The story of Yixin, later known as Prince Gong, and his brother Yizhu, who would become the Xianfeng Emperor. My latest for The World of Chinese Magazine.
The two young princes greeted their father. He turned to them and asked them a simple question. They were his most capable sons. The younger one, Yixin, both in 1833, was cerebral, bright, articulate, with large bright eyes that sparkled with curiosity. The elder, Yizhu, born 1831, was also gifted. He was a student of literature, good with his pen, and had taken an early interest in the problems of administering the empire. Perhaps not the intellectual force of his younger brother, but steadfast and unwavering.
The emperor turned and asked them both the same question. If you were to succeed me as emperor, what would you do first?