|“||I'm an actor so there's not much I can do, but I'd love to help anyone who's discouraged by their difficult environment.||”|
—ZEN, Comment from RFA Orientation Guidebook
Zen (real name Hyun Ryu) is one of the main characters available through the Casual Story in Mystic Messenger. Zen is a semi-successful actor/dancer/singer. He can come across as narcissistic about his looks, often posting selfies and exclaiming how handsome he is. However, while it may seem he cares about his appearance the most, he wants to be recognized and appreciated first and foremost for his career skills.
- 1 Personality
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Background story
- 4 Casual Story
- 5 Relationships
- 6 The spaceship reveals
- 7 Welcome messages
On the surface, Zen is known for being a very eccentric and flirtatious character. He will often talk about his looks, praising and complimenting himself for how attractive he is, as well as how talented he is when it comes to singing and acting. Zen tends to compare others to himself when it comes to looks, frequently telling Yoosung to work out to look half as good as he does. Despite this, Zen can become very loyal and caring, especially to those he cares about. In all routes, he cares deeply for MC. While Zen likes to compliment himself, he often flirts with MC. He usually calls them "sweetie" or "babe".
In conjunction, deep down Zen self doubts himself, wondering if people only see him for his looks, rather than his talents. He can be easily upset if something affects his career, almost entering a depressive state.
He is known for pursuing larger and better musicals, offering up smaller ones or turning them down if the opportunity presents itself.
Like many of the members, he has scars from his past which can't be forgotten.
Zen is a tall young man with noticeable muscle tone due to regular training. He is 182 cm (5'11") tall and his weight is 75 kg (165.3 pounds). He has silver-white long hair with short bangs falling slightly over his eyes, and his hair is tied in a low ponytail which reaches down his back. Zen's eyes are pinkish-red and almond-shaped.
He is shown wearing multiple outfits, including a grey jacket with large buttons and a logo feature, a black turtleneck, tight fitting pants and black formal shoes.
Zen is the youngest son in his family, and lived with his mother, father and older brother. His family is described as being quite conservative; his parents being teachers and his older brother working as a lawyer. During his younger years, he was harassed by strangers as they followed him to touch him or take pictures of him.
He would often be treated poorly by his parents, specifically his mother, who questioned who he got his looks from and frequently called him ugly, causing a rift to form between the two. Zen would often confide in his older brother, who would explain that his mother was only saying those things to 'protect him' from being used by others due to his handsome appearance. She also wanted him to think that he wasn't handsome, she feared he would follow the steps of her nephew and other handsome men in becoming unscrupulous and damaging the family name.
As he entered middle school, Zen gained a boost in confidence due to his looks, and he began finding his passion for acting and music, to which his mother strongly disagreed with, believing that he should become a doctor or lawyer like his brother.
During these years, he found out that his older brother had started siding with their mother for him to drop his silly hobby and diligently study to become successful like him. Due to this, Zen dropped out of school and ran away from home, renting an apartment, barely surviving with the rent while working small jobs here and there. He also admitted that he even did 'bad things' to survive, including threatening people for money.
After finishing work, he meets Rika, who has a bouquet of roses, and she praises him for his talents and states she's been watching him ever since his first musical appearance. Rika then persuades him to meet V and to get a photograph together, as well as telling him she knows someone who can help him become successful. He meets Jumin Han and instantly dislikes him, denying his offers due to personal reasons. Later, Zen eventually joins the RFA.
On the MC's introduction, Zen is very flirtatious towards her, and is one of the less suspicious members of the group towards the MC and her actions. Zen is very open towards the MC, and casually flirts with her while befriending her, believing that she has good intentions in joining the RFA. Throughout the first four days, Zen and the MC can engage in lighthearted, flirtatious banter and she can compliment him on his looks, which result in Zen's approval and the two growing closer.
If the player manages to pass the game branch into Zen's route, both she and Zen instantly become very close, much to the displeasure of Jaehee, who feels that their relationship may ruin Zen's career and is constantly trying to warn the MC to stay away from Zen; depending on the MC's actions, she can either calm Jaehee's worries about her and Zen's relationship, or tell Jaehee to mind her own business. One day, Zen is offered an opportunity to work on a project with the famous singer Echo Girl, which will considerably boost his popularity. Jumin, on the other hand, offers Zen a chance to star in a cat food commercial for his company. Zen disagrees with getting a foothold in the entertainment industry due to nepotism over his talent as well as having a cat allergy, and, after a heated argument, attempts to prove his worth by practicing.
On the seventh day of his route, Zen ends up spraining his ankle from overexertion and as a result, ends up becoming withdrawn as he is upset at the prospect of losing the role. At the same time, he continues to decline Jumin's offer. In the afternoon, he meets Echo Girl while buying goldfish bread in front of his house, and despite his consideration of withdrawing from the role, Echo Girl urges him to stay, using her influence to keep Zen in the production.
The rest of the RFA members agree to send the player over to visit Zen to cheer him up, and Jumin sets up an arrangement for transportation on the condition that she convinces Zen to model for his cat food commercial. When the visit comes to an end, Zen brings the player up on the roof to stargaze, and confides his past with her. He admits that he rejected Jumin's help because of his resemblance to his older brother, and feels that he can move on with her help. Right after the player is sent home, Echo Girl arrives at Zen's apartment intending to woo him; however, Zen rejects her advances and sends her back to her manager. The next day, Echo Girl meets both Jumin and Zen separately, threatening to ruin their images. This results in Zen being accused of sexually assaulting Echo Girl on television, smearing his name drastically, later followed by gossip that Jumin is gay.
Jumin is undeterred and enlists Seven to look for information to prove Zen's innocence. Meanwhile, Zen shuts down at facing the possible end of his career since he is only a low-tier actor tied to small-scale musicals. Jumin and the player encourage him to be confident, but he becomes more upset. He rides his motorcycle to a secret location to calm down. After contacting V, Jumin locates him for confrontation and offers him a chance to act in a commercial for a teacup company that his father recently acquired to help bring back his reputation. Zen comes to terms with his family issues, realizing that Jumin was only trying to help him. He agrees to model in the cat commercial rather than the teacup commercial. He becomes grateful of the RFA, especially MC, who helped him understand the feelings of other people, and inspired him to reconnect with his own family. He tells her that he plans to officially ask her to be his girlfriend after the party.
The RFA opts to have Zen hold a press conference at the party. At night-time, on Day 10, Zen has a nightmare where Unknown enters Rika's apartment and kidnaps the player, planning to use her as a hostage to capture the rest of the RFA. Zen is utterly horrified when the premonition becomes real. Seven reveals to the player in the morning that Unknown has hacked into the defense system of the apartment, modifying so that the bomb inside will detonate when any RFA member enters or exits. Though the others are reluctant to believe him, Zen becomes frantic to save the player.
Seven eventually disables the bomb, but Zen is even more alarmed that the intruder will approach the player. He quickly rushes over to Seven's place despite orders and demands he gives him the address. By dusk, Unknown sneaks into Rika's apartment to avoid motion and heat sensors by breaking the window. Before he is able to take away the player, Zen enters the apartment with the code to the lock. Unknown initially believes him to be Seven, but when confronted, he threatens Zen with a switch that will detonate the bomb in the apartment if activated. MC breaks away from Unknown.
Zen and the player escape, taking shelter in Zen's home. While the player calms down from the events, Zen suggests that they live together from now on, as it is dangerous for her to stay elsewhere. While Jaehee agrees and approves of their relationship, Jumin is hesitant, as he believes that two unmarried lovers should not live together. Regardless, as the RFA prepares for the party, Yoosung reveals that he has found a witness that may prove Zen's innocence: the vendor of the goldfish bread.
Depending on the MC's actions and if they've managed to pass every game branch thus far, the party will take place on the 11th day of Zen's route, where he will be able to finally take action against the claims made against him (see Zen/Endings for more details).
Yoosung is a good friend of Zen, and the two share a brotherly bond with one another and Zen tries to help and protect Yoosung as best as he can; it often stated that Yoosung is jealous of Zen's good looks. Zen acts as the big brother towards Yoosung, often trying to help the younger man by scolding him into quitting gaming (which has greatly hindered his education) so that he can focus better on his studies and attempts to offer advice to Yoosung on how to look and act better so that he may be able to get a girlfriend. Zen does not tease Yoosung as often as the other members, such as 707, and seems to care a lot about Yoosung, even feeling as if he needs to look after him, such as during 707's route when Yoosung decides to visit Zen's house in order to find comfort due to the high tensions in the RFA; the two end up getting drunk, Yoosung more so than Zen, and Zen ends up looking after and caring for a drunk Yoosung.
In V's route, Zen offers Yoosung to stay with him to make him feel safer after tensions grow worse in the RFA thanks to the hacker and to V's behaviour, and he takes on the role of mother hen as he tries to help Yoosung with eating healthier and to get him to go running with him; Zen becomes stern as Yoosung becomes emotional after the truth about V and Rika's relationship is revealed and takes away Yoosung's phone to help him calm down. Despite how annoyed Yoosung appears about Zen's attempt to help and protect him, he recognises the older man's good intensions and is grateful that Zen wants to look out for him.
In Yoosung's route, Zen is supportive of the MC and Yoosung's quickly established relationship, albeit is wary at how fast the two are moving but is not as critical of the two as much as the others are, and repeatedly asks the MC to look after Yoosung and tries to offer relationship advice towards the two.
Zen and 707 are friends. Zen often encourages 707 to eat proper meals for his health, rather than his regular diet of junk food. Zen describes him as a crazy boy who has exceptional talent in hacking, but he doesn't understand why 707 adores cats so much. Zen knows that 707 isn't a bad person, 707 takes care of Zen in Yoosung's route when he goes to stay with him to get away from his stalker. 707 has also significantly helped Zen's career by hacking into Youtube and making one of Zen's videos go viral, as well as creating a 'Tripter bot' to regularly tweet Zen's selfies.
Out of all the members in the RFA, Zen gets along least with Jumin, who he views as being a 'trust fund jerk' who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and believes that Jumin is a robotic person who only cares for his money and his cat, Elizabeth the 3rd. Zen is often critical towards Jumin of his treatment towards Jaehee, disagreeing with how much Jumin works his assistant despite Jaehee stating in Jumin's route that Jumin's workload is greater than her own. As a result of his dislike towards Jumin, Zen attempts to avoid him at all costs, referring to him only as 'jerk' and complaining whenever Jumin enters the chat. Because the game is originally set in Korean, the MC can point out how Zen doesn't speak in honorifics to Jumin, which in Korean is a sign of respect to someone older.
However, Zen's animosity is not reciprocated and Jumin holds no hatred towards Zen, and even sees him as a friend despite Zen's treatment towards him and Jumin even sends Zen bodyguards under threat of the hacker in his route. Jumin has extended modelling and sponsorships offers towards Zen multiple times, recognizing his talent and his looks but Zen has rejected them each time, with their first meeting ending with Zen rejecting Jumin's offer of a job. Their greatest bone of contention comes from Zen's hatred of cats and Jumin's love for them - often, Jumin will send pictures of Elizabeth the 3rd into the chat knowing that, so great are Zen's allergies, it will set Zen off and even going so far as to bring to the cat to the previous party making Zen's allergies act up to a very high degree. Zen does not bother to refer to Elizabeth the 3rd by her full name, knowing full well it annoys Jumin and it is the only time that he is able to draw a reaction from the other man.
It is only in Zen's route do the two begin to see eye to eye; Jumin is the one to arrange Zen and the MC's meeting, making the necessary arrangements to bring the MC over to Zen's house despite his own personal belief that men and women should not be living together or spending nights together before marriage; only eventually does Zen recognise Jumin's help and offer of friendship, apologising for misdirecting his anger that he felt towards his brother onto Jumin, to which the other man accepts and once again makes an offer of having Zen be the face of a tea cup project he is working on.
The two greatly clash in Jumin's route, fighting even more so than usual over Jumin's actions of having the MC stay in his penthouse; multiple times does Zen threaten Jumin in order to 'release' the MC, warning the MC that Jumin is a man and therefore a beast and that she cannot trust him not to do anything. Eventually, Zen begrudgingly accepts their relationship however much it makes him 'cringe' to see Jumin so lovey-dovey.
Jaehee and Zen are close friends, with Jaehee also being a diehard fan of Zen, often complimenting him on his looks and fangirling over the selfies he frequently sends into the chats. Jaehee's professionalism only cracks when around Zen and she is extremely protective over Zen and his career, to the point where she will reprimand the MC if she suspects the MC having feelings for Zen, whether the MC is in his route or not; however, her protectiveness is only done out of concern for Zen and his growing popularity, being afraid that a scandal might arise and end up hurting his career.
Zen appreciates Jaehee's concern for him and seems unperturbed by how much of a diehard fan she is, even going as far as not thinking she's that even a fan of his, and sees her as a close friend that he cares deeply for; he often gives out to Jumin about Jaehee being overworked and the fact that Jumin seems to not take Jaehee's life into account when he decides to leave on a whim and to place Elizabeth the 3rd in her care, as since he has a severe cat allergy he can sympathise with Jaehee whenever she is forced to care for the cat. The two often ally together with regards to the Yoosung, the two seeing him as a younger sibling and they both despair over his decision to slack off on his school work and try to help him break his gaming addiction.
During Jaehee's route, the two end up becoming closer, and exchange gifts as he helps you to encourage Jaehee that she should follow her dreams and to become happy.
In Zen's route, Jaehee's protectiveness over Zen escalates and she takes on an almost aggressive, defensive approach towards the MC, remaining unsupportive of the two's relationship over her concern that their relationship might end up in a scandal that could cost Zen his career, which he sacrificed a lot to achieve. Jaehee warns the MC multiple times of the consequences if their relationship should be made public and that all that Zen worked for could be compromised, however eventually Jaehee overcomes her concerns and starts to support the two.
Rika and Zen met three years prior, with Rika becoming enamored with Zen's skills, visiting him backstage and offering him a bouquet of flowers, praising him for his work and his beauty. Much like the other RFA members, Zen thought of Rika as a beautiful, helpful and kind woman who was incapable of doing anything bad and that she dedicated her life to helping others, therefore leading Zen to think of Rika as bright, happy woman. He is forever grateful for her support when he was barely scraping by in the acting world, feeling happy he was recognised by her when he was a complete 'no-name'. Because of this, Rika was the one who managed to convince Zen to become a member of the RFA.
While he was not as close with Rika as Jumin or Yoosung, his death greatly affected Zen too, and he grieved and lamented her death; in Yoosung's route, when it's revealed that Rika was mentally ill, he's also in a state of shock like the other members who all believed that Rika was always a happy, shining person.
V and Zen met when V attempted to photograph Zen, enraptured by his beauty and had followed him hoping to get a photo before Zen ended up getting into a motorbike accident, which led to V ending up saving Zen's life, for which Zen is eternally grateful. In turn, Zen allowed for V to take photos of him, which ended up helping Zen garner more fame in his life. Due to V's presence in the chat being scarce, the two rarely interact during the time of the game, save for Another Story; during this time, V expresses his concern whenever Zen reminisces over his time where he would be able to ride his motorbike, and asks Zen to always be careful, even asking him not to go on rides when he is too emotional in case he might end up being hurt. During V's route, Zen is greatly worried over V after being hurt and asks for updates to know if his friend is alright.
Zen and Elizabeth 3rd never interact with each other, and Zen claims that he doesn't want to. He is allergic to cats to the point that just seeing a photo of one makes his nose itch. It is stated that at a previous RFA party, Jumin brought Elizabeth the 3rd with him which caused Zen's allergies to act up. Despite that, he stated that he doesn't hate Elizabeth 3rd.