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Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen (Black Butler: Public School Arc) – 03

It was for such moments that the phrase “you messed with the wrong guy” was invented.

It’s easy to write off Ciel Phantomhive as a product of his circumstances. He’s a vicious bastard because he literally sold his soul to a devil. But that’s not the point here. Make no mistake, Ciel is who he is because he is who he is. He signed on because he’s stubborn, proud, and ruthless by nature. Whatever happens when Ciel finally sees the choir invisible, he’s the one driving the carriage in the meantime – the title character is the horse. And Maurice found all that out the hard way.

But Ciel is also a charmer, among his many skills. McMillan (who seems as pure-hearted as they come, poor lad) is certainly won over. He says he was eavesdropping when Maurice misled Ciel about the time of the gazebo date, and finds 18 other boys (quite an eavesdropping party) willing to corroborate the truth. Ciel gladly accepts the offer despite the risk it puts McMillan under (he seems to have dodged the bullet this time). Ciel has another arrow in his quiver now with the arrival of Soma, though – as usual with Soma – that hardly goes as Ciel wants.

Soma is kind of the anti-Ciel – earnest, cheerful, and thick as a plank. He immediately disregards Ciel’s written admonition to keep their acquaintance a secret and makes a flashy invitation during his flashy arrival. Soma can certainly be trusted to be on Ciel’s side, that’s inviolable – the problem is execution. His greatest value in fact may be putting Maurice Cole off his game through sheer annoyance, but he does in fact provide Ciel with some usable intel as well – intel which Ciel (via Sebastian of course) puts to good use.

Ciel invites Maurice to a secluded spot for their confrontation. He plays the role of the noble and just crusader for truth, but Maurice is probably too fond of the mirror to be fooled by that act in someone else. Ciel has plenty of evidence on his side – McMillan’s 18 earwitnesses, the four lads Maurice has already screwed over, and the cards (painstakingly rescued from the rubbish heap and reconstructed by Sebastian) indicating that Maurice was fobbing off his duties for Redmond to others.

It’s a fair cop, but Maurice – though not as smart as he thinks – is at least smart enough not to come to the meeting without a backup plan. That plan is seemingly to destroy the evidence and strip Ciel naked and spread incriminating photos of him throughout Weston. What else the goons were going to do to him is conjecture but in this setting, there’s little that would be unrealistic. But Ciel – using the technology of the day of course – is obviously contingency planning himself. He uses the oldest trick in the book to get Maurice to out himself, and with that his goose is pretty well cooked.

This is not enough for Ciel of course – it wouldn’t be him if he didn’t take the time to really twist the knife and savor the flavor. The upshot of this is that Ciel comes off looking like a hero, and garners the favor of the Prefect Four. And Clayton invites him to he his drudge, which gets him one step closer to the sanctum sanctorum he seeks – where the information on the fate of his target, Derrick, might be discovered. Maurice was a zaku at best, but it’s still glorious to watch Ciel work his magic. Black Butler is so confident and so self-assured that it makes this sort of theatricality look completely effortless.

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