“I’m going to have to break this off, Siobahn.” Rupert hadn’t been looking forward to this, and the confusion on the poor girl’s eyes only made it worse. He had chosen one of the more romantic dungeons to break this news to her, and that may have been a mistake.

“I do not understand. Was it perhaps something I said?”

“No, no Siobahn. It’s not you. You’re wonderful.” Rupert looked down at his boots and shuffled his feet. “It’s just…we’re from different worlds.”

“So you have said before.” Siobahn reached out and gathered Rupert’s hands in her own. “You have told me how you are from another land far from this, that your name is not Sir Gryphon DarkRaven—though that is what floats above your head still—and that you do not look like the man I see before me in this other world. And while this is most strange to me, I do not believe it has damaged our relationship.” She smiled at him, the warm, hopeful smile that had ensnared his heart ever since he had saved her life way back in Dungeon #23. It had been an amazing first date.

“It’s just… you’re a game sprite!” Rupert didn’t want to say it, but he had to. “You’re not real!”

“How can I not be real?” Siobahn asked, tracing her fingertips down the rugged cheek of Rupert’s avatar. “Can you not feel me? How could I not be real? Could you not feel me last night?” She gave him a saucy grin. “I felt you.”

Rupert had felt her, all right. The money he had sunk into his System had been totally worth it. “That’s not what I mean! You’re just here to do things in this world. You’re just created to do tasks here!”

“This world was made for us. It is ours now. We make it for those who come. Is that not the way it is in your world?” Siobahn drew herself up against Rupert’s avatar. Rupert’s breathing became slightly erratic as his System told him where Siobahn’s breasts, stomach and thighs were in relation to his avatar. This was not going the way it should. He was starting to get worried.

“You’re not real, okay! You don’t have free will! You just do what the mods tell you to!”

Siobahn looked hurt. “It is true that I worship the Mods and do their bidding. I was raised to be a Mod-fearing woman, and I pride myself on keeping that faith holy and dear. I am confused, for I know not how you can accuse me of being a puppet of the Mods when you know good and well their stance of a love such as ours. Every moment I spend thinking of you, I am defying the Mods and their law. I love you, Rupert, though the Mods have decreed that I shall not. And I will always love you.”

“Yes, but— ”

“There are no ‘buts’, Rupert. Neither are there ‘ifs’ or ‘ands.’ There are not even Mods. There is only us, and our love. You do love me, yes?”

“More than anything.”

“And I, you. What, praytell, is so difficult? It seems so simple to me.”

Rupert sighed. He would have to tell her the truth. “It’s my mother. She… she wouldn’t approve.”

Siobahn laughed, and her joy echoed off the dungeon walls. “Should you not defy your Mods while I defy mine? Can you give me a reason why we should not be rebels together? If you cannot answer me, Rupert, you must give me a kiss instead.”

He couldn’t, so he did.