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Naked woman with a hat

There was no dawn that morning; the sky was too covered with thick, leaden-gray clouds. The air was almost too heavy to breathe. Working hand in hand with the Ivory Tower's fourteen masters of ceremony, Xayide had drawn up an elaborate program for the celebration. Beginning early in the morning, bands on all the streets and squares played music such as had never been heard in the Ivory Tower -- strident yet monotonous. None who heard it could help jiggling his feet and dancing. The musicians wore black masks. No one knew who they were or where Xayide had found them. Every roof and housefront was decorated with bright-colored flags and pennants, but they hung sadly limp, for there was no wind. Along the High Street and on the wall around the palace hundreds of pictures had been set up, ranging in size from small to enormous, and all showed the same face -- Bastian's.


Naked woman

Thereupon Bastian withdrew, leaving the councilors and other dignitaries alone with their bewilderment. They didn't know what to do. What they had heard sounded so monstrous that for a long while they could only stand there silently, hanging their heads. Then they began to deliberate. And after many hours, they came to the conclusion that they would have to obey Bastian's commands, for he bore the emblem of the Childlike Empress, and that that entitled him to obedience regardless of whether Moon Child had really abdicated in his favor or whether this was just another of her unfathomable decisions. And so the messengers were sent and all Bastian's orders were carried out. He himself took no further interest in the coronation, but left all the details to Xayide, who kept the whole court so busy that hardly anyone had time to think. During the next days and weeks Bastian spent most of his time in the room he had chosen, staring into space and doing nothing. He would have liked to wish for something or make up a story to amuse himself, but nothing occurred to him. He felt hollow and empty.


Feet and hands of young people

They didn't know what to do. What they had heard sounded so monstrous that for a long while they could only stand there silently, hanging their heads. Then they began to deliberate. And after many hours, they came to the conclusion that they would have to obey Bastian's commands, for he bore the emblem of the Childlike Empress, and that that entitled him to obedience regardless of whether Moon Child had really abdicated in his favor or whether this was just another of her unfathomable decisions. And so the messengers were sent and all Bastian's orders were carried out. He himself took no further interest in the coronation, but left all the details to Xayide, who kept the whole court so busy that hardly anyone had time to think. During the next days and weeks Bastian spent most of his time in the room he had chosen, staring into space and doing nothing. He would have liked to wish for something or make up a story to amuse himself, but nothing occurred to him. He felt hollow and empty.


Woman at the door of the fridge

A well-nigh enfinity column moved along the twining paths of the Labyrinth. In the late afternoon, when the head of the column reached the Ivory Tower, the last stragglers had barely entered the great flowering maze. Bastian could not have wished for a more festive reception. On every roof and battlement stood elves with gleaming trumpets, blaring away at the top of their lungs. The jugglers juggled, the astrologers proclaimed Bastian's greatness and good fortune, the bakers baked cakes as big as mountains, the ministers and councilors escorted the coral litter through the teeming crowd on the High Street, which wound in an ever-narrowing spiral up the conical tower to the great gate leading into the palace. Followed by Xayide and the dignitaries, Bastian climbed the snow-white steps of the broad stairway, traversed halls and corridors, passed through a second gate, through a garden full of ivory animals, trees, and flowers, mounted higher and higher, crossed a bridge, and passed through the last gate. He was heading for the Magnolia Pavilion at the very top of the tower. But the blossom was closed and the last stretch of the way was so steep and smooth that no one could climb it.


Purple cubes

Falkor seized it and put the chain around his neck for fear of losing it -- for he felt that he was about to faint. When he came to, he didn't know where he was, for to his amazement he was flying through the air, and when he looked down, there was the sea again. He was flying in a very definite direction and very fast, faster than would have seemed possible in his weakened condition. He tried to slow down, but soon found that his body would not obey him. An outside will far stronger than his own had taken possession of his body and was guiding it. That will came from AURYN, the amulet suspended from a chain around his neck. The day was drawing to a close when at last Falkor sighted a beach in the distance. He couldn't see much of the country beyond, it seemed to be hidden by fog. But when he came closer, he saw that most of the land had been swallowed up by the Nothing, which hurt his eyes and gave him the feeling of being blind.


Black man on white

When he came to, he didn't know where he was, for to his amazement he was flying through the air, and when he looked down, there was the sea again. He was flying in a very definite direction and very fast, faster than would have seemed possible in his weakened condition. He tried to slow down, but soon found that his body would not obey him. An outside will far stronger than his own had taken possession of his body and was guiding it. That will came from AURYN, the amulet suspended from a chain around his neck. The day was drawing to a close when at last Falkor sighted a beach in the distance. He couldn't see much of the country beyond, it seemed to be hidden by fog. But when he came closer, he saw that most of the land had been swallowed up by the Nothing, which hurt his eyes and gave him the feeling of being blind.


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