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Whether you people mock me or not… I am still the King of Ga Guk.

–To his ministers

Yi Won was the son of the King Jin Hyul and his consort Yoon Yeon Lee, and the elder half-brother of the twin princes Yi Jeok and Yi Hwi. Known earlier as Prince Hae Won (해원), he grew up yearning for his father's affection, which was often directed towards his other son and spouse. He also often experienced exclusion during royal events, primarily due to his less illustrious lineage, further amplifying his frustration and envy towards his father's other family.

After Jin Hyul's death, his mother masterminded the Jeogwa Revolution, a coup d'état that dethroned then Queen Dowager Ahn Young and drove Crown Prince Jeok and Hwi from the palace. As a result, at a tender age of ten years old, Won was coronated as King Jin Won (Hangul: 진원; Hanja: 眞源), the 13th King of Ga Guk.

After his mother managed the kingdom as his regent, Won stepped into office at the age of 20 years old. His reign was characterized as tyrannical and irresponsible, which often earned the irk of his ministers. For instance, especially given the tradition that images of Ga Guk's kings were not publicized, Won often went on public excursions and frequented gambling dens and gisaeng houses for his own personal reasons.


Birth and Early Childhood[]

In spite of his bitterness towards his father, Hae Won considered times with him as peaceful memories

Won was the eldest son of King Jin Hyul and his consort Yoon Yeon Lee of Ja Eui. After his birth, his father's queen consort Ahn Young gave birth to his half-brothers, the eldest of whom became the crown prince. As a prince of Ga Guk, he was given the name Hae Won. As they grew up, Hae Won and Jeok were not allowed to see each other despite being half-brothers.[1] Moreover, Jin Hyul frequently showed more attention and affection to Ahn Young and Jeok, causing Won and his mother to become envious of his father's other family. Nevertheless, despite his bitterness, Hae Won would become glad whenever his father showed him instances of paternal affection.[2]

Hae Won once journeyed to Seo Seo together with his parents and his father's other family during the signing of the Ga Guk–Seo Seo peace treaty. At the palace, King Jang Ryun's daughter Jang Rei and her nephew Jang Rok Ha saw him, though they were unable to distinguish which of the king's sons he was. When Rok Ha was fetched, his father turned angry at Rei as usual and slapped her, telling her not to meet again with his son, lest she beguile him with her looks like how he believed her mother seduced their father. As he left, Rei looked over to Hae Won and saw him chuckle under his breath.

Hae Won and Rei share their pent-up frustrations with each other

That night, Hae Won was excluded from the festivities at a banquet despite allowing the crown prince to enter, similar to how Rei was also prohibited by her half-sister to join. They conversed about their frustrations and how they kept their burdens inside themselves, voicing out their similarities with each other as children of mistresses. Hae Won then made a bet with Rei to see who would have a better endurance the next time they would meet, and the loser would grant the other a wish. However, Rei refused to bet with Won.[3]

Accession to the Throne[]

After the Jeogwa Revolution, Won succeeded his father when he was ten years old under his official title as King Jin Won. Because he was still too young, his mother acted as his regent until he turned 20 years old.[4] Though his ministers were against making him king, Minister Seo In Seon Woo sided with him, ultimately gaining the favor of Yeon Lee. At that point, Jin Won became initially confused with how quick Seon Woo, the mentor of the runaway crown prince, switched sides towards him.[5]

During the early period of his kingship, Jin Won journeyed once again to Seo Seo and encountered Rei, introducing himself as King Jin Won. Rei finally agreed to make a bet with Jin Won through a game of rock-paper-scissors. With no knowledge about the game, Rei won the bet and asked Jin Won to grant her wish, which is to take her away from Seo Seo. To grant her wish, Jin Won decreed several years later for an arranged marriage with Rei, after which she emigrated to Ga Guk to become his royal consort.[3]


Won was a tall, fair-skinned, and slim man with distinct long red hair, golden eyes, and visible Adam's apple. Befitting his status as king, he wore various elaborate bright outfits during his excursions and in court. He had a mannerism of putting his left hand behind him and he was never seen without his pipe.


Jin Won's unflinching demeanor in the midst of a torture unfolding in front of him

Jin Won was widely known for his tyranny and cruelty in handling his responsibility as king. He is most likely accustomed to witnessing tortures in person, occasionally overseeing or even performing interrogations himself, most especially in cases of heinous crimes. During such times, Jin Won would not flinch when the tortured individual, even a close peer such as Yoo Dan Ah, screamed out of pain.[6] He was also firm in his decisions especially regarding his orders, which sometimes resulted to his dark humor. Should someone disobey his order, he would promise to have the person executed at once. When that person ended up disobeying him, the king personally killed with his own weapon almost instantly regardless of their ranks.[7][8]

Won was also usually grumpy and hot-headed, especially when attending the court with his ministers. He did not usually care about other people's affairs despite being the king, and he was very frank in conveying his message to others. Aside from his vices of gambling and drinking, Won was also a heavy smoker and a womanizer, who would often put off people merely with his sharp stares. Besides frequenting gisaeng houses and gambling dens, Won also used to visit Bi Hwa Rim when he wished to be alone or the Chamber of Eternal Life when he could not leave the palace grounds.[9]

Despite their unorthodox initial meeting, Won considered Hong as one of his only friends in his lifetime

However, when it came to the renowned gisaeng Nabi, he appeared to be vulnerable and obsessive towards her, becoming jealous whenever she was with other men and even easily agreeing to give her anything, even the nation. With his obsession clouding his judgment, he was once advised by the painter Hong. Won later regarded him as his friend with whom he spent some memorable times, such as getting into a fight at a gambling den and sharing "secrets" to each other, assumably for the first time. Because Hong also primarily had an unrequited love (for Dan Ah) at the time, Won recognized Hong as one of the only people he related with, someone who understood him.

Hong also knew Dan Ah, whom Won was initially cold towards and did not like to see crying and following him. Periodically, however, they developed a rather close relationship, both by themselves and among the three of them. With this blossoming friendship, Won came to know about Dan Ah's feelings for him, though he did not reciprocate. After an incident at Moon's End Village, Won learned of Dan Ah as the daughter of the chief state councilor. Using Dan Ah's confession for him before she departed to the palace, he once agreed to elope with her, bearing political motives that might curb his mother's and Ja Gyeom's influences on his leadership. This affair, however, did not come to fruition, as Dan Ah's father knew of her plans of eloping with another man before entering the palace as a bridal candidate for the king (without actually knowing that the man she was to elope with was the king himself).

However, shortly before the bridal selection, he became conflicted towards Nabi after she was affiliated with the rebel army, widely believed to be led by Jin Yeon himself. Furthermore, with the eradication of rebels led by Bi Yeong Pal Mu that raided Nabi's former workplace Yu Hyang Ru, Won became desperate in finding out whether Nabi survived the raid or not. Failing to find her nor any trace of her during his search, the king mourned for his beloved and proceeded with the bridal selection.

Won's "coldness" towards Nabi

Sometime during the bridal candidacy, Won finally caught sight of Nabi, albeit facing her personally after she attempted to assassinate him for being the king. As a result, Won initially became confused towards his emotions for her. His obsession towards her, however, proved to be strong enough to force himself to tell her a confession that he wanted her, whether or not she came to bring forth his death. He became further conflicted with his feelings towards her when she would repeatedly agree to his proposals to be with him in exchange for giving Ga Guk to Jin Yeon. Because of this, Won developed a more distorted thinking in his desire to have Nabi, though he himself admitted that he was naturally twisted when coveting something for himself.[10]

Moreover, knowing that Nabi was alive urged him to admit his genuine desire for a brotherly connection with Jin Yeon, though simultaneously acknowledging him as his enemy that could not be reverted nor avoided anymore at that point.[11] After letting time pass him by with his status and role as a king, whom he admitted to be a foolish one, he became convicted to force what he desires onto himself with all his power and influence. Thinking that Nabi is on Jin Yeon's side, Won strengthened his resolve to acquire and take full control over Ga Guk from being ruled over by the remainder of Jin Yeon's rebel army, especially if the nation was what Nabi wanted.[12]

This turning point left an impact on Won, being comparatively serious in dealing with affairs, albeit still being nonchalant when expressing his desire and obsession for Nabi, promising to even hand her the nation to end her resistance to him. Nonetheless, he became self-reflective within himself, even seeking counsel from his late father on how to protect those he held dear to him, following the death of his own son and the mysterious paralysis of his mother. At that point, despite being raised and taught not to seek forgiveness from anyone that resulted to his considerable pride and ego, Won apologized for the first time in his life to Dan Ah for all the trouble he had caused her, especially with her wrongful arrest and torture.[9]


Fateful Encounter Arc[]

Won attacks Yang Heon with his smoking pipe

During the festival in Ga Guk, Won is seen being introduced to the Water Beetle Game on the marketplace when he, along with the people, hears two people arguing: Nam Yang Heon and a disguised Dan Ah. Unlike the people, he does not care about the two of them and sits idly, smoking his pipe. After the lad was revealed to be a girl and carried by Yang Heon, Dan Ah asks help from Won which he does not entertain. When Nabi throws a fan at Yang Heon, he loses his balance, tipping over to Won with Dan Ah as well. The fan's owner then apologizes and is revealed to be Nabi. After recovering from the fall, he witnesses Nabi's criticism of Yang Heon and laughs at approval with her, even angering Yang Heon more. As Nabi is slapped, she tells him that he should become a person first, much to Won's delight. He then attacks Yang Heon with his smoking pipe before he could hit him first. As Yang Heon's subordinates come to kill him, Dan Ah, and Nabi, Won single-handedly beats Yang Heon, making his condition worse. After the fight, Won's excitement fades away and ruins his outfit, making him angry. He looks around to find Nabi, but fails to do so.[13]

The next day at the palace, Won asks Heuk Rang about any information on Nabi, to which he found out that she is a gisaeng from Yu Hyang Ru with which he is then revealed to be the current king of Ga Guk. In court, he only thinks and mumbles of Nabi, even asking his ministers about her. He later finds out that she is still a dong-gi, much to his excitement. He immediately leaves the court, complaining that they are always asking for his permission regarding political matters. He then left for Yu Hyang Ru to meet Nabi, giving her one bottle of alcohol. With this, she rejects him, explaining that even a grandiose present such as a pavilion did not get her much favor, advising him to try much harder if he truly wants to have her.

Won encounters Dan Ah

He then leaves the place and wanders off, drinking the alcohol alone, commenting that Nabi is rather shrewd. He then encounters Dan Ah, hiding from her servants.[4] He remains silent and continues drinking, as if he did not see Dan Ah. When her servants leave, he also leaves and goes to the palace, having spent all his money on liquor. Dan Ah thanks him for his "help" and for last night as well, repaying him with liquor. At Yeon Wol Jung, Won drinks until he is fully satisfied, but since the liquor runs out, he lies on Dan Ah's lap and tries to get some sleep, singing the Butterfly lullaby, much to Dan Ah's surprise. He is then asked if he still remembers her from ten years ago at Bi Hwa Rim.[14]

While Dan Ah searches and wanders around the creek at Bi Hwa Rim, Won sings the Butterfly lullaby, causing Dan Ah to find the person. To her surprise, she finds him singing and is continuously asked by Dan Ah if he truly is the person from ten years ago, answering frankly that it was not him. Won then reminisces of his moments with his late father at Bi Hwa Rim.[2]

Compact Heist Arc[]

Going back to the palace, he hears of Yoon Yeon Lee's and Yoo Ja Gyeom's conversation about the Crimson Moon and bursts in singing the Crimson Moon song, much to the exasperation of his mother. He asks about Jin Yeon's status and the Prime Minister answers that the rumor that he is alive seems to be true. He states that he thought they have already killed him ten years ago, offending the Prime Minister. Won then unsheathes Baek Yoo Shin's sword and threatens a servant to sing the song in return for her life. She then sings it but was personally beheaded by Won, stating that she still should not have sung it.[7]

In his chambers at night, Won and his concubine are woken by Jang Rei and informs him that his reward is ready outside. He then praises her because she seems to always have what he wants even before he asks. He then goes out with Baek Ryung to Yu Hyang Ru and visit Nabi.[15] Arriving at Yu Hyang Ru, he gets caught up in a ruckus with a servant of the place and beats him up while the servant keeps on apologizing. Wol Young Hwa then arrives and asks for the matter. He demands to see Nabi, bringing forth tons of nyang with him as payment.[16]

Won brings Nabi to the physician

One midnight, he goes to Yu Hyang Ru and is able to drink at least two entire jugs of liquor, but still is not able to meet Nabi. On his way, he complains about the gisaeng he is given who has a high tolerance for liquor. He then unexpectedly meets Nabi who constantly rejects him. He then notices that she looks pale and grasps her shoulder, leaving traces of blood on his hand. He insists on inspecting her wound then takes off her clothes. She immediately puts them back on, leaving Won astounded.[17] He scolds her for working while having a huge wound and brings her to the physician. Despite her struggle with him, she faints and is carried by Won to their destination.

Having found the place, Won impatiently calls for the physician and demands to save Nabi: if she dies, he dies as well. The physician tells him that he is quite expensive and asks him if he has brought sufficient money as payment. Won gives him a small pouch of money, but Ma Mi Song still tells him that it is not yet enough. Won promises that he will pay a hundred times as much after he saves Nabi, to which the physician agrees. As he is about to enter the room, he is stopped by the physician from entering since that is his domain and and drunkards like him get in the way, so he tells him to eat some apples at the side while waiting.

Won waited for Nabi to be treated by eating a bunch of apples

The next morning, Won is met by the physician and tells him that Nabi has "flown away" and sets out without further ado. While finding her, Baek Ryung tells Won to return to the palace for the court meetings, but he reprimands her for letting Nabi leave. She answers him that the Bi Yeong Pal Mu are his shadow and will not appear unless he calls for them. However, he is dissatisfied with her and tells her to be thankful that he does not have a sword with him, much to Baek Ryung's nervousness. Having no choice, they then head back to the palace.[18]

At the market streets, Dan Ah finds Won playing the Water Beetle Game, much to his annoyance. As he sets off, she follows him and shouts at her not to do so. She asks him if she is going to Ju Wah Ae Rim to which he denies and then leaves her behind. On one side of the street, a painting of "Hong" is hung and Dan Ah explains that he is a famous ambiguous painter who only paints Bi Hwa Rim. At the mention of his full alias Hong Wol (which means "crimson moon"), Won becomes interested in him.[19]

Shadow Village Conflagration Arc[]

Won orders Baek Ryung to summon the royal army

Later, after finally being free from Dan Ah, he visits Physician Ma to pick up medicine for Nabi and is on his way to Ju Wah Ae Rim to see her. The medicine is snatched from him by a pickpocket and runs towards him, following him up to the slums.[20] He then gets into an argument with Chung, ordering him to give back the medicine. A younger child points out to his brother that Won is the Crimson Moon because of his red hair. Won, overhearing their discussion, asks Woon if he admires the Crimson Moon. Woon enthusiastically answers that the Crimson Moon is the real king and that people like them who live in darkness do not need the sun, for the moon is their light. Woon wishes that the current king would disappear. Insulted, Won orders Baek Ryung to call for the Royal Army to burn the place down.

Won lifts Woon on the neck

Later, while the Royal Army raids the village, Won lifts Woon on the neck while Chung fights him. He kicks Chung out, and Dan Ah and Hong witness this. Hong grabs the child from him and kicks Won off the wall. They engage in a one-on-one battle but are stopped by Dan Ah. He then gets delusioned Hong as Nabi, but he realizes that he is a man. Chung shouts at the people that the Crimson Moon is nearby.[21] Chung reiterates that Won is the Crimson Moon due to his red hair. Hong asks him if this is true, but he denies it at once. Amid the angry villagers, Dan Ah closes the door shut. As the villagers break in, they find the room empty.

Hong pushes Dan Ah and Won down the water

The three run away from the place, but Won complains why they need to run since he is confident that he can knock them down. He then tells them that if he truly is the Crimson Moon, they will be charged with harboring a fugitive, but they tell him that he himself said he was not the Crimson Moon. The two believe him and Hong promises to protect him. As they reach a bridge, Hong pushes Won and Dan Ah to the water to hide from the villagers. After some time, Hong returns and they hide themselves in the woods. Wet from the water, Won takes his tops off and builds some fire. Hong then gives some cloth to Dan Ah, but Won grabs it and argues with Hong, saying that he is cold, too. Finally, he decides to share his blanket by hugging Dan Ah, but Hong immediately separates them.[22]

Chase Arc[]

After the incident in the slums, Won heads to the palace where Bi Yeong Pal Mu captain Baek Yoo Shin apologizes to him and reprimands Baek Ryung for her carelessness. However, the king insists that he is fine and wants to go rest, but the captain tells him that the queen mother is inside. She scolds him for his daily absences especially in the council meetings. She further informs him that the compact was stolen. He mockingly tells her that they should have been more careful, but she informs him that, since the safety of the Royal Family depends on it, an royal wedding will take place. He then agrees to it, thinking that she can do anything regardless of what he thinks. Later, he is visited in the bathhouse by Hyun Bin and tells him that she has come up with the next wager.[23]

Jeok saves Nabi from Won

The next morning, Won is at the marketplace playing the Water Beetle Game where Dan Ah sneaks in again, much to his annoyance. As he looks at Dan Ah, he inadvertently notices Nabi with Yi Jeok. Jealous, he grabs Nabi's arm and gets in a fight with Jeok. They are then stopped by Baek Ryung and Nabi lectures him that there are things that cannot be obtained no matter how hard one works for them. He asks her what she wants and answers "the nation". As they go, he answers with a smirk that he will give it to her.[12]

Yi Won goes to Yu Hyang Ru to give Nabi her medicine, but, a few steps away, he sees Nabi and Jeok together. Infuriated and jealous, he walks out of the place instead of giving her the medicine. On his way, a butterfly lands on his shoulder which he crushes in despair. The next day at the palace, Jin Won is visited by Hyun Bin who will accompany the queen mother to go to the Valley of the Kings. He assigns the Bi Yeong Pal Mu as an escort to the party in exchange for Hyun Bin's bodyguard Gwak Ji Ryeon. Outside, Baek Yoo Shin advises him to avoid going on excursions until they return from the Valley and leaves afterwards. A butterfly once again comes to his sight, admitting that he does not want to see her.

Won confesses his feelings for Nabi after knowing that she has found a partner

On the market streets, Won, as usual, gambles and plays the Water Beetle Game who seems to be luckily winning. Despite his "luck", he enviously recalls the moment when Nabi and Jeok were together in the pavilion. He turns around and expects to see Dan Ah, but instead, he is visited by Nabi, saying that today is really his "lucky" day.[24] With this, Won grows excited to think that she would find him first. She tells him that she is only there to deliver a letter from Dan Ah. After reading the letter, he rips the letter and kicks the table near him. He angrily tells Nabi that she is cruel and seems to be mocking his feelings for her. Afterwards, he walks out angrily.

That night, he spends the night in Ju Cheon Inn at Ju Wah Ae Rim and overhears three men talking about Nabi's "putting her hair up" and that her lover turns out to be Jeok. He interferes with the three and asks them to repeat what they know. Under the rain, Won dashes to the closed Yu Hyang Ru to find Nabi. He bangs at the door and plans to send a palanquin to come get her. After shouting a few sentiments, Won weeps and collapses on the floor.[25]

As midnight strikes, Won passes by Dan Ah at Hwa Gwi Cheon but does not pay any attention to her. As she follows him, Won and Dan Ah are then surrounded by men from Nam Hyeon. She covers him from an attack but Gwak Ji Ryeon appears and tells him to run away, so he walks away without ado. On his way, Dan Ah sees Won but still does not show any interest in her. However, he returns for her and gives her his shoes since she does not have any. They then continue to walk while an unmasked Crimson Moon watches from a distance with Dan Ah's shoes.[26]

Revolt Procurement Arc[]

Won receives advice from Hyun Bin

After the incident, Won has been drinking much alcohol without eating. In his room, Won asks Hyun Bin to drink with him. She tries to stop him because she worries for his health. He admits that he tries to get drunk to forget a "flower", but does not get drunk. He then seeks advice from her; she tells him that if he truly wants that "flower", he should take it forcibly to him.[27]

At the gallery, Hong desperately needs some money and asks the seller how much it will roughly cost if Hong paints his "last piece". The seller panics, while Won listens nearby and interrupts them, saying that he can give him the money. He asks the seller if Hong's "Bi Hwa Rim" can make a woman fall in love with him, and the seller answers that she will eventually fall for him if she receives the painting. He asks for Hong's answer and tells Won that it is not so great as 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 then tells Hong to follow him.[28]

Won catches the cheating gambler

Won and Hong 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. No matter how much they lose, they still continue to play. They then catch a gambler who cheats them and expose him. He 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 Won and Hong out of the place. Won resists and gets beaten up, while Hong also gets hit and kicked.

They are eventually kicked out of the place and are ordered 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 drink. Hong apologizes to him that he was not able to protect Won. The latter remembers his "promise" from that night in the slums. He then tells him that one nyang is not fine then and asks Hong to drink with him.[29]

Won and Hong spend the night as "friends"

He spends the night near a lake with Hong. Won stares at him and asks him if he has a sister because, according to him, 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, so Hong answers that he does. Referring to Dan Ah, he tells him 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 (Yi 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. The next morning, Won is awakened by Baek Ryung who worries about him. Astonished, he asks her if no one was with him, and she acquiesces. Won thinks that what happened last night was a dream, but Baek Ryung informs him that he seems to have "grown wings", as a proof that his "friend" truly exists.[30]

Yi Won arrives at the palace and sees Yoon Yeon Lee and Yoo Ja Gyeom discussing some matters. He immediately tells the two that they should now select the three candidates. He adds that the Prime Minister's daughter is automatically chosen because it is a shame if his daughter is not to be chosen; the empress dowager gets to choose a "loyalist daughter" which suits her taste; and the third candidate is to be chosen by himself.[31]

Plague Arc[]

Won visits "Nabi", only to find out she is not the gisaeng Nabi

In spite of the ongoing plague, Won visits Moon's End Village after being told by the market gamemaster that "Nabi" was recently sighted there. However, to his dismay, a prostitute is using the alias of "Nabi" and immediately leaves, annoyed that it is a fake Nabi.

As he leaves, Won is once again greeted by Dan Ah and motions subtly to Baek Ryung from the shadows that she is an acquaintance. Mistaking this gesture as a wave towards her, she happily waves back at him. Won notices Hong together with Dan Ah and greets him; Hong greets him back, calling him by his nickname. Dan Ah becomes surprised that the two are close with each other, and Won affirms that they have quite some history. He invites Hong to have a drink with him to have some fun, but the latter blatantly refuses. Dan Ah, instead, invites Won to go with them with a "fun" idea.[32]

To his dismay, Dan Ah brings him to the clinic to help assist the plague patients. His presence intimidates and shocks Sori, who thinks that having Won as a helping hand is not a great idea. On the other hand, Physician Ma greets the "Apple Lord" and dismisses Sori's idea, telling him that having more people to help is a good idea. In the end, Sori asks him to guide some patients, much to Won's annoyance.

With the influx of patients arriving at the clinic, Won calls Baek Ryung and orders her to assist. As Dan Ah and Physician Ma check on him from afar, they notice him (as well as a new helping hand assisting Sori) sitting by. As two children sit near him crying, he angrily orders them not to weep.

The cloaked figure passes by Won

Won grows languid by nighttime, watching idly and remarking on Dan Ah's almost inexhaustible energy while assisting the plague patients throughout the day. As he thinks of where Hong might be, a cloaked figure passes by him, apparently resembling Nabi. Thinking that he has finally found her at Moon's End Village, he chases her until they reach the edge of the back hill. When he comes face to face with the person, "Nabi" turns out to be wearing a Crimson Moon mask and pushes Won down the cliff. Dan Ah, having followed Won to the hill, grabs his arm in an attempt to save him, only to fall down as well.[33]

Won and Dan Ah land in water down the cliff. After some time, Dan Ah awakes and notices her leg injured. Treating herself using her prior medical knowledge, she locates the unconscious Won nearby. She assesses his breathing and spots a piece of wood punctured on his chest. As she removes the wood splinter, he screams in pain, but nevertheless remains unconscious. Afterwards, she applies bandage to his injuries. Despite her own injuries, she moves Won to a safer location and tells him that she shall look for help. However, she fails to do so and collapses next to him. Nonetheless, Hong is able to later locate the two after becoming suspicious of their disappearance that led him to scour the village to look for them.[34]

Won carries Dan Ah back to the clinic and encounters Hong

As Won awakens from the fall, he notices his body bandaged all over. He also sees the unconscious Dan Ah next to him, recalling how she tried to save him from the fall. He remarks on her foolishness for always tailing her ever since, before criticizing himself as well for not being able to control their feelings. Won later carries Dan Ah on the way back to the clinic, and he encounters Hong, who appears to be shocked upon seeing Dan Ah injured.

They soon arrive back to Physician Ma's clinic to get Dan Ah treated. As the physician orders Sori for some medical apparatus, he diagnoses the gravity of her leg injury that may require amputation if necessary. To this, Won demands the physician to save her completely, which the physician accepts as he swore on his name to treat her to the best of his ability. Per his usual routine, the physician shuts the door on Won and Hong, leaving them from interfering Dan Ah's treatment.

Won asks Sori whether Dan Ah is the chief state councilor's daughter

Outside, Hong asks Won whether it was an accident, to which Won replies that it was. Sori returns with the physician's requirements and advises the two to wait inside to get some rest. With the two unflinching, Sori enters the physician's room. He also comments how the chief state councilor might be angry due to his daughter's condition, much to Won's surprise.[35] He immediately grabs Sori by his arms and asks whether Dan Ah is the chief state councilor's daughter, which Sori nervously confirms. Won merely chuckles at his response, while Sori enters the physician's room.

As morning arrives, Physician Ma goes outside the room and assures Won and Hong that he is able to treat Dan Ah like he promised. Won becomes relieved and compliments the Quack's medical aptitude. On the other hand, Hong asks the physician whether Dan Ah would still be able to walk, which Physician Ma merely hopes for, unable to answer confidently. Afterwards, Physician Ma treats Won's injuries.

Later that day, palace troops arrive at the clinic. Heuk Rang fetches the king, and Won asks where Baek Ryung is. The captain informs him that, though Baek Ryung returned to the palace to mobilize a search party for him, the Queen Mother became furious of the king's disappearance and asked for Baek Ryung's execution. In the end, the surprised Won returns with the guards back to the palace.[36]

Rebel Army Suppression: Setting in Motion[]

Won asks himself with questions about Nabi that remain unanswered

All night, Won remains doubtful and conflicted with the appearance of "Nabi" back at Moon's End Village, being bothered with questions he could not find the answer to. Hence, the next day, he attends the assembly on time (much to the ministers' shock) and discusses various dilemma and affairs of the state. After all the ministers have relayed their agenda, Jin Won presents the last item to be discussed. The king decrees for the mobilization of the Royal Army to annihilate the rebel army once and for all, deeming this as the only possible thing that might force Nabi out of the rebel army should she indeed be a member of the group. Ja Gyeom smirks under his breath and requests a private audience with the king.[5]

Ja Gyeom tells Jin Won of his suspicion on the left minister as a spy in the royal court

Ja Gyeom tells Jin Won that he suspects the left minister as the spy within the royal court, though he admits that he does not have any evidence to his conjecture. Jin Won finally realizes the left minister's questionable allegiance to him shortly after his coronation post-Jeogwa Revolution, which was actually to fool Jin Won in order to protect Jin Yeon. The king turns to the chief state councilor, admitting his envy and subtly berating him for not taking any action amidst the deception carried out by Jin Yeon's vassal. In the end, the king orders Ja Gyeom to find some proof to confirm their suspicions.

Moreover, Jin Won asks Ja Gyeom what else he wanted to discuss with him in private, to which Ja Gyeom reports about Physician Ma's deal with him that morning. The physician asked for national health clinics to be established throughout Ga Guk due to the plague; in return, Physician Ma would divulge the location of the rebel army. With things running smoothly, the king allows for the national health clinics to be established and gives Ja Gyeom the command in eradicating the rebel forces. Before Ja Gyeom leaves, Jin Won asks him about his daughter, much to the councilor's shock amidst thoroughly hiding the news about her injury. Ja Gyeom lies to the king and tells him that she busy preparing for the bridal selection.

Knowing that Ja Gyeom is lying to him, Won personally goes to Dan Ah's residence to check on her condition, albeit being conspicuously followed by three royal guards, much to his dismay. As he orders them to follow him from the shadows, he arrives at her residence. Seeing her usual lively personality, he greets her warmly, while she weeps out of joy of seeing Won safe. He also notices her walking stick due to her leg injury, but she insists that she is fine.

Won piggybacks Dan Ah

To take responsibility for her condition, Won asks Dan Ah to name one thing what she wants. Initially reluctant, she tells Won that she wants to go somewhere with him. Dan Ah leads the way, but, due to her walking condition, Won becomes annoyed of their slow pace and carries her on his back. As he walks on, Dan Ah apologizes for bothering him, after which he tells her not to follow him anymore. She also confesses that she loves him, to which Won replies that he knows.[37]

Won and Dan Ah arrive at Bi Hwa Rim. Dan Ah floats a lotus lantern down Hwa Gwi Cheon, which is a legend that allows the bond between two people to circle around the water to ensure they shall meet again. She adds that she wanted to float a lantern with him before she departs, after which Won states his knowledge about her departure to the palace and that she is the chief state councilor's daughter. He chides her choice of floating a lantern when, in fact, he seriously wanted to give her anything in return.

Won agrees to elope with Dan Ah

Hence, Dan Ah asks him to run away with her. Won is surprised, but Dan Ah takes it back, merely joking about it. After all, she knows that she is not the one that Won fancies. Won laughs at her jest, but nevertheless agrees to her request, having other thoughts in mind. If he marries her, Won would get to curb the influence on his mother's faction, and Ja Gyeom would not act so pompous with Dan Ah as queen.

Later, Won and Dan Ah encounter Hong at Bi Hwa Rim, who has let the lotus lantern float continuously after getting stuck behind the rocks. Hong then gives Won the painting he commissioned and, as usual, picks a fight with Won. In the end, Dan Ah halts them from fighting and instead becomes glad that the three of them floated the lotus lantern, which would ensure them having to meet someday once again.

The next day, Hyun Bin notes that Won seems to be in high spirits, asking whether something pleasant happened the previous night. Won simply tells her that it is yet to be confirmed and that he shall find out that day whether he made a right decision.[38]

Rebel Army Suppression: Execution[]

While the Royal Army prepares for its mobilization in eradicating the rebel forces, Jin Won misleads his servants and personal guard Baek Sa with taking a bath at the bathhouse, though he actually means to escape them to meet with Dan Ah for their supposed elopement. He almost reaches the palace gates, but Baek Sa and the head servant quickly locate him, much to his annoyance. The head servant then informs Jin Won of Hyun Bin's childbirth.[3]

Following the attacks on Bi Hwa Rim and Yu Hyang Ru, Jin Won becomes infuriated at Ja Gyeom after knowing that Yu Hyang Ru was also raided by Bi Yeong Pal Mu. With repressed horror, the king asked Ja Gyeom whether all the rebels and gisaeng had been killed. The councilor informs him that those who yielded were merely arrested and imprisoned, though they had no other choice but to kill those who resisted.

The king asks Seon Woo where Nabi is

Wishing to know whether Nabi had been caught in the attacks or, worse, killed in the chaos, Jin Won personally visits the prison. He does not find Nabi, thinking either she was not part of the rebel army or she had been killed. He inadvertently finds the tortured Seon Woo, commending the ex-left minister's firm loyalty to Jin Yeon during his interrogation. Jin Won then asks him where Nabi is, but Seon Woo answers that he does not know where the "insignificant girl" had been. Hence, he gives out two possibilities: either she was living with her partner far away during the attacks or she had been included in the slaughter.[39]

Bridal Selection Arc[]

Won dreams of himself chasing Nabi; as she dissipates from his arms, he awakens from his slumber. His head servant enters his chambers and runs through his schedule for the day, which includes meeting his bridal candidates. She also hands him the register of the rebels who have been confirmed dead. As Nabi's name is not included in the register, Won clings to the hope that she is still alive and wonders where she is.[40]

Later, Jin Won finally comes to know that his consort Hyun Bin gave birth to twins: one boy and one girl. Hence, since neither of them wins their gamble in guessing their child's gender, she is not guaranteed to be made a bridal candidate, while the king is unable to get her inherited land in Seo Seo. However, Jin Won decides to make her the third and bridal candidate because he is not able to find his originally intended candidate.[41] He issues a decree stating her candidacy at the last minute, completing the three spots for the bridal selection.[40]

Won mourns for Nabi

Without the knowledge of his head servant, Won heads with his personal guard Baek Sa to the ruins of Yu Hyang Ru. He becomes anxious that Nabi might have actually died after he still finds no trace of her alive after a whole month has passed since the ambush at the gisaeng house. He orders Baek Sa to buy the best kind of liquor, and the guard soon returns with it. Won pours the liquor to the ground, mourning for his beloved, and drinks some liquor himself. He silently weeps, after which he orders Baek Sa to have the assigned men stop updating the gisaeng registers from then on.

As the sun sets, Baek Sa advises Jin Won to return to the palace, preferrably with haste to still arrive at the palace banquet on time. Annoyed at having to return to his duties, Won overhears two people talking about gambling and recalls his visit to the gambling house before with Hong. He asks Baek Sa whether the price at the gallery has changed, but his guard informs him that the price remains unchanged.

Nabi and Jin Won face each other

By nighttime, Jin Won arrives at the banquet hall in a subtly drunken stupor, just in time to allow Crown Prince Rok Ha present a shadow dance performed by someone he invited. He staggers all the way to his throne, passing by his bridal candidates. At that point, the shadow dancer begins her performance; Jin Won's interest is piqued and approaches the lady. As he goes near her, she points a binyeo at his neck and turns out to be Nabi.[41] As Nabi quickly hides her binyeo, Jin Won suddenly collapses out of intoxication. He manages to grab her norigae; as his servants and guards rush to him, he completely becomes unconscious.

The next day, Won awakens with a faint memory of Nabi's supposed attack on him. Jin Won visits Dan Ah's bridal quarters despite the custom of prohibiting the king to visit bridal candidates before the royal wedding. Seeing Nabi inside, he realizes that last night was not a dream, though he wishes for it to be one.

Jin Won grabs and walks away with Dan Ah

He visits Nabi and Dan Ah in the latter's chamber premises, and, as Nabi subtly turns her back on the king, he becomes angered at her. He then grabs Dan Ah and walks away with her to spite Nabi, claiming that he has come to see Dan Ah personally. While holding on to Dan Ah, he irritatingly muses about Nabi's recent actions, even to the point of assassination the previous night.

Later, Dan Ah shivers and is utterly speechless while being held by the king, who asks her why she is not her usual, lively self. She then apologizes with utmost sincerity for acting crudely towards him before, though she admits being quite frustrated and worried about him when he did not show up at their supposed meeting place nor sent a message about his condition. Jin Won forgives her past decorum towards him, suggesting that they should merely start over anew and get along.[42]

Won reflects on his life

Some time later, Jin Won is accompanied by his entourage on the way to the royal court. He reflects on his life along the way, musing how he was molded into a foolish king even though he expected little from his life. He did not want to become king in the first place if it were not for his mother's greed. Despite wanting to share a brotherly bond with his half-brother, they naturally became enemies, rendering his intentions futile. He originally wanted Jin Yeon to kill him, given that Won no longer wished nor expected anything at that point, until Nabi came into his life. Because of her, Won thinks it is too late to yield into his enemy's hands. He then declares that he shall now seize what he desires from then on, promising to guard what Nabi desires the most — Ga Guk itself — with all his life.

At the royal court, Jin Won rebukes his ministers' careless and unorganized work in failing to catch Jin Yeon. They tell him that the rebels, especially ex-minister Seon Woo, shall soon start to talk due to their torture, but Jin Won thinks otherwise. Given that the rebels still have not tried to rescue him despite his importance to the rebel army, the king conjectures that they might be scheming away, since they know that Seon Woo is being kept alive. Therefore, Jin Won orders to stop Seon Woo's torture at once and decrees to have him executed at the end of the month, posing a challenge to his "little brother".[11]

After a sangcham, Jin Won arrives at a gathering with his bridal candidates, though he angrily witnesses a commotion among them. As he spots Nabi's arm apparently burnt, he frustratingly postpones the gathering and orders them to return to their quarters. On his way back, he orders his head servant to send the royal physician to Dan Ah's quarters.[43] After seeing Dan Ah, the royal physician reports to the king that, though Dan Ah's injuries were light, her maidservant suffered far more damage. However, Nabi flatly rejected treatment, much to Jin Won's frustration.

Though entirely unsure himself, Won confesses his feelings for Nabi

At night, Jin Won pays a visit to Dan Ah's quarters and asks how her condition is. He offers her some medication for her burn, but Dan Ah says she is fine. Nabi takes her leave to prepare the tea, but Dan Ah stops her and insists to make some tea for the king herself. With the two left alone, Jin Won tells Nabi that she should also apply some of the medication for her burn. She announces her leave, but the king immediately grabs her hand and tells Nabi how much he wished not to worry about her.

He muses how much his heart ached when he thought that she died with the rebels. Nabi tells him why he is saying such things to her, to which he asks her who she really is. As she rejects him amidst his continuous pursuit for her, he reasons out that she was the one who returned to him, finding it useless for her to try and send him away. He then decrees to have her by his side from then on, but she continues to reject him. As the king angrily repeats himself, there is a clatter nearby, and Nabi rushes in to look for the person in the shadows. It turns out to be Dan Ah, who has heard the king's confession to Nabi. As Jin Won asks Nabi if there is anyone out there, Nabi tells him that she does not see anyone. After some time, Won waits for Nabi to return, only to find out he has been left alone in the room.[44]

As morning comes without the two returning, Jin Won leaves Dan Ah's quarters. He asks Baek Sa whether the painting in the gallery has been collected, but the guard tells him it still has not been. Won wonders what his feelings for Nabi truly are, unsure if they are love, hatred, or obsession for something he cannot have.[45]

Minister Retrieval Arc[]

Jin Won spots Rok Ha handing a present to Nabi; using his bow and arrow, he fires at the perfume case and shatters it out of anger. He orders his servant to cancel the meeting with his ministers, reasoning out that he is very frustrated.[46]

Jin Won grabs Nabi in the garden

Later, Jin Won heads to the garden with some liquor and grabs Nabi, who is observing a butterfly nearby. Still holding on to her arm, he asks if she took his present, but she states that it was destroyed. Jin Won then flatly states how he is hurt after she rejected him the previous night but smiled at another man such as the Seo Seo prince. He then removes her arm bandages and applies some medication for her burn. As she tries to remove his hand, he asks whether she really hates him so much, since she does not necessarily mind the company of other men.

After some silence, she tells him that she shall stay with him in her next life as a friend, which Jin Won subtly rejects, telling her that he does not wish to meet her again if that would be the case. He marvels at her butterfly-shaped scar, though he tells her not to get hurt next time since he, too, would suffer seeing her hurt. Afterwards, his head servant finds him and fetches him back for his ministers' meeting.[47]

Jin Won corners the Crimson Moon

Two days before Seon Woo's execution, Jin Won and his Bi Yeong Pal Mu guards manage to corner the Crimson Moon at his royal chambers. Gil Mu Jin and Baek Ho later arrive as backup and thwart the handful of soldiers. As Jin Won orders his captain to capture the rebels, Mu Jin releases a smoke bomb, allowing them to escape in a secret underground passage.[48]

Heuk Rang later reports to the king about the successful escape of the three rebels, along with their retrieval of the ex-minister Seon Woo. Much to Jin Won's rage, he immediately orders to mobilize the soldiers and seal all gates. He threatens the captain to find the rebels; otherwise, losing them would be the day they would also lose their lives. As he bangs on the table, he notices Nabi's norigae missing and wonders who might have taken it.[49]

The following morning, Jin Won heads to his mother's quarters. Hyun Bin greets him, but he ignores her and merely brushes past her. As the Queen Mother summons him, Jin Won becomes disappointed that his mother is somehow oblivious to his safety after rebels broke in to the palace the previous night. Yeon Lee sarcastically tells him that he is alive and well in front of her anyway, reminding him of another concerning issue at hand.

Won tells his mother to be grateful to her obliging son

She reprimands him about the scandalous rumors surrounding him that he was caught going in and out of a maiden's chambers even before the royal wedding, even so much as staying there for a whole night. Yeon Lee advises her son to have some dignity and decency in order to at least have his ministers respect him for once. Jin Won replies that he visited Dan Ah, the chief state councilor's daughter and the candidate that the Queen Mother herself favored ever since the beginning. He also cautions his mother to instead be grateful that he is even obliging with her schemes.

As he exits her chambers, Yeon Lee tells him that the chief state councilor is the one spreading the rumors, acting as if the marriage between Jin Won and Dan Ah has already been settled for good. She warns him that, though she initially thought Ja Gyeom was a loyal dog who could protect their family, he is a wolf meant to devour them once set loose. Jin Won proceeds to leave, remarking that she was the one who opened the palace to him in the first place and decides that he might have to rely on that wolf to protect him.[50]

Persecution Arc[]

Jin Won is notified in the middle of the night about his mother's sudden collapse. The royal physician informs him that, though her body is paralyzed, the Queen Mother is fully conscious and aware of her surroundings. This makes it difficult for the physician to diagnose her, preliminarily judging it to be a stroke. He also tried to consider poisoning or trauma, but the physician is unable to find traces in the Queen Mother. The king asks him when she will recover, but the physician is unable to give a concrete answer.

Ja Gyeom pressures Jin Won to hold the royal wedding immediately

As he dismisses the physician, Jin Won turns to the chief state councilor and asks him how she was in the morning when he met her. Ja Gyeom states that he, too, is clueless as everyone else. As Jin Won becomes frustrated, Ja Gyeom opens the issue regarding the bridal selection and presents the king with the official bridal statement that the Queen Mother gave him that morning. Ja Gyeom pressures Jin Won to hold the royal wedding immediately, given the escalating issues on the rise including skirmishes on the borders from Nam Hyeon and Ah Ri Sa, more so with the Crimson Moon possibly plotting to overthrow him anytime. Though the king has two children, Ja Gyeom reasons out that they are of Seo Seo blood coming from their mother.

Jin Won shuts the councilor, but Ja Gyeom bows to the king and asserts his loyalty to him, pleading for the king to consider his concerns. Though Won acknowledges Ja Gyeom's point, he also recalls his mother's warning before regarding Ja Gyeom's predatory schemes. In the end, Jin Won orders for the announcement of the bride in the morning and to proceed with the wedding preparations. Moreover, since the Queen Mother is in no condition to authenticate the bridal statement, Jin Won makes the judgment call to choose his bride, whom he decides to be Hyun Bin.[51]

Jin Won learns of his son's death

The next morning, Jin Won is informed by his head servant that his and Hyun Bin's son has been found dead. Out of anger, he orders his servant to get out and frustratingly crushes a teacup. Jin Won then summons the chief state councilor immediately.[52]

After the incident when Hyun Bin jumped off the lake, the chief state councilor leads his fellow ministers in pleading to Jin Won for Hyun Bin's eviction. Though she was previously chosen by the king to be the royal bride, Ja Gyeom reasons out how she is now unfit to become queen given her recent mental instability. Amidst the king's claim that she is merely grieving her child, the councilor offers the king various official petitions to have Hyun Bin evicted.

Jin Won orders everyone to leave at once, but Ja Gyeom tries to prove Hyun Bin's insanity by informing the king about previous night's lake incident, evidence strengthened further by the numerous ministers who had "witnessed" it. Altogether, they profess their allegiance to the king; Jin Won asks them all to come with him in a plight of proving them wrong.

As they arrive by Hyun Bin's quarters, the entourage witness Hyun Bin on the ground, apparently distraught. As she tells the king that she hears their child crying, the ministers all shun her and murmur among themselves how her rumored insanity is true. Ja Gyeom comments how Hyun Bin has changed to the point that he himself cannot recognize her anymore. He pressures the king to have her evicted at once, conveniently so with the Seo Seo prince visiting at the moment. As Hyun Bin pleads to the king to return her baby princess, Ja Gyeom unwittingly informs the king about their plan to take the princess away from her mother.

Jin Won plays rock-paper-scissors with Hyun Bin

In a fit of rage, Jin Won orders everyone to stop and asserts that he is still the king of Ga Guk regardless of what they all think of him, warning that he shall kill anyone who speaks another word. He plays rock-paper-scissors with Hyun Bin like how they used to before. As expected, Won loses and asks for Hyun Bin's wish as the winner in their game. She wishes to stay by his side together with her baby princess, which the king allows. A minister protests with his decision, after which the king instantly slays him for saying another word. In the end, however, the ministers insist in protesting with Hyun Bin's selection as the royal bride, forcing Jin Won to revoke his decision in marrying her.[8]

At night, Jin Won arrives at Nabi's quarters, but he decides not to visit her and instead heads with Baek Sa to the place where he and Hong spent the night as friends. Nevertheless, he does not find anyone there, even the wings that Hong has drawn for him overnight. He becomes distraught how these are all gone and spends the night alone.

Jin Won catches the bird for Dan Ah

The following day, Won heads to Dan Ah's quarters, where he sees Dan Ah atop a tree trying to catch a bird. In the end, Won catches the bird and places it in a cage, afterwards giving it to Dan Ah. She only hands it back to him, saying that she wishes to give him wings after feeling envious of the birds outside the prison-like confines of the palace, more so for him who probably felt the same way that might be the reason for his usual excursions. He thinks how she is quite foolishly kind and naïve, very unlike her father. Won then releases the caged bird given the irony of it, though he thanks Dan Ah for making him feel better. He asks her for whatever she wishes, in which Dan Ah asks him to remove her bridal candidacy.[53]

As a result, Jin Won goes on an excursion with Dan Ah and Nabi, which he understood as "going out of the palace". Dan Ah merely slumps and remarks that it is not what she actually meant. Won asks her if she truly hates the palace. She replies that she indeed hates it, which Won also agrees to. He comments how he should have eloped with her back then, since being with her is always engaging unlike the boredom he usually feels. Won confirms with Dan Ah if she really must leave; Dan Ah assures him that he shall certainly be happier without her. She stops herself while speaking, much to Won's confusion. In the end, she requests him to be happy.

Despite speaking with Dan Ah, Won has his attention on Nabi

Though he tells her that he could not possibly be happy without her, Won continues glancing at Nabi. Dan Ah grabs on to him and asks him to set Nabi free as well, especially if Nabi is the reason why he could not let her leave the palace. Before he could say anything, Dan Ah tells him how butterflies have special dust in their wings that can blur someone's vision out of tears and pain if it gets in the eyes. In that way, someone becomes temporarily blinded by the dust. Moreover, a butterfly loses its dust when people grab on to it, and once people handle it, the butterfly's wings get ruined and become unable to fly. Hence, Dan Ah urges Won to let Nabi go before he loses her for good, which reminds him of Hong telling him how content he was watching his beloved from afar as long as she is happy.

Despite speaking about letting go, Won notices Dan Ah grabbing onto him tightly. Because he does not always reach out to her first, she answers that she had no choice but to grab him first. Nevertheless, she assures him that he shall soon be free from her grasp as well as from her father's once they leave the palace. As goodbye, Won grabs Dan Ah's hand and takes her along the market streets, asking her where she wishes to go.[54]

Won bickers with Nabi, while Dan Ah tries to stop their squabble

To his dismay, they end up gambling at the gamemaster where they usually played before. Nabi eventually joins in to gamble whatever it is that Dan Ah wishes to bet on, unlike Won who ignores Dan Ah's bets. Nabi and Won bicker at each other with Dan Ah trying to stop them, until the gamemaster announces that Nabi has won her bet. In the end, Baek Sa tells Won that he has run out of pocket money. Initially irritated, Won immediately remembers about the money he left at the gallery for Hong's painting, but his guard informs him that the money has just been collected. Won thinks that Hong may have collected it and suggests Dan Ah for them to find him, who might be somewhere within the vicinity.

Before she could answer, palace guards rush to their spot and order for the arrest of Dan Ah for allegedly poisoning the baby prince. A palace guard informs Won that poisonous plants are found growing in her garden, she has been frequently seen in and out of Hyun Bin's chambers, and the baby prince's blanket was found in Dan Ah's quarters. After Nabi tries to shield Dan Ah from the guards, Dan Ah ends up surrendering and assures Nabi that it may have been a misunderstanding.

With Dan Ah taken away, Won grabs Nabi from following them. The latter asks Won to stop them knowing Dan Ah would never do such thing, but Won blurts out the pieces of evidence that apparently implicate Dan Ah to doing the crime. If it is not her, he then asks Nabi if she was the one who did so, but Nabi denies at once. As he expected, Won humors Nabi and says that all she ever does, after all, is reject him. He then returns to the palace with Baek Sa.

Jin Won interrogates Dan Ah

Jin Won personally questions Dan Ah during her torturous interrogation. After several beatings, Jin Won asks Dan Ah to confess her crime, but she declines and tells him that she has never done anything. He asks her to explain why poisonous herbs are growing in her garden, as well as why the baby prince's blanket was found in her chambers. As Dan Ah remains silent, Jin Won approaches her and asks her what it is that she wanted to tell him earlier that day.[6] However, amidst the questions he throws, Dan Ah remains steadfast in her silence. In the end, Jin Won leaves her to be beaten until she confesses, remarking on her foolishness.

As the sun sets, Jin Won halts the interrogation to resume the following day. By nighttime, Nabi visits Jin Won and voices out her concern for Dan Ah who might die soon if the torture continues. Nabi asks him if he truly believes Dan Ah capable of doing such thing, at which the king has no choice but to do so given the pieces of evidence that point to her. However, he admits himself that she could not have done so; instead, he is suspicious of Ja Gyeom, which makes him frustrated with Dan Ah protecting and sacrificing for her father. He then tells Nabi that he shall resort to any means if it would mean catching Ja Gyeom red-handed.[55]

Jin Won hears Ja Gyeom's plea to reconsider accusations on Dan Ah

The next day, Ja Gyeom pleads to the king to reconsider the unfair accusation on Dan Ah. He explains how all the evidence are purely circumstantial, but Jin Won remains adamant of Dan Ah's innocence. Nevertheless, he thinks that she has the right to feel unfair on her indictment, but the king then asks the councilor if it is truly unfair for Ja Gyeom himself. With nothing else to say, Jin Won dismisses the councilor and thanks him for all the hard work he has done.

By late afternoon, Jin Won halts Dan Ah's torture for the day and returns to his office. His head servant tells him that most of his ministers have acquired an illness; therefore, he shall have to review his documents himself. As his servant presents several agenda to him, he merely instructs her to proceed with all of them. At that point, a special royal interrogator rushes to the king and informs him that the culprit has surrendered for the murder of the baby prince, who turns out to be Nabi.[56]

Jin Won pressured by his ministers to have Nabi tortured

Jin Won instantly storms out of his office, but he is halted by his ministers who request his audience. In the royal court, a minister turns to him and doubts that Nabi, the culprit who has surrendered, has acted alone in her crimes, thereby suggesting to have her interrogated rigorously. This claim is furthered by Ja Gyeom, who asks Jin Won to enact the strictest questioning as possible, pressuring him to exercise his judgment as king with his honor and reputation on the line. As his ministers clamor in agreement, Jin Won muses how they are all in it against him. With no other choice, the king dispatches the special royal interrogators to extract the truth out of Nabi by any means possible.

By nighttime after Nabi's torture, Jin Won asks his head servant to report about Nabi's condition. She informs him that, since Nabi surrendered, she was initially questioned. However, it has turned into torture upon his order, which shall resume the following day. In a fit of rage, Jin Won heads out of his office.[57] He goes to Nabi's cell in secret with a few cloaked men, one of which knocks Dan Ah unconscious from behind. Jin Won then arrives in her cell, assuring Nabi that Dan Ah shall be taken safely to her quarters.[58]

Jin Won invites Nabi to abandon Jin Yeon and become his woman

Jin Won sits idly near Nabi's cell, who has not spared the king a single glance for hours. He tells her that he has done all that he can to at least ease her torture, afterwards remarking on the scent of plum blossoms on Nabi, thinking that Jin Yeon must have returned it to her when he previously retrieved it. Jin Won then asks her for the last time to abandon Jin Yeon in exchange for becoming his woman, and he shall grant her everything she wishes. Nabi then breaks her silence and requests the king to hand over Ga Guk to Jin Yeon.

Jin Won laughs at her request, though he nonchalantly agrees to do so if she plans to go to his side by then. Nabi corrects him that she shall never become his, once again earning the laughter of the king. As he remarks on his own foolishness, Jin Won spots a knife near Nabi's cell, eventually realizing that Nabi, Dan Ah who had supposedly handed Nabi the knife, and everyone else seem to be escaping from him. He grabs the knife and warns Nabi that, to leave the palace easily, either she dies or he does.[10]

Won seeks counsel from his father

The following morning, Jin Won heads to the Chamber of Eternal Life and converses with his late father through his enshrined portrait. He voices his sentiments of being unable to protect those dear to him, desperately seeking advice from the once great king. He eventually hears a presence outside, to which Dan Ah presents herself. Jin Won thinks that Dan Ah has come to rebuke him for her torture, but Dan Ah tells her otherwise. After all, she chose to keep silent about her father's scheme, which then harmed Nabi despite her innocence.

Dan Ah implores Jin Won to protect Nabi from further sacrificing herself, hence asking the king to exile her and Ja Gyeom away from the capital. In the end, Jin Won quips that he was taught not to ask forgiveness from anyone, nor had he apologized to anyone in his life. Though he asserts that he shall continue to live that way, Jin Won apologizes to Dan Ah for the first time in his life and leaves. As he exits the place, he sees Hyun Bin waiting for him.[9]

Jin Won hears Se Ryeon's denial of her connection to killing the prince

Having been presumed to be told about the witness, Jin Won orders for the arrest of Se Hyung and Se Ryeon, who are then tortured and interrogated. As Se Ryeon insists that she has been framed for killing the baby prince, the king calls forth the maid and instructs her to divulge the whole truth. The maid confesses that she was ordered to poison the baby prince as instructed by Se Ryeon, who insists that the maid is lying despite all the conclusive evidence that point to Se Ryeon's relation to the baby prince's murder, including a land deed given by Se Ryeon to the maid as reward for killing the prince and a pouch inside Se Ryeon's breast pocket that contains the same poison used on the prince.

Further evidence surface as the maid continues to confess Se Ryeon's implication to the crime. Deep within the palace, palace guards find poisons and toxic herbs in unexpected places such as beneath the floorboards, and they rip off the wallpapers of her quarters where they find evil talismans plastered. With all the evidence, Jin Won charges Se Ryeon and her father guilty of high treason and orders for their execution. At that moment, they are drawn and quartered by ox carts, resulting to their deaths.[59]

Won sees his paralyzed mother finally awaken

At night, Won visits his mother, musing how he has finally caught the baby prince's murderer. Nevertheless, though he intends to get rid of the councilor, albeit only giving him the upper hand after his bridal competitor's execution. Won also admits how he misses his mother's constant nagging and implores her to awaken from her condition. Suddenly, Won immediately calls for the royal physician frantically upon his mother finally awakens.

Moreover, the king summons Ja Gyeom to the royal quarters. After complimenting him for catching Se Hyung, Jin Won tells the councilor that he has heard an interesting story about him. He then asks Ja Gyeom to hear it straight from the source, before having the doors opened to reveal the partially recuperated Queen Mother.[60] With the councilor's visible aghast and proven guilt, Jin Won thanks him for all his hard work and charges him with attempted regicide and high treason, ordering for his execution the following morning.

Jin Won advised by Physician Ma to start over again with Jin Yeon

Won later asks his mother to rest, but Yeon Lee struggles to tell him that Ja Gyeom's execution is not the end because Jin Yeon is still alive. Eventually, she falls asleep, and Won thanks Physician Ma for his services. As he takes his leave, Physician Ma asks the king what his next course of action will be, to which Won tells him that he shall finally end his sibling rivalry with Jin Yeon. Given that Physician Ma was sent by Jin Yeon himself, the physician advises him not to take such course and start all over again instead. Won declines his advice, as he has come too far to set things right.

Outside, his head servant informs him that Nabi was safely brought to her quarters. Rather than having him escorted to her, Won opts to drink some liquor in his chambers.[61]

Crimson Moon Rebellion[]

Jin Won informed of the rebel army's entrance to the palace

As Won drowns himself in liquor, his head servant barges in, informing him that rebels have infiltrated the palace grounds. As explosions go off throughout the area, Baek Sa and Baek Ah leave the safety of the king to his head servant. However, Jin Won is thrilled on finally meeting Jin Yeon after so many years. Though Baek Sa and his head servant advise him to flee to safety, Jin Won insists that he shall fight his half-brother amidst his drunken stupor.

He later hears from palace guards that fire has spread throughout the bridal quarters. Recalling that he has Nabi confined there, Jin Won escapes from his servants and rushes to the bridal quarters in hopes of saving Nabi on time.[62]

Jin Won vs. the Crimson Moon

Along the way, Won shoots a rebel together with the Crimson Moon with an arrow, rendering the man presumably dead and the Crimson Moon injured on his left side. As the king welcomes his half-brother Jin Yeon after ten years, the two engage in a battle. During the clash, the Crimson Moon notices Won's evident intoxication and clumsiness with handling a sword, which the king admits later. Nevertheless, the Crimson Moon has had a hard time fending off the king.

Eventually, the Crimson Moon pins down Jin Won on the ground, though the king also manages to remove his mask. Upon doing so, Jin Won is in disbelief for the masked vigilante — his half-brother, Jin Yeon — to be revealed as his friend, Hong.[63] Amidst Won's questions to his friend, Hong responds to his questions with mere silence. They continue to engage in physical combat, with both unyielding to each other. Won then asks Hong why he has deceived him, musing how he must have been laughing all those times Won called him as his friend.

Won sees Hong's scar on his left arm similar to Nabi's scar

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 Hong's arm, similar to Nabi's scar he once 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.[47] 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. Won soon spots her faint silhouette by the doorstep, but he is aghast to see Hong in reality. As he clasps his hands on Hong'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 succumbs to his death

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 Hong charges at him, Won smirks under his breath and lets himself get stabbed, chiding Hong for his hesitation once again after not proceeding to stab his body. Hong 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 Hong's sword and drives the blade to his body himself, eventually resulting to his death.[64]

Skills and Abilities[]

Physical Strength: As shown in the first part of the series, Won is able to single-handedly beat up Nam Yang Heon[13] and as noted by Hong, he is physically strong.[21]

Swordsmanship: It is hinted that Won is also knowledgeable when it comes to using a sword. Though he does not carry a sword with him possibly because it was unnecessary for protection, given that the Bi Yeong Pal Mu always monitors him, it is shown that he knows how to unsheathe a sword with sheer speed and agility which he later uses to threaten and eventually behead a palace servant.[7]

Archery: As king, it is implied that he underwent training such as archery. In addition to this, Won is also skilled when it comes to using the bow and arrow as shown when he was able to successfully and accurately hit a very small item in Jang Rok Ha's hand without injuring him or Nabi, with whom Rok Ha is speaking.[65]


  • (Referring to Jin Yeon) "How is it that, although I've become the sun, you still shine brighter than me as the moon?"[23]
  • (To Hong about Nabi) "I liked her from the moment I saw her. Her cold and unflinching gaze, her arrogant words; I was attracted to her unyielding demeanor… so I wanted her."[30]
  • (To Hong) "I have always been envious of those birds. I wish I had wings so that I could fly like them, too. Living a trapped life… is no life at all."[30][47]
  • (Won reflecting on his life) "I expected little from my life. I let time pass by me, like the wind, like the river, as I sat on my throne. I let time mold me into a foolish king. I never desired to be there in the first place. My mother's greed stole the throne. If I asked her nicely to return it, would she do that? There were times I considered just that… Although I was born from a different womb… Jin Yeon, you are still my younger brother… I wanted to share brotherly love with you. It's laughable, isn't it? As seasons turned, despite my intention, we became enemies."[11]
  • (To Nabi) "Even now, you still wish for a world where Jin Yeon is king? Just what is Jin Yeon to you...? Alright, then. I am so tired of all this. I don't want anything but you. All I need is you."[10]
  • (To Hong) "Whether you are Jin Yeon, Hong, or Nabi… Whether you are my enemy, or my friend, or the love of my life…!! Draw your sword. You are… hesitating again… as Jin Yeon and as Nabi. Do not hesitate anymore! This is your last chance! It is either kill… or be killed."[64]
  • (Last words to Hong) "We should never have met, my brother… We should never have met, Hong… We should never have met, Nabi… But… Just once… Just one last time… Come flutter over here…"[64]


  • As a child, Won did not know how to play rock-paper-scissors. He was later taught by Jang Rei, but he still was not able to learn it.[3]
  • The Yi family had various cases of having twins. Won had twin children, his father had a twin brother, and his half-brothers are twins.
  • His mannerism of putting his left arm behind his back was also apparently practiced by his father and the latter's twin brother.


  1. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 87
  2. 2.0 2.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 43
  4. 4.0 4.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 2
  5. 5.0 5.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 39
  6. 6.0 6.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 66
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 7
  8. 8.0 8.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 63
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 74
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 73
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 49
  12. 12.0 12.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 18
  13. 13.0 13.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 1
  14. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 3
  15. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 8
  16. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 10
  17. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 11
  18. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 12
  19. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 13
  20. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 14
  21. 21.0 21.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 15
  22. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 16
  23. 23.0 23.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 17
  24. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 20
  25. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 21
  26. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 22
  27. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 25
  28. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 26
  29. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 27
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 28
  31. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 29
  32. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 34
  33. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 35
  34. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 36
  35. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 37
  36. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 38
  37. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 40
  38. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 41
  39. Twelve Nights webtoon, part two final chapter
  40. 40.0 40.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 45
  41. 41.0 41.1 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 46
  42. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 47
  43. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 50
  44. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 51
  45. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 52
  46. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 54
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 83
  48. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 55
  49. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 57
  50. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 58
  51. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 60
  52. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 61
  53. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 64
  54. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 65
  55. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 67
  56. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 68
  57. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 71
  58. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 72
  59. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 75
  60. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 76
  61. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 77
  62. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 79
  63. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 82
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 84
  65. Twelve Nights webtoon, chapter 55


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