That Butler, New Face

That Butler, Skilled

{Two years later – The Phantomhive Manor}
A Short distance from London, just beyond the fog-cloaked forest, there stands a well-kept manor house. Its resident is the head of the Phantomhive family, a distinguished aristocrat. His day begins with a cup of early morning tea.

"Young Master, it is time to wake up." Sebastian Michaelis, the butler of the Phantomhive family said as he entered the room with a serving cart loaded with breakfast. He was followed into the room by the head maid, Chêne LeBeau. Their young master, the Earl Ciel Phantomhive, just mumbled something and rolled over back to sleep again. Chêne tsked at Ciel, and threw open the curtains of the room's sunniest window.

"Rise and shine, Ciel!" Chêne cheered loudly. She smiled brightly at the glare Ciel shot her for such a rude awakening. You would think he would be used to it by now. Sebastian gracefully poured the tea and served it to Ciel.

"For today's breakfast, I have prepared poached salmon and mint salad. Toast, scones, and pain de campagne, have been prepared by Chêne as an accompaniment." Sebastian informed Ciel. "Which would you prefer?" Ciel sat up and yawned lightly.

"…Scone" Ciel answered sleepily as he took the tea. "This aroma…Ceylon tea, hm?" Chêne selected Ciel's outfit for the day and laid it out on the bed. Ciel nodded in approval, and she left to start her other chores for the day and to give Ciel privacy while he dressed.

"Yes, and we will be using the Royal Doulton dishes." Sebastian replied as he buttoned Ciel's shirt. "The tea set is Wedgewood Blue and White."

"And the schedule for today?" Ciel asked. Sebastian began fixing Ciel's necktie.

"Professor Hughes, an authority in kingcraft, will arrive after breakfast." Sebastian said as he finished tying the bow. "After lunch…"

=†=†=†=†=

*BONG! *

Chêne hit the gong a hard as she could. Sebastian stood in the middle of the courtyard in a Mexican standoff with an Asian martial artist, who was in a stereotypical kung fu pose. It was silent except for the whooshing sound of the wind and the rustle of a random tumbleweed as it rolled by. Chêne wasn't quite sure what a plant that belonged in the American 'wild west' was doing in the English countryside, but it did add to the atmosphere. She and Mister Tanaka stood beside Ciel, who was lounging in a chair with a glass of ice-cold lemonade. Bard, Mei-Rin, and Finni stood off to the side, waiting in anticipation of Sebastian's latest duel. The kung fu hustle man decided to strike first.

"Huaaah~!" The man cried as he began waving his arms around. He struck a pose and shouted, "Take this! Secret technique! The beauties–of–Nature–Blooming–in–Glory–Fist!" Kung fu man lunged at Sebastian.

Sebastian calmly readjusted his gloves, and narrowed his eyes slightly at the man before striking faster than the blink of an eye. Chêne thought she heard a slicing sound, but she couldn't be sure. Interestingly enough, despite the fact that it looked like Sebastian barely even touched him, kung fu man now looked really roughed up, and his clothes were tattered.

'Just what did Sebastian do?' Chêne wondered.

"Gya–hah!" The kung fu man coughed, blood trickled down the corner of his mouth. "T–That was our school's ultimate secret hidden technique! When–the–Fierce–Tiger–and–Dragon–Roar–Ten–Thousand–Flowers–Scatter–and–Split–Fist…What in the world are you!"

Chêne raised an eyebrow. Didn't the guy know any techniques with names that weren't fifty syllables long? Sebastian clapped his hands together, removing any dust that might have gotten on them and looked back over his shoulder at kung fu man.

"I am the butler of the Phantomhive family. It goes without saying that I can manage a technique as elementary as this." Sebastian said coolly before whipping around to face Ciel. Sebastian smiled his trademark shit-eating grin. "Now then, Young Master. As I have won this battle, please review what you did today and prepare for tomorrow's lessons until dinner time, as promised."

"Tch!" Ciel clicked his tongue and scowled in disappointment while Bard, Finni, and Mei-Rin 'oohed' and 'aahed' over Sebastian's latest triumph Chêne had come to affectionately think of the trio as the 'three stooges.' She smiled sympathetically at Ciel. Really, Sebastian was just too perfect.

"What else did you expect, Ciel?" Chêne teased the boy that she had come to think of as the 'cute but bratty younger brother she never had.' Ciel just looked away. Apparently he was not going to dignify that with a response.

"You're amazing Mister Sebastian!" Finni gushed, eyes sparkling in admiration. "That makes fifty wins in a row!"

"Y-You struck like water, Mister Sebastian!" Mei-Rin said blushing.

"Ain't our butler flippin' awesome?" Bard said.

"Keh! And after I went to the trouble of going to mysterious lands to bring back an expert in Chinese martial arts…I thought for sure I'd see you on you're knees today." Ciel said.

"That is most unfortunate, Young Master." Sebastian said in an ever so slightly patronizing tone, still smiling.

"I told you we should've gone to Japan." Chêne said. She had always wanted to visit Japan, land of the samurai, manga, and sushi…maybe enjoy a hot spring or two…buy a katana…

"Hmph, you just want to go there to play around." Ciel said, correctly guessing her true motives. She laughed.

"Yeah, you got me, but samurai really are great warriors." Chêne said. "Although I think there might actually be a sword prohibition going on there right now…"

"Anyway, well done, Sebastian." Ciel said, handing his butler the glass of lemonade. "Here, drink this, in one gulp."

"Mister Tanaka kept it cool." Chêne told him. Tanaka smiled as Sebastian accepted the glass. Chêne liked Tanaka. He reminded her of her deceased grandfather.

"Thank you." Sebastian said and gulped the whole thing down just as Ciel had told him to. Chêne giggled as she watched Finni and Mei-Rin continue to cheer for Sebastian enthusiastically. "By the way…" Sebastian said as he set the glass back on the table "…What are all of you doing here?" Mei-Rin, Bard, and Finni flinched. "Finni. Have you finished weeding the inner courtyard?" Sebastian asked sternly.

"Ah!" Finni gasped when he realized he forgot.

"Mei-Rin. Have the sheets been laundered?" Sebastian turned on her next.

"U-Umm…" Mei-Rin stuttered as she blushed and fiddled with her fingers nervously.

"Bard. Were you not supposed to be preparing dinner?" Sebastian demanded.

"Tch." Bard clicked his tongue as he looked away and scratched the back of his head nervously.

"Chêne. I trust you have already dusted the salon and polished the banister of the main staircase?" Sebastian said.

"Actually, I–" Chêne began only to be cut off. A vein mark throbbed on Sebastian's head.

'Uh-oh.' Chêne thought. She could almost see electricity crackling in the background and little horns form on Sebastian's head…not that he really had horns to begin with…

"If you have time to loaf around here, go do your work!" Sebastian glared and scolded them. The three stooges ran like the wind, but Chêne calmly remained behind.

"Well?" Sebastian demanded when he saw was not leaving. Chêne smiled her own shit-eating grin.

"Actually, I already did it!" She said brightly. Tanaka picked up the lemonade glass and began to refill it.

"Speaking of work, Sebastian…" Ciel said, standing up. Sebastian pulled the chair out for him. "I got a call from him, in Italy."

"From Mister Chlaus, sir?" Sebastian asked.

"Yes, I need to talk to you about it. Come." Ciel said. "You too Chêne, since you are free at the moment."

"Very well, sir." Sebastian said and handed Ciel his walking stick. Chêne smiled as she followed them to the Study. Something interesting always seemed to happen whenever they had a guest.

=†=†=†=†=

{Ciel's Study Room and Office}

"…Then, Mister Chlaus himself is coming to England?" Chêne asked.

"Yes. He rang to tell me he had gotten a hold of what I had asked for." Ciel replied. "It seems he went to a lot of trouble this time." Ceil leaned back in the chair behind his desk and unfolded the daily newspaper. "He should arrive by six. We will talk business in here." Ciel smirked at the two servants. "Do you know what this means?"

"Of course." Chêne smirked back.

"We shall provide Mister Chlaus with only the finest hospitality." Sebastian said as he bowed and placed a hand over his chest. He straightened, still holding his chest and glanced at Chêne. "…By the way, Chêne, what in the world did you put in that lemonade from before? The heartburn will not stop..."

Chêne's eyes widened slightly in surprise. She had never seen Sebastian look even slightly ill before, and here he was with heartburn after drinking lemonade…She pictured Mister Tanaka holding the lemonade glass from earlier and smiling, laughing 'Hoh, hoh, hoh.' Chêne had to suppress a giggle at the contrast.

"Don't look at me! I didn't make it this time." Chêne said, quickly proclaiming her innocence.

"That was Tanaka's special lemonade made with 'Aji x Moto.' Ciel replied. It was a brand of MSG used to season food. "He probably mistook it for sugar since they are both white. I stopped drinking it after one sip." Ciel said.

"Oh, so that's why you made that face of pure disgust earlier." Chêne said, nodding in understanding. Another vein mark appeared in Sebastian's head. If they knew, they should have said something.

"I think, perhaps, it would be for the best if only Chêne was allowed to make lemonade from now on." Sebastian suggested.

"Perhaps." Ciel agreed. "Her lemonade is always the most refreshing without being overly sweet." Chêne shrugged.

"Well, someone has to be better than Sebastian at something, even if it's only making lemonade and cooking my family's special seafood gumbo." Chêne said. Sebastian smirked.

"I'm sure it could be even better if only you would give me the recipe." Sebastian said confidently.

"No. That gumbo is my family's culinary crown jewel. My great, great, great, great grandmother was given it by her best friend – the wife of the original owner of a very famous restaurant in the French Quarter. The only difference between our version and theirs is we don't add oysters." Chêne told him for the nth time.

"Are you two planning on arguing here all day?" Ciel said sarcastically. "Sebastian, you can harass Chêne once you have completed the tasks I gave you." Sebastian smiled like a Cheshire cat.

"Very well, I shall begin the preparations. If you will excuse us…" Sebastian said, bowing gracefully.

"Don't encourage him, Ciel!" Chêne said indignantly.

"Come along, Chêne." Sebastian said as he smirked and dragged her out the room by her uniform's collar.

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