• Published 9th Jan 2022
  • 927 Views, 39 Comments

Sanctuary Under a Paleblood Sky - Dragonfire2lm

Bloodborne crossover. Sunset Shimmer is a child when she is exiled from Equestria for trying to revive forbidden magic. Her grief and sorrow is heard by a Great One that still clung to human empathy and suffering in equal measure.

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Protect the Child, as is Thy Nature

The only sounds that broke the quiet of the night was the sound of their steps and the crackling of the torch Raine held aloft to help the young filly see.

Their conversation had fallen to the wayside when they were out of sight of the lamp, Raine ready to answer any threats to their safety with the jagged edge of her saw spear, and the weight of the weapon, the feel of arcane energies nestled in the blade came as a relief to the hunter.

They had been travelling for some time now, long enough for the hunter to get a feel for the place and stretch her senses outward.

The energies, magic Sunset had said, that were present in this world were disjointed. The disharmonic powers of the forest grated on Raine’s senses, on the parts of her being that were more than human.

The world cried out for unity, even as the wilderness ran unchecked and unbound in a symphony of chaotic life. It was something she could see in the dense forest, the way vines and shrubs grew large enough to tangle underfoot if she wasn’t careful, the way the trees blotted out almost all light, and the brief flickers of movement and the green glow of eyes she saw from the corner of her eye.

She could see the threads of cosmic power, thin, weak strings of blue-green light. How they tried to bring harmony to the disjointed forces of this world, how something was trying to fix the damage to no avail.

She could grant this world stability if she wished. She had done much more for much less. But that was not her business and her responsibility lied with her own world.

As for that moment, her top priority was helping this brave child, and giving her a proper home. She could see Sunset begin to flag, her hooves starting to drag, and how the filly tried to keep her eyes open.

“Hold a moment, I have an idea.” Raine said and put her torch away.

Sunset merely blinked up at her.

“I may be able to continue forth all night, but you need rest,” Raine said. “I’ll carry you so you can get some shut-eye.”

“No, I’m alright, I’m used to staying up late,” Sunset replied.

“That may well be true, but you’ve been through much already, take the time to rest,” Raine replied and gestured to her weapon of choice. “I am more than qualified to protect you from any monsters that dare attack.”

Sunset looked like she wanted to argue, but Raine held her free hand on her hip and stared her down.

“Wake me up when we get to Everleaf?” the child asked.

“Of course,” Raine replied. “I’ve never had a head for directions, so you will need to show me the way once we reach the city. Otherwise, I will surely get us hopelessly lost.”

Raine knelt down and Sunset reached up with her forehooves to wrap them around the hutner’s shoulders while Raine scooped up the filly to hold her to her chest.

“You can’t be that bad…” Sunset muttered into her shoulder.

“Oh I assure you, were it not for a dear friend of mine, I would have been running around in circles trying to find my way out of Yharnam,” she replied. “I spent three hours as it was just making my way to the main bridge.”

She heard Sunset chuckle and companionable silence fell around them once more.

Raine held Sunset securely against her and resumed the trek through the monster infested forest.

She saw more green eyes move through the treeline and follow her as she walked. She tightened her grip on her weapon and watched for any sign of movement as she walked.

These beasts, monsters, followed her through the dense forest, every second passed only heightened the hunter’s senses as things moved under the cover of darkness, and the sound of cracking wood met her ears.

It wasn’t until Sunset was fast asleep against her shoulder, after Raine had walked far into the woods and saw lights in the distance, that something burst out of the bushes and barred her path. The creature, a moving, breathing wooden canine covered in moss and limbs made of twisting roots, lunged.

Raine’s first thought was to dart back, she reacted on instinct as more wooden wolves emerged from the trees. She paid no mind to the startled filly in her arms, focused entirely on the threat before her.

Dog her battled honed instincts supplied as jaws filled with sharp stone teeth snapped shut on where she had just been. In response she rushed forward and swung her saw spear towards the creature.

Its head was severed from its neck like a hot knife through butter, the green glow of its eyes fading as its form hit the ground.

“I-I can’t use my magic!” Sunset said, panicked.

“What are these things?”

“Timberwolves, t-they’re Timberwolves!” the filly replied, yelping when a wolf got a little too close.

Tension, urgency coiled in Raine’s body, a deep-seated worry as she spun around and cut down the beast that had scared the child in her care. This wasn’t a hunt, though she poised to strike, and her blade flashed through the night with arcane laced strikes slaying each and every foe in her view, this was the dance of the desperate.

She had the luxury of returning from death, Sunset did not. This acute sense of her ward’s mortality filled every fibre of her being even as a wolf got the jump on her and tore into her back with its claws.

She stumbled, grunted as one collided with her head on, and adjusted her stance and hold on Sunset. Though these monsters fell quickly, nary a threat to the experienced hunter, Sunset’s terror was a palpable thing.

For Raine, the urge to protect was almost overwhelming. It fuelled her attacks as she became an instrument of death, cutting down all that stood before her.

Protect the girl.

Save her.

H e l p H e r

And when the corpses of her foes littered the forest floor, the silence of the forest became deafening.

Raine set the filly onto a nearby rock and crouched down to get a closer look at her. Sunset was staring up at her in shock, stunned into silence by fear and the danger that had now passed.

“You alright?” Raine asked.

She didn’t know where to begin nor what to do should Sunset be hurt. But she was relieved when the unicorn shakily nodded.

“Good…” Raine sighed, and a new worry made itself present as she hesitantly asked. “And are you willing to continue on with me?”

Sunset blinked, shock giving way to confusion as she calmed down. “What? Why?”

Raine wasn’t sure how to go about explaining that a literal child had bore witness to a massacre. Raine’s fighting was as brutal as it was swift, even more so with the added stress of keeping someone else alive.

It was why she chose to hide the lower half of her face upon leaving The Dream, a mouth full of a fox’s teeth wasn’t exactly normal for humans to have. So, she hid the parts of herself that even hinted she was more than a simple hunter.

“I am a hunter,” she finally settled on. “I slay beasts and what I do is not a pretty sight to see, nor is it fit for the likes of a babe like yourself.”

“I’m not a foal…” Sunset huffed at looked her in the indignant way only a child could. “I’m fine.”

“I merely worry is all, wouldn’t be the first time some poor soul has seen what I do and run off screaming bloody murder,” Raine replied earnestly. “I just want to be sure you feel safe with me.”

Raine was pleasantly surprised when Sunset tilted her head to one side in pure confusion.

“How are ponies scared of this?” she asked, gesturing at the dismembered bodies of Timberwolves scattered around them.

Raine shrugged. “There’s normally a lot more blood involved.”

“Oh, yeah that might look a little scary,” Sunset admitted and looked around her. “Over there!”

She pointed a hoof at the lights nearby. “That’s a main road! We’re close to the city!”

And before Raine could get a word in, the young pony galloped off towards the lights, the hunter having no choice but to run after her.

“Sunset!” she barked out and skidded to a stop as she ran put onto the road and her sense were assaulted.

Light, flicking like small stars, burning painfully to her sensitive vision. A dull ache ran down her spine and a headache began to thrum away above her right eye. The world was uncomfortably bright as she raised a hand to shield herself from the onslaught.

“What’s wrong?” she heard Sunset ask as she stored her weapon way and rummaged around in her coat.

Need to dim the light. Blindfold, where is it?

In mere moments she pulled out a plain strip of cotton cloth and quickly placed it over her eyes and tied it securely at the back of her head.

As the cloth blindfold settled into place, she could feel it, but it did not hinder her sight in any way. The world was unobscured and merely dimmed before her.

Despite her sight being cleared, the discomfort and mild pain remained.

“Everything was a bit too bright for me.’ Raine replied and looked around at the simple dirt road.

Hanging from the trees were small metal lanterns that glowed with golden light.

“Too bright?” Sunset replied and Raine looked down to see the filly beside her. She watched as understanding dawned on the child’s face. “These lanterns hold small balls of sunlight, that keeps the monsters away.”

Sunset didn’t appear distressed or fazed by this newfound realisation as she trotted down the road. “If we hurry, we can get my research and hide somewhere before sunrise.”

“And? Are you not concerned that I am affected?” Raine replied, amused at how well Sunset was taking the situation. “I am not human after all.”

Sunset looked back her. “Then what are you?”

Raine couldn’t help it, she barked out a laugh. “The nerve of you girl! Terrified of wooden beasts but not of the one beside you?”

“…But, you haven’t done anything that would make me afraid of you,” Sunset replied as if it were obvious. “You want to help me.”

The hunter was greatly amused by the reasonings of a child. “You should still be wary, Little One, those with ill intent oft hide it behind a smile and kind words.”

“Not you though.” Sunset retorted.

“You know that for a fact, eh?”

Sunset grinned, a toothy, bright smile that eased Raine’s lingering doubt about the filly seeing her as a monster. “You’re different.”

Raine supposed that was as good an explanation as any.

“I suppose I am.”

Sunset found herself reenergized as she stopped just shy of the main gate, hidden from sight by the trees and bushes around her. They were far enough away that the road leading up to the gate could be seen but the pair of armour clad human guards had no idea that the princesses former student was hiding by the side of the road.

Everleaf City was surrounded by a thick wall of pale gold tree roots, and the heavy wooden gate was always guarded in case the monsters of the forest tried to attack. The city stood as the capital of Equestria, the bastion of society, and the might of the gods.

She heard Raine come to a stop behind her. Now that they were away from the main road and once more shrouded in darkness, the hunter had elected to remove her blindfold.

“Is there another entrance?” the hunter asked.

Sunset nodded absentmindedly, already making plans as she drew upon her mental map of the city. She knew of several back entrances once used by the now disbanded New Moon Knights.

Her train of thought was broken as Raine spoke up.

“Can we not simply walk in through the front gate?”

She turned around, her head snapping up to look at the woman, and then glanced down at the weapon still held firmly in one hand. The idea was sound, she had no doubts about Celestia expecting her to return and plead forgiveness, and the idea of walking in under the pretense of repentance to then steal back her research notes was very appealing.

“If we do, you’ll have to put that away.” she said.

“That would not be wise,” Raine said gently. “We could very well be ambushed in there.”

She was serious?

Sunset was equally stunned and confused at that. While she knew of the dangers that lurked outside the city walls, nopony would dare harm another.

Not physically at least.

“Nopony is going to hurt us when we get inside.” The filly stated and watched as, despite the lower half of her face been concealed, Raine looked lost at the mere idea of the city being truly harmless.

The hesitance, the worry in Raine’s voice spoke volumes. “Are you certain?”

Any number of explanations jumped to mind, her unicorn’s imagination running wild as she was filled with sympathy and curiosity towards the strangest not-human she’d ever met.

She had a lot of questions she wanted to ask, but it didn’t feel right to ask that of her new friend. And it broke the filly’s heart to get even a glimpse into the demons Raine harboured.

Raine looked like a wounded creature that was seeking comfort in those around it.

“Nopony is going to do anything to us,” she stressed, and tentatively reached out a hoof to grasp Raine’s coat. All she could think of to do was to offer comfort and reassurance in what few ways she knew how. “Why do you think we’ll be in danger? Everleaf City is the safest place in the whole world.”

Silence passed between them. The hunter, in the hours Sunset had known her, was someone as kind as she was strong. But in that moment, as Raine’s visible eye seemed to stare past her and her posture became rigid, she looked quite weak and frail in the pale moonlight.

“I am not welcome in most places…” Raine said quietly. “Even before I—”

She cut herself off, exhaling. The hunter returned from wherever memory lane had taken her and she looked down at Sunset with the kind of sternness the filly was quickly beginning to like.

It felt like she was wanted, that Raine cared about her enough to worry about her safety, and it was laced with the concern and worry that the regal gaze of Celestia so often lacked.

It brought to mind the watchful looks parents sent their children when she’d observe other colts and fillies her age playing at the plaza.

Sunset quickly dismissed the idea of Raine acting parental and focused on what lay ahead.

“I thought that if Celestia is expecting me to return, then we could grab my notes and sneak out using one of the hidden tunnels.” Sunset suggested.

Raine sighed, and Sunset was about to backpedal when the woman spoke.

“A fine idea, but I cannot shake this worry of mine,” she admitted. “None will lash out at us?”

“Of course not,” Sunset immediately replied. “We might get escorted by the guards, but if we play along, we’ll be fine.”

Raine hummed and turned around. Crouching low to the ground, she did something that was too fast for Sunset to catch, but the now familiar hum and smell of burning incense filled the air.

She moved to stand beside Raine. A new lantern was now sticking out of the ground. The human stood up, her weapon finally put away, and snapped her fingers.

And Sunset was startled as a strange groan came from the lamp as it lit and four strange, ghastly beings emerged from the ground to sit around the lamp.

They were small, pale things, their forms loosely humanoid and wailing faces looked up at Raine in sheer adoration as small, bony fingers gripped the lamp post in reverence.

The small, ghoulish creatures were wearing tiny top hats and bowties.

“What are they?” she asked, fascinated as she held a hoof out towards them, the one closest to her looked equally curious and grasped her hoof in its tiny hand.

The touch was ice cold, but aside from the chill of their skin, the small being was simply looking at her in fascination. She gently pulled her hoof away and watched them just as fascinated.

“These are the messengers,” Raine explained, and Sunset looked over at her. “They serve me and all who are Paleblood Hunters,” Raine noticed the filly’s curiosity. “All you need to know is that they are friends, I will tell you no more than that.”

“Why not?”

“There are some things that are best left alone,” Raine commented as both human and pony drew away from the lamp and the messengers crowded beneath its soothing light. “Some things are simply not fit to be discussed around children.”

So… you’ll tell me when I’m older?”

Raine huffed at her.

“You are an odd child…” Raine mused. “But that is by no means a bad thing. Perhaps, I will tell you sometime in the future, and you are welcome to try and unravel the mystery yourself.”

“But for now,” Raine stated and pulled out her blindfold once more. “We must focus on the task at hand and retrieve your belongings.”

In all the excitement, Sunset had forgotten that Raine would be affected by the sunlight lamps that lit up practically every corner of the city.

“Will you be alright?” she asked. “The city has a lot of sunlight lamps and, well…”

“I think being out in the daylight would do more me more harm,” Raine said calmly. “And I have ways to alleviate the pain should the need arise.”

“Alright, just follow me, I can get us inside the palace.” Sunset said and began to walk over to the gate.

“As much as I dislike the fact that you will be talking our way in, I will follow your lead,” Rain conceded. “But should anything go wrong, return to this lamp immediately.”

The pony looked at the human behind her, curiously. “I told you, I’ll be fine.”

On the off chance that this goes to pot, and we are separated, return here and I will be able to find you.” Raine stressed.

Sunset nodded and trotted out at an angle so that she was approaching the gate from the main road, Raine trailing behind her.

Much to her surprise, the guards didn’t give her a second glance as they signalled for the gate to open. The ancient wood creaked and groaned as it rumbled open, golden light poured out the opening, and the city lay before her.

Pale gold roots lined ever path and road, every building, every home, shop, and institution were the golden barked trees the roots were attached too. The leaves of these trees glowed faintly, there blue-green light drowned out by the sunlight lamps the hung from every branch in sight.

And lo and behold, in the heart of the city, the tallest tree of them all towered above all. An ancient monolith of magic and nature, the branches of this tree stretched out to create the entire canopy of Everleaf City. Even as she crossed the threshold into the city proper, the palace was a landmark that could be seem from anywhere in the city.

“Too damn bright…” Raine muttered from behind her.

Sunset smiled sadly as she remembered a time not too long ago where the canopy above offered more than ample light, and the lamps that lit up the night were filled with the soft, gentle glow of moonlight.

“…It used to be different when Lady Luna was still around, you would have liked it,” she said and walked down the street. “We should hurry.”

“Maybe these notes of yours will offer up a clue to free Lady Luna?” Raine suggested as they walked. “Or I could… see what I can do.”

Sunset scoffed. “I highly doubt that you can do anything to help her ladyship… I appreciate the thought though.”

Raine was not deterred, in fact, she sounded very amused. “Oh? Then there is no harm in trying.”

Author's Note:

This chapter was supposed to show the "break in" to get Sunset's stuff, but as usual, conversations got away from me, but I think this fits the pacing better.

Please leave a comment if you liked this, and let me know if I missed any typos.