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Beauty and the Feast
by Suda Nym

Calista gazed into the mirror. Fate had been kind to her concerning her appearance. She ran her hands through her long, blond hair and pinched her cheeks to blush up her perfect complexion. Her green eyes danced merrily as she tugged at the waist of her lavish gown and adjusted her breasts. Unfortunately, fate had not been so kind with her personality.

Calista bellowed for her maid "Camilla! Get me another gown, this is the most retched thing I have ever seen."

"But, why me' lady, it looks beautiful on you, " Camilla stammered.

Calista whirled around and narrowed her eyes to gleam at her maid and said, "I don't recall asking you if you had an opinion, like I would take your worthless advice anyway. Get me another dress, NOW!"

"Yes, me' lady, right away," said the old woman as she hurried away to the closet.

Calista's gaze fell back on herself. She hated dealing with the servants of the castle. Her father, Count of Aquillar had been far too lax in his treatment of them. They were extremely well paid for the time, they could come and go as the wanted, he had also seen to it that all of their quarters were more than adequate, even the farmers of their land. Her father had been one of the kindest people she had ever known she recalled, saddening at the thought of her deceased father. He just didn't know how to treat servants to get the maximum effectiveness from their services.

"Camilla!" Calista screamed. "Did you fall off of the face of the earth on the way to my closet?"

"I am coming me' lady, here I am."

Camilla appeared with another gown. Calista snatched it out of her hand.

"What a stupid little woman, " Calista muttered under her breath.

Camilla made her way down to the servants' dining room. The topic of discussion today, as it usually was every day, was why they put up with the "harpy of the house."

"We are so well paid," one servant brought up. "No matter how much the little shrew hates it, thanks to the Count's wishes after his death, she can not touch our salary."

"No, she just makes our lives miserable," another servant noted.

"Camilla, you have it worst of all, why do you stay?" another servant asked.

"Oh really, she's not that bad. Our Lord the Count was so good to us, the least I can do is take care of his only child," Camilla insisted. Camilla jumped up, "I had better go and draw me' lady's bath before she begins looking for me." Camilla hurriedly left the room.

"I swear, she must have some kind of special connection with Calista to put up with that girl."

After Calista's bath, she sat in front of the mirror combing her hair. Her father always said she had her mother's hair. Calista never knew her mother; she had died giving birth to her. Camilla entered the room.

"I thought I told you I didn't need you anymore tonight," Calista said.

"Well, me' lady, there is a beggar at the door and she wants. . .."

Calista interrupted, "Want, want, want, I don't care what she wants, get her out of here."

"Oh, but it is so cold, she has no coat, could not we just give her some old blankets, there are some in the. . ."

Calista again interrupted. "No, we are not giving her anything except a boot on the rear to get her out of here. Would you like me to show you how it is done?"

Calista jumped up, grabbed her robe and stormed down the castle stairs.

The old beggar woman saw Calista and began speaking "Oh me' lady, would you be so kind as to. . ."

"Get out," Calista demanded.

"Please, I am not asking for much, just food scraps, maybe an old blanket," the old woman begged.

"What part of Get Out did you not comprehend? Leave now or I will release the hounds on you." Calista turned to go back up the stairs. "Throw her out," she commanded.

As Calista ascended the stairs she heard a thunder clap and the room was filled with blinding white light. She whirled around to face the beggar, but could not see because of the light. She crouched on the stairs and held her arm up to block the light in an attempt to see what was going on.

"You wicked girl," a loud firm voice said. "You have proven to be a vain, evil, wretched creature. You love no one and you could be loved by no one."

Calista's eyes adjusted and she could see the figure speaking. The figure was floating and surrounded by light. She was the most beautiful creature Calista had ever seen. She had waist length white hair, white skin and the palest blue eyes Calista had ever seen.

"I loved my father," Calista called out.

"And he is dead. You love or are loved by no one else. It is time to find someone to love." The figure answered. "I am the fairy Nymphe, and Gloriana, Queen of the Faerie has sent me to make sure you do that.

Calista informed Nymphe, "I am beautiful, I will have no trouble finding someone to love me."

Nymphe responded, "You are indeed beautiful, but your are horrifically ugly on the inside. You are going to have to learn to make someone love your inner self as well as your beauty on the outside. You will no longer have your beauty to rely on in finding someone to love."

Calista began to panic.

Nymphe continued, "Beginning tonight you will be filled with a hunger that cannot be satiated. You will spend much of your days and nights eating to try and satisfy that hunger. All of the food you consume will quickly turn to flesh and you will become immensely fat. You will have to learn to be a good and kind person in order to get someone to love you."

Nymphe produced a large hourglass. The hourglass glowed from the inside with a soft light. Inside, the sand was shiny and appeared to be made of pure silver.

"You have one year. When the last shard of silver has fallen through the glass I will return," Nymphe informed Calista, "if in that year you have not improved your ways enough to find love, you will stay as fat as you are forever."

Nymphe slammed the hourglass down on the table and silver sand began to slowly drip through. There was another lightening clap followed by the blinding white light. Calista turned her head. When she turned back to face the faerie, Nymphe was gone. Calista was scared and began to cry. Camilla ran over to her and began to comfort her.

"Get away from me you old fool. This is all your fault anyway. Had not you let the beggar in the house this would have never happened," Calista sobbed.

Suddenly hunger ripped through Calista's body like she had never felt before. The pains seemed to come from deep within her body and she felt weak. Calista stood up and screamed, "Cook!! Get me the Cook!"

For the first three months Calista was so debilitated by the hunger that she could not get out of bed. She spent all of her time stuffing her face. Sometimes she could not eat it fast enough to end the hunger. By the time she had finished eating the dish, she would be starving again. She could not make it through the night without eating. She would take short naps and then wake up and begin gorging. The staff of the castle was now dedicated to keeping the lady of the house fed. The cook could finally no longer stand Calista's insults and berating and quit.

They had quickly hired a team of 3 cooks, but they were not happy either. Calista was constantly screaming at them and insulting their food. The effects on Calista's once trim figure were undeniable. Her whole body was plumping up. Her face was chubby and she was getting a double chin. Her once tiny little waste was thickening, her hips were widening at an alarming rate. She had a droopy potbelly, too. Had she been walking, her thighs would have rubbed together as they were getting larger.

Camilla ate dinner with a few of the other servants. The servant's dining quarters were not as full as usual. They had to go to dinner and do other personal things in shifts as someone always had to be feeding Calista.

"Serves her right," one of the other servants said, "I hope she gets so fat she can't move, and then has to stay that way."

Camilla snapped, "Don't be so cruel. If you must be so selfish, at least think of your money. What happens if she gets so fat she dies? When she dies, you will be out of a job and your good salary."

The servants began whispering, they had never thought of it that way. "We have got to find a way to help her."

In the near by kingdom of Hebron, Spencer packed his things. His father, Duke of Hebron had disowned him and ordered him to leave. His father had taken measures to provide for him and his other brother's future. The eldest brother of course would inherit Hebron. The Duke had set up Spencer's other brother with a neighboring kingdom as a knight. For Spencer, the Duke had bought him a position with the clergy. Spencer had no interest in being in the church and had let his father know this. Besides with all the church reform against simony, he did not want to get involved in buying a church office. His father had been furious.

"What is it that you want to do?" the Duke demanded.

Spencer thought his father was going to fall dead when he informed him that he wanted to be a cook.

Spencer defended himself, "But father, I am good at it, I enjoy it."

"We have servants to cook," the Duke had thundered. "If you want to be a cooking servant, you cannot stay here any longer. Leave."

So Spencer bid his family farewell and left the kingdom to seek his fortune.

Back in Aquillar, Calista continued to eat. In the next few months, Calista managed to be able to go two or three hours without eating. Though she could now get out of the bed, her growing bulk and the fact she had been in bed for three months made it difficult for her to get around. The servants had set up a large dining table in her room so she would not have to go down the stairs to the dining room. It was constantly filled with food. Calista was horrified at her body and had ordered all mirrors in the house destroyed. She could still see her body though.

Her once tiny waist was now gone. She had a heavy, sagging tummy. Her thighs were overlapping as well. Her breasts were bloated and huge, too. Some of the crueler servants wished that she had a mirror so that she could see her face. That beautiful hateful face that spewed so many horrible comments was now rounded by fat. She had wide double chin, and the beginnings of a third. Camilla felt badly for the poor girl. She looked over at the girl who was gorging. Calista stopped. She threw the food across the room.

"This tastes like shitty peasant food. Bring me the cooks!" Calista demanded.

Camilla brought the cooks in.

"What is wrong with you people? Can't you cook anything right?" she demanded and hurled a plate of food at the cooks.

"That is it, we quit. If you can waddle your fat ass into the kitchen, you can cook it yourself."

The cooks quickly left. The next days were tough. Everyone had to help out cooking. Calista was surprisingly understanding (understanding for her, anyway) as she knew there were no cooks.

"Find me a cook!" Calista demanded.

Several days later there was a knock on the castle door. Camilla went to the gate. There was a handsome young man standing there with a few bundles of belongings.

"Hi, my name is Spencer and I heard that you were looking for a cook."

Calista looked at the spread of food before her. Roasted pig, wild game, buttery potatoes, vegetables, loaves of bread, plates of pastries and rich custards.

"I hope it will be enough."

She began stuffing. After a few plates had been cleared she waved a turkey leg at Camilla and commented, "Did you find me a new cook."

"Yes me' lady we did." Camilla said.

"I can tell this food is wonderful. Bring him to me, I want to meet him."

"Yes me' lady."

Camilla scurried off for the kitchen. Spencer had been waiting for the chance to meet the "harpy" of the house. He had heard stories from the other servants and felt bad for Calista. When Spencer saw Calista he was amazed. He had never seen anyone that fat. He also noticed how incredibly pretty the girl was.

"Your food is delicious, I should hope that you would keep up the good work. That is all, you are dismissed," Camilla said and continued to eat.

Spencer exited the room and returned to the kitchen to keep up the massive effort of cooking.

The next six months were a haze of eating and growing. She was immense. She had to have special built furniture. She rarely left her room. Her immense belly hung almost to her knees. She was so wide should she leave her room she had to turn sideways. Her arms had heavy hanging layers of fat. Her face was so fat that she now had jowls hanging down under her multiple chins. She had become so large she sometimes had to have help eating. Spencer was cooking up a storm. Many times he volunteered to take the food to Calista. He was amazed at the effect that his food had on her body, she was also constantly praising his food. The were becoming friends. He told her of his falling out with his family. She told him the story of her dad and mother. Calista enjoyed his company and she certainly enjoyed his amazing food.

"Why are you so cruel to the servants?" Spencer asked Calista one day.

"That is the only way to handle them," she answered.

"You would get much more service from them if you were kind. You said your father was kind to them, they still love him. Maybe you should try it." Spencer said.

"Humph, I don't know, maybe." Camilla milled it over in her head.

Spencer had also become close with Camilla and some of the other servants. Camilla gave him a full history of the castle, the Duke, Calista and Calista's mother.

Today was the day. Only one shard of silver remained in the illuminated hourglass. Spencer came in with Calista's food.

"Good morning beautiful," he beamed.

"What is so good about it. I am not beautiful and I will never be beautiful again," Calista sobbed. Pointing at the hourglass Calista wailed, "Look at the hourglass. Only one shard of silver remains. Tonight Nymphe returns and I will be like this forever."

"I think I have some information that will make this a good day."

Calista tried to pull herself up to listen to Spencer, but she was just too fat. She collapsed back on the bed in an out of breath heap, fat jiggling.

"Have you ever wondered why Camilla is so faithful to you, even through your abuse?" Spencer questioned.

"The money I guess. Besides, I am not that bad," Calista insisted.

Spencer gave her a skeptical look.

Calista laughed, "Okay I am that bad, but I will try to be better."

Spencer continued, "Camilla is so faithful because she is your aunt. Your father fell madly in love with Camilla's sister, also a servant girl. Though tradition forbade it, he didn't care and he married her. When she died she begged Camilla to always look after you, and she has."

Calista's mouth was agape, "No wonder my father was so kind to the servants. I have to apologize. Bring all the servants of the house to me."

Spencer sent word that all of the servants should meet in Calista's room. When they were all gathered, Spencer began to speak.

"There is one more thing. Over the past couple of months, I have fallen madly in love with you. At first it was just fascination at how your body changed because of my food. But I soon grew to love you for your humor and personality. I knew there was kindness in there lurking around somewhere, you have proved it. You are the most fascinating, beautiful person I have ever met. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

All of the servants cheered.

"I have been so cruel to all of you," Calista said, "it will never happen again. Oh Camilla, why didn't you tell me?"

Calista hugged her aunt.

"I thought I could watch over you better as your servant." Camilla responded.

All of a sudden there was a bright light. All in the room dropped to the floor, except for Calista who was too fat to do so. Spencer jumped in front of her to protect her. They all turned to face the hourglass. Just as the last shard of silver fell through the opening, the glass exploded. The room was filled with light. Everyone looked back at the glass. The hourglass was gone and Nymphe stood before them.

"You have learned your lesson and found love. Because you have become a better person inside, you will be restored to your former self. Continue to be kind, Gloriana will not hesitate to send me back. "

A thunderclap sounded and Nymphe disappeared.

Everyone looked at Calista. A strong wind blew through the room and Calista was illuminated with a soft light. She began to shrink. Slowly her thinner figure returned. Calista began to cry.

Spencer hugged her and asked "Why are you crying, you are back to the way you were before."

Calista sobbed, "You fell in love with me while I was huge, I am thin now, you might not love me anymore."

Spencer laughed, "That just means that if you like, I get to cook all that food and we can do it all over again."

Spencer and Calista were married. Her kingdom rejoiced. From that time on Calista was one of the kindest people in the land and her servants loved her. Spencer continued to cook and Calista continued to enjoy it. She and Spencer had a long happy life with many children.

Spencer also reconciled with his family. Nymphe never returned. Spencer and Calista lived . . . HAPPILY EVER AFTER