some days i remember how Envy killing Hughes eventually led to Ed beating Pride, and i’m like, damn that’s some good progression
Hughes snoops around for information
Envy kills him
Roy leads a personal hunt to find Hughes’ murderer
Envy frames Maria Ross to cover his tracks
Ed sees Roy “kill” Maria and is sent (read: kidnapped) to take a vacation to the Xerxes ruins, where he learns Maria is not, in fact, dead
Ed sees half of the Xerxes Human Transmutation circle at the ruins
Later on, Ed, Envy and Ling end up in Glutton’s stomach
Ed figures out how to escape because the other half of the Xerxes circle is in Gluttony’s stomach
Ed has to use the souls in Envy’s philosopher’s stone to pay the toll
which means Ed learned how it feels to use human life
Ed later uses this knowledge to save his own life when he’s impaled by the beam; he remembers how it feels to use human life as an energy source and uses his own life force in the same way to patch up his wound
Later on, Pride tries to take over Ed’s body, but Ed forces himself into Pride’s philosopher’s stone, thanks to all the knowledge he gained before (human transmutation, using souls, using himself like a philosopher’s stone), and (with Kimblee’s help) finally beats Pride
Ed and Al aren’t the only people of Xerxesian descent. Multiple Xerxesian trade caravans had been out of the country at the time of the nationwide transmutation. A large portion of people in the eastern part of Aerugo descend from these traders.
Not every Xerxian was in Xerxes during the transmutation, there were perhaps a couple hundred survivors who were outside the country. Most eventually went to small country of Amestris and, as a consequence, the high proportion of blondes in modern day Amestris is actually a very distant trait of those Xerxians.
Ed rebuilds Xerxes as a beautiful vibrant safe haven for people starting over and a new home for his family, and turns the old King’s palace into a massive library with all the information in the world that Ed and Al collected through their travels and it becomes his son’s favorite place in the world.