Despite the fact that the back of my mind was repeatedly screaming at me that this Wendigo was not real, everything else convinced me that it was very much the real thing.
Images of how the original one shrugged aside our attacks before proceeding to kill each and every one of us flashed before my eyes.
The fact that it was even bigger and more frightening than the first one did not help.
The twins had already collapsed on their haunches, being absolutely terrified of the monster that had appeared before them.
Sylphy had also frozen up in front of me, the pressure the monster was exuding must have been too much for her to handle as well.
I only remembered to breathe when it turned its eyes away from me, its sight locking on to Chris instead.
It took a step forward towards the frightened young man, its right claw making a grab for his head.
When I saw how Chris was still frozen in fear even when death was approaching him, it woke me up from my own stupor.
The memory of Mark calling out the Wendigo when it had me in its grasp surfaced in my mind. I remembered his face very vividly, the defiant pose of a young man standing up to a giant monster with a hand placed on his hips.
There had been no fear in those eyes of his and the slightly crooked smile showed absolute confidence in his actions.
The way he fought the monster bare handed, beating it down without mercy every time it tried to stand up against him That was power.
I could not do something like that in the same situation.
To know that Master Lin had done it for me without hesitation, I want to be able to do that too.
Seeing how slowly he was reaching out to Chris, there must be a reason why he had transformed himself into the monster that is the source of our nightmares.
Could it be? He wants us to fight this fear? Did he plan this from the start?
If that's the case...
Grabbing a fistful of dirt from the ground, I threw it at the Wendigo that was standing over Chris.
The little ball of dirt hit the side of the Wendigo's head, causing him to pause in his grabbing motion. His head slowly swiveled around to level at me, the creaking sound of its bones making the action much more disconcerting.
I gulped, trying to calm my nerves even as the black pools within its skull focused on me.
Steeling myself as much as I could, I took a step forward closer to it.
It tilted its head at me, as though intrigued by what I was going to do.
By now, all eyes were on the two of us, it felt like the whole world was holding its breath waiting for something to happen.
I sucked in another breath, trying as best I could to stop my hands from shaking.
Exhaling, I called forth a small ball of water hidden in my palms, making sure to keep my sights on the Wendigo the entire time.
"You You don't scare me" I whispered, trying more to convince myself than anything else.
It let out what could have been a chuckle. It was hard to tell when it sounded like nails dragging across a chalkboard.
I breathed in again, "You don't scare me"
His answer to my proclamation was to take another step forward, bringing me within his arm's reach.
I stared right at its eyes, "You don't scare me!"
It raised its arm, clenching his fingers to form a fist.
If I am right about Master Lin wanting to help us get over this trauma, this thing should be nothing more than an illusion. Therefore, I will stand here and do absolutely nothing!
This fist will definitely pass through me without doing any--
Pain erupted from my abdomen as the fist connected, sending me flying back and crashing a distance away. It was a good thing I decided to shield my body with a layer of water to absorb the impact just a few moments ago, I have no doubts I would have turned into paste had I not done so.
"Brendan!" Sylphy cried, her eyes filled with worry and despair when she saw the sorry state I was in.
She turned back to glare at the Wendigo, "Foul monster! I made the mistake of allowing you to run rampant the last time This time This time I will make you pay!"
She punched her fist forwards, causing a powerful blast of air to explode on the Wendigo's chest and sending him skidding backwards.
Kris leapt up from the ground, his brows furrowed with rage, "I won't cower anymore!"
He proceeded to do the one thing I never thought I would see him do. He jumped onto the Wendigo's back, scurrying up the monsters neck before bracing himself on one of the antlers.
He covered the Wendigo's eyes with his hands, releasing a blast of light from his palm that shone straight into the dark depths of his eyes.
The Wendigo gave a loud roar, throwing his head back in pain and flinging Kris off his back.
Chris got up to his feet after seeing his twin brother getting thrown off, his eyes ablaze with determination, "I will I will not let you beat me again!"
He raised his hands, calling forth a fireball that was way bigger than I've ever seen him summon before.
The Fire Practitioner tossed the projectile at the Wendigo while it was still recovering from its blindness.
Not wanting his efforts to go to waste, I sent a few tendrils of water to hold the monster in place by wrapping them along its legs.
The fireball exploded when it hit the Wendigo's skin, instantly enveloping the monster inside its fiery embrace.
It let out a wail of pain as it tried and failed to put out the fire.
All of us watched with bated breath as the Wendigo slowly burned out of existence, the fire disappearing once there was nothing left to burn.
It took a good minute before the realisation of what happened finally hit us.
"We We beat it" Kris muttered.
"We We did it!" Chris exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air.
All of us let out a cheer of victory, celebrating our success at overcoming what we thought would haunt us forever. The feeling of it was... Liberating.
It only took me another minute before I realised
"Oh my god! We killed Master Lin!"
No, this can't be true right?! We couldn't have accidentally killed him right?!
Since Master Lin never appeared outside the inscription even after burning away, does that mean he actually turned into a real Wendigo and died since the protection inscription does not apply to monsters or something?
Just as I was about to slip into a panic mode, the sound of a pair of hands clapping entered our ears.
All of us turned to see Master Lin standing at the edge of the inscription while clapping his hands slowly.
"Well done! I see the illusion has helped you four get rid of your fears!" He chirped merrily.
I sighed in relief. It seems I was right about the fact that the Wendigo was indeed an illusion and Master Lin was using it to help us get over the trauma.
Still doesn't explain why its punch hurt though Or was the pain part of the illusion as well? Now that I look at myself, there isn't a mark on where the Wendigo had punched me.
What does that mean?
"However, as impressive as this is, I will still need to tell you all that dropping your guard in battle is the worst thing that you can do. You never know when someone might place an explosion inscription right at where you're standing."
I looked down, just as the tell-tale sign of an explosion inscription activating glowed under mine and my classmates' feet.