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I can see where it sounds like he deviated.

But the key is that he took a different route back, but assuming the two routes (follow a road or go as the demon flies) will work within the time frame, I’d say he’s within the rules of the order.

For most demons, if the demon thought/believed/knew that the other route was definitely longer, then they would feel a compulsion to not take it, or shorten it.

Given that Tom did have a very strong compulsion on the time element, and he didn’t seem to feel one on his alternate route, I would say he was within the rules.

I would think that if he were overriding the rules due to being more powerful than expected, he’d have at least felt the compulsion, resisted it, and did it anyway.

Now, of course taking a nap was not directly back, but depending on how you read “directly” as in does that imply a time constraint? That would be a point of contention, however Lenamare did give him a time constraint, so in that case “directly” would allow for the nap, if there was no deviation and he stayed within the overriding time constraint.

Now…popping that soldier is definitely harming someone else…however, that wasn’t so much willfully harming someone as it was horrified reaction/response that ended up gutting someone, e.g. an accident.

Compulsions about not killing people don’t apply to accidents, unless the demon is specifically creating an accident with the purpose of killing someone.

So, in short, I probably wouldn’t read too much into the rules thing making him higher level, in part because he wasn’t purposefully trying to disobey, and the compulsion did hit him when he did run late. If he’d been able to resist the compulsion at the end of the journey, then that would be a sign. If he doesn’t really test the boundaries of the orders, then we can’t know much for certain about his strength.