A shorter issue for a shorter arc! Just to give the series some breathing room. :)
Part 2 of 2.
A scarlet blade shot through the thick, choking air like it was a bolt of lighting, tearing across delicate flesh and splashing blood over the snow covered ground of the Mercy Hospital parking lot, the throwing knife used for the kill was the exact same colour of the blood gushing from the victim.
Officer Simmons of the NYPD collapsed into the snow, face half buried in the freezing liquid, in fact the final sensation he felt before passing was the chill of the ice pressing up against the wound in his neck, making him want to vomit from the feeling. The Red Fury watched in silence as the Police Sergeant died, the ninja's black robes making him invisible in the black sky surrounding him, with his only visible feature being the bright red eyes burning like a candle beneath his hood.
"All units check in!" The officer's commander said from the walkie talkie lying on the ground by the Fury's feet, the ninja tilted his head slightly at the sight of the technology before picking up the device out of curiosity and placing it on his belt.
"Tatemono no naka ni motto arimasu." The ninja told his soldiers as they materialized around him. "Sorera o isso shi, dare anata ga mitsukemasu." He ordered, eyes still locked on the dead body of the officer he'd just slain. "Soshite, watashi wa Furanku kyassuru no atama o motte kimasu."
"All units check in!" Lieutenant Sanchez ordered into his communicator, only to be met with the crackle of static. In frustration he smashed his walkie talkie into the ground. "Where the hell is everyone?!" He looked to the man he hated, Frank Castle, wondering if he somehow had anything to do with this.
The man was still bound to his hospital bed, a pair of handcuffs on one hand to go with the restraints binding his wrists, he looked like something a dog had tossed up, covered in a mixture of bruises and bandages, yet somehow he was still terrifying to look at. Frank Castle looked like he could kill you at any moment.
"They're all dead." The Punisher informed the irritated officer, still aching from his battle with Nuke, despite the painkilers flowing through his system. "Sanchez, if you want to get of here alive you'll do EXACTLY what I tell you."
By his bed, Frank's ally, the old man perked up at the sound of a new plan being formed, he'd felt relatively useless until now, with the one action he'd performed resulting in his friend being surrounded by the people he was trying to escape from.
"You should probably listen to him." He told Sanchez who was fidgeting with his walkie talkie like it would somehow start working again. "The man knows what he's doing, and he wants to get everyone out of this thing alive."
The NYPD officer seemed conflicted about the entire situation, on one hand he had no desire to die, but on the other hand he didn't want to help a known criminal escape from confinement, especially one he'd been chasing for the last few weeks.
It was a sense of survival versus a sense of duty.
"Goddamn it Castle." Sanchez pulled out his knife and cut the restraints around the Punisher's wrists, quickly using a key to unlock the handcuffs as well. "What's the plan?" He asked with a little sigh, knowing he was going to regret this decision.
Rather then respond with words the Punisher chose to respond with force, punching the officer in the skull, sending him crashing to the ground in a state of unconsciousness with a dull thud. Several of the items attached to his body armour fell upon his impact, giving the vigilante a new supply of weapons and gadgets.
"Jesus, Frank." The old man said while getting up out of his chair. "You didn't have ta hit him."
Frank ignored his friend as he carefully picked up the lieutenant's body and placed it in a nearby metal cupboard containing some medical supplies.
"We're dealing with Hand ninjas." He explained while pocketing one of the officer's explosives. "That's why we haven't heard any gunshots." Frank turned to the old man and gave him a look that reeked of desperation and seriousness. "If we want to get out of here in one piece we're going to have to be quick."
"So you're not going to go and 'punish' them?"
The old man bent down and picked up the pistol that Sanchez had dropped upon his collapse. He passed it to Frank who chuckled and tucked the weapon into the back of his pants as a makeshift holster.
"Now I didn't say that."
The Red Fury and his men walked quickly through the hospital's hallways, the bodies of various hospital orderlies and staff littering the ground by their feet. While other organisations like the Maggia wouldn't dare to pull an operation of this scale, the Hand were completely fearless and devoid of any emotions or feeling other then the desire to shed blood.
It was a desire they'd fulfilled this day.
"Kore wa kare no heydasu." One of the ninjas said upon arriving just outside their destination. They all filed into the room, swords at the ready, only to find that the place was completely empty with the exception of one bed which had its occupant asleep underneath the covers.
"Sore o kensaku!" The Red Fury ordered, all the ninjas surrounded the hospital bed, with their leader remaining out of the way, feeling unsure about the situation. It seemed too easy... like they were being played somehow.
"Zan'nen'na koto." One of the ninjas said with a hint of sadness. "Watashi wa sento de panissha ga chokumen $hite iru koto o tanoshimini $hite imashita."
One by one they all began to stab their blades into the bed, only for them to find something they weren't expecting beneath the covers. After a couple of stabs one of the ninja stabbed his blade into a metallic device, resulting in the sound of a loud cracking noise, before being followed by an even louder sound.
An explosion shook the entire hospital and tore through the soldiers surrounding the bed, their stealth skills not helping in the slightest against the metal shrapnel and fire that ripped them apart. Brown ash and blood filled the air, while the tattered remains of red cloth scattered along the ground.
The only survivor of the blast was the Red Fury, having suffered a broken arm from the blast, he quickly began to get back to his feet, using his sword as a cruth only to be met by the end of a pistol pointing directly his eyes. He stared at the broken and bruised body of Frank Castle and realized he'd made a massive error in his assault of the facility.
"Castle..." He growled, speaking in a tongue that wasn't his own. Rage filled his body, filling what was left of his blood stream with adrenaline. "It seems I've greatly underestimated you." He admitted.
The Punisher simply shrugged, his body still weak and growing weaker.
"It happens." He croaked.
The Hand ninja fell to the ground, a fresh, bloody hole in the middle of his skull. For whatever reason he didn't turn to ash, instead his body remained completely normal, so the Punisher popped a few more rounds into his skull, just to be sure.
"Stupid ninja magic..." Frank sighed before leaving, the body still remaining completely solid. As he made his way towards the building's exit he felt anger at the bodies of the people who'd been killed by the Hand's task force, in the back of his mind he promised to avenge them... but then he felt pain from his injuries and decided he'd do it once he was back to full strength.
"We all done here, Frank?" The old man asked as the Punisher stepped into the car he'd hotwired.
"For now." The Punisher grumbled, annoyed that his return to New York was being cut so soon. "But I'll be back when I get the chance."
The sound of the car's engine rumbling let Frank finally relax after what felt like a dexade of conflict. For a few hours he'd be able to just rest and slowly begin to make his enemies pay.
"Where are we headed to?" The Punisher asked his ally as they began to pull out of the car park.
Next Issue: Hunted!