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.