«They’ve all fled!» he thought. «They’ve left the Childlike Empress alone. Or she’s already. . .»
«Atreyu,» Falkor whispered. «You must give the Gem back to her.»
Falkor removed the golden chain from his neck. It fell to the ground.
Atreyu jumped down off Falkor’s back — and fell. He had forgotten his wound. He reached for the Glory and put the chain around his neck. Then, leaning on the dragon, he rose painfully to his feet.
«Falkor,» he said. «Where must I go?»
But the luckdragon made no answer. He lay as though dead.
The street ended in front of an enormous, intricately carved gate which led through a high white wall. The gate was open.
Atreyu hobbled through it and came to a broad, gleaming-white stairway that seemed to end in the sky. He began to climb. Now and then he stopped to rest. Drops of his blood left a trail behind him.
At length the stairway ended. Ahead of him lay a long gallery. He staggered ahead, clinging to the balustrade for support. Next he came to a courtyard that seemed to be full of waterfalls and fountains, but by then he couldn’t be sure of what he was seeing. He struggled forward as in a dream. He came to a second, smaller gate; then there was a long, narrow stairway, which took him to a garden where everything — trees, flowers, and animals — was carved from ivory.