“May I ask you another question?” said Atreyu.
“Of course,” she answered with a smile.
“Why do you need a new name to get well?”
“Only the right name gives beings and things their reality,” she said. “A wrong name makes everything unreal. That’s what lies do.”
“Maybe the savior doesn’t yet know the right name to give you.”
“Oh yes he does,” she assured him.
Again they sat silent.
“I know it all right,” said Bastian. “I knew it the moment I laid eyes on her. But I don’t know what I have to do.”
Atreyu looked up.
“Maybe he wants to come and just doesn’t know how to go about it.”
“All he has to do,” said the Childlike Empress, “is to call me by my new name, which he alone knows. Nothing more.”
Bastian’s heart pounded. Should he try? What if he didn’t succeed? What if he was wrong? What if they weren’t talking about him but about some entirely different savior? How could he be sure they really meant him?
“Could it be,” said Atreyu after a while, “that he doesn’t know it’s him and not somebody else we’re talking about?”