This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.
Finally, Jihwa confesses his love to Yoon Seungho but unfortunately for him he gets rejected. The readers don’t witness it personally but it is insinuated through Valet Kim’s testimony to the doctor. He describes the red-haired noble shedding tears on the ground, a sign that the lord didn’t obtain what he had been longing for a long time. Furthermore, he adds that the owner asked them to leave her inn reinforcing the impression that the young man must have cried a lot. The lady criticized the aristocrats for ruining her business.
But why did the lord reject his friend in the end? Sure, the manhwalovers would reply to this question that Yoon Seungho has never loved his childhood friend the same way Jihwa did hence the former could only push his ex-sex partner away. However, I believe that there are other explanations for this outcome too. That’s why in this essay, I’ll examine the noble’s confession more closely.
First, if we look at the way the lord admitted his affection to his friend, we can notice one huge analogy between Jihwa’s declaration and Seungho’s in the chapter 55. Both are blaming the loved one for feeling miserable.
While the red-haired aristocrat describes his ex-lover as a man consumed by lust which has always been affecting him, Baek Na-Kyum is responsible for Yoon Seungho’s strong negative emotions (jealousy, rage). At no moment, Yoon Seungho didn’t dare to look at the painter, while confessing as he recognized his bad actions. He had no hope and was actually expecting to get rejected. However, Jihwa looked at the friend’s face on his knees, searching his closeness in order to convey his feelings properly. . Therefore while the master Yoon blamed the painter in order to push him away, Jihwa is actually hoping the opposite. He wants to be accepted. Whereas in Seungho’s mind he didn’t deserve his affection, the red-haired noble believes that the friend should be happy to receive such a dedication. We can conclude that the main lead was definitely selfless in his confession. By comparing this to Jihwa’s, the readers can sense the huge improvement in the main lead, while Jihwa is still selfish which I’ll explain further below.
Another parallel is the importance of pride. While the main lead never mentioned it directly unlike Jihwa, he implied it with his behavior. The two nobles tried to protect their pride by waiting. Sure, Yoon Seungho wasn’t even recognizing his own feelings, yet he knew exactly what he wanted from the painter, although he is saying the opposite with this rhetorical question: He wanted to see admiration in the painter’s eyes, in other words to obtain spiritual love, like he finally admits it at the end. But the low-born kept rejecting him which made the aristocrat suffer. Consequently the loved one had to suffer due to their “rejections”. And we have the same case here. Yoon Seungho became the real victim of Jihwa’s pranks.
Moreover, the protagonist was so unsure about his feelings and expectations revealing his vulnerability and insecurities. Here, Jihwa is also showing a certain vulnerability in his confession with his tears and his position. Let’s not forget that he is on his knees. While he blames his friend for his bad actions, he can’t help himself longing for him and wanting to embrace him. However, there’s another huge divergence. The red-haired lord is very sure about his feelings, because Yoon Seungho has been his first and only love. His love started in his childhood. That’s why I can’t help myself connecting this love confession to the artist’s first’s in the chapter 20. Notice that the painter is hoping that the low noble would see his affection and respect. Remember what I wrote about Jihwa’s doomed love with Yoon Seungho. He was deep down hoping the same, seeing admiration in his friend’s gaze but he could never get it as the former was too wounded. Therefore I come to the conclusion that Yoon Seungho is playing the same role than Jung In-Hun had with the painter. Let’s not forget that the scholar was also Baek Na-Kyum’s first love. Jihwa has been also longing that his feelings would been perceived by his childhood friend. Another analogy is that the red-haired master has a false perception of Yoon Seungho. He’s a man consumed by lust, but his love started in his childhood, hence the source of his affection comes from a certain idealization. Jihwa has the impression, he knows the friend the best because he knows his past. But the reality is that he has no idea. He might know certain facts (nightmares, the terrible incident with lord Song) but he is not aware of all the torments Yoon Seungho went through. He might know about the wound caused by lord Song, yet I am quite sure that he doesn’t know about the prostitution. There’s no ambiguity for me that father Yoon acted as a pimp in the past despite his disdain for homosexuality. That’s why I think Jihwa’s love for Yoon Seungho is very similar to Baek Na-Kyum’s affection for the scholar: a “pure” love based on a false image. The painter had no idea that his surrogate father was jealous and double-faced. Consequently, I am expecting a real fallout between the two childhood friends first. Since he has been rejected, Jihwa will drink again in order to ease his pain and my prediction is that he will meet Nameless so that we would have another “Wedding night” which will affect the second lead. The latter will deny the existence of their intercourse. Yet I still believe that after Jihwa’s long suffering and redemption, the noble and Seungho will become true friends again. However, I sense that they will go separated ways for a while.
Another similarity is that Jihwa and Yoon Seungho are under the influence of alcohol, when they confess. However, this resemblance ends here because unlike the red-haired noble, the protagonist had planned to confess, he even opened the door so that the cold would wake up the painter, he sensed that his health condition was worsening but he needed to express his thoughts. Nevertheless, I don’t believe that Jihwa had planned to confess in the first place. In my opinion, he was triggered by his friend’s words. Notice that he puts Jihwa in the same category than Min, revealing that he is no different from all the nobles the main character meets. This could only upset Jihwa because he considered himself different from all the others as he was his childhood friend. I guess, the words forced Jihwa to show his friend that he was in no way similar to Min. This explains why he portrays himself in such a positive light. He excuses his action by saying that Yoon Seungho forced him that way. As a conclusion, Jihwa felt that he had to confess. Besides, he sensed that his friend was getting even further away from him.
By comparing both confessions, I still judge Jihwa as someone egocentric. Why do I perceive the latter like that? It’s because his words are very similar to Baek Na-Kyum’s confession from the chapter 49. Here, the painter was using a lot the personal pronoun “I, me” and was telling his lover that he was finally willing to accept Yoon Seungho as lover but he would never give him his heart. Since Seungho was the one who had to lick and to kiss him in order to make the artist feel good, the painter was not hiding that he was using Yoon Seungho as a tool for his own enjoyment. The artist had put himself on a pedestal, which was also reflected in his position. Notice that the noble had to look up. The powerful master should treasure him and their physical relationship. Since in that confession, he was admitting that he was using the lord, this signifies the artist didn’t pay attention to Yoon Seungho’s feelings and desires. Baek Na-Kyum was indeed inconsiderate, yet here he wasn’t even hiding his thoughts. He was once again brutally honest. There’s reason why I continue associating brutality with honesty. It’s because each time the painter was sincere, his words wounded the lord very much. For Yoon Seungho, each word must have felt like a stab in his heart, hence he was not happy at all, after hearing this confession. Remember that he wanted to get angry but was stopped by a tender kiss. Besides, I am not the only one who criticizes the painter for his selfishness. Even valet Kim reminded him in the chapter 52 that he was acting like a spoiled child.
But let’s go back to Jihwa’s love declaration. His words are very similar. One might argue that the situation is different because Jihwa’s the one who desires to forgive and embrace Yoon Seungho, who stayed by his side, while the lord was fooling around with other men. Hence he’s selfless. However, he might be the subject and Yoon Seungho is the object of his affection, yet since each sentence begins with the personal pronoun “I” (“I know”, “I can embrace”, “I’ll forgive you”) this is a good indication that he values himself very much. That’s why I came to this observation: he’s selfish. He’s also not considerate towards the lord’s feelings and thoughts. He doesn’t let the counterpart speak. Strangely, his position contrasts so much to the low-born’s in the chapter 49. Jihwa is on his knees and has to look up at Yoon Seungho giving the impression that he’s worshipping the young master. However, his words are contradicting his position. He’s rather looking down on the former sex partner than adoring him. The beholder would interpret from Jihwa’s posture that Jihwa is humble and devoted, yet his speech is actually contradicting his attitude. Despite on his knees, he is the one who forgives, while in reality a witness would think, the opposite is happening as Jihwa looks as if he was begging. Yet his stance reveals the red-haired master’s despair, he’s indeed pleading his friend to acknowledge his feelings. Simultaneously, he appears as arrogant as he judges his friend as man consumed by lust and blames him for his reckless behavior. In my opinion, he’s a little pretentious because he thinks that he knows everything about the noble’s past. But since he’s still acting like a child, there is no ambiguity that he is actually naive. That’s why I believe that when he sent the letter, he didn’t grasp the scope of his action. He knew that he would get hurt, yet I don’t believe that Jihwa is exactly aware of the true event with lord Song. Furthermore let’s not forget that I link this declaration with the painter’s first confession too. Here, the commoner had put the scholar on a pedestal, hence he had to stand on tiptoes reflecting his “admiration”. Back then, the low-born had put the scholar on a pedestal indeed. He had confessed that he pined on him and would respect him so much and as you can detect, Jihwa is actually saying the opposite. Yoon Seungho is far from being admirable that’s why the protagonist’s heart can never be moved.
Since I see so many connections between the confession in the chapter 20 and 55, it is logical that Yoon Seungho can only reject his friend. Baek Na-Kyum was never destined to receive the low noble’s love (impossible love) and Yoon Seungho blamed his loved one while confessing in order to get rejected! And since the noble is quite selfish in his love and Yoon Seungho has been longing for a pure and selfless admiration, the friend can only be pushed away.
If Yoon Seungho used the reproach and doubts to push away the painter, then why is the red-haired master using the same tactic? Does he hope to be rejected too? The answer is quite simple. Jihwa has a different purpose by blaming his friend. When Jihwa declares that he is willing to accept his ex-lover with his flaws which could be perceived as a positive aspect, he is trying to create a good image of himself: he is selfless by accepting Yoon Seungho with all his flaws. Who would be willing to accept such a man? With these words, he’s implying that no one would ever come to love him. He’s the only one who knows him so well insinuating that he has no one left by his side, except him. As you can observe, the noble is turning himself into a good Samaritan, while he is portraying the main lead as someone terrible. He’s selfless and tolerant. And that’s how he portrays himself through his speech and that’s how he also perceives himself. Yet the red-haired aristocrat is not realizing the contradiction in his own words. He criticized his friend for changing, but he never liked the man sleeping around. Deep down, he wished, the man would have loved him. That’s why there’s certain dishonesty in his confession which was the case in the painter’s first love declaration too. While the low-born claimed that he was longing for his spiritual love, deep down he wanted to be desired and experience sensual love. We shouldn’t forget that he had been struggling with his increasing libido and repressed his sexual desires. Since the upset lord has noticed the change of his friend’s behavior, he should have been happy, since he became monogamous. So the sleeping around stopped, yet Jihwa is not satisfied because he is not the loved one. Everything is related to the painter, a low-born. According to him, he shouldn’t have changed implying that he prefers him fooling around with other men than having sex with a low-born. This reveals his jealousy. Deep down, he wished to be the one to be loved. Yoon Seungho actually changed for the better which was even noticed by the town folks but Jihwa chooses denying it. He has every reason to deny it, since the lord is intimate with a low-born, which Jihwa condemns. This illustrates that Jihwa is actually lying to himself, when he confesses to his friend. With this picture, the manhwalovers can realize that Jihwa was actually bothered that the noble with the mole wanted to have sex with Yoon Seungho. Notice that he considers his acquaintance the same like “with all those other men” hence I believe that the prank played against the painter was actually an action in order to get rid of another potential lover. After listening to his friend’s narration, he sensed that Baek Na-Kyum represented a source of danger, especially after hearing from his “friend” that Yoon Seungho would keep starring at the commoner. Jihwa could only get jealous of their locked gaze as this was exactly what Jihwa wanted to share with his childhood friend: his feelings should be seen and as the same time, the lord’s gaze would reveal respect and admiration. Therefore I come to the observation. He used his friend as legitimation claiming that he had been avenging him, while in reality he was protecting his own interest. He wanted to claim the lord as his lover. But why is the red-haired noble determined to portray his friend in such a pejorative way? It’s because he wants to be admired by his friend, an admiration which he never received. He thought, waiting would solve the problem but he was totally wrong. By describing the main lead as a man consumed by lust, he is actually achieving the opposite of what he intended to get. The former lover has never comprehended that Yoon Seungho hates the image of a man consumed by lust which he has been implying with his confession, although Yoon Seungho revealed it to him in the chapter 5. Back then, the guest didn’t pay attention to his words, he was more upset that his friend was not focusing on him. And this shows that the friend was too focused on his own feelings and pride to understand Yoon Seungho. Hence this is the other cause for the failure of his confession. Jihwa could never obtain what he wanted, the admiration in Yoon Seungho’s eyes as the red-haired master never reflected real admiration in his eyes. As a conclusion, he couldn’t get past the image of a man obsessed with sex. How can Yoon Seungho love him back, if the noble judges him like all the others? In order to love someone, the main lead needed to perceive himself differently, as he already hated himself so much.
Why could the painter succeed, where Jihwa was destined to failure? The difference between the painter and the noble is the following. First, Baek Na-Kyum and the other main lead had a spiritual connection even before their first encounter. Secondly, through the paintings, the artist was able to give Yoon Seungho a different image about himself. Each time the painter was able to make him smile, while it was not really the case with Jihwa (chapter 1, 2, 3). He showed him an attractive man, worthy to be desired. Besides, he was indeed physically attracted to him. Sure, now he is not admiring the lord spiritually but once he accepts the noble, the latter will reveal his qualities which he could never reveal as he never felt loved. Baek Na-Kyum will discover a new side of Yoon Seungho: educated, intelligent and even patient. Jihwa says that he knows the reason for this reckless behavior, however I believe that Jihwa doesn’t grasp the whole dimension of the main lead’s suffering.
As you can observe, by comparing the different confessions and even examining Jihwa’s love declaration in its details, it becomes very clear that Yoon Seungho could only reject him. Nonetheless, there are more reasons why Jihwa was doomed to fail.
I have to confess that when I read this scene for the first time, an event from the season 1 came to my mind, the straw mat beating and in particular this picture: The lord came personally later and stood there, like he was on a podium, while the painter was lying on the ground. Just before, he had been rolled up in a mat. And observe, the scene at the tavern is really similar, although the perspective diverges. The lord kicked the friend so that the latter fell down. The main lead is standing, while the other is lying on the floor, hurt, exactly like the painter. Let’s not forget my theory that Jihwa is the noble version of the painter. But there are actually more parallels between these two incidents hence it is necessary that I outline all the similarities by listing all the elements contained in both incidents:
- We have a ruined painting in the first season, whereas we have a letter reminding the lord of his terrible past. Both are just pieces of paper, yet they have such an impact on the main lead. Both causes immense pain in the main character’s heart. In the first case, it was as if his identity had been erased. Let’s not forget that the protagonist perceived himself as a ghost but thanks to the erotic pictures, he could feel alive. And the moment the painter portrayed him, he saw a different reflection about himself, like I mentioned above. It could liberate him from his self-hatred, he saw that he was desirable. Simultaneously, the drawings were a proof that he was actually a man defeating his enemies, the double-faced and treacherous nobles, as a part of his “revenge”. As for the letter, it was a reminder of his terrible past. It’s clear that Lord Song is someone terrible based on Kim’s reaction. I have to admit that after giving some thoughts, I have come to the conclusion, the mysterious lord must be an older version of lord Min. But let’s get back to the comparison. Both pieces of paper caused a scene: a punishment. While Jihwa received a kick, the painter was condemned to the straw mat beating. One might say that the last punishment is worst as Baek Na-Kyum could have become handicapped or even worse, he could have lost his life. However, the kick in a public place for a noble is already a big humiliation. Not only he appears as a weak person but a kick is a treatment rather reserved to commoners. His reputation can only be affected (rumors). Let’s not forget the importance of honor for an aristocrat. Having a title is a synonym for respect and privileges, yet the boot on his arm gives the impression to the folks that Jihwa’s lacking of honor. It was as if he was a low-born despite his nice appearance.
- Then we have Jihwa drinking at the tavern rejoicing about the success of his prank whereas in the chapter 57, he is there to drown his sorrow. This is no coincidence that it’s the same place.
- The words and the reactions of the characters are very similar. Yoon Seungho is saying that he has been really patient and he can no longer accept such a behavior. (chapter 12) Then the reaction of the ukes is very similar. Notice how the painter cries begging the lord for his leniency, whereas the red-haired noble weeps telling the lord that he will forgive him for his rude behavior. Although the red-haired is speaking about forgiveness, he is in reality begging his friend to look at him and consider his feelings. He’s asking his friend for his heart and to become his official lover. And strangely, we should remember that the servant relating the incident to his master told him (chapter 13) that the lord had a change of heart. As a conclusion, both incidents are revolving around Yoon Seungho’s change of heart.
- Finally, while the painter was rolled up in a mat and got water on his face, Jihwa has to feel the former friend’s foot on his throat. Then later both ukes’ position is almost the same again. It looks like Baek Na-Kyum is also on his knees after his release.
As you can detect, in both terrible events, we have a prank leading to a punishment which is connected to a change of heart. Yet there’s a huge difference. While the powerful protagonist had a change of heart for the painter, Jihwa is actually complaining about this change and would like the lord to have a change of heart as well. Therefore he confesses his love to the noble at the inn in front of commoners, creating a real scandal. Jihwa really hopes that his tears and love confession will evoke feelings in his counterpart. However, this is the opposite. Yoon Seungho rejects him. And you might wonder why we have all the analogies between these two incidents. In my opinion, we should perceive the lord’s confession and rejection as his punishments. He is paying now the price for his prank with the ruined painting and the letter in reality. One might argue that the second lead was already punished for his misdeeds in the chapter 18. On the surface, it really looks like it. For each misdeed, he had to pay for his wrongdoings : he slapped the painter, therefore he got grabbed by the topknot and dragged to the courtyard in front of the staff. Furthermore he had planted a spy in his friend’s household, consequently the domestic got stabbed. He ruined the painting hence the young lord cut ties with him. However, we shouldn’t forget that the aristocrat expressed schadenfreude, when he heard the news about the sanction. He even celebrated it and asked his friend to pay the bill for this “party”. Therefore this is not surprising that his humiliation happens at the place where he rejoiced, when his prank had been successful.
Furthermore, he had treated his amateur spy very roughly in the chapter 13 by pushing him very hard onto the floor hence we could say the kick Jihwa receives in the chapter 56 is the punishment for his gesture towards the servant and the foot on his throat is the sanction for the prank with the letter. Jihwa is indeed treated like a commoner. People might say that Jihwa is acting according to his status, as a noble is entitled to mistreat commoners. Nonetheless, my impression is that one of the main messages from this manhwa is that “prejudices” will only lead to suffering: karma. Baek Na-Kyum got sanctioned for rejecting and denying his own homosexuality, whereas one of Jihwa’s prejudice is about the commoners. This is not surprising that his suffering keeps increasing as he is never questioning this doctrine that low-borns are no real humans, not worthy of any respect. My readers are well aware that Baek Na-Kyum was living according to the scholar’s doctrines, therefore we have to imagine that Jihwa has also been living following the social norms of the nobility: commoners are low lives.
First, I would like to examine Jihwa’s prejudice. The latter was humiliated in front of Yoon Seungho’s staff but this didn’t change the noble’s mind. In fact, the loss of his friend didn’t really force the red-haired aristocrat to reflect on his misdeeds. In fact, he insulted Yoon Seungho “old bastard”, while admitting at the same time, he would understand the protagonist the best (chapter 36). Yet at no moment he never questioned his actions nor his prejudices. Notice that in the chapter 57, he’s again humiliated but this time in front of town folks, the people he looks down.
As you can observe, the humiliation and the mistreatment at the inn are increasing. First, his disgrace occurred at the mansion but Jihwa tried to maintain his honor by announcing to Seungho that he had been using him. Now, he’s kicked in front of commoners creating a rumor. And this is no coincidence in my opinion. For me, these humiliations are just the consequences of his misbehavior and false conceptions. He looks down on commoners therefore he constantly gets disgraced in front of them (chapter 18, 36, 43, 57). This is his karma for defending such unjust norms. That might be the common norm for back then, but since Baek Na-Kyum has suffered because he defended doctrines condemning sodomy, it becomes clear that Jihwa’s role as a character has another purpose: the lack of respect for low-borns.
Moreover, I believe that Lee Jihwa has another prejudice, just like Baek Na-Kyum had another prejudice as well: the negative image of nobles. But this one is less obvious because he loved his teacher, a low noble. Since I sense that Jihwa is very similar to the painter, then we have to conclude that Jihwa has two prejudices. The artist denied his homosexuality and he saw the nobles as nobles only good in appearance. That’s why I believe that Jihwa is more prejudiced towards commoners, yet he isn’t truly admitting his homosexuality. I am well aware that some might doubt this interpretation. First, the manhwalovers should remember that Baek Na-Kyum came to deny his sexual orientation due to the intervention of the low noble. So his natural homosexuality was repressed. Since Jihwa has been in love with Yoon Seungho, he’s also a natural homosexual. And it looks like Jihwa’s sexual orientation has also been repressed somehow. Remember that we have this: and it becomes obvious that Jihwa was separated from the protagonist. So he did suffer from getting separated from his first love. This would explain why he hid his true emotions behind his smiles and cheerful comments too and wasn’t honest any longer.
At the same time, this explains why he only slept with Yoon Seungho and never confessed his love to him. He hoped to get his love by having sex and he tried his best to seduce him. However, he could only fail as Yoon Seungho never felt any pleasure during the sexual intercourses. He only considered them as fights. Simultaneously it was the reason why the other nobles and even the commoners were aware of Jihwa’s love for his friend. He never went to sex orgies. Hence I believe that Jihwa has been influenced by the social standard among nobles as well. Maybe being separated from his friend made him realize that he needed to hide his feelings. The other evidences for this interpretation are the following:
For me, here he is not admiring the hickeys as his words don’t express any admiration, sound more like a complaint. Besides his mouth is not smiling as the upper lip goes up. This is Jihwa smiling 10 minutes later, once he hears about his friend’s early visit. Observe, this time the lower lip is going down. Therefore I come to the conclusion that he is actually reproaching his friend for living marks on his body, a proof of his hidden homosexuality. Besides, if he was rejoicing, we should see the exclamation mark and not the suspension point. Another evidence of his not truly outlived homosexuality is the following: he hides the hickeys the moment the servant barges in his room. Yet, the moment he hears about the visit, he doesn’t pay attention that the hickeys are still visible. Then at the pavilion, he tries to suggest to move to his bedchamber. He is definitely trying to influence Yoon Seungho with this rhetorical question. He doesn’t want to be seen by his staff. But for me, the biggest clue that he is not truly admitting his sexual orientation is in the chapter 18: Notice that sodomy has a certain pejorative connotation. According to the nobility, homosexual intercourse is tolerated, yet the red-haired master insinuates with so deep that there’s a limit. Hence homosexuality with commoners is not allowed. For me, this limitation is actually an allusion that feelings between two men are not allowed, that’s why it’s not allowed to do it with commoners. Why? Because among nobles, they can hide their love behind business and exchange of favors and this is exactly what Jihwa did. This explains why Jihwa defended his honor that he had been using Yoon Seungho while being with him. He could legitimate his sodomy by saying that he had some favor to ask. Yet, this was just a cover and everyone was well aware that Jihwa was in love with the noble. So there’s a certain hypocrisy, which is quite similar to Baek Na-Kyum’s who accepted to work for the main lead for his scholar’s sake.
This explicates why the red-haired master was so determined to be with his childhood friend. If he was with him, he would be able to live his homosexuality to the fullest, as he would be able to love and be loved. For me, that’s the other reason why he didn’t confess to his friend in the end. He imagined that by sleeping with his friend, the latter would fall in love with him. That’s the reason why he was so determined that the painter must have been seducing Yoon Seungho. He can’t envisage that the painter would be bold to confess to another man, this is not tolerated. Remember that their wedding night started with a confession. The last evidence appears in the chapter 52. What caught my attention is lord Min’s insult, when he stands in front of the painter. He actually insults Jihwa as sodomite which is quite strange, since Min had also sex with other men. He even slept with Yoon Seungho as uke. The only difference is that Jihwa is in love with his childhood friend. Because he tried to hide his love for his childhood friend, we could say that he hasn’t truly admitted his own homosexuality.
My explanation is the following. Having sex with another noble is not considered as abnormal because it is not related to love. These are just fights and a form of exchanging favors. He has been attempting to hide his intimate relationship with Yoon Seungho, while in reality all the town folks are well aware of their special bounding. He didn’t confess to his friend, hoping that the latter would fall in love with him through seduction but at the same time, he hoped to be admired and loved by Yoon Seungho. I know that some might be skeptical, yet I have different reasons for thinking like that which I illustrated above. For me, Jihwa’s biggest fear is to reveal his homosexuality and especially in front of commoners as he has internalized this rule: love is not allowed among men. Remember that father Yoon condemned him, describing as ill.
That’s why when he confesses could be considered as the same suffering the painter experienced at the pavilion. Revealing his homosexuality in front of town folks was indeed a huge humiliation as he had always tried to hide his feelings from the others. It is definitely possible that Nameless even witnesses this scene from afar, as it was implied Jung In-Hun saw the rape at the pavilion. We shouldn’t forget that at the pavilion, he admitted to have loved the scholar. And this is another reason why Jihwa could only fail with his attempt.
Jihwa was well aware that with this letter he would hurt Yoon Seungho, the man he claims to love. Sure, one might say that since he got kicked and humiliated, then the sanction was already enough. But we shouldn’t forget that in the chapter 18, Jihwa had actually decided to cut ties with Yoon Seungho in order to save his face. Here, we can definitely perceive how much he values his reputation and honor. That’s why he couldn’t go to his friend and beg to take him back, after witnessing the love session between Seungho and the painter. Jihwa was well aware that he could no longer approach the friend, because this would mean, he would go back on his word. Hence he knew that he had to initiate something so that Yoon Seungho would come to see him. So the painful reminder was the only way to force the noble to encounter him. That’s why the noble laughed, when he saw his former friend. His trick had worked. Yet the moment, his friend put him together with Min, he could only get hurt. He was treated like all the others, while he saw himself as different, since he had feelings for him. Hence he tries to legitimate his action with the letter, he was trying to explain that he was only one who knew his dark past.
With these words, it becomes clear that the red-haired master is attempting to differentiate himself from all the other men Yoon Seungho fooled around confirming that the lord only confessed as he disliked the idea to be similar with Min. The confession was not planned and it happened at a place, where many commoners would observe him. And this was a huge punishment for the character. We could say that he was brave to do it but the question is how he will react after the rejection. Will he yell at Nameless and ask him to do the deed much sooner? Or will he accept Min’s involvment? If he does that, then this means that his downfall won’t stop here and there will be another retribution. Sure, one might say that the attempted assassination has been incited by Min, yet he is no child as such. He’s an adult and he will realize the consequences of his decisions if something bad happens. It’s definitely possible that the aristocrat might ask Min to take his responsibilities as he was involved and he was the one who proposed the idea. However, since Min is such a huge hypocrite, it is quite certain that Min will wash off his hands from this.
Some people might criticize me for stating that Jihwa’s fate will get even worse before getting redemption but the thing is that since he’s the mirror of Baek Na-Kyum and the latter suffered a lot during the first season and even in the second season, the readers should prepare their heart as Jihwa’s destined to have a similar fate. It took 49 chapters before the artist dropped the scholar’s doctrine and we should expect the same for the noble to admit that low-borns are humans too. Now, he has finally admitted to have feelings for his childhood friend but this didn’t represent the biggest prejudice. He will realize the absurdity of his belief that commoners don’t deserve any respect. And after the rejection, I sense that he might resent Yoon Seungho even more than before because of the following words: Notice that he is blaming the main lead for ruining him, while his downfall is more related to his naivety and selfishness. So far, he has never questioned his own wrongdoings.
As a conclusion, there were many reasons why Jihwa was doomed to be rejected. The confession could never move the protagonist’s heart. Besides, he doesn’t realize his own flaws as he never questioned his own actions. He is indeed similar to Baek Na-Kyum who never questioned the teacher’s words and doctrines. Furthermore, this was part of his punishment.
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