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Howl teases Sophie: why has she been running around in seven-league boots?
He spotted her "long nose" (10.6) behind a door as he was hitting on Lettie yesterday.
In fact, he's not going to see Lettie today—he's off to see the King.
Michael goes to the pastry shop to see Martha.
Sophie gets a visitor in Porthaven asking for a spell to keep his horse from losing it shoes; she quietly freaks out and asks Calcifer what she should do.
Calcifer suggests that she hand the guy a powder that she swears will work—belief is the key to magic.
(So if we truly believe it, will we be able to turn bricks into gold? Okay, that's our new goal.)
Then a short guy comes by looking for help with a duel.
Sophie gives him some cayenne pepper, and as she hands it over, she whispers to it "to make it a fair fight […] A fair fight. Understand?" (10.22).
When Howl comes home, he brings presents: expensive clothes for Sophie and Michael… a.k.a. the outfits he wants them to wear when they go to blacken his name to the King.
Howl wants Sophie to pose as his mother and tell the King that he's good for transport spells but bad for big jobs against the Witch of the Waste; Howl also wants Sophie to meet his old tutor, Mrs. Pentstemmon, so that she can get used to grand people before she meets the King.
Michael shows Howl the spell he's having so much trouble with.
Howl is confused: this isn't the spell that Howl left for Michael.
Remember in Chapter Six, when Sophie tried to turn the door to the black knob? And when she opened the door, there was nothing but an empty space?
Howl guesses that when Sophie opened that door, this thing came through.
Michael says that he tried to catch a falling star, but that it died, and Howl really flips out at this news: thank God that Michael didn't succeed.
Howl makes Michael promise that he will never try to catch another falling star.
Howl wants to look up the second verse to this not-spell.
He decides that it's time for Michael and Sophie to see what's really on the other side of the door when the knob is set to black.