Li Shimin (李世民) is the second and current Emperor of Tang. Li Shimin, along with his two brothers Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, helped his father (Li Yuan) overthrow the Sui dynasty to establish the Tang Empire.
Due to his growing military power and influence, his two brothers, including the Crown Prince, are constantly plotting against him. Fearing for his life, Li Shimin eventually made the first move and lured his siblings into a trap to execute their entire families in the event known as the Xuanwu Gate Incident. This effectively rendered him the Crown Prince apparent heir to the throne, before his father ceded the throne to him shortly afterwards.
As a prince, he is said to be a brave and talented military leader and was constantly away from the palace to lead military campaigns and battles. Li Shimin is also described to be highly ambitious. When Li Jin asked about what he wants most in life, he unhesitantly replies "his country and people".
Despite his exceptional military talent, Li Shimin is not the official Crown Prince since he is the second son after Li Jiancheng. However, Li Yuan the First Tang Emperor, still remained ambivalent about electing a successor, often promising Li Shimin the throne before his expeditions.
This led to serious rivalry among the three brothers, especially between Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin. For fear of Shimin's military power and influence growth, Jiangcheng sided with Yuanji to plot an assassination attempt against Shimin. To protect himself, Li Shimin eventually made the first move and lured his siblings into a trap to execute their entire families in the event known as the Xuanwu Gate Incident.
In the imperial court, Chancellor Fang Xuanling requests an audience with the emperor and is greeted by Chancellor Du Ruhui. He turns to the emperor and informs him that he may rest with ease, as all of the families of the former princes have been put to their deaths. Du Ruhui remarks that they must not let their guard down for the sake of Tang and they must weed out any possible dissidents. Fang Xuanling then informs them that princess Yongning fell to her death in a canyon and her body was carried away by the river's rapids. Du Ruhui says it is unlike of General Yuchi Jingde to not be able to find a body, but Fang Xuanling says it could not be helped. Du Ruhui suggests retrieving her body to confirm her death, however Li Shimin interrupts their conversation and tell both his chancellors that retrieving her body would be unnecessary and to hold a funeral for the princess and her mother at Rong'en temple. He thanks his chancellors and dismisses them.
She used to be Li Shimin's love interest before she was married to his brother Li Jiancheng. Li Jin was originally called Abugemasu, the princess of Uyghurs - who was being sent to the Eastern Turkic Khagnate to be the Khan's concubine. However, on her way to the Khagnate, her delegation was caught in a crossfire with the Han, where Li Shimin narrowly rescued her from the sword of a Turk and and took her back to Tang. He was so captivated by her gleaming jade-like eyes and therefore, named her Li Jin, for "Jin" meaning "jade".
Li Shimin slowly fell in love with the meek and beautiful Uyghur Princess, without knowing where she came from or ever asking her. Li Jin also expresses her admiration for him as well, often blushing when they were together. However, they could not spend much time together since he was constantly absent from the Palace on his crusade. One day, after a long expedition, Li Shimin returned just to discover that Li Jin had been abruptly married to his older brother Li Jiancheng, breaking the promise to wait for him. Not understanding her reasons, Shimin felt outranged took his horse to ride for hours until he become unconscious.
Despite the ongoing rumor about their affairs, the two never met again after Li Jin enters Li Jiancheng's palace. Eventually, after he has eliminated Li Jiancheng on the day of the Xuanwu Gate Incident, Li Shimin enters Jiancheng's Palace to confront Li Jin why she chose his brother. In a composed manner, Li Jin him that she understood why he had to move on his brothers before she suddenly bled through her nose. He angrily realized that she has already drunk poisoned wine, and was aghast when she dies in his arms, never giving him an answer.
It is later revealed that the person who secretly informed Shimin about the assassination plot against him was Ah Yun under Li Jin's instruction.
Li Jianchang was a loving uncle to Changge, presumably out of his secluded affection for her mother. He often had her over to teach her archery, martial arts and literature, along with letting his finest advisors including Wei Zheng, Fang Xuanling, and Yuchi Jingde, tutor her. He even gifted her a miniature bow and the jade dagger that she still uses as a her signature self-defense weapon. When Changge offered to be a bride in an alliance marriage with the Eastern Turkic Khagnate, Li Shimin was fiercely opposed to the idea, proving that he is very protective of her.
Once, Li Shimin gave Changge a lecture to remind her that he did not teach her martial arts to pit against her brothers. However, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident, Li Shimin trapped his two brothers Li Jiancheng and Li Juanji to execution their entirely family including Changge. However she managed to flee and swear to take vengeance on him. When Yuchi Jingde returned announcing his failed to pursue her into the steep cliff, Li Shimin orders to cancel the pursuit, announcing that her memorials shall be arranged in Rongen Temple along with her mother.
Later on her journey, Changge suddenly realizes that it might have been her mother who helped Li Shimin in his coup, leading her to seriously question her destiny ("Dao"). Finally, she realizes that eliminating Li Shimin will only bring more chaos to the Tang Empire, and decides to forgo her vows of vengeance on him.
The Crown Prince of Tang and the Second Prince had always been rivals and when Li Jiancheng started feeling threatened by his younger brother's growing influence, he plotted against Li Shimin with his youngest brother Li Yuanji. However, Li Shimin killed his older brother before the latter could do the same.
A chancellor and advisor to Li Shimin. He turned a blind eye to Li Shimin's coup attempt at the Xuanwu Gate Incident, explaining that his compass dictates that he put people first, his country second, and his emperor last.
A chancellor and advisor to Li Shimin. Despite knowing that Changge might have survived from the, Xuanwu Gate Incident, Fang Xuanling still reported to Li Shimin that she has died jumping off a cliff.
A chancellor and advisor to Li Shimin as well, he only wishes for the prosperity of Tang, thus he follows the person he believes can achieve this dream - Li Shimin. He is extremely loyal to Li Shimin, even when he had to lose two fingers under the hand of by Li Jiancheng's underlings. After the Xuanwu Gate Incident, he is the extremely determined to track down and eliminate Changge, believing that she will continue to be a risk for Li Shimin .
Despite being diagnosed with a fatal disease, Ruhui still wishes to devote to Li Shimin's causes even if he has only 7 to 10 years to live.
Abilities & powers
Li Shimin is a highly talented and brave military leader.
- Li Shimin is based on the real life Emperor Taizong of Tang. He was the second emperor of that Tang dynasty of China, ruling from 626 to 649. He lived from January 28, 598 until July 10, 649 (aged 51).
- Chang Ge Xing: Chapter 1.1, Pages 16-18