A Beast Again

Chapter 7

The day for Irena’s coronation dawned bright and beautiful. However the same could not be said for Irena herself. Irena was standing as still as she could as she was dressed in the dress that was chosen for her.

The dress itself was light lavender that could almost be mistaken as white. The skirt was long and flared out from the bodice of the dress which was cinched in at Irena’s waist, accentuating the curves of her figure.

Despite all of this, Irena could not forget that she would be leaving her old life behind and gaining a new one, full of responsibility that she felt unready to take on.

The door opened.

Irena darling, you look beautiful.

Thank you father.

Irena, is something wrong?

Father, I am not ready to lead the people as their queen. I have had no training and I am young, as young as some of the girls in the villages. How can I lead them in the wisdom that you have done?

Oh Irena. I wish things didn’t have to be this way. I cannot change anything though, you promised the enchantress, which I am daily thankful for.

I would have done more than that for you father. But…

Darling?

Oh father. I am afraid. Not only of becoming queen, but of falling in love and how my new status will affect the relationship that I have with a boy.

You are in love? With who?

Father, don’t be angry, but I believe that I am in love with Chip.

Chip?

Yes. He was always with me, comforting me when I believed my father to be dead even though mother never said what happened to you. He is the kindest man I know, besides you and Lumiere and I guess Cogsworth too.

A knock at the door interrupted the conversation.

Your highness, your majesty. It is time.

Chip, why the sudden formality. Father I will meet you at the entrance to the ballroom.

Irena, you can no longer be called by such informalities. In less than an hour, you will be my queen.

Chip, I know. I wish I didn’t have to…

What? I thought you wanted this.

No, this was a condition of my father returning to his human form- I had to become queen once I became 18 years of age, which I am today.

I am sorry. Allow me to escort you to the ballroom.

Thank you.

They made their way to the ballroom, where Adam was waiting.

Adam held out his arm for Irena to grasp. They entered the ballroom where many people of the kingdom had gathered.

Irena became pale as she noticed the crowd. She looked at her father who smiled at her, then led her to the throne that had been placed in the middle of the ballroom.

The ceremony was quick and soon Irena was being hailed as the new queen. Despite the happy occasion, Irena could only feel sorrow.

However she could not leave her guests. She sighed and stood up from the throne on which she sat. Adam caught her eye and met her at the bottom of the platform that held the throne.

Your majesty, would you do me the honour of dancing with me?

Of course father. Please don’t be so formal with me.

My dear Irena, I promise that things will work out for the best.

How papa? My heart is breaking. I can’t shoulder the responsibility that is expected of me if it means that I will forever be unhappy.

Excuse me, may I cut in?

Of course my boy.

With that Adam was gone and in his place stood Chip.

Chip!

Your majesty, will you dance with your lowly servant?

Please Chip, don’t speak that way. I would rather not be queen but it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make in order to get my father back from the enchantment.

Irena, I know. My mother explained it to me long ago but I did not know that that was a condition of his freedom. Would you honour me with your presence in the morning for a walk in the gardens?

I would love to, however could the walk take place now? I love the afternoon sun; it is so calming and relaxing.

Shall we?

Irena and chip escaped the ball and soon found themselves in the rose garden.

They sat down on a stone bench that was situated between the bushes.

Irena…

Yes chip?

Well, we have been friends for a long time now and…

And…

I wanted to tell you that you have subsequently become more than a friend to me. Your bravery as well as your empathy and understanding endeared me even more to you.

Chip…

Irena, allow me to continue please.

Irena nodded

I wish to tell you that I love you wholeheartedly. I love you Irena.

Chip, I am so confused. I am so confused about what to do.

What are you saying? Do you love me, Irena?

I have been friends with you for so long, it does not seem as though our relationship could be thought of in terms of love.

Irena, look me in the eye and please tell me, otherwise I shall feel foolish about revealing my feelings to someone who doesn’t return them.

Chip, I have a deep regard for you. It has been so gradual that I did not notice it. In short yes I love you chip.

Thank you Irena. I understand the strain that you are under at the moment, but I will be there if you need someone to listen to you.

Thank you chip. Perhaps we should return to the party being held in my honour?

They returned to the ball.

Your majesty, where did you go to? Everyone was worried about you because you told no one of your whereabouts!

Forgive me Cogsworth. May I ask, if you were so worried about my whereabouts, why wasn’t a search party sent to find me?

Calm down Irena.

Majesty, we did not wish to alarm the guests and the master assured us that you would return.

And if some terrible fate prevented me from returning?

Only then would a search party have been sent out.

Forgive me; I have a wish to retire to my bedchamber.

Irena left, frustrated.

Later, knock heard.

Irena may I come in?

Of course papa. Please, sit.

Adam sits next to Irena on the bed.

Please tell me what is wrong.

Papa you can’t fix it.

How do you know?

Fine. It’s Cogsworth.

Cogsworth? Has he done something?

Papa, he was overbearing and controlling, more so than normal.

Irena, he is always anxious and cautious. He views you as his daughter so he is bound to be a little overbearing.

I was gone from the room for no more than ten minutes.

True, but your position dictates that you tell someone if you leave the room so that those in the room can pay the respect due to you.

I understand. Papa, what would have happened if I had not agreed to become queen by the time I turned 18?

Young queen, that is a good question. What would I have done?

Irena, allow me to protect you.

Papa I am in no danger. Yes, what would you have done? Surely this is not about me becoming the reigning monarch. Why did you set these conditions upon me?

That is easy. I could see that you were in love and wished to see if it was returned by the boy. I am glad that it is. I also wished to see if you had the courage to do such a thing.

What? I am not even sure if he will accept me now because he could deem it fanciful that a queen would be in love with a servant boy.

I am sorry to hear that. Perhaps I was wrong about the boy after all. I had hoped not as he helped your mother and father reunite.

Papa, is this true?

Yes irena. Chip freed your mother when she was being held captive by that hunter. If he had not done that, I would be dead because the hunter would have killed me on the castle rooftop.

I must go to him, excuse me!

Irena ran out of the room, hurrying to find chip.

As she rounded the corner, she collided with a servant.

Sorry…

It is I who should apologise your majesty.

Chip! I was coming to find you.

Why?

I came to see if it was true that you helped my parents during the enchantment that nearly ended my father’s life.

I did, but I didn’t know that the master nearly died.

Yes, he was nearly killed by someone from the village.

Ire- your majesty, shall you accompany me to the ballroom?

Of course, but the party is over.

They walk to the ballroom and find it empty.

The strains of the piano can be heard. Irena turns to find Lumiere at the piano. She smiles and curtseys to chip as she realises that he wished to dance with her in private.

Chip…

Irena just enjoy the moment.

Your majesty! You shall quit dancing now! Tomorrow you shall begin your lessons with me.

Cogsworth, please.

Chip begins to walk away.

Chip, stay…

You have things to do, majesty.

COGSWORTH HOW COULD YOU?!

Majesty…

NO!

What is going on?

Adam had heard the yelling and wondered what was going on.

Highness, she will not see that she has tasks to complete…

What tasks are these?

Well, ones pertaining to the crown and the running of the kingdom.

Are they really that urgent?

No…

Papa…

Yes?

Well, Cogsworth believed that I should not have danced with chip…

Did you do that?

Highness, a queen should not spend her time with the servants…

I quite agree, that is why I shall instruct my daughter.

Master…

You will not speak to my daughter or instruct her unless absolutely necessary.

What about the boy?

That boy is named chip and he is my boyfriend. I shall see him if and when I wish.

Irena left the room.

Master, I am truly sorry.

You will need to apologise to Irena, her heart is fragile and you will not stop her if she is in love with someone deemed to be below her notice.

Very well. She shall still have to attend balls to which princes will be invited.

We shall speak of this later. It is late.

Adam goes to the west wing.

Adam is all well?

Not really.

Whats wrong?

Irena shouted at Cogsworth.

Why?

He most likely interrupted a private moment.

Oh. But why did she yell?

I believe that he reminded her of her duty to the crown as she was dancing, thereby forcing chip to leave the ballroom.

He shouldn’t have done that.

No, I will speak to him tomorrow, but for now we should get some rest,

Gets into bed- irena in servants quarters.

Chip?

What is it your majesty?

Chip, please open the door.

Why do you want to speak to me. I thought I was beneath your notice.

I never said that.

Fine, ill open the door.

Opens door.

Chip, I am sorry about what happened in the ballroom. I had no idea..

Irena, I believe you. I also heard you shouting at Cogsworth as I left the room.is he to instruct you still?

He will not be instructing me, papa will.

Really?

Yes, Cogsworth said that I should not be with the servants so papa said he would instruct me.

Chip smiled.

I can easily believe it.

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