Hailing from a noble family makes one’s lifestyle quite exquisite and demand for the best in the world. For someone like me who enjoys food, I expect nothing less than a masterpiece on my plate. I have traveled across seas and kingdoms and have experienced everything that the food world had to offer, or so I thought. It was until a recent trip to a remote town called Vlees that I realized that I haven’t truly relished the joy of food that the world has to offer. I was traveling to a kingdom in Epe with two of my soldiers to attend an annual fest which is considered to be the best in the world. We were passing by a town called Gortel which was a rundown town and since our journey would last a week more we had to stock up from this town.

It was midday and thus we first headed to the Inn to fill our bellies and then stock up. The served food was revolting and this infuriated me to throw the bowl out the window. My actions caused a stir at the Inn, and I said “What foul meal is this? Do you think you could serve something like this to me? Do you know who I am?!” My ruckus was brought to the attention of the Innkeeper. He came over to apologize and offer a fresh batch of the meal, however I was in no mode to hear excuses. I decided to leave this place and take the food supplies from the market. I could not believe what I was hearing, the vendors pleaded that I took only what is needed. Apparently the town is doing its best to wait for the harvest and they would only ration out small quantities. I ordered my guards to take all the supplies they could carry and use force if required. The commotion caused a lot of verbal hatred being thrown between them and myself. One vendor approached me and said, “Sir, there is a town called Vlees, which is not far from here where you can get more supplies. It is was too expensive for our town to approach them. I am sure they are more than willing to extend their doors for royals such as yourselves.” This calmed me down as the hassle this town has put me through was enough for me to leave it at once. The vendor directed me the path which was a slight detour from my current destination, however I would be there by sun down. It is odd that I have never heard of this place but at this stage anything would be better than this filth. Hence, we saddled up on our horses and headed to the town.

As the last rays of the sun hid behind the mountains, we reached the town and we felt that we reached a place that we deserved to be at. Right from the gates of the town, to the Inn where we decided to stay for the night, to the food we ate, everything was something a noble family deserved. Even though the village was small and had only a handful of people, they all looked to be wealthy. Starving due to lack of proper meal during lunch, we had to make up for our losses. The meal served at the Inn was quite exquisite. I have never had such a wonderful meal and the meat tasted beyond this world. “What kind of meat is this?”, I asked. “It is our secret, Sir”, said the Innkeeper. “In our town we take extreme care to nurture our cattle to make it as tender as possible. We sell them to the kingdom nearby, and hence our town is so flourished. The honor of serving the kingdom is all we look for.”, said the keeper with all the pride one could have. “It would be a pleasure to have your meat in our kingdom as well. I would enjoy it more than what the peasants generally make for us”, I said as I recalled the plain food that I got at our kingdom. I even recalled executing some of the cooks for their lack of skills to call them a cook. Once our dinner was done we decided to hit our bed for the night as our senses needed the rest from the intoxicating meal.

I felt a bit uncomfortable later that night, I tried to wrestle myself with the bed and for some reason however, I couldn’t. Wondering what was causing this unease feeling I decided to open my eyes and have a look. I was shocked at the sight of my status. I was shackled in chains and found myself lying on the cold damp floor in a very hot cell. I tried to break free of my chains however they were welded tight and firm. I screamed for help and was immediately silenced by the others who were in their cages. Even my soldiers were a part of these cells. As I tried to find the answers for what was going on I heard footsteps approach us. The light seeping through the cracks of the walls gave us a sight of a giant human approach us. “Time to work you slaves!”, said the mammoth as he pull each man from their cells. Trust me, the people in their cells looked really strong, however, they could never over power him even though they tried, even my soldiers were of no match when they confronted him. We headed outside and we were made to work. I have never turned a stone in my life before and here I am now, digging the ground and moving boulders. I threatened the dumb giant to let me go, however he had no interest on a tiny human. With our aching body and huge appetite we headed back to our cells, but before that we were made to wash ourselves, the cold water soothed my skin as the dirt and sweat washed away. With our wash done we moved to our main chamber where the cells were located. While heading to our cells there was something that caught my attention and also made me happy.

Food!! and that too a ton of it. Oh! I felt the gods still haven’t forsaken me. “Eat now, for tomorrow you work”, said the giant with a smirk as he stood a side waiting for us to finish our meal. I ran to the desk and grabbed everything I could devour. I relished every single bite of it. It was a bit under cooked, but at this stage I had nothing to complain as my hunger had blinded my eyes. I ate till I could eat no more, and went and laid in my cell. I was content that the day was over and that I could sleep and rest which my body needed. I was too tired to think of other things at this stage. Next day, I was woken up when a bucket of water was splashed on me. It was cold, so cold. “Time to work you slaves!”, said the giant, proving his vocabulary skills are as small as his head. We went out did our bid, and at the end of day we washed ourselves and went for our meal. Every day, I stuffed myself and the food always tasted great. I understood that the food that you earn tastes great no matter how it is made. This realization made me recall of the hateful comments and words that I said against all the cooks whom I had criticized so much over these years.

Days went by and our routine continued. I had started to build quite a fit figure. I wondered if people from my kingdom missed me. If they had ever sent out someone to look for me. If I would ever leave this place. I did also notice that every odd day there would be someone new at the ground and someone we knew had disappeared. I did not give much thought into it, but I did wonder as what might have happened to them. Did they manage to escape, or did they collapse? Few more days went by and one day I decided to try take on the giant with my soldiers. As soon as we were all out of our cells, we jumped on the chance, however he had over powered all of us. Defeat made me wondered if I would ever get to see freedom again.

Finally something happened, not something that I wanted, but I got my freedom. We all headed to the ground for work. As I was moving the rubbles and the boulders I saw another giant walk up to me. “Come with me, you have been summoned”, he said. I was a bit curious as this was something new, but instead of being man handled and taken I decided to go with him. He took me to a kitchen where I saw huge stocks of food being dumped all over the room. “This must be the kitchen from where they get us our meal”, I thought to myself as I walked closer to the cook who was near the oven. Before I could talk, I was grabbed by the giant and thrown onto a chair nearby, tied and gagged till I had no room for movement. I tried to scream “let go of me!”, but my voice was muzzled up with the gag on my mouth. “He is ready”, said the giant signaling the cook. The chef turned around and said, “Oh! Hello, we meet again. How has your stay been? Was the evening food that I prepared any good?”. I was shocked. It was the Innkeeper that I had meet when I came to this town. “What is he doing here? Why is he doing this? What is he going to do to me?”, these through ran through my head. “I know what you are thinking. It is fine, I get this a lot “, he said. “You see, we had recently got an order, and I need to procure the supplies. That is all”, nothing more. I was puzzled and it was visible from my expression. “I guess you do not remember. I told you didn’t I, we take extreme care to nurture our cattle to make it as tender as possible.” I went pale white as I heard this. I knew what was going to happen to me and I was in the most helpless state possible to avoid it. “This might hurt a lot, but it is to make sure the meat is as fresh as possible. Hope you understand this.”, he said as he slowly started cutting pieces of my flesh to have them packed. I screamed and screamed which was silence down my throat as the blade went on with its task. I cried, I prayed, but it would not stop. I wanted this to end, or at least end my own life so that I do not see my own flesh being treated like a meat. Hours went by as I bled to a point where I had no energy left and had bare minimum consciousness. “Oh, it looks like your cell mates would be done for the day. I guess I need to hurry up and cook their meal”, he said as he slit my throat to work on me faster. As I faded into the darkness, I realized that food should be treated as it is meant to be. Nothing more, nothing less.