Swordswoman Riding West on White Horse
The White Horse in the West Wind (白马啸西风) is a Wuxia novella by Louis Cha, who is better known as Jin Yong. The title in Chinese can be roughly translated to White Horse Neighing in the West Wind. It is first published in 1961 in Ming Pao. It is also the first time Cha featured a female protagonist in all his novels.
The protagonist Li Wenxiu loses her parents in the Gobi Desert while on the escape from a group of bandits who were after the map of the Gaochang labyrinth. Placed on a white steed, Li flees to the Kazakh territory and is taken into the care of an elderly Han Chinese man called Ji. While growing up, Li Wenxiu meets a Kazakh boy named Su Pu and they gradually develop a love relationship. However, Su Pu's father disapproves of the relationship between his son and a Han Chinese girl so they are forced to separate.
Later, Li Wenxiu meets a hermit named Hua Hui in an oasis in the Gobi Desert and helps him cure his wounds. Hua is grateful to her and accepts her as his disciple, teaching her martial arts. She returns home amidst heavy snow and sees that Su Pu, his father and his new lover are taking shelter inside her house. Unfortunately, Chen Dahai, the leader of the group of bandits who killed Li Wenxiu's parents, arrives at Li's home and suspects that the map they have been hunting for is inside the house. He proceeds to ransack the house for the map and eventually finds it. The secret of the map is revealed when blood is spilled onto the cloth. Chen wants to kill Su Pu and the others but is stopped by Li Wenxiu. Li defeats and wounds Chen.
Chen flees with the map and finds his way to the labyrinth, while Li Wenxiu and Su Pu form a new party of seven to pursue Chen Dahai and the bandits. The party finds its way to the labyrinth but discover ordinary items associated with Han Chinese culture in place of treasure and riches. To their horror, they encounter a "ghost" who haunts them by killing members of the party without leaving any traces. Just as they are about to leave, Su Pu discovers that his lover has been kidnapped by the "ghost" and he tracks down the "ghost" to its lair in the labyrinth, where it is revealed that the "ghost" is actually a martial arts expert in hiding.
The "ghost" retells his story and reveals that he has been betrayed by his former disciple, who is actually Ji, and forced into exile. He reveals himself as the hermit whom Li Wenxiu had saved earlier. Ji and the hermit fight each other. Li Wenxiu is shocked to realise that the two, who are close to her, are actually enemies. Eventually, the "ghost" hermit dies in his futile attempt to kill everyone present. Upon leaving the labyrinth, Li Wenxiu hears the true story behind the items hidden in the labyrinth and its origins. She decides to leave the land, feeling miserable after the loss of two of her loved ones and the marriage of her love interest Su Pu to another woman.