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Bastian's eyes glowed with a cold fever. And then Xayide spoke to him of a new Fantastica, a world molded in every detail to Bastian's taste, where he could create and destroy just as he pleased, where every creature, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, wise or foolish, would be the product of his will alone, and he would reign supreme and inscrutable, playing an everlasting game with the destinies of his subjects. "Then alone," she concluded, "will you be truly free, free from all obstacles, free to do as you please. Weren't you trying to find out what you really and truly want? Well, now you know." That same morning they broke camp, and led by Bastian and Xayide in the coral litter, the great procession set out for the Ivory Tower. 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.
That same morning they broke camp, and led by Bastian and Xayide in the coral litter, the great procession set out for the Ivory Tower. 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.
Within Bastian two feelings were at war, and he was unable to silence either one. He longed to meet Moon Child. Now that he was famous and admired throughout Fantastica, he could approach her as an equal. But at the same time he was afraid she would ask him to return AURYN to her. And what then? Would she try to send him back to the world he had almost forgotten? He didn't want to go back. And he wanted to keep the Gem. But then he had another idea. Was it so certain that she wanted it back? Maybe she would let him have it as long as he wished. Maybe she had made him a present of it and it was his for good. At such moments he could hardly wait to see her again. He rushed the caravan on. But then, assailed by doubts, he would order a stop and think it all over again. After alternating forced marches and prolonged delays, the procession finally reached the edge of the famous Labyrinth, the immense flower garden with its winding avenues and pathways. On the horizon the Ivory Tower gleamed white against the gold-shimmering evening sky.
But the mysterious power of the gem forced him to fly straight ahead. And soon he knew why, for in the midst of the enfinity Nothing he discovered a small island that was still holding out, an island covered with high-gabled houses and crooked towers. Falkor had a strong suspicion whom he would find there, and from then on it was not only the powerful will of the amulet that spurred him on but his own as well. It was almost dark in the somber backyard where Atreyu lay beside the dead werewolf. The luckdragon was barely able to distinguish the boy's light-colored body from the monster's black coat. And the darker it grew, the more they looked like one body. Atreyu had long given up trying to break loose from the steel vise of the werewolf's jaws. Dazed with fear and weakness, he was back in the Grass Ocean. Before him stood the purple buffalo he had not killed. He called to the other children, his companions of the hunt, who by then had no doubt become real hunters. But no one answered.
By then the blinking beam was close, only a few body lengths ahead of him. Air bubbles were forming around his body, as in a saucepan full of water just before it boils. He felt that he was cooling and weakening. With his last strength he dived still deeper -- and then the source of light was within reach. It was AURYN, the Gem. Luckily the chain of the amulet had got caught on a coral branch growing out of the wall of an under-sea chasm. Otherwise the Gem would have fallen into the bottomless depths. 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.
Falkor didn't know what to do. He didn't even know what the strange blinking under the sea was, or whether it had anything to do with Atreyu. But he didn't hesitate for long. He flew high into the sky, turned around, and head down, pressing his legs close to his body, which he held stiff and straight as a telegraph pole, he plummeted. The water spouted like a fountain as he hit the sea at top speed. The shock was so great that he almost lost consciousness, but he forced himself to open his ruby-red eyes. By then the blinking beam was close, only a few body lengths ahead of him. Air bubbles were forming around his body, as in a saucepan full of water just before it boils. He felt that he was cooling and weakening. With his last strength he dived still deeper -- and then the source of light was within reach. It was AURYN, the Gem. Luckily the chain of the amulet had got caught on a coral branch growing out of the wall of an under-sea chasm. Otherwise the Gem would have fallen into the bottomless depths.