Chapter 23
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Adam was sprinkling his mushroom pods with the fast growth potion he had invented by accident. Then, much to his amazement, the mushrooms grew legs instead of growing larger and hid in a corner.

"I won't hurt you," Adam tried to calm the fungi, but the mushroom were huddled in a corner, and they refused to move from there. "Fine, I will leave you there."

Adam had no idea what he could do with sentient mushrooms. So, two days passed, and he had all but forgotten about his little experiment. Only to go pick some whitecaps for a potion for Constantine and to see the animated mushrooms building a small town in the middle of the cavern.

There were roads and houses made of sticks with moss on the roofs. The mushrooms had hands now, which was something Adam was surprised to see, seeing as he hadn't evolved them. As soon as the first mushroom spotted him, it gave out a loud cry and took a stick, of all things, and charged at Adam.

Adam picked up the mushroom and observed the red cap. There were eyes in there, black and adorable, and staring up at Adam with indignation.  

"I am not here to hurt you. I need to pick up some whitecaps," the mushroom hit Adam with the stick on the nose and began to yell at him. 

"You, giant, bad! You want cousins dead!" Adam blinked. Had the mushroom just talked?

"Did you speak?" His response was another hit with the stick.

"Shroomikus Aurelishroom indeed spoke, evil giant," Adam snorted at the name and received another thwack with the stick on the nose. 

"I am not evil. And, from now on, your name is Aurelius," Adam was not going to call a mob Aurelishroom. The mushroom gave out an indignant cry and began trashing wildly.

"The name is sacred! Shroomikus got his name by the great water giver spirit," Adam blinked again. Someone had known about the talking mushrooms and hadn't told him?

"Does the..." Adam made a pause, wondering who would call themselves something as obnoxious as the water giver spirit. "Spirit have a name?"

"The great water giver spirit is named Samuel. He comes and gives us water every afternoon," Adam sighed. So, Samuel had taken the talking mushrooms as pets. Well, he, as the boss mob, was in his right to take the other mobs under his wing. But, honestly, couldn't he have told Adam about them being able to speak?

"I will bring you things from now on. How would you like to get some actual houses?" Adam pulled up his menu, and the mushroom watched in interest as Adam converted the twigs the mushrooms were trying to turn into houses into actual houses.

The mushrooms, who were huddled together and had been watching Adam with fear in their eyes, began to cheer.

"This is a dungeon," explained Adam to the mushrooms as he set down Aurelius. "And I am the dungeon core. You were created by me, and you should serve me."

"He wants to enslave us," screamed Aurelishroom. "Brothers and sisters, will you stand by and watch as this giant lords over us? We were created by him, yes. But we were born to be free!"

The yell of the rebellious mushroom sprung the rest of the mushroom tribe into action. They picked up sticks and rocks and hurled them at Adam.

Adam huffed and slithered away, in search for Samuel. Surely, after the former prince explained to the mushrooms that the rules of being a dungeon mob were there for them, too, the mushrooms would actually turn useful. 

Adam found Samuel in the pool. Taking a bath all by himself.

"Oh, I can come back later," Samuel turned to look at Adam and smirked.

"Or, you can join me," suggested the brown-haired man, and Adam sighed.

"Did you know that there is a tribe of intelligent mushrooms in the fungal cavern?" Samuel chuckled at that.

"Isn't that normal? I mean, your dungeon is a herbal one," answered Samuel as Adam slithered closer.

"They seem to think you are a saint, and I am the enemy," whined Adam. He was used to all his animal mobs liking him. Even Buddy had liked him, and Adam had put him through battle royale.

"Well, they were pretty desperate when I found them. Clustered next to the pipes and trying to lap up the drops from the watering system," Adam looked guilty at that. He had thought that all the mushrooms would go back to the soil and that they would forget that they were, for better or for worse, alive. But they had stubbornly chosen to try and survive with their new state of being.

"You should get them a fountain in there," suggested Samuel, tone serious. "And a pond for bathing."

"What if they fill up the dungeon with sentient mushrooms?" Adam sat by the pool and Samuel got out. They sat together for a while and Samuel spoke.

"Don't kill them off. It is too cruel. They didn't ask to have a consciousness. And, they are quite fun. Did you know they call me the great water giver spirit?"  Samuel chuckled at that and Adam nodded.

"I wasn't even thinking about that possibility. But, I need the space for herbs. If I sprinkle all the plants with the potion, then they will be useless for potions," Samuel placed an arm around Adam's middle and pulled him closer.

"You are wet," complained Adam, not wanting to get his silks wet.

"Think about it this way: they can be scouts. You can have the mushrooms patrol the dungeon and take care of the baby snakes, when they are hatched. If you connect something like an alarm button to each mushroom, they will be able to warn you if someone comes in here."

Adam nodded. Yes, this sounded like a plan. And, if the mushrooms moved around, they wouldn't be that concerned about Adam taking some of the normal mushrooms for potions.

"You have to tell them the new rules, though," said Adam with a sigh. Samuel grinned and picked up the fresh clothes he had laid out for himself.

Neron had been kind enough to bring him his entire wardrobe from the castle. He got dressed in a simple cotton shirt and leather pants that hugged his behind just right, and watched with satisfaction when Adam's eyes traveled up and down his form.