After reading this here I think it's more likely that Kabuto has ties with Akatsuki, and even possibly demons. Has the translation indicates, Sasori and Deidara sent someone to Orochimaru's place. Hero Book further confirms that. I believe that person is Kabuto. While he could be just like Yuura, I believe there's more to it. Kabuto failed the Chuunin exam 6 times. Assuming Chuunin exams were always held twice a year. That's 3 years. Add the 1 year gap between Akatsuki's meeting shown in chapter 238 and you get 4 years. Orochimaru left the orginization 7 years before that. If Kabuto were to have begun working for Orochimaru at that time then there's a 3 year gap between Orochimaru leaving the orginization and Kabuto being sent to him. Now I think there's many different ways where this can go. If he had been working for Orochimaru for 7 years. Then he may have been tied to his departure or rather sent by Akatsuki afterwards to keep tabs on Orochimaru. These pictures indicate something hidden within. Possibly a bloodline or possibly a demon. If Orochimaru was aware of this thing 'hidden' then Akatsuki can ensure Orochimaru won't kill him as he is too useful. Therefore ensuring constant spying of Orochimaru without much worry. These pictures show him start to awaken someone and a later comment indicates that he did no want this thing awoken. A transformation or some doujutsu ability. Anime animated it as bloodshot eyes which cleary isn't hat i shown as his eye colors invert and a ring appears. (Side note: He stopped it before 3 rings appears in his eyes, making it mirror the Akatsuki leader?) The rain ninja also stopped during a fight that decided his chuunin fate to look at Kabuto's eyes and i'm sure it wasn't like "God damn! Bloodshot eyes! That's even rarer than a sharingan! Wow! I don't care if I don't become a chuunin! I got to see this!" Sasuke is further suspicious of him, if not the eyes, did he see something else with the sharingan? Now if Kabuto started working at the time he started taken the chuunin exams. That is a 3 year gap between Orochimaru's departure and when Akatsuki sent him. 3 years is the time it takes for Orochimaru before he can switch bodies. Why i Kabuto so keen on Orochimaru taking his body? Even enough to attempt to kill Sasuke, did he 'poison' Kimimaro also? Was it one of Sasori's poisin, so deadly not even a sannin can cure? Orochimaru said a person's will remains when he transfers body, he cannot promise the ninja whose body he took and ignore it after a body switch(Or so he says). Kabuto's will can be so great to overwhelm Orochimaru and have his body. Therefore Akatsuki retaining a member, keeping spread of information and having many kinjutsu to its arsenal. If it's not will, Akatsuki may have a jutsu for Kabuto to overtake his body. If he's in fact a demon. There's another possibilty. All of the above is not true. But instead, Akatsuki has sent someone else to Orochimaru's palace. A servant of Sasori (already confirmed that Akatsuki sent someone to Orochimaru's place so no debating about that as a lot of my posts/threads tend to be argued and disagreed upon, so pointing that out). So Akatsuki has sent someone to Orochimaru's place that is not Kabuto. Their purpose? For Akatsuki to obtain Kabuto, a jinchikuuri(maybe spelled wrong...meh). Orochimaru does not have to know about Kabuto's "inner demon" for this to be true. There is also the fact that if Orochimaru left without attaining his jinchikuuri, someone has to pick up the slack and obtain two. It could very well be Sasori. Though he is going after Naruto now so he could very well have been assigned his own and anyone other. There is also Akatsuki waiting 3 years to attain Naruto and to start making their move as Jiraiya said. There was a 3 year gap between Kabuto taken the Chuunin exam and gaining abiilty to spy on other country's ninjas for and Orochimaru leaving the orginization. Is there something that happens with demons over 3 years? Also note that 7 years ago, Kabuto was the same age as Naruto and Gaara. They waited 3 years before snatching these two. So we know Akatsuki has someone at Orochimaru's place(hopefully not saying this only for the translation to mean something different...), is Akatsuki's spy Kabuto? Or is he a target of Akatsuki? EDIT: Added another paragraph relating Kabuto's age with Naruto/Gaara's before 3 year gap.