or as far as the eyes could see, food processing plants devastated the land. Their ugly appearance destroyed the region’s natural beauty, their chimneys polluted the sky with a thick black smoke, and their workforce—the people of the land—spent their lives slaving away to ensure production never stopped.
Ruling over the industrial empire was Mr. Gloop—a powerful and greedy business tycoon—whose kingdom of factories caused so much damage to the soil of the land, that people were unable to grow their own food. This meant they had no choice but to work at the food processing plants, becoming trapped in a daily grind to earn their supper.
And what a bland supper it was. Mr. Gloop wasn’t just an evil man—he was also an extraordinarily fussy eater, demanding that the factories processed the most tasteless food one could imagine. What was once a free, thriving community had descended into a nightmare.
But it didn’t always go to plan for Mr. Gloop. At the peak of his powers, the business tycoon ran into a crisis. The food processing plants required so much energy that Mr. Gloop’s man-made reservoirs were drying up, and without water, the factories wouldn’t be able to operate. For the first time, the empire was at serious risk of collapse.
In desperation, Mr. Gloop ordered his private police force—the Gloopers—to scout the land for a new water source, during which they found a stream at the foot of a mountain. The private police force diverted the natural flow of the stream, successfully replenishing the water levels of the reservoirs, and the food processing plants were saved.
dward Burp and his family had been employed by Mr. Gloop for as long as they could remember. Working in the food processing plants and living within the industrial empire, they became tired of the tasteless meals in their lives. As a means of escape, the Burp’s would spend their evenings adding to a homemade cookbook, which catalogued a wide range of delicious dishes they could only dream of eating.
Within the bulky, leather-bound chronicle were hundreds of fantastical recipes, and beautifully hand-drawn illustrations, all directly from the rich imagination of the Burp’s. But, whilst they cherished their beloved anthology of weird and wonderful creations, the family’s discontentment with their lives eventually grew too great.
Hungry for change—and with the family’s homemade cookbook by his side—Edward travelled the length of the empire, snuck past the on-site Gloopers and stormed the head office, where he pleaded with Mr. Gloop to let him and his family enjoy tastier food. Enraged by his request, Mr. Gloop fired Edward and exiled him out of the empire, away from his family and into the uninhabited Outlands.
Edward embarked on a perilous trek across the harsh landscape of the Outlands to find refuge. However, days without sufficient food and water soon took their toll. He eventually collapsed alone and with little hope of survival. Whilst it’s not exactly known how long Edward was unconscious for, he eventually woke up in the arms of a rural townsman.
the townsman lifted Edward to his feet, then took him to a nearby town. The town was small, eerily quiet and unkempt. Upon entering the town, townspeople came out of their homes to catch a glimpse of the new arrival—for it had been a long time since they had a visitor.
Edward was led to a disused fountain at the centre of the town. Shimmering gold in the Outlands sun, the fountain served as a reminder of the town’s affluent past, and its recent decay. Confused, Edward questioned the town’s history, to which the townsman looked solemnly into the empty fountain before responding.
It was described to Edward how the town used to be a thriving community—where the tastiest food in the land would be farmed, traded and enjoyed by townspeople and tourists alike. And how this was all thanks to the sacred spring water, which flowed by stream from the top of the mountain that overlooked the town.
Legend has it that the sacred spring water contains rich minerals from the ruins of ancient civilisations that lay fossilised under the mountain. It is believed that spirits, belonging to the agricultural gods of yesteryear, are immortalised within the water, giving it an unworldly power to grow the most magical of foods.
The townsman continued to explain how the stream of sacred spring water had disappeared, after it was diverted by Mr. Gloop to power his industrial empire. And that the townspeople had since been unable to grow food in the spirit of the mountain—how tourists stopped coming, the community deteriorated and the town fell into disrepair.
aken aback by the townsman’s story, Edward took a brief moment to reflect. He stepped away from the disused fountain and scanned the unkempt town with his eyes. It was at this point when Edward noticed that a wave of townspeople had come out of their homes and were surrounding him at the centre of the town.
But the townspeople weren’t threatening. Edward could see the pain in their eyes. For he shared that feeling. He, too, had everything he cared about forcefully taken away from him—his family, his freedoms to live how he liked. Edward kneeled down and touched the dusty cobblestone floor. Playing with the dirt between his fingers, he decided that something had to be done. Mr. Gloop needed to be stopped.
Edward devised a plan. An extraordinarily risky plan. But one that he thought just might work. He announced to the townsman and townspeople that he was going to dismantle Mr. Gloop’s diversion, which was built in the stream at the foot of the mountain. He explained that once the natural flow of the stream is corrected, the sacred spring water would flow back into the town, restoring it to a thriving community boasting the tastiest food in the land.
However, Edward admitted that he couldn’t do this alone. And with that, he set off to leave the town in search of help. But just before he did, the townsman stopped him in his tracks to reveal something. He disclosed that, when he found Edward unconscious in the uninhabited Outlands, he also noticed a homemade cookbook and a loose page lying by Edwards’ side.
The townsman explained that on the loose page was one of the Burp family’s most fantastical recipes—the rhubarb and berry crumble pie—and that, since arriving in the town, the townspeople had rallied together to source the scarce ingredients to secretly bake it. As even heroes need to eat. Edward was then given the freshly baked dessert and went on his way.
Grasping the homemade cookbook in one hand, and the rhubarb and berry crumble pie in the other, Edward re-embarked on the trek across the Outlands, snuck back into Mr. Gloop’s industrial empire and slipped inside one of the food processing plants.
Hiding underneath the conveyor belt, Edward waited for his moment—and when the Glooper’s momentarily left the factory—he took it. Seemingly out of nowhere, Edward appeared on the food processing plant floor, climbed a box of Gloop’s Gruel, and bellowed for the hundreds of workers’ attention.
One could hear a pin drop as Edward revealed how the stream of sacred spring water had been diverted by Mr. Gloop to power his industrial empire, leaving nothing left for a nearby town which was consequently left in ruins. Edward then argued that Mr. Gloop’s factories demanded too much energy, and that if the workers grew food naturally, there would be enough water for everyone in the land.
Tension soon rose as the Gloopers could be heard reentering the plant. Unperturbed, Edward continued to proclaim how important it was to save the town, how—with the sacred spring water—the townspeople can grow food tastier than the workers could ever imagine. To prove it, he then revealed the rhubarb and berry crumble pie, which was gifted to him by the townspeople, and swiftly shared it amongst the workers.
The workers couldn’t believe their taste buds. The remarkable flavour of the sweet, sweet pie was all they needed in order to grasp the significance of saving the town, its produce, and its people. As the Gloopers were about to step through the factory doorway, an inspired worker hurriedly slammed the door, jammed it shut with a box of Gloop’s Gruel, and hundreds of workers then followed Edward through the back exit of the plant, to join him on his quest for justice.
To be continued...