Adam slithered around the forest, his three companions with him. Mushrooms were making something like a bridge so that he could extend pipes around the foliage and extend New Shroom.
All these sights were new for the Naga. He had always wondered how wild strawberries looked. They had no fruit on them, yet, but Constantine had pointed them out to him.
The necromancer brought him the berries that grew in the forest every year for the past ten years. But, this year, Adam was going to get a basket and pick Constantine enough to make a fruit salad. Maybe he would even go as far as to pick Nathaniel and Samuel some berries, too.
As Adam slithered, he bent down every so often and planted some moss on the ground. It would not be hard to tell the back pain curing moss from the regular one. Considering that, the medicinal moss was a shade or two darker than normal moss.
But, as they neared the middle of the forest, Adam felt like he had stretched too far. He became dizzy and sat down on the ground to catch his breath.
"What is wrong?" Asked Constantine, by his side in an instant.
"I think my level is not high enough to stretch further," answered Adam, and he looked longingly deeper into the forest. It called to him, but he couldn't answer the call.
"Let us go back," they heard rustling from the trees and looked up. There, up in the canopy, was a Naga that stared at them in amusement.
"Yes, go back. This patch of the forest is mine," said the man, and he slithered down from the tree. His tail was double the size of Adam, and he looked like he had sharper teeth. "Are you that dungeon core?"
"I am," Adam met the stranger's eyes head on. The Naga had silver in his hair and his scales were a dull color. He probably didn't have much time left. Still, his face was youthful, as were the faces of all Naga. So, he must be nine years old.
"Well, I really would have liked to meet you sooner. Now, I don't need a contract anymore. No need to extend the period of my state," Adam felt a twinge of pity for the Naga. Then, he got a thought crossing through his mind.
"I was born because there was a dragon-Naga cemetery near my cave. Is there a Naga village nearby?" Adam looked at the surrounding trees, expecting for more Naga to come forward.
"Naga village? No. We call this forest the Burial Grounds. We, and the dragons, come in here to die. Besides, we Naga don't live in villages," Adam was disappointed at that. He had always wanted to meet more Naga. To belong in a group that was the same species as him.
"Do you want to come live the rest of your months in my dungeon?" Suggested Adam. This Naga looked like he knew a lot about life in general. Surely, he would want to teach him.
"Caves are not good for my bones. But I can move closer to it, if you tell that giant black mamba and the rotting dragon that I am not food," Adam grinned. He turned to Constantine.
"Can he come and stay with us?" The necromancer looked at the old Naga, who was wearing well-kept brown robes and had golden ornaments all along his face and tail. The most fetching of which was a half face mask that had glittering emeralds embedded in it.
"It is your dungeon," said Constantine with a shrug. Honestly, if the Naga was showing such an age, then he must be weak by now. The Naga went and collected his things, a sack that was tied to a stick, and slithered to Adam.
"Thank you. Hunting is hard at my age," Adam nodded. This could have been him, if he had been a normal Naga and not a dungeon core. They went back to the pond and the elderly Naga undressed by the water and got in.
The mushrooms were all hiding in their houses, so, Adam had to do damage control.
"This is," Adam began, but he didn't know the other Naga's name. "Excuse me, what is your name?"
"Aeliel," said the Naga, poking his head out of the water. Immediately, Nathaniel stepped forward and brandished his blade. Adam turned to stare at him.
"Aeliel is a necromancer," Nathaniel made a threatening step forward, and the confusion on Constantine's face cleared.
"So is Tine," Adam slithered so that he was between the pond and Nathaniel. To his shock, even Constantine had taken out his dagger. Samuel was nocking an arrow.
"I understand what this is," Aeliel voice sounded excited for a second, and then it became bored by the end. "You want to feed my soul to the human necromancer?"
"No," yelled Adam. He didn't want this to come down to a fight. "No one is attacking anyone. Everyone, drop your weapons."
Adam turned back, only to see that there was a Naga skeleton wrapped around Aeliel. When had he summoned one?
"You have to trust me. I just want to be near another one of my kind," pleaded Adam, and Aeliel's eyes softened.
"Yes, you do. But what of those around you? Me going out in a fight is quite the honor. Tell me, blondie, are you by any chance Constantine the Soul Crusher?" There was no fear in Aeliel's voice, despite the title with which he had addressed Constantine.
"What if I am?" Constantine whistled and Aurora flew above them. Now, the mushrooms were running away, abandoning their homes.
"This is enough!" Snapped Adam, and he looked at everyone with an icy stare. "This is my dungeon and if I want everyone to be welcome, regardless of their past, then everyone is welcome," Samuel was the first to lower his weapon, for which Adam was grateful. Then, Constantine sheathed his dagger. Adam looked at Nathaniel with pleading eyes.
"This dungeon's name is the Herbal Dungeon. A place of rest and healing. Please, Nathaniel, don't mar my home with blood," Nathaniel's eyes lowered and shifted between the two Naga. Finally, he sheathed his sword and sighed.
"Aeliel Plague Bringer, if you poison this place, you would beg for death," promised Nathaniel and Adam frowned at him. Aeliel must not be older than nine. Honestly, what could have he done for nine years?