Synopsis: Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted councilor Heo Kyun to find a royal body double. He hires Ha-seon, a peasant mimic who bears a perfect resemblance to the King. When King Gwanghae collapses from a mysterious poison, Ha-seon reluctantly becomes a King. He must follow his conscience to save his country from collapse, avoid assassination, and pull off the biggest masquerade in history. K
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Chang-min Choo
Production: CJ Entertainment America
  20 wins & 16 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
131 min

1 In the 8th year of King GwangHae rumors of treason went around the palace. So the King said: "Find someone who looks just like me. After sunset I'll put him in the King's chamber." "Don't leave any traces of this in the diaries of the kings" -- King GwangHae diary, Feb 28th MASQUERADE Drink this. Go on. Drink it. I said, drink it! My King! Just have me killed! Have us killed! The Chief Royal Secretary has arrived, my King. What on earth is going on? The silver spoon turned black! I shall have my chamber moved immediately. My King, ... in times like these you should calm down and watch closely your surroundings. Why do you always say that? If you do move your chamber, ... that's exactly what 'they' want us to do. Please, my King, reconsider your decision. Come closer. All of you, stand back. How did it go? I'm sorry, my King, but not yet. Make haste, find someone looking just like me. I cannot trust anyone. Not anyone. Please, my king, reconsider your decision. My King, can you not hear them? Please, commence the execution of 'Yoo Jong Ho'. Please, commence. That's inappropriate, my King. If we punish someone just because the one is suspicious, ... unnecessary personal appeals will occur and make the situation more confusing. Watch your words, Chief Royal Secretary. How could you say a loyal subject's appeals are unnecessary? We have far more important things on our hands than rumors of treason. What could possibly be more important than revealing treason? My King, you should execute 'YooJonHo' without any mercy. That's inappropriate, my king. It's not too late to execute him after the investigation. 'YooJonHo' is a dangerous man! Please, give us the order, my King. Please, give us the order my king. The King will be present! My King! My King! 'YooJonHo' has committed treason against the dynasty. You cannot delay the execution any longer! Please, my King, reconsider your decision. Please, my King, reconsider your decision. My King! If you must pass, please step on our back to pass! Please, do so, my King! After all... they really want my last living brother to be killed. My Queen... I think this is not going to end... unless I'm dead. The King will be present! The King gently climbs over the wall and... opens the door to seek his lover 'HongJin'. 'HongJin'. Where are you, 'HongJin'? There! She's hiding right here! Let's have a look, let's have a look. Come, come out here. That's right! Oh, my gosh. Let's have another look. Oh, my gosh! She is so firm down there! Looks like somebody is going to be lucky tonight! My Ling, how come you visit me so suddenly without any notice? If you come this often, my body won't last! Hey, look at this talkative b*tch! And leads deep inside the palace. And rolls off her lingeries. And there's her naked body! A fine work of art! So the King likes what he sees and... To his left bang! To his right bang! Flip her and bang! To his east, watching the sunrise, bang! Bang! To his west, watching the sunset, bang! Bang! Here bang! There bang! All night long bang! Bang! Remove the bag. Sir! It's nonsense to think the King is shagging a women from a lowclass family. No way, it's absolute nonsense. - On your feet. - What? By the way... Who are you, sir? Now you listen carefully to what I'm about to say. You will be taken to meet the King himself. What? When the King asks you anything you will answer to him, "Yes my King". And if your answer happens to be a bit longer... you will start with saying, "I am much obliged to answer". You will not have questions. You will not dare to see the King's face. Do I make myself clear? Prepare to take him to the palace. You fool. Raise your head. Repeat after me. "Is anyone out there?" Yes, my King. I told you to repeat after me. Yes, my King. You fool! Is that all you can say? I am much obliged to answer. "Repeat after me". "Is anyone out there?" "I told you to repeat after me". "You fool!" "Is that all you can say?" You're quite good. He was a clown at the 'Gi-Seng (prostitute) house'. He read the primary teachings, at least he is not an illiterate. Repeat after me. "Is anyone out there?" Yes, my King. Do you wish to bring in the night snacks, my King? I do so. Yes, my King. Bring the night snack. Bring 'em a lot. (farting noise) Oh, my god. If you visit here this often, the queen will be furious. Is this okay for you? I can't help it. You're the only one who can make me fall a sleep comfortably. On your feet. Welcome back, sir. Time for you to leave. Once in three days, when the curfew bell rings, ... wait at the west gate. You may not be one second late. I'm sure you know what will happen... if you go around telling the tales of tonight. You got the right guy! Follow me by looking only at my heel. Be very careful on your way back. "Third hit". Sir, don't do this to me! He was arrested due to making obscene jokes at the Gi-Seng house. We had no idea that obscene jokes can be a crime. You 'Yang-ban (nobles)' do way more dirty jokes, don't you guys? How dare you! Fourth hit! "Fourth hit!" I'm gonna kill the son of a b*tch who ratted me out! - Fifth hit! - "Fifth hit". Hold on a second. Does it hurt? I'm bagging you, let me go sir! Let me go, sir! I just heard there's a new young Gi-seng at the whorehouse, right? So, what do you say? Exchange her for your release?! Sir, that's not really up to me. Slap this dipshit! Sir! Don't do this to me, sir! Take your time. You said, you are from 'Jun-Joo'? Yes. How old are you? I'm 15. I'm terribly sorry. I miss... my mother. Not a single chick is dead. If there was any poison, even a real small amount will have them all killed immediately. If it's not a poison, ... how can you explain the silver spoon turning black? Recently, the 'Soorakgan (royal kitchen)' used the bamboo salt instead of normal salt. Bamboo salt, you say. Yes, my King. The bamboo salt containes iron that changed the color of the silver spoon. Your humble servent, 'HerGyun', begging to his King to change his decision. Stop right there, if it's about 'YooJongho'. I'm sorry, my king, but... He is not the kind of person who will plot a treason. Stop. I know that... he is a loyal subject indeed. My brother in law... a man of integrity. I have to at least give him up... to earn my trust from them. Your Excellency, there's a guy who came from the royal presence. This way, sir. I assume it's a poison. Can he recover? I'm sorry. I cannot guarantee anything at this moment. We should prepare our nation for the sad news. Who else know about this? Until now, it's Jo-Negam and me. For what I'm about to say I will be fully responsible. You two make sure this incident stays only between us. But, your Excellency, ... If the King dies, ... you, the royal doctor, won't be able to live. And you know it better than anyone. If this fact is to be spread around, ... the palace will be chaos. And i'm sure the person who poisoned the King wants that. So we all say the King is just having a flu. 'Sang-sun', you should tell 'DoBooJang (king's bodyguard)' to bring the clown to the palace. 'ErEy (royal doctor)', you should move the King to the 'Gil' temple. Make no mistake. These facts must never be known to the others. Until we find who did all this. Until the king is cured. How come you want me so suddenly? It's not the promised day. Is the king going to some place fancy? Even after you got your ass slapped... wasn't that a lesson for you? What? So it was you who ratted me out? Well, good on you. Well done. I made jokes about the King, so I well deserve to die. Yeah, I'm sure that this son-of-a-b*tch judge... who took a 15 year old girl's virginity is so innocent. That girl hasn't done anything to deserve this! What? I... I haven't said anything wro... I told you to watch your mouth. It was... the pit of the stomach! It's me, 'DoBooJang'. The King wishes to stay in his chamber. You better go rest, sir. After the king is done with him I'll personally take him out of palace. No violence, you twat! Where is the king? He is ill. My goodness! Is he okay? Is he seriously sick? You'll have to take up the king's role for a while. What do you mean, 'a while'? Nothing to worry. You'll just have to do what I told you to do. No, I don't want to. You fool! It's for your nation! I do not know of such thing. It's my life on the stake. no way. I'm not doing this. That's 20 silver coins. When you're done I'll give you double. No, thank you. I won't risk my neck for money. I'm not insane. For the nation, you said? Help my country, help myself. That's how the world works, right? I'm anxious about my country... Oh, yes. The double, you said. I trust that you are man who keeps his word. Due to the fact that king is having a flu he won't be attending the morning meeting. A morning meeting will be held in three days. The first thing you need to know is the people close to the king. 'Sang-sun' and 'DoBooJang' you already met. 'HanSangGoong' is the mater court lady. she is the king's closest servent. My king, the queen wishes to meet you. Be very careful. The palace is a place of many eyes and ears. I cannot even see him? is he that seriously ill? The king wants to-- Go tell him I personally wish him to meet me. My queen... Why? is there another women in his bed? It's not likely for you to bump into other ladies of the palace. But especially watch out for the queen. Even though you look quite like the king. They used to sleep in one bed, she will definitely recognize you. You are told to be unable to speak due to sore throat. So if you have urgent questions, whisper to 'SangSun'. Hey, you there. I need to ask something. As a matter of fact, I... (farts intensively) I'm sorry... I really need to take a dump. For god's sake, I couldn't find a toilet around here for two days. Next time just ask for 'MeHwatel'. Right, right. I need them right now. Hey, you... Why are you still here? Get the hell outta here! C'mon, I need to sh*t. Oh, gosh, oh... (pooing sound) You have my felicitation, my king. You have our felicitation, my king. Don't come closer! What the hell are you doing? I said, don't come closer! Have me killed, my king! Why? Why would I kill you? Just... get the hell out! Get out! My king... Get lost! When you wake up in the morning, just cough. Then they will bring water to wash your face. Why didn't you tell me before? (pooing sound) You have our felicitation, my King. Screw felicitation. There is no toilet. Just call for 'MeHwaTel'. I already know that, sir. Where are they taking my poo? That's sent to the royal doctors. To test the color, thickness, even the taste. Gee... they taste it? Next is the list of the royal concubines. Holy cow! There's so many of them! Hey, eunuch Kim. It's Jo, my King. Yes, eunuch Jo. I heard the king is sleeping with a concubine every night. That's called 'HabGoong', right? That's not my field of expertise, so I do not know. No. See, what I mean is... What if a concubine comes to my bed at night? What should I do? I can't say no all the time, y'know? That could make them suspicious. Can I... do it? What did you just say? That was for a good laugh... for a laugh. Your servent will eat some before you... to check if the food is poisoned or not. The King is having meal twice a day. He likes rice cake and buckwheat paste for snacks. Take 'em away. Boy, what a meal... I thought I have quite a big stomach. But I guess the King must have an enormous one. The kitchen servents eat the leftovers from the King's meal. Then what you're saying is... They haven't eaten anything today because of me? The Royal Kitchen cooks for the King only. So I guess... that's preposterous. We all need to eat right? No wonder why they were looking at me as if I was a freakin monster. That lady over there... Who is she? That's the Queen, my King. Queen... That's.... Ah! The Chief Royal Secretary said it is forbidden to meet the Queen. The King's meeting is delayed three days but 'YunDae' cannot. There's only three things you have to say. "Do as you wish", "Next" and "Come in". Now, you try. "Do as you wish". I... I can't help laughing. You fool! You've heard the King's voice. Low and solemn. Okay, okay. "Do as you wish". Do as you wish. We are much obliged, our King. Next, come in. The most important event is the 'Sangcham' (King's meeting). A meeting with subjects above class three... who come to receive word from the King. So there must not be any mistake. Yes. To your left front line, second row... His name is 'Hall Joo'. He'd be willing to jump into a sh*t bucket to grab a political power. And just next to him... 'Kim Jong Se'... A greedy and violent person. When he's pissed off, he seeks revenge. 'Lee En Sung'... who always starts talking by agreeing to 'Kim Jong Se'. He is very precarious about staying in his position. The only thing you have to do is just remember his name. To your right, at the very front line... 'Park Chunser'. You have to remember him very carefully. Don't you see? Do you really not see the will of our King? He throws us a bone called 'Yoo Jong Ho'. While we're stuck with 'Yoo Jong Ho', the King never mentions sending troops or the 'De Dong-Law'. His eyes are like a hawk, and cunning as a snake. So be very cautious. From now on.... talk to me and 'Sang Sun' as if we were your servents. What? Keep this in mind. There are ears and eyes everywhere in the palace. In front of you is the scroll you should be reading at the royal meeting. Please, read them out loud, my King. "I'm ordering you as your King." "Prepare a law bill to revive 'De Dong-Law'" Stop, stop! You are a king, not a storyteller at the market, my King. Low and solemn, like a king's voice. "I'm ordering you as your King." "'HoPan', prepare a law bill to revive 'De Dong-Law, ..." "and 'Gong Pan', stop the palace construction." If the palace is build on the tears and blood of our people, it's a big shame. And listen, 'HyungPan', I will not accuse 'Yoo Jong Ho' for treason. Traitors must be executed but if an innocent is accused, it must be stopped. I am ordering to all of you. In the future, if anyone is responsible for unbased rumors... that bring confusion to the palace will be treated as a traitor. That's all for this morning meeting. Yes, my King. The 'SangCham' is prepared, my King. The King is going out! The King is coming inside! The 'SangCham' shall start. It is time for our King to read us the scroll. My King... I heard you had a bad flu. How are you feeling today, my King? I am... all right. Inscrutable are the King's favors. It's not the right scroll! The King is still having a sore throat. Due to that I will read the scroll on behalf of the King. 'Ho Pan'. Yes, my King. Prepare a law bill to revive 'De Dong-Law'. 'Hyung Pan'. yes my king you sort out and report from which province should this law start. Yes, my King. Listen, all you subjects. I will not accuse 'Yoo Jong Ho' for treason. In the future, if anyone of you is responsible for unbased rumors... that bring confusion to the palace will be treated as a traitor. Carry out your orders faithfully. That's all for this morning meeting. Inscrutable are the King's favors. What? Tevive 'Ho-Pe law'? Start 'De Dong law'? We didn't delay those laws for our treat. It all happend after 'Her Gyun' became the Chief Royal Secretary. I told you all, he is treacherous, always plotting something. The King demands my report. What should I do, damn it. Who made this bean gruel? I assumed you haven't fully recovered your strength, so... I asked who made it. That girl over there asked the Royal Chef to cook it, my King. This is tasty. Just like I used to eat when I was a child. So... what is your name? 'Han Sang Goong', my King. How about you? What is your name? Ye-- yes, my King. It's 'Sawal'. How old? I'm 15, my King. Fifteen... This is enough for today, take 'em out. What are you waiting for? The King said, take them out. Yes. I haven't tasted fresh steam rice for days! Eat while you can. We don't know when the King will regain his appetite. Ma'am, don't you notice anything different about the King? What do you mean? The color of his face, and the appetite. he smile a lot at any where, that's also changed 'Young He' says... even the sound of his pooing has changed. Fortunately, his pulse is going back to normal. But, Your Excellency, ... It wasn't a poison. He was drugged. What the hell do you mean? Has he been going outside the palace recently? He's avoiding his concubines? Why? How am I to know? I don't know what he thinks. There's rumors in the palace. It's not just concubines, he even avoids the Queen. He loves the scent of a woman's body. And now he is avoiding it? Your Excellency, ... 'Her Gyun' is up to something. He's looking for 'An Sang Goong'. Shouldn't we be prepared? You, gather up some men and burn the poppy field. All traces of the drugs must be removed. No one has seen 'An Sang Goong' for days. Do as you wish. I am much obliged, my King. Did you approve to discard 'De Dong Law'? But you told me to do it. Whatever your subjects want, just say: "Do as you wish". Did you approve of the torturing of 'Yoon Jong Ho' as well? No, I didn't. They wanted to install this thing called 'Choo Kuk Jung' and so I said yes. That's the same thing! I told you over and over to be aware of 'Park Choong Ser'. I'll prepare another meeting. Order the 'De Dong Law' again. Once we said we'll do it and now we won't. Why is this so complicated? Just do what I tell you to do, my King. You gave up one and you get one. That's just politics. You should at least let me know what I'm giving up and what I'm getting! That's what I mean... Sir... Well, do you know anything about these laws? And why is everyone so irritated? I do not know, my King. Yeah, why should I care? I'm just role playing here. But... I can find some books about those laws. So if our people use 'Ho-Pe'... identification is simple and it's easy for us to impose tax. Isn't this good for all? Not for everyone, my King. 'Ho-Pe' means not just identification or taxing but also hard labor duty. So some abandon the 'Ho-Pe' and flee to overseas. Some even castrate themselves and become eunuchs. What? You mean cutting off their own penis? So... that means... there's a penis-less eunuch in the palace. I wonder who might that be? So... 'Sang Sun'... It could be a bit weird to ask you this right now. Ask anything, my King. Do you... really not have... "it"? I... I don't have it. Well... So... when you go to the man's room... Do you stand up... or sit down? (whispers) Oh... that must have hurt. 'Do Sung Ji (Chief Royal Secretary)'! My King! 'Do Sung Ji'. 'Do Sung Ji'. 'Do Sung Ji'. 'Do Sung Ji'. My King. I come when you need me. You shouldn't come to me. But you are such a busy man. Let me ask you one thing. I've been studying all night long. 'De Dong law' seems to be a real fine law from my perspective. How come it didn't last for one year? My King... Oh, come on... It's not about right and wrong. It's just politics. There's too many eyes around here. Please, head back, my King. I want a man following 'Do Sung Ji'. I want to know everything he does and where he goes. Yes, sir. I don't get this. Why is everyone overreacting when it comes to 'DeDong law'? I assume it's due to local province lords going against the law. Tax according to the size of their land, what's the problem with it? The richer you are the more tax you pay. Isn't that common sense? The way you speak more and more sounds like the real King, my King. You reckon? Sometimes I feel like I'm really the King. My King, your night snack has arrived. Bring them in. Hey, 'Sawal'. Yes, my King. You said you're 15 years old, right? That's true, my King. How did you end up here at your age? I'm just curious, that's all. So tell me all about it. My father used to be a farmer in the mountains. One day a local lord started to have my father pay tax with abalones. What? Abalones from a farmer? Go on. So he took a loan in high interest to pay the taxes. One debt makes another debt... Eventually our house and farm were taken. And my father went to prison. Oh, dear... As if that wasn't enough... My mother and sister were sold as slaves to boarders. And I became slave to one of the high Yangban (nobles) families. What a bastard! And my father who was left alone died the following year. Due to the aftereffects from violent punishments in prison. Ah! F*** this! My King! Don't you miss your mother? All I am asking for is to know if she's alive or not. Okay... Before my part as a King finishes... I'll make sure that you meet your mother again. I give you my word. I am much obliged to you. I am much obliged to you, my King. All right, you may leave. What shall I do? What can I do to punish those bloodsucking sons of a b*tch? Give order to the 'Ei Gumbu' for the investigation, my King. That will take forever. I don't know for how long I'll be sitting here. Well then... Yes? Ah... it's nothing. What? Are you kidding? Hey, 'Ho Pan'. Yes, my King. Haven't I told you to put up a plan to run the 'Dedong law'? My King, if we operate that law so sudden, local province lords will have massive losses. They are also your people, how come you discriminate them from the others? Lords who own 30m pay 10 bags of rice. Is this idea discrimination to you? People are becoming slaves and eunuchs... and you whine about a lord's bag of rice being discrimination? Bring in the sinner! He's a lord from 'Gang Won' province. He loans high interest money to the people. He must have bribed someone. And that someone bribed another. Do you really want me to torture him and reveal the truth about this? Are all of you so confident about not taking that sinner's bribes? 'Ho Pan'. Yes, my King. The one who loans the high interest money based on a... exclusive tax contract with the locals must be punished immediately. I obey your oder, my King. 'Hyung Pan'. Yes, my King. Order the local Royal Office to open their warehouse and give rice to the people. Yes, my King. I hereby order all of you... to operate 'De Dong law' immediately. If anyone tries to stop or interrupt this law... I'll personally punish them by national law. Make sure you carry out orders. Inscrutable are the King's favors. Why are you ordering with your own will? We have the 'De Dong law' now, don't we? Do you even know who 'Yoo Jong Ho' is? Take one and give one. That's what politics is all about, right? Do you think this is some sort of bargain at the markets? Shh! They can hear you! And while we are at the palace... Let's make sure who is the ruler and who is the servant. 'Yoo Jong Ho' is... the older brother of the Queen. What? Their plan is to frame 'Yoo Jong Ho' as a traitor... and eventually to dethrone the Queen. How dare they doing that to the nation's mother! They just don't know when to stop. My King, 'Sawal' is here to see you. Bring her in. This torture we do at the palace can even make an innocent confess. That is why I wanted to save 'Yoo Jong Ho' even if I had to delay the 'De Dong law'. Then what shell we do now? Nothing. That's the only way you can help me and the palace. My King, it's the Queen. Tell her I already fell aslee-- I trusted you, my King. If I'm such a pain in your royal ass, just have me killed, my King. What the hell are you doing? Wait, hold on. I'll save 'Yoo Jong Ho', no matter what. Can I trust you, my King? Trust me. Well, then... you can... Get off me... now. If you don't keep the promise you just made... consider me a dead person from that day. I get it. The King is coming. Why did you do it? You are my brother in law. How could you plot a treason? Answer me. Why did you do that? I remember you... as a great virtuous king... who looks after his people even during times of war. But now... you are not the virtuous king you once used to be! Your ears can't hear any more because of all those treacherous servants. And your eyes are blinded by women's skirts. You are just a tyrant now. How dare you to say that in front of the King! So, what did you do? Plot a treason? No way. Never, my King! Then what? Gathered troops? How could I dare... Then what did you do? I screamed. I screamed from the top of my lungs for you to open your ears and listen! Just have me killed, my King. So, you just said that... this is all? Release him. That is impossible, my King! He is a sinner who plotted treason. What is the plot? 'Byung Pan', are you so confident? Are you so confident that your ideas are clearer than him? Step forward! If any of you feel so confident! Release him. He's not a traitor. So... you really wanna play your hand this way, ... Eunuch Jo. Yes, my King. I just want to be alone for a while. But, my King, ... It's just for a short while. Let me have this moment. Why are you still standing there, 'Do Bu Jang'? It's... against the palace law. So you are saying palace law is above the King's order? It is true that your brother 'Yoo' is free now. I assume the rumors about the King having changed are true. Rumors say he laughs a lot more and is interested in ruling the nation right. My Queen... I'll be away for a while. What makes you come here, my King? Don't you find this funny? Yes, it's hilarious. But why aren't you laughing? My King! What the... Shh, shh! My King! Why are you doing this? I kept my word about releasing 'Yoo Jong Ho'. Yes, so I've heard. So then, I have a favor to ask, too. Tell me about it, my King. Can you show me your smile? I beg your pardon? Show me your smiling face. Is it such a huge thing to ask for? I kept my word, you know? Now then... C'mon! My King! I'll be gone now. Were you with the Queen, my King? My King... What's the matter? Nothing, ... my King. 'Sang Sun'. Don't you sense anything odd about the king? What...? Think of it. It's not just one or two things. The way he talks, moves. Even his hand is rough now. I think you have too many things going on in your head. Please, excuse me. I think 'Do Bo Jang' knows. We just might as well tell him the truth. No way. He is too much of an inflexible person. I can't predict what he'll do if he finds out. Fortunately, the King is recovering. Just hang in for a few more days. My Queen, the King has message for you. "My Queen, I noticed your face is too pale." "Have this bowl of bean gruel and regain your strength." I got it, now you may leave. I'm sorry to say this... But he wanted me to see you eat them while it's hot... and bring back the empty bowl. 'Dosung Ji' has arrived, my King. So, about 'Yoo Jong Ho'... I precisely told you... to not rule by your own will. Yes, I know but... Even though he is the brother of the Queen... there are procedures and laws in the palace. Screw laws. The King's order is way stronger. You fool! Don't you understand even the King cannot do everything he desires to do? You still don't know how things work around the palace? You told me there are eyes and ears everywhere in the palace. And now you talk like this? My King, 'Sa Wal' is here. Bring her in. There. Oh, it's the cinnamon 'Yut'. 'SaWal', you stay. "Eat Yut". (means "shut up") (because one can't speak with sticky Yut in mouth) I am sorry, my King. Come on, eat Yut, will you? 'Do Sung Ji' wishes to leave now! So, did the Queen finish her bowl? Yes, my King. Any words from her? "Ask him to meet me at the back palace garden when the curfew bell rings." "I have things to tell him." The Queen ordered me to give you this message. Oh, I see. "The floating moon on the night sky is my dear's face." "Someone cut her head off and hang it on the night sky." "I stare at every moon rise as if it's my dear." What do you think? It's magnificent, my King. How about 'Do Boo Jang'? It's... not against the palace law. How about 'Sang Sun'? Who is the one referring to the moon? I... I cannot tell you. Perhaps it's best not to... But those two who are agreeing with it... So? What then? But still, it's best not to... Hey there, 'Sawal'. Yes, my King. Tonight's snack is your favorite dried persimmon and rice ball cake. I'll leave it all to you. I am so much obliged, my King! 'Sang Sun', don't leave the palace tonight. I'll be reading at the library all night. Yes, my King. My King, it's curfew time. Hmm, okay. My King, ... I'm disappointed about you... My King, now that I think of it, it's not too bad... My King. Wait here. Do you remember what you said the day I was chosen to be Queen? Err... I... I said... Of course, you forgot. Yeah... it's been a long time. You held my hand and said... "I'll be with you until the rest of my life." "I'll never let go of the hand I'm holding now." The voice of your words... is still so vivid to me. "The title: my dear's face" "The floating moon on the night sky is my dear's face." "Someone cut her head off and hung it on the night sky." "I wonder, is it the pain in her heart causing her not to smile?" "I stare at every moon rise as if it's my dear." What do you think? How dare you! Please, my Queen, step aside. He is not the King! You fooled 'Do Sung Jo' and 'SangSun' but you cannot fool my eyes. Put your blade away now! Don't you know the consequences of your actions? My Queen, if he's really the King, I'll cut my own throat right here! He is definitely the real king. How dare you to think that even I, the Queen, won't recognize him? My King, ... there is a red mole of the size of a fingernail somewhere on my body. Tell me where it is. Above your bosom on your left hand side. Put your blade away right now! You fool! Fo I have to show my bosom for you fool to believe? H... have me killed, my King! I will pay for my treason with my life! Please, be gentle, my King! Hey, hey, hey! I'll call for someone, my King. My Queen. My Queen! 'Do Boo Jang'! 'Do Boo Jang'! "After you finish the bowl of bean gruel..." "come and get your blade, you fool." What the hell did you just say? The King ordered me to tell you this. Tell me what is your sin of disloyalty. I dared to place a blade on my King's throat. You're wrong. I dared to be suspicious. Wrong again! You are my royal bodyguard. You're supposed to protect the King with your life and you dare to cut your throat? That is nothing but disloyalty and treason. Putting a blade to my throat is not a problem. But you have to stay alive so that I can stay alive. Don't you know how valuable your life is? How was the bean gruel? It was... sweet and tasty. Yes... When you are alive, ... then you can feel the sweetness and tastyness of the bean gruel. You pull out this blade only for my sake. Do well to remember that. What do you think? Do you think he bought it? Like as I said, he is not an easy person. My King! How long have I been staying here? It's your 15th day tomorrow, my King. What is this? It's the poppy flower, my King. The poison that clouded your mind is this one. Who would dare to... 'An Sang Goon' is dead. Then you mean... 'Park Choong Ser' is behind all this? That is true, my King. He's a frightening guy. I'll prepare your return to the palace. You should go and reveal this evil trickery. Let's... delay that return and think about it. But my King! The palace is now under 'Park Choong Ser's influence, right? I can go down again by confronting him. As a matter of fact, poppy flower isn't actually a poison. What about the fake? Let's get rid of him first. Why are you making that face? Have you become friends with him or what? No way, my King. I can't let that clown stay alive. He sat on the throne, you know? Please, my King, reconsider your decision. My King, unless the northsider Queen is alive, the ploting for treason will never stop! So you're saying she is the source of treasons now? All the treasons we had so far was caused by her relatives. You should tighten discipline in the palace. You folks are telling me I should dump my faithful wife like a dog? And you preach that's the law? My King, ... have you forgotten the promise you made to us? That you will dethrone the current Queen and renew with the pregnant concubine? Please, give us your royal permission. Please, give us your royal permission. Please, my King, reconsider your decision. I accept your opinion and will abandon the Queen. But if you say the queen is right to be dethroned just because she is not from the west part... I am not from the west part! Therefore... dethrone me with her! Please, reverse your decision, my King. Please, reverse your decision, my King. Please, my King, reconsider your decision. Please, my King, reconsider your decision. Move aside! We rather want you to step on our back to pass, my King! Please, do so, my King! My King! My King! Where are we heading? I don't really know. Don't do this, it will still be inside the walls of this palace. Why don't you leave the palace? Just hide for a while and leave, that's all. I am the King, I can make that happen. My King! Don't let anyone pass! But, my King, ... it's against the plalace... law. I count on you. Don't do this, my King. Why are you doing this? My Queen... Now you suddenly have sympathy for me? When you realize this could be the end of me... now you pity me that much? Return now. You said I promised you... that I will stay with you for the rest of my life. That I will not let go of your hand until the end of this world. You said I said that, right? Why are you making me cry? Have you really seen it? Two kings? Yes, sir. I got it. Well then, sir... What happens if one of them is to be killed? For now, let's make sure who is the real one. Have you investigated it? First day, third day and sixth day of the month. The night snack was served even though the King went out on those days. Are you sure? It's written on the diary and I've checked with the royal kitchen. Well done. My Queen, there are preposterous rumors going around in the palace... saying that the King isn't the real king. The scar on his shoulder is gone, they say. Is 'Jung Sang Goong' out there? Now I'm a bit busy, so... Why don't you sit down? Please, go to bed now, my King. I have... this... sudden meeting, you know. You are my husband before a king. It's natural to use share bed with your wife. Now take off your robe. My Queen, we cannot... My Queen, please... My Queen... Who the hell are you? What do you mean? I'm the 15th king of 'Josen'... You fool! Do you wish to die? Leave immediately. When the King returns your life won't be spared. The palace will be filled with screams... and I will be dethroned one day. And the low birth body of yours which once sat on the throne... will be floating somewhere on the riverside. Where is the King now? I'm sorry to say this, my Queen, but it's the King's order. Not telling where he is staying, ... placing a fake king, ... are all the King's orders. Was it also the King's will to spare my brother's life? Or was it your will? My Queen, give me few more days. What happens to the fake king after all this? That guy who looks just like the King... sitting on the throne... Th Queen knows everything now. The Queen said I'll soon be killed. If not by his servants, then by the King himself. So then... you should run away as soon as you hear that. Why did you come back? I remembered a promise. Take them. It's the 20 silver coins I promised you, you fool. I was asking, "Is my life not that worth it?" Shut up and listen carefully. Tomorrow night, you will get out of the palace. You fool never saw me and never we had a conversation. This is the scroll for tomorrow morning's meeting. All you need to say is "Do as you wish". This is the last role as a king for you, you fool. My King, I brought 'Sa Wal' for you. I have favor to ask you, 'Do Sung Ji'. I promised that girl I'll find her mother for her. Do that instead of me. 'Sa Wal'... Take this. I no longer need this, so you have it. Now come on. Find her mother and send her by that girl's side. This is not a favor. It is the King's order. The last order... I'm giving you as a king. 'Sa Wal'. It's cinnamon candy. Put it in your mouth and then put it into the bean gruel. Ma'am, what is it in the candy? I don't know. But what I know is if we don't put the candy in the bowl we are all dead! I heard it was you who set my brother free. Why did you give that order on your own will? By doing that... I was hoping to see you smile. A big smile... on your face. When the moon rises tomorrow... I will be leaving. I don't mind wether you stay in the palace... or be abandoned but please, ... do not die. These are to the Ming Dynasty: treasures are prepared, my King. We should decorate in silver and gold vest to our ambassador 'Kang So Song' to show our respect. That's a brilliant idea! Do as you wish. And the troops: including 500 horses, In total, 20.000 soldiers will be sent, my King. If we send 20.000 man, ... our borders in the north could be risky. Sir, this country exists only because of the Ming Dynasty. Even though our troops get smashed by the barbarians... we must pay our toadyism respect to the Ming and the emperor. Please, allow us. Please, allow us. Do as you wish. Now, as for the empress and their children: Yellow silk 150 cottons, white silk 150 cottons. Enough is enough! Who's country is this? What? You don't care even though our men are smashed by the barbarians? If you favor the Ming emperor that much, why don't you give up the whole nation to the Ming? But, my King...! You should be ashamed of yourselves! Alright. As you all wish... I'll agree to send 20.000 troops. But I will also send a letter to the Gem Dynasty. Write this down, 'Hong Mun Gwan' (clerk). "Even though we send 20.000 troops because we fear Ming, we do not want war with Gem." "I wish you send our men back to 'Josen' unharmed". My King! How could we disrespect the toadyism with the Ming and consult with the barbarians? What is that toadyism respect? Why is it so important to send our If it is the rightful King... If it is the people's and nation's father known as the name King! I, the King, rather steal! I rather beg... to save that 20.000 men! It is better than this thing you all call toadyism respect! My country, my people are 10 times, Now, let's have it. The bean gruel taste is different, especially today. I will never forget this taste. 'Sa Wal'. How come your are crying, 'SaWal'? 'Sa Wal'. My King. Please... Be well... 'Sa Wal'! Please, put her down, my King. Is there any doctor out there? My King... My King... 'SaWal', you must live. Please, live! please! Is anyone there? Is anyone there? Cure her, fix her! You must make her well. Tell me, who gave you the poison? Tell me. I am your King. I am... My King... Please have me killed. It was 'Jul Do Sa'. I was threatened to be killed if I don't put the poison in! It was him, not me! Have me killed, my King! 'Do Bu Jang'. Yes, my King. Arrest 'Jul Do Sa'. My King. If he resists, kill him right there. Yes, my King. You killed 'Sa Wal'. No, my King. It's a set-up! I will watch until you will be able to prattle about set-up. This is serious. We all could be on the torture chair soon. He is not the king of 'Josen'. How can one even think about consulting with the barbarians? Real or not, I will not just sit and wait. We put him on the throne! Don't you all see this is unfair! The King is not the King? Do you expect me to believe that nonsense? General, do you remember the scar on the King's shoulder? Yes, it happened during the war with the Japs. Come here and tell us what you saw! Isn't she the maid court lady? Since a few days ago... I can not see the scar on the King shoulder. What do you mean, "you can not see"? Can you put your life on those words? I will not lie in front of a general and all. How is this... Somebody call the messenger. 'Park Choong Ser' has gathered the ministers. Soon there will be troops coming in to the palace. It is time for you to leave. No, I won't! I've lived a contemptible life so far.. But not now. Until I punish the criminal who is responsible for 'Sa Wal's death... I will not move an inch! So then... Why don't you become a real king? If you wish to seek revenge for the girl, ... if you can not forgive those corrupted ministers. The king who warships his own people! If that's what you truly desire... That dream... I will make it come true. I... want to be the King. Go to the the archives and get the diary of the recent 15 days. Use force, steal, do whatever is necessary to get that diary. Please, go... Make haste, my King! You are the one who told 'Sa Wal' to just stay alive! It is still a death in vain even though you die in King's cloth! Run away. Run fast! Step back! The King is present. You back off, 'Do Sung Ji'. We are not here as rebellion troops. We are here to drag out the fake King. This is impertinent! You dare to call the King a fake? We shall see that after we checked his scar. 'Do Choong Gwan!' Yes, sir! Drag him out! The King will come out! It's an impertinent act, you fools! Show respect to your king! That fake has been sitting on the throne for so long, he lost his sanity! What? Did you just call me a fake? I am the King! Is that so? If he is the King, ... he must have a scar on his shoulder. If not, then he is a fake! Isn't this 'Do Sung Ji'? Take his clothes off! You dare to disrepect me like this? I swear I will have your head cut off! My King... If you wish to seek revenge for the girl, ... if you can not forgive those corrupted ministers... The king who warships his own people! If that's what you truly desire... that dream... I will make it come true. I... want to be the King. But... I have to kill someone so that I can live. And by doing that another innocent life has to go. I don't want it... if that's what it takes to be the 'real king'. I will keep my dreams to myself. I have served two kings. This is the diary of the King for the recent 15 days. Read this and judge my disloyalty and cut off my head, my King! "Order the local royal office to open their warehouse and give rice to the people." "Operate 'De Dong law' immediately." "I, the King, rather steal and beg to save that 20.000 troops..." "My country, my people are 10 times, Would you still say you don't recognize me? My King! Have us killed, my King! Arrest those traitors! Carry out the King's order! Stop right there. Go now. There will be a harbor at the end of the road. Make haste! Don't turn around, just go! Step aside. It's the King's order! I just obey the palace law. If you intent to harm the King... you will have to go over my dead body! 'Do Bu Jang'... He's a fake. He's not the King! May be a fake to you... but to me... he is the rightful king! On August the following year 'HerGyun' (DoSungJi) got executed for treason. due to enthronement of a new king 'In Jo'. King GwangHe imposed tax to only those who can afford to have land. GwangHae opposed against the Ming Dynasty for the rights and safety of his people. He was the one and only to oppose in the whole history of the 'Jo Sen' dynasty.

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Jo-yun Hwang

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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