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Sophie feels horribly guilty about the whole Royal-Wizard-failed-name-blackening business, but Howl is really miserable about Mrs. Pentstemmon's death.
Howl leaves the castle early in the morning, after getting all dolled up in his magic gray-and-red suit.
Michael is so freaked out by the threat of the Witch of the Waste that he boards up the door—idiotically, since Howl still has to get back in.
When Howl comes back, Sophie realizes that he's been visiting Miss Angorian.
She asks him about Lettie—you know, that girl who he has been desperately pursuing for the whole novel up until now—but Howl ignores her.
In fact, the two of them start arguing nonstop about Miss Angorian and Howl's search for Prince Justin.
The only thing that cuts off their bickering is the fact that Howl is clearly getting sick.
Sophie hears knocking at the door and goes to open it.
A dog jumps into the castle.
The dog, clearly concentrating hard, suddenly turns into a guy with reddish hair.
The man tells her that Lettie sent him, they're in love, and that Sophie shouldn't tell Howl—and then the man transforms back into a dog, though it's a different kind of dog than he entered the castle as.
Sophie tries to talk the dog into transforming back into a man, but her magic doesn't seem to work on him.
Upstairs, Howl is lying in his dusty bed looking extremely miserable.
Besides having a cold, part of what is making him so uncomfortable is that he can't stop thinking about the Witch's curse.
There are only three things in the poem that haven't happened to him yet: the mermaids, the mandrake root, and the wind to advance an honest mind.
Sophie accuses Howl of wooing girls and then dropping them cruelly.
Howl admits that he keeps trying to fall in love, but he made a bad bargain a long time ago and he has ruined his chance to "love anyone properly now" (14.86).
Sophie realizes that Howl is actually crying now. (Awkward.)
But before she can think of anything comforting to say, the dog-man slips into Howl's room.
Sophie happens to look through Howl's bedroom window, which looks down on Megan and Mari's yard in Wales.
The dog-man shoves Sophie out the door of Howl's room.