The Sound Four soon overwhelm Sasuke. Even his Shishi Rendan (Lion Combo) seems to do no damage.
Meanwhile, Naruto treats Sakura to a bowl of ramen. He tries to engage her in conversation, but her thoughts keep coming back to Sasuke. She then reveals to Naruto that Orochimaru bit Sasuke back at the Chunin forest exam and that was the origin of Sasuke's cursed seal.
Kakashi assured her everything would be ok, but when they fought Gaara, Sasuke's scar reappeared. He had the same intense look both times. Naruto explains his experience fighting Orochimaru with the other two Sannin, but guarantees that Sasuke wouldn't accept such an invitation.
Sakon holds the Uchiha boy up by one foot and explains that if he remains in Konoha, he will always remain weak. However, if he comes with them, Orochimaru will give him power. His seal activates and invades his body. They inform him that they have not come to take him by force. He must choose to come with them. The seal spreads throughout the left side of his body, but Sakon allows his own cursed seal to become visible. Sasuke isn't the only one Orochimaru favors.
However, there are consequences to using the seal. The more he uses it, the deeper it will affect his body. When it consumes him, it will consume his soul forever. He must give up something to gain something in return. They then remind him that Itachi is waiting and after that they disappear. Sasuke returns home one last time. He turns the picture of himself with Kakashi, Naruto, and Sakura on its face and leaves.
Meanwhile, Sakura decides to walk home alone from the ramen shop. She takes a short route to the village entrance and catches Sasuke as he's about to leave. He tells her she should leave. Sakura then begins her talk about Sasuke leaving. Why must he do this? He tells her to stop interfering with his affairs. She cries that he always acts like he hates her.
Back when they were Genins, they stood at this spot. She mentioned how he never got yelled at by his parents, and he became angry that she could think such petty things. Everything started on that day so long ago. Sasuke doesn't remember. She then tells Sasuke about the bell test and the missions they have accomplished. She tells him that revenge won't make anyone happy. He assures her that he knows that. But he is different from them. He must pursue revenge.
Sakura tells Sasuke that if he leaves, she will be lonely. He tells her that from this point, they will follow different paths. She then tells him that she loves him and will do anything she can to make him happy if only he will stay with her. Or, if he chooses to leave, she will come with him. Sasuke turns and tells her she's still annoying. Sakura then threatens to scream. In the blink of an eye, Sasuke is behind her, and before she can defend herself, he knocks her out and leaves her on a bench. When Sasuke meets up with the Sound Four, they have decided he is their new leader.