In an instant the room was in darkness. The four from the front, rushing back to aid their comrades in answer to old Otto's cries, found themselves unable to distinguish friend from foe. Fleck's men dared not use their weapons in the darkness. Back and forth through the room the opposing forces struggled, the air thick with cries and muttered oaths, the sound of blows making strange medley with the rapid shuffling of feet.
Jane, remembering the electric torch that had been carried by the man Carter had struck down, felt her way to the door and retrieved it from his senseless fingers. Returning, she flashed it about the room, endeavoring to assist Fleck by its light. As she let the beam fall on Frederic she heard a muttered curse at her side and turned to see Thomas Dean aiming his revolver directly at the younger Hoff. With a quick movement she thrust up his arm, and the bullet buried itself in the wall above his head.
"What are you trying to do," snapped Dean; "help that damned spy to escape?"
"He wasn't trying to escape," she angrily retorted. "Look--quick--mind your prisoners."
He turned just in time to see the Germans behind him lowering their arms. In another second they would have been on his back. At the sight of his brandished revolver, their arms were quickly raised again.
Meanwhile Fleck's men, guided by Jane's light, were laying about them with their rifles clubbed. The plotters were at a disadvantage in not realizing how few there were in the attacking party. Fleck's announcement that the house was surrounded had both deceived and disheartened them. When three of their number had been knocked senseless to the floor the others surrendered and joined the group that stood with hands up.
To Fleck's amazement it was Frederic Hoff who led in the surrender.
"Watch that young Hoff," he whispered to Carter. "I can't understand his giving up so easily. It may be only a ruse on his part."
"Perhaps he's afraid the girl will be hurt," whispered Carter, but Fleck was not there to hear him, having dashed forward to where old Otto was still fighting desperately.
Somehow in the melee the old man had again got hold of a revolver, and just as Fleck seized him he fired again. The bullet, aimed at Fleck, left him unharmed, but found a mark in Thomas Dean, who with a little gurgling cry, fell forward at Jane's feet. Carter turned at once to guard the prisoners, as Fleck, with a cry of rage, felled old Hoff to the floor, harmless for the present at least.