For three days, Ani walks in the forest; for four nights, she sleeps on the ground—girl just keeps walking, until she makes it to Gilsa's cottage.
This time, she remembers to tell Gilsa she's going to faint before she does.
When Ani wakes up, Gilsa tells her that she's been sleeping for a couple days, but she's out of the woods—figuratively of course. Ani's fever has finally broken.
Of course Gilsa and Finn have a lot of questions about why she's there—and with a knife wound no less—so Ani tells them everything. We mean everything: being a princess, talking to the wind, Falada's head—every last detail.
When she's done with her story, Finn and Gilsa ask her what she's planning on doing next, since she can't just ride around town proclaiming she's a princess.
Ani's not sure what to do next, and the story she's just told Finn and Gilsa doesn't seem real to her somehow, so she hangs out at their place while gathering her strength back. She has just been stabbed in the back after all.
When Gilsa's neighbor, Frigart, stops by, Ani notices a gold and ruby ring on her hand—her gold and ruby ring.
Ani asks the lady about it, and she gets all cagey about where she got it. Until Ani points out a guy was murdered in the woods with that ring on, and then the lady lets up—she got it as payment from a guy she helped get back on his feet.
Ani insists on being taken to see this man. Immediately.
When they get to Frigart's house, Ani's surprised to see her trusted guard Talone—alive.
The two catch up on all that's happened since they were last together. Talone was badly injured, and rested at Frigart's place; he's got no horse or money, and thought Ani was dead this whole time. His plan has been to travel back to Kildenree once he heals in order to tell the queen what happened.
He feels guilty that he didn't protect her, but Ani assures him it wasn't his fault. Then she tells Talone all about being a goose girl—and this time when she shares her story, it seems real to her somehow. She's even figured out it was Conrad who turned her in to Ungolad when he went to the king for her reward.
Both Talone and Ani want to act right away, but they also both still need to heal, so they decide to go into the city in another week once they are stronger.
Gilsa isn't impressed with the news that her forest refugee is actually royalty, and Ani is warmed by it—she feels loved and secure with these people out in the forest, more so than she did six months ago in the palace, that's for sure.
She anxiously waits until they can spring into action.