"Ooh, miss Beryl, you look absolutely a-dor-a-ble in that outfit!"

Beryl smiled nervously, shifting uncomfortably while Sapphire stared her down with gleaming eyes. It wasn't…bad, per se - the schoolgirl theme was cute, and so was the headband the Princess had generously bought her, but…the way Sapphire stared at her was a little weird. I-I'm not a living doll, Princess! I'm the school's number-one delinquent, for crying out loud! I'm a badass!

But badasses were too polite to say things like that, so instead Beryl pulled down her too-short skirt a bit and said, a little sheepishly, "It looks great, Princess, but…can't we use my trusty leggings and not these stockings…? It feels weird…" And that much was true. The stockings stopped just short of her skirt, which apparently added "mega moe-points" (whatever those were); that meant she wasn't actually wearing anything but panties under this way way way too short plaid skirt, and that was just…

"No, miss Beryl, the stockings are key to unlocking your boyish, tsundere charm! You must wear them!" Sapphire protested, standing up suddenly as though in a bit of a huff. "At least for a little while. Pleeeaaaase, miss Beryl? I worked so hard on the outfit…"

Beryl blinked, a little taken off-guard by Sapphire's pleading puppy eyes (which had come uncomfortably close to her face all of a sudden). She swallowed some weird, unidentifiable lump in her throat and mumbled back an annoyed, "Okay, Princess. But I'm taking it off soon!"

"See? Tsundere charm! You're blushing!" Sapphire accused happily, pointing a finger at Beryl's pink face. "Teehee, miss Beryl really is quite cute, even if she won't admit it!"

"Princess!"Beryl whined, starting to wonder why she was even hanging out with Sapphire in the first place. "Badasses aren't cute! They're not cute at all, period, ever!" After backing away a bit in anticipation of a bone-crushing hug, Beryl stared at Sapphire's adoring face for another few seconds, something just occurring to her.

"Am…am I really cute, Princess?"

Sapphire smiled, the sort of warm, adoring smile that made Beryl's insides kind of heat up and no no stop, bad thoughts, Honor Student thoughts! "Of course, miss Beryl! Your cuteness level is simply off the cha -"

"Yeah, Princess, got it," Beryl interrupted, internally cringing at her rudeness but deciding it was a necessary sacrifice. "I know you think I'm cute, but…uhh, let's just say, umm…" Here, Sapphire leaned forward, smile gone and eyebrows quirked up in intrigue. "…Th-this'll probably sound really dumb, but - d-do you think Mao thinks I'm cute?"

Sapphire pulled back, staring at Beryl with a somewhat unreadable expression on her face. Flustered, Beryl continued on. "I-I mean, I want him to think I'm super-cool, because we're rivals, and all! But I don't think I'd mind if he thought I was cute, either. So…yeah."

The odd expression remained on Sapphire's face for another few seconds; finally, she smiled widely and grabbed Beryl in a big hug before the terrified demon could react. "I'm sure he thinks you're cute, miss Beryl! He just can't admit it, teehee! You two would make such a cute couple!" Before Beryl could sputter and protest that idea that she liked Mao, no way no way no way, not at all, Sapphire rushed on. "You should go see him right now, with that outfit! I bet he'll find you absolutely irresistible!"

"Huh?! No way! Th-there's no way I'd let him see me like this! I'm all…cutesy!"

"Yes, absolutely cutesy! And that's why there's no time to lose! If you're still embarrassed, he'll find you even cuter and want to date you even more! Trust me, miss Beryl, I research these sorts of things very seriously! Go, go!" Sapphire urged, nudging Beryl towards the door.

"H-hey, don't pu - s-seriously, I - y-you'd better be right about this, Princess, or I'm gonna be seriously mad!" And so Sapphire forced Beryl out the door, schoolgirl outfit and all, and shut it a bit abruptly behind her.

Once Sapphire was lone, she turned from the door, a slight frown on her face. She walked slowly, finding the nearest mirror; she stared into it for a moment, then lifted a finger to one of her eyes and wiped at it. Her hand, unsurprisingly, came away dry.

"…We-ell…" Sapphire began, speaking into an empty room. "I suppose if I can't cry for miss Beryl, then I ought to smile for her."

So she smiled into the mirror.

It wasn't very convincing