Like Wind on a Dry Branch

Alt title: Mareun Gajie Baramcheoreom

Ch: 69+
2020 - ?
4.398 out of 5 from 569 votes
Rank #1,833
Like Wind on a Dry Branch

As plague and turmoil afflicts the empire, enchanting widow Rieta Tristi finds herself at the mercy of a malicious nobleman and his dying wish to have her buried alive beside his corpse. The plague has taken her husband, slave traders have taken her young child, and now her own life is at risk -- until an unexpected visit from the empire's outcast prince changes everything.

Source: Webtoon

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I'm intrigued by the setting and plot of the webtoon. It has a slight melancholic mood to it, befitting of a medieval period when the plague is rampant.  Plot: As of chapter 17, there isn't really any romantic development, which suits the story well. That doesn't mean there's no interaction between them at all. There are nice gestures and natural interactions that develop their relationship... just not much in the romantic direction yet. The webtoon is well-paced, and keeps me yearning to see how the story unravels. The schemes are written well, and the feud between the Empress and the Duke is certainly interesting to read. The dialogue between them is superb, and feels like knife-play behind smiles. Quite fitting with the medieval mood. Characters: Rietta, the female lead, is timid at first glance. That is realistic given the hard life she has lived. The difficulties she has faced are also realistic, and is something expected to have happened to a commoner in medieval times. However, the story isn't a pity party for her either. The overall mood I get from her is "I have suffered much, I recognize that, and it is what it is," (kind of the same vibes as Edna from Light and Shadow). She isn't the type of strong female protagonist you'd expect in a webtoon, but more like the type of internally strong person you might meet in real life. She seems weak at first glance, but as I watch her soldier on, I realize she's strong in a different way from "sword-fighting strong". Ah, also, she has a small (maybe not small... the story's hinting at more than just small) bit of divine power. So that's an interesting aspect of the character too. Archduke Axias, the male lead, isn't an asshole. He's a firm duke for sure, but in no way is he a ruthless man. When the webtoon explains it, I see the decisions he makes are reasonable. After all, the medieval period is "kill, or be killed." He treats his subordinates well. A slight thing I don't like is that he can be blunt. His "harem" isn't really a harem... read it and you'll see. As of chapter 17, there's been no sex, no "I bought you so serve your master well" stuff. He gives off "cold duke" vibes, but doesn't harm people for no reason. Overall, he's a respectful dude.  The women in the harem are all welcoming (except one). They and Rietta bond like sisters. Art: The art is very good, and suits the story well. The first chapter has one panel where Rietta has asymmetrical eyes and sometimes the lips look a bit weird, but other than that the art is great throughout the story. Rietta is drawn especially gorgeous. I'd recommend you read this if you're looking for a historical romance with a mature feel to it. I'm quite confident the webtoon will continue to have good plot development. Also, the legal and free official English translation is here:

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