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I found that title in the Monster Hunter game and it was translated as "A Meeting with Blazing Miasma", but what does せし mean there? It kind of sounds that it might be a case of classical Japanese grammar there, I think. I didn't find anything that could help me, so, can someone tell what it means? I think it must give some sort of nuance.

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In modern Japanese, 邂逅 is a する-verb (which are also known as サ変), but in classical-esque Japanese the する becomes す (see 愛する vs 愛す etc). The し comes from the 連体形 (form used to connect to nouns such as 瘴炎) of the auxiliary particle , which is a particle that is well known for having crazy conjugation patterns. き is used similarly to how is used in modern Japanese to indicate things that happened in the past. Its supposedly unique point is that it's the past that one has experienced personally.

Now in classical Japanese the verb ending す's 連用形 (form used to connect to non-nouns) is し so you might expect the correct conjugation to be 邂逅しし. However, き with all of its odd conjugations has a special rule where if it connects in the 連体形 to a サ変 verb, the サ変 verb instead connects in the 未然形, which is . That is why it is used as せし

Here is the progression:

邂逅す+き+瘴炎 

邂逅せ+し+瘴炎

邂逅せし瘴炎

Here's a diagram of some of the crazy rules of the ultra special conjugations of き. It's しき, but also せし and せしか. enter image description here

I got the image from this page about き and the related けり (the past that one knows about through hearsay).

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  • Thank you, this was very helpful! – Alice B. Rabbit Mar 20 at 4:57
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    Regarding the inflections of auxiliary き and the verb stems it attaches to, the Kotobank page has good detail: see the 大辞泉 entry at top, also that entry's [補説] section; and the 日本国語大辞典 entry at bottom, also the [語誌] section. TL;DR: the き forms starting with //k// are probably from ancient verb 来【く】, and the き forms starting with //s// from ancient verb す. Notably, the auxiliary's 終止形 of き never attaches to verb 来【く】 at all, and 連体形 form し and 已然形 form しか never attach to 連用形 form し of verb す, which patterns seem consistent with the theorized origins. – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 20 at 17:57
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    This derivation may also explain why auxiliary き has no attested 連用形, and if auxiliary き is indeed from verb 来【く】, we also have an elegant solution to the derivation of related "reported past" auxiliary けり. – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 20 at 18:00
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi That isn't a link to Kotobank but that was still very enlightening. Thanks for sharing this! – Ringil Mar 20 at 18:20
  • @Ringil, doh! Intended URL: kotobank.jp/word/き-471819 Cheers! – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 20 at 20:55

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