Painter Of The Night: The shadow 👤 behind the shrine ⛩️

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Lezhin Korea released a few panels from season 4, thus we could discover that lord Shin got into trouble. He is on the ground, his face bruised and bloody, while he is asking an anonymous man for help. He is mentioning the shrine. As he is wearing the same hanbok, we can definitely assume that this scene takes place during the same night. The irony is that each time Byeonduck offers a new piece of a puzzle, she also creates a new riddle or mystery. How did the young master get wounded in the first place? And who is the person facing lord Shin?

1. The shoes and the weapon

First of all, I would like to point out that this image confirmed my results from my ongoing investigation. The author is using the shoes and clothes to give clues about a person‘s identity. Thus I was definitely right to say that during the abduction in season 2, there were two perpetrators. (Chapter 59) (chapter 66) The size and length of the protections and the cords around the pants were different. Besides, the masks were also different due to the form of the mouth.. (Chapter 61) (chapter 61) Finally, I had also detected his presence next to the barn because of a time jump. First, the manhwaphiles saw Lee Jihwa sitting on the floor, (Chapter 60), then shortly after he was standing at the entrance of the storage room holding a fireplace poker! (chapter 60) His position indicated that the young master had shortly left the building. However, the readers had not witnessed his move, for the author had diverted their attention by exposing the character‘s inner thoughts. He was recollecting the past, while talking to himself. (chapter 60) However, how did the fire poker end up in his own hand? The last time this tool was seen, it was in the kitchen. (chapter 60) As you can see, each image has its importance! However, I doubt that the upset aristocrat had this sudden idea and returned to the kitchen and take the fire iron. His mind and heart were definitely elsewhere, while such an action exposes the intention of hurting someone. Jihwa was acting, as if he was in trance, the moment he saw the hickey and heard the painter’s scream. His long lasting stupor was visible in this image. (chapter 60) That’s the reason why I had developed the theory that someone was hiding in the shadow, next to the barn and observing the evolution of the event. [For more read the essay “No matter what… Baek Na-Kyum must vanish“] For me, it could only be Kim. The latter had put the fire iron in the young man’s hand with the hope that he would strike Baek Na-Kyum. My conclusion was that he was not just involved in the painter’s abduction. However, all these were minor circumstantial evidences. Now, I found more concrete proofs for this hypothesis. Thanks to the new release, I can corroborate my assumption! 😱 The fireplace is the evidence of his involvement during that night! Why would Byeonduck zoom on the furnaces? (chapter 57) It is because they serve as a clue for unveiling the truth. (chapter 60) And now take a closer look at the stove in the storage room! (chapter 62) It is the same furnace! 😨We all assume that the lord prepared the fireplace, because he put his clothes on his lover. But is it true? We were all jumping to this conclusion, but actually we never saw it. Our brain was led to fill the blanks. (chapter 61) Finally, the readers were all assuming that the butler had never entered the storage room due to this image and his action before. (chapter 61) But is it true? He could have opened the door before, and go to the lord in order to explain his intervention. Faking his concerns for the painter. Why would he place the fireplace there? He wished that the warmth from the fire would wake up the painter. Hence he remained close to the gate of the storage room. That way, he had a reason to visit his master. Moreover, the author exposed that the valet had been keeping an eye on his master for a while too. (chapter 62) Because the valet went to his master, we got the impression that the valet had followed his master’s instructions. (chapter 61) In fact, this request could be perceived differently. The lord had seen the butler’s intervention, hence he expressed this wish. From my point of view, the butler must have brought the fireplace to the barn, and he left the poker there on purpose. I am quite certain that some people will think that I am again exaggerating. But why did the butler put a fireplace with a fire iron in the lord’s room, when the coal was not properly lit? (chapter 86) Compare the fire to this one: (chapter 62) But note that in the furnace, there was a fire iron too. (chapter 88) Consequently, I am suspecting that Kim had expected an outburst from Yoon Seungho. The latter could hurt his father with the fire iron. But none of this happened, for the lord preferred playing a comedy.

But let’s return our attention to the fireplace in the storage room. My theory would explain why Kim encouraged his master to go to the barn. (chapter 61) He hoped that Yoon Seungho would become so enraged due to the betrayal that in his violent outburst, he would grab the tool and wound the artist!! Thus he said this the next morning: (chapter 65) He had expected that the lord would hurt the main lead. But how was he supposed to harm Baek Na-Kyum in the end? With the fire iron… This signifies that he had been present in the barn during the abduction, and even knew the place of the sequestration. Thus he took the furnace and the fire iron to the shed.

And now, you have the explanation how lord Shin was wounded. He got beaten with a fire iron! This explicates the cut on his nose. Compare his face to the painter’s who got wounded by wooden sticks. (chapter 99) The painter’s head was bleeding, but his face and nose remained intact. (chapter 99) Besides, this theory also explains why the shrine is set on fire. (chapter 103) The fire iron is connected to a stove. Finally, I would like to outline the absence of the furnace in the shrine, though it was very cold outside. (chapter 99) So when the lord said this to his lover (chapter 88), we could interpret it the following way. It was once again a vision from the future, he was seeing from lord Shin’s perspective the betrayal. To conclude, I am sensing many parallels between the noble’s death and the night of chapter 86/87/88.

But I have another evidence that the butler had been spying on Jihwa and No-Name. How is it possible that Lee Jihwa had such a vision? (chapter 60) (chapter 60) At no moment, he was told that his childhood friend had been brought to the physician’s. He just heard him leaving. Moreover, the joker never mentioned the place where the couple was fooling around. (chapter 60) He didn’t even admit that he had seen them himself. These were memories from someone else! One might assume that these could represent the criminal’s recollection, but I don’t think so. He arrived much later to the physician’s house. If he had been present right from the start, he could have kidnapped Baek Na-Kyum on his way to the restroom. (chapter 59) To conclude, the person with such memories (chapter 62) had been at the doctor’s office before. This stands in opposition to the false memory the red-haired master had in the study. (chapter 43) Here, he had visited the place, hence he could imagine what had happened, though he never saw their encounter according to me. [For more read the essay “The liars in front of the mirror of truth: Lee Jihwa and Yoon Chang-Hyeon”] This explains why he created a false memory. However, in chapter 60, it is simply impossible for him to have such a vision, for he was not there. And in the propriety, only two people could know about their love session, the doctor and naturally the valet. For the latter is constantly seen with the bucket of water, I conclude that this can only be the butler. (chapter 58) He had left the bucket of water in the patio! But note that when the painter left the room, the item had simply vanished. (chapter 59) The painter was not supposed to detect his presence.

2. Identifying the shadows

Since I recognized the presence of a third person involved in the kidnapping from season 2, I come to the deduction that we have in this scene 3 people. And if the release is not changing, and these panels are still framed in black, this signifies that the readers are dealing with remembrance again. So we could say that we are seeing the event from the perpetrator’s perspective. But we will see. On the other hand, why am I so sure about the presence of 3 people? First, don’t forget that the story is going in circle, thus the author is working with reflections. The manhwaphiles will certainly recall that lord Shin had been made unconscious by No-Name, when he had approached Lee Jihwa. (chapter 100) The manhwaworms can grasp the similarities. Back then, the lord had refused to help Baek Na-Kyum, thus he was even encouraging Lee Jihwa to return to the shrine. Hence he had acted as a willing accomplice and perpetrator. Thus his karma is to be denied any assistance, he is punished the same way than his friends, Min and the other nobles. Finally, observe that the red-haired master (chapter 100) was lowering himself in front of No-Name which reminds me a lot to lord Shin’s situation. However, the naïve yangban is not suspecting the person facing him. He has the impression that the latter will listen to him and assist him. Thus I deduce that he was assaulted by someone else, the third person… I am excluding 2 people with the beating, for the noble was not unconscious in contrast to the scene in front of the scholar’s house. Besides, this person was not strong enough to kill the noble and had not tied him up either. (chapter 66) (chapter 99) Lord Shin was still conscious, and he could still run away, until he met this mysterious person. Why do I think so? It is because lord Shin is not suspecting the one standing in front of him. If they were together, he would have recognized the betrayal. From my point of view, he didn’t see them together. And I have another evidence for this interpretation. This picture is a reflection from this one due to the presence of the shadow. (chapter 88) Abandonment and rejection versus embrace and acceptance. And what had Yoon Seungho said during that fateful night? (chapter 88) (chapter 88) But while the painter was exposed to sexual abuse, lord Shin had indeed left his friend’s side. In my eyes, lord Shin embodies treason. As you can see, I conclude that lord Shin is about to get assassinated and from the person he expected the least. Why? It is because no one has to realize that lord Shin ran away from the shaman’s shrine. (chapter 102) He was a survivor. The opposite from this scene. They faked the painter’s desertion, (chapter 60) hence in episode 102 they had to mask his escape, for this would have exposed the involvement of other people, like Lee Jihwa, the doctor with the drugs and Heena. And now, you have the explanation why the shadow hidden behind the tree had put mattresses on the soil. The desertion and survival from lord Shin should not be detected. But who is this person facing the weak lord? And who is the third person who hit the young man? First, I would like to answer the second question.

3. Identifying the helping hand

We have to suspect a rather frail person who can be reckless and even stupid. As you can envision it, I am now suspecting the kisaeng Heena. Not only her philosophy allows her to be blinded by hatred, but also she witnessed herself her brother’s terrible condition. (chapter 99) Secondly, the moment she hears from someone that she got betrayed, for her brother died, she could definitely resent Min and his friends. But one might argue that she was killed by the two guards, or if she is alive, she was held captive by them. However, it is important to recall the following rules: the clothes and shoes are revealing the character’s identity. Both men are not wearing robes. Besides, they are not wearing black shoes like the other black guards! Yet, note all the black guards from chapter 7, 64/65 and 86 were wearing black shoes (chapter 7), (chapter 65) or boots (chapter 86), a sign for a high position. They even had all a sword. Why would the guards from chapter 99 use a wooden stick? In my eyes, it is because they are no real black guards. Besides, I detected that one man had a scarf similar to the butler’s, from lower quality. Thus I am suspecting that these two men are more servants than trained black guards. In other words, they are commoners. This would explicate why they didn’t know how to tie Heena properly. Her mouth was not covered, her feet were not tied. Thus they covered their face. That way, Baek Na-Kyum wouldn’t recognize them. And if he were to survive, then he could blame it on Yoon Chang-Hyeon, as their uniform was similar. During the assault, he couldn’t pay attention to such details and question their true origins. Besides, don’t forget that so far, the beating was tasked to the staff: (chapter 13) (chapter 77) As you can see, the wooden stocks were present during the first straw mat beating.

Under this new light, the manhwalovers can grasp why their face was masked. If they had to be identified, then by the clothes… that way they could mislead the investigation and frame innocents. We could detect their involvement in this scene, (chapter 101), but here Min thought that he was capable to frame the Lees. The other evidence for this interpretation is the presence of two servants during the main lead’s hunt, while he was wearing the suspicious boots. (chapter 83) As you can detect, I see a strong connection between the new panel and the hunt from chapter 83. And here we have 3 people again.

But let’s return our attention to the kisaeng who I am suspecting to be behind the noble’s wounds. What caught my attention is that the woman has always been involved in kidnapping and immobility (being tied up). She was present, when the lord was dragged and tied up. (chapter 68) She was again a witness, when her brother was tied up in the bedchamber. (chapter 66) Finally, when her brother was on the verge of getting abducted, she saw him lying unconscious with a bloody face. However, she never considered it as an abduction, for his hands and feet were not tied up. (chapter 99) That’s the reason why she blamed him with her questions. She implied that he shouldn’t have fought back. As you can see, I detect a common thread between Heena and her presence in different scenes: sequestration and a bloody face. But this doesn’t end here. When the young painter got beaten in the gibang, there was a furnace on the left side. (chapter 94) For me, this incident was to push the painter to leave the gibang and as such to listen to Heena’s suggestion. Furthermore, the man on the left side was wearing a white headband, though he was dressed like a noble in a hunting outfit! The hair dress and his moustache [for more read the analysis “Painful departures”] led me to the following assumption: He was just a commoner in the end, impersonating a noble.

The other clue for Heena’s involvement in lord Shin’s demise is her presence in chapter 88. (chapter 88) She was supposed to discover a crime scene. But what did she do? She didn’t report it to the authorities. Why? It is because the schemers implied that she would never get justice. As a kisaeng, she was totally powerless.

Thus the moment someone tells her that her brother died by the hands of nobles, the young woman’s hatred for yangbans can only increase. At the end of season 3, Yoon Seungho and even the shadow behind the shrine believed that the painter had died too. Consequently, the painter was just given a purple hanbok, and the main lead went to the mountain. Since the protagonist was under such a shock and pain, he never pondered why there was a person helping him. He was behaving like Lee Jihwa during the night of the abduction, the hanbok was put in his hand. The sword, the scholar’s glasses and even the painter’s clothes vanished from the shrine. (chapter 102) This is the evidence that someone had manipulated the crime scene. The clothes from the painter could serve as evidence of her brother’s curtains. Heena could come to the conclusion that Min had gone back on his words, and her fake death, which had definitely shocked (chapter 99) and bothered her, could only be perceived as real at the end. But this means that while Yoon Seungho had murdered the nobles, there was someone hiding in the shadow , exactly like in season 2. He had not stopped the execution either. He could have faked his late arrival and the shocked lord would have even believed him. This time, the man in the shadow had covered the bloody traces and had thought that the noble outside had died from cold. (chapter 61) And according to me (chapter 61) the second Joker (Kim) had tried to murder the painter, but he had failed, for he had covered the painter’s head. (chapter 66) However, his new attempt to have the painter vanished failed again.

4. The “trustworthy” disguised man

What caught my attention are the pants. The form and color remind me a lot of the painter’s. (chapter 97) It could be the same, though I have my doubts. Secondly, I suddenly got aware that the painter had 3 different grey pants at least. (chapter 4) This one had a cut just below the knees, though the color is much brighter. (chapter 84) This is the third one I detected, as the shape of the pants diverge once again. This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum chose to change his clothes before leaving the mansion. (chapter 85) And because his pants are very similar to the painter’s, I deduce that he must be close to Baek Na-Kyum or at least he has a spy informing him about the artist’s clothes. Compare his pants to other servants: (chapter 97) (chapter 61) (chapter 67) (chapter 67) Their pants have either a different pigment (white, black, khaki, or light grey) or the shape is different. That’s the reason why I am assuming that the person was wearing these trousers on purpose. A new version of this scene: (chapter 98) The only difference is that the disguised person is alive contrary to the corpses in the wells. But the problem is that the shoes are betraying him. The boots resemble a lot to Yoon Seungho’s which the latter utilized during the hunt. (chapter 83) What did the lord see back then? Three shadows, two men wearing a gat and one caught in the middle with a topknot. Since I consider Yoon Seungho as a shaman, I believe that this vision was not only referring to the past and the incident in the shrine. It exposes the immutable truth, the involvement of three people, either. This is no coincidence. Thus imagine one moment that this illusion was referring to lord Shin’s murder. He is about to get murdered because of a new conspiracy. From my point of view, the man is disguising himself. However, I doubt that he is wearing the lord’s boots. The latter could be “couple boots”, just like the lord and the painter had couple hats. (chapter 91) And note during that day, Baek Na-Kyum was called sir due to his hat and clothes. (chapter 91) However, if the woman had paid attention to his shoes (mituri), she would have realized that our beloved painter is just a low-born. One might think that I view Kim as the one facing lord Shin. Strangely, I am suspecting the involvement of someone else. One thing is sure. The person in front of lord Shin is disguising himself, and the latter trusted the man in front of him. But his misfortune was not to identify correctly the person, for he didn’t detect the contrast between the clothes and the shoes. And the author left us another clue that disguise plays a huge role in our protagonists’ suffering. Why is Kim wearing a gat with a headband for nobles, when he is dressed like a servant? But there is another detail what caught my attention. He is wearing a bag. It was, as if he had packed his belongings before leaving the mansion. This means, he is taking his brown hanbok, but he is not wearing it. He reminded me of Deok-Jae. (chapter 44) (chapter 54) But the readers should question themselves this: why did Kim dress like this in the first place? From my point of view, the schemers have already planned to frame Baek Na-Kyum for the murder of the nobles and even of Jung In-Hun. Kim is trying to separate the couple so that the artist can be arrested easily and sentenced immediately. By burning the place, the evidence that Baek Na-Kyum was a victim vanished. That’s how they can manage to turn a victim into a perpetrator. They wanted to erase every trace of the crimes, but then the return of the painter will force them to change their plan. The fire can help them to turn Baek Na-Kyum into a scapegoat. That’s the reason why the anonymous shadow is wearing clothes similar to the painter’s. No one should recognize him. Later, Baek Na-Kyum can be “identified” as the culprit. And any blood trace on his clothes could serve to incriminate the painter. They could use the resemblance of the clothes as a proof for his crime. That’s the reason why lord Shin had to die in the end. And if lord Shin never doubted this person, I am suspecting that the latter is working with the authorities. Kim is not the only suspect, for according to me, there always exist a conspiracy of 3 and even 5 people. This observation leads me to create a list of suspects. First of all, Yoon Seungho’s confession to the learned sir should help us to determine the schemers and culprits. (chapter 44). A synonym for old bearded men is “elders”. The latter are supposed to serve as role models. That’s the reason why the young man didn’t suspect the man. With his beard, he must have oozed “responsibility” and even “selflessness”. But who are the suspects?

  • The officer from the bureau investigation is definitely involved. Thus he misled Yoon Seungho. Besides, observe that the officers are connected to fire! (chapter 94) Secondly, his explanation implied the involvement of a physician. (chapter 98) Though he had been found in a well, the lord’s comment insinuates that “Deok-Jae” had been stabbed. Striking is that the lord didn’t show any interest in the violation of clothes and the servant’s death. This reaction surprised the yangban which left him speechless. It is important, because this shows that the schemers were trying to direct the lord’s attention to a certain person: Lee Jihwa. They were trying to instill the thought that Lee Jihwa had planted a professional spy in his household. And after his betrayal, Deok-Jae had run away with the money earned from his work.
  • The physician: What caught my attention is that the author focused on the fire place at his office. (chapter 57) Why? There has to be a reason. I don’t believe in coincidence in Painter Of The Night. Furthermore, observe that both men, Kim and the doctor, were sitting in the kitchen, similar to Jihwa and No-Name. (chapter 57) Finally, the painter met the Joker again on the same day he visited the physician. (chapter 75) Finally, why was the doctor never brought to the mansion again after his last visit in chapter 57? And it looks like he was not there to treat Baek Na-Kyum. The latter is suffering from PTSD. Thus the painter had a nightmare. Hence I have the impression that the butler’s intervention and suggestion to Yoon Seungho will fail. The lord won’t be able to leave his side. Moreover, I would like the readers to recall that when Baek Na-Kyum got sick, a different physician was fetched. (chapter 33) Different clothes displays a different identity. From my point of view, the doctor doesn‘t want to be connected to Yoon Seungho. Finally, don‘t you find it weird that he was not by his side in chapter 57? He literally abandoned the young master in the room with the painter (chapter 57), though the latter was a patient too. He had a wounded wrist. The physician should have controlled Yoon Seungho’s fever, brought him water and even an infusion. His absence and passivity caught my attention. So what was he doing in the kitchen? Finally, the doctor is also connected to the shaman. Not only he mentioned him, but also there is the symbol of shamanism in his kitchen. Why did the gods want our couple to have their first “true” love session at the physician’s office? Somehow, it was to confront him with the truth. Finally, don’t you find it weird how Kim reacted (chapter 82), when the new version of Deok-Jae made the following suggestion to Kim: (chapter 82) Hence the doctor is not off the hook, quite the opposite.
  • Father Lee: he has a huge motivation to eliminate not only the painter, but also Min. The latter had denunciated Lee Jihwa’s crime to Yoon Seungho. Since I judge father Lee as someone suffering from Machiavellianism, he certainly plotted something behind Yoon Seungho, and not only once, but at least twice. Moreover, someone could have divulged to the patriarch that Black Heart had been responsible for the loss of his son’s topknot and his manipulations. Besides, Black Heart had witnessed the altercation between the Lees and Yoon Seungho (chapter 67), and discovered Lee Jihwa’s sodomy which was supposed to be a secret. The father is well aware that the main lead’s suffering is linked to the young master’s sexual orientation, which the father had always denied. His involvement could be detected, when he allowed one of his servants to be dragged to the gibang. (chapter 99) Finally, The Joker also heard father Lee’s humiliation and powerlessness. (chapter 67) He never asked for the authorities’ assistance, for his son’s crime could have come to the surface. And since there was a ruckus in the gibang, where his name was mentioned, he had another reason to kill lord Shin. With his disappearance, his son’s “crimes” would be buried. Moreover, his son never went to the bureau of investigation to clear his name. (chapter 101) Thus the fire could be seen as a desperate measure to cover the Lees’ culpability.
  • Because people are violating code dress, and they are wearing similar clothes to deceive people, I think that we should include the tailor in the list of suspects, but the one I am referring to is the one from chapter 64. (chapter 64) He can play a huge role by making a false testimony, as he can recognize the clothes ordered by the clients.
  • Finally, I would like to include these two men. (chapter 37) The latter had already disguised himself in season 1, and due to his age, no one would suspect his real nature or power. Then we have this faceless man from chapter 83: (chapter 83) I am not including Yoon Chang-Hyeon in this list, for he is not intelligent and cunning enough to develop such a plan. For me, he is just a pawn. Thus he never intervened on his own. He was always pushed by others’ suggestions. Yet, there is no ambiguity that the elder Yoon will be involved in a new plot.

To conclude, I am suspecting many people involved in lord Shin’s struggle and curtains. Thus expect in season 4 new plots again. Finally, I would like to underline the butler’s hypocrisy one more time. While he keeps saying to his master that he is a bird of misfortune, why is he remaining by his side? Dedication or love? I have my doubt, for he keeps badmouthing him. If this “curse” was true, how come that he did not suffer like the painter? And note that he has a drop of sweat on his face, the symbol for manipulations and lies. In my eyes, the words from the publication are reflecting the butler and Heena’s philosophy. Why? Both are trying to hide their own wrongdoings and bad choices. They are still in denial to admit their responsibility.

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