Being murdered had a way of changing even the most stubborn person's view of the world.

This universal truth could be applied to many a person and Lady Katarina Claes, for all her excellent breeding, was no exception. Though she held herself to a standard far loftier than the norm – as she knew that she was the true heir to centuries-old nobility and thus, far above the rabble beneath her – even she had to agree that being murdered made her re-examine all that she knew about herself.

For the eighteen years she had survived before her untimely death, Katarina had burned with an inner flame unrestrained by any outside factors. As the pampered child of two doting (if estranged) parents and the queen of her society circle, she had done all that she ever desired while being surrounded by a group of sycophants who gleefully cheered her on. She had granted her favor upon the select few who pleased her, had laughed at and ridiculed those she abhorred with almost demonic vigor, and had chased her fiancé, Prince Jeord Stewart, as though there were nothing better that the world had to offer.

In short, she had lived as though no harm could ever befall her – no matter how outrageous or cruel her deeds could get.

And what exactly had that gotten her? Only a bit of temporary satisfaction and a head that had been shorn from her neck by Jeord, the man she had spent the last decade fruitlessly loving. And no doubt, that man –– once he finished wiping her blood off his blade and placing her head upon a pike – would run off with his perfect peasant bride, where they'd soon be busy rutting and forming a dozen half-breed and ill-bred children.

If Katarina still had a working windpipe, she would have gagged. But seeing as how she was now just a spirit hovering over her own corpse, all she could do was wring her hands and howl though no one could hear her.

Which was why, between one moment to next, she was more than a little shocked when she closed her eyes and reopened them – only to be confronted with the very same prince who had killed her moments before.

And while Lady Katarina Claes prided herself on having the heart of a lion under most circumstances, she supposed she could be forgiven for actually gagging from horror…

…Which was either the best or worst move imaginable – as Prince Jeord Stuart, her erstwhile fiancé and future killer, was currently naked and being ridden by her. So on the very hour that Katarina had to confront her own corpse, she had the dubious pleasure of watching the usually sanguine expression on her fiancé's face contort to one of sheer surprise as her vomit hit him with nigh-deadly force.

Suffice to say that Katarina had re-started her new life in a manner that seemed calculated to make it even shorter than the first.

And the scene that erupted afterwards was not much better.

Author's Notes:

After avidly reading the burst of amazing new stories featuring the Original Katarina Claes getting a chance at new life, I felt I had to contribute with my attempt at finding some justice for this villainess. I always felt the OG Katarina was rather unfairly treated by canon - after all, awful as she is, I don't believe her bullying of Maria Campbell was enough to justify her *murder* or even *exile* - and so, I wanted to give her a second chance at life.

And while we're at it, I wanted to also let the OG Katarina have some fun, snub some assholes (particularly the fiance who *murdered* her), point out the hypocrisy of her punishment (if she truly was a vile person, why did everyone wait 15+ years to condemn her?), and maybe run off into the sunset at long last with someone. (Though even I don't know who might match her best among her would-be harem!)

I'm not sure how long this story will last - but I'm hoping to write at least 10+ chapters of Katarina wrecking havoc, getting revenge, and perhaps even winning a fully requited love. I appreciate any questions, comments, and suggestions you have for this story!

And one final semi-warning... yes, this story will feature sex and it won't (usually) be the gauzy true-love scenes that pop up in shojou manga. I'm not planning on writing gratuitous sex scenes... but I always thought the sex-lessness of the original My Next Life as a Villainess series was disappointing, albeit appropriate for its genre.

Ultimately, the Katarina of this story is a full-blooded villainess who is more than happy to use any and every tool in her arsenal - including seduction - for both romance and revenge. So if you're the type to shy away from malicious flirting and (sometimes failed) attempts at seduction, this might not be the story for you. Just a fair warning for future chapters!