Inappropriate conflict goal?

I was rereading Mouse Guard and spotted something that bugged me.

On page 102 there are examples of conflict goals. Celanawe sets his conflict goal as “You thieves will tell me what you’ve done with my axe!” but is this appropriate? I mean Saxon and Kenzie don’t know where it is. What would happen if they lost? Do they then have to invent some phoney story about the axe?

Usually I wouldn’t worry too much about it but I thought that maybe I’m just not looking at it right and it’s closing off possibilities to us.

I see what you are saying but a goal is a personal goal based on a subjective point of view. So sometimes your goal may be based on false assumptions or ideas.

If he had won he would have found the Guard Mice did no t have the Axe and no information on its where abouts.

It would be like having a mission to find a merchant’s lost merchandise, (goal being to find the lost merchandise.) but what if he faked having it in the first place just to purposely put the blame of the supposed theft on his enemy? These plots will exist in stories and you as the GM can not tell a player that there is no merchandise to be found and it is all a plot to figure out. That would ruin the adventure.

Let them take these goals and if they succeed give them a clue as to what the truth is but use this to move the story along.

Just my take on it.