Five hours passed uneventfully, with June doing her usual job while Seran crashed in a chair in her office. They'd already known that it would take a very long time to gather and organize all of the highest difficulty A-rank missions on the continent. There were close to 500 guild branches, with some of them having more than just one A-rank quest of high difficulty. Still, true to his word, Johann soon called back, and Seran sent June a telepathic message to return.
When June entered the room and sat at her desk, a rather tired Johann began to speak, "So, after a lot of consideration and help from the previous guildmasters here at the headquarters, we've finally managed to narrow it down to 3 requests... but that was as far as we got, as none of us could decide which was the highest in terms of difficulty. We've already agreed that you can pick one from them and it'd still count, so I'll go ahead and explain them for you." Before he began to explain, he had the quest fliers appear in the mirror to see.
Location: A-rank Danger Zone 'Blood-Bone Cemetery
Time Since Posting: 35yrs
Cleanse the undead horde that continues to grow in the Cemetary. Investigate the cause and eliminate it if necessary.
Hydra Defense (Updated Since Posting)
Location: Heron's Bay, Savicche
Time Since Posting: 75 yrs (25 Since Revision)
Prepare the port of Savicche to withstand the next request, which is the subjugation of the A-rank Hydra that has taken residence in the bay. Defense preparation alone will still receive payment as befitting, as the subjugation is optional but highly welcomed.
Location: Chimera Hollow
Time Since Posting: 2yr
Eliminate the A-rank Calamity, an Alpha Chimera.
"Now, the one considered to have the highest difficulty of success is the Calamity quest, which was an emergency quest. The Alpha Chimera, according to our sources, is almost ready to evolve into an S-rank, at which point it would require all S-rank adventurers to be involved. However, it is no longer as urgent with the fortunate sealing of it a little over two years ago. Still, if it could be killed, it would help rescue some of the continent's best adventurers. This is why it is considered highest difficulty but not the most important," said Johann, who was reading this information off of a clipboard.
June's eyes focused more as the continental guildmaster mentioned this particular quest, "That's the one Theodore responded to. The A-rank Calamity quest I mentioned when you first came here, Seran."
"Oh, the one where the previous guildmaster and three other mages were forced to seal themselves with it? Chimeras are nasty bastards, and Alphas are even more so..." Seran pondered on this quest, thinking if he should complete it. After all, it had cost the continent several top-grade A-rank adventurers.
Johann cleared his throat before continuing, "The one considered the most urgent is the Undead Subjugation request. There may be as many as a hundred thousand undead beings in the Cemetery, since word says it's never stopped growing in numbers. So far, they haven't left the area, but it is a severe enough threat to have caused three major cities to evacuate this year. This is definitely the work of something unusual, but it is far more important to deal with the threat of numbers first. Also, survivors from A-rank companies who entered to clear as many has possible have stated that most of the undead are C and B-rank, with several A-ranks involved. The only confirmed A-rank to date, however, is the Undead General, a peak A-rank."
Seran thought in depth on this one too, "Even the Elf Queen mentioned this to me. She suspects that an Elder Lich may have awoken, which would make it a Calamity-type as well. She has no evidence, but she has had the experience of fighting an Elder Lich long ago, and it was an S-rank at that."
This startled both of the guildmasters, with Johann saying, "She did? An Elder Lich is very bad news... Potentially, it is far more dangerous than the Alpha Chimera. The Elf Queen wouldn't mention it unless she was relatively sure it could be true, and elves can't lie... I'll have to speak to the retired guildmasters again about this."
"In her words, an Elder Lich may not be the strongest undead in existence, but it sure as hell is the most terrifying. Only an Elder Lich has the capabilities to create such a horde." Seran's expression darkened, as did the others.
Johann summoned his secretary, who he had track down the other guildmasters and have them come as quickly as possible, as it pertains to a new potentially S-rank quest. As the alarmed secretary dashed from his office, the old guildmaster continued, "While we wait, I'll bring up the third quest. This used to be a severely urgent matter, but it was updated after half a century when it was confirmed that the Hydra has just taken to living in the bay and not bothered doing anything other than leave to go hunting every so often. Basically, the bay is its nest. Still, Savicche is always preparing for the day it goes on a rampage, and the city lord, the requestor in this case, always pays handsomely. It cost the city a lot to move their entire harbor to the outside of the bay due to the Hydra..."
"I can see why it's been around for so long, though it is odd for a Hydra to nest in a populated area... It's been almost a century since this quest was issued, even with revision... A Hydra would require a very well-prepared party, but it might actually need several powerful mages to defeat it in the water..." Seran grunted, thinking about just how much training would be needed to handle such a beast. Hydras were partly descended from Dragons, but Dragons adamantly despised the former, as they had several heads but not enough brain power to think of complicated strategies like Dragons could. They could still give a Dragon a run for their money in a fight, though, since it would be akin to a Dragon fighting against 9 lesser kin at once.
June sighed in melancholy, "All 3 of these quests are insanely difficult, and only one isn't urgent... What's really bad is the best A-rank parties we had ended up dealing with the Alpha Chimera, leaving none behind to help with the undead now. There were several specialists among them that dealt with the undead, like Theodore or Adrianna Skybreaker, the genius Paladin. Even that half-demon was reputed to be capable of anti-Undead enchanting, which is a very difficult task."
Leaning back in his chair, Johann held his forehead in his hand, "Not just those three, we lost the entire Undead Hunter Company. That company was the leading front-runner for undead subjugations. From the reports, the only ones still alive from the company are sealed with the Alpha Chimera."
The atmosphere darkened gravely after these statements, indicating just how severe the situation on the Western Continent was. All 3 remained dead silent for a very, very long time before Seran finally spoke with determination.
"I'll take them all."