Many years ago, Merlin was studying fire flowers and the unique abilities they granted their users. He wanted to see if a fire flower grown in the Real World could yield different results compared to the Mushroom Kingdom. Merlin had planted one underneath the bridge in the woods and put a protective spell around it so that if someone were to pick it they would be lost in the forest forever. Although he never got to test its powers, Merlin assumes that it would grant the user different powers compared to a Mushroom Kingdom Fire Flower.
The Artifact is a mysterious artifact first mentioned in "Man is protected from what lies beneath." In this episode, after being knocked out by drinking expired milk and having a crazy dream, Link explores around. Eventually, he is discovered by Steven Bauer, who tells Link that he was sent to assist him in his quest to find the Artifact. Steven explains the Artifact is in a place where "Man is protected from what lies beneath." Link tells Steven that he thinks that the Artifact is in the Woods because he recently had a dream where he was trapped in the Woods and he believes that the dream was possibly a message to where the Artifact is located. It is later revealed that the Darkness wishes to obtain that artifact for reasons unknown.
Near the end of the series, Link discovers that the Artifact is hidden under a bridge and also discovers that it is really a Fire Flower.
In the Season 3 finale, it is revealed that Merlin brought the Fire Flower to the Real World to see what abilities it had in the real world. Merlin had put a protective spell around the Fire Flower so if someone were to discover it they would be trapped in the Woods forever unless they were pure of heart.
The Artifact doesn't make an appearance until "Act II Part 1," where Link allows Coconut perform a spell to have the Artifact bound to his soul, in case he were to die. He does get killed by the Darkness and the Artifact goes with him to the Afterlife.
The Artifact eventually reappears in "Act II Part 3," where Mario, having been nearly killed by the Darkness, meets Link in the Afterlife. Link gives him the Fire Flower, allowing him to be resurrected as Fire Mario.
In "Act II Part 5," Mario removes his Fire Mario hat and leaves it in the forest, relieving him of its power. However, it is possible that the Fire Flower's power still remains in the hat.
- According to Merlin, if anyone is to find the Artifact, they wouldn't be able to leave the Forest unless they are pure of heart. But Link, who had found the Artifact, was unable to leave the Forest, despite being pure of heart. However, this mistake may be part of Merlin's plan as he said that Link's death was necessary. Also, Link very well could have left, but he was hindered, thanks to the Darkness killing him.