Mona Lisa

Chapter 1

"We just don't know where to go anymore," the pretty blonde spoke.

Both girls, sisters, were sun stained blonde and each gazed hopefully from the same bright ocean blue eyes, which shone like crystal pools.

Four chocolate painted walls of a high-end café encompassed the company, the sisters; Adrian and Erin, Shibuya Psychic Research; Naru, Mai, and Takagawa (Monk). It was because of the case itself that they conversed here instead of the sisters' home.

The girls themselves looked like they were raised in Italy, high end and classy. Though having lived in Japan for seven years soon, their smooth Italian accent carried even through fluent Japanese.

Adrian, the taller and older of the two, had an air which made clear she took charge efficiently in most situations. Only small glimpses of her tall even frame gave any clue to the strength which her feminine pride made her hide. Yet just this was enough to make even Naru think twice on testing her.

Erin, on the other hand, carried every aspect of a rich girl raised in a closet. Not ignorant, just innocent. Her face and slight, thin frame suggested this too. Her bright sea blue orbs sparkled with the energy and intrigue of a child. Her hands, with polished nails and adorned with rings gave insight that the most she'd ever worked was perhaps typed on a keyboard or played piano. But there was also a nervous air about her. Something had scared her witless.

"So you think it's a painting of the Mona Lisa that is doing this?" Naru reviewed.

Adrian answered first. "Yes. We've tried covering and even storing it away from the house. Nothing has effect, she comes all the same. No man can come too close."

Naru looked surprise. "The painting only hurts men?"

"Yes," Erin's slight voice whispered. "She took our father." Her voice shook and she looked like she would break down.

Adrian snaked an arm around her sister's shoulders. "I'm sorry. Erin was the one to witness the event. She hasn't slept since."

Takagawa piped up. "How long ago was this?"

"Two months."

"That's a long time for no sleep." He tried to smile, make her feel if even a little better.

"Erin has had nightmares since," Adrian clarified.

Naru got the feeling that she held back something, something big. "Well, if only for Erin's sake, I think we should reconvene tomorrow and start the investigation. Tonight, I wouldn't recommend staying at your home."

Erin shut the door of her sister's red Ferrari, shaking and nervous.

"What if they can't get rid of it? What if they find -" Erin started.

"Don't say it. It'll work. How would they find out what happened anyway, unless one of us opens our mouths. We keep quiet and all goes well."

"I don't think these guys will be fooled like the police. They know what they're doing," Erin tried to argue.

"You'll keep your mouth shut none the less."

The gray boxy SPR van pulled up to a classic two car garage Italian house in suburban Tokyo. Even at first look the house gave off rich vibes, even if not for the fact that very few of Tokyo's residence could afford a house. On the porch, a vertical garden of rich full grapes climbed up the railings that the girls' hands had likely never touched. Ivy climbed over the sun washed stone of the house itself. The front door, a beautiful stained glass, depicted an archangel blowing a horn under a single bright star, framed richly by oak wood. Standing on either side were Greek statues, one of a woman with flowers, the other of a sentinel in armor with a shield and spear.

The girls, stood waiting outside a red Maserati sitting in the drive.

"Some place you got here," Monk announced as the SPR team piled out of the van.

"Why thank you," Adrian nodded with naked pride at the luxury house. "Wait till we're inside."

Naru spoke up after noting the statues. "A little contradicting to have Greek statues right next to a biblical image, wouldn't you think?"

Adrian turned a critical eye to the statues. "I believe Rome and Greece set elegance for the rest of the world, but only Italy and France seemed to take a hint." She waved off the door. "The door was my father's choice."

Inside, since Naru had decided they should see all the house before setting up, was even more beautiful than Adrian had hinted. The nearly completely open west side streamed sunlight in to give the fifteen foot cathedral ceiling a regal, old world look. Under this stood a set of white leather sofas and dark hand carved oak furnishings. The house was filled with items like these, along with Greek vases and more statues. The entire house was dark hardwood floored. A rich white ash dining table stood dutifully in an area just off the kitchen. A cabinet sat across the room from this with Greek column legs.

"So where is the painting?" Naru got to business.

Erin looked like she might answer but her sister beet her to it.

"Come now. You've come a long way. Rest and allow me to show you Italian hospitality." She went into the kitchen around the corner, inviting the group to come in.

If the rest of the house was impressive, even the kitchen was huge, with dark oak cabinets and black granite counters, including a bar at the end.

The group seated themselves at a small round table in a side part of the area.

"Tea or coffee? Perhaps something a little stronger?" She went around to the bar and retrieved a dark bottle with fancy lettering.

"Barolo 1872, from my family's old vineyard in Italy."

Seeing Adrian's proud beam, Mai thought she'd finally found someone more narcissistic than Naru.

"This is hardly the time, Adrian," Erin objected.

"Erin's right. Just tea, thank you. We're on a job, don't forget." Naru's tone seemed to remind everyone of that.

Adrian shrugged, gesturing Erin to tend tea.

"Now, while we're talking, why don't you tell us what happened to your father?" Naru suggested.

As soon as he said it a cup smashed to the wood floor. Erin mumbled a hurried apology and bent to clean it. Monk got up to help her since no one else, not even her sister had moved to help.

Mai couldn't help noticing the cold look she gave him when she thought no one looked. Then she turned back with a sweet smile as if nothing happened.

"Perhaps later when my sister has calmed some. I'm afraid she had quite an episode last night too."

"Okay, I think I wish to see this painting now. Tea can wait. Monk will you stay with Erin?"

"Oh no need for that. Erin will be fine on her own," Adrian insisted.

Her way too sweet smile almost had Naru and Mai would not have that. Something felt wrong about Adrian. Mai didn't know what, but she didn't like her one bit.

"I'll stay with her. You guys go on ahead," she piped.

As they walked back to the living room and stairs, Naru gave her the silent order, "find out about her father."