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Literature / The Villainess Lives Again

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"You have to live for the sake of your brother. The success of your brother will bring happiness to our family." That is what Artezia Rosan was told by her mother her whole life. Using her power as a marchioness, Artezia helped her brother succeed the throne of the Kratez Empire from the shadows through countless evil schemes. Under his tyrannical rule the empire fell into ruin and misery. However, when Laurence no longer needed Artezia, he exposed all of her crimes to imprison and silence her by cutting off her tongue and limbs.

Rotting in her cell full of regrets, Artezia is freed by a former rival of Laurence's, Grand Duke Cedric Ebron. After rescuing Artezia, Cedric begs her to help the rebellion he is leading and come up with a plan to overthrow Laurence and put an end to his tyranny. While Artezia had no plan to stop Laurence, she knew a way to help Cedric. Using herself as a sacrifice, Artezia uses blood magic to turn back time, but for some reason she returns to the time when she just became 18 with all of her Past-Life Memories.


To atone for her sins, she plans to use all her skills and knowledge to sabotage Laurence and instead make Cedric the emperor. Thus, she suggests a marriage with her to Cedric and when she has secured the throne to him, they will amicably separate (so that he may find happiness with Artezia's only friend from her past life). But as they work closely together, so do their feelings for each other grow.

The Villainess Lives Again (악녀는 두 번 산다, Agnyeoneun du beon sanda; also known as The Villainess Lives Twice) is a Web Serial Novel from 2018 written by Mint Han and published by Golem Factory.

In 2020, it received a manhwa adaptation drawn by Peachberry. The manhwa's English translation is provided by TappyToon.


This series provides examples of:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In the original timeline, Cedric risked a lot to free Artezia. He then fell on his knees and begged her to help him, despite her being a major contributor for destroying the empire.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Laurence's punishment for Artezia at the beginning of the story is to cut off her tongue and all of her limbs. He wanted to ensure his sister could not leave any written records behind that could challenge his rule or use her intellect to communicate with others.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Artezia threatened Saintess Lisia into accepting a marriage between her and Artezia's brother, Laurence, to give his rule the legitimacy he lacked.
    • Lisia was engaged to Cedric before Artezia intervened. Artezia thinks the two were in love with each other, but it's heavily implied he did so to protect Lisia, his Childhood Friend with a low barony background, which is supported by their interactions being more akin to siblings.
  • Batman Gambit: A lot of Artezia's schemes work out exactly because the pieces in her plan are moving exactly as she expects them to.
    • In the original timeline, Artezia sent Cedric into exile by appealing to his Chronic Hero Syndrome. She deliberately created scenarios that harmed the general populace close to him, expecting him to save them. However, since Cedric frequently ignored Emperor Gregor's orders to do so, he was eventually stripped off his authority and banished. Even in the second timeline, she always expects Cedric to do what he deems morally right, like when she urged him to find Saintess Olga's Heart, a precious diamond, which led to him dismantling a human trafficking ring.
    • In the second timeline, it's incredibly easy for Artezia to manipulate Millaira, because she is not the smartest person and her outbursts are predictable. Artezia abuses this to cut off ties with her mother and remove her influence on Laurence, thus making him lose favor with Emperor Gregor.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Whenever Artezia is beaten, her clothes are torn and she has visible bruises that other characters comment on.
  • Blood Magic: Magic requires life force (in the form of blood), so a Human Sacrifice is necessary for most spells, which is one of the reasons why the temple has forbidden the usage of it. In Artezia's time, almost no one is capable of using magic with her being a notable exception.
  • Cruel Mercy: Laurence claims he lets Artezia live because she is his sister. However, he orders her tongue and limbs to be removed and then throws her in a dark dungeon. Killing her would have been more merciful. Ironically, doing this gives Artezia the reason and ability to use the spell she needed to go back in time to prevent Laurence's rise to the throne.
  • Family Extermination:
    • Millaira poisoned every member of the direct Rosan line to make her daughter, the last remaining descendant, heir apparent.
    • It's implied that this is what Emperor Gregor effectively does with Empress Catherine. He killed her parents and possibly even his own children with her to take over the Riagan Duchy.
  • Fictional Age of Majority: The age to inherit titles and become fully independent is 20. There is an exception though. Nobles are allowed to inherit earlier if they marry with the consent of their guardian. This is why Artezia asks Cedric to marry her, since her mother, Millaira, would otherwise have control of the Rosan Marquessate for another two years, which would give Laurence enough time to use the Rosans' entire fortune to strengthen his own position.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Artezia is a master in doing this. Since she can read people very well, she knows exactly what angers them and how she can gain favor.
    • Cedric has a Chronic Hero Syndrome. If there is a crisis, he will prioritize the safety of the populace.
    • Emperor Gregor demands filial piety and wants an idyllic family life whenever it suits him. Artezia thus tasks Countess Eunice to play the obedient daughter to appease Gregor, butters up Gregor herself, and sows seeds of discord in her own family.
    • Laurence wants more than anything "legitimacy", as he has a complex about the fact that he is an illegitimate son. She suggests to him to cut ties with his mother and try to get adopted by the empress instead, as this is the only way to gain the legitimacy he is lacking (which is not true, since Artezia in the original timeline gave him said legitimacy in a different way in the future).
  • Frame-Up: After Millaira poisoned almost every Rosan, she accused the entirely loyal Hansen servant family of the poisoning. Since the distant Rosan members were aiming for the inheritance and Millaira had Emperor Gregor's backing, the Hansens had no other choice but to flee to avoid punishment. Artezia eventually approaches them in forgiveness, clears their name and reinstates them, earning her their loyalty.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Laurence mixes false accusations with things that Artezia really did (for him) to absolve himself of any crimes and use his sister as a convenient scapegoat, which also ensures that she cannot be a threat to him anymore.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • This is why Laurence silences Artezia. She was involved in lots of evil and cruel schemes that all benefited Laurence.
    • In the new timeline, Artezia orders Bill's assassination, both to harm her mother and because Bill copied books about ancient magic for her.
    • In the original timeline, the pirate king that facilitated Roygar's end acted on Artezia's behalf. She had him and his crew caught and executed after he no longer was any use to her.
  • Human Traffickers: Baron Yeats and Count Eison were involved in a human trafficker ring that kidnapped children and sold them as Sex Slaves and for hunting sport. Artezia dismantles the ring while making Cedric look like a hero and weaken Laurence's reputation.
  • I Can't Dance: Subverted. At Count Endar's ball, Cedric asks Artezia for a dance. She apologizes in advance that she may step on his feet because she is not very good. Cedric also says that he can't dance well. Both of them can actually dance very well.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Artezia's greatest regret in her first life is not protecting Lisia from Laurence. In fact, she forged a false oracle message that forced Lisia into her marriage with Laurence in the first place, yet Lisia forgave Artezia.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: Subverted. Grand Duke Cedric is in a neutral position, as he has no interest in politics. However, as a hero with military power, he could back either his uncle, Grand Duke Roygar, or his cousin, Laurence, which would decide who would become the next emperor, except Artezia plans to eliminate both factions and have Cedric become emperor instead because he also has a right to the throne as the emperor's nephew.
  • Lady and Knight: Cedric, a Knight in Shining Armor, will do whatever he can to protect his lady, Artezia.
  • La Résistance: Cedric leads a group of rebels and dissidents to overthrow Laurence in the original timeline.
  • Marriage Before Romance: Cedric proposes to Artezia before they really romance each other, and he knows their relationship is fake and temporary, but both already have feelings for each other before they get married. He does not actually want their marriage to be temporary, while Artezia only wants to divorce Cedric because she thinks he will fall in love with Lisia eventually.
  • Marriage of Convenience:
    • The marriage arranged by Artezia between Laurence and Lisia happens because Laurence being married to the saintess of the empire gives him the legitimacy he lacks. At their wedding reception, he is named the empire's crown prince, just as Artezia planned.
    • The marriage proposed by Artezia between her and Cedric would both be convenient for them. Emperor Gregor would grow less suspicious of Cedric, since this would strengthen Laurence's position, while Artezia would get to inherit the Marquessate of Rosan earlier and cleanly cut ties with her mother. Artezia could then also directly assist Cedric without causing suspicion.
  • Matricide: Artezia learns from Cedric after he rescued her in the original timeline that Laurence had his mother killed after she kept annoying him.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: The one thing Artezia regrets more than anything is that she couldn't protect her Only Friend, Lisia, despite promising Cedric to do so. She is determined to not let Laurence get his hands on Lisia again and plans to have Cedric and Lisia marry once her marriage with Cedric is over.
  • Nepotism: Notable aversion. Emperor Gregor clearly favors Laurence as heir, but he cannot make Laurence crown prince without just cause, because Laurence is an illegitimate child and has no notable backing.
  • Past-Life Memories: Artezia has kept all of her memories from her first life. Some people like Cedric or Laurence also remember parts of the first timeline in their dreams while Cadriol, the prince of Eimel, also retained all his memories from the past.
  • Protectorate: Cedric has made it his goal to become the empire's shield and protect its people. He also is very protective of Lisia and Artezia.
  • The Purge: Emperor Gregor (falsely) accused the grand ducal family of Evron of treason, so he did not just kill the grand ducal couple but also their entire household and vassals in the capital. The families of the executed people were hidden in the village of Thold in Evron. Lisia is one of these people that were hidden. While these people have been cleared of the charges, the village is one of Cedric's biggest kept secrets.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Justified. Artezia gains some favor from Cedric's soldiers when she distributes lunch boxes with a lot of meat to them during their stay at the temple. The temple priests do not eat meat and the soldiers need more nutritious food that the temple cannot provide.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Cedric and Artezia are in a Fake Relationship, except Cedric quickly falls for Artezia and Artezia already had feelings for him in the original timeline. When the empress asks Cedric whether the rumors are true that he has fallen for Artezia, he affirms this and she realizes that he is serious.
  • Ruling Family Massacre:
    • The reason why Artezia is told to support Laurence is that if Laurence loses the inheritance fight, as a potential heir he and his entire family, that includes Artezia and Millaira, will be executed as well.
    • After his ascendance to the throne, Emperor Gregor killed most of the imperial family who could threaten his rule. The only people that survived this purge were his nephew, Cedric, and his 12-year-old little brother, Roygar.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Artezia travels back in time to prevent her brother from claiming the throne.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Averted. The Hansen family does not hold a grudge against Artezia, despite her mother poisoning every other Rosan in the main family and then blaming the Hansens for the deed. This may have to do with the fact that Artezia was an innocent child, bears Strong Family Resemblance to the Rosans, and came to ask for forgiveness in the name of the Rosan family. She then clears the Hansens' name, which earns her the services and Undying Loyalty of them.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Since the story is originally Korean, this is a given. Several names can be romanized differently. The Kratez Empire for instance is sometimes also romanized as Krates or Crates.
  • Succession Crisis:
    • Emperor Gregor is the illegitimate child of the previous emperor. The previous emperor had no issue with the empress, so Gregor was adopted by the empress and named crown prince. When the empress passed away, Gregor's father remarried and had two children, Cedric's mother and Roygar, but by that time Gregor amassed so much power and influence already that him being the heir apparent was set in stone.
    • All of Emperor Gregor's legitimate children are dead, so he has to choose a crown prince among other people. Roygar and Laurence try to eliminate each other, while Cedric stays neutral. Artezia plots to have Cedric become emperor.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: In the original timeline, seeing Artezia in her sorry state after Laurence had her tortured, maimed and starved, makes Cedric still feel bad for her, despite everything she has done.
  • Take a Third Option: Most nobles speculate that the battle for the throne only involves Grand Duke Roygar, the emperor's little brother, or Laurence, the emperor's illegitimate son. However, Artezia knows both are Inadequate Inheritors because Roygar is mainly driven by greed, while Laurence is an utterly cruel man. Both would ruin the empire, so Artezia plans to play these two off against each other and then make Cedric the emperor.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: If there is one topic that will rile up the people, it's children being harmed.
    Artezia: Gambling is acceptable, as are drugs, bribery, and violence. The public will ignore those things and brush them off as typical of nobles. However, if children were to be harmed, that would cause public outrage.
  • You Are Fat: One of the ways Millaira abuses her daughter is to fat-shame her constantly. Artezia developed eating disorders due to this.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Laurence has his sister punished after she becomes a liability to him, since as his former Number Two She Knows Too Much. Artezia can't even blame him, she always knew he would do this, but secretly hoped he would spare her if she just kept quiet.
    • Artezia was also notorious for doing this. In the original timeline, she used a pirate king and his crew to attack merchants and increase grain prices to create a scenario where she could have the emperor execute Grand Duke Roygar for treason. Once this was taken care of, she captured the pirates and had them executed as well.

Alternative Title(s): The Villainess Lives Twice


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