Chapter Forty-six

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The EUS motorcade followed police out of the Leningrad traffic into Palace Square and stopped in front of the Winter Palace—a giant mint green and white building built in the Elizabethan Baroque style that served as the home of the Russian czars until the Russian Revolution. The Secret Service agents exited their SUVs and formed a perimeter as the Angels exited the Autobots. Kita and Apocalypse stayed on Arcee. Guards opened the ornate gate with a golden double-headed eagle in the side of the Winter Palace to allow Arcee and the others into the inner courtyard.

Once the gate closed, Kita and Apocalypse dismounted Arcee and let her transform. A group of American diplomats stepped back in surprise as two Soviet soldiers raised their weapons.

"She's with me," said Apocalypse to the guards.

"Убери оружие. Я не причиню тебе вреда. Я американец," said Arcee.

"You learned Russian?" said Kita amused.

"I downloaded it. I thought it might come in useful."

The soldiers lowered their weapons, and one made a radio call.

"Wow, I expected more of a garden," said Sapper sounding disappointed. Cobblestones covered most of the inner courtyard except for neatly kept trees and bushes surrounded by a waist-high iron fence in the center.

"Few outsiders ever see this garden. It's left over from the czars," said Apocalypse. "The Soviets don't believe in aesthetics unless it's to impress outsiders." Her diplomats approached and knelt. "Everything in order, Brice?"

"Yes, Your Highness."

"Good. Brice, meet Princess Kita and the Angels. Girls, this is Kevin Merithol, Ambassador to India, Mike Monsanto, Ambassador to China, and Brice Thompson, Deputy Ambassador to the USSR."

Kita mentally shrugged. The Ambassador to the Soviet Union had died in the nuclear detonation that destroyed Moscow. I can't save everyone.

"Your Highness, you haven't given any guidance on how we are to proceed with the negotiation," said Merithol.

"This will be a frank discussion. I'm going to show them my hand. I'll let them decide what to do after that," Apocalypse said with a mischievous grin.

Thompson looked at Arcee. "Is it part of your hand?"

"She is Arcee an Autobot Angel that has helped us defeat the Decepticons. Arcee is the tip of the iceberg. Come. Let's not keep the Illuminati waiting." Apocalypse took Kita's hand and motioned for the soldiers she was ready.

As they walked through the courtyard, Apocalypse swung her and Kita's arm playfully.

"You're in a good mood," said Kita.

"I feel like a kid in a candy store, and my dad owns the place."

Kita chuckled. "Don't celebrate too early."

"Nothing can stop me—only delay me."

"And what is it that my love desires in this candy store?"

"All of it."

"I can tell you from experience, the chase is better than the catch. Ruling a world is hard."

"I have a plan. I don't expect to get the whole world today, just lay the foundation."

Kita raised an eyebrow. It's not my show, but I'll do whatever she wants. I hope she has a plan and can adapt well.

The soldiers opened a large set of double doors at the top of a set of steps into the Winter Palace. Kita, the Angels, and the delegation entered Armorial Hall. Damn. Talk about impressive decadence. The white and gold room radiated regal splendor. Golden pillars supported a balcony that ran around the room. Ornate statues lined the walls. Giant chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Why haven't the Soviets torn this place down? It seems to stand for everything they're against. A pair of Soviet officers escorted them through the room to a set of white doors with gold trim.

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