The Min family has a reputation of being The Royal’s most loyalists, written somewhere in the patented history books. The right-hand men usually came from them in the first place, though it’s not clear in which era it actually started, but it’s not that Min Chirok has any idea about it.
Let’s switch things up here. To me (not sure about anyone else), Min Chirok is a man who loves his country and lives for his people, and I’ve always followed that up with his dedication to truth and justice and the law. Chirok is the man with strong believes of right and wrong, things which should be done and things which should be stopped, legal and illegal. He sorts things into things that need to be doing, and things that need terminating, and he acknowledges that it’s just the public face of what the job—his job, his responsibility, can endorse to make people not on their toes.
He does love his country and live for his people so much to the point he would rather stand his ground the moment he has to betray the fake façade of them in the first place; the new rotten system.
The law just determines whether Chirok does it in the name of the law, or whether he… doesn’t. It’s a simple concept. It keeps the streets clean. If it’s right, then it’s right. If it needs doing, it’ll be done. But this Joseon dynasty has birthed a new type of tyranny, riddled with criminals, murderers, and thieves fleeing the laws of the old word for the freedom of the new. These are facts.
Min Chirok holds onto this job that consists investigating and digging deeper than anyone else like a lifeline. It’s what he’s becoming right now. The people around him, the ones that had been working with him (and/or for him), probably struggle with the concept of illegal but morally right — but perhaps they did get it from somewhere, or perhaps they did get that from Chirok instead. Because that’s what he exudes all his life. That’s Chirok’s specialty.
Chirok is part of the renowned Min family; he’s the backbone of The Min family, for Heavens’ sakes. There is a possibility that The Min family is built from scrapes and stitches instead of the other way around. But he's right there to rid the continent of orderless chaos. Like a flash of arrow shot, coming from anywhere to struck without warning — also like spatter of ink on the alleyway steps, messy with assertive sight of aggression for fighting back the seemingly-invisible force. Anyone could walk right past all those signs and never know, sometimes, but the criminal underworld lives in fear of Min’s notable-eradication’s touch.
Min Chirok knows crime and he knows how to deal with criminals indiscriminately. He’s the son of the many Min(s) before him — they were judicious and fierce people from the very start after all. And by the time he sniffs the foul scent of the mayhem from the inside of the walls of the beloved royal family soaking out, knows about the rebellion from a crown prince and how sickening the smell of corpses from all directions of the wind has suddenly appeared, Chirok marks everything right away with a covetous silence in places of a trail of blood are found; an extreme repulse against the thing that almost everyone quietly pretended does not exist.
The consequences, however, nearly got the entire Min families to be abolished from the existence. Back when tigers used to smoke, the sin of one’s member of a family is a sin that must be beared by the existing descendants and subsequent ones. So tell me, then, as Chirok dwells, you think the Haewon Cho clan could just waltz in and get away with this? With all the layers of deception that try to bribe in Chirok’s every step, a line of dead that stretch to Hell and back, following their piper through the alleys of Chirok’s territory; again, do you really think Haewon Cho clan can get away with this?
Chirok keeps his country close, his people aside (away from harm), and his challengers much, much closer. He hunted the edges of the path the queen consort thought she’d made and smiled tiger-grimace at each muddling step the Haewon Cho clan took towards their end.
But when the one member of the Haewon Cho clan blows the chance to put the Min family to the gravely end, of course Chirok is conflicted. When he notices that this specific member of the Haewon Cho clan is an oddball from the rest of the corrupted tyrants, Chirok takes his hand and leads him into the dark to hide him there from anything else then. And when things finally get out of hands, he firmly decides to scutum. Once a divine, unstoppable strength of the crown prince’s resurfaces, spitting upcoming danger at both of them, it’s Chirok who kisses the men’s hands and promises to keep them safe with everything he's got left.
To his surprise, there’s a sly hunter that comes at his aim; a spider-web of fractured something weaponised waiting to break, with sharp edges that never healed smooth. This is where Chirok lets the line in his judgments to be blurred, particularly just for this guy to lend him newly-introduced point of view. There's also a healer that pours liquid gold in every crack and remakes all of them into something astonishingly perennial, and Chirok vows then. He vows with honest words that never hide the ice burning in his reassurances. Those who are under his astute protection were given love and taught not to trust it, so Chirok gives them truth. It’s Chirok’s other specialty. Chirok offers Chang his empire, and he shows Beompal the bones of those who oppose him; he splays Yeongshin power and how it can be used to protect bigger scope of fief; he shows all of them loyalty and how it’s won through holy-weighted respect that sings like gentle lullaby of suffocation in the waiting nights.
Eventually, Chirok makes Lee Chang understand, bringing death to those who intentionally and consciously have brought hurt to you can be necessary. Yeongshin has his own perspective for power and how it surges when his family is being threatens, which Chirok unspokenly feels relieved about. Seobi, Chirok also learns, is just a woman who could have been and stayed good; who only wanted to be kind, but… really, before the recent circumstances, weren’t they all?
Beompal, however — the tentative, not exactly cowardice, man with hidden scars gripping his conscience and his heart flayed open on his sleeves, Chirok is careful to keep the truth from him because it’s as true as a jab of a fine sword. He never lies to him, still, but deception is also what contextures him throughout the years, woven so much tighter than words, and there is just something so bright in this man that Chirok’ shadows would tarnish if he gets any more closer than he already is.
He is careful, Chirok reminds the world. The man is precious, and he is to be protected, so Chirok hovers over him and around him until hearsays spread through rain and stinging sunbeams in any weather:
The subjugator of the underworld hunts those who hunt Cho Beompal and Chirok’s other not-Min people, and within, one of them is also a demon with even more bleak lifestyle feeding off the destruction in his wake. He allows Lee Chang to round things right, he leads them all to learn the language that the Min family has owned since the first soul emerged into this harsh, harsh world to survive for forever more.
Chirok is content, to the remaining days. They are restless, battered, and broken, sure. But it’s not that Chirok isn't going to engrave that legacy to the very last of Min, in the ashes of what the world will become.
He would never guess that all those things shall remain remembered for centuries later.