|The Butler, Soloing|
|Arc||Blue Cult Arc|
|Release Date||January 18, 2016|
|Previous Chapter||The Butler, A Thief|
|Next Chapter||The Butler, Independent|
The Butler, Soloing is Chapter 112 of the Kuroshitsuji manga.
Ciel Phantomhive and Edward Midford observe the men in robes who have lined up onstage. The men begin singing a hymn. Ciel muses that the song must be unique to the Sphere Music Hall gathering, since he has never heard it before. The men talk about stars and radiance, and urge all the attendees to sing together.
The men, then, take off their robes, revealing that they are Gregory Violet, Herman Greenhill, Lawrence Bluewer, and Edgar Redmond; the crowd cheers, impressed with their appearances. Ciel and Edward are shocked, with the latter especially surprised with Herman's new haircut. The four announce that they will be singing a song called "Shining Star," the lyrics and music of which composed by Blavat Sky.
They proceed to sing and dance, to the crowd's delight and Blavat's amusement, while Ciel and Edward remain stunned. Once the performance ends, the four receive an ovation. Edward is mesmerized with the performance, mentioning that Gregory never onced danced during the opening festivities of Weston College's cricket tournament. Ciel notes the quick tempo of the song, the perfectly coordinated dance, and the atmosphere which excites even those unfamiliar with the music, and thinks that this might be what Elizabeth Midford called "the radiance that only exists here."
Meanwhile, at a tavern, Sebastian Michaelis is approached by a prostitute, who offers to pour his drink for him. Sebastian thanks her, disclosing that he was just rejected by a great beauty, alluding to a cat. She then makes the offer to comfort him, saying that she will even cut him a deal. Sebastian states that he feels like talking to someone and volunteers to treat her with food, to her joy. She looks at the menu, admits that she cannot read, and asks if he can.
Soon after, while the prostitute is eating, Sebastian shows her a bracelet, and she reveals that a friend of hers was wearing a similar one and that a lot of her customers had one, too. She says that she asked her friend why she did not sell it, since she is penniless, and her friend said that there is a room with all "kinds of fun events" that one cannot get into without a bracelet. She remarks that it sounded too good to be true for her, since nothing that tempting is free.
In the meantime, Ciel, Edward, and the other attendees exit the music hall. Edward comments that the performance was full of "passion and punch," and Ciel agrees. Ciel, then, notices other people raving about the performance, and reflects on the Sphere Music Hall, which, at a glance, contains no signs of evil afoot for Queen Victoria to be worried. He watches as a little boy sings the song the four sang earlier, and is contemplating the situation, when Sebastian welcomes Ciel back.
Ciel and Edward turn around, and are dumbfounded when they see him with two prostitutes. A flustered Edward scolds Sebastian for having them accompany him, saying that he is still on the job. The women soon leave.
At Ciel's townhouse, Sebastian accommodates Ciel and Edward with tea, while details of the event that transpired at the music hall are relayed to him. Ciel says that their performance was nothing like any opera or ballet he has ever seen. Edward adds that he has never been to a concert where the audience is allowed to sing along and wave at the performers. When Edward describes the song as the kind where one would start humming without realizing it, Sebastian sings and dances to a verse, baffling Ciel and Edward.
When Edward asks if Sebastian had slipped back into the hall, Sebastian responds the negative, and is about to explain, but is interrupted by Agni and Soma Asman Kadar, who offer them sandesh. Soma asks if the song Sebastian sang is "all the rage" in England, for he hears it sung quite often by kids when he goes out to the market with Agni.
Ciel concludes that Sebastian has heard the song from the prostitutes, and Sebastian confesses that that is the case; the woman who sang it to him has heard it from another woman in the same line of work. When Edward questions this, Sebastian explains that literacy in the lower classes of England is still very low, and thus, word of mouth is the most effective method to spread information; furthermore, the best way of making something stick with people by word of mouth is through a song, for words put in a repeating rhythm are much easier to remember than those spoken, which is why hymns and folk songs are used to convey religious teachings and moral lessons. Edward infers, from Sebastian's statements, that the song must have been created to disseminate some sort of ideology, and adds that, however, the song does not seem to have any radical ideals or dangerous concepts woven in, for the lyrics were primarily about stars. Ciel points out that it is possible the song was made to be accessible in order to gather people together in one place so that business can be carried out. He also points out that the meetings, strangely, charge no fees; instead, Blavat hands out bracelets of pure silver.
Sebastian, then, pulls out a bracelet, saying that he took it from one of the men who kicked him out of the music hall and that he was querying people in town about it, when the prostitute from earlier recognized it. He narrates his conversation with her to them.
Ciel recapitulates what he has learned: the Saturday meetings are open to anyone, but there are closed events that only those who have had their fortunes told can attend, and wonders aloud if that is where Elizabeth has gone off to.
Meanwhile, in a room with four doors, Blavat encourages Elizabeth, who is wearing a Canopus bracelet, to go through a certain door, which she does.
Characters in order of appearance
- Sebastian Michaelis
- Ciel Phantomhive
- Edward Midford
- Gregory Violet
- Herman Greenhill
- Lawrence Bluewer
- Edgar Redmond
- Blavat Sky
- King's Bear prostitute
- Soma Asman Kadar
- Elizabeth Midford