Milo skulked down the tunnel, back the way he had come when chased by Cronk. Exiting, he turned left and moved along the edge of the large mushroom filled cavern with the massive shroom in the center. Immediately he ran into a small problem.
The small myconids that he had disturbed had followed him. They weren't as fast as Cronk though, and had given up the chase at once point. They were wandering around aimlessly about a hundred feet from the mine entrance. Milo elected to take the long way around the cavern. One of them was easy and he could probably fight a couple at once. But not a dozen, and especially not when there might be a lot more around.
Hugging the wall, and being careful to not step on any stemlings, he moved slowly around the cavern. He bypassed two more large tunnels that seemed to lead even deeper into the caves. He was still hundreds of feet from the ramp up when he noticed the cavern wall was a lot closer to the big shroom. One of the large yellow blossoms moved and was pointing in his direction. A vine that wrapped around the gigantic stem twitched. The twitch became a hump of loose vine that traveled like a wave down the stem to the ground. Then through the mushroom field towards him, the partially buried vine kicking up loose soil and small mushrooms. It was headed in his general direction, or maybe a bit ahead of him.
Following the twitching vine with his eyes, he saw it go to a large lump in the ground. Something slowly crawled out of that lump and stood up. Whatever it was, it had dirt and mushrooms all over it, as though it had lain in the ground for years. It wore a tattered orange robe and one bony hand held a staff or weapon. Miles was getting very nervous but didn't know whether to run forward or back. He compromised by skulking by the wall and hoping he wasn't noticed. He tried to identify the thing.
Malskitter the Malevolent Bonecaster Blossom Slave
Milo was seeing two names flashing. The first sounded like an evil villain from a bad movie. That kept fading and being replaced by 'Bonecaster Blossom Slave.' The creature shook itself more, and started shambling towards him. The vine stayed connected, running into the things ribcage where a blossom sprouted.
Milo backed away a bit more, and the creature stopped. The vine was stretched tight and it couldn't move towards him. It was a stalemate for a moment. If Milo tried to get past, it could get to him. He'd have to go back.
Or not? He cursed as he saw two more shambling forms moving around the perimeter towards him. One small, one massive and packing a huge sword. If he didn't want to join them he needed to get past this one.
Drawing the machete, he sprinted directly towards the Bonecaster Blossom slave. As he got closer, it brandished the melee weapon it held. It looked like a long stick with sharpened bones stuck through the shaft. Getting hit by it would be like taking multiple stabs from daggers. Milo had no intention of standing and fighting though. Watching for it's first attack, he dodged low and rolled past it, crushing several small mushrooms, but luckily no stemlings. He came to his feet, and brought the machete down on the vine, slicing through it.
The vine snapped back and thrashed as though he had caused it pain. He took a nasty slap to his side before he moved away from it. A bruise was worth it to defeat this foe so easily.
Mocking laughter informed him that it wasn't so easy. "Goodgood, cunning plan youngling. You have freed me from the cursedshroomflower. Malskitter will reward you!"
"All good Mr. Skitter, glad to help. Uh, I don't suppose your reward is letting me sneak on past you?"
The skeleton laughed. The eye sockets that had been so dim before now shown with a green light. Milo noted that the skull was more animal shaped than human, and there was a skeletal tail coming from a hole in the robe. Just his luck that the first rat-kin he found was a crazy necromancer bone-thing enslaved by a flower.
"You get a reward, lucky Tallsqueak! You get to host my spirit for the next few decades. This shell is worn out and infested with flowers. Never smell the flowers!! I've been stuck here forever as my shell rotted and the flowers commanded my corpse."
Milo started running. He got two steps before bony fingers clutched at his ankles, rooting him in place. Malskitter scrambled towards him. His first slash at Milo hit him in his left shoulder and arm.
You fail to resist the spell Grasp of the Grave. You are immobile for 60 seconds.
Milo struck back with his machete. The necromancer didn't even bother to dodge. Ribs cracked and bits of bone came loose. "Careful, careful Tallsqueak, soon this will be your shell. Why not give up now?" Milo brought up the pick he held in his left arm. The wound to his shoulder made it difficult to attack with the bulky weapon. Instead, Milo turned his hips and swung with his tail. The hardened tip of his tail hit the skeletons right arm, snapping the dry-rotted bone. Maskitter looked down at his arm and weapon on the ground. "Oh bother, why are you being so difficult! This is an honor. Am I not one of the councils most accomplished minions! Foolish youngling."
A bony glowing hand reached for Milo. It was a clumsy attack. Milo doubted that Malskitter had been much of a warrior before he was dead. Now with a body mostly turned to fertilizer he was clumsy and slow. Milo hit the reaching arm with his machete, snapping the other arm off.
"Looks like I dis-armed you, Mr. Mal. Hands down best decision I made today."
The skeleton turned and glared at Milo. "PUNS! You dare. This only a minor setback!"
"Maybe you can pick up some new ones at a second-hand store?"
"GHAHHH! I will bite you to death."
Milo's tail hit the brittle neckbone of the lunging skeleton. The skull came loose and fell face first in the dirt.
"Well, I guess another one bites the dusts." The scream from the skull was un-intelligible. Milo checked on the other flower-zombie-things. They were still quite a bit away. He saw that the remains of Malskitter were rapidly decaying. The flower was a blackened husk, the bones rotted sticks. Nothing left but the orange robe and the weapon.
Congratulations! You have slain Bonecaster Blossom Slave. You gain 50 EP in small blades and 50 EP in DEX
Rune Cowl of the Bonecaster (This item must be attuned to gain more information.)
Milo grabbed both items, stuffed the cowl in his pack, put the machete in his belt, and started jogging along the wall. Not the time for stealth anymore. Time to run.
More vines activated and sent out messages to the undead slaves of the flowers, but Milo was ahead of them now. Fleet of Foot gave him +15% to his sprinting speed, and his agility stat gave him another small boost. By contrast the undead slaves were slow and dragging heavy vines behind. He made it to the ramp up, and was out of range of the flower slaves.
Stopping to catch his breath, he stayed watchful for packs of vengeful mushrooms, but nothing was heading his way. He carefully traversed the second room where Cronk had emerged. Coming from this angle, he saw another mine entrance that he had missed before in his headlong run along the other wall. Did this one connect with the others? Maybe he'd explore some after he got back to Harry. He still had to clear the rockfall, and get back to the mycologist.
…and find out what a Heartshroom was.
…and figure out what a Bonecaster was.
… and sell some ore.
… and pay a visit to Kaminski.