The Red Butler Arc is the second arc of the Kuroshitsuji manga. It was a major conflict involving Ciel Phantomhive and his butler, Sebastian Michaelis, investigating the case of A serial murderer by the name of Jack the Ripper, who repeatedly sought after prostitutes.
The conflict began when Ciel, Sebastian, Lau, Angelina Dalles, and her butler, Grell Sutcliff, met up to discuss the chain of murders that occurred in London, and the possible link to Jack the Ripper. With the aid of Undertaker, they managed to narrow it down to either a doctor or someone knowledgeable about anatomy, who has no alibi on the day before the incident, and is connected to a secret society or black magic. Aleistor Chamber was the prime suspect but after investigation, he was found innocent.
The conflict ended when Ciel and Sebastian waited outside the next victim's house only for the said victim to be killed anyway. However, they were able to discover the identities of Jack the Ripper: Angelina Dalles and the Grim Reaper, Grell Sutcliff. Angelina's past and her motivation to kill prostitutes were revealed shortly before she died, and Grell was taken away by another Grim Reaper.
Ciel discusses Jack the Ripper's unconventional ways to kill. To gather more information on the matter, they go to Undertaker's Funeral parlor. Undertaker refuses to give away a crucial detail about the victims unless they are able to make him laugh richly. Both Lau and Angelina soon fail to induce laughter. Sebastian volunteers; he asks the rest of them to step outside and forbids them from peeking.
Eventually, Sebastian succeeds and allows them back inside. Undertaker, who is laughing gleefully, agrees to tell them anything. He reveals that all of the prostitutes that have been killed have had their wombs removed. The culprit's accurate work indicates that it has to be someone experienced.
During the carriage ride home, they speculate that anyone with medical training can be the murderer, and that the internal organs were likely removed for use in a black magic ritual. Sebastian then heads off to compile a list of suspects that fit the criteria.
They arrive back at Ciel's townhouse late because Grell has traveled the wrong way. Lau and Angelina are dumbfounded to see that Sebastian has returned home earlier than them with the tea and preparations finished. Sebastian shows them a detailed list of suspects and their alibis. Angelina asks how he accomplished this, and he simply remarks that he is "one hell of a butler."
Main article: Chapter 6
Sebastian narrows down the suspects to the Viscount of Druitt, Aleistor Chamber. Although graduated from medical school, he has not been involved in their profession and is known for hosting a number of seasonal parties, where some he only allows people close to him to attend.
Angelina uses her popularity and connections to get them invited to one of his parties. That evening, they arrive at the party. Angelina and Grell attend the party as themselves, Ciel as a girl and respectively Angelina's niece from the countryside, Sebastian as Ciel's home tutor, and Lau as Angelina's lover. In the party, Ciel and Sebastian struggle to avoid Elizabeth Midford.
Soon after, they catch sight of Aleistor. Ciel is temporarily forced to dance, but in doing so, Aleistor notices him and approaches him. He exceedingly flirts with Ciel. To distract Elizabeth from Ciel, Sebastian prepares a magician act. Ciel seizes his chance and convinces Aleistor to lead him to a room behind the curtains.
Meanwhile, Sebastian instructs Lau that after he enters the cupboard, Lau is to tightly chain the cupboard and then pierce it with several swords. Sebastian promises to come out alive and adds that there are no tricks or traps accompanying the rare magic performance. Once Sebastian is inside the cupboard, Lau immediately stabs the cupboard from the top, bewildering the audience, and soon penetrates the entire cupboard with swords. Even so, Sebastian steps out alive, and the crowd is extremely impressed. Sebastian thinks to himself that even he thought it was a little painful as he never expected Lau to aim for his head so quickly; if he was not a demon, he would have been dead already. Angelina scolds Lau for shoving all the swords at Sebastian without a thought. Sebastian ambiguously assures them that there are no traps in the cupboard that allowed for his survival.
In the meantime, Ciel is drugged by Aleistor.
Main article: Chapter 7
In a brief flashback, Sebastian is putting a corset on Ciel, who dramatically claims that his organs are coming out. Ciel then wakes up to find himself blindfolded and his limbs tied. He hears the Viscount's voice talking to a certain audience, announcing that Ciel is the item they have been anticipating. He allows them to exploit Ciel as they please.
Ciel concludes that he is at an underground auction and that Aleistor is Jack the Ripper. The bid for Ciel begins, but Ciel calls for Sebastian. Sebastian subdues the audience, they briefly talk about the importance of their Faustian contract, and they escape before Scotland Yard is to arrive.
In the following morning, the newspaper states that there has been another murder by the Jack the Ripper the previous night; this time it is another prostitute named Annie Shepherman. Ciel is dumbfounded as Aleistor did not go anywhere last night. They then realize that Aleistor is not Jack the Ripper.
Later, Angelina offers to play a game of chess with Ciel. Ciel explains to her his complex affiliation with Sebastian. He claims that he is not trying to attain revenge for his deceased parents; he wishes for those who betrayed the Phantomhive family to experience the same level of humiliation and suffering he did.
Ciel beats Angelina at chess forty-six consecutive times. Angelina affirms that she sees Ciel as her own son so she wants him to leave the underground society. He refuses and kisses her on the cheek goodnight, saying he had a happy time playing with her. He leaves to retire for the night. Angelina then asks Sebastian to always stay by Ciel's side to prevent him from going astray, and he agrees. Elsewhere, Lau peers out the window, his eyes slightly open, and notes that it is a pitiful night with a storm coming.
In Ciel's bedroom, Sebastian informs him of his findings. Ciel notices an insinuation that Sebastian may have another suspect in mind. Sebastian then tells Ciel to make a decision.
Main article: Chapter 8
Ciel and Sebastian are on guide outside the house of Jack the Ripper's next target, Mary Jane Kelly. Soon, they hear a scream from within the prostitute's house, despite not seeing anyone enter. They rush inside, and Sebastian stops Ciel from witnessing the murder. Grell is shown as the murderer. He makes a feeble excuse as to why he is there, but he is irrefutably covered in the prostitute's blood.
Grell reveals his true form as a Grim Reaper and acknowledges that Sebastian is a demon butler. Sebastian comments that he has never seen a Grim Reaper, who is supposed to be completely neutral, becoming a butler. Grell says that the reason it is so is because he is captivated by a woman. When Sebastian asks for the identification of the woman, Angelina steps out, saying that it should be obvious.
Ciel explains that her name has been on the list of suspects, but no human could have independently committed the murders. Therefore, Grell, a Grim Reaper, working as the co-criminal would be a different matter; their supernatural abilities would allow him access to the prostitute's room without their knowledge and to travel to the murder scene from Aleistor's party. Thus, both Angelina and Grell had to act together as Jack the Ripper. An additional connection between all the prostitutes is that they all had an abortion at Angelina's hospital. The prostitute Sebastian and Ciel have been guarding was the last name on the list, yet unfortunately, their tactic to wait for Jack the Ripper to arrive failed and the prostitute was killed nonetheless.
Angelina tells of her regret that Ciel has figured it out because they cannot play chess together anymore now. She screams that she will no longer go easy on him. Grell whips out their Death Scythe and attacks Ciel, but Sebastian stops him. Ciel then orders Sebastian to capture both Angelina and Grell.
Main article: Chapter 9
In a brief flashback, Angelina initially hated red, until Vincent Phantomhive complimented her red hair. After that, she began to love red. In the present, Sebastian removes his coat to protect Ciel from the rain, and promises to make him hot milk when they return to the manor.
The fight between Sebastian and Grell shortly ensues. Grell tries to take a peek at Sebastian's Cinematic Record by cutting him with his Death Scythe; Sebastian remarks that it is a terrible spying activity.
Slightly down the street, Ciel questions Angelina as to why she committed the murders. She brandishes a knife, calls herself "the hunted" and states that there is only one path. He questions her again, but she says that he would not understand even if told the reason for her actions. When she moves in to kill him, yelling how it would be better if Ciel was never born, she thinks about how much he looks like her sister. Sebastian, taking note of the attack, turns into his demon form and moves to kill her, but Ciel orders him to stop.
When he does, Ciel notices how injured Sebastian is and Grell comments that Sebastian has great endurance, as he went to save Ciel when one of his arms was useless. Grell then tells Angelina to kill Ciel, but she declares that she cannot. Grell wonders about this, as she has already killed so many women, and says that if she does not kill, it would be her turn to be killed. Angelina refuses and as she begins to explain, they stab her directly in the chest with their Death Scythe; they say that they have lost interest in an "ordinary woman" like her.
Main article: Chapter 10
Grell prepares to leave, after killing Angelina. Ciel insists on capturing him. Sebastian and Grell then resume their gruesome fight. Eventually, Sebastian uses his coat to jam Grell's Death Scythe so it cannot function. He then proceeds to ruin Grell's face.
Main article: Chapter 11
When he goes in to deliver the final blow, however, his attack is stopped by another Grim Reaper, William T. Spears. Grell is overjoyed by William's appearance, but William lands on Grell's head. He then reads off all of Grell's faults. He turns to apologize to Sebastian for Grell's actions, but complains about having to apologize to a demon. As Grell and William begin to leave, Sebastian throws Grell's Death Scythe at William's head, but the latter catches it easily with his fingers. Sebastian smiles and says that he did not want them to leave that behind. William thanks him, and takes his leave, while dragging Grell away by the hair.
Sebastian then apologizes to Ciel for letting Grell escape, but Ciel says it does not matter anymore. Sebastian aids Ciel when he is feeling lightheaded, but Ciel pushes him away, commenting that he is just a "little tired."
Main article: Chapter 12
Some children watch a church from afar, and they wonder why it is so packed. Undertaker appears and says that it is only natural that children are not aware of this; he informs them that today is the final great ceremony in a woman's life, namely a funeral.
Many guests including Lau and Elizabeth have attended Angelina's funeral to pay their respect. Elizabeth is approaching her casket, when her attention is drawn to a latecomer at the door: Ciel. Carrying a red dress, he walks to her casket, and says that the white flowers and subdued clothes she was placed in do not suit her, as only passionate red does. He presses his forehead against hers, as red flower petals drift through the chapel, released by Sebastian. Leaving the red dress there, Ciel tells Angelina to rest in peace.
Outside, at the graveyard, Lau asks if Ciel has told Queen Victoria of Jack the Ripper's true identity. Ciel responds that he has found that to be unnecessary, as the Jack the Ripper killings have been stopped. Lau is convinced that this decision will cause him to "sink into the mud," because of his refusal to seek help. Ciel retaliates by saying Lau's opium and intoxicants den, in time, will surely be closed by the police. Lau brushes this off, saying he can find a new business venture, as his interest in England and in Ciel has not been exhausted yet.
They part ways, and Ciel and Sebastian go to speak to Undertaker, who has given Jack the Ripper's last victim a grave and a burial, as ordered. Undertaker calls Ciel kind to give a nameless prostitute her own grave, but Ciel claims he is not because he has placed catching the killer above saving her. He says he has even let his own relative, Angelina, die for the same reason. Undertaker asks if he feels regret, but Ciel says he does not because the killer is gone and Queen Victoria can be at ease. Undertaker remarks he does not like the Queen because she merely stands in the sidelines and forces harsh tasks for Ciel to complete.
Ciel replies that is is the karma his family has been burdened with. Undertaker comments that Ciel is bound to the Queen with the Phantomhive ring acting as a collar connecting he and the Queen with a chain called Karma. Ciel says that he was the one who decided to the put the collar around his own neck, and Undertaker wonders if the collar will choke him one day. He takes his leave, and says the Earl and his butler can stop by his place any time.
Sebastian points out that Ciel has had a hidden gun, but chose not to pull the trigger, upon his confrontation with Angelina. Ciel dismisses this claim that he was afraid, stating that it was Sebastian's job to protect him, regardless of whether Ciel protected himself or not. Sebastian asks why he was stopped from killing Angelina then, and Ciel says it is because Angelina hesitated in killing him and lost sight of her next move. He declares that he will not regret decisions that have allowed him to advance, and he orders Sebastian to never betray or leave him. Sebastian thinks to himself that he will follow Ciel everywhere, until the end of Ciel's life.
Main article: Chapter 13
Ciel has a nightmare and nearly shoots Sebastian upon waking up shocked. Sebastian prepares milk tea to soothe his nerves. He then informs him that Francis and Elizabeth would visit this afternoon. Ciel is anxious, and he orders Sebastian to quickly make preparations.
Meanwhile, Finnian is cheerily glad that Sebastian and Ciel are back for the mansion was devastated under their absence. He was inspecting the bloomed Christmas roses when he remembered something. He goes to remind Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Tanaka of this special day.
The Midfords arrive in the morning, instead of in the afternoon as planned, which Ciel has expected. He and Sebastian go out to greet them, and Francis neglects the formal greetings and concludes that Ciel has just awakened. Elizabeth squeezes Ciel in a hug, and Francis reprimands her for not acting like a refined lady. She then scolds Ciel and Sebastian for having improperly long bangs and advises them to take after Tanaka. She imperiously combs their bangs back neatly.
Francis takes the initiative to retrain Ciel and wants to look about the manor, saying that unruliness in the living environment leads to unruliness in the heart. Sebastian assures Ciel that he has prepared everything yesterday, but he later realizes that the other Phantomhive servants have accidentally destroyed the preparations. In the end, he guides her to the horse stables.
Upon seeing the splendid horses, Francis challenges Ciel to a hunting contest. They head to the woods, and Sebastian lays down the rules and informs that the time limit is three hours. While Ciel tries to persuade Elizabeth to descend from his horse, Francis gets the first point. Ciel fishes out his gun and shoots a bird right by Elizabeth's ear to even out the score. He says he will not lose in a competition and gets Elizabeth down from horse.
As Ciel moves on, Elizabeth tells Sebastian that she is relieved to see that Ciel has returned to his normal self; she was worried because Ciel was so close to Angelina. Sebastian assures her Ciel has always kept her concerns in his mind, and she thanks him.
At the end of the competition, they are tied with fifteen animals each. They go to eat lunch, and Francis states that she will be appeased until there is a declared victor; Ciel agrees, though he notes that occasions whereby he agrees with her are rare. Sebastian then arranges for another competition in the afternoon.
A bear suddenly comes out of the woods and heads for Elizabeth, shocking all of them. Ciel dives on top of her, to protect her, and it appears that Francis is able to kill the bear before it could attack. Ciel concedes that he has lost, since she killed a sixteenth animal, and she commends him for his bravery. She acknowledges him worthy of being her future son-in-law and they decide to go home.
On the way back, Francis quietly talks with Sebastian. She hands him a knife that he "left behind" in the bear's head. He actually took out the bear, while her shot missed, due to her panic over Elizabeth. She asks why he did not allow Ciel to take the glory for the kill, and he states that Ciel is extremely arrogant of his skills to the extent that he has the viewpoint of "there is no way I can ever lose." If he cannot learn to lose, then later, the smallest trip might mean his fall. He further states that because Ciel is the head of the household, while still a child, he needs an adult to look up to, and he hopes Francis could be that adult. She is impressed that Sebastian is able to corporate life lessons while working under Ciel. Sebastian then replies that that is so because he is "a butler to the core."
Back at the manor, the servants reveal a surprise they have for Ciel: they have prepared a cake along with decorations. Francis, who looks upset, says that the servants have beat her to it, as she had actually come there to wish him a happy thirteenth birthday. She then turns to his servants and says that she is counting on them to take care of Elizabeth and Ciel in the future. Ciel genuinely smiles and thanks everyone.
Francis then reveals to Sebastian that she was aware of the ruined garden, broken tea set, and burnt dinner that he had tried to conceal earlier. He goes to the kitchen for the cake that he has secretly made for Ciel; he states that it will now go to waste, since the other servants have already made him one. He tastes the cake and is confused as to why humans find it delicious.
Out where the celebration is, Ciel, the Midfords, and the other Phantomhive servants enthusiastically take notice of the snow. Elsewhere, two unidentified individuals, a prince and his companion, also comment on the snow.
Main article: Chapter 14