Motoring along in the electric car, Milo, Tock and the Humbug take in the scenery and stop to enjoy a panoramic view. When Milo comments that the view is beautiful, a strange voice counters that "[i]t's all in the way you look at things." Milo whirls around and sees a boy about his age floating several feet above the ground. "For instance," the floating boy continues, "If you happened to like deserts, you might not think this was beautiful at all."
Milo asks the boy how the boy is able to float in the air at the same time as the boy was about to ask Milo how Milo is able to touch the ground with his feet. In his family, the boy explains, everyone is born with their heads at the height they will be once they grow up; instead of growing steadily toward the sky, their legs grown down toward the ground. Milo explains that, where he comes from, the opposite is true.
The boy introduces himself as Alec Bings and claims that he has the power to see through things. In fact, the only thing he cannot see, Alec explains, "is whatever happens to be right in front of [his] nose." ilo is dazzled by this and wants to be able to see things as well. Alec tells him to simply start thinking like an adult and once Milo does, sure enough he begins to rise off the ground. Then he suddenly drops back to the earth and declares that he'd prefer to keep seeing things as a child since it is "not so far to fall."
Alec, Milo, Tock, and the Humbug continue their walk in the forest, coming upon a large clearing in which lies a magnificent metropolis. The city, Alec says, is called Illusions and is really just a mirage. Its twin city, Reality, turns out to be all around the travelers. Alec explains that Reality was once as beautiful as Illusions, but people in Reality decided that things would be much more efficient if they went everywhere as fast as possible and didn't bother to stop and appreciate things along the way. As a result, the city withered away.
Alec next leads the group to an enormous open-air orchestra concert of over a thousand musicians, all conducted by Chroma the Great. Chroma waves his arms, and the musicians seem to be playing their instruments, although Milo doesn't hear anything. Alec explains that this orchestra is responsible for providing all the colors in the world. Milo meets Chroma, who talks about what a dull place the world would be without colors before Chroma hurries off to bed. Before he goes, Chroma asks Milo to keep an eye on the orchestra overnight and to wake him at 5:23 a.m. for the sunrise.
Milo wakes up at 5:22 a.m. and decides that he should let Chroma sleep in and simply conduct the orchestra himself. The colors at first begin normally but Milo quickly loses control, causing all the colors to become wild and mismatched. Finally, after the sun has risen and set a full seven times, he gives up and drops his arms. It is 5:27 a.m., and it looks like night again. Chroma comes running up completely unaware that seven days have passed.
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In The Lands Beyond, time passes differently. In Milo's adventures weeks were passing, but, when he got back home only 1 hour actually passed.
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