In 16-54, a virus spread around the small Island killing everyone over 15 years of age. The virus came in the form of a fog. Over days, depending on the condition of the person, they either died instantly or grew sick and weak, eventually dying. As the next twenty years progressed, the fog virus depleted and voyagers began to reappear on the island. Nobles from various countries came to the island and formed a new government. Tribes were formed under the noble families.
The village of Namu is located near the coast surrounded by a forest of an assortment of trees. The village was the first of the country to be affected by the fog virus. Since the death of all the older people, the village was managed by the oldest kids of the village. The protagonist, Moon Mi-Gyeong, the granddaughter of the previous village leader. Her parents were two lovers who were unable to have blessings from their parents. One morning day,
Mi-Gyeong is helping her friend around the farm shared by the village kids. Mi-Gyeong notices a dark gray cloud forming in the forest behind them. She tells the oldest boy, who leads the village at age 20, about the smoke. He sends out a few scouts to survey the area. Over the years, the kids have adapted to their environment especially the men. They specialized themselves in stealth and farm labor.
The scouting group returns with news of bandits. A few minutes later, a scream is heard from the streets. Mi-Gyeong looks from the window of her home and finds bandits killing the village men. The bandits begin taking women and children while they suppress those who resist. Before long, many of the men are killed and those who are still young are taken as captives along with the women and children. Mi-Gyeong sits among the captives, less shaken than the rest. She notices a wagon near the edge of the village. As the bandits open the door, they reveal a room full of crying women. Mi-Gyeong starts to tremble and tears well in her eyes.
After days of roughness, the bandits take the captives to their encampment. The leader of the bandits surveying the girls. His men question the women to know if they are married. They are taken, along with their children if they have any, to a room and locked inside. The unmarried women are then surveyed and the leader begins to select the prettiest of them. After he picks two, he looks closely at Mi-Gyeong and forcefully grabs her hair. She was dragged away along with the two other girls and is locked in a dimly lit room.
Two days later, the leader returns and drags Mi-Gyeong to his room. He offers her many things from food to jewelry to drugs, which each she rejects. She gets up to leave when the leader grabs her hair again and slams her to the ground. A messenger comes into the room and tells the leader that the camp is being attacked. When the leader asks who, he is given the name, The Hyun Tribe. An arrow flies through the leader’s head. He falls to the ground beside Mi-Gyeong, who is shaking frighteningly. The messenger sighs in relief and looks at Mi-Gyeong. He holds out his hand and tells her to come with him.
As Mi-Gyeong and the messenger leave the house, the messenger is surrounded by men wearing similar clothes to his. They tell him that the bandits have been taken care of and the captives are alright. One of the men calls the messenger by his name, Hyun Jeong-Ho, and tells him that a few of the bandits have escaped while the other committed suicide.
Mi-Gyeong asks Jeong-Ho if he is the leader of the Hyun Tribe. He answers yes and Mi-Gyeong is frozen stunned. Jeong-Ho and his tribesmen return to their village, in a far eastern valley. As they travel, Mi-Gyeong asks what are to become of the girls who have been impregnated. Jeong-Ho says they will be admitted to a safe home. The rest of the captives will be taken into homes until homes can be built for them. Jeong-Ho tells Mi-Gyeong that she will be staying with him.
Once the group arrives at Pasang, the village of the Hyun Tribe. Jeong-Ho is greeted with cheers from his tribesmen. As he pulls the horse into the stable, he dismounts his horse and helps Mi-Gyeong off. She pats the horse goodbye and follows Jeong-Ho into his abundant home. As they walk through the door, a small boy jumps into Jeong-Ho’s arms. He is introduced as Jeong-Ho’s adopted brother, Hyun Ji-Hu.
Ji-Hu shows Mi-Gyeong to her new room, which is right around the corner from Jeong-Ho’s and next door to Ji-Hu’s. He looks through the closet for a new set of clothes. Mi-Gyeong asks if he was lonely while Jeong-Ho was away and is answered, yes. Ji-Hu says that Jeong-Ho leaves the village often and often doesn’t return in days. He asks Mi-Gyeong if she is interested in him. She becomes flustered and abruptly answers, no. Ji-Hu laughs and tells her that he will be less lonely if she is here with him. She smiles and cuddles with Ji-Hu. Looking from the hallway, Jeong-Ho smiles and says to himself that she is a match.
A few weeks pass and Jeong-Ho Leaves the village along with a few men to a meeting with the other Tribe Leaders. Mi-Gyeong is in the kitchen making lunch while Ji-Hu says a tearless goodbye. Once the group leaves, Ji-Hu retreats to his room. Mi-Gyeong knocks on his door and asks if he wants lunch. He opens the door and reveals his teary face. Mi-Gyeong embraces Ji-Hu and tells him that she will be here if anything happens. A week passes and the group returns. Ji-Hu embraces Jeong-Ho as he enters the house.
That evening, Mi-Gyeong serves a dish made from a country to the west. Jeong-Ho says the dish is the best on she has made. Ji-Hu reminds Jeong-Ho that tonight is the annual Winter Iseul Festival. Jeong-Ho thanks Mi-Gyeong for the dinner and says he is going to get ready. Ji-Hu also goes to change. Mi-Gyeong retreats to her room and finds a white box on her bed. When she opens it, she finds an hanbok set and a red sari. The set includes an ivory jeogori and dark pink chima. She puts it on as Jeong-Ho walks in and compliments her on how beautiful she looks. Mi-Gyeong becomes flustered and raises a white fan, that was also in the box, to her face. Jeong-Ho walks in and lowers the fan a little bit revealing a beat red face. Ji-Hu comes in and asks if they are ready to go. Mi-Gyeong and Jeong-Ho look at him as he asks what they are doing. He is answered with, nothing.
At the Winter Iseul Festival, Jeong-Ho, Mi-Gyeong, and Ji-Hu enjoy and an assortment of activities and sample food from various countries. Jeong-Ho leaves Ji-Hu with a few of his friends then takes Mi-Gyeong to a small observatory in the western mountains. He tells her about his history. How when he came here with his tribe, five years ago, many of the older adults around the age of 30 and up have died, he was still young and had to take care of Ji-Hu by himself. Mi-Gyeong tells him about the fog virus and how all the adults, twenty years ago were affected then eventually killed. The two watch as the fireworks light up the sky. Drowned out by the explosion of the fireworks, Jeong-Ho confessed his feeling to Mi-Gyeong. She told him that she couldn’t hear what he said and he said that she was right. He tugged on the sari, round her arms, and pulled her closer to him. Moments later, he plants his lips on hers and gives her his first kiss.
The next day, Mi-Gyeong wakes up still groggy from last night. When she remembers the kiss, her face turns red as a beat and her heart feels like it’s going to explode. Ji-Hu comes in, noticing her face and asks if his brother stole her first kiss. Mi-Gyeong is stunned but nods her head, yes. Ji-Hu leaves her to find his brother still half-undressed. Ji-Hu asks Jeong-Ho why he is interested in Mi-Gyeong. He replies saying that she has a calm aura around her and he can feel at peace with her. They leave the room and head to the kitchen where Mi-Gyeong is making crepes for breakfast. When she sees Jeong-Ho, she blushes furiously. Ji-Hu stares at Jeong-Ho as he walks to her. He stands next to Mi-Gyeong and explains his reasons for doing what he did. She replies with it was okay and she feels the same around him. The two continue to talk through breakfast. Ji-Hu stares at them the entire while. A bit later, he announces that he is going to his friend’s house.
A message comes to Jeong-Ho, summoning him to an urgent Tribe meeting. He apologizes to Mi-Gyeong then goes to change into his Chief-of-Tribe attire. When he exits his house, his countrymen are already mounted on their horses ready to leave. Mi-Gyeong brings Jeong-Ho's horse out to the courtyard. Ji-Hu runs up to him, his friends watching nearby, and says goodbye to his brother. Jeong-Ho shuffles through his hair and tells him that he will be back. Minutes later, Jeong-Ho and his company disappear from the town.
Two weeks pass and Jeong-Ho returns from his journey with half his men and covered in blood. Mi-Gyeong asks what happened and Jeong-Ho explains that the Tribe’s meeting was disrupted by bandits and a few of his men were killed. The families whose men were with Jeong-Ho asks him the same question and he replies the same answer. They break down in tears and Jeong-Ho adds that because of their sacrifice, the Leaders of all the Tribes are still alive and their sacrifice will ensure that the same fate won’t befall others.
A week passed since the funeral for the fallen men. Mi-Gyeong sits quietly on the couch near the door, reading while Jeong-Ho naps silently with his head on her laps. He wakes suddenly and bumps his head on her book as he gets up. Ji-Hu comes down the steps, in his school uniform and opens the door to leave. He bumps into a tall man with messy brown hair. Jeong-Ho recognizes the man as the Leader of the Song Tribe, Jun. Jeong-Ho asks what he's doing here and is answered that a merchant from Jeong’s village saying that Jeong-Ho might be engaged to a beautiful, foreign woman. Mi-Gyeong corrects him saying that she was born on this island and they are the foreigners. Jeong-Ho laughs nervously as he invites Jun in for some tea.
Mi-Gyeong listens, as she makes tea, to Jun and Jeong-Ho talk about Jun’s sudden visit. It turns out that the rumor was leaked during the Winter Iseul Festival. Jeong-Ho says that he wasn’t planning on getting officially engaged until he turned 21. Ji-Hu returns home from school and greets the three people in the kitchen then retreats to his room. Jun asks if Ji-Hu is turning 8 soon and Jeong-Ho says next week. Mi-Gyeong asks if he is doing anything special for Ji-Hu. Jeong-Ho replies that he is throwing a small feast for Ji-Hu and his friends. He then asks when her birthday is and she replies that is was the day of the Winter Iseul; 1st Month/15th Day. Jun bursts out laughing and Jeong-Ho glares at him offensively. Jun says that he came with a merchant caravan and they leave in three weeks so he will attend Ji-Hu’s party and the adults’ after party.
After cleaning up the mess from the after party, Jeong-Ho went to sleep on the couch as Mi-Gyeong helped a sleepy Ji-Hu prepare for bed. When she felt his head, Jeong-Ho was running a high fever. A few days later, his fever depleted and a summoning of Tribe Leaders was called. Jeong-Ho left with Jun and a few men and returned the next day. When he returned, he laid his head down on Mi-Gyeong’s lap. When she asked what happened, Jun responded in his place, saying that Jeong-Ho was told to tell if he was really planning on being engaged to you. Mi-Gyeong blushed and Jeong-Ho smiled as he looked up at her. She says that she wouldn’t mind being engaged to him since he saves her a few months back. Jeong-Ho smiles then sarcastically asks why Jun is still in his town
About a week later, the Tribe Leader gathered in Hyun Tribe Village to have a public meeting. At the head, Jeong-Ho introduced Mi-Gyeong as his potential bride. When the villagers and the Tribe Leaders were awed by her beauty. Some of the Tribe Leaders’ wives silently blessed them with their smiles. One of the Tribe Leaders, Leader of the Lee Tribe, Seok, asks Jeong-Ho about her having what it takes to be his wife. He states the conditions of intelligence, beauty, and elegance. As well as a heart to connect with the people and source of comfort for him. After he finished, the leader of the Park Tribe, Min-Ye agrees with Seok and says that she must be tested in order to acquire all five Tribe Leaders’ approvals. Jeong-Ho looks at Mi-Gyeong, questioningly. She shrugs and replies that she take the test. The next day,
Mi-Gyeong and the other wives of the Tribe Leaders leave Hyun Tribe Village and head to Suk-Ja Temple to take the test. A week has passed and the women return to Hyun Tribe Village. Mi-Gyeong is the last to exit the carriage. When Jeong-Ho asks how she did, she tells him she passed in everything except dancing and singing. She was told to study a bit more for the next few weeks but all-in-all she was approved to marry Jeong-Ho.
A month and a half pass before Jeong-Ho and Mi-Gyeong’s wedding. Little Ji-Hu looked elegant at the wedding ceremony but his face turned absolutely disgusted when it was time for the couples to kiss. Mi-Gyeong eventually befriended the other Tribe Leader and their wives.
In the Epilogue, two years pass and Mi-Gyeong is announced to be pregnant. Jeong-Ho comes home, this is three months later and finds a new life form in his home. When Mi-Gyeong asks what they should name the new baby, Jeong-Ho says, Hyun Jae-Suk. Ji-Hu comes home a few minutes later and greets his brother, sister-in-law and new nephew. They all sit in the kitchen as Jeong-Ho makes dinner for the first time since Mi-Gyeong became pregnant. The story ends when Jeong-Ho kisses his wife goodnight and sits on the bed next to her as she sleeps with their new son.