So it really wasn't the demon hound that killed Lord Henry. It was a human being after all."

Mey-Rin was getting a nosebleed as she kept staring at the unknown man. "Quite the specimen of humanity he is." She said. "But why? Did he had some sort of grudge against Lord Henry?" Baldroy asked. Mey-Rin let out a small gasp as she thought back to the previous night where she saw the position Mr. Barrymore and Angela had been in. She then said, "I wonder...could Angela have asked him to do it?"

"Say what? Why would Angela do that?" Baldroy asked her. Finnian got angry at Mey-Rin and went to Angela's defence. "Yeah he's right." Finnian said. "Easy boy." Baldroy tells him but to no avail. "Angela has nothing to do with this! Don't just go around accusing people!" He shouted, prompting the others to quickly shush him. Finnian realised that he was giving away their position and covered his mouth. However, it was pointless as his outburst attracts the attention of the man. He turns towards their direction, sniffed the air and licked his lips. But the way he licks his lips made Finnian realise something. He was the man who had been with Angela the night before. 

Last night, Finnian was walking down the halls to Angela's room because he wanted to be sure if she was alright. He met up with Mey-Rin and together they heard a strange noise. When they got closer to the source, they witness Angela enjoying what appeared to be a sexual interaction with this strange man. That's why Finnian was so distressed. Before anything could happen, they heard rapid, multiple footsteps running in their direction. Everyone, except the man, turned to see all the townspeople run up in swimsuits.

"What are you doing? Why are you dressed liked that?" Baldroy asked them.

"We're all going to bathe in the waterfall to ease the wrath of the Demon Hound." A man answered. An old woman then added, "He's back. His terrible voice echoed throughout the village all last night."

"He howled for hours and hours. The Demon Hound's angry and still amongst us." A man said. For a moment the servants were confused because they didn't hear any howling last night. They would've remembered. However, the cries they think they heard last night actually belonged to Finnian, who had been crying in his distress over Angela. Speaking of which, Finnian turned back to face the man, however, the interaction with the villagers was more than enough time for the man to escape. Gritting his teeth, Finnian ran off in search of him. The others followed suit, leaving the villagers behind.

Finnian, Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Tanaka follow the man to some nearby ruins, where they hear a dog howling, and they encounter the devil dog.  He was an immense and monstrous dog with white fur. He opened his mouth just enough for flames to be let loose. The Demon Hound took noticed of the four servants and roared at them. He began charging towards them and when he lifted up one of his claws, Finnian notices some fabric stuck between in his claws, and identifies it as being Angela's. All at once Finnian was broken hearted and guilty. If he hadn't made that stupid lie about being sick, then Angela wouldn't have gone out all alone. 

Angry at both himself and the Demon Hound, Finnian charges in towards the beast, hoping to avenge Angela's death. Finnian grabbed hold on the front leg of the Demon Hound, planning to use his strength against him. But due to the Demon Hound's sheer size, Finnian is no match for him. "Oh hell. Hey, give me that." While the Demon Hound was distracted by Finnian, Baldroy grabs Tanaka's gun. He points the gun at the Demon hound and carefully lines the shot. He narrows his eye, aims it right for his heart, and pulled the trigger.

However...it only fires out confetti, much to Baldroy's unpleasant surprise. "Bloody Hell!! Why would you bring a toy gun with you?!" The dog tosses Finnian aside and he lands hard on the ground. He growled the young boy and raised his clawed paw to kill him. Finnian shut his eyes and braced himself for the deadly impact. But it didn't came. He carefully opened his eyes and saw Sebastian standing in front of him,  holding the dog's paw, halting his attack. "Would you look at that. So well-trained you even know how to shake hands." Sebastian says. "You were just in time." Finnian said to him. 

Sebastian and the Demon Hound struggled a bit before the red-eyed butler said, "But I'm afraid, well-trained or not, you'll have to go now." Sebastian then lifted his hand and tosses the Demon Hound away with little effort, knocking him to a part of the ruins. "Come. This is no time to be playing with a puppy." Ciel tells Sebastian as he and Mei entered the scene. "Master!" The other servants called out. "Certainly. I shall finish it off at once." Sebastian says as the Demon Hound was starting to get back up on its feet. As it got up, it caught the scent of something delicious and looked at Sebastian's way. "It smells irresistible, doesn’t it dog? This is what you want, right?" The butler asked, as he reveals a box of dog treats at presented it to him. "Innuko. The treat that no dog can refuse."

"Dog treats?!" The others shouted in bewilderment. He's joking, right?! This isn't a common dog they were dealing with, this a ferocious Demon-! The hound's nose began sniffing even more and his tail began to wag. ....guess he did want those treats after all. The demon hound let out a happy howl and goes in to get some. He leaps into the air to go after the treats. "There is only one way to properly train a bad dog. You must treat the creature to obey your every command." Sebastian's eyes turned hot pink. "Using rewards and punishments." He raised his arms and looked up at the dog. "Firstly, reward!" Sebastian leaps up and gnaws on the hound's nose, which was....apparently....pleasurable for the dog.

The others watched in confusion. What the hell was even happening at this point now? Even Ciel was confused and he was the one who gave him the order. Meanwhile, Mei let out a few giggles. "Okay... What's he doing now?" Finnian asked. "I guess this is...training?" Mey-Rin said with uncertainty. "And now," Sebastian says as he then leaps up into the air. "Punish." And kicks the dog in the face.

Sebastian continues to apply this carrot-stick method. "Reward." He offers the dog treats to which the hound gets up immediately. "Punish." Sebastian uppercuts him in the jaw. "Reward." He gives the hound a nice bellyrub. "Punish." He then drop kicks the hound in said stomach. "Punish." Sebastian grabs the hound by the tail and twirls him around before letting him fly towards another part of the ruins.

"You've told him to put on a show. Are you satisfied with this?" Mei asked as she watched in slight amusement. Internally, she was thankful the Demon Hound was so durable. "I did ask him to put on a good show, so mildly, yes." Ciel tells her.

"And finally, a hug!" Sebastian says as he runs to the Demon Hound with arms outstretched. He grabs the hound and lifted themselves high into the air before letting fall back down to earth and having slam right through the ground. Everyone ran towards the crater and looked down. They were looking for any sigh of either Sebastian or the Demon Hound, but they were so far down it was too dark to see.

"Uh, hello?" Baldroy called out.

"I don't see them down there." Mey-Rin said.

"Are you alright?" Mei asked. Ciel walked up beside her. He placed his hands on his hips and demanded, "Quit dawdling down in that hole! Get back here right now!" From far down in the crater, Sebastian's voice was heard. "Yes sir." Along with his voice, a loud rumbling sound was working its way up to them. The sound of the steam was indicating that it was getting closer, and not wanting to get caught in it, Ciel took Mei's hand and ran off. Tanaka ran as well while the others took a few seconds to actually move their legs. A geyser of hot water shot out of the ground and the droplets of water was raining down on them. "Um... Where's Sebastian?" Finnian asked.

When you speak of the devil, "This village was intended to be a resort for the Queen. It needs a central attraction. A luxury, a way for visitors to relax and forget their cares. That's what we have here. A natural hot spring." Sebastian tells them as he stand at the very top of the geyser with a familiar, silver-haired naked man in his arms. "Wow, that's amazing!" The servants said, happily. Sebastian jumped down from the geyser and landed perfectly on his feet. "If I couldn't find a hot spring or two for my master, well then, what kind of butler would I be? The idea's simply unthinkable." Sebastian said. The dog, in his man form, then licks Sebastian's face, much to his disgust and Mey-Rin's excitement. "I don't know how more of this I can take!!" She shouts as she hold her bleeding nose.

Mei let out a soft laugh as she looks down. Huh? "Ciel..?" Mei started to ask. "What is it?" Ciel said to her. He saw that she was looking down and he followed her gaze. His face turned bright red when he noticed that he was still holding her hand. He quickly let go and muttered an apology. To which Mei replied with, "It's alright." Just then Angela suddenly appeared, alive and well. She was running towards them as she called out a name. "Pluto!" Upon hearing his name being called, the Demon Hound, Pluto, jumps out of Sebastian's arms, ran, literally, like a dog. He dove into Angela's arms and licked her face happily. "Good boy. My good boy." 

Angela says. When everything finally got the chance to settle down, Angela walked over to the group with Pluto. She sat on her knees to allow Pluto to rest on her lap. Even while in his human form, Pluto still has all of his dog's characteristics. "I'm sorry for the confusion. This is Pluto, I found him last month. I've always been a big dog-lover and he was so adorable, I absolutely had to take him in." Angela said. "Adorable?" Finnian and Mey-Rin asked each other, confused at the...odd choice of words. "He does have a bad habit of turning human when he gets excited." Angela said. "'A habit'?! You call it 'a hibit'?!" Baldroy shouts out.

"So you sheltered and fed him for a month without telling anybody else?" Sebastian asked her. Angela nodded. "That's right. Lord Barrymore used the legend of the Demon Hound to control the villagers. But, in truth, he feared the hound more than anyone else. I didn't know what would happen to Pluto if he find out." She said as she gazed softly down at the resting man. "I see now that I was too indulgent. I never thought this sweet boy would hurt Lord Barrymore."

Pluto gave a content, happy little grunt as he snuggled against Angela. She then lifted her head and asked Lord Phantomhive this, "I beg you sir. Please take him with you. I know it's an imposition, but would you bring him to live at the Phantomhive manor?" Sebastian's eyes slightly widened at the idea. The idea of that mangy mutt living at the manor disgusted him. For once, he had to agree with Baldroy. "You want us to keep that monster?!"

"He needs a firm hand. I think if Sebastian were there to train him, he would become a good dog." Angela said. Sebastian immediately refused that offer. "No thank you. I'm a butler, not one hell of a dog trainer." He said. Unfortunately for him...he's not the one who makes the decisions. "Why not?" Ciel said. Agreeing to take the Demon Hound with them, all because he knows full well of Sebastian's hated for dogs. The latter narrowed his eyes at the young Earl. "Master?" Sebastian nearly growled as he glared daggers at him. "Is this an order?"

"It is. I think I'll find it amusing. In several ways." Ciel says as he looks at Sebastian with a cheeky grin. All Sebastian could do was let out a sigh. Mei looked in between the two and then turned to Angela. She then said, "I can help take care of him." This causes everyone to looked at her like she was crazy. Angela looked worried and asked, "Lady Misaki, are you absolutely sure you can care for Pluto?" Mei gazed down at slumbering Pluto and nodded her head. "I'm sure."

Pluto then opened his eyes and sniffed the air. He then got unexpected excited and turned his head. When he looked at Mei, he immediately jumped at her and wrapped his arms around her waist, letting out a happy bark. Yes, he knew he smelled a familiar scent before. This girl had such a nice smell. "Seems like he likes you already." Baldroy said. Now Pluto was being glared at by a crow and an imp. Then the townspeople began approaching the geyser, all with smiles and cries of relief. They all went to their knees and thank them for lifting the curse, as the springs Sebastian found fit in with the folklore of the town. If the sins of the town's ancestors against dogs has been fully atoned for, the land will weep tears of forgiveness.

....But as nice as that sounded....the townspeople have failed to realise that the hot spring was right beneath then the entire time. But it really didn't matter anymore. The case was now *officially* closed...much to Ciel's initial annoyance. Sometime later, the villagers were getting hard at work in rebuilding the town and making it into a fine resort with shops, cafés, new houses, and of course, their main attraction, the open-air hot spring. Which Ciel and Mei were currently enjoying. With a great distance between them. 

Mei wasn't sure why Ciel insisted in staying far away, she was wearing her school's swimsuit and he wearing trunks. So why was he so embarrassed? Mei shrugged her shoulders and just enjoyed the water which was at the perfect temperature. "This is just wonderful..." Mei said as she breath a sigh of relief as she sank a little deeper into the water. ""Arff! Arff!" Suddenly she was caught in a hug by Pluto, who barked happily. "Pluto, when did you get in here?" Mei asked as she petted his head. "Punish." She heard Sebastian say before he kicked Pluto off of her. 

With the town working toward a new future, the Phantomhive household leaves with Pluto. They had gotten all their bags in the carriage and were all ready to go. But Angela wanted to give Pluto a small gift before they left and tied a spiky collar around his neck. "Nice and snug. Don't ever forget me, dear Pluto." Angela said to him as she gave a small kiss to his cheek.

"AND PUT SOME BLOODY CLOTHES ON, ALRIGHT!?!? DON'T JUST LET IT ALL HANG OUT THERE!! COME ON!!" Baldroy shouts at Pluto, who gave him a face that could only say one thing. 'Don't tell me what to do'. Mei made a mental note to find some clothes for Pluto once they get back to the manor. "Farewell. It was fun Angela." Finnian says. His feelings for her were a little mixed since last night, but he felt sad to say goodbye to her. Angela turned to Finnian and gave him a smile. "I'm sure we'll meet again someday. My sweet boy." She said as she gave Finnian a kiss on the cheek as well. The poor kid's face lit up a bright red colour.

"If you're finished. Shall we go?" Sebastian asks her. Angela turned her attention to Sebastian and gave him a smile too. Her smile was so sweet and sincere...but Sebastian couldn’t trust it for a second. "Certainly. Maybe someday I'll come to visit Pluto at the estate. I would personally love to have a talk with Lady Misaki since we haven’t gotten that chance. The others were right, she seems to be such a sweet girl."

"I don't know if that would be a good idea." Sebastian says.

"What?"

"You were able to tame a Demon Hound. That's a task not many people could do. You seem to have a talent for wrapping lesser beings around your finger." Sebastian said as he narrowed his eyes at her. "I will never allow you to come anywhere near Lady Misaki." Angela didn't say anything as she and Sebastian have a bit of a stare down before Ciel spoke up. "Let's go Sebastian."  

As Angela smiled and waved to them goodbye. She gave a rather sinister smirk. "Now this is interesting. I never thought I meet a demon who cares so much about a human. Sometime, soon...we will meet again. And I will have that talk."

 

Chapter Text

It was a relatively slow day at the Phantomhive Manor. The servants hadn't broke, destroyed or blown up anything. No visits from snobby other lords and ladies, or from Lizzie. No new orders from the Queen. Nothing. Just a slow, quiet day. Mei was in the library again, reading a book on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, while Sebastian dusted the bookshelves and clean the room. Unbeknownst to them, they were being watched by intense eyes.

If you want to know what's going on here, then lets track back earlier this morning to understand. Ciel had called for his servants, all but for Sebastian, to come to his study. Seeing as he never called them for...well, anything. The three, plus one Tanaka, were both nervous and excited to be of use for their master. But they were mostly extremely nervous as they stood stiffly before him. The tension was so thick around. Mey-Rin was the first to speak and asked him, "So Young Master..? You wanted to speak us about something?"

"Yes, I have a little job for the three of you to take care of." Ciel tells them. In an instant, their nervousness faded away and were engulfed with pride and joy that Ciel would have a job prepared just for them! He barely gave them any important assignments, he normally gives it to Sebastian. Finally, they can finally prove their worth! Just that thought alone made the three hug each other out of relief and happiness. "So we didn't have to worry!" Finnian said. "When he called us, I thought for sure we were fired, yes I did!" Mey-Rin said.

Ciel then reach behind his desk and puts a camera on top to show the others. "This is a camera from the famous Talbot collection. It has a story behind it." He tells them as he also says how he got it. "It had been missing from the collection all together for some time when it suddenly came up for auction I bid it immediately."

"Who's Talbot?" Finnian asked in confusion. He, Mey-Rin and Baldroy have no idea on who that is. Fortunately, Tanaka had turned into his true adult form and shed some like on Mr. Talbot. "Full name, William Henry Fox Talbot. Let's see... He was a renowned English scientist and one of the inventors of photographic technology. There was some strange rumours about the last camera he used, the one our Young Master has acquired. Legend has it that if you used this camera to photograph someone, whomever or whatever that person cares about most in the world will appear in the photograph as well." Tanaka explains.

Mey-Rin, who's considerably superstitious and has a soft spot for scary stories, was getting excited about the whole thing. "Oh my, that sounds too incredible to be true!!" She gleefully shouted with a blush. As Tanaka turned back into his chibi state, Baldroy asked, "Can such a camera really exist or is it just a rumour?" Ciel set up the camera as he looked up at Finnian. "Perhaps we should take a picture and find out." He went up the black sheet and position the camera to face the turquoise-eyed teen. "Don't move. The exposure takes ten seconds." Ciel told him and he takes the cover off the lens. Finnian understood him and stood up straight, not moving an inch.

"Uh, what exactly is exposure?" Mey-Rin asked. "Basically the camera's copying down an image of Finny." Baldroy tells her. While Ciel told him not to move, he didn't inform him that he didn't need to hold his breath as Finnian was struggling to do just that while trying to remain still as possible. "Stay still or the image will blur and we won't get a good picture." Ciel said. "Eight. Nine. Ten. All done." He places the cover back on the lens and Finnian was finally allowed to breathe again. "You didn't have to hold your breathe the whole time." Ciel said.

Soon they all went to the Darkroom to get the photo developed. When it was completed, Ciel lifted it up to see what was in the photo and Finnian was the first to spot it out quickly. A small bird that looked to be flying towards Finnian to rest on his shoulder. "Look at that! It's my bird!" Finnian said. "Huh? Since when did you have a pet bird?" Baldroy asked him, clearly remembering that he's never seen a bird around the kid. "Aw, it's so cute!" Mey-Rin gushed out.

"I gave it food everyday. Eventually, it started eating out of my hand. I was so happy, I went to give it a gentle pat and," Finnian explained to them as the head of a wooden bear broke off with him holding on the body of it. They had gathered back to Ciel's study long before this. That was more of an explanation of what happened next. "My little friend never moved again." Finnian said sadly. "Are you saying that he-?!" Mey-Rin asked. Tanaka took a sip of his tea before giving one more piece of information.

"Oh yes. I forgot to mention something. The camera has one other unique attribute. The new soul that it would show is not of this world. To put it plainly, the dead appear." Tanaka says.

"The dead?"

"You mean ghost!?"

"You can see why I would be so interested in this camera. Not only does it know who you care for the most but it reaches into the other world to photograph them." Ciel said with cheeky smile on his face. He clearly has something planned in his brain. Baldroy and Mey-Rin had opposite feelings about the camera. Baldroy was creeped out by the damn thing but Mey-Rin was as cheery and happy as a clown. "I know it's slowly coming to an end, but this is still the nineteenth century, surly nobody believes a story like that now!" Baldroy shouts out.

"That sounds amazing! What an incredible camera, Master!" Mey-Rin shouts in glee. Meanwhile, Finnian just sat on the floor, hugging his knees before bursting into tears. "AAHHH! I miss my poor little birdie!!" He cried. Ciel placed his hands on the camera and tells the servants of the job he had planned for them. "Take a picture of Sebastian with this camera. But do it discreetly, I don't want him to know what you're up to." He says.

"You want us to take a candid photo?" Baldroy asks him. "That's right." Ciel said. Mey-Rin blushed as she asks, "Really? The photograph will show us who Sebastian cares for most!?" Finnian was getting deeply invested into the plan as he and the others never thought they'd see the day to hear a sentence like that. "That's something I like to see." He said.

"Bloody right Finny!" Baldroy shouts, getting way too amped up for this. But then again, it was appropriate. "He's always bossing us around and mocking my artistic cooking methods! He's as human as we are!" Ciel spread a smirk at that. Oh, if they only knew. "He's got to have at least a weakness or two! And now's our chance to see 'em!"

"You'll handle it?" Ciel asks them. Like he needed to. The servants agree eagerly, excited to see who Sebastian cares most about, and curious if he has a flaw and shouted out, "As you wish, Young Master!" While they were getting excited and jittery about their mission, Ciel stares back at the camera. He knows what shows if it takes photos of a human but he wonders what kind of imagery will show if it takes a picture of a real, flesh and blood demon. 'There's no telling what will appear if we take a picture of him with this camera.' Regardless, this was an interesting game...and Ciel was going to win. He smirked. "This should be interesting."

And that brings us to where we are now.

Ciel remained in his study with a small playhouse that resembled the Phantomhive Manor and places his pieces on one of the room. Three soldiers surrounding a black ram. "Let's see. At this time of day, he's in the library."

Baldory, Mey-Rin and Finnian hide behind one of the shelves and parted books just enough to get a clear look of the handsome butler. Though they didn't expect Mei to sitting on the small sofa and reading in the same room. However, they had a mission to complete and were going to see it through. Besides, it doesn't seem that they noticed they were there. "He needs to stay still." Baldory said, holding up the camera. "For a full ten seconds, yes!" Mey-Rin says. "I hope this works." Finnian says, smiling. However, Sebastian gave a smile of his own as he adjusted his glove. And in swift action, Sebastian jumped around the room from on section to the other, but done with great elegance and style as he tidies up.

Polishing the wooden table, dusting the books, sweeping the floors, cleaning the small knickknacks and ornaments, cleaning the windows, everything down with great speed, elegance and patience. He was moving so quickly that the servants were having trouble to keep up. "He's fast!" They whispered out. "He's so fast, I can't even see him!" Mey-Rin says. "Damn, we'll never get that photo!" Baldroy said.

Suddenly, Sebastian had stopped moving as he arranges some white flowers by the doors. Looking it over in a thinking posture. "Look! He stopped!" Mey-Rin whispered. "Great! Let's go!" Baldroy says as he was about to take the photo. But then Sebastian reached into his front coat pocket and took out the white handkerchief. With a flick of his wrist, the white cloth had disappeared and two red roses appeared in his hand. Taking the others by surprise.

Sebastian placed one of the roses into the assortment of flowers, completing the look before walking towards Mei. Whom the latter was too engrossed in her book to pay attention to what was happening around her. Sebastian uses this to his advantage as he places the flower in her hair. This broke Mei away from her book as she looked up to Sebastian with a confused expression. She was left in more confusion when Sebastian gave her a smile and caressing her cheek before leaving the library.

Mei put down her book and saw that the whole library was left glittering and spotless. She reached up and felt the flower that Sebastian had placed on her. When did he do all of this? The servants were left astonished by the handsome butler's performance. Speechless and amazed. Though they did forget one thing. "I forgot to take a picture..." Baldroy said, falling against the wall. "He's so wonderful to watch." Mey-Rin says, blushing madly.

"What's going on?" Mei asked as she parted the book aside to reveal the servants hiding place. "AAAHH!!" They screamed at her sudden presence. To make a long story short, they told Mei about the camera and how they were trying to figure out Sebastian's hidden weakness. While that sounded interesting beyond belief, Mei was left confused by an important detail. She wanted to talk to Ciel about that but before she knew it, Mei found herself caught up in their shenanigans.

"And next, he'll straighten up every room." Ciel says as he positioned the pieces in a different place.

Sebastian was in the middle of laying a red sheet over the table when Finnian came barrelling into the room shoving the pool table towards him. Shouting at him to watch out. Sebastian glanced at him before taking the red sheet and, like a professional bull-fighter, moved the sheet in a way that covered Finnian's sight as took a step to the side. Once Finnian opened his eyes, he found himself breaking through the wall and crashing outside, leaving Sebastian to continue his work. Watching from the doorway, Baldroy and Mey-Rin let out a sigh. Guess that plan didn't work.

Mei waited around the corner of the hallway for Sebastian to come walking by. She sighed. She had no idea how she got roped into this. Her ears perked when she heard footsteps coming her way. She peeked out and saw that he was coming, so the others should be outside getting ready. Sebastian was on his way to work on the records in the office when he noticed Mei peeking out from the other side of the corner.

"Is something the matter Lady Misaki?" He asked. Mei shook her head and walked over to him. "No... it's just..." She said as she gazed down at the carpet. The plan was for her to distract him long enough for the others to take a photo, but she didn't know how to do that. "Yes? Go on, I'm listening." Sebastian says to her, wondering why she was behaving so timid all of a sudden. From the corner of eye, she saw Baldroy getting the camera ready so she had to do this quick. Without actually thinking, Mei wrapped her arms around Sebastian and hugged him. This action had greatly taken him by surprise.

"Lady Misaki?" Sebastian asked in confusion as Baldory and Mey-Rin prepared the camera from outside. "He's beautiful in profile too, yes he is!" Mey-Rin said, blushing red. Since they were on second floor, the chef and maid were both standing on top of a ladder while Finnian held on to it at the bottom. "Alright, now just stay there." Baldroy say as the camera was copying Sebastian's image. "Four...five...six..." Finnian began to count before the butler turned his head over to the window, making the other two flinched in shock and quickly duck down.

Sebastian gently pushed Mei away as he walked over to the window and looking out, as if he were searching for something. When he saw nothing, he turned his attention back to Mei and smiled at her. "I must get back to work Lady Misaki." He said. "Oh...right. I'm sorry about that." She says to him. Sebastian's smiled widened as he walked over and took her into his arms, this time surprising her. 

Mei was too shocked to even move before Sebastian pulled away. "I had appreciated that." He tells her with a low voice, making Mei blush. Sebastian gave a chuckle as he walked away. Mei just stood there, frozen in place as she reached up and felt her warm face. What just happened? And why was her face heating up?

Eventually, the servants met up and were exhausted. The mission to secure a photo was turning out to be much harder than they thought it was going to be. Sebastian's not an easy catch for the camera it seemed like. "This is turning out to be a lot harder than I thought it would. Getting one measly photograph shouldn't be so tough." Baldroy said as he and the others sigh. Soon the doors opened to reveal Sebastian staring down at them. "There you are, I have a task for the three of you." He says.

"What is it Sebastian?" Mey-Rin asked him. Sebastian turned his head to the window behind them and they followed suite. The task that he had in mind involved the demon hound right outside. While Finnian was glowing with happiness, Baldroy didn't like where this was going. "The mangy pooch? What do you want us to do?" Baldroy asked. "We'll be receiving a guest this afternoon. That thing is offensive. You are to transfer it out of sight before the guest arrives." Sebastian tells them.

"He's kind of a big fellow where should we put him?" Baldroy asks as Finnian runs up to greet the Devil Hound through the window. "I'll let you three figure that out." Sebastian said, turning to leave them to deal with Pluto. "Oi! We've got our own jobs to take care of too ya know!" Baldroy calls out.

Sebastian stopped and turned to face them with a bright smile. "You do have until this afternoon. I'm sure you can take care of it in between your other tasks." He says as he steps out of the room. His smile dropped once he was alone and glanced back at the closed doors. Thank goodness for that, he wasn't sure how much longer of their idiocy he'll take today. "Maybe now I can do my own job without interruption." Sebastian says as he walked away.

"Plu-Plu, come here!" Finnian said as he tugged on hard the rope that was tied to Pluto's collar. Finnian tried to lead the Demon Hound away from the estate but, like most dogs, he refused to move and tried to stay put. But Finnian gave a smile and a small laugh as he used his strength to pull Pluto away regardless of his resistance. "Up you go!" Finnian shouts as he pulled the rope hard enough to get Pluto off the ground. Yet, he didn't like getting pulled around very much as he glared at Finnian and breathed fire on him. Causing him to scream and move out of the way, burn the rope, and run back to the manor.

Back at the Manor, Sebastian was setting down Ciel's supper in his study while the blue-eyed boy glances back outside. Wondering where the others are and what they were doing. 'Honestly, what's taking them so long?' Ciel thought. "Something wrong?" Sebastian asks him, taking notice of his impatient expression. Ciel closed his eye and simply told him, "No, it's nothing. I think I'll take my supper in here today."

Sebastian gave a small bow. "Of course my lord." He said as he turned to leave. But stopped when he took notice of the small pieces. The three soldiers and the black ram. He gave a rather omnibus smile as he appeared to have pieced together on what's going on today, but he said nothing and left the young Earl with his supper as he goes to continue his work.

Mei sighed as she walked out into the back garden. Still feeling rather embarrassed by that "hugging incident" with Sebastian. She knew why and she knew that they were curious about who or what Sebastian cares for the most, but she didn't want to do something like that again. EVER. Oh yeah, there's also that one little detail that needs to be addressed too. But she's gonna have to wait to talk to Ciel about that.

She sat down against the wall and began to do some sketching when she caught sight of white fur. Mei looked up and saw that Pluto, in his demon hound form, sleeping on the end of the steps. Mei tilted her head to the side as she looked at him with an observant stare. Then out of nowhere, a black cat had wondered into the grounds and walked on by. A white dog and a black cat.... An idea popped into her head and turned to a blank page. The cat yawned and laid down by Mei's feet.

By this time Sebastian had shown up and was greatly disappointed to see that Pluto was still here and not lured away like he was supposed to. Honestly, their guest could arrive at any given moment, can't those servants do anything right?! Apparently not. "They couldn't handle one simple task." Sebastian said to himself as he held his head. "I'm beginning to think those three would be more useful as dog food."

"Meow~."

Sebastian quickly looked up to find the source of that sweet sound and saw Mei playing with a black cat before it jumped up and rested on her lap. Mei halted her sketch when the cat jumped and reposition herself to make the cat more comfortable before resuming. Sebastian smiled at the sight and brought a hand to his cheek. "How lovely."

Sebastian walked over to her and peeked at her sketchbook. He was amazed at her talent as an artist. It was a picture of cat running along the page with a it's shadow was of that of great dog that appeared to be running alongside it. Sebastian smiled as he said, "You have quite the talent my lady." His voice startled Mei as she looked up at him. She hesitate a bit as she turned her eye away. "I guess so." She said in a quiet voice. "Do you not enjoy drawing Lady Misaki?" Sebastian asked her, taking a seat next to her.

Mei shook her head. "No, it's nothing like that. I just think that I like looking at art more than making it. I mostly just look at art books though." Then a memory came to her. The day where she showed the others one of her paintings, Megumi, San and Naomi had surprised her with a trip to an art museum. There weren't many in Yomiyama, but Mei recalled how much fun the day had been even though she hadn't shown it. "I did go to a museum once, but there weren't many around where I used to live."

"I see." Sebastian said. He briefly wondered if she had any friends back in Japan since she had a lonely aura around her. Sebastian wondered if her soul was a tattered as Ciel's, so much so that she had forgotten how to truly give a smile. "Perhaps when we travel to the city, we can make time to visit one of the museums here." Sebastian told her with a smile. Mei looked up at him and gave slight nod. "Maybe. Someday."

The cat gave a soft meow as it took noticed of Sebastian. The demon butler gave a small grin. He reached over and gave her shirt a quick tug, yanking Mei, with the cat in arms, into his lap. Swiftly and smoothly he constricted his arms around her shoulder and waist, gently, yet firmly holding her in place. Mei gazed up to him with bewildered reddish-brown eye, stunned silence as he trailed a finger down her cheek and under her chin. His cat-like grin crept onto his face as Mei wondered what in the world he was doing.

She didn't....entirely dislike it...but it was highly unexpected and had no idea how to handle a situation like this. When he cupped her cheek, Mei became a little flustered. ....This was getting weird now, no boy has ever came near her like this in her life and yet Sebastian’s was holding her in such a way. 'His hand....it's so warm.' Mei thought to herself. Now that she was aware of what Sebastian is, this somewhat took her by surprise. She believed that demons possessed an ice cold touch, but maybe she was wrong. Then Sebastian took the cat into his hands and began to admire the feline creature. With the look on his face and how gently he handles the cat, Mei found it to be rather cute.

"A live, supple body. And the paws...such soft paws." Sebastian said with a slight blush. "Cats are perfect." Mei scratched the cat behind the ear as the thought of Naomi getting along with him crossed her mind. 'Hmm. She might, but I wonder how she and the others would react if they saw us like this?' Mei thought. Then the sound of fire rang out and Mei turned to see Pluto turned into his human form was sprinted towards them, throws the cat, and clings to the both of them. ...Was Pluto feeling jealous or something?

Regardless, Mei got out of that hold and ran to check on the cat that Pluto had tossed. Fortunately, it didn't seemed to be injured so Mei allowed it to go while she picked up her sketchbook and pencil case. "I should be going now. I'll take care of Pluto later on." Mei said as she gave a small bow before leaving. Sebastian raised a hand to stop her, but she was already gone. He gave a sigh as he glared down at the Demon Hound who was practically crying on him.

"Interrupted again. Can a butler get no peace around here?" Sebastian asked himself.

Chapter Text

Back inside, the servants show their failed photos to Ciel. None of captured Sebastian and all that showed were either pitch black or had black splotches on them. This wasn't good. Ciel was starting to think that maybe Sebastian was on to them. "We're so sorry master." Finnian apologised. "But Bard thought up a really good plan, yes he did." Mey-Rin said. "The idea came to me earlier when I saw the dog breathed fire."

"I hope this new plan doesn't involve a flamethrower." Ciel said to them. The servants quickly shut up. Yeah, that was the alternative plan they had in mind. Mei took a moment to think about that and the end result was a huge mess and a very angry butler. Mei turned to Ciel and was about to suggest to him a better, and less elaborate, plan. "If you want a photo of Sebastian then shouldn't you-?" Mei began to say when Lau suddenly entered the room. Okay when and how did he get here?

"My Lord, hello." He says as he walked in and cut off Mei mid-sentence. Ciel, clearly wasn't expecting his appearance, asked him. "And what are you doing here?" Lau walked up to him and pressed his hands on his desk. "I heard what you were up too and thought I might assist." Lau told him. Knowing that he would bring nothing but trouble, and a headache, Ciel quickly dismissed him. "Go away."

"My Lord, please don't be so hasty." Lau says to him, insisting that he join in on this little mission. "Why not relax and leave his up to me?" Lau says, catching Ciel's attention. He sounded serious. Lau picked up the black ram piece and moved his hand around. As if he were wrapping it in an invisible web, like a spider carefully encasing its prey. "I have already woven a spider's web to trap him. And the more he tries to struggle, the more entangled he'll become. Escape is impossible. Against me...no prey stands a chance. It is only a matter of time."

That was rather interesting. Lau seemed fairly confident that he can actually trap someone like Sebastian. Still...is he was this confident, then maybe he can actually do it. Ciel and Mei sent a glance to one another before the blue-eyed boy accepts Lau's help. But not without a warning. "Very well. But I will not tolerate any failure. Is that understood?" Ciel tells him. Lau's everlasting smile never faded from his face as he said to the young Earl, "Yes. Of course my Lord. I would not allow failure to sully the Phantomhive name. I would surly be booted out of the country if I did such a thing."

Mei looked at Lau as she wondered on what kind of plan he would have in mind. She was actually getting curious about this and wanted to see it play out. Then again, Sebastian is not an easy one to catch. Mei then asked Lau, "Are you sure you can do this?" The Chinese nobleman gave a smile to her and simply said, "But of course......so, what are you up too?" The servant fall onto the floor anime-style, Ciel got annoyed with the man as a anime vein popped in his head, and Mei just sighed. Of course he had no idea on what Ciel needed help with.

Later, Mei walked back outside to the garden and found Pluto, back in his Demon Hound form, running up to her. He was so happy to see her that he nuzzled his snout against Mei. Mei gently petted his snout and said, "Pluto, you have to listen to me. There's someone coming here this afternoon, and you need to hide." Pluto laid down as he looked at her with his red eyes.

"Do you understand me? Go hide in the forest until I come get you." Pluto gave a small whimper but he got up, gave a bark, and ran off deep into the forest. And it was a good think he did too, because when Mei came back inside she saw Ciel and Lau hiding behind one of the beams of the manor with the blue-eyed boy beckoning her to come hide with them. She could hear Sebastian speaking with another man who introduces himself as Paul Jones from the Brit Business Company, a writer. Hearing this, Mei quickly ran to where the other two were hiding and waited till Sebastian and Mr. Jones walked by.

Mei, Ciel and Lau peeked out to watch the scene unfold. And the Chinese nobleman kept up his smile wide and said, "Now, our plan begins." Sebastian and Mr. Jones were walking up the stairs when the writer stopped dead in his tracks as he caught sight of...such an alluring, seductive sight. A girl, no older than eighteen-years-old, with large, golden eyes and jet-black hair with thick, square bangs. Her hair is arranged in long thin braids and cat ear-like buns, accompanied by a pink peony and a golden tassel on the left bun. She wears a short, lavender and black cheongsam, that is decorated with dark-pink petals, and a dark blue cropped jacket on top. Additionally, she dresses in thick black stockings, black ballet shoes, and gold anklets with bells.

This was Lau's, as he put it, sister Ran-Mao. Though he also says that weren't related by blood. Apparently, Lau's "spider web" involved Ran-Mao's using her feminine and seductive charm to distract Sebastian long enough to get a photo. However, while she was successful in distracting Mr. Jones, this tactic it fails to distract Sebastian, who had basically ignored her and kept walking ahead. Ciel blushed in embarrassment and looked away, asking Lau, "That was your big plan?"

"Quite odd. How could it have failed?" Lau questioned. Surprised that anyone would actually ignore the gorgeous and voluptuous Ran-Mao. "Just look at her my Lord, I was sure that even the butler would stop a moment to stare." Mei tilted her head in confusion at what Ran-Mao was doing? What...was she doing? All Mei knew was that she was just sitting on the banister making several poses in front of Mr. Jones. Mei found her to be...weird. "I was a fool for ever believing you could handle something like this." Ciel says.

"I have only begun to fight." Lau says as he stepped out of the beam and motioned a strange hand signal to the others before hiding back behind the beam. Waiting by the side of the staircase, the servants were in position to take Sebastian’s photo and after getting the signal, went into action. As Baldroy held the camera, Finnian and Mey-Rin went up with two large, Egyptian-styled feather fans. They created a breeze just below Ran-Mao which lifted up her skirt a bit. Ran-Mao didn't seem to care about it and continued to do what she was doing, lifting up her leg just slightly for Mr. Jones to see.

Baldroy was also getting distracted by the young woman's seductive charms and held the camera to her instead of their prime target. He quickly shook his head and regained focus. He turned his sights of Sebastian, who had been standing at the top of the stairs for a while now, stared at the writer with a puzzled look. "Coming, sir?" He asked. His voice had brought out Mr. Jones from the pleasant view and quickly regained his composure, following Sebastian into the other room.

"How strange. I don't understand." Lau said, still wondering how Sebastian would remain unfazed by Ran-Mao as many fall down to her feet in an instant. Ciel let out an annoyed groan as he gripped his head. Ugh, he knew something like this would happen, why would he bothered listening to him. "What a spectacular waste of time that was." Ciel says.

Mei wanted to talk Ciel about her suggestion while he stormed off into his study with the others and herself following him. However, whatever he was thinking, he closed the door behind him with the sign that said 'Do Not Disturb' hanging off. So the others were left sitting out in the hallway while they waited for Ciel's next orders.

"What's wrong? Why is he in there all by himself? Is he sulking or something." Lau asked them, sounding concerned for the boy. He had shown up just a few moments ago. "He said he wanted to take a little time to think things over alone." Mey-Rin said, answering Lau's questions. "He seems to be taking this quite seriously." Baldroy says. Mei looked up at the door and said, "I hope he doesn't do anything reckless."

Inside his study, Ciel stared intently at the small soldiers all surrounding the black ram. "We need him to stand still for ten full seconds." So far, every attempt to capture Sebastian's picture had all been unsuccessful. He needed to find a new way to get his demon butler to stay still long enough for the camera to copy down his image and for him to see who...or what will appear alongside him. His curiosity was growing larger by the second and was even more determined to see it. But what? What should he do to see just that?

Ciel let out a sigh as he held his head. Well...there was one thing that could work. But he didn't like it. But what other choice did he had. "This is the one thing I didn't want to resort to. But he's left me with no other choice." Ciel said to himself. If this was how Sebastian wanted to play, then he'll gladly take him on the same manner. While Ciel called in the others to inform him of his plan to get Sebastian to stand still for them to take his picture, with Mei not approving of it at all, Sebastian was answering all of Mr. Jones questions about the Funtom company in Tanaka's place in a rather sped-fast paced and very detailed way that Mr. Jones almost had trouble keeping up to write all that down.

When it was over, it was a miracle that Mr. Jones had actually written most of everything down and hadn't fainted. He pulled out his handkerchief and wiped away the sweat he had broke out in. Regarding, he had found himself rather pleased that he received well renowned answers and before he left, Mr. Jones had offered to take a picture to go with the article, but Sebastian politely declines.

Mei had stepped out the study and saw a carriage leaving the manor. Knowing that Mr. Jones was now gone, she went to go and call for Pluto, passing by Sebastian in the hallway. Mei went outside and walked down to the centre of the garden. Mei wasn't a very loud person. A very quiet girl by nature. She could barely let out a yell, but she tried her best to call out Pluto's name and tell him that she has the dog treats he likes so much.

To her surprise, Pluto came running out of the forest and stopping directly in front of Mei and laying down. Awaiting for the tasty treats. As Mei began feeding Pluto his dog treats, with the occasional pet and scratch, she heard the sounds of plates clattering and turned around to see Sebastian preparing a small table and chair complete with tea and sweets. Mei gave Pluto one last pat on the head before going to the table and wiping her hands clean on her skirt. Sebastian pulled the chair for Mei to sit.

She looked down on her plate and saw six pieces that reminded her of jelly buns with a dog paw print on each of them. Three were white and the other three were brown. Mei mused that they must've been flavoured as chocolate and vanilla, and that they looked tasty. "Today we are serving Demon Hound bean cakes. Manufactured in Houndsworth." Sebastian said as he placed a cup of green tea beside her plate.

Mei picked up the small fork and took a small bite. It was really good. "This is really good. But how come we have sweets from that place?" Mei asked as she ate the bean cake. "Bard and the others purchased quite a few of them." Sebastian said to her. "Oh...so that explains the packages." Mei said as she ate another cake. "Who was the man that came here earlier?"

"A man that wishes to write an article about the Funtom Company and it's progression in the future." Sebastian tells Mei. Then as she lifted her cup to drink her tea, with a smile he said, "He then tried to take a photograph before he left." Mei halted her cup that was mere inches from her lips. So, he tried to take a photo too...Mei resumed to drink her tea and said, "Really."

"Apparently portrait photos are all the rage among the nobles lately." Sebastian said with a cat-like grin. Mei wasn't sure if he was being coy or if he was trying to subtly get her to say that Ciel, the servants and, arguably herself, were trying to take his photo as well since he had being avoiding their attempt. 'I wonder if demons have a strange sense of humour.' Mei thought to herself as she looked at that grin. "Maybe, I'm not really aware of things like that." She told him.

"I'm sure you look just as beautiful in a still photograph, my lady." Sebastian tells her. Mei blinked before turning away and eating her sweets. Sebastian's red eyes leaned down to look at her face and saw her cheeks painted pink. He turned away as he lifted a hand to mouth to keep himself from laughing. Truly...Mei was a special type of human and Sebastian could admit that he found that intriguing and charming. Though, he himself didn't know why he was so interested in a girl like her.

That evening, the full moon shone brightly in the night. Pluto howled at the moon and everyone was getting everything ready for Ciel's plan. Mei and Ciel watched his study's window, seeing the others pulling along strange, large cargo into the woods. "It's almost time. Let's go." Ciel says as he and Mei stepped out of the study and made their way out into the woods. "Are you this is a good idea? I'm pretty sure that there's a different, and safe, option." Mei said.

"Relax. I can assure you that with the contract seal, Sebastian will allow nothing to happen to me." Ciel said as he turned his head to her. "Yes, but..." Mei said as Ciel walked up ahead. "Go wait with Mey-Rin and Bard, it's nearly time." He said. Mei sighed and went to find where the maid and chef were hiding while Ciel walked into the clearing. Finnian stood a few feet behind him, holding onto a large statue with no arms or a head and angel wings. This is Ciel's latest plan: having Finnian throw statues at him, forcing Sebastian to come to his aid.

"Are you sure this is okay?!" Finnian called out to him. Ciel stood there with a confidence smile and looked ever so calm. "Yes." Ciel said, smiling. "I don't know." Finnian said, not feeling okay with this whole plan. "Do it Finny!!" Ciel said in a commanding tone which startled the young teenager. "Right!" Finnian shouted as he took a step back and twirled around the statue a few times before launching it high to the sky. A few seconds later, the statue was swiftly coming back down to earth. And was aimed right at Ciel, who stood there calm and collected.

Finnian bent down to his knees and shut his eyes in terror as the statue was inching towards Ciel. Mei's heart clenched up as she stood where she was, helplessly at the possibility, though slight, that Ciel would be severely injured if this plan didn't go the way he wanted. She wanted to believe that Sebastian would arrive just in time to save him. But for Ciel to be doing this on purpose, it made her all the more worried.

"Look out sir!" Finnian shouted. He couldn’t risk his young master life lie this and without thinking of the plan, Finnian rushed over and tried to save Ciel. At the same moment, the statue made contact. Mei covered her eye as a cloud of dust envelop the nearly the whole area. As the dust settles, Ciel was on the ground, uninjured and alive. He quickly looked up and saw Sebastian hovering over his with the statue on his back. From Ciel's point of view, it look liked the wings were connected to Sebastian. Only for that illusion to quickly fade as the whole statue crumbled up into pieces.

Finnian was off to the side, unconscious as Sebastian helped Ciel get back up only for the both of them to pause as fireworks have been set off from three dragons. Most likely have been provided by Lau as he and Ran-Mao stepped out from one of them. "What a charming picture the two of you make." He said.

"You're late." Ciel says the demon butler. "My apologies sir. I was making dinner preparations." Sebastian said. Fortunately for all of them, Sebastian pauses long enough for Mey-Rin and Baldroy to take the photo. Finally, they got it. Mei came out of her hiding spot and went straight towards Ciel and Sebastian. Looking at the younger boy, Mei immediately asked, "Are you alright?"

Ciel brushes off her worry and just said, "Of course I am. I've already told you that nothing would happened to me." Ciel didn't seem to care that Mei was worried about him and behaved rather cold about the whole thing. But his tone had quickly changed when Mei suddenly wrapped her arms around him. The young Earl's face turned bright red and froze up as he stuttered out, "Wh-wh-what the bloody hell do you think you doing?!" Mei payed no mind to his tone as she held him closer. "I'm glad you weren't hurt."

Sebastian found the whole rather amusing as he had never seen his young master so flustered. "Okay! I get it, now get off me!!" Ciel shouted, clearly embarrassed being in this type of embrace. Mei gave a small smile as she pulled away and where she had finally, finally told Ciel about the one thing that would've made this entire mission so much easier. "You know, this would've been simple if you had just given Sebastian the order to stand still for it."

"What?!"

"She is correct about this my lord. If you had ordered me too, I would've had no choice but to do so." Sebastian says with cat-like grin. Ciel pouted a bit and turned away, pretending to not to know what they were talking about. But that didn't matter, what's important was that he had finally gotten that photograph.

The servants then rushed over to the Darkroom and prepared the supplies necessary to developed the photo. They were beyond happy that they were able to obtain it. "We've finally got the photo." Finnian said happily as he held onto a small stacks of paper. "At last, we'll see the fruits of a hard day's labour." Baldroy said. "The Young Master will be happy, yes he will." Mey-Rin said. Baldroy opened up the case of blank paper and placed into the small tank of water with specialised chemicals. They leaned in close as the picture was slowly become visible to see.

"Okay...I can almost make it out." Baldroy says. That's when the covers leading into the dark room opened up and enters Pluto. Coming inside, growling at them in his human form. He looked angry and was staring at them with an intense glare. Making the servants back away in fear as they no idea why he was so angry. And without any warning, Pluto blows fire on them and ruining the photo. Ciel, Lau and Ran-Mao could hear their screaming and the rampage from Ciel's study where the young Earl knew what was going on.

When that was a success, Pluto ran off and went straight to Sebastian. Who gave him the orders to wreck photo and their development. Pluto smiled as he sat down before the red-eyed man. Sebastian kneeled down and placed a hand on Pluto's head. "Good." He said as Pluto barked happily as he nuzzled against him. Sebastian rewarded him with a dog treat to which Pluto happily nommed on.

"My Lord has outdone himself. That was an elaborate piece of mischief he concocted." Sebastian says he took a glance at Pluto before walking away. "You do know you're sleeping outside." Pluto stopped nomming on his treat when he glanced at Sebastian's retreating form, whimpering sadly.

It was around 10:00 when Sebastian went to bring Ciel to bed, but finds that the boy was already sleeping, slumped in his desk chair. While irresponsible of him, it was rather typical. That when Sebastian takes noticed of the camera on his desk. A thought came to him and while he is sleeping, Sebastian takes a photo of Ciel with Pluto behind the window.

That taken care of, Sebastian placed Ciel in his room and left him alone to sleep. His next was to check in on Mei. He knocked on her door before stepping, and like Ciel, found her asleep on her bed above her covers. Her sketch pad on the floor. Dear thing, must've fallen asleep while drawing. Sebastian walked over and lifted her up just enough to tuck her into the sheets.

He picked up her sketch book and came across of her latest project. It was of him. Standing tall with his a smile with large, black angel-like wings and seemed to be reaching out to the viewer. Sebastian felt flattered that Mei would take the time to draw this. He quietly tore it out and decided to keep it. His red-eyes turned to the sleeping girl and decided to take of photo of her as well.

He then takes the photos to the Darkroom and had gotten them developed. He developed Ciel's photo first and wasn't all that surprised to find what he saw, but it did bring a smile to his face. However, when Sebastian developed Mei's photo, he was left confused. Of course, Sebastian's initial reaction was being pleasantly surprised to find himself in the photograph with her, watching over her as she slept. So she cares about him the most huh? That's so adorable.

But then his eyes caught sight of something else. A young girl sitting near Mei's head, smiling down at her with such loving eyes. Sebastian didn't know what to make of this. What greatly confused him was how the girl looked almost identical to Mei. Her appearance was very similar to that of Mei. Like her, this strange girl was very beautiful, but the main differences between them was that this girl wasn't wearing an eyepatch, has two, normal eyes instead of one of different colour, and has brown hair and a part of her hair is braided. So, Sebastian was left wondering on who this girl was...and relation does she have with Mei.

That's when Sebastian recalled what Mei had told him back in Houndsworth. How she had been very close to her cousin and how she had lost her in a tragic event. "If this girl is her cousin...then why does she bare such a striking resemblance to Lady Misaki?" Sebastian had believed that when Mei spoke of her he could tell that she had hesitated before saying it was her cousin, and by her hesitation meant that she held a secret about her relation with her family. Sebastian wondered about what kind of loneliness and lacklustre life Mei had gone through for to behave almost distance and enigmatic.

As well as what he could do to prevent her from experiencing such a thing again.

 

Chapter Text

It had been several months, and the weather had begun to get colder. So it was a matter of time before the snow fell from the clouds above and will commence the winter season. It was in the dead of night when a young man flees from certain men with his gun in hand. "Run faster damn it, we can't let him get away!" The leader of the three men shouted as they chased after him. "Does Tim even know how hard we worked to steal that thing, let's go get it back!"

Tim eventually runs to the bridge where he stops to take a quick break as he looks down at his hand with the object that he took. It was a ring, a smooth cut blue jewel with a pale gold band. He gives off an out of breath laugh as he smiles down at the ring. "No one else will have it. This is my ring now." He said.

"No, I don't think so." A voice said as Tim quickly turns around to find a tall man in a white suit standing beneath a street light. He couldn't see his face, but he knew that his eyes were staring down at him. "You don't deserve that ring. An impure man such as you does not deserve to have it." The man said as with one strike, attacks him and makes him jump off the bridge. Crashing through the ice and into the freezing waters below. To the other men's perspective, it looked as though Tim had willingly jumped off and considered him to be a fool.

The following morning, Sebastian, Mei and Ciel go to attend the Frost Fair, which is held on the River Thames in winter. A fair where small shops are set up, food is being served hot and fresh, people to go ice skating and small games for those to play. The Frost Fair hasn't been active for a long while as of late. "Impressive. Frost Fair certainly is an apt title for this." Sebastian says as they past an ice sculpture. Mei had gone off to check on her mother as she saw her dolls being displayed and promised to come back in a little while.

"A large gathering held at the foot of the London bridge when Thames freezes over. From what I'm told it hasn't been held for several decades now. Not since 1814 apparently." Ciel says as he sees over the whole fair. But they weren't the only ones at the Frost Fair. Tim's former pursuers are standing over the fair on top of the bridge where Tim had fallen off from. "Well, any word on Tim?" The leader asked. "They found his body in the ice. It appears the ring wasn't on him." The shorter man of the trio informs him. "Which means one thing,"

"Aye. The ring is in the Thames."

Mei walked through the large crowed of people as she tried to navigate back to Ciel and Sebastian. With her mother and grandmother, Mei was relieved that they were doing okay. Especially her mother. Their reunion went rather well as Kirika was happy that her little Mei was safe and secured as she, very carefully, stroked her hair.

Seeing that her family was alright, Mei left their tent talking a few things in a large paper bag. But with so many people, Mei was worried that she might not be going the right way. As she walked, Mei tripped on something and fell onto the ice. "O-ow..." Mei said as she sat up her knees, placing her hand on one when she felt something seeping through her black tights. "Are you alright, young miss?" A friendly male's voice asked her as he bent down to help pick up her bag. When Mei looked up at him to give her thanks, the man was slightly surprised to see her. "Say, you're..."

Ciel and Sebastian walked along the isles of tents to go find Mei as she was taking longer than expected to get back to them. They see people going on selling their small nicknacks and goodies with their owners boasting about their products and hoping people would stop and make a selection. They pass this one man in particular and Ciel saw something that caught his eye. "Step on up, ladies and gents. I've got bargains that would blow even Jack Frost away, buy something for someone special." The salesman said, trying either his best or too hard to make a sale.

Ciel gave a small chuckle as he looked at the man's items making Sebastian to ask, "Is there something amusing?" Ciel simply gazed at the man's display he had put out and said, "Those goods are of doobies quality. Funtom should set up a stall, any of our products would be better than what that man is selling." He says this somewhat quietly to himself and Sebastian so that the man wouldn't hear him. He then gets the man's attention when he uses his cane to point at the small toy replica of Noah's Ark. "Like that there." Ciel said.

"Ah, hello there noble lad!" The man greeted him. Clearly had no idea who he really is. "You have a good eye! That piece is one of a kind! It was manufactured by the Funtom Toy Company years ago back when it was still only a small craft studio." The man says, spinning a tale of the ark. However, Ciel knew better. "No, that is a blatant fake. The Funtom Arks are rare. Only three were ever made. My predecessor employed the talent of an artist incredibly skilled in his craft. Since our estate burned down even we no longer possess one." Ciel says as he recalls playing with one of the arks with Elizabeth as a child. "One most certainly wouldn't turn up here."

"Noah's Ark." Sebastian began as Ciel gazes up at him. "You know, it reminds me of this country." Sebastian says. "Why's that?" Ciel asked him. "Think about it, a boat captained by a single person. One filled with only the select few who have chosen to be saved." Sebastian said as he gave a smile. "Rather arrogant don't you think?" He wasn't wrong. Humans can be rather arrogant creatures. Amongst being other things.

"Lord Phantomhive." A familiar voice called out. Sebastian and Ciel quickly turned around when they heard Mei's voice and found her standing next to Fred Abberline, who was surprised to find the young Earl in a place like this. Ciel didn't take his presence too seriously and he gave a rather cheeky smile. "A Scotland Yard inspector has time to attend the fair. London must be very peaceful, today anyway." Ciel says.

"It's not." Abberline firmly stated. "I'm on duty right now and I have asked this young lady to help me find you." Ciel, again, doesn't take him seriously and turns around. "Oh. Well then I'll leave you earn your wages in faithful service to the Queen and country. Good day inspector. Come along Ms. Misaki." Ciel says as he walks away with Sebastian and Mei following behind. Abberline, however, wasn't able to let him just walk away like that and began to run after him. Claiming that he has questions only the young boy could answer.

"Wait, come back! I have some questions I want to ask you! Ciel!" Abberline shouts as he reaches forward to grabbed Ciel's shoulder when it was slapped away by his trusted butler. They all stopped walking and Sebastian tells the inspector, "Pardon me. My master is a touch fragile at the moment. Oh, I mean sensitive." He said this as Ciel gave a stare with Mei giving out a soft giggle. Sebastian gave a small bow to the officer as he says, "Perhaps you could try to be a trifle more gentle when you're approaching him."

Abberline gave a strong stare at the butler and didn't back down on his goal in mind. He insisted in talking to Ciel about important matters and that he needed to discuss these matters with him personally. Ciel thought about for a moment before agreeing. Later, Ciel, Mei and Abberline sat in a tent which is being use to act as a small Chinese restaurant. As one of the waitress sets down their tea and small sweet snacks, Ciel asks him, "Now, what is an inspector from the Yard doing here? What's your business Abberline?"

"Murder." He says. "A man's corpse was found this morning trapped in the ice on the Thames. We learned he was a member of a certain criminal organisation. I'm here because Scotland Yard wants to hunt down that man's killer and we also want to recover a ring that he stole. A blue diamond, one supposedly worth around two thousand quid." Abberline was about to explain more on the situation when a voice cut him off. They turned and saw that Lau had appeared, with Ran-Mao in his arms, and decided to join in on the conversation. 'He must've overheard him. ...And where'd exactly he come from?' Mei thought.

"The diamond. The ultimate symbol of eternal radiance. A stone that bewitches all those who see it sparkle, what man wouldn't be inspired to pursue such an exquisite prize even knowing all that awaits him is total destruction?" Lau said. While Ciel and Mei gave each other skeptical looks, Abberline nearly knock over his chair as he stood up abruptly and stared in both shock and amazement at the Chinese Nobleman. "Impossible. How do you know about the Hope Piece!?" He exclaimed.

"You're after the Hope Piece?" Ciel asked him, now he had gotten his full attention. Mei stares back at the inspector in slight confusion. She had never heard about this 'Hope Piece' before. Lau gave a nonchalant smile and said, "Oh? Interesting. Such a gemstone really does exist, oh my. Ah." And, of course, as expected, Lau didn't know a damn thing about it. Why does he always put on that stupid charade? "Wha..? Hold on! But you were saying-." Abberline began to say before Ciel cut him off.

"It's best to ignore him, he was blabbering. Anyway Lau, what in the world are you doing here?" Ciel asks him. "I own this place my lord. Nice eh?" Lau tells him as he takes a seat at their table with Ran-Mao sitting on his lap. "Yes, of course you do." Ciel said as he takes a sip of his tea. "This Hope Piece you were talking about sounds fascinating my lord. Perhaps you can tell me more about it?" Lau asked him.

"Have you never heard of it? A blue gem known as the Hope Diamond, named after the man who's collection it was a part of, Henry Philip Hope."

"Don't know it."

"It passed to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. We know how they turned out." Ciel said. Mei listened in more closely as Ciel began to speak more about the diamond. Apparently the diamond is plagued with a curse that causes nothing but great misfortune to anyone who possesses it. Those who had owned the gemstone have suffered disgrace, divorced, suicide, imprisonment, torture and financial ruin.

"At one point it was stolen and cut into smaller pieces to disguise it. Rumour has it that two such pieces still exist." Mei glances down at the ring on Ciel's thumb. His family's ring. She got a creepy chill when she suspected that he held that other shard. "Those shards of diamond would certainly be valuable." Ciel says as he turns his attention back to the inspector. "Tell me Abberline, is that what you're searching for?"

Abberline gazed down at the table before he said, "The diamond was being moved as evidence, its carriage was attacked. It was stolen." Smiling like the mischievous imp he was, Ciel leaned forward and began to get a little excited about the new game at play here. "Intriguing. Give me details, I would like to lend you a hand with this case." Abberline was shocked to hear this and his initial response was to sternly decline his little offer, but his words were caught in his throat when Ciel's smile widened. "Of course I can't force you. But then if you do decide to refuse me, I can see to it that Sir Arthur finds himself in a rather awkward position."

Seeing that he was backed up against the corner, Abberline reluctantly agrees and takes Ciel on his offer. Eventually they, along with Lau, travel with Abberline to the one who knows well enough about the case and supposedly knows where the ring is. Much to Ciel's great dismay, it was the Undertaker. Which they had to pay his stupid fee to get info. "You're sure this is the right place?" Ciel asked him.

"Yes it is. He set up shop here because so many people have been freezing to death here in the Frost Fair." Abberline says. "How very convenient for him." Mei said. Wait, how many were dying from frostbite here? Lau seemed to be just as annoyed as Ciel as he said, "Inspector, you can be serious. Not him."

"Yes him and you lot can wait right here outside, you are lucky I let you accompany me at all." Abberline says in an authoritative voice as he goes to reach for the doorknob, only for him and the others to find that it was a just a sheet made to look like a door as Abberline fell right on in while making a funny shout. "What a hopeless fool." Ciel said. "One of the privileges of youth my lord." Lau said. "So what is this place?"

"It's the Undertaker's parlour!" Ciel shouted at him. How the hell could he forget?! "You met him during the Jack the Ripper case remember?"

"Oh right."

"Abberline won't last one minute in there. Sebastian, prepare to-." Ciel said before a loud, boisterous laughter that bursted out of the large tent(or building?) and caused the sign to float away. "HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" Ciel was completely shocked at what's going on as he walked into the parlour. He and the others found Undertaker getting over his laughing fit with Abberline staring at him with a genuine confused expression.

Undertaker got up from the floor and gave out small bits of his laugh. "I assure you man, you are a role profession. That was hysterical!" Undertaker said. "You could be a world renowned comedian."

"What did you say to him?" Ciel asked.

"I have no idea, I was talking to him normally. He began laughing like a mad man." Abberline says.

"Whatever you said it must've been funny." Mei said, somewhat interested at how Abberline managed to make him laugh unintentionally. Though Ciel looked a bit annoyed at this. "How unexpected. You aren't without talent." He said as Sebastian walked up and stared daggers at Abberline. "It seems you are man to be reckoned with. Most interesting." Sebastian said.

"But I didn't do anything!" Abberline insisted as he brought his hands up in a defensive manner. The look the handsome butler was giving was scaring him. Ignoring them for the time being, Ciel slammed his hands against Undertaker's desk and demanded answers out of him. "Tell me more about the ring. I want to know it all. The man you pulled out of the river was the last to have it." Ciel says but the Undertaker continued to laugh.

"Perhaps it was frozen in the ice near where the body was found. You are a citizen of our great country Mr. Undertaker. Please give us your help in this matter." Abberline says as he bows his head humbly. Undertaker laughed once more before giving them his full attention. "As I said before I'm profoundly impressed with you Inspector. I'll tell you everything. Where is the ring you ask?" Undertaker then lead them outside of his shop and showed them the ring's location. Right on plain sight.

The ring was incorporated into an ice statue. Abberline screamed at the sight as Lau said, "Ah, it appears that a sculptor must've happened upon the ring and designed a beautiful ice sculpture to compliment it our mystery has been solved."

"Collect the ring right now!" Abberline orders two nearby officers once he stopped freaking out. The officers were about to remove the ring off of the statue when a voice halted their actions. "What do you think you're doing thieves?!" They all turned and found themselves in the presence of a group of....interesting people. One was a man who was a bit on the overweight side with a bushy, long white beard that would rival that of Santa Clause. The other was a tall, thin man with a handlebar moustache. A portly, short woman and a tall, persnickety-looking woman with red-rimed cat eye glasses. And the last one is....oh God.

"That dear lady will be awarded to the contest's victor." Aleistor Chamber said as he placed a gentle kiss on a white rose. "You wouldn't want to defile her now would you?" Ciel stared at him in shock as he felt his skin crawling with disgust remembering how he treated both him and Mei at one of his balls. "Viscount Lord Druitt." Ciel said. Mei tilted her head in confusion. "Who is he?" She asked them. Ciel quickly grabbed her hand and pulled her behind him, Sebastian coming in to place his hands on her shoulders as he narrowed his eyes at the blond-haired man.

"They're holding some contest? Why is he a judge?" Ciel asks as he tried to understand why Aleistor was even here and not in prison where he belongs. "Yes, wasn't he just arrested for human trafficking? What a naughty man." Lau said. Abberline glared at the young man as he, much to his own anger, tells them, "He was released a few days ago."

"Must've paid well." Ciel said.

Abberline makes his way over to the judges and says to them, "Excuse me! But this statue is now under the charge of Scotland Yard."

"Oh no! I don't care if you are from Scotland Yard sir, the Frost Fair is an event for our citizens! I will not let you disrupt it!" The white-bearded man shouted at the Inspector. Aleistor held his arms wide and he stood beside the statue. "Just look at her beauty. Such an exquisitely noble lady, we could never allow her to violated by anybody."

"You're one to talk." Ciel mutters under his breath.

"If you insist on possessing this lady, you should offer something of equal beauty." Aleistor said. His lavender eyes then fell upon the young, very beautiful girl. He raised a brow as he felt as though he seen her face somewhere before. He gave her a dashing smile before Sebastian wrapped an arm around her, bringing her closer to him. Mei looked up at him in confusion.

"A well-spoken pronouncement from a true lover of art and beauty. As he saids, if you want the statue, win the contest." The white-bearded man says to the group. Ciel gave a small smirk as he says, "There's merits to your argument. The ring belongs to whomever is the winner contest. Nice and Simple."

"Really Ciel." Abberline said. "Don't worry Inspector, I'll get the ring." Ciel says full of confidence. This didn't sit well with Abberline as he then shouts, "But it's stolen property! Not to mention the fact that it's a cursed stone! The legend is true, every person who has owned the ring has met an horrible end and you'd still try to win it?!"

"Cursed eh?" Ciel asked as he brought his family's ring close to his lips. "Then it sounds like the perfect ring for me."

"Come to think of it, isn't that family ring you wear set with a pretty blue stone as well lord?" Undertaker asked the young boy. "Yes." Ciel answered. "Perhaps you should be careful. Diamonds are quite hard. But because they're hard, they're also brittle. If you go too far, you may be shattered as well." Undertaker said.

"I'm not concerned." Ciel says as a smile crept up into his face as he stares at his ring. "My body, along with my family ring," He placed a kiss on the stone. "Both have already been shattered and then reborn. I've been through too much worry about that anymore." Mei gazed at the younger boy and reached up to touch her eyepatch while Sebastian gave a small smile and a chuckle. Ciel turns to the handsome butler and ordered, "Win the contest, that's an order."

"Indeed, young master." Sebastian says. And from there the contest was slowly underway. Sebastian went to sign in the contest entry form along with Abberline and Lau, also participating in the contest with two officers guarding the statue. Yet they weren't alone on this. Standing in the sidelines, the three thieves had heard much as they needed to figure out the course of this. The leader had his arms crossed as he then says, "It's settled then, go fill out an entry form."

"Seriously?!" The short man exclaimed. "Are you an Irish man or aren't you?!" The leader shot back at him. "We know more than bloody English about ice and snow!" He says, effectively hyping up the other two up and were ready to win. "And if all else should fail..." He trailed off as he pointed at the two barrels standing by one of the storage tents. Eventually the contest had finally begun with the four contestants standing on stage with the judges and the master of ceremonies, who is now making it known to their growing audience.

"Welcome one and all to the Thames' Frost Fair! Now with it is time for the traditional ice sculpture contest. You have until 3:00 pm, alright you may begin sculpting." The master of ceremonies said. The contestants went off to construct their ice sculptures. Mei and Ciel stood amongst the crowed as they awaited for the finishing results. Mei was very curious at what kind of ice sculpture Sebastian would make. She knew that whatever he made would blow away the competition, still she was intrigued about the whole thing.

Eventually, 3:00 came and time was up. It was time for the unveiling of the contestants sculptures. While the Irish men, Abberline and his men appeared to be exhausted from the work, Sebastian and Lau weren't. The Master of Ceremonies came and spoke to the large audience. "And now folks! The judging shall commence!" He said. As the audience applauded, the man continued. "First up, we have Scotland Yard and his merry men with their sculpture, Guardian of London." He motioned towards Abberline's sculpture and it was a perfect image of Sir Randall. They were even saluting it. Mei looked at the frozen figure and thought that it was pretty good. It actually looked a lot like him. While Mei was very impressed by their work, the judges weren't. Especially Aleistor, who shook his head in disappointment.

"Judges scores. 1. 2. 1. 1. 0. For a total of five points." The MC said. Well that seemed a little unfair. "Next team, who's name is 'All women's dresses should be tiny' and their entry." The MC was a little less enthusiastic about the next one but he still kept up a pitiful smile. The next sculpture was expertly made, but perhaps a little too well. Mei couldn't even look at it and turned her gaze away. It was a sculpture of Ran-Mao posing....naked. Fortunately, two men, who were very embarrassed, held up two sheet to cover up the more...intimate parts.

"For obvious reasons, this ice sculpture has been disqualified." The MC said. Lau was standing with the audience, with Ran-Mao beside him mimicking the pose. Apparently Lau didn't see a problem with it and tilted his head. "But why?" He asked. "How could you possibly think that was proper to display?!" Ciel shouted at the noble idiot. "You know when they find goods like that, I think it only makes it more erotic." Lau said.

The judges immediately held up signs with large x's on them, acknowledging that the statue was indeed disqualified. However, Aleistor was much more happier with this one and despite what the other judges think, gave it a 10. Ciel let out a sigh as he turns to Sebastian. "Win this. You can right?" He asked. "Of course I can. You explicitly ordered me to do so and I exist only to fulfil your orders my lord." Sebastian says.

"And next, from the team known as 'Queen's puppy' we have the Ark of Noah!" The MC says. Everyone's attention was then pulled towards a large tarp that was being held beside them. The tarp was released and everyone was in awe that Sebastian had made an excellent recreation of Noah's Ark. "What a sculpture! I've never seen its like. That is art in its highest form." The white-bearded man said.

"An amazing piece! Let's see the total scores." The MC said before Sebastian politely interrupted him. "One moment. My apologies, but you haven't seen all of the sculpture yet." Sebastian said as he turned his attention towards the ark. He raised his hand and snapped his fingers. The loud sound echoed and the small house of the ark broke apart and fell from the boat. In its place were recreations of the animals. Ciel smiled at the piece while Mei was astonished by it. This is why she enjoys looking at art, more than making it herself.

This greatly impressed the judges. "Brilliant, he deliberately made the seam of the roof weak so it would melt and fall apart in time!" But none was more emotionally captivated by the ark more than Aleistor. "Ahh! Our ancestors! The brave man who stood fearlessly against the flood of God's wrath, Noah! He is depicted here with the pairs of animals he was ordered to rescue. A waiting rebirth from the sea." Aleistor boasted.

"Outstanding work young man! It's high art!" The white-bearded man said. "I declare you an Ice Sculpture of the highest calibre."

"No sir. You're too kind, I am simply one hell of a butler." Sebastian said, smiling at them. When it becomes clear that Sebastian will be announced as the winner, the thieves moved on to plan B. Just as the MC was about to announce the final score, the leader shouted, "Hold it right there!" He stood next to the Lady statue, he held a gun to the people who would dare to come near him. "Hate to break up the party but this ring is ours. We're taking what belongs to us."

"Hold on! That means that you're the-!" Abberline shouts as he realised who the three men were. The leader smirked as he knew he had the people right where he wanted them. "That's right. We're the team all of London's been talking about. Maybe you recognise these." The leader said as he opens his jacket to reveal several bombs strapped to his body. His two goons knocked over the two barrels to reveal even more of them.

"You have ten seconds. Anyone who doesn't want to die should get the hell out of here." The leader had as he lit up a lighter and began counting down. The moment he began the countdown, the fair-goers quickly ran away to get the safety. Abberline and his men were rushing to get everyone evacuated. The only ones who didn't run away were the imp, the crow, and the doll. "Master?" Sebastian asked. "My orders remain the same. Do it now Sebastian." Ciel said, making Mei look at him in slight confusion. "Indeed...Young Master." Sebastian said with a smile.

As Abberline was evacuating the fair-goers, he looked back and saw that Mei and Ciel had made no move to run away. "What are you doing?! Hurry up, we need to get out of here!" He shouted. Ciel didn't bother with his concerned words as he proceeded to push Mei towards the Inspector. "Take Ms. Misaki and go. Don't worry I'll be fine." Ciel said. "Lord Phantomhive, I-." Mei began.

"I can't leave you here!" Abberline shouted. Catching Ciel's attention and getting him off-guard by this different tone in his voice. "I joined Scotland Yard to protect our citizens, that includes Nobleman like you Ciel!" Abberline shouts as he sprinted towards Ciel and Mei, determined to protect them and make sure they get out of here alive. Ciel smiled at the man, somewhat impressed by him. "What a fool." As Abberline was nearing the two, a gunshot rang out and he was quickly halted.

"Stay back Inspector." The leader said as he pointed the gun at the nobleman and his honoured guest. "You only have three seconds left. Sweet little kids like you, shouldn't you be running away?"

"I see no need for that. Look behind you." Ciel said. In an instant, Sebastian appeared and knocked the gun out of his hand with a pair of ice-skates he now wore. His two goons were slightly caught off guard before they brush it off and began shooting at him. However, Sebastian successfully avoided the bullets while performing a magnificent ice skating performance. The judges looked at him in awe.

"Impossible, he spun four whole times in the air!"

"A noble swan flying through a world of silvery white snow! With that devilish smile, the maiden is enfolded in his midnight-black wings!" Aleistor said with his true, seductive voice. Sending God awful, creepy chills throughout Ciel's body. Sebastian skated towards the two goons and knocked them and their away, sending them to the ground. The judges and Aleistor held up their signs. All holding up a 10. A perfect score. All the while, Ciel stood there with a smug grin but Mei was getting concerned as the man still had the ammunition of dynamite in his possession. Mei grabs Ciel's wrist and said, "We should go, now."

The leader grew man and shouted, "Little brat! I'm gonna blow you away!" He lit up a stick of dynamite and threw it at the young teens. Everything became a blur, Ciel and Mei were grabbed. Ciel being placed with the safety off to the side and his eye widen when he saw Mei being held up by Sebastian. As if she were the star of the show. Mei was also shocked by this and a small twinge of fear developed within as she held up by one hand. "Again?! I hate this guy!" The leader shouted as he began to throw the dynamite around. Trying to hit them. But Sebastian kept on gracefully avoiding them all while he and Mei shared a dance on the ice.

Sebastian made sure he held onto her close, making sure she wouldn't be swept away by the ice. Mei couldn't help but blush when Sebastian smiled down at her. His red eyes staring deep into her own. As the leader kept on throwing dynamite at them, his goons ran up to him and quickly stopped him. "Please boss! Stop doing that! Have you forgotten?! Look down! We're standing on top of ice!" The whole time the leader had been throwing dynamite, all he succeeded in doing was shatter the ice around them. "The ice! It's breaking!" Mei said as she clung onto the butler. "Sebastian!" Ciel shouted.

But Sebastian was quick to move. He held Mei close and gripped her hands tightly as he spun her around quickly before sending her flying up into the air. She let out a small sound of surprise, to which Sebastian found it to be adorable. Once she up high in the air, he rapidly skated towards Ciel and did the very same to him. Ciel let out a scream as he was tossed up with Sebastian smiling up at him. The ice broke apart, pulling the three thieves, and the statue, down into the river.

As the ice broke apart, freeing the water from beneath, the audience was shocked when Sebastian, Mei and Ciel appear on the Ark. Out of all things, the Ark remained perfectly intact and floated on the water. "Was tossing us about like that really necessary?" Ciel asked his butler. "I think I need to sit down for a good while." Mei said as she felt that her stomach had done several flips. "My apologies sir. But we did had an audience after all, I thought it might add a bit of flare to the show." Sebastian said with a smile.

Mei looked down at the river, knowing that the sculpture was sinking to the bottom of the river and asked, "What about the Shard of Hope?" Ciel looked down as well, then telling her, "The Hope Diamond will sleep safety at the bottom of the Thames. Not a bad end."

"But won't it curse all of London now?" Sebastian asked.

"Somehow, I highly doubt that would happen. Besides if a ring can destroy the city, it wasn't meant to survive. After all, we Phantomhives have lived on." Ciel says as he looks up ahead and saw that the thieves survive the explosion, and Abberline quickly pulling them out of the river before they freeze to death. Staring at Abberline, Ciel said, "Tell me something. Earlier you had accused Noah of being arrogant. But he was only trying to save a few. Wouldn't the desire the desire to protect everyone be even more arrogant."

"Yes, it would seem so." Sebastian said, smiling.

"But maybe it's not so bad for an arrogant fool to be around every once in a while." Mei said, giving a small smile at the kind Inspector.

Chapter Text

Mei had gotten up bright and early on one bright, snowy morning. She was sitting in the main foyer and waited patiently with her small bag in hand. She wore and black turtleneck, long sleeved shirt with a grey winter coat that was resting on her lap, a knee-length dark blue skirt, black tights and brown boots. You see, Mei was waiting for a certain individual. Someone who had a rare....VERY rare day off. A day free of any duties and to do what they wanted. Someone who had proposed the idea of taking her to see the beautiful art pieces of London.

Just yesterday, he had informed her of that day and asked her if she wanted to go. Mei was surprised by his offer, but nevertheless, had agreed to go. So now here she was, waiting patiently for him to join her. "Lady Misaki?" The girl looked up and saw her companion walking towards with his coat in hand. "Are you prepared to go?" Sebastian asked her. Mei nodded and they two walked out of the manor. "Are you sure Ciel doesn't mind?" Mei asked him. For the months that she'd been living within the Phantomhive Estate, she had hardly ever see Sebastian leave Ciel's side. He would always have something for him to do. So it can to a great surprise to her to find out that Sebastian would have a "day off".

Sebastian simply smiled at her and told her not to worry about it. He reassured her that everything was fine and if the off chance Ciel needed him, he would perform it swiftly, yet professionally, and come back to her to continue their day. Mei was still a little worried but she nodded. Upon seeing them leave, the servants stared at them through the window. Wondering amongst themselves on what's going on. "What do you think they're going?" Finnian asked them. "Think they're going on a date." Baldroy said with a raised eyebrow. Mey-Rin cried out in dismay and asked, "Does this mean that Miss Misaki is my rival?!"

"Hohoho..." Tanaka went.

Standing from the second floor, and watching them leave in a carriage, Ciel was silent as the carriage slowly disappear into the distance. As he watched them leave...Ciel...couldn't help but feel a strange sensation in his heart. He had responsibilities and he always took them all seriously...but he felt somewhat bitter that he wasn't the one who would show Mei the artworks. Still, he also had a sneaking suspicion...that if Mei were to feel happiness, he didn't care who would have her feel it.

The carriage dropped them off at one of the corners of London and Sebastian and Mei made their way down the street. Of course, the first place Sebastian took her was one of the many art museums of London. Mei had enjoyed the small museum she and her friends visited back in Yomiyama, but she was blown away at how gigantic this one was in comparison. Numerous of beautiful paintings covered the walls, gorgeous sculptures and statues, even the small trinkets were unlike the ones in Yomiyama.

As she was getting lost at the museum's wonders, Sebastian couldn't stop smiling at her. She lit up brighter like a child in a candy shop. He didn't pay too much to the artwork as he was more content in seeing her happy. Even though her face hadn't fully show it. The two walked along the halls of the museum until they stooped when they found a painting. It wasn't as spectacular or exotic as most of the paintings in the gallery. It was just the blue sky with clouds being blown in the wind. Mei looked at the plate next to the painting that read, "Study of Cirrus Clouds. ca. 1822. Artist: John Constable, 1776 - 1837."

"I take it you like this one the best?" Sebastian asked, seeing that Mei and sat down on one of the lounge seats of the museum and stared at the painting. Mei nodded and gave a small smile. "I do. It's more...peaceful than the other ones." Then her smile had faded. Sebastian, feeling concerned over her, sat down beside her. "What's the matter, Lady Misaki?" He asked. "It's just..." She began as her mind went to the girls who stayed by her side since beginning their second year in middle school. How long had she'd been in London? When was the last time she had thought about them? How much had she hurt them?

"I haven't realised until now...how much I was beginning to miss them." Mei said. "Your friends?" Sebastian asked her. Mei sadly closed her eye and nodded. "I didn't see them as my friends at first. I had only assume that they were with me out of pity. But after living here...and with everything that's happened so far, I've begun thinking of them more." Ever since her first best friend died, she entered back in a world of misery and isolation. Back where she felt no love, no warmth, no happiness. Just an empty void...a dark, lonely void where an old, decrepit castle stands...and where she is the only resident.

Life at school was hardly an improvement from home. Many of the students, plus her classmates, bullied her relentlessly. They took whatever opportunity they could get and made everyday so unbearable. There was a moment in time where she nearly took the one-way trip out of it. And that was the day she first met Megumi. Since then, She, then along the way, San and Naomi made sure that she was never alone. They had done so much for her. Had she just realise that?

Mei frowned a bit and said, "I think they had really had been my friends, they were always there for me. Took care of me. Protected me..., but I never told them how just how grateful I was. I wonder if they're upset with me for that." Mei said. Sebastian gazed at her as he took her words in. From just her voice alone, he could tell right away just how lonely and depressing her life had been. He wanted to ask more. About her mother, about her schoolmates, about how she had lived on for this long and still remain to be...herself.

Normally, humans grow to be bitter. Resentful. Hateful against the world and how unfairly it treated them. As a result, they would want revenge. Payback. Power. Anything that would give them the opportunity to strike back. Humans are destructive, greedy, arrogant creatures. But this girl sitting beside him. She didn't appear to have a single portion of it. She was just...herself. Still being and living out her days despite the pain she no doubt she must be feeling. How is it that she held the strength to do that? Sebastian thought his next words as he looked down at her hands. Tightly gripped on her lap and trembling.

He reached forward and held her shaking hands. This made her look up at him in surprise. Sebastian gave her a smile and said, "I don't know what humans think most of the time, but I have a feeling that they wouldn't be upset with you. If you're thinking about them...then that means you have happy memories with them, right?" Mei nodded. "I'm sure that they understand. I'm sure that seeing you smile, even just for a bit, is what made the most happy." Sebastian said. Mei thought about it, and began to smile back. She remembered. Megumi's hugs always felt warm and gentle. San's words were strong and supportive. Naomi's spirit was genuine and protective. They were her friends. "Right..."

They left the museum shortly after that walked down the streets of London again. They were enjoying just gazing at the shops around and looking at the things they were selling through the windows. They enjoying this quiet time but Mei suddenly stopped when she saw a particular shop just up ahead. Sebastian was momentarily confused but when he looked up, he saw the sign that hang above the door. "Misaki M. Studio". "Is that-?" Sebastian asked.

"It's Kirika's doll shop." Mei said before continuing to walk down the street. Right towards the shop. She looked inside for a moment before going inside. Sebastian quickly followed her, stopping for a brief second to look at the doll in front of the window. It was nearly life size. It was a doll with long brown hair, blank yet beautiful blue eyes, wearing a red and black dress. It was only the upper half of the doll and it held a dark blue veil over its head. Sebastian stepped inside the shop was immediately met with the many dolls. Each one was more hauntingly beautiful than the last. Sebastian found himself admiring some of them. The dolls expression seemed so sad, yet content with the everything at the same time. The aura around them held a ominous, frightening feeling.

Sebastian sensed the life within the shop and felt two people, mostly Kirika and one more person, upstairs but other then them, the place was practically empty. He soon began searching for Mei since she had somewhat vanished since coming in. He walk throughout the shop, gazing at the many dolls till he reached a sign that read, More This Way. The sign lead to a basement. He walked down the stairs and into the basement. He found it to be filled with more dolls, but the majority of them were either left incomplete or their limbs were strewed about.

Sebastian went down the thin walkways of the basement, wondering where Mei was...when he come across a strange, but captivating sight. A life-size doll that rested in a coffin. Her black hair fell to her shoulders, her skin was ghostly pale, her lips red as the rose in her hands. She wore a long, blue strapless dress with long sleeves and a white trim.

What got his attention the most, was that she greatly resembled Mei with a crestfallen expression. Sebastian walked towards the doll and took a closer look. It did looked a great deal to her. But her right, which was the only one visible, was green while her left was covered by her long bangs. "Mei..." Sebastian said quietly under his breath. "So you don't like this sort of thing?" Mei asked as she came out from behind. Mei turned to the life-sized doll and asked, "Did you think it looks like me?"

"I did. A great deal of it." Sebastian said as Mei gently cupped the doll's cheek. "It does, doesn't it? But only half of it. Maybe less than half." She said, lifting the doll's hair to expose her other eye before letting it fall once more. "Why would this one look so much like you?" Sebastian asked her. Mei gave a shrug as she told him that she didn't know. Not exactly why, but still. She then turned to the handsome butler and said, "We should go. These dolls are hollow."

They left the shop before Kirika or Mei's grandmother knew they were even there. Mei...really didn't want Kirika to see her with Sebastian. They made it back to the streets and saw that Mei's mood had gone down somewhat. He didn't want her to feel this way the entirety of the day, so he quickly thought of a way to cheer her up. He then overheard a couple of people mentioning something about a winter fair going on and he knew that would work. He didn't particularly care for something like that, but for Mei... Sebastian smiled, took her hand and began to lead her towards the fair.

The fair had people coming from far and wide. Couples, families, singles looking for a little romance, and tourists looking for a good time and pictures to fill their scrape books. Along with townsfolk, some of the nobles and their kids had come to join the festivities. The fair had a large tent that would have a circus show. A Ferris wheel so that people can gaze out at the city of London and all of its wonders from the sky. There were small roller coasters and little thrill rides for the thrill seekers. And of course the carnival games where everyone can win adorable stuffed animals and funny, going to collect dust in less than a day, knick knacks. The fair wasn't going to end until midnight.

Mei was impressed by the fair and the child in her was eager to play some of the games. Sebastian was glad to see that glow in her eye again. "So, are you ready?" He asked. Mei looked up at him and smiled, she nodded her head. He took her hand again and took her to where the carnival games were. He could tell that she wanted to go there first and foremost. Sebastian first brought Mei to a darts stand. It had three boards. Get three bulls-eyes and you win tickets to a resort. Of course, Mei didn't care about that stuff. She just wanted to play. She took the darts in her hands and threw them as best as she could. One hit the edge of one board, another hit the far left, and the last one was so close in hitting the centre. Mei sighed. She completely missed the bulls-eye but she felt happy. Then her smile faded when she saw that people gathered around, muttering humorously at her failed attempt at playing the game.

Sebastian began to feel the eyes preying upon him. He glared at them for making Mei feel so embarrassed and stupid for her performance. Mei was about to leave the stand when Sebastian stopped her. She was confused as to why, but Sebastian smiled and took the darts. With a quick flick of his wrist he got all three bulls-eyes. People awed and women fawned over his elegant, graceful hand. The concession man was impressed and was about to hand them the tickets but the two left before he could. Sebastian lead Mei to another booth. Shooting balls, pea shooter target practice, bobbing for apples... Mei and Sebastian went to go and do it all. They won prizes after prizes, but didn't accept a single one. Mei wanted to play for the fun of it and Sebastian was happy that she was enjoying herself.

"Sebastian?" Mei called. Sebastian looked down to the short-haired girl. "Thank you...for today and for bringing me here." She said as she smiled softly at him. Sebastian gave a small chuckle and said, "There's no need to thank me. I was the one who offer the idea of today." He then looked at the Ferris Wheel and took her hand one more to lead her to it. "Let's go there." He said. It had square, large sized cars, and went as high as the eye can see. "We can see all of London from there." Mei saw where he was taking her and nearly panicked. She wanted to stop and turn away. To get away from it as far as she can. But...she thought that this would upset her friend. She couldn't do that to him. So against her personal feelings, she forced her feet to move forward.

The ride manager didn't waste any time in putting them in a car. Mei and Sebastian sat on opposite sides of the car. They were moved up and around. As they ascended higher, the bird's eye view of the festival came into view and parts of London. Mei looked over to the city and saw that the lights were beginning to turn on. Illuminating the city. She held onto the railing of the car and gripped it tightly. Her mind began to remember painful memories the last time she was one of these things. she shut her eye. She didn't want to remember that. She didn't want to go back there. She was too engrossed in her thoughts that she didn't noticed a pair of hands moving around. She blinked when she felt her eyepatch being removed from her face.

She turned around and saw that Sebastian was now sitting next to her with her eyepatch in his hands. "What are you..." She said before turning away from him. Despite already showing them her eye, Mei was still very insecure about it. "Look at me." Sebastian told her. When she didn't, Sebastian reached over and cupped her face, making her look at him. He gently brush her bangs away so that he may see her other eye. "You don't have to hide it all the time. I for one think your left eye is beautiful. Plus, your face is much too adorable for an eyepatch." He said with a smile. Mei blinked in surprised, but she turned away. Not knowing what to take from that. "How did you lose your eye?" He asked her.

"I lost my left eye when I four. It had developed a serious tumour, I woke up one day and the eye was gone. My mother said a regular artificial eye wouldn't be attractive so she made a special one just for me." Mei said.

"Had your mother or father known about the infection?" Sebastian asked.

"My father was out on business at the time and I wasn't sure about my mother. She made my eye and took me to the hospital."

"So they just let you lose it?"

Mei nodded. "It's alright. I don't think it would've changed anything. Even if my parents had stepped in, I think I would still lose my eye either way. So it's fine." She said as she gave Sebastian a small, pitiful smile. But he didn't smile back. He looked angry and there was hate in his eyes. Mei shrank back as she begin to think that maybe he was angry with her. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. Mei let out a surprised cry when Sebastian suddenly pushed her down, pinning her to the bench while he hovered above her.

She could only remain silent as she wondered why Sebastian was acting the way he was. He leaned in further. His face only a few inches from Mei's. He gently placed a hand to her chin, holding her head in place. Her eyes widened slightly as she watched his glowed hot pink, his eyes staring deep into her very soul. He moved his lips for Mei's. Her lips trembled. Her heart felt as if it would burst from her chest. His lips were about to touch hers. His breath taunted her lips. Mei swallowed the lump in her throat. Her mind went fuzzy. What's going on? What is happening right now? What was she suppose to do? Should she do something? Sebastian came closer…closer…closer... Mei closed her eyes. "My Lady, time to go."

"Huh?" Mei opened her eyes and saw empty air in front of her where Sebastian once stood. She quickly sat up and whipped around to find him holding the car open with a kind smile. The ride was over. Mei was left dumbstruck and flustered as she walked out of the car. It was close to sunset when the two left the fair. Heading on back to the Phantomhive manor. Sebastian saw that Mei reaching up to touch her lips. "Oh my." Sebastian purred, making Mei jolt. "Were you hoping for a kiss?" Mei backed away, turning her head so to hide her face. "Shall I oblige you then?" He asked. Mei quickly shook her head. "No. Thank you." She said. Sebastian chuckled at her. She was just too cute.

They arrived at the manor just in time for dinner to get started. Sebastian went to the kitchen and was about to prepare for tonight's dinner when he spotted Mei peeking out from the doorway. He smiled at her and told her to come closer if she liked. She did and shyly asked if she could help out in some way. Back home, Mei had never learned how to cook. Her mother wasn't all that great at it and Megumi had taught her a few things...but still. Sebastian nodded and showed her on what to do and what not to do when preparing a meal. Sebastian was very happy that she was actually doing well in cooking. Unlike Baldroy.

Afterwards, Mei sat in her room reading her book but found that she wasn't focused on the pages in front of her. Her mind was far else where. She couldn't stop thinking about what Sebastian's actions in the Ferris Wheel. What was he about to do? A kiss? What exactly was that? Mei wasn't sure how she'd react if he had done what he planned to do. Mei never experience anything like this before in her life. The position they were in, the way her heart was pounding, the way her mind going hazy. She didn't know what to make of it all.

Mei set her book aside and pulled out a small photo frame from her nightstand. It was the photograph of her and her friends, taken on the day she left. It was of her in her school uniform with three other girls. One girl had long, straight black hair with bangs and light brown eyes, and she appeared to be the tallest out of the group. One had long dark purple hair and gray/green eyes. The other had short light brown hair, greenish-gray eyes and tanned skin. They stood happily together around Mei as she stood in the centre. The ones with light brown and dark purple hair stood at her sides while the taller one stood behind her with her arms around her shoulders. They appeared to be happy. They were smiling brightly. But Mei's was more small and shy. Their names were Megumi Tatara, San Watanabe, and Naomi Fujimaki. Megumi was the girl holding her, while San and Naomi stood beside her.

For a moment, she considered on contacting one of them. Specifically Megumi. She had a similar experience to Mei's...but the girl shook her head. There's no way she could ask them. It's been months and she hadn't made a single attempt to contact them. Even if they weren't upset with her, Mei still felt that it wasn't her place to call them out of the blue. Mei said and decided it was best to forget that event ever happened. She placed a the frame on her nightstand, took off her eyepatch and went to sleep. Throughout the night, unbeknownst to Mei, a real genuine smile formed on her face as sweet dreams filled her head.

Chapter Text

Once upon a dreary eve...at midnight when all hopes and dreams had been lost...

I, who had been possessed by an apparition, spied a stately raven happen by overhead...

and with dreaming eyes quoth the raven.......

"That which is lost shall never return."

"Nevermore."

Ciel felt his body be absolutely weightless. As if he floating in a mixture of deep sea and deep space. His skin was softly grazed and tickled by the feathers that floated up. His ears picked up the sounds of a gentle voice humming a soft tune and a soft hand brushed his bangs away. Before it was violently ripped away. Then he was left alone. Though his eyes were closed, he knew that was slowly falling in a world of darkness.

"---Ster..." A voice called out. It was muffled, but Ciel was beginning to hear the voices echoing in his ears. "---Young Master." Ciel slowly opens his eyes to see who was calling out to him. What he saw made his heart sink deep into his stomach. Standing before him were two shadow-like humanoid creatures. Their bodies were completely covered in darkness. No distinctive features except the round, soulless white eyes and frozen wide smiles on their faces. One of these creatures were reaching out to grab him. It's voice was mangled and demonic. "Young Master."

Ciel felt an overwhelming sense of fear and adrenaline coursing through him. It was them! Them! The bastards that tortured him for days and days on end! They're here! They've come back to him! To take him back to that hellhole! Not this time! He won't let them this time! Ciel panics and reaches from under his pillow and pulled out his gun, ready to shoot! But...it wasn't them. It was just Sebastian, who was only trying to wake him. Sebastian stared at his young master in slight shock as Ciel, still shakily holding his gun, breathed heavily to calm down.

"Do not-! Touch me-!" Ciel shouts out, pointing his gun at him. Sebastian stared at his trembling master before giving a smile grin and bowed his head. The butler turn to the cart beside him and prepares Ciel's morning tea. "For today's morning tea, I have prepared Assam with plenty of milk. The milk will serve to relax you. It will calm you down." He says as he pours the tea in the cup and hands it over to the boy. "Especially...after a bad dream..." Ciel takes several deep breaths before his muscles finally relaxed and was able to breath a little easier. Ciel takes the cup and took a sip from it as Sebastian took notice of the book on Ciel bed. He picked it up and saw that it was book on Edgar Allen Poe's work.

"It is all because of you read Poe before going to bed." Sebastian said with a slight grin. Ciel gave a small "hmph" as he sip his tea. "I do as I please. What of the day's schedule?" He asked him.

"Today you must review the documents sent from headquarters. And in the afternoon, the Marchioness of Midford and Lady Elizabeth will be visiting." Ciel nearly choked on his tea. "And young master's-." "DAMN!!" Ciel shouted as he placed his placed his cup down and jumped out of bed, rushing to get out of his sleepwear. "Begin preparations right away!" He ordered. He sounded anxious. But Sebastian was confused. Why was his young master panicking and rushing to get ready for his visitors when they have until the afternoon to prepare.

Sebastian smiled and tried to calm down his master. "You do not need to hurry so. The Marchioness will be here this afternoon-." "FOOL!" Ciel shouted at him. "WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AUNT FRANCIS HERE!!"

Meanwhile, Finnian was cheerily walking through the gardens, carrying a bag as he hum a happy tune. Despite the weather getting colder, Finnian was as happy as he could be. He was passing by one of the flower beds and saw that Christmas Roses were just starting to bloom. "Ah! The Christmas roses are blooming! Soon it'll be Christmas, huuuh?" As he was inspecting the roses, Finnian then remembered something very important. "AH!"

Finnian then sprinted back inside the manor and runs to the kitchen to get to Mey-Rin, Baldroy and Tanaka to tell them of this special day. "You guys! You guuuuys!! Oh my gosh!" He shouted in glee. While Mey-Rin was playing "He loves, he loves me not" with a flower and Tanaka...being Tanaka, Baldroy was laying his head on the table still tired due it still be early in the morning. "What is it Finny...? ....This early in the morning." Baldroy said rather sluggishly. "What happened, hmmm?" Mey-Rin asked.

"Sheesh, have all of you forgotten? Today's a special day!!" Finnian tells him, his excitement growing higher and was ready to get started. He and the others have no idea who was coming. "Special-?" They asked. Baldroy, Mey-Rin and Tanaka then looked at the calendar in front of them.

Mei was sitting on the staircase sketching away when she heard Ciel coming down, looking in a huge rush with Sebastian following close behind. She took notice of his semi-messy hair and disheveled clothing. Ciel took a quick gaze at her and told her to go back into her room but before he could explain why Mei stood up and walked towards him. "What are you-?" Ciel started to ask as Mei began to clean him up. Fixing his hair so it was more neatly brushed and fixing up his coat and straightening his tie. "Better." She said. Then there was a knock at the door. The Midfords arrive in the morning, instead of in the afternoon as planned, which Ciel had expected. 

He and Sebastian walks up to greet them. "It has been awhile since I saw you last, Marchioness of Midford. You have arrived earlier than expected today as well..." Ciel said. His aunt, Francis Midford just stood there with a look of extreme disapproval. "Spare me the formalities. You may look proper, but the tone of your voice tells me that you must've just risen, Earl Phantomhive." She said with a cold, strict voice. Mei tilted her head in confusion at the woman and wondered who she was. Though she did see Elizabeth standing beside her with a cheery smile so She assumed she was a relative of hers.

"No, I-." Ciel started before Elizabeth rushes in to squeeze Ciel in a tight hug. "Ciel's cute even when he has just woken up!" She gushes as she nearly cuts off Ciel's oxygen. "Now where is my-?!"

"Elizabeth!!" Francis shouted, making the young engaged couple flinched. "Do not behave so rudely before you've even greeted him. I have always told you that a lady must observe the proprieties even when she's at her mother's family home..." Francis scolded. Her words were like ice with a hint of venom. "I'm sorry, mother!" Elizabeth squeaked out. Mei tilted her head again. 'That's her mother? Hm, I can see the resemblance...but I wonder where Miss Elizabeth gets her personality from?'

Francis' eyes then went towards Sebastian, who gave a slight bow and politely greeted her. "It has been a while since I saw you last. Welcome, Marchioness and Lady Elizabeth. You have traveled a great distance today-." He was stopped short when he saw that Francis staring at him with a menacing look in her eyes. It was made even worse when she came even closer to stare directly at him. "Ah...erm... Might there be something on my fa-?"

"You look... Lecherous! Per usual!" She shouts at him. 'Lecherous? What does that mean?' Mei thought as she stood there watching in the background. "I am afraid I was born this way-." "Moreover!" Francis shouted as she grabs a handful of Sebastian's bangs. "Both you and your master are sporting long bangs, though you're both male. How unseemly! You need to learn a thing or two from Tanaka!"

"A-!"

"Aunt Francis?!"

"Please just wai-!"

"Hang on-!"

"AAAAAAAHHH!" Mei tried not to laugh as she watched Francis imperiously combs their bangs back neatly. Ciel's was combed in a neat style while Sebastian's was slicked back. It was humorous to see them in this new light. "I apologise for troubling you... ...Aunt Francis..." Ciel says, weakly and defeated. Guess this must happen a lot. "Hmph. Indeed." She said.

Francis then finally took noticed of the young girl standing by the staircase. Ciel and Sebastian then got a little panicky, Ciel more so, as she makes her way towards the Mei. Mei just stood where she was calm, composed and not at all intimidated by Francis' stare. The woman eyed at her carefully. Inspecting any and all small details about her. Francis reached towards her and Ciel acted quickly, "Aunt Francis wait-!"

Francis reached her bangs and simply bushed them aside, holding them up with a bobby pin with decorative flower on it. "There now, that's much better." She said. "Aren't you going to introduce us Earl Phantomhive?" Ciel breathed a sigh of relief and he and the other two made their way over to them. "Right. Aunt Francis, this is an honoured guest of mine here in the manor, Mei Misaki, the daughter of a doll maker who is a new employee of mine. Due to personal reasons, she's been living here for quite some time. Miss Misaki, this is the Marchioness of Midford, Francis Midford."

"It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Midford." Mei politely said as she gave a small bow. Francis gave her a look before saying, "At least you know your manners and when to act like a lady. It's nice to make acquaintance as well." Francis presents herself as a clean and orderly woman. She keeps her hair in a tight bun, but has a long cowlick with a slight curl, much like her daughter. She wears an ornate dress, with white gloves, and a short, beaded necklace. She is reputed for having retained the beauty of her youth, and is well-toned due to her intense physical training.

Lady Francis is also the younger sister of the former Earl Phantomhive. She is a strict disciplinarian, and detests the forces of habit and desire. She values strength and purity. The rumour goes that at the Queen's fencing tourney, Lady Francis defeated the head of The Order of the Knights-the Marquess of Midford- (With superhuman strength), which lead to their marriage. Though now married, she still trains daily and maintained her youthful strength and and beauty. She is quite the (outrageous) Noblewoman.

"I drop in on you, and you're still a layabout. Not to mention your butler looks ever the degenerate!" Francis shouted, still scolding the two young gentleman. "Degenerate...." Sebastian muttered. "You are to marry my daughter. On this day of days, your reformation begins! We'll start with the manor! A disorderly home reflects a distracted hand!!"

Sebastian then gave a smile and said to her, "Then I shall guide you." Ciel then got a little nervous and quietly whispered out a "Hey...!". Sebastian held a finger to his lips and assures Ciel that things will be alright. "Leave it to me. I made certain everything was perfect yesterday." He whispered to him before giving his full attention to Lady Midford and began to give them the tour of the manor.

As they were talking the lead, the three younger ones traveled behind them. Elizabeth took this chance to give her, by her own words, her best friend a hug. Mei gave Elizabeth a small smile as they walked hand in hand. "I will first show you the inner courtyard. This year, the Winter Roses we ordered from Germany are quite lovel-." Sebastian was cut off when he looked inside the courtyard, instead of a lavished, well-kept garden, he saw Finnian cutting out every single one of them and humming happily.

Sebastian quickly shut the door before Francis could see inside. "My mistake." He said with a smile. "I wanted to show you the living room first." He said as he began leading them in the other direction. "Why? Now that we're here, we can begin with the inner courtyard-." "The living room, I insist." Sebastian polity interrupted Francis. "The "party dress" Christmas Rose and the Winter Roses we ordered from Germany are at their best now, but we would like you to see them around noon when they all bloom, so please come to the living room... We will be able to show you the beautiful inner courtyard."

"Something was wrong...." Ciel said in a dreary tone but quietly enough for Francis to not hear him but enough to reach Mei's ears. "Finnian must be gardening." She whispered to him. Ciel tensed up when she said this. They reached the doors to the living room and prepared to do a do-over. "The living room was just revamped the other day. We ordered a most handsomely pattered wallpaper from France-." Sebastian opened the door just enough to see Mey-Rin making a disastrous mess in the living room as she screamed. Sebastian quickly shut the door before Francis could see inside. "My mistake." He said with a smile.

"Why do you not take tea in the conservatory?" He asked as he began leading them in the other direction. "Why? We came to look at the living room." "Tea, I insist." Sebastian said. "You ladies must be exhausted from riding in a cramped carriage for long those long hours. I apologise for not realising sooner. I cannot believe my audacity... There is a space for you to relax in the conservatory, so please enjoy tea while snacking on something light..."

Mei could practically see the dark thundering cloud forming over Ciel's head. Clearly things weren't going according to plan and the young boy was growing more nervous by the second, growing paler at just the thought of Francis' disapproval and rage. Mei, feeling sorry for her friend, placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. Silently telling him that it'll be alright. Ciel took a glance at Mei and let out a sigh to calm himself down.

"We just had the most exquisite oranges delivered from Spain, so perhaps a Shalimar tea from dimbula-." Sebastian said just an explosion nearly rattled on this part of the manor. Along with a faint scream. Sebastian just kept his smile up as Francis stared at him with a disapproving look. "..... Yet another mistake, was it?" She asked, her eyebrow twitching due to her growing annoyance. "You just cannot make up your mind, can you!!?"

Sebastian gave a humble bow to Francis and he couldn't apologise enough to the Marchioness. "I beg of your forgiveness. One such as I-." Sebastian stopped himself as another idea popped into his head. It was a long shot, but maybe it might work. "I had forgotten that there was something else I wanted the Marchioness to see. Though it is no place to be guiding a lady, let us visit the stables."

The traveled to the horse stables outside of the manor. Mei had never seen a horse in real life, so she was amazed at the large animal she couldn't help up walk up to it and gently ran her fingers through the horse's mane. Sebastian motioned towards the strong, splendid ebony horses to Francis. "How do you like this, Marchioness? We sent for a horse with a magnificent bluish-black coat to serve as our Master's steed. And we have been looking forward to the day you might take a look at it, Marchioness." Sebastian said.

Francis actually appeared to be rather impressed by the stallions as she inspected their physique. "Ooh... A fine horse, indeed. The hip is sturdy, and it looks well." She said. Upon seeing the splendid horses, Francis had an idea. "I have it! Ciel." She said, turning to her young nephew. "What say we do a little hunting together?" This took Ciel by complete surprised. "With you, aunt Francis?" He questioned.

"It will be a good opportunity to see how good a man my daughter's fiancé is. Or..." She said as a sly smirk appeared across her face. "...Is hunting too demanding for Earl Phantomhive, who possesses a constitution more common to the fairer sex?" That got him. This was a challenge, a game, and since young children loved these types of things, Ciel took up on her challenge. "Very well." He said. "Sebastian, prepare for the hunt."

"The game is afoot, Ciel." Francis said.

After a quick change of clothing, they all head out into the woods. Ciel and Elizabeth rode on the back of the ebony horse while Francis, as she left zero argument for it, rode with Mei on the back of an ivory horse. "Sebastian." Ciel said. "Yes sir." The handsome butler said as he looked toward a direction where they could find wild animals to hunt. He took a quick sniff and said, "Young master. This way." Sebastian said as he began leading them. "Does your butler double as a hound?" Francis asked Ciel with a hint of amusement.

"He... ...is sort of like that." Ciel tells her. Eventually, they reached a clearing in the woods and Sebastian lays down the rules to them. "Then we shall begin here. The rules are as follows: maintain your territory, twenty-five meters on either side...and avoid shooting at birds flying lower than the prescribed altitude...are we agreed?"

"Yes."

Sebastian took out his pocket-watch and looked at the time. "The game is now underway. The time limit shall be three hours." Francis assisted Mei in getting down from the horse as she pulled on the reins and began to ride off in the forest. "See you, Ciel!" She called out. As she rode off, Ciel turns to Elizabeth to tell her, "Lizzie, get off here. I can't hunt otherwise."

"Ehh? But we finally get to spend time together!" Elizabeth said, whining a bit. While Ciel was trying to persuade Elizabeth to descend from his horse, the heard a loud gunshot in the distance, meaning that Francis got the first point. "1-nil." Sebastian said. "As expected of the Marchioness...she has already shot a bird. It seems she will be a formidable opponent, even for you, young master, hm?" He said this is a coy, crow-like smile that annoyed Ciel greatly. Ciel then fished out his gun and shoots right by Elizabeth's ear. Scaring the blonde-haired girl. "KYAAH!?" She screamed.

"Too bad for Aunt Francis..." Ciel said as a bird fell from the sky, dead. He had, somehow, shot down a bird to even out the score. "But I'm not very good at losing any kind of game." He says. "Lizzie, it's dangerous here so stay with Sebastian and Ms. Misaki. All right?" Ciel, this time, got Elizabeth down from horse. As he did so, Elizabeth was awestruck as she looks up at her dear fiancé. He always looked adorable in her eyes, but this time...it seemed different. The good kind of different. Ciel had a confident smile on his face as he rode off to catch up with his aunt.

As Ciel moves on and the others watch him leave, Elizabeth gave a soft, gentle smile as she says, "...I'm glad. Ciel seems to be feeling a little better. Aunt An loved Ciel the best, so...I was worried. I don't want Ciel to suffer anymore. I always try to cheer him up in my own way, but...it never seems to work out. I always overdo things and make him angry." Elizabeth said, laughing a bit. Sebastian laughing a bit as well. Mei then glances at the direction where Ciel rode off and said to Elizabeth, "I don't think he's angry." Remembering what Sebastian told her back in the museum two days ago and decided to put her own spin on it.

"He knows that you're trying. You were only trying to help him as best as you can. I don't he's angry with you." Mei told her. She's genuine...and real. Sebastian smiled at Mei before he kneeled before Elizabeth. "She is right. I am certain my master senses your kind consideration as well, my lady." Sebastian added. Elizabeth smiled brightly at the two beside her and said, "Thank you. You're both very sweet."

More sounds of gunshot were heard, echoing through the air and most birds flew away due to the noise. Sebastian stood back up and opened up his pocket-watch, and smiled. "5-4. It is a close contest. Let us cheer them both on."

 

Chapter Text

At the end of the competition, Sebastian held a sheet of paper and pen in hand as he was tallying up the scores. "The Marchioness shot ten pheasants, a brace of foxes, and three rabbits for a total of fifteen points. Young Master shot eleven pheasants, three foxes and one rabbit for a total of fifteen points. The result is a draw. Is that acceptable?" Sebastian asked as everyone is sitting on a table to eat lunch. Elizabeth and Ciel at the head of the table, Mei in the centre, and Francis was seated at the other side of the table. Of course, the results of them being at a tie didn't really sit well with our two competitors. Today's lunch was steak and kidney pie and salmon sandwiches.

"It most certainly is not! I prefer definitive results, one way or another!" Francis stated. Ciel agrees, though he notes that occasions whereby he agrees with her are rare. "How odd, Aunt Francis. It seems we agree on this point." Ciel said. With that they stared down at each other and Mei didn't know any better she thought she could see lighting sparking between them. 'I'm not sure if they're really into this competition or something else. I hope it's not the latter.' Mei thought.

Sebastian then gave a smile and arranges for another competition in the afternoon. "Then the will be broken with another round this afternoon...and now, if I may.." He said. "Fine." "No complaints here." Ciel and Francis said as they still gave each a steel glare. They finally broke the stare-down and tried to focus more onto their meal. Sebastian walked over to Francis' side to pour her a glass of wine.

"But I daresay we've over-hunted here. We'll have to find a new location for the afternoon." Francis said as she began to think over on which location to go to next. "Ah... Not to worry Marchioness. Big game still lurks on these grounds." Sebastian said as he pour her a glass. Before Francis could ask him what he meant Elizabeth smiled brightly as she said, "Now that the rules have been decided...let's eat! This smells divine..." Her voice trailed off as a large was suddenly casted over her.

She turned around and went as pale as a sheet when she saw a bear suddenly comes out of the woods and heads for the blonde-haired girl, shocking all of them. "LIZ-!" Everything was a blur. "KYAAAAH!" "LIZZIE!!" Ciel dives on top of Elizabeth, to protect her, Mei sprang up to try and reach them, and a gunshot rang through the woods. Ciel held Elizabeth tightly in his arms as as he peek up at saw the bear staggering. It stumbled before flat on his back. Francis had her gun aimed and pointed from where the bear stood, and was breathing heavily. "Aunt Francis...!" Ciel said. Mei then fell to her knees as she was still in shock from the whole thing. "That was horrifying..." She breathed out.

With the bear dead, and more importantly, Elizabeth being safe and sound, Ciel smiled in defeat. He concedes that he has lost, but he was content with it. "16 to 15. It looks like I've lost this game, aunt Francis." He said. Francis gave a small chuckle as she said, "Hmph. You've still got at least a decade to go before you can even think of winning against me. However... I commend you for daring to protect my daughter with your life." Francis then gave a noble bow to the young boy and humbly said, "And... I am in your debt. I would expect nothing less from the man who is to become my son... Lord Ciel Phantomhive."

Mei gave a small smile as she saw Ciel gave a slight embarrass blush when Francis' said this. 'Guess she finally acknowledges him being worthy.' She thought. Francis then let out a tired sigh and said, "Now the game is over. Let's head back." They got on their horses and head on back to the manor, with Sebastian carrying the bear that's been tied on a branch. Ciel and Elizabeth were riding behind her and Mei had fallen asleep with her arms wrapped loosely around her waist, so Francis took this opportunity to quietly talk with Sebastian.

"Hey. Over here, butler." She said as hands him a knife. "You forgot this." Sebastian gave a smile and tried to give off a laugh. "Oh? How careless of me to forget a piece of precious silverware." Sebastian said as he took back the knife. "Indeed. You forgot it in the bear's head." Francis said. During the fast, blurry actions the event went, it was Sebastian who actually took out the bear, not Francis. When she shot her gun, her bullets had missed. With her beloved daughter in danger, she had trouble aiming properly. Francis took this as a sign of her getting old. Another thing that bothered her was that Sebastian had helped her win instead of his master.

"But a butler's duty is to save face on his master's behalf. So why did you left me win?" Francis asked him. Why he didn't he allow Ciel to take the glory for the kill? "The young master has an inordinate talent for games. Consequently, he seems to overconfidently believe that he "cannot lose"." Sebastian said, explaining his view on Ciel's overconfidence and his extreme arrogance. "But at times, it will be necessary for him to carry himself with humility while striving for his goals. Otherwise, he will eventually trip up...as the place for which Young Master aims is not an easy one to reach." It was far from easy. Seeking revenge against those who had wronged him, greatly humiliated him and insulted his pride is going to be a long, twisted road that will, no doubt, be painted with blood.

"Perhaps it is not my place to say this, but..." Sebastian said, pausing for a moment. "...I would like you to be an exemplar for my master, Marchioness." Francis was momentarily touched by that notion before going back to her stern, strict expression. "Hmph! So...in other words, you used me."

"I did no such thing." Sebastian said. "My master is now but a child...yet he is also the head of the family. An adult who will be firm with him is just what the young master needs." That's why Sebastian had done what he did. It's because that Ciel is the head of the household, he is also still a child so he's going to need an adult he can be proud to look up to, and he hopes Francis could be that adult.

"Don't say such proper things with that lecherous face of yours." Francis said.

"Do I really seem that way to you?"

Nevertheless, Francis is impressed that Sebastian is able to corporate life lessons while working under Ciel. "So if done for the sake of his master, a butler's duty includes admonishing said master by letting him get burned as necessary?" She said with a coy smirk. Sebastian then sends a smile her way and replies, "As I am one of hell of a butler. I only did what I thought best for my master."

"Hmph. You're a tricky fellow." Francis said. I think it's safe to assume that Sebastian has earned a portion of the Marchioness' respect, don't you think? The sun had just set over the horizon when they arrived back at the manor, and right now, they deserved a little piece and quiet after today. However, they were going to find out that it wasn't going to happen. At least, not tonight. After all, it was still a very special day and it needed to be celebrated.

"As the hunt was a success, I shall do my best to-." "AH!" The servants cried out the moment Ciel and the others stepped through the front doors. Upon seeing their young master, the servants quickly ran up, two did while one hobbled over, and greeted him with bright smiles and cheers. "WELCOME BAAAACK!!" Finnian screamed out. "WHAT IS WITH YOU LOT...?!" Ciel yelled at them. The looked horrible.

Finnian was covered in dirt and scratches, with bandages around his fingers and on both sides of his cheeks. Mey-Rin's uniformed was dirtied, both her hands were covered in bandages and had one on her right cheek and there was a sizeable crack on her glasses. Baldroy... Baldroy looked as if he had gotten into a bar fight. His right arm was in a cast and arm sling and had a crutch, with bandages wrapped around his left wrist and arm. Not minding their master's yell, Finnian then held up a large....cake, I think? It held several different candles and different frosting....but it mostly look like a giant goop of...something. "Look, look! We made this together!!" Finnian said as he and the others motion towards the table and manor with the winter roses, messily put together while Ciel just stood there dumbfounded.

"See!? I decorated everything with roses!" Finnian said.

"I made donburi fill up with young master's favourites!" Baldroy boasted.

"I set the table..... .....Following Mr. Sebastian's example..." Mey-Rin said timidly.

Sebastian and Ciel looked at the mansion in complete disbelief and were just about to scold or react to this embarrassing mess that they had created until they quickly realised who was still with them. The quickly turned around and see Francis looking absolutely furious. ....Oh no, she's going to kill them. Suddenly, she became calm and looked a little annoyed this time. "Hmph, they beat me to it." She said as she begins to walk towards the young Earl.

"That's what I came here to say today." She said as she gave the most gentle, loving motherly smile and gave her nephew a pat on the head. "Happy thirteenth birthday...Ciel." She then turns to his servants and says, "And everyone...I hope you will continue taking care of both my daughter and my son. Especially you, Ms. Misaki." Francis said as she turned her head to the young girl. "Huh?" She went.

"I'm not too sure as of why, but I like you. So I do hope that you will be good friends to my daughter and son." Francis said. Mei was a little surprised by this, but she nodded her head and said, "I'll try to be. I...had made a promise to someone." Ciel was left awestruck in all this. Seeing the massive trouble his servants had gone through to make this for him, his aunt coming here to wish a happy birthday, his fiancée always trying her best to make him happy and....

"Wait a minute, please." Mei said as she quickly runs up the stairs and head straights for her room. She went to her wardrobe and pulled out what she needed. She had planned on giving them to Ciel for some time but she didn't know when...now, she finally has a good excuse. She quickly goes back to the main foyer and walks up to Ciel. In her hands was a rolled up sheet of paper and a beautiful doll.

It had deep, piercing blue eyes, moderately-short chestnut-brown hair that has bangs swept to the left, wore a dark blue caplet over a white shirt, dark blue pants and a top hat with short black boots. "During the Frost Festival, I found this amongst the many my mother was selling and I thought...well..." Mei said as she timidly said as she offered the doll to Ciel. The boy was taken aback by this but he gladly accepted the doll. She then handed the paper to him and said, "I also made this... Madam Red showed me a photo and...I heard what happened to them. But..." She said as she revealed the contents of the paper to Ciel.

He was left in awe. Mei had drawn him with his parents. She had drawn them with precise detail. His parents as King and Queen, and him standing in between them as Prince. "I know I haven't been here for very long...but I've beginning to like being here and living with everyone, so I want to thank you...for being my friend." Mei said. Ciel took the drawing and stared at her. Yeah...he had her too. A girl with many secrets. A girl he can actually have a conversation with and can feel at peace with. A girl who he felt he can fully trust. A girl he was learning to love. Ciel, for the first time in his life, gave a true genuine smile. "Thank you...so much." Mei also gave a genuine smile as Ciel gave her a hug, to which she returned.

As Elizabeth gave a squeal and joins in on the hug, Francis walks towards the butler to thank him. Actually calling him by his name. "Sebastian, you have my gratitude for attending to us today." She said. Sebastian smiled and bowed at the waist. "Yes, my lady." He said. Then Francis' smile turned sly and coy as she says, "There's just one thing I ought to mention. Take care of the shattered China... The ruined garden....and burnt dinner." From the very beginning, Francis has been fully aware of the damages that he had tried to conceal earlier. "Yes, my lady." Sebastian said, laughing sheepishly.

"It's a party today!!" Finnian cheered.

"FREE BOOZE!! FREE BOOZE!!" Baldroy cheered on. As everyone gathered around to wish Ciel a happy birthday and celebrate this wonderful time, Sebastian steps out from the scene and walks off. Mei took notice of him leaving. Sebastian walks into the kitchen and opens one of the cabinets. "Alas... I suppose we shall not be needing this." He took out a silver platter and took of the lid. Revealing a beautiful, and delicious-looking, cake that was made to perfection that he had secretly made for Ciel just for this occasion. Now... it will now go to waste, since the other servants have already made him one.

"Goodness... Human creatures really are difficult to understand." He says as he removes his glove, revealing his pentagram and black fingernails. He took a piece of the small chocolate hat and tasted it. "To think they consider something like this....delicious. Not really." He said. Of course, as a demon, Sebastian's sense of tastes were...different compared to humans. As Sebastian was thinking of what to do with the cake, a voice asked, "Can I have a piece?" He turned and saw Mei standing across from him. Mei shyly looked away as she said, "I know they meant well...but...I don't think it'll taste all great."

Sebastian stared at her with surprised but he gave a chuckle. "I had a feeling but didn't want to say anything." Sebastian said as he proceeded to grab a plate and fork for her as he cut out a piece of the cake. As he worked, Mei stared at his hand with interest. Sebastian took note of her stare when he handed it her plate. "Is there something wrong?" He asked. "No..." She said, still staring as she took the plate. "What is it that you are looking at so intently?" Sebastian asked her.

"I'm a little curious." Mei set down her plate as she then tapped on his fingernail. His black fingernail. She even rubbed it to see if it was painted. Nope. It was just, in his case, a normal nail. "They're completely pitch-black. Why are they like this?" She asked with genuine curiosity. "Who knows..? That is something even I do not know. They have always been black." Sebastian said. "I see." Mei said as she gazes his nails for a moment longer before letting go of his hand and sat down on the kitchen table to eat. Sebastian then began to feel that he must've disgusted her in someway because of their abnormal colour and humbly apologises. "I'm sorry." Sebastian said.

"Huh?" Mei went, looking up at him. "These nails...they are disgusting aren't they?" He asked, but it mostly sounded more like he was asking himself. Mei briefly wondered how long he had been a demon for? Had he always been born as a demon? Or maybe he was once a angel then cast out as a demon. Or maybe, at some point in time, he had been human. But it didn't matter. That didn't change on how she sees him. "You really think so?" Mei asked. She reached for his hand and looked at his fingernails. "I don't dislike them. If you can find my eye beautiful...then, I can say the same for these nails. I think that's only fair, right?" Mei said as she gave Sebastian a kind smile.

Warm. Swelling. And pounding in his chest, his heart was ready to bust. Sebastian stared in wonder at the young girl. What was this feeling he had? It wasn't like anything he experienced before ever in his long existence. This feeling...towards a human. Sebastian hadn't had the slightest clue on what to do or what to make of it. After all, demons can't feel emotions like this? ...Can they? Sebastian then found that he wasn't in control in his own body as he slowly walked closer to Mei and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek just as the snow had began to fall outside. "Ah! Young master! Young master!" Finnian called out. "It's snowing!" For the majority of the night, along with the Earl's birthday celebration, Ciel, the Midfords, and the other Phantomhive servants enthusiastically take notice of the snow.

"This is gorgeous." A young teen said as he walked through the streets as he is entranced by the snow elsewhere, and catches a single snowflake in his hand before quickly melting. "It is so cold. Agni what is this?" He asked his companion. "The substance is called snow my Prince. It falls during the winter in England." His campanion, Agni, tells him.

"How odd. So this is England, it is beautiful. I want to take it back and show it to mother." The young Prince said as he looks at the many lights, tall buildings, and the people of this new, beautiful country.

Chapter Text

It's currently winter in England where the grey season is enveloped with thick and heavy snow. After the conclusion of the serial murders of Jack the Ripper, London has returned to its state of peace and tranquility. However, that only lasts for a brief time.

Englishmen, who have recently returned from India, have been continuously assaulted, stripped, and hung upside down from the eaves of the Hindustani Coffee House in Portman Square. Since then, noblemen or soldiers who had returned from India were faced with the same fate. The victims all had the same threatening notes attached to them.

"Watch this wild, pathetic child of sloth and depravity. To all the idiots of the bitch-ruled land, you are the ones who deserve the vengeance of Heaven. England is the motherland of the Devil, who robs off everything and forces its worthless, rotten, and ignorant culture on you instead!" At the end of each note is a drawing of a tongue. This has plagued the Scotland Yard, as they have yet to catch the culprit.

Randall crumples up the note, disgruntled by the fact at how many people have been victimised and, in anger, he shouts at Abberline, "This makes twenty victims so far and you still haven't caught this criminal?! Explain!"

"I haven't and I'm sorry Sir Arthur!" Abberline said. "When Jack the Ripper slipped through our hands that brat got all the credit." Randall said with much bitterness in his voice. As Abberline looked through the reports he asked his superior, "Brat, sir? Who do you mean? You're speaking of Ciel Phantomhive?"

Looking up from the papers, Abberline then spoke on the young boy's defence. "You know, I can't help but feel that he's carrying some immense burdens. And he's still only a child." He said. Randall narrowed his eyes and practically scoffed at that. "A child?"

"So all the victims had just returned home from India then?" Ciel asked. Suddenly appearing right beside Abberline, reading through the records with Sebastian and Mei behind him. His sudden appearance nearly shocked the young Inspector. "Oh you're here!" He said. Ciel didn't pay too much mind to him as he continued to read. "But the culprit hasn't killed anyone yet?" Ciel asked. He walks towards Randall and takes the note from his hands.

""Watch this wild, pathetic child of sloth and depravity." This man does have a way with words doesn't he? I agree our country would benefit if all these nouveau riche fresh from India disappeared. Still...I don't like this mark." Ciel says, looking at the drawing.

"With this, he's mocking the Queen and all English Men too!" Randall says as he takes back the note. "He's Indian, I'm certain of it."

"Ah." Ciel went as a smile appeared. "I imagine that would be the reason I was called in." He said. "Most of the Indians who've come here illegally are staying at the criminal neighbourhoods at the East End and Scotland Yard still doesn't know their exact number or their precise location does it?" Ciel asked. One glare and minor shake from Randall was enough to answer that question.

"I can not allow Her Majesty to continue suffering such indignation. Sebastian. Mei. Let's go." Ciel says as he begins to walk away from the scene with the others following him. Ever since Ciel's birthday party, things had changed little by little. But there were good changes. Ciel and Mei were getting more comfortable with each other, enough to call one another by their given name.

Not only that, but Mei had been getting along well with Sebastian. No, she hadn't forgotten that little kiss. And, yes, she was embarrassed about it. She had never experienced anything like it and had no idea on how to handle it. She was just stunned and stumbled to say something when Sebastian, who quickly realised what he had done, apologised profusely about his "undignified behaviour" but Mei had forgiven him without a hesitating. Despite this awkward moment, Mei and Sebastian have gotten close. 

At the present, the British empires domination over India and a lot of British settlers are living in Britain's Indian colonies. The third and fourth children from upper-class families, who cannot afford luxurious lives in England, are able to live like aristocrats in India. Those who return from India are called Anglo-Indian. Those who can't leave the lazy lifestyle due to luxury they found in India are called Indian upstarts. The upper class is worthless but what does the tongue supposed to inquire?

Later on, Sebastian, Mei and Ciel arrive at a rather ominous place. Mei knew that this might not be such a savoury place to be in as before they even stepped in, Ciel explicitly told her to stay as far back as possible. When she nodded in agreement, they traveled down a set of stairs and through a door in which Ciel comments that the place has an awful smell. They entered through a large pair of doors, where they were greeted by the owner of this little establishment. "...So you've finally managed to find this place... ....Earl..." The male voice said. "How strange to be facing you here like this. But I've...always believed this day would come."

"And what sort of day would that be?" Ciel nearly growls at Lau and his shameful behaviour. They were at Lau's opium den, where they find him relaxing with several girls hanging around (and on) him. 'Oh...that's why he told me to stay back. He's such an unusual man.' Mei thought to herself as she stares questionably at the Chinese Nobleman. "I say! Welcome, Earl. It's been too long! Have you been well?" Lau asked him. "Ah! I heard you celebrated your birthday not long ago? Good tidings to you!"

"Never mind that!" Ciel shouts at him. "There's something I want to ask you."

"Aah." Lau says. "For the Earl to go to the trouble of visiting this dank cellar of an opium den must mean you're here...about "that", yes?"

"Word's gotten around already, has it? You've a sharp ear. Yes, I'm looking into that series of incidents." Ciel says. "When it comes to orientals, talking to you, the bigwig of this patch, is always the most expedient. British Branch member of the Chinese trading company "Kon Ron". Or should I say...Top official of the Chinese crime syndicate Qingbang, Lau."

"Crime Syndicate?" Mei asked. "Pearls or flowers?" A Chinese girl asked her. While Ciel and Lau were talking, a couple of girls ask Sebastian if he wants a smoke and he replies the negative, and two more of them began playing around with Mei by putting accessories in her hair and switching them out. "I reeeally would prefer you not call me that. It's much too stuffy and all." Lau nonchalantly tells him. "Isn't it just, Ran-Mao?" He asks the girl on his lap.

Ciel scolds him to stop smoking opium and listen. "I've left the management of the oriental quarter to you. So you've an idea of the number of people coming and going around these parts, yes?" He says.

Lau assures him by saying, "Certainly. I'm following your orders to the letter, Lord Earl. Such is the price I must pay to conduct "business" in this country's underworld, after all."

"Then-." Ciel began to say before he was interrupted by Lau. "But first, I have a question to pose to you as well, my Lord.... These incidents of which you speak...what are they exactly?"

"Why, you...." Ciel is dismayed as he has to go back and explain from the start while Sebastian comments, "He was simply chiming in when he thought it appropriate." After a, headache inducing, explanation, they head to the stronghold of Indian people at the East End. "-Oh, noow I see! So you'd like to capture that prankster! There haven't been any deaths yet but the gentry and military personnel are being targeted." Lau said. "Ah, you have to make an example of him to keep the common folk in line! There simply is no end to your troubles Earl."

"What drivel." Ciel said.

"Incidentally, we have walked quite a distance. At which lodging house are the Indians based?" Sebastian asked Lau. "Nn?" Lau went as he looks around. He then spread a carefree smile as he said, "Do forgive me! I was so caught up in our conversation that I think I may have have gotten us lost!"

"WHY, YOOOOU-!" Ciel shouts. He was losing his patience with him right now. But isn't that usually the case? Mei let out a sigh as she began to walk just a little bit up ahead. "Let's just calm down and trace our steps back-ugh." Mei had only taken a few short steps before she had accidentally bumped into a man. Mei looked up at him and was about to give an apology to the man, but then he suddenly screams.

"OWWWWW!! THAT HURT!! I THINK I JUST CRANKED A RIIIIIB! I MIGHT DIE FROM THIS!" He screamed out. His screams of pain caught the attention of a large group of Indian men to rushed in and surround them, comforting the man who had been, apparently, assaulted. "Hey, what happened?" "What terrible injury, they should pay you back for it!" "Yes, give us all your money brat!" They said.

"Oh my." Lau said as he stares back at the crowd. "What a cliché bunch of thugs we've seem to run into. Master, should I handle this?" Sebastian said, beginning to crack his knuckles. "Yes. But make it quick." Ciel said, taking Mei's hand to pull her away from the men who are clearly trying to pick a fight with them. "Certainly." Sebastian said, adjusting his glove with a smile. Suddenly the man that Mei had bumped into grabbed Ciel by his black cloak and hoisted him up. "Listen boy, you are outnumbered. Everybody within a mile of here hates you English dogs!" He snarled at him.

He brought out a knife and before he could act on his threat, Sebastian immediately flicked his forehead. Sending him falling to the ground and releasing Ciel. "Did he hurt you at all?" Sebastian asked him. "He did not." Ciel said as he tipped his hat. The man stood back up and glared at the four of them. "Damned brats! You take over our country, dragged us here and then throw us away like garbage!" "Your people have tracked your filth all over our homeland." "How about we show you the humiliation of being robbed, eh!?" They all shouted.

By how they put things, Mei felt sympathy towards them. She can understand the hatred they must feel towards England. They were selfish and had forced them out of their homes. Still though, she can't excuse them for lashing out their anger like this. Just before they could attack them, a voice halted everything.

"Excuse me!" Everyone turned around and saw that two, well-dressed, Indians were walking rather calmly towards them. One was a teenage Indian with dark skin, gold eyes, and long, wavy plum purple hair worn loose to his shoulders; part of it is a ponytail clipped in place with a gold clip. He wears a sizeable scarf knotted at his hips and an off-white shawl held in place by a ruby brooch set in a gold plate. He also sports large gold earrings, a decorative gold bindi, and white slippers. He dresses in a heavily-embroidered long sherwani with plain, tight-fitting churidars.

The other one, who stood close behind him, was a tall Indian man with dark, olive skin, slate-gray eyes, and short, stark white hair. Two long locks of his hair are adorned with beads. He dons a plain and a green with a yellow and white sash-over . He wears silver hoop earrings and a decorative. From where Mei stood, she took notice that his right hand, and possibly his forearm as well, was wrapped in bandages.

The teenager was walking towards them while he held out a (horribly....HORRIBLY!!) drawing of a...woman? Yeah, it was a woman. "I'm looking for this Indian woman. Perhaps you gentlemen have her around here." He said with a very polite tone. Still though Ciel and Sebastian weren't sure about this newcomer and was a little concern that he would bring more harm to the situation. As he walked closer, the crowed took noticed of him and the "broken ribs" man turned to him with an evil look.

"Who the hell are you?" He growled at him. "Just stay out of this!" Despite the man's clear threatening attitude and seeing that he has a knife in hand, the young teenager continued to walk closer to them with a smile as if he wasn't in the least bothered by him. He looked a bit interested at what's going on and asked, "Oh my, are you fellows having a duel?" He then takes noticed of the people they were surrounding and tilts his head. 

He took one look at Ciel then his eyes went to Sebastian. Suddenly he narrows his eyes at them, a look of bitterness and resentment were present in them. "He has a khansama with him. Are you an English nobleman?" He asks the young boy.

"What if I say I am?" Ciel retorted back at him. Once the young plum-purple haired teen walks into the crowd, he goes onto say, "Then I will have no choice, I must side with my countrymen. Come Agni." He refers to the taller man behind him. "Yes sir." He says. "Defeat the Englishmen." The teen simply orders him.

"Jo aagyaa." Agni says as he lifts up his bandaged up hand and began to untie it. What confused Mei as she watched him was that his arm didn't appear to be injured or anything at all. No cuts, no bruises or anything. It looked perfectly fine. So why does he have it bandaged up? "I shall use my holy weapon which I was given that I might serve my master." Agni said. Within a blink of an eye, Agni quickly charged towards them. Sebastian took Ciel and Mei as he jumped back to avoid his upcoming attacks.

He placed them down when Agni swung his hand at him, striking hard at Sebastian's arm as they two stared each other down. Sebastian acted fast and pushed Mei off to the side to safety while he grabbed Ciel and moved back. Dodging back when Agni swung his leg that was inches in making contact with his head. Agni charged at him once more and delivered several blows but Sebastian was able to block them with his arm. But what had gotten his attention about all of this was the fact that Agni was much faster than any human he's met before.

An Indian man entered the battle and tried to attack Sebastian from behind but the handsome butler ducks and Agni unintentionally punches the Indian man instead and knocking him out cold. "Forgive me brother! I will tend to your injuries presently!" Agni apologised as he continued on with the fight.

Agni then got close to Sebastian and jabs at his arm, which he was using to defend himself with, and pressed his fingers against Sebastian's pressure points several times. Agni took notices that Sebastian's arm was still functioning. Agni then jumps back and says, "I have repeatedly struck many of your vital pressure points. Any normal person's arms would've gone numb by now. How are you moving?"

During that pause, Ciel then angrily questions, "Hey! We were just passing through when those Indians picked a fight with us! Are all Indians barbarians who indiscriminately attack any Englishman they lay their eyes on!?" This causes the young teenager to blink in surprise and turns to his fellow countrymen. "What? Tell me, did you attack this child and his companion here for no good reason?" He asks them.

The group of them suddenly paled and stammered for a valid answer as to why this was even happening. But they failed to present one. That's when the teen and Agni's eyes widened when they finally realised that there was a young girl amongst them. Mei had ran over and checked if her friends were alright. Seeing her, and now knowing the fact that their men had attacked without reason caused the teen to feel disgusted by their action and crossed his arms disapprovingly.

"We can't have that! The fool is he who wages war without causes and those who show violence towards a young woman is an even bigger fool. Unfortunately, my countrymen are wrong here. Agni, we are on the Englishmen side now." The teenager said. "Right." Agni said.

Okay...what is going on here? Everyone just stared in confusion at the two well-dressed Indian men. And within seconds, Agni quickly takes out all of the Indians and him perched up on the pile. "It is done Prince Soma." Agni says with a smile towards him. Prince? "Good." Soma said as he walks up and picks up Ciel's fallen top hat. "Hey, you three." He called out. "You're not hurt?"

"N-. No..." Sebastian said. Soma walked over to Ciel and places the top hat on the owner' head, saying, "And you, runt. A child should not be wandering in a place like this. It's dangerous. Especially since you have a young lady with you." Soma then turned around to face Mei with a smile. "I am relieved that you are not hurt. You should be more careful wherever you go." Mei blinked up at him in confusion. He seems to be an odd fellow but he did help them out. So Mei gave him a nod. "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind." She said.

"I'm still on the hunt for someone, so I'll be taking my leave. Farewell." Soma says as he and Agni walked away. Leaving the others in silent confusion and were wondering on what exactly happened. "Myyy-! Those two were something else!" Lau's voice suddenly echoed the streets. Ciel and Mei looked up where the source was coming from and the young Earl's blood boil upon seeing that Lau is hiding on a roof. "And where have you been this whole time?" Ciel asked him with a hint of venom in his voice.

"Oh, don't be like that! Why, I was waiting for a chance to save you, okay?" Lau tells him. "Would you have done before or after Ciel gets hit?" Mei asked him as Lau leaps down from the roof safely on his feet. Lau turns his head to see the prince and his companion leave as he says, "In any case, who were  they? They don't live in the East End, that much is obvious. They are well dressed and their English was without a hint of an accent."

Sebastian took another glance at the prince's way before kneeling down to the relatively unconscious Indians on the ground. "Be that as it may, I should think our first priority is to take these people to the city police." He said with a small smile. That night they made their way to Ciel's London Townhouse, exhausted by today's events. "We laboured in vain." Ciel said, a little drowsy as the walked inside.

"The culprit might be among them. Let us for Lord Randall to contact us." Sebastian says. When they brought the Indians to Randall, he quickly went on with the interrogation. They're hoping that the perpetrators of the attacks may have been among those men. "REALLY! I'm tired of being summoned to London every time a silly incident like this occurs!" Ciel shouts in annoyance.

"Ha ha! You must howl if there is even the faintest possibility of the harm befalling Her Majesty! Such is the difficult role of the watchdog Earl." Lau said.

"In any case we should use this time to have some peace while we still can." Mei said as she places her jacket on the coat rack. Then the servants of the manor came in to greet Ciel warmly. "Young Master! Welcome hooome!!" They said. Lau gave a smile of amusement as he asks, "You brought your servants with you this time?"

"Yes. It would be troublesome to leave them behind behind at the manor." Sebastian says with much dismay. Mei gazed at Sebastian and felt bad for him. He was the one who was holding the entire mansion on his shoulders and as much as she enjoyed the silly antics of Baldroy, Finny, Mey-Rin, and sometimes Tanaka, but she could just see the manor either going up in flames or having it run down to the ground if they leave these idiots behind. It was better this way. Unfortunately, they had to leave poor Pluto by himself for a while. It was kind of hard to leave as Pluto was clinging onto her with tears in his eyes, begging her not to go. It took one glare from Sebastian to make him let go.

Sebastian took a moment to calm his senses before giving his trademark smile. "Well, you must be worn out from the cold. I will have tea ready right away." He said. Ciel let out a tired sigh and held his head. "You might as well." He said. Mei walked over and gave Ciel a pat on the back. "Perhaps chai rather than earl grey?" Lau asked. "Fine, whatever." Ciel said.

Then something caught Mei's eye and let out a soft "Huh?" making Ciel turn around to see what was wrong. He nearly loses it when he sees that he was now, unexpectedly, has two more guests: Agni and Soma. Showing up to the Townhouse and walking in as if they owned it. "WH-?! WH-?!" Ciel sputtered out as Soma looked around curiously. "This is awfully small compared to my palace." The plum-purple haired teen said.

"WHY ARE YOU HERE?!" Ciel shouted at them. Soma didn't flinched at the harsh, loud tone and responded rather calmly. "What do you mean, why? We became acquainted but a moment ago. Have you forgotten already." He said it in such a matter-of-factly. The servants were just left in confusion at who this newcomer was and how their master became acquainted with him. "We met during a street brawl." Ciel said as Soma walked further into the house. "Not exactly an ideal first impression." Mei stated.

"And if you recall, I saved you." Soma tells him.

"SAVED ME?! EXCUSE YOU!!" Ciel yells.

"Back home, if someone does you a favour you offer them hospitality. There's a saying that goes "entertain your guests even if you have to sell your heirlooms"." Soma says as he begins looking around the foyer. "Hey, where's the bed?" He asks. "Why a bed?" Lau asked him. "In my country, one invites one's guest to one's bed to sit together in a circle, enjoying each other's company." Soma said.

"My Prince!" Agni shouted out. He had just come down from the stairs and was waving the young teenager's over. "Lord Soma!! There is one here!" He cheerfully said. "That is well." Soma said, nodding in approval. "HEY!!" Ciel shouted as Soma ascends the stairs saying, "Then good. It is a tad small, but we shall stay here for a while. Much obliged."

Ciel's blood was boiling as he storms upstairs and barges in Soma's "new" room, seeing him that the young prince had already made himself at home and shouts, "And just who the hell do you think you are?!"

"Who am I?" Soma asked with a cheeky smile. "Why, I am a prince."

"A prince?" Sebastian asked as the others peeked through the doorway. Agni gives them smile as he made the introductions, "This is the son of the king of Princely State of Bengal. Would you please extend your warmest welcome to my master, Prince Soma Asman Kadar."

"We shall be imposing upon for a bit...runt." Soma said. If you were to hear close enough, you would hear a glass breaking as Ciel nearly left his rage exploded by that 'runt' comment. It was bad enough that he has to basically force himself to allow this....this...arrogant prince be a freeloader in his house. If it's any consolation, the servants were amazed that a real life prince was within their home.

Agni then gave a cheerful smile as he clapped his hands together and says, "My prince! Agni will make some chai as a token of friendship! On a cold day, chai full of ginger is the best. I will borrow the kitchen!" Agni moves to get chai tea, and Sebastian seems dumbfounded as "serving tea is kind of his thing. "Ah! Please wait, if it's tea you want, I shall-!" Sebastian says as he runs off to stop him.

"Amazing! So you're really a prince?!" Finnian asked with stars in his eyes as he and Baldroy and Mey-Rin walked over to him, with his permission, and began to ask him several questions. "This Bengal place sounds excited, what's it like?" Mey-Rin asks.

"A holy land blessed by the Goddess Kali and watered by the Ganges River." Soma replied. Mei decided, though this was turning into a really exhausting day, that it would be best to just grin and bear it as they seemed to be good people. Besides, he caught her interest with Indian culture. She walked closer and softly asked, "Are you a prince of a sacred land?" Soma blinked when he saw her and brightly smiled at her. "Ah, it's in east India." He said.

"Well, my Lord. Your stay should be a lively one." Lau murmurs to Ciel

"GET OOOOUT!!" Ciel screams.

Chapter Text

The morning sun's had risen up to signal a new day and the Townhouses occupants were just starting to wake up. The young, still sleepy earl was just beginning to wake up with the help of his faithful butler. "Lord Ciel. It is time for you to wake up." He said. Ciel stirred in his sleep before slowly waking up and rubbing his eyes. He knew that he was just waking up but he thought that Sebastian sounded different. And...why did he call him by that title.

"Nn...? Lord... Ciel?" The blue eyed boy said in a groggy voice. He opened his eye and was met with an unfamiliar, yet easily recognised, face smiling brightly over him. "Namaste Ji! Good morning!" Agni said happily, his hands were joined in silent prayer and his head bowed slightly.

"!!?" Ciel let out a surprised scream. Mei woke up startled from her sleep when she heard him. Worried that something must've happened, Mei got out of bed and went straight over to his room. Meanwhile Ciel is still surprised and angered by Agni's unexpected wake-up call.

"Namaste Ji, Lord Ciel. Breakfast is ready." Agni said. His bright, cheerful smile still placed on his face with his hands joined in prayer. Ciel quickly sat up straight, covered his right eye and yelling at Agni, "Wh-?! What are you doing in my room!?" With all the commotion going on about, it quickly attracts the attention of Sebastian, who was on his way over anyway. "Pardon me, young-." Sebastian says as he opens the door to find Agni lifting up Ciel in his arms, still happily smiling and saying, "Breakfast will get cold if you do not hurry."

"NOW JUST HANG ON! WHAT THE HELL!?" Ciel shouted, struggling to break free from Agni's hold. "Oh? Things are already lively at this hour!" Lau said as he suddenly pop beside the door. Mei arrived a few seconds later. "Is everything alright?" She asked, only to blink in confusion when she see Agni carrying Ciel. Before she could ask, the others servants suddenly bursts in.

"SEBASTIAAAAAN!!" They all bellowed out as the ran towards them. Sebastian let out a disapproving sigh at how they were behaving in front of their guests. "You three, you are in the presence of our guests." Sebastian said, preparing to scold them. "What is it? Has something happened again-?" He couldn't finish his sentence because as soon as they caught their breaths, the servants immediately began to tell him about the weirdness they found.

"SOMETHING'S WRONG!" "REALLY, REALLY WRONG! CRAZY WRONG!" WRONG, IT IS!" "THE FOOD, IT'S-!" "THE GARDEN IT'S-!" "THE LAUNDRY IT'S-!" They shouted.

"Wrong..?" Sebastian asked them, wondering what they were getting at. Because of this, their attention was taken away from Ciel, leaving Agni to carry him off as the boy kept yelling at him to put him down. Sebastian allows the others to lead him out to see for himself what the problem was. To his complete shock, and amazement, Sebastian saw that the laundry had been washed and dried. The garden was tented and cleaned. And the food was been freshly cooked and prepared on the table. Everything was spotless. Everything was cleaned without a single mistake and was accounted for. "What in the world...?" Sebastian asked, nearly speechless.

"Ah! I have taken the liberty of handling the morning chores!" Agni happily announced.

"You should not have! You are our guest, so please make yourself at home." Sebastian says as he walked towards him. But Agni smiles and held up his hands. "I could never. My prince aside, I am merely a butler, so I felt it my duty was to help Mister Sebastian." Agni says, he was practically glowing with pureness. Sebastian was actually a little moved by this and turned to the others, saying, "Why do you three kowtow and beg Mister Agni for the dirt under his nails? Your lives might gain a little value that way." And after a minor pause, they do, much to Sebastian's exasperation.

At breakfast, once everything had calmed down and they had gotten time to get dressed, Ciel, Mei, Lau, and Soma are now eating their meal while the butlers, Sebastian and Agni, stand aside to serve to their respective masters. Today's breakfast was shrimp curry and french toast with ginger. "...So?" Ciel began. "How long do you intend yo stay here?"

"We'll leave when we've finished our errand." Soma replies as he stuffs the toast into his mouth.

"That-" "You mean the person you were looking for before, right?" Ciel began to say before Lau cut in. Ciel then glared at Lau and he could tell that the Chinese nobleman was going to stay here too, much to his further annoyance. "And why are you staying over as w-?"

"Yes. I'm in search of a certain woman." Soma says as he pulled out the, horribly inferior, drawing of said woman to show them. "This one. Her name is Mina and she was a servant in my palace." He said as Ciel and the others looked at the drawing. Mei was fighting back the urge to cringe. It was so bad...what kind of idiot made this. "This is...?" Ciel said as he looked at the drawing, sharing Mei's opinion of the style.

"I drew it. You'll know right away when you see her because I drew her so well! Isn't she lovely?" Soma asked. Mei glanced over to him. She can't say anything now. But she'll think it, Soma has no artistic talents. Ciel turns to Sebastian and asked him, "Sebastian, will you be able to seek her out with this...?" A tiny sweatdrop appeared on Sebastian's head and he replied, "Even for me, is a bit, erm.... Well, I shall try."

Lau takes the drawing into his hand and says, "I myself have never encountered a beauty like this, I saaay!" Soma finishes his breakfast and held out his hands in prayer to give thanks to the food as he wholeheartedly agrees with Lau. "To be expected! She was the most beautiful woman in my palace." Soma said.

"If that's the case then the drawing doesn't do her justice..." Mei muttered under breath. Ciel and Sebastian heard her through and stifled in a laugh. Clearing his throat and getting back to business, Ciel then asks them, "...So. Why is that woman in Great Britain?" His question gets ignored as Agni and Soma suddenly pray to a statue of some kind of God. Ciel is bewildered by how they got this statue all of a sudden. It seems like they're praying to an awful, surreal figure of God.

"LISTEN TO ME!!!" Ciel shouts in anger. His patience with these two idiots was starting to wear thin. "What are they doing all of a sudden?" He asks.

"They seem to be praying to be praying, but their object of worship seems quite surreal." Lau said as they looked at the statue. Sebastian looks at the statue and was a bit confused by it. "You would call that an object of worship?" He asked as he went into a thinking posture. "It looks nothing so much as a statue of a woman dancing in a frenzy on the abdomen of a man whilst carrying severed heads and wearing a necklace of said heads...to me."

"That's pretty much what it is." Mei said as she tilts her head at the God. Taking in the thoughts of how much effort it must've took to create this. When Agni finishes praying, he goes on to explain on who this God is. "This is a statue of the Goddess Kali, a deity of Hinduism, our faith." He said.

"So it is an Indian God?" Ciel asks him.

"Our Goddess Kali is the wife of the God Shiva and the Goddess of strength. She protects against misfortunes. There are also other divine favours. In ancient times, a demon foolishly challenges the Goddess in a battle. Of course, the Goddess Kali was victorious. However, she could not stop raging...and continued to destroy and kill. She kept on killing, made a necklace severed heads, drinking blood..."

"It's starting to sound like the Goddess caused more harm than the demon." Mei commented.

"Even the Gods could not stop the Goddess Kali, and the earth was about to fall in ruin, when..!" Agin said, continuing to tell the story. He was really getting into it as he put in a lot of passion in it. "At that very moment-!! Her husband, the God Shiva, lay down at her feet to protect the land."

"Aah! That is why she is stepping on him. I had assumed they were having a lovers' quarrel." Sebastian said, understanding a bit more. "The husband was very slow to act. Wasn't he too late? In a whole number of ways?" Ciel asks. Mei nodded in agreement. "Exactly how many people killed before he decided to do anything? If he wanted to protect the world, why hadn't he done that sooner?" She said.

"When she stepped on her husband with her uncleaned foot, the Goddess Kali returned to her senses and peace returned to the land. Therefore, the Goddess Kali is a supreme deity who engaged in mortal combat to defeat the demon. That is why she holds the severed head of the demon." Agni says as he finishes the tale.

"So that's the story." Ciel says.

"I have never heard of a Goddess with such power. I must be careful when I go to India." Sebastian mutters. He didn't feel comfortable with the thought of having his head being on the hand of a very powerful Goddess. Soma then stands back up as he has finished his prayers. "Alright then. We are done praying now, let us go out now, runt! You'll guide us!" He says as he swung his arm around Ciel and began carrying him away.

"WHY ME!? And further more, I am not the "runt" I am Ciel!" The latter shouted.

"Then Ciel! I order you to guide us." Soma says as he continued to walk away. Only to be stopped by Sebastian. "Forgive me, but...the young master has a full schedule with his studies and work today." He tells him. Ciel finally freed himself from Soma's grip and fixed himself up. "As you can see, I'm busy. Find your quarry on your own." Ciel said.

Soma let out a small, "Tchhh!" Then his gold eyes fell upon something else. His smile returned and began walking towards the next best thing. "That's alright, this young lady shall be my guide." Soma said as he wrapped his arm around Mei's shoulders. "Who me?" Mei asked him. "I think having such a pretty girl for a guide would make things more fun, is it alright to take her instead?" Soma asked them.

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Ciel and Sebastian shouted.

10:00 A.M., violin lesson.

"Now. While you are in London, I shall tutor you in place of the Lady Governesses." Sebastian says as he gives the violin instruction to Ciel and assigns him a difficult piece of music to play. Mei was sitting quietly in the sidelines and watching them. "First, let us practice the "Partita no.2" for solo violin."

"Bach's chaconne... I won't be able to play such a hard piece." Ciel says as he looks down at the music sheet. Sebastian then used a violin bow to lift up Ciel's head so that he may look at him. "You will gain confidence if you begin by mastering the difficult pieces first. I lay down the rules here." Sebastian tells him.

'And naturally, he's also very strict.' Mei thought to herself. Sebastian gave a smile to the young Earl and asked, "Do you have any issues with my teaching method?" Not being able to complain about Sebastian's education policy, Ciel gave him a look and pushed the bow away with the one in his hand and proceeded in practicing the piece. Mei was very impressed by Ciel's skills with the violin and he was doing pretty well. The music was beautiful and it played out smoothly.

"With the key of D minor, it is important to express solemnity and reverence with your timbre." Sebastian says, listening carefully to the music's motion. "Just like that. Express the timbre with emotion. Express anger occasionally." Then, in the midst of their violin class, Lau, Agni, and Soma interrupts, with the prince and his butler playing their own instruments. Soma was playing the guitar while Agni the banjo.

"Erm, and what are you doing?" Sebastian asked them. "Nn?" Soma went as he looked up. "I thought I'd spend the day with Ciel today. I'm a dab hand at playing string instruments too." He says. "Get out!" Ciel shouts as he kicks them out.

11:00 A.M., Drawing lesson.

On this one, Ciel sits on a chair overseeing a lovely display. Beautiful silk curtains, a mahogany table with an ivory cloth, a bowl of various fruits and a bottle of wine in front of a window pane. "Now it is time for drawing. Look at how things are balanced and give depth at your drawing." Sebastian tells them.

Ciel was doing just that and was looking closely at the scene in front of him. Ciel took another minute to take in the full image, he was about to sketch when Agni and Soma interrupts again, startling the boy. "What is this? Drawing a bottle is dull! You must draw naked women." The latter said. Soma then points over to Mei and gave her a simple order. "Therefore, girl! Strip!"

"What? Why would I do that?" Mei said as she clung to her clothes tightly. Lau then smiled widely and held out his hands as he came up behind her. "Oh, shall I undress her?" He asks. "GET OUT!" Once again, Ciel kicks them, and Lau, out. With much more anger.

1:00 P.M., Funtom Corp. business.

"Samples of the Christmas products have arrived from the Yorkshire factory." Sebastian informs his master. Ciel and Mei each held a bunny and a puppy, and the Earl noted, "I had them revise this, it feels good." Mei hugged the stuffed puppy, loving at how fluffy it was.

"Also headquarters has sent over the plans for next year's goods. The new Christmas crackers are selling well at Harrods." Sebastian said as he looked over the documents. Ciel grabbed one of the crackers and set it off, letting the confetti fly. "However, children are difficult to please. We must keep proving new novelties." Ciel said.

"What about making a combination of sweets and games." Mei suggested while still holding the puppy. Ciel glanced at her and seemed to take that idea into consideration. "Hmm....maybe." He said. Before he could say anything else, Soma, Agni, and Lau come in. Again! "And so I have invented one such new product just for you!!" The prince said with Agni holding a couple of papers with the first one saying 'proposal'.

"Feast your eyes!!" Soma says. Agni then shows the next page which shows a drawing of an elephant. "It's a soft toy in the likeness of the Indian God Ganesha, and...! The trunk," Some pauses for a second for Agni to reveal the last page. It was the same elephant but its trunk was up in the air. "It moves!" ....That was the only spectacular feature. ....Its nose moves. That's it.

"GET OUT!!!" Ciel kicks them out for the third time that day.

2:00 P.M., fencing lesson.

Soma was now, bored out of his mind, lays on the ground watching Ciel do his lesson. "Honestly, when are you going to be done with all this? What are you even doing anyway? You look like an idiot. Hey! Hey! Hey, I said!" Soma said.

"ARGH! SHUT UP!!!" Ciel screamed out, completely enraged at this point. His patience had officially worn out. "I CAN'T CONCENTRATE!!"

"C'mon you don't have to get so angry." Soma tells him. Ciel, realising that he wasn't going to shut up anytime soon, makes a decision to come to a compromise, since Soma yearns for his attention so much. "All right enough." Ciel says as he takes the sword from Sebastian's hand and passes it to Soma. "I'll take you on if you're so desperate for attention." Ciel said.

Soma catches the sword and begins to walk up to the playing field, taking up Ciel's challenge. "I only know kalaripayattu and silambum (traditional Indian martial arts) but...well, why not." Soma says. "So if I win in this, you will play with me, right?"

"If you can win, that is. If you lose, behave yourself and stay out of my way!" Ciel said.

"Wait, is this fair? Prince Soma doesn't know..." Mei began to say but the match was already underway. Soma and Ciel stood on opposite sides and Sebastian standing off to the side and explaining how to win. "We will play five rounds of three minutes each. The fencer with the most points wins. All right?" The two fencers got into position. Sebastian raised his arm. "Now... Begin!" Once he had brought his arm down, signalling the start of the match, Soma lunges forward towards.

"You are mine!" Soma shouts as he swung his sword at Ciel's leg but was surprised when the sword bends, which was understandable since he isn't familiar with the sport. Ciel then smirked at him and said, "The leg is not a valid target area of the foil. Too bad!" Ciel tells him and lunges with his sword. Soma desperately sidesteps him, yelling, "WAH! You coward! I don't know the rules! What is a valid target area!?"

"It's your own fault for being ignorant of the rules. A bout is a bout." Ciel shot back. Thrusting the sword at him as Soma tries to avoid his strikes. Soma, clearly being annoyed by this, shouts, "This sword bends, so it's hard to wield!!"

"In fencing, you thrust forward. If you swing your foil sideways..." Ciel began to explain as he effortlessly dodges another one of Soma's horizontal strikes and quickly finds an opening. "Your valid target area is completely vulnerable!!" He says as he goes to attack Soma's torso. But before he could strike him, Agni suddenly intervenes to protect his prince. Standing right in front of him with arms outstretched. "PRINCE!! LOOK OUT!!"

Before he could allow him to touch his prince, Agni strikes and injures Ciel's arm, aiming for his pressure point. Ciel falls to his knees in pain as he clutches his arm and the room falls silent. When Mei and Sebastian rushed over to Ciel's aid, Agni blinks a second later and he quickly realises at what he had done.

"L-Lord Ciel! I am so sorry! Ah-wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-wha!!" Agni hastily apologies as he looked like he was in the middle of a panic attack. "I could not help it when I thought my prince would lose..!!"

"Are you all right?" Sebastian asked him as he carefully touches Ciel's arm. "Does it hurt at all." Mei asked him. While Agni was very ashamed of his actions, Soma, however, praises Agni, saying, "Ah, haha! Agni! You protected your master. I commend you! Agni's my khansama. He belongs to me. Therefore, I win!!"

"No-!" Ciel shouted.

"Now you must accompany me!" Soma gloated.

"This is becoming pointless." Mei said as she carefully helps Ciel back on his feet. Lau, standing off to the side, plays with the sword with his palm as he sighs and tosses the sword to Sebastian, in which the latter catches. "Dear, dear. Now you must avenge your Lord...Master Butler." Lau tells him. "Ciel's khansama. Are you going to fight?" Soma asks.

Sebastian took a glance at Ciel, and agreed with what Mei had brought up before. "Goodness, all this because you were nasty to a complete amateur who does not know the rules." "WHA-?!" "However, my master has been injured. As butler to the Phantomhive family, I must do something about." Sebastian says as he stands tall and readied his sword. "Moreover, we have fallen ten minutes behind schedule."

"That's your real motive, isn't it?" Ciel comments that that's his real motive. "You know how he can be." Mei said as she leads him out of the way.

"I am curious. Very well, I will allow you to duel." Soma says with a smile as he hands the sword to Agni. "Fight him and in the name of Kali, make sure you do not lose." Agni nodded his hand with determination and takes the sword in his hands. "Sebastian, I order you! Shut the brat's mouth now!" Ciel commanded.

As per each one's respective master's orders, they agreed to win.

"Jo aagyaa."

"Yes, my Lord."

Both butlers went into a combatin stance and they stared each other down. "Well...pray, do go easy on me." Sebastian said. "Here I come!!" Agni shouts as he makes the first strike. From there, the fight had become much more interesting. With each strike they make, Agni and Sebastian were both fast, precise and were determined to hit their opponent. Each one held a look of intense focus and refusing to back down, effortslessy dosdging the oncoming thrusts. What caught the attention the most was that Agni and Sebastian appeared to be evenly matched.

Then the tips of the two swords met directly in the middle, and with both the weight of the butlers pressing against them, the swords bent and broke in half. As a result, the match ended in a draw with both butlers to be equally strong. This was a shock for a number of reasons.

Sebastian caught his half of the sword and held it with small smile. Lau, though he was smiling, was a little disappointed by it being a draw. Ciel and Mei were both heavily shocked that it even ended in a draw and took a glanced at each other. Soma was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and smiles as he walks over to Agni. "Ciel's Khansama fared pretty well! Agni's the best fighter in my palace. You are the first one to fight equally against Agni.

'How is it a draw...? He was fighting Sebastian.' Ciel thought, slowly recovering from the shock. 'This man...had held his own against a demon.' Mei thought as she looks at Agni. Another thought ran through her mind about him but she brushed it off as soon as it came. No...her eye wasn't acting up. There was nothing out of the ordinary with Agni...maybe he's just a highly skilled human.

"I like you! Ciel's khansama! I shall excuse you today in difference to your skills." Soma tells Sebastian. The latter gave a small bow to the golden-eyed prince as he said, "I am most honoured." Agni gave a smile and clasps his hands together in prayer. "Mister Sebastian, thank you for being my opponent."

"My pleasure. Mister Agni is a very quick study." Sebastian says. Agni gave him a nod as he turned his attention to the young Earl and remembered his horrid action against him. "Lord Ciel. I apologise for my earlier actions. Does your arm still hurt?" He asked in a gentle voice.

"N-no..." Ciel said. Agni places a hand on his heart and breaths a sigh of relief. "I am glad." Agni says as he gives one last bow before returning to his prince. Could this man possibly be...? Once Agni and the others were out of earshot, Ciel asked Sebastian, "Sebastian. Agni is no ordinary human is he? Don't tell me he's another..." His question trails off when he began to think about Grell.

Sebastian let out a small laugh, but reassures him, "No, my Lord. He is deadly but he's human enough." Mei gave a nod and told him, "He's right. My eye doesn't sense anything from him." Mei had told Ciel a bit of what her eye could do, but not the entire story. Ciel didn't mind it though, he understood and simply told her to tell him more if she was comfortable enough. "I see. But with as much strength as he has..." Ciel said.

"Indeed. He could effortlessly hang men upside-down. It would be a simple task for him." Sebastian says.

"We should be careful around him then." Mei said as she glances at Agni. Suddenly Soma comes up behind Ciel and swung his arm around his shoulders, surprising him, and saying, "Come, Ciel! Let us have another round!"

"Ugh!? How many times do I have to tell you I am busy!?" Ciel shouted.

Chapter Text

"Alright, tonight I'm gonna make something really special-!" Baldroy said, preparing to display his wonderful skills to beat Agni but sadly, he was stopped by Sebastian who took the frying pan from his hand. "I'll take care of the cooking tonight. You just stay out of trouble." Sebastian says as Baldroy stood there, frozen in shock. He blinks once and he's back to reality.

"I beg your pardon?! I was planning on making something tasty for our guests!" Baldroy says but Sebastian wasn't listening as his mind was too preoccupied with other things. He was distressed by the fact that at the end, they are thirty minutes behind schedule while Baldroy argues with him. "Sebastian, ya hear me?!" Baldroy shouts. "Please do be quiet for a spel-." Sebastian began to say before he was politely interrupted when Agni appears by the doorway.

"Sebastian? May I come in? I was wondering if I could be of any service to you." Agni says, offering his help. "I have it under control, thank you." Sebastian tells him. Agni walks into the kitchen and gives his bright smile. "We can get things done faster with the two of us. I shall do whatever you ask of me." Agni says.

Sebastian was a little surprised by him but he allows him to help. "Then...may I ask you to prepare gooseberry sauce for today's main dish and the cottage pie? Sebastian asks him. "NGAH!" Baldroy shouts. "Of course!" Agni says happily. Sebastian walks over to one of the drawers and pulled out several sheets of paper clipped together. "Here are the recipes. Let us use minced chicken for the cottage pie." He says. "I appreciate your thoughtfulness." Agni tells him. It was for the best for them to use chicken instead of the alternatives. Depending on the region, pigs and cows are known as sacred animals.

"Bard, stop being an obstruction and please step aside." Sebastian said as he walks past the Phantomhive chef. "Oi, why are you letting him do it?! I am the cook here you know! Hey, did you hear me?!" Baldroy shouts as Sebastian walks off, muttering to himself and leaving Baldroy to seethe in his anger. Sebastian walks past Agni, taking a quick look at him before walking away. Baldroy bites back his anger and makes himself comfortable as he sat down on a barrel.

Once Sebastian had left, Agni gazed at Baldroy and said, "Excuse me, chef?" Baldroy was close to falling asleep and was momentarily confused at what Agni said, but he quickly shot up from his seat when he realised what Agni called him. "Chef, really?! You talkin' to me?!" Baldroy asked as he pointed to himself. He was starting to think that maybe this might be some kind of dream. No one has ever called him by his official title before.

"Yes." Agni says with a smile. "I'm afraid I'm not accustomed to cooking British food. Will you please help me?" Baldroy, with thorough enjoyment and getting teary-eyed, jumped at the chance to show off his talents and wholeheartedly agreed. "YEAH! LEMME HANDLE IT! 'COS I'M THE CHEF AFTER ALL!" Baldroy exclaimed with happiness and pride. Agni smiles at him and hands him a bowl of freshly peeled onions. "Then will you chop the onions?" Agni asks.

Baldory put on his goggles and began chopping the onions while Agni tends to the stove to cook the recipes that Sebastian gave him. Things were going rather smoothly as Finnian enters the room when he smelled something great. "Something smells good. What's for supper?" Finnian asks, already beginning to drool. Agni looks up from the pot and smiles at him. "Young man, you're just in time. Perhaps you can help us in preparing the evening meal." Agni says.

"Me, really?" Finnian asks as he enters the kitchen, feeling very honoured to be of some use. But then his smile faded and began to be humble. "Uh...but...Mister Sebastian's told me not to touch anything in the kitchen 'cos of my super-strength..." Finnian tells him. Though instead of discouraging him, Agni was delighted that he was strong.

"You're strong huh? That's excellent." Agni says as he offers him a bowl full of boiled potatoes. "We need to mash and then puree these potatoes, but that involves a lot of manual labor." With that, Finnian brighten up again and was more eager than before. "Even I should be able handle that much. I want to help with supper, please let me!" Finnian said.

As Baldroy was chopping the onions with much vigorous and Finnian treating, but effectively, his task like a game, Mey-Rin also approaches the kitchen and was surprised at how well her friends were doing. She walks towards Agni and kindly asks him, "Where is Sebastian?"

"Mister Sebastian is cooking in the rear kitchen." Agni tells her. A smile was brought upon Mey-Rin's face as she offered to prepare the silverware. She goes up to the panty and starts to collect the heavy tableware from a high cabinet but because of its extra, heavy weight it causes her to lose her balance and fall. Fortunately, Agni catches her from falling and the plates from breaking. "That was a nasty fall, are you alright?" He asks her.

"Uh...I'm fine thank you." Mey-Rin said.

"Platter must be heavy for a lady. Perhaps it would be best if you were to take the plates down one at a time. You would not want to drop them and injure yourself." Agni says to her with his kind, gentle smile. His words and smile brought a blush to Mey-Rin's face as she said, "...Yes... I understand."

Then that's when Sebastian returns from the rear kitchen with Mei by his side. He had met up with her on the way and she asked him if she could help out again. Course, Sebastian felt happy to work with her again so he agreed. "How is coming along Agni?" Sebastian asks as he and Mei stepped into the kitchen, only for them to be shocked to find that Agni was actually able to use the other servants. They were doing incredibly well. None of the plates were broken, nothing in the kitchen was destroyed and the kitchen itself didn't looked like a bomb went off.

"With everyone's help, I'm sure it will be delicious." Agni says as he works on the stove while Sebastian and Mei stood by the entrance shocked at what they were seeing. Getting over their shock, they walked in and assisted with the rest of the preparations. Mei worked at the stove and the other servants converse with her. Mostly trying to get to leave the cooking to them since she was their honoured guest, but she told them that she didn't mind helping. Sebastian couldn't help but give a smile her way as she did her part. "How did you find ways for this lot to help out? Simply incredible." Sebastian asked the Indian butler as he cuts and preps the fish.

"Everyone is born with a gift. Each of us has a path and a God-given duty. As children of God must simply follow the path we are set upon and do what we have set to do without haste." Agni tells Sebastian with much integrity and devotion in his voice. Sebastian stares at him for a moment as he takes in his words and says, "How do I put this... You are truly a man of impeccable character. I cannot believe a human being like you actually exist."

"Oh no, not at all!" Agni says, getting very humble as he denies that he's anything of what Sebastian views him to be. Agni then had a look of both wistful and serenity as he began to tell his past to Sebastian. "I was a hopeless paagal until I met my Prince. The debt I owe him is one I will never, ever be able to repay."

My clan was Brahmin, part of the highest caste, members of which were allowed to serve God. However...my father was a Brahmin only in name. And I, who had grown up watching him enveloped in lust and greed, lost my faith in God. Taking advantage of my social status, I sinned day in and day out. I hurt people. I blasphemed against God. I kept sinning and...the day finally arrived upon which my sins were to be judged.

"We will now execute the Brahmin's son, Arshad." An Indian guard told the people who had come to witness his death. Agni just stood there, an empty husk of a man as he allowed them to place the noose around his neck. "Then before me, the Godless sinner...the fool with no lingering attachment to this world..." Before Agni was about to be hanged for his crimes, the crowd began muttering amongst themselves as they saw someone making his way over to with a smile on his face. They were shocked and confused as to why his was here.

"The man who had thrown everything away..."

"There you are!" A young voice called out and caused him to lift his head. "I've heard you're a ferocious man with the strength of an untamed beast!" The owner of the voice said as he made his way through the crowd and up on the execution platform. "My Prince! What are you doing?!" A guard shouts at him. But his Prince ignored him. "How amusing. As of today, you'll be my new sparing partner!" The Prince said. He wasn't in the least bit scared and walked up to Agni as if he were greeting a long lost friend.

"No, my Prince!" The guard shouted again, trying to reason with the young man. "He is for the hangman's noose-!"

"Ahhh, shut up, would you!?" The Prince told him. "Then how about we do this?" The Prince then took out his sword, raised it above his head and swung it down. Cutting both the rope and Agni's long hair in the process. With boldness and compassion, the Prince then told him, "The person you were has now died. You shall be reincarnated with a new name and a new life." The Prince looked at Agni with a smile as warm and bright as a thousand suns. "I am Soma Asman Kadar, the twenty-sixth child of Raja. And I shall be your master from this day forth. All right, Agni!?"

"God appeared."

Agni was in shock as he gazed at Soma. All at once the sins he had committed, the pain and anger he felt within his heart...had all been swept away. His hands shakily risen up to be clasped in prayer as tears fell from his eyes. The very moment Agni gazed upon Soma's smiling face, he believed that God was inside the young Prince, here to save him and to grant him salvation.

"And he made me realise that the divine resided inside of this man... THAT DAY, I SAW THE FACE OF GOD RADIATING HOLY LIGHT FROM WITHIN MY PRINCE!! AS THOUGH HE WERE RAMA-KRISHINA HIMSELF!!"

"Agni, the pot is boiling over." Sebastian tells him as he tends to the boiling pot. "Ah, forgive me. I have been in my prince's service ever since. He is both my Raja and my God. Thus even if I must risk my life to do so, I want to protect my Prince, who gave me this new life, and...Insofar as I am able, try to grant all of his wishes." Agni says with a gentle smile.

"If you ask me, the Gods are a bunch of good-for-nothings we should leave behind." Sebastian said, muttering under his breath. Agni seemed to hear him but not enough to know what exactly he said and asks, "Sorry, what was that?"

"Oh no. It was nothing." Sebastian tells him. "Are you sure?" Mei asked, causing Sebastian and Agni to look her way. She was with the other servants who were telling her to leave the rest to them. "Of course, you're as much of a guest as the Prince and Mister Agni." Finnian says. "Just leave all this to me, the chef!" Baldroy said, still feeling pride about being called by his profession. Mey-Rin gently placed her hand on Mei's shoulders and guided her to the entryway. "We greatly appreciate your help Lady Misaki, yes we do. But please go on and relax." She told her.

Mei looked back at the others and nodded her head. She turned back to them and said, "Thank you for allowing me to help." Mei gave all them a respective bow and left the kitchen. But not before taking one last glance at Sebastian, to which the handsome butler returned with a smile. Agni's chuckle caught his attention. "The young lady is quite a character." He said with a smile, seeing Sebastian's interest piqued, Agni continued. "Her spirit is serious yet impassive, an enigmatic, but is one that is very kind and selfless." Sebastian let out a soft laugh as he shrug in agreement to that.

"And so? Who is this woman you are looking for?" Ciel asks Soma during dinner time. "She has waited on me since I was born. She's like my nanny." Soma says, explaining a bit more on who Mina was and why he's looking for her. "We've been together ever since I can remember. Father has no interest in me...and my mother is so desperate for his attention, she has no time for me." Agni gazes sadly at his Prince with that. "I was always alone in the palace... But Mina was always by my side. She was cheerful, beautiful and taught me many things, just as an older sister might. I was never lonely if Mina was with me. I loved Mina, and Mina loved me."

Then, Soma's anger rose as he clenched his fist tightly as the memory of what happened next came up. "But...he..." Soma slammed his fist on the table as he shouted, "A British noble came...and took Mina away to Great Britain!" His hate and anger towards the man was very apparent.

"What do you mean?" Lau asked him.

"Queen Victoria, Empress of India, recognises the domestic administrative rights of Bengal, but...in truth, the political advisor sent from Great Britain controls most of the politics. So the reality is we're not much different from a colony." Soma explained. "And three months ago, he came as a guest of that political advisor! That fellow set his eyes on Mina at my palace...and took Mina away to Great Britain by force while I was out inspecting the town!!"

"So you came to Great Britain to retrieve your woman." Ciel says.

"Yes! I'll get her back and we'll all go home together." Soma says with great confidence. Once he finds Mina, he'll rescue her and then everything will go back to how they were. "Still you are going a bit overboard just for one servant girl-." Ciel said before Soma shouts at him, infuriated that he had a called his beloved Mina "just a servant girl".

"THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "GOING OVERBOARD" IN THIS CASE!! THE PALACE WITHOUT MINA IS LIKE AN EMPTY BOX!!" Soma shouts as he makes his way over to Ciel and grabs him by arms and asks, "Can you understand the despair I felt when I was forcibly separated from Mina?! Can you understand just how sad I-?!" "Can't say I do." Ciel stated in a cold voice. Catching Soma off guard as he stares back at the younger boy. His eye was cold, intense and, for a moment, it looked to be of that of a demon's. "The despair caused by such trivial occurrence doesn't amount to much. I don't understand, nor do I want to. There are things that cannot be recovered, no matter how much one may struggle. There is also despair from which one cannot escape."

Ciel smacked his hands off of him as he turns to leave, now that he said his peace. Soma simply stares at him as he leaves, his fist clutching tightly as he probably is unable to comprehend that. "But... But still, I... ....don't want...to be alone in that palace anymore..." Soma says. Mei got up from her seat and walks over to Soma. Surprising him when she reached over to hold his hand. Soma looks at her with silent shock, but she didn't raise her head. She simply stands there by his side. Ciel leaves the room and stands silently in the hallway.

'There are things that cannot be recovered, no matter how much one may struggle.'

His beloved family. His father. Mother. Aunt Angelina. His dog.... No matter how hard or how much he tries. No matter what he does... Ciel knows that he will never get them back. He clenched his fist as he does, in fact know great despair and sorrow. He sighs and walks off.

"Ah, I see. So you're a residential guest of Ciel due to your mother being busy with her talents as a doll maker. But I don't understand why she would ask him to take you in." Soma said. After dinner was over, Mei took Soma away just to sit and talk. She felt sympathy towards him as she could understand his feelings. She believed that Ciel did too but didn't announce it very well. 

"It's a little complicated, but I've actually grown very fond with living with Lord Phantomhive and the others. They've been very kind to me and I feel at home being with them. So I don't mind it that much." Mei said.

Soma smiled kindly at her and realised that they haven't made proper introductions. "Forgive me for being rude earlier. I'm afraid I don't know your name, I am Soma Asman Kadar." He said. Mei gave a small smile and bowed slightly. "Mei Misaki. It's nice to meet you." She said. For a while Soma and Mei converse about the other's home country. Mei wanted to know more about India and Soma was growing very curious about Japan. Then in the mists of their conversation, Ciel walks in and tosses a box of cards.

"You wouldn't know the rules of chess. But you should know how to play Old Maid, right?" Ciel says as he pulls a chair in. Soma was taken aback by this but he didn't seemed to be bothered by it. Mei glanced at the younger boy and smiled at him. Ciel caught her staring and quickly looked away, a feint blush colouring his cheeks. Ciel took out the deck of cards and began shuffling. "I have finished all of my work for the day. We can play cards until I'm ready to retire."

"Really?

"I'm not doing this for you. It's only because I've nothing better to do at the moment, that's all." Ciel says. Mei gave a soft giggle. She sees right through him. Ciel held up the deck as he was about to deal the cards. Soma smiles at him. "Very sorry, I already have plans." Soma tells him, abruptly turning the offer down.

"Uh." Ciel and Mei went.

"Unlike you, I am a busy man. Come Agni, we are going out."

"Yes." Soma and Agni put one their shawls and stepped out of the room while the two young teens sat their in silent shock as they watched them leave. Soma let out a laugh as he glanced back at Ciel. "You've got to go to bed early, or else you'll never grow any taller, little runt Ciel!" And with that, they had left the room. They were in complete silence before Lau popped from the doorway and began talking to him. "Ah. Here you are, Earl! Say-." "WHAT?!" Ciel shouted as he turns to face him, suddenly very angry.

"Oh? Whatever is the matter my Lord?" Lau asked, the amusement in his voice was evident. "Feeling a bit blue are we, hmmm?"

"Shut up! Don't follow me!" Ciel shouts at him.

"I'm going to bed." Mei said as she gets up and leaves for her room.

The next morning, Sebastian prepares the morning tea and irons out the newspaper for his master when he read the headline. Upon reading it, he knew that he needed to show it to his master as soon as possible. He knocks on Ciel's door and walked in. "Pardon me, sir... oh?" Sebastian said with much surprise. "Your being awake at this hour is quite unusual."

"I couldn't sleep well because I was too damned irritated." Ciel says as he takes the paper. "Those two didn't come back till late last night, after all. I mean, what in the-?" Ciel cut himself off as his eyes widened in shock at the news' headline.

"Another mysterious attack! A coffee house in Piccadilly Circus was severely damaged!"

"Well! Let's be frank, that duo has seemed terribly dodgy from the start!" Lau said as he read through the article and starts to suspect that Soma and Agni might be behind the attacks. However, Mei can't help but disagree. "I don't think it's as it seems. Why would they cause these attack when there's no reason for them to do so?" She asks.

"Ms. Misaki has a point. Going by that behaviour, the theory of a grudge against colonial rule seems weak at best. Even if they think ill of Anglo-Indians, attacking them indiscriminately entails too much risk." Ciel says, taking Mei's side in this debate. "In the first place, if they were indeed the perpetrators would they leave the Townhouse in blatant view of my sight as they did? That's like practically begging me to suspect them. Besides-."

"Well, then... To expedite matters, you just have to trail them at night." Lau suggested. It was a good as a plan as any. They agreed to it and wait until nighttime to investigate Soma and Agni, who seem to leave every night. As expected, Soma and Agni head out the front door and walked into the night. Sebastian, Lau, Mei and Ciel follow them, and as it turns out, Agni and Soma are simply looking for Mina. Asking every person, going to different places, if they had seen her or someone who looks like her.

"By all appearances, they really are just trying to find someone, hmmm?" Lau said.

"Are you surprised? Prince Soma was very determined to find Ms. Mina and bring her home." Mei said, relieved that her feelings about Soma and Agni was right. They didn't appear to be bad people and were both relatively kind. In Mei's eyes, they appeared to be genuine.

"In order to obtain information about someone in England, the first stop should always the local pubs or clubs. They're aren't doing anything out of the ordinary." Ciel said as he watches them closely. Sebastian takes out his pocket watch and looks at the time. "1:00 A.M. ... They will be returning to the Townhouse shortly. Let us head back as well."

They return to the manor, and shortly thereafter, Agni and Soma return as well. Everything seemed peaceful for the most part. But it was what he had expected it to be. As he made sure that Soma was in bed in peaceful slumber, close to two hours afterward, Agni leaves on his own. Not making a sound until he walks the snowy pathway.

"2:45 A.M.. He is one the move, as expected." Sebastian says with a smile as he watches Agni from on top of the roof. The butler slides down to the edges and hangs upside down to pull open the windows and inform sleepy Ciel of his movements. "Young Master. He is on the move." Sebastian tells him as he hangs upside down.

"So sleepy... Good. Let's follow him." Ciel said. Just as they are about to leave when Soma, suddenly awake and alerted, arrives. "Take me with you." He said. "But why?" Mei asked him softly. "I was aware that Agni would sometimes go out after I'd gone to bed. I want to know...what he's been up to. That is my right." Soma tells them.

 

Chapter Text

With no other option, Lau, Sebastian, Mei, Ciel, and Soma decide to follow Agni, and reach a building where their target has entered.

"He went into this building." Lau said. Ciel looks at the place and was surprised by the sight of it. "If memory serves, this is... I see. Now I'm starting to get the picture." Ciel says.

"What do you mean? Whose house is this?" Soma asks him, getting really anxious about what's going on. But before he got too worked up, Lau soothes him. "Now, now, your Highness. Patience, patience. It will be clear once you've gone inside. And then you'll be forced to face the truth, whether you like it or not. You... and I both...'kay?"

"By the "and I", I take it you haven't a clue either?" Ciel asks.

"Yes! Who lives here?"

"Why are you here again?" Mei asks him.

"This residence belongs toHarold West Jeb, who runs an extensive import buisness. I had the distinct displeasure of meeting him once...he's an unsavoury sort who loves all kinds of titles." The Earl explains.

"Imports, hmm? We're in the same business, then." Lau says, taking note of that. "Why would Agni go to an importer's house?" Soma asked.

"He mainly imports spice and tea leaves from India, and runs "Harold Trading," a general store and "Harold West," a Hindustani Coffeehouse. Whilst investigating Ms. Mina, I happened across Mr. West's name in some of the documents I was reviewing. Per those papers, Bengal in indeed the main source of his wares and he has suffered collateral damage from the hanging incidents...but...it seems the company representative, Mr. West himself, just happened to be away at the time of the incidents and escaped being hung." Sebastian informs them.

"There's nothing for it. Let's go take a look." Ciel says.

"As you wish sir." Sebastian said.

"But how are you going to climb over this wall?" Mei asked, momentarily forgetting who it is she's with. Her answer was given to her when Sebastian wrapped his arms around her and Ciel and he jumped over the wall. "YOU IDI-!" Ciel shouts as Sebastian lands on the otherside safety and sets the two down on their feet. "It is faster this way." Sebastian said.

"A little warning would be appreciated though." Mei said as Lau and Soma climb over the wall on their own. Then they are then confronted by vicious looking guard dogs. "CIEL!! MEI!" Soma cries out as the dogs bared their teeth and were about to lunged at them when Sebastian appeared to use some sort of demon ability to get them to back off.

"Oh? The hounds are falling back...?" Soma says in surprise. Sebastian let out a soft chuckle as he says, "Heh. What cowardly guard dogs Mr. West keeps."

"HOHHH THERE, EARLLL! Over here, over here." Lau calls them over. The others turned to him and, much to their complete surprise, he had already knocked out the guard personnel. Seeing their expressions, Lau felt a bit insulted. "Nooo, what do you take me for? I didn't kill them. I simply put them to sleep. I think it's a four-thousand-year-old method from ancient China."

Ciel clears his throat and regains his focus. "Never mind. Let's stop dallying and find him already." With the keys that Lau obtained from the guards, they carefully walked inside but were confused as there weren't any guards walking around inside. Sebastian stops and tells the group that he hears voices coming from the second floor. With that in mind, they traveled up the steps and found a door partially open and lights were emitting from inside the room.

"You've done a splendid job." A man's voice said. "Don't look so tormented, old chap. Why not have a cigar and relax?" They peeked inside and discovered they were in middle of a conversation between Harold West and Agni, who seems distressed. Harold has dirty blond hair combed forward at the top of his head and olive green eyes.

"This is a first-class Havana cigar I bought from James Fox the Royal Warrant holder." Harold says. "Well, in any case...the plan has been executed to perfection so far. Everything will be resolved in a week's time." Harold then walks closer to Agni and grips his bandaged up right hand. "And as long as I have this 'right hand of God', my scheme will be realised! Three years I've waited. I'll see myself victorious in this, no matter what!"

"If I carry out my mission as promised... Mina wi-." Agni began to say. But before he could say anything else, the moment he heard her name, Soma suddenly bursts into the room shouting, "MINA?!" His sudden entrance shocks Agni and surprises Harold while Ciel almost gave away their positioned. "You bloody f-!" Fortunely Sebastian covered his mouth before that could happen. "He knows the young Master and I. Let us see how things proceed before rushing in." Sebastian tells him.

"Soma..." Mei said.

"M-my Prince-." Agni said before Soma runs towards him, grabbing Agni by his collar and demanding, "What is the meaning of this, Agni!? Have you known where Mina is all along!?" When he finally realises who Soma is Harold smiled wickedly towards the young man. "Aah... So that's your Master, hm...Agni?"

Soma glares daggers at Harold. Easily knowing that he was the man who took his Mina away from him. Anger and hate filled Soma's heart as he ordered, "Agni! Knock him out!" He gave out the order. But Agni cringes and does not move. He...looked scared. Seeing his hesitation, Soma was left confused. "Agni! What are you doing!?" Soma shouted, more confused than angry.

Harold spread a malice smirk as he then orders, "Agni. Throw his annoying highness out of here." Agni visibly flinched at this order and had turned pale now.  "Wha-?!" Soma cried out. What's going on here?! What's happening?! Why is Agni even doing here?! "Can't you hear what I'm saying?" Harold asked him.

"In would seem a quarrel has ensued." Sebastian said as he and the others watched from the hallway. "Though there's no mistaking West's involvement with the hanging based on their little chat, they no longer seem to be incidents of the underworld." Ciel speculated.

"Is this what people mean by the Black Market?" Mei asked them, getting a confirmed nod from Ciel. "And that means this is all outside of the Earl's jurisdiction." Lau said. "...Indeed. But informing the Yard is a pain, so what do you say we beat them silly and go home? That doesn't sound half-bad, but I have another idea. Let's leave west at large for a while longer. Tonight, we'll be leaving here with that thick-headed prince.

"But Mr. West knows what you two look like, right?" Mei asked as she kept her eye focused on the scene in front of her. Watching the people inside very closely. "That he does..." Ciel said.

"Please let me handle it." Sebastian says. "I have a good idea."

"Agni, what is wrong with you!? Explain yourself!" Soma shouts, questioning Agni about what is going on. Agni was visibly shaking as he muttered out his next words. "I... I have nothing to tell you. Please leave now." His words struck Soma like a knife to his heart. He had never heard this kind of tone from Agni before in his life. "Wh-.... What are you say-....?"

"Good boy." Harold said, smirking. Distressed, Soma glares at Harold and grabs him by his coat and shouts at him, "You bastard!! What have you done to him!?" "Please stop!" Agni begs as he pulled Soma away from Harold. "Let me go Agni! Why are you doing as he says!?" Soma shouted.

"Well, I never! My Gieves & Hawkes suit is all wrinkled!" Harold says as he fixes his nice suit that Soma so rudely messed up. "Agni! Get your hands off of me!" Soma yells as he struggled against his hold on him.

"Y'know, for those chaps who are a bit hard of good hearing, a good beating always does the trick! Agni. Gives his Highness the prince a good whack to shut him up." Harold ordered him. "!!?" Mei blinked as she saw Agni become even more tensed and looked petrified of even thinking of hurting Soma. He was shaking uncontrollably as beads of sweat ran down his face. Apparently, Harold found this amusing. "Haha! What's wrong? I'm not ordering you to kill him. I'm only telling you to rough him up a bit to get him to bite his tongue. Aren't I a nice fellow?" 

Agni releases Soma and stares down at him with a look Soma couldn't recognise. "Agni...?" The whited-haired man took one step forward and his heart from within him was becoming unbearably heavy and tore itself apart with pain. All while Harold stood there, watching this cruelty with a malice grin. "Agni!" Agni shut his eyes tightly as he moves in to hit Soma. The prince raised his arms to try and defend himself. But before the blow could be dealt, he was suddenly stopped....by a....man with a deer's head?

"Deer?" Soma and Agni said confusingly.

"WH-WH-WHO THE HELL IIIIIS THIIIIIIIIS!?" Harold shouted in terror and shock. The deer-man turns his head to face him and Harold jumped in fright. The deer-man then gave a small bow as he said, "I, nought but a humble deer, have come for this prince."

"Putting on that mounted deer head and going in was a stroke of brilliance, master butler." Lau said with amusement as he stares up at the empty plaque. "He did hide his face after all..." Mei said, looking up at the plaque as well. "Are we talking about the same "idea" here?" Ciel asks.

"Fo-forget the prince, this might be one of the enemy's spies! Agni!" Harold began screaming.

"Nothing of the sort. I am merely a humble dee-."

"KILL HIM!!" Harold shouted at him. Agni stares at Harold with shock at the order and says, "Kill-! I cannot do such-!" "Shut up!" Harold shouts at him again. "Do you want me to renege on that promise!? I'm ordering you! DO IT!!" Great pain and distress invaded Agni's sense of peace once he heard Harold announcing to break away of the promise he made. Agni clenches his fists and his shaking becomes more uncontrollable. "I... I...!"

Droplets of blood began to fall onto the carpeted floor. Agni falls to his knees as the weight of his guilt became too much for him. Agni was crying tears of blood. Crying because he knows that he was going to betray the prince he had loved and reveres so much. "Since I was reborn... My God... My Master...is but one no other...and for he alone I would use my right hand...so had I vowed. No I shall commit a sin by betraying that God..."

"AGNI... NO...!" Soma shouted, pleading him to not do what he was about to do. "Please forgive me!" Agni grips his bandages and tore them off. "OHHHHHHHH!!!" He roared like a feral beast and he continued to weep blood. His eyes were blank and white as he went into a wild rampage and moves to do as West orders. But Sebastian grabbed Soma and moved out of the way to save him from Agni's rampage. Though his speed did cause Agni to accidentally break many of Harold's prized possessions instead.

"GYAAAAH! Not the chest I bought at General Tradiiiiinnng!"

*WHAM!*

"STOPPP! That's a one-of-a-kind Galle lamp from Thomas Goode!!"

"This is all starting to look a mite dangerous. We should take our leave now, Earl." Lau says as he lifts Ciel and Mei, taking advantage of the pandemonium to leave and get the hell out of there. "Hey! People will start taking note of of this commotion! Once you've grabbed the prince, you'd better run for it too!" Ciel shouts at Sebastian as Lau takes them away. "As you wish." Sebastian complies and grabs Soma, avoiding another one of Agni's reckless thrashing, and jumping out of West manor. Leaving Agni, who had finally calmed down, looking at them with sadden, blank eyes.

Once they all return safely to the Ciel's London house, they discussed about Agni's strange, amazing powers while Sebastian poured them all tea. "Amazing, wasn't he? That fellow from before. It was beyond anything that could be defined as a human." Lau said.

"He was in the state of Samadhi. No one can lay a hand on him when he gets like that." Soma says, looking agitated at the moment. Mei set down her cup as she glanced at him. She was worried of how he must be feeling about all this. "Samadhi?" Ciel asked.

"It is to do with religion, yes? A kind of trance state." Sebastian says. Human beings are rare creatures that can produced tremendous power derived from intense belief that gives way to a kind of blind faith. The norse vikings of Yore became berserkers in the name of their war God Odin... The paladins of the crusaders fought in the name of Yahweh by invading foreign lands time and time again... He too numbers among them. Because of his absolute devotion to his God and Master, Prince Soma.... He can invoke power that is beyond human. It is power that our like cannot boast...that which is born of belief in love for another... A power known as faith."

"Then why...did he betray me?" Soma says solemnly as he hung his head. Mei stood up from her seat and gently places her hand on top of his. "Prince Soma, he-." Mei began to say before Soma suddenly lashes out in anger and hurt. "Why did he wilfully abandon me!?" Soma shouted as he, not only smacks Mei away from him, knocking her to the floor, but also destroying Ciel's tea set in the process. "...! Why, you...!" Ciel shouted.

"WHY!!? WHY DOES EVERYONE LEAVE MY SIDE!? WHY!? HOW COME...!?" Soma yells. As the tea set are shattered to pieces and the tea itself stained the table and floor. Soma breaths heavily from the outburst and he flees to his room. Slamming the door behind him. "Are all of you all right?" Sebastian asks them.

"We ducked and the lady was pushed back, so we're fine." Lau told him. Sebastian and Ciel quickly ran to Mei's side and kneeled before her. "Mei, are you alright?" Ciel said as he checked her over. Mei shook her head. "Are you hurt at all?" Sebastian asked her as he placed a hand on her back. "No, I'm fine." She said.

As they helped her stand, Sebastian looks back at the shattered pieces. "Oh dear.... There goes the Haviland tea set I sent away for because I thought it would be perfect for Young Master... I do believe...the unruly prince needs to be retaught his manners a touch."

Soma hide himself away in his sheets, after tossing most of the things in his room, and laid on his bed in complete silence. He then heard the door to his room open and footsteps drawing near. "You knave! Who gave you permission to enter this-?!" Soma shouted as Sebastian pulls him out of his hiding place, sending him to the floor. Soma picks himself off from the floor and stares angrily at the butler. "You insolent foo-!"

"Which of us is being insolent?" Sebastian asks him as he goes to tidy up the bed sheets. "Doing as you please and leaving a mess in your wake.... You have made a fine pest of yourself."

"Wha-?!"

"You are in England at the residence of Earl Phantomhive. This is neither your country, nor your castle." Sebastian then turned around and gave the young prince the most darkest, chilling stare he had ever seen. "Here in this place, you have absolutely no right to order anything of me. Here, you are nothing more than a whelp. A powerless child who cannot do anything unless Agni is with you. And now you have also been betrayed by him, your last ray of light."

Soma shudder under Sebastian's stare as he shook in place. He hung his head as he agrees with him somewhat. "Yes... I haven't anything left. I've lost it all..." Soma said. Then Sebastian let out a deep chuckle and smiled. A smile turning more sadistic. "Lost? What amazing persecutory delusions you have there. You have not lost anything...as you had nothing to lose to begin with."

The words hit Soma right in the heart. The young prince stood there in shock. His heart had stopped as could barely think as Sebastian continued on. "Your parents gave you your status. Your parents gave you your palace. Your parents gave you your servants. From the very beginning, none of it was ever your own. Do I not speak the truth? Even when it came to Agni, you had an inkling of something being amiss there, yes? But you had not the courage to ascertain the matter yourself."

"Y...-! You're wrong!" Soma shouted, denying what Sebastian was telling him and tries to run out of the room. Much like a child who runs away from getting in trouble. Soma was mere inches from grabbing the door, when Sebastian slams his hand against it. Halting Soma and he continues to look down at him, smirking down at him. Soma was now terrified of Sebastian and felt despair eat away at him. "Ah, but I am not wrong, am I?"

"I see. So now that reality is being thrust in your face, you have decided to affect the role of the tragic hero this time? You truly are a pathetic, hopeless brat." Sebastian says as Soma falls to his knees. "But... But...! Everyone said they would always stay by my side-!"

"Lip service, of course." Sebastian said, becoming a bit more serious this time as his smirk dropped. "No one serves another without a reward. Even a three-year-old from the slums knows that much. Not a one of them ever loved you."

"I... I-!" "Let's leave it at that." They both looked up and saw that Ciel, at some point, entered the room.

"Young Master."

"I might've ended up just like him.... If not for...that one long month...."

Three years have past and he still remembers the events in perfect detail. Three  years have past and he can still hear their voices as if he heard them speak only moments ago. 'Ciel, darling! Don't run so far, I cannot catch you so far.' He hears his mother giggled. 'Ciel, let's pick these flowers for your mother." He hear his father say. ''Happy Birthday Ciel.' He hear them cheered happily. 'Ciel, we love you.' He hear them say.

Three years have passed and…He still remembers the last day they spent together. His tenth birthday. Hours before the blaze that consumed his home. Hours before his parents were taken from him.

The crisp December morning began with a gentle drizzle of snow. Clouds blanked the sky in a bleak yet rather cheery gray. Ciel was fast asleep in his bed. The cold December air filled his room. Ciel, under his three layer quilt, slept in blissful peace. Tired smiles donned his lips. The anticipation and excitement of his special day barely contained within his smile. However, due to his excitement, his minds slipped as to what day had truly come with the hidden away rising sun.

His bedroom door peeked open, Rachael and Vincent peering in to see their child sleeping soundly. Rachael placed a finger to her lips. Vincent nodded in comprehension. Rachael tiptoed to her son's bedside, sitting beside him with a warm glowing smile. Vincent drew the curtains open. The morning overcast light filling the room.

Ciel grumbled, squeezing his eyes as the bright light pierced the closed lids. His cloudy eyes fluttered open, greeted by his ceiling, wondering what time it was. "Good morning my angel." The harmonious voice of the mother greeted. "It's time for you to awaken."

Rachel and Vincent loved their child, and they wanted to show to him the best way possible. Ciel's birthday truly was one to remember. When they told him that Angelina and Lizzie was coming tonight to celebrate, Ciel smiled brighter than he ever did. I t was falling unto dusk and they prepared a grand party for him. They told him to go upstairs and to take a nap before the party, so that he may be well-rested for an evening of fun.

Little did Ciel know…he would never see his parents that night. Nor would he see them the next morning. In fact…we would never see them again. For this would be his last birthday with them. Together…as a family.

A strange aroma filled his nose, waking Ciel from his sleep. "Huh?" Ciel sniffed. It was strong...musty…suffocating…reeking of iron. Black clouds seeped into the bedroom from the door. "What on earth?" His attention was caught by an orange glow beneath the door. "What is that?"

Ciel jumped from bed, tiptoeing for the door. Beyond the door, crackling pops sounded. There was a mass amount of her emanating. The door was hot. Timidly Ciel turned the knob to his door. He held his breath. It exploded open. Orange and red flames roared into the room, throwing Ciel back.

"OUR HOUSE! IT'S ON FIRE!" Ciel ran to the window, thinking he could jump. From that height he'd be dead on impact. He then ran for the bathroom, thinking quickly he turned on the shower as cold as the water would go. He soaked himself, his clothing, his shoes, and a couple towels as damply as he could.

With a powerful push of his legs he leapt into the flames and charged down the fiery corridor. His bedroom engulf entirely by the flames, and the doorway crashing down. The fire covered the walls and ceiling in a blaze of Hellish flames. Family portraits, fine antiquities, the Arabian carpeting – all turned to ash right before his frightened eyes. As they ran, the little boy felt as if the fire chased after him, desiring the chance to burn the skin from his bones. Demonic hands formed in the blaze, gaining on him as he desperately tried to run faster. More flames awaited them at the end of the hall. Ciel pulled a hard turn and dashed down another hall. The hand of fire collided with the wall, rejoining the blaze.

A banister, unable to remain aloft, came powering down. Ciel skidded to a halt. The banister crashed through the top of the stairs. The rest of the stairs were too far gone for him to embark down safely. Certain sections were feasible for descent. But could he take the risk? To escape a fate of ashes? Yes.

Ciel frog jumped from one portion of stair to the other. He nearly lost his footing but he caught him fortunately. As he continued, the second flight of stairs collapsed into itself. The whole second floor was ready to give. Desperately seeking refuge from the inferno, Ciel quickly stampeded down the rest of the stairs, eventually tumbling down the rest of the steps.

He was able to shake off the pain. The front door was within his reach. Open, might one add. All he need door was dash ten steps and he was home free. Surely his parents, his dog, and Tanaka awaited his arrival. So why didn't he? What stopped him from escaping? The open parlour door. Amidst the blaze a shadow could be made out. Someone was still inside. But who?

Ciel whipped his towel away. Dashing to the door, the little Phantomhive yanked it so hard it wrenched from its hinges. It did not matter. Nothing mattered at that moment. The door, the fire, the manor crumbling around him – the world was insignificant.

Pools of blood…Hardened blood stained the carpet. Bodies…Three bodies lie motionless in the parlour. Two, a woman and a dog on the floor, the other a man in a chair. Mother…Father…Why aren't they moving? They needed to get out! The fire was going to incinerate them! MOTHER, FATHER, WHY WON'T YOU GET UP? Ciel stepped for them. Strong hands gripped at him, dragging him away. NO! NO! LET ME GO! LET ME GO! MOMMY! DADDY! The parlour caved in around him. Ashes of his former self scattering about. No…no…NOOOOOO! MOOOMMMY! DAAAAADDDYYYY!

"Ohhh...what do we have here!" A man he did not recognise said as he lifted up the sheet of the iron cage. He looked at him with unholy glee and a sickly smile on his face. Staring at him as if he were an exotic animal. "Rare, right?" Another man, one of his kidnappers commented. "This is more than two persons' worth." "Cheers, guv."

"I shall brand you with the mark of the noble beast." A searing hot iron rod with a mark was pressed against his flesh and it burned like hell. "AAAAH!"

Let me out. Let me out. Let me out of here.

"See, you've gotten so much lovelier now."

It hurts. It's all dirty. I want to go home.

He spent the next, long month, crying. Chained in a cage while masked adults look on, smiling menacingly and joyfully.

Father. Mother. God...please.

"Now let us begin once more this evening."

Why? Why must we be-?

No one's coming to save me.

One of the masked adults then places him on a table for his sacrifice and with joyful pleasure, one of them raises a knife and plunges it down into his small body, while other adults look on gleefully, clapping.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD IN THIS WORLD!!!

KILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLLKILLKILLKILLKILL

"-Oh? Well, well. What a tiny master that is." Says the demon that came that night. He was truly a horrific sight for those present. He smiled down at the one who had summoned him. He found him to be interesting, yet amusing. " You have summoned me. That fact will not change for all eternity...and the sacrifice that has been made will never return. Now! Make your choice."

"I COMMAND YOU!! KILL THEM ALL!"

Chapter Text

In present time.

"C...Ciel...?" Soma carefully said.

"My...family was murdered, my home burned to ash...and I myself was subjugated to humiliations unfit for even a beast. I was powerless...child." Ciel explains as he clenches his fists. "Thus, I returned to Phantomhive, so that I might inflict the same humiliation upon those who made me and mine suffer. If the Phantomhive was an obstacle to those who dispatched its previous head three years ago, they will eventually target me again if I stay on as Earl. I'm waiting...for them to come here and make an attempt on my life."

"Why...would you go that far..?" Soma asked, confused and shocked as to why Ciel would be so willing to risk his life, especially at the fact that those who attacked are aware that he is alive. "Despairing, grieving, standing still...what good will that do? Even the dead can stand still. But here I am...alive and standing on my own two feet, with my own strength. If I'm going to die at some point anyway, I'd rather do so without regrets." Ciel says as he walks into the room. "I won't make any lofty claims about trying to avenge the previous head. I'm simply doing this for my own diversion."

While Ciel goes on about his mission-no...that doesn't sound right. A game is more like it. Unbeknownst to them, Mei stood outside in the hallway. Unintentionally listening to every word they were saying. She didn't mean to walk in like this, but she was worried about Soma after his outburst. But now, Mei finally found a reason why her eye didn't react when she looked at Ciel and the colour was still visible on him. Even so, she found herself understanding her friend a bit better.

"Them or me, Earl Phantomhive. This is all just a game to see who wins." Ciel said. "Even if I'm made to stand on the edge of despair in a hellish place...I won't give up. I'll grab the spider's web it'll help me crawl out of there. We Humans possess that strength. To grab that thread or not, however...is your own decision, and yours alone."

Soma stood there in awe and amazement when he stares at this young boy. Though he is younger, he was great wisdom, integrity and determination that even the most influential adult would find admirable. Before he could speak, Ciel turns to leave. "Enough of this prattle. Sebastian, I want to talk to you about West. Come."

"Yes sir." Sebastian said. The two leave Soma alone to dwell on Ciel's words and his thoughts. 'To grab that thread or not, however...is your own decision, and yours alone.' When they stepped into the hallway, they were caught off guard with Mei standing against the wall. She stared at them before walking closer to Ciel. The latter tensed up and looked away. "I take it you've heard everything, right?" He asked.

"I did...and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..." Mei said as she walked closer to him with her arms raised. "It's wasn't your-." Ciel started before quickly shutting up as Mei suddenly brought Ciel into a hug. Holding him tightly as she patted his head. Ciel blushed deep red while Sebastian struggled to hold in his laughter. "Wh-wh-what are you doing?!"

Mei pulled back slightly so that she could look at him. Ciel's blush deepened when he saw just how close their faces were. "Hm? It looked like you needed one. Doesn't this type of thing normally help?" Mei asked.

"W-well, that's...!" Ciel said, struggling to think of an answer while trying to avoid eye-contact. "I think I'm starting to understand you a bit better. And I hope you allow me, your friend, to stand by you when you become the winner in your game." Mei told as brought him in again. For that, Ciel's blush faded and was simply surprised that she was accepting all of this. She heard him say that he was waiting for his attackers to come and with the knowledge that Sebastian was a demon who's helping him in all this...why was she being so calm?

"Mei, you...you aren't going to try and stop me?" He asked her. She shook her head. "Even if I did, I know I can't. To go this far, I want to think that you have every reason and right to go through with it. I...have faced a lot, and you've been nothing but kind to me...I just want to make sure that you don't have any regrets either." Ciel let out a sigh and lifted his arm to hold her shoulder, shutting his eye and lean into her hold. She was so warm and had such a nice scent. Realising what's going on, Ciel blushed again. Mei hugged him for a minute longer before she let him go and Ciel tried to leave with Sebastian, as quickly as possible, to further discuss Harold West.

Mei simply smiled at them as they traveled down the stairs but then turned to see Soma running out of his room and chased after the young Earl. "Ciel!" Soma called out as he reached the bottom of the stairs, taking a moment to catch his breath before continuing. "I...! I am ashamed of myself. I'm seventeen, but I'm still an unseasoned fool next to you. I was a spoiled child in the nest that my parents granted me...and never even once tried to understand others. I knew Agni was troubled, but I didn't even try to talk to him about it. But now I want to know. I want to confront them and ask them why they left my side. So please!" Soma shouts as he looks up at Ciel. "Let me join you-!"

"I decline." Ciel said, abruptly refusing Soma in a similar manner he had done to him before. "I have no desire to babysit a charge as naive as yourself." Ciel turns to leave again, but then he changes his mind and says, "...That said... My parlour door has never been locked." Soma take a moment to process this before he jumped forward and hugs Ciel happily, thanking him. "CIEL!!" "GET OFF!"

"Oh, yes." Soma says as he turns Ciel around and claps his hands together. He remembered what he had done and was quick to apologise for his earlier actions. "Ciel, I apologise for breaking the cups earlier when I snapped. Please forgive me." Soma said. "And..." His golden eyes traveled to Sebastian. Nervously, he hides behind Ciel as he apologises to Sebastian as well. "I...I apologise...to you too..."

"It's alright. I find you entertaining." Sebastian said.

"I suppose this means you're growing up, right Prince Soma?" Mei asks with a slight giggle as she walked down the steps. Soma glanced at her and gasped in shock. When Mei reached the bottom of the stairs, Soma ran towards her and kneeled at her feet. Surprising the young girl. "What are you-?" "Mei, I am so sorry for my actions towards you. You were trying to help me, yet I had hurt you so....Please forgive me." Soma said as he held her hands and hung his head in shame. Shame that he would dare hurt a young lady the way he did.

Mei blinked in surprise but she took her hands back wrapped her arms around him. "It's okay. You were just upset, someone like you wouldn't do that on purpose." She told him. Soma let out a relieved sigh as he held her arms. He then jumped up and his strong arms constricted her shoulders as a face rubbed against hers. "Thank you! You're too kind!" Soma said. Mei was befuddled by the sudden embrace.

"GET OFF HER!!" Ciel and Sebastian said.

Afterwards, the four met up with Lau in the parlour where they began discussing about what Harold was after as Sebastian pours them a fresh cup of tea. "Now then. Let us continue our little chat from before his Highness's interruption." Lau said.

"First, West must have put Agni up to the aforementioned incidents. With his physical ability, it would be easy for him to do everything alone. West mentioned a three year plan that the successful execution of that plan in one week, and that Agni'a right hand is absolutely necessary. That was all. The most important factor here is the one week later deadline." Ciel said.

"If West is using Agni's right hand of God, perhaps they plan to raid a major event?" Lau asked. "Well, with it being winter now, the large-scale functions have all but ended. And the Queen's golden jubilee was held just last year."

"What could be so important one week from now?" Mei asks them. Ciel thought the same question and asks the demon butler, "Sebastian. What events will be held in London one week from now?"

"One week from now? Young Master has received invitations to a choir concert sponsored by Saint Sophia Academy at West Minister Abbey... Wagner at the Royal opera house in Convent Garden... An exhibition of Indian culture and its prosperity within the empire at the Crystal Palace. An exhibition of world currencies at the British museum." Sebastian said, listing off the many different events that will be held within the next week.

"India?" Ciel asks suddenly.

"Young Master, a gentleman must read all correspondence address to him, no matter what the contents." Sebastian says with a sigh.

"You don't read the whole letter do you?" Mei asks.

"Shut up and just give me the details." Ciel said.

"The exhibition of Indian culture and its prosperity in the British Empire will be held at the Crystal Palace next week. The main exhibits will feature Great Britain's achievements and industry in India. A curry fair will be held as part of the programme. Young Master had received an invitation to be a special judge at that fair. The fair will have several companies competing with their curries. Rumour has it that Her Majesty, who is known for her love of curry, will come visit the fair. Should I see which individuals are hosting their own parties as well?" Sebastian says.

"India... Curry... That's quite enough." Ciel said, clearing fed up right now but now understands what Harold is trying to gain from this. It was so obvious. "It seems you've caught on, my Lord." Lau said. "Yes. Three years. A fair. And West covets brands and titles, he would only think of one thing." Ciel said. "I can't believe how silly this case has turned out to be. I'm so unnerved, I don't know what to say..."

"Ah-ha-ha! So you were really sent on a fool's errand." Lau laughed.

"So the case has been solved already huh?" Mei said. As they talked, Soma off to the side, confused at what they were talking about and spoke up. "Hey, wait! I don't understand what's going on. Explain it to me!!" He said.

"Quiet down, your Highness. You will receive your explanation in due time...from Lord Earl." Lau said.

Ciel, much to his annoyance, said, "Once again you were only pretending to know!"

"I'm still wondering if he has any useful qualities." Mei said, sighing.

"The main dish served at West's Hindustani Coffeehouse is curry. In other words, West is attempting to obtain a Royal Warrant with curry." Ciel explained to them.

"Ah, now I understand." Lau says.

"A rowy'all warrant? What is that?" Soma asks.

"Ah, right! Your Highness wouldn't know of it." Lau says. "England has a curious system. Members of the Royal Family can grant a seal of approval to merchants and artisans of whom they are fond. That seal if known as the Royal Warrant. Stores that hold the Royal Warrant can display that seal on their signs. A Royal Warrant is equivalent to quality assurance."

"When a brand receives a warrant its sales are guaranteed to increase. We were considering applying for the Royal Warrant for our confectionery and toy brand." Ciel said. "Some stores have tripled their sales...as Queen Victoria sets the trend for everything from fashion to food. The rage for curry has slowed down, so West must want the title, whatever the cost."

"I understand that West wants the so-called "Royal Warrant". But what does that have to do with the hanging incidents?" Soma asks them.

"There are two conditions for obtaining a Royal Warrant. The first is to have the product's quality recognised at the fair. And the second is..." Sebastian says, beginning to explain to Soma. "Gratuitous service to the Royal Family for thee years." This send Soma in a shock state as he slowly began to realise the situation and what's going on with Agni. In other words, Harold who has continued to deliver his products to the royal family for three years was also trying to eliminate all competition so that they cannot enter the show in a week's time and therefore, he ensures that he would win the warrant.

"Military personnel were attacked as well, so it looked as if the culprits were Indians who held a grudge against England. West is probably using Mina to force Agni to participate in this silly plan... And Agni is doing it for the sake of his own God."

"Eh?" Soma went.

"The letters left behind at the crimes scenes held another important clue besides camouflage." Ciel says as he shows Soma the notes left behind that contains a strong symbol hidden in plain sight. "Right here." Ciel said, pointing to the tongue drawing. "Lord Randall was ranting that the mark was an insult against England, but its real meaning is something else entirely. You pray to that, no?" Ciel turns Soma's attention to the Goddess Kali statue and Soma's eyes widened when he took notice that the Goddess was sticking her tongue out. That's what the mark was representing.

"Agni was the one who drew it, right? And who else is Agni's God in this world?" Mei asked, gently placing her hand on Soma's arm. "He did it all for you. So both his prayers and his apology were drawn into this mark." Ciel said. "Agni worships you and lives for you even after he has left your side. You have been blessed with a wonderful butler." Sebastian said.

"Agni..." Soma called out as he held the note tightly in his hands, trying to hold back his tears. Such a fool he was for thinking that Agni, his most loyal servant, would ever betray him. He felt guilty for thinking that and never properly acknowledged the inner turmoil he must've been this whole time. As Soma held the note, he made a promise to himself that once he meets Agni again, he was going to give him the most sincere apology he rightfully deserves.

"Then all's well that ends well, eh? Let's wash our hands of this affair. How about we have the Yard handle the rest?" Lau suggested.

"Wait! But what will become of Agni and Mina!?" Soma asked, fearing of what will happened to them if the authorities get their hands on them. "Who knows?" Lau asks.

Ciel let out a yawn as he says, "We now know that this incident doesn't concern our side, the underworld. And we're not running a charity."

"...! I understand... This is indeed my problem. I will think about what I can do to solve it on my own."

"Good attitude. Then I'll get on with my work." Ciel said with his cheeky grin set on his face. "I was summoned to London in winter on this worthless errand. Don't I deserve some reward for my trouble? A Royal Warrant is granted after three years of gratuitous service and one's showing at a fair. The fair will be held in one week. And fortunately for us, the top competition is unable to participate. Therefore, if our Funtom Corporation participates and wins against West... The Royal Warrant will be ours."

Everyone in the room stares at Ciel with mixed reactions. Some smiled, while others were curious and surprised. "I was considering moving into the food business after we obtained a warrant for our confectionery and toys. If we were to get the warranty at the curry fair, it would be the talk of the town." Ciel said.

"Indeed. It'll be quite the trophy to mark the launch of Funtom's culinary line." Lau said in agreement. If the Funtom Corporation were to launch into food industry, with the warranty in hand, will also deter other competitors. "But you only have one week to set up a culinary department. Will you be able to prepare specialists in curry cooking equipment stores, and such in time?" Soma asks the young Earl. He didn't think it was possible to get everything set up in a short amount of time and still be ready for the fair. That, plus one more thing.

"We won't be needing any of that. Isn't that right? Sebastian?" Ciel says as he turns to face his Demon with a smirk, to which Sebastian returned. "If I couldn't make a good curry for my Master, then what kind of a butler would I be? The Royal Warrant will b-." "Impossible!"

"Nn?" Everyone went as they turned to look at the young Prince with confused expressions. "There's no way you can win against West in a curry match." Soma tells them. "Why not?" Mei asks him. "He has Agni, who in turn has the right hand of God." Soma said.

"The destructive power of the "right hand of God" is indeed extraordinary, but we're not competing in a combat sport. This is a curry-cooking competition." Ciel said. He had a point. Agni's only dexterous in martial arts. They aren't fighting, this is just a simple cooking match isn't it? But Soma would like to disagree with that. "That's is right! It isn't a combat sport like fencing. It's a curry match!"

.....What?

"Pardon me."

"I do not quite follow..."

"You don't know Agni's true power. You do not know real curry." Soma stated. "The quality of real curry is determine by the spices in it. One must choose from hundreds of spices, the amount of each spice one uses determines the curry's taste, heat, and fragrance...the spices affect everything. One has an infinite array of choices. Making the best curry is like finding one truth out of all the truths of the universe. But Agni's right hand can do that. With only his fingertips, he selects the best spices from an innumerable selection and mixes in the optional amounts to create curry that is nothing short of a miracle. His power to imagine and create a world from nothing is indeed within the realm of Godliness. That is why Agni, with his right hand of God, is called...Kali's right hand!"

Soma goes on to claim that he has never tasted a more delicious curry than Angi's and that's why he told him to offer the young Prince his right hand before. "So the Right Hand of God..." "Refers not to Godly strength but to Godly curry-making skills?" Ciel and Lau said.

"I feel that's something that could be falsely advertised." Mei said. "There you have it. Sebastian?" Ciel asked as he turned to his butler when the man let out a soft chuckle. "Well, well... I seem to have found myself up against a formidable adversary."