Thomas set down his bowl and used the old blanket to wipe off his mouth after finishing his food; his thoughts being concealed by a satisfied smile as he rubbed his belly. This seemed to be the first time that this body had been full ever since the body's original inhabitant, Gren, could start remembering. His actual age is closer to twelve but because of malnutrition he seemed to be around 8 years old in the eyes of anybody seeing him for the first time. It wasn't that his mother was trying to neglect him and Gren had known this from a young age.
Gren's mother didn't seem to have any special skills and couldn't bring herself to sell her body to support the two of them. Her cooking tasted bad, even the most basic of chores seemed to be complicated when she tried performing them, and she was extremely clumsy so nobody would hire her. Most of their money was earned through crafting simple clothing and accessories to be sold in the cities but she never went to the city herself so she had to sell them cheaply to other villagers and passing merchants to sell for themselves. They truly lived a poor life together but at least the two of them shared both happiness and misfortune up until their deaths. In the end she died trying to save her son but Gren died shortly afterwards anyways; only for his body to be resurrected with the spirit of Thomas.
Thomas felt disconnected from Gren's memories like they were foreign but he knew that Gren had hidden a lot from his mother. Although Gren's death allowed Thomas to gain a new body, Thomas felt that Gren and his mother could have easily prevented their own deaths. With the knowledge gained from the elder, Gren could have been accepted to a good school in the nearby city as a scholarship student. Without Gren's mouth to feed, Gren's mother would have been able to provide for herself much more easily. Not only that but if Gren's mother had made the trip to the city to sell the clothes and accessories on her own then she would have made enough money for them to live comfortably. Yet, for some reason, Gren and his mother would never go to the city. Gren never asked why he wasn't allowed to go city and just followed his mother's words so Thomas couldn't figure it out.
"The food must have been good if it's got you dazed like that." A girl spoke and woke Thomas up from his thoughts and got his attention. Thomas wasn't sure who this girl was and although she was slightly stocky she wasn't a match for Shelley's size and definitely wasn't close to Jane's size. If she was placed on the far end of Jane with Shelley in the middle then the three of them would look like Russian nesting dolls. "I hate to break up your daydream but now that you're all fed it's time to go see the boss." This girl seemed a bit tanned compared to Jane and Shelley and judging from her body language she didn't seem to be as polite. Jane and Shelley each held themselves as gracefully as they could for girls their sizes but this new girl acted as if she was raised in the wild with a toothy grin and one hand on her hip while gesturing for him to get up with her other hand.
Getting up, Thomas walked over to the tanned girl and started following her as she led the way. "What does your boss want with me?"
The tanned girl paused her steps and turned to Thomas. "The boss will tell ya. If you're smart you'll keep your trap shut when you meet him. He's not a fan of people asking him questions. You hear me?"
Thomas gave a slight nod. "Yes, ma'am."
Giving a chuckle, the tanned girl looked amused by what Thomas said. "You seem to be a bit uptight. That's the first time I've beepn called a ma'am. Usually I'd punch someone that tried being so formal with me."
Patting Thomas on the head, causing him to flinch, the girl continued what she was saying. "Well, I'll let it slide this time since you're adorable. I'm in a bit of a good mood since it turns out that those guys were wrong. They were telling me that I'd have to escort some boy around. Well, we've got to see the boss so let's get on our way. By the way, the name's Annie; what's yours?"
Thomas couldn't help but cross his legs after hearing her name. "Gren... Grenda." Anybody in his position would try their best to make sure Annie didn't realize their actual gender.
The path they were taking led back towards the destroyed village. While the stares that Thomas got made him uncomfortable, the bandits didn't try to approach the two of them. Considering Annie's past this wasn't surprising. The two of them finally reached their destination; a slightly burnt down manor. Thomas could recognize this as the town leader's place from Gren's memories.
"The boss is just inside. Remember not to annoy him by asking questions and you'll be fine." Before Thomas could get free from Annie's side, Annie bent down in front of Thomas. "We should get to know each other better later on. As long as I'm with you then none of the guys will bother you. To be honest, I've always wanted a little sister but I can't exactly treat the boss's daughters as family." Leaning closer, Annie left a kiss on both of Thomas's cheeks before stretching them a little bit. "After you're done helping the boss we should have dinner together. Okay? Off you go now."
With a push on his back, Thomas made his way to where the bandit leader was located. Although Thomas knew that the bandit leader would have him killed by now if he wanted Thomas dead it was still scary to come face to face with the bandit leader yet again. The first time they met he forced Thomas to kill a man and he still wanted Thomas to help him with something. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far