Author's note: This takes place just after Portal 1, right after GLaDOS (supposedly) gets repaired. But it's an MLP fanfic, so of course ponies are involved. Enjoy.
My eyes slowly crawled into a state of awareness as I found both of them staring straight out into a single blinding halogen light bulb. For a while I couldn't see anything at all, but after a couple of seconds, my vision cleared to reveal to me that I wasn't home. It wasn't until a machine beneath me sputtered to life that I realized I was encased in a small glass bubble. Instinctively, I tried to remember my past to see how I got here... But much to my avail, could only bring up my name, what I looked like, and where I had lived before... This. I was a gray unicorn who used to work as a guard in Canterlot... for... Damn. Couldn't remember even that. In fact, I couldn't even recall the details of my family... Or even if I had a family. At least I could recall that my name was Stronghold. That appeared to be all, though.
The glass bubble that I was lying in started to split into two neat glass halves that rotated around me until I found myself lying in what resembled a bed. It had bluish gray sheets and was a shiny white around the edges. Looked rather futuristic. I hoisted myself onto all fours, feeling an odd kind of resistance on my joints, like I was wearing spandex. I looked down to find myself wearing an explosively orange jumpsuit. Rolling my eyes in disgust to try and get past that, I observed the room to find myself incased in a bizarre cubical room. Three of the walls were made of glass, which revealed a boxy hallway beneath it. The floor was made of a thin looking concrete, while the fourth wall had a large door-looking thing. Rather boring, but still creepy.
A voice crackled to life in an unseen speaker, and out came a robotic, but not monotone, female voice. "Hello, and again, welcome to the Aperture Science Testing Facility." Oh. Frakkin. S***. I panicked. This sounded WAY too familiar for my liking. She continued her speech about 'how I got accepted to be a test subject' and all of that crap, but I was just more concerned about how the hell I would get out of here. It wasn't until I heard the end of it that I realized what was sort of going on, and those words I will never forget.
"Stand back. The portal will open in three, two, one."
And just like that, the bizarre blocked doorway opened up a door in front of me It didn't even swing open... Just opened. Orange colored, and had a weird kind of noise to it when it opened ("WHUMM". There, does that help?). But it wasn't until I saw myself in the doorway that I panicked. Standing in front of me, in an elevated glass room, surrounded by a curved hallway, was me. Surprised look on my face and everything. I raised a hoof and was alarmed to find that I saw my second self do the same thing as me at the exact same time. Even weirder, I noticed that my hooves were strapped to four miniature pogo-stick-looking things. I looked at myself again. My mane was spiked forward and orange, while my tail jetted out backwards and was colored likewise. I stepped forward. He (I, I guess?) stepped forward also. I ran through the bizarre door to find myself in the hallway that I was just surrounded by. Portals... A real life portal... Wow. This could get either scary or awesome really fast, I realized.
After I was over my fascination with seeing myself in the portal, I decided to see what would happen if I stepped into it. Hesitantly, I raised a hoof through it to find that I instantly lost my sense of direction after my first step. I was now in the hallway that just surrounded me. Holy bit. That was crazy.
I moseyed down the glass and concrete hallway with an uneasy feeling. No matter how cool that portal thingie was, I still didn't exactly know where I was, and the fact that I could hardly remember anything about me didn't help at all. I continued walking, and looked up to find a security camera staring at me. I moved left. The white, metallic casing guided the red, electronic eye towards me. That was officially beyond creepy. And to add to that, the entire facility seemed to be vacant.
"Hello? Can anyone hear me?" I yelled.
"Yes. Although it is a surprise to hear a test subject talk. I haven't had one like you in days. This will be fun."
"How did I even get here? Where is this place? What the hell is going on here?"
"Now, now. There's no need for swearing. You'll find out soon enough."
I stopped in defiance to her statement, then realized that I would get nowhere by doing so. I then reluctantly trotted into the doorway at the end of the hall, which was round and small. Inside was another cold, vacant concrete room. Whoopdeedoo. Okay, vacant in the sense of other ponies. It had some things in it, the most interesting of which were a large, valved tube coming from the ceiling and a large red button on the floor next to it. And then the creepy lady spoke up again.
"Alrighty then. Lets see if you can still use magic." The valve on the tube opened up, dispensing a large cube, which then bumped to the ground, making an alarmingly quiet noise for its size. Grey, but still had a cool design on it. "Take the weighted storage cube and place it on the button to open the door to the next chamber." Sounded simple enough. I tried to use some simple magic to lift the cube off the ground, but only to find that I couldn't. I tried again. No cigar. Yeah, this can't be good. "Oh, right. You can only use magic on what I want you to use magic on. Which is nothing. Sorry. Weighted storage cubes appear to not be on that list. Which is still nothing. HAHAHAA."
DAMMIT! That makes everything suck. Great.
Being the reluctant unicorn that I am, I didn't want to make any movements, but stubbornness turned to motivation when the voice came on again. "Just put the damn cube on the damn button and get a move on."
I wandered over towards the cube to see what I could do with it. As I observed it, I found out it was made out of a very light ceramic. Interesting. I could clearly see that the goal of this was to get the cube onto the button, so I gave it a shot by rearing up behind it and giving it a nice buck. The initial impact didn't hurt as bad I expected, and it softly landed on the large button with a satisfying 'Ka-chunk' as the pressure plate depressed and the door next to it opened.
"Well done, filly. That's as easy as they come, though. But don't be a Fluttershy. Head through the door and into the elevator."
Fluttershy... Where have I heard that name? It sounded famous to me for some reason... I couldn't remember why though. Odd.
I looked down the hallway to find a bizarre force-field looking thing was blocking my path to a cylindrical elevator. "Umm, freaky robot lady? How do I get by?"
"I have a name, you know. And I'm more than just a robot. I also have a name, too. It's GLaDOS. That thing you appear to be afraid of is an incandescent particle field. It will incinerate any unauthorized equipment that passes through it, such as that weighted storage cube. Good thing you're authorized."
Well, that certainly freaked the hell out of me. I still knew that that was the only way out of here, so I was left with no choice. I stepped through it. After what felt like minor electrocution, I stepped out unscathed. Wow. I felt good, but I still didn't want to do that again. Too unsettling... Hard to explain (even to myself), so... Moving on. I continued to walk down the cold concrete hallway until I was greeted by a rather large metal door, which was open. Inside this 'elevator' was a circular room with padding inside, like the kind in an asylum. I didn't like this at all now.
I stepped inside to find that the doors had closed right behind me, and now we were already moving up. We, you might ask? Oh, yeah. About that. Just as the door closed and started moving upward, I heard a different voice. This one not so monotone. And, strangely enough, it had a rather sophisticated accent. "Hello!" He waited a few seconds for me to stop freaking out. "You know, I'm so glad you came here. I've been trapped in here for weeks... Not a single test subject has come through here in an entire month! Can you believe it?" I looked up to find a metal ball looking down at me through a trapdoor in the ceiling. Strangely enough, it looked like a metal eye. This place was getting weirder by the minute, and I've really only been here for about four minutes.
"Who the hell are you?" I snapped.
"Oh. Terribly sorry for not formally introducing myself. Wheatly. And you?"
"Stronghold. What I guess I meant to say is, what the hell are you?"
"Personality core for... Her... working in Pony Management at Aperture Laboratories."
Personality core... Weird. "Ah. A core, you say. You know what, I have no idea what that means."
"Oh. Sorry. We are specially designed robots that attach to and slightly alter the thoughts of other robots." He said that to me like it was the most casual thing to say to me.
"Oookay. I'm honestly surprised that I haven't freaked out that much about having a near-alive robot in front of me... So, what's your business here, in a creepy elevator talking to a unicorn who can't even seem to remember his family?"
"Damn it! That bloody AI erased another mind... Wait. You said you remembered your name. What else do you remember?"
"That didn't answer my question."
"Oh. Right. Well, I'm actually here to help you help us escape. You see, I hate this place just as much as you do, and I need a human's help to do it. So... How about that."
"But what do you mean by 'her'? Was that the weird voice I heard back in the glass room? GLaDOS, she said?"
"Oh. You woke up there... Interesting... So that means this elevator is parked in test chamber 00 on testing course 6652A. And yes, she is that voice. In fact, she runs this entire facility. And she's mad. Crazy. She tries to kill every single 'test subject' that runs through this rat maze of hers... She has already succeeded several times, but I plan to stop her ASAP. So, waddya say. We escape, and justice is served. And, I might add, we both survive."
"Sure, but..." He cut me off there.
"Great! Hold on a sec while I take manual control of this." The elevator suddenly jolted to a stop, and within a split second, we were back up and moving. This time, backwards. Well, forwards. I couldn't tell, but either way, it wasn't moving like a normal elevator. A canned version of 'her' came on through an unseen speaker. Fine. GLaDOS. She's still just a random creepy robot lady to me...
"What are you doing? Stop it!" Her voice hinted both rage and surprise. Well, it's official. She's pissed.
"Hang on, Stronghold! We're goin' through!" By this time, I was very confused about what was happening.
"Through what? Where are you taking me?"
"Out to where?"
Now, as you can probably easily tell, I did not like how this situation was going straight to hell. And that was before GLaDOS actually tried to do something about it. The third voice came in, the elevator still accelerating. We must have been going at least 80 kilometers an hour...
"Not if I can help it." The small room jolted to a stop and struggled to move in the opposite direction, almost like a war was going on for me. This wasn't a mechanical override, even. This was straight up physical. However, I still didn't know at this point was shaking this small room. While the elevator wasn't even moving. And there wasn't a single damn thing I could do about it. As the massive jolt knocked me to the ground, I realized what I had on my hooves. Those bizarre pogo-things... I quickly took advantage of them and sprung back to my feet. As badass that I thought that may have looked, I still had no control over the situation. And having the door of the elevator ripped off by a giant robotic arm reminded me of that.
That's the funny thing about humility. You lose all of it until something life-threatening happens. And it just did. As the blue and grey metal arm tore off the metal door and threw it down, I panicked. We were REALLY high up.
It was a shocking sight to see where we actually were. Picture this: A giant, mostly vacant space that seems to go on forever. Then add some horizontal and vertical rails strewn across the blue void, then put several oddly blocky rooms on said rails. Add some more rails connecting said rooms, then put on them cyndrical elevators and robots that looked like Wheatly. So, pretty much the scariest place for someone with an undying fear of large spaces and height. I happened to be terrified of both. And since this place seemed to be indoors, that only amplified my fear for some reason.
"Hey! I can't hold on to this much longer, so I'm going to have to ask you of a tad crazy favor... Drop down and look for a way back up! You can use the old chambers down there, but be warned: You'll need a special tool! A gun that shoots holes! Well, not bullet holes, but you'll figure it out! Just let go!" Wheatly snapped me out of my mental state of pure fear and back into the real world, where there was still a freaky robotic arm trying to kill me. On a rail, suspended who-knows-how high. And, as I might add, back into a world where I had sub mindedly saved my own life by stopping myself from soaring out the open doorway. Because GLaDOS was trying to kill me. For no apparent reason, I may add.
"Are you crazy?" I yelled back at him.
"JUST DO IT! THERE'S NO TIME LEFT TO EXPLAIN IT FURTHER!"
It all happened in one, long moment. I felt Wheatly ram himself into my flank, knocking me forwards and out the door. Into the very void that I was terrified of. As the robotic arm swiped and crashed into the elevator that I was in just milliseconds before, completely destroying the bottom of it and sending several pieces of metal shrapnel towards me. It also revealed the place Wheatly was, which was a small roof compartment in the elevator.
I came to a sudden realization just then: Holy s***. I'm falling! Fast! As I saw the robots battling it out on the inverted railing above, I realized what had happened with the pogo-shoes. Bouncy... Maybe they could slow falls. I quickly righted myself to a downward position in mid-fall to find that the space beneath me was gradually turning darker and darker as I accelerated to my doom. I noticed the buildings whizzing by me upwards were slowly getting more... Spherical? Where the hell is this place, anyway? A salt mine? Well, that would make sense. And, BAM. Just as I thought that, memory came rushing back. Well, at least some of it. As it turns out, I had worked as a guard for Princess Celestia, but I went to a night shift when she went missing and her sister, Princess Luna, took over. And when I mean night shift, I mean it. The sun hadn't risen for two weeks after she took rule. Which, coincidentally, is when we are now... Two weeks. Then I had another thought... Was she down here in this wretched place? I didn't doubt it. But what Luna is doing right now is the real concern, because I had no idea.
That's the funny thing about falling. At first, everything seems to go by fast, like 'life flashing before your eyes'. But after a while, you can almost enjoy it. I had been falling for at least a minute now, which means that I must have been at least two kilometers down this shaft thing. And I hadn't a care in the world... Until I landed. At around the minute mark, three kilometers down, at over three hundred kilometers an hour. That's my guess, at least.
That's the funny thing about landing. The anticipation is unbearable, but when it happens and it's over, you're shaken, but your thoughts are clear: That wasn't so bad. I righted myself in midair as I spotted a glow start to increase in size beneath me. Looked like a bunch of fires were happening down there. But the rapid rate that it was coming was nerve racking. I straightened my legs, bracing for my legs to shatter from one hell of an impact.
It never really happened. All I can remember is a 'THOCK', a 'WHOOSH', and then opening my eyes to find myself alive, but at the bottom of this horrendous void. Post-apocalyptic style, bitch. But with no broken bones, so of course it's okay. HAHA! NOT.
Wheatly's last few sentences disturbed me... Gun. Shoots holes... Hold the phone. Does he mean those freaky-ass portals back in the glass room? And if he did, was there really a device that could create them? I hoped for the best as I stood up shakily as I found myself in a large, open topped cylindrical room strewn with several forgotten pieces of metal and concrete. I then I spotted a small doorway in the wall across from me and started to walk towards it. I found my way and made my way through the dank, dark corridors that held years worth of scrap and debris, noticing that everything was dripping with mildew-ridden sludge and had an unearthly glow to it, like a poorly made fire was next to it. I looked a little farther ahead to find an opening from the corridor to a much larger room. I stepped further, looking for a way out of this God forsaken pit I was in. I stepped out of the corridor and into the room to find a much larger area than anticipated, which was essentially the larger part of the bottom of the void. Honestly, it looked like a concrete jungle, but this time, literally. And everything was large, dark, and downright frightening. And moist, I might add. Eeaugh.
I was equally alarmed to hear a female voice coming from the debris, this time a sure bet on another pony. "Who goes there?" It was a really hoarse and shaky voice, at that.
"Um, me. My name is Stronghold. Where and who are you?"
"Stronghold... My GOD! Is it really you?" I heard some rattling around beneath a large concrete pipe to my left until a head popped up out of a small hole in the ground. It was scrappy, shaggy, and possibly diseased, but it was still an unmistakable character with her long pastel hair and large horn.
"Princess Celestia? What the hell are you doing down here? How long have you been down here?" Questions came pouring mindlessly out of here until she answered a few of them.
"Calm down! I've been down here for about two weeks. How did the public take this?"
I could still barely talk to her. "Well, as you could have guessed, Luna took over as leader, but she was having trouble raising the sun. Everypony misses you but nopony knows where you are. What... Were you scared that the public wouldn't take you back in as leader?"
"No, it's just that I'm afraid that Luna will kill me."
HOLD THE PHONE. "Explain, please."
"You know GLaDOS? That would be Luna's creation. She went psychotic and started 'testing' on the citizens of Equestria, but after I found out, she tried to erase my memory and threw me down here. I've been able to stay alive just by the adrenal vapor she releases into the air down here. I can only assume she's still erasing minds and killing innocent ponies as we speak..."
Holy s***. That explained a little too much of what was going on down here then I'd like to know.
"Is there any way out from here?"
"As far as I'm concerned, the only thing I can think of is through the old Co-op testing course." Right... Just like Wheatly mentioned a while back. Or up.
"Old? How old?"
"Ages! This area of the facility was shut down in the sixties, so it's at least 70 years old... But since you're down here, how about some testing?"
The single thought that was suddenly coursing through my mind at that very moment: Oh god.
"Wait a second. Testing? That's the very thing that got me thrown down here in the first place. Why would I want to do that again?"
"I know it sounds desperate, but it really is the only way out. And now since you're here, we can actually do something about this."
"Woah, woah. Hold on. Another guy up top gave me a broken promise, and I don't want to get betrayed again." I accidentally let that slip, not realizing for some reason that at the moment I was talking to the Princess.
"Betrayed? This is life or death we're talking about here! Just go with me!"
I was surprised by the way that she didn't seem to notice how I was talking o her, but seriously: Way to bring the crappy concept of death into an already crappy situation. Again.
"Okay, fine! But, what's so dangerous about this testing?"
"Huh! I guess you didn't see very much while you were up there, didn't you? How about this: You'll see. Hold on, I'll grab us some portal guns."
Guns. Portal guns. Well, my prediction was right... A gun that shoots portals. Celestia went back into the small hole in her makeshift concrete shack of a home, and came out a few seconds later, this time holding two strange devices. Both of them looked like two white metal footballs fused together at the tips, and included a handle in the back, while the front end had an opening, surrounded by a claw-like thing. Bizarre, to say in the least. "Take your pick. You can use magic on these, but it can't go further than five feet from your horn, or it doesn't work."
I levitated the one on the left up to me to observe it and found myself absentmindedly stroking it with my hoof, to get the texture. In a nutshell, cold like metal, looked like plastic, and felt like glass. And I had no idea what it was made out of. "Wow. Luna made these too?"
"I can only assume so. Give it a try... There are three levers on it. Bottom lever fires a blue portal, top lever fires an orange portal, and the middle lever grabs stuff."
"That dinky claw?"
"Don't underestimate it. Here, try it on this." She picked up a chunk of metal that was on the ground and held it up in front of me. Curious, I pointed the device at the chunk and tripped the middle lever.
The front end of the gun flashed bright white, temporarily blinding me. When I regained my vision, I found that the claw wasn't actually grabbing it, but levitating it somehow about a decimeter in front of it. As a result, I couldn't feel any extra weight on the gun.
"Impressive, huh?" Celestia remarked.
"Wow. How does it work?" I inquired.
"It's rather interesting. Some of the old tests down here were for harnessing magic from unicorns, and apparently somepony found a way to use the energy through a device. Which also happens to be what you're holding now."
"Huh! That's crazy... Sounds like a lot of work went into this stuff."
"Yeah, maybe too much work... Anyway, you should test out the other two levers."
I set down the hunk of metal and looked to my left to find a chain-link fence with a concrete wall behind it. I aimed the gun at it using my magic and tripped the bottom lever. The gun momentarily turned blue, and a bright beam shot out of the front of the gun. It made a strange sound as the beam collided with the wall, then made a bright blue oval appear on the wall. I was in awe of what just happened, but that didn't stop me from trying out the top lever. I fired an orange portal on a wall to my right to find the two portals linked. Holy s***, I think I just changed my mind! I want to see where this goes!
"Well, what are you waiting for? Walk through!" Celestia's motivation scared me enough to heave my sorry flank through the portal. One split-second of disorientation later, and I found myself to be on the other end of the fence. Eeyup, that may never get old. I stepped to my side to allow Celestia to come through the portal. "Okay, since it looks like you don't need help with aiming the device, let me show you this."
She took aim with her portal gun and shot her two portals at the floor beneath my orange one, and the other on a nearby wall, but about twenty feet higher. I was more alarmed by the fact that her portals were red and purple than that she was trying to catapult me to a ledge. "Okay, now what?" I asked.
"Well, since it looks like I'm going to be the one to teach the things that GLaDOS didn't, Walk through your orange portal and then run back at the blue."
"What? Are you crazy?"
She gave me a wretched smirk. "Maybe."
"Ugh. Fine. I already fell about three kilometers today, so what could be worse..." I back stepped through my set of portals to find myself back where I started. I reared up, then charged out at the blue portal, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. It wasn't until i was already past the first portal and careening towards the second portal that I actually figured out what was going on. I was about to fall down into the second set of portals with forward momentum, so that when I come out of the final portal, I would be flying diagonally upwards, onto a nearby ledge, which should have been unreachable. F***ing genius. But if I had to think like this to survive down here, I might be screwed.
The thought of it happening passed quite slowly as I had my 'moment of dawning comprehension', but the real thing happened really fast. I dropped into the second portal, flinging myself upwards, and making me land with a crash on the ledge twenty feet above where I was just a second before. "Holy s***! Genius!"
"I know I am." Celestia said with a smirk, just before repeating my actions that got me up here. When we were both up on the catwalk, I chilled out enough to realize what Celestia didn't do. Fly. I feared the worst.
"Why didn't you just fly up here?"
"This is why." She lifted up her wing slightly to show me that it had been surgically clamped to her side. I cringed after I realized what I was looking at.
"Does it hurt?"
"Only if I try to fly. I can sort of glide by doing this," And with saying that, she extended her wings a couple of decimeters away from her body. "But it isn't very effective."
"Well, at least you have that. But now what?"
She stared at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. "Well, dummy, we climb up the stairs. What else would we do?"
I looked up to find that the ledge was attached to a large concrete pillar, which had a staircase spiraling up it for about a hundred meters. And on top of that, was perched a large geodesic sphere, supported by large steel beams connected to the sides of the void.. This one about two hundred meters wide... Dammit, why must everything here be so massive? "Holy s***. That's scary."
"Well, it was built seventy years ago. What did you expect?"
"To be honest, a cube. Not a sphere. But... Why a sphere?"
She laughed and gave me a dumb look. "How the hell should I know? Luna built this, not me!"
That's right... I still couldn't get over that. Well, I could to the point where it didn't disrupt my life, just the thought part of it. We started walking up the stairs side by side, talking pretty much the entire way.
"So where are we headed through to get up?"
"I thought I already told you. The old cooperative testing courses. They are dangerous, but it is the only way up."
"How many other testing courses are there?"
"Thousands more. And each one of those has around five to thirty testing chambers in them. Throw in a couple thousand offices, a few control centers, about a hundred pump stations, and a command module, and you can get an idea of how massive this place really is. It was originally built in the site of a salt mine... Started in the late forties as a harmless science experimenting ground. It wasn't until several ponies disappeared down here that investigation started to take place. Sure enough, the investigators disappeared, followed by the ponies that went looking for them. Soon enough, Aperture Sciences, as it came to be known, was unstoppable. They were both the cause and solution to most of the problems in Equestria. And all along, I knew that Luna was behind all of this, but I couldn't prove it. And sure enough, the second I find out where all of those disappearances were taking place, I disappeared too."
"True story. All of it."
Now, usually I'd be exhausted by now from climbing twenty stories up, but whatever Luna did to the air in here really messed me up. And I can't tell if that's in a good way or not... Here, I can lay it out to you:
Pros: Never hungry, thirsty, or tired.
Cons: I feel sick beyond measure, and I have absolutely no idea how fast time really is passing, so I don't know how long I've been down here. It could be anywhere between twenty minutes and two hours...
I still knew that I needed to get out of here, so I trudged past my sickness to continue upwards.
"Where exactly are we?"
"Directly beneath Canterlot. The entire city is built directly above this pit... And as I would guess, if you were lucky enough to get on an elevator that moved up, then you would end right up in the Canterlot sewer system. Climb up another twenty feet? Canterlot."
"So this pit was dug before Canterlot was actually founded?"
"Then what about Hearth's Warming Eve and the meaning of all of that?"
"It's an odd story. The original Canterlot was actually in the Everfree Forest. You know the castle ruins up there?"
"Who doesn't? That site is pretty much infamous by now."
"Well, the supposedly infamous incident of Luna and the Nightmare has an untold side: Luna never went to the moon. Nightmare moon is just the Nightmare trying to imitate Luna, and the Nightmare was the only one sent to the moon."
"Yeah, sounds crazy, I know. There was a war between us, but we won and banished it to the moon. Once we won, we were forced to relocate our civilization to somewhere else. Unfortunately, our best land for settling was already taken up by the salt mine that we're in now, which was only used for resources back then. About thousand years later, the modern-day Canterlot palace was created, and when we had to expand, we just closed up the salt mine and built over it. Odd decision, I know, but it was the best at the time. Besides, nopony expected the new Canterlot to last longer than a few hundred years anyway. A while later, the Nightmare returned, trying to take Luna's place again, but this time she was stopped before any damage was done. Luna went out of her secret rule and back to the public, and you basically have what happened about seventy years ago. However, then she went psychotic for real, and here we are now."
"Facinating..." Although I couldn't think of anything else to say afterwards, I still meant it.
By now we were almost to the top of the tower and into the 'enrichment sphere' (as the signs pointing up said), so I stopped to take a look at the view from above. And to be honest, it looked exactly like a book that I vaguely remember reading... The City of Ember. Basically a sci-fi novel about citizens of an underground city. Looking back down at the glowing fires and the desolated rubble that inhabited the bottom of this 'facility', a question came into my mind. "Celestia, who originally dug out this pit?"
"It was an odd group of settlers who started it long go. The descendents of the original settlers, actually."
Well, guess what? We're here! The precariously perched sphere suspended in the bizarre pit. Of course, it looked a lot larger up close, but when we rounded the top of the stairs that lead to a ladder going in the sphere, we were in for a surprise. As I climbed up the ladder and poked my head into another dark and grimy room, I took account of my surroundings. This room was a bizarre cylinder, filled with all sorts of trash and leaky pipes. I stepped fully into the room. Smelled mustier than down below, but that didn't make a big difference to me.
Towards the back of the room was a dark sign in bold forest font, reading 'TO TESTING'. Next to it was an arrow pointing to an open doorway that led to a corridor. Creepy as hell, but I could guess that it was the only way through.
Celestia followed not too far behind me, so by the time I could get a good idea of the surrounding area, she was already in with me. She prodded my flank with her horn. "Oh, come on. Get going."
"Okay, fine." I stammered my way through the room to the corridor. And to be honest, the condition in there wasn't all that different. Still nasty. When we reached the end of that, we ended up in a lobby that looked like something straight out of the Jetsons, but throw in some horror and a lot of time and you've got what we're dealing with here. Damp retro sofas, coffee tables, even throw in some offices and TV's.
We were both alarmed to hear a male voice come on overhead on unseen speakers, which sounded familiar... This fuzzy memory thing was just becoming frustrating. "Hello fellow citizens of Equestria, and welcome to the Aperture Science Testing Facility. We have some great science adventures planned out for you today. If you were the ones to sign up for zombie response training, pick up a rifle and follow the black line. If you signed up for the cooperative portal training, grab a portal gun and follow the orange line. If you signed yourself up for harnessing magic for the Magic for Earth Ponies program, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that program got postponed until we can figure out a way to stop harming other ponies. The good news is that we have a much better activity for you..." His speech went on for a while until I spoke to Celestia.
"Hey. Do you know who that is?" I looked over at her to find that she had a look of surprise on her face. "Celestia? You okay?"
"No. That was Prince Blueblood. I should have known he was behind this... What a bastard." Great, now she's mad and I don't know why.
And finally, more memory came back. I was relieved to know now more of where I lived (two story house on the southeast corner of 35th street and Kilmore Ave.) and who I was acquainted with. I still had a lot to uncover, but I didn't know what I could. At least I found out who Blueblood was: A snooty, stuck up stallion who's intent on everything was to have more of it than anypony else. So basically the stereotype of a rich kid, but one who should know better in the first place. And to make matters worse, he was royalty. It would only make sense for him to be part of the monopoly that was Aperture. At least it wasn't Luna, or else we would have had a huge problem on our hooves. All I can say at this point is that even though I've lived in Canterlot for all my life, I still haven't figured out the royal system yet. I mean, seriously... Two princesses, a prince, and no known king or queen? WTF.
After Celestia had a chance to cool her jets (literally, her wings had started to flare outwards in... rage?), we followed the orange stripe of paint that headed to our right and soon found ourselves in front of a vault-like door. It was locked shut.
Celestia put down her portal gun. "This place must have been condemned... Here, let me try something. Stand back."
I stepped back and watched Celestia in awe as her horn started to glow red hot. She touched it to the door, and to my surprise, began melting away at the locked metal door. Soon enough, a circular pattern was beginning to take shape on the door in the form of melted iron. In about ten seconds flat a hole was carved large enough for us to walk through, leaving a massive hunk of metal to fall backwards and onto the damp carpet below with a loud 'BOOM!' And sure enough, we found ourselves in front of another freaky corridor. This one we knew must have been untouched for at least a half of a century.
"Wow. I thought you couldn't use magic here..."
"Well, we can't use magic on other things, but we can on ourselves." That was a huge relief.
We waited for a while until the metal cooled enough to touch, then picked up our portal guns and made our way through. Celestia went in first, lighting the way with her horn. I followed, still not knowing what to expect. It felt as though we were still being watched, even without the presence of those bizarre security cameras. Almost like a horror movie, to be honest. Except I had nopony to tell me when to duck or not to enter a room. Then again, I never had that in the first place.
As we sludged our way through the cold, mildewed hall, I tried talking with Celestia to ease the impending doom that lingered in the air here. "Um, how does one test cooperatively?"
She caught on to what I was trying to do quickly and dead-ended the conversation. "You'll find out in about four seconds. Shut your trap."
And as she (sort of) promised, the hallway came to a stop and turned right, leading us into a tall, square room. Everything was still made of concrete, with the exception of two black metal tubes hanging downwards from the ceiling and a large section of the opposite wall was taken out to reveal a large, dark room. Blueblood's voice came back on. "Well, congratulations! You qualified to take place in our Cooperative Testing program. Remember to think with two sets of portals, and good luck on your science adventure. The testing will start in three... Two... One."
Floodlights filled the room with brightness, revealing a fairly simple obstacle course made entirely out of steel and concrete. The room looked retro, while still holding a spacey, futuristic feel to it. Kind of weird. I liked it.
"Alrighty then. Where do we start?" I asked.
"I'm not entirely sure... But that doesn't mean we can't start looking for an answer." And with a dastardly smirk, she was on her way, surveying the test ahead. Her ambition towards this alarmed me, but that didn't stop me from following her lead for some reason.
I surveyed the concrete and metal room... Large, rectangular, and had a large gap in the middle. Filled with a green sludge, so probably deadly. At the other end of the gap was a doorway to another hallway, perhaps leading to another test chamber. In one corner to the left, there was a large, open faced metal box with a concrete ceiling and floor, with a horizontal incandescent particle field wedged in between. Like it was meant to have a portal on top and bottom, perhaps generating confined speed... "Hey, Celestia. We can start here." I nudged my nose in the direction of the box thing while Celestia took note.
"Okay, I'm trusting you know what the particle field does, right?"
"Zaps cubes. That's all I know. Something else?"
"Yes. If a portal gun passes through, both portals that came from that gun will dissipate. So this thing here, the infinite loop, has to be used by the pony who doesn't shoot the portals. So, stand in there."
"Are you sure this will work?"
"HAHA! I HAVE NO IDEA! Just kidding, of course this will work." Her voice still hinted doubt.
I stepped forward and into the box thing as she shot a red portal directly above me, then the purple one directly below me. One split second after I was painfully aware of gravity's existence, and I was falling. It was a really bizarre sensation, pretty much like the floor you were standing on instantly dissipate. Luckily, I was half expecting it, so I didn't have a heart attack. But it still was frightening, seeing multiple Celestias whizzing upwards as I flew downwards as I was getting shocked about three times a second by the (still bizarre) particle field.
"Now what?" I yelled at her.
"Hold on a second." She pondered for a second, then right as my speed was somewhere beyond 200 kilometers an hour, she aimed her portal gun upwards. I had no idea what she was doing until it was too late to stop what she was trying to: Her portal gun momentarily glowed bright red, then shot out a streaking beam of energy, aimed high above the entrance to the room. And sure enough, my next lap through the portal sent me soaring downwards, but now pointed towards the other end of the room. The portal gun nearly slipped out of my concentration, this thing took me by surprise! I quickly righted myself, then braced for impact as I heard a familiar 'THOCK' against the floor. And before I knew it, I was on the cold metal floor on the opposite side of the room!
"Holy bit, where did you learn that?" I exclaimed.
"Self taught. Everyone down here must be, the announcements don't give any clues."
"So now what?"
"Look for a concrete slab to shoot a portal on. Then shoot one back here so I can get over there."
"Can do!" I walked into the hallway at the end of the room, found a portal-compatible surface directly to my left at another turn, and soon Celestia and I were walking side by side again to the next test.
"Well, now. That wasn't so bad, now was it?"
My legs were shaky, I felt sick, and I could hardly breath. I rolled my eyes and smartassed her. "Sure."
"Good. Let's continue."
We were already in the second bend on the steel corridor, so all we had to do to get to the next chamber was turn to our left. As we did so, we were met by a shock. Not literally, thank God, but still... The entire next room was gone. We could tell because the faint lighting nearby hinted jagged metal edges around the end of the hall, but we still couldn't tell what was ahead. We stepped forwards to find out. We must have triggered some sort of motion sensor, because the voice of Blueblood came back on.
"WelcdvnnhZZZZCKKM..." A long, awkward pause followed. "Well, it would appear as though the first test wasn't a problem for you, so let's get you a little bit harder one." The familiar shine of floodlights suddenly filled the room, revealing what appeared to not be a testing chamber. Rather, a void. Again. This one in the shape of a giant sphere. The entire bottom of the sphere was flooded with the green sludge to about ten meters, looking like the stuff in the last room. And by the looks of it, there could be a connection between the two. The sphere looked as though it was split in half by a large concrete slab, and we were on the left side. So, basically, we were looking at the shell of the large sphere we were in. I guess I didn't realize exactly how big the ladder into here was, because we were pretty high up. About thirty meters, if I had to guess. But by the looks of things, the space between portal-compatible surfaces hinted that escape was either very difficult, or impossible. But there were some oddly oriented concrete pillars and slabs in the sludge, so that provided some hope. Naturally, I had to look to Celestia for a way out.
"Any ideas? Preferably ones that will allow us to live?" I asked anxiously.
"I got one. Let's do this... See that ledge over there?" She pointed to her right to show me an overhang of steel on the dividing wall.
"Yes... What about it?"
"Shoot a portal on the sphere forward of that, then shoot a sideways one on the platform in the sludge."
I did what she told me, even though I didn't trust what she was doing at all.
She jumped. I'm not sure if you know what level of insecurity I'm dealing with here, but when you're dealing with the two-thousand-year-old former leader of Equestria, s*** gets real.
I leaned over the edge to see what had happened to her. And to my (HUGE) relief, she had already shot a red portal on a platform directly below her and had shot the other on the right side of a large, vertical pillar to the left, hopefully flinging her to the platform in the middle of everything, ultimately catapulting herself to a busted ledge on the large concrete wall to the right. Eeyup, it's official. I'd never be able to do this on my own.
I looked back up to see Celestia fly through the first set of portals and over the sludge, and then go diagonally into the second to arc her way to the ledge, landing with an all-too-familiar 'CRASH'. But she was alive, so all was well.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" She yelled at me.
"Well, what the hell do you mean, 'what am I waiting for'? There's a freaking gap of almost certain death between you and me that contains a slim chance of survival!"
She gave me her 'Are you f***ing kidding me?' face. "What else would it take for you to just get over here?"
Eeyup, there was no safe way out of this question. "Ugh, fine. Here it goes." I reared up for a leap to my impending doom, then jumped. And, knowing my rotten luck, I felt as though I had picked up too much forward speed. My original fear was overshooting the platform and plunging down into the murky depths of major suckage, but fear turned to relief when I discovered something in mid-flight. I had instinctively leaned backwards and stiffened up, which to my surprise, got me slowly moving in a backwards direction. I had no time to think between my initial jump and my landing, so my first words after shooting through both sets of portals and crashing down on the ledge were "Woah."
"See? That wasn't so bad."
Stopping my shaking, I responded. "Okay, now what?"
She gave me another 'Are you kidding me?' face and nudged her nose to my right, pointing me towards a steel door, that clearly put us to the next room. Well, clearly until we spotted the small white sign above the handle that said 'Employees Only'. Well, because it looked as though there would be nopony to get us into trouble, I pushed open the door with my hoof and we walked perpendicularly into a concrete hallway, clearly unused for a long time. More dim lighting filled the hallway, and soon enough, we were finally safe from those deadly tests. We spotted a sign directly in front of us, which shocked us with the black words that were on it. It read: "Attention Test Moderators! Don't forget to: (1) Wash hooves after handling used portal guns, (2) Lock up and shut down your workstation, and (3) Euthanize all test subjects at the end of testing."
Good God... This means Luna WAS actually trying to kill us! I looked at Celestia. She had the most shocked look on her face. She looked back at me. And by this time, I could tell that we were both thinking the exact same thing: 'Holy s***.'
She turned to her left immediately and started walking. By the time I had overcome my shock and seen what she had started to do, I had to run to catch up with her. "Celestia! Where are you going?"
"There's electricity and a staff hallway down here, so there must be a quick way to get back up. Start looking for an elevator shaft." Her quick logic skills impressed me enough do get me looking in the other direction, to the right of where we were. And at the end of the hallway (dimly lit but still recognizable), were a pair of elevator doors about twenty meters away.
"Yo! Got it!" I called Celestia over as I started racing down the poorly cared-for corridor.
"Good work. Look for a generator room so we can boot it up."
When we were at the end of the hallway, I quickly located a wooden door labeled "Lift Control Room". Not wanting to deal with an annoying, rusty door, I reared up and bucked the poor bastard open. I walked inside to find a large electric motor inside, probably the biggest that I had ever seen. It was crusted over with years of oxidation, yet strangely still looked usable. I scavenged around the side of the machine to try and find some switch or lever to turn it on.
"Looking for this?" I turned around to find Celestia behind me with a hoof on a wall-mounted lever. She flipped it down, emitting a small explosion of sparks before making the motor roar to life and me jump back.
"You're welcome. Now get your flank back out here."
I walked slowly back out into the hallway to find that Celestia had already called the elevator. We both waited for about twenty seconds, then a bell sounded, followed by the opening of the scaffolding doors, which revealed a small, metal room inside. "Ladies first..." I said to Celestia in a somewhat inviting manner. She could obviously tell that I didn't want to go in first, but that didn't stop her from getting in. After I got the 'okay' signal from her inside, I stepped in alongside her as the doors closed and we started moving upwards. It was slow at first, but it had constant acceleration, so we were moving at a speed of about 60 kilometers an hour within a minute.
"Where exactly are we going?" I asked.
"I'm not entirely sure, but judging by the size of that motor, this thing probably goes all the way up to the surface. Maybe further... Or into the room where GLaDOS is kept."
"I'm guessing that her room is close to the surface then?"
"Yes. Very close."
The rest of the seven minute ride was rather quiet, even though we had a lot to talk about. But most of those things involved Luna killing innocent ponies, so we just kept quiet. I could have imagined the rage (or sadness) flowing throughout her mind... I didn't want to think more about how devastating it must have been to find out your sister was a true psychopath. So what should have been about seven minutes ended up feeling like twenty. Maybe it was twenty. Like I said, I have no idea how time passes anymore.
When we were at last at the top of the shaft and the door reopened, there was good news and bad news. The good news is that the elevator doors opened straight to a large, spherical (not retro, this one was new and entirely steel) room, which in the middle, hanging from the ceiling by a robotic arm, was a bizarre robot. Obviously GLaDOS. Well, obvious until it spoke. Which leads me directly to the bad news: Wheatly was hanging from the ceiling instead. Eeyup, the familiar blue ball was in the center of the room, in GLaDOS' place.
"Hello!" The blue eyed robot spoke to us in his British accent.
Having absolutely no idea what to do now, I turned towards Celestia. "Dammit, now what?"
"Well, let's find out." We stepped further into the room.
I spoke up to Wheatly. "How the hell did you get up here?"
"Funny story: As it turns out, I actually didn't need you! Got up here all on my own by overriding the turret defense system and core replacing her. So, in a nutshell, I am the new GLaDOS! Me! Little Wheatly did all of this!"
A fourth voice spoke up. "It wasn't all you. You know that test subject 568 did all of this. And you KILLED her. And poor Luna has no idea." It was the real GLaDOS. Her disembodied core was lying on the floor to the right. She was orange and disk shaped rather than blue and spherical.
"Yeah, like YOU or Luna would have done something different! You two kill every bloody test subject that sets hoof in here! Look at it this way..." Wheatly came to a realization. "Oh my dear God... This system. No matter what core is plugged in... they're given a desire to kill. To test! To test, then kill! That explains everything. GLaDOS. Do you have a desire to kill anypony?"
"Not a pony, but if I was able to, I have a feeling I would end up killing you."
"Why?" Wheatly was in a bonehead state of confusion.
"BECAUSE YOU NEARLY KILLED ME, OF COURSE!"
"Hey! Where the hell is this even going?" Celestia had a surprise say in the argument.
Wheatly turned towards Celestia. "And... And YOU. You filthy cheat... I just checked the test subject database. You were supposed to be dead two weeks ago."
She waved a hoof at GLaDOS and Wheatly. "Shouldn't have given me these, then."
"Celestia, you're not helping. Let's just wrap this damned conversation up and get the hell out of here." I said to her.
"You know what? I don't even need you. I don't need any of you. I can run this place on my own. And you know what? I'm going to kill you. I'm going to kill all of you." Wheatly's voice nearly reached a peak of insanity.
Well, I had a feeling that it was going to happen eventually, but not this soon... At least we got back up here fast. But we weren't going down yet. Especially not GLaDOS. "Look, there may not be much time before he goes completely insane, so I might as well tell you this. Okay, I'm sorry I almost killed you. It was compulsive, and I was actually trying to kill him. And about Wheatly..." She said to me.
"DON'T TELL HIM!" Wheatly piped up.
"SCREW YOU! I'LL TELL HIM ANY THING I WANT! Now listen! He's going to destroy this place if he stays in there for long enough. Remember when he told you he was a 'personality core'? Yeah, his personality is to be an idiot. He was built to be a bad decision maker; he was made to keep me from becoming too smart. That's why he rerouted the elevator in the first place."
"Why the hell should I care? Just get me out of this place!"
"Fine. You want out? I'll get you out. WHEATLY! GET LUNA ON THE PHONE!"
Oh God. She dropped the bomb. "Fine, I'll do it!" Wheatly snapped back at her.
S***. This could be it. I heard a disembodied phone ringing. Within two rings, before anyone could prepare for the conversation that followed, she picked up the phone.
"Queen Luna speaking, how may I assist you?" Luna said in a rehearsed voice.
"Great. Now she's calling herself a queen." I found myself saying aloud.
"Excuse me, there can only be one queen, but as many princesses as anyone wants. So when Princess Celestia went missing, I assumed the role as a queen. Now, what do you want?"
"Missing, you say. Do you have any idea of where she is?"
"No. Is that all?"
"Well, no is not a good answer to me. And by the way, my name is Stronghold. And Celestia is right next to me as we speak."
"Hello, Luna. Long time, no see. If you call two weeks of rotting in the pit below Canterlot a long time." Celestia said.
"Celestia? Stronghold? Impossible."
"Possible. Now what are you going to do with me? Feed me to the Hydra? Throw me in the dragon's cave?"
"No idea. I'm speechless. I have no choices left. GLaDOS, kill them."
"Can do!" Wheatly spoke up instead.
"You're not GLaDOS! What have you done to her?"
"Oh, just a core transplant. But that's no problem, is it?" Wrong move, Wheatly.
"AARGH! SCREW THIS WHOLE THING! NOW ALL OF YOU ARE DOOMED!"
Nobody new what that meant until a computerized male voice came on overhead. "Core meltdown imminent. This facility will self destruct in five minutes." Just then, some of the steel panels lining the room flipped to reveal TV screens, all of which had timers on them, counting down from five minutes. And to make matters worse, Wheatly reached his peak of rage.
"YOU KNOW WHAT? You two have only gotten everything in this facility into a worse state then it already was! And you know what? I'm going to listen to Luna! You two are going to die! TODAY! NOW!"
I was honestly surprised that he went through with Luna's crazy request. Even worse, before I could figure out what was going on, two large black pipes descended from the ceiling and carried out trying to kill us. By throwing bombs out of them.
"HAHAHA! TAKE THAT!" Again, more random attempts at murder. I guess it really was hardwired into the system... Either way, Wheatly was becoming more and more psychotic as our time ran out.
"S***! WHAT DO WE DO?" I yelled at Celestia.
GLaDOS ended up being the one to respond. "Over to your left! There's a pipe that has a special white gel in it! What ever the gel splatters on, portals can be shot on."
"How?" I asked impulsively.
"Are you kidding me? There's no time to explain! Okay, maybe there is! It's made of moon rocks, which conduct portals! There! Happy?"
White gel... Conduct portals... Holy s***! That was it! "Celestia! I know how we can beat him and escape! Follow me!" I ran to my left and beneath the white pipe, all the while dodging poorly aimed grenades shot by Wheatly. And just as I predicted, one stray fire blew up the pipe, sending lead shrapnel and white gel soaring out in all directions. Sure enough, within seconds, the entire room was portal compatible.
"AARGH! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"
I smirked. "Self-defense."
He lobbed more bombs at me, each one detonating no further away from me than a couple meters. With every one that exploded, my ears became less and less sensitive while my head hurt more and more from the rising shellshock I was getting. But at least I was ready this time. I shot an orange portal at my feet while jumping back and firing a blue one on the wall behind Wheatly. Sure enough, the bombs hit him directly on his bad side and soon made him go into a dormant state of rest after letting out an enraged scream.
"Good work, Stronghold!" Celestia praised.
"Thanks, but now what? We only have four minutes left!"
GLaDOS piped in. "Hey! What about me?"
"Yeah, what about you?"
"I can replace him! Plug me into the station at the back of the room! In case that-" GLaDOS was cut off there. A crazy noise had taken over our ears, like a ravaging wind. A hole had caved into the room, in the exact place that she was. And she fell. And there was nothing I could do about it. My gut suddenly tightened itself. Our only hope was destroyed. And sure enough, the void was taking over the room as we were in it. Every helpless moment that the unpredictable wind ripped at the room we were in, a new hole was created, and soon enough, we were stranded on a small concrete platform in the middle of the room's metal frame. Wheatly finally tried to speak to us.
"Why is this happening? She wasn't supposed to die! Just you two!"
Although his remark didn't really help us, it seemed to buy us a little time.
The void took Wheatly next. First it caved in the ceiling more, revealing the complex circuitry behind the robot's inner workings. But before any of us could percieve what was going on, the single cord holding Wheatly in place gave way, releasing a panicked robot screaming down to his doom. And we were next. Surrounded by doom. That was us.
Well, almost. With about a minute left on the countdown, a small beacon of hope came down from the heavens. Almost literally. I looked up to find that a deep hole had caved in above us, revealing the moon shining bright above us. I had a crazy idea in my head, but Celestia was the one crazy enough to put it out: Going to the moon.
"HOLD ON!" Celestia screamed.
"TO ME, DAMN IT!" I freaked out and grabbed hold of Celestia's frontal leg as she swung out the portal gun and shot a portal below us, then one directly at the moon.
Everything happened too fast. One moment, we were in the void of Aperture Science, and the next moment, we were in the void of deep space. Although the transition wasn't as violent as I had anticipated, the overall effect was absolutely intense. And a second later, I found myself, along with Celestia, in the gravelly landscape of the moon. And the biggest surprise? We were alive. And breathing. Breathing heavy and adrenalin surging through me. I staggered to my hooves, looking at the black, starry sky around me. I spotted Earth. Holy s***. It was beautiful.
"Space! Air! Wha- a-" That's the last thing I remembered before collapsing and blacking out.
"Wake up, sleepyhead."
My eyes crawled into a state of awareness once again as I spotted Celestia hanging above me instead of a light bulb, smiling. As I woke up more, I noticed something: We were no longer on the moon. Instead of being on a lunar landscape, I was in a hospital bed. And instead of feeling sick, I felt much better. Mainly because I was out of that horrible pit. But it was also because I was surrounded by a few friends.
"What happened? How long was I out?" I asked her.
"Well, you were only out for a couple of days, but a lot happened in that time. First of all, I would like to have it known that the moon actually does have an atmosphere. How else would Luna have survived for a millennium up there? Anyway, using some careful aiming tricks, I managed to fire a portal back here to get us both back to Canterlot. And not surprisingly, half of the city was caved in. It was a horrible mess... Several buildings and houses were caved in or split apart, the castle and many other buildings around it were badly damaged. And as it turns out, Aperture was powered by a nuclear generator, which had a meltdown shortly after Wheatly took over and neglected it. So we basically just survived a nuclear meltdown. I didn't even need to tell anyone that Luna was responsible. She was already arrested and presumably in prison by the time I arrived in the city. I regained leadership for Equestria, and now here we are. Back home. And for all of your efforts, I'd like to award you with this..." She held out her hoof, which held in it the portal gun that I had used on our little adventure together.
"Wow... You salvaged this? From where?"
"Well, you did drop it on the moon." She winked at me. "And now it's yours. A souvenir if you want to call it."
I levitated it up to where I was laying down and hugged it. "Thanks, Princess."
"You're welcome, Stronghold."
Six Years Later
In the small house on the southeast corner of 35th street and Kilmore Avenue, a special event was taking place. It wasn't regarded as notable or groundbreaking, but it was special anyway.
"Ready?" A gray unicorn asked a white filly.
"Ready." They were in Stronghold's basement, a large, but dark room that had been specially outfitted to be a testing chamber for his son. And as the filly stood on the edge of a concrete ledge overlooking a small pit, his mind racing furiously to devise a plan to cross the gap easily. After several seconds of hard thinking, he shot a blue beam out of the device he was holding into the pit, opening up a portal beneath him. He then shot another portal behind and above him, on the elevated wall that was the key to completing the test. Then, he jumped. First into the blue portal with some good speed, then out of the orange one at the exact same time, flinging himself up and over the pit that used to stand in his way.
"Dad, I did it!" He shouted.
A tear came to Stronghold's eye as he realized that he had just passed on his legacy of testing to the next generation.