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“Did you bring the medicine?”  Nearby sounds caused my eyes to open.  

“Yeah, but it took a while to get into the station,” Andrew’s voice answered.  

I turned towards the voices and could see Andrew and Rune. Ryan was still there, fully dressed in his butler attire. I looked down and noticed I was no longer wearing the green robe I had been in before. My mind was a bit clearer now and I could focus on things. Ryan must have undressed me while I was asleep. He and I would need to have a conversation about that sometime soon.

Was I… hitting on Ryan?

The last day or so was kind of blurry. I knew I felt hot, but I didn’t know I had a fever. I was always like that; getting sick without even being aware of it until I passed out, unconscious. I had the vaguest memory of someone’s penis? It was barbed! I sat up in a rush, causing myself to instantly feel dizzy and falling back down.

I didn’t know for sure; it was hard to remember. Regrettably, it was one of my dirty secrets that I got a little loopy when I had fevers. Samantha told me the one time I had a fever while I stayed at her house, I had ended up spending three hours making out with one of her stuffed animals. She said, after that, the two of them just couldn’t look each other in the eyes anymore and she had to sell it at a garage sale.  

I wiped my forehead, slick with sweat. At least the fever broke. With a little struggle, I pushed myself up again, trying to get a better sight of the boys. Here I found myself on a crazy space adventure and I spent most of it in a fever coma. Life just wasn’t fair.  

“You’re awake?” Andrew noticed, breaking away from Ryan and moving over to me. “Here, take this medicine. It’s Sudafed and aspirin.”  

“An alien had Sudafed sitting on his ship?”  

“He said it was part of a side gig and I should mind my own business.” Andrew frowned. 

“We’re glad you’re safe.” Rune moved up next to him. “These aliens give me the creeps … and I hate these stupid robes we have to wear.”  

Now that they mentioned it, I noticed the pair of them wore oversized red robes. They weren’t as dress-like as my own. The two of them looked almost like mages or something, but the hoods were pulled back right now to reveal their faces.  

“You almost blew our cover on the way in,” Andrew frowned at Rune. 

“Well who said I had to be the servant. There’s no way in hell I’m going to serve you!”  

“This is counterproductive to succeeding in our mission.” Ryan calmly reminded the two. “I do not need to remind you we are only one hour away from the banquet and eleven hours before they start the attack.”  

The two boys turned their angry glares away from each other. 

“So, what is the plan now?” Andrew asked.  

“It hasn’t changed much. Rune and I will attempt to sneak the codes while you and Jane keep the Prince distracted at the banquet. Presuming that Jane is fit for the task, that is.” Ryan explained.

I hastily swallowed the medicine in my hand. “I’m better now. I can handle this.”  

Ryan turned back to the two boys. “I suggest you return to your rooms immediately. I will prepare the princess and meet you down in the banquet hall.”  

Ryan ushered the two boys out, barely giving them time to wish me luck before shutting the door in their faces. He turned away, moving towards my green dress, now hanging up on the door of a closet.  

“Um, what are you doing?”  

Ryan looked back. “I must dress and prepare you for the banquet.”  

“You really don’t,” I defended. “I’m better now. I can dress myself.”

“It is currently my duty to act as a servant to the princess. In that capacity, it is my responsibility to dress and prepare you properly.”  

“That’s not happening.”  

“It is not the first time I have seen a woman naked. My Mistress frequently tasked me with changing her each morning and hand washing her clothes. My memory has a fairly complete list of hairdressing techniques and makeup application protocols. I can more than adequately dress you.”  

“You’re not seeing me naked.”  

Ryan sighed. “The success of this mission is dependent on your capacity to hold the Prince’s attention. Allowing me to prepare you will increase the chances of our success. You’ve ordered me to do what I want to do. I want to fulfill my job as a servant admirably.”  

“That’s not the same thing.” I ground my teeth at Ryan’s blank stare. “Alright, how about we make a deal. You do up my makeup and hair, and then I put on my dress alone. Without you.”  

Ryan cocked his head to the side. “That isn’t necessary, but I will oblige. Now please come, there is little time.” 

I moved off of the bed, sitting in the seat he gestured to. Ryan placed a towel around my neck, and within a minute was clipping away and spraying my hair. His hands moved fast. I didn’t know where he found the tools, but he worked efficiently. Within a few minutes, he was wrapping my hair up in long dowels.  

He moved to my front, and pulled out a cylinder of nail polish, wiped my hands, dried them, and began applying the polish.  

“Don’t tell me aliens just happen to have nail polish and hair cutting tools lying around?”  

Ryan moved from finger to finger, painting with a precision and speed that I never thought possible. “I carry these tools on me at all times. I want to be prepared for any request my Mistress might give me at a moment’s notice.”  

“Carry them with you, where?”  

“I have internal compartments for this purpose.”  

I considered asking him where those internal compartments were, but then I realized I would probably be happier not knowing. The medicine seemed to be working, my energy returned as he worked. Ryan shifted to applying face makeup, his hands moving across my skin gently and cleanly. With the speed he moved, I admitted that I was a little concerned. It took me almost four hours to prepare for a homecoming or prom. Ryan was trying to do the same amount of effort in less than an hour.  

Ryan finished my face, removing the curls and cleaning my hair. Not a single drop of water fell on my face as he worked. When he finished patting it dry, he turned away, moving to the corner of the room. I looked back at him in confusion.  

“What are you doing?”  

“I have finished my task, you wish to change without being seen.”  

I raised an eyebrow. “You don’t have to stand in the corner. I can change in the bathroom.”  

I stood up, moving to grab the ugly robes. Ryan took a step forward and put his hand on mine, stopping me from picking it up.

“Actually, I had noticed early that Miss Jane did not like the robe. Therefore, I took the chance to procure something I felt was more suitable to Miss Jane’s tastes.”

“You… did that for me?” I asked surprised.

“It was… a thank you.” Even though Ryan’s face looked expressionless, he held an air of awkwardness. “For bringing me along. This has been fun. I like… being around people, who are so kind.”

“But what about the mission?” I asked worriedly.

“It’s not unexpected that diplomates wear outfits from the culture they’re visiting. You’re on Earth’s moon, so an Earth dress wouldn’t be so unreasonable. Furthermore, the goal is to distract Prince Skyf. He did not seem impressed by the garb you wore either. I believe this dress will more successfully complete the mission.”

“Ah,” I said simply, feeling only a little regretful that his answer was so logical.

For a moment, I felt surprisingly happy that Ryan went out of his way for me. However, it felt more believable that he calculated the best means of succeeding and chose those actions. Ryan watched me as I walked into the other room and shut the door. I shook my head once the door closed. It was hard not to like Ryan. He was so kind, considerate, and skilled. However, how much did he do simply because he was programmed to do so? It made me a little sad to think about it.  

I turned to the mirror and my mouth went slack. The person who was looking back at me was absolutely stunning. I wasn’t being conceited, it was just that the work Ryan had done was absolutely incredible. My hair was done up high, elaborate curls and waves woven into intricate patterns. My normally dull, nappy brown hair had a beautiful sheen. I would need to ask Ryan where he bought his salon supplies when we were done with this.  

I pulled off the pajamas I had been dressed in and hastily looked for the new dress. My mouth fell open again.  It was an absolutely beautiful brown dress that matched my features perfectly. It seemed to glimmer a bit in the light, giving off a cacophony of shiny colors. My hand stroked it and I smiled. It felt better than prom. This is the kind of dress I’d want to get married in. I immediately put it on.

I examined myself in the mirror excitedly, admiring the dress. It accentuated my body nicely. Even Alex would have a hard time competing with me in this dress. Well, assuming she wasn’t wearing one too. With the makeup applied perfectly, my cheeks looked higher, my face looked slimmer, and my eyes looked bigger. I honestly couldn’t even say what he did to elicit the changes, but they all counted.  All of it together was truly a regal sight. I almost regretted putting the veil back on.

I opened the door and stepped out, feeling like an actual princess for the first time since I started this little endeavor. Ryan held a hand out to me and I fought the urge to blush. I reached out and took his hand. He was wearing a pair of white gloves and was completely decked out in a full tuxedo. I supposed it was formal butler-wear, but to me, it could have done well on any prom date.  I was almost disappointed when he didn’t pull out a flower to button on me.

He opened the door to our room and made a gesture for me to go first. I took a deep breath; it was time to go do this. It was now or never. The pair of us left the room and moved down a long hallway. The base was garnered up more formally than I had expected from an invasion force. I supposed that was to get the Galactic Alliance, or whatever they were calling it, on the Riptari’s side.  

We ended up moving to the front doors of a large, luxurious looking entrance. Ryan let go of my hand and I bottled up the swelling of regret forming within me. I didn’t know why my heart was beating so fast. I was probably just nervous about this espionage. I was about to face a room full of aliens, after all.  

“I will part with you here.” Ryan bowed. “Go inside and mingle. I will see what I can do.”  

As Ryan gave my name to a door greeter before turning and walking away, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves while regretfully watching him leave. “Here we go.”

I took a step into the banquet hall.

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