This fic takes place immediately after the events in wakfu episode 22. After being frustrated with the hiatus of episodes until june and the appalling lack of fanfiction out there, I decided to try my hand at it.

*edit* I went back after seeing the last episodes of season one and ended up cutting a chapter with ruel stroud meeting up with tristepin around a sadida town on his way to to royal capital. if enough people review this fic/express interest I may go back and add it back in as a slight AU leading into the events of episodes 25 and 26.

disclaimer: I do not own wakfu; the series nor any of the intellectual property ankama has related to it.

"I know nothing I say can replace your bow…"

Grunt. Heave. Scrabble.

"From the bottom of my heart I regret what happened and beg that we can become comrades again…"

Another handhold, another bead of sweat rolling down a toned bicep.

"Eva, I've had a lot of time to think and I want you to know how sorry I am-"

"Iop-brain! You must be more assertive! You'll never win her by being such a whimpy, girly worm! You should charge in there, and sweep her off her feet, battering down all that stand in your way!" Rubilax scoffed from his place on Tristepin's belt.

"Battering my way through is what got me into this mess in the first place!" the knight grunted as he hoisted himself over the final ledge in the cliff-face he had been scaling. He wiped a tan arm across his brow, clearing away the sweat and surveying the fruits of his labor. Before him stretched the rolling grasslands, painted gold by the light of the settling sun with amethyst shadows cooling the heated plains. Behind him, and marking the half way point in his journey, were the beginnings of the Sadida forest; where even the 20 foot high oaks would soon be dwarfed by the eight story redwoods whose unnatural growth truly marked the beginning of the magical kingdom. A soft breeze brushed Tristepin's hardened, sweat-dripping muscles and rustled his tattered makeshift cloak. He shivered.

"I need to keep my head and show her what a gentleman I can be." He clenched his fist. "As different from the brute that brought such pain to her eyes as I can be." Tristepin slumped backwards, staring at the darkening sky. He threw an arm over his face and groaned in self-degradation.

The demon sword rolled his eye. "Words are cheap; action is the truest form of flattery!"

Tristepin smiled weakly. "And I'm sure a sword would know all the tricks for getting a girl? Popular with all the butter knives in Bounta are you?"

"I let you beat me once and suddenly you're such a smartass. You think you know any better? This from the guy who thinks babies come from cabbages!"

Tristepin sat up suddenly. "You mean they don't? I knew that Louis was lying!" He picked himself up, adjusting his belt. "They come from storks, like Maman always said!" he exclaimed, slapping his fist against a callused palm.

If Rubilax had possessed a face at that moment, or a hand to smack it with, it would have had a nice red handprint, dead center. "Well if no one has corrected you yet far be it for me to trifle with the perceptions of your tiny brain. I'm not sure whether to laugh for just feel sorry for the sexy Evangeline."

"That's enough from you! And hey, didn't you promise that if I beat you you'd call me 'Lord' for a week?"

Rubilax narrowed his eye. "I call it a draw, Pipoun…after all, who was the one laying half dead on my face at the end?"

Tristepin's initial response was to draw the sword and spin it high into the air with a flourish, catching Rubilax back into the sheath on his hip. "And who's the one still on his feet with a sword on his belt?"

"The same Iop-head who can't figure out how to nab the girl he can't stop whining about like an old dog?"

Tristepin sighed and marched into the forest, determined to use as much of the fading light as he could before making camp.

One hastily dug pit trap, a clumsy wild boar and an hour rubbing sticks together later; Tristepin had a fine camp and the sweet aroma of pork saturating the area. After eating his fill, He packed the leftover meat into a few of the giant leaves that populated the undergrowth of the Sadida forest. Picking his teeth with a long grass stem, he leaned back against one of the trees ringing his campsite with a sigh.

"Maybe you're right Rubilax, and trying to practice a greeting is useless. I mean, who knows what'll be happening when we get to the Sadida palace? Nox could be at their door, laying waste to their city, their trees! While Eva bravely holds off a battalion of bworks, pushed to the limits of her stamina, she desperately hopes for a hero to step forward…" Tristepin trailed off, his vision of himself swooping in at the last moment paling to his desire just to look upon Evangeline's face and hear her call him her savant de Iop. "Oh Eva." He whispered, forgetting Rubilax's presence. "These hands have hurt you so much…" he balled his fists, knuckling his forehead. "But this time I will not run away! I will face the consequences of my actions! I will be the knight you deserve." He slumped back against the tree hollow he'd propped himself against, staring at the remains of the campfire and almost seeing the swish of her golden hair in the flames. "Even though you may never want to talk to me again."

He was back in the castle of the cursed princesses. His wrists chaffing from the long hours spent in his manacles. The princesses had finally left him alone, probably to contemplate even more crazy schemes to capture his lips. The mullfrogs were also strangely missing, their incessant croaking adding to his torture as he'd yet to get a full hour of sleep since his capture. His arms ached, his stomach growled. But at least the princesses were gone.

Suddenly, the door burst open. To Tristepin's eternal surprise and relief, the young woman standing there was not one of the cruel sisters but Evangelyne herself, looking as radiant as a goddess of mercy. She was resplendent in her dress of orange and white, her long wheat-colored hair shining in the dim light of the dungeon. His joy at seeing her beauty was only eclipsed by the joy he felt when he saw she was also carrying food.

"Eva!" he cried.

"Tristepin!" she hastily laid the tray of food on the ground, nearly kicking it over in her subsequent lunge for his chest. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pressed her body against his. "I was so worried!"

Tristepin strained against his manacles, frustrated that he could not return her embrace. "How did you defeat the uglies?"

"We lured them into a beauty contest, with the promise that the winner got you as a prize. They were so busy fighting among themselves it was easy." She lifted her head from his shoulder to flash a dazzling smile at him. Tristepin could feel his heart accelerate and his cheeks turn scarlet. He returned her smile with a lopsided toothy grin.

"A beauty contest eh? I would have loved to see how you wiped the floor with them, Eva."

It was Evangeline's turn to blush softly under his adoring gaze. "I'm surprised you can assume I was the one who won."

"Oh do not joke mon petite Cra. Who else but you? For you are truly the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes upon."

Hey, that was pretty good; wish I could remember that for real later…

"Oh Tristepin" she whispered, tucking her head beneath his chin demurely.

"Eva, how I long to embrace you…but as you can see, I am a bit tied up at the moment." She jerked her head from his collarbone, looking almost as if she had forgotten the chains on his wrists and was only seeing them for the first time.

"Oh! Of course, Tristepin." and she produced a key from in-between her ample cleavage, giving him an optimal view as she fished it out. He started to sweat, his pupils dilating slightly. As she released each wrist, she gently kissed the angry red flesh in sympathy.

"Sorry we took so long Tristepin…"

He rose quickly, his gaze traveling the length of her body and locking on her leaf-green eyes when he drew himself to his full height, looming over her petite frame. He slid an arm around her waist, the other clasping her fingers, which dropped the key in surprise.

"I would wait a thousand years for you mon sweet." He tightened his hold on her waist, drawing her flush against him. She 'eep'd cutely and blushed at his proximity.

Why can't I be this suave normally?

"So, you have won yourself one Sir Tristepin de Percidal. What do you plan to do with your prize?"

"Ah, well, freeing you is enough…" she stammered.

"Come now, my life is in your hands. Just think what the other girls would have done, had they a chance? "

"They would have kissed you-"she blurted, obviously staring at his lips. Tristepin smiled, and slid the hand holding her fingers down her arm, trailing over her bare shoulder and settled with splayed fingers on her warm back, pressing her gloriously soft breasts into the muscles of his chest. He chuckled at her outburst, smiling even as he felt his insides churn. "Surely you deserve the same prize as those cursed monstrettes would have taken. No," he amended, wiggling his near invisible peach eyebrows, "you deserve much more…"

"Oohh Tristepin!" she moaned, submitting to his embrace. "It's like a dream…"

"Yes, it is, like the most wonderful-"

Wait, I was there, I did get to see the beauty contest.

"Tristepin?"

"Never mind, mon amour." He tightened his hold, as if anchoring himself to her side. "Now for your prize…"

She never got a prize; they attacked us as soon as the contest was over.

He leaned forward, pressing his lips against hers, soft as a newborn tofu.

We escaped out the window. I blew a kiss to the warty one and the castle changed back.

She clasped her hands behind his head, pressing him closer and kissing him back fiercely.

I never got to see that amazing dress ever again…and it was a long time before I got up the courage to tell her how good she looked in it…

Not to be outdone, he responded in kind, leaning her against himself just enough to force her to clutch harder around his shoulders to stay upright. He revealed in the feel of her body locked against his, the sweet press of her hip and ample bosom.

I think…that may have been the first time I realized….

She gasped against his mouth and he slipped a gentle tongue between her lips.

That what I felt for her…

She tentatively slid her tongue along his,

might just be…

Crushing their mouths together in sudden, inspired desperation

even better than the kind of love I'd read about in stories, the kind brave heroes would die for. The kind of love…

They parted for air, gazing into each others' flushed faces, hypnotized by their intensity for each other.

that is worth living for.

As he leaned in for another searing kiss, he felt the twinges of discomfort as he was made aware of the tree root in his lower back. As desperately as he had been trying to hold on to the vestiges of his dream, as much as he wanted to ignore the voice of his own consciousness, he awoke.

The forest was still in darkness, the only sounds were the gentle buzz of night insects and Tristepin's own stuttered breathing. He lay back against the tree, this time with the bothersome root at his elbow. He sighed, staring at the distant flicker of fireflies in the bracken just on the edge of sight in the dark. He wrapped his tattered cloak more securely around his shoulders, trying to capture some of the imagined warmth of his dream against the cool and lonely air of reality. Knowing he had a long hike ahead of him the next day, he closed his eyes, curled up and slipped into a dreamless sleep.

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