My most recent foray into JRPGs has been Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, which is a franchise I have heard of but never played. I hesitated because this is part IX, so I assumed I would be starting off with a sequel but it was like Final Fantasy, where for the most part they are separate games.
You play as Adol Christin, a young adventurer who suddenly becomes cursed and gets mixed up with five others in a group called the Monstrums in the city of Balduq. The leader is named Aprilis (not a playable character) who knows what’s going on but keeps her mouth shut and keeps everyone in the dark. She seems to be the one who cursed them, but how and why is part of the mystery. You cannot pass into new areas without defeating the Grimwald Nox which is infested with monsters called Lemures. Basically, you have to beat them all so you can leave this temporal dimension and then a new section of the city opens up and you can explore it.
As you progress throughout the game, meet the other Monstrums, and learn each of their backstories, there are quests that can be accomplished. Like most RPG games, these are side-quests that can be done for either items, money, or getting new support characters for the party. They can be found on the Dandelion bulletin board, the name of the bar which acts as your headquarters. Whenever you get a new team member, they hang out in this area and give you access to new items, stores, upgrades, etc.
While I was completing quests, often the game would give me the choice to decline the request. Sometimes it was just “no”, or it would be how these tasks were taking time away from solving the current problem of the story. It actually made sense, and they were right, but if I did not finish these quests then I would miss out on receiving the rewards.
Usually, the quests were to find something for someone, rescue a character, or eliminate enemies. It had me comparing real-life “quests” we need to accomplish in our lives, and how that compared to this game.
There are so many real-world examples I can think of that relate to what the Monstrums were doing. If someone asks me to help them find something they lost, I would have to take time to do that and likely get nothing in return. Maybe while I am at work another teacher needs me to cover their class while they run to the bathroom (I still teach in a charter school). Real-life “quests” are often rewarded with a thank you and nothing more, which is fine.
Luke 6: 32-36
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
When we help others, expecting something in return shouldn’t be our motive. It should be to help those around us the best we can with what resources we have been given. Sometimes it’s time, money, lending our ear when someone wants to talk, a hug, or sharing our lunch. In most games, you get some kind of incentive or item once you finish a side-quest, but in life, it’s not like that. In fact, sometimes you get nothing at all and the person isn’t even grateful for what you did for them!
The next time you encounter someone who needs help, however that looks like, don’t think right away how it would benefit you. Those of us who are followers of Christ are the light of the world, and through our good works, people will see that we are different. This brings God glory because we are reflecting His love to the world that is in desperate need of it.
Your greatest quest in life is to be an overflow of God’s love, grace, and mercy to others. Look for side-quests along your day, or maybe they will find you, and try to lend a hand if you can. Regardless of the reward, oftentimes there isn’t one, just know that you’re helping others whether in a big or small way. I hope to practice what I preach as well, and use every day to be a blessing to others in-game and IRL!
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.