AUTHOR'S NOTE:

I took another break while writing this! ...Actually, I was just being lazy. -_-

OH YES. I've been struggling and typing my way to get to this chapter! It's my favorite one, since I finally shed some light on the whole "Isshu issue". Yes, I am aware that the very disappearance of this whole region is by far the most predictable way anything in the Pokemon universe could miraculously disappear..

If you're curious about when I'm going to end this story, well… this is the sixth chapter… so… That would mean that there are only three chapters left (hopefully). Nine in all. There will be a tenth chapter, but it's only an epilogue. So this part onwards is technically the climax of the story. Squee~!

Knowing…

"HEY 'ZELF! Get out here! We need ya!"

Chiramii was beginning to wonder if this was how Mesprit usually called upon others.

The little chinchilla was more than relieved to be away from Uxie's iceberg of a lake. Within the presence of Lake Valor, the air was warm, heated thoroughly by the blazing sun that hung in the sky. This was the type of weather that was perfect for a trip to the beach… namely, Route 222. Chiramii could feel the summer heat waves rubbing up against his face. Normally, this would have bothered him, but after paying a visit to Lake Acuity, he was just glad to be able to feel his toes again.

"Wh… what is it?" From the cave emerged the blue-faced Lake Legendary. He used a very quiet voice… one that was just barely above a whisper. He was holding a shy paw up to his mouth, as if fearing the very words that might come out of his own mouth.

So… THIS was the Pokemon of Willpower…

"'ZELF! Good to see ya, brother!" Mesprit hovered over to him and have him a sharp elbowing on the shoulder. Azelf flinched from her gesture miserably. "Listen, listen! Uxie and I need your help!"

"F… For what?"

Uxie levitated forward. "We need to summon Arceus. For our friend, Chiramii."

"A… Arceus?" He gazed down at Chiramii. "Wh… What business do you have with Arceus? H… He is only the g-god of all Pokemon!"

"Chiramii needs the help of only a god. He is in the most interesting of predicaments." Uxie then turned to Chiramii. "There are only three things that will summon Arceus if he won't summon himself. The Azure Flute is a holy device entrusted to the humans by the very god it will call forth. If Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina were to combine their powers and make a wish towards the heavens, it will also awaken Arceus. And lastly, when Azelf, Mesprit, and I gather at the Spear Pillar and wish for Arceus to come forth, then he will. These are the only ways, and my counterparts and I are more than willing to assist you."

Chiramii gulped. How was he, a simple chinchilla Pokemon, supposed to have an audience a GOD? If it took the combined efforts of three sacred Pokemon to just make him appear, then what would it take to make Arceus tell him about Isshu? In fact, if The God of all Pokemon was the only one who knew anything about Isshu, then Chiramii would gladly stop worrying about it. He didn't even want to know about Isshu anymore! In fact, what IS Isshu? He'd never heard of it! As long as he was alive and without fear, Chiramii certainly didn't NEED to know anything about what had brought him here to Sinnoh. He'd gladly live on with life. There was no need to summon a GOD…!

Chiramii awoke with a heavy blanket wrapped around him. It had been raining earlier. He shivered violently, his fur still damp with wet rain. Someone was scratching him behind his ear. It felt quite pleasant… Until Chiramii realized that he was in the arms of a human.

He tried to wiggle out of her grasp, but she held him close. Her body was pleasantly warm. "Don't be afraid." she told him.

Chiramii dared himself to look up at her. She had a welcoming smile and wavy brown hair that cascaded down her shoulders. Above all, she could talk to Pokemon.

"You don't have to fear me. I love Pokemon!" She brought the little chinchilla to her face, nuzzling her nose against his.

For some reason, Chiramii hesitated to scratch or bite her. She seemed like a nice girl…

"So… little Chiramii." she said to him. "How would you like to join my Pokemon team?" She flashed him a cocky grin. "My name is Yin. I'm going to be the Pokemon Champion!"

With the flashback gone, Chiramii was once again reminded of the very reason he'd been pushing himself forward these past few days. He wanted to know about Yin. Whether she was alive, in some other region, or still living within the ghost of the land of Isshu, Chiramii needed to know of her fate. He wanted to be reunited with her. He knew that he couldn't.

But he wanted to.

"Hellooooo? Earth to Chirakii? Come in, Chirakii!" Mesprit was waving her paw in front of Chiramii's face. "You're a spaced out little dude, you know that? You should be an astronaut!"

First he'd been mistakenly called a secret agent. Now he was an astronaut. Chiramii wondered what sort of profession Yin would have pursued after her promise to dominate all of Isshu… if the whole region hadn't just vanished…

Chiramii looked up at Azelf. "Please help me. I need to speak to Arceus as soon as possible."

It was decided. He would do it. Whether he'd have to face any more obstacles, he'd speak to Arceus, and Arceus WOULD tell him about Isshu. He'd make sure of it.

Azelf, seeing the readiness in Chiramii's eyes, grinned. It was the same smile of conceit that Yin would sport before and during battle. His appearance had changed completely. "Then let's do this!" Azelf thrust a finger towards the heavens, as if summoning power. "To the Spear Pillar!"

Chiramii raised a brow at Azelf's personality change. Uxie only smiled at the chinchilla's baffled expression. "Azelf just needs some sort of motivation in order for him to come out of his shell." Uxie then nodded towards the two other members of his trio. "Now then. Let us depart for the Spear Pillar!"

-x-

What little bravery Chiramii had possessed several minutes ago had now completely vanished. High atop Mount Coronet, past its snowy summit, and just beyond a sea of clouds, the Spear Pillar lingered vacantly. Only the voice of the wind could be heard, and even that seemed to lack any life. Destroyed and crumbled pillars were scattered around the desolate ruins. Chiramii wondered if it was possible for a god to become lonely…

"Now then." declared Uxie, completely oblivious to the eerie, empty atmosphere (Then again, Chiramii guessed that most legendary Pokemon must be used to being alone). "We begin."

Mesprit and Azelf nodded, and the threesome gathered into a tight circle. Mesprit hummed a light tune as she sent her blessings forward, an abnormal red orb of light emerging from the jewel upon her forehead. The orb drifted into the center of the triangle they'd formed. Azelf then furrowed his brow, sending his own orb of energy forth. Uxie did the same, his wishes embodied by the red light that he'd created. The three orbs united as one, and the slightly larger ball of light that they'd created shot up into the sky until it was no longer visible. A grand, extremely bright light then beamed down upon them from the heavens. Chiramii had to shield his eyes to spare his vision. But when he reopened them, the light had faded away, and a golden, almost translucent staircase had spread out before the four of them. Chiramii studied the new stairway, noting on how it towered high above their heads, the top of it practically invisible to the naked eye.

Chiramii gaped at Uxie, pointing at the staircase. "We're climbing THAT thing?" he meant to say. However, he was only able to mouth the words.

"It's not as big as it looks." Uxie assured him.

"Easy for you to say. You can levitate!" Chiramii murmured.

"Trust me. It'll seem as if you've just begun climbing when you reach the top." Uxie hovered forward, following his two other counterparts as they raced towards the staircase.

Chiramii groaned as he followed them. He could already feel the foot sores bruising the tips of his toes as he climbed onto the first step. To a human, this obstacle might seem somewhat possible. However, Chiramii was a Pokemon… a rather small one, to be more precise. He had to pull himself onto every new step on the staircase. This was going to be impossible! There was no way… no way at all that he'd…

Chiramii blinked. He hadn't even climbed three stairs when he suddenly found himself standing on a golden platform in the sky. The chinchilla gazed over his shoulder, seeing the humongous stairway that stretched out far below him. The summit of Mount Coronet wasn't even visible anymore. It was blocked off by a thick patch of clouds. Chiramii directed his attention to the sky, gasping when he noticed the countless stars that winked down at him from the night sky. No… that wasn't the night sky that he was looking at. It was still high noon back in Sinnoh. This… this was a view of outer space… Was he really that far up?

From behind him, Chiramii could hear faint voices. "Hey! Chirakii!" It was definably Mesprit. "Wait up! Geez, you're too fast for us!" He couldn't believe that the Lake Trio was still hovering up the stairway.

"For a mortal, you've a strong sense of willpower upon you. No other Pokemon has climbed up those stairs in such little time. The time that it will take for one to reach this Hall of Origin depends solely on his heart."

Chiramii met eyes with the godly being that stood before him. It was none other than Arceus: the Original One. The Creator. The one who would help him. Just as Chiramii had imagined, Arceus towered high above his head, his height emphasizing his power. The way this holy Pokemon spoke was so emotionless, and yet, so powerful and overflowing with a sense of justice.

Yes, this was exactly how Chiramii had figured Arceus would be. His expectations had been both met and surpassed. It was very unnerving.

The Lake Trio had finally arrived in the Hall of Origin. "I always hate hovering up those stairs…" Mesprit sighed. But, upon catching sight of Arceus, she immediately wiped the emotion off of her face and stuck her chin up. "Arceus! I… ugh… How've ya been…?"

"Spirits of the Three Lakes," Arceus spoke. His voice was booming with authority. "for what reason do you bring this mortal before me?"

"You should know." Uxie stated quite bluntly. The small hint of sarcasm in his voice made Mesprit shift her eyes towards him with surprise.

There were traces of emotion in neither Arceus's face nor speech, but the alpha Pokemon seemed to welcome Uxie's sarcasm the same way someone would welcome an old friend's familiar jokes upon a reunion. "You are right as always, Uxie. I do know." Arceus then shot an icy glance down at Chiramii. Chiramii tensed up but never displayed visible fear. "I had a feeling that you'd return to me… Chiramii."

Chiramii gulped. Was he even worthy enough to speak to this god, much less be in his presence? "R-return? What do you mean by that? Have… have I been here before?"

"You have… But you don't remember. You don't remember anything about your former life. Or rather, you shouldn't. But the heart and the mind are curious devices that simply insist on clinging on to their precious memories. I see that you were no exception."

Fearing that he only had a limited amount of time to be in this Hall of Origin with the legendary Arceus, Chiramii didn't want to waste any more time talking about his own memories. "Tell me what happened to my trainer and the Isshu region, Arceus."

Was he insane? He'd just given a commandment to a GOD! But… it felt so empowering…

Arceus didn't even bat an eye at him. "You are fortunate, young Chiramii. You were the only former resident of the Isshu region who was able to avoid the fate that I had bestowed upon it. I erased your memory so that you could live on in peace. I hoped that you would never be curious enough about your past life to regain some of your memories. But, here you stand. This time, however, I will give you a choice."

This time? What did he mean by "this time"?

Arceus continued. "I can dismiss you right now, and you can go on and live peacefully in the Sinnoh region the way I had always hoped that you would, completely naïve and unaware of your past life." Arceus's eyes darkened eerily. "Or, I can tell you everything, and you can live on in guilt and agony."

All three members of the Lake Trio shot curious glances at Chiramii, as if silently placing bets.

Chiramii had already made his decision, long before he'd heard the consequences. "Tell me everything."

Arceus looked towards the heavens, having foreseen Chiramii's response. "Very well then. This is how Isshu met its downfall…"

x~x~x

What an abnormal feeling this was… Chiramii found himself in a dimly lit room, but his entire being felt as if it only consisted of millions and millions of particles that refused to come together to make him whole. A little cloud of nothing. At the same time, he could feel everything that was in the room, but without actually knowing where he was. He could hear the inner thoughts of people: Evil intentions and a naïve spirit. Was this what it felt like to be a god? To be all-knowing? Omnipresent?

Then, it hit him. The strange markings on the wall, the ancient floor, the grand altar before him… This was the Chamber of Balance. The room became less dim. Two figures stood before the altar. Upon the altar, two Pokemon reigned.

"This is…!"

Yin had just trekked through the unforgiving duration test that was the Tunnel of Passage. Apparently, only really, really tough trainers could fight their way through that grueling journey. She almost felt a little proud of herself and her team, although, upon reaching the Chamber of Balance at last, all of that pride had melted away and morphed into deep concern. The chamber was old, ancient, maybe even a little musty. It housed only a few torches upon the wall, and a grand altar where two huge Pokemon sat with authority. One was a blazing white dragon. The one next to it was a red-eyed beast of steel. These were the fabled balancing forces of the Chamber.

Yin was ecstatic. Just looking at these magnificent Pokemon made her a better trainer than Yang!

But, to her right, she noticed another individual. "Who are you?" Yin said to him. Just as her presence was made known in the Chamber of Balance, the darkly-colored Pokemon let out an upset cry that rattled the very floor of the entire altar.

"Don't get too close." spoke the older man that stood before the altar. "These Pokemon… Reshiram and Zekrom… They must be tamed. They are about to destroy this very chamber."

"Reshiram and Zekrom?" Yin exclaimed. She could feel tiny Chiramii tense up a bit in her bag. She didn't blame him. How many times had they'd heard someone affectionately refer to those names throughout their journey? Yin knew that they were supposed to be sacred Pokemon, but she'd never suspected them of being the very yin-yang Pokemon that brought peace and harmony to Isshu from this Chamber of Balance. But why were they acting so violently right now? "What's wrong with…?"

"Someone has upset these Pokemon, and it could cause mass destruction if they aren't calmed down." The grey-haired man then nodded towards his Houndoom, which was baring its whitened teeth at the two legendary Pokemon. "Trust me, the only way that this will work is if they were both weakened."

Yin grinned as always, seeing a new challenge before her, and reached for a Pokeball at her belt. "Don't worry. I'll…"

The white Pokemon known as Reshiram, who'd been watching Yin cautiously, let out a startled roar the moment it sensed that Yin was now a possible threat to it. Reshiram stomped on the ground furiously, hoping to scare off the two humans who were about to attack it in its lair. The earthquakes that kicked up both within the chamber and throughout Isshu at that moment were disastrous. Chiramii poked his head out of Yin's bag, allowing himself to scurry onto her shoulder out of fear for both himself and her.

"There's no controlling them now…" Yin whispered to herself and Chiramii. She had no desire to attempt fighting this legendary Pokemon anymore. She didn't want to admit it, but she was scared. This was far too dangerous for her and the rest of Isshu. She had to get out of here as soon as possible…

"I have to weaken them!" the old man shouted back to her. His voice suddenly seemed sinister. "Houndoom! Attack it now!"

The Houndoom growled and jumped in front of Yin, barking a challenge at the enraged Reshiram.

Yin, on the other hand, was backing away from the Houndoom, hoping that she could sneak out of the Chamber of Balance. She didn't care how weak it would make her look. She wanted to LIVE!

"Houndoom! Use Flamethrower!" the old man commanded his Pokemon.

But before the Houndoom could ready its attack, Reshiram threw open its own mouth, a heated white ball of flame forming between its jaws.

"LOOK OUT!" Yin shouted with alarm.

"Evade the attack, Houndoom!" the old man yelled at his Pokemon.

Houndoom growled at Reshiram and jumped to the side as the white yang Pokemon unleashed its all-consuming fire-type attack. Yin, who had still been cowering away behind the Houndoom, now found herself face-to-face with an incoming comet of fire. She only gasped with surprise, too frozen with fear to get out of the way.

Chiramii instantly sensed that Yin wasn't going to move. This deadly attack was going to kill his trainer! He had to shield her…

Overcome with bravery and his love for Yin, Chiramii leaped off of her shoulder, jumping right into the bright, churning flame that opened its jaws towards him.

"Chiramii, don't!" Yin yelled at him.

But it was already too late. He could feel himself burning, suffering… dying. Ultimately, he was pleased with himself. He'd done something with his life. He'd met an amazing human and died protecting her. He died with no regrets.

"CHIRAMII…!" he could hear her shout to him. It was the last thing he heard.

He was glad it was.

x~x~x

The strange sensation of being made up of millions of particles began to lift itself off of Chiramii's shoulders. The next time he blinked his eyes, he was back in the Hall of Origin. Arceus glared down at him, as if expecting a comment.

"I still have many questions." Chiramii insisted.

"And they will be answered." Arceus said to him.

The godly Pokemon turned his attention to the stars in the sky, the land far below them, and then at Chiramii again. "I knew that from the moment you willingly sacrificed yourself for your trainer, many misfortunes would happen. Though your intentions were noble and brave, your good deed would only bear bad fruit. Your trainer, Yin, saw no reason to attack Reshiram and Zekrom, the yin and yang Pokemon of Isshu. But, when you died before her eyes, Yin would grow enraged, and she'd fight against Reshiram and Zekrom with all of her heart to avenge your death. Eventually, she and the stranger whom she had encountered in the Chamber of Balance overthrew the two mythical Pokemon. But, this unknown man never wanted to calm down the Pokemon in the first place. It was he who'd upset them. His intentions had always been evil. His name was Charon: a former Commander of the scheming Team Galactic. What Charon really intended to do was capture Reshiram and Zekrom to harness their balancing forces and cause mass destruction to the Isshu region. At first, he certainly would have failed. But when your Yin began to help him out, his goals were met. Charon was able to capture the two sacred Pokemon of the Chamber of Balance because of your trainer's naïveté. Yin would see the disastrous mistake she had just made. She would try to stop him, but with two legendary beasts at his command, hers was a foolhardy attempt.

"From there on, the Isshu region would enter an era of bleakness. Charon would gather many underlings who would assist him in his dark deeds. He would eventually build up a team of scheming Pokemon crooks, and with Reshiram and Zekrom at his side, he would overtake all of Isshu, and much later on, the other four regions.

"I foresaw all of this in advance. I couldn't allow this to happen, because if I were to let it happen, there would be no way to undo it. When something significant happens to a mystical creation of mine, it is nearly impossible to undo, even if one were to go back in time. That is why, I had to do the very last thing that I'd ever have to do to a land that I created. I erased all existence of Reshiram and Zekrom so that no one would ever be able to accomplish the dark deed that Charon had planned. However, the Isshu region is extremely dependent upon these two mythical Pokemon. If they cease to exist, so will Isshu. So, I willingly made all of the Isshu region nonexistent. I wiped it off of the face of the Earth, solely to protect the four other regions. Only misfortune was destined to sprout from Isshu. Even if I had decided to only destroy Charon, there would eventually be others who would attempt to do the same as he. It was inevitable. It was for the best.

"However, when I noticed the selfless sacrifice that you had made to protect your trainer, I felt that you were deserving of being spared of this fate. I brought you into this Hall of Origin and revived you. I then erased your memory, and I sent you off to Sinnoh. I hoped that you would never remember anything that had happened to you before. I wished only for you to live peacefully, despite the fact that no other Pokemon or humans would be able to identify what species you were. It was a bit of a reward for your bravery, if that's how you wish to look at it. But somehow… I knew that you'd come back here." Arceus studied Chiramii carefully. What a determined little Pokemon this was…

Chiramii was at a loss of words. Even the Lake Trio was deep in thought.

"So… you just destroyed it? All of it?" Chiramii asked.

"I didn't destroy the Isshu region." Arceus answered. "You could think of it as being… reset. I decided to recreate the Isshu region… but further into the future. I wish to redesign the entire land so that no evil shall attempt to poison its grounds again. It will be a perfect land, born in an era where only just people that I approve of will dwell. Rest assured, the Isshu region shall live on again someday. Perhaps the thought of this will allow you to sleep well at night. Don't worry. Your loved ones are not dead, but they are not alive… yet. Any good humans and Pokemon alike who once lived in Isshu shall be reborn. Just not at the moment. The evil that plagues our world today is far too hazardous to powerful beings such as Reshiram and Zekrom. This mistake must never be made again."

This mistake… So that's what Arceus thought of it. A mistake. He, Chiramii, had made a mistake. A huge one.

Arceus had been right. He certainly did feel guilty about the whole thing…

"So… it's kinda like you put the Isshu region in time-out, right?" Mesprit asked. Her two other counterparts glared at her childishness, although Uxie had to admit that this was a good way to put it.

"My only concern is towards the rest of the world." Arceus continued to stare down upon Mount Coronet. "Millions, perhaps billions, of years into the future, Isshu shall rise again. When there is no badness in the world, it will resurrect."

"But that time will never come." Chiramii said. His inner thoughts screamed at him, wondering why he was being so defiant these days. It occurred to him that this bold, fearless person was the true him. This was what Shinx had told him about. This other side of Chiramii was the same one who'd leaped in front of Yin, pushed himself forward, and spoke to Arceus now. The true him. "Arceus, you and I both know that there will always be evil in the world. There will always be humans with bad intentions… Pokemon who only see the darkness. In what impossible age do you intend on reviving Isshu?"

Arceus's eyes softened a bit. However, they were still cold and emotionless. "Your eyes see further than I figured they would. You are a wise Pokemon to have seen past my true intentions."

"You lied to me. You're never going to revive the Isshu region."

"I only wish to protect the rest of this world from harm. That is my only goal. I never wanted to destroy Isshu. It was a land that I myself gave birth to. But I had to get rid of it. I had to delete all traces of it. You are correct to assume that I have no intentions on bringing it back to life."

"Why can't you give Isshu a second chance?"

"How would I benefit from giving it another chance? I said it before, and I'll say it again: Even if Charon was somehow stopped from achieving his dark plans, only more in his likeliness will continue to be born, striving for the same goal. This predicament that you now find yourself in will only occur again. And again. And again. There is no need for a second chance."

"Yes there is." Chiramii said. He looked the god Pokemon straight in the eyes, adrenaline rushing through his veins at a maddening speed. "You can give me a second chance. You said that the past can't be undone when something significant happens to a mystical Pokemon, but you destroyed Isshu BEFORE anything could be done to Reshiram and Zekrom, right? I… If you give me just one more chance… one chance to go back in time and undo where I messed everything up… then I can save them both. And no one will threaten Reshiram and Zekrom ever again." But Chiramii didn't know how he'd be able to keep that last promise. He was just one Pokemon. He was one mortal Pokemon that would someday die. Reshiram and Zekrom were two legendary beings that had no breath, no heart, no way of dying. They'd live on forever. They'd be threatened for generations, long after Chiramii's own death. Was he insane for making that final promise?

Arceus shared the same thoughts as Chiramii. However, he seemed to be both confident in and humored by the tiny rodent Pokemon before him. "You have a big heart, though you are no more than a foot tall. You doubt your own strength and power. I see much potential in you. That is why I will allow you to attempt to undo the wrong that has met the Isshu region."

Chiramii's eyes widened. "R-really?"

"BUT," Arceus spoke so loudly and suddenly, Chiramii stumbled backwards and landed on his rump. "only if you prove your potential to me. Only three things survived the destruction of Isshu: You, and two sacred treasures that even the elders of Isshu were unaware of. If your heart is true, and your spirit is unyielding, then you shall find them easily."

"Two treasures? What are they?"

"That is for you to find out."

"Could I have any hints on where they are?"

"None whatsoever."

Chiramii gulped, the adrenaline vanishing from his system. "What happens if I don't find them?"

"Then I shall refuse to send you back into the time you once knew. You have less than a year to find them. When April the seventh, the anniversary of Isshu's downfall, returns… then your time will be up. If you come out successful from the one attempt that I will bestow upon you, then I will willingly revive Isshu and make it seem as if it never disappeared in the first place. You can then live on within the borders of the land you once called home, and no one will ever know of the things that you have faced to save them all. And… if you do not return to me with the two treasures by the deadline, or if you fail to prevent Isshu from falling into evil hands, then Isshu will never be revived… And I'll have the right to finish off the job."

"Finish… off… the job…?"

"I will permanently destroy all of Isshu and it can never be saved or revived after that. Consequently, I will have to destroy every other surviving aspect of that region… That means… that if you fail to save Isshu, you will fail to save yourself. You, Chiramii, will also be destroyed."

"But that's not fair at all!" Mesprit cried out. "I'll find the treasures for you, Arceus! You don't have to kill Chirakii. He's just an ordinary Pokemon!"

"No, Mesprit." Chiramii said. "I would rather die all over again knowing that I was trying to save all of Isshu than live on in Sinnoh knowing that I could have done something. I accept your challenge, Arceus."

"You have a fateful spirit, Chiramii. It is rare to find Pokemon who are as dedicated to their humans as you are. Whether you survive this challenge or not, you will be one of the few Pokemon that I will remember for generations to come."

"Is… that a good thing?"

"It can be both a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing… because of how hard you are trying to save your home and your trainer. A bad thing… because you started it all."