Philip tossed and turned that night, his anguish over Syrena's pain allowing him no sleep. Not until the dawn came, and the haunting mermaid's song died, did he finally succumb to exhaustion.
A few hours later, though it seemed like only minutes passed, Philip awoke with a start. Turning his head gently towards the east, he saw that the sun had not yet risen to shine through the trees. That meant it was still early. The Clergyman's eyes felt like they had been filled with sand, and he barely stifled a yawn.
Philip turned his head the other way, suddenly aware of a warm weight on his side. To his amazement, Syrena lay curled into him, clinging to his arm. She was still asleep, her hair being gently ruffled in the slight morning breeze.
Philip was hit with a pang of guilt when he saw dried tear tracks on the Mermaid's porcelain cheeks and dark circles ringing her eyes. She must not have slept that night either.
As if she felt him watching her, Syrena stirred and opened her eyes. The two stared at each other for a moment before Philip went out on a limb and gently kissed her forehead. Like before, she didn't shy away, only looked blankly at him.
"Good morning..." Philip said, suddenly feeling awkward.
"Good rising." Syrena replied, sitting up and beginning to stretch. Philip took the chance to look at her body as she did this, unable to keep his eyes from wandering over her full figure. She was dressed in a flowing white dress of unknown fabric. It covered enough, but still left nothing to the imagination. Philip flushed.
"There is a stream not far from here. I need to wash, and I would imagine you do too..." Syrena said. Philip noticed that her speech pattern had changed slightly. She had been practicing, perhaps?
"Yes, that would be nice. Would you like to wash while I find breakfast?" Philip said, catching his thoughts up to the present.
"I will fish and bathe at the same time. Come." Syrena said, turning and disappearing into the jungle. Philip paused, heat rising in his cheeks, then followed.
The stream was a deep but not wide spanse of water cutting through the trees and rushing out to the sea. The azure water was cool and not particularly fast moving, perfect for bathing. The morning was already beginning to warm up, and Philip could feel the perspiration on his back.
By the time Philip reached the gravel shore, Syrena had already dove in, her fins sparkling silver in the blue current. Philip watched in amusement as she swam after a freshwater fish, his smile turning to a grimace as the mermaid ripped the head off the fish then took a bite.
Deciding that he would lose his appetite if he watched any more, Philip stripped off his grimy and tattered white shirt and dunked it in the water, trying to scrub out the stains as best as could. After a few minutes, he realized the futility and laid the garment out to dry.
Looking to where he had last seen Syrena, Philip flushed as he fiddled with his belt and slipped off his boots. The mermaid was still distracted by the fish, so he stepped over to a rock and removed the rest of his clothing before quickly sliding into the water and using a large rock for privacy.
Not that he was afraid of being seen naked by a woman, nor did the notion make him particularly... He just wanted to be a gentleman about the matter, and his devotion to God... well, he thought God would frown upon such things.
Not that God was present in these territories. Just the fact that he was traveling with a mermaid seemed to be a sign that God's reach did not extend as far as the Caribbean Isles, but Philip thought that even a mermaid seeing a clergyman naked was a sin in some book, even if only in an etiquette novel.
"Philip?" Syrena's voice startled the Clergyman out of his thoughts, causing his to slip off the submerged rock he stood on and go underwater only to come up spluttering.
"Syrena, I-I-I'm not dressed! Just erm a-avert your eyes if you would, please!" Philip said in a rush, trying to pull his wet hair out of his eyes and cover himself at the same time. Once his vision was clear, he saw Syrena perched on his privacy rock, legs already back.
"Really, it's improper!" He insisted, turning redder by the second.
"Are you going to get out, Philip? I have the fish ready." Syrena said, raising an eyebrow.
"Erm, yes... Well, I am." Philip said, trying not to look embarrassed and failing. Syrena just stared, swinging her legs over the edge of the rock like a small child.
After a moment, Philip cleared his throat expectantly. Syrena raised both eyebrows.
"I need you to look away... so that I may put on my clothes?" Philip said, trying to sound polite and calm.
"Why?" Syrena asked, picking up a fish from a fold of her dress and beginning to chew on it thoughtfully.
"Because i'm not presentable for a... well, a lady to look upon." Philip replied.
"Why? You look quite all right." Syrena said, spitting out a bone.
"Please, Syrena? Just look away while I put my breeches on?" Philip tried, laughing nervously. Syrena just kept her eyebrows raised, obviously not understanding the root of his embarrassment.
Philip sighed, mustering his courage. After a moment, he stepped out of the water, proceeding in an orderly fashion to the rock where he put his clothes and pulling his pants on quickly. He slung his shirt over his shoulder to dry and began to walk back to Syrena.
The mermaid was chewing on another fish with what Philip assumed was a bored expression on her face, but when he caught her eye a mischievous smile played over her lips.
Philip stopped in his tracks, flushing redder than a tomato. Syrena laughed impishly before spitting out another fish bone.