"Puppets" (人形, Ningyō) is chapter 19 of the Boruto manga.
As they leave the research institute, Akita provides Boruto with scientific ninja weapon manuals, her contact information, and asks if he has enough healing foam. Boruto tells her he has enough, as more would hinder his movement. She apologises for her caution, attributing it to Katasuke and Chamaru going with them. Boruto thought Katasuke was staying, but he arrives clad in a prototype mechanical suit, originally designed rehabilitative care, but modified for combat, wishing to test it. Boruto isn't enthusiastic about it. Sarada checks if she has all packed. Sumire notices Akita has taken a liking to Boruto, and asks Sarada if Boruto is popular with girls. Sarada thinks Boruto just makes friends easily. Sumire asks if Sarada is interested in Boruto. Sarada denies it, and Sumire reveals she is. They bid Akita and Sumire farewell and depart. At the crash site, they noticed mechanical puppets scattered all around, and wonder if a battle took place. They see no trace of Konohamaru. The crashed blimp catches Katasuke's attention, who goes in to investigate, finding the empty box. Outside, the puppets activate themselves and attack. Boruto, Sarada, and Mitsuki each attack them with various ninjutsu, without much success. The puppets unleash a barrage of Fire Releaseattacks. Boruto is astonished by the continuous rapid fire rate, and Sarada notices the lack of hand seal weaving. Katasuke recognises them as autonomous scientific ninja weapons, and deduces from the attack they're guarding the box inside the blimp, and that Konohamaru must also have investigated it. Boruto notices the advancing puppets, and Katasuke steps forward to fight them with his own scientific ninja weapons. The puppets open fire against him, but he absorbs their attacks with his suit. He does so until the puppets' mechanisms overheat, causing them to stop functioning. Mitsuki postulates the puppets' structure lacks the endurance for such a continuous engagement. Katasuke instructs them to disconnect their power sources so they don't attack again once they cool down. Sarada questions having to go against scientific ninja weapons, knowing them to be proprietary technology developed by Konoha. Katasuke recalls being told by Ibiki that while under genjutsu, he disclosed information about the weapons to someone. Chamaru calls their attention, having found a kunai they recognise as Konohamaru's. Chamaru tracks Konohamaru through scent to a cave nearby, where he is tending to Mugino's injuries. Anticipating opponents, Konohamaru is glad to see them. Katasuke ponders how the enemy's weapons outclass his. Konohamaru asks Katasuke if he also saw the container in the blimp, and hands him the data he collected for analysis. They're interrupted by Ao, who arrives wanting to hear about their situation. Boruto recognises him from the train, but Konohamaru recognises him as the "Byakugan Killer" from the Bingo Book. Knowing him to be retired, Konohamaru asks what he's doing there, but Ao deflects by readying a scientific ninja weapon against them. He asks for the location of the contents of the blimp's box. Konohamaru doesn't know, and refuses to divulge information on an on-going mission, again stressing Ao's retirement from shinobi life. Ao chooses to silence them instead, pointing the weapon at them.
In this chapter, Konohamaru mistakenly calls Ao the Fourth Mizukage's right hand. However, this was corrected to the Fifth Mizukage in the tankōbon version.