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Our lead, Aria Roscent
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''The Villainess Reverses the Hourglass'', also known as The Villainess Turns the Hourglass and Agnyeoneun Molaesigyeleul Doedollinda (Korean: 악녀는 모래시계를 되돌린다), is a web novel by Sansobee. It is about the revenge of Aria Roscent, the daughter of a prostitute who married a wealthy count.

With the marriage of her prostitute mother to Count Roscent, Aria’s status in society skyrocketed immediately. After leading a life of luxury, Aria unfairly meets death because of her sister Mielle’s schemes. And right before she dies, she sees an hourglass fall as if it were a fantasy. And just like that, she was miraculously brought back to the past.

“I want to become a very elegant person, just like my sister, Mielle.”

In order to face the villainess, she must become an even more wicked villainess. This was the new path Aria chose to take revenge on Mielle who murdered both her and her mother.

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The web novel ran from June 2017 to June 2018 (209 chapters total), and was published in four volumes with an additional fifth volume (which is eBook only). Sansobee added some extra web chapters in 2020 (32 of them). It has been adapted to a webtoon, illustrated by Ant Studio, which began in March 2020. The novel has been licensed in English by Qidian International and the webtoon by Tapytoon, however, volume five and the 2020 extras have not been translated.


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Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: The story has a few of these, mostly being extensions of Parental Neglect. Stepparents aside:
    • The Countess on the other hand can come off as negligent, since she only makes sure that Aria is safe and provided for, typically not going any further, and outright states that Aria's birth was a burden (albeit in a matter-of-fact rather than resentful manner). Ultimately, the Countess turns out to be a subversion, since not only did make sure to raise her daughter to maturity when most people in her situation would have abandoned her, she is more than willing to give up everything she has gained from her marriage to ensure that both she and her daughter are safe. It is all but stated that Aria's physical resemblance to her father (who her mother believed to have betrayed her), conditions as a prostitute single-mother, and husband's neglect of both herself and her daughter were the primary causes of this attitude. As Aria improves their circumstances, the Countess improves, exponentially.
    • The Fredericks to their son and heir, Oscar. The parents only care about their daughter, Isis, and are behind Isis all the way, regardless of her actions. While the exact extent is unclear, they all completely ignore and disregard his opinions and feelings, treating him more like a puppet than a human being. As a result, Oscar is forced to ignore the woman he loves in favour of an engagement with her abusive stepsister, kept out of the loop regarding the family's various plans, and his objections to said plans are not only ignored, he is eventually confined and starved for daring to object to the treason.
    • It is revealed in the epilogue that Asher's father, The Emperor, is a complete do-nothing, even when his son is avoiding getting assassinated, nearly getting forcibly married off to one of the conspirators, or handling a massive attempted coup d'état, the guy does absolutely nothing. Purportedly, this is due to the assassination of his wife, not that anyone approves of this behaviour. This complete neglect turns out to even extend to his job, effectively forcing his son and heir to do it in his stead,note  which is the reason Asher is always so busy, despite not having inherited his father's position yet.
  • Adult Fear: Attempts to harm Aria cause this in the Countess. Additionally, when the Count tries to match Aria with his anonymous benefactor's servant (whose background and status are likewise unknown), she becomes very worried about Aria's safety and prospects.
  • Alpha Bitch: While not in an academic setting, Isis is this for aristocratic society full stop, with Mielle as her understudy.
  • Always Someone Better: Played with. In her first timeline Aria could not match Mielle in manners, etiquette, elegance, or general education. In the second timeline, Aria quickly surpasses Mielle.
  • Anti-Hero: Despite the title, Aria is no Villain Protagonist, although she does see herself as one. In fact, both Aria and Asher qualify.
  • Arranged Marriage: As is to be expected of noble society, this is something very common. The Roscents and Fredericks arrange one between Oscar Frederick and a daughter of the Roscents, Isis threatening harm on Aria if Oscar continues to favour Aria over Mielle. Isis and the Aristocratic Party try to impose this on Prince Asterope, which he tries his damnedest to stop even before meeting the love of his life.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Zigzagged. While the Aristocratic Party is this, other aristocrats vary. Particularly evil aristocrats of note:
    • Mielle is a massive bitch behind her saintly façade. She plotted to murder Aria and her mother from the moment her father brought them home. In the first timeline, she was successful (via systematic manipulation and poisoning), so her evil only went that far. In the second timeline, her lack of success leads her to push her father down the stairs to frame Aria for murder/attempted murder, be fully on board with the Aristocratic Party's treason, abandon all "affection" for Oscar in favour of a possible fling with Isis' prospective fiancé, and try to murder her bail guaranteer. To top it off, she is completely unrepentant and believes that she should be forgiven by her victims.
    • In the first timeline, Cain unlawfully executed Aria. In the second, he clearly begins to desire Aria sexually (Like Father, Like Son), neglects Mielle when she is beginning to have a break down, and eventually is part of a treasonous plot.
    • Isis Frederick, even when leaving aside her terrible treatment of certain individuals personally (including servants and her own brother), is very much an evil bitch of nobility. She commands the corrupt Aristocratic Party and plots to seize complete control of the imperial family by eliminating the political power of the Crown Prince and his allies and forcing him to marry her. When that fails, she is willing to marry a foreign king, sell out her own country, and stage a coup d'état.
    • On the other hand, characters such as Sarah, Marquis Vincent, Rain Pino, and the Piaast family are all aversions of this trope.
  • Authority in Name Only: The Aristocratic Party has managed to make the imperial family this and does their best to keep it that way. While the Crown Prince actively averts this, his father doesn't even bother trying, and the Prince himself was rendered powerless in the first timeline due to the political machinations of the Aristocratic Party.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Aria's modus operandi for getting Revenge on Mielle. That said, she doesn't do things the same way Mielle does, opting for temptation and wit in favour of Mielle's Gaslighting and slander.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Spectacularly averted, but Aria does take extensive advantage of belief in this trope.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Congratulations, Emma. You wanted Mielle to grow up to be a conniving, self-serving monster who hides under the guise of a prim and proper lady, you got it. Unfortunately, this does mean she would rather save her own skin, then risk it by standing up for the person who raised her, this being you.
  • Becoming the Mask: Aria does not like to admit it but she does become much kinder the longer she pretends to be.
  • Big Brother Bully: Zigzagged. Aria is abused by her stepsiblings, one of whom is plotting to kill both her and her mother. Aria counters this, actively seeking the siblings' downfall. Meanwhile, Isis will do anything to keep her older brother in line, including threatening him with his crush's life and encouraging their parents to abuse him — it's implied that this is typical of her and probably also includes physical abuse.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Cain is very protective of Mielle. Oscar has it toward anyone that seems to be pathetic and fragile (his familial situation is implied to be a contributing factor).
  • Big Damn Heroes: Aria does this for Asher, in the form of timely advice and insight, which saves him politically.
    • When it appears that Mielle has successfully cornered Aria, Asher teleports there, quickly learns about the situation, and teleports with Aria to an entirely different location.
  • Birds of a Feather: Aria and Asher are wickedly clever schemers with a taste for revenge and a strong hatred for the Aristocratic Party.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mielle full stop. Had she not gloated to Aria just prior to execution Aria would have had no idea that Mielle set her up from the very beginning. In the new timeline though, she's not quite as good at hiding this trait as she thinks. Sarah picks up on the fact that Mielle constantly speaks in ways that undermine Aria, and the baronesses Mielle invites for a meeting are ultimately put off when she seems offended at them being working women.
  • Brainless Beauty: Aria in the original timeline was one, although this seems to have been partially willful on her own part.
  • Break Them by Talking: This occurs a few times during the story. First being Mielle's Evil Gloating before Aria's execution in the first timeline. It occurs again when the Crown Prince calls Isis out on her arrogant assumptions. At the traitors' execution, Lohan gives her another good one. Finally, Aria gives Mielle an excellent one the night before the latter's execution.
  • Broken Ace: Mielle in the original timeline was regarded as a well-mannered All-Loving Heroine and the pinnacle of noble breeding, when she was in fact a conniving, classist sociopath who planned the deaths of her stepmother and stepsister before she ever actually met them. Once Aria turns back time, she gradually destroys Mielle's reputation and essentially exposes her true nature, until Mielle ends her life as a convicted murderess and is executed exactly as Aria was before.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the last arcs Isis becomes this. She is publicly humiliated when Asher starts to officially court Aria. Her protégée and future sister-in-law, Mielle, ends up branded as an insane drug addict who tried to murder her own father. Lohan, the King of Croa double crosses her by betraying her intentions to Asher. Just to salt the wound Lohan blatantly hits on Aria in front of Isis. In the end Isis is condemned to death for high treason and her noble title is taken away.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes Mielle when she repeatedly claims that Asher suddenly appeared out of nowhere and left with Aria in the same way. Since the existence of special powers is basically only known by their possessors and their relatives, it is concluded that she is either taking hallucinogens or is insane. Asher uses this in order to convict Mielle for the crime.
  • The Chessmaster: Asher, i.e. the Crown Prince is this, and while poor advising led him to loose his power in the first timeline, in the second, he has Aria. To wit, he takes the Aristocratic Party for a ride by manipulating specific exports and imports, then foists the hot potato that is the casino on to a greedy member of the Aristocratic Party (without Isis being able to intervene), uses the resulting corruption to his advantage, and when the Aristocratic Party tries to stage a coup, he manipulates the events in order to completely decimate them.
  • The Corrupter: In the original timeline, Mielle purposefully ensured Aria would turn into a horrible person by surrounding Aria with people who gave her the wrong advice.
    • In the new timeline, Aria manages to deduce that it was actually all thanks to Mielle's personal maid, Emma, that Mielle's schemes ever succeed. Emma for her part, raised Mielle to become the monster that she is, not out of malicious intent, but because she believed it was the only way for Mielle to survive the cutthroat world of the aristocracy and out of a sense of gratitude for Mielle's biological mother, the late first Countess Roscent. Of course, the problem here is that not only did Mielle grew dependent on Emma's assistance, Emma herself actively feed malicious schemes and advice to Mielle as they plotted to rid themselves of Aria and her mother.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Asher really does not like it when someone is interested in Aria. He despises Oscar for having a flirtation with her, is infuriated when Lohan blatantly admires and compliments her, and is less than pleased with the men who courted Aria in the first timeline.
  • Death by Childbirth: The first Countess Roscent died from complications right after giving birth to Mielle.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mielle plots to kill her stepmother and stepsister for having married into the family. Isis and Emma are in complete agreement, actively assisting and encouraging Mielle. And then there's Isis' reaction to getting dumped.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Oscar Frederick does this to his family, when they top off their typical abuse with confining and starving him for objecting to treason and trying to dissuade them. He offers to inform Asher about everything he knows, leading to him being considered a Category Traitor and the only one of the Frederick family to survive, albeit as a commoner.
  • Domestic Abuse: Count Roscent treats his wife as through she were a beautiful object and is implied to actively prevent her from disciplining his children (who are abusing her) or doing more for Aria.
  • Double Standard: The Aristocratic Party believes that while commoners should get judged according to their crimes, if a noble does the same thing, they should only get a slap on the wrist. At one point, Cain thinks that a noble should be able to get away with murder — he thinks it a privilege of nobility. Additionally, the Roscents treat the Countess and Aria this way. So, if Aria does something wrong, the Count allows Cain to loudly scold her; if Mielle does the same exact thing?— a quiet word of warning.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Aria's powers were activated when she was unlawfully executed by Cain.
  • Entitled to Have You: A rare female example. Isis feels this way about the Crown Prince, both because only his status, lineage, and appearance match hers, and because there are rumours that the two are in the process of getting engaged (never mind the fact that it was Isis and the rest of the Aristocratic Party who spread the rumours in the first place and were trying to politically force the prince to agree).
  • Evil Gloating: Mielle could not resist gloating to Aria just prior to the execution. It becomes her undoing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Double subverted by Aria. She is amazingly perceptive but does not figure out Asher's identity as the Crown Prince despite all the clues. To be precise, she repeatedly comes to the correct conclusion only to reject it, since the Crown Prince doing all of that stuff personally would be absurd.
    • Played straight by the Aristocratic Party, who never notice that there might be a spy in their ranks, Vika's behaviour, and any of the Crown Prince's actual plans. Mostly this is an example of them not noticing when things change.
  • Flower Motif: The noble families are represented by flowers.
    • Franz, the imperial family is represented by a tulip. Asher often gives tulips to Aria as a result.
    • The Roscents have the lily. While pristine and pure looking, most lilies are poisonous: perfect to represent Mielle.
    • The Fredericks have a golden rose as their symbol. In the webtoon, Isis is often drawn with very thorny red roses.
  • Frame-Up: Mielle tries to frame Aria in both timelines, often using circumstantial evidence. In the second timeline, she pushes her own father down the stairs, having set up the situation so that Aria appears to be the culprit (Mielle herself lack an actual motive). Asher uses his powers to teleport Aria away and create evidence that he and Aria were away on a trip and could not have been on the scene at the time of the crime, thus Framing the Guilty Party.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Simultaneously played straight and inverted when Mielle tries to frame Aria with the attempted murder of Count Roscent: Asher creates evidence that Aria could not possibly have been at the Roscent estate at the time, resulting in the conclusion that the only person who could have pushed the Count down the stairs is Mielle.
  • The Gadfly: Lohan delights in being this. He deliberately irritates Isis by showing interest in women other than her (especially those "inferior" to her) and infuriates Asher by flirting with Aria.
  • Gaslighting: Mielle did it to Aria from day one, assigning maids who were ordered to reinforce her worst qualities and make her feel awful.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Aria's father, Chloe Piaast, who is obviously male.
  • Generation Xerox: Aria's beauty is credited to her mother's blood. However, while this is true of her build and eye colour, Aria is otherwise the splitting image of her biological father. Personality-wise, Aria is almost exactly like her mother taken Up to Eleven.
  • Heroic Bastard: Although she is manipulative and not very choosey about her means, Aria is this.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mielle, Mielle, had she not gloated about her evil schemes to Aria, Aria might have never activated her powers. And, in the second timeline, Mielle just had to push her father down the stairs in order to frame Aria for the crime, which leads to her Humiliation Conga.
  • Humiliation Conga: This is a large part of Aria's revenge, not to mention Asher's. Mielle gets the worst case of this, once she attempted to murder her father and frame Aria for it. She is considered to be an insane drug-addict who harms her family members, then her attempt to escape the situation leads to her becoming Isis' maid. Then she's sent to jail for participating in the coup, so she's stripped of her rank and was only spared due to Aria's Cruel Mercy. Aria then has Mielle work as a maid under Annie, who used to be Mielle's servant. Since Mielle refuses to accept her new circumstances (as Aria predicted), Aria suggests that Mielle drug Annie's tea, giving a warning about the dosage. Of course Mielle instead goes over board, so when Aria switches the cups (her plan), Cain is murdered. As such, Mielle is returned to jail, humiliated further, is told the truth of the entire thing, including Aria's powers and the first timeline, and is executed.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: After Isis forces him to leave Aria for Mielle, Oscar has this attitude toward his first love and is happy for her when she gets together with the Crown Prince. Later on, when he betrays his family, Asher states this to be one of the guy's motives.
  • Ironic Name: "Mielle" means honey, but, rather than the sweet personality the name implies, she's incredibly vicious.
  • The Jailbait Wait: Legally speaking, Asher is not actually allowed to do more than hold Aria's hand since she's a minor; much teasing ensues. He eventually starts kissing her a year before he is technically allowed, only Cain takes it poorly.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Aria's admittedly sly, manipulative, and enjoys making her enemies squirm as befitting her self image as a "villainess." However, for as self serving as she is, Aria genuinely desires to reward those who serve her and only really seeks to hurt those who deserve it like Mielle. She even averts being a Bad Boss to most of her maids with the exception of Veri, and even that came from knowing Veri was spying on Aria for Mielle, and in the previous timeline was most likely the one who poisoned Aria's mother. In short, Aria desires only to be a villain towards other villains.
  • King Incognito: Asher turns out to be the Crown Prince, Asterope Franz. He reveals this to Aria after some time, but maintains this for the most part until the opening ceremony of the academy, which gives him enough power to jilt the Aristocratic Party.
  • Lady in Red: Aria is this during the first timeline; in the second, while she sometimes uses her ability to wrap men around her finger, it only goes as far as tempting them, and, once she gets into a relationship, she stops using this ability to manipulate, although using it to tease her lover is something she continues to enjoy.
    • Aria's mother has shades of this and is often seen as a combination of this and a Brainless Beauty. Her actions show that, Aria has come by her personality, intellect, and other traits honestly and then taken it Up to Eleven.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Cain is more like his father than he would like to admit. It does not take him long to start lusting after Aria.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Aria is the only member of Crown Prince Asterope's think-tank who is unaware of Asher's identity, at first, that is. Additionally, the Fredericks use the fact that Oscar is at school to keep the guy uninformed about their plans.
    • Aria and her mother are routinely kept ignorant of things Roscent. Aria is also the only member for the Roscent family not to be aware that Mielle's birthday ball is where her betrothal to Oscar will be officially announced.
  • Lord Country: The king of Croa is named Lohan Croa.
  • Lost Orphaned Royalty: Aria's biological father is a nobleman and (abandoned) stepson of a prince.
  • Love at First Sight: Rain Pino, Asher's right-hand man privately believes that Asher fell in love with Aria at first sight. The people themselves aren't so certain.
  • Lust Object: The Countess for the Count. Aria for Cain. The apple really did not fall far from the tree.
  • Malicious Slander: Mielle started a lot of nasty rumours about Aria from the very beginning, before Aria had ever started acting out. She and Isis both continue to enjoy using this.
  • Mama Bear: The Countess may seem inattentive to Aria, but whenever she gets the sense Aria's in danger she immediately focuses all her energy on making sure Aria's safe. She's enraged when she just finds out about the carriage incident and rushes to Aria's side after she's almost poisoned. The Countess is also visibly disgusted when her husband tries to set Aria up with Rain.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mielle is this all the way, especially in the original timeline, her lack of success in the second makes her gradually loose it. Throughout the second timeline, Aria is this and supremely good at it, being a comparatively benign example, only going after those who've wronged her and primarily using temptation rather than other means (such as Gaslighting).
  • Marry for Love: Sarah and Marquis Vincent get married because they very deeply and purely love each other. Their love even brings a cynic like Aria to tears, and they are subsequently shown to be Happily Married. In the beginning of the epilogue, Aria's mother, Carin, marries Chloe due to their mutual attraction. Likewise, Aria and Asher also get married in the epilogue, because they are in love with each other. Eventually, Jessie marries Hans, not because of his super-excellent prospects, but because they are in love and have been dating since both of their situations and prospects were much bleaker.
  • Meaningful Name: Aria was named for the solo songs of opera since her mother wished for her to be self sufficient.
  • The Mole: Vika Layers is Asher's in the Aristocratic Party.
  • Not Blood Siblings: How Cain justifies to himself his lust for Aria. However he is the only one to thinks so, everyone who notices his sexual interest in Aria is disgusted. This includes Aria, her mother, all of the servants, and even Mielle. Although Mielle seems to be disgusted because of her abhorrence of Aria, rather than any moral factor.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Isis Frederick does not take it well when anything doesn't go her way. This is first seen clearly with her treatment of Oscar. The Crown Prince's rejection of her assumed power in his affairs takes this even further, being her motive for planning and enacting a treasonous plot to have him deposed.
  • Only Sane Man: Oscar is the only member of his family sane enough to realize that the Crown Prince has caught on to their plot and that if they don't desist, they will be executed for treason. His repeated efforts to convince them of this are rewarded with the family confining and starving the guy while they proceed with their plans.
  • Parental Abandonment: More than a few characters have a case of this.
    • Aria's biological father was one of her mother's clients, her mother isn't sure which one, and is therefore not in the picture. Turns out to not actually be the case, Aria is the splitting image of a man who had promised to marry her but didn't return. It is later revealed that the man is Chloe, the bastard son of Marquis Piaast and Violet, who had been forced to marry to a minor prince of the empire during their engagement. Once that prince found out that his ill-gotten wife had cheated on him with her ex-fiancé, he had both mother and son exiled, separating his daughter (Frey) from her mother and brother and resulting in Chloe being stuck in Croa severely depressed. This obviously rendered Chloe unable to be with Carin, and consequently, Aria, whom he didn't even know existed. He eventually gets back in the picture.
    • Count Roscent's first wife died after giving birth to Mielle, giving both Cain and Mielle a case of Missing Mom.
    • Asher's mother was assassinated, while his father might as well not be there for all the things he actually does (nothing, by the way).
    • Aria's mother, Carin, was a foundling who had been abandoned on the streets as an infant.
  • Parental Substitute: Emma is a beloved mother figure for Mielle, and was the one to encourage and teach Mielle her wicked ways. Part of Aria's Revenge is ensuring that Emma gets caught trying to poison her and gets the death penalty.
  • Parents as People: The Countess is self-centered and spends more attention to her relaxation than her daughter's circumstances, and even has directly told Aria that her birth was a burden. But, as Aria frequently admits to herself, the Countess could have very easily abandoned her (as most people in her situation would) but chose not to do so. Additionally, although she is generally quite laissez-faire, whenever Aria asks for help, the Countess does her best to back Aria up. Later on, the Countess shows that, for all her neglect, should Aria be in danger, she'd immediately pull up the stakes to save her. Her very reasonable fears for Aria's safety whenever something or someone threatens it (such as attempted murder by a servant) highlight this.
  • Passive Aggressive Combat: Aria and Mielle engage in this all the damn time when they're in public.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Aria's methods of getting revenge involve turning the tables against Mielle, Isis and all those who genuinely deserve it by being an even worse villain. However, Aria truly avoids become an outright monster because she never goes after innocent people (even if she uses them, Aria makes sure they're properly rewarded for wittingly/unwittingly aiding her).
  • Privilege Makes You Evil: Very much the case for Mielle, Isis, and almost all the rest of the Aristocratic Party.
  • Reset Button: Aria's hourglass allows her to reverse time for five minutes once a day. It is very, very useful as long as she keeps track of time.
  • Revenge: The entire story revolves around this. Aria has ample reason to want to exact this on the Roscents and a few others, and she is determined to do so to the end. Additionally, Asher has many good reasons for wanting revenge on the Aristocratic Party and is likewise determined to see it through, come Hell or high water. There's also the villainous example of Isis: hers is less successful.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Mielle really is the culprit of her father's attempted murder, but not because of where Aria was at the time.
  • Romantic False Lead: Oscar Frederick.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Asterope "Asher" Franz, the Crown Prince, is very active politically and militarily. It turns out that he is also doing all of his father's work, making this doubly true.
  • Royalty Superpower: Some members of the imperial family can develop superpowers when they are in danger. Asher is capable of teleporting. Aria's biological father is the illegitimate son of a minor prince's wife who was baptized with special holy water, which is why Aria also has a power. It is noted that individuals who get the power but are not from the imperial family proper have a more limited version.
  • Secret Identity: Aria is the mysterious "Investor A," and doesn't let anyone who is not involved in her work under that identity know until the academy's grand opening.
  • Secret Relationship: Aria and Asher, prior to the academy's opening ceremony.
  • Selective Obliviousness: One reason Aria does not figure out Asher's identity is because she thinks of the Crown Prince as the politically incompetent fool who was usurped and forcibly married to Isis. The Aristocratic Party often has shades of this, especially where Vika Layers is concerned.
  • Self-Made Man: Woman, in this case. Aria speculates and invests heavily, earning herself a vast fortune and the praise and awe of thousands.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Mielle attempts this on her father, solely in order to frame Aria for the deed. She is completely unrepentant and, upon finding out that her father doesn't forgive her, wishes she had pushed him from higher up.
  • Sketchy Successor: Lohan has elements of this trope, despite otherwise being an effective, reasonable, and capable monarch. In particular, he ignores etiquette and manners, enjoys being The Gadfly, and declines giving up his bachelorhood in favour of being a flirt.
  • Son of a Whore: Prostitution is highly stigmatic and Aria is largely despised by both nobles and commoners for being the daughter of a prostitute.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Aria, to the surprise of everyone who meets her, even herself.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Mielle tries to espouse this to a group of Baronesses who help manage the businesses of their husbands, and it only makes her look closeminded. Aria speaking in favor of the women taking an active hand in their livelihoods only endears her to them.
  • The Tease: Aria and Asher do this to each other about a third of the time they are together.
  • Teleportation: Asher has this ability.
  • Time Travel: Aria turns time by over a decade, back to the age of fourteen. Subsequently, she can turn time back five minutes once a day.
  • Tongue Trauma: Aria's tongue was cut off and salted prior to her execution. She also mentions she did this to Jesse in the previous timeline.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Played with. To most people, they assume Mielle does this as more stuff backfires on her while completely unaware Mielle was always this awful and her mask's starting to slip with each of Aria's victories.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In the first timeline, Mielle and Isis were this.
  • Vitriolic Best Friends: Lohan and Asher are this, constantly throwing barbs at each other; threatening violence, desertion by teleportation, or war; and sending their retainers into a panic. On the other hand they are obviously very familiar with each other and take the insults in strides; not to mention the political deals they make. At one point, they meet in public when trying to bluff a traitor, so the fact that they are so familiar and relaxed with each other makes said traitor briefly suspect that they're pulling the wool over her eyes (they manage to deceive her into thinking otherwise).
  • Undying Loyalty: Emma towards Mielle. She has raised the girl herself and even gets executed while covering for Mielle.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Mielle makes no effort to come to Emma's defense when Aria arranges for Veri to confess to Emma forcing her to poison Aria, with Aria noting how Emma does little for the woman who raised her from infancy.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Aria understands and exploits romantic love, but platonic love tends to elude her. She is very confused when she meets her paternal grandparents and they treat her with love and kindness without expecting anything in return.
    • She's equally bewildered when she comes to realise she really, truly loves Sarah like a sister and genuinely wishes for her happiness.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Inverted in the prominent example of Countess Roscent. She has never done anything bad to Cain and Mielle, who insult and belittle her for being a former common prostitute, with Mielle actively trying to kill her.
    • Averted in the more subtle example of Chloe's father, Marquis Piaast, despite the lack of interaction between him and his stepdaughter, it is made very clear that he cares for her about as much as he does his own son. However, the man himself seems to believe himself to play this straight, only downplayed, due to his actions having "stolen" Frey's mother and brother from her.
    • On the other hand, Count Roscent definitely plays this straight. Not only does he turn a blind eye to his children's abuse of their stepmother and sister, he also clearly favours his children over both his wife and stepdaughter. Moreover, he does only the absolute bare minimum for Aria while treating her like a disposable pawn the moment she appears to have any worth.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Aria is one of, if not the most beautiful woman in the empire.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Mielle's main specialty. Aria adopts it as well.

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