You know...for a long time, I'd been wondering what role the Xing characters would play in the overall story. Were they just comic relief? Side characters? A subplot? Or would they become something more?
I thought I'd realized what it was when Ed and Ling began to get closer in Gluttony's stomach- Ling would be Ed's ally! His friend! Someone whom Ed can rely on, who is his own age- someone who can understand his struggle.
But really, it was something else. Now, we know. And as I think about it, I realize that there was a LOT of foreshadowing.
Remember- Ling wanted this. He welcomed Greed into his body. A part of me is still hoping that he had some plan to overcome this, but really, Ling has no idea what the true consequences are. At that moment, all he could have been thinking was that it was a chance for power, strength, a way to reach his goal.
What he wanted, Greed wanted. When you come right down to it, Ling and Greed are very similar characters.
An example of the foreshadowing- in the chapter immediately following Greed's 'death', the Xing characters were introduced. Furthermore, Ling and Greed asked Al the same thing about his body, of how useful it is, and wanting to know the secret behind it. They even say the same things:
Greed: "Are you an idiot?! Who do you think I am?! I'm Greed of Avarice!!"
Ling: "Who do you think...I am? I'm the man who will be Xing's emperor, Lin Ya...."
And think about it...will Greed work for Father? NO! It's very likely that Greed will go on doing the same things Ling was doing, reaching for the same goal... Besides, the only thing that made Greed an antagonist in the first place was the fact that he's a homunculus, and really had the wrong idea of kidnapping Al and pissing Ed off.
Otherwise, he wasn't that bad. He didn't want to fight Izumi and Ed, he just wanted to negotiate. Even though he valued his subordinates as mere possessions, he treated them with respect as living beings. He apologized to Martel for shaking her up a little, even. He didn't look down on them. Wouldn't he treat Ran Fan the same way?
So really, we have Ling. Only he has more power, is nearly invincible, is a lot more cocky...he probably has the same memories, too....but he isn't the same person anymore. Oh yeah, and you'd have to wonder if Greed!Ling would be as good of an emperor as Ling himself would. Ling obviously cared for his people. Greed...? Even as an emperor, I can see him still sending out people to look for immortality just as the current emperor is.
AND WOULD HE BE ABLE TO HAVE CHILDREN?! (Not that I think Ran Fan would love him the same anymore, but technically she is still obligated to serve him. ...Even though he wouldn't need much protection.
...That being said, Arakawa BETTER put lots of light-hearted Ling omake in Volume 13, because chances are that's all we'll ever see of it. ;____________;