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He then announced that in exactly seventy-seven days he would crown himself Childlike Emperor of Fantastica and that the event would be celebrated with such splendor that it would outshine anything ever done in Fantastica. And he ordered the councilors to send messengers forthwith to every part of the realm, for he wished every nation of the Fantastican Empire to be represented at his coronation.

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.