The Routes of Kasei
This route opens broadly from Ensou City to the south, well-paved and adorned periodically with flowering bushes in order to make travel as pleasant as possible. The northbound path progresses through a neatly-manicured landscape touched sporadically with meticulously demarcated patches of tall grass that rustle from time to time, while numerous picnic benches and tables have been erected throughout, offering respite to the occasional traveler. The route jogs sharply northeastward as it approaches Port Nuovo, the bustling city visible in the distance amid the clang of machinery and hiss of steamworks.
This route is fairly simple, close enough to the beach for a quick stopoff toward the west and far enough away that the coastline can't easily be seen on the eastern portion. The air is slightly humid thanks to the breezes wafting down from the shore, and it seems to crackle with...ozone? It seems this area has become a second home for a myriad of electric types, with Elekids and Pikachus and Pachirisu - a veritable horde of Pachirisu - making their homes near the city that welcomes them. The other noteworthy feature of this route is that it is bisected by Hope River, a waterway running north-south through the length of Kasei. A few water pokemon have braved the presence of the electric types to make their home here as well, though some theorize that the Slowpoke simply haven't caught on quite yet. There is a bridge over the river, large enough for a car to pass each way simultaneously. To the east, Route 503 leads toward more wooded areas, whereas to the west is Port Nuovo, Kasei's center of trade.
This route encompasses two distinct terrain types. The western half is largely plains, and has a few of the Electric types that Route 502 boasts. The eastern half marks the beginning of Skygrove Forest, Kasei's main source of lumber and home to a considerable number of Grass types. More than one path has been cut into the forest to allow exploration of the mysteries that the woodlands have to offer, and - though it can't be seen from far away - Skygrove City proves that it is entirely possible for people to eke out a capable living in a place that seems so far from civilization, despite being only two routes away from both the capital and the port. This route hosts a plethora of grass types, with Hoppips and Wurmples and even the occasional Silcoon all peeking out of their arboreal homes to study any travelers that happen by. Even so, this path seems particularly well-maintained, and it's virtually impossible to get lost as long as one keeps the road in view.
Decidedly the more scenic of the two paths from the grasslands into the forest, this Route permits trainers to spend a little more time on the road. One of the two major buildings for the Pokemon Rangers is housed on the edge of the forest, present thanks to the fact that the woods require somewhat more patrolling than the flat land, though both need attention. Of additional interest is the fact that a ridge seems to run from northwest to southeast along the entirety of Skygrove Forest, a small but scalable cliff that requires a bit of effort to traverse, and it cuts the path directly in half - some equipment will be necessary to scale this ridge, unless more sky-based travel is undertaken. The path runs from southwest to northeast, approaching Skygrove City to the northeast and joining with Route 504 to the southwest as it approaches Ensuo City.
- Kasei National Park
- Mukrow's Nest Pokemon Ranch
A strong candidate for the role of second-favorite initial route for aspiring trainers who set forth with Ensuo City as their origin point, this Route is simple and straightforward, nearly a mirror of Route 501, complete with a small waterway that runs through it. If anything, the fact that it is only the second-favorite is because of two indisputable facts: one, there are less pokemon along this route, with only five possible appearances as contrasted to eight to the north. The other is that, while Route 501 leads north to an industrial center and civilization that would feel more comfortable to those raised in Ensuo City, the path east is somewhat less traveled and instead leads to a second Route before reaching Skygrove City, which is quite different than most cities in Kasei. Still, the land is flat and smooth, the path is clear, and this is a frequent choice of those who wish to start out on the path less traveled.
This path has the distinction of being covered almost entirely by trees, with a thickening verdant canopy serving to make sunlight all the more scarce the further south one ventures. Any who have chosen this route's southward destination have clearly chosen to eschew civilization for the time being, as its joining to Route 507 occurs where the west-east cliff that runs through Skygrove Forest and marks the beginning of what is commonly known as Deep Forest. To the north, Skygrove City beckons as a halfway point between the dark, only partially-explored mysteries of the deeper forest and a return to civilization. Grass-type pokemon seem to watch your every step as you proceed down this route, whichever your destination may be.
Definitely one of the spookiest routes in all of Kasei, this place looks like where Halloween makes its summer home. The sky is almost completely blotted out by a dense canopy of tall, ancient trees that jealously hoard the darkness to the ground as if afraid to release it to the night sky. Almost immediately after coming from the north, the path branches off in two seperate directions, each branch circuitous and indirect, denying travelers even the comfort of a horizon. A variety of Ghost and Dark types make this place their home for obvious reasons, with the occasional Hoothoot overhead only adding to the sensation that any of a number of supernatural occurences can and do take place here. To the north, Route 506 offers a return to Skygrove City, whereas the south brings Dovetail City, and...safety?
This route is rather unusual in that it has three points of origination, but only one termination. Three different roads lead away from Dovetail Town, almost as if someone were worried that one might become unuseable at some point in the future. Not long after the town's borders are passed, though, the three roads combine into one large path that leads through the forest surrounding this comparatively long route. Route 508 has several distinguishing factors, one of them being the fact that it's a contender for the longest single route in Kasei, but its more noteworthy aspect to many aspiring trainers is the variety of pokemon to be found within. Dark, normal, bug, psychic, all manner of pokemon can be found here, meaning that this route can be a real test of a trainer's skill and a gauge for the choices they've made about which pokemon to bring with them. Further to the south, Tayou Temple stands high against the southeastern edge of Kasei, a testament to the diversity of the type it represents.
Route 509 is commonly known as the safer of the two routes to reach Tayou Temple, with Route 508 requiring that an explorer venture through the deep forest and Dovetail Town in order to reach their destination. This path runs almost completely straight, northwest to southeast, with only very subtle corrections about midway through to make it interesting. The trees are tall and old here, having weathered many a season, and berry hunting is relatively straightforward for anyone who wants a souvenir. The pokemon that occupy this place reflect both its nature and position, with Normal, Grass, and Bug types distributed seemingly equally among the population. Even so, it rapidly becomes obvious that some of the more interesting Bug types are found in this region, with Combees gathering around Vespiquens, and the occasional Forretress watching from high in the treetops to see what can be seen.
Depending on whether one is going toward Tayou Temple or away from it, the difference in temperature along this route becomes plainly obvious as one travels along the well-marked path: the further west one travels, the more dry the air becomes, as if offering fair warning that one is approaching the mountain range to the west that is barely visible from such a distance. The eastern fork of the river that divides Kasei passes through this route, with a sturdy bridge offering passage overhead. In terms of ease of passage, many trainers consider this route to be the price they pay for taking the easier path toward Tayou Temple; very few pokemon of interest are present on this path, unless one is greatly interested in Bidoof and Poliwag and their accompanying evolutions, and the largely featureless plains offer very little by way of distraction; it's not uncommon to see a trainer going down this route on their bicycle at full tilt, trying to get it over with as soon as possible.
This path south from Ensuo City is one of four potential paths available to a trainer who begins their journey from that center of civilization, and is by far the most unpopular. This is not to say that the route is unattractive; far from it, the grassy fields in the area and the rivers at either side form fairly scenic surroundings. No, it's less commonly chosen because of destinations reachable by this route; Tayou Temple to the southeast is less appealing to those who want to experiment with elemental affinities, and the grueling travel through Shale Valley and Senarach City to the southwest intimidates all but the most stalwart of beginners. Even so, there are always those who are willing to take on any challenge, and many of the region's most successful trainers started their journey by taking this path and persevering. Indeed, this route alone sports a variety of pokemon, ranging from Flying types to Normal types to Bug types, appealing to those who want to diversify their pokemon-catching resume.
- Tengu Ridge - Terra Base
This route is where many trainers have the first true test of their mettle. While it's true that the majority of this route is placid enough - a straight north-south path crossed by a river with a sturdy bridge - it's the southwestern part of this path that bears the true challenge. The Ginrei mountains loom tall, seeming to stretch on forever in a northwest-to-southeast curve that presents an impassable obstacle to anyone who wants to circumvent the range altogether. Many trainers choose this route in hopes of catching a strong fire pokemon; though there are many ground pokemon here, the true draw of this place is the fire types that make their home here. Truly, many a trainer who would not have otherwise considered taking this journey through the tall, snow-capped peaks are drawn in by the prospect of capturing one of the strong pokemon that live here and training them to maturity. At the southwest end of this route, Senarach City offers a welcome respite for mountain climbers and trainers alike.
This route is one of two paths leading into the arduous Ginrei mountain range, this one standing further north and closer to other points of interest than its sibling further south. The majority of this route is simple grassland, interrupted only by a smoothly flowing river over which one must pass. The southernmost point of this route is the industrious site of Shale Valley, wherein a significant portion of Kasei's financial well-being is diligently mined from the ground, and the northernmost point leads directly toward Route 511 and Ensuo City. The brief, mountainous portion of Route 513 has been expertly hewn with the assistance of treasured ground types; this is decidedly the easier of the two southern routes for a beginning trainer, though all points further in lead to challenging encounters and the promise of exotic locales.
- Kalos Park
Travel between Senarach City and Shale Valley could very well have proven to be a major undertaking, were it not for the presence of this route. Stretching underground and thereby avoiding the mountain range on the surface, this long and winding tunnel has the appearance of a neatly-hewn passage through the earth, despite the fact that it was actually formed by the migratory paths of Digletts and Geodudes and the like, with only the odd stone here and there seeming out of place. Small lanterns along the way provide the most rudimentary light, just barely enough to travel by; those who would like to see further, or those who are worried about being ambushed by pokemon looking for a low-light fight, are encouraged to carry their own light sources (whether organic or artificial). The route is quite circuitous, making for a surprisingly long path despite the comparatively short distance between the two cities.
Unquestionably one of the most arduous paths in all of Kasei, both due to the fact that it is a winding travel through craggy mountains that present manifold dangers and because its westernmost point is the beginning of one of the most caustic of natural phenomena in this area, Route 515 is a hardly a place one would call welcoming. In truth, the cold climates of this region mean that only well-prepared travelers will be able to make it through this route without needing assistance from a ranger, and only those pokemon with natural resistance to such temperature-based hardships even attempt to call this place their own. The easternmost point of this area is the welcome respite of Shale Valley, and voyagers who come to that site by this route will surely need the comfort offered. To the west is Kasei's desert region, assuredly an unusual development in an area of the world with this manner of climate. Despite its incongruity, it waits at one end of this route, challenging all comers to brave its expanse.
This sandy, largely featureless expanse of desolation is Kasei's desert, particularly unusual in its presence due to the ecology of the rest of the region; where most of this part of the world is grasslands and greenery with no shortage of water, this wasteland is hidden behind the Ginrei mountain range, as if someone had used the cliffs as a firebreak. In fact, so out-of-place is this phenomenon that geologists have determined that it cannot be a natural occurence; some great disaster must have happened here to render this place the scorched, trackless waste that it is today. Regardless of this fact, some life has managed to flourish here: those who are unusually hardy may find pokemon capable of matching their resolve among the shifting sands, as well as a few that have simply adapted well to the waterless environment. This route is scarcely a path at all, merely a way worn through the sand and marked by the occasional beacon, with the westernmost point leading to the site of Senshin Monastery.
Two paths lead through the Ginrei mountain range to the sandy expanse on the other side, and Route 517 is decidedly the shorter of the two; whether by design or simple chance, those who dislike mountainous heights and icy climates will have a much easier travel through the range than those who take its twin to the north. Indeed, this part of the craggy cliffs seems more volcanic than ice-capped, as if some great force were still at work within the earth and threatening tumultuous activity at any random moment. Fire-type pokemon venture freely along this route, making matters hot for any voyager who dares to brave the steamy calderas that seem to frame the path wherever one goes. Mercifully, whoever forged this route noticed its unusual qualities and navigated through it in almost a straight line, making adjustments only where necessary. This is clearly the more worn of the two passages into the desert, mostly because preparation for great heat serves for both legs of the journey to Senshin Monastery.
- Mount Helion - Solar Base
Unforgiving, brutal, hazardous...these are all adjectives that have been used to describe what has been designated as Route 518, though the trail is truthfully little more than a series of beacons planted deep in the sand to guide travelers safely to and from its termination points, these being Senshin Monastery and the westernmost point of Route 517. Unfortunately for those who have selected Route 518 as their means to voyage through the desert, this is decidedly the longer of the twin paths through the dunes of the blasted landscape, roughly doubling the length of its equivalent to the north. The pokemon that inhabit this area are similarly unforgiving; only those with nearly legendary resistance to the elements can subsist on the meager fare that this location provides, though some few have managed to eke out an acceptable existence here. Rangers caution those intending to take this path to bring supplies and water, and the reason is clear: this is not a route one is likely to complete in one day.
This route is at once charming and picturesque as it progresses from Ensou City to the east, fashioned of simple packed earth as it wends through the cheery, well-kept grasslands that characterise the center of the Kasei region. As the path wends west and curves north, however, the idyllic atmosphere begins to degenerate into something warm and muggy, the ground growing turgid underfoot as grasslands give way to swamp and marsh - slowly, almost tentatively, at first, but quickly proceeding into one of the less palatable geographic climes of the region. To the northwest, the route continues, shifting into a raised earth path through stagnant waters in the distance.
A raised path of heavily-packed earth wends from the southeast through the boggy swamplands, encroached upon by stagnant water to either side of its progression that fills the air with a muggy, rotten odor. The buzzing of insects and croaking of frogs underscores the still air with shrill, rhythmic noises, only marginally masking the faint sloshing of the mucky waters as animals and pokemon alike disturb the otherwise eerily motionless marsh. To the north, as the path continues, the distant, stilted edifices of Bayou Bay can be seen, squatting low to the ground, while the faint outline of a mountain range touches the sky far to the southwest, visible across the flat plains therein.
The westward currents of the sea pull strongly along this stretch of water, whipping the surface into white-capped peaks that lap furiously and unceasingly against the jagged rock formations further to the west. The squat, stilted edifices of Bayou Bay rise from a marshy, turgid shore to the south, while the island of the Iced Flamingo Resort is visible to the north - a short yet deceptively treacherous trip by water away. The brackish shoals of the swamp give way to rolling, turbulent currents across the breadth of the oceanic route, though the glimmering docklands of the resort offer solace for those who would seek it.
This is less of a proper path, per se, and more of a waterway that leads from Port Nuovo to the east to the Iced Flamingo resort on the west. Even so, those who brave this waterway can see all manner of fascinating and diverse water-type pokemon if they glance over the edge of the boat; Magikarp and Seel frolic freely among the waves, with the occasional rarer pokemon spotted by those who have the intestinal fortitude for a closer, more long-term examination. Very little in terms of obstruction to passage exists, with most rocks and the like cleared some time ago by the Resort to allow safe passage from one point to the other. The only possible point where the voyage is anything more than a simple traversal from one point to the other, whether by pokemon or by ship, is the westernmost point where the current begins to pick up a little bit and land draws close, ensuring that only captains with some skill are suitable to complete the voyage.
- Mare Doctrina - Lunar Base
Altogether pleasant, this wide, winding route proceeds westward from Port Nuovo, skirting the seaside as it wends along the coast. A pleasant breeze continually keeps the temperature in the area cool, if slightly humid due to the climate that proximity to water offers, and a glance northward reveals an expanse of water with a sprawling island only barely visible on the horizon. The rocks of the coast and the lush earth of the south combine to make the trek along this path an undoubtedly scenic one, though the marshlands encroaching to the west offer a somewhat muggier egress, approaching the demesnes of Bayou Bay.
Within the heart of the swamplands, the path winding throughout can only nominally be termed a route, so noted by periodic rickety signs formed of wooden slats that bear the notation '524'. The dirt path has been overgrown by scrub and sloughed away by mud in places, and the waters of the swamp engulf it entirely in others, leaving turgid islands amid stagnant, brackish water marking the path leading westward to Bayou Bay, stilted buildings just visible through the numerous sticklike trees that scraggle across the landscape. The clicking calls of insects resound through the still air uncomfortably, and webbing and mucus adorn much of the vegetation throughout.
From the east, twin paths lead from both the southern and western quarters of Ensou City, winding lazily before meeting in a fork that sweeps forth in the main body of Route 525. Well-maintained and attractive, the grasslands to the north and south on either side of the thoroughfare are immaculately-kept and stunningly urban to be nominally termed 'wilderness'. Despite their carefully manicured appearance, the grasses nonetheless rustle and shift with the movement of the native pokemon, ensuring that this venue is no less a viable objective for a prospective Trainer. The route continues, curving ever so slightly south of west before terminating at the massive gates of Lakeside University - an iconic bastion of knowledge and learning to all who would travel through Kasei.