Zelda tried to make her escape again the following night.
She got dressed as before, but strung her bow and put it across her back. She opened her window and climbed into the sill—it was deep enough to sit in—but when she looked down, she felt a quiver of fear in the pit of her stomach. She was three stories up; what if the vine wasn't strong enough to bear her weight?
She began to have second thoughts about the enterprise. If the young guard was going to keep her secret, then why couldn't he just let her walk out past him? Why had he suggested she had to climb out of the window?
Maybe it was a test. He seemed like the type who would mock her courage if she came to him begging to be allowed to sneak out the regular way. And she certainly wasn't one to beg for anything. Pride ran deep in her ancient family line.
She took a deep breath, turned around, and slowly backed out of the window, her feet feeling cautiously for a foothold in the vines.
She found a step easily enough, and she slowly put her weight on it until she was confident it would hold. Then she put the other foot down. She pushed the open window almost closed, so it wouldn't attract attention if anyone happened to look up at it, then she finally let go of the ledge and clung precariously to nothing but the vines.
Slowly, and with more caution than she normally possessed, she climbed down the ivy. When she at last set foot on terra firma again, she wasn't sure whether she felt proud at having accomplished the climb or just relieved that it was over.
"You certainly don't lack for courage," came a quiet voice from the shadows near the tower.
Zelda wheeled around and watched in surprise as the guard from the night before approached her. But he wasn't dressed in armor; instead, he was wearing a green, thigh-length tunic of a strange cut and unusual embroidery patterns; it was unlike anything Zelda had seen before. It had short sleeves, but he was wearing a white, lightweight shirt underneath it. He was also wearing a long, pointed cap which hung halfway down his back. He had it pulled down so that it covered the points of his ears.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded, keeping her voice low so they wouldn't be overheard. "Aren't you supposed to be guarding my room?"
"No, I'm supposed to be guarding you. And since I suspected you would be here…." He smiled his conceited smile.
"Do you plan on stopping me again?"
"No, but I do plan on going with you."
"I don't think so."
"It seems like a fair compromise to me: you get to get out, but you remain protected."
"You obviously don't understand why I want to get out in the first place."
He perked a brow arrogantly. "Are you meeting someone in secret? A boy perhaps?"
Her cheeks reddened. "No, that's not it at all."
"Pray enlighten me."
"I want to get away from other people. And I think you most of all!" She turned on her heel and stormed off to a nondescript door hidden in the shadows of an open arcade.
But just as she was reaching for the handle, a hand came from nowhere and blocked her. "Really, Princess, I must insist that I go with you," the boy said, sounding concerned. "Just letting you go out like this is enough to lose me my employment. If something were to happen to you, though, I could lose my head."
"Maybe you would be less infuriating if you were headless," she retorted hotly.
"Maybe you would be less headstrong if you spent a few more years alone in your room," he replied without missing a beat. "You seem to forget that all I have to do is report you. I assure you, measures would be taken to ensure that you never got out again."
She narrowed her eyes. "And you seem to have forgotten that we had a deal: you keep my secret and I keep yours. You report me, and I'll let everyone in the castle know that you're a Hylian."
"Yes, you could do that and force me to flee into exile," he replied simply. "And then where would we be? You would be locked in your room until you grew too old to care about leaving it, and I would be living in the wilds somewhere, half-starved and more beast than man. Wouldn't that just show us both?"
Zelda frowned, seeing the logic in his words.
"Wouldn't it be better if we kept our secrets together?" he offered.
She hesitated, then finally sighed wearily. "Very well," she said grudgingly, feeling that his offer was the best she was going to get.
"Don't sound so enthusiastic about my company," he said dryly. "I might not live up to your expectations."
"That wouldn't be hard to do, since I never know what to expect from you."
"Oh, I think you'll come to find that I'm pretty easy to read, once you get to know me." He opened the door for her and gave her a small bow, but there was something mocking about it.
"Who says I'll spend that much time with you?" she said haughtily, before flouncing past him and into a dimly-lit corridor.
"Who says I'm that complicated?" he retorted.
Zelda fumed. She didn't plan it consciously, but ever since she had met the young guard, she had been trying to humble him—to get him to admit, by some word or gesture, that he was her inferior.
Normally she wasn't that egotistical, but then she had never met anyone like the boy before. He took liberties that no one else had ever dared take. He acted like he knew her—like they were old friends who could be casual with one another.
And that appealed to her, even as it infuriated her. She had never had a friend before, unless you counted Rayliss, and the two girls had only ever met once when they were about six years old and the royal family of Erenrue had come for a visit. When it came to someone she could really talk to and do things with, she had always been alone.
The corridor they were in was near the kitchens, but they were all deserted at that time of night, so Zelda wasn't really worried about running into anyone. She knew all of the passageways in the castle like the back of her hand. From an early age she had a habit of slipping away from her nanny or maids and going exploring.
Snooping and poking her nose (and fingers) into everything was how she learned about the secret passageway in the throne room. She didn't know if anyone else knew about it—and she couldn't very well ask, since that would mean exposing her own ill-gotten knowledge of it—but she liked to think that all knowledge of it had been lost over time and she alone had rediscovered it.
With one brief exception, she and the boy didn't see any guards on their trek through the castle, and they were able to slip into the throne room without getting caught.
The boy had not said anything to her since they had entered the castle proper, and if it weren't for glancing back at him every now and again, she would have never known he was there; he was absolutely silent. And that was saying something, considering she had much better than average hearing.
She walked up the stairs of the raised dais to the large gilded throne her father sat on during formal occasions. As the only royal woman at court, she always sat beside him in the smaller chair which had once belonged to her mother.
She started to open the secret passage when she noticed the boy hesitating at the foot of the stairs.
"Are you staying here?" she asked, equally hoping that he would and wouldn't.
"No," he replied, slowly mounting the stairs. He almost acted like he was afraid to approach the throne. Might he have some underlying respect and humility after all?
"My job is to stay with you," he added.
"Who gave you that task, by the way?"
He smiled and Zelda finally figured out what it was about his smile that annoyed her: he smiled like he knew something she didn't. And she hated being kept in the dark more than anything.
"I think I better not say," he replied.
She scowled at him, but his smile only grew wider. "I'll tell you one day," was all he would say.
She was halfway tempted to go back to her room, just to keep him from enjoying her company—and he did seem to like being around her, despite the fact that she didn't particularly like him back—but after a moment's hesitation, she finally decided she preferred to be out. Besides, she might yet be able to give him the slip.
She leaned against the back of the large throne and pushed against it with all her might.
"Here, let me do that," the boy said, quickly stepping forward.
The chair tipped forward, opening a hidden panel in the floor and revealing steps that lead down into a black hole.
"I can do it myself," she replied, before walking down into the darkness.
He followed her more slowly.
"Afraid?" she taunted him, her feet sure on the well-traveled path.
"Not with you in front," he replied with his usual ready wit. "If there's a monster down here, it will get you first."
He really was most infuriating!
At the bottom of the stairs, she knelt down and felt for the lantern and flint and steel that she had stashed there. With practiced hands, she had it lit in a few seconds.
The boy glanced around, but there was nothing to see but a narrow corridor lined with old, damp-looking rocks.
He looked up the stairs, towards the dim light that came through the secret opening under the throne.
"Should we leave it open like that?" he asked. "Might someone come in the throne room and see it?"
Zelda grabbed a lever on the wall and, using all her strength, she pushed up on it. Slowly, the door closed, snuffing out the dim light. Now there was nothing but the lantern.
"This isn't my first time in this passageway," she said.
"So it would seem." He gestured down the dark corridor. "Lead on, Your Highness."
"Why—so the monsters can eat me first?"
"Because ladies and royalty always go first. And since you're both, I shall have to walk an extra step behind."
She frowned at him because she was almost positive that he was teasing her, but since she knew there was nothing to fear in the old corridor—just the occasional sticky spider web—she led on.
She glanced back after a minute; it did seem like he was walking a respectful distance behind her. But she knew he was doing it to mock her, not honor her.
Maybe he was right: maybe he was easy to understand.
"I never asked your name," she said, breaking the silence after several minutes.
"No, you didn't."
The silence descended on them again.
He was going to actually make her ask, wasn't he? What a tiresome boy!
"So, what is your name?" she asked, speaking as she might to a not-particularly-intelligent child.
She laughed. "What sort of name is that?"
"What sort of name is 'Zelda'?"
"Zelda happens to be the name of many famous queens," she said superiorly. "It's an ancient name."
"I'm aware of that; I was just speaking rhetorically. My name isn't any sillier or less meaningful than yours."
She glanced back at him, looking dubious. He didn't speak like a common soldier. "What do you know of the history of Hyrule?" she asked.
"A great deal. I made it a point to give it extra study."
Zelda was surprised. "You studied history?" Few people learned more than basic reading, writing, and arithmetic.
"At a monastery in the East."
Zelda was even more surprised—and, despite herself, impressed. A monastic education was the best any child could get—save private tutors. Even Master Ryu had himself studied in a monastery.
"Where are you from?" she asked, her curiosity replacing her irritation—for the time being.
"Kakariko Village. Well, actually, my family doesn't live in the village proper, but it's not too far away.
"Do you have brothers and sisters?" Zelda, being an only child, had always found the idea of having a sibling appealing.
"Yes, I have a younger sister and brother."
"Are both of your parents still alive?
"No, my father was lost at sea when I was five. I don't remember him very well because I was sent away from home when I was only one, and I didn't get to see my family much when I was growing up. But my mother's still alive, and my uncle Alfon, and my cousin, Ceily."
"What was your father doing out on the ocean?"
"He was a fisherman."
Zelda sighed wistfully. "I've never seen the ocean."
"Have you ever been outside the castle walls?"
"Yes, but never out of sight of them. Except for one trip to Lake Hylia when I was younger," she added. "And that was only because Master Ryu insisted I learn to swim. I think if it weren't for that, I would have never been allowed to leave the city."
"I can see why you feel the need to escape."
They walked in silence for a long while before the boy spoke again. "Where does this passage lead? It's been going on forever."
"It goes to the monastery outside the city. We're almost to the end."
No sooner had she spoken, than the corridor dead-ended at a stone wall. But she didn't hesitate to push on one side of the wall. It pivoted on a hinge set in the middle of the floor and opened onto huge room with a low, vaulted ceiling.
Link looked around as they walked past rows of large stone boxes on the floor. There were smaller wooden boxes set in niches along the walls.
"Is this a crypt?" he asked.
"Yes," Zelda replied, weaving her way quickly through the stone sarcophagi. While she wasn't afraid of being in the crypt, her own mother was buried in it and that knowledge bothered her a bit. She didn't know what tomb the queen was in; she never wanted to stop and look.
She came to a heavy wooden door and she blew out the lantern—setting it aside—before she opened the door with a squeak of rusty hinges. But she didn't worry about the noise; the abbot knew about her comings and goings. He had caught her the very first night she came out the door, unsure of where she was.
He had been startled to see the young princess creeping out of his crypt, but she had poured her heart out to him half the night, and he quickly came to sympathize with her plight. He agreed that she could use the secret passage to come and go as she pleased, but he was careful to emphasize that if she left the monastery's grounds, he would be helpless to protect her in any way.
When she had been younger, she had been content to stay inside the monastery's walls and admire the gardens and talk with the abbot. She didn't feel like she was being constantly watched, so that felt like freedom to her. But she eventually grew bolder and wanted to see more of the world, so she ventured out.
Zelda took Link through the sanctuary and out a side door that lead into the brothers' vegetable and herb garden. Zelda always loved the smell of tangy herbs and green growing things that greeted her when she pushed open the door. To her, it smelled like freedom. Like happiness.
No one was out and about so late at night. Zelda only occasionally saw the abbot; he seemed to know intuitively when she was interested in speaking to him and when she was only passing through. But every time Zelda went to retrieve her lantern, she found it full of oil; he took care of her as much as he could.
There was a door set in the outer wall on the opposite side of the garden, and Zelda headed for it. At long last—and after what felt like a long time and a particularly trying ordeal—she opened the door onto complete and total freedom.
There was nothing outside the wall of the monastery but the plain and the mountains beyond.
The grass on the plain was thigh-high, but not so dense that it was hard to walk through. In the early summer it smelled sweet and green, but it was now late summer and it had all dried out. It rustled softly as she pushed through it.
Zelda walked along the wall of the monastery until she was clear of it, then she headed due-north. Above, the gibbous moon was waxing and the stars were spread like a glittering blanket across the sky. It was a beautiful night to be out.
"Where do you go when you're out?" Link asked, as they continued to walk northward. "Or what do you do?"
"There's an oak tree a little ways ahead; I like to go to it. Sometimes I practice my archery. Sometimes I just lie back and look at the stars."
She hesitated to tell him the other thing she did. It was the most secret of secret things; she knew people would judge her for it. But, at the same time, she was dying to know if he, being a Hylian, could also do it.
For the moment, though, she decided against telling him.
They continued to walk in silence until the huge old oak tree materialized in the moonlight.
"That's a nice tree," Link admired.
"I do enjoy it," she admitted. When she finally came to it, she gave it an affectionate pat like it was a favorite pet.
She settled down in a spot in the roots which formed a natural chair. She usually started her evening off with a bit of thinking. Sometimes she thought about philosophical questions Master Ryu had proposed to her during her lessons—she much preferred that kind of learning to memorization or doing figures—and sometimes she just reflected on her day—whether it had been good or bad or just boring. And sometimes she daydreamed about her future and what she might do when she was queen. She still hadn't decided if she would have less freedom as queen, or if she could have more freedom simply by making things the way she wanted them.
"Do you think…?" she started to ask Link, then she noticed that he was nowhere to be seen.
"Link?" she asked, getting up to look around the tree.
She looked up, startled. At first she couldn't see anything, but at last she made him out between the leaves. He was quite high up.
"What on earth are you doing up there?"
"You looked like you needed to be alone, so I thought I would give you as much privacy as I can. I can see a long way from here, so I can see anything approaching."
She suddenly began to question her previous judgment of him; maybe he wasn't a bad sort after all.
"The city is quite pretty from up here," he added, looking back to the south.
Zelda was curious; of all the things she had done and explored, she had never thought to climb the old tree.
She grabbed a low-hanging branch and pulled herself up.
Link smiled at her, and when she climbed closer, he leaned down and offered her his hand.
She forgot to be prideful for a moment, and she reached up to take it.
There was a flash of golden-white light in her vision and she gasped as she tingled all over. She felt like she couldn't move her body—in fact, she wasn't entirely sure where her body was. She had the strange feeling that she was floating far above the ground—maybe even in a place which had no dimension at all.
Princess! Link called out to her.
I'm here, she replied.
And then everything was gone and she was plunged back down into her body and the darkness.
She gasped in shock again. Her return was so abrupt, she was disoriented and she nearly lost her footing on the branch where she was perched.
A hand tightened on hers, holding her steady. "Princess, are you alright?" Link asked, sounding a little scared.
"I… I think so."
She let him help her up the rest of the way up, and when she finally managed to sit on the branch beside him, she felt exhausted, as if she had run a long way.
He put his arm around her, but instead of being offended, she felt comforted and secure. And she desperately needed to feel both.
"I'm sorry," she said once she felt herself returning to normal. "I just suddenly…." She couldn't describe it. It hadn't been faintness—everything would have gone dark, not light, if she had been on the verge of fainting. It wasn't vertigo. It… wasn't like anything she had ever experienced before.
"I know. I felt it, too," he confessed.
She looked up at him in surprise. "Did you really?" she whispered.
Suddenly he startled and withdrew his arm from around her. She was about to tell him that it was alright—she didn't mind—when he held out his hand for her to see.
"Look at that," he said, sounding awed and a little frightened.
She looked and her eyes grew wider. On the back of his left hand was a triangle made up of three smaller triangles—the Triforce. The symbol was gently pulsating with a deep golden glow, as if it was embedded in his hand and shining through.
She reached out to touch it, expecting that she might have an out-of-body experience again, but nothing happened. She pressed the symbol a few times, but she couldn't feel anything beneath Link's skin. It was as if it was a ghost-image.
"What do you think it means?" she asked, looking up at him.
"I don't know," he said honestly. Then he pointed at her left hand. "Look," he whispered.
She quickly looked at it and, surprisingly, found she had the exact same symbol on the back of her hand.
She couldn't help but poke at her own symbol, but her hand felt like a hand and her finger felt like her finger; the symbol didn't exist in any physical form.
"Do you think this is because we're Hylians?" she asked, still looking at it curiously.
"What does it mean, though? I mean, why the Triforce?"
"I don't know."
She frowned, thinking about the problem. "I'd ask Master Ryu about it, but I obviously can't tell him about you."
"That's okay; he knows about me already."
She looked at him in surprise. "He does?"
"Yes. I told you that one other person knows about me."
Suddenly everything clicked into place. "He's the one who told you to guard me," she realized.
He smiled. "I knew you'd figure it out without me telling you."
"But why? I mean, why did he tell you to guard me?"
"Like I said, he was aware that Horace has been sleeping on the job and you were sneaking out. I think he was afraid for you, but didn't have anyone he could both trust with you and who would indulge you in your midnight walks."
"Did he tell you that I could go out if you went with me?" she asked in surprise.
"Well, not really," he said, suddenly looking sheepish. "But he didn't tell me you couldn't, either. He just told me to keep you in my sight at all times and take care of you. I figured if those were my orders, I could obey them just as well outside the castle walls as in."
They stayed in the tree for a long time, talking. Zelda completely forgot what she had found so annoying about Link as they shared their stories of growing up. Link had traveled a good bit, and Zelda loved to hear his descriptions of faraway places. And he was clever enough and educated enough that, when she told him about what really went on at state luncheons, he was able to grasp the subtleties of the politics. In fact, in that regard, he was rather better to talk to than her cousin Rayliss, who, despite being raised in a royal house, too, didn't understand politics at all.
After a while, Link glanced at the city through the leaves. It had been a twinkling orange glow on the plain earlier, but now it was mostly dark.
"It must be getting late," he said. "Most of the lights are out in the city."
Zelda glanced that direction, too. "Oh, I hadn't noticed." For the city to be so dark, it must be quite late indeed.
"We better get you back home," Link said, beginning to climb down. "I'm sure you have to be up in the morning for lessons."
"Yes," she replied sullenly, as she too began to climb down. She was having a good time and really didn't want to go back. "My harp lesson is in the morning."
"I like to listen to you when you play your harp," he said.
She stopped her descent and looked down at him in surprise. "You listen to me?"
"Yes. Well, most of the time," he corrected. "Sometimes I don't have the time to stop, and sometimes you have your windows closed, so I can't hear you very well. But I listen when I can. It's very lovely. You're better than your teacher, actually, but he'd never acknowledge that."
"You think I'm better than my teacher?" she asked hopefully. Her teacher always seemed to find fault with something she did.
"Oh, definitely. I've met him before; he's rather full of himself; he'd never acknowledge that his student has surpassed him."
She smiled, pleased, and continued to climb down.
When Link was still many feet above the group, he hopped out of the tree and landed on his feet as lightly as a cat.
"Showoff," she muttered.
He grinned up at her. "I bet you could do the same."
Zelda knew a dare when she heard one. She made it to the branch Link had been on and looked down. She thought it was much too far to jump, but he held up his hands, beckoning her to do it.
She jumped before she could think about it—because if she had thought about it, she would have changed her mind. The ground seemed to rush up to meet her, but Link was there, too, and he half-caught her so she didn't hit the ground too hard. It was a bit of a jolt, but not as bad as she expected.
"You have to learn to bend your knees as you land," he instructed her. "Let them absorb the impact. And, if you jump from very high up, land on the balls of your feet with your knees bent and immediately roll forward. Landing isn't the problem; it's the sudden stop that hurts. If you don't really stop moving, then the landing doesn't hurt too much."
"Did they teach you that as part of you guard training?" Zelda asked, impressed.
Link laughed as they began to walk across the field back to the monastery. "No offense, Your Highness, but I was a better swordsman than most of your soldiers when I first came here at the age of eleven. About the only thing I've learned since I've been here is how to fight in a unit, and after working with some of these guys, I'd rather take my chances fighting alone."
"I thought you went to school before you came here?" she asked, feeling confused. "Where did you learn your swordsmanship?"
"It wasn't your average sort of school."
She looked at him questioningly.
"In the East," he explained, "there is a sect of monks who are the keepers of the lost arts of the Knights of Hyrule. I not only learned reading and writing and mathematics and philosophy and history from them, but also those lost arts."
"But… why would a school in the East have knowledge of Hyrule?"
"Many ages ago, the Knights of Hyrule had their own school and training facility and library devoted to the military arts; it was the best such facility in the world, and not only did all of the knights of Hyrule train there, but other kingdoms across the world sent their best warriors there as well.
"When the Knights were all but wiped out in a great war, a group of monks feared that all the knowledge would be lost and Hyrule would be left undefended. There were also legends of a hero who would be a descendant of those Knights and who would come to the kingdom's aid in its darkest hour. So they took all of the books and went far to the East, where they hid in the mountains. There they hoped that evil would not be able to find them and destroy the last hope of all our people. And they studied the manuals and learned the techniques and waited."
Zelda felt excited. "Can anyone go to this school?"
"Yes, and no. One, it's a very long and difficult journey to get there. And two, they don't accept everyone who applies. They consider their knowledge sacred and they will only teach it to people they believe worthy."
"How do they know you're worthy?"
"I don't know; I was never around when they were interviewing candidates."
"But… how did they find you worthy?"
"I don't know. I was only about a year old when Master Ryu took me to them."
"Master Ryu took you to the East when you were a baby? Personally?"
"Yes. I was already being hunted, and he intervened to keep me safe. He delivered me to the monks and they raised me and trained me. I don't know exactly what he said to convince them that they should train me, but I do know I'm a descendant of the Knights of Hyrule, so that probably had something to do with it."
"Are you really?" Zelda asked in amazement.
The Knights of Hyrule had once been the defenders of both the country and the royal family. They were the only nobility that ancient Hyrule had and they had married into the royal family over many generations. If Zelda's ancestry and Link's could be traced back far enough—over a few thousand years—they would probably find they had a common ancestor.
All of the Knights had been wiped out in a great war and most of their families had been hunted down and exterminated. Hyrule had been left defenseless and unstable as both its defenders and its ruling class had been stripped out.
Over time, however, a new noble class had emerged, rising from the ranks of wealthy businessmen. And men had been found and trained to be guards of the palace and royal family. But both the nobility and the soldiers were pale imitations of the Knights of Hyrule.
Link and Zelda were at the monastery's door before Zelda knew it. She was quiet and thoughtful on their trek back through the crypt and the long passageway to the throne room.
Link's attitude made sense, now that she knew who he truly was. However humble his origins in this life, his bloodline was noble—more noble than the so-called nobility who had replaced his ancestors. And, in fact, he probably had royal blood in his distant past. That would explain why he acted so familiarly with her, as if they were more equals than a princess and a fisherman's son.
When they reached the end of the passage, Zelda stopped and listened carefully, but she could hear nothing. "It's clear," she said.
Link threw the lever that opened the secret door, and Zelda extinguished the lantern, and they both went up.
Link carefully tipped the throne back into place and it settled back to the floor with hardly a sound. They crept back through the castle without incident.
At the foot of Zelda's tower, Link stopped. "Home again, safe and sound." He glanced at her. "I hope I haven't totally ruined your evening by tagging along."
"No, I…" she hesitated, but finally swallowed her pride, "I enjoyed your company."
He smiled brightly, looking genuinely happy. "I hope I may accompany you again," he said.
"Well, you'll come with me whether I invite you or not, won't you?"
He looked uncomfortable. Scuffing his foot and studying the ground, he replied to her hesitantly. "I have orders to protect you and… and I want to do so. It's my destiny to do so. But… I understand why it makes you unhappy to be followed and… I want you to be happy." He looked up at her, his blue eyes sincere. "I feel it's my duty to make you happy, just as it's my duty to protect you. I don't know what to do when those things conflict."
Zelda looked at him for a long moment. "Maybe… maybe they're not in conflict."
His gaze was so intense, she suddenly felt shy and turned away. She felt the same strange, fluttery feeling in the pit of her stomach that she had felt the previous night when he seemed poised to kiss her.
She turned to the ivy and began to climb up. Her mind was such a messy jumble of thoughts about Link that she didn't even think to be scared of the climb.
When she reached the top, she opened her window and, with a little difficulty—as there were few good handholds on the stone—she pulled herself up and crawled back into her room.
She turned and looked out. Link was still standing at the foot of the tower, obviously watching to make sure she returned to her room safely. He waved up at her, and she returned it.
"Tomorrow?" he whispered so quietly, only her ears could possibly hear him.
"Yes," she whispered in reply.
He waved goodnight again, then headed across the courtyard and disappeared into a dark arcade.
closed her widow, feeling nervous and excited, and quickly changed her
clothes and hopped into bed. She was so busy thinking about Link and
what they might do and talk about the next night, she completely forgot
about the strange incident when they touched hands.