Chapter 13: Factions
In the winter of Kangxi’s 30th year, the snow seemed to be particularly heavy.
A lot of things have happened in the past few years.
The harem was not calm, and the court seemed to be in a lot of trouble.
In fact, it was a dispute between factions.
The eldest brother wanted to fight for the throne.
Naturally, the Crown Prince will not let him succeed and because of this, Minzhu and Suo’etu were clashing in secret.
Although the Crown Prince and the eldest brother were both busy wooing the younger brothers, Yinyou couldn’t tell if it was because he was too incompetent or his maiden family wasn’t prominent, either way, these two didn’t spend much energy on him.
Whatever it was, it did save him some trouble.
Seeing that the snow was getting ticker, Yinyou tightened the fox fur on his body and rushed his steps to the Yonghe Palace.
No matter what, this filial piety couldn’t be forgotten.
Now Concubine De was the concubine of the highest rank in Yonghe Palace, and therefore, the one in charge.
Fortunately, Concubine Cheng had always maintained a good relationship with her, and because she was not favored by the Emperor, Concubine De still treated her well.
It’s just that Concubine Cheng felt that she was useless.
She had been in the palace for so long but was not favored by the emperor.
That was alright, but to the child she gave birth to, she still couldn’t give him a healthy body.
More so, this sensible child had to deal with other elder brothers at such a young age, being careful not to get involved in the deep waters, and worrying about things a child should not.
It always made her feel uneasy when she thought of this.
In fact, Concubine Cheng was not a jealous or fierce woman.
Rather than love, she held respect for Kangxi.
The only thing she truly cared about was her son.
It was because of this that when she heard the news of the seventh brother arriving in this snowy weather, she felt delighted but also distressed.
How could he come here with such heavy snow What if he caught a cold and fell ill
“Let the seventh brother enter quickly,” Cheng Concubine’s tone was dignified with some urgency, and when she saw Yinyou entering the room, she could barely suppress the joy in her eyes, “Yinyou, it’s snowing so much, why do you still come here”
After greeting her, Yinyou took the hand warmer presented by the maid, hugged it in his arms, and replied smilingly, “E-Niang, this son has been busy these few days and couldn’t come to greet you.
Like this, it happened that this son missed E-Niang.”
“Such a sweet-talker,” Cheng Concubine’s eyes flushed slightly, but she quickly blinked and returned to normal, “Although you don’t have to go to school these days, you must remember not to miss your homework.
His Majesty has been eager to learn since he was a child, and you should learn from His Majesty’s sensitive and studious habits.”
“Child will do,” Yinyou couldn’t bear to see the sadness in Concubine Cheng’s eyes, so he called Fu Duo over, “E-Niang, these are some small things that the fourth brother and the thirteenth brother brought back to this son two days ago when they went out of the palace.
This son found it interesting, so he chose some to bring to E-Niang.
They’re not delicate things, but they do bring some fun.”
After Yinyou finished speaking, Fu Duo cleverly knelt down in front of Concubine Cheng holding the tray with both hands.
Concubine Cheng saw at a glance that there were two masks and some gadgets.
These were all things she saw before she entered the palace.
She reached out and took a dough figurine, it was a small doll that looked a bit like Yinyou.
“Put it inside quickly,” this time, Cheng Concubine smiled and the momo beside her hurriedly took the tray.
Knowing that Mistress must be happy with them, the momo’s movements were also cautious.
Just as the momo put away the things, there was a commotion outside the curtain.
Both mother and son turned their heads to see that it was Concubine De who came in with two maids and eunuchs, and after another greeting, the room fell silent.
Concubine De sat down at the head of the seat, pulled Cheng Concubine to sit, and then said, “Sister, why should we be so polite, I also heard that little seventh was coming, so I came over to have a look.
The fourth child came to greet me yesterday, but I didn’t see little seventh with him so I thought they had a fight.”
When Yinyou heard this, he knew that the other party was here to spy on his intentions, and he immediately let out a hint of anger on his face, “It turns out that the fourth brother came to greet De E-Niang yesterday but didn’t ask me to join you.
De E-Niang, I’m telling you that the fourth brother must have disliked me.”
“Look at this little heartless brat, when did your fourth brother get some benefits and didn’t remember you,” De Concubine snorted with a laugh, “According to me, I should tell your fourth brother what you said here today, and see if he will give you something good in the future.”
“I was joking! Please don’t tell the fourth brother, if the fourth brother really gets angry, this son must pester De E-Niang every day to help us make peace”.
After hearing this, Concubine De turned her head to look at Concubine Cheng, who was sitting quietly on the side, and teased her, “Sister, look, this little seventh is threatening me.”
Concubine Cheng said, “Don’t follow this little brat.
He knows that you’re good to him, that’s why he’s so unruly.”
At this moment, a eunuch came to report that the fourth elder brother came to pay his respects.
Concubine De’s face became softer.
Although this son was not close to her, he was not bad at all in terms of etiquette.
When the fourth elder brother entered the room, she kindly asked the servant to show the fourth elder brother a seat.
Sitting beside Yinyou, Yinzhen frowned when he saw the water stains left by the melting snow on Yinyou’s shoulders.
The dialogue between Concubine De and the fourth elder brother was rather question-and-answer.
When Yinyou saw that the scene was a little cold, he interjected with some comments to avoid embarrassment.
“E-Niang,” a childish voice came from outside the door, and with a flash of the curtain, a round ball rushed in front of Concubine De, hugged her leg, and did not let go.
Yinzhen glanced at the child, and spoke dryly, “Fourteenth brother.” The child just turned his head and ignored him.
Concubine De didn’t pay attention to such a trivial matter, she carefully straightened Yinzen’s clothes which were a little messy due to his running.
Yinzhen lowered his head with no change in expression, but Yinyou noticed that he bent his index finger and then let go of it quickly.
Yinyou turned his head to look at Yinzen.
At this time, the future general was just a three-year-old kid.
It’s just that this child will not be close to his full-blooded sibling but will become part of the Eighth Lord Party.
After a while, Yinzen let go of Concubine De and sat playing with a cloth tiger, completely ignoring Yinzhen and Yinyou.
A cloth tiger kept at the Palace Museum.
Most of Concubine De’s attention was now devoted to this fourteenth brother.
Seeing that the situation was not right, Yinyou got up to leave, and the fourth brother also took the opportunity to slip out.
After leaving the Yonghe Palace, Yinyou and Yinzhen’s eunuchs each held an umbrella for their Master.
Yinyou turned his head to look at Yinzhen but found that the umbrella covered Yinzhen’s face.
He didn’t know whether Yinzhen was sad, angry, or numb at this time.
He could just wonder.
The two walked a certain distance and saw three brothers playing in the snow.
Yinyou stopped, baffled and confused.
He thought, did these brothers start forming a faction this early on 
The three brothers playing together in the snow were the eighth brother, the ninth brother, and the tenth brother.
The ninth brother and the tenth brother were about the same age, and they didn’t go to Wuyizhai but studied together at Zhaoxiang.
The eighth brother and the other two clearly didn’t have an intersection, so how could they have a good relationship
Seeing Yinzhen and Yinyou arrive, the three brothers stopped playing and bowed their greetings.
After Yinzhen and Yinyou returned the salute, the five of them were silent.
Yinyou looked at the red cheeks of the three brothers, and said, “Don’t play for too long, it’s cold.
After you go back, ask the servants to make you some hot soup”.
The eighth elder brother smiled when he heard his words, and with this, his fair face suddenly softened a little, “The seventh elder brother was sick a few days ago, so he too should pay more attention.”
“I’ll remember,” Yinyou stretched out his hand to pat the snow on the three younger brother’s shoulders, “I should go back too.
You three don’t forget to do your homework.”
Upon hearing the word ‘homework’, the tenth brother twitched his brows, and the ninth brother also had an uncomfortable expression.
It was normal for children to dislike studying and to love playing.
In addition, these two brothers have been spoiled by their E-Niang since they were young, so they didn’t have much discipline.
Seeing that the faces of the two changed, the fourth brother spoke out, “As a prince, you must remember to be diligent and studious.
The ninth and tenth younger brothers must not forget Huang Ama’s teachings.”
The faces of the two younger brothers became even gloomier.
It’s just that because of the identity of the fourth brother, they could only listen obediently.
Seeing this, Yinyou had no choice but to say, “Fourth brother, the ninth brother, and the tenth brother are still young, don’t be too strict.” It seemed that the future cold-faced Emperor had already taken shape.
At first, the fourth brother wanted to say more, but when he heard Yinyou’s words, he stopped.
In his heart, he just thought that back then, the seventh brother was different from them.
In his memory, the seventh brother had always been very well-behaved.
When Yinyou was just three years old, he stayed quietly by his side and learned characters with him.
Later, when he entered the school, he also sat obediently next to him and would ask him anything he didn’t understand.
Watching the seventh brother grow up little by little, he felt pride in being an elder brother.
Unlike these two younger brothers, alright, don’t talk about progress, but to still put on a bad face in front of the seventh brother.
Could it be that they were looking down on the seventh brother because his mother was not favored or his family wasn’t powerful
The ninth brother’s E-Niang, Concubine Yi was favored while the E-Niang of the tenth brother had a noble status.
These two brothers have always been self-willed, how could they listen to other people’s words When Yinzhen and Yinyou left, the ninth brother muttered unhappily, “What’s the big deal, he’s just a cripple, and he’s not even favored, so why to put on airs.” He didn’t dare to complain about the fourth brother, but he had no scruples about the seventh brother.
“Ninth brother!” The usual gentle smile on the eighth brother’s face faded, and the snowball in his hand was crushed, “He is your elder brother.”
The ninth brother saw that Yinsi seemed to be really angry, and muttered softly, “But I’m right.” Then he didn’t dare to say more.
Yinsi patted the snowflakes in his hand, talked with his two younger brothers for a while, and then went back to his residence, It’s just that he always felt a little uncomfortable.
His feelings were complicated because the first time he saw the seventh brother he also thought the same thing.
He sympathized with this seventh elder brother who didn’t have either power or protection.
Presumably, the seventh brother also understood his situation, so he never participated in the struggles between the elder brothers.
Even when he was close to the fourth brother he didn’t intervene in those matters.
Yinsi didn’t know if the seventh brother was really too indifferent or too smart.
Let’s say he wasn’t smart enough.
Then how could he gain a firm foothold in the harem when he had a foot disease and his mother’s family lacked influence Even the eldest brother, the Crown Prince, and the third brother were very polite to him, and the fourth elder brother was even willing to protect him, so, what was it Whether he was truly indifferent or not, at least Yinsi knew for sure that the seventh brother will not interfere in the affairs of the fourth brother and him so many things will still be quite easy to handle.
He didn’t need to worry too much.
A few days later, Yinyou heard from the eunuch beside him that someone had cut off the tail hair of the puppy the fourth elder brother liked.
Then another servant said that someone saw the ninth brother and the tenth brother taking the puppy away.
As for the truth, only the dog knew.
Of course, there were also some things that everyone knew clearly but just didn’t say it.
Yinzhen, 4th brother.
The second character in his name has fewer strokes than the 4th brother.
To facilitate reading, I decided to translate his name to Yinzen.
DeepL translator gave me the alternative translation of ‘Yincheng’.
Translating the 14th brother as Yincheng would be significantly easier for both you and me, but it would feel less conflictive with the 4th brother.
Y’know, having a more favored sibling and this sibling even almost stealing your name Haha, oh, yeah.
Better call him Yinzen.
It would also respect their Chinese name similarity.
The 胤 is for “blessed” and all of Kangxi’s sons have this character in their names.
Dunno if I’ve said it before so I’ll just say it now, lol.
 Wikipedia: Seeing that Yinreng was completely disavowed, Yinsi and some other princes turned to support the 14th prince, Yinti, while the 13th prince supported Yinzhen.
They formed the so-called “Eighth Lord Party” (八爺黨) and “Fourth Lord Party” (四爺黨).
Bambi: so Yinsi had 14th, 9th and 10th on his side.
Yinzhen had the 13th brother.
Later, Yinsi even got close to Hongli, Yinzhen’s shu son.