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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.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: What the Karam, a monstrous humanoid race in the North is assumed to be by the Temple and the population. The story so far has hinted that they are just people trying to survive and protect themselves and theirs.
  • 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.
  • Bitch Alert: In Millaira's Establishing Character Moment, the very first scene she appears in, she emotionally abuses her daughter by calling her ugly and instructs the maid to give Tia an unfashionable and unflattering hairstyle.
  • 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.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: This is initially Artezia's reaction when she is told that she's carrying Cedric's child.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: After being shown evidence that Roygar has committed treason by claiming the emperor's authority in negotiations, Gregor is furious. However, it's not that serious, so he instead plans to cut down his power for a few years and then bring him back since Roygar actually dying would undermine his usual MO of letting his heirs plot against each other instead of him. But he misjudged Roygar. He understands that Roygar is greedy, but doesn't know why, so be instead plans to execute Roygar's wife Garner and his eldest child. Garnet turns herself in unprompted after this order. When Roygar hears of this, he considers himself a complete failure for failing to protect his wife and commits suicide. This is bad for literally everyone since not only is this much more drastic than Gregor wanted, it also drives the eastern nobles towards revolt and even threatens Tia and Cedric's positions.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones
    • As bas as Gregor is, he's still a human being and wants to feel like he has a family that loves him, which is why he at least superficially cherishes Laurence and Miraila. Tia deliberately goes about breaking this illusion for him in order to reduce Laurence's influence and to destabilize the man himself.
    • Roygar is only greedy to protect his family. When they're at risk of execution, he straight up commits suicide to force Cedric to shelter them.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Gregor assumes that Roygar is just greedy and selfish, so when Roygar is implicated in treason he "offers" a deal: He'll execute his wife and child, but spare Roygar himself. Roygar can then just make another heir. To Gregor, this makes sense given that he murdered his own legitimate children to strengthen his position. To Roygar, this represents the absolute worst case scenario since Roygar was doing everything for his family. Roygar promptly commits suicide while Roygar's family survives.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Karam are considered mere monsters by most and even unholy by the church. However, while they do fight brutally, they are not stupid or evil and some have even formed families with humans in the most northern regions. As such, Ebron doesn't consider them a force of evil but simply another invader at the border and one that it may be possible to negotiate with, setting aside the difficulties of the two learning their languages. Indeed, one Karam individual leads a small attack with new siege weapons and seemingly leaves himself deliberately open to being sniped by Cedric, who chooses to gamble on a peaceful new relationship rather than returning to the status quo, after which the general retreats.
  • 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).
  • For Want of a Nail: Implied in one after story. While the main story has a reasonably happy conclusion, it takes a lot of sacrifice to get there throughout the years. However, during the after story we see Cedric's memory of the first time he ever saw Artezia, back when she was desperate for affection but hadn't done any of her trademark plotting for Lawrence yet. A friend half jokingly urges him to ask her to a dance, but despite considering it, he leaves the party without asking. The side story ends there, seemingly suggesting that if he had just asked her things could have maybe been so much happier for both them and everyone around them.
  • 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.
  • Future Imperfect: In the afterstories, careful review of ancient languages and records indicates there were once formal relations between Karam and humans and, while they may have no written language now, their language does seem to be descended from ancient languages that did have one. There are even implications that the two races are actually related in some way, hinting at a common ancestor.
  • Heir Club for Men: Averted. Leticia is generally considered more of a worthy heir to the throne than Cedric himself and after her little brother is born she keeps the position of crown princess. Her little brother being sickly like Artizea doesn't hurt though.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • At first, this seems to be why Laurence silenced Artezia. She was involved in lots of evil and cruel schemes that all benefited Laurence. In truth, his pride couldn't tolerate her.
    • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Roygar is only greedy and cruel in order to protect his family. Gregor misjudges this trait, so after Roygar commits a mild act of treason his way of cutting down Roygar's power is to pardon him but execute his wife Garnet and their eldest son, assuming that Roygar won't really care. He's wrong: Roygar commits suicide almost immediately once alone, sparking succession issues and possible rebellions from the east.
  • 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.
  • Late Pregnancy Realization: After sleeping with Cedric for the first time, missing a few periods didn't set off any alarm bells for her because thanks to her poor eating habits and health would often miss her period anyway. It's not until after she's taken a light sedative in order to frame a political opponent that a doctor examines her and reveals the situation.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Artizea not only actively doesn't want children, she doesn't even have a regular menstrual cycle and is in rather poor health overall. Despite this, she gets pregnant from a single sexual encounter and has to be gently talked out of getting an abortion when she realizes the truth. Later, after she realizes she's just a bit incompetent as a mother at worst rather than actively harmful, she gets pregnant again despite assurances this would never happen. This time she has to talk Cedric into letting her keep it despite the severe health risks.
  • Love at First Sight: Sort of. The moment Cedric sets eyes on Tia in the second timeline, he is instantly drawn to her after a brief blip in his memory to the last time he saw her in the first timeline: Weeping, limbless and in despair over the turmoil she caused.
  • Love Triangle: Cadriol and Skyla had some ship tease, but she ended up marrying a member of the original Camellia bloodline in order to secure her legitimacy and succeed the house. You'd think it would end here, but the epilogue indicates that there are rumors of Skyla and Cadriol having an affair.
  • 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.
    • After regaining all his memories, Cedric assures Artezia that the reason he was engaged to Lisia in the first timeline is this. She would have been under the temple's thumb and Cedric couldn’t just give Ebron's support to her outright. Therefore a engagement was planned which would also protect her from unwanted suitors.
  • 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.
    • Cedric eventually remembers everything.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Gregor is an utter bastard and completely selfish, but he runs an efficient and prosperous empire because that makes things better for him. He even wants to leave a good legacy behind, so he has several prepared successors lined up to hand the throne to when he finally dies rather than destroy every single possible threat. This is the difference between him and his illegitimate son: All Lawrence cares about is being in control and supporting his own ego, so he has no restraints on his behavior.
  • 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 Ebron 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 Ebron. 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. This makes Artezia deeply uncomfortable because she feels she doesn't deserve it. Cedric eventually admits he remembers everything she did, but since this includes her grief at the trouble she caused he can overlook it since he fell in love with her before he fully remembered.
  • 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.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Tia and Cedric's basic working dynamic runs on this. Tia schemes and manipulates in the background while Cedric pretty much naturally cultivates a heroic image and garners popularity. She pretty bluntly informs him at several points that he probably shouldn't pry too close into what she's doing because it would upset him and he typically avoids a lot of the hints he does get to what she's doing. She does, however, also make it clear that if his morals are truly against what she has planned out, she will stop immediately and defer to him because she knows she's a bit of a high functioning sociopath and doesn't like this about herself.
  • 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. Tia, for her part, thinks he's actually just latching on this as an excuse because he's poor, needs to provide for his family and the story she sells appeals to his pride and sense of duty..
  • 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.
  • Stupid Evil: Laurence in the first timeline. He abuses Lisia, who is his main source of legitimacy, until she drops dead, sabotages Cedric's campaign to keep the Karam out of the North and eliminates Artezia, who won him his throne. Even if the timeline had not been reversed, the empire was on the verge of collapse, so his reign would have been short lived.
  • 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 but deliberately stalls so as to make his potential heirs plot against each other and not him. Roygar and Laurence try to eliminate each other, while Cedric is viewed as a potential kingmaker but uninterested in taking the throne and thus viewed as an asset and not a threat. At first, that is, until people suddenly realize that Cedric is suddenly the strongest contender.
  • 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. He knows that as bad as she was, she was never cruel for no reason and never would have wanted the empire to become what it has.
  • Take a Third Option: Most nobles assume 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.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Roygar commits suicide in order to twist what was once a threat from Cedric into a guarantee to protect his family. Cedric had given him a pistol as a threat that he would challenge him to a duel and kill him, but Roygar uses this same pistol to shoot himself. Cedric feels honorbound to fulfill this wish.
  • Wham Episode: Artezia is not the only regressor. The Pirate King she used as a pawn in the first timeline remembers as well and tries to kidnap her. Also one of the Karam leaders likely remembers, causing Tia to realize there may be more challenges than she expected.
  • 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.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Caught in a bit of a tricky situation by a corrupt bishop, Artezia takes a very light sedative to cause herself to pass out and frame him for mistreating her. It works, especially since she happened to be pregnant at the time, which both makes the public outcry harsher and makes it seem less likely that she did it to herself. After all, what pregnant woman would risk a miscarriage like that? ...One who didn't know, and didn't take learning well. Since the child is Cedric's, it also becomes an attempted murder on a member of the imperial family, escalating things further.
  • You Are Fat: One of the ways Millaira abuses her daughter is to fat-shame her constantly. Artezia developed eating disorders due to this. She's much too thin, can barely make herself eat and has poor health as a result. It even caused her to miss her periods sometimes, meaning she fails to recognize she's pregnant for months.
  • 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. The greatest mercy she could offer was to arrange the execution to be quick and painless rather than the brutal and slow affair it was meant to be.

Alternative Title(s): The Villainess Lives Twice