At the end of ch8, the earl tells Madam Red the reason (that he claims) for returning to the “Underworld” of England. Of course we understand he’s talking about not just becoming the queen’s watchdog but also making the contract with Sebastian.
He tells her “were I to avenge them, the dead would still not come back to life… much less be able to enjoy the sweet taste of revenge”.
With the current ch126, we are getting closer to the (expected) revelation of an older twin who died. It’s a common theory that the real Ciel has died and been turned into a soulless Bizarre Doll. The quote above is quite prophetic for saying the dead do not return to life, since a Bizarre Doll isn’t really alive (just reanimated)… and that the dead cannot enjoy any sense of revenge. So, if the real earl were to come back (as a BD) and attain revenge, he would not actually be able to truly enjoy his victory.
The earl had just explained how Sebastian is like a chessboard (Black) Knight that can break the rules of the game and move anywhere on the board. Undertaker is pretty much the same thing, but for the opponent. Make him the White Knight and that makes real Ciel the White King to the earl’s Black King. (This is shown more obviously during that “dream sequence” (or hallucination… or telepathic connection!) in the Green Witch arc, in which mirrored boy’s face off on a chessboard… the earl with a Black Knight and the mirror image with a White Knight.)
In Mother3, the mirror twins are pitted against each other in a game/competition to pull up the most needles and gain control over the Dark Dragon. At the end, the dead and reanimated older twin, Claus, gives up… allowing Lucas to win.
But… what if a Bizarre Doll (soulless, reanimated) real Ciel actually claims the victory of revenge that the earl is after? He cannot truly appreciate the “taste of revenge”. Does the real Ciel also end up with control of the Black Butler, since Sebastian was unable to attain revenge for the earl… and the contract is actually with a “Ciel”? Would Sebastian be stuck in the contract with either of the boys because he failed to make the earl win or because he cannot now devour the soul of “Ciel”?
This is where the original two seasons of the anime come in as AU spoilers. At the end of season one, Ash/Angela has just recently effed with “Ciel’s” memories, trying to make him drop his quest for revenge and break the contract. “Ciel” himself stops the process of rewriting his memories. Sebastian then fulfills his half of the contract and is ready to collect “Ciel’s” soul, but the season ends without showing Sebastian having eaten it. In season two we find out that someone had just then stolen “Ciel’s” soul, so Sebastian cannot eat it. Once his soul is restored to his body, it’s discovered that “Ciel” has no recollection of his victory… he “cannot enjoy the sweet taste of revenge”, so his soul is no longer appetizing to Sebastian. He spends all of season two just trying to give “Ciel” some new sense of victory, a new taste of revenge. “Ciel” and this kid about his own age (Alois/Jim) have their “Knights” battle it out, and some of the battle even takes place on a huge chessboard. The season finally ends with the other boy (Alois/Jim) dead, his “Knight” also defeated/dead, Hannah having reunited (within her) the souls of two brothers (Alois/Jim and Luka), “Ciel” feeling a new sense of victory (but as a demon), and Sebastian now completely unable to devour “Ciel’s” newly demonized soul.
So, here are a few ways this *could* play out in manga canon:
1. Sebastian claims a victory for the earl, but Undertaker has effed with the earl’s memories, so the earl either cannot recall or simply cannot appreciate it. Having no sense of revenge, the earl’s soul cannot be eaten. They are stuck in that contract unless they choose to break it.
2. Real Ciel claims the victory but, being dead, cannot enjoy it. Having failed the earl, Sebastian is stuck in a contract (with the earl) that he cannot fulfill… unless he chooses to break it.
3. Real Ciel claims not only the victory (that he cannot truly enjoy) but *also* says that, since the contract was with “Ciel”, he now “owns” the contract with Sebastian (the Black Butler, just like the Dark Dragon in Mother3). Sebastian follows the “word/terms” of the contract and so now “belongs” to real Ciel. Since Sebastian already devoured that soul before the contract was even made, he cannot devour it again. The earl’s soul is now off the table, so to speak. Sebastian either walks away having been deprived of the promised *second* meal… or he sticks around for some other reason. Perhaps some other loophole gets him stuck in a contract.
4. The earl claims the victory, but real Ciel claims ownership of the contract with Sebastian, since it was made with “Ciel”. Since real Ciel didn’t claim victory, Sebastian failed to fulfill the contract (he had essentially helped the wrong person win). They are stuck in a contract neither of them can fulfill. Neither of them is likely to dissolve the contract, though Sebastian might eventually be forced to.
5. A really crack theory scenario in which one (either) of the twins claims the victory. Undertaker takes the earl’s soul and places it into real Ciel. This creates some sort of demonized Ciel, so Sebastian cannot eat this soul. He’s now stuck in the contract unless he breaks it.
6. The earl claims victory, Sebastian eats his soul, and that’s it. This is how we expected season one of the anime to end, and it’s the tidiest ending. This is essentially how Mother3 ends (Lucas wins, the Dark Dragon does his bidding, the world is restored to order, and that’s it). However, I think Yana-san is going for a plot twist that leads to a sticky ending… and one in which either the earl, Sebastian, or both of them gets “royally” screwed over. LOL
…I had a day pretty recently where I spent the whole day playing video games to avoid crippling depression from sneaking up on me. And I felt pretty guilty about it, because … well… You know the stereotype. Fat, unwashed loser in his mum’s basement who plays video games instead of having a Real Life. No one wants to be that guy.
But then I thought about it for a minute. And I realised- playing video games (or reading, or watching movies/shows, or engaging with any kind of art really) keeps artists alive.
Like, seriously, if no one played video games, a lot of artists, writers, and programmers would be out of work. If no one watched TV, there’d be a lot of actors, writers, designers, props managers, and so on who just didn’t have anything to do anymore. If no one read books, novelists (like me!) would have to find something else to do.
…so, like… even if all you can do is lie in bed and play Pokemon, you’re doing something good for the world. You’re helping people be able to make good art.