The Butler, On Board (その執事、車上, Sono Shitsuji, Shajō) is Chapter 86 of the Kuroshitsuji manga.
In Southern Germany, a fox is seen running away from a pack of dogs and two hunters named Reinald and Briegel whom are chasing after it on horses. However, the fox and dogs escape to the woods much to Briegel's annoyance. Reinald exclaims to continue the hunt as they stopped, but Briegel hesitates to as the area the animals ran to is known as "The Cursed Forest." Reinald mocks him for believing in it as he believed it was just a superstition, and the two proceed to go into the forest. The two hunters were frightened when a witch yelled at them to get out, telling them that if the werewolves protecting the forest find them they'll be further cursed. Frustrated, the two hunters proceed with the chase anyway, thinking she was senile, with the witch calling them fools. They later find the dogs but the fox was gone and, much to their perplexity, the dogs were seen while growling at a mysterious figure. They later see the so-called werewolf the witch warned them about, which terrifies them that they simply escape without knowing what it was.
The two hunters return to the outside of the mansion of the noble they work for, panting in relief while wondering if it really was a werewolf; Briegel worriedly calls out to Reinald. A plump nobleman steps out of the mansion with his servant while welcoming them back from their hunt, and asked whether the hunt went well. Briegel informs Reinald that there is blood coming from his nose, but he appears unmoved, while collapsing to the ground. The noble, Briegel, and the servant are filled with alarm, and Briegel puts Reinald in his arms questioning him what was wrong and to pull himself together. However, Reinald's face begins to inflate and appear grotesque, with the same fate applying to Briegel. The noble gasps in ambiguity and kneels to the ground in extreme dismay.
Back in a train in London to Germany, Ciel is practising German, with Sebastian commenting that his accent is preposterous. Ciel plops back onto the couch in frustration, while Sebastian comments that he is very undisciplined. Ciel complains that the mere fact that he can understand German by reading it should be enough.
A flashback from a week ago is shown, with Ciel reading a letter from Queen Victoria that proclaims that he was to look into a mysterious death in Germany. Sebastian questions whether he was asked to go personally, while Ciel complains why he needs to go all the way to Germany as the Phantomhives are only supposed to manage underground society in England. Sebastian reads the letter, with Queen Victoria informing of various peculiar deaths in Southern Germany; perfectly healthy people have suddenly become grotesquely deformed and died afterwards.
She writes that she has many relatives in Germany in the hometown of her parents. Queen Victoria also writes that if there is an epidemic she could send medical support immediately but the Kaiser nor the German government have given her an informative reply; she is very worried. Sebastian suspects that since there are no official replies from the German side, Queen Victoria couldn't send any officials and hence decided to send Ciel. Ciel says that he has only been aboard to solve an incident once and that he doesn't understand why she had to get out of her way to send him this time. Sebastian asks whether he should ask for a more defined reason, but Ciel says as a suggestion not to as the German side will just evade it and that it's a dog's job to get excited and run as soon as you throw a bone at it. He says that the Phantomhives have an information network that stretches from Europe to Asia and that he has thought of using that. Ciel proclaims that he will have Chlaus to come to his mansion and that Sebastian is to inform him.
Ciel formally greets Chlaus and apologizes for having to call him over so suddenly but he tells him not to worry about it. Chlaus comments that Sebastian is really elusive as he was surprised to see him while he was enjoying a sauna in Finland. Ciel says that he is glad that Chlaus's travels did not take him far, Chlaus laughs while saying that an old man like him has nothing other than travel left to amuse himself.
Chlaus proceeds to inform Ciel that he went straight to "him" when he arrived at Germany but was coldly brushed off, with the excuse of being too busy, so in the end, he had to go to the place of the deaths himself. He jokingly complains that the place offered no good food and that it was quite hard making the trip since it was way out in the countryside. He then says that there seem to be no signs of any contagious diseases in the area, or any chronic diseases and wounds. When he asked, everyone said that the deaths were caused by a "witch's curse." Chlaus relates that the victims were all of different ages and genders, but they had only one thing in common: they all visited the "Werewolves' Forest" before they died. The woods was described as an occult forest regarded as taboo by the locals.
He gives a brief history of witches in Southern Germany: there were some terrible witch hunts from the 14th until the 17th century with the ones that managed to stay alive escaping into the forests. To protect themselves, they released their familiars into the forests and from then on, if one were to set foot in that forest, they would be cursed by the witch. Ciel comments that their deaths being due to a curse is ridiculous and Chlaus laughs at this, predicting that he would say that.
He apologises that he could not get any further information apart from that but Ciel says that he is sorry he made him go, leaving him with no choice but go there himself. He then proceeds to ask him something unrelated, concerning Undertaker's disappearance. He wants information from Chlaus, who had known him for longer and so should know more about him. Chlaus responds that they didn't interfere with each other much and that Ciel's father knew him first. The only person who knew Vincent before Undertaker was "him," seeing as they've been together since their school years. Sebastian suggests that since they're going to Germany anyway, they should pay that person a visit.
Chlaus comments that that is a good plan but gives a cryptic statement of German "former" beauties being rather stiff and calls Ciel a junior while telling him that he would need to play him well. Ciel replies that he can only hope that he's in a good mood when they visit and orders Sebastian to prepare the tickets.
The scene cuts to a mansion in Germany, where an unknown man tosses an envelope onto his working desk in annoyance, commenting that this is bringing nothing but trouble and that the father and son are alike. He grabs a sandwich from a plate and muses that he should be 13 by now so he will look like his father even more. The final panel shows Vincent, Diedrich and the other two Prefects during their time in Weston College.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- The village crone
- Ciel Phantomhive
- Sebastian Michaelis
- Queen Victoria
- Vincent Phantomhive