Morning came and the glorious rays of the sun appeared on the mountainous east. It hasn't turned bright and the sky still had darkness looming all over the land, but the town has already turned alive and bustling.
Stalls were everywhere selling fast food as the new day came out. Private groups were going out hunting while labor groups were on the way to their respective jobs.
A child who hasn't reached teenagehood stood atop a wooden stool to elevate himself from the crowd of adults.
The child's name was Roby, a kid that grew up from the streets and has learned the way of the streets. Due to poor living conditions, he was forced to learn to struggle for daily survival even before the apocalypse. He had no distinctive features except for he was small and skinny.
"Gather round, gather round!" he shouted briskly trying to raise his voice and attract more people. Even though he already had a large following, a few more people wouldn't hurt. More people means more chances of earning.
Roby was an information scrapper. As a child with limited strength, he could only rely on several things to survive. And what is it other than what he does best? Gossip.
There are already a lot of information brokers who had more expertise in that field, and he had no chance if he entered that business.
As a kid, adults often give him odd jobs that allow him to move around the town. With that as the base, he was able to hear various rumors from different groups with different levels of importance.
Some of the adults started to get impatient. "Roby, when are we going to start?! We don't have the whole morning!"
"Ey, Mr. Davis is on rush again?" Roby chuckled to ease the atmosphere then clapped his hands to catch everyone's attention. "Hello, everyone. I know that your time is valuable and every second is important, so I will go directly to the point."
"For this morning, I have several important news for you."
"Black Haven needs more people for creating a defensive wall around the towns found in its territories. A lot of jobs will open up; construction, logger, quarryman, and general labor. It's a large scale operation in preparation for future town defense. This news is likely to happen around this week, and I heard it from the principal auntie from Black Haven itself."
"The next topic is a bit shocking, and I don't care if some of you don't believe it. The President has been rescued and is planning to head north with the military. From what I heard, he offered to take anyone who wants to come with him towards the northern part of the country. I think our leaders already know about this but aren't trying to stop it."
"And where did you get that information?" someone commented filled with suspicion.
"From an uncle soldier. After they returned from a mission, a close uncle advised me to go north together with the old government, so I can live a more fitting life, but I don't believe that it's better over there. They could barely rescue the President, so why go there? That's just my personal opinion and please don't let it cloud your judgment." Roby bowed, then continued with his job.
After several hot topics, the crowd dispersed and threw various items on the piece of cloth on the ground. They were miscellaneous materials that dropped after killing mutated animals and mobs.
This is Roby's way of earning money. He could have earned more if he were to sell such high-quality information, unfortunately, adults don't buy from children, they only pity them. If he were to sell these pieces of information, there's a high chance that he would never get paid and only taken advantage of every time. At least with this setup, the adults can stroke their ego by saying that they helped a troubled child.
Roby jumped down from his stool and collected his earnings. After seeing the amount of loot, he felt that the crowd today was quite generous! Most probably, the information he had today greatly affected the gifts he received.
As he unpacked his setup, the stool and the cloth, three teenagers walked brusquely towards him. At one glance, anyone would know that they weren't here for something good.
Roby quickly put everything in his inventory and walked in the other direction.
However, he wasn't fast enough and a rough hand clutched his soft thin arm.
"Hey, hey, don't rush. We're not here to do anything bad." said the man who had hair that looked like a birdnest. His eyes were round and sunken as if he didn't get enough sleep for the night.
"Don't you remember us anymore? We traded last time, right? We saw that you have some items to sell, so we came to help you get rid of it." the man grinned innocently as if satisfied with his choice of words.
Of course, Roby remembered them. They were goons who try to scam the weak of their items. The last time they met, they bought his items at half of the market price. Although Roby earned some money, he would have earned more if he sold it directly to the marketplace!
Since food no longer poses a great problem for everyone, survival has become the last thing they had to worry about. What everyone strives to next is to become stronger, and to do that, they need various types of equipment.
If one joins a private group or become an agent, earning money was an easy predicament. The tough part was to stay alive. Most people retire after experiencing a difficult battle and turn to safer jobs, which causes a lot of downtimes and fooling around.
The three goons surrounded Roby. Although it was still dark, people could still see them. However, not knowing the context, no one meddled between the group. Everyone just passed by like it was none of their business.
At that moment of hopelessness, a soft voice came from the side. "Can you guys scram to the side? I have some business with Roby."
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