At last he found the button and pressed it. Light once more flooded both caves, dazzling to the eye after the pitch darkness of the moment before. Jack and Frank were still tightly locked with their respective foemen. But at the very moment the lights were switched on, Bob got the upper hand of his man with a famous hold he had used to advantage in winning his wrestling fame at school. There was a heave, and then Bob straightened up and the other went hurtling through the air. He was the American of the enemy trio.
The man fell on his left side, a yard or more away, by a quick twist avoiding the descent on his head, which is the usual result of such a wrestling toss. His right arm was outflung and, as he skidded along the floor, the fingers of his right hand came in contact with a revolver dropped by one of the wrestlers.
Twisting about like a cat, with a convulsive movement, the man came to his knees and fired. There was a warning shout to Bob from Tom Bodine. But the man’s aim was far from steady, and the shot went wide.
Bob leaped forward as if shot from a catapult, letting out a wild yell as he did so. It was a tremendous leap from a standing position, and he descended feet first on the other before he could discharge the revolver again. Beneath the impact of Bob’s weight the man went down like a shot rabbit and lay still. Bob disarmed him, turned him on his face, pulled his arms behind him and began tying them with his belt.
Meantime Jack was getting the better of his man, the Mexican. But Frank, slightest of the three boys, was putting up a losing fight against the German. The latter had him down and was kneeling on his chest with his hands throttling the boy. Frank’s face was purple and the breath was whistling in his throat, while his efforts to throw the other off were becoming more and more feeble.
Tom Bodine took in the situation and sprang forward, clubbing his revolver. He brought it down on the German’s head. There was a sickening thud. One blow was enough. The German’s hands relaxed their grip on Frank’s throat, and he rolled over unconscious.
At the same moment Jack pinioned the arms of the Mexican, and the latter lay helpless.
The fight was over.
Swiftly Tom Bodine trussed up the unconscious German with the man’s own belt, while Jack similarly treated the thoroughly cowed Mexican, Morales. Meanwhile, Bob went to Frank’s aid, assisting him to a chair, bringing him water from a spring in a corner of the inner cave and fanning him with his sombrero.
None of the three boys had suffered more serious injuries than bruises, but Frank had been badly battered in the encounter with his heavier opponent and the muscles of his left shoulder had been severely strained.
Despite the mauling he had received, Frank wanted to go and inspect his beloved airplane at once and Bob, the co-owner with him, was equally eager. Jack, however, protested.