good intentions

There were two default positions for when the servants were summoned by Sebastian.

One was the Enthusiastic Clump Springing Into Lively Action On Being Given Assigned Duty.

The other, which often followed soon after, was the Single Column Attempting To Hide Behind Each Other After Results Of Attempting Said Assigned Duty.

Today was the Single Column approach. Ciel watched with interest as he sipped his cup of hot chocolate. The offending tabloid newspaper lay in front of him on the table, folded to display the article in question. Sebastian hovered behind him.

"We were told to be friendly to anyone who came asking questions!" Bard stammered.

"We honestly didn't say anything true to him!" Maylene offered, wringing her apron between her hands.

"Huh?" Finny asked, scratching his head.

"Airship." Ciel tapped a finger on the newspaper.

"I thought it would distract him," Bard attempted. "It was so obviously not true that it should have put him off the scent of anything actually important!"

"And after all, we don't really have an airship out back," Maylene added.

"Was that why he was asking me about invisible underground airship facilities?" Finny said.

Ciel nodded, trying not to sigh too deeply. "And the secret society of veiled assassins, vowed by a dark oath taken on the relics of Edward the Confessor?"

"I thought the bit about Edward the Confessor was a nice touch," Bard said indignantly, then remembered to add, "sir."

"Wouldn't veils make it rather hard to see?" Maylene asked.

"Could they help with the gardening?" Finny suggested.

Ciel put down his cup. "And the plot to grow mind-controlling plants in the garden so that their poisons could be put in all the chocolates Funtom Company produces?"

"That wasn't us!" Bard said, highly insulted. "We'd never say anything that'd damage Funtom Company!"

"Really we wouldn't, sir," Maylene said, fingers wrapped together so hard that her knuckles were white. "Not something like that."

"If I knew he was going to say anything like that," Finny said, with simple honesty, "I'd have hit him over the head and buried him in the rose garden."

"Very well." Ciel picked up the folded newspaper and passed it back to Sebastian. "Sebastian, kindly do something about this."

"Of course, sir," Sebastian said, his tone as subservient and promising as ever.

"And after that," Ciel said, pointing at the servants, "do something about them."

Finny, Maylene, and Bard clung together and quivered.