After an anonymous tip, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Shangbei and to meet with former Mukol Grand Priest Shavendra. I managed to persuade Shavendra to give me a short interview and its transcript is as follows:
(R = Regina, S = Shavendra)
R: Shavendra, so good to see you. Thanks a lot for agreeing on this little interview. How are you doing?
S: Very well, thank you.
R: So, let me jump right in: What do you think about the new government?
S: Lei Lao means well, but he is bound to fail.
R: Why is that?
S: He wants to make everybody happy. That’s impossible. You can’t make everyone happy. It’s in human nature to be unhappy and there will always be someone who’ll find something to complain about.
R: Isn’t it rather in human nature to want to be happy?
S: Want to be, yes, but who actually is happy with what he or she has got or achieved? I for my part don’t know a single thoroughly happy human being, do you?
R: But hasn’t the situation greatly improved for a lot of people since Lei took over?
S: Admittedly, yes, more people have jobs now, and the slums are shrinking, but in the long run the new system will fail. Any system does. So we can as well quit trying. That was or is the essence of the Flock of Mukol teachings and I still believe in them. In this world no one can find fulfillment, we have to transcend this world and let go of our miserable existence here.
R: And yet you decided to not trigger the bombs.
S: I understood that the world is or was not ready for the teachings of Mukol. Too few believed. We had not enough critical mass spiritually as well as practically. Merjen was shut down before it could provide a sufficient amount of unalmatium.
R: I see. What are you doing now every day?
S: Lizard hunting.
R: Oh, come on. Stop kidding me.
S: I’m not, I’m serious. I spend most of my days in the outer slums and help anti-lizard squads.
R: What about Lenny?
S: I hope to find him one day and I hope he will recognize me.
R: And then what? You want to keep him as your pet?
S: If he is inclined to, yes. I think making pets out of the lizards is the key to conquering them. I’m not only helping the anti-lizard squads, I’ve started a lizard farm. We found a few eggs and are raising baby lizards now in an attempt to tame them and make pets out of them and to make them defend us against wild lizards.
R: Wow. And that works?
S: So far it does, well, none of the lizards in our keeping are fully grown yet.
R: Who’s we?
S: (grinning broadly) Friends of mine.
R: That sounds as if you were not very inclined to telling me about those friends.
R: Your new Flock, hm?
S: (shrugging) Maybe.
R: Yes, people like you can’t let go, can they? They always need a bunch of followers to tell them how awesome they are.
S: (chuckling) Wrong. They flock around me, like moths to a flame. I am not seeking them out. They just come and don’t leave again.
R: Enchanted by your sparkling personality or what?
R: (scoffing) Anyway. So you also kill lizards.
S: Some, but mostly I’m scaring them away with the help of my mental energy. They tend to leave me alone more and more. It’s as if I smell of lizard now thanks to the young ones in my care and the grown ones notice that, respect that and avoid me.
R: Interesting. Don’t you have any intention to support Lei Lao and his government instead of wasting your considerable talents and intelligence on lizards?
S: Governments ruin themselves. They don’t need my help for that. My talents and intelligence as you call them are put to good use in my lizard program.
R: Do you have contact to Jove?
S: (with a smile) Who?
R: Jove Hendricks, Executive Officer of Shangbei.
R: (smiling) What about Vana?
S: Oh, she’s not made for the outer slums. I haven’t seen her since the day I let her go with that notepad.
R: What about contact to your sect? Have you heard from any other Mukol Grand Priest in exile or from your headquarters?
S: Several Grand Priests committed suicide, others were killed in the turmoil, some disappeared. No, I don’t have contact to any former Mukol Grand Priests.
R: I see, I…
S: (interrupting) Can we wrap this up now? I can show you the lizard farm if you want to, off the record, of course.
R: Oh, well, yes, please. Thank you for this little interview, Shavendra, I am glad that I found you and that you agreed to talk.
S: My pleasure, now let me introduce you to my lizards, they are truly remarkable creatures.
R: I bet they are.