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"He killed your guardian claiming his identity no longer a servant of the Emperor, Li abandon his fearsome armor to become the master you thought you knew. If you and the amulet were the key to defeating his brother Li might still claim that power".

–Abbot Song

Master Li, once known as Sun Li the Glorious Strategist, was the brother of the Emperor Sun Hai, the teacher to the Player character and the true antagonist of Jade Empire.

The Long Drought

"Thirty years ago, the Long Drought struck the land. For a decade, crops withered and died. Starving people across the Empire demanded that something be done". -Abbot Song

Sun Li was born into the royal family of the Jade Empire as the second of three children, thus making him the commander of the Imperial Army.

When the Long Drought hit the Empire, it caused widespread famine and thousands were dying. Emperor Sun Hai asked Sun Li to find a way to end it. Sun Li found that the Water Dragon had the power to restore the balance and laid siege to Temple of Dirge to obtain it. Soon the armies of the Empire marched to Dirge, crushing all that opposed them. However, Sun Li would not allow his brother to obtain the power of a god unchallenged. He plotted with Sun Kin to kill Sun Hai and take the power for their own.

The Siege of Dirge

Sun Li strikes down the Spirit Monk Guardian

"I killed hundreds of your kind, thousands. Just for the *chance* to become a god". -Sun Li

The armies of the Empire marched to Dirge and the battle began. Thousands of Imperial Soldiers and Spirit Monks died in the siege. Sun Li tempted some Spirit Monks to betray their fellow monks by diluting the Water Dragon's fountains with their blood, thus making the Water Dragon weak. When they reached the temple, Abbot Song tried to stop them but was no match for Sun Li and Sun Kin. Once inside, the Emperor obtained the power of the Water Dragon by taking her heart. Sun Li and Sun Kin tried to stop the Emperor, but he had become too powerful. Li was able to escape from Sun Hai's wrath, but left Sun Kin to die. He followed the Protagonist's Guardian and slew him, taking his identity. Li left his fearsome armor behind and left to find a quiet place to raise the child, seeing in it a way to claim Sun Hai's power in the future. The Emperor found Li's abandoned armor and bound Kin's spirit to it; creating Death's Hand.

After the siege, Li was declared dead in the raid and declared a traitor of the Empire, and was blamed for the death of Prince Sun Kin. As a result, Sun Hai ordered the execution of Li's family. However, Sagacious Zu saved Li's daughter Dawn Star, who later ended up training at the same school as the protagonist.

Twenty Years Later

After he left with the protagonist, Li found the village of Two Rivers, deciding to live a simple life there until the time came for his revenge. He became the master of a martial arts school and trained the Protagonist. After the final day of the Player's training, bandits invaded the village. A student, Kia Min, was badly injured, so Li went to help her. After the Player had defeated the bandits and ghosts, Li arrived and destroyed the bandits ship with ease, easily dispatching the Lotus Assassin sorcerer who was commanding the raid.

Eventually, Li was prepare to send the Player to the Spirit Cave, but he was interrupted by Gao the Lesser who was tired of not being acknowledge for helping against the bandit raid. He challenged the Player to a duel, eventually losing it. Gao, furious for his defeat, attacked with Dire Flame, but Li blocked it and expelled Gao from the school. Then he reveals to the Player his true identity, which Gao overheard and ran. He sends the Player to the Spirit Cave. The Player returns early much to the surprise of Li and Jing Woo arrives and informs Li that Dawn Star had gone missing. Li sends the Player to find her. While the Player searched for Dawn Star, Death's Hand and Grand Inquisitor Jia arrive with the Lotus Assassins and takes Li as a prisoner without resistance or a fight, but after he was taken, the Lotus Assassins started murdering the students. After the Player defeats Gao's men, Jing Woo was the only survivor and reveals the fate of Li to Dawn Star, eventually making the Last Spirit Monk, Dawn Star and Sagacious Zu embark on a quest to save Li.

Victory and Betrayal

"You have made me proud. Your abilities have grown immensely. But it also does my heart good to see that you have remembered the basics of what I taught you... even the flaws!"

-Sun Li on the Spirit Monk's victory

After the Spirit Monk reveals the Emperor's approval of the construction of the Golem army via using the souls of slaves, Silk Fox takes them to the palace. There, they see Li and Sun Hai talking. Eventually, Sun Hai knocks everyone down except for the Spirit Monk. The Spirit Monk proceeded and kills Sun Hai. Sun Li proceeds to the throne where he takes the Water Dragon's heart. He congratulates the Spirit Monk, and taking advantage, he strikes and kills his former student, revealing his true intentions of claiming the power his brother sought. With the Emperor and the Player dead, he picks up the amulet dropped by the Spirit Monk and proceeds to absorb the power to become a god. Sun Li then proclaims himself as the new Emperor of the Jade Empire.

Master vs. Student

The Spirit Monk is able to return from the dead through aiding the Water Dragon's spirit and destroys or taints her body, thus causing Sun Li to no longer draw power from her. The Monk confronts Li in the throne room; if the player brings Dawn Star as their companion, she will try to plead as his daughter (if the discovery is made) for Li to stop his tyranny, but Li says not even the pleas of family will stop his conquest for power. Li sends his newly acquired Lotus Assassins and Imperial Guards to deter the Monk. When they fail, he uses his magic to bring several stone Elephant and Bull Demons to life, but they too prove to be no match. The Monk eventually confronts Sun Li at the base of the throne; Li tries to cause doubt and break the Monk's spirit by sending them into a realm where it seems hopeless to win alone, but the Monk overcomes by his companions' energies taking down the incarnations of doubt or by the Monk prevailing alone. Either way, the Spirit Monk breaks free and Sun Li agrees to face his former student, unless the Monk is made to reason.

If the Monk refuses to listen, a final battle with Sun Li is fought. Although skilled, Sun Li is struck down and dies, releasing all the power he absorbed from the Water Dragon.

If the Monk agrees to surrender to Sun Li, there is a scene with a golden statue of the Player resembling a Lotus Assassin. A teacher is telling the students of the Monk's sacrifice and when one asks about life before, he is told he does not need to know. A Jade Golem beside the statue seems to want to hurt the boy until he desists. The children then chant praises to the Player and Sun Li, and he looks on, maliciously laughing.