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|“||Look… Is this not a beautiful country? It does not belong to you, but to the people.||”|
–To his son
Yi Hyul was the father of his successor Jin Won with his consort Yoon Yeon Lee, as well as of Jin Won's half-brother and successor Jin Jeok and his twin brother Yi Hwi with Queen Ahn Young. Renowned as the greatest king in the history of the country, he was the 12th King of Ga Guk under the official name Jin Hyul (진혈).
Accession to the Throne
Hyul had a twin brother with whom he had a bitter rivalry over the throne of Ga Guk, though it is unknown which of the two was the older one. Their fight for the throne was a dark tragedy, resulting to parties being split into factions, and both claimants resorted to various wiles, trickery, and evil schemes.
This rivalry soon turned into a bloody one; however, his twin brother subsequently died of unknown clear reasons. Apparently, Hyul buried this tragic incident deep into his memories. Nonetheless, he claimed the throne and became king.
During his reign, Jin Hyul further strengthened Ga Guk's power as a small, barren nation by expanding their territory through colonization as part of the Hundred Years' War. Ga Guk once captured Ja Eui, in which Jin Hyul presumably met erstwhile Princess Yoon Yeon Lee. She later became his consort and bore a son, Yi Won. After Ja Eui's colonization, the expansion continued by conquering Ga Guk's neighboring territories.
At least a year later, Ga Guk had become a powerful nation that enjoyed the resultant peace and prosperity through the Hundred Years' War. Furthermore, Jin Hyul signed a peace treaty with Seo Seo's king, Jang Ryun, which lasted until the latter's successor's reign. Moreover, his queen consort Ahn Young became pregnant with twins, albeit unbeknownst to the queen at the time. The royal physician Ma Mi Song also informed Jin Hyul that one of the twins' heartbeats was faint. Nonetheless, he ordered the physician not to tell the queen of his diagnosis.
Ahn Young later gave birth to twin princes, much to Jin Hyul's disappointment, since he did not want the two princes to fight for the throne in the future similar to how he had a bloody rivalry with his twin brother. Upon realizing that one of the infants was barely breathing, he took this to his advantage and ordered no one to be sent to the baby prince to tend to him, surprising his head servant and Minister Seo In Seon Woo. One of the queen's ladies-in-waiting overheard this and rushed to the queen to inform her of the king's scheme. Behind his back, the queen and his cousin-in-law, Minister Yi Ha, devised a plan to keep the child alive and away from the king. By the time Jin Hyul arrived at the queen's chambers, Ahn Young coldly informed him that the child had died, not allowing the king to even look at his "deceased" son. He thereby ordered his head servant to ensure that nobody else was to know of the second-born prince's existence.
Later Years and Death
At least eight years after the twin princes' birth, the Hundred Years' War had ended by then. However, the war also earned Ga Guk numerous enemies who were after Jin Hyul's life. As a result, portraits of the reigning monarch were rarely created to prevent the king's face to be publicized. When portraits were completed, they were enshrined with utmost caution and protection in the Chamber of Eternal Life in the palace. Furthermore, Jin Hyul ordered for the construction of a secret tunnel beneath the king's quarters in case the king was to be trapped in his own residence in the event of an invasion. This tunnel was only known by a few people like then Bi Yeong Ship Mu captain Gil Mu Jin and Baek Yoo Shin. However, the construction of the secret tunnel had stopped midway and was, therefore, never completed.
Jin Hyul also acquired an illness and became bed-ridden. He once told Ahn Young to bring back the child living with Minister Ha back to the palace, indicating his knowledge about the child's survival. However, he gave a condition that no one shall know about the second-born prince's true identity until the crown prince ascends to the throne. Ahn Young accepted this condition and ordered for the child to enter the palace.
Jin Hyul battled with his illness, employing several possible cures and treatments to gain his strength back, including taking a medicinal herb with a red fruit hanging from it. However, Jin Hyul sensed that he shall not last long due to his lingering illness. One winter a year after Hwi entered the palace and became Crown Prince Jeok's companion, when he momentarily gained his strength back, he decided to spend some time with his (three) children at the Royal Family Ravine. After some time, he finally succumbed to his death, with Ahn Young presumably taking over as regent.
Succession and Legacy
Not even a month after Jin Hyul's death, the Jin Hee Palace was engulfed in flames, which was orchestrated by his consort Yeon Lee and aided by Yoo Ja Gyeom and Baek Yoo Shin. This incident resulted to the dissolution of Bi Yeong Ship Mu, the death of Queen Ahn Young at the hands of Yoo Shin per Yeon Lee's order, and the deposition of Jeok and Hwi out of the palace. With the success of Yeon Lee's coup d'état, Jin Hyul was succeeded by his eldest son, Yi Won (only ten years old by then), as the 13th King of Ga Guk, with Yeon Lee acting as his regent until he turned 20 years old.
Jin Hyul was considerably tall and had brown eyes. He had long hair that was apparently teal in color, which was usually tied into a sangtu. He also wore royal garbs befitting his status as king, typically comprised of what appeared to be cheolik and a dapo before he donned his official po. In his later years, he dressed quite similarly, but he tied his hair down in a loose ponytail and let some of his bangs hang loosely over his forehead. He also frequently positioned his left arm behind his back, almost like a mannerism.
Jin Hyul was highly implied as a very capable and virtuous ruler, labeled as Ga Guk's greatest king in its history. His leadership was one of the key attributes that made Ga Guk into a well-flourished nation as a product, however, of the Hundred Years' War. Nonetheless, he seemingly prioritized bringing the nation into peace and prosperity with all his power no matter the cost. He had a rather democratic view of ruling and taught his sons that the country did not belong to its monarch, but rather to its people.
As a father, he cared deeply for his sons, though his eldest, Won, would later realize his apparent favoritism towards his queen consort and son(s). Despite this, he still showed Won some signs of affection by doting on him, as seen when he spent time with his sons before his death.
However, Jin Hyul's paternal instinct had a seemingly flawed side to it that may have been distorted by his personal hatred against the very notion of twins. Thinking that having twins was an ill omen, he attempted to "save" his twin princes—should they both indeed be male—from the possibility of fighting over the throne like he once did with his own twin brother. He once let his own barely-breathing infant son unattended shortly after birth, leaving him to fate whether he would survive or not. To his own personal belief, he justified this grudge as his mere desire to prevent a possible future strife from happening, regardless of how negative the process and steps that he needed to take would be. Though he later agreed to let the child to be brought back to his rightful family, he nevertheless ordered his identity to remain hidden until Jeok's accession to the throne. This secret remained hidden until Jin Hyul's death and even until the condition was met with Jeok's coronation, making Hwi oblivious to his true identity and royal lineage.
- (To his head servant) "Do not summon the physician… Fate will decide… whether the baby lives or not."
- (To Won) "You're wearing a beautiful shoe of flowers."
- It is never emphasized upon, but, since Jin Hyul kept how his twin brother died as a secret, it might be possible that he had killed his brother himself or had him killed. This would plague him in his later years as king, especially when he first learned that he might have twin sons.
- The Yi family had various cases of having twins. Hyul had a twin brother, his sons Jeok and Hwi are twins, and his eldest son Won had twin children.
- His mannerism of putting his left arm behind his back was also apparently practiced by his twin brother and, later, his son Won.
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 89
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 2
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 42
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 90
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 39
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 55
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 4
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 0.1
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 2
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 0.2
- Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 6
|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|