Ling is tall and looks mature for his age, despite actually being a few months younger than Edward, and has a lean, muscular frame clearly toned from a lifetime of training in the Xingese martial arts. His dark eyes have been described by other characters as "squinty" or "shifty" and, indeed, they appear as if closed most of the time, opening only to depict Ling's darker or more serious emotions such as anger, horror, frustration, or avarice, among others. Ling wears his black hair long and tied in a ponytail with white ribbon while his long, spiky bangs hang over his face, often obscuring one of his eyes - usually the right, though this varies depending on the direction he's facing. When he swaps minds with Greed, the orientation of his bangs differs depending on which personality is in control of the body at any given time; parted to the right if Greed is in control and to the left if Ling is in control. After the transformation, Ling's normally black eyes take on the same wine-like color of the other Homunculi and appear open more often. Ling/Greed's outfit consists of a black sleeveless Nehru jacket worn closed under a long, black trench coat with black slacks and a pair of black shoes. He also wears a Dao Sword strapped behind his back.
On the surface, Ling comes off as a rather silly, laid-back and lighthearted person, frequently engaging in comical behavior and retaining his oft-present grin even while making threats. He displays a childlike amusement for new situations whether or not they prove adverse or even potentially fatal, has a penchant for wandering off on his own only to collapse in the middle of a street, and is infamous in the Elric brothers' minds for having a voracious appetite despite never carrying enough cash to feed himself. Even with all these idiosyncrasies, he is extremely personable and his particularly complimentary nature easily gains him the friendship and trust of those surrounding him.
Of course, these aspects belie the complex and determined young man underneath. On the reverse side of his frivolous nature is his considerable shrewdness, which makes him quite capable of reading people and situations in order to manipulate them to his liking. He is particularly observant, taking into consideration even the smallest details of his surroundings in order to better understand and deal with challenges and, despite his lofty position, is not above using cheap tricks or questionable tactics to ensure his own survival. Being singularly ambitious, Ling also has a remarkably tenacious will that allows him to overcome virtually insurmountable obstacles and accept inhuman burdens for the sake of his ultimate goal. He has considerable pride that will not stand for having his humanity insulted or condemned by his enemies, but he is also capable of shelving his pride if it becomes something that will stand in the way of his objective.
This is largely due to a sense of duty that Ling holds at the center of his being. As liege of the Yao clan, he strongly believes that his primary responsibility is the protection and advancement of his kinsmen. He understands that a king's right to rule is granted willingly by the people and strongly takes to heart the idea that the people are served by their liege, rather than the other way around. In keeping with this sense of "noblesse oblige", Ling is very protective of his kinsmen and comrades, refusing to allow any harm to come to them and often deeming their safety more important than his own in spite of his own personal ambitions and goals. He has to be reminded several times that his own safety is something upon which many people depend and uses his loved ones as his primary motivation when all hope seems lost. As such, he becomes furious and disgusted when observing those who willingly or remorselessly cast aside their own comrades or brethren and is sickened by the idea of superiors who reject their duty to those who trust them.
Master Swordsman Specialist: Ling's main fighting style is based on swordsmanship and is a very powerful swordsman combatant, able to hold his own against Wrath, a homunculus with abilities far surpassing those of an average human.
Master Martial Artist: Aside from his swordsmanship abilities, Ling is also a highly proficient martial artist and is well-verse in many forms of Xingese unarmed and armed combat.
Chi Aura Sensing: Like many other Xingese royal martial artists, Ling is able to read the flow of the Dragon's Pulse, which gives him the ability to sense, locate and track the Chi of living beings around him, such as animals, allies and foes. Additionally, it allows him to sense spiritual anomalies like the Philosopher's Stones and the Homunculi.
Peek Physical Conditioning: Through rigorous training on both the body and mind, Ling has a peek level of physical & mental human conditioning.
- Enhanced Strength: Ling possesses remarkable strength for an average human - even going so far as to lift the behemoth Gluttony by himself.
- Enhanced Agility: Ling is very agile and possesses great dexterity and balance, well beyond an Olympic-level athlete.
- Enhanced Speed: Ling possesses remarkable speed, able to outrun both Wrath and Gluttony while carrying an injured Lan Fan on his back, albeit with some difficulty.
- Enhanced Durability: Ling is quite durable, able to withstand Gluttony's blow and being thrown into a building, while he was carrying an injured Lan Fan, and suffered no damage at all.
Expert Tactician: Aside from his prodigious physical skills, Ling is a crafty and capable tactician, able to think several moves ahead of the enemy the big picture as well as incorporate his surroundings, various skills and unique tools to his advantage in a battle. His natural charm and intelligence make him a model leader on and off the battlefield.
Weapons Proficiency: Aside from his impressive sword skills, Ling has great proficiency with other weapons in combat, such as knives, grenades, spears and ropes, though doesn't rely on firearms cause it "gives him a bad taste to his style."
Immense Chi Power: Ling has an immense amount of chi energy, almost greater than that of an ordinary human. This is mostly due to his title and family lineage, as well as being the vessel of the Homunculus, Greed.
- Xing Emperor (Father)
- May Chang (Half-sister)
- Lan Fan (Best friend and personal bodyguard, also girlfriend)
- Fu (Personal bodyguard and best friend)
- Xiao-Mei (Half-sister's pet)
- Elric Brothers
- Winry Rockbell
- State Military
- Col. Roy Mustang
- Greed (Homunculus host, best friend and partner-in-combat)
- Toshiro Hitsugaya
- Gajeel Redfox
- Edward Elric (Friendly rival)
- Ryuha Armament Alliance
- The Homunculi
- Central Command