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|“||Don't punish children for the sins of their parents.||”|
–Jeok's motto echoing Sa Baek Hwa's teaching
Yi Jeok is the son of King Jin Hyul and Queen Ahn Young, the twin brother of Prince Yi Hwi, the half-brother of King Jin Won, and the former crown prince of Ga Guk. At infancy, he was separated from his twin brother after the latter was immediately adopted, making the king believe that he died during childbirth. Eight years later, Hwi entered the palace supposedly as a decoy for the crown prince, though they were never informed of their relationship.
Jeok firmly refused to have the child act in his stead for his own protection and, instead, befriended Hwi to the point of treating him as family. Despite his constant disinterest in letting his newfound brother figure become his own double, Hwi voluntarily assumed the title of crown prince as Jeok's decoy after the Jeogwa Revolution initiated by the king's consort Yoon Yeon Lee following his father's and mother's deaths.
Years later, Jeok served Hwi as his loyal subordinate, and they founded and led Deung Ha Bul Myung, a rebel army aimed towards the reclamation of the throne. Acting as a musician of Yu Hyang Ru and later partner of the gisaeng Nabi, Jeok gathered as much intel as possible to aid in their mission. After a successful rebellion during Jin Won's reign, Jeok ascends to the throne as King Jin Jeok (진적), the 14th King of Ga Guk.
Birth and Early Childhood Edit
Prior to his birth, royal physician Ma Mi Song informed King Jin Hyul that Queen Ahn Young was pregnant with twins. Jin Hyul had a personal history and wished against the birth of twin princes, since he himself battled for the throne with his own twin brother that led to bloodshed and the ultimate demise of his rival brother. Physician Ma further told him that, though one was healthy, the other one had a faint heartbeat.
Ahn Young gave birth to the twin princes, but the second-born child, as diagnosed by the royal physician, was barely breathing. In his chambers, the king used the situation to his advantage, ordering no physician to attend to the child. One of the queen's ladies-in-waiting heard of this and informed the queen about it. Nonetheless, she angrily immediately ordered them to fetch the physician.
As she cradled her twins, Minister Yi Ha, also the husband of the queen's cousin, entered her chambers and inquired about the commotion. Ahn Young told him about the king's scheme of letting her second-born child die and asked for her cousin-in-law's help. Realizing that the child had seemingly wanted to live after grabbing his finger, Minister Ha hid the prince in his robes and escaped the palace.
From then on, the queen informed Jin Hyul that the second prince had died. Moreover, the king strictly ordered the second-born's identity and existence hidden from others, placing Jeok as the only child of the king and the automatic heir apparent to the throne. As a prince, Jeok was not allowed to see his half-brother, Prince Hae Won, the child of the king's consort Yoon Yeon Lee.
Unbeknownst Reunion Edit
When he was eight years old, Jeok was introduced to Hwi, the seven-year-old child of Minister Ha and, unknown to him, his twin brother. Minister Ha and Minister Seo In Seon Woo initially thought of making the child become the crown prince's decoy, but Jeok refused and asserted that Bi Yeong Ship Mu sufficed in guarding and protecting him. Though he ordered them to send the boy back home, Seon Woo recommended the crown prince to befriend Hwi.
Jeok did not particularly mind the child following him, paying him little to no attention initially. Later on, after getting to know more about Hwi and his sharp intelligence, Jeok took interest in him, and the two became friends. They later grew closer to the point of mutually treating each other as brothers, more so because Jeok was not allowed to see his half-brother Hae Won. One day, Queen Ahn Young visited the two and, seeing Hwi for the first time, embraced him as a form of "gratitude" for accompanying and befriending the crown prince. She also gifted them with matching clothes she personally sewed. Jeok commented that the "spare" clothes she had made had finally went to their rightful owner. He added that he had always known about his mother making two of the same clothes, much to Ahn Young's apparent nervousness.
Shortly after Jin Hyul's death, his consort Yoon Yeon Lee orchestrated a coup d'état and Yoo Ja Gyeom set the palace on fire. Jeok was entrusted by his mother to protect and escape with Hwi. As mentor Seon Woo gave them a norigae to aid them eventually, they headed to Ju Wah Ae Rim to find a certain Wol Young Hwa. On their escape, Hwi was wounded by a dagger, forcing them to hide on a house where they were caught by a little girl. They were then caught by a lady; seeing and recognizing the norigae that fell from Jeok's pocket, she told her daughter to call the guards.
Jeok pleaded not to do so, promising the woman that they shall stay for only one night. She asked them to leave at once, not wanting to face any problems from the authorities who seemed to be chasing them. To put an end to their conversation, she prepared to kill Hwi by kicking her, but Jeok shielded him and angrily glared back at her. She gave Jeok a knife, asking him to end Hwi's life in exchange for letting him in. Fearing that he might have offended her with his gaze, Jeok stabbed his right eye and further pleaded for the lady's mercy. Preparing to stab his left eye if his right eye was not enough, she stopped him and revealed herself as Wol Young Hwa. Deciding to help them, she had her daughter call for a physician to treat the wounded children.
A week later, Jeok's black hair abruptly turned white due to the emotional stress and pain he experienced. As Hwi recuperated from his wounds, Jeok consoled Hwi by saying it was merely natural to protect others as a future king, more so for Hwi, whom he acknowledged as "Yi Hwi", recognizing him as family.
After usurping the throne from Ahn Young, 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 boy. Yoo Shin dispatched a search party (assumably the newly instated Bi Yeong Pal Mu), taking every male child aged 7 to 11 years old with a birthmark on their nape area, similar to the crown prince's characteristics.
Seol Hwa noticed the royal guards outside their house where Hwi and Jeok hid and informed them immediately. 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. Though they hid inside the house, royal guards found the three children. However, Young Hwa's plan succeeded, backed upon personally by Young Hwa herself in defending them. Eventually, the three were spared from suspicion, and the guards left their household.
Switching Identities Edit
Visiting them at Yu Hyang Ru, Seon Woo realized the danger that was still looming over the crown prince after soldiers scoured all over Ga Guk for him. Young Hwa suggested that a plan must be devised to keep him out of trouble. Jeok thought of fleeing to Nam Hyeon, a neighboring country of Ga Guk, but the minister had other ideas. Initially reluctant, he proposed having Hwi act as Jeok's decoy, but the latter immediately 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. 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. 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. Jeok wept and was helplessly held back from interfering.
Compact Heist ArcEdit
Jeok goes to Nam Hyeon to find the exiled Inspector General, but to no avail. Returning from Nam Hyeon, Jeok attempts to make contact with him, but he has disappeared, inferring that he must have been caught by the queen dowager's men. Later on, he reports to Hwi about his visit to Nam Hyeon and that the compact exists. After Hwi changes into Nabi, Jeok accompanies the gisaeng to Yu Hyang RU.
During an evening meeting with some members of the rebel army in Yu Hyang Ru, he agrees to Wol Young Hwa's statement that events are unfolding quickly in their favor, thinking of it as a trap. However, despite Young Hwa's warning, he agrees that they should steal the compact, since that fact that it is a trap gives them more reason to steal it. Baek Ho makes the preparations and asks him when the proper time to steal it will be. He answers frankly that, that night is the best time so as not to give the enemy time as well. Nabi volunteers, and Jeok volunteers soon after.
That midnight, he explains to the members that he and the Crimson Moon shall retrieve the compact, while Gil Mu Jin and Baek Ho are to find the Inspector General. As he and the Crimson Moon escape after stealing the compact, they flee from Bi Yeong Pal Mu members chasing them. The Crimson Moon gets caught up in Baek Ju's lasso and gives Jeok the compact, ordering him to escape by himself. Jeok later finds Hwi hiding in Yoo Dan Ah's chambers and knocks her unconscious in order to escape. He tends to his wound and advises him to rest. After partially healing him, he goes to Yu Hyang Ru after hearing that Young Hwa is "hurt". However, Young Hwa is only drunk heavily after a drinking bet and has twisted her ankle a bit.
Later that night when Hwi, together with Dan Ah and Yi Won, was chased by the villagers of the slums, Jeok strolls with Hwi and Mu Jin in Bi Hwa Rim. He informs Hwi that Yoo Ja Gyeom talked with him and that he has chosen Nabi for a job. Hwi spots Dan Ah and comes to her, while Jeok and Mu Jin hide in the trees. As Hwi tends to Dan Ah's injury, he and Mu Jin leave a pair of plain shoes for Dan Ah.
Early in the morning in Yu Hyang Ru, Young Hwa informs Nabi that the chief state councilor came in person to choose Nabi as a new teacher for Dan Ah. Because of her absence, Young Hwa accepted the offer, much to Jeok's disapproval. However, Nabi considers it as an opportunity to gather information about their enemy.
Later that morning, he accompanies Nabi on the way to Ja Gyeom's residence. From a distance, Won notices them and angrily grabs Nabi's arm. She insists to let her go, but he only holds her tighter. Jeok grabs her away and almost gets into a fight with Won. They are then stopped by Baek Ryung as Nabi lectures him that there are things that cannot be obtained no matter how hard one works for them. Afterwards, he and Nabi continue on their way. Later in Yu Hyang Ru, he tells Wol Young Hwa that they encountered Won again and to be more careful before anything happens. He asks her to relay the information to the Left Minister and orders Baek Ho to investigate Won, arousing Jeok's suspicion on him.
At a pavilion in Yu Hyang Ru, Jeok visits Nabi and asks her if she gathered any information from teaching Dan Ah. She answers that she has not gathered any information yet, but he notices Nabi's tiredness in acting their plan on reclaiming the throne. He suggests to give it all up if she thinks it has become too difficult. She flinches and chuckles at his remark, stating that they are only some steps away. From a distance, an enraged and jealous Won witnesses Jeok and Nabi together and, instead of giving Nabi her medicine, walks out.
After word spreads that Jeok is chosen as Nabi's partner, Won rushes to a closed Yu Hyang Ru and shouts his true feelings for her. Inside, Jeok and Nabi listen to Won's sentiments; Jeok advises her not to mind his feelings for her.
Revolt Procurement ArcEdit
Jeok catches Nabi who plans to go to the chief state councilor's house. He begins to grow suspicious of Nabi's real agenda in visiting the chief state councilor's house and implies that he has already fallen in love with Dan Ah. He asks her to promise him that, if Dan Ah becomes a hindrance to the plan, she must be killed, to which Nabi agrees to it. In Yu Hyang Ru, Jeok and Nabi are visited by Western Nak Cheon Company's Meng Gyeom and Jang Rok Ha to deliver weapons from Seo Seo. In reality, Gyeom is a servant of Rok Ha, not the other way around as they have introduced themselves to Jeok and Nabi.
After the deal, Nabi becomes worried that she should not have acted like she knew about Rok Ha's and Meng Gyeom's true identities, but Jeok replies that it is was good decision, lest they would have taken the rebel army lightly. They converse that they might be able to gather only a total of roughly 9,000 nyang to pay the guns they procured from the Western Nak Cheon Company, which costs at least 100,000 nyang. As they think of how to increase their funds, Jeok catches Seol Hwa eavesdropping. She justifies that she only wanted to see them ever since Nabi was taken off the gisaeng registers. They then include Seol Hwa in their "secret discussion".
Jeok is later present at a meeting with the other rebel army members. Upon learning that there is a fake Crimson Moon, Nabi promises to find this fraud, but Jeok stops her, saying that they should leave it as is. They argue whether or not they should save the people being affected, but Jeok eventually ends the chat, leaving her infuriated. Though she reasons that people must be saved from the fake who stirs them into rebellion, Jeok reminds her that their true goal is to reclaim the throne, adding that no one is under Nabi's jurisdiction or power.
After the rendezvous, Jeok strolls with the Left Minister and Baek Ho, who reports to them that Won is not an ordinary person and thinks that he is the Duke's son. With this, Jeok asks the Left Minister if he can get a picture of the current king, hinting that he has a clue on Won's true identity.
Rebel Army Suppression: Setting in Motion Edit
As Hwi continues to plan with Mu Jin in secret to help the plague patients, an angry Jeok and Baek Ho barge in, indicating their knowledge of their secret after Jeok asked Baek Ho to tail Hwi out of suspicion. Jeok reprimands Hwi for his insistence and refusal to listen to his early warnings. Nevertheless, Jeok still offers his help for the last time, after which they proceed to plan a midnight infiltration at the palace to retrieve medicine they plan to disseminate for the plague patients.
After the meeting, Hwi thanks Jeok for 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, worrying about the unusually hefty price they decided for Hong's work. 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.
At night, Seon Woo informs Jeok and Young Hwa about the Royal Army's attack within a week. Jeok reports that preparations have been completed, but a cannon is yet to be procured to breach the palace gates. He adds that Hwi is to acquire funds within two to three days, but he remarks that each day that passes must not be wasted. Young Hwa suggests selling Yu Hyang Ru to procure the cannon, as the gisaeng house would cost roughly a hundred thousand nyang. Seon Woo thinks it might be feasible, though he worries for Young Hwa about selling the place. She merely asks them to win the battle in order to repay her threefold.
Rebel Army Suppression: Execution Edit
Jeok and the others infiltrate the palace, but realizes that the palace is strangely deserted, almost without a guard in sight. As he and the Crimson Moon enter the room where the medicine is supposedly located, they surprisingly find the place empty. Jeok then calls him and points out that Bi Hwa Rim seems to be under fire, much to their shock.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Jeok and Hwi 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, most importantly, stand back up again.
Bridal Selection Arc Edit
Few days later at the rebel army's interim headquarters, Baek Ho becomes worried about Seol Hwa, who was become motionless and silent after knowing of her mother's demise. He tells Jeok how he wished for her to let out her feelings. Since Hwi, who is closest to Seol Hwa, is not around, Jeok instead comes up to her and apologizes repeatedly. Afterwards, Seol Hwa weeps out of frustration and hits Jeok unceasingly, all while he continues to apologize.
Mu Jin barges in and tells them that Hwi has left a letter behind. As Jeok reads the letter, he rushes to find Hwi, while Mu Jin and Baek Ho follow him cluelessly. In reality, Hwi has decided to enter the palace as Dan Ah's maidservant for the bridal selection, as Jeok becomes furious at himself for not noticing and at Hwi for having to carry all the burden himself. They come across the palanquin near the palace entrance where they spot Nabi in the procession as Dan Ah's companion. Jeok immediately orders Baek Ho to look for that person and Mu Jin to find a way to get into the palace. Jeok becomes anxious for the danger and challenge that Hwi would face as he enters the enemy's ground alone.
Later, Jeok plans with Mu Jin and Baek Ho for their counter-uprising as soon as possible, beginning with finding an insider to help Hwi within the palace premises. He also tells them that they shall abandon their plans with procuring the cannon given the lack of resources they now have, but Mu Jin interrupts him and informs him of Hwi's investigation regarding the cannon even before the incident at Moon's End Village. It turns out that Hwi may have found out about Rok Ha's real identity as the crown prince of Seo Seo, which prompts Jeok to rendezvous with him that night. Calling Rok Ha by his royal title, Jeok then opens a deal that would be mutually beneficial for both of their parties.
The following day, Rok Ha approaches Nabi at the palace and informs her of the renewed alliance between Jeok and Rok Ha. They then concoct a plan to assassinate the king once and for all at the banquet that evening. By nighttime, however, Nabi fails to kill Jin Won, and Jeok is informed by Gyeom and Baek Ho about the foiled plan. Jeok is left with no choice but to order his men to retreat. After some time, Jeok and Rok Ha meet once again to devise a new plan, which involves a hinted infiltration at the palace.
This comes to fruition when Rok Ha organizes a merchant sale near Hyun Bin's quarters for her maidservants and meets with Nabi. As he grabs her towards the merchant table, Jeok greets Nabi as a disguised merchant.
Minister Retrieval Arc Edit
Nabi chides Jeok for entering the palace that might risk discovery of them together, but he assures her that the merchant sale robs the attention from the two of them. Jeok then voices his concern for Nabi, who seems worn out after only a few days in the palace. Hence, he asks her to leave the palace immediately, since it is not too late for them to regroup and start again.
Nabi agrees with him, but she worries about their mentor Seon Woo, whose whereabouts could not be traced after his capture. Jeok informs her that he has been taken away from the prison and could not be found after they searched for him throughout and beyond Hyang Ju. Believing that Jin Won is using him as bait for the remaining rebel forces, Nabi conjectures that Seon Woo may be hidden somewhere in the palace. They plan their mission to retrieve their mentor, after which Jeok gestures to Gyeom to conclude the merchant sale and leave the palace.
- (To Young Hwa about saving Hwi) "If these eyes have offended you in any way... I shall atone for this myself! So please! Just save him...! This child must live! Please, if you save him... I am willing to... give you my other eye—"
- (To Hwi after vouching to save him) "It is only natural for the future king to protect his people. You are the only one I can protect now, though. If I cannot even protect one person, how can I possibly protect the people of Ga Guk? So stop crying. I have only done my duty. Frankly speaking, I did it only because it was you. Because you are Yi Hwi."
- (To Hwi) "The compact is important, but what is most important to us is you."
- (To Nabi about Won) "It was not meant to be. It is better to cut ties with him completely rather than leave him with any hope."
- (To Nabi) "How could you let the enemy's daughter into your heart?" 
- (To Nabi about Dan Ah) "I know... the heart wants what it wants. However, please promise me this... If, at any point, that girl becomes an obstacle, kill her without hesitation."
- (To Nabi) "How are they your people? Right now, in this country... there are no subjects under your rule."
- (To Hwi) "Don't forget about the lives that were lost in vain, but keep them all in your heart. Gather all your sadness and anger, and stand up back again. We must stand up again."
- (Referring to Hwi) "I know, better than anyone, how upset and angry you were at all the innocent people who were sacrificed. However, Lord Hwi... You cannot save everyone."
- (To Baek Ho and Mu Jin) "We must not repeat the same mistakes. We can't afford to wait ten years again, can we?"
- His name in Hanja means "silence" or "loneliness" (寂).
- Despite being born as twins, Jeok is shown to be canonically older by one year than Hwi. 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.
- The Yi family had various cases of having twins. Jeok and Hwi are twins, his father had a twin brother, and his half-brother Won had twin children.
|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|