This article is about the character. For the song of the same name, see Butterfly. For other uses, see Butterfly (Disambiguation).
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If you want me... You will have to try much harder.

–To Yi Won

Nabi was a former renowned gisaeng who worked in Yu Hyang Ru, widely regarded as the "most beautiful" woman throughout Hyang Ju during her time. She was also considered the companion and later partner of Yu Hyang Ru's musician Yi Jeok. Her true identity was Yi Hwi until he relinquished this persona after their successful rebellion.

History Edit

It is unknown when Hwi donned the persona Nabi, but she later earned the moniker of the "most beautiful" through her famed shadow dance (영무 / , young moo), a dance of seduction.[1]


See also: Nabi's Outfits

Nabi is a beautiful fair-skinned, black-haired young lady with distinct jade eyes. There were many outfits that she wore, though her hair style is constantly half-tied topped with a large butterfly pin on her left side whose center is light turquoise and its wings are silver which attaches a pair of dangling strings, one filled with tiny crystals while the other is a strand of string with simple designs. On her right side, there is a flower pin which resembles a cross. A tiny red crystal is embellished in the center. Occasionally, she wears a jeonmo alongside her chima jeogori during her excursions with her hair simply laid down. She occasionally carries a fan with her.

In general, Nabi is considered as a very beautiful woman; coupled with her refined personality and artistic repertoire of talents and skills, many men get attracted or even obsessed towards her, a significant example of which is Yi Won. Nonetheless, she once even made a lady such as Yoo Dan Ah "make her female heart beat so," evident of her sublime beauty and magnificence. Nabi also greatly resembles Hwi's biological mother, Ahn Young, as hinted by both Yoon Yeon Lee and Yoo Ja Gyeom.[2]


Nabi is a decent and reserved gisaeng who has proper manners. She is sometimes cold towards other people, but she has a calm demeanor to her peers. She is also intelligent and is quite famed for her lovely poems and letters. When someone is in trouble, she comes to solve the conflict through negotiation, and when she is able to somehow relieve the situation, she does not seem to need the gratitude of the people involved. Nabi is also slow to anger and rarely becomes mad. As a member of Deung Ha Bul Myung, Nabi is goal-oriented and aims on reclaiming the throne for the Crown Prince.

Nabi is a good teacher to her student Yoo Dan Ah and eventually becomes attached to her. At first, they are uncomfortable with each other because of Nabi's status as a gisaeng. According to Dan Ah's father, no teacher lasted long with teaching Dan Ah because of her quirky attitude and stubborn nature, but Nabi is the only one who lasted and is able to teach Dan Ah the proper art of being a woman before she enters the palace.

Nabi is the object of obsession of Yi Won when he is on his excursions outside the palace. She does not reciprocate her feelings though to him because she thinks that he is a dangerous man. She also somehow mocks him and wants him and Dan Ah to get along each other though Won initially dislikes Dan Ah because of his feelings for Nabi.


Fateful Encounter Arc Edit

Nabi slapped

Nabi gets slapped by Yang Heon

During the commotion at Ga Guk's festival, Nabi throws a fan at Nam Yang Heon's face and causes him and Yoo Dan Ah to tip over Won. She then apologizes to them and insults Yang Heon. She explains that she knows him very well as a bright and has a great self-esteem amongst the people, but she contradicts this statement because he is more comparable to a bug rather despite his family's popularity. Yang Heon then slaps her hard, but she tells him that they are equal in status as human beings. Won then laughs at approval and attacks Yang Heon, who then orders his subordinates to kill them all. While Won beats Yang Heon alone, Nabi secretly escapes with Dan Ah away from the place. She assures Dan Ah that Won will be fine since one of her men is present in the location. After escaping, Dan Ah thanks her for her great help and introduces herself, but, instead of doing the same, Nabi only bows down to her as a sign of goodbye, since she thinks that her name is not worth knowing.[3]

The next day, Won arrives at Yu Hyang Ru and presents her a bottle of alcohol. She rejects him right away, explaining that even grand gifts such as a pavilion did not favor her much. She advises him that if he truly wants to have her, he should try much harder. Leaving empty-handed, Seol Hwa thinks that he must have been a wealthy person. Nabi theorizes that he gives off a rather dangerous scent despite "not knowing him," saying that it is best to be careful.[4]

Compact Heist Arc Edit

Later on, before changing into Nabi, Hwi and Jeok talk about the compact and their plan of stealing it as evidence for the burning of the palace ten years ago. She then goes to Yu Hyang Ru with Jeok to work.[5] One night, some members of the rebel army hold a meeting regarding the compact's location. While waiting, Wol Young Hwa asserts that they are the world's two most beautiful women, contradicting Baek Ho's response. Nabi then reprimands Seon Woo Seo In that he is late, to which he apologizes. Despite Young Hwa's warning to them, Nabi agrees to steal the compact regardless of the tight security in Yoo Ja Gyeom's residence and the compact's current location. As preparation, Nabi volunteers to go steal the compact since her specialty is blending in with darkness. As the others try to volunteer, she allows and orders everyone to go out and be part of the group.[6]

12 2

Won brings Nabi to a physician

After their mission, Hwi changes into Nabi though wounded badly. She continues to work despite Jeok's insistence to let him rest. She becomes dizzy most of the time and does not expect to spread fast. She then meets a drunk Won and coldly rejects him. However, Won notices that she looks pale and grasps her shoulder, leaving some traces of blood on his hand. He insists to look at her shoulder and takes off her clothes, but she immediately puts them back on and thinks that her own secret is revealed.[7] Fortunately, Won only sees the wound and scolds her for working with a huge wound. He then escorts her to see the physician, but she struggles to reject him, only to finally lose consciousness.

The next morning, she finds out that, seeing a physician, her secret is revealed. However, he has no intentions of divulging such information and she thanks him in return. He contrasts her, saying that she should thank Won or else she would already be dead. As he is about to give her medicine, she goes out of the window hurriedly to see the "hurt" Wol Young Hwa. However, Jeok informs her that she is only drunk and, because of this, has twisted her ankle a bit.[8]

Chase Arc Edit

18 3

Jeok saves Nabi from Won

Early in the morning in Yu Hyang Ru, Nabi is informed by Wol Young Hwa that Yoo Ja Gyeom came in person to choose Nabi as a new teacher for Dan Ah. Because of her absence, Wol Young Hwa accepted the offer, much to Jeok's disapproval. However, Nabi considered it as an opportunity to gather information about their enemy. However, he admits that he just wanted the chance to see Dan Ah again. Later, Nabi is on her way to Yoo Ja Gyeom's residence with Jeok. From a distance, Won notices them and angrily grabs her arm. She insists to let her go, but he only holds her tighter. Jeok then grabs her away and gets into a fight with Won. They are then stopped by Baek Ryung and Nabi lectures Won that there are things that cannot be obtained no matter how hard one works for them. He asks her what she wants and tells him she wants "the nation". She and Jeok then continue on their way.

Win over man's heart

Dan Ah asks Nabi to teach her win over a man's heart

Later at the chief state councilor's residence, Nabi is introduced by Yoo Ja Gyeom to Dan Ah as her new teacher. She then asks Dan Ah if she wants to learn anything specifically. Knowing that Nabi is the most popular woman with men, she asks to teach her how to win over the heart of a man.[9] She asks Dan Ah if she truly loves him, and she answers that he is a person she cherishes because of an incident which happened ten years ago in Bi Hwa Rim. Nabi realizes that Dan Ah does not love Won, but Hwi himself. She then tells Dan Ah that she will teach her how to win his heart. But, she opens up that she heard from her father she is getting married to another man. However, she tells Dan Ah to gain his love first, so she advises her to write him a letter to convey her feelings for him. Immediately, Dan Ah writes a letter and thanks her.[10]

21 4

Nabi pieces together Dan Ah's torn letter for Won

At a pavilion in Yu Hyang Ru, Nabi is visited by Jeok and asks her if she got any information from teaching Dan Ah. She answers that she has not gathered any information yet, but he notices Nabi's "difficulty" in doing their plan on reclaiming the throne. He suggests to give it all up if she thinks it is has become too difficult already. She flinches and chuckles at this remark, stating that they are only some steps away and if they are to give up, the life they have lived to take the last step will have been for nothing. From a distance, an enraged and jealous Won witnesses Nabi and Jeok together and, instead of giving Nabi her medicine, walks out. On the market streets, Nabi visits Won playing the Water Beetle Game. He asserts that today is really his "lucky" day.[11] She clarifies to him that she has only gone to deliver a letter for him from Dan Ah. He grows angry at this and rips the letter. He confesses his feelings for her and walks out angrily. She picks up the letter and patches up the pieces on the floor. She finds out that she will be waiting for him at Hwa Gwi Cheon tonight.

That night, Won rushes to a closed Yu Hyang Ru and confesses his sentiments to Nabi.[12] Inside, Nabi is listening to Won, but Jeok advises her to ignore his feelings. As midnight strikes, Nabi remembers Dan Ah's letter and rushes to see her.[13]

Revolt Procurement Arc Edit

One morning, Dan Ah greets her father like a proper lady and gives him an embroidered purse containing some sweets in order to help him relieve stress. After he leaves, Dan Ah returns to being a vivacious lady and asks her teacher Nabi if she did great in impersonating a respectable young lady. Nabi replies that it was good and asks why she had a sudden change of heart. Dan Ah tells her that she would not be by her father's side much longer, much to Nabi's astonishment. Nabi asks the specifics of her "trip" and if she is going together with "young master". Dan Ah seemingly does not have any odd interest in him, admitting that he runs away because she keeps on following him. She also asks Nabi whether she can come with her if Won does not come with her. A confused Nabi's questions are dodged by Dan Ah who switches the subject and tells her to continue their lessons. Nabi then worries whether Dan Ah will give up on Won, so she tells her that she will come with Dan Ah if the young master refuses to go with her.[14]

Nabi is on her way to the chief state councilor's residence, but is caught by Jeok who is against her going to the chief state councilor's house. He begins to doubt Nabi's real dilemma in going to the chief state councilor's house and implies that he has fallen in love with Dan Ah. He then asks her to promise that if Dan Ah becomes a hindrance to the plan, she will have to kill her and agrees to it. She then asks him why he arrived from the headquarters and informs her that the weapons have arrived from Seo Seo. In Yu Hyang Ru, Jeok and Nabi are visited by Meng Gyeom and Jang Rok Ha to deliver the weapons from Seo Seo. Nabi is seen to serve tea to the servant Rok Ha first then to Meng Gyeom, the master. She then asks Meng Gyeom if they can procure some guns from them.[15]

Nabi tells Jeok that she should not have acted like she knew about Rok Ha's and Meng Gyeom's real identities, but Jeok replies that it is a good decision or else they would have taken the rebel army lightly. They talk about how they can get 100,000 nyang to pay the Western Nak Cheon Company for the guns they asked; they only have a budget of at least 9,000 nyang. Nabi thinks of some ways on how to get the payment when she suddenly notices Seol Hwa eavesdrop by the window. The latter signals her to keep it a secret, but Jeok nevertheless catches her. Seol Hwa justifies that she only wanted to see the both of them ever since Nabi was taken off the gisaeng registers. They then agree to include Seol Hwa in their "secret discussion".[16]

Nabi is present at a meeting with the other rebel army members. Upon learning that a fraud is posing as the Crimson Moon, she then tells them that she will find this fake, but Jeok interferes and tells her that they should leave it as it is. They then get involved in a heated argument whether or not they should save the people being affected, but Jeok eventually ends the chat, leaving Hwi infuriated.[17]

Plague Arc Edit

30 4

Dan Ah tells Nabi she is happy to have met her

One night at the chief state councilor's house, Nabi watches from afar the visitors coming inside the place including Kim Hak Gyu, the Secretary of Treasury; and Wi Ji Hyun, the Secretary of Defense. As she inspects them thinking that their names were not in the compact, her attention is called by Dan Ah's servant carrying a basket of plum blossoms. Nabi asks for some, and her servant compliments Nabi for teaching Dan Ah well. Inside, Nabi serves Dan Ah some plum blossom tea and bids her farewell. She asks Dan Ah to cheer up, so the latter greets her to take care with a grin. As Nabi leaves, Dan Ah hurriedly calls and gives Nabi her perfume case with plum blossoms. Though this is her prized possession, Dan Ah gives it to Nabi and tells her teacher she was happy to met her. Nabi tells her the same, and thinks that she was happy to meet her again.[18]

As she leaves, Nabi is being tailed by Rok Ha, claiming that he is concerned for her safety, being unaccompanied late at night. Nabi reassures him there is nothing to be worried about, since she is accompanied by Mu Jin who instantly appears. She tells him that her destination, Yu Hyang Ru, is not much further away; Rok Ha insists they go together because that is his destination as well and wants to consult about the rumor of the Crimson Moon arming the villagers of Moon's End Village, prompting Nabi to believe it was the fake Crimson Moon's doing. Nabi leaves without Rok Ha and tells him she will just relay it to her master.[19]

Rebel Army Suppression: Execution Edit

Dan Ah hugs Nabi

Dan Ah embraces Nabi out of joy

In the aftermath of the Royal Army's raids at Bi Hwa Rim and Yu Hyang Ru, Nabi visits Dan Ah's chambers, who was confined all throughout the purge of the rebels. Dan Ah rushes towards Nabi to hug her and weeps out of joy, explaining how worried she became after she could not contact Nabi at Yu Hyang Ru. Nabi asks her if something happened; Dan Ah, not wanting to worry Nabi about her supposed elopement with Won, answers that she is merely happy to see her. Nabi, however, gathers her resolve within herself, thinking that she now has to point her blade at Dan Ah. Nabi asks a favor from her.

Bridal Selection Arc Edit

Nabi at procession

Nabi at the bridal candidates' procession

Nabi requests to be Dan Ah's maidservant for the bridal selection at the palace, which Dan Ah accepts. Few days later, Nabi helps Dan Ah prepare in entering the palace. Recalling how Hong once painted her shoes with flowers to take her to her beloved, Dan Ah wonders where those shoes would now take her, worrying if she would be able to smile there. Nabi then advises her that it will be difficult. At the bridal candidates' procession, Nabi walks by Dan Ah's palanquin en route to to the palace. Along the way, Nabi spots Jeok together with Mu Jin and Baek Ho. Amidst Jeok's consistent reminder for her that she cannot save everyone, she instead makes her decision not to save himself.[20]

Nabi and Dan Ah finally arrive in the palace, with a palace servant escorting them to their quarters during the bridal selection period. Still struggling with her leg injury, Nabi assists Dan Ah in walking and advises her not to trust anyone in the palace despite their elegant disposition and polite facade, including Nabi herself.

As she walks Dan Ah to meet Yoon Yeon Lee, Nabi advises Dan Ah to walk independently and hide her weakness in front of the queen mother. While waiting outside, Nabi encounters an unexpected person,[21] who turns out to be Rok Ha. He tells her about his and Jeok's meeting the previous night, but Nabi remains steadfast in her cover, avoiding her cover to be blown. However, Rok Ha shows her Young Hwa's knife from ten years ago, proof that Jeok has put his trust in the crown prince of Seo Seo.

Nabi and Won meet again

Nabi and Won face each other

They then plan to attend the palace banquet that night, with Nabi set to have a performance meant to attract the king. At that point that the king is to approach her, she is given one chance to kill King Jin Won. Hence, by nighttime, Nabi presents the famed shadow dance at the banquet hall. As the doors open and the shadows disappear, Jin Won approaches the dancing figure. Noticing the king behind her, Nabi takes out her blade and points it to the king, who, much to their surprise, turns out to be the red-haired man chasing her outside the palace.[1]

As Nabi quickly hides her blade, Jin Won suddenly collapses out of intoxication, managing to only grab her norigae before completely becoming unconscious. As his servants and guards rush to him, Rok Ha instructs Nabi to flee at once for her safety and abandon the plan.

Won visits Nabi and Dan Ah

Jin Won visits Nabi and Dan Ah

The next day, Nabi accompanies Dan Ah around her quarters' premises. They sigh at the same time, shocking Dan Ah and making her ask whether Nabi is worried about something. The latter reassures her that she merely met someone unexpected in the palace, which Dan Ah states is also her concern. Just then, Dan Ah stops speaking and notices the king himself visit them. Nabi finally understands why she always felt uneasy around him, who turns out to actually be her enemy. Dan Ah clutches on to her, while Nabi realizes that Dan Ah does not know about Won's and Nabi's unrequited relationship. Nabi subtly turns her back on the king, which angers him. He then grabs Dan Ah and walks away with her to spite Nabi.[2]

Later, Nabi puts a cloak over Dan Ah who slumps under the pouring rain. She tells Nabi how foolish she was when she pursued Won, finally understanding why she did not know where Won lived nor what he did. However, she is still puzzled why he agreed to elope with her and why he needed to confirm that she is the chief state councilor's daughter. Dan Ah then opens up about her past with "him", musing how the kind child she met at Bi Hwa Rim grew up to be an infamous tyrant.

Continuing how conflicted her feelings are, from nostalgia to frustration and puzzlement to anger, Dan Ah confesses that she cannot hate any of the truths finally revealed. Nabi asks her whether she would still love him if he is not the boy she met at Bi Hwa Rim; Dan Ah answers that, regardless, her feelings for him will still remain even if it hurts. Nabi thinks how foolish Dan Ah is, saying that she is alright when she is obviously suffering inside. Dan Ah thanks Nabi wholeheartedly for her company in the palace, claiming that she apparently holds a special place in her heart.

Nabi reflects

Nabi reflects on her recent failure and all the troubles she has caused

Nabi returns to her quarters and thinks about the foiled plan, considering everything to be finished and seemingly irreparable. Even though he abandoned everything but a sword to assassinate King Jin Won, hoping to escape the past that binds him, he still could not steel himself to kill Won, knowing that doing so will only hurt Dan Ah even more. However, Hwi still questions why it has to be Won that he needs to slay, when he merely wanted to protect his love and for that love to protect whom she loves. Merely laughing at all the trouble that he caused, Hwi is now clueless and pleas for help, especially from Jeok.[22] As he remembers the people who have supported and believed in him, as well as the future of the country, Hwi strengthens his resolve not to falter and hesitate anymore.[23]


  • (To Yang Heon) "We are both human. Concepts of lowliness and nobility do not exist! Before you discuss matters of nobility, become a person first!"[3]
  • "It's best to be careful. Like this butterfly which flew straight into the poison. Intoxicated by the scent, one must not lose everything. How foolish."[4]
  • (To Won) "My lord, they say that a flower can be touched and bent by anyone. But that flower can also understand words and has its own heart."[9]
  • (To Won) "What do I want? What I want... If I say 'this nation', would you give it to me?"[9]
  • (Referring to Dan Ah) "Lies. No matter how much I try to justify it, I just wanted the chance to see you again. Excuses."[9]
  • (Referring to Dan Ah) "I do not know why I agreed to go with her when I know I should've said 'no'. It may have been because of her uneasy smile, or perhaps the chilly wind; I'm not quite sure."[14]
  • (Referring to Dan Ah) "I too... was happy. To meet you again."[18]
  • (Reflecting on his mission) "You whom I wanted to protect... You who wanted to protect your love. All of that... I have to end all of that with my own hands. How did it... come to this?"[22]
  • (To Won) "I have nothing to say to you, Your Majesty. How am I supposed to understand the feelings of a king? I only know one thing... Your Majesty and I cannot exist under the same sky... So please stop and let me go..."[24]


  • Her name Nabi means "butterfly."[4]
  • Aside from the numerous gisaeng who adopted her alias after she was taken off the gisaeng registers,[25] at least two individuals pretended to be Nabi, namely a prostitute and Meng Gyeom.
    • Interestingly, both persons had some interaction with Yi Won at Moon's End Village. He first visited the prostitute by mistake,[26] and he later chased the cloaked Gyeom to the village's back hill.[27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 46
  2. 2.0 2.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 47
  3. 3.0 3.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 2
  5. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 7
  6. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 8
  7. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 11
  8. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 12
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 18
  10. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 19
  11. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 20
  12. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 21
  13. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 22
  14. 14.0 14.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 24
  15. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 25
  16. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 26
  17. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 29
  18. 18.0 18.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 30
  19. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 31
  20. Twelve Nights webtoon, part two final chapter
  21. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 45
  22. 22.0 22.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 48
  23. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 49
  24. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 51
  25. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 29
  26. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 34
  27. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 35


Characters of Twelve Nights
Ga Guk
Royal Family Ahn YoungHyun BinJin HyulJin JeokJin WonUnnamed Baby PrinceUnnamed Baby PrincessYi HwiYi Sae GiYoon Yeon Lee
Ministers Hwang Se HyungKim Hak GyuSa Hwa HyeonSeo In Seon WooWi Ji HyunYi HaYoo Ja Gyeom
Bi Yeong Pal Mu Baek AhBaek JuBaek LinBaek RyungBaek SaHeuk Rang
Bi Yeong Ship Mu Baek HoBaek Yoo ShinGil Mu JinYi Ha
Deung Ha Bul Myung Baek HoCrimson MoonGil Mu JinNabiSeol HwaSeo In Seon WooWol Young HwaYi HwiYi Jeok
Yu Hyang Ru NabiWol Young HwaYi Jeok
Others ChungHwang Se RyeonHyunMa Mi SongNam Yang HeonSoriWoonYi Ha's WifeYoo Dan AhYoo Dan Ah's Mother
Seo Seo
Royal Family First PrinceFirst PrincessJang ReiJang Rok HaJang RyunSecond PrincessThree Wives of Jang RyunUnnamed Baby PrinceUnnamed Baby PrincessYeong Bi
Others Gwak Ji RyeonMeng Gyeom
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