Popola doesn't remember when Devola became more human than her. She knows it was before the entire situation with Yonah, even before Nier. Popola remembers every detail. She was at her desk, checking over the latest trade information from Seafront. She was able to write her reply—"At this time, the general item shop would be interested in developing a trade system with"—when Devola practically flew into the room.

"It isn't working," she growled, tossing papers hopelessly into the wastebasket. Along with those papers, she had carelessly tossed three quills in various states of destruction, a ceramic container that had probably contained plum wine, and an ink bottle that made a shattering noise when it hit the bottom. Devola flopped onto the ground beside Popola's chair and laid her head in Popola's lap. "It isn't working at all…"

Popola set down her quill and set her fingers to work on sorting out small tangles in her sister's hair. "Well, that was a lot of wine. I think you passed 'creatively buzzed' about an hour ago."

"The song won't come out. It's there." Devola patted the side of her head. "I swear, there's a song there that isn't ours. But every time I try to write it or sing it, it comes out like ours… It's like there is no other song."

"There are other songs."

"I know. And they sing them… But all we can do is…" Devola made a sweeping motion with her hands. "Why aren't we them?"

"Why aren't we like them?" Devola nodded. Her eyes were scarcely focused on her sister. It was good, Popola decided, that Devola had just decided to work in the house. The villagers had never seen her sister in this state. "Because we need to be better than them to take care of them."

"But they can write music! Novels! They can paint! We- We-" Devola sputtered. She was acting rather human, and Popola blamed the wine. "All we do is the same song. And I like that song, but..."

"Yeah, I got your letter on the subject." Popola opened her desk, fished around for the letters that she actually kept, and handed her sister a sheet of paper. Devola stared at the words as though she was setting eyes on the words for the first time in her life. "We do play the same song every time. That's not a bad thing."

"I know... I just... There's more that I want to see in the world. I want to write it..."

Popola stood, trying to tug Devola to her feet. "Come on."


"You and I will go up to the roof and we'll both caterwaul that song until the guards come make us stop."

"You're too shy for that."

Popola gave another tug to her sister's hands. "I'm feeling daring. … C'mon, please? I can't do it myself."

"Okay, okay..." Devola got to her feet. Her toes got tangled in the wide legs of her pants, and she stumbled. She clung to Popola's shoulder for support, giggled, and leaned against the other's soft frame. "Thanks, sis... I love you."

"Love you too," Popola murmured. The words were foreign in her mouth, but they came out well enough.

As promised, they went up to the roof and mid-way through the second bottle, Popola lost track of the night.

Popola woke up with bruised knuckles. Devola walked out of her room adjusting a shirt that definitely didn't belong to her, and they locked eyes

And laughed.


They locked eyes-

"I'm sorry, sis... I love you."

-And laughed.