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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.