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INCOMPLETE DIVINE ARTIFACT

Evé felt a surge of excitement as she set her incarnation on auto-pilot. She then let her consciousness return to her Celestial Domain and retrieved the Casket of Death.

With a single thought, Evé opened the Casket which had been flickering nonstop.

A small dimly glowing orb was floating inside.

This was Hela’s response.

Eve gently poked the orb, causing it to shatter, and a languid yet majestic female voice echoed not a second later.

“Uller only attained his godhood a few thousand years ago, and the number of divine artifacts he accumulated isn’t that extensive. Even the ones he generally uses are mostly at the quasi-divine artifact level. However, he does possess one incomplete divine artifact that could pose a threat to true gods.”

An incomplete divine artifact?

Eve’s thoughts stirred as she recalled each description of various artifacts recorded within the World Tree’s inheritance.

Tools that harness the divine power of Deities are commonly known as Divine Artifacts.

There are thousands of these items scattered about, with the weaker ones being less effective than legendary weapons crafted by mortals. On the other hand, the more powerful divine artifacts can even make true gods wary.

Overall, the determining factors for an artifact’s strength are the amount of divine power contained within it and the natural laws from which it is created.

In Saigües, divine artifacts are typically categorized as sub-divine artifacts, semi-divine artifacts, quasi-divine artifacts, and true divine artifacts, based on their strength.

Most divine artifacts come into contact with by mortals are typically sub-divine in nature, and they are also the most abundant among them.

In a sense, the starter weapons Evé created for the players at the beginning could also be considered sub-divine artifacts, although the divine power contained within them was almost negligible.

But even so, due to these weapons being imbued with the power of the Divinity of Life, these starter weapons proved highly effective against the undead.

Creating sub-divine artifacts such as these is relatively easy… A true god can simply infuse any object with their divine power to turn it into a sub-divine artifact.

However, crafting more powerful divine artifacts is challenging.

After all, not all materials can withstand a significant amount of divine power or bear the force of the natural laws of the world.

The stronger the divine artifact is, the rarer the materials it requires.

It is even more difficult to make an artifact that can pose a threat to a true god solely with its intrinsic power.

Such powerful artifacts are referred to as true divine artifacts.

It is very difficult to create a true divine artifact since it’s a long and arduous process, plus it also needs a significant amount of divine power to craft one.

Even the weakest true divine artifact needs a bare minimum DP value of 1,000 divine power units.

Nonetheless, don’t underestimate this mere 1,000 divine power units.

While true gods generally have more divine power contained within them, they cannot unleash it all at once in an instant.

In other words, a true god’s divine power is akin to a water reservoir.

However, even if the reservoir holds vast amounts of water, it is still the reservoir’s opening or closing valves that determine how explosively the water can be released.

Among the true gods, there is essentially no substantial difference in level, whereas there is only a distinction in strength.

Ascending into godhood is, in essence, the process of enlarging one’s own reservoir while also widening their valve.

However, the rate at which the reservoir expands must far exceed the rate at which the valve widens.

However, ultimately, true gods cannot unleash divine power beyond their limits, but true divine artifacts can.

The sudden burst of 1,000 divine power units, relying solely on the artifact’s intrinsic power, is enough to pose a lethal threat to true gods within intermediate divine strength or below.

This means that even an ordinary person, if they possess a true divine artifact and a means to fully unleash its power, has a slim chance to slay a god.

Of course, true gods who also wield true divine artifacts are even more formidable.

In fact, during the Silver Age, when the gods were at war amongst themselves, many weaker divine beings managed to seize control and mostly relied upon the use of true divine artifacts to slay their more powerful divine foes while achieving ascension in the process.

After the Heavenly War, the victors hoarded most of these true divine artifacts and ultimately became major figures within the Pantheon, resulting in a scarcity of true divine artifacts in the current era.

Nowadays, most gods with intermediate or lower divine strength possess only quasi-divine artifacts, which can still harm true gods but are not really that lethal on their own.

In truth, within the World Tree’s inheritance, there is a record of Eve’s progenitor possessing their own set of true-divine artifacts.

Sadly, however, these artifacts were either lost when the World Tree fell, seized by the enemies, or scattered about when the Celestial Domain of the Old World Tree shattered.

In any case, when Eve reincarnated as the new World Tree, she had gained nothing except the dying body of her progenitor and the faith of her followers.

From this perspective, Uller was quite fortunate to possess a true divine artifact, even if it was in an incomplete state.

With this in mind, Eve’s expression grew serious as she continued to listen to Hela’s message…

“Uller’s incomplete true-divine artifact is called the ‘Withering Heart.’ It should appear as a necklace resembling a string of skulls.”

“It is said that Uller obtained it from the tomb of the Titan King in the Desert of Death back when Uller was still a totem guardian. Originally, it belonged to a fallen Titan King who had fallen into the abyss, and this artifact was sealed within the Titan King’s tomb.”

“A thousand years ago, even Yggdrasill suffered significant losses because of the Withering Heart. Many divine beings of the Elven race also perished due to this vile artifact.”

“It is not an artifact geared towards offense… instead, it is a sealing type. It can briefly seal a true god’s power, reducing their strength to the level of a Demigod or even lower for a short time.”

“However, Withering Heart is only effective against true gods with weaker divine power or below.”

“And… because this true-divine artifact has been tainted by corruption of the Abyss, it cannot be controlled with divine power. Instead, it requires the sacrifice of flesh or life force to be activated, and using it exacts a significant cost, reportedly causing the user’s mind to be corrupted by the abyss.”

“Rumor has it that in recent years, Uller’s temperament has become increasingly volatile, likely due to some degree of corruption from this artifact. The God of War even has repeatedly urged Uller to destroy the Withering Heart, but Uller never agreed.”

“As a result, the God of War became increasingly discontent with Uller.”

“Evé, if you ever engage with Uller’s forces, be very cautious of the Withering Heart!”

Hela’s message finally came to an end.

Eve’s expression gradually grew more serious.

“So, the power I sensed earlier should belong to this artifact called the ‘Withering Heart.’”

“The Orcs brought it with them and, during the battle, used the life force of the fallen Orcs in an attempt to activate its power.”

“… So Uller intends to use this artifact to seal my power!”

Perhaps… the invasion of the Elven Forest by his thirty thousand army is merely just a facade.

For Uller, it would be best to annihilate the Elven race through a war of faith, at least on the surface, as the Elves from their perspective seem to lack the power to resist an invasion.

However, looking at it from another perspective, in Uller’s mind, the future of the Elves might follow only two paths—

The first involves the Orc’s thirty thousand troops annihilating the Elves, which would result in a loss of faith in the new true god, Eve. This would then lead to her being demoted in strength, followed by Uller sending out an even more formidable force to eliminate her and, in the end, seize her divinity.

The other path involves the Elves being besieged by the thirty-thousand-strong Orc army, pushing them to the brink of extinction.

Thus, in Uller’s mind, she would have had no choice but to intervene to save the Elves.

Then, if she decided to directly intervene, chances were that the thirty thousand troops would immediately become sacrifices for the Withering Heart, which could then seal her powers.

Then afterward, Uller could send out a strong force to kill her and ultimately seize her divinity.

In any case, it all ends in his victory.

It’s evident that Uller has more than one plan in motion.

This thirty-thousand-strong army is not just an invasion force; it is also bait to lure Eve, and these Orcs serve as sacrifices for the Withering Heart should things go south!

“This is truly ruthless! Thirty thousand Orcs, to be used and discarded just like that. Though most of them are shallow believers, they still constitute a significant source of Uller’s faith…”

Eve shook her head.

In reality, Uller’s strategy was quite effective.

Players might be able to confront the thirty-thousand-strong army all by themselves, but Eve would have no choice but to intervene once the totem guardians took action.

Of course, she wouldn’t act in her real form, but rather in the disguise of her incarnation, “burrowing” the power of a true god.

However, based upon her earlier intuition, was is now certain that the Withering Heart was highly sensitive to the aura of true gods.

It was quite likely that the Orcs would easily see through her incarnation’s disguise.

That would be quite awkward if that were to happen.

So… what should she do?

Evé fell into deep thought.

Then after a moment, something clicked within her mind.

“Hmm? Wait, maybe… this might actually a good opportunity instead!”

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