|Chapter Length:||67 Pages|
|Cover Characters:||Kimihiro Watanuki|
| Previous: Chapter 16
Next: Chapter 18
Chapter 17 is a seventeenth chapter of xxxHOLiC.
Watanuki and Yuuko are back at the shop. Watanuki is serving tea and Yuuko is changing clothes behind a paper screen beside Watanuki. Watanuki asks Yuuko why Domeki has to help him with Himawari's wish and Yuuko says that there needed to be two people and if it hadn't been Domeki, it would have been her and Himawari would have to pay her the price. Watanuki then gets anxious, imagining Himawari "bitten by Yuuko's poison fangs." Watanuki says this aloud and Yuuko stretches her arm out from behind the screen and smacks Watanuki. Watanuki then starts complaining about how he can't do anything other than see spirits and he can't physically do anything to help. Yuuko then convinces Watanuki by saying that Himawari will be extra thankful. Yuuko then comes out from behind the screen, changed into a nice kimono and offers Watanuki her help. Watanuki is thankful until Yuuko tells him that the help is for a price. She also says that if he wants her help, he must wear something.
On the night of the mission, Watanuki arrives at the school to see that Domeki is already waiting for him at the front gates. Watanuki is wearing gigantic plastic earmuffs (that reasemble the ears of Chii in Clamp's other manga Chobits). Domeki, however, does not pay attention to them. Watanuki then recalls the time when Yuuko gave them to him. She had explained that they were earphones and that they could communicate with each other through them. Watanuki asked if she couldn't have make normal-looking ones and Yuuko said that they had to look like this... because they look cute. Yuuko tells Watanuki through the earphones, to go towards the school. Watanuki repeats this to Domeki and they both set off, climbing over the front gates when suddenly, Watanuki stops. Watanuki can see a black smoke coiling around the school. Watanuki and Domeki enter the school anyways but once they are inside, Watanuki smells a horrible stench. Yuuko asks him if Domeki can also smell it and Domeki confesses that he cannot. Yuuko finally concludes that this is a side effect of the "Angel" game. Yuuko then tells Watanuki to go where the smell gets stronger and Watanuki says that it is upstairs, therefore, he and Domeki start walking to the second floor. Yuuko tells Watanuki that he is able to bear the smell because Domeki is there and had Domeki not been there, Watanuki would have already fainted. She tells Watanuki to thank Domeki for his protection but Watanuki holds so much anger against Domeki that when he turns around to thank him, he just gives him a funny face. Domeki, like always, ignores this and Yuuko and Mokona laugh on the other side. Watanuki follows the smell and discovers that it is coming from the roof. When they enter the roof, Watanuki hears crying sounds and through the smoke, he can see three girls standing around a table sobbing. The girls are playing Angel and there is a piece of paper with words on it and two of the girls are holding a pencil. When Watanuki asks the girls why they are crying, they tell him that the angel won't let them leave. The girls also tell him that the angel said that if they let go of the pen, they will be cursed. Suddenly, the pen starts moving again and spells out : "You are going to die. Don't think about going home now." Through the earphone, Watanuki explains the situation to Yuuko and the girls think that he is talking to "Angel." The girl that is not holding the pen runs to watanuki and tries to take away his earphones. Behind Watanuki, the girls who were holding the pen start crying and yelling that they will be cut into pieces. Watanuki then pulls away from the first girl and runs to the other two, telling them to seperate their hands. The girls refuse and so Watanuki forces their hands to seperate. When they finally let go of the pen, the girls start crying and running towards Watanuki. Watanuki walks backwards, telling them to calm down and backs up into the railing of the balcony. This is when Watanuki turns to Domeki, who is still standing at the entrance to the roof and yells at him, telling him to help. Domeki asks Watanuki casually what he needs help with because Watanuki has been talking alone for the last five minutes. Watanuki turns back to the girls, now knowing that they are ghosts and the girls are grinning widely. Then they say in unison that there would be a punishement for the one who seperated their hands and together, they push Watanuki over the balcony.
As Watanuki falls from the roof, he looses consciousness but Domeki is quick to catch him Domeki yells at Watanuki to wake up and when watanuki does indeed wake up, he looks up at Domeki to see the smoke behind him. The smoke starts wrapping itself around Domeki's arms and legs and suddenly, Domeki's hand starts bleeding. Watanuki tells Domeki to stay quiet and not to move. Then Yuuko speaks to Watanuki, explaining to him that the smoke is a kind of garbage host. She tells him that the garbage host is a spirit created by the negative thoughts and wishes that the students who play "Angel" throw away. The communication between Watanuki and Yuuko starts breaking up until Watanuki can no longer hear Yuuko. Suddenly, a black monster appears behind Watanuki. It is like a huge, long black snake. The snake comes up to the roof and eats the garbage monster and Domeki takes this time to pull Watanuki up over the ledge and safely onto the roof once again. Watanuki looses the earphones in the process and the snake swoops down and eats them.
When Watanuki is back at the shop safely with Yuuko, she explains to him that the snake was a protector of the school. It was a spirit that had been there since the school started and that protected it from intruders or monsters like the garbage monster. Yuuko then says that since the snake ate the ears, Watanuki must pay for them with more work and then asks him to give her wine and snacks. When watanuki leaves to prepare the food, Yuuko says: "Watanuki is a good boy, you and I both thought so. Right... Clow?"