Kuroshitsuji Volume Three, Yana Toboso
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We open up with a flash back and some introductions. It turns out that Madame Red has some very intense issues centered on Ciel’s dad Vincent. She had a crush on him, and he helped her get over her dislike of her very flashy red hair. She has even more issues centered on her sister, who is the one who married Vincent and still more issues centered on Ciel.
After a carriage accident that resulted in the death of the guy she eventually married and her having a miscarriage then losing Vincent, her sister, her nephew, her husband and her child caused her to completely go around the bend and murder one of her patients, a prostitute who had gone to her for an abortion. This is how she first met Grell, and how they became partners.
Grell is not human. She is a “grim reaper,” (or a Shinigami, literally, “death god”) a being that goes around collecting souls and judging whether they should continue living or die. Grell likes blood and killing people and decides that since Angelina apparently likes killing people that they are soul mates so they start killing prostitutes together.
A fight ensues between Grell and Sebastian. It turns out that Grell has an intense crush on Sebastian, which mostly annoys the heck out of our demon butler. Grell is of course oblivious to Sebastian’s lack of interest. While Grell and Sebastian are engaging in insults and flirtation, Madame Red tries to attack Ciel. Part of her issues with Ciel is that he is the only one who survived, while her sister and brother-in-law didn’t. She can’t go through with killing him however, because Ciel looks too much like her sister. Her hesitation causes Grell to become upset with her, so Grell kills her.
Through her Cinematic Record, we learn about Angelina’s life and how she ended up becoming an killer. Grell is less than impressed. The fight between Grell and Sebastian continues, and ends with Grell defeated, but rescued (more or less) by William. There’s an exchange between Sebastian and William that is very cold (much colder and more vicious than the anime version of this scene. I suppose we can assume from this that demons and grim reapers have a professional rivalry of some sort.)
In the final chapter of this volume, we begin with Ciel being awakened from a nightmare by Sebastian. Ciel apparently sleeps with a pistol under his pillow. Sebastian possibly should have been aware of this, but he seems a little surprised to have the muzzle of said pistol pressed against his forehead. Ciel is shaking and sharply tells Sebastian not to touch him. Sebastian smiles, backs away and very calmly starts talking about the breakfast menu, while Ciel curls up around his pistol and shakes for a while. Sebastian is careful not to make any sudden movements, and gently chides Ciel for reading Poe before bedtime. (Ciel snarls in response.)
Ciel manages to get himself back under control and asks about the daily schedule. Sebastian mentions that “the marchioness” is coming, which puts Ciel into a panic of an entirely different sort; the “marchioness” in question is Ciel’s Aunt Francis, and the mother of Elizabeth, his fiancée. Ciel orders Sebastian to make preparations immediately–Sebastian states that they have plenty of time, but Ciel does not agree. Aunt Francis is completely different from the slightly ditzy Elizabeth in that Aunt Francis is a very strict very proper noblewoman with an almost Amazonian demeanor.
Of course, Aunt Francis arrives early, with Elizabeth in tow. She clearly does not approve of Ciel’s appearance, or Sebastian’s. She makes it very clear she does not approve of whatever Ciel has been up to. Sebastian attempt to repair the situation, but the servants have accidentally sabotaged all of his carefully made entertainments and preparations. The only thing that Aunt Francis approves of even moderately is a horse that Sebastian had purchased recently. (Sebastian is the perfect butler but knows not a single thing about horses by the way. Toboso does make an attempt to make Frances seem like a horsewoman in contrast, but something feels a little “off” (says the woman who only knows about horses from various books and authors who DO have horse experience). Aunt Francis proposes that they go hunting but they are all very clearly Doing It Wrong. I am not even joking what the heck is this Elizabeth is riding side saddle in Ciel’s lap and Sebastian is on foot and they don’t have either gun dogs or hounds.
Aunt Francis makes a few snide remarks, asking if Sebastian is the hound. Ciel says “something like that.” Aunt Francis shoots a bird, which rouses the competitive spirit in Ciel. He drops Lizzy off with Sebastian and rides off with Aunt Francis. They continue to do hunting wrong, shooting a wide variety of animals. (I could be wrong, but with sport hunting, I’ve been under the impression that you go after specific kinds of animals like game birds, rabbits, deer, and foxes, not a wide variety all at once.) Sebastian decides to make a picnic lunch (placing an elaborate meal on a fancy dining room table in the middle of the woods).
A bear turns up Francis shoots a lot and the bear drops dead. Since Ciel immediately moves to protect Lizzy, Aunt Francis complements him and tells him that she’s in his debt. A little later as they carry the bear home, Aunt Francis talks to Sebastian (who is carrying half of the thick pole that the bear is hanging from). It’s revealed that it was actually Sebastian who killed the bear. Francis wants to know who or what Sebastian is but Sebastian tells Aunt Francis that he is “merely a butler.”
Back at the mansion the servant trio has “decorated” for Ciel’s birthday party and by “decorated” I actually mean “made a horrible mess.” Aunt Francis is in a somewhat mellower mood because she is very lenient and compliments the servants, and the volume ends with the appearance of an Indian prince and his servant, Agni.