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- "Please forgive me, master! I'll never do it again! If you spare me, I'll teach you something cool. You will never beat my brothers up ahead unless you punish them in the proper order. The order is... 2 3 1. Twenty three is number one!"
- — Deku Scrub
The Deku Scrub Brothers are the mini-bosses of Inside the Deku Tree, the first dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. They are three Deku Scrubs who guard the door leading to the lair of Queen Gohma, which is at the lowest floor of the dungeon. They also have another sibling, who may be a sister or a fourth brother.
The Deku Scrub Brothers are similar to all other Deku Scrubs in the game; the difference is that this is the only time three are faced at one time. They can only be beaten if they are attacked in a certain order. Earlier in the dungeon, Link defeats another of their siblings, who gives him a clue to beating them. After Link beats them in the order of second, third, and then first, from left to right, they surrender and regretfully unlock the door to their queen's lair.
|“It will hide in the grass if you get close to it. Bounce the nuts it spits back at it!”|
In the Master Quest re-releases no clue to their weakness is provided at any point prior to the encounter. The order is also changed from the original game which makes the battle more challenging since Link must guess the order in which he must defeat the brothers.
The Deku Scrub Brother's code, 2-3-1, is most likely a reference to a code that was used in an earlier Nintendo game: Super Mario 64. In the Boo's Mansion level, Mario searches the library for a Power Star, and opens the door leading to the star by pushing in three books in the same order as the Deku Scrub Brothers are defeated; namely, 2-3-1. This is a likely connection because The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 were both the first 3D games for both of Nintendo's biggest series, and were both developed alongside one another.
In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the Deku of Termina have a royal family that is in charge of the entire race. In Ocarina of Time, however, The Deku Scrubs may be loyal subjects of Queen Gohma instead of any King Deku. This idea is most clear when Link faces the Deku Scrub Brothers. They refer to her as "Queenie", and act as if she is their ruler. Although they perhaps use this term for respect towards Gohma since she was a curse created by Ganondorf, and in Japanese the suffix -sama is used to refer to nobility or express utmost respect, which could explain its translation to the English version.
Upon defeat, the traitorous Deku Scrub from whom Link learns how to defeat the Deku Scrub Brothers proceeds to say, "Twenty-three is number one!". This could be a possible reference to one of the team numbers of Michael Jordan, a basketball player who was popular during the timespan in which Ocarina of Time was released.