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The Crimson Moon Rebellion was an armed ambush revolt by the Deung Ha Bul Myung rebel army at the Jin Hee Palace to ultimately claim the throne from King Jin Won as previously usurped by his mother Yoon Yeon Lee ten years ago.

Background[]

Hwi volunteers to act as the crown prince's decoy

After the Jeogwa Revolution which deposed the erstwhile government led by Queen Dowager Ahn Young, Crown Prince Yi Jeok and his twin brother (albeit not made known to others except for a selected few persons) Yi Hwi escaped the palace set aflame by its perpetrators. After the queen's death and the assassination of Hwi's foster parents who knew about the second prince's true lineage, Left Minister Seo In Seon Woo devised a plan that would keep the crown prince from attempts on his life, especially by then-Queen Regent Yoon Yeon Lee. Though with initial reluctance, Seon Woo took advantage of the twinship between Jeok and Hwi—the latter would act as the crown prince's decoy, while the real crown prince shall serve him as his liege. As a personal vow in protecting Jeok, Hwi volunteered to assume the title of crown prince amidst the latter's protests and the potential danger thereafter upon his life.

As a result of their reversed personas, the Deung Ha Bul Myung rebel army was established, which aimed to reclaim the throne of Ga Guk from its usurpers. Hwi would fabricate the Crimson Moon, a masked vigilante that would serve as his disguise during missions and the rebel army's symbol. Over time, the Crimson Moon became well-known among the citizens of Ga Guk, believing that he would be able to save the people, especially from the tyranny of the government of King Jin Won.

Throughout the reign of Jin Won, the rebel army had been training and preparing for an armed rebellion in the palace to depose the government. There had been several steps and attempts towards the fulfillment of their objective, all of which culminated in a climactic ambush in the Jin Hee Palace sometime during the eleventh year of the king's reign.

Plot[]

Entrance to the Palace[]

The fire bull strategy in action

To begin their attack in the palace, the rebel army utilized the fire bull strategy as supplied by the Western Nak Cheon Company of Seo Seo. Befitting its name, straws were tied to bulls' tails and lit on fire; a red cloth was also tied on each of the bulls' back. As they galloped and wreaked havoc around Hyang Ju, the palace was surrounded in an inferno, while the bulls forced their way through the palace's West Gate.[1] Palace forces concentrated their strength to the gate, leaving their initial posts open and vulnerable.

Simultaneously, explosives were lit at the West and East Gates, and twin pillars of fire emerged from the opposite sides. With the royal forces dwindled and collapsing, the elite rebel troops marched in from behind the palace's North Gate to further diminish the enemy number.[2]

Fall of the Jeogwa Masterminds[]

With the rebel army forces successfully infiltrating the palace, they branched out into several sub-groups to carry out separate missions. Some went out to raze the palace to the ground, while others killed anyone loyal to the monarchy, deeming them as enemies. Furthermore, there were those who hunted the masterminds behind the Jeogwa Revolution, and a few, including the Crimson Moon, set out to locate King Jin Won to assassinate him.[3]

Ja Gyeom's death

Being one of the perpetrators of the coup d'etat ten years ago, Yoo Ja Gyeom was located by the rebels, detained in his prison cell supposedly to be executed the next morning for his crimes including paralyzing the queen mother.[4] Yi Jeok, Gil Mu Jin, and a handful of rebels headed to his cell. In the end, Jeok ordered Mu Jin to kill the ex-chief state councilor, which Ja Gyeom's daughter, Yoo Dan Ah, witnessed. She fled in horror, while the rebels attempted to chase after her. However, Jeok stopped them, reasoning that children should not be blamed for their parents' sins. As Dan Ah escaped from the rebels, she encountered the king's head servant. Despite their efforts, they were both seen and overwhelmed by the rebels; the servant was killed, and Dan Ah was injured, leaving them alone to be caught in the ensuing mayhem. Nonetheless, Dan Ah sets out to flee from the battlefield.

Mu Jin vs. Heuk Rang

In the battlefield, Bi Yeong Pal Mu captain Heuk Rang ordered his members Baek Ju and Baek Lin to head to Hyun Bin's and Yoon Yeon Lee's quarters to escort them out safely. With the lack of reinforcements by their side, the Bi Yeong Pal Mu was overpowered and assumably outnumbered by the rebel army. Moreover, they failed to reach the royal consort and the queen mother upon encountering Heuk Rang's old comrade, Mu Jin, who engaged him in a death battle. Despite the loss of one arm, Mu Jin proved to hold the upper hand against Heuk Rang, utilizing and improvising ways to combat Heuk Rang.[5] Subsequently, the former Bi Yeong Ship Mu captain severed Heuk Rang's arm, ultimately killing him.

Still incapacitated courtesy of Ja Gyeom's paralyzing poison, Yeon Lee remained in her crumbling quarters as fire engulfed the palace. In a hallucinatory vision, a vengeful Queen Ahn Young appeared before her, ensuring that she would not be able to escape from her death. With no one to come to her rescue, Jeok arrived and decided not to dirty his hands with killing her, leaving her in her room to be consumed by fire.[6]

Unmasking Truths[]

Jin Won battles the Crimson Moon

Though the Crimson Moon and his cohorts had trouble locating the king, Jin Won successfully found them, killing a handful of rebels and injuring the Crimson Moon with his skill in archery amidst his drunken stupor. Welcoming his "half-brother Jin Yeon", Jin Won engaged the Crimson Moon in battle. Despite his clumsiness when he switched to using a sword, the king managed to remove the Crimson Moon's mask, finally seeing the man behind it.[6]

The king recognized Hong as Jin Yeon, quipping that Hong must have been laughing at the thought of Won calling him as his friend. They further engaged in combat, though the two both seemingly held back in fighting each other after the hidden persona had been discovered. Later on, as Hong once pinned down Won, the latter hallucinated of seeing Nabi instead of Hong, a feat he had been experiencing since their first meeting at Moon's End Village. He remembered Nabi confined in her quarters and confessed to Hong about his recurrent visions of seeing Nabi in Hong's visage.

Won realizes that Hong is Nabi

As Won commented how Hong smelled like plum blossom similar to Nabi, the latter's norigae fell from Hong's pocket, and Won noticed a butterfly-shaped scar on Hong's arm, similar to Nabi's burn mark back when she was injured sometime during the bridal selection.[7] Gathering all the clues and pieces together, Won thought of Hong to be Nabi, but he quickly dismissed this notion and claimed that he confined her in her quarters himself. As he stopped battling Hong, Won headed to Nabi's quarters nearby and looked for her, but to no avail. Instead, he found Hong, who followed him there, and saw Nabi in him. He realized from then on that Hong is indeed Nabi, weeping at the overbearing facts and events unfolding.[8]

Brother versus Brother[]

Won lets himself be killed by his half-brother

The fact that Hong is Nabi furthered Won's conflicted feelings towards him, realizing that Nabi's personality towards him was essentially Jin Yeon's hostile character towards his enemy. With enough resolve, Won picked up his sword and asked Hong to discard his hesitation towards fulfilling his mission. As Hong charged towards Won, the latter let himself be impaled, merely claiming that he was not adept with swords. As the king died, Hong became overwhelmed with grief and wept.

Close by, Dan Ah arrived and witnessed the situation:[8] Hong had killed his half-brother, and she was unable to stop them, which was supposedly what she had planned. Within mere seconds, Dan Ah was hit by an arrow from behind by a few Bi Yeong Pal Mu soldiers headed by Baek Ah. As Hwi ran to her, he was also hit by an arrow, further injuring him. The royal forces charged at him, but Hwi was able to thwart them and killed them all.

As he stood by the bodies of many casualties, he contemplated about the outcome of the havoc he had caused, questioning whether it was what they had truly desired from the beginning. He cried at the sight of Dan Ah being involved in all the chaos, placing her in great peril and pain. He carried her out of the palace, and the two fought for their lives due to their grave injuries.

Sacrifice[]

Hwi shields Jeok from an attack

As Hwi collapsed and Dan Ah became unconscious,[9] he arrived near the battlefield where Jeok and the others fought the remainder of palace soldiers. Hwi noticed Jeok in imminent danger as a soldier attempted to attack him from behind. Mustering his remaining strength, he went up to Jeok and protected him from behind, receiving the injury himself. Mu Jin managed to kill the soldier, but Hwi, thinking that the damage had been done, asked Jeok whether he was able to repay his debt to him. Albeit in vain, Hwi apologized to the unconscious Dan Ah for various things, but ultimately for being himself. Soon after, he passed out completely.[10]

Aftermath[]

Jeok coronated as king

With the death of King Jin Won along with several figures implicated in the coup d'etat ten years ago, the rebel army succeeded in their revolt and primary objective of reclaiming the throne of Ga Guk. Crown Prince Jin Yeon, in reality Yi Jeok, ascended to the throne as King Jin Jeok, the 14th King of Ga Guk. Bi Yeong Ship Mu assumably became reinstated as the king's guard with Mu Jin as its captain, and Seon Woo was appointed as a minister.[10]

In the end, Seon Woo could not bring himself to tell Jeok about his relationship with Hwi as his twin brother. He visited Sa Baek Hwa's grave and voiced this concern to her, pondering that children might actually be the ones paying for the adults' misdeeds. Her father's case was also reopened, with Seon Woo confident that the former minister's name would finally be cleared.[11]

Due to many injuries sustained and intense trauma experienced, Dan Ah became crippled and acquired amnesia, only having a single memory — Yi Won — whom she refers Hwi as.[12] Furthermore, as part of their deal, it was presumed that Jin Jeok had forged a new peace treaty for Ga Guk with Seo Seo courtesy of Rok Ha, while the latter had traveled with his aunt Jang Rei and her daughter quite possibly back to Seo Seo, albeit their fates remained unknown.[13]

References[]

  1. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 78
  2. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 79
  3. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 80
  4. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 77
  5. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 81
  6. 6.0 6.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 82
  7. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 83
  8. 8.0 8.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 84
  9. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 85
  10. 10.0 10.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 86
  11. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 89
  12. Twelve Nights webtoon, final chapter
  13. Twelve Nights part three postscript
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