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|“||You may find that such a flower is not as fragrant up close, compared to when you gazed at it from afar.||”|
–To Yi Won
Jang Rei is the Third Princess of Seo Seo and the youngest child of King Jang Ryun with Yeong Bi. After her emigration to Ga Guk, she became the royal consort of King Jin Won under the official title Hyun Bin (현빈). Rei is also one of the three women chosen to become one of Jin Won's bridal candidates.
Rei is a fair-skinned woman with bluish-violet eyes. Her blond hair is cut in a straight bob cut with full bangs. Introduced as a pregnant consort in the palace, she usually wears bright hanbok and a headdress. She is seen having a stern look at most times.
In her youth, Rei had long hair that was often ponytailed in a loose braid. Upon her emigration to Ga Guk, Rei wore a wedding dress-like outfit, complete with a white dress that had frilly collars and a veil on her headdress. By this time, her long hair had been cut into her straight bob cut hairstyle that persisted until her adulthood.
Rei is depicted as a cold and wise woman by most men notably Yi Won and Jang Rok Ha. She also appears to be ambitious towards her goal of becoming the queen and winning the heart of the king by eradicating those who come in the way of her plans such as killing Yoo Dan Ah, who is selected as one of the brides of the king, although it failed. Moreover, she even placed a once-in-a-lifetime wager with Won that if their child is a girl, she would give one-third of Seo Seo to him but if their child is a boy, she would like to take the seat of empress. When they were still children, she and Rok Ha plan on ruling Seo Seo together, but Rei left her mother country, entering the palace in Ga Guk. She became self-absorbed with Ga Guk despite Rok Ha insisting for her return.
Birth and Early Childhood Edit
Jang Rei is the fourth child and third daughter of King Jang Ryun and Yeong Bi. As a child, she was often mistreated by her elder half-siblings and plotted to kill her. She usually spent most of her time with her nephew Jang Rok Ha, the son of her elder brother, the First Prince. Though they are comfortable and friendly with each other, the First Prince despised Rei with seeing his son, thinking that she was beguiling him with her looks like Yeong Bi.
Once, Rei and Rok Ha noticed visitors from Ga Guk, including Hae Won. As Rok Ha is fetched, the First Prince arrived and slapped Rei, threatening her that he, as the Crown Prince of Seo Seo, would be the next king no matter how many times she "complained" to their father. As he left, Rei looked over to Hae Won and saw him chuckle under his breath.
That night, Rei was excluded by her half-sister from the festivities at a banquet, similar to how Hae Won was also prohibited to join. They conversed about their frustrations and how they kept their burdens inside themselves, voicing out their similarities with each other as children of mistresses. Hae Won then asked Rei to make a bet with him to see who would have a better endurance the next time they would meet, and the loser would grant the other a wish. However, Rei refused to bet with Won, thinking that she would lose to him given her unchanging situation with her siblings.
Emigration to Ga Guk Edit
Years later, after Jang Ryun died, the First Princess succeeded in eventually killing Yeong Bi with poisoned teas, causing Rei to grieve both her parents' deaths. Because of these, when Hae Won — who was then coronated as King Jin Won — returned to Seo Seo, Rei finally agreed to make a bet with him through a game of rock-paper-scissors. Since Won did not know how to play the game, Rei won and requested him to take her away from Seo Seo as a prize for her winning the game. Several years later, Rok Ha found out about the arranged marriage of Rei with Jin Won, but he was not able to do anything to stop it. On the other hand, Rei became glad that she would finally be taken out of Seo Seo.
Compact Heist Arc Edit
One night, Hyun Bin arrives at the king's quarters and wakes him up, informing him that his reward of thirty thousand nyang worth of gold coins are waiting outside, pleasing Won. As he prepares, she blackmails his concubine to leave the palace before sunrise if she wants to live.
The next morning after the compact was stolen, Hyun Bin listens to the conversation of Yoo Ja Gyeom and Yoon Yeon Lee and overhears of a marriage between the king and the chief state councilor's daughter. As he comes out, she congratulates him for the marriage, and he tells him that eavesdropping is not good for her unborn child.
Chase Arc Edit
One night, Rei recalls the other night about her wager with Won. She is then visited by her bodyguard Gwak Ji Ryeon who reports to her about Won's usual excursions: visiting the gambling and gisaeng houses. However, the past few days, he has noticed that he has been frequently seen with a young maiden who turns out to be Ja Gyeom's daughter, Dan Ah. He adds that they seemingly do not know each other's identities yet. She then implies to have the lady assassinated. The next day, she and Yoon Yeon Lee visit the Valley of the Kings and are escorted by the Bi Yeong Pal Mu in exchange for her bodyguard.
Revolt Procurement Arc Edit
Hyun Bin becomes angry because she is not told about the king's recent unhealthy lifestyle. She bursts into the king's room despite strict orders not to let anyone in and witnesses a drunk Won. Drunk, Won asks Hyun Bin to drink with him. She tries to stop him because she worries for his health. He admits that he tries to get drunk to forget a "flower", but does not get drunk. He then seeks advice from her and tells him that if he truly wants that "flower", he should take it forcibly to him.
Outside, Gwak Ji Ryeon worries why she gave such advice and fears if they end up falling in love with each other. Thinking that the king is in love with Dan Ah, Rei is relieved that the assassination attempt on her life is a failure, for the king might get "worse" if the plan worked.
In her chambers, Hyun Bin is visited by her servant who tells her about the selection of the three bridal candidates. As the king will choose one candidate, Hyun Bin thinks that he will not choose her but Dan Ah, thinking that she is the one whom Won is in love with. She then receives a red letter, much to Hyun Bin's distress.
Plague Arc Edit
Upon Jin Won's return to the palace from Moon's End Village, Hyun Bin hears of the king's "accident" and rushes to see him. On the way to his chambers, she encounters some palace servants carrying the king's bloodied robes during the incident. She smells the garb and senses the scent of dream flower infused in it. She immediately decides to turn back to return to her chambers.
In her room, she asks Ji Ryeon whether he knows of the dream flower, which he acquiesces. She tells him that she sensed dream flower infused in the king's garb; patching the hints together including the red letter she received and the dream flower, she believes the incident was orchestrated by Seo Seo. She then requests Ji Ryeon to find Rok Ha, who she believes is staying in Ga Guk.
Rebel Army Suppression: Setting in Motion Edit
The next day after Won's excursion to Bi Hwa Rim with Dan Ah, Hyun Bin serves some tea to Jin Won, remarking on his seemingly positive aura. She asks whether something pleasant happened the night before, but he tells her that he is yet to find out that day, leaving her more confused.
The head servant announces the chief state councilor's arrival, after which Hyun Bin takes her leave. As they encounter each other, Ja Gyeom subtly threatens Hyun Bin's standing in the upcoming bridal selection, saying that the king has not yet chosen her as a candidate. Furthermore, he sends her some presents in the midst of her nearing due date. Hyun Bin quips that the councilor has been busy taking care of her instead of his own daughter, about whom she heard rumors that may interfere with her candidacy. The two then part ways, visibly hostile toward each other. Outside, Ji Ryeon meets Hyun Bin and tells her that he has found where Rok Ha is staying.
They then head to an inn in discreet, where Rok Ha warmly welcomes his aunt. Rei angrily accuses Rok Ha of targeting Jin Won to his death, to which Rok Ha replies that it shall result to war, something that he anticipates. He reasons that he merely wishes to regain Seo Seo's lost dignity even if it means engaging a war with Ga Guk.
Rok Ha asks Rei how she knew that he was behind the assassination plot on Jin Won. Rei tells him about the red letter and the dream flower on the king's garb, earning Rok Ha's admiration yet again towards his aunt. He informs her that his father has agreed to abdicate, making Rok Ha the next in line to the throne. He also tells her his reasons for heading to Ga Guk in person, namely to stir the country to civil war and to ask Rei to return with him to Seo Seo. She staunchly rejects his offer, claiming that Ga Guk was once and will forever be her home.
Filled with disbelief, Rok Ha informs her that her inherited land is forfeited, and he continues to pressure her into returning with him back to Seo Seo. Under intense tension coupled with the fact that she is nearing her due date, Rei's water breaks. Rok Ha summons Gyeom to fetch the midwife, but Rei tells Ji Ryeon for them to return to the palace. She then bids Rok Ha goodbye.
Rebel Army Suppression: Execution Edit
Bridal Selection Arc Edit
Hyun Bin had actually given birth to twins: one boy and one girl. As a result, because neither of them wins their gamble in guessing their child's gender, she is not guaranteed to be made a bridal candidate, while Jin Won is unable to get her inherited land in Seo Seo. However, the king decides to make her the third and bridal candidate, as he is not able to find his originally intended choice.
As bridal candidates Yoo Dan Ah and Hwang Se Ryeon introduce themselves to the queen mother in her chambers, Yeon Lee welcomes the two to the palace. The head servant then interrupts their meeting and excuses herself to hand a royal decree issued by Jin Won, stating that Hyun Bin is chosen as the third bridal candidate. Yeon Lee is infuriated with her son's decision, though left with no choice but to acknowledge and welcome Hyun Bin. The consort is then introduced to Se Ryeon and Dan Ah, the latter of whom piques her interest due to her interaction with the king himself (albeit unknown to Dan Ah) during his excursions outside the palace.
By nighttime, a banquet is held at the palace for the three bridal candidates. Hyun Bin becomes shocked to hear and see Rok Ha at the banquet, who presents to the Queen Mother about the famed shadow dance for some entertainment. Later, as the king arrives quite tardy and apparently angry due to his intoxication, Hyun Bin notices Dan Ah's apparent nervousness, not looking at the king. Recalling how Dan Ah does not know that Won is the king, Hyun Bin invites her to take a glance at him.
Dan Ah bluntly refuses, thinking it might be rude to look at such royalty without his consent. Hyun Bin further persuades and tells her not to overthink such trivial things. After all, it would not be awkward to gaze at how her possible spouse would look like. Despite her insistence of not wanting to look at the king, Dan Ah inadvertently gazes upon King Jin Won; Hyun Bin notices Dan Ah quiver upon seeing him.
After the banquet incident, Rok Ha visits Rei and her children at her chambers. She inquires about the dancer he brought and how he seemingly used her to capture the attention of the king, but Rok Ha merely dodges her questions. In the end, Rei asks him if his concern is her inherited land that he has already taken. Rok Ha asks her to speak with utmost care, lest news of her land's forfeiture may affect her standing in Ga Guk and the bridal selection.
Nevertheless, he praises her tenacity, rising up the ranks of even becoming a bridal candidate amidst the Queen Mother's oppositions. Hence, he advises her to proceed with her decisions cautiously, since she now has more to lose. Rei asks him until when he plans to stay in Ga Guk, to which he replies until the royal wedding. He still insists on having her return to Seo Seo with him, but, in the meantime, he promises to keep his silence in exchange for a favor from her.
Sometime later, Hyun Bin and Dan Ah wait for the king's arrival from his sangcham. Rather awkwardly, Dan Ah compliments Hyun Bin's baby prince, but Hyun Bin bluntly states her hate towards Dan Ah for having attained that which she has always longed for. Dan Ah corrects her, saying that she is not the one that the king fancies. She also informs Hyun Bin about their "past" encounter at Bi Hwa Rim and wishes to bring back Jin Won's kind smile if she can. Though she acknowledges that the king's heart belongs to another, Dan Ah affirms that she shall not back down and protect Jin Won with all her capability.
Hyun Bin responds by reasserting her hate towards Dan Ah. However, though she concludes that getting along with Dan Ah is a bad move, Hyun Bin posits that they can be good rivals in love. Dan Ah accepts the challenge and asks for the both of them to compete fairly during the bridal selection. Hyun Bin thinks of Dan Ah as a rather mature person, while also wondering who Jin Won desires.
Dan Ah asks permission if she may approach the baby prince, so Hyun Bin asks her nursemaid, Baek Hwa, to bring forth her son to Dan Ah. After the latter sings a lullaby to the baby prince, he smiles endearingly. As they all become surprised at the child's response, Se Ryeon arrives at the gathering. Her maidservant serves them a valuable tea, whose scent Se Ryeon commends. She notices Hyun Bin lower her teacup after smelling the tea's aroma, seemingly suspicious of it. Hyun Bin pulls the tablecloth to prevent Dan Ah from drinking the tea, but due to her leg injury, Nabi instead shields Dan Ah from the spill and acquires a burn on her arm.
Amidst the commotion, Jin Won arrives and spots Nabi's injury. Frustrated, he postpones the gathering and orders them to return to their quarters. On their way back, Hyun Bin tells Ji Ryeon about the suspicious tea and orders him to find who made it.
Later, Hyun Bin summons Dan Ah to her quarters, where a flock of maidservants are gathered for what seems to be a merchant sale from Seo Seo. Seol Hwa ushers Dan Ah to Hyun Bin's quarters; the consort requests Dan Ah to sing her lullaby to her baby prince, which she happily does. Without fail, the baby prince smiles endearingly, much to his mother's disappointment. Nevertheless, Hyun Bin allows Dan Ah to visit anytime as her son has taken quite a liking to her.
Minister Retrieval Arc Edit
After the rebels broke into the palace to retrieve ex-minister Seo In Seon Woo, Hyun Bin visits the Queen Mother, but she is denied entrance. As she leaves, she hears Se Ryeon exit the Queen Mother's quarters. Hyun Bin becomes anxious that Yeon Lee might have known about the revocation of her territories in Seo Seo. At that point, Jin Won arrives, though he ignores her and merely brushes past her. As her servants become worried for her, Hyun Bin remarks that she wishes to see her baby prince's smile.
Persecution Arc Edit
On the day of the supposed announcement of the bridal statement, Rei strolls with Rok Ha and asks her to give her back at least half of her territory. She is fine even with the land income and ownership to belong to Rok Ha as long as her name is on the land deed. Rok Ha wonders about her sudden change of heart, to which Rei thinks that the king and the queen mother have found out about her territory being revoked, which worries her for the following repercussions. In essence, Rei needs power to protect her and her children, regardless if she is chosen as the royal bride or not.
At that moment, Ji Ryeon and a servant rush towards her and inform her of a grave news. As they return to her quarters, Rei comes across her dead baby prince. She trembles in fear and gloom, causing her to lose consciousness and collapse.
At night, following her son's death, Rei hallucinates holding him in her arms, the vision afterwards dissipating. Nonetheless, Rei hears a baby's cry somewhere and chases it, believing it to be her child. This situation continued for many nights, with many palace servants witnessing Rei going in and out of her chambers unaccompanied. Hallucinating about her deceased baby prince crying, Rei becomes ridden with guilt and asks her son that his mother shall soon be by his side.
Several days have passed, and the bridal selection is postponed. At night, Rei leaves her quarters once again until she reaches the palace lake. She spots a basket with the baby prince's blanket floating by the river and immediately jumps towards it. As she drowns given her poor condition, Dan Ah jumps off the river to rescue her after having followed her. As Rei becomes unconscious, Dan Ah comes up to her side, while an entourage of ministers arrive. Ja Gyeom proclaims how the rumors of Hyun Bin's insanity appear to be true.
The following day, Rei wakes up hearing her servants talk about talks of taking away the baby princess from her. In a frenzy, she rushes out and encounters the king and his ministers, the latter of which witness her rumored "insanity". Ja Gyeom comments how Hyun Bin has changed to the point that he himself cannot recognize her anymore and pressures the king to have her evicted at once, conveniently so with the Seo Seo prince visiting at the moment. As Hyun Bin pleads to the king to return her baby princess, Ja Gyeom unwittingly informs the king about their plan to take the princess away from her mother.
In a fit of rage, Jin Won orders everyone to stop and asserts that he is still the king of Ga Guk regardless of what they all think of him, warning that he shall kill anyone who speaks another word. He plays rock-paper-scissors with Hyun Bin like how they used to before. As expected, Won loses and asks for Hyun Bin's wish as the winner in their game. She wishes to stay by his side together with her baby princess, which the king allows. In the end, however, the ministers insist in protesting with Hyun Bin's selection as the royal bride, forcing Jin Won to revoke his decision in marrying her.
Following Dan Ah's indictment for allegedly murdering the baby prince, Rei recuperates from the aftereffects of the dream flower tea she has ingested, save for a slight headache. She asks Ji Ryeon if the traitor caught turns out to be Dan Ah, which Ji Ryeon confirms. Though in disbelief that a gentle person such as Dan Ah could do such thing, he informs her that there are many proofs that point to her possible involvement. Nevertheless, Rei grows suspicious that there are too many pieces of evidence against Dan Ah, though she does not entirely deem her yet as innocent. She ponders how the king has too many enemies whom he could not trust, including Dan Ah and even his ministers.
Rei asks Ji Ryeon if they have found the mastermind behind the dream flower, whom they have not found yet. However, he has found the whereabouts of the maid named En Shim, who has prepared the dream flower tea. Unfortunately, as he arrived at her chambers, he and the servants found her hanged. As he conjectures that En Shim had committed suicide, Rei on the other hand thinks that Ja Gyeom had her killed to get rid of any evidence and witness. She then grows weakened, after which Ji Ryeon asks her not to overexert herself. At that point, Nabi arrives at her chambers carrying someone, much to Rei's shock.
Nabi seeks Hyun Bin's aid in catching the baby prince's murderer, but Hyun Bin adamantly reminds her that she has already been arrested. Hearing her response, Nabi announces her leave, but Hyun Bin immediately quips that there are two people she suspects: Ja Gyeom and Se Hyung, two individuals who can benefit from the loss of the baby prince and her right to being queen. However, Nabi asserts that Ja Gyeom cannot have benefited from Dan Ah's indictment, leaving the two with no other suspect but Se Hyung's daughter, Se Ryeon.
Hyun Bin asks for Nabi's proof, to which the latter presents Se Ryeon's maid, the one who poisoned the baby prince. Hyun Bin instantly recognizes the woman and prepares to spite her, but Nabi calms her down and states that they must expose the puppeteer instead of little puppets like the maid who can be disposed anytime. Nabi bargains with Hyun Bin: she shall surrender to authorities in exchange for Hyun Bin's protection for the maid until she confesses. As she leaves, Hyun Bin asks why she trusts her, to which Nabi believes that no one wishes to expose the true murderer other than Hyun Bin herself.
After Nabi's surrender to authorities, Hyun Bin muses how Nabi has fulfilled her promise. She then turns to the maid brought to her, trembling in fear in Rei's quarters. With the maid keeping her silence, Rei threatens her that she is not safe from her own rage or when she deems to have the maid returned to Se Hyung. Moreover, Rei reminds her that, though she was merely ordered, it was still her hand that poisoned her baby prince, enough reason to compel Rei to order for the maid's execution. However, Rei tells her that her rank and influence as royal consort and as a Seo Seo princess can help keep the maid alive. She gives the maid until daybreak to confess Se Ryeon's crimes.
The following day, she visits the Chamber of Eternal Life and waits for the king outside. At that point, the maid has decided to confess Se Ryeon's crime for killing the baby prince. With Se Ryeon and her father tortured and interrogated by the king, Jin Won calls forth the witness, who is escorted by Hyun Bin to the interrogation grounds. In the end, with the witness's confession and several other evidence that incriminate them, Se Ryeon and Se Hyung are proven guilty for high treason and executed by quartering.
After the trial, Rei commends the maid for doing a good job, though the maid dismisses it as no big deal. Rei then asks her to prepare as Ji Ryeon shall escort her to her new residence. The maid thanks her for doing such thing. In reality, Rei has asked for Ji Ryeon to bring the maid where the plague victims are quarantined to be her new residence, keeping her promise of letting the maid live. Rei then leaves it to the maid whether she shall survive or not, having Ji Ryeon relay her message to the one who killed her son.
- (Referring to Hae Won) "My mind is clearer due to the words of a boy much younger than me. I, too, just wanted to love and be loved…"
- (To Jin Won) "Drinks should be enjoyed only when you have the peace of mind to do so. When your heart is so filled with anger, there is simply no room for you to become intoxicated."
- (To Ji Ryeon) "Love and obsession may appear similar, but they are actually different. Obsession will simply dissipate once they get what they want… until they get bored of it."
- (To Rok Ha) "Make no mistake. For now and ever… Ga Guk is my home."
- She was given the title Hyun Bin wherein the "Bin" is the title given to the highest ranking consorts who are regarded as members of the Royal Family of Ga Guk. The prefix attached to her title which is "Hyun", is supposed to reflect the character of Rei as being wise.
- Throughout the series, Rei and her nephew Rok Ha are both the same age.
|Characters of Twelve Nights|
|Royal Family||Ahn Young • Hyun Bin • Jin Hyul • Jin Jeok • Jin Won • Unnamed Baby Prince • Unnamed Baby Princess • Yi Hwi • Yi Sae Gi • Yoon Yeon Lee|
|Ministers||Hwang Se Hyung • Kim Hak Gyu • Sa Hwa Hyeon • Seo In Seon Woo • Wi Ji Hyun • Yi Ha • Yoo Ja Gyeom|
|Bi Yeong Pal Mu||Baek Ah • Baek Ju • Baek Lin • Baek Ryung • Baek Sa • Heuk Rang|
|Bi Yeong Ship Mu||Baek Ho • Baek Yoo Shin • Gil Mu Jin • Yi Ha|
|Deung Ha Bul Myung||Baek Ho • Crimson Moon • Gil Mu Jin • Nabi • Seol Hwa • Seo In Seon Woo • Wol Young Hwa • Yi Hwi • Yi Jeok|
|Yu Hyang Ru||Nabi • Wol Young Hwa • Yi Jeok|
|Others||Chung • Hwang Se Ryeon • Hyun • Ma Mi Song • Nam Yang Heon • Sori • Woon • Yi Ha's Wife • Yoo Dan Ah • Yoo Dan Ah's Mother|
|Royal Family||First Prince • First Princess • Jang Rei • Jang Rok Ha • Jang Ryun • Second Princess • Three Wives of Jang Ryun • Unnamed Baby Prince • Unnamed Baby Princess • Yeong Bi|
|Others||Gwak Ji Ryeon • Meng Gyeom|