The mayor's eyes widened - "Watch out!"
Atticus wheeled around just in time to see a Kougra's large paw trying to swipe at him; he dodged deftly out the way, barely. This must have been the villain who kidnapped the Mayor! There was no time to waste - he didn't want to leave the Mayor here tied up, but all of Neopia was at stake. He had to take the stone and bring it back to the city.
He raced off back down the tunnel system - the Kougra in toe - darting down alleys and trying to confuse his pursuer. Unfortunately he was matching him move for move, and nothing Atticus did seemed to shake him. Worse still, the Kougra's four legs were faster than his two, and he was gaining ground fast! Atticus rounded another corner, and was met by... a dead end. He turned round slowly and stared into the villain's hungry yellow eyes.
"I've got you now!" the Kougra growled.
Atticus' heart pounded for a moment... and then his eyes darted upwards. There was a glimmer of inspiration in his eyes for a moment. "Alright... don't hurt me," he pleaded innocently. Meanwhile, he'd placed his tail firmly on the ground, tensing his muscles and preparing...
BOING! Before the Kougra could react, Atticus had sprung into the air and onto a ledge above. "No!" the Kougra cried, trying to follow - but the rock was too slippery, and his claws couldn't get purchase. He snarled and growled as the crafty Blumaroo slipped away.
Atticus heard voices nearby - he was almost at the surface! He made a sharp left, a right, another left - and he was out! Lampwyck was already back with several other members of the search party, and they were swift to react after Atticus shouted a few instructions to them. They ran back into the caves, following the Kougra's enraged cries so they could find and arrest him. Panting heavily, Atticus unfurled his hand to reveal the stone to a very surprised (and relieved) Lampwyck.
It wasn't long before everything was returned to normal. The Mayor had been rescued and brought back to the surface, and the stone was returned to its rightful place - light was restored to Moltara. The Kougra had been caught and sent to jail, though he refused to reveal his motives for stealing the stone.
The Mayor - after he'd recovered - came to greet the heroic Blumaroo who'd saved their city. Lampwyck asked him the question they all wanted to know. "What happened? The last we'd heard, you were going to meet with Igneot - please say he wasn't in on this?"
"No, no. It was a trap - one that I foolishly fell for. I received a note, supposedly signed by Igneot. It told me to meet him in the caverns and bring the Red Obsidian Stone - an urgent matter, it said; the whole city's safety was at risk... When I got down as far as the tribal cave markings, I knew I'd been tricked - Igneot wouldn't have directed me so deep into the tunnel system where I couldn't find my way out. I worked out that whoever brought me there must have wanted the stone, and they wouldn't be far away - so I dropped the stone in hopes one of you would find it before he did. Luckily, I put my faith in the right city." He beamed at Atticus and slapped him on the back fondly. "Say, how would you like a new job? We could use another engineer working on the Core..." he began, as he steered Atticus away from the gathering crowd. It seemed that life was about to get a whole lot more interesting for Atticus the not-so-ordinary Blumaroo!