Naruto 452: A Desire to Punch New People

No surprise whatsoever: Naruto opposes the decision to allow Sasuke to be killed. He and Sakura want to run off to talk to Danzo about the order, when Kakashi tells them to calm down and NOT talk to him. Anything they say will just get them put under a microscope of suspicion and potentially thrown in jail. Oh, and a VITAL detail learned is that the Hokage doesn't become a permanent one until the Jonin vote on it. It would be so nice if the smart older ninjas that comprise the Jonin saw how Kakashi is so much better as a Hokage than the plotting and scheming Danzo is. *sigh*
Flash to Danzo talking to Sai. And you're right, we haven't seen Sai in quite a while. Basically for those new to the Naruto world, Sai is a ninja about Naruto's age that was placed on the same team as Naruto to fill the spot left empty by Sasuke. He has the ability to draw things, then animate them to real life with his chakra. Typically they're just black ink things, but he can do different animals or ropes and uses them intelligently. Most importantly, he's an agent of the "Foundation", which is Danzo's group of ninjas that he withheld from fighting when the Pains attacked because he wanted Tsunade to get hurt or at least discredited as Hokage for failing to protect the village from destruction. What a jerk. But I digress.
Danzo tells Sai to spy on Naruto, reporting immediately if he does anything unusual. Sai asks Danzo what he plans to do with Naruto. Danzo pretty much tells him that he has to handle him with care because he's a hero now and could sway the Jonin vote if he wished. But after becoming the permanent Hokage, he doesn't plan on treating Naruto with the kid-gloves he thinks Tsunade handled him with.
Sai's out walking wondering if he can actually relax, when Naruto and Sakura run up to him. They ask him to tell them about Danzo. He says he can't. They get upset, until Sai shows them a seal placed on his tongue. Not the paper kind, more like the tattoo kind. He says that to protect the Foundation, Danzo places it on all the members so they can't talk about him or the operations of the Foundation without immediately becoming sick and paralyzed. That way, even if tortured, they can't speak the secrets. Of course this is the ninja world, where people can actually enter your mind to play tricks on you or to acquire your knowledge. So if that really holds up, I'd be surprised. Sai defends Danzo, saying that even if his methods are secretive, his intentions are truly what's best for the village. Sakura tells Sai that Danzo's ordered the killing of Sasuke.
Upon mentioning Sasuke's name (a few times), we zoom out to see the two chatty ninjas from the Cloud Village (I really should learn their names soon if they're going to keep appearing...) pointing a sword at Sakura and saying "Tell us everything you know about Sasuke and the Uchihas". Immediately Naruto flies into defensive mode. He throws Sakura back, knocks the sword out of the way, grabs hold of the other one and makes a clone to grab the other ninja's sword too. The Cloud ninja are impressed, then Sakura goes to punch them and the female Cloud ninja kicks her. They separate, and start talking.
The Cloud ninja inform Sakura, Naruto, and Sai that Sasuke attacked their master (Kirabi, the leader of the Cloud Village's brother) and has joined Akatsuki. SHOCK. END. And next week there'll be some color pages. Yay for color!
All this excitement going on, and no one knows yet that Sasuke is actually on his way to the village. I wonder if there's going to be some showdown between Sasuke's Team Hawk and the Leaf Village in which Naruto's going to have to choose between following orders or sparing Sasuke. He'll probably spare him, and have to deal with a bunch of chatty consequences. Something like "never visit the village again. we strip you of your headband" or some such. At least until Danzo dies. That would be dramatic stuff, wouldn't it.