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Beautiful hair at dawn

For a moment a vision -- a pale memory of the past -- came to him of himself in gym class, dangling like a sack of flour from the bottommost end of the rope, while the rest of the class cackled with glee. He couldn't help smiling. How they would gape if they saw him now! They'd be proud to know him. But he wouldn't even look at them. Without stopping once he finally reached the branch from which the liana was hanging, climbed up and straddled it. The branch gave off a red glow. He stood up and, balancing himself like a tightrope walker, made his way to the trunk.


Walking through the forest

Without stopping once he finally reached the branch from which the liana was hanging, climbed up and straddled it. The branch gave off a red glow. He stood up and, balancing himself like a tightrope walker, made his way to the trunk. Here again a dense tangle of creepers barred his way, but he had no difficulty in opening up a passage through it. At that height the trunk was still so thick that five men clasping hands could not have encircled it. Another, somewhat higher branch, jutting from the trunk in a different direction, was beyond his reach. So he leapt through the air, caught hold of an aerial root, swung himself into place, made another perilous leap, and grabbed the higher branch. From there he was able to pull himself up to a still higher one. By then he was high above the ground, at least three hundred feet, but the glowing branches and foliage still obstructed his view.


Magnetic eyes

At that point a new wish cropped up. Just being handsome wasn't as wonderful as he had thought. He also wanted to be strong, stronger than anybody! The strongest in the world! While going deeper and deeper into the Night Forest, he began to feel hungry. He picked off a few of the strangely shaped luminous fruits and nibbled gingerly to see if they were edible. Edible was no word for it; some were tart, some sweet, some slightly bitter, but all were delicious. He ate as he walked, and felt a miraculous strength flowing into his limbs. In the meantime the glowing underbrush around him had become so dense that it cut off his view on all sides. To make matters worse, lianas and aerial roots were becoming inextricably tangled with the thicket below. Slashing with the side of his hand as if it had been a machete, Bastian opened up a passage. And the breach closed directly behind him as if it had never been. On he went, but the wall of giant tree trunks blocked his path. Bastian grabbed hold of two great tree trunks and bent them apart. When he had passed through, the wall closed soundlessly behind him.


Man on a chair

While searching tirelessly for his little friend and master, he had flown high into the clouds. On every side lay the sea, which was gradually growing calmer after the great storm that had churned it from top to bottom. Suddenly, far in the distance, Falkor caught sight of something that puzzled and intrigued him. It was as though a beam of golden light were going on and off, on and off, at regular intervals. And that beam of light seemed to point directly at him, Falkor. He flew toward it as fast as he could, and when he was directly over it he saw that the light signal came from deep down in the water, perhaps from the bottom of the sea. Luckdragons, as we know, are creatures of air and fire. Not only is the liquid element alien to them; it is also their enemy. Water can extinguish them like a flame, or it can asphyxiate them, for they never stop breathing in air through their thousands of pearly scales. They feed on air and heat and require no other nourishment, but without air and heat they can only live a short time.


Hairdressing

But already Xayide had hurried off to make new arrangements. And then came the day of the coronation that did not take place. It went down in the history of Fantastica as the day of the bloody battle for the Ivory Tower. 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.


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.


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