Just as ordered, Sebastian did as he was told. He walked away from the carriage, disappearing into the London crowd and from Ciel's line of sight. Good. He knew better than anyone that it wouldn't take the butler even half of the time that the young earl had allotted him, in fact if the flow of information worked in his favor, he may even beat the boy home. Sebastian was efficient in everything he did, including case work. Ciel had nothing to worry about.
The ride home was spent thinking about the case and the two victims they had as well as when the next would appear and what story it would be. If Sebastian had a copy of the book when he returned home, perhaps they could study the stories and prevent yet another gruesome death. So far these murders seemed to happen five to seven days apart, giving them a small window of time to work with. They didn't appear to have anything in common, one woman was a nanny for an aristocrat in the outskirts of London and the other was florist. Perhaps digging deeper into their histories was a must, something the earl would see to when he returned home.
As he stepped into the large manor, the silence told him he had beat the demon back and a faint smirk touched his lips. This was still good, he was doing as he was told and checking every avenue possible. This gave the small Phantomhive time to do just as he wished, heading up to his office in order to delve deeper into the backgrounds of these two strangers. He didn't get too far into it before the door opened, revealing the darkly clad butler with a tray of tea.
[+blue "Tell me what you've found,"] he stated, his small form leaning back into the large chair, the exposed eye watching his butler as he moved expertly and gracefully. [+blue "I hope you've got something helpful."]
As Ciel gave his usual order, Sebastian simply grinned. All day? please, he didn't need all day in order to gather the information. He simply bowed and said [+red "yes my lord."] As he closed the carriage door and then seemed to have disappeared. He started in the most obvious of places, checking all the local libraries to see if the book had been taken out, or stolen recently, coming up with nothing from there. He then decided to track the book in stores, learning of its price, and origin, and the type of people who generally purchased the book. He was given the answers he was looking for, allowing him to narrow down his search a bit more.
He then began by asking any and all of the local houses who owned the book, lying, and explaining to them he was with the yard, and was looking for any clues. He doubted the yard would ever go to this extent, so he knew he didn't have to worry about anyone from the yard ever finding out he did this. However, in all of his searches, no one was missing these pages, but they talked about seeing a child roaming the streets with a book that looked as old and warn as the pages that Sebastian was holding. This was news to him.
So he took to the streets and asked any of the street children if they knew anything, and they all knew of the boy, and said he was from out of town, and that he mentioned a house on a hill. Sebastian continued with his search, and went to this house to investigate. It looked like it had been empty for years now. All the doors were locked, but Sebastian figured Ciel would want to investigate this house.
Having learned all he had, he went back to the mansion just in time for the evening tea. He prepared the tea, and the small dessert he always added, and then headed to the earl's office to bring him the information, as well as his tea.
Ciel watched in silence as Sebastian took the page once it was offered and neatly put it inside his coat's pocket in order to analyze later. For anyone else, tracking down the book it came from let alone the exact book, would be impossible. There were thousands of children's books in London alone and the rich families on the outskirts, like his own, would easily increase that number. It would take weeks to collect enough copies of every printed book and analyze the typing in order to find a match.
Luckily he had Sebastian on his side.
The young earl simply nodded at the demon's request, beginning to walk back to his carriage that waited patiently for him. How long this task would take the demon was impossible to say but, judging from previous experience, it wouldn't take him longer than a couple of hours. [+blue "I expect you to have something that will point us in the correct direction when I see you again,"] the boy stated, stopping in front of his transport and turning to face the demon. [+blue "Don't return until you have something we can use. I don't care if it takes you all day."]
Sebastian looked over the page that Ciel had found, and stuck into his jacket pocket in order to look at it later. It looked like an older book, and Sebastian figured it would be a very easy book to track down, and then from there be able to tell who could possibly own a copy of that book, and that would certainly help them be able to narrow down their list of suspects.
As Sebastian stood next to Ciel, analyzing his data, he was surprised to hear Ciel suggest Grell. While Sebastian had noticed the victim looked like Madame red, he supposed it was very possible the suspect could have been Grell, although Sebastian didn't think that Grell would be so careless in his kills like this. As a matter of fact, he knew one of the reapers would have had to come here and collect her soul, he was surprised that annoying red head hadn't shown up yet. He imagined there were too many people and Grell didn't want to be seen.
Sebastian shrugged it off. [+red "It is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities, though these do seem very sloppy for a grim reaper. I am going to take this page and try to find the book it belongs to, why don't you head back to the mansion, and I will meet you there my young lord."] Sebastian smiled, offering to at least escort Ciel back to the carriage.
Bright eyes scanned carefully around the area, keeping alert for anything that may be out of place. It was certainly a challenge, especially for a display like this, but not impossible. He proved that at the last crime scene. What Ciel was looking for was very specific, similar to something he had found at the previous display and kept to himself. It wasn't of very much use to him then, but now it could prove very helpful.
He just had to find it first.
Ciel meticulously combed over every inch of the blocked off area, moving and shifting things around him in case they could hide something underneath. It were almost as if he were playing the most intense game of hide-and-seek, the boy willing to go to any length possible to win. As the minutes passed, it seemed like a lost cause as he still had come up empty handed. A quiet, irritated groan fell from his chest as he stood up straight after looking over a few ocean creatures, closing his eyes for a moment as his back cracked into place. Upon opening the bright heterochromic eyes, they instantly landed on the item he had been searching for: a piece of paper.
It had been secured to a nearby post with fishing line, a hook through the paper to ensure it didn't blow away. Ciel was just tall enough to snag it as it blew carelessly in the wind, jumping as it came close to the ground in order to catch it. Once he landed, a faint smirk touched his lips as he looked over the printed words on the page, a retelling of the childhood tale. The page looked fairly worn as if it had been read many times, one edge torn to indicate it was ripped straight out of a book. The Cinderella story shared this edge and printing, too, telling Ciel it came from the same book.
His attention was pulled from the page as Sebastian returned, relaying the information he had learned. The small earl remained silent as he mulled over the demon's findings, finally looking up at him after a minute or two. Only one person had hair and eyes like that, could he have a part in it? After all, it wouldn't be the first time he had gone on a killing spree.
[+blue "Do you think that damn reaper has anything to do with this?"] he asked Sebastian quietly. [+blue "I think he's a good place to start."]
Sebastian watched as his young lord looked the young girl over. He watched as Ciel's eyes didn't soften, his face didn't change. He didn't show a glimore of sorrow, remore, or empathy towards the young girl. Sebastian loved this cold side of Ciel, and it made him crave his soul more and more everytime he saw it.
Sebastian was taken out of his train of thought as Ciel gave him another order. Sebastian bowed again and then ran to check and see if the yard had learned anything. They reported they were currently checking their town records to see if they could get a match. Sebastian sighed and decided to take that into his own hands. He managed to get into their records hall and found the information he was looking for, as well as information on the other girls as well.
Sebastian then headed back to Ciel with the information he had learned. He walked over to the body, and opened one of the girl's eyes, and it could be seen that she her eyes had somehow been changed to a bright red color, as bright red as her hair. [+red "Just as I thought"] Sebastian said to himself.
He walked over to Ciel, and showed him the phots of the girls before their death. The girl who was Cinderella was naturally a blonde, and had naturally green eyes. However, for her death, she had her hair curled, to very bouncy curls and then was displayed with smile at the scene. This girl, naturally had orange hair, but was given a bright red wig, and had her eyes purposefully turned red. Sebastian could only think of one other person who had had red hair and red eyes. He wondered if Ciel would catch on as fast as he did.
Silently he watched Sebastian as he bowed after receiving his order, heading off to do just as he was told. He knew the demon wouldn't come back empty handed, he would have some helpful information about the problem at hand. While the butler was doing his own work, Ciel began to look around the area nearby to find anything he could possibly use or note in this case file.
Fish and a couple other small, aquatic creatures were scattered about and most likely came from the Thames. They seemed rather local and, what few weren't, probably came from the next town or two over. Other sea items, such as seaweed and broken sea shells were littered on the ground as well, seeming to make a trail to the victim's lifeless form. Unlike Sebastian's area, this one was devoid of blood stains, puddles, or trails and told the young earl these items were simply to push the story along.
He reached the body a minute or two after Sebastian did, kneeling down while the tall male spoke in order to get a better look. She was pretty, whoever she was, and probably didn't deserve an end like this. Ciel didn't have much empathy for her or her situation, the torture he had undergone those years ago made him pretty immune to that.
[+blue "Ask around, see if you can get a name on her as well as any other helpful information,"] he ordered the demon quietly, slowly pushing himself to his feet. [+blue "I'm going to look around a little more and see if I can find anything else."]
As they stepped out of the carriage, Sebastian noticed that the yard had blocked off a good amount of the street, to where none of the citizens were capable of seeing anything. Sebastian was surprised by how serious the yard was taking this.
Ciel told him to analyze the crime scene starting at the bottom, and meeting him in the middle. Sebastian hoped that Ciel was going to be able to handle this, and put a note in his mind that he would go a bit faster, to hopefully meet his young lord a lot sooner than the middle, to be there when he got to the gruesome bit of the crime scene.
[+red "Yes, my lord"] Sebastian smiled, and bowed, and then went to the end of the crime scene. There was a long trail of blood, which looked like the victim had been injured prior to the actual murder. He followed along the trail, seeing bits of red hair, and what looked like seaweed thrown all over the ground.
The Little Mermaid. As he approached the body, the blood puddles got bigger, and thicker. Finally, as he approached the body he could see she had been put in a little mermaid costume, and had been "skewered" as if she was some sort of fish. She had a few other injuries on her which also looked similar to the "skewer" hole where Sebastian imagined the suspect had stabbed her a few more times, causing the trail of blood.
Approaching Ciel, Sebastian explained the trail of blood he had found, as well as the how the body was found, and the type of weapon that was most likely used.
Ciel remained quiet during the dressing process, his frame still as familiar hands straightened the fabrics and tied bows. The earl was terrible at doing such things himself, resulting in crooked bows and missed buttons. He could never get it as neat as Sebastian could so he continued to allow the butler to take care of that task. Once they were finished, he headed outside with the male and to the waiting carriage.
The long ride into London gave the boy ample time to think about the case at hand and what he was going to do about it. He hadn't seen a case quite like this, the last one that had even come close was Jack the Ripper. That event still left quite an unpleasant taste in his mouth, especially after the last victim and what transpired that night, and was secretly grateful his last close relative was dead. This left little to no chance a surprise like that could happen again.
The reason this case reminded him of the Ripper was because of how messy the whole thing was. Those victims were left in the alleys of the city for anyone to see, brutally mutilated. These victims shared that, but their disfigurement had a purpose: to give depth and description to the scene around it. The last scene they investigated by this murderer was the telling of Cinderella, the body dressed in an elaborate costume and placed in a carriage. The foot had been removed, placed nearby in an artistic glass slipper.
This killer was recreating childhood stories.
Once they reached their destination, Ciel grabbed his cane and exited the carriage. He waited for Sebastian before walking at his side to the new scene's location, the area blocked off by the Yard to prevent the public from accessing it. Good, this meant most of the area was untouched and ready for investigation. First glance informed Ciel this scene was depicting the Little Mermaid, further investigation would tell him how much of that was right.
[+blue "Start at the far end, don't miss anything,"] he ordered his butler quietly. [+blue "I'll start here and we'll meet in the middle. Don't disappoint me."]
Sebastian assisted Ciel with getting dressed, taking off his more casual clothes, and getting him into one of his nicer outfits that he loked to be seen in public with. Ciel's blue outfit was secretly Sebastian's favorite, but he would never tell Ciel that. The Phantomhive blue always made Ciel look more serious and regal, and made Ciel's soul glint and shine, and make Sebastian hunger after him more.
Once dressed, Sebastian retied Ciel's patch on, which hid the mark of their pact. Demons and humans often times needed physical proof on their contract for other demons to know that a soul was already claimed. The more important the contract, the more of a visible place the mark ws placed. Seeing as Ciel would be giving up his soul, his mark ended up on his eye.
Sebastian then lead Ciel out to the carriage and opened it, and the hopped in with him, telling the driver to go. Sebastian took out the newspaper, and all the other files and reviewed them. So far, they didn't know much, expect that the killer had a really weird MO.
Ciel's eyes narrowed a bit at the demon's remark, his gaze remaining locked on him as he took a small drink of tea. He knew his butler well and the words he spoke were simply to get a rise out of the young master. Ciel hated being carried, especially in public, as he believed it made him appear weak and childish. This wasn't an image he would accept, especially as head of the Phantomhive household, and did everything in his power to squash that. Sebastian's words brought that to mind and it took everything the boy had inside of him not to hurl the half-full teacup at the back of his butler's head.
The demon was certainly in a playful mood today.
[+blue "Damn infuriating demon,"] he mumbled to himself before finishing the last of the tea and setting the small cup down again. Even though Sebastian could test the earl's patience, he was excellent at his job as a butler and as a scout. If Ciel ran into a dead-end with a case or a problem in his personal life, the demon always found an answer. He was certain it would be the same with this situation, though the young master himself wasn't sure what they would be up against; he hadn't seen any part of the crime scene yet. The Yard had been keeping it unusually quiet, most likely to prevent the people of London from being scared and upset.
At least they could do one thing right.
Sebastian couldn't help but to enjoy teasing his young lord. While they weren't a normal butler and lord "relationship" they weren't exactly a friendship either. It was almost like the two of them were rivals, but always willing to help the other out if it was necessary to improve the game. Everything always was a game when it came to Ciel, and Sebastian loved it.
He loved watching his young lord think, and plot, and plan. He loved the evil tint to his eyes, and the grin that crossed his face when he thought of something, or had finally stuck it to someone. Every time these small things happened, it made Sebastian crave Ciel's soul more and more.
He sometimes wanted to just solve the cases for Ciel, but he knew that would simply taint the soul that Ciel had been creating for Sebastian.
At Ciel's remark, Sebastian couldn't help but chuckle a bit [+red "Well, I simply figured I would carry you into town, but if my young lord wishes for a smoother ride, I suppose I could get the carriage ready for him."] Sebastian grinned again, waiting to see if the young lord would blush, before he bowed out and went and got the carriage and Ciel's jacket and cane for him.
How long, exactly, did he have this case? A week? Or was it two? Time seemed to have disappeared in aspect to this, consuming most of the earl's time and thoughts. It was such a bizarre and gruesome case, almost impossible to get anywhere with...even for the earl and his butler. Every time they had seemed to get closer to solving it, they merely took ten steps backwards and found themselves at the beginning once again. Leads came up short and suspects turned out to be innocent. How in the hell were they supposed to figure this out?
The velvet voice of his butler caused the boy to pull himself out of the case folder and lift his gaze, landing on the dark-haired male as he silently set a steaming cup of tea within the boy's reach. The relationship they shared certainly was a strange one, not build on love and friendship but playful jabs and insults. They lived to make life more difficult and challenging for the other and never ceased to offer a sarcastic remark at any opportunity available. It wasn't conventional in the least but it worked very well for the two of them.
[+blue "Well, I can't exactly walk there, now can I?"] he retorted, setting down the folder and picking up the cup that was left for him. Slowly he lifted his gaze, looking up at the demon as the soft frown remained on the perfect face. [+blue "If you're so set on it, why isn't a carriage ready? I suppose you're losing your touch."]
It had been quite some time since Sebastian had been summoned by his current master and their pact had been formed. Sebastian would stay and guard, and serve the young Phantomhive, in order for Ciel to get his vengeance. But, when he finally got his vengeance, Ciel's soul would belong to Sebastian, and he would devour it so carefully and greedily.
Since the day the pact was made, Sebastian had become the young Phantomhive's butler, and one hell of one at that. He made sure the mansion stayed clean, and even hired a few more helpers around the mansion, though as help they weren't exactly useful, and often times made things even more difficult for Sebastian, but they did have their uses when the time was necessary.
Today was an ordinaly day in the house of Phantomhive. Sebastian had prepared the young Earl's Tea and Dessert and was bringing it to him. He walked in to hear him talk about the case Ciel was currently working on. This one had been going on for a few weeks now and every time the two of them seemed close to a suspect, it turned out to be a false lead.
Sebastian walked over and placed the young Earl's Tea down, and gave him the usual smile [+red "You know, staring at the newspaper all day isn't going to give you any answers. We should head down to the new crime scene and see if we can get any further clues"] Although Sebastian knew Ciel hated being offered advice, Sebastian just couldn't handle the small pout that was on his young lord's face, and figured an idea might get him back to that glare that Sebastian loved so much
Death. It wasn't an unfamiliar concept to anyone, let alone him. Plenty of times he had locked eyes with the reaper of death only to watch him dance away with the promise they would meet again. As strange as it was, death was a comforting thought to the small earl. It was consistent and something that could be counted on. Life, well, that seemed to be the harder of the two. Living in this world was a cruel fate, one that the boy thought he had squelched early on in his life. That fateful day when he met the demon with those eyes of red, when he sold his very soul to him for vengeance, he imagined he had given himself a few simple years left to live. It was seeming to take much longer than that.
Whenever the two had talked about his future, Ciel simply scoffed at the demon butler and reminded him of their contract. That it wouldn't take long for the two of them to complete the terms and the boy's body would lie in a rosewood box, sunk into the ground next to where his parents had been years before. There would be no marriage, no one to carry on the Phantomhive name...all that would be left was a legacy. A future simply wasn't in the cards for him.
The late afternoon found the master of the house in the fresh summer air, the exposed blue eye looking not at the beautiful foliage surrounding him but at a folder in his hands. Grotesque picture after picture was viewed, notes written in extreme detail, and the queen's guard dog sighed a bit. It was the latest task from the Yard; they had come to a dead end with the case and gave it to Ciel, to the earl who had a knack for solving such impossible cases. Of course, he couldn't take all the credit as Sebastian helped a great deal, but that was none of their business. This was certainly a challenge but one he looked forward to.
[+blue "What makes you so different from the others?"] he murmured to himself, his eyes never leaving the notes or photographs. [+blue "Whatever it is....I'll be sure to find it. You can't hide forever."]
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