I ran through the castle as fast as I could. There was a big ball at the castle tonight and I had to find Chip or else we would never have time to be alone before he left. I was starting to get tired of running around looking for him, not because I didn't have enough strength to continue my sprint, but because I was getting deathly annoyed from running in my heavy ball gown.

Chip was leaving to go study abroad tomorrow morning. He had always said he'd wanted to see the world, but I hadn't taken him seriously until now. Chip and I have been very close since I was a small toddler. We had played together, been tutored together, and most importantly, had been forced to dress up for formal events like this, and hated it together. And now what does he do? He's leaving me alone!

Just then I tripped over my gown. "Ugghh!" I said aloud in irritation. At this rate I was never going to find him.

"Hope, what are you doing on the floor?" a voice asked behind me.

I quickly stood up to see Chip standing behind me, but apparently I stood up to fast and Chip had to grab me to keep me from falling again. I pushed myself away from him and gave him a cold glare.

"What?" He asked.

"Where were you? I was looking all over for you Chip!"

"It took me a little more time than I thought it did to get ready. I'm sorry."

I crossed my arms and turned my back to him. I wasn't mad at him really, just more agitated at myself for not checking his room before I went on my little hunt all over the castle. I could have saved me so much trouble, and it would have stopped me from looking like an idiot in front of Chip. Stupid dress.

I decided to get straight to the point. "Why are you leaving?" I asked, still not facing him. I could since his shocked look.

"Well, because I'm an adult, and every adult needs a good education. Plus, studying in other countries makes learning all the better."

I snorted. "An adult? Your only seventeen!" I turned to face him again.

"I'm more of an adult than you are!" He shot back. "Your only twelve!"

I was about to throw another dig his way, but I stopped myself. I didn't want to spend our last night together yelling stupid remarks at each other.

He must have guessed what I was thinking. "Listen, lets not fight." He said with a soft smile.

"Yeah. I'm sorry for yelling," I said with my head down, "I just wanted to spend some time alone with you before you left."

"Uh, how long where you looking for me?"

I shrugged. "Maybe about twenty, thirty minutes tops."

"Don't you think we should be at the ball? I bet your parents are worried about you."

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, I guess we should go."

We started our walk toward the ball room.

This ball was like any other ball I had attended, boring and it went by in a blur. When I first arrived my parents, as Chip had guessed, had been worried about me. So Chip went to be with his mother, Mrs. Potts and I spent most of my time next to them. Not that I minded, I don't think I could have handled meeting about 50 new dukes and lords alone.

My mom and dad are the king and queen of France, so, of course, that makes me a princess. Don't get me wrong, I love my life, it's just I hate all the formal activities and expectations people have for me. My dad made a deal with me though. He promised that if I behaved well at the balls and other formal events he would let me practice with a sword fighting expert every few weeks. I've actually enjoyed sword fighting, and, not to brag or anything, I'm really getting good at it.

But, somtimes I think that it would be easyier to be a normal girl, like my mother once was.

My mom, Belle, really was a peasant at one time in her life. I don't really know how my dad, Adam, met her. They never really gave me all the details. I even asked most of our servants if they knew anything. I'm pretty close with a few of our servants like Mrs. Potts, our housekeeper and the mother of Chip, Lumière, our maître d', and Cogsworth, my tutor. No matter how close I was to them, even they wouldn't tell me anything, they'd just change the subject. Even Chip kept it from me!

Before I knew it the ball was over and my mother was taking me up to bed.

"But Mom," I whined, "I have to talk to Chip!"

"It's to late to talk right now darling, I promise you can see him in the morning." She said softly, but that wasn't good enough for me. I had to hear that from Chip. I quickly slid past my mother, running back down the stair way.

"Hope!" My dad yelled as he grabbed me by locking his arms under mine. "Listen to your mother!" I was about to protest until I saw Chip walking past the stair way.

"Chip!" I yelled. He turned his attention to me. "Meet me at our special spot tomorrow before you leave! Promise me!"

He nodded and gave me a bright smile. "I wouldn't think of not telling you goodbye." He said.

I looked up at my dad's face. He was smiling down at me. "Are you ready to go to bed now?" He asked. I nodded and smiled back brightly. He kissed my head and let go of my arms. "Alright then," he said, " go up with your mother."

I walked back up the stairs to my mom and we got ready for bed.

That morning I met Chip by the lake in the back of the castle. That had always been our favorite place to be when we where children. As we said our goodbyes privately I tried to imagine the little eight year old who kept me out of, and sometimes helped me, cause trouble. I tried to remember all the fun we had, but all that did was bring tears to my eyes.

Soon the time came that Chip had to leave. He hugged his mother, who had tears running down her cheeks but she had a smile on her face, hugged my mom and shook my dad's hand. He gave me one last hug and left to board the carriage. Before he could even get in I, against my will, began to cry uncontrollably. Chip quickly jumped off the carriage steps and ran to me. He gave me one more embrace and whispered into my ear, "I'll write to you as soon as I can. We'll always stay in touch." He let me go and looked at me. "Besides," he said smiling,"I'll be back. This isn't goodbye, just..uh...see you later."

I wiped the unwanted tears from my face. "Promise?" I asked.

"I promise."

As Chip turned and walked back to the carriage, my mom embraced me around my shoulders.

We all looked on as we watched the only other kid in the castle grow up before our eyes.

I was sitting in my room alone. Since Chip was gone and I was by myself I cried silently into my pillow. As I was crying I heard a strange noise. It was a cry. It sounded like a cry of frustration. Then I heard something else. It was the clang of two swords.

And all of those strange sounds where coming from right outside my window.

A/N: I think this is one of the longest chapters I have ever written. I hope you guys liked it! Please leave a review!