Sylvia yawned and stretched out her arms. She had not slept that well in ages! This little burrow of bushes was just so warm and…
Just then, her eyes flew open and she quickly sat up, realizing what she had so carelessly done. She looked up and met the man’s curious stare with wild embarrassment. How? How had she fallen asleep in this small space right next to a mere stranger?!
Sylvia’s face flushed deep red and her heart began to beat loudly in her chest. The man just laid there and continued to stare at her, appearing strangely gentle for a change. She, however, felt so embarrassed she could just die of shame at that moment. She quickly turned to leave, but then remembered the bread and water she had been waiting to give the man. So, with a reluctant groan she came back inside to face his probing gaze once more. He watched her intently as she pulled out the small piece of bread from her pocket and brought it to him.
Sylvia wondered briefly if he was going to be as difficult today as he had been before. To her surprise, when she put the food to his mouth, he accepted it without any hesitation. Her brow furrowed with confusion, wondering why he would so suddenly become cooperative when struggling against her seemed to be his greatest purpose in life. Not that she wasn’t relieved to have at least one task that day become a bit easier. After giving the man some water next, she left the burrow and made her way back to the master’s house.
When Sylvia returned to tend to the man’s bandages the next day, his curious gaze seemed to follow her eyes for the entirety of her visit. Today it was as if he was trying to force her into a staring contest with him. She did her best to ignore him, but that was easier said than done since she had to face him in order to properly tend to the wounds, and this position only gave him the opportunity to watch her more fully from where he lay. A few times Sylvia accidentally met his probing eyes, and each time she regretted it. She had not noticed the force of his burning gaze before, or how it left her feeling dizzy. She tried to finish up her work as quickly as she could without rushing and hurting him, but before she could hurry up and leave his deep voice stopped her.
"Mana lu me ah?" (Why are you doing this?) he asked, a strong curiosity in his tone.
Sylvia turned back to face him. These words sounded familiar, and if she was remembering properly, they were the same words he had uttered the other night. She was not sure what they meant, or why each time it had been posed as a question he yearned to know the answer to.
"I-I am sorry, I do not know what you are asking..." she replied honestly.
The man took a deep breath, taking the opportunity to gaze deep into her eyes again, and this time Sylvia was too entranced to look away. His probing red glare held some sort of strange power and seemed able to hold her eyes captive as he searched through her very soul, looking for something she did not understand.
"SYLVIA?” a nearby voice suddenly called out.
The man's eyes became hard again as he pulled his focus away from her to listen to the approaching stranger, obviously viewing the unknown person as threat already. Sylvia, on the other hand already knew who the voice belonged to, and the only one in trouble here right now was her.
"Do not worry, you have nothing to fear here, sir," she told him quietly.
Then, without meeting his powerful gaze again, she left and rushed to meet the chief worker Jana before the woman stumbled upon him or the secluded burrow.