Chapter 17: Pokémon Affinity
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon, Pokemon Conquest
Rating: Young Adult
Shuichi and I met with Amy and Jun at the Celadon City Gym, where we rode together to Vermillion City, the hub for all airplanes in and out of the Kanto region. Jun informed us that there was no airport within Ransei for outsiders to land, due to its war-driven culture, so we landed on a small island off of its southern coast instead. We were then allowed access to the country by ship.
Things weren’t this convenient when I was a little girl escaping from Ransei. Back then, I tried using what little money my brothers and sisters gave me, but it was still not enough for a boat ride out of there. I had to sneak on to a nearby cargo ship and stayed in the storage room for about a day. I would have stayed longer, but one of the foreign sailors discovered me helping myself to some of the food.
I thought at that moment the man would have me thrown overboard or worse, but it seems that Arceus’ favor still surrounded me. At least that’s how I explain it. The sailor was reminded of his daughter when he found me and also understood that I was trying to leave the country. Some of the other crew members had also gotten sick, so he let me stay so long as I swabbed the deck in their place. It was exhausting work for a girl who wasn’t quite a teenager yet, but I was happy to be given the chance to live. That sailor and I parted ways once the ship docked in the Sinnoh region, where I was left to wander the roads to survive.
“Shuko, let’s get on board the ship,” said Shuichi.
I’ve been so lost in thought just thinking about those memories, that I didn’t notice the time that passed while we were aboard the plane. We had arrived in six hours, but it looked like it was still morning. I guess we flew back into other time zones. We grabbed our belongings and searched for our cabins.
“The boat ride will last at least a day, depending on the tides,” said Jun as we set up our sleeping arrangements. “Until then, the captain said to let us feel at home. It’s a small ship, so we can’t get too lost. I also suggest that we stay inside for most of the trip due to torrential waves out there; that is, unless you want to risk falling overboard.”
Amy and Shuichi gulped. This was probably their first time being on a boat under these conditions. I guess it was technically my first in a long time, too, but I was far too enraptured in thinking about going back to Ransei.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jun went off to help the captain with something as Shuichi, Amy, and I stayed in our cabin. It seemed that our pokémon hadn’t had a chance to eat, so we fed the ones that could at least be released on our small ship.
Amy released her Luxray and Sneasel. She also brought with her a Rhyperior. I’m sure she had others, but these were the ones she took with her for this mission.
Shuichi released his Muk and Politoed. His Oddish Sakura was left behind with his assistant, but he also inherited that Dragonair Erika gave him.
I released Hotaru, Ujitaro, and Mizuna, the three siblings Flareon, Leafeon, and Vaporeon respectively.
All three of us had a well-balanced team of three pokémon each. Of course, in any dangerous situation any of us faced, we had to include ourselves as a battle partner. Pokémon warriors not only fight with their pokémon but also with each other, a true testament to the bond between trainer and human. Most, if not all warriors in Ransei, also don’t use pokéballs, so it was very uncommon for anyone to have them concealed.
“It’s nice to meet all of your pokémon here at once,” I said to them cheerfully.
“Yeah, but I could’ve brought more with me if I wasn’t strapped for cash on my small budget,” said Amy. “I had to save up because this case is taking us longer than anticipated, and I won’t get paid until I come back.”
“Not that it matters in Ransei,” thought Shuichi. “My guess is they use a different kind of currency. They’re so far removed from the other regions that they must have a different monetary system. They did ask the Yamazaki corporation for pokémon in exchange for those lances.”
“It’ll be just fine,” I assured them. “If we can find kind people of the land, food and other necessities will be easy to obtain at the cost of our own labor, and since we’re foreigners, lots of it. We had a lot of guests at the shrine who worked the farms for food when I was little. Besides, three pokémon for each of us will be plenty to take into battle.”
“Battle?” echoed Amy. “I wasn’t intending on fighting anyone in Ransei for the sake of fighting, let alone be a warrior like you or Shuichi. Out of the question!”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” I said. “Some of the civilians are nice, but there are also bandits and warriors who can pose a threat to outsiders. You had better watch your back, Amy. That goes for you too, Shuichi. In any case, three is a good number of pokémon because in a real battle, you may have to release all of them at once as well as fight on your own. Any more than three pokémon can be a strain on your affinity with your partners, and in some cases you will lose control over your ability to communicate wordlessly.”
“I’m sorry, Shuko, but did you say ‘affinity?’” asked Shuichi.
“I did. Every human is capable of a pokémon affinity. The best warriors have a lot of it as well as combat skills.”
“I’m sorry, but what exactly do you mean by affinity?”
I exhaled deeply in shame. He’s a professor who studies pokémon warriors, and yet he doesn’t know what that is?
“Pokémon affinity is a potential in one’s link with a certain type of pokémon,” I said. “Every person has a certain affinity for all types of pokémon, but one or two usually stand out the most.”
“I think I heard of something like that,” said Shuichi. “Erika and the senior member selection committee at the gym used a similar evaluation to determine which pokémon a new member would receive. Most of them were grass types, of course, but that’s how I received my first Oddish.”
“That’s how I received Bellsprout!” exclaimed Amy. “Oh, the memories.”
“It’s a little more complicated than that,” I continued. “Lady Erika is very smart for a warrior from a peaceful region, but determining one’s affinity goes beyond just the grass type, or any other type for that matter. For each affinity, each person also has the strongest link with a certain species of pokémon. For example, just because I’m a normal type affinity, I don’t have a strong link with certain normal types such as Bidoof or Spearow. In fact, it turns out my strongest link so far was with Eevees, though their evolutions are much harder to control. That’s why I have Sangen, my custom shakujo staff, to enhance my affinity for the other types.”
“That makes sense, now that I’ve seen you use it,” said Shuichi. “It allows you to control your pokémon while still maintaining the stress you have on your body in combat.”
I nodded and continued my explanation.
“In modern times, affinity has become unnecessary in battle, thanks to the attachment a pokémon has for a trainer using ball technology. I don’t know all the details about it, but the pokémon who are cared for in their pokéballs better feel the emotions for their trainer, and a bond is enhanced while they stay inside. Of course, the rules of conventional battling also allow trainers to command their pokémon to use specific attacks, rendering communicating wordlessly useless as well. Still, I wouldn’t put it passed a few trainers with higher affinities to have a stronger bond with certain pokémon they have as their partners.”
“So why is affinity such a big deal in warrior culture?” asked Shuichi. “It seems like such a bond isn’t necessary for caught pokémon.”
“That’s because in Ransei, nobody uses pokéballs. Warriors create links and fight alongside free pokémon, or what you would call ‘wild.’”
Amy and Shuichi looked at me as if they were astonished. It never occurred to them that one could have a friendship with wild pokémon, I’m sure.
“Anyway, affinity in a person is measured by two variables: affinity type and affinity potential. The first is what type or types of pokémon the person has the strongest affinity for. This also determines what species they have the best link with, along with other small, but crucial factors such as personality or nature. But the affinity potential is also important, as it can determine the number of pokémon a person can take with him or her on the battlefield without creating too much of a strain on the mind and body. Communicating wordlessly is instinctual, not telepathic, so your body and spirit are the most valuable link to your pokémon. Having a lot of affinity can be the difference between victory and defeat, even if a warrior is physically weaker than the opponent. Pokémon will sense stronger feelings for those with high affinity potential and will more likely respond in battle without instruction because of it.”
“That sounds really cool,” said Amy. “But how do you know so much about affinity?”
“I didn’t train to become a priestess and learn nothing,” I said proudly. “I’m a certified shaman who can read the affinities of anybody. Most people of course, only want to know their affinity to see if they will be given good fortune in prosperity or have a successful marriage with the one they love. But those are trivial reasons, and I don’t believe in such commercialized use for that practice anyway.”
“That’s alright. I already know Shuichi and I make a great couple.”
Amy stuck her tongue out at Shuichi, making fun of him. I chuckled.
“I guess so,” said Shuichi sheepishly. “In any case, you think you can tell us what our affinity is, Shuko? I mean, if we have to deal with warriors anyway, it’d probably be best to our knowledge if we can find out what these affinities are now than have to figure it out fighting them later.”
“Of course, Shuichi, I’d be glad to read your affinities. But ladies first, so I’ll have to read Amy’s before yours.”
Amy gladly accepted and knelt down in front of me.
Our pokémon all had their fill and started playing together in our cramped cabin as I concentrated on Amy’s palm. The noise level was higher than most times I’ve had to read affinity, but it wasn’t distracting enough for me to lose my focus. I started the incantation to channel my senses to find out Amy’s affinity. I let go of her hand when I had completed the reading.
“You’re very lucky, Amy,” I began. “It seems you have two type affinities, electric and rock. Your potential is also above average, making you a favorable warrior in many battles.”
“Alright!” shouted Amy as she pumped one of her fists. “Nothing less for a genius and a three-time Pokémon League champion!”
“It seems the strongest link you have among all of your pokémon is Luxray. Congratulations.”
Amy gently patted Luxray when she heard that. Her pokémon was very delighted.
Just then, Jun came back into the cabin, wondering what we had been doing.
“Oh, we’re just reading our affinities,” said Shuichi. “Hey, maybe we can find out yours.”
“No worries there,” smiled Jun. “I already know I have a dark type affinity, and my best partner is Absol.”
“But what about your potential?” asked Shuichi.
“That doesn’t matter much to me. So long as Absol is my partner, that potential means nothing when it’s just us together on the battlefield. When all is said and done, experience and the bonds with particular pokémon will make the difference in a warrior battle, Shuichi.”
“Wow, I guess I never thought of it that way,” he said, being far too easily convinced.
I can sense Jun’s potential without doing an incantation or a palm reading. His affinity appears to be lower than average, but he doesn’t want to admit that, even if he knew. Even so, as a warlord’s brother, I’m sure he has made up for the lack of affinity by training in other ways all these years, even if he’s too ashamed to admit it.
“Shuichi, it’s time I read your affinity,” I said. “You’re not nervous about it, are you?”
“Yeah, what if he finds out his potential is worse than mine?” teased Amy.
Shuichi glared at his girlfriend, unamused, as he reluctantly put out the palm of his hand. I held my brother’s hand and read it while doing the same incantation.
But as I read Shuichi’s affinity, I was quite surprised by the results. Had Shuichi noticed this about himself before? What can I make of this?
“It seems you have a poison type affinity,” I said plainly.
Shuichi frowned, as if he had been disappointed.
“That’s it? I don’t get a second type like Amy?”
“I’m afraid not. Not everyone has two strong affinities. I certainly don’t and neither does Jun.”
“I see. Then what about my potential?”
I thought about the reading and came to a conclusion.
“I couldn’t actually read it, Shuichi. Your potential must be really low.”
“Aw man, I guess I got my hopes up for nothing.”
All of us laughed. I couldn’t resist making fun of him, since he is Shuichi, my big brother, after all.
But I only told him half of the truth. I couldn’t make a fair reading of his affinity potential, but it wasn’t because it was too low. As I read and analyzed his type affinity, poison stood out the strongest, and was incredibly high in that regard. But following the poison type, all the other types were equally as strong under it, and very strong at that. The only people I knew with that high of a potential had incredible respect for pokémon, not only of their own, but for wild ones and the ones of their enemies, too.
But of course, even humans with strong affinity potential were not without their weaknesses. I was told that people with high affinity also tend to have the weakest affinity when it comes to other people. And without a healthy balance between pokémon affinity and the affinity for others, any person can wind up to become a hermit or a maniac that thrives on the suffering of others. Most warlords, from what I understand, have high potentials, and that is why their rule over people can be a huge threat not only to others, but to themselves. Why would a professor like Shuichi possess such a strong affinity to that of a warlord’s?
In any case, I couldn’t tell him that truth because it could ultimately hurt him if he knew. Shuichi has a great deal of potential, but he’s also my brother. He has stabilized his affinity by having strong bonds with people like Amy or his master Erika, as well as having a kind outlook toward his pokémon. I don’t want him to lose that feeling over a simple affinity reading.
“It seems you have a pokémon that also possesses a strong link with you,” I revealed to him further.
“Thank you, but I’m pretty sure I know which one that is,” said Shuichi. “I once had a Vileplume that had a great deal of trust in me, and fought for me with very few commands in battle. I’m certain that was my strongest link, am I right?”
I searched his instinctual patterns, and certainly the affinity he had with both his Vileplume and the newborn Oddish were very high.
“That’s true, I guess, since Vileplume is a poison type as well as a grass type,” I said. “But there is another species that has a greater link with you, Shuichi.”
Shuichi shook his head in disbelief.
“That can’t be right, I must have a different type affinity,” said Shuichi. “Read my affinity again!”
“There’s no need for that,” I said. “Your type affinity was clearly poison in my reading. And your strongest link is with Muk.”