The Butler, Stalwart (その執事、屈強, Sono Shitsuji, Kukkyō) is Chapter 43 of the Kuroshitsuji manga.
The group gathers around Patrick Phelps' body to examine it. Arthur Conan Doyle concludes that "rigor mortis" is already setting in, meaning that he had been dead for a while. He also finds that he does not seem to have any physical injuries, unlike the other two. However, there are two marks on the back of his neck, which looked to be needle puncture marks. Irene Diaz speculates how the marks resemble Carmilla's, a vampire, bite marks. However, Ciel Phantomhive and the others are reluctant to believe such a myth in their day and age. Meanwhile, Arthur finds a clock in the room that had been broken and stopped at 02:38, meaning that Phelps died around that time. Lau suggests that, instead of standing around discussing the mystery, they should have some tea while doing so. Ciel agrees and has Tanaka escort everyone to the drawing room.
In the drawing room, the group discusses the details of each of the murders and their respective suspects. First, Georg von Siemens' death was around ten past one in the morning, and Ciel was the only one without an alibi. Second, Sebastian Michaelis' time of death is unknown. Lastly, Phelps' time of death was thirty-eight minutes past two. However, Arthur counters this speculation by saying how Sebastian's body was just found first, but it is unknown whether he was killed first or if Phelps was. He questions the others as to who had seen Sebastian last, and the Phantomhive servants whom he had visited before his death remember that they had seen him around 02:50, which meant that he was killed last. When they were questioned as to Sebastian's purpose of visiting, they report that it was to assign some chores, as well as release the delivery owl, which, Ciel guessed, could have been for the police, as the storm outside would make it impossible to call by phone.
Since Sebastian was killed last, this meant that the only person who could have locked Phelps' room would be himself or Sebastian, who had all the keys to the room in the mansion, which makes the latter the most likely killer. However, this speculation was ruled out since he was killed soon after. The group then discusses Phelps' background; he is apparently the heir to a major transportation company, making him and Lau rivals. Ciel points out how Lau usually carries needles in his long sleeves, to which he admits to, pulling out a rather large needle from his sleeve. But he says that it was only for use in Oriental medicine. In turn, all blame immediately goes to him. However, Lau argues that there was no way he could have done it because he was quite far from the room of the murder scene, stating that "even though [they're] Chinese, it's not like [they] can pass through ventilation shafts or something."
Arthur makes a list of the possible suspects for each murder. According to it, the only one who could have killed Georg von Siemens is Ciel; the only one who could have killed Phelps is Sebastian; and anyone, save Arthur and Ciel, could have killed Sebastian. Arthur then concludes that there is no way one single person could have committed all the murders. This statement riles up Karl Woodley, who angrily decides to leave, stating that Ciel, being the Queen's guard dog, would want to gather them all together and kill them all in one fell swoop. Arthur tries to stop him from leaving in the storm, but Woodley slaps him. In a low voice, Ciel orders Woodley to sit down immediately, but he refuses. Woodley, now disbelievingly angry, turns around to punch Ciel, but before he can do so, Tanaka stops him, pinning the man down in one move. He states that, if anyone ever tried to harm Ciel, the servants of the mansion would show absolutely no mercy.
Once everyone has calmed down, Ciel concludes that Arthur is the only one who could not have committed any of the murders. He tells everyone that Arthur should be in charge of deciding everyone's actions. With a child-like smile, Ciel asks Arthur to help him "thoroughly corner" the criminal. Inwardly, Arthur comments on how he would never forget Ciel's innocent face, with a cruel and beautiful smile that looked like he was merely enjoying a game.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Arthur Conan Doyle
- Ciel Phantomhive
- Karl Woodley
- Charles Grey
- Patrick Phelps
- Grimsby Keane
- Irene Diaz
- Sebastian Michaelis