'I can do this...I can do this...I can ask her out to a date...I can do this...'

He took in a deep breath and walked out into the corridor...and immediately saw her.

Almaz was sweating like crazy as he slowly approached Princess Sapphire. She had just finished speaking to one of the demon students, and was waving good-bye to her when Almaz tapped her on the shoulder. On instinct, she let out a loud gasp, grabbed the poor False Hero by the arm, and flipped him over onto the ground.

"Oh! You're...that guy, aren't you?" Sapphire said when she realized who she had just flung around. She could never seem to be able to remember his name, no matter how many times they've met.

Groaning and rubbing the back of his head in pain, Almaz lifted himself to his feet and meekly replied, "My name is Almaz...ugh...this wasn't exactly what I had expected to happen so soon...heh heh...ouch..."

"Are you alright? Did I hurt you badly?" Sapphire asked, twirling a few strands of her long silky milk-yellow hair in between her fingers.

Almaz stretched, and a loud cracking sound came from his spine. "Uh...I...I think I'll be okay...as long as THAT didn't mean anything bad..." he stammered, his cheeks reddened when he realized the Princess was looking directly at him.

Sapphire nodded and flashed a small grin, happy to know that she hadn't accidentally dealt another innocent person irreversible physical damage.



Neither of them knew what to say; Sapphire didn't feel it was right to just walk out on the poor guy now, and Almaz was doing his best not to completely lose his composure in front of his beloved Princess.

Suddenly, a random topic for conversation popped into Almaz's head. "Ah! S-Sapphire...do you like...do you like Lord Mao?!"

Sapphire stared at him for a moment, and then repeated, "Do I like Lord Mao? That's an odd...and random...question."

'Dammit! Why the hell did I think of Lord Mao of all things? ARGH!' Almaz mentally kicked himself several times over.

"Hmm...he's that weird short guy with the spiky white hair and oversized glasses, right?" Sapphire asked with her finger to her chin, "The one whose always going on and on about 'honor students' and 'heroes' and 'defeating his dad' and everything...?"

Almaz sighed pitifully. "Yeah...that's him in a nutshell, alright."

"He's actually kind of cute in my opinion." Sapphire said happily, which caught Almaz quite off-guard.


"Sort of. Especially when he starts getting excited and hyperventilates. It's like watching a little kid getting everything he wanted for Christmas. It's so adorable!"

'I wouldn't really consider that creepy wheezing of his as being adorable...' Almaz thought, unsure of where the conversation was heading now. He had just wanted to ask Sapphire out on a date, but now things were beginning to get a whole lot more complicated than they should've been.

"...He's going out with Rasberyl, right?" Sapphire asked, suddenly interested now in Mao's love life as well.

Almaz shrugged. "I don't know. He doesn't talk to me about stuff like that...heck, he doesn't really talk to me about ANYTHING. If I think about it, though, they might be together...it's just an educated guess, but..."

"What is it? Tell me." Sapphire was really getting into it now.

"I think...they at least have some feelings for each other. They don't argue as much as they used to, and Lord Mao seems more...pleasant when she's around. He tries to act like he doesn't care, but he's really a bit of a big softie."

Sapphire thought about it for a moment. "So...he's still single?"

"I...I guess so."

"THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME, ARNOLD!" The Princess quickly replied before rushing off, most likely to go and find Lord Mao himself.

Almaz just stood there for a while in stupefied shock, all the passing students giving him strange looks. Then, he slapped his palm against his face and thought, 'That DEFINITELY wasn't how I was expecting this to end...'