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|“||If you cry like that, your heart will only hurt more. Cry out loud.||”|
–To Yoo Dan Ah
Yi Hwi is the son of King Jin Hyul and Queen Ahn Young, the younger twin brother of King Jin Jeok, and the half-brother of King Jin Won, and a prince of Ga Guk. Being adopted during infancy by Minister Yi Ha and his wife, Hwi was believed to have died after being born, a secret that his father desired to hide from others. After some time, he was brought back to the palace and befriended Yi Jeok, the erstwhile crown prince of Ga Guk.
Following Jin Hyul's death, the king's consort Yoon Yeon Lee orchestrated the Jeogwa Revolution and usurped the throne from then Queen Dowager Ahn Young. Hwi and Jeok fled the palace that was set on fire, and, after a master plan by Minister Seo In Seon Woo was devised to keep the crown prince safe from his enemies, Hwi assumed the title of Crown Prince Jin Yeon (진연), the posthumous name of the runaway crown prince after the coup d'état, as the decoy of the real crown prince.
Ten years later, Hwi and Jeok founded the rebel army Deung Ha Bul Myung, with Hwi leading it as its rebel monarch (반란군 군주, banrangun gunju) under the guise of the Crimson Moon in pursuit of reclaiming the throne. Moreover, Hwi acted as a beautiful gisaeng named Nabi in Yu Hyang Ru, and he was a famous painter using the pseudonym Hong Wol (홍월, lit. "Crimson Moon"), often shortened to Hong, to aid in the rebel army's financing.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 History
- 4 Plot
- 4.1 Fateful Encounter Arc
- 4.2 Compact Heist Arc
- 4.3 Shadow Village Conflagration Arc
- 4.4 Chase Arc
- 4.5 Revolt Procurement Arc
- 4.6 Plague Arc
- 4.7 Rebel Army Suppression: Setting in Motion
- 4.8 Rebel Army Suppression: Execution
- 4.9 Bridal Selection Arc
- 4.10 Minister Retrieval Arc
- 4.11 Persecution Arc
- 4.12 Crimson Moon Rebellion
- 5 Creation and Conception
- 6 Quotes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
- 9 Navigation
Hwi is a young man with fair skin and distinct jade eyes. Generally, Hwi has an androgynous appearance, effeminate enough to earn the epithet of the "most beautiful" when he switched to his Nabi persona. He has long teal hair that is loosely tied in a red ponytail with unkempt bangs covering most of his forehead. He also has a burn mark on his nape similar to Jeok, which was branded by Seon Woo to replicate the true crown prince's defining proof of identity to the crown prince's decoy. Furthermore, when he acted as Nabi during King Jin Won's bridal selection, Hwi earned a butterfly-shaped burn mark on his left arm as a result of covering Dan Ah from having tea spilled on her.
Throughout the series, Hwi has worn many outfits of the same style that mostly differed in color scheme. He typically wears a plain white jeogori and a knee-deep baji tucked into tight arm and shin guards, respectively. He also dons a joki that reaches his upper femur and ties it into a ribbon as its belt. He usually wears ankle-high beoseon and a pair of simple jipsin sandals. He is sometimes seen with a bamboo capsule on his back where he puts his paintings that he sells as the painter Hong. He has a brown waist bag on his left side where he keeps his art materials inside. Prior to events leading to the rebel army eradication, Hwi wore a red bracelet given to him by a young girl, though he stopped wearing this after it broke. When he acted as the infamous Crimson Moon, he donned a red full-face mask with eye slits as its only openings and typically carried a sword with him.
Hwi is a rather calm and reserved person who cares deeply for the people of Ga Guk. He is very quiet most of the time, though he can be defensive for other people when they are in a bad situation as a way of protecting them from others. Hwi is also very patient when it comes to his feelings especially with Yoo Dan Ah and is usually concerned of her welfare. Though he knows very well that she is his true love and that she is in love with his enemy and half-brother Yi Won, he accepts it and willingly does anything to protect her no matter what.
Although he built the rebel army Deung Ha Bul Myung to reclaim the throne for the crown prince, Hwi sometimes gets misled that he is a protector of many innocent citizens in which his companion Yi Jeok always reminds him that they must focus on their true goal of reclaiming the throne and not protect people from getting killed. During this occurrences, when Hwi's points are contrasted, he tends to get angry and upset especially when it comes to the protection of the people and the nation. However, he makes up for his mistakes and becomes understanding, bearing the burden of seeing countless, innocent civilians killed. As stated by Jeok, it is not Hwi's nature to kill someone naturally especially when it is someone dear to him.
Hwi acquired a habit of being wary of his surroundings whenever he sleeps, as he claimed to have lost something precious while he was sleeping once. This most likely refers to the Jeogwa Revolution, which commenced at night while he was sleeping and when he lost "precious" things and people close to him, including his real mother and the palace that became his second home full of memories with his "brother figure", as well as his foster parents shortly after the coup d'état. Hwi also tends to paint whenever he feels anxious, which is a way to help clear his mind.
Birth and Early Childhood
Prior to his birth, royal physician Ma Mi Song diagnosed Queen Ahn Young to be pregnant with twins, which King Jin Hyul, unknown to his royal consort, prohibited to tell her about. Jin Hyul had a personal history and wished against twin princes being born, as he himself battled for the throne with his own twin brother that led to bloodshed and the ultimate demise of his rival twin. Physican Ma further told him that, though one was healthy, the other one had a faint heartbeat.
As Ahn Young gave birth to the twin princes, the second-born was barely breathing. Though the king's desire to not have twin princes was not granted, he utilized the situation to his advantage and ordered to have no physician attend to the child. One of the queen's ladies-in-waiting heard of this and informed the queen about the dilemma. Nonetheless, she angrily immediately ordered them to fetch the physician.
Minister Yi Ha, the husband of Ahn Young's cousin, happened to be near the place and inquired about the commotion. The queen pleaded to her cousin-in-law for help; despite the circumstances, the child held on to the minister's finger. Taking this as a sign that the child wanted to live, Minister Ha acquiesced to take the child away and hide him from the king.
On his way out, Physician Ma caught the fleeing minister and realized the situation. The physician halted him, however, and told him that the child would not survive the night if left unattended. Thus, the physician took the child to tend to him and requested the minister to find someplace for the child to live away from the palace. The royal physician also resigned from his position and disappeared from sight. From then on, the child was forgotten as if he had never been born.
Minister Ha talked with his wife about the dilemma. Though it would be hard, the wife happily took the child in under their care, as she herself also wanted a child after years of trying. A few weeks after the child was adopted, Queen Ahn Young sent the couple the name of the child: Hwi. As he grew, the couple kept him in the confines of their residence to ensure his safety and to keep his identity hidden. At a young age, Hwi showed a proficiency in painting, a talent he later honed as supported especially by his foster mother.
At one point, Hwi saw a child near their home and painted her with admiration, though he did not know who the child was and became highly secretive of his painting towards his mother, who found it unusual as he usually rushed towards her whenever he painted.
Entering the Palace
Seven years after his birth, his foster father Minister Ha brought him to the palace, which was an order of his real parents, King Jin Hyul and Queen Ahn Young, on the condition that no one would tell Hwi of his royal lineage until the crown prince ascends to the throne. His foster father introduced him to Crown Prince Yi Jeok, his twin brother (though unbeknownst to neither Hwi nor Jeok), though presumably as a double for the crown prince.
This idea was thought by Minister Ha and Minister Seo In Seon Woo, who both had knowledge about the twinship of the princes, in hopes of further protecting the crown prince. Jeok shunned this idea and asked the ministers to send the boy home, asserting that he had confidence under the protection of Bi Yeong Ship Mu. Seon Woo then asked the crown prince to befriend the boy.
Hwi followed Jeok anywhere he went, but Jeok was merely apathetic and neutral towards him. Subsequently, after getting to know the prodigious child, Jeok became interested in him, and the two became friends. They later grew closer to the point of mutually treating each other as brothers.
Ahn Young later visited the two and embraced Hwi as a form of "gratitude" for being there for the crown prince. She also gifted them with matching clothes she personally sewed, upon which Jeok remarked that the "spare" clothes he always saw her made had finally went to their rightful owner.
When he was eight years old, he went to Bi Hwa Rim, presumably together with Jeok and the king. He met Yoo Dan Ah who was sneaking in, finding a medicinal herb with a red fruit hanging from it to give her ill mother. After a brief introduction, Dan Ah realized that her slippers were carried away in the lake due to the strong current. He stopped her from chasing her shoes because of the dangerous waters gushing. He went to find her slippers, but he was only able to find one. He apologized to her, saying that the other one must have already been carried away far from their location. Nonetheless, he promised her that he shall find her missing shoe and give it to her.
Afterwards, he asked Dan Ah to leave because sunset was fast approaching, and authorities might catch her illegal intrusion to the restricted place. However, Dan Ah's knees were injured; thus, Hwi tended to her and carried her home, singing the Butterfly lullaby as she fell asleep.
On his attempt on finding Dan Ah's other shoe, he was able to retrieve it and personally delivered it to Dan Ah's residence. However, the household was grieving because of the passing of Dan Ah's mother. He merely left the shoe on the stairs, which Dan Ah noticed a few days later, much to her delight.
That same year one night, Hwi was woken up by his mentor and told him to stay quiet. He saw the queen talking with Jeok, who later apologized to him, saying that she could not protect them until the end. Confused, Hwi left the burning palace with Jeok and Seon Woo, who also gave them a norigae. As per their mentor's final instructions, he and Jeok exited the Phoenix Doors and ran westward to Ju Wah Ae Rim to find a certain Wol Young Hwa.
On their escape, Hwi stumbled and got hit by a dagger that pierced his left chest. They hid on a house where they were caught by a young girl. The girl's mother discovered them; seeing that the boys were escaping from the palace, she voiced out her disinterest in keeping the two to avoid future repercussions. Jeok pleaded to her and, eventually, the woman tried to kill the other boy to end their difficulty, but Jeok covered him. The latter insisted on pleading, later angrily gazing at her to at least let them stay for the night. The woman gave him a knife to end the boy's life himself in exchange for letting him in. Seeing as he might have offended her with his gaze, Jeok stabbed his own eye and continued pleading for her mercy. The norigae Seon Woo gave them fell from Jeok's pocket, which the woman noticed. Recognizing it, she picked up the norigae and introduced herself to them as Wol Young Hwa. She took them in and had a doctor treat Hwi's wounds.
After being unconscious for a whole week, Hwi woke up and immediately looked for Jeok. Seeing his black hair turn white out of emotional stress, Hwi burst out into tears. Jeok consoled him and told Hwi that he merely did what he could as a future king. Instead of crying, Jeok only smiled at him and named him as "Yi Hwi", recognizing him as part of his family. At this remark, Hwi vowed from then on to protect Jeok no matter what.
After usurping the throne from Ahn Young, Yoon Yeon Lee became the queen regent following her ten-year-old son Yi Won's coronation as king. Knowing that the crown prince had fled the palace during the coup, she ordered her co-masterminds Yoo Ja Gyeom and Baek Yoo Shin to locate the missing child. Yoo Shin dispatched a search party (possibly the newly established Bi Yeong Pal Mu) on orders of taking every male child aged 7 to 11 years old with a birthmark on their nape area, similar to the crown prince.
Seol Hwa caught sight of royal guards outside their house where Hwi and Jeok hid and informed them at once. Seeing that the guards did not take female children, Young Hwa had Hwi act as a girl, making Jeok the only boy in the household. Additionally, Jeok had only one eye and his hair was white, making him unsuspicious. At one point, royal guards found the three children, but Young Hwa's plan succeeded, backed upon personally by Young Hwa herself in defending them. Eventually, they were spared from suspicion, and the guards left their household.
Becoming Jin Yeon
Seon Woo realized the danger that was still looming over Jeok as crown prince. Young Hwa suggested that a plan must be concocted to get him out of trouble as soon as possible. Jeok himself thought of fleeing to Nam Hyeon, a neighboring country of Ga Guk, but the minister had something else in mind. Initially reluctant, he proposed having Hwi act as Jeok's decoy, but the latter rejected this idea.
Perceiving this as a way to concretize his promise of protecting Jeok, Hwi volunteered to become the crown prince's decoy until Jeok would reclaim the throne. His resolve further increased after knowing that his parents were assassinated by Yeon Lee's men, realizing that he and the crown prince were in similar circumstances. As a result, the plan was set: with Hwi taking the title of Crown Prince Jin Yeon, Gil Mu Jin and Baek Ho were to serve him with loyalty, Young Hwa and Seol Hwa were to keep the secret within themselves, and Jeok would serve Hwi as his liege until they could reclaim the throne of Ga Guk. As a final step, Seon Woo burned a mark on Hwi's nape, similar to Jeok's birthmark, to remove any trace that he was not the crown prince. From then on, Hwi struggled to treat Jeok as someone inferior to him, with Seon Woo strictly telling him to commit to his decision to act as the crown prince.
Fateful Encounter Arc
During the eleventh year of the reign of King Jin Won, Hwi journeys to Deung Ha Bul Myung headquarters in Bi Hwa Rim where he encounters Yoo Dan Ah. She asks him the route leading to the creek, but he tells her to go back since the site is off-limits to other people. She then follows him but eventually loses him since he climbs up a tree and goes his way. At the headquarters, Hwi is welcomed by the people and is given a bracelet by a young girl which she says will make his wishes come true. He then asks Baek Ho how the training of the members are doing, and he says that they are doing fine.
Compact Heist Arc
Back at Hyang Ju, Won talks to Jeok about stealing the compact while changing into Nabi. "She" then goes to Yu Hyang Ru with him to act as a gisaeng. Disguising as Nabi, he attends the evening meeting of Deung Ha Bul Myung about their plan of stealing the compact at Yoo Ja Gyeom's residence. He then volunteers to go since his specialty is blending with darkness and orders everyone to go since they are fighting over which will go. After he as the Crimson Moon and Jeok steal the compact, he was wounded on the shoulder by Baek Yoo Shin's poisoned dagger and decides to hide in a nearby place.
He is then caught by Dan Ah whom he silences and wonders if she is the Prime Minister's daughter. She bites his hand and calls for help from outside, but Hwi gets her and almost falls on the ground. He then saves her from the fall, and as Dan Ah's repayment, sets him free without telling the servants. As he is found by Jeok, Hwi notices on their way out a pair of red slippers which seem to be familiar with him from ten years ago. He then ponders if she is the girl from Bi Hwa Rim ten years ago.
Hwi then concludes that Dan Ah is the girl from Bi Hwa Rim. He is then called by Baek Ho with Mu Jin, saying that the body of the missing Inspector General was found. On the site of discovery, Baek Ho informs Hwi that the Inspector General knew little about the rebel army. While having their discussion, Hwi gets a glimpse of Dan Ah from a distance. When Dan Ah is chased by Nam Yang Heon, Hwi helps her to hide in a nearby place. She accidentally sits on a painting tube, damaging the painting. She asks him if he is "Hong" and tells her that he is. She confesses that she likes Hong's painting and, upon realizing that she truly admires his paintings, Hong gives the painting to her. After denying it many times, Dan Ah finally takes it.
Shadow Village Conflagration Arc
As they come out of the place, they encounter Ma Mi Song who tells them that the slums is currently being raided by the Imperial Army. At the site, he and Dan Ah scurry to see two siblings who are orphaned and ill. They find Chung who seems to be arguing with someone. It is then revealed that Woon is being lifted on the neck by Won. In order to ease the situation, Hong grabs Woon and kicks Won off of him, stating that he is only a child. They engage in a one-on-one fight but are stopped by Dan Ah. Chung shouts at the villagers that the Crimson Moon is nearby, leaving Hwi surprised.
Chung reiterates that Won is the Crimson Moon because of his red hair, so Hong asks him if he truly is the Crimson Moon. He denies this at once, but Hwi still wonders why Won, the mistaken as the Crimson Moon, is being chased. Dan Ah shuts the door to keep away from the angry villagers. The villagers breaks the door but finds the room empty. The three escape the room, but Won complains why they need to run because he can knock them down. He tells them that if he truly is the Crimson Moon, they will be accused with harboring a fugitive, but they tell him that he admitted he was not the Crimson Moon. The two believe him and promises that he will protect Won. As they reach a bridge, Hong pushes Won and Dan Ah to the water to hide from the villagers while he acts as bait to keep the villagers' focus on him. Later, he returns to them and hide themselves in the woods. Hong then gives Dan Ah some cloth to keep her warm, but Won grabs it and argues that he is cold as well. Thus, he decides to share the cloth by hugging Dan Ah, but Hong separates them at once.
Later that night, Dan Ah runs to Bi Hwa Rim after being reprimanded by her father. Hwi, being in Bi Hwa Rim as well with Jeok and Mu Jin, shows up before her again. As Dan Ah struggles not to cry, Hwi advises her to cry out loud in order to release all her emotions. Hwi also notices her wounded feet and carries her to a boulder to tend to her, reminiscent of what happened ten years ago in the same location. Dan Ah continues to cry and tells him that she misses Won. She also does not care on becoming Queen in which he realizes that the Prime Minister may have already joined forces with the empress dowager. She then thanks him, and Hong gives her a pair of plain unhye which Jeok and Mu Jin left. Dan Ah tells Hong that she wants to wear beautiful flower shoes so that she may go to Won's side just like what her mother believed. Seeing the plainness of the shoes, Hong paints Dan Ah's shoes with flowers and tells her that those shoes will make her go to Won.
Revolt Procurement Arc
Inside Physician Ma's clinic, Hwi hides from Dan Ah who became very worried about his huge wound. He tells Hwi that they cannot recover on their own because they worry about each other. He tells the physician that he has not given up yet and that "forgetting" her may be the best solution for the both of them.
Later that night after Nabi's, Jeok's, and Seol Hwa's "secret discussion", Hong goes to the gallery to start earning for the 100,000 nyang they need for the guns they procured. He asks the seller of his paintings if his previous work has been sold, so the seller gives him the payment of 300 nyang. Realizing that it is not enough, he again asks the seller how much it will cost if Hong paints his "last piece". The seller panics while, nearby, Won listens to their conversation and tells them that he can get the money for him. Won asks Hong if his painting "Bi Hwa Rim" can make a woman fall in love with him, but he answers that it is not enough even to sway a person's heart. Sparking his interest, Won declares that he will buy Hong's last piece. He asks him how much he needs, and Hong tells him that he needs 100,000 nyang. He laughs at this regard, but tells Hong to follow him.
Hong and Won enter a gambling den in order to get Won's money to pay Hong. Won uses Hong's money to gamble, much to the latter's chagrin. However, they continue to play despite constantly losing. They then catch a gambler who cheats them and try to expose him. Won threatens him by pointing his pipe at his eye, but Hong stops him. The owner of the gambling den arrives and Hong tries to explain what happened, but the cheater reverses the story and points out that he and Won were the ones who cheated. Another gambler agrees to this and clarifies to the owner that they were indeed cheating. Convinced, the owner orders his thugs to drag Hong and Won out of the place. Won resists and gets beaten up, while Hong also gets hit and kicked.
They are then kicked out of the place and orders them never to enter the place again. Won tells Hong he now does not have any money to buy himself a drink, but Hong unexpectedly gives him one nyang to buy a cheap one. Hong apologizes to him that he was not able to protect Won. The latter remembers his "promise" from that night in the slums and tells him that one nyang is not fine then. He then asks Hong to drink with him, while Hong refuses.
Hong is eventually dragged with Won and spend the night near a lake. He notices Won staring at him and asks Hong if he has a sister because, according to Won, he looks like Nabi, much to Hong's alarm. He tells him all about his effort in order to see and meet Nabi, but ended up in a mess. Hong tells him that she left him because she did not like him. Won asks Hong if he ever met someone like her, and Hong quickly remembers Dan Ah, so he tells Won that he does have met someone like that. He tells Won that she was a beautiful person who made him live as the true self that he is, but she is going to be married to another man (Won). Interested, Won also tells Hong about Nabi whom he tries to forget. Won then tells Hong that it is the first time that he is able to have some fun and calls the two of them as "friends", much to Hong's surprise.
At Moon's End Village, Hwi is with Mu Jin from a mission in helping the people of the plague-stricken land, giving grain and medicine. He instructs Mu Jin to return to Yu Hyand Ru instantly to sell Nabi's valuables in exchange for money as compensation while he himself will pursue the fake Crimson Moon. He also orders Mu Jin to keep his individual mission as a secret between the two of them. Later, he goes to Physician Ma's aid and helps the sick patients. He then finds Dan Ah also helping in the village.
Hong worries for Dan Ah's health in the middle of the epidemic, but Dan Ah chides him for appearing to underestimate her. The physician arrives and assures Hong that the plague is not airborne and cannot be transmitted as long as proper care is observed. He adds that Dan Ah is tougher than he thinks, and, if that does not suffice, asks him to merely protect her (and him) as Hong pleases. He then proceeds to assist in tending to the plague patients.
Hong takes a break and takes a nap under a tree at the back hill. Sori asks Dan Ah to fetch him back, but Dan Ah decides to let him rest following his continual hands-on assistance at the place. As she slowly places a blanket on him, Hong immediately wakes and pins down Dan Ah on the ground. He apologizes for his rash action and explains to Dan Ah that it has become a habit of his after he "lost something precious" once while he was sleeping. She asks him to continue resting and, while he sleeps, she shall protect him and stay by his side.
Later, Hong and Dan Ah find Won in the village. Won greets his "friend" after some time, and Hong greets him back with a nickname, much to Dan Ah's surprise that the two are close acquaintances. Won affirms that he and Hong have some history together, and he invites Hong to drink with him to have some fun. Hong blatantly refuses, but Dan Ah invites Won to go with them for some "fun", unbeknownst to Won that she is going to escort him back to the clinic with them to help out. As they leave, Hong senses some presence from the shadows, who turn out to be Rok Ha and Gyeom tailing Jin Won.
Hong goes back to where he sensed some presence hidden in the trees and confirms his gut feeling that it was Rok Ha of the Western Nak Cheon Company. Mu Jin returns from Hyang Ju, but without the medicine that Hwi earlier requested him to procure. Mu Jin informs him that there are no medicines left in the market, most possibly already bought by the royal court, much to Hwi's dismay.
At night, he returns back to the clinic, only to be found by Physician Ma. Hong apologizes for his absence that afternoon, while the physician advises him not to get too close with Won. Seeing Hong in low spirits, Physician Ma remarks whether Hong was not able to procure some medical supplies, surprising Hong about how the physician guessed correctly. Despite the lack of their supplies at the clinic, Hong promises Physician Ma that he shall do something about the shortage. Likewise, the physician tells Hong that he still has another trick up his sleeve.
Hong asks Physician Ma for Dan Ah, who is apparently missing in the clinic. The physician calls for Sori and asks where she is, as well as Won who has gone missing. Sori tells them that the two might be having some "alone" time together, but Hong becomes suspicious of the occurrence. He also enlists Mu Jin's help, but the latter cannot also locate the two. He thinks that they might have been to the back hill where he rested earlier, but found no one there. As he is about to leave, he successfully spots Won and Dan Ah below the cliff.
Because the rain makes it slippery to come directly down the cliff, Hong is forced to circle around the area to reach the two. However, by the time he arrives where he spotted the two earlier, Won is already conscious and carries Dan Ah, leaving Hong speechless and forcing himself to control his emotions upon seeing Dan Ah injured. They immediately bring her to Physician Ma and plead to him to save her, though the physician informs them about the gravity of her leg injury that might consider being amputated. Won, however, demands the physician to save her completely, to which Physician Ma accepts, swearing on his name to treat her. Afterwards, as usual, Physician Ma shuts the door on both of them to begin treating Dan Ah.
Outside, Hong asks Won whether the incident was an accident, to which Won replies it was. Sori arrives with the items Physician Ma ordered him to bring for Dan Ah's treatment, and he tells Hong and Won to go inside and rest. With the two unflinching, Sori becomes nervous about Dan Ah's condition, as the chief state councilor might be angry with her daughter's condition. Won immediately grabs Sori's arms and asks him whether Dan Ah is the chief state councilor's daughter, which Sori anxiously confirms. Won merely chuckles at his answer, while Sori enters the treatment room. Meanwhile, Hong becomes suspicious of Won's response.
The next day, Physician Ma goes out of the room and informs Hong and Won about the success of Dan Ah's treatment like he promised. Won becomes relieved and compliments the physician's aptitude, but Hong remains worrisome, asking Physician Ma whether Dan Ah would still be able to walk. Unable to give a definite answer, the physician merely hopes for it. Afterwards, Won's wounds are treated. Hong leaves and ponders about the recent happenings, including how Won suspiciously said it was an accident, how the incident may link to Rok Ha, how it may be another attempt on Dan Ah's life, and many more, urging him to investigate the issue.
Rebel Army Suppression: Setting in Motion
Hwi continues to plan with Mu Jin in secret to help the plague patients. However, during their meeting, an angry Jeok and Baek Ho enter, indicating their knowledge of their secret. Jeok reprimands Hwi for his insistence and refusal to listen to Jeok's early warnings. Nonetheless, he agrees to offer his help for the last time, after which they proceed to plan a midnight infiltration at the palace to retrieve some medicine needed for the plague patients.
After the meeting, Hwi thanks Jeok for offering his help. Hwi also assures the latter not to worry about the payment for the cannon, as he has found a potential buyer for Hong's painting. Though Hwi says the buyer seems to be apparently wealthy, Jeok advises him not to put too much faith in him. Before Hwi leaves, Jeok asks him whether he is able to let go of the wind stirring his heart, to which Hwi replies that he is trying to.
Later at night, Hong heads to Bi Hwa Rim with Won's finished painting. As he passes by Hwa Gwi Cheon, he notices a lotus lantern get stuck behind the rocks, recalling the legend that Seol Hwa once told him about how two people who float a lantern at the stream will meet again someday even if they get separated. As he lets the lantern float on, he hears Won and Dan Ah call him and finds out that it was their lotus lantern, asserting to himself that it hurts seeing the two of them together.
Hong then gives Won the painting and asks for his payment. Dan Ah wishes to take a glance at the painting, but Won coldly stops her, saying that the painting is his. Dan Ah is taken aback, while Hong rebukes Won's stern action. As usual, Hong and Won engage in a fight, but Dan Ah thwarts their fighting. She instead becomes glad that the three of them floated the lotus lantern, which would ensure them having to meet someday once again. The next night, Hwi and some of his cohorts prepare to infiltrate the palace to retrieve the medicine they need. Before setting out, he feels a sudden chill, but shrugs it off immediately.
Rebel Army Suppression: Execution
Hwi as the Crimson Moon and the others infiltrate the palace, but realizes that the palace is strangely deserted, almost without a guard in sight. As they enter where the medicine is supposedly located, he and Jeok find the place empty. The latter then calls him and points out that Bi Hwa Rim seems to be under fire, much to Hwi's shock.
Realizing that contact with Bi Hwa Rim has gone awry, Hwi rushes to Yu Hyang Ru to see their situation, which is also raided by Bi Yeong Pal Mu. He arrives at the nick of time and kills a guard who has stabbed Young Hwa. Hwi carries an unconscious Seol Hwa and escapes with Young Hwa out of the house. As Young Hwa realizes that her stab wound is quite deep, she asks Hwi to go ahead and take Seol Hwa somewhere safe. Amidst Hwi's initial protests to leave her behind, she reckons that she would catch up slowly behind him. Hwi promises to return to her, after which he takes Seol Hwa out of the chaos. He finally reaches Baek Ho and asks him to take Seol Hwa out of the chaos. Baek Ho tries to stop him from returning to Yu Hyang Ru, but Hwi nevertheless rushes back to save Young Hwa. As he does, he merely catches the sight of his foster mother's corpse. Initially in disbelief, it dawns upon him that she has passed away and screams out of despair.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Hwi and Jeok visit the ruins of Bi Hwa Rim. Hwi muses how the rebel army and their families had put their trust in him, but he could not protect them. Jeok tells him not to give up just yet, advising him to keep them all in his heart, gather his sadness, and stand back up again.
Bridal Selection Arc
Few days later, Hwi has come up with a decision and writes a letter stating his next course of action, after which he does not return to the rebel army's interim headquarters. Mu Jin later finds the letter and gives it to Jeok. The latter reads it and figures out Hwi's plan: he would enter the palace as Dan Ah's maidservant during the bridal selection without any internal allies. Despite Jeok's consistent reminder that he cannot save everyone, Hwi acknowledges this and, instead, decides not to save himself.
After Nabi's failed assassination attempt on the king at the palace banquet, Hwi 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 has bound him, he still could not bring himself to kill Won, knowing that doing so will only hurt Dan Ah even more. However, Hwi questions why it had 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 blaming himself and laughing at all the trouble that he caused, Hwi is now clueless and pleas for help, especially from Jeok. 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.
Minister Retrieval Arc
With the Crimson Moon unable to head to their escape route after retrieving Seon Woo from the king's chambers, Hwi decides to return to Nabi's quarters and changes into her chima jeogori. Soon after, he passes out completely due to his injuries. Unbeknownst to him, Dan Ah heads to Nabi's quarters and finds the unconscious Nabi. Dan Ah soon finds out about Nabi's real identity as Hong and, much to her horror, the Crimson Moon after she grasps the rebel's mask nearby in the room. Despite being frightened of the wanted rebel, Dan Ah recalls the time when he rescued her from assassins, convincing herself to nonetheless help the injured man. Eventually, Dan Ah tends to his injuries herself amidst her confusion.
In the morning, Hwi awakens with Dan Ah by his side, who asks him who he is. Hwi realizes that he has finally been found out, while Dan Ah continues to ask him who he is. He thinks about the lies he worked so hard to maintain to the point that being discovered would make it hard for Dan Ah to forgive him. Hwi then admits to himself how to weight of the truth being exposed crushes him inside. He notices a wound on her arm and tries to approach her, but Dan Ah evades him.
Dan Ah conflictingly tells him how she was frightened all night that he might not be the Nabi she once knew, and, most importantly, that he might not wake again. Hwi apologizes, but Dan Ah demands him to tell her the truth. Initially hesitant, Hwi admits that he is the Crimson Moon, much to Dan Ah's disbelief. Hwi tells her that she may notify Jin Won to keep her out of trouble in hiding him, a wanted rebel. She interrupts his reasoning, musing how much all three of them have all smiled, laughed, and spent time together as friends. Hwi assures her that it is indeed the truth — the truth that she wanted to know.
Dan Ah thinks that he must have approached her ever since the festival because she might be a useful tool as the councilor's daughter, but Hwi explains that he did not approach her with such ulterior motives. Dan Ah rises up and heads for the door; Hwi tries to stop her, but she asks him not to touch her. As gratitude for all the things he has done for her, Dan Ah gives Hwi a day to leave the palace, after which she shall tell the king about everything she has discovered. Hwi later assumes Nabi's persona, following Dan Ah from the shadows. Upon arriving at Hyun Bin's quarters, Seol Hwa grabs and asks Nabi what happened.
With a gloomy expression, Nabi tells Seol Hwa that she is "fine", which Seol Hwa obviously does not acknowledge. Seeing that Nabi is quite exhausted with all the burden he has to carry, Seol Hwa decides to tell the others especially Jeok about his misery, more so because he has never complained even before despite his hardships. She asks him to vent out, to which he cries and admits how hard he has repressed his emotions. For the sake of his revenge, he willingly accepted to perform arduous tasks, but, in the end, he still ends up disappointing and hurting Dan Ah. He regrettably tells Seol Hwa that he would have never given in to his selfishness if he only knew it would merely hurt him — most especially Dan Ah — so much in the future.
Sometime after Hyun Bin throws herself to the palace after spotting her baby prince's blanket in a basket, Hong (as Nabi) paints a work, a habit of his to clear his mind from stress and anxiety. This painting depicts Hong and Dan Ah walking under the sun together, which he considers as his wish. Beneath this painting is a hidden work, which depicts him and Dan Ah as children ten years ago during their first encounter at Bi Hwa Rim.
Eventually, Nabi is released from her imprisonment after the execution of Hwang Se Hyung and his daughter Hwang Se Ryeon for being proven as the ones who truly orchestrated the baby prince's murder. At night, Nabi is brought out of her cell and confined in her quarters, where the windows and doors are barred, similar to Dan Ah's situation. Nonetheless, she finds it better that she is finally freed from imprisonment just in time for their revolt. Hwi then sheds his Nabi persona to prepare for the rebel army's coming uprising.
Hwi, disguising as the Crimson Moon, heads to Dan Ah's quarters and lights an incense to render the guards and Dan Ah unconscious. As he removes his mask, Hwi muses how he was able to meet Dan Ah again after ten years, as well as his friend Won along the way. He also recalls his conversation with Won, when Hwi admitted that he would give his heart to that one special day when he first met Dan Ah, as it was the only moment in his regal life that he was able to be true to himself simply as a boy in love. Moreover, though he feels the pain of crossing paths with the person he must not fall in love with and the one he must not understand, Hwi admits having cherished even such pain. He then steels his resolve not to hesitate anymore in completing his mission and apologizes to Dan Ah for hurting her in the end. Hwi then hears an explosion from afar, signaling the beginning of their revolt.
Crimson Moon Rebellion
As the rebel army's revolt commences in the palace, the unconscious Dan Ah is brought by Hwi to their rendezvous point, regrouping with Seol Hwa and Baek Ho. While carrying her, Hwi sings the Butterfly lullaby, which, unbeknownst to him, Dan Ah subtly hears. Moreover, Hwi later entrusts Dan Ah to his comrades to have her escape the palace during the revolt, while he sets out to kill Jin Won.
While looking for the king as the Crimson Moon, he is approached by one of his men and informs him that the king seems to be on his own, since his servants are also looking for him. Just then, the man is shot with an arrow, and the Crimson Moon is also hit on his left side with an arrow by Jin Won himself. As the king welcomes his half-brother Jin Yeon after ten years, the two engage in a battle.
Despite Won's drunkenness and clumsiness with handling a sword, which he admits later, the Crimson Moon has had a hard time fending off the king. Eventually, the Crimson Moon pins down the king, albeit at the cost of the king managing to remove his mask, revealing the masked vigilante to be Hong. Amidst Won's questions to his friend, Hong responds to his questions with mere silence.
They continue to engage in physical combat, and Won asks Hong why he has deceived him, musing how he must have been laughing all those times Won called him as his friend. As he is pinned down to the ground during their clash, Won hallucinates of seeing Nabi in Hong once again like before, blaming it mostly on the alcohol he drunk. He also smells the scent of plum blossoms, which he often smelled everytime he saw Hong just like Nabi.
Just then, Nabi's norigae falls from Hong's pocket; as Hong tries to grab it, Won also fights him over it, later gripping Hong's left arm. He notices a butterfly-shaped scar on his arm, similar to Nabi's scar he saw sometime during the bridal selection. With all the clues before him, including the plum blossom fragrance and norigae, the butterfly-shaped scar, and his familiar face, Won dubiously wonders whether Hong is Nabi.
Won refuses to believe it, clinging on to the fact that he has kept Nabi locked up in her quarters after all. He leaves Hong behind and heads straight to Nabi's quarters nearby, only to find it open and empty. Hwi also suffers from his injuries, especially from his earlier wound caused by Won's arrow. Won soon spots Nabi's faint silhouette by the doorstep, but he is aghast to actually see Hwi. As he clasps his hands on Hwi's face, Won breaks down and realizes why Nabi had previously planned to assassinate him in contrast to his single wish to be with her.
Won stands back up and gets his sword, challenging Hwi — whether he is his best friend Hong, his half-brother Jin Yeon, or his beloved Nabi — to draw his weapon and finish his mission. Won asks him not to hesitate for a third time, giving him a final chance to either kill or be killed. As Hwi charges at him, Won lets himself get stabbed, chiding Hwi for his hesitation once again after not proceeding to stab his body. Hwi angrily questions him why he has chosen not to attack, but the king tells him that he is merely clumsy with swords. After wishing for his beloved Nabi to flutter over to him one last time, Won clutches Hwi's sword and drives the blade to his body himself. As Won lays dead on the floor, Hwi openly weeps and asks himself why he is profusely crying.
Dan Ah soon arrives at the bridal quarters and witnesses Hwi crying before Jin Won's corpse, much to Hwi's confusion as to why she is still within the palace. As Dan Ah begins to cry, she is shot from behind with an arrow coming from remaining Bi Yeong Pal Mu troops led by Baek Ah. Though a soldier notices Dan Ah and identifies her as the councilor's daughter, Baek Ah instructs him to kill her if she gets in the way of finding the king.
Despite his existing and newly-inflicted wounds, Hwi kills all the soldiers and later contemplates before many casualties, including Dan Ah and Won, if it was what they truly wanted. Hwi approaches Dan Ah's injured body and weeps, stating how he did not want to involve her in the battle. He cradles her and carries her on his back in an attempt to get her to safety. As her hand drops unconsciously, Hwi becomes anxious of her grave condition, thinking that it may be too late to save her.
Nonetheless, he muses how Dan Ah might have hated staying in the palace, hence promising Dan Ah on his back that they shall leave the palace far away as possible. However, Hwi stumbles along the way due to his own injuries.
As he lays on the ground, he spots Jeok nearby in the battlefield, about to be struck by an enemy from behind. Hwi musters his remaining strength and shields Jeok from behind, receiving the wound himself. Mu Jin manages to kill the enemy, while Hwi asks Jeok whether he was able to somehow repay his debts to him somehow and instantly collapses.
With his consciousness fading, he turns to Dan Ah, laying unconscious from a distance, and apologizes to her for his failures towards her, including failing to get her out of the palace, not telling her the truth, greatly hurting her, being the boy she has been searching for all along, and, ultimately, being himself.
In the aftermath of their successful revolt, Jeok becomes king of Ga Guk as King Jin Jeok. Later, Hwi and the crippled Dan Ah spend some time at what appears to be Bi Hwa Rim. As he carries her back to Physician Ma's clinic, reminiscent of what had happened ten years ago, one of her flower shoes gets removed and is washed away by the river's current. Hwi sits her upon a boulder to retrieve back her shoe, upon which the now amnesiac Dan Ah asks him to be careful. As she refers to him as "Lord Yi Won", who turns out to be her single remaining memory after suffering from the rebel army's revolt, Hwi turns around and sadly smiles back at Dan Ah, assuring her that he will.
Creation and Conception
Muryu commented and described Hwi as "pretty" even during early stages of conception and especially when his final design was completed. Muryu also said that she "felt bad for Rok Ha" when talking about Hwi's design.
- (To Jeok) "I was never allowed the leave the house. It was my whole world… But now my world is so much bigger! And if I continue to stay by your side… My world will only grow greater and richer! So I really… like it here, Your Highness."
- (Referring to Jeok) "Instead of crying, the prince only smiled, saying those gentle words… There and then, I made up my mind that I would protect you. I would protect you no matter the cost."
- (To Jeok) "I will not die… but live in your stead. As you have protected me, it is now my turn to protect you."
- (To Won about Dan Ah) "I only met her once, though. I liked her from the moment I laid eyes on her… Her surprised expression, her eyes full of tears, a smile that lit up her face… She was a beautiful child, but her heart was even more beautiful."
- (To Seol Hwa) "If I… If I knew it would be like this… If I knew it would be this painful…! I shouldn't have given into my selfish desires! Seol Hwa, it hurts. I never wanted her to get hurt… But in the end, I hurt her the most. I tried to ignore it like a fool… But I knew all along that we would eventually have to turn against each other. I thought I could just bury my feelings, yet the more I tried, the sharper the thorns grew. It became too painful to endure. Life can be so… cruel."
- (Recalling his first encounter with Dan Ah) "It was only when I was with you that I was able to be true to my heart. I was always a prince first. Never in my life was I allowed to be just myself… But, with you, at that moment, I was just a boy in love."
- (Upon Won's death) "At that moment… I felt an overwhelming sadness. Why am I… crying like this?"
- (Reflecting on past events after their revolt) "When did it start? I still don't know why… Why we tried to protect each other so desperately… Why we loved each other so much… Why we so painfully yearned for each other… And why I cried so sorrowfully… We did not know any better. We only did what had to be done. Not once did we call each other by our names as brothers… And the brotherhood… could no longer be restored."
- The name "Hwi" in Hanja (輝) means "shine" or "brightness".
- In Korean, his alias of Crimson Moon is romanized as hong wol, which Hwi also used as a pseudonym when he sells paintings in the markets. Hong Wol is also often shortened to Hong, his nickname.
- In Chinese characters, "crimson moon" can be loosely translated to "赤年" (chì nián), which is relatively pronounced as "Jin Yeon", the posthumous name assumed by Hwi (albeit actually Jeok).
- Hwi slacked off in military arts when he was a child.
- Despite being born as twins, Hwi is shown to be canonically younger by one year than Jeok. Whether this was intentional or not is never confirmed. Additionally, Hwi's age was consistent throughout the series:
- When he was seven years old (11 years prior to series start), he met Jeok at the palace.
- When he was eight years old (10 years prior to series start), he met Dan Ah at Bi Hwa Rim. This was also when the Jeogwa Revolution commenced.
- Both circumstances place Hwi at 18 years old. Jeok's age, however, was never mentioned again after his age was shown during his first appearance, except when Yeon Lee mentioned that he was "10 years old" during the post-Jeogwa Revolution. This is most likely a rough estimation, as she had a search party dispatched to look for boys ranging from 7 to 11 years old — hence, the age range of Jeok at the time.
- The Yi family had various cases of having twins. Hwi and Jeok are twins, his father had a twin brother, and his half-brother Won had twin children.
- Throughout the series, Hwi had three mother figures: his biological mother, his earlier foster mother, and his later foster mother. Ironically, Hwi never knew who his real mother was.
|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|