Despite being his son, Li is the exact opposite of Yanluo. Where his father does his best to take care of human souls, Li’s only interest with souls is how much they will earn him.
Li’s childhood was rough. Born from a God who let his mother handle the child all by herself, he quickly developed some rather unusual abilities. Seeing dead peoplewas one of them.
His mother, Liana, was a russian translator who settled in Seoul during thecold war. She was impregnated by Yanluo after he took the appearance of anambassador to seduce her. Everything could have gone unnoticed by Liana if it weren’t for Yanluo’s regrets to take advantage of a human. An adorable one moreover. Before leaving, the God decided to explain everything to Liana. Shewas a smart woman and with the proofs her lover gave her, she realized the trouble she was put in. Yanluo then left and never came back.
For the next 15 years, Liana had to raise Li by herself with only hertranslator job. Being alone, she could hardly look after her son as much as shewanted and Li took advantage of it very soon. In an attempt to make her sonmore responsible, she explained Li early on what was going on and who (or what) was his father. The naivety of youth helping, Li believed his mother’s story. And soon enough his abilities started to show up, confirming Liana’s claims…and giving the boy more means to make himself a place in the street. But unfortunately, only her and Li were aware of the truth and to explain her son’s birth, Liana had to make up a rape story. At the time, raped women weren’t eligible to any kind of public aid, adding more frustration to the situation.
15 years after Yanluo’s visitation, Liana became sick. Pancreas cancer. She had only a few months to live and Li was filled with sadness and anger. His father was a God and he couldn’t help her? Bullshit ! He never cared about his family. God or not, he weren’t that different from all the departing fathers in the world. Thus were Li’s thoughts.
But when Liana held her a last breathe, Yanluo appeared to the young teenager. And he took with him Li and Liana’s soul. A 15 years old teenager walking on a divine plane, escorting his mother’s soul to eternal rest (until her reincarnation that is), all this alongside a God who was nobody else but his father. Even knowing the truth for so many years couldn’t prepare the young man to this traumatic experience.
It was the first time a mortal was brought in Di Yu but it was far from the first time Yanluo was breaking the laws of the Celestial Bureaucracy. The God explained his son he felt bad for Liana and him during all these years, but the divine geopolitics kept him away and when he learned Liana’s final moments were close, he arranged everything to take Li under his wings.
But his son wasn’t willing to listen to Yanluo’s poor excuses. 15 years wereplenty of time to check on one’s family. But Li couldn’t yet understand that time passes differently for Gods: being immortal beings, 15 years feels to them like 2 days for mortals. It took around a year of uninterrupted talking for Li and his father to come to some sort of mutual understanding. Being in a realm of Death, Li wasn’t feeling time passing more than his father. Here was Li’s first taste to power. A first glimpse at immortality.
Yanluo then began his son’s training. He explained him everything he needed to know about the Titans, the Gods and geopolitics and how precious were the human souls. The years went on and Li mastered quickly the powers of Sheol and Night. Yanluo was proud of his son and was already seeing him give a hand to his father with managing the Di Yu.
But Li wasn’t very keen of staying in the Underground forever. Often he slipped out of his father’s protection and conducted businesses in the world. He quickly started to create a mob gang, ransoming shop owners for protection. His business began to grow enough to cath the attention of both the Yakuza and the Triad. But it only reinforced Li’s hunger for power. Because this is what was laying underneath Li’s efforts: the crave of Power.
Yanluo, kept busy by the souls sent by his son’s business (among others), didn’t really had time to deal with his son’s ambitions in the world. Li was perfectly aware of the consequences of too much binding in the World’s affairs and Yanluo trusted his son enough to see this display of ambition only as a teenager crisis. He only needed time to get used ot his abilities. After all, in the eyes of the divine timeline, Li was younger than an infant.
Still interested in making him his right-hand, Yanluo brought Li to a special place, where he could witness how things were done elsewhere in the field of souls managing. The more sight Li could have, the better it would be for his coming duty. So Yanluo brought Li to…Hades. The eponym Greek God having good relations with Yanluo, he accepted to meet with the God and his son and of course allowing Li to leave the Underworld. This moment was the turning point of Li’s destiny.
The godborn saw how Hades were taking care of this Underworld, he guessed the God’s personnality and weighted his wealth reputation, then he did the maths.
Raw power, cunning, and relations could make him climb the divine ladder higher
than he originally thought. Li’s was already beginning to feel the ties of Fate due to his actions in the world and from what his father explained to him, this wouldn’t end well if he didn’t cut lose with everything that he built with his own hands. But Li needed a way out, a backup plan. And he just found one before his amazed eyes ! He never had thought the divine plane to be such a perfect reflexion of the mortal plane. Especially when it came to the personal ambitions. A plan then began to seed in his mind as soon as Hades and Yanluo told him about Tartarus and its nature as a prison for Titans.