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Penelope
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Death Is the Only Ending for the Villainess is a popular light novel covering action, adventure, and comedy. Written by the Author Gwongyeoeul. The webtoon comic adaptation is licensed in English by Tapas Media under the name Villains Are Destined to Die.

Penelope Eckart reincarnated as the adopted daughter of Duke Eckart and the villainess of a reverse harem dating sim. The problem is, she entered the game at its hardest difficulty, and no matter what she does, death awaits her at every ending! Before the "real daughter" of Duke Eckart appears, she must choose one of the male leads and reach a happy ending in order to survive. But the two brothers always pick a fight with her over every little thing, as well as a crazy crown prince, whose routes all lead to death. There's even a magician who's enamoured with the female lead, and a loyal slave knight! But somehow, the favourability meters of the male leads increase the more she crosses the line with them!

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This is Penelope’s survival story, as she has been dropped in an insane reverse harem dating sim! No spoilers, so read at your own risk.


Tropes in this webcomic

  • The Ace: Crown Prince Callisto. He is gorgeous, highly intelligent and the best warrior of the empire.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When rumours start that Crown Prince Callisto is stalking Penelope after being dumped by her all he does is laugh.
  • Action Survivor: After the assassination attempt during the Hunt Penelope qualifies, even if Callisto did the most work.
  • Adult Fear: Watching as your daughter, sister, love interest, semi official girlfriend knowingly drinks poison at her own birthday party. The Duke and his two sons are acutely aware that they were the ones that drove Penelope to that point. Vinter has a two fold horror since he was the one Penelope commissioned poison from. Callisto is nearly driven to a breakdown and becomes desperate to get Penelope out of Eckart control.
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  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Penelope's dream. Which she somehow achieves.
  • Alpha Bitch: Lady Kellin provoked the original Penelope into violence to play a Wounded Gazelle Gambit that saw her crowned as the Queen of the Annual Hunt. Is very satisfying when version two Penelope gets the award fair and square and rubs it in her face.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: What the duke fears is happening with Penelope and Callisto. Averted however, out of the capture targets Callisto is the best choice.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Callisto is far too quick to resort to violence and at times the only thing that prevents him from torturing or murdering people is the reminder that Penelope will not like it.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Leyla have been attempting to return to power since the ancient wizards sealed them away. The ancient wizards also set up a lot of safeguards to prevent the Leyla from returning.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Callisto in his first appearance brings an assassin that he has already beaten into a bloody pulp to his brother's banquet so he can decapitate said assassin in front of his brother and the ambitious nobles.
    • Callisto and Penelope are ambushed by assassins in the forest during the Annual Hunt. Callisto deals with them with ease only getting injured when he has to protect Penelope.
  • The Atoner: The abusive maid Emily really comes to regret everything she did to Penelope and after having her Jerkass Realization she does her best to help Penelope and does not expect any reward or even forgiveness. She even risks her life to help Penelope. It is the reason that out of everyone in the duke's estate she is the only one Penelope actually can bring herself to forgive.
    • Original timeline Vinter. He brought Yvonne/Leyla to the Eckarts, enabling her to dispose off The Chosen One Penelope and gain access to the Imperial Palace and the Golden Dragon's fang within. Yvonne achieved a The Bad Guy Wins which cause the end of the world. To atone for his horrendous mistake he used the most forbidden of magics. He turned time itself back for which he was condemned to burn eternally. When the new timeline version merges with the original one he is ready to do anything for Penelope's sake. Since she was the one that suffered the most due to Yvonne/Leyla.
  • Awful Truth: Yvonne got possessed by an ancient evil entity called a Leyla shortly after disappearing, and her ultimate goal is to destroy the world.
  • Babies Ever After: Penelope and Callisto have a daughter they name Judith.
  • Bad Ass Abnormal: While not having magical powers of his own, Callisto is the direct descendant of a demigod and thus stronger, faster and more resilient than normal men.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Poor Cedric is Callisto's. Not only he has to smooth things over when Callisto's temper gets the better of him but he also has to deal with all the palace intrigue.
  • Big Brother Bully: Both Eckart brothers toward Penelope.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Callisto has a habit of showing up right on time to save Penelope's life. The first time, with the bear monster during the hunt was more or less a coincidence (he was looking around the forest for her). The second time at Soleia Island and later at Arkaina island he showed up right on time due to keeping track of her via magical GPS. Which his aide Cedric points out is not exactly legal.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Yvonne-Layla is very good at making Penelope look bad and herself good. Also Vinter the one that in the game brings Yvonne to the Eckart estate during Penelope's turning-of-age ceremony. As Penelope herself points out the only reason he did that would be to ruin Penelope's one single day that would be only about her.
  • Broken Ace: Callisto is the most competent and worthy male lead but he is borderline insane from losing his mother, likely to assassination, his father's neglect of him and preference to his younger half-brother. Said half-brother and the second Queen constantly try to assassinate him.
  • Butterfly Effect: Penelope really changes the narrative, much to Yvonne's disdain who struggles to adapt to the new circumstances.
  • Cain and Abel: Callisto and his brother. While both despise each other and want to be emperor, the brother is the one that actually tries to off the opposition.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The magical amulets that Penelope gives to the Duke and Callisto during the hunt save their lives later on. Same thing goes for the cufflink that Penelope gives Callisto on his birthday.
  • The Chosen One: Penelope, the only Ancient Mage left in the world.
  • Comically Small Demand: When Callisto offers Penelope anything she could possibly desire as a reward for helping him thwart an assassination attempt she only requests that he never kill her for any reason. He sees it as this and laments that he made such a terrible first impression on her. Penelope on the other hand is extremely relieved since in the Otome Game hard mode Callisto was the one that killed her character the most.
  • Covert Pervert: After an assassination attempt that ended up with Callisto and Penelope falling in a lake he did undress her while she was unconcious to avoid a cold. He reassured Penelope that it was too dark to see anything but his affection for her increased by 5%.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Both Callisto and Eclis are this but in very different ways. Callisto can't abide the idea of losing Penelope either to death or to another man, but he does respect her wishes, helps her fulfill her goals and does not monopolize her attention. Eclis, on the other hand, is obsessed with her and wants her to be completely dependent on him.
    • During the Hunt Callisto was ready to kill any supposed rival for Penelope's affection.
    • After Vinter is freed from the Mirror of Truth, Callisto has him arrested and ensures that the wizard will never get anywhere near Penelope. He fears the possibility of Penelope choosing Vinter over him far scarier than the Leyla returning.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: The Duke intensely dislikes Crown Prince Callisto. Guess who his daughter Penelope ends up with?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Callisto, mostly to Penelope in a teasing manner and to the Duke and his sons in a harsh manner.
  • Debt Detester: Vinter is very careful not to owe anything to anyone. Penelope takes advantage of this trait to ensure that he will help her when needed and also to keep him firmly at a distance since she does not trust him.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Callisto latches very strongly to Penelope because he has no one else to love and trust.
  • Determinator: Callisto is described as someone that can survive anything that the world throws at him. In fact, without him Penelope would have failed to defeat the Leyla and the world would have been destroyed. Dude manages to kill a night unstoppable undead dragon.
  • Do You Think I Can't Feel: Penelope is treated as if she is a doll or a pet and not a human being with her own desires and opinions.
  • Driven to Suicide: Penelope at her coming-of-age ceremony. She believes that she will soon lose the man she loves, Callisto, to the newly returned Yvonne and that she will die soon anyway. Derrick bringing Yvonne uninvited is the last straw and she knowingly drinks poisoned wine.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After Penelope runs away with Reynalds assistance the latter starts to spend his days drunk out of guild that in part his actions and inactions have driven his adopted sister to despair. However the servants speculate that he had his heart broken. He did but platonically rather than romantically.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Leyla cultists try to cause chaos during the Annual Hunt. One of them even alludes to the Leyla 'goddess' aka Yvonne. Yvonne is also spotted by Penelope during the adventure on Soleia island.
  • Everyone Can See It: Callisto's servants and allies do not take long to start addressing Penelope as 'crown princess'.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: When Penelope first played the game in Korea Callisto was the route she went for the most.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Derrick abuses verbally and emotionally his adoptive sister Penelope. He has also romantic feelings for her, which he does not act on. One it would still be incestuous and risk crossing to sexual abuse.
  • The Evil Prince: Callisto's brother invited his brother to his birthday banquet by sending an assassin.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Callisto is typically a female name meaning the most beautiful.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Derrick really does not like it when Penelope pays attention to Callisto or Vinter.
  • Gossip Evolution: By the time the Annual Hunt and Penelope's trial on trumped up charges is over the Court and the Nobles are under the impression that Callisto and Penelope had a love affair which Penelope decided to end due to the difference in status. Callisto decided not to accept it and kept stalking her. The truth is nowhere close.
  • Jerkass Realization: Emily comes to deeply regret how she treated Penelope, possibly the butler as well. Callisto is very well aware that holding a defenseless and frail woman at swordpoint and cutting her in the neck was a dick move.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Callisto lost his mother at an early age and his Wicked Stepmother started plans to get him out of her own son's way.
  • Heir Club for Men: The norm in the empire but Callisto plans to change it because he wants his daughter Judith to succeed him.
  • Heroic Lineage: Penelope is descended from the Ancient Wizards that sealed the Leyla away in the first place.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Ancient Wizards are remembered as vicious and power hungry due to a curse that the Leyla put on them to ensure that they were negatively percieved. It persists three thousand years later in their descendant Penelope.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Callisto is a lot taller than Penelope and he can easily carry her and run off.
  • Large and in Charge: Callisto. He is the tallest of the cast at six feet one and is basically in charge of the empire since his father is quite useless.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Penelope to Callisto to the point that he would commit suicide if she were to die.
  • Living MacGuffin: Penelope, when her soul shattered the time loop and the world stopped.
  • Love Hurts: Poor, poor Callisto.
  • MacGuffin: The Shards of the Mirror of Truth. Penelope's mirror wand.
    • Most importantly the Golden Dragon's fang, an artifact powerful enough to destroy the world.
  • Malicious Slander: There is a lot about Penelope, mainly spread by Lady Kellin, who is jealous of Penelope's beauty and higher status as a duke's daughter.
  • Master Swordsman: Callisto and Eclise.
  • Meaningful Name: Callisto means most beautiful and he indeed Penelope appreciates his looks the most from the capture targets.
  • Media Transmigration: Our unnamed transmigrator was an illegitimate child who escaped her abusive family by going to university. Through her classmates she heard of the viral Otome phone game "The Lady's Love Project" and got hooked. After beating all the routes in normal mode, she had the option to buy the very expensive true ending or to earn it through playing hard mode. A thifty young woman, she decides to play hard mode where instead of playing as the protagonist Yvonne, she has to play as the villainess Penolope Eckhart. Whom she wakes up as she is being belittled and mocked by her abusive family.
  • Mind Control: The reason Yvonne-Leyla was able to enact her plans so flawlessly in the previous timelines.
More Than Mind Control: Yvonne manipulates Eclise's feelings toward Penelope.
  • Morality Chain: Callisto is several times stopped from murder just by thinking of Penelope's appalled reaction.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Derrick has romantic and possibly sexual feelings for Penelope. She does not reciprocate. He is disgusted with himself for feeling that way toward his adopted sister.
  • Oblivious to Love: Penelope. She fails to understand the significance of Callisto constantly trying to meet her, him wanting to kill any rival for her affections and giving her extremely expensive gifts.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: The duke and his sons loathe Callisto and really do not want Penelope to marry him. Callisto loathes them even more due to the way they treated Penelope and for interfering with his courting.
  • Overprotective Dad: The Duke is not happy that Callisto is courting Penelope. The crown prince threatened her at swordpoint during their first meeting and after that he would not stop needling the Duke.
    • The duke is ready to rebel when he finds out that Callisto impregnated Penelope prior to their marriage.
  • Parents as People: The Duke does care for Penelope but he has no idea how to relate to her or his sons leading to him burying himself in his work and allowing the abuse she endures daily at to continue and get worse.
  • Parental Neglect: Due to the Duke's neglect and lack of interaction with Penelope, she is utterly love-starved and abused by her half brothers.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Penelope's suicide attempt nearly causes Callisto to emotionally splinter.
  • The Power of Love: The people that have less tainted affections towards Penelope are highly resistant if not outright immune to Yvonne's brainwashing.
    • The Duke: paternal affection
    • Reynald: Brotherly affection
    • Vinter: genuine admiration and romantic love
    • Callisto: romantic love and deep trust
    • Eclise felt an obsessive love-hate towards Penelope that made him putty in Yvonne's hands.
    • Derrick was ashamed of his romantic feelings toward his adopted sister, making him an easy target.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Penelope has to resort to this twice.
    • After the Second Prince's banquet she followed Callisto to the rose garden because she wanted to test the reset button of the game. Unfortunately for her there is no reset button and Callisto is holding her at sword point demanding to know why she followed him. Terrified for her life she gives him the most ridiculous reason for it. That she has fallen in love with him. Callisto struggles not to burst laughing.
    • During her trial for supposedly trying to assassinate Callisto, with Callisto was unable to testify due to a poison coma, she is asked why was in the presence of the Crown Prince. She tells the judge and everyone around that she and Callisto have been having a love affair and she was going to ask him to break up. People believe her since no one would dare lie about being in a relationship with Callisto or to wanting to dump him. Thankfully for her he finds in amusing and likes to rub the supposed love affair in the face of the Duke and the Eckart brothers.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Penelope was supposed to fill in the gap that Yvonne left, but not everyone was on board with it and she was too different from the original Yvonne.
  • Rose-Haired Sweetie: The Original Yvonne. The possessed version only pretends to be.
  • Royalty Superpower: Penelope lost her Ancient Magic but her daughter Judith appears to have inherited it.
  • Secret Identity: Since wizards face prejudice Vinter hides that he is one and practices the craft in a rabbit masked merchant persona.
  • Serious Business: For Penelope, establishing a romantic relationship with one of the Romance Game male leads is literally a matter of life and death.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Penelope has dark pink, nearly red hair and aqua eyes. She just happens to be a direct descendant of the Ancient Mages, the only one that can wield Ancient Magic and is absolutely necessary to defeat the Layla.
  • Slave to PR: Derrick is obsessed with upholding the good reputation of the Eckart family name.
  • Spanner in the Works: The version two Penelope for the Leyla.
  • Squishy Wizard: Penelope might be the only Ancient Mage left in the world but she is also a young, untrained girl with a delicate body.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Callisto makes a magical map that shows him where Penelope is at all times. It enables him to rescue her from danger several times.
  • Surprise Creepy: Imagine playing the easy mode game as sweet, lovely Yvonne and then paying to see the hidden route and finding out that Yvonne was the villain after all who succeeded in killing the true protagonist and destroyed the world.
  • Take That!: After being crowned Queen of the Annual Hunt (similar to Queen of Love and Beauty in ASOIAF) Penelope has to give a speech. She says that winning it was absolutely no big deal much to the ire and humiliation of Lady Kellin who became Queen of the Hunt by playing a series of Batman Gambit and Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Troll: Callisto really enjoys riling up people, be it his s was ambitious half brother, his aide, love interest and especially his future in laws.
    • Penelope to a small degree. She kisses Callisto in front of Reynold just to piss off the later.
  • Useless Bystander Parent: Penelope really has it the worst. The biological father of her original body and the adoptive father of her second body are of the neglecting variety. While they are not actually involve in her half brothers' abuse of her they do not stop their sons from making Penelope's life a living hell. If they had showing even the slightest interest in their daughter's well being she would have not been mistreated and belittled by everyone.
  • Warrior Prince: Callisto is the empire's best warrior.
  • Wicked Stepmother: The Second Queen wants Callisto dead so her own son can inherit.
  • World's Strongest Man: Callisto, he took out an undead dragon on his own, without magic.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Yvonne-Leyla has pulled it off quite well in the past thanks to her brainwashing powers.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Penny, Penny you are not in a romance story but in an apocalyptic epic. Also the romantic aspect is not wholesome because the capture targets are in shades of Yandere.
  • Yandere: ALL the male leads have shades of this but Eclise takes the cake.
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