Matty used to be a brash and swaggering boy. His mother didn't want him, so Matty spent time with a gang of dirty boys and learned to steal. However, there was also a gentle side to him. He befriended his dog and eventually, Kira. Kira taught him to bathe and showed him he could be better. Matty spent his time wandering through Forest and once, found his way to Village and to Seer. He led Seer back to Kira, keeping Seer from the men who thought they'd killed him, and then led Seer back to Village and assured him that Kira had no real reason to stay in her settlement. He explained that "they" only keep her because she can dye and weave; if she didn't have those skills, they'd kill her. Matty noticed that Forest warned Seer as they walked.
Matty's thoughts here are a very concise summary of what happens in Gathering Blue, specifically focusing on the fact that Kira would be in danger in her village if it weren't for what she can do with her hands. In contrast with Village, this reminds the reader of the horrors that can happen in the rest of the world while also pointing out again the ways in which Village is a superior and utopian society—in Village (as it used to be, at least), Kira's disability would be celebrated rather than make her a target.
In the present, Matty tumbles out of Forest and feels almost blinded by the sunlight. Frolic snuffles around Matty as Matty thinks that Forest has kicked him out. Looking through the trees, he knows that the return journey with Kira will be his last trip. Matty calculates how many days he has and thinks that he doesn't have time to look up his old friends or his brother. He needs to rest, collect food, and return to Village promptly.
Forest continues to exist in Matty's mind as an entity entirely separate from himself and his community. Matty still doesn't realize that Forest is a reflection of the bad things happening in Village.
Matty admires Kira's large garden and wishes he knew what some of the flowers are called so he could tell Jean about them. Kira appears in the door and greets Matty happily. She embraces him, and Matty feels ready to cry. Kira looks Matty over, and comments that he's almost a man. He brags that he can read Shakespeare. When Kira says that she can too, Matty knows things have changed here—girls used to not be allowed to learn. He follows Kira inside and as she dishes up soup, he looks around at her dried herbs and colorful thread. He also watches the way that Kira walks and moves as she fills a bowl of water for Frolic and puts it on the ground. Her right leg is shorter and drags behind her.
Kira's proud proclamation that she can read Shakespeare shows that just as things were changing for the better in Leader's former settlement (as evidenced by the books they sent Leader), the same thing is happening here. The fact that this is all happening because of books, knowledge, and education suggests that in order to truly improve society in a meaningful way, it's essential to educate everyone so that they can celebrate diverse viewpoints and feel compelled to give back to their communities.
Kira sits with Matty, offers him bread, and then talks about how sweet Frolic is. Matty is lost in thought about healing Frolic and Frolic's mother. He looks again at Kira's leg and thinks that if her leg were straight, they could travel faster. He thinks of how tired he was after healing Frolic and reasons that it would take him a few hours to recover. Kira calls him back from his reverie and points to Frolic, asleep on a pile of yarn. She suggests that Matty sleep while she works in the garden. Matty lies on the sofa and watches her drag her foot while she collects her garden tools. He thinks he must fix her.
It becomes clear that Matty hasn't entirely bought into Village's celebration of physical difference, given that he sees Kira's leg as a hindrance, not a natural part of her (and it’s important to distinguish that her twisted leg isn’t an injury that she wants healed, but something she considers a part of herself just like her face). The novel implies that a better thought process would be to ask Kira what she wants, and then simply factor in how Kira's disability should be accounted for in Matty's travel plans.