Yamato finds Sai's Bingo Book and explains to Naruto and Sakura that Sai must have assassinated all of the people in the book with an "X" on their faces; they find a photo of Sasuke inside the book, and Yamato tells them that Sai's true mission was not to be the liaison between Orochimaru and Danzō, but to kill Sasuke. Yamato explains that Danzō does not want to destroy Konoha, but instead wishes to protect it, and considering Sasuke a threat, since Sasuke is to be Orochimaru's future host body, a necessity to eliminate. Naruto refuses to believe Sai would kill Sasuke, citing Sai's genuine smile when he finished his picture book. However, Sakura recalls Sai telling her (after she had flashed him a smile and punched him) that he found another use for a genuine smile and believed that a smile could diffuse a situation. The trio then set off in order to find Sai, and by extension, Sasuke.
Sai locates Sasuke's room and sends in three ink snakes. However, Sasuke wakes up, having sensed his presence. Sai explains that he was sent by Danzō to kill him, but is now here to protect the bond he shares with Naruto and bring him back to Konoha. Sasuke is irritated that he was awakened from his rest due to a bond, and Sai decides to restrain him with his snakes. Sasuke breaks free, and causes an explosion that destroys a portion of the base. Yamato senses Sai's chakra and the trio set off, running down hallways until they see light at the end. Sakura spots Sai and runs down the hallway, exiting through the make shift hole. She yanks Sai and prepares to assault him for his true mission until Sasuke calls out her name, freezing her in her place. Recognising the voice, she looks up to see Sasuke. Naruto, who hears Sasuke's voice, also coming running out. Sasuke is surprised to see Naruto and asks whether Kakashi had also tagged along. Yamato tells him that he is replacing Kakashi as the leader of Team Kakashi and that they are here to escort him back to Konoha. Sasuke scoffs at the mention of "Team Kakashi" and realises that Sai is his replacement, calling him weak. Sai pulls out his sword, prompting Sakura to attempt to stop him, but Sai tells them that while his true mission was to kill Sasuke, he is done following orders and will now begin to think for himself, thanks to Naruto. On top of that, while he himself does not understand their bond, he acknowledges that Naruto and Sakura would do anything to preserve that bond and that Sasuke should be able to understand it. Sasuke tells him that he did understand and acknowledge the bond, hence why he severed it. He recalls losing to Itachi when he was attempting to protect Naruto, and tells them that the only bond he has is with his brother Itachi, and that it is a bond of hatred.