Symm scratched his spikey goatee apprehensively.  Interactive dramas he hadn't played since childhood, and those had all been educational.  Strangely, Parker's Place was known for its hardcore scenarios, where the regulars prided themselves on initiating newbies.  This wasn't going to be fun.  More likely it was going to be a learning experience.
     The nearby bonfire bathed the grassy area in flickering waves of baroque orange.  Voices whispered in the distance.  Symm scratched again.  His two piece neo-hellenistic dress suit shielded him nicely from the cold lake winds.  A stylish silver tie flapped recklessly from his neck. 
     An imaginary narrator began her verbal observations, appropriating Symm into the ongoing storyline.  The scene introduced him as a wayward prince, travelling along the muddy roads of the wealthy King Diode. 
     "War winds and burning tears assault my weary body.  Long have I travelled to glimpse my beloved Venus.  But alas I have not the strength to continue this lonely journey."
     "King Diode enters the scene," stated the narrator, "accompanied by his lords and ladies."
     Symm turned observantly towards the approaching group.  There were around five of them, still caressing the darkness.  Two could be seen fondling eachother and moaning obscurely.  Another barked.  From the fiery pit nearby, a burning stone of coal levitated to identify the lead's head.  It transformed into a shimmering steel crown.
     "Greetings weary stranger," began Diode.  "Mayhaps you require some warm assistance?  A dreary night such as this is certainly no peace to a lonesome traveller."
     "Good sir, your words do ring true.  My tired bones can carry me no further."
     A young boy lept from the shadows, landing like a wolf near Symm's feet.  He was no more than an infant, but startled Symm nonetheless.
     "Snapcase!" yelled the king.  "Return to me at once!"
     The boy turned to his master and obeyed.
     "I apologize for my dog's disobedience good fellow, and I pray he did not frighten you."
     Symm paused as was dictated by the scene's expectations.  "It appears your pup has awoken my vibrance."
     Diode laughed wholeheartedly, patting Snapcase's young head.  "Good fellow, do join us.  We return to my palace for a night of warm food and warmer drink."
     "Gracious sir, it would be my honour."
     "Wait," called out one of the others.  She stepped from the shadows to reveal herself.  Her lover followed, wrapping his hands around her waist and resting his chin upon her shoulder.  "Mayhaps this is the one we seek?"
     Coals flew from the fire to encircle the lady's wrist.  They morphed into thorns and remained there spinning.  Symm knew instantly that things were bad.  This lady had already summoned a weapon.  She was going to be a problem, and he had to deal with her immediately.
     "I am sure good strangers, that one as insignificant as I could represent any semblance of necessity."
     "Tendril?" queried Diode.
     "I believe good king, that this weary stranger is none other than the man we pursue.  The defiler."
     All paused, allowing the suspense to grow.  The fire cracked louder and the winds hissed.  Symm used the time to think.
     "Good sir, I beg your pardon, but I have defiled none.  I have never stepped upon your lands before."
     "Tendril!  I will not have you assaulting my guests."
     "But sir, I believe I recognize him.  His wardrobe does not fool me.  I could never forget those lips."
     Symm rolled his eyes.  She was pulling his real persona into the Play's realm, which meant she was either attracted to him, or somehow knew him from the streets, or the Mountain, or... Columns forbid... the Freeze.
     Standing in plain view of the fire, they were easier to analyze.  Each wore colours and attires specific to goth-psychedelics.  Black rubber fabrics, stitched wildly with white hatches.  All revealed ringed collars, symbolic of aggressive subcultures.  There was a strong hint of irony in the Play's atmosphere and the reality of their street personas.  He couldn't help but flicker a smile.  They poorly idealized the characters they represented.
     "Good sir, how are you called?" questioned Diode.
     "My name is Symm, my lord."
     Tendril's lover stepped from behind her, gazing at Symm.  His heavy girth foreshadowed much more of a menacing outcome.  Still, he donned no weapons, and no new coals were summoned to him.
     "I agree with my love good king," began the hulk.  "His lips I recall from our placement with Satin's rangers.  I have seen none like him.  Tendril and I had spent the remainder of that night discussing this hypnotic feature.  Until now however, it never struck me that he might be the one we sought."
     "Good nobles, I believe you have mistaken me with another.  I know not of any rangers."
     "He is definitely the one," growled Tendril. "He has made a whore of your lover."
     "I have done no such thing!" yelled Symm, coals flying to his wrists.
     "And how do you explain your lips!?"
     "You were the cloaked figure fleeing the scene of the frost disaster.  It was you who pulled our mistress from the fallout."
     Symm suddenly remembered their faces.  Years earlier the Freeze ripped through the Underworld, killing hundreds of goth-psychedelics.  He was there with his father, presenting the Artifact to their leader Zalek, an offer of peace between the two tribes.  But something had gone awry.  As they fled for safety, he had rescued a g-p from an icy tomb.  The girl would have surely frozen.
     "I remember you villain.  And you took our cousin as a prize!"
     "I saved her life you fool!  I did not take her as a prize."  Symm screwed up.  The two individuals were different.  He had acknowledged involvement with their cousin, but implied the wrong one.  They had tricked him.  They had used his accident in the Tunnels against him in the Play.
     "Seize him!" commanded King Diode.  "I will not have this thief walking my lands.  You will be punished for your crimes vile Symm."
     Symm said nothing, but wasn't going to bow down without a fight.  Thorns mutated from his bracelet coals as Tendril approached him.  They eyed eachother with calculating anticipation.  The others did nothing, watching their warrior friend anxiously.  Snapcase growled, showing his readiness.
     Tendril lashed out, thorns slashing at Symm's shoulder blade.  It wasn't much of a knife fight.  Symm went down in a troubled heap, clutching his paralysing wound.  Coals flew at Diode's command, morphing into chords and restricting his wrists.  Symm's thorns returned to the fire, replaced by a cotton sling which guarded his injured arm.  Tendril slithered closer and twisted his tie in her gloved hand.  "At your command my king," she waited, her thorns focused on Symm's rebellious eyes.
     "Granted.  He will never look upon my lover again, and Venus will be punished when we return home."
     "You're making a mistake sir.  I did not know."
     "Liar," spat Tendril and drove her thorns into his eyes.
     The narrator interrupted Symm's screaming, marking the end of the scene.  The fires died and darkness descended.  The interlude began.
     Symm stood unhurt but angry, peering deep into Tendril's eyes.
     "We did not attack your leader, and we are not responsible for your people's slaughter.  One day you will realize that!"  Symm turned from her defiantly and walked away.

     Tracer and Onyx stood on the back patio, motioning for his presence.
     "What's up?"
     "Looks like you're in some trouble in here Symm."
     "I'll manage."
     "We have to go to the Park."
     "You're leaving now?"
     "Yeah.  We took some stuff from Curvature, but it's time to go."
     "Listen... I think I may know who took the speeder.  But it's just a possibility."
     "Zalek?  From the Underworld?"  Onyx stood in silence pondering the possibility.  "Did the g-p's say anything about that in the Play?"
     "No they're just angry about the Freeze.  I think I'm gonna end up on trial for fucking Venus."
     "Did you?"
     Symm laughed.  "No no.  But I'm guessing they'll try getting me addicted.  This pack is out to get me and they can legally use the Play to do it."
     "You think you can handle it?"
     "Yeah, I've got a few tricks in store myself."
     Symm watched as Onyx removed a tube of green pigments from his rubber sidebag.  Smearing them across his palm, music rang from his anointed hand, sweet and clear.  Needles of pine sprang forth, euphoniously enveloping his arm in a swirl of prickly quills.  Skin, bone and muscle surrendered to its growth.
     "Come on cousin."
     Tracer took his hand, closing her eyes.  The quills spread to cover them both.  They saluted Symm good-bye and disappeared.

     "Do you admit your involvement with the King's lover?" asked a new character.  He could tell it was Blink's young voice.
     "The only thing I admit," began Symm, wrapped in a shoulder sling and shielded by a crimson blindfold, "is that I am trickery's fool.  I had no knowledge of Venus' relationship to the good king, and she made no attempt to inform me of that truth.  I admit only that I have committed acts of love, and not those of a thief.  Had I known of his involvement I would never have pursued him."
      Blink scribbled loudly onto a piece of parchment, apparently noting down the proceeding’s events.  The two were surprisingly alone in the cell.  With Tracer and Onyx also gone, he felt a heavier pressure.  The night air seemed to grow colder and empty.
     "Are there any more questions?" he asked sarcastically.
     "Just one.  When was the last time you associated with Venus?"
     Symm paused, not really knowing what to say.  How would this affect his getting out of the Play?  "It would have been over a month ago."
     "Over a month?"
     "Yes, I have not seen him for quite the duration.  I travelled to these lands looking for him, as my associates informed me that he may be here."
     "I see.  Thank you."
     "Now may I ask a question?"
     "Of course," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
     "How many other lovers has Venus had?"
     Blink paused and Symm knew she was straining to think.
     "Have YOU ever seen Venus with another lover?" he pressed.
     "Yes good stranger, and I will see what I can do to help thee."
     "King Diode, his companion Venus, and the warrior Tendril enter the scene," stated the narrator.
     "Good lord, I do beseech you," pleaded Venus.  "Please reconsider.  I have been a wretched lover and I wish to repay you."
     "Unhand me vile whore.  Tendril!  Keep this filth away from me."
     "Of course my lord."
     Blindfolded, Symm could not see what transpired, but by the noisy scuffle, assumed Venus had been thrown nearby.  Stirring to achieve a better position, his restrains kept him at bay.  He focused on the situation, hoping to get some useful information, and hopefully set his plans in motion.
     "So villain, have you confessed to your crimes?"
     Symm said nothing, knowing it would have a stronger affect.
     "He admits to an involvement my lord," intervened Blink.  "But he states he knew nothing of your existence as Venus' lover as well.  It is all transcribed here."
     "Thank you, young scribe.  Now he will rot in this cage along with this 'vermin'.  Come, let us not waste the duration of this night on these maggots when we can dine in splendour.  I've had my fill of their sour demeanour and crave a richer sustenance."
     "King Diode and the others exit," stated the narrator, "leaving Symm and Venus alone in the cell."
     "Why didn't you tell me?" Symm began immediately.
     "Oh my beauty.  I could not resist.  I only wanted to be with you and could not tell you of the king."
     "And now you have imprisoned us both in this dungeon."
     "I know... but is it really so bad?" Venus asked in a wry tone.
     "I want to be free, not trapped within these walls."
     "But you are with me now my love.  It's so romantic."
     "Venus.  This love is nothing if we are not free.  And I cannot but question the sincerity of your affection."
     "Yes Venus, I cannot trust you."
     Symm tensed away from Venus' warm embrace, but his restraints held him at bay.  He could smell the sweet chocolate scent of Venus' breath.  Heat flowed between them, blood rushing through their veins.
     "I cannot do this," Symm began.  "How am I to know there are not others?"
     "I want only you dear Symm."
     "Alas.  If only I could believe you."
     "But you can!  Why do you not trust me?  Can you not feel how I desire you?"
     "How many others have you entrapped sweet Venus?  How many others have you imprisoned within these dismal walls?  Have you no shame?  How long will you continue to betray those who care for you?"
     There was a long pause and Symm could feel the affect.  Venus' grip tightened, holding on like a desperate child.  Symm knew he had to continue pressing.  Continue twisting the Play's scene to instigate a reaction.  He had to force Venus into accepting the alternatives.
     "It does not have to be this way dear Venus.  Not anymore.  You can change your old ways and free yourself from this twisted cage."
     "I don't know if I can," he began to sob, nuzzling his wet lips into the nape of Symm's neck.  Pressing closer, Venus slid his hands beneath Symm's suitjacket.  He fiddled with the folds of the dress shirt, finally unlodging it.  Venus erotically caressed the strong muscles of Symm's tight back.
     "Venus, we must be free.  We must free ourselves from this dungeon."
     "I know my love," but he was not listening.  His only intention was to seduce, as programmed by the Queen Host's conditioning.  Wanton hands shifted forward, unbuckling the firm belt wrapped around his partner's waist.
     Symm exhaled loudly, releasing the built up sexual tension.  Twisting his position, he kissed Venus' cheek.  Then again, and again.  His mouth watered as the whore's chocolate scent filled his nostrils.  Venus shifted, returning Symm's kiss full on.  Kiss after kiss their tongues swept deeper into the other's, hungry with passion.  Chocolate filled Symm's mouth and he could almost think of nothing else.
     Venus released himself from their oral embrace, and reached for Symm's hands.  Untying the chords around his wrists, he freed his partner from his cumbersome restraints.
     "Normally this could be fun," he teased, "but I want you to show me how much you want me."  Leaning closer, he melted his hips against Symm's pelvis.  Within seconds his thick, shifting genitalia wrapped and squeezed through the dual layers of fabric, commencing a session of dry erogenous gyrations.  "You have the most beautiful lips dear Symm."
     "Do you think so?" he teased, leaning his head back as so Venus would continue to look.
     "Mmmmm hmmm," he moaned, fixated.
     "What do you like about them?"
     Venus sighed pleasurably, an emotion very alien to him but nonetheless pleasant.  "I love their colour.  I love their texture.  I could stare at them for hours."
     "Do you love me Venus?"
     "I love you Symm.  I never want to be with anyone else.  I only want you my beautiful Symm."  Venus' eyes never left Symm's wondrous lips.  He stared captivated by their shape and arousing texture.
     Symm reached downwards, slowly separating their chocolate covered hips.  He didn't want to break the spell, and Venus did nothing.  The whore only stood there, mesmerized and unable to continue his seduction.  Placing Venus' arms around his neck, Symm licked his own lips.  Venus moaned at the visual delight.  Round and round he licked, tracing the outline of his mouth with his wet flesh tongue.
     "You can have this my love," Symm began hypnotically.  "You can have it all once more, but you have to deny thy master.  You have to forget the past and move into the future.  And you have to do this for yourself sweet Venus, not for me.  Not for the pleasure I can offer.   You must free yourself from your oppressive chains."
     "Please help me Symm.  I know you can help me.  Please set me free."
     "Close your eyes sweet Venus.  But think only of my lips.  Think only of my lips.  Nothing else exists but my lips.  Think only of my lips."
     Venus closed his eyes, following Symm's commands.  Symm reached into Venus' jacket, laying his hands against a bare chest.  He caught a nipple in his calculating fingers, fondling it gently.  Venus smiled but stood still.  Drawing a trail downwards, Symm heightened the suspense.  Untying the silk bows, the whore's pants fell easily to the ground, revealing an unstable mound of pelvic chocolate.  Symm smoothed the quivering mass, hoping it would not kill him outright.  This body could assume any shape making it one of the most sought after sexual partners.  Of course the experience had a price... addiction.  Not quite as severe as copulating with the Queen Host herself, but life changing nonetheless.
     "Concentrate on my lips sweet Venus.  Concentrate on my lips.  Do not let your body take control.  You must overpower your oppressor.  My lips will guide you."
     Seconds later Venus' pelvis held a stable shape.  Flesh exposed itself from the chocolate shell.  A twisting penis jutted from its base.
     "You can do it Venus, concentrate. "
     Symm knew this was impossible.  He could hear slight whispers from the other's nearby, but none would interfere.  Reality was changing.  He was breaking the Chocolate Virus.
     Symm sunk to his knees, fondling the half flesh, half chocolate penis in his hands.  The organ grew and grew, hungry for warm attention.  He gripped the member firmly, pulling off the melting chocolate as he stroked.  Venus moaned enthusiastically, still holding his concentration.
     "Concentrate on my lips."
     Symm widened his lips and sucked the throbbing meat into his wet mouth.  Licking circles around the raging head, he tightened his oral grip.  Pump after pump he fed the whore with a long forgotten euphoria.  Endorphins erupted in Venus' head, cascading through synaptic orifices.  Hybrid semen filled Symm's mouth.
     "Thank you," Venus whispered greatfully, falling to the damp grass, "thank you."
     A vaccine to the Chocolate Virus had been found.